Mar 13, 2018
More than good fortune: how this gala colourfully combines Chinese and company culture
Born in Hong Kong, Manter Sham spent his early days performing skits where he and his classmates took turns playing the God of Fortune. At TD's Lunar New Year Gala, Sham took the role on once more, acting out as an adult the history his parents taught him as a child.
Make like TD's resident God of Fortune, and arrive. TD's Lunar New Year Gala is a chance to celebrate Chinese culture in the workplace, and if you're the God of Fortune, make a statement.
"My culture is a living testament to my roots," says Manter Sham, a senior analyst at TD Insurance who's been with the Bank for over 11 years. This weekend, he made a lively entrance at TD's Lunar New Year Gala for the very first time – performing as Caishen, the Chinese God of Fortune and Wealth.
"[If] I'm going to volunteer, then I might as well volunteer all the way," says Sham, whose philosophy is it's never too late to try something new – including making his first entrance at a gala as a lead performer.
In fact, for Sham this year's Lunar New Year Gala comes full circle. Born in Hong Kong, Sham spent his early days performing skits where he and his classmates took turns playing the God of Fortune. At TD's Lunar New Year Gala, Sham took the role on once more, acting out as an adult the history his parents taught him as a child.
"It's one thing to carry my traditions and culture outside of work, and quite another to meld so much of who I am with the company I work for," says Sham.
Twenty-one years ago, that fusion is exactly what set the Lunar New Year Gala in motion. Back then, a few TD branch colleagues started a small, casual event that's since grown into large-scale gala with vibrant cultural performances. Today, the Lunar New Gala draws almost a thousand eventgoers, bringing people together to connect and celebrate Chinese tradition.
"It is more than a celebration, it's also a platform to understand and learn about Chinese culture," says Sham.
This learning is open to everyone, and Melody Fung can agree. Fung is a resource officer for Canadian Collections and Recovery at TD – and this year, she's part of the planning committee that set the stage for the God of Fortune.
Melody Fung (left) was part of the planning committee that set the stage for the God of Fortune at this year's Lunar New Year Gala.
Fung speaks six languages, and for her, this cultural exchange is the most rewarding part of the gala. When she attended the gala for the first time last year, teaching her colleagues about the Chinese dishes and their Cantonese names was a real treat.
As a first-generation Canadian, Fung truly appreciates having a space to express the culture her parents passed along to her. "The fact that I am able to be open about my culture and my diversity is celebrated at such a grand event – it really means a lot to me."