IFO has been so impressed with Gov. Nikki Haley, (R) of South Carolina. The governor’s leadership during the dangerous and trying time following the killing of nine innocent people in an AME Church in Charleston has been outstanding.
She has spoken many times during the past few weeks as she guided the SC legislature toward voting, with minimum delay, to remove the Confederate battle flag from state grounds.
A Sikh woman HT:SikhNet
The governor did this while enunciating the highest ideals of ALL South Carolinians, and according all citizens the same respect, sadness, and genuine empathy. We liked her even before she was elected to her first term as governor five years ago, now we like her even more.
Here is something we wrote in 2007 for a feature story that could shed some light on Gov. Haley’s principles, whose family is Sikh. The story was about international business owners in the paper’s circulation area, including several members of the Sikh religion. We’ve changed the names and identifying information.
“Walk down the street any day of the week here and notice how many retail businesses are owned and operated by foreign-born business people.
“It’s no surprise to find Chinese and Mexican restaurants are owned by Chinese and Mexicans, but the area also features entrepreneurs from South Korea, India, and the Philippines.
“The characteristic that unites them all is amiability.
“The state of Punjab in India has contributed three non-related entrepreneurs to our area, including a supermarket’s new owners “Paul,” 32, and “Sam” Singh, 48, who arrived just this year. Also from Punjab, “Hal” Singh and his wife, who bought another market in town from its Korean owners about two years ago.
“They have been in the U.S. for almost 10 years, but they moved to Oregon a few years ago from California.
“The third Punjabi in the area is “Val” Singh, 46, owner of yet another grocery, which opened new in 2002. He, too, owned a grocery store in California after he arrived from India in 1990.
“‘I was a farm boy with just a high school education,’ he says. ‘We were always looking for opportunity. I found a business in Salem in 1999.’ He now has a chain of 15 stores, all businesses he has started himself, rather than purchasing existing ones.
“Rather than a deliberate strategy of expansion, this growth is just happening and he’s going along with it, he says. He does have an operating strategy: fill customer needs. He keeps his prices low, stays open 24 hours a day, and employs local people as much as possible.
“‘We have a teeny-tiny markup and lots of volume,’ he says. To stay economically afloat, he keeps a surveillance camera on in his stores at all times, because of his experience with shoplifters and bad employees stealing. ‘Employee theft kills you,’ he explains.
“He’s married, with five children, some of whom are in college now. Like many Punjabis here in the U.S., he is a Sikh, meaning he is one of the 23 million followers of Sikhism, a religion founded about 500 years ago in India. The word “Sikh” means learner.
“Punjab, located in northwest India, had a population of 24.3 million in 2000, about 1250 people per square mile. By contrast, our state has about 3.5 million residents, or about 360 people per square mile.
“The Indian state forms a part of the troubled, larger Punjab region, which includes the Punjab province of Pakistan and two other Indian states. Troubles stem from political, religious and ethnic differences: Punjabis in India are mostly Sikh and Hindu, while those in Pakistan are Muslim.”
(At right: Nikki Haley and her parents.)
Most Sikhs wear turbans, while other citizens of the nation of India do not wear any traditional or religious headgear. Citizens of India, like the U.S., come in ALL skin colors.
What do we learn from this? Not all immigrants are the same. Probably most immigrants are legal, especially the ones forming businesses. Many immigrants make huge contributions to benefit the U.S.