Whyte Ridge resident Sandra Sukhan is a hairdresser. She also holds a PhD and is a curriculum consultant at Red River College. She was recently appointed the Guyanese honorary consul in Manitoba and in mid-January she launched her first book.
Sukhan’s career trajectory and curriculum vitae reads like few others. Her life since coming to Canada in 1970 has been out of the ordinary.
At 16 years of age and promised through an arranged marriage to a Guyanese young man living in Winnipeg, Sandra arrived here from Guyana, a former British colony in north-eastern South America.
This was the accepted route to marriage in her Indo-Guyanese culture. While her new husband went to university, Sandra attended high school as a married teenager.
Initially fearful of university, she chose hairdressing school, a trade in which she had a keen interest. It was there that Sandra had her eyes opened to privilege. In the mirror she saw an East Indian immigrant woman. Her colleagues saw a woman to whom many comforts had been given — a nice home in the suburbs, a supportive spouse and family. Some of their stories were vastly different.
In time, Sandra did go to university and she didn’t stop until she attained her doctorate. An interest in post-colonial politics was born out of her own pink-collar to white-collar career.
With a lens into both worlds, her insight is unique and she challenges the dominant cultural norms in her teaching and writing, specifically her recently published book, In Search of the Blue Lotus — a Feminist Counter-Narrative to the Dominant Hegemonic Discourse. The titular rare blue lotus has three stages of awakening, something to which Sandra identifies. It helps link her past to the person she is today.
The position is a first of honorary consul for Guyana is a first for Manitoba. Sandra caters to the consular needs of Guyanese Manitobans through assistance with legal paperwork — passports, birth and death certificates, etc. as well as assisting visiting officials and promoting trade and industry in Guyana. The job is still in formation and Sandra will put her own special stamp on it.
Sandra’s blog is http://sssphoenix.blogspot.ca/ And she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, did I mention she’s publishing a cookbook? Her favourite, Indian-based recipes put down in print will be a legacy for her grandchildren.
Pat Kelly is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.