Yuba City Cable Show Builds Bridges

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By Harold Kruger

Apna Punjab Host Jasjit Singh Kang
Apna Punjab host honored by Yuba Sutter Community

Jasjit Singh Kang is a TV celebrity in Yuba-Sutter, but he thinks of himself in a more important role – educator.

Kang, whose day job is a Yuba County health inspector specializing in food facilities, is the on-camera star of “Apna Punjab TV,” which first aired 13 years ago.

The public-access show, which airs weekly on Comcast cable, reaches out to the area’s Punjabi residents and, in turn, urges them to reach out to the rest of Yuba-Sutter.

“We’re trying to build a bridge between the mainstream community and our community,” said Kang, 37.

He said it became more important for the local Sikh community to be more active in communicating its beliefs after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Because of the Sikh community, because of our physical appearance, they became a target of hate,” he said. “People don’t know anything about hate. It became very important that our people should spread more information about who we are and how we are different.”

Kang said his program encourages local Sikhs to participate in events of the wider community.

“We try to promote people,” he said. “Even the Prune Festival … we tell our people to get into the mainstream community. That’s how you build better understanding.”

Kang, who lives in Yuba City, arrived in the area in 1992. His family had moved from India to Canada.

He started the TV show, sponsored by the Punjabi American Heritage Society, in March 1993.

“We felt a need that we need to reach out to the community, and that was the best way to reach the community,” Kang said.

The program usually airs in Punjabi, “but we do it in English when we have a guest or when some issue can be better explained in English,” he said.

It covers a variety of issues.

“You name it, from human rights, to social issues, health issues, community issues, some family-oriented issues,” Kang said.

Female feticide in India was a recent issue explored on the show.

“this news hit me very hard,” said Kang. “I can’t even think that a community could do that, they can kill their own baby if it’s a female. It wasn’t big news in our news, but in India it was major news, how they found all these fetuses in an abandoned well near a hospital. They can’t even count the number. I dedicated a whole program to that.”

India “ is such an old society,” he said. “Maybe there was a time when women didn’t have equal rights.”

Kang, who has a 2 ½-year-old daughter, said it was “hard for me to accept the fact that it’s still happening.”

The show even addressed the recent death of Steve Irwin, the Australian “crocodile hunter.”

“He was dedicated to his philosophy, and I feel that I need to promote and tell people you should do what you feel and live your life in what you believe in,” he said.

What Nominator Siri Pritam Khalsa Said
“Jasjit has been serving this community for the last 15 years with out any personal benefits and financial gains. (As host of the nonprofit ‘Apna Punjab TV’ cable program), he has been covering the diverse topics which no one else wants to get involved in.”

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