Gim Wong and Lensey Namioka coming to Gung Haggis Fat Choy!
last year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, we started up a head table to
host the Mayor, and special VIP's. Last year the “Mayor's” table
was sponsored by Common Ground's publisher Joseph Roberts.
Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell brought his wife. Don Montgomery,
vice-president of Asian Canadian Writers' Workhop hosted the
table. Dr. Dennis Law and his wife Moon along with MLA's Jenny
Kwan and Joy McPhail were special guests, since Chinatown is part of
Jenny's constituency. Bob Brinson represented the Gung Haggis
dragon boat team.
We are going to do it again this year.
Mayor Sam Sullivan is coming, along with Mayor of Lions Bay, Max
Wyman. Both will be reading some poetry. Joy Kogawa is our
featured poet for the evening. Moyra Rodger is the producer of
the CBC television performance special Gung Haggis Fat Choy (and she
hasn't attended a GHFC dinner until now). Libby Davies will be
our MP for the evening, since Chinatown is part of her constituency. We
will have a representative from Ricepaper magazine. Don
Montgomery will again be the representative for Asian Canadian Writers'
Workshop. Deb Martin will represent the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dragon boat team.
And I am really pleased to add two more people for this year's head table: Gim Wong and Lensey Namioka
Lensey Namioka. is
an award winning author of children's and young adult's books.
This past summer I found the book “Half and Half” about a young girl
growing up in Seattle with a Chinese-American grandparent on her
father's side, and Scottish-Canadian grandparents on her mother's
side. Very Gung Haggis, I thought. I wrote a short
review/comment about the story, and pledged that I would invite Lensey
Namioka to the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner. Lensey said she
had to laugh when she saw my e-mail invitation. I don't think she
had heard of Gung Haggis Fat Choy before… but maybe, because the CBC
television performance special did air in Washington State on CBC
television. For those who are wondering, Lensey was born in
China, immigrated to the United States at age nine, and married a
Japanese man – hence the name Namioka!
Hopefully Lensey will be able to read a short passage from Half and Half for the GHFC dinner.
Gim Wong grew
up in Vancouver's Strathcona neighborhood. He enlisted with the
Canadian Air Force when Chinese Canadians couldn't vote in the country
they were born in. In 200, this 83 year old veteran decided
to ride his motorcycle from Mile 0 in Victoria to Ottawa for July 1st,
to protest for head tax redress. Gim wanted to meet with the
Prime Minister in Ottawa – but the PMO did not respond to any requests
for a meeting, but invited him to attend July 1st celebrations on
2004, Gim was featured in the NFB film documentary by Karen Cho, In the
Shadow of Gold Mountain. In Sept 2005, the Asian Canadian
Writers' Workshop awarded Gim with the ACWW Community Builder's Award.
This past week, Gim was featured in a Vancouver Sun story on head tax
the 2003 GHFC dinner, Gim had approached me and offered to sing
Chinatown My Chinatown. But I wasn't prepared to add it to the
program at that moment. Today I invited Gim to perform Chinatown
My Chinatown with me on stage for the GHFC dinner. He said he
wouldn't pass the invitation up.
(note – Gim was unable to attend the dinner – TW)
Watch a video clip of Gim riding his motorcycle in 2004