Monthly Archives: September 2006


Here's a news release about my animator friend Jeff Chiba Stearns.
Jeff is cool. Check him out, and his short animated film
"What Are You Anyways?" I have featured the film at the Vancouver Public
Library for the Joy Kogawa book launch for Emily Kato, and also at the
2006 Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year

Above is a picture of two stills from "What Are You Anyways?"
For more stories about Jeff on click on:


September 17, 2006


Animation filmmaker and Kelowna resident, Jeff Chiba Stearns, took home the
award for Best Animated Short Subject for his film, “What Are You Anyways?”
at the first annual Canadian Awards for Electronic and Animated Arts
(CAEAA). The awards show, described as the Oscars of the Canadian video
game and animation industry, was hosted by actor William Shatner of Star
Trek fame on Thursday night, September 14th, at the world class River Rock
Show Theatre in Richmond, BC. Awards were presented in 37 categories in
three sectors of the Electronic and Animated Arts industry: talent
development (New Media and Animation Art Schools), animation, and video game
development. Each winner was presented with an Elan – a statuette similar
to an Oscar but constructed of a majestic man and a woman resembling Greek
gods holding up the world.

The evening was complete with red carpet, limousines, and Hollywood
treatment. The Gala event, with over 700 guests, was similar to the Golden
Globe Awards with an Oscar-like glitzy reception and black-tie dinner at one
of the best new theatres in North America with industry sponsors
participating in the development of the show and celebrity guest presenters.

It is expected that the Canadian Awards for the Electronic and Animated Arts
will become the standard by which Canada and the rest of the World recognizes
the amazing talent and product that this country is delivering to
an enormous and ever-growing market.

Chiba Stearns attended the event with faculty from the Centre for Arts and
Technology Kelowna where he instructs classical hand drawn animation
courses. His classically animated short film, “What Are You Anyways?” is an
autobiographical recollection of Chiba Stearns’ life experiences growing up
in Kelowna being a Hapa – a world-wide term used to describe someone of
mixed Asian decent. In Chiba Stearns’ case, he is half-Japanese and
half-Caucasian. The film, released in 2005, has experienced incredible
international praise winning over 7 awards and screening at over 35
international film festivals to date. Chiba Stearns has since become an
international spokesman for Hapa advocacy by writing articles and lecturing
at conferences, universities, and workshops about mixed-race identity and

“I am extremely honored and excited to receive an Elan for Best Animated
Short Subject at the 2006 CAEAA Awards. It means a great deal to be
recognized by my peers in the Canadian animation industry for the work I am
doing in independent classical animation. So many people from around the
world respond to how much they relate to my film and in turn share their own
stories with me. I can only hope for continued success with all my future
projects and that my work will continue to touch the lives of people around
the world.” - Jeff Chiba Stearns

Currently, Chiba Stearns is in pre-development of two short animated films
and a documentary on Hapa children. Look for new work by Chiba Stearns to
be released in 2007. Check out for current
updates. DVD copies of “What Are You Anyways?” can be purchased in Kelowna
at Komatsu Japanese Market and in Burnaby at the Nikkei Centre Museum gift
shop. Educational sales and private sales are available through the NFB at


Jeff Chiba Stearns

Sept 17: Terry Fox Run and Joy Kogawa House events

Today – I just feel so proud to be a Canadian.  

Terry Fox,
Simon Fraser University, Joy Kogawa, Obasan, Naomi's Road, CBC, Tommy
Douglas, Medicare, Burrowing Owl, Ecology Conservation, Order of
Canada – were the themes of the Day.

Terry Fox Run – in Richmond BC

This morning I spoke at the Terry Fox Run Richmond BC run site. 
It was at Garry Point Park.  352 people showed up amidst the rainy
drizzle, but the mood was happy and cheerful.  I invited
teenage runners Amber and Irene, to help me set up some tents for the run site. 
John Young is the event organizer, and he introduced me to some of the
other platform party members that included Richmond city councillor Sue
Halsy Brant, and singer Jack McIntosh.  We are piped to the
staging area by bagpiper Noel.

As a cancer survivor and member of Terry's Team, I serve as a living
example that cancer research has made a difference.  I shared that
when I was diagnosed with a cancer tumor in 1989, the doctors only gave
me a 60% chance to survive.  Because my condition was so serious,
they told me that without treatment I might last two weeks.

Glyn Davies is the media/communications coordinator for the Richmond
run site.  And I shared a story about meeting his father Lorne
Davies while Lorne
was still athletic director at Simon Fraser University.  In 1993,
Terry's younger brother Darrell asked me to help start a Terry Fox Run
at Simon
Fraser University – he told me “Remember what Terry said, 'It
just takes one person.' ” I went to see then Athletic Director Lorne
Davies who had known Terry Fox, at SFU, and tells a memorable story
about going to visit Terry at the hospital the night before his leg
amputation.  I was wonderful to meet Mr. Lorne Davies, and to ask
him to help set up a Terry Fox Run for SFU.

I had to go back to
Darrell, and say “Sorry – but there won't be a Terry Fox Run this year
(due to logistics).  But next year there will be… and there will
be a Terry Fox Day!”  In 1994, there was indeed a Terry Fox
Run.  And there was a trophy case that included Terry's favorite
SFU t-shirt from the 1000 Mile Club.  And there was a presentation
of the 1994 Terry Fox Gold Medal recipient.  The first Terry Fox
Day at SFU was attended by the Fox family.  Then SFU basketball
coach Jay Triano, one of Terry's SFU friends, was also there.

I reminded the audience that this is an example of what one person can
do.  Terry said “One person can make a difference.” On my Terry
Fox Gold Medal plaque, it quotes Terry saying, “Dreams are made if
people try.”  I enjoyed sharing this story

It was a great day filled with a wonderful community feeling.  I
gave “High Fives” as I passed Terry Fox Run participants, and met many
wonderful people and we took many pictures.  I will write about
these experiences and stories in the next day or so, such as meeting
Eric and Matt – two young teens with the faces painted for Terry Fox

Kogawa House

The open house event at Joy Kogawa House went very well.  Many
many people came to see the house, and to meet Joy Kogawa, buy copies
of her books and have Joy sign them.  The Land Conservancy of BC did a wonderful job setting up displays about the history of the house, and the time line events about the Save Kogawa House campaign.

It has been great for the Kogawa House committee to work with
Heather Skydt and Tamsin Baker of TLC. Members of our Kogawa House
committee also attended to help host and volunteer: Ann-Marie Metten,
David Kogawa, Richard Hopkins, Jenni Kato, Joan Young, Sabine Harper
and myself.

As people walked up to the house, the first thing
they saw was that the white picket fence was decorated with pictures
and events highlighting the timeline to save the house from demolition,
starting from when the house was built in 1942, and when Joy's family
moved into the house.

A tent was set up in the front yard,
attended by TLC volunteers Jon and Janet, who gave people an
information sheet about the house, and recieved donations for the
restoration of the house.  TLC also had another display with
newsclippins and pictures from events during the Save Kogawa House

Volunteers greeted people as they entered the house,
and other volunteers stood throughout the house to help explain stories
of different rooms, as well as historic family items such as toy cars
belonging to Joy's brother Timothy, a calligraphy set used by Joy's
father, and wooden crates used by the family as they moved from the
internment camp in Slocan, BC, to Coaldale, Alberta. 

And everybody wanted to say hello to Joy Kogawa.

There was a man who used to play with Joy as a child, before she moved
away – Ralph told me that his older brother was in one of the pictures
on display that featured Joy and her brother Timothy as children in

There was a woman who brought pictures of the house, during
the 1940's when her grandparents lived there, after her family moved
away.  Both Joy and this woman were very moved by this meeting.

There was a woman Daisy Kong, who had taken pictures of Joy
at the Order of BC ceremony earlier this year in June, because Daisy's
brother Dr. Wallace Chung also recieved the Order of BC along with Joy,
in Victoria.  Daisy was amazed when I told her that Dr. Wallace's
wife Dr. Madeline Chung was the doctor who delivered me as a baby.

Garry Geddes, current writer in residence at Vancouver Public Library, arrived to give Joy a hug.

Attending the event was also Jen Kato, on our Kogawa House committee,
and Jeff Chiba Stearns, who just won the Best Animated Short for the
Canadian Awards for Electronic Arts and Animation.

People bought Joy's books and asked her to sign them.  My friend
Gail Thomson helped manage the booksales.  Gail is a librarian at
Fraserview Branch in Vancouver, where Joy came to speak during the One
Book One Vancouver program.

We surprised
Joy with a special musical performance:  Jessica Cheung (who played the
role of Naomi in the Naomi's Road Opera) sang “The Farewell Song” from
the Opera, I accompanied on accordion, Harry Aoki on double bass, and
Harry's friend Misako Watanabe on accoustic guitar.  Joy was moved to

After the event, we had birthday cake to celebrate David Kogawa's
birthday.  David is one of our wonderful Kogawa House committee
members, and Joy's ex-husband and friend.

CBC Generations

A CBC documentary film crew followed me around today,
because I am one of the subjects for a Generations program – which will
feature 120 years of the Rev. Chan Yu Tan family and descendants in

This evening, CBC producer Halya
Kuchmij met with a few Rev. Chan descendants, and we watched a 10
minute segment that she produced/directed for A People's History of
Canada.  And then we watched a 45 minute show Generations: 100 Years in
Saskatchewan – which featured the Hjertaas family.

Halya says
the Generations project with the Rev. Chan family is going to be
awesome.  There are great people and topics for the show.  Rev. Chan,
WW2 veterans who fought for Canada, then for the vote for Chinese
Canadians and head tax redress; Rhonda Larrabee – a First Nations
Indian Chief – who is a great grand daughter of Rev. Chan Yu Tan;
Janice Wong – an artist painter who wrote a book about food and family;
me; and 14 year old Tracy Hinder – the 1st BC CanSpell champion who
went to Washington DC for the Scripps Spelling Bee, and the CanSpell
national bee in Ottawa.  Wow!

I survived Jenny Kwan's fundraiser: Scotch tasting party

I survived Jenny Kwan's fundraiser: Scotch tasting party.

It's a small house party of a fundraiser.  There are many
different bottles of
Scotch for you to try, along with some wonderful appetizer and snack
foods.  Jenny's husband Dan has a wonderful way with food, and he
sent me home with some incredibly delicious chocolate pate.

My accordion and I provided some musical entertainment.  Jenny
said I was a hit.  Her husband Dan booked me for a return
engagement for next year.

What did I do?  Simply lead singalongs of “When Asian Eyes Are
and “My Haggis Lies Over the Ocean.”  It fit perfectly with
Jenny's Chinese heritage and her husband Dan's Scottish heritage. 
We also sang “Loch Lomand (You Take the High Road)” with Vancouver city
councillor Heather Deal leading one of the verses, while everybody
joined in for the chorus.

I also performed the Address to the Haggis, while former Vancouver city
councillor Jim Green cut up the
haggis.  Okay… it wasn't a traditional reading.  It was my
very untraditional Haggis Rap.  Dan and Jenny said that in the 5
years they have been hosting their Scotch tasting party, it was the
best reading of the Burns immortal poem, they had witnessed.

It was a great party…. I will definitely return for
next year.

Terry Fox is a light: a speech by a parent-teacher representative.

Terry Fox is a light: a speech by a parent-teacher representative.

following is a talk given by a parent teacher representative at an
elementary school where I recently spoke.  I was very moved by the
talk she gave, citing the importance of compassion.  By working
together in our collective fight against cancer, we can accomplish more
than we can as individuals.  And like the writer, I also believe
that Terry Fox was a very special light, to the world.  He did not
show us how special he was – instead he showed us how special we all

The person has asked to remain anonymous.

Why am I here today, that’s a very good question! When I was asked back
in June to take on the job as coordinator of the Terry Fox Run, my
first response was, aarrgh!!!  Julia!!! All I wanted to do in
Sept. once my children were back in school was to set up a studio and
paint, but how could I say no to the Terry Fox Run???

To be honest, it is truly an honor to be here today. So I would like to
thank Julia for thinking of me, and Sandra Pascuzzi our new VP, for
making it so easy for me. With all the help of the teachers, the
students who collected pledges, and the numerous parent volunteers,
there wasn’t much for me to do, except this one thing.

A week later, the reason I wound up in this position became very clear
to me as I was sitting in Mosquito creek. It’s amazing what comes to
you when you are daydreaming!  I WAS meant to paint a picture, but
not an acrylic on canvas, a picture I perceived of Terry Fox. So that’s
why I am here today, to share with you this picture, which comes from a
very peaceful place and my inspiration is Terry Fox.

Terry was a young man whose simple objective, through the Marathon of
Hope, was to inform Canadians of the importance of finding a cure for
cancer. I believe that Terry had the greatest cure in him all along.

Let’s call it a light for now! A light in Terry that shone so brightly,
even in such a dark place as cancer, it rekindled a light in everyone
he passed and therefore grew stronger and stronger. One on-looker Terry
passed in Toronto commented, “He makes you believe in the human race
again.” What is this light, which not only restores our faith in the
human race, but can restore the human race itself? If you are with me,
just find a word and hold it for a few seconds. If you are daydreaming,
stay with it, something great will come eventually!!!

I’m going to use the word, COMPASSION!
Compassion comes from the latin words ‘com’ which means together and
‘passia’ which means a suffering, together in suffering. By definition,
it means a deep sympathy or sorrow followed by an urge to help.
According to just a few of the many beautiful examples you wrote about,
it can mean helping someone who is ill by keeping them company, doing
things they enjoy, phoning them so they don’t feel alone, laughing with
them, gathering friends, or giving them hope. I think one of the
greatest and simplest forms of compassion is just to listen. Often we
don’t have the words of wisdom to help someone who is sad or ill, but
if you are present to allow whatever expression is needed at the time
then that is a great gift in itself. Sometimes, there just are no words.

Compassion, I believe, has the greatest healing power of all and Terry
shared his life to help us realize the power we have in all of us to
help others heal. Medicine can cure a disease, but only we can heal a
whole person. We bless each other!

The driver of Terry’s van while running across Canada, also his best
friend Doug Alward, has been quoted “I remember Terry saying it is
almost like this has been planned for a greater purpose”. At that
point, I think he got the picture.

There have been many men and woman who have walked this earth for such
a great purpose, Nelson Mandella, Ghandi, Mother Theresa,  the
architect Buckminster Fuller, Rick Hansen, Simon Jackson, head of the
spirit bear coalition, and the list goes on.
However, only one young man, running so passionately with one leg could
touch the young people so brilliantly. Terry’s purpose was to raise
money for cancer research and stop the suffering, but inadvertently, he
also raised an awareness in all of us of one the greatest cures of all,

Today, let’s run TOGETHER with open hearts in support of Terry’s dream
and follow everyday in his footsteps with that brilliant light of
compassion to help those who are SUFFERING.

Life is sacred, let’s have a great RUN at it.


Terry Fox Run at Cleveland Elementary School – I am guest speaker

Terry Fox Coin, Todd with Doug Alward and Terry Fleming (Terry Fox's best friend, and high school basketball coach), at 2005 Hometown Run in Coquitlam, BC.

Terry Fox Run at Cleveland Elementary School – I am guest speaker

Each year I speak at one or more elementary schools as a Terry's Team member.  I explain that we are cancer survivors who serve as living examples that cancer research has made a difference.  And that is what Terry Fox wanted to do – make a difference.

Cleveland Elementary is in North Vancouver, located just off Capilano Road, just North of the Capilano Suspension Bridge – but on the East side of Capilano Road.  It's not too far away from my home in North Vancouver, so it was easy to get to.  On September 29th, the National School Run Day, I will speak at Tomsett Elementary in Richmond, BC.

The entire school turned out for the Terry Fox assembly.  As children from Kindergarten to Grade 6 filed into the gymnasium, a slide show of images of Terry Fox, and a map of where he ran in Canada played on the video screen.

We sang O Canada in first french, then English.  Capilano is a bi-lingual school.  This was fun, as I think it was the first time I had sung O Canada in French.

Vice-Principal Sandra Pascuzzi introduced me after welcoming all the students, and saying a brief introduction about Terry Fox.  I explained to the students what it meant to be a Terry's Team member and a cancer survivor, then introduced a tape from last year's Terry Fox National Run Day that aired on CBC, produced by my friend Moyra Rodger.  It showed a brief history of Terry, then showed school children in Ottawa, Brampton Ontario, and Victoria BC.  I asked how many participated in last year's National Run, and explained that while they were participating, that particular Terry Fox video was airing live across the country, and that there were over 5000 schools across Canada and over one million students participating.

I explained when I was 29 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer.  It was a scary moment.  But I remembered that Terry Fox had initially survied his cancer diagnosis, and the doctors told me that I could too.  I had chemotherapy treatment for 5 months.

In 1993, Simon Fraser University gave me the Terry Fox Gold medal for courage in adversity and dedication to society.  I held up the plaque with the picture of Terry Fox, and read the words, “Canadians are inspired by Terry's challenge:… 'dreams are made if people try.'”  I emphasized to the students that is important to always try – otherwise dreams may never happen.  That's what I had to do to beat my cancer.  I had to try, and not give up.

I explained to the students that every year, I speak and run at a different Terry Fox run site.  I have been a Terry's Team member for Vancouver Stanley Park, Burnaby, SFU, North Delta, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Kelowna BC, and even in Beijing China.  I asked the students how many countries now participated in Terry Fox Runs around the world.  One boy answered “A lot.” 
“That's right,” I replied, “A lot – too many for me to remember.  There are now run sites in Africa, Europe, Australia, Asia, North and South America.  I told the students that I would be speaking this year at the Richmond run site, but that I have spoken at both the North and West Vancouver run sites before.  I then asked who had attended or was going to them, then asked them to identify the sites. After numerous “I don't know” answers, I informed them that the West Vancouver run was at Ambleside Beach, and the North Vancouver Run was at Inter-River Park.

I closed up my talk by telling the children that with any event, you must do your preparation.  Before running across the Canada, Terry ran the equivalent in practice.  That way he knew he could do it.  I related this to doing your homework.  If you want to do well in school, you must be prepared.

Following my talk, the beginning excerpt of the Terry Fox video “I Have a Dream” was played.  Judy, a parent teacher representative, then gave a lovely talk about Terry being a bright light in the world.  She said that Terry already had the answer to finding a cure for many of our problems, and that the answer was inside of us.  She asked the children what they thought the answer was.  “Stenghth”, “friendship” and “courage,” were some of the replies.  Judy said her answer was “Compassion – which means caring for others.”  For her that was what Terry Fox embodied and how he gave hope to Canadians and to people around the world.

The event wrapped up with an exercise warm-up, and then everybody went down to the lower field and did a run, along the neighborhood streets.  It was fun running with the students.  I ended up talking with a mother who came to the school to run with her daughter.  We had a great chat about Terry Fox and what he means to people.  Some students asked me if I really had cancer.  Others simply smiled and waved to me.

After I finished the run, I walked back towards the school.  A parent named Darrell commented that the kids had more enthusiasm than most of the people who attend the main run sites.  I shared with him that each run site really has its own personality.  He asked me if I was a parent.  When I explained that I had been the guest speaker, and a cancer survivor, he shared that in 1991, he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  It was scary for him, because he had had a cousin that had died from Hodgkin's in 1980.  But now many people survive because cancer treatments have improved.

We were both cancer survivors.  And that is the legacy of Terry Fox.  Attending a Terry Fox Run is a real honest to goodness, feel good event.  People are happy.  People are inspired.  It is always a joy to attend and to thank people for donating them time and their money.  I know that if it wasn't for Terry Fox, and the advances in cancer research – that I might not be alive today.

If you would like to donate to the Terry Fox Run.  You can donate to my on-line pledge sheet.  Terry's team members offer to run for people who cannot run themselves.  Just click on:

CBC: Reprieved Kogawa House opens to public

Here's a story on CBC about Kogawa House, and the open house event on Sunday.
I will be there with my accordion, and also volunteering.

Repreived Kogawa House opens to public

Joy Kogawa's house, which received a last-minute reprieve from
demolition when it was bought by a Vancouver heritage agency this
spring, will open to the public this Sunday.

The modest wood-frame house in Marpole is featured in Obasan, Kogawa's much loved novel about the internment of Japanese Canadians, and her children's book, Naomi's Road.

Land Conservancy of British Columbia bought the house in May and plans
to turn it into a residence for writers and an education centre
about the Japanese internment during the Second World War.

But the public is being given a one-day chance to see the bungalow before restoration work begins.

Kogawa will be there for a scheduled book signing and the desk and typewriter that she used to write Obasan will be on display.

The event is a fund-raiser to help pay for restoration of the house, which could cost an estimated $500,000.

house itself was saved from a wrecking ball through the intervention of
the Land Conservancy, which led a campaign to save it, working with
writers' groups and heritage groups.

The campaign drew
donations from 550 people from around the world and a last-minute
corporate donation of $500,000 helped with the purchase price.

A developer who owned the property wanted more than $700,000 for the house, which has been neglected over the years.

Kogawa lived in the house with her family from 1937 to 1942, when it was confiscated by the government.

house has national significance as a symbol of the racial
discrimination experienced by Japanese-Canadians during the Second
World War.

The house is one of the few residences left in
Vancouver that is identified as having been sold by the Canadian
government without the lawful owner's permission.

The house is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

CBC Generations and the Rev. Chan Yu Tan family

It's great to know where you family came from, who you are descended from, and what nice people are in your extended family.  I really am blessed to belong to the Rev. Chan Yu Tan family descendants.

The past 2 days, I have been busy introducing CBC producer Halya Kuchmij to members of the family, who will be interviewed or featured in an episode of Generations: The Chan Legacy.  Halya is an multiple award wining veteran producer, working CBC projects such as Man Alive, The Journal, and now the Documentary Film Unit – where she produced Life and Times of Northern Dancer, Who's Lorne Greene, Tom Jackson: The Big Guy, Chernobyl the Legacy, Mandela I & II, and many many more.

Generations is a fantastic CBC television program, that shows this history of Canada, through the experiences of a family's generations.  So far there have been 3 shows: 

Generations: 100 Years in Alberta (The Hamdon/Shaben family – when two Lebanese peddlers came to Alberta)

Generations: 100 Years in Saskatchewan ( Martin and Alma Hjertaas settled in Saskatchewan in 1915 and the homestead in Wauchope is still in the family)

The Crowfoot Dynasty (A Hundred Years on the Siksika Reserva)
Strater Crowfoot has been the Chief of the Siksika Reserve for half of
the last two decades. Siksika is a Blackfoot Nation in Southern Alberta
and one of the largest Reserves in Canada.

Tuesday:  10am.  Halya and I meet at her hotel.  After many e-mails and phone calls. I like her at first smile.  It's the start of a wonderful friendship.  In between the many appointments we will have, small comments and gestures are appreciated.  The story arc that Halya senses is one of community service.  It begins with Rev. Chan Yu Tan arriving in Canada in 1896 as a Methodist lay preacher, serving the Chinese community in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and New Westminster.  It is carried through by many generations of his descendants, as they too, seek to build bridges between their Chinese culture and mainstream White Canadian culture, despite years of racism and adversity.

We go to the Goldstone restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown for some coffee and pastries.  She picks two different coconut pastries, and we share.  A gentleman comes to ask about the picture display of the Rev. Chan family that look at set up on the table beside us.  He has only been in Canada for 5 years, originally leaving Vietnam with the US withdrawal because he worked at the US embassy.

11am We meet Col. Howe Lee at the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.  Howe is the perfect person to give us a tour.  It was his idea to develop the military museum, and he was on the board of the Chinese Cultural Centre when the CCC Museum and Archives was being built (incidently designed by my architect cousin Joe Wai).  Howe gives us an introduction to the “Three Chinese-Canadian Pioneer Families” story boards left over from the 2002-2003 exhibit that had featured the Rev. Chan family, along with the Lee-Bick and H.Y. Louie families.  We are joined by my mother's cousin Gary Lee, who co-chaired the Rev. Chan Legacy Reunions with me for 1999 and 2000.

Upstairs, Howe gives a tour of the Military Museum, explaining the adversity and racism Chinese Canadians faced in joining the Canadian military, and how it was the British Military's need for Chinese soldiers to go behind enemy lines in the Pacific Theatre that finally allowed Chinese in the Canadian military.  Howe emphasizes the special combat units named Force 162, and Operation Oblivion that were sent to India and Burma.  My grand uncle Victor Wong was in Force 136.  My grandmother's brothers Uncles Daniel Lee, and his brothers Howard and Leonard went to England.  We see Uncle Dan's Air Force Uniform on display.  There is a picture with Uncle Leonard, with his buddies during the war.

In particular, Howe explains how the Chinese Canadian veterans were instrumental in helping to gain franchisement and the right to vote for the Chinese community. It is also the veterans that have also helped to lead the fight for redress of the Chinese Head Tax and the Exclusion Act, that finally came to and apology, community funds and indvidual payments on June 22, 2006.

12pm  Halya, Gary and I have lunch at the Ho Ho Restaurant.  It is a restaurant that I grew up with and specializes in old time Cantonese style food.  Gary talks about his father Gordon Lee, who had started up Lee's taxi with his brother Art. We also learn about Gary's entertainment history.  As a child actor, he appeared in an episode of the early television show Rin Tin Tin, with Keye Luke (known for his role in Kung Fu).  Gary was also locally known as “The Chinese Sinatra” as he performed on the local night club scene. Gary has also done a lot of community service work with many years spent as a Lion's Club member, even starting up the Westside Lion's Club.

2pm  Halya and I go back to the CCC Museum, and go through the archival picture displays that I have, and talk more about the family history.  We also go for a walk through the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Park and Garden, as she scouts sites for interviewing and view footage.  Of course I tell her that the Gardens and Park are one of my favorite places designed by architect Joe Wai, and that I bring the dragon boat team for our annual tour and Tai Chi lesson.

Thursday 10:30am  We visit artist/author Janice Wong and her mother Mary (visiting from Saskatoon).  Janice's contribution to the family is recent and enormous.  After growing up in Prince Albert SK, with vitually no contact to her Rev. Chan family in Victoria where her father grew up. Janice's mother shares that when she grew up in Nanaimo, she met Mrs. Chan Yu Tan, and that her mother was friends with her.  Janice authored the book CHOW: From China to Canada: Memories of Food and Family.  She shares the history of Rev. Chan Yu Tan, and how his grandson Dennis moved to Prince Albert to start up a Chinese restaurant.  Chow was published in 2005, and it recieved incredible local and national media attention across Canada.  Halya is surprised to learn that Janice and I have only known each other for a year.  We attribute our wonderful friendship, that seems like decades, to a shared knowingness of family history.

1pm  We meet my mother's cousin Rhonda Larrabee. I first heard of Rhonda many years ago, when I first started doing a family tree in the late 70's as an interest.  It wasn't until 1999, that Rhonda and I really got to know each other during meetings for the Rev. Chan Family Legacy, as we planned the 1999 and 2000 reunions.  Rhonda is the subject of the NFB film “Tribe of One” which recounts how she single handedly rebuilt the Qayqayt First Nations Band, which is her heritage from her mother.  Rhonda's father is Art, my grandmother's second oldest brother.  Rhonda shares that she feels both her Chinese and First Nations cultures really have a deep respect for elders.

3:30 We meet Tracy, daughter of my mother's cousin Gail.  Tracy was the first CanSpell Champion for BC, last year.  She went to Washington DC for the annual Kripp's Spelling Bee, and also to Ottawa for the first national CanSpell contest.  Halya asks Tracy what she knows about Rev. Chan Yu Tan, the WW2 Veterans and about the family reunions.  She answers all the questions easily and with a poise and awareness you don't expect from a 14 year old.  She says she is proud of her family history.  Even though she has both shared English and Chinese ancestry, she calls herself Chinese-Canadian rather than simply as a Canadian. She and her friends had come to Park Royal shopping centre to purchase pinatas to celebrate Mexican Independence Day at their school.  They are first year members of the Multicultural Club.  She figure skates, she plays flute in concert band.  She is exactly what you could wish all children could grow up to be like.  Accomplished, knowledgeable and still humble and a bit shy.  It makes you proud to be part of her family, and it makes Halya and I hopeful for Canada's future.

Scripting Aloud for Monday Sept 18

Hi All,

Here are the breakdowns for Scripting Aloud's next reading on September 18th (this coming Monday).

We're at our new venue, Our Town Cafe at 245
East Broadway (@ Kingsway) in Vancouver. Casting for submitted scripts begins at
6pm and readings start at 6:30pm, followed by  scene study as time allows. Kibbitzing follows. If anyone would like to
bring their own scenes to read, please do so – we'll try to get them read as

and a couple of announcements including a short film website launch
party and a VFS call for actors are below – see you Monday!


“The Quickie”
by Grace Chin (Act II, 12 p) – for stage
2 males (1 mid thirties; 1 late thirties)
2 females (1 mid thirties; 1 late thirties)

“The Rules of Engagement”
by Matt Gates and Kathy Leung (10p) – for film (in development with CityTV Cinestories)
3 females (in their twenties)
3 males (in their twenties)


***See the graphical version of this Newsletter at ***


After more than two years of development, Intake is finally ready to launch.

Intake brings you the best short films and music videos from Canada and
around the world where you can watch films for free with an easy-to-use

integrated video interface and the latest in streaming video technology.
Intake currently features twenty-six short films and music videos from
Vancouver including film festival favourites and multi-award winners.

Go to Intake now at



Join us at the Vancouver launch party! Saturday, September 23rd, 2006 at the

Campoverde Social Club (1660 Cypress St). The party starts at 8:00pm.

RSVP and enter a draw to win an MP3 player and five pairs of Cineplex movie
tickets. You have to RSVP and be at the party during the draw at 10:00pm to





Directed by Gary Hawes
Short Film | Comedy | 8 mins

Already running late for his interview at a prestigious law firm, Adam
Chapin soon discovers that he has two large sweat stains on his dress shirt.

Determined to make a strong first impression, he tries to solve this sweaty
problem before going in for the interview. The only problem is…how does he
get rid of his pit stains? A hilarious short film featuring Alan Cumming

(X-Men 2, The Anniversary Party).

See Film at

Directed by Dylan Akio Smith
Short Film | Comedy | 12 mins

Sam and his trusted Volkswagen have been through everything together. But
when the Bug breaks down, what does it mean for Sam's life? Directed by

Vancouver's Dylan Akio Smith (The Cabin Movie), who is also well known as a
Director of Photography, this multi-award winning short film features a
powerful and unique visual style.

See Film at

Directed by Nilesh Patel
Short Film | Comedy | 35 mins

In 2001, a young Indian documentary filmmaker came to Canada to find a lost
generation of Indians who opened convenience stores. Two of his subjects

turned their grocery store into a stage, giving their customers both service
and a show. A CityTv “CineCity” Vancouver Stories Initiative film.

See Film at