Remembrance Day in Chinatown: City Councillors show respect to pioneers and veterans
City Councillors Raymond Louie and George Chow clean bird poo off the
monument prior to Remembrance Day ceremonies – photo Todd Wong
More pictures at Remembrance Day 2006
It was the biggest ceremony yet at the Chinese Pioneer monument in Vancouver Chinatown.
City of Vancouver has decided to make the Chinatown Remembrance Day an
official celebration and sent wreaths from the various city
departments. This actually has forced the Pacific Unit 280
veterans to mobilize to create an official ceremony now. The last
two years have been very informal, often making things up as they went
along. It was very intimate and friendly.
On Saturday, many Chinatown organizations such as SUCCESS and Vancouver
Chinatown Revitalization also showed up to place wreaths.
A minor crisis occured prior to the ceremony, when photographers
lamented that bird poo was very visible on the monument statues.
The monument is now three years old and looks like it is never
cleaned. I had earlier bumped into Parks board commissioners
Loretta Woodcock and Spencer Herbert, and invited them to attend the
Chinatown ceremony. They weren't sure if Keefer Triangle was part
of the parks system, but suggested sending a truck to hose down the
Vancouver City Councillor, cleans the helmet of the Chinese Pioneer
Monument statue. George Chow, fellow City Councillor gives some
fresh napkin and pours some water on it for Louie.. – photo Todd Wong
Raymond Louie and George Chow, Vancouver City Councillors, took matters
into their own hands and climbed up onto the monument to help wipe off
the bird poo on the heads, helmets and body of the statues.
Kleenex and napkins were quickly rounded up and given to the
councillors for the cleaning process. Photographers quickly took
advantage of seeing the councillors in action. One person
jokingly shouted out to Raymond, “Councillor, I believe there is a fine
for climbing on the monument!”
The ceremony went ahead when the cleaning was finished…
Unit Pacific 280 group photo with
City Councillor Raymond Louie – Wesley Louie encourages some more
military guests to join the group. – photo Todd Wong
The traditional lunch for the veterans followed at Foo's Ho Ho
Restaurant. I have joine them for the past four or five years, as
I like to go and support my Grand-Uncle Dan, and the veterans.
Inevitably, somebody hands me a camer to take pictures for them.
I'm getting to know a lot of them by name. They like Foo's Ho Ho
Restaurant because it is cosy, and it specializes in the home-style
Cantonese cooking that they grew up with. As a young boy, growing
up in the 1960's, my family would often go to the Ho Ho Restaurant.
Col. King Wan, John Ko Bong, Todd Wong (me) and my Grand-Uncle Daniel Lee
Christine Chin, veteran Gim Wong, Donna Green – photo Todd Wong
Wong is the now 83 year old head tax redress campaigner who rode his
motorcycle to Ottawa to ask then Prime Minister Paul Martin for an
apology for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act. The Prime
Minister's Office never responded to the inquiries by the Chinese
Canadian National Council, sent on Gim's behalf. Gim was invited
to the July 1st (known formerly to Chinese-Canadians as Humiliation Day
because the Exclusion Act was passed on July 1st, 1923) ceremonies on
Parliament Hill. When Gim stood up and started walking to where
the Prime Minister was sitting, seven RCMP officers gang tackled the 82
year old WW2 veteran, and carted him off the hill.
Since January 2007, Paul Martin
is no longer Prime Minister. But Gim Wong witnessed Conservative Prime
Minister Stephen Harper's apology for the Chinese Head Tax and
Exclusion Act on June 22nd, from the visitor's gallery in Parliament.
Gim Wong saluted the Prime Minister and several MP's saw him and
saluted back. Last month on October 20, Gim Wong fulfilled his promise
to help his friend Charlie Quan, as Quan recieved the first cheque as a
symbolic redress for paying the $500 Chinese Head Tax prior to 1923.
Strangely, the Canadian born Gim Wong won't be seeing a head tax cheque
for his family, because his head tax paying father and mother are
predeceased. Wong now wants Prime Minister Harper to see symbolic
redress payments for all head tax certificates, not only if the payer
or spouse are still alive.
More of my pictures at Remembrance Day 2006
See my friend Nick Lum's pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/24064901@N00/sets/72157594371300409/