Gung Haggis Fat Choy Seattle: Scots-Americans enjoy a big success for a first initiative south of the border
Toddish McWong meets
Seattle “Gung Haggis” couple Rory Denovan and Becca Fong. Rory is
Scottish-American and Becca is Chinese-American… and they are a
lovely couple! – photo courtesy of Becca Fong.
Tiny pieces of red firecracker paper
litter the entrances of Chinese restaurants, as I walk down the streets
of Seattle's International District. Darn! I had just
missed the local Lion Dances, part of the Chinese New Year
celebrations, meant to bring good luck to the restaurants. There
were pieces of lettuce scattered on the sidewalk too. If the Lion
accepts the restaurant's gift of lettuce, good luck will come to the
I see a man in a kilt walk accross the street and enter the Ocean City
restaurant at 609 S. Weller St. A kilt in Chinatown?
Definitely a strange site. It bemuses me. I look at the all four story building.
There are two stories capable of holding banquets + parking levels
below. Tonight, the top floor will host the first annual Gung
Haggis Fat Choy Seattle event.
Inside I quickly find Bill McFadden, organizer of this event. Two
months ago, Bill phoned me and said he would like to co-create a Gung
Haggis Fat Choy event in Seattle. He wanted to recognize my
creation and bring me down to Seattle to create a benefit dinner for
the Caledonian and St. Andrew's Society of Seattle – funds raised to go
to the North West Jr. Pipe & Drums, in their quest to attend the
World Championships in Scotland.
My musician friends Harry Aoki and Max Ngai are already inside setting
up. Harry is an octogenarian survivor of the Japanese Canadian
internment camps who plays harmonica, Chinese shung-like instrument,
and double bass (which we left in Vancouver because it wouldn't fit in
my car). Max is an Australian born Chinese who moved to Canada at
age one, who loves to play Celtic violin. While I have played
with Harry on occasions since 2003, and Max has played many times with
Harry – the three of us, have never played together before.
People were filing into the restaurant in anticipation of the
event. I meet Don Scobie and Jesse Bishop, of the duo Bag 'N'
Pipe Hoppers – this duo busks in Seattle with contemporary hip hop
sounds. Jesse wonders if the many elderly looking people dressed
in traditional Scots kilts and skirts know what they are in for tonight.
Meanwhile, the drone of bagpipes could be heard in the distance.
Max Ngai on violin, Harry Aoki on harmonica and Todd Wong on accordion. -photo Becca Fong
The event started with a performance by the North West Junior Pipes and Drums.