Roy Mah, founder of Chinatown News dies. Saltwater City laments the passing of a true local Chinatown hero.
It's a sad day in Vancouver Chinatown today. Roy Mah died on
Friday. He was the WW2 veteran who joined a “suicide squad” to fight
for a country called Canada – that wouldn't even let him vote in the
land he was born in. The Edmonton AB born son of a head tax payer
was founder and long time editor of Chinatown News, founder of the BC
Ethnic Press, 1st Chinese-Canadian admitted to the Canadian Club
Vancouver, and recipient of the Order of BC.
Just after noon I was contacted by a Georgia Straight reporter asking
about my thoughts and relationship with Roy Mah. I told him that
Roy was one of my iconic role models. I used to read Chinatown
News at my Great-Grandmother's house when I was a child. I used
to see Roy in Chinatown during the 1970's and knew where his office
was. During the 1980's I approached Roy, and submitted some arts
reviews for Rosie's Cafe, and Cats – including my developing social
commentary about Asian Canadian arts and history and racism. Roy
even gave me a letter when I travelled to New York City, to request a
review pass for M. Butterfly on Broadway.
In 2002, with my involvement with Asian Canadian Writer's Workshop, we
honoured Roy with the inaugural Community Builder's
Award. Roy also enjoyed attending the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner. He last
attended in 2005, and when I acknowledged him to the 570 strong
audience, he was given a spontaneous standing ovation.
In recent years, he would always wave hello to me when he
walked past me working at the Vancouver Public Library information
desk. Roy always liked to come into the library to read the
newspapers. It was harder for him because he was on kidney
dialysis. But we usually managed to have some nice chats, and
occasionally some coffee together.
I last saw Roy on May 12th at the 60th Anniversary dinner for Canadian Citizenship, sponsored by Pacific Unit 280. I was sorry I had to miss his “90th Birthday party” on Easter Weekend. This was the first time I had seen Roy in a wheelchair. His health had taken a downturn a couple of years ago, and I had missed him hobbling into the library with a big smile on his face whenever he saw me. At the dinner, the Chinese Canadian Military Museum gave out dvd's containing interviews with many of the veterans. Claudia Ferris was the documentary producer. Roy's niece Ramona Mar was one of the interviewers. Gloria Leung is Claudia's sister-in-law, and also heloed out on the project. And we all adore Roy Mah!
Canadian Citzenship 60th Aniversary dinner with Roy Mah (sitting) Todd
Wong, Gloria Leung, Claudia Ferris, Ramona Mar, Lynn Mah – photo Todd
There will be a public Celebration of Life for Roy Mah on Thursday, July 12 at 2:00 pm
at the Chinese Cultural Centre in the David Lam Hall.
Vancouver Sun published a story Monday on Roy with interviews with his nice Ramona Mar.
CBC Radio interviewed Ramona and Wesley Lowe on Monday, and Larry Wong was interviewed for Channel M.
Here are some links about Roy Mah:
Roy Quock Quon Mah – Vancouver. Click on image for full-size version Roy Mah was … He sat on the board of the Vancouver Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society when it …
It is always great to see a story about Roy Mah in the media. … Roy Mah has left his imprint on almost every major event in Vancouver 's Chinese community …
When Chinese veterans like Roy Mah & Daniel Lee
Roy Mah and Jim Wong-Chu at the 2002 ACWW dinner where we honoured Roy with the inaugural ACWW Community Builder's Award.
Tonight's dinner honoured Roy Mah by presenting him with the first ever Asian … Here's a picture of Roy Mah (on the left) receiving his award from ACWW …
Their faces, lit by the afternoon sun, bear the lines of years of hardship and sorrow. …. Roy
Did you know that Roy Mah led an emotional debate arguing that Chinese-Canadians should go to war before they received the right to vote? …