Judy Hanazawa, Gim Wong and Grace Thompson – Chinese-Canadian head tax and Japanese-Canadian Redress advocates and veterans – photo Todd Wong
Chinese-Canadian Head tax descendants are not greedy. They just want a just settlement.
“If the government unjustly takes a dollar from you or me, then offers an apology, but no money back – is that fair?” asked Sid Tan, long time advocate for redress of the notorious and racist head tax that was only levied against Chinese immigrants from 1885 to 1923 in an effort to keep Chinese from coming to Canada. Co-president of the Chinese Canadian Head Tax Families Society, Tan called for continued action for a full redress that would include the sons, daughters and families of deceased head tax payers.
Even more racist and devastating to the Chinese community was the Chinese “Exclusion” Act which completely banned Chinese immigration from 1923 to 1947, which forcibly restricted the unification of families.
I attended the AGM of the Chinese Head Tax Families Society last Sunday, and also witnessed the ceremony that honoured Margaret Mitchell with a life-time membership in the society and for her work in first bringing the Head Tax redress issue to Canadian Parliament in 1984.
Margaret Mitchell stand between 99 year old head tax payer Charlie Quan and head tax spouse Mrs. Wong Shee Lee – photo Todd Wong
The Conservative government is only recognizing surviving head tax payers and and their spouses, still alive at the time of Harper's election. Many have died since 1984. My father's father died in 1964 and my mother's father died in 1953.
Many families have hung onto ancient pieces of paper in hope of a redress payment or refund. Head tax certificates have been passed on through generations. Wendy Yuan told me on Sunday that her husband's grandfather's certificate is now in her safe-keeping. My 97 year old grandmother still has the head tax certificate of her father and his brother – and while my grandmother was born in Canada in 1910, her father died around 1933.
The head tax payers and their families faced economic hardships and racial discrimination that lasted generations. $500 in 1907 could buy 2 small houses in Vancouver. It is estimated that with compound interest, full repayment with compound interest would be $300,000. That's what Charlie Quan told the media it was worth in 2006. The Conservative government has offered a symbolic $20,000 ex-gratia payment – but only to surviving head tax payers and spouses.
One certificate – one redress payment is only fair.
Head tax descendant Gim Wong (centre) is the WW2 veteran who rode his motorcycle to Ottawa in 2005 to ask Prime Minister Martin to refund the Head Tax – but was refused a meeting. He poses here with Judy Hanazawa and Grace Thompson – advocates of the Japanese-Canadian redress settlement. Grace is also the current president of the Japanese Canadian National Council, whom we consulted with during the Chinese head tax redress campaign – photo Todd Wong
Check out the recent
Georgia Straight story about the failure of the Conservative government to fully comprehend and follow through on the Chinese head tax redress issue:
News Features By
November 29, 2007
Charlie Quan hosted a feast of wild boar after he
was compensated by the Harper government for paying the head tax, but many
families are still waiting for justice.
More than 23 years ago, a
Member of Parliament stood in the House of Commons to demand redress for Chinese
head-tax payers. was the first to bring this issue forward,
and it took more than two decades and several governments before an apology was
made, in 2006. East NDP
Now 82 and long since retired, Mitchell
remains passionate about making amends to Canadians of Chinese origin who
suffered under discriminatory immigration policies. The former MP believes that
the redress laid out by Prime Minister 's Conservative government
doesn't fully resolve the issue.
“There are so many aspects that are not
settled,” Mitchell told the Georgia Straight after she
was awarded an honorary membership in the Head Tax Families Society of ,
in 's Chinatown
on November 25.
Only head-tax payers or their spouses who were
alive as of February 6, 2006, are entitled to $20,000 in symbolic compensation. Mitchell said
that this leaves out thousands of descendants of families who went through economic hardship and endured long separations.
The deadline for filing applications for
payments is March 31, 2008.
“I fully support the fact that the battle
must continue, and you must get coverage for inclusive redress for all the
families,” Mitchell said in her address.
Her audience included Charlie Quan, a
99-year-old head-tax payer, and Gim Wong, an elderly son of a head-tax payer
who rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle across
in the summer of 2005 to
raise awareness about the need for redress.
In an interview, Mitchell recalled that her advocacy started when two of her
East constituents–Mak Dak Lee and Shack Lee–asked for her
The 14-year MP recounts her experience in the head-tax redress campaign in her
memoir, No Laughing
Matter: Adventure, Activism and Politics (Granville
Island Publishing), which will have its launch at the Mount Pleasant
Neighbourhood House on Monday (December 3).
In 1885, the Canadian government imposed a $50 entry fee on Chinese immigrants. This was raised to $100 in 1900, and to
$500 in 1903. The head tax was ended in 1923 by a law that banned most Chinese immigration.
According to the Chinese Canadian National Council, approximately 81,000
Chinese paid $23 million in head taxes–about $1.2 billion in current
Sid Chow Tan, cochair of the Head Tax Families
Society of , said the redress covers less than one percent of head-tax
families because the vast majority of payers and their spouses have already
died. “Head-tax families have endured, overcome, and outlived generations
of arrogant and dismissive governments,” he said on November 25. “We
have built a movement to outlast the Conservative government
should they continue to close the door on us.”
Victor Wong's grandfather paid the tax in
1912, but because his grandfather and grandmother are dead, Wong's family is
not entitled to the symbolic compensation. More than 500 head-tax payers and
surviving spouses have received payments, according to Wong, who is the Chinese Canadian National Council's executive director.
Wendy Yuan, the federal Liberal candidate for
Kingsway, told the Straight
that her husband's grandfather was a head-tax payer. The
Yuan family has preserved the late patriarch's certificate of payment, she
said. “I've been telling my son about how it was not easy for our
ancestors,” Yuan said. “For sure, the head-tax descendants need
Quatchi, Miga and
Sumi are names of the new Vanoc mascots for the 2010 Olympic Games.
Vicki Wong is the designer of the mascots, and of the Octonauts – her first children's book that was published last year. I met Vicky last year at the 2006 Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable which annually hosts an event that allows BC authors and illustrators to introduce their new books.
I fell in love with Vicki's book The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster. and promptly bought it, and had a great time chatting with her.
Vicki's partner in Meomi Designs is Michael Murphy. Hmm… a Chinese and an Irish name getting together to create something very Canadian…. sounds very Gung Haggis to me!
When I saw the Vanoc mascots revealed on Monday, the characters looked strangely familiar to me, despite their Japanese anime flavour. After reading that it was Vicki and her company Meomi that won the competition to design the mascots – it all made sense to me.
Vanoc's website says this about Vicki:
saw the portfolios of her and her partner, Michael Murphy, I think
we all felt they were born for this project,” said
VANOC Brand & Creative Services director Ali Gardiner.
“Not only is her work warm, endearing and imaginative,
but she’s a very proud Vancouverite and Canadian, and
was excited to share our culture and environment with the world
through these Vancouver 2010 mascots. Vicki also understood
immediately how the mascots could communicate Olympic and
Paralympic ideals and values to children, and get them engaged in
Wong has captured the secret element that makes these creatures stand out from previous Olympic mascots, as well as the special element that makes them endearingly “very BC.” Researching and drawing on First Nations cultures, Wong made these mascots “shape-shifters,” or tranformation figures. She discovered a story about how killer whales would transform into spirit-bears to come onto land. As well the Thunderbird is a mythical figure that is featured in transformation masks. Who else but somebody knowledgeable about BC First Nations culture and the cultural fusion aspects of Vancouver would be able to present this unique flavour for the Vanoc mascots? And did you hear? Vicki Wong is a “born in Vancouver” Canadian!
personality and in appearance. One is big, gentle and shy . . . one
is small, mischievous and outgoing . . . and one is a natural-born
leader with a passion for protecting the environment. All three are
mythical creatures with roots in local legend. “
Check out these other weblinks about the Vanoc mascots.
|The mascots are the creation of Vancouver graphic designers Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy, who own Meomi Design. Vanoc says that although the two provided …
|He reminds us, in the words of VANOC, “of the mystery and wonder that exist … Sumi, the mascot for the Paralympic Games, is a “spirit animal” that wears …
|2010 Olympic mascots unveiled Canada.com, Canada – Vanoc says … First Nations – tales of orca whales that transform into bears when they . …
The VPL writer-in-residence program was created by Kevin Chong when he was a VPL Board member. It's a cool program where you can make an appointment and have your work critiqued. Last year's WIR was Gary Geddes – an Orkney Islands descendant.
Hiromi Goto was one of the featured authors who read to CUPE 391 – on the picket line reading series.
She is now the VPL Writer-in-residence.
Her first official reading is tonight
Nov 27th – 7pm
Alice Mackay Room
Central Branch Library
350 West Georgia
Please come hear and support this incredible author and dynamic reader.
The following is from www.vpl.ca
Writer-in-Residence Program 2007
The Writer-in-Residence program promotes Canadian writing and literature to Vancouver citizens.
Now in our third year, we are very pleased to have award-winning author Hiromi Goto as our
Writer-in-Residence for 2007.
Goto will spend 75% of her time writing, while 25% of her time will be
devoted to mentoring emerging writers, conducting workshops and
participating in other activities to share her experience with the
broader community as well as communities not typically exposed to
Canadian literature. Ms. Goto will also be working on her sixth
manuscript and her first full-length poetry project.
2007 VPL Writer-in-Residence Program is made possible through the
generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Friends of
the Vancouver Public Library.
Tuesday, November 27 @ 7:30 p.m.
Alice MacKay Room (Lower Level), Central Library (350 W. Georgia Street)
Free admission. All are welcome.
Photo: Hiromi Goto, VPL's 2007 Writer-in-Residence. (Photo by Kiely Ramos)
About Hiromi Goto
Goto is an award-winning writer whose work has won world-wide acclaim.
Born in Japan and immigrating to Canada with her family at the age of
three, she is the author of four books. Her first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms,
was the 1995 recipient of the Commonwealth Writer's Prize Best First
Book Canada and Caribbean Region and the co-winner of the Canada-Japan
Book Award and her third novel, The Kappa Child, won The James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award in 2001. In 2003, Ms. Goto was selected by TV Ontario's Imprint as one of the top 10 Canadian writers under 40 worth watching.
Monsters, is a collection of short stories and her latest young adult novel, Half World, is pending publication.
a creative writing facilitator she has worked with learners of all ages
and has read and lectured at institutions throughout Canada, the United
States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, Germany and Japan.
Scheduling Writers' Appointments with the Writer-in-Residence
wishing to request a meeting with Hiromi Goto should contact VPL's
Community Relations Office at 604-331-4041, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
note, writers will be asked to submit a five-page sample of their
manuscript prior to the appointment being made. For more information
about this, contact Community Relations Office at 604-331-4041 or email@example.com.
accommodate requests for interviews, however, please note that under
the Canada Council guidelines, the Writer-in-Residence has a limited
time available and it may not be possible to accommodate all requests.
Tuesday, November 27 @ 7:30 p.m.
Alice MacKay Room (Lower Level), Central Library (350 W. Georgia Street)
Free admission. All are welcome.
The Chinese Canadian head tax campaign brought a lot of Chinese Canadian pioneers and pioneer descendants together with immigrants both recent and older.
I first met Victoria Yip, when she participated in the 1986 “Saltwater City exhibit” chaired by Paul Yee. Victoria had loaned her Chinese costumes for display for the exhibit. She also attended the 1996 Saltwater City planning committee reunion that I organized with David Wong. Victoria Yip and my grandmother Mabel Mar sat together. Everybody marvelled that these two women could look so well at 85 and 86 years old.
The The Yip Sang Family is one of Canada's most famous and well-known Chinese-Canadian families. There is a display of items featured at the “Generations to Generations” display at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives. It was reading about the Yip family reunion that helped inspire me to create reunion dinners for the Rev. Chan Family in 1999 and 2000
Here's a statement by CCNC
November 16, 2007
CCNC Statement On The Passing of Three Community Leaders
Toronto . CCNC National President Colleen Hua issued the following statement on the passing of Mr. James Marr, Mrs. Victoria Yip and Mr. Ying Hope:
“This week I learned of the passing of three community leaders: Mr. James Marr of Edmonton , Mrs. Victoria Yip of Ottawa and Mr. Ying Hope of Toronto . On behalf of the Chinese Canadian National Council and the Chinese Canadian community, I extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of Mr. James Mah, Mrs. Victoria Yip and Mr. Ying Hope. These three individuals were leaders in the Chinese Canadian community and we are a stronger community and Canada is a better country because of their public and community service.”
“Mr. James Marr was one of the few living head tax payers to ride aboard the Redress Train to witness the June 22, 2006 Parliamentary apology in Ottawa . Mrs. Yip tirelessly served the community and was featured in books and TV documentaries on the few Canadian-born Chinese women who lived through the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act era. Mr. Ying Hope was born in Victoria and attended high school with (late) Douglas Jung, and later settled in Toronto where he was elected and re-elected on the School Board and City Council for more than two decades.”
“Our elderly pioneers are starting to pass away including the second generation sons and daughters. We recognize these three community leaders for their trail-blazing contributions in removing barriers for future generations. CCNC urges the Canadian Government to begin a genuine, inclusive and respectful reconciliation with our seniors who directly suffered from legislated racism and exclusion.”
Some obituaries from media sources:
MARR, James (MAH JIN YUET) September 14, 1911 – November 7, 2007 On November 7, 2007, James Marr of Edmonton passed away at the age of 96 years. He is survived by his sons, Tom and Dean; daughters, Ngan Tang Wong, Mae Mak, Lily (Thomas) Welsh, and Jeannie (William) Chow; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. James is also survived by his sister and her family; all of Hong Kong . He was predeceased by his wife; daughter; younger brother; and a great-granddaughter. A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16, 2007 at the Howard & McBride Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home, 10179-108 Street, Edmonton . Interment to follow at Beechmount Cemetery . Howard & McBride Chapel of Chimes, (780) 422-1141
Victoria Yip (nee Lore) Loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother passed away peacefully at the age of 96 years on November 11, 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario. She was predeceased by her husband Quene (1994), who she faithfully supported during their 62 years of marriage. She was born in 1911 in Victoria, B.C, the first child of Chinese scholar Lore Neen and Chan Ling Ching. Her father instilled in her an appreciation of art, nature, beauty, and a love of learning. At the age of eleven, Victoria 's mother passed away, leaving her to care for three younger sisters (Louise, Mary, Helen) and two younger brothers (Martin, Abraham), while still attending Chinese school and English school. She later taught at Chinese school, while working to help support the family.
In 1935 she married Quene, 16th son of Chinese Canadian patriarch, Yip Sang, and over the years Victoria became a beloved member of this very large and well known Vancouver family. In 1942, Victoria and Quene left Vancouver with their young family and settled in Blubber Bay , a small coastal community on Texada Island , where Quene worked as a chemist. Over the next twenty-five years, while caring for three growing boys, Victoria actively participated in many community activities such as the PTA, recreation association, United Church , and bridge clubs. She also taught painting, brought in a Shakespearean play, and even produced and directed a play featuring local children.
She was renowned for her fabulous Chinese meals and made many lifelong friends on the island. Victoria welcomed and extended her hospitality to all those around her, regardless of whether they were blood relations or not. In 1967, Victoria and Quene moved back to Vancouver where she later worked as a buyer in Ming Wo Cookware. In 1980, she officially retire but continued to share her stories and experiences in the film Saltwater City and the book Voices of Chinese Canadian Women, as well as with Chinese Canadian historical writers like Paul Yee and Wayson Choy.
Two other artistic passions in her life were Chinese opera, which she attended in Victoria and Vancouver in the 1920's and 1930's, and oil painting, which she pursued in her fifties and sixties. In 2003, Victoria moved to the Amherst nursing home in Vancouver . Two years later, she moved to the Glebe Centre nursing home, and she spent her final days at the Ottawa General Hospital .
The family wishes to express their gratitude to the staff for their dedicated and compassionate care, and special thanks to her wonderful caregivers and especially to Carolina and Ann. Victoria will be lovingly remembered for her strength, generosity, kindness, love and devotion to her family and her many, many friends and relatives. She is survived by sister Louise, sons Rick (late Angeline), Randall (Brenda Austin) and Robert (Lisa), grandchildren Jill, Andrew, Karen, Jennifer (and partners), and Sophie, Melissa and Alison and also great grandchildren Benjamin, Andrew and Eveline.
Service and interment will be held Saturday, November 17, 10:30 am, at Forest Lawn cemetery, 3789 Royal Oak Avenue , Burnaby , BC . In Victoria 's memory, donations may be made to the charity of your choice.
Published in the Vancouver Sun and/or The Province from 11/15/2007 – 11/16/2007.
From Toronto Star:
Head-tax apology his crowning triumph TheStar.com – News – Head-tax apology his crowning triumph
Former city councillor was a family man who was immensely proud of his Chinese-Canadian heritage
November 14, 2007
Ying L.K. Hope wasn't the type to sit around and complain – he wanted to make change happen.
That's why at age 40, Hope took on the rough-and-tumble world of Toronto politics, becoming the first Chinese-Canadian to serve on the Toronto school board, and later on the city and Metro councils.
“What he wanted to do was make life better for his family by improving the community around us,” recalled his son, Michael.
Hope died in his sleep Monday at Sunnybrook hospital. He was 84.
Born in Victoria , Hope studied math and engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle before moving to Toronto in 1948, where he ran a successful engineering consultancy.
He launched his political career in 1963 at the Toronto Board of Education. Six years later, he was elected as alderman and represented Ward 5 for eight terms, until the late '80s.
Though he led a very public life, Hope remained a family man at heart. He spent as much time as he could with his children, taking them out to lunch every Sunday after church, Michael Hope said.
Hope “had the best old-fashioned values that you don't see much of any more,” his son said.
He was also very proud of his Chinese-Canadian heritage, a pride he strove to instill in his children.
He used his political clout to demand a public apology from the Canadian government for the Chinese head tax, a discriminatory fee charged for each Chinese immigrant in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hope's own grandparents were part of a wave of cheap labour imported from China to work on the railways and in mines, all of whom had to pay the notorious tax.
The government's official apology last year was Hope's crowning achievement, his son said.
Hope then seized the chance to fulfill another long-time dream. Along with a coalition of Chinese- Canadian groups, he helped chronicle the struggles of that community in an exhibit earlier this year.
Though out of politics for years, Hope worked until recent months as a civil engineer and real estate agent, a career he began at 70.
Relatives gathered yesterday at the family home in Toronto . Hope leaves behind his wife of 14 years, Audrey, and four children, Jim, Judy, Michael and Madeline, from his first marriage to Alice Hope.
The viewing is set for tomorrow from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the York Cemetery chapel, 160 Beecroft Rd. A funeral will take place Friday at 1 p.m.
Tonight is the night I get to see my contributions in print for the book: Eating Stories A Chinese-Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck.
will be on CBC Radio Friday morning with Rick Cluff, Morning Edition, at about
Also some hot news from
Henry. Jerry Kwok has done a
wonderful job with the 8 min. teaser film on the workshop. It's downloadable at
We are having an author's book launch tonight at the Rhizome Cafe on Broadway, before the official book launch at the Vancouver Museum Sunday Nov. 25th at the Vancouver Museum.
It was a wonderful pleasure to meet so many people interested in the writing process, and how to improve their own writing skills. People were so interested in food, our workshop discussions often took forays into Chinese-Canadian history, memories of food and family, as well as cultural traditions and differences.
The first book, Tracing Roots, by the CCHS is especially memorable for me because my cousin Hayne Wai contributed stories about his mother and our uncles. It was great to be able to take the book home as a gift to my parents, and show them the paragraphs featuring “Uncle James,” “Auntie Rose,” and my father – “Uncle Bill” to my cousin or “Bok-Sook” (#8 Uncle).
Tonight all the writing workshop participants get to take home copies of the book. I will get to show my parents my published contributions of photographs and paragraphs, which introduce the stories of how I developed my love for salmon, my creation of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, and how our dragon boat team cooks up it's own haggis won ton. This anthology features 2 current (Dan Seto and myself – Todd Wong) and two past paddlers (Grace Chow and Meena Wong) from the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.
Lien-Worrall, our workshop leader and anthology editor, will be on CBC Radio Friday morning with Rick Cluff, Morning Edition, at about
Also some hot news from
Henry. Jerry Kwok has done a
wonderful job with the 8 min. teaser film on the workshop. It's downloadable at
Meals and Memories Come
Alive in New Collection of Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Food and Family
captures authors’ personal stories of family and community
VANCOUVER – The
Chinese Canadian Historical Society (CCHS) is pleased to announce the
publication of Eating Stories: A Chinese
Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck, edited by Brandy Liên Worrall and with
Foreword by Margaret Gallagher.
success of the first workshop and the resulting book publication, Finding Memories, Tracing Routes
(English and bilingual English-Chinese editions), CCHS held a second writing
workshop with the theme of “Food and Family”, which had nearly tripled in
size. Twenty-three participants of
Chinese Canadian or Aboriginal backgrounds researched, discussed, and wrote
their memories of family gatherings, home cooking, restaurant outings, and
other stories cooked up by the smells, tastes, sounds, sights, and textures
that bring families and communities together.
Together with their stories, 37 family recipes and over 170 images
complete the collection. Additional
contributors include Imogene Lim, Lisa Moore, Janice Wong, and Henry Yu.
McWhirter, Vancouver’s Poet Laureate, says of this groundbreaking collection:
“I want one of those meals and to be in one of those families. If I can’t be that in actuality, these
stories make me a guest of all, complete with recipes for me to try out on my
own, after. These are more than
literate tellings of family food rituals and recipes; they are elegantly and
pungently related. . .In the process, these pieces become evocative literature
and unforgettable history.”
collection is amazing in terms of the scope of experiences in these Canadian
communities, from the 1930s all the way to present day,” states editor and
workshop facilitator Brandy Liên Worrall.
“Reading these stories is just like sitting in a Chinatown café eating
apple tarts in the 1960s or going to a barbecue at the reservation, catching
salmon and having a good time. This is really history you can eat.”
Jacquie Adams, Jennifer Chan, Shirley Chan, Allan Cho, Grace Chow, Lilly Chow,
Betty Ho, George Jung, Jackie Lee-Son, Roy Mah, Gordy Mark, Amy Perrault, Dan
Seto, Bob Sung, Hayne Wai, Evelyn Wong, Larry Wong, Todd Wong, Harley A. Wylie,
May Yan-Mountain, Candace Yip, Gail Yip, and Ken Yip. The Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC would like to
acknowledge the support from the Provincial Capital Commission for the
participation of two First Nations authors in the writing workshop.
reception” will be held at Rhizome Café (317 East Broadway) on Thursday, November 22, 2007, at 7:00 PM. This intimate event will have a short
presentation and author readings. Media
interest in this event, including requests for interviews with the authors,
should be directed to Nancy Fong, firstname.lastname@example.org. Media attendance to this event is by RSVP
Stories: A Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck” book launch, hosted by
CBC’s Margaret Gallagher, will be held at the Vancouver Museum on Sunday, November 25, 2007, at 4:00 PM. Authors will read from the book, as well as
answer questions from the audience. In addition, New Voices: Chinese Canadian Narratives of
Post-1967 Diaspora, a post-secondary student-initiated anthology of
literary and artistic works by Chinese Canadians living in the Lower Mainland,
will be also launched that day. This book is now available at http://www.newvoicesproject.org/
Copies of Eating
Stories can be purchased at the authors reception and the launch. For more information, bulk and educational
orders, and press kits, email email@example.com. Copies may also be purchased online at http://www.lulu.com/cchsbc. Proceeds go toward the “Edgar Wickberg
Scholarship for Chinese Canadian History.”
ABOUT the CHINESE CANADIAN
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia (CCHSBC) is a broadly
based membership society with educational goals. Our main objective is to bring out the untold history of ethnic
Chinese within the history of British Columbia. We achieve this through sustained efforts at document
preservation, research, family and oral history promotion, public education
programmes, an active website, and many other initiatives.
CONTACT-ENGLISH AND CHINESE [interviews &
press kits]: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everybody loves stories about food. Recipes or restaurants, people will reminisce over their favorite memories of food… how it was made… who made it… what their favorite dish is…
In January I took a writing workshop with the Chinese Historical Society of BC. The theme was “Food and Family” and taught by Brandy Lien-Worrall.
participants in a writing workshop wrote their memories of family
gatherings, home cooking, restaurant outings and other stories cooked
up by the smells, sounds, sights, and textures that bring families and
The writers include myself – Todd Wong, the
creator of Gung Haggis Haggis Fat Choy, Dan Seto current Gung Haggis
dragonboat paddler, my cousin Hayne Wai – president of CCHS, + many friends such as: Meena Wong, George Jung and Gordie Mark – who were active during the Chinese head tax campaign, community activist Shirley Chan, Chinese-Canadian Military Museum curator Larry Wong and ex-Gung Haggis paddler Grace Chow and myself.
Dan Seto holds the book anthology “Finding Memories, Tracing Routes” in which he authored a short story about his family – photo Todd Wong
Dan Seto signing books at the CCHS 2006 book launch for Tracing Family Roots.
Dan Seto with noodles at Sha Lin Noodle House.
Eating Stories, a Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck.
CCHS is pleased to welcome everyone to the book launch for Eating
Stories: A Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck, edited by Brandy
Liên Worrall and with Foreword by Margaret Gallagher. Following the
success of the first workshop and the resulting book publication,
Finding Memories, Tracing Routes (English and bilingual English-Chinese
editions), CCHS held a second writing workshop with the theme of “Food
Twenty-three participants of Chinese Canadian or
Aboriginal backgrounds researched, discussed, and wrote their memories
of family gatherings, home cooking, restaurant outings, and other
stories cooked up by the smells, tastes, sounds, sights, and textures
that bring families and communities together. In addition to their
stories, there are 37 recipes and over 170 images. Writers include
Jacquie Adams, Jennifer Chan, Shirley Chan, Allan Cho, Grace Chow,
Lilly Chow, Betty Ho, George Jung, Jackie Lee-Son, Roy Mah, Gordy Mark,
Amy Perrault, Dan Seto, Bob Sung, Hayne Wai, Evelyn Wong, Larry Wong,
Todd Wong, Harley A. Wylie, May Yan-Mountain, Candace Yip, Gail Yip,
and Ken Yip. Additional contributors include Imogene Lim, Lisa Moore,
Janice Wong, and Henry Yu.
Please join us for the official launch of this unique book and meet the authors!
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is one of Canada's most important works according to the Literary Review of Canada's 100: Canada's Most Important Books.
For the past two years, in my role with the “Save Joy Kogawa House
Committee” my paths have crossed with connections to “The Ecstasy of
Rita Joe” because:
- We have talked about George Ryga House in the Okanagan as a writer's in residence program,
Coghill (who as Artistic Director, produced EoRJ), did a reading for
our awareness fundraising event
Joy of Canadian Words: April 25th fundraiser for Kogawa House– where we
asked actors to read from one of the Literary Review of Canada's “100 Most Important Canadian books”
– The Land Conservancy of BC invited Anne Mortifee to a
“friend-raising” event in Burnaby because Anne is working with TLC on
Cortes Island for a special project
- Last week at the opening night for the play “Gravity”
– the niece of Chief Dan George gave a First Nations welcome and sang a
Here is the press release for Ecstasy of Rita Joe:
By George Ryga
Celebrating their 25th Anniversary season, the Firehall Arts
Centre is excited to present the beloved Canadian classic, The
Ecstasy of Rita Joe by acclaimed author George Ryga with previews
November 17 – 20, and opening on November 21 through December 8, 2007.
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is an important piece of modern Canadian
theatre, as it was the first work that addressed issues relating to
Aboriginal peoples; was mounted on stage and taken seriously.
The play recounts the story of a young Aboriginal woman who moves to the
city but finds she has no place with either the white man or with her own
people. But who is the villain? What is the root of the
problem? The violence of the white culture or the patriarchy of
Native culture, or both? The play is a tragic story told in a
combination of song and montages. Forty years later, Ryga’s play is as
compelling and powerful as ever and remains a play for all peoples.
The production’s stellar cast includes well known actor William B. Davis
of X-Files fame playing the Magistrate, Lisa C. Ravensbergen as Rita Joe,
Kevin Loring as Jamie Paul, Byron Chief Moon as the Father, Duncan Fraser
as the Priest, Alvin Sanders as Mr. Homer and the talented singer/actor,
Tracey Power, in the folk singer role originally created by Anne
Sat. 8pm Sat & Sun. 2pm matinees with a special pay-what-u-can
matinee Wed 1pm.
Ticket prices – $14- $28
For tickets call 604-689-0926 or visit
I have seen Uzume Taiko perform with one bagpiper before. When we were creating the CBC “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” television performance special, one of my ideas was to have a helicopter shoot of Burnaby Mountain with the SFU Bagpipe Band playing with the Uzume Taiko band. But the show had a small budget, and the producer decided to keep the cultural fusion between Chinese and Scottish musicians. So, our culture-clash-fusion happened in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens where Chinese flute player Jian Ming Pan bumped into the celtic band The Paperboys, accompanied by bagpiper Tim Fanning.
Uzume Taiko & Mearingstone's performance together should be a musically adventurous evening. I am looking forward to it. There is a long history of Japanese-Canadians and Scottish-Canadians mixing in Vancouver. I have seen a picture of a little Japanese girl dressed up in kilt circa 1923. Ron Macleod, Chair of SFU Scottish Studies program, tells me that he knew many Japanese-Canadians growing up in Tofino. But then they disappeared in the 1942 internment.
Taiko drums and bagpipes? Very Vancouver!
Group Society presentation:
November 23, 2007 / 8:00pm
Norman Rothstein Theatre, 950 West 41st Avenue
On Friday, November 23, two
amazing musical ensembles, Mearingstone and Uzume Taiko,
and guest shakuhachi and didgeridoo musician Alcvin Ramos, come
together in this concert at the Rothstein to perform individually and
collaboratively. This spectacular program, featuring highland pipes,
taiko drums, percussion, melodic instruments and choreographed movement,
will make for a mesmerizing evening played with passion and grace
guaranteed to stir emotions!
Mearingstone, a Vancouver-based ensemble of four highland pipers,
concocts an intense, formally intricate music, a world music analogue of
the Philip Glass Ensemble or Bang On a Can’s explorations of musical
density, variation, time, and ecstasy. Formed in 1988 to perform Michael
O’Neill’s Ur Og and Aji, Mearingstone is often augmented by other
instruments such as Japanese taiko and shakuhachi, Indian tabla, bass
clarinet, or even…pipe band drums. Mearingstone members are Sylvia
DeTar, Micah Babinski, Damien Burleigh, and Michael O'Neill.
Together, within the apparently restricted expressive range of the
bagpipes, they bring forth a wide variety of moods the results of a
passionate response to the unrealized potential of a deep tradition.
“…sheer sonic power of the four bagpipes …” Georgia
Since 1988, Uzume Taiko (Bonnie Soon, Jason Overy, Boyd Seiichi
Grealy, Naomi Kajiwara, all on taiko and percussion) has enthralled
audiences at festivals, schools, concerts and special events across
Canada, the United States, Europe and Japan with its dynamic synthesis of
music, movement and theatre. Using a diverse collection of percussive and
melodic instruments as well as taiko drums, Uzume Taiko has developed a
dynamic fusion of old and new styles of drumming bringing a vibrant,
contemporary sensibility to an ancient art. With the choreographed
physicality of martial arts, the heart-stopping pulse of the O-Daiko and
the rhythmic sensitivity of a jazz ensemble, the drummers of Uzume Taiko
create an exhilarating sensual experience.
[Uzume Taiko is] One of the most remarkable percussion ensembles ever to
hit the UK …
hugely inventive, ingenious and dangerously mesmerizing. Press and
Diane Kadota Arts Management
tel: 604.683.8240 / fax: 604.683.7911
Suite 310 – 425 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 6E3
Suite 310 – 23 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1R3