Christmas party with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

It was only last week that our 3 year paddler Dan Seto decided to host a Christmas party, and invite the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team members – under the pretense of helping decide what colour to paint his kitchen cabinets.

A
number of paddlers had responded to the email invite – but Dan wasn't
sure how many people would be attending.  When I asked if I could
invite George Jung, a friend from the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC
Writing Workshop that Dan and I had also done – then Dan soon decided
to invite the workshop writers too!  Smart idea!  Dan, myself and
former team paddler Grace each took the writing workshop and made
contributions to the recently published anthology Eating Stories: A Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck.

I arrived just before 7:00pm, food was filling the table as each guest
brought something.  The television set was turned on to the Vancouver
Canucks game in Phoenix against the Coyotes.  Dan is a big hockey fan,
as he also plays recreational hockey.

It was really good at Dan's place.  Crowded with lots of people.  Lots
of food, lots of introductions.  If there was one thing that the dragon boat team and the CCHSBC writers both had in common, it was food.  We describe the Gung Haggis dragon boat team as an eating and social team that just happens to paddle. And I guess tonight, we introduced them to some published authors who really are just a bunch of foodies who happen to write about food into every aspect of their lives.  Cool… a match made in food heaven!

I helped to make intros where I could,
and tried to say hi to everybody, as I am probably the only other
person besides Dan who knew almost everybody.  I was a member of the writing workshop, an author in the resulting book Eating Stories: A Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck… and the founder and coach of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

Suddenly… loud strange music blared from the tv… sounds kind of middle eastern.

10 minutes later, the music was turned down and an announcement was made that a performance of belly dancing was about to begin.

Somebody asked dragon boater Julie Wong if she had brought her
Polynesian dancing outfit – because it was at the Gung Haggis wrap up
dinner party in Sept 06 that Julie had taught people to do Polynesian
dancing.

But it was our newest paddler Lena, who only started paddling with us in
Oct and Nov… who came out dressed in black tights and top, with a green
wrap, and belly dancing coin thingy around her hips. 

It was a fun performance.  People were supportive and whooping it up in good positive and appreciative ways.

After the performance, everybody clapped their hands.

I took it upon myself to introduce Lena to everybody in the room, as
many of our paddlers didn't know her… as they hadn't come out
paddling past September… and the CCHSBC writers didn't know most of
the dragon boat paddlers.

I introduced the dragon boat team, and the CCHS writers – basically by
raising their hands.  I commented that it was amazing that belly
dancing could happen at a team party that had started the year off with
a Scotch tasting following a dragon boat race being filmed by German
Public television
, back in April.

I said that the show on ZDF Television would be shown on Dec 25th or
Dec 26th all across Europe, and hopefully we would hear soon about the
airing.  But upon checking the internet… I think the show will air on January 1st – check out Toronto – Vancouver, einfache Fahrt bitte!   Then I introduced each of the team members who were
interviewed for the show. 

  • Stuart Mackinnon, who wore his first kilt – discovering his Scottish-Canadian heritage as a dragon boat rookie on our team.
  • Steven Wong – part of a Vancouver Chinatown pioneer family, whose
    uncle Milton Wong had helped to co-found the present Alcan Dragon Boat
    Festival.
  • Keng and Gerard Graal – our Chinese – Dutch couple whose hapa-daughter occasionally paddles with our team.

I made a few announcements about upcoming dates:

  • January 3rd – Kilts Night at Doolin's Irish Pub – wear a kilt – recieve a FREE pint of Guinness beer.
  • January 4th – Scottish Country Dancing at the Scottish Cultural
    Centre in Vanocuver's Marpole neighborhood.  Just like square dancing –
    okay for beginners… wear your kilts!
  • January 25th – the BIG EVENT
    – GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY: Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner –
    fundraiser for the dragon boat team + Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop,
    and Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Then I got my accordion, and played some Christmas songs and carols, as we encouraged everybody to join us…

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