Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong wants
to be an OLYMPIC TORCH BEARER for the City of Vancouver
Could this man in a kilt be an Olympic torch bearer? Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong” creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, stands on guard with Constable Bob Underhill, and Joy Kogawa at the 2006 “Order of Canada Luncheon” hosted by the Canadian Club for which Todd is a director. Wong is wearing the “Maple Leaf Tartan”. – photo Deb Martin.
The City of Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Olympics. As Host City, Vancouver has a small number of torchbearer spots in the Vancouver portion of the 2010
Olympic Torch Relay. So they are creating the torch relay challenge. All
staff, except those who are auxiliary or part of Olympic and Paralympic
Operations or members of the Corporate Management Team, may
participate. Torchbearers will be chosen from each of these work areas: City of Vancouver, Fire and Rescue, Library, Park Board and Police.
Hmmm… I've worked for the Vancouver Public Library for 30+ years, and am eligible. This will be a great way to be a torch bearer. Other ways are to win spots through many of the corporate sponsors such as RBC, Coca-Cola and McDonalds. But I would rather represent the City of Vancouver, where I was born.
The City Wire website says that: “The Vancouver 2010
Olympic Torch Relay begins its 45,000 kilometre, 106-day journey across
Canada on October 30, 2009. It will visit every province and territory,
passing through over 1,000 communities and places of interest across
the country. It arrives in Vancouver on February 11, to travel through
the city for two days. At the end of the day on February 11, there will
be a community celebration. On February 12, the Torch Relay concludes
at 6:00 pm at the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter
Torch Relay summons people to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games
and brings together Canada and world under an Olympic Flame that
symbolizes peace and friendship. The purpose of the Torch Relay is to
touch the soul of the nation, light the land, and inspire the country
by creating an extraordinary experience for all Canadians in
communities across the country.”
My Chinese name Wong Jee Kay, can be interpreted as “Flag bearer Wong”
“Jee” means Flag. “Kay” means child, or son. So… I am “Son/child of the flag or flag bearer/waver/carrier
How to be a Torcher Bearer?
City of Vancouver staff who want to apply have to reserve a spot in the try-out sessions, which are on-going for this week. At the try-outs you state – on
video – why you want to be a torchbearer. There is an option to submit your own
video. These are short! There is only about one minute to
tell why you should carry the torch. All submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee will review
all the submissions, which might also be featured on Citywire or perhaps shown at the Host City Pavilion at the PNE.
My video application is 11am tomorrow at Sunset
Community Centre. So far endorsements from CBCer Shelagh Rogers, city
councilors Raymond Louie, Kerry Jang, Suzanne Anton, community leaders
Kelly Ip, Linda Johnston, David Kogawa, fellow library workers
Alexandra Youngberg, Neil Atkinson…
Directions from the City website are that “The presentations can be funny, serious, or cool
'n creative. Some of the themes you could consider are creating a
better Canada, healthy living, active lifestyles, community
involvement, and the Olympic and Paralympic values of friendship,
solidarity, peace, fair play, optimism, inspiration and empowerment.
You could express your feelings about Vancouver, or you could express
your feelings about the eyes of the world turning to Vancouver in 2010.
Some people might 'rap' their message. Others might use simple props or
involve their co-workers. Whatever you do, keep it simple and keep it
short! You have about one minute to deliver your message.”
I think that I can share my understanding of paralympic values, by wearing my Terry Fox Run “Terry's Team Shirt.” I could wear my 20+ dragon boat medals and tell them that I coach dragon boat teams for “fun, fitness and friendship” and once coached a team full of city workers from sewers and waterworks, libraries, city hall, and schools to medals in Victoria and Vancouver races. Should I bring my accordion and play the Olympic theme song? Or how about if I bring a portable dvd player set to play highlights from the CBC television performance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” and references to the French and German and Canadian public television documentaries to demonstrate the global reach of Gung Haggis Fat Choy's themes of racial and intercultural peace, friendship and cultural fusion.
My friend in Ottawa, George Sapounidis, the Greek Canadian who sings in Mandarin, and was featured in the CBC Gung Haggis special, was an Olympic Torch Bearer for the Beijing Olympics, and he is probably trying to be one in Ottawa. “Chairman George” was also previously the Greek interpreter for the Chinese Olympic team, for the Athens Olympic Games.
“I have known Todd for many years since he started “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”, the fusion extravaganza celebrating Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day. A truly multicultural celebration of Chinese and Scottish heritage. Todd and I were also on the Board of the Canadian Club and he co-chaired a luncheon honouring the recipients of the Order of Canada on Flag Day. It was the signature event of the Club. Todd was also the driving force behind the successful restoration of Kogawa House. I feel that Todd is an excellent candidate to be considered one of the torch bearers for the City of Vancouver.”
– Kelly Ip, community leader
Toddish McWong, an outstanding Canadian and builder of cross culture bridges….
– David Kogawa
Todd Wong comes from a long line of Chinese pioneer descendants that have long contributed to Canada's many communities. His Gung Haggis Fat Choy events uniquely bring people together as Todd strives to build harmonious intercultural bridges for a 21st Century.
– Bev Nann OBC, community leader
I have had the pleasure to know Todd Wong for the past seven years and he has been a tireless advocate for community spirit. His efforts in the many community events he organizes and participates in, is a perfect fit with the Olympic and Paralympics movement. I look forward to seeing his energy added to this historic event.
– Raymond Louie, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Toddish McWong is one of the great contributors to our multicultural identity in Vancouver.
– Suzanne Anton, Councillor, City of Vancouver
“If the torch is the spirit of the Games, Toddish McWong embodies the spirit of Vancouver! He represents the diversity of the world in one person and is the perfect choice to be a torchbearer”
– Dr. Kerry L. Jang, Councillor, City of Vancouver, Professor of Psychaitry, UBC
In addition to all of his other activities, Todd has been an active member of the Canadian Club of Vancouver. When you put them all together you see a pattern of a comitted and proud Canadian who works very hard to improve our community and our country – just the sort of person who should be carrying the Olympic Torch.
– Linda Johnston, President – Canadian Club of Vancouver
“Todd Wong is an alchemist in that he will take what is common and around us
all the time and transmute it into gold. He is also a positive
catalyst. He's like the Alka Selzer of Canada. He turns a still
substance into energy. For years, he has been bringing cultures
together in ways that are so much fun. Todd Wong loves this country. He
has done so much for it. He makes me proud to be Canadian. I would love
to see him carry the Olympic Torch because he is already on fire for
– Shelagh Rogers