Monthly Archives: June 2009

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has a great weekend at Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

2009_June_RTA_DBF 032 by you.

Look at that R-E-A-C-H….  Gung Haggis stays ahead of boat 1 in the Rec D Championship Finals – photo Deb Martin.

Congratulations to Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team paddlers!

They conveyed a sense of teamship, caring for each other, and for community.

They paddled their best, adapted to changing situations, changing rosters, and changing race conditions.

2009_June_RTA_DBF 015 by Toddish McWong.Gung Haggis paddlers after our 1st race on Sunday morning – photo thanks to Allan

Our paddlers improved with every race, both individually and together. 
Very little separates you from the teams that we know who finished in
Rec C (O2P, Hmmm Sea Monster), Rec B (Pirates, CBC, Strokin' It Hard,
Flight Centre, CC Riders) or Rec A (Metro Vancouver, Banana Fusion,
Shaggin' Dragons) – except maybe a little bit of testosterone, a little
bit of cardio and muscle work, a little more attention to detail such
as rotation, reach, entry, paddle angle, etc.

4 seconds
faster and we could have medaled in Rec C Final.
10 seconds faster and we could have medaled in Rec B Final.

2009_June_RTA_DBF 003 by Toddish McWong

Sean John high-fives Karen and other paddlers as they come up the ramp from the boat docks, after our Sunday morning race.  We came 3rd, so we moved into the Rec D Final for the afternoon – photo D.Martin

While medals are fun, I think it is more important to be part of a great group of people,
that had fun, did their best, and can be friends together, and share
meals together.  I am personally very proud of everybody on the team,
and I know that everybody each has something special that adds to this

It was great to have Manfred in the boat with us this weekend. 
He has been a coaching friend and rival competitor and occasional
teammate for many years.  He says this is a good team.  He likes your
attitude, your paddling ability, your friendliness… and sense of
fun.  Manfred will not take off his pants for “just any team” you

Special thanks to Commodore Stephen Mirowski, team
manager Tzhe Lam
for helping to organize the team, roster and leadership.

Thanks to Keng and Gerard Graal to step in to drum and be land manager, after spending the past 3 weeks in Holland.

2009_June 052 by Toddish McWong.
Gung Haggis team was filmed for the upcoming documentary “Chinatown Canada” produced by Image Pacific, to be seen on Omni Television in the fall.  I was also interviewed talking about Vancouver Chinatown, Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team – photo D.Martin

It was a busy weekend for me as I was also busy with:

  • my coaching Killarney Cougar Dragons Junior Team
  • our being filmed for the “Chinatown Canada” tv documentary series
  • my being interviewed for the “Chinatown Canada” tv documentary series
  • my steering for out of town teams (I used to be on the Race Committee, so they know I am a good qualifited steers)
  • my
    social involvement and networking with ex-paddlers, friends on other
    teams, race organizers, Festival past-presidents, friends on out of
    town teams, friends who cheered us on,

These are also qualities that makes Gung Haggis
Fat Choy dragon boat team and myself, amongst the first choice to be
involved in film documentaries and books on dragon boating!   

As lang's me arm…

2009_June_RTA_DBF 021 by Toddish McWong

Todd Wong stands with dragon boat community friends Enzo Guierro (RTA DBF Race Committee) and Milton Wong (founding chair of the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society), Todd served on the DBF race committee from 2001 to 2003. photo Steven Wong.

Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival June 2009

More photos Click here:   Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat.. on Todd's Flickr site.

We attend the VIP party for te Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat Festival Chail Jas Kalsi talks about importance of a boat house for dragon boats on False Creek to sponsors, politicians and dragon boat festival organizers.

The VIP tent was packed on the eve to the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  Politicians and digniteries walked in from the eye-dotting ceremony conducted by Taoist priests.  Parks Commissioner and former Gung Haggis dragon boat team paddler Stuart Mackinnon dotted one of the eyes with a paint brush.

Lots of great food was served in the VIP tent.  Sockeye Salmon, Tuna on wild rice patties, corn chowder – all provided from the VCC culinary arts program.

But this year's VIP party also had a serious tone.  On Tuesday, the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society had sent a letter to Vancouver City Council, stating that because of development on Falser Creek, the 21 year old festival was in jeopardy.  Festival Chair Jas Kalsi talked about the issue to the audience. 

VIP party was attended by Mayor Robertson, councilors Ellen Woodsworth,
Suzanne Anton, Raymond Louie, George Chow, and Andrea Reimer, as well
as Parks Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, and Sen. Nancy Green Raine who said that the federal government will pledge $100,000 to the RTA Festival. 

Robertson said he supports councilor Raymond Louie's statements,
that city council supports dragon boats on False Creek, and things are
moving through the planning stage.  Robertson also shared that his son
is paddling in his first dragon boat race.

Terry Hui, CEO of Concord said that Concord is committed to the Festival.
See Concord's commitment in yesterday's 24 Hours story

Members of the Festival board
and Race Committee talked to the politicians.  I also talked with
Concord Pacific's senior vice-president of planning – Matt Meehan, who wants to come to the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, as he remembers seeing me perform at Jenny Kwan's scotch tasting parties.

I chatted with Mayor Robertson (who has attended the last 2
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinners), and he told me which team his son is paddling on.  I informed him that his son was being coached by one of our Gung Haggis paddlers Gayle Gordon.

Dragon boat coach and former Olympic sprint kayak paddler, Kamini Jain, brought me 5 copies of the new dragon boat book “Paddles Up! Dragon Boat Racing in Canada.”  You can bet that the other
paddlers/organizers/coaches were all jealous when they saw them.  Kamini had written the chapter on coaching, and I had asked her to autograph copies for myself and my friends (Gayle and Stuart).  And…. I was able to introduce Kamini to Sen. Nancy
Green Raine (former Olympic ski gold medalist) – just before Sen. Nancy
left the party.

Gung Haggis dragon boat team racing Sat 9:50am Race #11

Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival
Creekside Park, Science World & False Creek

June 20/21 2009

2009_June_Dragonboats 012

First race for GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY dragon boat team.
Saturday June 20
9:50am Race #11, lane 6

Look for us in the afternoon in race 30, 40 or 42. between 1:30 to 4pm

On Sunday, times to be determined by Sat 6pm
Semi finals in the morning, Finals in the afternoon.

for our kilts and tartan sashes… followed by film crews for IN THE
SAME BOAT doc film… or CHINATOWN CANADA – to be seen on Omni TV

Call Coach/Clan Chieftain Todd Wong at 778-846-7090 to find us!

24 Hours and News 11:30: Dragon Boat Festival being forced out of Vancouver?

Where is the future Dragon Boat House on False Creek?

For over the past 8 years, the Dragon Boat Community has been trying to ensure a boat house within the False Creek East Bay.  This is before Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and committed to the building an athlete's village in SE False Creek.  If Vancouver had been awarded a Summer Games, would a rowing course similar to Montreal and Los Angeles Olympics had been created in SE False Creek?

Public forums had been attended, and dragon boaters reminded planners to include dragon boating in their plans.  I saw early plans that included a boating centre, and room to store boats, under the Cambie St. Bridge.

But now the only parcel of land left is NE False Creek.  The planned SE False Creek Community Centre, does not include a Community Boat House.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Interenational Dragon Boat Festival Society sent a letter to Vancouver city council stating that the largest Dragon Boat Festival in North America, and its present Dragon Zone facility which provides year long paddling – is in jeopardy.

In 1986, Dragon Boats were first donated to the City of Vancouver during Expo 86, from the Hong Kong Pavillion, thus kick starting dragon boat festivals all across Vancouver.  Vancouver was the first North American city to hold a World Club Crew Championship in 1996.  In 2003, the country of Taiwan donated Taiwanese style dragon boats to the City of Vancouver..

DRAGON BOAT RACING may be snuffed out in False Creek unless a new facility is built to accommodate the sport that attracts thousands of paddlers to the area. (file photo)

Here are the links to newstories:

24 Hours
Up The Creek

Vancouver's long-running Dragon Boat Festival is in danger of capsizing without help from City Hall.

International Dragon Boat Festival Society chair Jas Kalsi sent a
troubling letter to city council yesterday stating the festival will be
squeezed out of their iconic False Creek location – where they've been
paddling since Expo 86 – by development unless the city approves a
permanent boathouse.

“We're running out of time and space,”
Kalsi told 24 hours. “This is something we've been asking for the last
10 years, but we haven't seen a commitment.”

Council is expected
to receive a staff report on the future of False Creek in the next few
weeks, and Kalsi prays dragon boats will be included. If not, the
festival may be forced to relocate to another city.

“There are
alternatives but False Creek is the place to be,” he said. “We want to
be a part of the area. Sponsors are prepared the finance the boathouse,
so it's really about getting councillors to make that commitment.”
Click here to find out more!

Coun. Raymond Louie called the festival a “mainstay of the city” and assured council is committed to the event.

facility is under construction to support boating in the creek,
although it's not big enough to accommodate the festival's needs.

Read more:

Here's the story on NEWS 1130

Dragon Boat Festival needs permanent home to avoid leaving Vancouver
Running out of room at current Science World site

(NEWS1130) – This could be the last year for Vancouver's annual Dragon
Boat Festival, unless the city steps in and helps give it a permanent
home.  Festival General Manager Ann Phelps says there is only one piece
of property left in False Creek, and she says if the development
doesn't include a place for the festival, they will have to go

Phelps says the festival has become a huge economic
generator for the city.  “We are a million dollar festival…that's
what it costs us to put the event on.  But we are a big economic
development opportunity for the city.  We have close to 1,500 people
that come into the city from outside Vancouver.”  Phelps says those
visitors spend about $2.4 million over the weekend event.

Councillor Raymond Louie says there is space planned for dragon boats,
but it's up to council to approve it.   “Being a former dragon boater
myself, I see the value and want to see this continue in our city.  My
hope–and I know that my colleagues share this sentiment–is that we
will look for every opportunity to find some space and keep the Dragon
Boat Festival here in Vancouver.”

Louie says council is
considering several options, including a stretch by Science World, for
the event's home base.  As that piece of land (currently owned by
Concord Pacific) is redeveloped and that creek side park is developed,
the plan was to have a non-motorized marina.  He says current plans do
have space for a dock, but it may have to be re-zoned to fit the
thousands who attend the festival.

Phelps says you can support
the festival (which runs this weekend) by signing a petition at this
year's event.  Dragon boating appeared in Vancouver as a demonstration
sport at Expo 86. Vancouverites liked it, interest started to grow, and
in 1989 the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival was created.

Paddles Up! New book on dragon boating by Torontonians Arlene Chan and Susan Humphries

Arlene Chan has written a new book on dragon boating.

Arlene paddles on a Toronto dragon boat team.  Susan Humphries is past president of Dragon boat Canada. Arlene wrote a children's book on dragon boating, Awakening the Dragon This book features chapters on various topics written by top coaches, paddlers, and organizers from across Canada.  Vancouver coach Kamini Jain, former Olympic kayaker, has written the chapter on coaching.

Here's a description from Kamini's website

Description:   Paddles Up!
provides an in-depth look at dragon boating from its beginnings in
ancient China to the modern-day prominence of Canadian teams on the
international scene, as told in the words of top coaches of men's and
women's teams, experts and enthusiasts, and sports health professionals
across Canada. Contributing writers include Mike Haslam, executive
president International Dragon Boat Federation; Matthew Smith,
president Dragon Boat Canada;
Kamini Jain,
Vancouver; Albert MacDonald, Halifax; Jamie Hollins, Pickering; Matt
Robert, Montreal; and Jim Farintosh, Toronto. Through legends, history,
and traditions, to paddling tips and mental readiness, and from
choosing gear to exceptional achievements, a battery of Canadian
dragon-boat notables share their considerable knowledge in one
authoritative volume.

Last year in June 2008, the author Arlene Chan contacted me.  She wrote:

I found your name
on your amazing Gung Haggis Fat Choy website. What interests me is your
personal passion for dragon boating. The book project that I am
co-editing with Susan Humphries, past President, Dragon Boat Canada, . I'm assembling photos as well as

you're interested, I'd love to get a testimonial from you about what
the sport means to you. The idea is to have about 20 testimonials that
will be interspersed throughout the book.  It's not to promote your
team, rather, to let others know how and why dragon boating has been a
passion for paddlers and coaches, like you.

This is what I originally sent to Arlene, most of it is printed on page 27:

Dragon boating is about team tribalism.  You can join a tribe that you
can belong to.  It might be a competitive team, a corporate team, a
recreational team, a breast cancer team… or a team that promotes
multiculturalism.  That's our team.  We wear kilts, have lucky Chinese
coins on our team jersey.  We eat Asian foods and Scottish haggis –
sometimes combined.  It's become more than just being social… It's
become a family.

TCF2007 VFK_0474.JPG by vfk.

Here's a picture of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team that appears on page 23.  This is from the 2007 Vancouver Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race.  I am drumming.  Emilie is our flag puller learning out over the dragon head.  This photo is by my friend VFK whom I introduced to Arlene to be included in the book, as well as photographers Ben Lee and Heather Mclaren – photo VFK

I discovered more about Arlene.  She is a librarian with the
Toronto Public Library and had written two previous books, The Spirit of the Dragon: The Story of Jean Lumb, a Proud Canadian Citizen and The Moon Festival: A Chinese Mid-autumn festival. 

When she told me she also organized a fundraiser dinner for the Jean Lumb Foundation, I had to ask, “Jean Lumb… the first Chinese Canadian woman to recieve the Order of Canada?  I know her daughter, Janet Lumb in Montreal… we met in Ottawa for a conference.  I introduced Janet to Sen. Vivienne Poy (the first Chinese Canadian senator) “

It's a small world.  Arlene told me that Janet is her younger sister.  Back in 2002, I was working for the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.  Janet is the founder and organizer of Access Asie, the Montreal version of Asian Heritage Month Festival.  Sen. Poy is the patron senator of Asian Heritage Month in Canada, having had it proclaimed in parliament.  Sen. Poy's husband Dr. Neville Poy had an aunt in Vancouver… who married my grandmother's eldest brother.  “Auntie!” I called her.

You can purchase Paddles Up! on here:
or contact Kamini Jain in Vancouver

Great practice for Gung Haggis dragon boat team: getting ready for Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

4 days to go, and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team is ready for the biggest dragon boat festival in North America.

Wonderful practice tonight on Vancouver's False Creek waters.. we even had 30 paddlers show up for 20 paddling seats in a Gemini boat.

Not everybody is racing Rio Tinto Alcan Festival, so 3 paddlers went
out on the GVRD/Metro Vancouver boat… We traded our Gemini for a 6-16
boat with Concord team.

We had 24 paddlers, then rotated drummer and steers throughout the practice. 
It's not the best way to build team consistency, but it is a way to
share responsibilities, build in flexibility and teach paddlers to
adapt.  By having our Commodore Stephen Mirowski at both steers and
drummer positions, as well as paddling – if gives him a better view of
how seating arrangements and paddler abilities will be arranged.

Thank you to Gerard Graal, who will step into our manager position.  He
and Keng have just returned from 3 weeks in The Netherlands – Gerard's
native home.  Keng also did a nice short job on the drummers seat,
despite being a bit jet-lagged.

We started practice doing some warm-ups, and saw Alissa, Nicole and
Devon paddling with the Metro Vancouver Team.  Didn't they all look
good.  I swear the best looking paddler on the left side of the boat
was Alissa…  With that dazzling new smile of hers!

2009_May 182 Video of a race start for a Gung Haggis dragon boat practice a month ago.  Tzhe and Jane are lead strokes in this video – photo T.Wong.

We did a race start lined up beside the former Comp team formerly known
as Scotia Dragons, now called How Wet Can You Get – which is ranked #24
out of 148 teams that have raced in regattas so far this year.  Guess
what?  Gung Haggis Fat Choy is ranked #31, ahead of #33 CC Riders and
#35 Metro Vancouver.
See the rankings here:

We are doing pretty good for our development this year.  We hit the waters in March, wore our toque hats and have pushed our veteran paddlers while nurturing brand new rookie paddlers.

We worked on some race strategies, and some basic drills.  The key
thing is to keep a  consistent rate.  The only improvement you can make
as paddlers is to keep reaching a little bit more, get your paddle in a
little bit quicker, pull with a full blade in the water, and keep your
heads up to stay in time. 

Fun surprise of the evening was singing Happy Birthday to Danielle. 
Today really was her birthday.  Great dedication by a rookie paddler to
come paddling with us, before going out to dinner with her husband.

2009_May 180 Here are rookie paddlers Karen and Katie paddling and looking like veterans (almost) – photo T.Wong

“News” of “In the Same Boat” has finally hit the dragon boat forum at  Check out this topic:;topicseen#new

You can identify a few of our paddlers in a “In the Same Boat” youtube trailer here:

Tonight, after practice – the Gung Haggis team had a dinner social at The Clubhouse japanese restaurant.

I showed dvd's of the documentaries we had been involved in previously.
It was great fun to identify the paddlers who were on the teams in
2005, 2006 and 2007.  Some are still with us, some are paddling on
other teams.  We could also compare and contrast our paddling styles. 
I do believe that our 2009 team is good and strong.  We have a group of
core paddlers that has improved a lot since 2005.  And we have some
great rookies and second year paddlers now too!

“Thalassa” is the 2005 TV series produced by France 3, which
followed False Creek Women's Team and Gung Haggis Fat Choy –
contrasting the premier Women's team with a mixed recreational team. 
You can see us doing race visualizations, and even our one-finger lift
of then coach Bob Brinson who also steered for us.

In 2006, CBC film crew shot us at the Vancouver Taiwanese Dragon Boat
Race for the documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy.  Basically
the story was about my great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan and his
descendants – 5
generations of Chinese Canadians including Todd Wong.  So they
interviewed me, and filmed some of my many  community activities
including dragon boat racing, speaking at Terry Fox Runs, being a
cancer survivor, helping to save author Joy Kogawa's Childhood home,
and the cross-cultural phenomena of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, Toddish
McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

And we also showed
footage of the 2007 Dragon Zone Sprint Regatta, captured by ZDF TV
(German) for the doc – From Toronto to Vancouver by Train.  Not much
footage actually made it into the aired edits – but ZDF was kind enough
to make me a dvd with all the footage of our team.

See everybody on Saturday
Please arrive early with your wristband… and get lots of sleep the night before!

Cheers, Todd

Gung Haggis Fat Choy team prepares for last practice before the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festiival June 20/21

It's the last practice before the race: Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

2009_June_Dragonboats 012 by Toddish McWong.

Gung Haggis team line up at the Dragon Zone regatta on June 6th – photo Todd Wong

The Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival is the largest in North America. Dragon boat racing began in Vancouver BC, when the Hong Kong pavillion at Expo 86 donated 4 teak boats to the City of Vancouver.  I started attending the festivals for the great entertainment and shows.  It wasn't until 1993 that I first joined a team and started paddling.

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has been racing at Alcan Dragon Boat Festival since 2002.  Prior to that I coached and paddled on many different teams at the novice, recreation and competitive levels.  The Gung Haggis team emphasizes fun, fitness and multiculturalism.  That's why we wear our kilts while paddling a Chinese dragon boat tradition.

We have been asked to participate in two film documentaries.  One is a feature film titled “In the Same Boat”, directed by Alfonso Chin and produced by Jacqueline Liu for Rosetta Entertainment.  Alfonso used to paddle for the CC Riders team, and our paddler/drummer Keng Graal used to be one of his teachers.

2009_June_Dragonboats 007 by Toddish McWong Katie, rookie Gung Haggis paddler is interviewed for “In the Same Boat” dragon boat documentary film – photo T.Wong

The second film is a multi-part series called “Chinatown Canada” produced by Kerri Beattie of Image Pacific.  They will be interviewing me about Vancouver Chinatown, and filming our Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team in action, as one of the cultural off shoots of Chinatown.

We are having our final pre-race practice tonight  5:45 to 7:30pm at
Dragon Zone (50 paces south of Science World – at the Green Trailer

We will be working out our final race strategies, and finalizing seating arrangements.  Some of the paddlers have been away, but have returned just in time.  We have four brand new paddlers who raced their first races ever in May and June.  We have two more brand new paddlers who have yet to experience a full race with 7 or more boats. 

Our core veterans have been with the team for 4 years or more.  We have added some paddlers who have experience with other teams.  This could be the best Gung Haggis team ever.  But our roles at drummer and steers are not settled yet, and we might be rotating people.

Tonight after a debriefing… we are having a team social at “The Clubhouse
Restaurant” on West 2nd – across from City TV, and on the same block as
Bazzaar Novelty.

There is a dvd machine in the upstairs party room.
I will be showing documentary footage of the team from
France 3 “Thalassa” 2005
CBC Generations: The Chan Legacy 2006
ZDF “From Toronto to Vancouver by Train” 2007
but not from the 2008 Global News “Best of BC”

Vancouver Storytelling at Main St. Car Free Days – with Toddish McWong

Photo Library - 2614 by you.

Toddish McWong, telling stories at 2008 Celtic Fest for the Battle of the Bards, and reading Robert Burns poetry – photo D. Martin.

Vancouver Storytelling at Main St. Car Free Days, with Todd Wong

I have been asked by Vancouver Storytellers, to give a storytelling performance

Location: located on the West Side at 18th.; on a grassy
island set back from Main Street.  We are beside a tiny mall with
a Pizza Hut.

It is Car Free Days starts at 12 noon at the following locations.
Commercial Drive (between Venables and 1st Ave.)
Denman St. (between Davie and Robson)
Main St. (between 12th and 25th)
Kitsilano (various neighborhood block parties)

I will tell stories of early Chinese & Scottish pioneers in BC,

I will look down Main Street towards Chinatown and tell stories about my
great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan, who came to Canada in 1896 as a lay preacher for
the Chinese Methodist Church….  

I will tell stories about how James Douglas was born in Guyana to a Scottish father and a Creole mother, and came to BC to become the first governor of BC.

I will look south to the Fraser River, and recount how Simon Fraser was born in the United States, came to Canada with his Loyalist mother, and travelled through Western Canada, to explore this Westernmost land and named it New Caledonia.

I will the origins of Gung Haggis Fat Choy

  • in 1993, when I first wore a kilt for the SFU, Robbie Burns Day celebrations
  • in 1998, with a small private dinner for 16 people in a living room
  • how it has grown into an annual Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner serving 550 people
  • and spun off a CBC TV performance special
  • The SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival, by SFU Recreation department.

3 Asian Canadians appointed to new BC Liberal Cabinet: Ida Chong, John Yap and Naomi Yamamoto

Ida Chong, John Yap and Naomi Yamamoto were all appointed to BC Cabinet, creating the largest Asian representation ever, along with  Kash Heed who is South Asian.


Naomi Yamamoto, the first Japanese-Canadian, is sworn into the new BC Cabinet on June 10th 2009, by Hon. Steven Point, the first Aboriginal BC Lt. Governor.

Ida Chong (Oak Bay)
Minister of Healthy Living and Sport.

Chong is the first Canadian born Chinese-Canadian BC MLA.  Previously she had been minister
of small business, technology and economic development and minister
responsible for the Asia-Pacific Initiative in the last term.  I first met Ida at the BC Community Achievement Awards last April.  In August, Ida and I were two of 16 BCers voted into the BC Royal Museum's “The Party” display for the “Free Spirit” exhibit celebrating the 150th Anniversary of BC.  see:
Royal BC Museum invites 6 new people to “The Party”

John Yap
(Richmond Steveston)
Minister of State for Climate Action.

Yap was born in Singapore.  He has been active with many community organizations.  Our paths have crossed with his support of the Chinese Canadian veterans of Pacific Unit 280.

Naomi Yamamoto
(North Vancouver Lonsdale)
Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations.

The first ever Japanese-Canadian MLA in BC.  Naomi's parents had been interned during WW2.  She beat out Don Bell, the former North Vancouver District Mayor and Member Parliament for the constituency nomination.  Active in the North Shore community, she has been president and manager of the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce for the past 2 years, and has also previously been chair of the BC Chamber of Commerce.  While I've never met Naomi, I have known her sister Donna for many years through her theatre work.

Kash Heed
(Vancouver Fraserview)
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

Heed is a Simon Fraser University alumnus where he
completed his BA and MA at Simon Fraser University part-time.  Formerly with the Vancouver Police Department, he was appointed Chief of the West Vancouver Police Department in 2007.  While with the Vancouver Police, he was also head of the drug
squad, led the Indo-Canadian gang task force and launched the COMPSTAT
system, using computer technology to track crime.

Missing cabinet after winning 3 straight election is Richard T. Lee (Burnaby North).

I'll try to identify the Scottish-Canadians appointed to cabinet – but it's a harder task because the while Mac's are usually Scottish and Mc's are usually Irish, they are sometimes interchanged.  Many Scottish-Canadians don't necessarily disclose their Scottish ancestry because Scots have long been part of BC's mainstream political culture and history.  First BC Governor James Douglas' father was Scottish, even though Douglas himself was born in Guyana to a mother who was a Free Black.  Current BC Premier Gordon Campbell claims Scottish ancestry, though I have yet to find a picture of him wearing a kilt.

See links:

Canadian Press: List of BC cabinet ministers

Vancouver Sun: New cabinet to secure BC's economic, fiscal, environmental and …

North Shore Outlook – Rookie MLA Yamamoto earns seat on cabinet

Georgia Straight: Vancouver tops the charts in Premier Gordon Campbell's cabinet

Mixie and the Half-breeds is coming: A new theatrical play by Neworld Theatre

Mixie & the Half-breeds theatrical play tackles the issues of Asian ancestry in a Mixed Race Canada.

Many Canadians are of mixed heritage.  The Métis are mostly descended from First Nations and French-Canadian heritage.  But what if you are part Asian?

Adrienne Wong and Julie Tamiko Manning might consider themselves Hapa, or Hapa-Canadians, as they count Chinese and Japanese as part of their genetic and cultural heritage.

Many well known actors are Hapa, such as Keanu Reeves, Kristin Kreuk (Smallville), Meg Tilly, Jennifer Tilly, Dean Cain (Adventures of Lois and Clark), Jason Lee – the son of Bruce Lee(The Crow), and even Kate Beckinsale.   They all have Asian ancestry.

Piano performers Jon Kimura Parker, James Parker, and their cousin Ian Parker. Rocker David Usher is Hapa, as is Sean Ono Lennon – the son of John and Yoko.

Adrienne performed an excerpt from Mixie and the Half-Breeds at the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.   It was an inspired performance, perfect for an event that highlights cultural fusion.  She talked about growing up confronting the issues of belonging to this group or that group, but emphasizing her own uniqueness.  AND… Adrienne congratulated ALL the “Mixies” in the audience and threw licorice Twizzlers to them!

I've known both Adrienne and Julie for a number of years, and seen them both perform.  I am looking forward to this production which opens on June 19th, at the Vancouver East Cultural Lab.

mixie and the halfbreeds

By Adrienne Wong and Julie Tamiko Manning
Directed by Maiko Bae Yamamoto
Produced in partnership with the Powell Street Festival Society
June 18-28, 2009
The Vancity Culture Lab at The Cultch 1895 Venables Street.
Tickets available through Ticketmaster: 604-280-4444

Eggs, bananas and an aversion to rice.

estranged neighbours are not as different as they think. Haunted by
peroxide teeth and blondissima hair, Mixie and Trixie tackle a question
that has plagued mankind hrough the ages: do blondes really have more

A no-holds-barred identity throw-down, Mixie and the Halfbreeds is an optimistic tale for a remixed nation.

Wednesday – Saturday, 8:00pm
Free Preview June 18, 8:00pm

PWYC Matinees Saturday June 20 & Sunday June 28 2:00pm
Tickets $20/$18, plus applicable service charges

Part of See Seven! Pass Holders can reserve through Tickets Tonight: 604-684-2787

Ancillary Events
Post Show Talkback with Adrienne and Julie: Thursday June 25
Stay after the show for a chat with the cast.

Afternoon Discussion: Saturday June 20, after the matinee
Presented in partnership with the Powell Street Festival.
A discussion with mixed race artists of different disciplines about how
identity informs artistic practice and creative process. Marcus Youssef
moderates with panelists Julie Tamiko Manning (theatre), cellist Cris
Derksen and Jay Hirabayashi (Kokoro Dance).

Ukulele Sing-A-Long: Sunday June 28, after the matinee
Guido Heistek leads a post show jam. Novice and experienced strummers welcome. Bring your own ukulele or borrow one of ours.

Silent T shirt auction: local artists and crafters create unique designs inspired by MIXING. Featuring work by Natalie Purschwitz (,
CBC diva Margaret Gallagher, Adrienne Wong, Ruthie Sumiko Tabata and
Kirsty Munro. Shirts are on display in the lobby throughout the run.

Bowie says, ‘Iggy would have loved you my little china girl.’ And I
say, ‘shhh…’ and throw my drink in his face. ‘I’m Japanese you
moron!’ Then I wake up.