Toddish McWong: A Reflection of going to Scotland's Homecoming – as both stranger and friend.
Here are my accounts of last year's journey to Scotland. I had meant to
write more, but it was hard to find internet time. And sometimes we
are just too busy enjoying the journey.
There are opportunities gained and lost. I almost passed up on an invitation to attend a reception at Scottish Parliament where a life size picture of me was featured in the exhibit “This is Who We Are: Scots in Canada”.
November 30th weather is cold, and my budget was tight. But when would I ever get a chance to attend Scotland Homecoming? And my friend Harry McGrath who had organized the exhibit, wanted to introduce me to his friends.
Todd's first day in Scotland
Toddish McWong arrives in Scotland for inaugural visit and reception at Scottish Parliament for “This is Who We Are”
People sometimes ask me if I am part Scottish… I must be right? Why else would I be celebrating Robbie Burns Day and obsessing about all things Scottish?
The truth is I am 5th Generation Canadian of 100% Chinese ancestry.
And I have come to appreciate Canada's Scottish ancestry after having reluctantly first worn a kilt back in 1993. I was a tour guide for Simon Fraser University, so I knew that Simon Fraser had been born in Vermont, in the USA, before moving to Canada as a young lad. He joined the Hudson's Bay Trading Company, and explored Western Canada, naming an area New Caledonia, which is now BC's central interior new Prince George, near the head waters of the Fraser River. As far as I know, Simon Fraser never set foot in Scotland.
And I had never set foot in a country called China. Well, maybe… I had visited the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1980, and had visited Hong Kong. But it wasn't Beijing, Shanghai or Guangdong. It wasn't Mainland China where my ancestors had come from.
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy first began in 1998 with 16 people in a living room as a variation of a Chinese New Year Dinner for friends the previous year. But it has now become an extravanza of poetry, music and food for 400+.
When I was younger, I didn't want anything to do with Scotland. It reeked of the colonial vestiges of Canada's racist past. I was well acquainted with the laws that created the Chinese head tax and Exclusion Act that had limited Chinese immigration from 1885 to 1947.
Toddish McWong going to Burns Country
Toddish McWong returns to Canada after 7 days in Scotland