Dr. Jan Walls honoured by Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC

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Dr. Jan Walls was honoured by the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC

 

Saturday, March 5, 2011, 6:00 PM

Foo’s Ho Ho Restaurant,

102 East Pender Street, Vancouver.

Dr. Jan Walls is professor emeritus, scholar, founding director

David Lam Centre SFU, founding director CCHS,

and renown clapper tale expert.  The event followed the 5pm annual general meeting of the CCHS BC

After a delicious dinner, the pan-asian comedy troupe Assauled Fish, performed some delightful comedy sketches with references to Tiger moms, and Maclean's “Too Asian” article.   Then then launched into a rap tribute to Dr. Jan Walls.

I attended with my friends Allan Cho and Justine Tse.  Allan was elected to the position of vice-president after serving on the CCHS board for the past 2 years, he is also currently president of Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop and I am vice-president.  Justin was just elected to our ACWW Board, so it was great for us to sit together along with Jim Wong-Chu, a founding member of the ACWW.

I like the CCHS.  It is a great way to promote Chinese Canadian history, and I have participated in many of the organization's projects such as history fairs and writing workshops.  CCHS is a very natural element for Todd Wong to be
in, as I have so many connections and family.  My maternal cousin Hayne Wai is a founding director and past president.  My maternal 2nd cousin Janice Wong has been a guest speaker and presenter for the writing workshops.   Knowing people at each
table, and their connections to Chinese Canadian history is important.

When MC Dr. Henry Yu asked members of the audience to say something about the honoured guest, I was the second person to speak.

I thanked Dr. Jan Walls for his contribution to past Gung Haggis Fat Choy events.

He brings a real “chinese” element of mandarin language skill and scholarship that I cannot.  We have participated together in the opening event of the SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival in 2005, organized by the SFU Recreation and Athletic Department.  This event was based on my Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event, and designed to bring together the large Asian student population with the University's Scottish traditions.

Jan has performed his clapper tales at Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners, and I retold the story of when I had him lined up for his first performance with Gung Haggis, he had to call me and regretfully cancel.  He had told me he had been looking forward to it, but it was a tough decision to make  – because he had been invited by Yo-Yo Ma to be a performer at a very special event organized by Boston University.  Of course, we said he had to go to Boston and wish him luck!

Jan has become a friend over the years and we have enjoyed many events together.  Not just Chinese, or Gung Haggis Fat Choy – but also Scottish!

Dr. Walls and I performed during “Tartan Week” at a poetry
and music event – it was organized by Dr. Leith Davies, director of the
Centre for Scottish Studies SFU, as part of a conference.  “Burns in
Trans-Atlantic Context”.  attended by some of the best scholars in the
world, on Robert Burns.  And Dr. Walls performed a clapper tale version
of Burns' poem
“John Barleycorn.”

When the Vancouver Sun came out a few
years ago, with a story about the 100 most influential Chinese Canadians
in BC – my blogger friend David Wong and I both wrote letters and blog
stories, criticizing the article for including non-Canadian Chinese
working in BC, and leaving out valid Canadians of Chinese ancestry.  We
also mentioned non-Chinese like Jan Walls and Dr. Edgar Wickberg who
have made important contributions to Chinese Canadian history and
culture.

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