Author Archives: Todd

Chuck Davis' “History of Metropolitan Vancouver” mentions a Robbie Burns Dinner in Vancouver Chinatown

Chuck Davis' “History of Metropolitan Vancouver” mentions a Robbie Burns Dinner in Vancouver Chinatown

I am sorry to say that Chuck Davis never attended a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.

The
following entry in “The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver”,
1935, ISBN 978-1-55017-533-2 (2011 edition) at page 151 states as
follows:  (brought to my attention by David J. Bilinsky)


(entry for 1928)

ALSO
AUGUST 25 A statute of the famed Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-96)
was unveiled in Stanley Park by the Rt Hon. Ramsay Macdonald, the former
British Prime Minister.  The bronze and granite statute is an exact
replica of one standing  in Burns' birthplace in Ayrshire, Scotland
(Local Scots annually mark Robbie Burns Day on January 25, but it was in
the 1930's that fervour was particularly marked.  Even the Chinatown
Lions' Club organized an annual Burns dinner, complete with haggis
served with a sweet and sour sauce.)

Chuck and I knew each other though… I first encountered him many times at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, where he would often come to do research.  Later, I became involved with Chinese Canadian historical events and issues, and our paths would cross.  One time, we had a lengthy chat about the Janet Smith murder case, when a Scottish nanny was killed in Vancouver, and a Chinese house boy, was wrongfully accused of the murder, then later acquitted.

photo – photo Todd Wong
But Chuck did came to speak to the Vancouver Library workers during a historic
1st time ever strike – when I invited him to come out.  He was always very proud
that his book “The Vancouver Book” was the 2nd most stolen book at the
Vancouver Public Library.
photo – photo Todd Wong
I had organized an author's reading series for the CUPE 391 strikeline, inspired by 2 reasons.
1) Victoria author Terry Glavin had wanted to do research at VPL
2) a lot of community groups such as the Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra had booked the
community rooms at VPL, and could no longer have a space to do public programs.

photo
This picture was takenin 2009, to mark the 250th birthday of Robbie
Burns.  We also did a virtual wreath laying in “2nd Life” – organized by
Dr. Leith Davis – director of Centre for Scottish Studies SFU – who had
just flown into Vancouver YVR from Scotland, and came straight to our
ceremony.  That night at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner – she declared
it the best Burns Dinner she had ever attended – having spent the
previous week in Scotland attending many Burns Suppers.

Read the story of the event here:
250th Anniversary of Robert Burns recognized with poems at statue in Vancouver's Stanley Park

The Chinatown Lion Club dinners began at the Bamboo Terrace Restaurant
just over 50 years ago.  They continued for many years, many of them organized by
Vancouver lawyer Chuck Lew, but dwindled in recent years.  I attended
one of the dinners at Floata – possibly in 2009. We did a one time
merger…  maybe in 2010.  I asked Chuck about creating a 50th
Anniversary Robbie Burns Chinatown dinner for Vancouver Chinatown Lions
Club – but I don't think they ever had one…  He told me that it was
getting harder to organize… and even had asked me about organizing the
dinner for the Chinatown Lions Club – which I declined, in order to focus on Gung Haggis Fat Choy events.

For the record – Chinatown Lions Club always served the haggis
traditional style with sweet and sour sauce (or some kind of Chinese
sauce).  They never ventured into fusion cuisine.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinners have created a number of haggis-fusion-cuisine dishes –
including: deep fried haggis won-tons, deep fried haggis / seafood
dumplings, haggis won ton soup, haggis spring rolls, steamed haggis /
shrimp dumplings, steamed haggis / pork dumplings, haggis lettuce wrap.

Vancouver Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday + music and fun in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens

Vancouver Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday + music and fun in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens

Our parade dragon was part of the 2009 Cultural Olympiad Chinese Lunar New Year Celebrations at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Zodiac Courtyard at the Chinese Cultural Centre – organized by Qiu Xia He of Silk Road Music = photo Deb Martin

Friends can join me in the Chinese New Year Parade!!!
And help me carry my wee little parade dragon (5 people needed) – as I
am bringing it to walk with the “Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens” group.
Afterwards at 2:30 & 3:30 I am playing accordion at the Chinese
Gardens with my friends Black Bear Rebels celtic ceilidh group. Come
singalong in the Hall of One Hundred Rivers http://www.vancouverchinesegarden.com/calendar/Jan2012.htm

Vancouver Opera reviews Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event – turnabout not a Turandot!

Vancouver
Opera blog – gives a review of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
 - and shared
multicultural respect… This is great – usually I am the one to write
reviews of the opera on MY blog at www.gunghaggis.com
This definitely a turnabout but not a Turandot! – even though the Black Bear Rebels ceilidh group did play the Chinese folk song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower) which is the melody that Giacommo Pucinni pinched to use as the Princess Turandot them in his famous opera Turandot (hint: think Nessun Dorma)
http://vancouveropera.blogspot.com/2012/01/gung-haggis-fat-choy-salute-to.html

vancouveropera.blogspot.com

Marathon poetry reading of Robbie Burns Poetry @ SFU Harbour Centre

  • Pictures from the Robbie Burns Day, marathon of poetry reading… lots of great fun.

IMGP0824
Dr. Leith Davis – creator of the Marathon Poetry reading event at SFU Harbour Centre.  She is director of the Centre for Scottish Studies, SFU.  We pose by a small bronze replica of the Robbie Burns Statue in Stanley Park, created for the St. Andrews & Caledonian Society of Vancouver.

IMGP0757

three of Leith's students give a reading – look at the time clock!

IMGP0784
Storyteller Mary Gavan read some poetry, then enjoyed the haggis I served her.

IMGP0778
My friends Bruce and Bob also gave poetry readings.
IMGP0828
I have never seen a BIGGER HAGGIS.

IMGP0801
Everybody sings Auld Lang Syne for the ending

More Pictures on my flickr photo set

SFU Burns Marathon poetry reading

SFU Burns Marathon poetry…


http://www.flickr.com/photos/53803790@N00/sets/

Robert Burns poetry – marathon reading!!!

A world record for the longest continuous reading of Robert Burns poetry will be set in Vancouver on Burns Day January 25th

This special message from Leith Davis, director for the Centre for Scottish Studies, Simon Fraser University.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 7:04:12 PM
A reminder to come and join us to set a world record for a marathon reading of
Burns's work! Participants include: Andrew Petter, President of SFU; Christopher
Gaze, Artistic Director of Bard at the Beach; Bob Lenarduzzi, President of the
Vancouver Whitecaps and many more!

The procession, haggis addressing and official opening ceremony will start at 8:00
am. See you there!
Leith

Marathon Reading of Burns’s Poetry for Burns Day, 2012

8:00 am – 12:30 pm
Opening Program: 8:00 am
SFU Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings Street

The Centre for Scottish Studies invites you to join SFU's bid to set a world record
for the longest recitation of Robert Burns's poetry and songs. Join us in reciting
the work of Scotland's bard for 4.5 hours!

Click here to participate:
http://www.scottish.sfu.ca/events

This free event is open to the public so please come and cheer us on for the Robbie Burns Day celebration. There will be refreshments and entertainment for all!

Haggis, shortbread, coffee and tea will be served throughout the event.

*We would like to thank our sponsors of the event: The British Store; Goodricks Meat Products (New Westminster); and the West Coast Liquor Company (Vancouver); and Radio Dial Entertainment (Vancouver).

Enquiries: invite@sfu.ca or 778.782.5313

Dr. Leith Davis
Professor, Department of English
Director, Centre for Scottish Studies
AQ 6111
Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive
778 782-4833
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6
CANADA
http://www.sfu.ca/personal/leith/
http://www.scottish.sfu.ca/
—————–

Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

Announcing
the inaugural 
“Gung Haggis Fat Choy Intercultural Achievement Awards of
Awesomeness”
Congratulations to Vancouver Opera's James Wright,
Parliamentary poet laureate Fred Wah, and cultural organizer and poet
Jim Wong-Chu. These are people that inspire what we love in the BC Arts,
and what we create at Gung Haggis Fat Choy… and our intercultural
projects through the year.  Great that the Georgia Straight scooped this dinner highlight from our event last night.
 

Tetsuro
Shigematsu (far left) and Todd Wong (right) granted the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy Intercultural Awards of Awesomeness to Vancouver Opera's James
Wright, poet Fred Wah, and Ricepaper founder Jim Wong-Chu.

photo Charlie Smith


Georgia Straight: Gung Haggis Fat Choy at Floata rings in the Year of the Water Dragon

“Politicians of all stripes must have had other business in this
postelection malaise, as the 15th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year dinner went off without them.

The only person to note this was Scottish-born-and-raised local political veteran Margaret Birrell, who told the Straight that Scotland is likely to vote for independence from the U.K. in 2014.

Other than Birrell, nobody seemed to mind too much, as there was music, poetry, whisky, haggis, banter, and fun a-plenty.

Cohosts
Tetsuro Shigematso and Gung Haggis creator Todd “Toddish McWong” Wong
made sure the night was seamless at the Floata Restaurant in Chinatown,
which culminated in a cross-cultural Mandarin-English version of “Auld
Lang Syne” (“Youyi dichang-tianju”), traditionally used to sing in the
New Year in Scotland and elsewhere.”

read more at:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Vancouver Observer

Chinese New Year and the Robbie Burns Day: Gung Haggis dinner brings cultures together

by Benjamin Yong

next »
Photos by Benjamin Yong
“We
give substance — we don’t just pay lip service to multiculturalism,”
said [Todd] Wong, a fifth-generation Chinese Canadian. “You see the
musicians, the performers and the food, and everything flows so
naturally.”

The idea was born when Wong was still a student at
Simon Fraser University in the early 1990s and, as part of his duties as
a campus guide, was asked to carry the claymore (sword) in the Robbie
Burns (Scottish poet and writer) Day celebration. Since then, he has
championed all things Scottish and even joined a Celtic band called the
Black Bear Rebels who performed that evening.

Thank yous for and from Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Thank you everybody for performing / attending / volunteering at Gung Haggis Fat Choy

It was a really fun night… one of the most least stressed events…

And immediately after Carl Schmidt – who has been sound tech since 2005 – his 8th year in a row… said:
“This was the best one yet”

Great chemistry with co-host Tetsuro
wonderful readings by Fred, Larry and Jim (even though Jim didn't know we were going to be reading his poem!!!)
but hey – it's the 15th anniversary dinner. 

The introductions were less rushed… and very good.
It was great to segue from O Canada, to a parliamentary poet….
from counting down Chinese New year in a different time zone – to celebratory music.
stories about food in Chinatown, while ate food in Chinatown…
and so much more!

And the production would never have happened without volunteer and supporters….
Thank you for decorating the room
setting up the tables
hosting the reception tables,
seeing people to their tables
registering subscriptions
selling raffle tix
bringing up the prizes
carrying the dragon!

Everything seemed to flow well…
I saw people selling tix, carrying the signs
soooo… everything worked.

So many people came up to me, to say 3 things:
1) they loved/liked the event
2) they liked the information we gave out
4) they liked being par of a multicultural community

Thank you again for supporting this event
Believing in what we do
and investing your time and energy.

Much appreciation, cheers, Todd

Happy Chinese New Year's Eve

Happy Chinese New Year's Eve
to all my friends across the Country….


Especially Halya Kuchmij, who directed the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy – about our family's 5+ generation contributions to Canada, and who is going to call us onstage at tonight's Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, as we celebrate Year of the Dragon arriving in Toronto! 

And also especially to writer Susan Crean who was our recent writer in residence at Historic Joy Kogawa House and helped encourage me to come to Toronto for a Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner… as Deb & I chatted with Susan on her last night in Vancouver after her residency, when we took her for dinner at Wild Rice restaurant at the edge of Vancouver Chinatown.

And to all our friends and family in Victoria, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Sasketchewan (like my cousin Janice Wong's mother), and even in the USA in Portland and Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Los angeles and New York City… and over in Hong Kong… and Scotland, where I had such a great time in Edinburgh for Homecoming Year 2009.

Tickets sales now closed for Gung Haggis Fat Choy

The Firehall Box Office is now closed for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event.

Thank you for purchasing your tickets in advance.

If you would still like to attend the dinner – You will have to contact event producer Todd Wong for a wait list, and purchase tix directly from him prior to the event – if there is room.   Contact Todd Wong at 778-846-7090

Our Box Office closes at 2pm Saturday, to help us facilitate seating arrangements for the event.  Priority seating is given in order of ticket purchase.  The earlier you purchased your ticket, the closer to the stage, your seats will be – then somebody who purchased tickets on the last day of sale.

All reserved tables of 10 will be included in the “Calling of the Clans”

Tomorrow night is going to be fun – see you there!