Category Archives: CBC TV Special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”

Generations: The Chan Legacy on CBC Newsworld. July 29th – 4pm and midnight

Generations: The Chan Legacy on CBC Newsworld.
July 29th – 4pm and midnight

The
Chan Legacy is the lead episode in the new documentary series
Generations on CBC Newsworld.  It debuted on July 4th – my grandmother's 97th birthday.

How fitting!  Because the show is about her grand-father Rev. Chan Yu Tan who came to Canada in 1896 as a Christian missionary.

Feedback
has been very positive.  Family members are very proud.  Friends are
very supportive.  Historians are enthusiastic. Strangers are thrilled.

Listen to Auntie Helen and Uncle Victor tell stories about Rev. and Mrs. Chan, and about growing up in pre-WW2 BC, and facing racial discrimination.  Uncle Victor Wong also tells about enlisting as a Canadian soldier to go behind enemy lines in the Pacific for suicide squadrons, fighting for Canada, even though Chinese-Canadians could not vote in the country of their birth.

The next generations assimiliated more easily into Canadian culture.  Gary Lee became an actor and singer.  Janice Wong became a visual artist and author of the book CHOW: From China to Canada – memories of food and family, which addressed the history of Rev. Chan coming to Canada, and how Janice's dad started a Chinese restaurant in Prince Albert SK.

Then there is Todd Wong – cultural and community activist who founded Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner – which inspired a CBC Vancouver television performance special.  Todd is shown active in the dragon boat community, and speaking at a Terry Fox Run in the role of a 16 year cancer survivor.  Renowned Japanese-Canadian author Joy Kogawa makes an appearance, as Todd was also involved in helping to save Kogawa's childhood home from demolition and to turn it into a national historic and literary landmark.

July 29th Sunday – repeats at midnight

  4:00 p.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

J

Kilts and family history abound during two episodes of the 6-part Generations series on CBC Newsworld

Kilts and family history abound during two episodes of the 6-part Generations series on CBC Newsworld

Find
out what a 250 year old Anglophone family in Quebec City and a 120 year
old Chinese-Canadian family in Vancouver have in common.

Both have:
bagpipes and kilts
+ accordion music
+ canoe/dragon boat racing
+ immigration as a topic
+ Church music
+ archival photos/newsreels of an ex-premier
+ cultural/racial discrimination stories
+ prominent Canadian historical events to show how
   the families embraced them or were challenged by them
+ both featured saving a historical literary landmark.
+ younger generation learning the non-English language

Generations: The Chan Legacy features Todd Wong, founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a quirky Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, which inspired a CBC Vancouver television performance special.  Todd's involvements with Terry Fox Run, Joy Kogawa House campaign and dragon boat racing are also shown.

July 29th 4pm PST / July 30th 12am

4:00 p.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

August 5th 4pm PST

4:00 p.m. Generations: The Blairs of Quebec
– An Anglophone family with 250 years of history in Quebec City struggles to maintain it's heritage.
Generations: The Blairs of Quebec


July 4, 10 pm ET/PT, July 8 10 am ET, July 29, 7 pm ET
The
documentary begins with Todd Wong playing the accordion, wearing a
kilt. He promotes cultural fusion, and in doing so, he honours the
legacy of his great, great, grandfather Reverend Chan Yu Tan. The Chans
go back seven generations in Canada and are one of the oldest families
on the West Coast.
Chan family
The Chan family
Reverend
Chan and his wife Wong Chiu Lin left China for Victoria in 1896 at a
time when most Chinese immigrants were simple labourers, houseboys and
laundrymen who had come to British Columbia to build the railroad or
work in the mines. The Chans were different. They were educated and
Westernized Methodist Church missionaries who came to convert the
Chinese already in Canada, and teach them English. The Chans were a
family with status and they believed in integration. However even they
could not escape the racism that existed at the time, the notorious
head tax and laws that excluded the Chinese from citizenship.
In
the documentary, Reverend Chan's granddaughter Helen Lee, grandson
Victor Wong, and great grandson Gary Lee recall being barred from
theaters, swimming pools and restaurants. The Chinese were not allowed
to become doctors or lawyers, pharmacists or teachers. Still, several
members of the Chan family served in World War II, because they felt
they were Canadian and wanted to contribute. Finally, in 1947, Chinese
born in Canada were granted citizenship and the right to vote.

Today,
Todd Wong, represents a younger generation of successful professionals
and entrepreneurs scattered across North America. He promotes his own
brand of cultural integration through an annual event in Vancouver
called Gung Haggis Fat Choy. It's a celebration that joins Chinese New
Year with Robbie Burns Day, and brings together the two cultures that
once lived completely separately in the early days of British Columbia.

We
also meet a member of the youngest generation, teenager Tracey Hinder,
who also cherishes the legacy of Reverend Chan, but in contrast to his
desire to promote English she is studying mandarin and longs to visit
the birthplace of her ancestors.

Produced by Halya Kuchmij, narrated by Michelle Cheung.

July 11, 10 pm ET/PT, July 15, 10 am ET, August 5, 7 pm ET

For
250 years, the Blair family has been part of the Protestant Anglophone
community of Quebec City. The Anglophones were once the dominant
cultural and economic force in the city, but now they are a tiny
minority, and those who have chosen to stay have had to adapt to a very
different world. Louisa Blair guides us through the story of her
family, which is also the story of a community that had to change.
Ronnie Blair
Ronnie Blair

The
senior member of the family today is Ronnie Blair. He grew up in
Quebec, but like generations of Blairs before him, he worked his way up
the corporate ladder in the Price Company with the lumber barons of the
Saguenay. Ronnie Blair's great grandfather came to the Saguenay from
Scotland in 1842. Ronnie's mother was Jean Marsh. Her roots go back to
the first English families to make Quebec home after British troops
defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The Marsh family
amassed a fortune in the shoe industry in Quebec City.

The
Marshes and the Blairs were part of a privileged establishment that
lived separately from the Catholics and the Francophones, with their
own churches and institutions. The Garrison Club for instance, is a
social club that is still an inner sanctum for Quebec's Anglo
businessmen.

Blair family
The Blair family

Work took Ronnie Blair and his family to England in the 1960’s but his
children longed to return to Canada, and to Quebec City. Alison Blair
was the first to return, as a student, in 1972. Her brother David
followed in 1974. Both were excited by the political and social changes
that had taken place during the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and threw
themselves into everything Francophone. David learned to speak French,
married a French Canadian and settled into a law practice.

Then
came the Referendum of 1995, a painful moment in the history of the
Anglophone community, and for the passionate Blairs. But David decided
he was in Quebec to stay, and today his children are bilingual and
bicultural. More recently his sister Louisa also returned to Quebec
City and a desire to rediscover her past led her to write a book
called, The Anglos, the Hidden Face of Quebec. Her daughter is also is
growing up bilingual and bicultural, representing a new generation
comfortable in both worlds.

Produced by Jennifer Clibbon and Lynne Robson.

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY: The CBC TV special – summaries and video clip – view the origin of Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Toddish McWong

This
is an update of a previous article… but I thought you would like to
see it in its present form.  Yes… I am planning a Toronto
version of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner
and hope to show the CBC tv performance special at the dinner,
tentative for February 2007.  Silk Road Music will be performing
at the Toronto dinner, and I hope that we can arrange for George
Sapounidis to travel from Ottawa to Toronto too!


 

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY: 
The CBC TV special – summaries and video clip
– view the origin of Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Toddish McWong




Robbie Burns Day meets Chinese New Year. 
Two separate cultures. 
Nothing in common. 
Everything in common.

View this video clip from the CBC television performance
special “GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY.”  The 30 minute show was created in
the fall of 2003 on a small budget, and debuted on January 24th, and
25th, 2004.



Gung Haggis Fat Choy – View Clip

Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Chinese New
Year. Robbie Burns Supper. Gung Haggis Fat Choy fuses the two unique
cultural events in a celebration of music, dance and tradition.
Featuring performances by The Paperboys and Silk Road Music.  A CBC Television production.

It was produced by CBC, who hired Moyra Rodger, and directed by Moyra with Ken
Stewart.  It was amazing to join them on the different sets as
they filmed them.  I did get paid by CBC as a consultant, and for
use of the television rights for the name “Gung Haggis Fat Choy.”

The show blended together stories, music and dance from Chinese and
Scottish cultures to highlight both Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New
Year celebrations.  I was involved in the planning stages, as well
as being filmed for the “Origins of Gung Haggis Fat Choy”
segment which featured me donning a Scottish outfit, adjusting the
buckles of the kilt, and the “flashes” which hold up the socks.

“Only one student volunteered to carry the haggis for the Robbie Burns
Celebration at Simon Fraser University” says the narrator retelling a
short version of how I first developed the “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”
concept.  Check my version of the origins here: http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/blog/OriginsofGungHaggisFatChoy/_archives/2004/1/16/14225.html

There was a strong belief to ensure that each segment had something
Chinese and something Scottish in each of the music performance
segments.   Also featured was a cartoon segment about poet
Robert Burns, with Monty Pythonesque animation style.  And on the
serious side… a straight reading of Burns' “Address to a Haggis” by
ex-Scotsman Neil Gray, a non-professional actor but loyal fan of The
Goon Show, and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners since 2002.

Every segment was short and quick paced.  Information preceded
each musical performance, giving background on not only Scottish and
Canadian culture, but also on Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  Archival film
footage highlighted a segment about the making of haggis. 
Archival film footage of Vancouver's Chinatown during its heyday during
the neon nightclub years from the 1950's and 1960's featuring long gone
restaurants and dinner nightclubs such as the Bamboo Terrace and the
Marco Polo.

A simulated Chinese New Year dinner featured my
bagpiper friend Joe McDonald, my parents, grandmother, girlfriend,
friend Don Montgomery with his two young children, and friends Ray and
Ula.  Typical Chinese New Year food dishes were served as well as
traditional haggis.  Joe wore his full Scottish regalia outfit
complete with bear skin hat, while I wore my beautiful Chinese
jacket.  This was a fun segment to film.  My father passed
out li-see, lucky money red envelops, to pass out to the children and
young single adults.  We actually had four generations
represented.  My grand mother, my parents, my friends, and my
friend Don and his two young children who are actually half-Chinese and
half-Caucasian.  It was a perfect example of what Gung Haggis Fat
Choy is about… blending Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian
cultures and bloodlines.  In fact, all my maternal cousins have
married Caucasian partners, and our family dinners feature little Hapa
children running around laughing and playing together.

The PAPERBOYS
were filmed outside in October at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen
Chinese Classical Garden.  This was the first music video ever
filmed in the gardens, which were designed by my architect cousin Joe
Wai.  This was exciting to watch being filmed because bagpiper Tim
Fanning (aka Constable Tim Fanning of the Vancouver Police Department)
and Chinese flautist Jin Min-Pang were added to Paperboys lineup. 
This segment is an instrumental but filled with lots of great
energy.  The premise is imagining what would happen if a Chinese
flautist accidently meets a Scottish bagpiper in a Chinese Classical
Garden where a Celtic-Canadian band is playing… just the normal
Canadian thing in intercultural Vancouver… happens all the time…
really!

SILK ROAD MUSIC
is lead by Qiu Xia He and her husband Andre Thibault, who lovingly
refers to her as “the boss.”  They are joined in this segment by
Willy on vocals, Zhimin Yu on Roan, and a Chinese vocalist.  The
segment was filmed on Vancouver Chinatown's Keefer St.  It was a
chilly November evening when we filmed at night.  One store stayed
open late so we could film using its contents and site as the props and
the set.  The segment also features archival footage of
1950's/1960's Vancouver Chinatown with all its neon lights as
b-roll.  It's a great segment sung in both Mandarin Chinese and
English.
 

JOE MCDONALD
has been the “Official Gung Haggis Fat Choy” bagpiper
since 2001, when the dinner only served 100 people.  For 2002, he
joined me on an invterview on national CBC Radio with host Bill
Richardson.  It was only natural to bring him into the CBC
television performance special.  Joe performs with his band “Brave
Waves” supplemented by singer Sharon Hung,
performing an uptempo
version of Auld Lang Syne.  Sharon is great singing… everybody
asks “Who is the Chinese girl singing?” Joe has become a good musical
friend since 2001, as has Sharon.  Both of them have performed at
many Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners since our first meeting.  Sharon
also performed with me for First Night Vancouver on Dec 31, 2004.

GEORGE SAPOUNIDIS
is the Greek-Canadian who sings in Mandarin.  He is a big hit in
Shanghai, and Chinese women literally “scream” a la Elvis at this mild
mannered statistician from Ottawa.  George was a volunteer
translator for the Chinese Olympic team in Athens 2004. In 2005 CTV
made a television documentary about him titled “Chairman George.” In the CBC tv special, Chinese fan dancers from the Vancouver Academy of Dance
in a spectacular sequence which features the dancers and their fans,
while a male voice sings in Mandarin Chinese.  The fans slowly
reveal the mysterious face of the singing White man.

Links for the featured performers are:

For more stories about the GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY television performance special click on: 

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY: The CBC TV special – summaries and video clip – view the origin of Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Toddish McWong


 

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY: 
The CBC TV special – summaries and video clip
– view the origin of Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Toddish McWong



Robbie Burns Day meets Chinese New Year. 
Two separate cultures. 
Nothing in common. 
Everything in common.

View this video clip from the CBC television performance
special “GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY.”  The 30 minute show was created in
the fall of 2003 on a small budget, and debuted on January 24th, and
25th, 2004.  It recieved two nominations for Leo Awards for Best Musical/Variety, and Best Direction for Musical/ Variety.



Gung Haggis Fat Choy – View Clip

Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Chinese New
Year. Robbie Burns Supper. Gung Haggis Fat Choy fuses the two unique
cultural events in a celebration of music, dance and tradition.
Featuring performances by The Paperboys and Silk Road Music.  A CBC Television production.

It was produced by CBC who hired Moyra Rodger to produce and it was directed by Moyra with Ken
Stewart.  It was amazing to join them on the different sets as
they filmed each segment.  I did get paid by CBC as a consultant, and for
use of the television rights for the name “Gung Haggis Fat Choy.”

The show blended together stories, music and dance from Chinese and
Scottish cultures to highlight both Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New
Year celebrations.  I was involved in the planning stages, as well
as being filmed for the “Origins of Gung Haggis Fat Choy”
segment which featured me donning a Scottish outfit, adjusting the
buckles of the kilt, and the “flashes” which hold up the socks.

“Only one student volunteered to carry the haggis for the Robbie Burns
Celebration at Simon Fraser University” says the narrator retelling a
short version of how I first developed the “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”
concept.  Check my version of the origins here: http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/blog/OriginsofGungHaggisFatChoy/_archives/2004/1/16/14225.html

There was a strong belief to ensure that each segment had something
Chinese and something Scottish in each of the music performance
segments.   Also featured was a cartoon segment about poet
Robert Burns, with Monty Pythonesque animation style.  And on the
serious side… a straight reading of Burns' “Address to a Haggis” by
ex-Scotsman Neil Gray, a non-professional actor but loyal fan of The
Goon Show, and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners since 2002.

Every segment was short and quick paced.  Information preceded
each musical performance, giving background on not only Scottish and
Canadian culture, but also on Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  Archival film
footage highlighted a segment about the making of haggis. 
Archival film footage of Vancouver's Chinatown during its heyday during
the neon nightclub years from the 1950's and 1960's featuring long gone
restaurants and dinner nightclubs such as the Bamboo Terrace and the
Marco Polo.

A simulated Chinese New Year dinner featured my
bagpiper friend Joe McDonald, my parents, grandmother, girlfriend,
friend Don Montgomery with his two young children, and friends Ray and
Ula.  Typical Chinese New Year food dishes were served as well as
traditional haggis.  Joe wore his full Scottish regalia outfit
complete with bear skin hat, while I wore my beautiful Chinese
jacket.  This was a fun segment to film.  My father passed
out li-see, lucky money red envelops, to pass out to the children and
young single adults.  We actually had four generations
represented.  My grand mother, my parents, my friends, and my
friend Don and his two young children who are actually half-Chinese and
half-Caucasian.  It was a perfect example of what Gung Haggis Fat
Choy is about… blending Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian
cultures and bloodlines.  In fact, all my maternal cousins have
married Caucasian partners, and our family dinners feature little Hapa
children running around laughing and playing together.

The PAPERBOYS
were filmed outside in October at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen
Chinese Classical Garden.  This was the first music video ever
filmed in the gardens, which were designed by my architect cousin Joe
Wai.  This was exciting to watch being filmed because bagpiper Tim
Fanning (aka Constable Tim Fanning of the Vancouver Police Department)
and Chinese flautist Jin Min-Pang were added to Paperboys lineup. 
This segment is an instrumental but filled with lots of great
energy.  The premise is imagining what would happen if a Chinese
flautist accidently meets a Scottish bagpiper in a Chinese Classical
Garden where a Celtic-Canadian band is playing… just the normal
Canadian thing in intercultural Vancouver… happens all the time…
really!

SILK ROAD MUSIC
is lead by Qiu Xia He and her husband Andre Thibault, who lovingly
refers to her as “the boss.”  They are joined in this segment by
Willy on vocals, Zhimin Yu on Roan, and a Chinese vocalist.  The
segment was filmed on Vancouver Chinatown's Keefer St.  It was a
chilly November evening when we filmed at night.  One store stayed
open late so we could film using its contents and site as the props and
the set.  The segment also features archival footage of
1950's/1960's Vancouver Chinatown with all its neon lights as
b-roll.  It's a great segment sung in both Mandarin Chinese and
English.
 

JOE MCDONALD
has been the “Official Gung Haggis Fat Choy” bagpiper
since 2001, when the dinner only served 100 people.  For 2002, he
joined me on an invterview on national CBC Radio with host Bill
Richardson.  It was only natural to bring him into the CBC
television performance special.  Joe performs with his band “Brave
Waves” supplemented by singer Sharon Hung,
performing an uptempo
version of Auld Lang Syne.  Sharon is great singing… everybody
asks “Who is the Chinese girl singing?” Joe has become a good musical
friend since 2001, as has Sharon.  Both of them have performed at
many Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners since our first meeting.  Sharon
also performed with me for First Night Vancouver on Dec 31, 2004.

GEORGE SAPOUNIDIS
is the Greek-Canadian who sings in Mandarin.  He is a big hit in
Shanghai, and Chinese women literally “scream” a la Elvis at this mild
mannered statistician from Ottawa.  George was a volunteer
translator for the Chinese Olympic team in Athens 2004. In 2005 CTV
made a television documentary about him titled “Chairman George.” In the CBC tv special, Chinese fan dancers from the Vancouver Academy of Dance
in a spectacular sequence which features the dancers and their fans,
while a male voice sings in Mandarin Chinese.  The fans slowly
reveal the mysterious face of the singing White man.

Links for the featured performers are:

For more stories about the GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY television performance special click on: 

CBC Television Performance Special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” on February 9th – 7pm

7pm, on Wednesday February 9th – is the CBC Television performance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”

To
celebrated the dual holidays of Robbie Burns Day (January 25th) and
Chinese New Year in 2004 (January 24th), CBC Television in Vancouver
decided to produce a performance special based on the concepts of “Gung
Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year
Dinner.  This humble dinner event has grown from a 1998 dinner of
16 people to an incredibly entertaining dinner of 600 people in 2005,
co-hostedy by CBC Radio's Shelagh Rogers and attended by Vancouver's
mayor, city councilors and MLA's plus many other cultural and community
leaders.

This is  the re-broadcast of the 2004 performance
special that received nominations for 2 LEO Awards for best in
television in BC.  It was produced by Moyra Rogers of Out To See
Productions, and directed by both Moyra and Ken.

check out www.cbc.ca/bc

articles on this website about the special can be found at:
http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/blog/CBCTVSpecialGungHaggisFatChoy

Gung
Haggis Fat Choy has grown from a simple greeting in 1993, to a house
party in 1998, to a growing fundraiser dinner event (1999 – 2005) to a
CBC television performance special in 2004, a First Night Vancouver
featured musical performance and the Simon Fraser University Gung
Haggis Fat Choy “Canadian Games” recreation event.

At its heart
is the sense of inclusion between cultures.  We learn more about
our similarities by exploring our perceived differences.  As
Canada grows more intercultural through inter-racial marriages and the
new generations of multi-heritage Canadians, we must find ways to
celebrate our shared heritages. 

I hope you enjoy the show,
Todd Wong (aka Toddish McWong)
Creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy

CBC website features Gung Haggis Fat Choy website and event picture!

CBC website features Gung Haggis Fat Choy website and event picture!

CBC must like Gung Haggis Fat Choy!
Here is a picture
of  Sounds Like Canada host Shelagh Rogers with Todd Wong and Tom
Chin, taken by Boris Mann at the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner.

CBC British Columbia celebrates the Lunar New Year
in both radio and television.  There will be a morning radio broadcast
direct from Floata Chinese Restaurant on Chinese New Year morning and
of course… the CBC Television Performance Special Gung Haggis Fat
Choy airs February 9 at 7pm.

Toddish McWong meets George Sapounidis – featured in the CBC tv special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”

Toddish McWong meets George Sapounidis


George Sapounidis
was the one featured performer in the CBC television
special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” that I hadn't met – until tonight. 
He is the Montreal-born Greek Canadian who spends most of his time
working as a statistican in Ottawa, but remarkably has become a popular
Mandarin singer in China.

George arrived in Vancouver this weekend to perform in February 4th
& 5th Spring Festival concerts at Burnaby's Michael J. Fox Theatre
and Simon Fraser University, organized by impressario Lily King. 
King, who speaks little English, has taken Canadian performers such as
Sapounidis, Joe McDonald and Brave Waves, and Dr. Jan Walls to China to
show Chinese audiences the musical and cultural diversity of Canadian
performers, as well as how well some of the White Canadians speak and
perform in Chinese.

I arrived at the Michael J. Fox Theatre and immediately found George
Sapounidis standing just outside the hallway to the stage dressing
rooms.  “Todd Wong, wow! Finally…” says George. 

“George… wow! Finally…” says Todd.  I presented him with a
Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team t-shirt.  George is
thrilled.  After performing in the CBC television special “Gung
Haggis Fat Choy”, and now finally meeting the creator that inspired the
show – it is like George is finally being inducted into the Gung Haggis
Fat Choy club. 

We like each other immediately. George speaks
enthusiastically about the concepts of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, crossing
intercultural boundaries.  I explain to him the nature of my
families 7 generations in Canada and how my cousin's grandchildren are
now only 1/4 Chinese.  “The future of Canada,” I say, ” needs to
celebrate dual and the multi-heritages of their ancestors.  Gung
Haggis Fat Choy is a celebration of that inclusivity – where
multiculturalism only celebrates separate cultures… and usually
stereotypes at that.  I get to flip the stereotypes.”

George takes me to the dressing rooms to introduce me to Lily King, but
instead I bump into my friends Joe McDonald and Dr. Jan Walls – both of
whom just performed at the January 30th Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner
event at the Floata Restaurant.  Both Joe and Jan have told me
about Lily King, as has Opera Soprano Heather Pawsey.  Finally…
George finds Lily and we are introduced.  We exchange cards. 
She speaks little English, and I speak little Chinese. The show is
starting, and Lily must go out to the front.

Meanwhile backstage… I meet more of the English speaking
performers.  One is Gabrielle, a former student of Jan's. 
She will be singing along with Jan, and others on a traditional Chinese
song that Jan has recently translated into English, called the Dragon's
heir.  Joe McDonald will play piano and his Chinese flute.  I
also meet Mike, one of Canada's top old time fiddle masters.  He
is a surprisingly young 30-something.

We go to the stage wings and watch Joe, Jan and group perform.  I
give them each high-5's as they come back stage.  Next we wait to
watch the Brazillian dancers.  Three women in Canaval costumes –
Wow!  This is definitely a multicultural program.

George goes on and cracks jokes about Ottawa – pronouncing it
“Whot-toe-Wah!” – the Chinese equivalent, similar to “Wan-Goh-Wah” as a
Chinese pronounciation of Vancouver.  He launches into  Da
Ban Cheng de Guniang  (Girls from Da Ban Cheng) as a female dancer
accompanies him on stage.  After the song concludes, George says
to the audience “This song was featured in a CBC television special and
you can see it performed on Tuesday February 9th.  The show is
called “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” and blends together Scottish and Chinese
cultures.  (laughter from audience at this point) And it was
created by Todd Wong, also known as “Toddish McWong” and he is
somewhere here in the theatre tonight!”

Wow!  Good plug for the CBC television speacial George!
And… he also plugged his upcoming music cd, inviting people to
pre-order.  George next performed an orginal song called “I Also
Love You, China” then concluded with a song about the Olympic
experience, as he was both a bearer of the Olympic torch in Montreal,
and a volunteer assistant with the Chinese Athletes in Athens 2004.

During the intermission, George and I take some pictures together –
then some with the Chinese dancers.  They all love George… I
will post the pictures as soon as George sends them to me.  He has
been regularly reading this website – he will remember – right George?

Check out the following link for George.
which provides photos and my story at the Athens Olympics last August as personal assistant to the Chinese team in the Olympic Village.
 
You may see www.being-george.com  for info and trailer regarding the documentary film that will be released this year on CTV and BBC.

Shelagh Rogers talks about Gung Haggis Fat Choy� on CBC Radio's “Sounds Like Canada”


One million and a half CBC Radio listeners

across Canada listened to Shelagh Rogers describe her Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ hosting experience to the nation on Monday morning, January
31st.  It was an exhilerating evening, Shelagh absolutely LOVED
the event, and she hopes to return next year as a co-host with me again.

I will get a transcript of the show and post it later, along with more pictures.

For Radio listeners who would like to host their own private in-home Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ dinner, I will come up with a Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ dinner kit, in
the next few days.

For everybody across the country who would like to see the “Gung Haggis
Fat Choy” CBC tv special that aired last year on Jan 24 & 25th,
2004 and was nominated for two Leo Awards…. It will be re-broadcast
on Feb 9th, 7pm in BC only.  If you live in the rest of Canada….
sorry….
but
please phone your local CBC tv station and ask them to play
it.  Maybe national demand will help push this wonderful tv
special to the next level and Chinese in Halifax, Scots in
Sasketchewan, Chinese-Scots in Toronto will all be able to witness the
marvelous multicultural matchings that were created.

More soon, Toddish

“Gung Haggis Fat Choy” – the CBC TV special will be re-broadcast on Feb 9th – Chinese New Year Day


Great News today!
"Gung Haggis Fat Choy" will be re-broad cast at 7pm on Feb 9th, 2005. This is the special
that recieved 2 Leo Award nominations - for best musical / variety show, and for best direction musical / variety show.

This is a great show that features The Paper Boys, Silk Road Music, George Sapounidis, Joe McDonald &
Brave Waves. Neil Grey also performed "Address to a Haggis" and my friend LaLa sang "Auld Lang Syne" with Brave Waves.

Myself, my parents, my grandmother, my girlfriend and my friends were all featured in a segment for Chinese New Year dinner.
Very Cool!
Check out my reviews and impressions of the first broadcasts the filmings

The official CBC press release from 2004 went something like:

CBC TELEVISION
GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY
A QUIRKY CULTURAL CELEBRATION

Explore the curious fusion of two cultural traditions, Chinese New Year and
Robbie Burns Day, in Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a half-hour performance special
featuring fusion performances from West coast artists. The special captures the
essence of Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year
Dinner, a celebration started by Vancouver's Todd Wong to salute his
Scottish/Chinese heritage.

Performances include Celtic fusion band The Paperboys with special guest Jian
Ming Pan, award-winning ensemble Silk Road Music, Ottawa-born Chinese singing
sensation George Sapounidis with the Vancouver Academy of Dance, and world beat
"fusicians" Brave Waves.
http://vancouver.cbc.ca



Will the CBC Gung Haggis Fat Choy tv special be re-broadcast???

The CBC tv performance special recieved good positive feedback.  I haven't heard of any thing negative (such as wearing my flashes wrong) – other than Burns was a full-time excise man.

There have been two comments asking if the CBC show will be re-broadcast and if the show is available for purchase.  My answer to both is: “I'm sorry, I don't know.”

Please call CBC Vancouver at 604-662-6000 or toll free audience relations number: 1-866-306-4636.

It would be wonderful if “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” could be re-broadcast for St. Patrick's Day, March 17th.  I think public influence could really let CBC know how appreciated this little experiment in multicultural programming was.  Then, maybe it could be an hour long national program for next year!

Could you imagine East Coast fiddling sensation Natalie McMaster having a showdown with a virtuoso on erhu (two string Chinese violin)? or how about Sarah McLachlan performing with her South Asian husband Ashwin Sood on tabla drums… creating an Asian feel for one of her songs… or how about ballet principal Chan Hon Goh, performing to a piano solo by Jon Kimura Parker?

Cheers, Toddish