401 Wellington Street West At the former home of McGregor Socks, Arlene Chan tells the story of the Chinese community’s connection with Toronto’s …
Quan was the the first person to receive a head tax redress ex-gratia
payment in 2006. Charlie came to Canada as a small young child, and had
to pay $500 head tax, at the start of the previous century. In 2005, He
was a brave man calling for a full head tax redress and payment, when
others were feeling too afraid. It was wonderful to meet and talk with
him, and I discovered he was the grandfather of one of my childhood
Second and First head tax ex-gratia payments to Tomas Soon, and Charlie
Quan. Standing are Victor Wong, Gim Wong and Sid Tan – photo Todd Wong
on Fri 20 Oct 2006 03:59 PM PDT
Quan. Standing are Victor Wong, Gim Wong and Sid Tan – photo Todd Wong
I met Charlie through renowned head tax activist Sid Tan. Sid told a story at Charlie's service in his eulogy, about how Charlie came up to him after the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal in 2003. “Charlie came up to me,” Sid says, “He said, you and Gim and Victor are doing a good job, but you need some help.”
“You're a head tax payer?” Sid says he thought maybe Charlie was a son or descendant of a head tax payer. But Charlie Quan had come to Canada at a young age, and in 2003, he was only 96 years old.
In the next few years, the head tax redress ramped up to one of the major issues of the 2005-2006 federal election campaign. The Liberal Government of Paul Martin promised the ACE program of Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education. But Charlie wanted an apology and a monetary redress. He went on record as saying what he thought a fair price would be. You can see him in this CBC interview.
Check out my blog posts with Charlie here: http://www.gunghaggis.com/blog?cmd=search&keywords=charlie+quan
Sid Tan, friend of the family sent this message out yesterday evening.
with sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Charlie Sang Now Quan. Charlie
was born in Hoyping, China and passed away peacefully in Vancouver, BC on
February 23, 2012 at the age of 105. He was predeceased by his wife, Own Yee
Lee. He is lovingly survived by his daughter-in-law Chung Yit Quan, his two sons
Gary, Wesley, his six grandchildren and his seven
He will be deeply missed
by his family and friends. The family has asked for privacy until after the service.
Honourary Head Tax Family members: Libby Davies, Charlie Quan, Jack Layton, ??, Gim Wong, Ujjal Dosanjh – photo Todd Wong
on Mon 27 Nov 2006 10:12 PM PST
Celebration meal: Sid Tan, Gim Wong, Charlie Quan holding cheque, Foon
Chang Ron Mah, Victor Wong and Todd Wong – photo Eric Chan
on Fri 20 Oct 2006 04:08 PM PDT
Chang Ron Mah, Victor Wong and Todd Wong – photo Eric
Head Tax payer Charlie Quan with his favorite grandson Terry Quan – my elementary school friend – photo Todd Wong
on Thu 22 Jun 2006 10:38 PM PDT
Charlie Quan with his favorite grandson Terry Quan – my elementary school friend – photo Todd Wong
Paul Yee is one of the most prolific Chinese-Canadian writers. I first got to know Paul back in 1986, when he was chair of the Saltwater City planning committee – for a museum quality exhibit celebrating 100 years of Chinese-Canadian history in Vancouver. Since then, he was won the Governor General's Award for his book “Ghost Train”. In his non-fiction book, Saltwater City (revised edition) there is a picture from the 2004 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.
Check out the website for the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens
The Secret Keepers
Sunday, February 26 | 2-4pm
at Hall of One Hundred Rivers
Music, Refreshments, Book Signing and Sale
Please join us! On February 26, Governor General's Award Winner Paul Yee will be at the Garden to launch his latest publication The Secret Keepers, a haunting novel set in San Francisco's Chinatown during the catastrophic earthquake of 1906.
Paul Yee, raised in Vancouver's Chinatown, is
one of Canada's most celebrated writers for young people. He is the
author of the prize-winning Saltwater City and other acclaimed books on
Canadian-Chinese culture and history.
Juno-nominated world music composer and musician Qiu Xia He will present a special Pipa (Traditional Chinese lute) performance at the book launch.
I am sorry to say that Chuck Davis never attended a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
“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.
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:
Snow and Kilts and Accordion and Toddish McWong at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Garden
The Globe and Mail is doing an interview profile on me for Tuesday January 17th, by journalist Sarah Hampson, and asked photographer Raphael to take pictures of me for the article. Hampson asked me lots of questions about the hows and whys of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner. She wanted to get the behind the scenes story of my personal motivations, and my community work. Here is a link to the Hampson article Haggis wontons Robbie Burns night meets Chinese New Year http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/news-and-views/sarah-hampson/haggis-wontons-robbie-burns-night-meets-chinese-new-year/article2304305/
The Globe & Mail editor had suggested having the pictures taken in Vancouver Chinatown. I suggested to the photographer that we meet at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens – currently nominated as one of the Great Spaces in Canada. You can vote here for the Gardens
Deb took some pictures of Raphael taking pictures of me. The top and bottom pictures were posed exclusively for Deb, after Raphael had left, as we took advantage of the wonderful setting.
This is me reading Robbie Burns' poetry to the pet dragon on my right shoulder. Somehow, I thought this would make me more scholarly if we took the picture inside the Scholar's Study.
The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens looked incredible with the freshly fallen snow, and the red lanterns set up for the Chinese Lunar New Year season. On January 29th, I will be returning to the gardens to play accordion with my fellow musicians in the Black Bear Rebels Celtic Ceilidh ensemble for the Chinese New Year celebrations. We play 2 sets at 2:30 and 3:30pm. The parade starts at 12 noon and goes to 2pm, so be sure to visit us!
More photos on my Flickr account here:
What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2012 Dinner…
picture by Patrick Tam from the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
Special for 2012
Every year, we invite new people to perform and co-host. For 2012, there is Chinese New Year theme emerging… because midnight will be the start of Chinese New Year's Day, Year of the Dragon!!!
Tetsuro Shigematsu – Co-hosting duties are the responsibility of the inscrutable and irreverent samurai expert from the tv show “Deadliest Warrior” – better known as a comedian, writer and film maker. Tetsuro
himself is very intercultural, very Gung Haggis. While he is technically of
Japanese ancestry, he was born in London England, and raised in Quebec. I first got to know Tetsuro back in
the early 2000's when he was a member of the sketch comedy group, The
Hot Sauce Posse. Soon after he was the new radio host for CBC Radio's
“The Round Up” replacing Bill Richardson.
Fred Wah is the just announced Parliamentary Poet Laureate. He is winner of both the Governor's General Prize for Poetry (Diamond Grill) and BC Book Prize (Is A Door). Fred is a true Gung Haggis-Canadian with both Scottish and Chinese ancestry, all dominated by his Swedish mother.
Dr. Jan Walls is beloved in both Chinese and Academic and other circles. He is a scholar of Chinese language, as well as a former cultural attache for the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. We love him because he performs the ancient tradition of Chinese clapper tales. We are daring Dr. Walls to set the poetry of Robert Burns to the rapping beat of Chinese bamboo clappers.
performers include Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums, and the Black Bear Rebels celtic ceilidh ensemble…
More on them in later posts…
What are you wearing? Kilts and tartans, as well as Chinese jackets and cheong-sam dresses are preferred. But our guests are dressed both formal and casual – be comfortable, be outrageous, be yourself. If you want to wear a Chinese jacket or top, paired with a kilt or mini-kilt… that is great!
We might have a kilt fashion show for 2012… we might have a Chinese cheong-sam fashion show… we will see what happens. One year, one guest dressed up like a Chinese mandarin scholar. Another year, two guests dressed up as cowboys.
The doors will open at 5:00 pm, All tables are reserved, and all seating is placed in the
order that they were ordered.
you bought your tickets through Firehall Arts Centre, come to the
reception marked Will Call under the corresponding alphabet letters. We
have placed you at tables in order of your purchase. Somebody who
bought their ticket in December will be at a table closer to the stage
then somebody who bought it in mid January, or on the day before the event. We think this
is fair. If you want to sit close for next year – please buy your ticket
you are at a table with one of the sponsoring organizations: Historic
Joy Kogawa House, ACWW/Ricepaper Magazine, Gung Haggis dragon boat team -
then somebody will meet you at the reception area and guide you to your
The Bar is open at 5:00 and Dinner Start time is 6:00
expect a rush before the posted 6:00pm
time. We have asked that the 1st appetizer platter be placed on the
table soon after 6pm. Once this is done, we will start the Piping in of
our performers and head table. We sing “O Canada” from the stage, and
give welcome to our guests. “Calling of the Clans” is done for sponors, and reserved table clans – if you would like to have your clan or group announced, please reserve a table of 10.
Buy Your Raffle Tickets:
raffle tickets… this is how we generate our fundraising to support
this organizations dedicated to multiculturalism and cultural harmony.
Food prices have been rising, but we have
purposely keep our admission costs low so that they are
affordable and the dinner can be attended by more
people. Children's tickets are subsidized so that we can include
them in the audience and be an inclusive family for the evening. We have some great door
and raffle prizes lined up. Lots of books (being the writers we
are), gift certificates and theatre tickets + other surprises.
FREE Subscription for Ricepaper Magazine:
Everybody is eligible for a subscription to RicePaper Magazine,
(except children). This is our thank you gift to you for attending our
dinner. And to add value ($20) to your ticket. Pretty good deal, eh? Ricepaper Magazine
is Canada's best journal about Asian Canadian arts and
culture, published by Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop,
This dinner is the primary fundraising event for:
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team
continues to promote multiculturalism through
dragon boat paddling events. Some paddlers wear kilts, and we have been
filmed for German, French, and Canadian television documentaries + other
Since 2001, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop,
has been a partner in this remarkable dinner event. ACWW works actively
to give a voice to ermerging writers. ACWW is the publisher of Ricepaper Magazine.
Historic Joy Kogawa House committee joined our family of recipients in 2006, during the campaign to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home from demolition. The Land
Conservancy of BC stepped in to fundraise in 2005 and purchase Kogawa House
in 2006 and turn it into a National literary landmark and treasure for all
Canadians. In 2009, we celebrated our inaugural Writer-in-Residence program.
This year haggis dim sum appetizers will
be served. Haggis is mixed into the Pork Su-mei dumplings which we introduced a few years. This year we are adding vegetarian pan-fried turnip cake to represent “Neeps and Tatties.” Our signature dish is our deep-fried haggis won-tons served with a special sauce.
after 6:00 pm the dinner formalities begin. People
are seated, and the Piping in of the musicians and
hosts begins. We will lead a singalong of Scotland the Brave and give
a good welcome to our guests, and have the calling of the clans – all
the reserved tables and large parties of 10. This is a tradition at
many Scottish ceilidhs (kay-lees), or gatherings.
From then on… a new dish will appear somewhere around 15 minutes -
quickly followed by one of our co-hosts introducing a poet or musical
performer. Serving 40 tables within 5 minutes, might not work
completely, so please be patient. We will encourage our guests
and especially the waiters to be quiet while the performers are on stage.
Then for the 5 minute intermissions, everybody can talk and make noise
before they have to be quiet for the performers again.
Check this video from past year's Dinner
Expect the unexpected: This year's dinner event is full of surprises. Even I don't know what is going to happen. The idea is to recreate the spontaneity of the very
first dinner for 16 people back in 1998 – but with 400+ guests. For
that very first dinner, each guest was asked to bring a song or a poem to share. I
don't want to give anything away right now as I
prefer the evening to unfold with a sense of surprise and
wonderment. But let it be known that we have an incredible
array of talent for the evening.
by Robbie Burns and Chinese Canadian poets. What will it be? We often
like to read “Recipe for Tea” – a poem by Jim Wong-Chu, about the
trading of tea from Southern China to Scotland
Our non-traditional reading of the “Address to the
Haggis” is always a crowd pleaser. But
this year, audience members might also be reading a different Burns poem to
tie their tongues around the gaelic tinged words. Will it be “A
Man's A Man for All That,” “To a Mouse,” My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose,” or maybe even “Tam O-Shanter?”
The evening will wrap up somewhere
between 9:00 and
9:30 pm, with the singing of Auld Lang Syne – we start with a verse in Mandarin
Chinese, then sing in English or Scottish. Then we will socialize further until 10pm. People will
leave with smiles on their faces and say to
each other, “Very Canadian,” “Only in Vancouver could something
like this happen,” or “I'm telling my friends.”
Tickets now on sale
through Firehall Arts Centre
Kilts & Ceilidh Music will take over
the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Gardens
Oh look – a teapot ad cup lantern set… There will be incredible lanterns everywhere… speaking of which… I wonder if I can get a “kilt lantern”. The18th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, in partnership with Secret Lantern Society.
I am very excited to be part of the 18th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival this year.
The Black Bear Rebels Ceilidh Music group will be playing traditional Celtic
& Scottish songs. I have been playing my accordion with them for 2
years now, and they haven't stopped inviting me back, we have lots of fun, so I
must be doing something right.
So we thought it would be great to bring this fun, and songs to share with the
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival. And the chance to wear kilts in the
Chinese Classical Gardens just seemed like a very Gung Haggis type of thing to
Organized & produced by the Secret Later Society, their artistic director
and founder is Naomi Singer – whom I first met when we were both awarded the BC
Community Achievement Award. Since then, we thought it would be great
to participate in each other's events. Naomi has helped out with last
year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner (secretly of course)… and while I have
attended past Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Events at The Roundhouse
Community Cetre, Granville Island ad Chinatown – this is the first time I will
be a performer!
We will be performing 2 sets in the Hall of 100 Rivers:
8:00 to 9:00pm
Please wear kilts if you have them – we will do a photo op for 6:15 or 7:45
Here is the full schedule
Sun Yat-Sen Garden
Shumsky & Friends (drummers); Procession leader: Terry Hunter
Shumsky & Friends (drummers)
Black Bear Rebels
Real Treble Makers Choir
Black Bear Rebels
Real Treble Makers Choir
Your Tea With Me
Lantern with the Community Arts Council
Berson & Paul Blaney – jazz duo
Berson & Paul Blaney – jazz duo
Sounds Familiar: Famous Plagiarism Accusations http://www.cbc.ca/strombo/arts-and-entertainment/sounds-familiar-famous-plagiarism-accusations.html
Here are some of the highlight's from the article
Cold Play's “Viva la Vida” VS Joe Satriani's “If I Could Fly”
Strombo points out that unintentional plagiarism still gets you in trouble. There are videos comparisons of Harrison's “My Sweet Lord” and “He's So Fine”, as well as Cold Play's “Viva la Vida” vs Joe Striani's “If I Could Fly” which was was settled out of court in September, 2009. Strombo also points out the successful lawsuit by the Isley Brothers against Michael Bolton, who had both released songs titled 'Love is a
Wonderful Thing', only Bolton did it 25 years later.
More interesting are the literary references:
Teenager Kaavya Viswanthan, wrote a hit debut novel, 'How
Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life' which was found to contain different portions of two young adult novels by Megan McCafferty.
Stephen Ambrose's book 'The Wild Blue: The
Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45' was found to have copied full passages from six different books that had not been listed as sources.
The Terminator Movie VS Outer Limits segments
If story “ideas” are proprietary, then Ling Zhang may be in big trouble. Strombo points out that James Cameron had admitted that the idea of the Terminator movie was based on ideas from “a couple of Outer Limits segments”. Author of the segments was author Harlan Ellison who settled out of court and had his name added to the end credits of the film.
Can it also be a coincidence that Paul Yee's Saltwater City, Sky Lee's Disappearing Moon Cafe, Denise Chong's The Concubine's Children, and Wayson Choy's Jade Peony, were the 1989, 1990, 1994 and 1996 winners for the City of Vancouver Book Awards
The Chinese man is old now. Full of regret for his long lost love, Kelora, he dies after a visit from her.
Zhang Ling's Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 511-513
The Chinese man is old now. Full of regret for his long lost love, Sundance, he dies after a visit from her.
Wayson Choy's The Jade Peony (1995), pp. 52-56
Suk is disfigured after working on the railway. He rescues a white
foreman who becomes gratefully indebted as well as a good friend. When
the foreman dies, his son passes along a precious piece of gold.
Zhang Ling's Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 70-72, 145-147, 377
Fat is disfigured in a fight while working on the railway. He saves the
life of his white foreman. They become good friends over the years.
When the foreman's wife dies, her will leaves money to Ah Fat's son.
Paul Yee's The Bone Collector's Son (2003), pp. 62, 72-73, 79-80, 140-141
Bing works as a houseboy for a white couple in Vancouver. He becomes a
target of white bullies, but his employer Mrs. Bentley rescues him.
Zhang Ling's Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 309-326
Kam Ho works as a houseboy for a white couple in Vancouver. He becomes a
target of white bullies, but his employer Mrs. Henderson rescues him.
Paul Yee's Dead Man's Gold and Other Stories (2002), pp. 73-78
Shek buys a farm while younger brother Ping hates farm work and goes to
the city to gamble. Shek pays everyone but Ping. Ping is unhappy. Ping
Zhang Ling's Gold Mountain Blues (2011), pp. 235-236, 241, 243, 246, 247, 249, 328
Ah Fat buys a farm while his son Kam Shan hates farm work and goes to
the city to gamble. Ah Fat pays others but not Kam Shan. Kam Shan is
unhappy. He disappears.