Category Archives: 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner

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….
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

Todd's first reactions to Gung Haggis Fat Choy� 2005

Wow… what an evening…58 tables and approximately 570 people attending the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ dinner.

Lots of happy happy people giving compliments, apologizing for leaving
before the end of the show – but all simply amazed at the warmth and
cameraderie that was created between the performers and the
audience.  Definitely an intimate dinner for almost 600 people!

The show opened with a procession led by a Scots Canadian piper, and a
Chinese – born piper, Joe McDonald and Zhongxi Wu.  All the
performers followed their lead.  This included Karen Wong, Alex
Chisolm, Carmen Rosen
, Tom Chin, LaLa, Dr. Jan Walls, Pat Coventon,
Heather Pawsey, Karen Shumka, Veera devi Khare, Nealamjit Dhillon,
Chris Trinidad, Harry Aoki, Janine Oye, David McIntosh, Max Murphy,
with myself and Shelagh Rogers bringing up the rear.  When we got
to the stage, I was amazed how many people were standing there… 
We led a singalong into Scotland the Brave, then asked everybody to
stand for O Canada, played on bagpipes, and accompanied by the Indian
doh drum and celtic bodran drum. Very cool!

Working with Shelagh Rogers and Tom Chin as my co-hosts was
amazing.  Shelagh is a wonderful, warm and gracious host – even
after she makes gaffs, such as asking my girlfriend “What it is like
living with Todd”
“We don't live together,” was the reply
“Oops,” says Shelagh… as both our parents were in the audience.

Mayor Larry Campbell
attended with his wife Enid, the mayor was dressed
in a very lovely red and gold Chinese jacket along with his kilt, as
was I – strange but appropriate for the evening.  “I'll be
attending next year, ” he told me, “whether I'm mayor or not.”  He
was very complimentary about the performances, citing the rich
multicultural heritage of all our performers on stage for our opening
of “Scotland the Brave.”
“Only in Vancouver, would this happen,” he declared.

Jenny Kwan
, MLA for Vancouver Mt. Pleasant, which includes Chinatown,
looked dashing in Joy McPhail's tartan outfit with sash over her
shoulder, as did Joy in a cheong-sam borrowed from Jenny.  Along
with the Mayor, Jenny, Joy and co-host Shelagh Rogers, we read the
imortal Robbie Burns poem, “A Man's a Man For A' That and A'
That.”  A poem about equality for manking, the whole world
over.  Very fitting to be read by politicians who understand that
the real power is in the electorate, and the community activists.
Other city counsellors attending the dinner were Sam Sullivan, Peter
, Anne Roberts and my favorite – Ellen Woodsworth, whom I sat at
my parents table.

I will describe the performers later, as my mind is still reeling with the
events of the evening.  As great as each of the performances are,
the real treat is bringing up members from the audience to introduce
them to the crowd, and ask them to read a verse from “Address to a
Haggis” by Burns.  It demonstrates the diversity of our audience
when we can invite Dr. Dennis Law – CEO of the Centre in Vancouver for
Performing Arts
, Joseph Roberts – publisher of Common Ground Magazine,
Walter Quan from the BC Arts Council, Rev. Candace Frank from the
Centre for Spiritual Living, Dr. Eni from the Multicultural Society of
BC, Ariadne Sawyer from the World Poetry Society, and Margot Rogers –
Shelagh's sister all on stage with us.  It's all about building
community, and recognizing the community that we have.

And of course after familiarizing our audience with Address to a
haggis, since the audience followed the reading of Gaelic English in
the program, as it was read – later in the program performer LaLa and
myself took the Burns Ode up to another level as we turned it into a
rap song.  Gie her a haggis!  Gie her a haggis!  We had
the audience all punching air – an amazing sight.

Listening to Fred Wah read some of his poetry – the audience was
amazingly attentive and not a fork was rattled on the south side of the

Heather Pawsey
turned in an amazing performance of the Chinese classic
song “Mo Li Wah” or “Jasmine Flower” while dressed in a Scottish
outfit, she later changed into her beautiful red cheong-sam to sing an
aria from the opera Lucia de Amor  in Italian – but was set in
Scotland.  Amazing Amazing…

More later… but here is a note from Heather after the show…

Hey  Todd,

Just past midnight, finishing a glass of wine, having toasted you and
another successful Gung Haggis Fat Choy. I hope you finally got a
chance to EAT tonight!

Congratulations. It was a VERY successful evening. The larger venue
worked well, and I know that the friends we had there had a fabulous
time. It never ceases to amaze me how much work you put into this, and
how astonishingly well this crazy mélange of music, cultures and people
works together to make a coherent and beautiful whole. To those who
pooh-pooh the idea of multiculturalism, I say Invite them to Gung
Haggis Fat Choy - they'll change their minds before the haggis is even
piped in.

Thanks for letting me be a part of this very special evening, and thank
you from Karen also. Gung Haggis has found a very special place in my

Have a good night's sleep!!!


Things to Remember for January 30 Gung Haggis Fat Choy� dinner!

Things to remember for
Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ dinner on January 30.

Free Parking at Floata!
  Tell the parkade attendant you are attending the
Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ dinner at Floata. 
Special note: the Chinatown Parkade building was designed by Joe Y. Wai
Architects – my cousin, who also designed the Chinese Cultural Centre
Museum and archives building and also worked on the Dr. Sun Yat Sen
Gardens, and designed the new Hall.

Arrive early
–  5:15pm for reception
There will be 550+ people attending so please be patient upon arrival
to get your seating tables.  We will have 4 line-ups for will
call.  Most tables are listed under the person who organized the
table or the organization name.

Dinner show starts promptly at 6pm.

The plan is to to have the dinner courses arrive every 15 minutes, and
the musical performances will take place during the 15 minutes in
between with a 5 minute intermission.  This works in theory and
especially in a smaller restaurant when we only have 10 tables to
serve.  We will be serving 55 tables, so please bear with us as we
do our best to create the most memorable
Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ dinner

Vegetarian dishes abound
in our menu.  Please work out separate
deals at your table to trade grazing rights with the carnivores at your
table.  Meat / vegetables are split 50/50 with everybody fighting
over the shrimp balls.

Free subscription to Rice Paper
: please remember to fill it out.  Our volunteers will assist you. This fundraiser is for Asian Canadian Writer's
Workshop, publisher of Rice Paper.  If you already have a
subscription, or aren't interested – please fill it out anyways and
donate it to a local library or school or a friend or community
organization.  Spread the word! or join the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team our other fundraiser recipient.

Raffle Tickets
– most of our fund raising at the dinner comes from our
raffle ticket sales, due to the cost of dinner + event
production.  We have lined up some incredible prizes, and hope you
will be generous.

Have fun, and Sing lots!
This dinner is all about creating
community, and sharing our cultures.  We have been blessed to
recieve such a wonderful response from people who believe in what we
have created.  Introduce yourselves to your table mates, and 9 new
best friends for the evening. Sing songs like Scotland the Brave, Loch
Lomand, When Asian Eyes Are Smiling, My Chowmein Lies Over the Ocean –
My Haggis Lies Over the Sea…

If you need our attention or require assistance
, please ask our
volunteers, so that they can answer your questions or direct you to
restaurant management or our production coordinator Vicky Tanguay.

Slainte, Toddish

Veera devi Khare and Battery Opera's David McIntosh perform at Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ 2005

The surprise performances to watch for at Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ 2005 will be:

David McIntosh of Battery Opera performing with Max Murphy on Baritone Saxophone.  I performed with this couple at a Bob's Lounge
evening back in December.  It was eclectic, it was quirky, it was
surprising.  We loved each other immediately.  David has a
wonderfully strong voice, and he sings in Mandarin too!  They will
teach the audience a Chinese drinking Song, and present their own ode
to the haggis.  Battery Opera has a reputation for creating shows
where anything can happen.  I am looking forward to it.

Veera devi Khare is an opera soprano that sings classical cross-over,
jazz and Indian chants.  She invited me to her show in May, “A Touch of Opera, A Touch of India.”  I was so taken with her performance
I immediately recommended her to Asian Heritage Month and to CBC
Radio.  CBC Radio asked Veera to perform for their production “A Fine Cabaret
to celebrate the radio dramatization of Rohinton Mistry's “A Fine
Balance.”  She stole the show!  Veera has now been invited to
perform for the explorASIAN gala concert to open Asian Heritage Month
in Vancouver. 

Harry Aoki, esteemed world musicologist will accompany Veera on his
stand up double bass.  Also joining them will be Janine Oye on
both piano and clarinet.  Janine is also librarian for the
Vancouver Philharmonic.  Harry performs regularly with gypsy and
jazz bands and organizes First Friday Forum, a musical and discussive forum for traditional and world music at the Nikkei Centre – first friday of each month.

Win a pair of tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy on CBC Radio's Early Edition

Win a pair of tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy on CBC Radio's Early Edition Friday show

Listen on Friday, January 28th, somewhere between 7am and 9am on 690
AM CBC Radio One for co-host Margaret Gallagher to give away tix as
part of “690 to Go
as she gives away tickets to the “city's hottest events.”  This
will be the third year Margaret has given away tickets to CBC
listeners.  We must be hot!  We think Margaret is hot. 
Margaret has both performed and co-hosted for Gung Haggis Fat Choy in
past years.  We always sing “When Chi-rish Eyes Are Smiling” –
only for Margaret.

Margaret will also be interviewing Shelagh Rogers,
co-host for Sunday night's dinner about the event.  The radio host
of “Sounds Like Canada” is really looking forward to the
dinner.  This is going to be fun!  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Canadian cultural fusion – Sounds like Canada to me!

– More raffle prizes coming….

Just picked up gift certificate from Wild Rice restaurant, specializing in fusion cuisine.

Bear Kilts is offering a $300 kilt – made to order

Vancouver Opera has a pair of tickets for Cosi Fan Tutte

Tickets for a special upcoming show at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts

tickets for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre's next installment of Sex in Vancouver.

tickets for Firehall Arts Centre

tickets for Storyeum

lots of books on Asian Canadians and Asian Canadian culture from Harbour Publishing, and Association of Book Publishers of BC

more to be announced.

Haggis Won Ton taste-testing 2005 for Gung Haggis Fat Choy�dinner

Tonight we did a taste-test for
Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ Haggis Won Ton,
Haggis Spring Rolls, and Haggis Lettuce Wrap.  Too much
haggis?  Never too much haggis!  Everybody was amazed at how
good it tasted.  I invited some of the performers and organizers,
dragon boat team members for this special treat.  I ordered some
of the food that we were planning for the menu and my dragon boat
coaching buddy Bob Brinson joined me, tired from a day of finishing
work on the Dragon boat go-carts that I had just delivered up to Simon
Fraser University.  First up was special chow mein and shrimp
balls with crab claws.  Bob, comedian Tom Chin, and my girlfriend
Deb all pronounced this dish a delicious winner.

Also joining us for the taste testing was Opera Soprano Heather Pawsey and her husband Tim Pawsey,
who just happens to be a food critic for the Vancouver Courier. 
Due to a communication mistake, the first batch of haggis won ton and
haggis spring rolls came up with only haggis filling.  Ugh,
thought my girlfriend and me.  But Tim and Heather ate it up,
remarking “This is really good, especially for somebody who likes

Next came the haggis and vegetarian lettuce wrap.  Again some
confusion and the haggis came already mixed up with the
vegetables…  For the dinner, the two dishes will be served side
by side, so vegetarians can enjoy the lettuce wrap, and haggis lovers
can try the haggis in its traditional state… and then the
fusionista-foodies can choose to mix haggis into their lettuce
wrap.  But it tasted very good… the haggis from Peter Black
& Sons is mixed with savoury spices and very smooth, like a nice
liver pate.  “A very good haggis,” remarked Tim, the renowned
restaurant and food critic.  “Kind of an refined upper class
haggis,” somebody said, “if you can say such a thing,” as we all
reflected on the humble origins of Scotland's national dish.

“It's a West Vancoooouver haggis,” I cooed in my imitation of a BBC
Scottish Brogue, “from Park Royal South, didn't you know,” 
affecting a rather stodgy air, learned from watching too many episodes
of Upstairs Downstairs.  Next came the imitations of British
accents from Monty Python and Benny Hill, as comedian and co-host for
the dinner Tom Chin joined into the fray.

The re-done dishes of Haggis won ton and haggis spring rolls came back
with the proper mixture of vegetables and water chestnuts.  “This
is crunchy,” exclaimed Heather.  “This is really very good,” said
Tim when they both tried the new won tons.

“What is haggis?” asked Nick Khystov, dragon boat paddler and volunteer
for the dinner.  He and fellow dragon boater Tom Janiewicz had
just arrived as Tim and Heather were leaving for concert rehearsal for
her.  Haggis is the lungs, heart, liver of a sheep mixed with
oatmeal and spices. 

“This one is like a nice liver pate,” I informed him.  Our Russian
and Polish dragon boaters tried it and liked it.  Nick and Tom
really brought a wonderful multicultural mix to our Gung Haggis Fat Choy™ dragon boat team over the past two years.  They willingly try
new cultural food dishes.  Introducing Nick to sangria was a
wonderful experience shared by everybody.  As well, they have also
recruited a number of people to the dragon boat team by telling of
their wonderful multicultural experiences learned through both dragon
boating and team social bonding.  I don' know any other team
willing eating haggis and hosting a Robbie Burns Day dinner.  The
team that eats haggis together stays together…