Come and celebrate our new Ricepaper Magazine issue at the launch party at Historic Joy Kogawa House on April 6th… featuring Aboriginal and Asian Canadian writers….
On April 6, 2013 from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, the Historic Joy Kogawa House is hosting our Special Double Issue Launch Party. The event will coincide with the opening reception for the Text/Textiles exhibit, featuring collections from international textile artists. The opening reception will begin at 12:00 pm and Cherry Blossom: A Textile Translation Retrospective exhibit will be available for viewing until Sunday, April 21.
It is one of the best Ricepaper issues I have seen, as a member of the ACWW board… and so pleased to host at Historic Joy Kogawa House, where I am chair of the board. My cousin Sharel Wright is one of the authors in the magazine and will be in attendance with her mother Rhonda Larrabee, Chief of Qayqayt First Nations…
The launch party will also include the first of a three part public reading series:
Saturday, April 6 will introduce featured writers published in the new issue of Ricepaper magazine: Carrie Calvo, Michelle Sylliboy, Russell Wallace, Wanda John Kehewin, Elaine Woo and Jonina Kirton. The reading will be from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
Saturday, April 13 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Joy Kogawa House will host a family reading with Jacqueline Pearce. The author of The Reunion will enthrall the audience with her story of a friendship between a Sikh girl and a Japanese Canadian during World War II.
Saturday, April 20 will showcase a group of poets from The Planet Earth Anthology, published by Leaf Press. The reading will be from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
The Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver is also exhibiting new artwork in Cherry Blossom: A Textile Translation. As an expression of the changing season from winter to spring, artists from Canada, USA and Japan come together to display the range of inspiring art on silks, sculptures, books and clothing. Opening reception is on Tuesday, April 2 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, and the exhibit is open until April 21.
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:
Hapa-Palooza poets helps celebrate Vancouver 125
The largest meeting room at the downtown Vancouver Public Library was full. Anna Kaye Ling was moderating questions from the audience to poets Fred Wah, Joanne Arnott and Tanya Evanson. Ling is one of the co-founders of the brand new Hapa-Palooza Festival, and is also a director for Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop – the sponsoring organization, that helped submit the grants to Vancouver 125.
Each of the poets grew up from mixed race ethnic backgrounds. Wah is Swedish/Chinese/Scottish/Irish, Evanson is Black/Mixed Caucasian and Arnott is Metis/Mixed. I've known Fred Wah since 2003, when Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop presented him with the ACWW Community Builder Award. A few years later, I invited Wah to be the featured poet at the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.
It would be simple if as the last person from the audience to ask a question, suggest that we forego all labels of race or ethnicity and simply “recognize each other as human beings.” But poetry and experience that addresses growing up mixed-race isn't that simple. Humankind has always created a sense of “otherness” to shun those “not like us.” Wah's award winning poetry books “Diamond Grill” and “is a door” both address the joys and pitfalls of “looking different”.
While the topic of racism, and not fitting in on both your mother's side, and your father's side, was upsetting to some members of the audience, there was a larger sense that this was community. It was a community of recognition. It was a community of meeting other people like themselves. It was a community that was saying “our time has come,” as Canada's first Festival celebrating Mixed Ancestry kicked off it's first of 4 days.
Hapa is a Hawaiian term meaning Half. It is historically used to describe somebody as hapa haole (half white), but recently it has been used to describe somebody who is half Asian or Pacific Islander. But now it being used to describe a new emerging tribe of Hapa-Canadians, and their culture – similar to the use of the word Metis. Historically, Metis was used to describe anybody of First Nations and European heritage. These people were not fully accepted in either culture, and thus created their own. And today Hapa is doing the same.
I looked around the room, and saw many Hapa Canadians that I knew, didn't know, and some who were my friends. Rema Tavares, founder of www.mixed-me.ca had flown out from Toronto to excitedly attend this festival. Brandy Lien Worrall was holding her new 4 month old Hapa baby, born of Hapa-Vietnamese-Chinese-Pensylanvian Duth, and Hapa-Filipino parents. Ricepaper Magazine (published by ACWW) was there with our managing editor Patricia Lim, and intern Cara Kuhane – who is a Hawaiian born Hapa.
And I saw my cousin Tracey. We are both descended from Rev, Chan Yu Tan, our great-great-grandfather who came to Canada in 1896. Her father is Anglo-Canadian. When she graduated from high school, as a present, I took her to see the play Mixie and the Half-Breeds, written by my Hapa friends Adrienne Wong and Julie Tamiko Manning. Tracey enjoyed it tremendously, as it addressed issues of mixed race identity. Afterwards we went out to eat with Julie and Adrienne. It was one of the first times Tracey got to meet Hapa artists who actively developing Hapa culture! Tonight, my little cousin Tracey, is in 3rd year university, and embracing her Hapa-ness by volunteering as a photographer for the festival.
I introduced Tracey to poet Fred Wah, then in the audience we said hello to poets Roy Miki and Daphne Marlatt. I introduced her to the co-founders of the Hapa-Palooza, my Hapa friends Jeff Chiba Stearns, Zarah Martz and Anna Kaye Ling. This is my community, which recognized and embraced her as Hapa. They commented how wonderful it was that Gung Haggis Fat Choy was one of the inspirations for Hapa-Palooza, and how my Hapa cousin was possibly one of the inspirations for me creating Gung Haggis Fat Choy, as I had wanted to create an event that was inclusive for my family members who were Scottish and Chinese and Hapa.
If more families had members who were of diverse ethnic ancestry, and had more Hapa children – then hopefully there would be less racism. Because if everybody is related and inclusive to every other race, then it would be harder for politicians to pass laws and legislation such as the Chinese head tax, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Potlatch Law, the internment of Japanese Canadians, and excluding First Nations from voting until 1960… as Canada did in the 19th and 20th Centuries – because you're gonna hear it from your in-laws!
Early media stories on Hapa Palooza
describe Japanese people – and racial jokes followed Jeff Chiba Stearns
everywhere when he was growing up in Kelowna. …
a multi-cultural experience, or walking the streets can be an
eye-opening exercise in cultural diversity and acceptance. …
performers at the Hapa-Palooza event's wildly diverse Friday cabaret
night. Growing up, Zarah Martz never felt like she fully belonged. …
story with that of other mixed-race women. “I hadn't really put two and
two together that someone else could have almost the same experience as I
had,” says Kirton, who identifies …
islands in the Pacific Ocean. And in recent years, it has gone on to
become a term to describe people of multiple ethnicities from around the
world. The following night in the same room …
Straight.com – Craig Takeuchi – Sep 5, 2011
Interracial identities part of the mix at Hapa-palooza Festival's Mixed Flicks … Anyways?” are part of the Mixed Flicks program at Hapa-palooza. …
Hapa-palooza Festival: September 7-10, 2011
A Vancouver Celebration of Mixed-Roots Arts + Ideas
This is an exciting idea whose time has come. The seeds were planted at the 2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner – which featured Hapa-Canadians Jeff Chiba Stearns, Jocelyn Pettit, Patrick Gallagher, and Jenna Chow as artists and co-hosts.
Following the end of the last singalong to Auld Lang Syne, some of our performers and organizers met and discussed the idea of a Hapa-oriented festival or event. ACWW directors Anna Ling Kaye and Tetsuro Shigematsu (co-host for the evening) were very enthusiastic.
It was Anna who followed up on the idea and quickly arranged a meeting with Jeff Chiba Stearns. Zarah helped her as they made an application for Vancouver 125 funding. I am very pleased that many of the performers featured have also been featured at past Gung Haggis Fat Choy events such as poet Fred Wah, fiddler Jocelyn Pettit and film makers Jeff Chiba Stearns and Ann Marie Fleming.
Thursday, September 8th, 7:00 –
Location: Alice McKay Room
Vancouver Public Library Central Branch
Explorations of mixed identity in film with mixed actors panel and film
screenings with Q&A from the filmmakers!
Friday, September 9th, 7:00 –
Location: Roundhouse Performance Space
THE SIR JAMES DOUGLAS MIX-A-LOT CABARET
A delightful evening of mixed entertainment and celebration!
* tickets available at hapapalooza.com
ART EXHIBITION and COMMUNITY FAIR
Installations by mixed artists and booths from community partners and
12:30 to 2:45pm
Amazing performances by mixed talent of the future!
East is East and West is West, and 25 years ago the twain met
celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Dr. Sun Yatsen Classical Chinese
Garden held a Founders reception Friday afternoon, and in attendance
were old friends Joe Wai and Marwyn Samuels. Samuels flew in from his
home in China for the event. Wai flew in from his office on Homer
celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Dr. Sun Yatsen Classical Chinese
Garden held a Founders reception Friday afternoon, and in attendance
were old friends Joe Wai and Marwyn Samuels. Samuels flew in from his
home in China for the event. Wai flew in from his office on Homer
Two people could not be less alike. Wai is an architect.
Samuels, at present, is a movie producer. Wai was born in Hong Kong and
grew up in Vancouver. Samuels, a Jew who was born in New York, got his
PhD in Chinese Studies at the U. of Washington and came to Vancouver as a
UBC professor in 1974. Wai speaks Cantonese. Samuels speaks Mandarin.
Wai's wife is white. Samuels, in his two marriages, married a Filipina
and a Chinese national. They appear to inhabit two different sides of a
cultural divide, but what those sides are is difficult to say. East and
West are not as twain as they used to be.
In the late 1970s,
events brought Wai and Samuels together. The City of Vancouver had
vacant land at the edge of Chinatown, and wanted to build a park for the
Chinese community. Complicating matters was a bitter political divide
within the Chinese community itself -between a pro-Taiwanese faction and
a pro-mainland China faction.
Samuels was thrust in between the
two. The idea of building a Chinese garden had been suggested, so the
City appointed a three-man advisory committee with one representative
from each faction, and Samuels, who acted as intermediary.
as it turned out, may have been the only person in town to have seen a
classical Chinese garden in situ. He had visited China in 1973 and 1975
on study grants, just as the country was beginning to open up to North
Americans. He made important political contacts while he was there -he
met Premier Zhou Enlai, for one -and it was his idea to have Chinese
artisans build a replica of a Ming Dynasty-era garden here.
of the existing classical gardens [in China] were built in the 16th
century,” Samuels said, “when China was then part of the global economy.
And most of the gardens were built by very wealthy merchants.”
time, Wai, who was vicechairman of the Chinese Cultural Centre, would
be brought on as architect for the park surrounding the garden, and
would also be responsible for adapting the garden's ancient techniques
to modern building codes.
But first they had to get the money to
build it. And it would be built as a symbol between the city's two
communities. “Joe and I,” Samuels said, “decided that this should not be
a Chinese community project, but that it should be a whole community
project, that the Chinese community and non-Chinese community should act
together for the first time on a major project like this, and also that
the city's corporate elite get involved.
“I was always conscious of this cultural mix.”
They needed about $6.7 million. A garden society was formed and a fundraising drive was started.
Then the recession of 1981 hit. The donations dried up.
we weren't about to give up,” Samuels said, “and Joe and I became
allies in this. You know the Yiddish word 'macher'? It's like a fixer.
Essentially, Joe, who had good political connections to the city
government and elite, was the local macher, and I was the China macher.”
one point, money was so tight that Li Ka-shing, who was developing land
around the garden, offered to buy it as a centrepiece to his
development. The offer was turned down. At another point, they had to
resort to barter. One corporate donor, a forestry company, sent off a
shipment of raw logs and pulp to China as payment.
more than just donations from the Chinese community, so Wai worked his
contacts within the non-Chinese community, among them Anne Cherniavsky,
wife of Peter Cherniavsky, head of BC Sugar. Wai and Samuels showed her a
design of the garden, and she brought her friends on board. And Wai won
an important donor in David Lam, former B.C. lieutenant-governor.
donated $1 million, but only on the condition that it would be the last
million donated. Wai and Samuels first had to prove they could get the
“We were really desperate for money at the time,”
Samuels said, “and Joe set up two meetings with Lam. When Lam donated
his own money, his commitment to do that was sufficient to get other
people to come in.”
The society -and both Samuels and Wai stressed
that the garden was due to the hard work of many people -finally raised
most of the money. Fiftythree Chinese master craftsmen flew to
Vancouver and built the garden using traditional methods -no glue, no
screws, no power tools.
Wai would resume his architectural work.
Samuels would move to China in 1994 and marry his second wife, a former
movie actress. They now finance and produce movies together.
both men made a similar observation about the garden and its
relationship to Vancouver's Chinese community. It was the first major
cross-cultural project that the Chinese and non-Chinese communities
endeavoured to build, and as such, had a potent symbolism attached to
it. But in the intervening years, the Chinese community has grown so
different and so quickly that Wai and Samuels wondered at the garden's
relevance to it.
“It seems to me,” Wai said, “that the newer
members of the Chinese community aren't as involved in the garden. As a
community, I don't think we know where we're going.”
is quite common in China,” Samuels said. “So much has changed so quickly
there that there is this crisis of identity -who are we and where are
we?” It was wealthy Chinese merchants that built the last classical
Chinese gardens in the 16th century. Now, the wealthy Chinese merchants
of the 21st century were moving here.
A classical Chinese garden
to them, Samuels said, was ancient history. Why, having left it behind,
would they necessarily be interested in it when they came here?
We celebrated the 14th Annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner on January 30th, 2011.Our 2011 theme featured so many performers of Asian-Celtic-Gaelic heritage that we could have called it
Gung HAPA Fat Choy!
Co-hosts were actor Patrick Gallagher (Glee, Men of a Certain Age, Night at the Museum), Jenna Choy (CBC Radio), writer/comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu, and creator of the event Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong”Featured performers were: Jocelyn Pettit and her band – Siew & Joel Pettit + Bob Collins
Joe McDonald on pipes, accordion, Address to the Haggis, and Highland Fling.
Jay MacDonald, performing Loch Lomand and “Ring of Burns”
Jaime Foster singing Ae Fond Kiss
Vancouver Poet Laureate: Brad Cran
Dr. Leith Davis: Immortal Memory
Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums: led by Pipe Major Bob Wilkins with: Allan McMordie, Trish McMoride, Brenda McNair, Don Scobie, Danny Graham, drummers were: Casandra Lihn, Bill Burr and Tracey Morris
All photos below from our official photographer Lydia Nagai.
Creator and co-host Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, try out the haggis won ton with chop sticks. – photo Lydia Nagai
Fiddler Jocelyn Pettit with her French-Celtic-Canadian father and the Chinese-Canadian mother – the Jocelyn Pettit Band! – photo Lydia Nagai
CNN reporter Percy Von Lipinski and his cameraman film Jocelyn Pettit as she performs! – photo Lydia Nagai
Actor Patrick Gallagher was our co-host, while our Bearded Scottish Lady roamed, and all posed for a picture with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and host and Gung Haggis creator Todd Wong – photo Lydia Nagai
Co-hosts 3 = 2 1/2 Asians…. Todd Wong, writer/comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu and Jenna Chow (CBC Radio). – photo Lydia Nagai
Todd Wong and Jenna Chow read the poem “Recipe For Tea”, written by Jim Wong-Chu, which describes how tea first traveled from China to the UK, via Scottish traders. – photo Lydia Nagai
Floata manager Antonio Hung carries the haggis during the Piping of the Haggis – photo Lydia Nagai
Dr. Leith Davis, director of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, cuts the haggis, as she read the 3rd verse of Robert Burns immortal poem “Address To A Haggis” as CNN reporter Percy Von Lipinski, films Leith close up. – photo Lydia Nagai
Film maker Jeff Chiba Stearns explains the meaning of “Hapa” as a word to describe people of Mixed ancestry with Asian heritage. His film “One Big Hapa Family” was featured at the 2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner. Co-host Patrick Gallagher, of Irish and Chinese Ancestry, looks on. – photo Lydia Nagai
The Head Table with MLA Shane Simpson, co-host Jenna Chow and friend Mattias, Meeka, Bahareh (partner of co-host Tetsuro Shigematsu), co-host and founder Todd Wong, Jeff Chiba Stearns and partner Jen Kato. – photo Lydia Nagai
Musician Joe McDonald, sans bagpipes, flute or accordion – dances a jig, with bagpiper Don Scobie. – photo Lydia Nagai
Dr. Leith Davis, gives the Immortal Memory – talking about the “Life of Robbie Burns” and the connections of Todd Wong – photo Lydia Nagai
Trish & Allan McMordie, with guitarists Jay MacDonald and Bob Collins, join in the singing of “I Went to a Robbie Burns Dinner” – Burns lyrics set to the tune of Johnny Cash’s famous song – “Ring of Fire” – photo Lydia Nagai
During the singing of Auld Lang Syne, people joined hands to sing…. as the Chinese Dragon weaved through the crowd. – photo Lydia Nagai
Members of the audience joined performers on stage to sing Auld Lang Syne for the closing song.
(l-r Siew Pettit, Jocelyn Pettit, Todd Wong, Trish McMordie, Allan McMordie + 3 members of the audience) – photo Lydia Nagai
After the singing was over, a posed picture of kilts and legs, was taken!
(l-r: bearded Scots Lady, Bruce Clark, Todd Wong, Adam Todd, Don Harder and Allan McMordie – photo Lydia Nagai
2011 Gung Haggis Dinner co-host Patrick Gallagher likes to call himself “Chirish.”
His father gave him Irish ancestry and his mother bestowed her Chinese ancestry. He is a perfect co-host for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, along with fellow co-hosts Tetsuro Shigematsu, CBC Radio reporter Jenna Chow and founder Toddish McWong.
Peter's sister Margaret Gallagher has both co-hosted and performed at past Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners. At those events, Margaret would help us lead the singalong “When Asian Eyes Are Smiling,” then we would sing a round of “When Chirish Eyes Are Smiling” – just for Margaret.
Here is a picture of Peter Gallagher participating in a public
service announcement to help promote awareness for the needs of at-risk
youth. Here’s more about it on the Trueblood website:
I've known Patrick for many years, we would bump into each other at theatre events and around town. Patrick was a comedic great in the Marty Chan play, “Mom, Dad, I'm Living With a White Girl.” He also performed in the touring production of Naomi's Road, a theatrical presentation of Joy Kogawa's children's novel, based on her Obasan. A few years ago, I going for lunch on Robson with Joy Kogawa, and we bumped into Patrick. While he had performed in Naomi's Road, he had never met the author. I was pleased to be able to make the introductions. And so… it is very very fitting that Patrick Gallagher is now a co-host for Gung Haggis Fat Choy, as we help to raise funds for Historic Joy Kogawa House, as well as Ricepaper Magazine and the Gung Haggis dragon boat team.
What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2011 Dinner
Special for 2011
Every year, we invite new people to perform and co-host. For 2011, there seems to be a Hapa theme emerging… people who have both Asian and Caucasian ancestry.
Patrick Gallagher, Co-hosting will be Glee's Coach Tanaka – who has performed in movies and television shows, such as Da Vinci's Inquest, the bartender in Sideways with Sandra Oh, Master & Commander, Atilla the Hun in Night At the Museum + many more! Patrick also performed theatrically in the touring production of “Naomi's Road” (based on the Joy Kogawa children's book – that preceded the unrelated Vancouver Opera touring production). I have known Patrick for many years, and his sister Margaret Gallagher has previously co-hosted in 2004, as well as performed. We will sing a special version of” Chirish Eyes Are Smiling” to celebrate Patrick's Chinese and Irish heritage
Jenna Chow is the voice you hear on CBC Radio One, for the traffic reports on The Early Edition and On The Coast.
Jocelyn Pettit is a fiddler that people rave about. Some are calling her the next Natalie McMaster… and she is only 15 year's old. Jocelyn's mother is of Chinese ancestry and her father is of Scottish-French Canadian ancestry. 2010 was a special year for Jocelyn because she was able to carry the Olympic Torch in her hometown of Squamish. I met her and her family at the BC Highland Games this summer in Coquitlam. Check out Jocelyn on CBC Radio website: http://radio3.cbc.ca/#/bands/Jocelyn-Pettit-Band
Jeff Chiba Stearns is a repeat Gung Haggis performer. In 2005, his short film “What Are You Anyways?” thrilled our Gung Haggis dinner guests. This year, his new film takes it to another level, as Jeff explores why all his family members of the Japanese side married non-Japanese partners in the full length documentary, One Big Hapa Family. His take is that there are no halfs – everybody in the family is now 100% Japanese Canadian.
Other performers include Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums, bagpiper/musician Joe Macdonald, Vancouver poet laureate Brad Cran + lots of surprises!. More on them in later posts…
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
If 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 table.
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. Warning: We usually ask you to sing for
Buy Your Raffle Tickets:
raffle tickets… this is how we generate our fundraising to support this organizations dedicated to multiculturalism and cultural harmony. We
purposely keep our admission costs low to $60 for 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? Rice Paper 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.
Histoic 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 Siu-mei dumplings Last year we introduced haggis pork dumplings
(su-mei). This year we are adding vegetarian pan-fried turnip cake to represent “Neeps and Tatties.” The secon
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 every 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 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
Musicians and dancers? Some surprises for 2011
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 – with a verse in Mandarin
Chinese. 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.”