Monthly Archives: December 2003

Chinese Winter Solstice: Dong Zhi

It is the longest night of the year, the shortest day of the year. It is Winter Solstice – known in mandarin as Dong Zhi.

One of my favorite winter solstice adventures was going to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens yesterday.  It was very magical.  The Garden was lit with candles and Christmas lights – otherwise – you never see the garden at night because of its early closings.

One of the real coolest things they do is to create lanterns for the bare trees.  In each lantern are leaves that fell from the trees during autumn… so they are in effect, hanging the leaves back on the trees – with lights!  Very Cool!

There was music at the Gardens… Erhu (Chinese violin) player Ji Rong Huang was playing traditional Chinese and Western tunes in the Water Pavillion of the Gardens.  I bought two cd's by Ji Rong… I have to love this guy!  First of all, his name is Huang (the Mandarin version of Wong), secondly – He played with Harry Connick Jr. one time, when Harry met him by chance at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry terminal and invited Ji Rong to join him onstage at the Orpheum with his band.  Third, he plays Western music, and we agreed to get together sometime to do a duet of Hungarian Dance No. 5.

The Dr. Sen Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens writes that:

“In China, the winter solstice festival, dong zhi, is a time when friends and family gather together, exchange gifts, and eat, drink, and laugh long into the deep, dark night to mark the rebirth of yang qualities of light and warmth as winter waxes and spring approaches. Enjoy a magical celebration of Dong zhi at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sun Classical Chinese Garden & Public Park as we host the Secret Lantern Society's 11th Annual Winter Solstice Festival for Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside from 6:30 – 10:00pm. “

see my more detailed 2004 post about Chinese Winter Solstice which includes discussion about my past visits to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garen

Our blog site is mentioned in the Vancouver Sun! We're almost famous now!

Check the business section of the Vancouver Sun for Dec 13. On page H1 is an article called “Life is but a blog.” On page H2 is a continuation with a call out titled B.C. Blogging Sites and Blogs. The first address is It reads, ” Let's start with the important issues first:: food. With links to other blogs (check out and useful Web sites.

Roland Tanglao has had the Blog going for a few years with links to lots of different sites… is only about two weeks old. It's a real compliment that we are picked to “check out.” As they say… timing is everything!

TV Special coming in January

Gung Haggis Fat Choy will soon become a tv special for CBC regional tv. It will air somewhere between January 21st and 25th. The featured musical guests will be: The Paper Boys (augmented with bagpiper and Chinese flute) filmed at Vancouver's beautiful Dr. Sun Yat Sun Classical Chinese Gardens; Qiu Xia He's Silk Road Music filmed on Keefer St. in Vancouver's Chinatown; Brave Waves (featuring Joe McDonald on bagpipes, and Andrew Kim on sitar + tabla drums) filmed in studio; George Sampson… (a Greek Canadian who sings in Mandarin and is now a part-time pop star in China – go figure) in studeio.

I will actually appear in about 3 different segments… Mostly in some of the back ground shots… We shot a Chinese New Year dinner segments with my parents, grandmother, girlfriend and friends. It was great fun – just what a good Chinese New Year Dinner should be. Dad even passed out li-see (lucky money). We chased away the ghosts, paid off debts and cleared the feng shui for prosperity to come our way. Joe McDonald my favorite and faithful bagpiper also joined us… If you watch closely there's a scene where I tricked Joe into the time honoured tradition of eating fish eyeballs… of course I ate the cheeks.

So now, Joe has followed me onto CBC Radio's “Richardson's Roundup” and Shelagh Roger's “Sounds Like Canada” and now a CBC television special! Who would have thunk it! It was back in August that CBC regional director Rae Hull invited me to a meeting to discuss pushing Gung Haggis Fat Choy (the dinner) up to another level. Producer Moyra Rodger of Out to See Productions was given the helm. She is an amazing woman that was able to capture the essence of Gung Haggis Fat Choy and transfer it to a television performance special. Each element of the show will include something Scottish and something Chinese – and of course it all comes out very Canadian. More details to follow.

Gung Haggis Ice Skating Party – Brittania Community Ice Rink – Sun 28 December 2003– 3:30-5:30pm

Sunday December 28, 2003 – from 3:30-5:30pm

There will be a Gung Haggis Ice Skating Party at the Brittania Community Ice Rink at 1661 Napier St. (just off Commercial Drive).

This is a social party for our cultural and dragon boat community. $8 gets you admission, skate rental, a slice of pizza and a drink. Proceeds go to Gung Haggis Dragon Boat Team and Asian Canadian Writers Workshop.

Reservations can be made by e-mailing or phoning 604-987-7124

See you there!

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Poetry Night – January 12, 2004, Monday – 7:30pm Vancouver Public Library

There will be a free Gung Haggis Fat Choy Poetry Night on Monday January 12, 2004 at 7:30p.m. at the Vancouver Public Library (350 West Georgia St) in the Alice Mackay Room.

Todd writes: “Take a mixture of Scottish Canadian poets, Chinese Canadian poets, a Chilean poet, a bagpiper who likes Chinese food, a Vancouver Book Award nominee born in Scotland who happens to be of Chinese ancestry, – and give them a stage… sure to promote good will and inter-culturalism everywhere!”

This event is organized by Asian Canadian Writers Workshop, World Poetry Reading Series, and the Vancouver Public Library.

Featured poets and performers:

Neil Gray: (Scotland) to recite Robbie Burns

Fiona Tin Wei Lam: (Born in Scotland – raised in Canada) – Vancouver Book Award finalist for “Intimate Distances”

Joe McDonald: bagpipes

Norman Morrison: (Scotland) reciting Canadian poet Robert Service

Louie Hummer : (Scotland) vocals

Jacinda Oldale: Scottish Canadian

Trev Sue-A-Quan: (Guayana) author of “Cane Reapers”

Jim Wong-Chu: (Canada) author of “Chinatown Ghosts”, editor of anthologies “Swallowing Clouds,” and “Many-Mouthed Birds,” and the just released Chinese Canadian fiction anthology “Strike the Wok.”

Mr. Yizhong: Chinese (Mandarin)

and special guest Hernan Bravo: (Chilean)

Hosted by Todd Wong, Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica-Olea.

Admission is FREE and ALL are welcome!

See you there!

Tickets now available

Tickets are now printed and available. They look GREAT! 2004 Advanced price is $50 – $60 if you get your tickets at the door. Reserved tables are $500. 

The sooner tables are reserved and paid for – the closer these tables will be to the stage. Single ticket purchases will be assigned to tables in the order they are purchased. As soon as a table is filled – it will count as a reserved table. This will allow both groups and singles to sit closer to the stage the sooner they purchase their ticket.

For Information – call me at 604-987-7124

Tickets now available at Firehall Arts Centre Box Office phone 689-0926 Service charge for Visa or Mastercharge.