Monthly Archives: February 2004

Wanted: Gung Haggis Fat Choy tv special feedback

I have been in communication with CBC Vancouver regarding sale of video tapes and the rebroadcast of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy tv performance special!

CBC Archives Librarian Colin Preston tells me that no videos will be for sale due to the nature of release forms for all the artists involved, the producer, etc etc…  🙁   

So…  try to find somebody who did tape it, or come to my house for a viewing party.  Contact me at

This said, the next thing to do is ask the CBC regional director if and when the special will be rebroadcast.  Here is Director Rae Hull's answer:

As to the requests for video, can you continue to forward any feedback to us so that as we move to try for a bigger special next year we can use it to help build the case for a network broadcast. We'd also like to keep track of the names so we can notify them next year.  I don't think we'll be rebroadcasting this special locally before then, as I'd like to keep the momentum moving toward next year.

So… keep those comments coming in, and I will forward them to CBC.  As well, contact CBC and ask for a rebroadcast.  Remember the Director said, “I don't think we'll be rebroadcasting this special before then.”  So there is a chance, and St. Patrick's Day is probably the most appropriate time for the forseeable future.

Cheers, Todd

Brave Waves and LaLa (Sharon Hung) perform this Saturday

Hello Gung Haggis Fat Choy music lovers!

If you saw the Gung Haggis Fat Choy CBC tv special, then you know that the closing highlight featured a musical fusion of Auld Lang Syne performed by musical ensemble, Brave Waves, with Joe McDonald on bagpipes, Andrew Kim on guitar, and Sharon Hung (LaLa) on vocals.

Brave Waves is performing his Saturday night at 8pm, at Myles of Beans Coffeehouse in Burnaby, 7010 Kingsway.  Featured is JoeMcDonald on bagpipes and keyboard, Tarun Nayar on tabla, Chris Trinidad on bass, and Andrew Kim on guitar.  Brave Waves new cd will also be available for sale.

LaLa (Sharon Hung) will be performing her own brand of contemporary hip hop songs, at the Purple Onion.  LaLa describes it thus:

Details for the gig on Sat. the 28th:
Purple Onion Nightclub, 15 Water St (Gastown)
Doors open at 9pm (I am performing around 10pm)
Tickets are 10$ (8$ each for a group rate of 5-10 people)
Hot Hip-Hop and R&B, Hot people, Hot beats, Hot networking!

If you want to join us for the group rate – e-mail me at

I have listened to new albums by Brave Waves and a sampler from LaLa, and their both great!  Brave Waves has a lot of contemporary songs addressing universal themes as love, unity and spirituality.  LaLa addresses the same themes in her own hip hop way and a solid groove tackling racism, spirituality and community.

Have a wonderful musical weekend!


Gung Haggis entry in 1st Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade

Gung Haggis Fat Choy will have a float entry in the 1st annual Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade.  March 13, Saturday, 11am to 1pm. on Downtown Granville St. from Hastings to Drake St.

The Celtic Heritage Society really wanted an entry from Gung Haggis, and executive member Neville kept after me.  The parade is inclusive to all celtic traditions and also extended to multicultural organizations – so I guess that is where Gung Haggis Fat Choy fits in.

I have some great unique ideas for a parade float that will be revealed in the coming weeks.  I have to confirm sponsorships and commitments from other organizations.  But so far, piper Joe McDonald is committed as is Gung Haggis dragon boat co-coach Bob Brinson.

The parade is sponsored and organized by the Celtic Heritage Society and is part of Celtic Fest celebrations in Vancouver.  There are lots of pipe bands entering, lots of organizations coming from Victoria, the Fraser Valley and the Sunshine Coast… however there is a shortage of floats.  maybe this will pick up in the coming years.

But Gung Haggis Fat Choy will have a float.  And it will be unlike any float created in Vancouver before.  It will bend notions and stereotypes of multiculturalism and the St. Patrick's Day Theme… ideas are secret for now.

If you would like to be involved as a volunteer or join our dragon boat team – please e-mail me at

Cheers, Todd



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



My first traditional Burns Supper with the Burns Club of Vancouver

For the first time ever, I was a guest at a Robbie Burns
Dinner.  It was a private Burns Dinner for the Burns Club of
Vancouver held Monday Feb 16th at the Terminal City Club in downtown
Vancouver.  I was the guest of club president Robert Barr.

This was very unusual for me, because up to now the only Burns
Dinners I have ever attended were the ones that I have organized: The
first being the now famous living room dinner of 16, back in
1998, where we first combined a Robbie Burns Dinner with Chinese
influences, and the latter being the many subsequent fundraiser dinners
in restaurants.

It was a by-invitation only sit down dinner in one of
Vancouver's oldest private clubs, hosted and organized by a
relatively new club to Vancouver.  The Burns Club of Vancouver is
an all-male congregation only organized about 23 years ago, based on a
debating club actually founded by Burns on November 11, 1780. 
This historic club was named “Bachelors Club, Tarbolton,” as all
the founding members were from Tarbolton Parish.  See

The Burns Club of Vancouver bases itself upon the rules of the
Tarbolton Bachelor's Club of which the 10th rule is the most important:

“Every man proper for a member of this Society, must have a
frank, honest, open heart; above anything dirty or mean; and must be a
professed lover of one or more of the female sex. No haughty,
self-conceited person, who looks upon himself as superior to the rest
of the Club, and especially no mean spirited, worldly mortal, whose
only will is to heap up money shall upon any pretence whatever be

There were between 40 and 50 gentlemen all dressed in jackets –
about half with kilts, while some wore tartaned slacks. 
Unfortunately the piper was a no-show, so one of the members played the
piano, as the haggis was carried in preceded by two club members
carrying swords.

It brought back memories of my very first Robbie Burns experience
from 1993, when I helped the Robbie Burns celebrations at Simon Fraser
University.  I carried the SFU claymore (Scottish broadsword) that
had been donated by Lord Lovatt, Chieftain of the Fraser Clan in
Scotland.  I followed the piper, and a history student named Karen
carried the haggis behind me.

All told, it was a proper Burns Supper consisting of a
wonderful Roast Beef, servied with tatties (potatoes) with a good
dollop of horse radish and a very tasty haggis.  Dinner was
followed by the traditional toast to the lassies, readings of Burns
poetry and songs, a Burns eulogy, and speech about the Tarbolton
Bachelor's Club.

After singing two verses of Auld Lange Syne to close the formal part
of the dinner, a singalong around the piano was held while others had
drinks and conversed in good topics.

Obviously, the recent successes of both the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinners and CBC television special were good topics and I was in
demand for conversation.  Don McTavish came up to me and said he
had attended the 2003 Gung Haggis Fat Choy, and lauded it as one of the
best Burns dinners he had ever attended.  He especially enjoyed
the singers that performed. 

Harry McGrath, the coordinator of the SFU Scottish Studies Program
was also at the dinner.  He told me that all his relatives in
Scotland were asking him about this “crazy Chinese Robbie Burns dinner
in Vancouver.”  Apparently Gung Haggis Fat Choy was all over the
news in Scotland too, especially after Amy Carmichael's piece ran on
Canadian Press and Associated Press as Ms. Carmichael had quoted Harry
as saying, “I think it's wonderful, this Sino-caledonian fusion,” after
describing how I had brought my accordion to a Burns Club meetin and
played celtic songs and described Gung Haggis Fat Choy.

The Haggis Rap

Address to a Haggis              Robert Burns

with added chorus by Todd Wong

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

As lang's my arm.
As lang's my arm.      
Great chieftain o' the Puddin-race!               
As lang's my arm.     

2. The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

3. His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Warm-reekin rich!
Warm-reekin rich!
O what a glorious sight!
Warm-reekin rich!

 4. Then, horn for horn they stretch an' strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit hums.

5. Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad stow a sow,
Or fricasee was mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

On sic a dinner?
On sic a dinner?
Who Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view 
On sic a dinner?

6. Poor devil! See him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

7. But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Like taps o' thrissle. 
Like taps o' thrissle. 
He'll mak it whissle; 

Like taps o' thrissle. 

8. Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

Gie her a Haggis!
Gie her a Haggis!             
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,        
Gie her a Haggis!


Adrienne Wong directs The Plum Tree for Firehall Arts Centre

The Plum Tree
by Mitch Miyagawa
Directed by Adrienne Wong
February 6 – 28, 2004, Opens Feb 11

please see

Adrienne Wong co-hosted 2004's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners on both Jan 24 & Jan 25.  She is a wonderful actor, writer, stage manager and a director!

In 2003, Adrienne performed the title role for Firehall's production of David Henry Hwang's “Golden Child.”  She also wrote and performed the CBC radio play “Married by China.”  This was a spoof on “Married by America” and was performed live at the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch.

The delightful and affable Ms. Wong was also the premier “flag grabber” for the Gung Haggis dragon boat team in the inaugural Taiwanese Dragon Boat race in Vancouver, held Sep 6th on False Creek Waters.

Please attend The Plum Tree – and share more of Adrienne's theatrical and performing magic!