Monthly Archives: April 2004

CBC explorASIAN Launch, Saturday May 1st at Central Library

CBC explorASIAN Launch, Saturday May 1st

Look for CBC on location at the explorASIAN Trade Bazaar happening at the Vancouver Public Library and join us in the afternoon for special CBC explorASIAN Launch Events!

Be part of our audience for an explorASIAN Celebration featuring host Adrienne Wong, comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu, readings from the upcoming CBC Radio drama, A Fine Balance and much more.

Cap off your evening by joining Eleanor Wachtel, host of Writers & Company and a special on Asian writing in North America.

Event Schedule for Saturday May 1st
1:00 PM CBC Television presents explorZeD (45 min)

2:30 PM CBC Television presents Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story (50 min)

4:00 PM Doors open at 3:30 pm. CBC Radio One 690 presents a Studio One Live Broadcast featuring host Adrienne Wong, comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu and more.

7:00 PM Writers & Company Asian writers panel with Eleanor Wachtel.



dragon boat practice schedule for May and June

We are adding Wednesday evening practices for the team starting in May.  This will allow more paddler development and team cohesion building as well as more opportunities for carbohydrate re-loading after practices.

Sunday afternoons are getting hectic with parking challenges so we need to be real focussed, as Slam City Jam Skate Board Festival opens next weekend at BC Place and Cirque du Soleil opens as well.

There are 3 Sunday practices that will change to 12 noon meeting times – as our practices for 3 Sundays will change to Dragon Zone at the Ferry Dock beside the Science World.  These are mandatory practices for the Alcan Festival, designed to ensure that new and inexperienced teams are familiar with marshalling, loading/unloading procedures for the Festival in order to prevent accidents and time delays.  We will meet at 12 noon and be on the boat by or before 1pm. These are the latest available times – other than Sunday mornings or on Saturdays.

Ideally, this simulates the chaos and order of race day – so these mandatory practice days provide the perfect training for Race Day conditions.  Please arrive early as we will start practice one hour prior to getting on the water.  This one hour will be spent doing race visualization, stretching and cardio warm-up, as well as discussing race strategies.  We believe that the best preparation ensures that nobody gets lost, disoriented, forgets anything or doesn't have any fun… 🙂

Practice times and places for May and June

Sunday May 2, 1pm – Plaza of Nations Marina

Wednesday May 5, 6pm – Plaza of Nations Marina

Sunday May 9, 1pm: Mother's Day Plaza of Nations Marina

Wednesday May 12, 6pm – Plaza of Nations Marina

Sunday May 16, 12 pm – Dragon Zone – Science World

Wednesday May 19, 6pm – Plaza of Nations Marina

Sunday May 23, 1 pm: Victoria Day Long Weekend – Plaza of Nations Marina (optional?)

Wednesday May 26, 6pm – Plaza of Nations Marina

Sunday May 30, 12 pm – Dragon Zone – Science World

Wednesday June 2, 6pm – Plaza of Nations Marina

Sunday May 6, 12 pm – Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Race Regatta Dragon Zone – Science World – details to be announced.  This is really good race practice: 2 or 3 races in quick turnaround from 12 to 3pm.

Wednesday June 9, 6pm – Plaza of Nations Marina

Sunday June 13, 12 pm – Dragon Zone – Science World

Wednesday June 16, 6pm – Plaza of Nations Marina  FINAL PRACTICE

June 19 and 20, Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – race times to be announced.  2 races on Sat + 2 races on Sunday.  Please book off all of Sat and Sun for racing, and personal enjoyment time.  Big Party on Saturday night on Festival Site (not Sunday anymore).

More racing throughout the Summer – We will continue on Wednesday and Sunday practices for now.  Possible races include: July 17th in Kent WA (Seattle), July 24 Richmond, July 30/Aug 1 Portland OR, August 14/15 Victoria, Sept 4 Vancouver Taiwanese Boats, Sept 19/20 Kelowna.


Sunday practice review + water safety and more!

Hi everybody,

Good practice on Sunday afternoon. We had 17 people on the boat – our most yet! Several people were away on committments, and we are still waiting for several others to make their committments. But the roster is shaping up with 12 returning paddlers + 5 new experienced paddlers + 7 rookies, Two Coaches + Assistant Coach/Manager!!!

New manager/assistant coach Dave Montrose commented that this year's team has a great “TEAM attitude” – he said that this team spontaneously helps each other on and off the boat and that it is a rare thing to see… People also really paid attention to commands on the boat and were focussed. This is usually something we see on teams just getting ready for racing – But with 6 first time paddlers in the boat – it was very good.

We are still in our technique training phase – especially with many neophyte paddlers just being introduced to the sport.  Emphasis on timing and body position.  This is ideal for experienced paddlers to improve on their technique.  Remember lean outside the boat, keep a straight arm, and rotate on your butt cheek  – instead of pulling with your biceps.  Next week we will introduce some exercises for advanced paddlers.

Big emphasis on Water Safety.  Dave Montrose came straight from the ADBF technical steering clinic.  It is very important that everybody knows the on -water commands, and responds to whatever command is asked of them.  We had left fronts and right backs draw while right fronts and left backs paddled forward – Great stuff!

We went through some drills to ensure what to do in case of a boating accident – even though we personally have never had one on False Creek.  But we did have a collision in Portland last year when a boat with an inexperienced steersperson cut across our bow and stopped right in front of us!  We hit it midships, after doing our best to stop our boat – while the other boat sat in stunned silence watching us coming toward them.


We will begin Wednesday practices starting May 5th, 6pm – 6:30 on the water. There will be 6 Wednesday evenings prior to Alcan Dragon Boat Festival June 19/20. And we will continue Wednesdays throughout the summer.

Sundays – We will now start training sessions at 1pm. Please be on time – arrive 15 to 10 minutes earlier. The 1 to 1:30pm time is for race strategies and coaching + stretching and warm-up – This becomes crucial as we progress. We want to be on the boat at 1:30 with life jackets on and paddles in hand.

I will arrive early at 12:30 for anybody wanting extra coaching and handing in their cheques etc. New paddlers should start arriving at 12:30, so we can do some extra one-on-one coaching and some dryland exercises to help offset your learning curve. By Race Prep time – we will be meeting 1 hour prior to getting on the boat – this is for race strategies and warm ups.


Please bring in your cheques… This is needed to order team t-shirts (synthetic quick-dry) and to register for future races.  We were able to register the $1950 for the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival early registration due to monies raised for the fundraiser dinner in January.  It is time to put that money back in the bank so we have a reserve to pre-pay registrations for more races.

May 1st – Symphony Social at the Orpheum with VSO/VYSO


throughout the season we will plan social opportunities – movies, parties – or to attend performances involving our artistic paddler team mates.

May 1st, Orpheum Theatre.

Our paddler Deb Martin (and my girlfriend), manages the Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra. The senior orchestra is performing with the Vancouver Symphony this Saturday at 8pm. The VYSO senior orchestra will join the VSO on stage for Holst: The Planets.

Call me ASAP if you would like group rate tickets, and to sit together.

Prices include GST and service charges: A $38.75, B $33.75, C $26.00, D $22.75. Student prices are $3 to $4 less. This is discounted from A $45.75, B $39.75, C $30.75, D $26.75. I think we are going for C – in the balcony – but choose your own seats if you want to be closer or in the orchestra.

Planets, Spheres, and RhapsodiesÂ…

Bramwell Tovey – Conductor

Strauss: Waltz Music of the Spheres

O`Leary: CBC Commission / World Premiere

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43*

Holst: The Planets

Veera devi Khare : “A Touch of Opera, A Touch of India”

Imagine opera mixed with hip hop and traditional chants from India + Broadway showtunes.  Add in contemporary ballet from The Source Dance Co. and Shiamak's Indo Jazz Dance Movement  This is the musical theatre vision of Veera Devi Khare… and it is exciting!

Khare has created a culture-bending show that presents her love of singing many different style + the opera that she loves while recognizing the Indian origins that influenced Bizet's Carmen & Les Pecheurs de Perles + Lakme by Delibes, Gondinet & Gille. With a recent Masters Degree in Opera from the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut, she presented the World Premiere of “A Touch of Opera, A Touch of India at Capilano College Theatre, April 20 & 23. 

With many costume changes between fine Indian costumes, and Opera gowns, Khare's show weaves between the familiar (West Side Story's “Somewhere” and “The Prayer” made famous by Celine Dion and Andrea Bochelli), the sophisticated (arias from Carmen, Lakme), the sacred (Hindu prayers + one of her own), and the exotic (Fire, Water, Earth & Air – a trippy hip hop tune + The Source Dance Co. & Shiamak's Indo Jazz Dance Movement.

During “Fire, Water, Earth & Air”, Veera appears on stage, as if she is a four-armed Shiva.  The trance beat music fills the auditorium, as a low-voice rap speaks it's truth.  Khare joins in the rap, and a dancer in traditional Indian costume steps out from behind her – and they join in dance moves, as Khare sings.  Very contemporary. Very traditional.  Very exciting.

Did I mention the dancers?  Contemporary dancers peform to her musical interludes, and act as segues from scene to scene while Khare makes her costume changes.  Everything flows seamlessly barring a few minor production glitches in the first day's performance, including a fire alarm just before the 2nd half.  By the final night – production flowed smoothly. To close the first half, the dancers from the Shumaik Dance school launced into a bangra style disco hip hop piece that got the audience whooping and hollering.  Sort of a 21st C version of disco belly dancing – very exotic to Western eyes and experience.

Khare save her best stuff for last.  She presented Western opera within the context of recognizing their Indian inspiriations, Bizet's Pearl Fishers and Delibes's Lakme were both set in 19th C India.  The duet from Lakme, “Sous le Dome Epais” is most familiar to people as the music used in the British Airways commercial.  Carmen's Habanera is performed with castenets (rarely done on stage), acknowledging the Indian roots of the gypsies who travelled throughout Spain and Europe.

This is an ambitious work for somebody just starting her singing career.  Khare is virtually unknown in Vancouver – but yet calls this city her home, as she splits time between Vancouver and New York.



Races we would like to enter for the Summer 2004

The following are dragon boat races happening in BC, Washington, Oregon, Alberta, Sasketchewan and Manitoba.

Last year Gung Haggis raced in ADBF, Kent WA, Portland OR, Victoria BC and Vancouver Taiwanese dragon boat races.  Our coaching team has also raced in past years at ADBF regatta, FCRCC regatta, FC Women's regatta, Seattle DBF, Richmond DBf and in San Francisco + others.

The plan is to enter the races that are in bold – as long as we have enough people to enter a team.  Road trips are the most fun, and the team dinner parties and side trips such as Oregon Beaches, Okanagan wineries, Napa Valley wineries, are… too much fun

The trips outside Vancouver are only possible with a dedicated group of paddlers – or a larger group of paddlers to draw from.  Ideally if we have two teams for Vancouver – then people can pick and choose which races to enter throughout the summer.  The other option is to borrow paddlers from other teams or join up with other teams.  For Victoria last year, we joined up with Dieselfish from San Francisco.

Cheers, Todd

May 9 False Creek Racing Canoe Club Regatta

May 15 Lotus Barnet Dragon Boat Regatta

May 22 False Creek WomenÂ’s Regatta

June 5-6 ADBF Regatta

June 12-13 Saskatoon Summer Festival

June 19-20 Alcan Dragon Boat Festival (Vancouver)

June 25-27 Lethbridge Rotary Dragon Boat Festival

July 3-4 Saskatoon Dragon Boat Festival

July 9-11 Nanaimo DBF

July 16-17 Kent Cornucopia Dragon Boat Races

July 24 Richmond Dragon Boat Festival

July 31-Aug 1 Calgary DBF

July 31-Aug 1 Portland 6-16

Aug 7 Vancouver Island Dragon Boat Championship

Aug 14-15 Edmonton DBF

Aug 14-15 Victoria DBF

Aug 15-16 LPA “Hot Daze” Regatta (Lethbridge)

Aug 27-29 Regina DBF

Sep 4-5 Taiwanese Dragon Boat (Vancouver)

Sep 11 Penticton DBF

Sep 17-19 Kelowna DBF

Sep 25-26 Northern California DB Championships (SF)

Dragon Boat Practice for Sunday April 18th, 1pm

Hi Everybody,

Practice begins at 1pm.  We will do warm-ups and stretches and paddle instruction for new people.  Please give yourself extra time this Sunday, as the Sun Run is on – We need to start on time so we don't waste our boat rental time.

Cost to join the team is $130, including registration for Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  Student rate is available – call me.  Please bring your cheques so I can pay for boat rentals and order team t-shirts.

The team is rounding out nicely on paper.  Now if everybody can be at the same practices it would look great.  Alas, some people will be out of town this weekend or attending the Dalai Lama talks at the Pacific Coliseum, or even running the Sun Run!!!  (See more below for map and road closures)

I will also introduce Dave Montrose as a manager/coach for the team.  Dave will share information presented at the ADBF Manager's meeting on Wed night.  Dave has paddled with Gung Haggis in Kelowna in '02, Seattle and Portland in '03. He has also raced with me on the Civil Serpents in Victoria '98, Victoria '00 and ADBF '01.  We also raced in San Francisco together in '99 with Spirit of Vancouver.  We have won medals together at novice, recreational and competitive levels.  Dave has been instrumental in helping to build the army dragon boat team for the 39th Brigade over the past two years.

Sun Run is on Sunday.  The bulk of runners will long be finished by 1pm, as the race starts at 9am.  The big challenge for us will be parking.  Usually I will still find parking along Pacific Blvd or Expo Blvd East of Carrall St.  Also try Quebec St.  If you must use a lot – try the Chinatown Parkade at Keefer and Quebec St.  Best bets are to park farther away such as 2nd Ave, bring your bike or rollerblades, or take public transit.

For a map route check:

Watch for Road closures:

Pacific Boulevard: Hornby to Seymour (eastbound lanes)     6:00 a.m. – noon
Cambie Street to Abbott Street      6:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Abbott Street to Quebec Street       8:00 a.m. – 9:00 am

Burrard Bridge: All Northbound traffic closed      8:30 a.m. – noon

2nd Ave & FirAll traffic closed from 2nd Ave at Burrard to Fir and Fir to 4th Ave 8:30 a.m. – noon

4th Ave – 6th Ave
All traffic closed from 4th Ave at Fir Street to 6th Ave at Cambie  8:30 a.m. – noon

Cambie Bridge: All Northbound traffic closed      8:30 a.m. – noon

Cheers, Todd

Gung Haggis: A Fusion of Traditions? A Question is Answered.

Hi Todd

I'm curious and have to ask, how traditional is a fusion between a Chinese and Scottish celebration? As someone looking in from the outside, I see it as the result of us taking on a new identity in contemporary North America, the “melting pot” if you will.

peace brother

Hi Ashley,

It is all in the interpretation isn't it. This is the truth about communication. It isn't WHAT you say, it is HOW you say it, and more importantly, does the person UNDERSTAND what you originally MEANT.

Communication and interpretation are all constructs – both culturally and personally. When things are taken outside of their context they are more easily misunderstood.

The only traditions are the traditions we create ourselves – another social construct. I describe Gung Haggis Fat Choy as “something old, something new, something borrowed and something brewed.” Part of the tradition has now become to constantly surprise the audience. They have come to expect the unexpected. It may be ridiculous, it may be artistic, it may be sublime. It can be all these diverse elements rolled into one. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

The musical constant is the familiar: people expect to hear and sing “Scotland the Brave”, “Old Lang Syne” – They don't expect to hear “When Asian Eyes Are Smiling.” They expect to hear bagpipes, they don't expect to hear bagpipes accompanied by tabla drums. If they came last year, they saw 12 year old violinist Alex Sachs perform as a 13 year old – what they didn't expect was to also see Vancouver Opera concertmaster Mark Ferris also perform on violin (each chose Scottish and Chinese themed pieces).

People expect to hear the poetry of Robbie Burns, what they don't expect is to hear contemporary Chinese Canadian poety – supplied in the past by Sean Gunn, Jim Wong-Chu, Fiona Lam and last year by myself. People expect to see kilts and cheong sams, but not kilted Asians nor cheong sam-ed blonde soprano opera singers.

People expect a Chinese banquet and haggis – but rarely together, and certainly not served with deep fried haggis wun-tuns.

Is this fusion, or juxtaposition, that allows us to see the normally  familiar through fresh eyes. What is it like to see a Chinese New Year dinner through Scottish Eyes? What is it like to see a Robbie Burns Dinner through Chinese Eyes? People attend the dinner because they are curious, because they have a sense of adventure and fun, because they have heard good word of mouth that says, “You have to come – you will have too much fun” or “This is so crazy you will love it!”

Is it melting pot? I don't think so. Melting pot is when people take on the regional cultures and traditions.

Melting pot is Ukranians from Winnipeg, Russians from Moscow, French Canadians from Chicotoumi, Chinese from Hong Kong, all go down to GM Place and wear Vancouver Canuck Jerseys, and chant the same language “Sha Na Na Na…”

Is it cultural appropriation? I don't think so.  Cultural appropriation is when one takes over another culture and claims it as one's own for one's own purposes.

Is it a new identity? This I believe. Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the creation of a new North American Tribe.

A tribe that is not so much fusion – but intercultural learning. We beg, borrow and “steal” traditions and apply them out of context. And along the way, we learn about the meanings behind the traditions. Yes, we make mistakes along the way, such as wearing a tartan sash over the wrong shoulder -but we are given gentle and gracious corrections, as people love what we are doing. We have people in our tribe that may have Scots or Chinese bloodlines or not.  What we all have is a healthy appreciation and respect for each other's philosophies, opinions and culture.

Peace & Blessings, Todd


Easter Weekend Practice this Sunday – 1pm Plaza of Nations

Practice is this Easter Weekend, April 11th, 1pm at Plaza of Nations Marina (East side of Plaza).  Give yourself extra time to arrive as parking can be challenging.

Free parking is available along Pacific Blvd, Carrall St or Smythe beside the Cambie St. Bridge.  No Canucks game in town on Sunday – so it should be fine.

The roster is still a work in progress.  Invite and bring your friends an family for at tryout.  Cost to join is $130 and includes registration for Alcan Dragon Boat Festival June 19/20.

25 people are required for a team: 20 paddlers + drummer + steers + 2 spare paddlers.  If we have 30+ paddlers, we will look at creating 2 teams.

Right now, we are focusing on technique, stretching, and range of motion.  Introducing new paddlers always takes more time – but will gradually lessen the more returning experienced paddlers we have.

In the last week of April, we will begin focusing on Cardio work and strength training- then Nick won't be able to complain about not breaking into a sweat.

Remember it's not about moving your paddle in the water, it's really about NOT moving your paddle in the water!  Think about that one!

Cheers, Todd

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