Filming in Chinatown today for Terrasa: “France 3” TV documentary

Terrasa – which means “The Sea” in Greek is a program about Humankind's relationship with the sea.  Today I did interviews with Ann, the journalist/director for the France 3 production that is focusing on dragon boat racing in Vancouver. 

I have been chosen to help tell the story of dragon boating and multiculturalism in Vancouver, because of my experience and community work in both the multicultural and dragon boat communities.

Today we started walking up Keefer St in Chinatown getting shots of the different stores and their wares and produce, including the roasted and BBQed pork and duck hanging in the meat markets.  We next went to Sunny Day Enterprises which is a Chinese Herb store.  I have gone many times in the past, and this time the process was recorded on camera.

Irene Fung is the Chinese Herbalist that takes my pulse and examines my energy.  She then assesses what I need, asking a few questions in her Chinese accented English.  The cameraman got lots on tape and the director was very happy, asking how my openess to multiculturalism had helped me to be accepting of Chinese herbal treatments and energy work, during my recovery from cancer.

Next we went to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens and filmed some interviews with me about how my family came to China.  I explained how my great great grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan, came to Canada in 1896 to help minister to the Chinese in Vancouver, following his elder brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai who had been one of the founders of the Chinese Methodist Church. 

I find that the Garden represents the harmony and balance of Chinese philosophy and the reckoning of opposites such as Yin and Yang, hard and soft.  I love the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens.  I find it very peaceful, relaxing and beautiful.  These are some of the reasons why I bring my dragon boat team back to the Garden each year for a tour and a Tai Chi exercise. 

I also explained my philosophy for the dragon boat team: that Gung Haggis Fat Choy be a team emphasizing multiculturalism, inclusivity and fun.  Everybody is an important member of our team and has something to offer to complete the wholism of the team.  We work together to achieve things we cannot achieve by ourself.  It is a family.

Multiculturalism was also the the topic for a dim sum luncheon with my friends who represented the different waves of immigration.

Roy Mah is a 85 year old Chinatown pioneer and veteran, who dedicated his life to publishing the Chinatown News which he founded over 50 years ago.  Roy is a strong supporter of Multiculturalism and talked about how far we have come since the early days of the head tax and Chinese Exclusion Act.

Adrienne Wong is a late 20's 4th generation Calgarian born to Chinese and French Canadian parents.  She is a talented actor, writer and playwright, having appeared on both CBC and BBC radio and many theatre stages throughout Vancouver and Richmond.  She is currently Artist in Residence at the Firehall Arts Centre

Ashley Liu's parents came to Canada in the mid-60's, and he was born in the mid-70's.  He was raised in Richmond and has lived outside of Chinatown all his life and doesn't relate to it.  He is an aspiring actor, recently performing in Sex in Vancouver for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.

Iris Chen was born in Taiwan and arrived in Canada 15 years ago, after studying university in America.  She has worked with many community groups in Vancouver including the Taiwanese Cultural Festival.  She does a lot of community building and media relations and writing for the Chinese community in Mandarin.

I am a 44 year old 5th Generation Vancouverite.  And like Adrienne, I speak better French than Chinese.

Cheers, Todd



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