Todd Wong's Burnaby visit to Westridge Elementary School's multicultural Chinese New Year Celebration

Todd Wong's Burnaby performances at Westridge Elementary School's multicultural Chinese New Year Celebration

Today and tonight was very busy.  I was a guest speaker at
Westridge elementary school in Burnaby.  One of the parents had
seen my picture in the Burnaby News Leader local community newspaper
and immediately liked my multicultural angle for Gung Haggis Fat
Choy.  I was the featured performer for Westridge's Chinese New
Year concert and party, which for the first time took on a
multicultural angle, as all children were encouraged to dress in ethnic
costumes and to celebrate any aspects of their ancestral
heritage.  Even the principal was wearing plaid pants to celebrate
his Scottish heritage and my appearance.

Watching the children file into the gymnasium, I was reminded of how
many of our Vancouver area schools are filled with 1st or 2nd
generational Asian students who come from homes where Chinese is
probably the main spoken language.  To me, it seemed more
important that multicultural concerts now introduce the cultures of
Canada to an ever increasing Asian immigrant population, rather than
introducing immigrant cultures to a dominant Caucasian Canadian

I lead off by asking the children if they knew what I was wearing and
which country it came from.  They correctly identified that a kilt
came from Scotland.  I asked who had Chinese ancestry, and who had
Scottish ancestry.  Then I asked my trick questions – who shares
the Scottish and Chinese cultures of Canada.  We all do, in
informed the children.  As Canadians we get to celebrate every
culture that has come to Canada.

Then I invited all the teachers to come to the front with me to sing
“When Asian/Scottish Eyes Are Smiling.”  All the children enjoyed
this immensely – even though I suspect they were unfamiliar with the

Next I spoke about how both Scots Canadians and Chinese Canadians
played important roles in the building of Canada, citing Sir John A.
MacDonald as the first prime minister of Canada, and explained the
similarities of Scottish Hogmanay and Chinese New Year. This was the
perfect introduction to playing a short clip from the CBC TV Special
“Gung Haggis Fat Choy.”

The children appeared to be fascinated and really laughed when the
animated story of Robbie Burns came on.  The principal presented
me with wrapped presents as gifts from the school, and I presented him
with Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner posters, and postcards for the CBC
television special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy.”

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