Simon Fraser University Recreation Deparment gives special recognition to Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Todd Wong at Awards Night

Todd Wong with Mike Webber – host for the SFU Recreation Department's Award Night – photo Deb Martin.

“I was just a student up here at SFU,
when I coined the phrase “Gung Haggis Fat Choy,” back in 1993 when I
first helped out with the Robbie Burns Day celebrations,” I told the
audience at the Simon Fraser University Recreation Awards Night Spring

Terry Fox was just a student up
here when he was diagnosed with cancer, and when he decided to run
across Canada to raise funds for cancer research, ” I continued. 
Sometimes when we come up with ideas, we have no idea where they will
go.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy has grown from a small dinner to serving 600 people.  It has inspired the Gung Haggis Fat Choy BC television performance special.

“It’s about planting seeds. This is what we do as student leaders,” as
I encouraged the first graduates of the Recreation Department’s
Leadership Certificate program, after I had accepted my Recreation
Award for Outstanding Contribution by Alumni.

The SFU Recreation Department
held their 2nd Annual Awards Night and Spring Ceilidh (Celebration
Party).  The East Gymnasium was decorated, a covering protected
the Gym floor, and banquet tables were all laid out in front of a
gigantic 12 foot rear projection video screen.  Definitely an
important evening.

The evening started off with a reception at 6pm.  Appetizers,
juice, tea and coffee.  At 7pm, bagpipe music came over the sound
system and the evening’s host Mike Webber explained the purpose of this
new celebration, and the growing importance of the recreational
department.  He talked about the growing success of the SFU Terry Fox Day with Terry Fox Run, and the inaugural Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian Games.

Jerry Zaslove, Craig Asmundson, Todd
Wong and Deb Martin – all hold their awards and prizes from the SFU
Recreation Department's Award Night.

After the certificates for the Leadership Program were awarded.  A special award for retired professor Jerry Zaslove
was presented.  Jerry had chaired the English Department as well
as directing the Humanities Department.  Plus he is an incredible
basketball player – still going strong at age 70.  He was one of
the original SFU professors from 1965.

Craig Asmundson,
received a special award for his role in helping to revitalize SFU’s
Terry Fox Day and the SFU Terry Fox Run.  Craig is a senior
lecturer of Kinesiology, and he was my instructor when I took
Kinesilogy 100.  It was that year in 1995, that Craig shared with
his students he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Craig
then went on to be proactive in the Greater Vancouver Community, for
developing Men’s support groups for prostate cancer.  

The SFU Recreation department awarded me for my contributions in
helping to create the SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian Games. For a few years the SFU Recreation department had wrestled with ways to
bring the university’s Scottish heritage into the forefront.  Then
one day, in 2002, they found a picture of me in the Vancouver Sun with
a story about a former SFU student who created the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy: Toddish McWong’s Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner.  In
the summer of 2003, Intramurals coordinator Geoff Vogt telephoned me,
and invited me to help create something unique for the Simon Fraser
University community – something that could draw on the University’s
borrowed Scottish heritage, and meld it with the growing Asian student
population.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy seemed like the perfect idea.

Over a few months, during which I had meetings with Geoff and
Recreation director Wilf Wedman, we came up with a number of
ideas.  The most exciting was the creation of “dragon cart” racing,
designed to simulate a Chinese dragon boat race on dryland.  About
16 teams participated in the inaugural Gung Haggis Fat Choy Canadian
Games on January 28, 2005.  I was asked to MC the event with Dr. Jan Walls
from the SFU Department of International Communications. 
Wonderful, as I had known Jan since 1989, and had invited him to be a
special performer at the January 30 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event.

After the evening was over, I shared with Geoff and the recreation
department staff, some great ideas I had for next year’s Gung Haggis
Fat Choy Canadian Games at SFU.  So stay tuned!

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