Monthly Archives: April 2005

Gung Haggis dragon boat team April 17th practice review + more

Gung Haggis dragon boat team April 17th practice review + more

Good challenging practice last Sunday – to get us going and see what we
can do – consider it as setting our base piece.  Every thing is up
from here on. You can really see how well people are learning to paddle
better, and to work together as a group. Very noticable differences
between the start of the practice and the end. Good job by Bob to lead
us through the exercises and paddle lessons to help us improve.

Great to have Bob Brinson coaching with us.  He as raced since
1991, and coached many teams at novice and recreation levels –
achieving many medals with the top Seniors and Breast Cancer dragon
boat teams.

Craig Brown commented that he sees great potential in this team, and is
excited by it. On Sunday we had 14 people paddling – Only 7 people had
paddled before which means for 7 people it was only their 1st or 2nd
time ever in a dragon boat.  We have 5 more paddlers coming out
with lots of racing and paddling experience – so expect the boat to
“jump” when they climb aboard and put their paddles in the water.

Craig is currently paddling with the Jericho Paddling club and vying to
be on one of their top outrigger teams this summer. He has paddled at
the local competitive level for dragon boats since 2001. It is a great
opportunity to have him be part of the Gung Haggis team and family for

A few things:

1) Please send me your shirt sizes
to confirm what I can give you for your team uniform. I have ordered 35
dry fit shirts + addition cotton shirts to use as fundraisers,
promotions, cheering squad etc.

2) Please give or send me a cheque for $130 ($110 for students). Please make it out to Gung Haggis. This confirms your spot on the team.

3) 1 boat or 2 boats? There
is enough “interest” to run 2 boats. This is wonderful, as it is my
vision to have enough people to run two teams side by side for mini
races, and to help develop both experienced and beginner paddlers. But
in order for this to happen, I need paddler committments and $ to enter

4) Next Sunday – practice is at 2pm.
The address of the MATCON warehouse is 215 West 1st avenue at the foot
of Cook St. Just West of Olympic Fitness.   Parking available
on the West 1st Ave. or in the gravel parking lot North of Columbia St.
– just drive to the North end, park your car near the sea wall, and
walk Westwards along the seawall to the next gate.

5) We are organizing the Pre-festival Paddler's Party.
$10 wrist band gets the wearer one free drink at Doolin's, The Cellar
or the Roxy. Tanya is working with me on this one. We get to keep $10
from each wrist band sold – but we will donate 50% proceeds to help
develop and support a junior dragon boat program for ADBF.

6) May 7th is a team social at Doolin's Irish Pub.
Details are in the works – but expect: $15 dinner special – Irish Stew
+ lamb shank + pint of Guinness Beer. watch on video – the French
documentary on dragon boating filmed for the Thalassa program –
featuring our 2004 team. watch on video – the CBC TV Leo Award
nominated performance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” – featuring
cross-cultural musical performances by “The Paper Boys, Silk Road
Music, George Sapounidis, Brave Waves + the origins of Robbie Burns
Day, Chinese New Year and Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

7) Ideas are open for apres-practice activities. This can include food, drinks, picnic, swimming, jacuzzi, health food or beer.

Cheers to all!
Todd Wong

CBC Radio One Book Club features “Terry” with author Douglas Coupland and Darrell Fox

CBC Radio One Book Club features “Terry” with author Douglas Coupland and Darrell Fox.

I won tickets to the CBC Radio One “Terry” Book Club.  The show will tape on Thursday, April 21, from 6:30pm to 8pm. and his hosted by CBC Radio host Sheryl Mackay

The Terry Book Club
will air on North by Northwest on CBC Radio One.

Part One: Sat., April 30, 7 – 8 a.m.
Part Two: Sun., May 1, 8 – 9 a.m.

CBC Radio is actively helping to collect stories about Terry Fox to be
published in a book by Douglas McIntyre to help celebrate the 25th
Anniversary of  Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope.  All the
stories will be given to Douglas Coupland to select and edit, as well
as be broadcast on CBC Radio and Television.

Here's what will be happening:

Microphones are set up for audience questions and
Terry Fox memories and stories. We encourage you to
join in, your participation in the CBC Studio One
Book Club is an important part of the broadcast.
This Book Club is part of CBC's national partnership
with the Fox family, Douglas & McIntyre publishing,
and Douglas Coupland to collect memories, stories,
artwork, photos and souvenirs that describe how
Canadians feel about Terry Fox. Doug will be
turning some of this material into a new book called
"Memories of Terry: Canada's National Scrapebook",
as a companion book to "Terry". As with "Terry",
all his work and royalities are being donated to the
Terry Fox Foundation for cancer research. "Memories
of Terry" will be published in the Fall of 2006, to
commemorate the 25th anniversary of the very first
public Terry Fox Run.

This is very cool as I am a Terry's Team member – a
cancer survivor who attends and/or speaks at Terry Fox Runs, serving as
a living example that cancer research has made a difference.

I think I will wear my Terry's Team t-shirt to the event.  The Terry Fox Run Foundation gives me a shirt each year to wear at the event.

For more details of the CBC Radio One Terry Book Club, Check out

For more about Terry Fox check out:

George Sapounidis new cd of East West music is almost ready!

a message from George Sapounidis – that affable Greek-Canadian who
sings in Mandarin Chinese.  He is producing his new indepedent CD
and invites people to support him.  I gave him my $20 when he was
last in Vancouver for a Spring concert at the Michael J Fox Theatre in

image   image

check out these pictures of me with George and the story of how we met



Thanks to those of
you who have contributed to the upcoming CD “George, from Athens to Beijing”.
have extended the deadline to April 29 in time to include your name in
the CD booklet
in return for your
support. See options below.
The TV documentary
will appear in Canada soon.
I will let you know.
Please support the
CD in advance.
!   George


would like to thank all of you who supported my previous CD and to those of you
who attended my series of 'East meets West' concerts. This letter is an
invitation to you to be part of the new CD recording project described below.


My musical
journey connecting the music of China and Greece is about
to reach a very exciting level in 2005 for two reasons


First, my new CD “George,  from Athens to Beijing” will be released
in June 2005 !
    I'm pleased to say that after having taken two
years to promote, perform and write songs in between lots of travelling and
jetlag to places like Beijing and Athens I returned to the recording studio last
December 2004. The songs have all been recorded and are at the mixing stage.
There are 14 Greek and Chinese songs on which I sing and play guitar or Greek
bouzouki. Some of the songs were recorded in Beijing and Guangzhou with Chinese backup musicians and
singers. One song was recorded live on the Great Wall. Most of the songs have
been recorded in Ottawa with Canadian and Greek guest artists
and consist of folksongs, popsongs and Greek rembetika using a wide variety of
world instruments. The CD is unique not only because it juxtaposes Greek and
Chinese repertoire but because it combines Chinese lyrics and instruments in
Greek songs and Greek instruments in Chinese songs along with unexpected
instrumentation. It is truly an inter-cultural musical recording that you and
your children will enjoy listening to !


Second, an
international documentary film chronicling my personal and musical odyssey
through China and Greece during
the last two years will also be released in 2005 !
one-hour television documentary movie has been produced by EyeSteelFilm in
Montreal. It will appear in Canada on CTV and in Europe on BBC. It will appear at film festivals and have a
theatrical release. This international film will be in a position to provide
excellent publicity for the CD.


You can
see a trailer of the film AND listen to songs from the CD at

You can
meet me to listen to all the songs on the new CD.

You may
call me to arrange an appointment.


given you a taste of the artistic details, I'll get to the financial point. The
most challenging part of the album is raising funds to cover the costs. The
production (studio rental, engineer, co-producer, musicians, mixing and
mastering) of this album will cost approximately $15,000. This includes
manufacturing and artwork. Yes, it's a big project. For those of you who are
seeing this for the first time – the cost is VERY reasonable and considered low
by industry standards.


addition to private fundraising, I am contributing to some of the funds myself.
EyeSteelFilm will cover part of the manufacturing costs. Please take a look at
the ideas and perks BELOW and I hope you will consider supporting this project.
It would be very helpful to hear from you before APRIL 29 . Feel free to pass this letter on to
people you know who may be interested.


Thanks very much for your support !   George





TO PRE-BUY A CD….$20 each



contribution towards the production. You will receive a CD and your name will be
included in a draw for a free house concert. The location must be within a
reasonable 1 hour drive from Ottawa. (If this is outside your area you can
give it to someone inside the area. It would make a great



contribution to overall production costs. You will receive two CDs and your name
will be added to the house concert draw detailed above.



contribution towards production costs of one song you like. You will receive
three CD's. Your name will appear in the CD booklet. Your name will also be
included in the draw for a free house concert. See details under 'Count Me


$1000+  loan

towards the production costs. To be paid back in

You may
call to discuss the amount you wish to contribute.

You will
receive two CD's and your name will appear in the CD booklet.


If mailing
cheques or money orders, please make them payable to

Sapounidis and send to the address below. 
If paying by cash, please deliver to the address below – you may call
first. Don't forget to fill out the info and send it




complete, detach and mail.








$ 50+     


$20  X



















18 Bertona


Tel:           (613 228-5307  


Wed April 27th World Poets' Night Out

World Poets’ Night Out

With Hosts: Ariadne Sawyer and & Lucey Ortiz

Wednesday, April 27,
7:30 – 9:00 pm 

Behind the Scenes
Books and Coffee Shop

243 West Broadway, Vancouver B.C.

Featured Poets:

Vera Manual, First Nations

Bernice Lever, Canada

Yoli García, Guatemala

Umberto  Assandri, Italy

Actor Luis Gutiérrez, México

Featured Musician:

Wayne Lavallee, First Nations

Multilingual readings in English & and the language of the poet.

Contact: Ariadne Sawyer:

Check out Creativity Rocks! At

 *Approved by World
Poetry Reading Series
at the
Vancouver Public Library

Vancouver's Tracey Hinder makes it to final five in CanSpell national contest

Vancouver's Tracey Hinder makes it to final five in CanSpell national contest

Here are excerpts from the Ottawa Citizen story by Haley Mick with files from Joel Baglole of the Vancouver Sun.

Tracey Hinder, the Vancouver regional CanSpell winner made it through
the words appetitost, nival, and calypso at the national spealling bee
in Ottawa over the weekend.

But the 13-year-old Grade 8 student from West Vancouver secondary
school lost when she failed to correctly spell “daven” a Jewish word
that refers to the act of praying.  Hinder finished fifth overall
in the Can West CanSpell National Spelling Bee.

“I knew my words, and most other people's words, so I think I did all
right,” Hinder said in a phone interview iwht The Sun on Sunday. 
The contest was eventually won by Finola Hackett of Edmonton, who went
head-head-for 11 rounds with Edwin Ho of Toronto Saturday night….

Hinder of Vancouver and Anqi Dong of Saskatoon wept when they
eventually ended their run.  But there was some controversy over
Hinder's loss.  She claims she spelled “daven” incorrectly because
the competition's officials mispronounced the word when asking her to
spell it.  Hinder says the officials pronounced the word “Dove-In”
instead of “Dav-In.”

“I appealed,” said Hinder.  “But they didn't accept my
appeal.  The judges said they had gone on, and it was too

Still Hinder said she enjoyed the competition as the other competitors
where nice and she liked looking at the old buildings in and around

“It was fun,” she said.

Tracey Hinder goes to CANSPELL national spelling contest in Ottawa

Tracey Hinder goes to CANSPELL national spelling contest in Ottawa

My 2nd cousin Tracey Hinder is on the cover of the April 16 Vancouver Sun today – again! And there are more pictures and stories about the 8th grader on page A5, B1 and B10.

She won the March 13 Vancouver
regional Can Spell contest that propelled her to face off this weekend
in Ottawa for national finals.

There are pictures of her with the other regional winner in front of
the Parliament Buildings, with Prime Minister Paul Martin, and also
with Governor General Adrienne Clarkson (to whom we are distantly
related by the marriage of our grandmother's eldest brother Henry Lee
to Clarkson's Aunt Cecilia.)

For pictures and details of the March 13 Vancouver Sun story, click here.

Here are some excerts from the Vancouver Sun story:

“I'm a bit nervous, but I'm really excited too.  I've never
been to Ottawa,” said the 13-year old winner of the March 13 regional
spelling bee hosted by the Vancouver Sun.

“I'm very grateful to have won because I'm lucky that I got the
words [apotheosis and capitulation] that I did.  I knew them and I
hope that happens again at the nationals,” she said Wednesday in an

The past few weeks at the Hinder and Wiegel homes have seen frenzied
activity and many late hours as the girls have had to practise their
spelling by painstakingly going through the 3,900 word study guide on
which the questions will be based, as well as keeping up with their
already heactic schedules.

For Tracey, this meant balancing her Grade 8 studies – “I have so
much homework,” she groans – and extracurricular activities.  Her
passion is figure-skating, the reason for the dozen medals that adorn
the living room of her home near Horseshoe Bay.

“I don't have enough time for this [studying for the spelling bee],”
she says.  “I don't really have a schedule.  I'm more like,
if I have any spare time, I'll go through with it.”

With figure-skating practice four days a week, she's been putting in about 45 minutes a day studying for Saturday's finals.

On Tuesday, though, she studied for four hours and took the day off
school Wednesday to perfect her spelling – and to pack her bags ahead
of Thursday's 6 a.m. flight to Ottawa, during which she was to have put
in five more hours of study.

Tracey's interests are many and varied, judging by the contents of
her bedroom.  The walls are plastered with posters of
figure-skaters and pictures of dogs.  And electric guitar that
Gail Hinder says her daughter “fiddles and diddles” with, sits in a
corner next to a Barbie-doll-topped bookcase crammed with her fabourite
books by authors Meg Cabot and William Nicholson and a Tamora Pierce
fantasy story about a girl who wants to become a knight.

“I read any kind of book as long as it's well written,” she
says.  In the summer, she usually goes through up to five books a
week; other times just  one or two.

Tracey plays the piano as well as the flute, which she plans to take
to Ottawa to play with two other finalists who play the violin.

As for the competition itself, Tracey thinks she's as ready as she can be.

“I like the competition.  I think it's fun even though I have
some stress and nerves – I think that's all part of it – and I really
like competing; that's why I do skating.”

Apart from the support family and friends, she has also recieved
letters of encouragement from Premier Gordon Campbell, West Vancouver
Mayor Ron Wood and local MLA Ralph Sultan.  “I feel kind of like a
big deal.  It's very nice of everyone to send it to me and makes
me feel important,” she says.

She also has the support of her coach and teacher Maryam Moayeri,
who read out a letter on her behalf at a meeting of the West Vancouver
secondary school board Tuesday night.


Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team hits the water for 1st practice

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team hit the water for its first
practice on April 10th, Sunday at 2pm.  It was a nice high
overcast day, that held off on raining until after our practice. 
The team members who came out were mostly enthusiastic rookies who all
were warned that “dragon boating is addictive” by coach Bob Brinson.

Team director and founder Todd Wong, led initial introductions, warm up
stretches and steered the boat in and out of the brand new dock at the
Dragon Boat Association compound.  2 year veteran paddler Nick
also steered the boat during the practice that allowed Todd to help
beginner paddler with their stroke, while coach Bob Brinson led the
day's lesson.

Paddlers were introduced to a little about dragon boating history,
paddle instruction, and the practice closed off with some practice
starts to demonstrate how everything is put together.  For a
collection of newcomers, Coaches Bob and Todd were very impressed with
how fast the rookies learned and were able to move the boat together.

Next practice is April 17th, Sunday at 2pm.  CCC Dragon Boat
Association Compound at the MATCON warehouse at 260 West 1st Ave. at
the North foot of  Crowe Street.  For best parking – go to
the foot of Columbia at West 1st, and drive into the parking lot on the
North Side of the Street – go park beside the Sea Walk, and walk West
towards the Cambie Street Bridge until you see the signs for the Dragon
Boat compound immediately after the bends in the walkway.

Newcomers are welcome.  Call me at 604-987-7124

Cheers, Todd

“Terry” by Douglas Coupland: a pictoria book about Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope

I won a copy of Terry, the pictorial book by Douglas Coupland, on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary.  CBC Radio's BC Almanac
asked listeners to phone in with their memories of Terry Fox.  All
people who got to speak on radio also had their names put in a draw for
the book.

I shared that Terry is very special to me because as a Terry's Team
member, I speak at Terry Fox Runs and elementary schools every
September.  It's been a blessing to meet the Fox Family and the
friends and coaches that Terry had. I explained that many Terry's Team
members say that they probably wouldn't be alive today if cancer
research hadn't progressed in the years since Terry's Run. Host Mark Forsythe  then asked what kind of cancer I had.

It was a great radio tribute to Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope as I had spent the morning listening to “Sounds Like Canada” host, Shelagh Rogers,
interview Terry's mother Betty, brother Darrell, and friend Doug
Alward, about their reflections and memories about Terry starting off
on his Marathon of Hope from Mile 0, in St. John's Newfoundland.

The show highlighted the unveiling of a “Mile 0” monument, and much
discussion was about what it was like as Terry dipped his artificial
leg into the St. John's harbour, filled up a jug of water to empty into
the Pacific Ocean, and started his run through the province of

Here is the Canadian Press story.
I saw a picture of the monument in the Vancouver Sun, but have yet to find a picture on the internet.