COPE's Chinese fundraiser dinner featured Libby Davies, Jenny Kwan and multicultural entertainment
I attended the COPE Chinese dinner
fundraiser at the 200 seat Rich Ocean Seafood Restaurant last week on
Nov 10th. We were warmly greeted at the door by city counsellor
David Cadman, whom I have recently gotten to know through my efforts
with the Save Kogawa House
committee. David is a warm and genial person, helpful and
smiling. The line up is moving slowly as people check in. We
stand behind city counsellor Tim Louis in his wheelchair, as MP Libby
Davies comes in smiling hello.
This was the 2nd ever campaign fundraiser dinner I have ever attended
and I am amazed by all the people that I know. I greet city
councillor Anne Roberts with a hug, and give a warm hello to her
mother, whom Anne had brought to our ACWW Ricepaper dinner in
September. I see Allan Wong, COPE Schoolboard trustee who often
says hello to me when he brings his children into the Champlain Heights
Branch Library if I am working there on a Saturday. I have
conversations with Noel Herron and Alan Blakely who remember the
presentation I did for Vancouver School Board when I worked for the
Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society. Ellen Woodsworth and Jenny Kwan wave from across the room.
It is a diverse crowd. Mostly caucasians – but a definite COPE
crowd. Much more casual and friendly than the Vision Vancouver
event I attended for Raymond Louie and George Chow in October.
Chinese media darling Gabriel Yiu is MC for the evening. There
are multi-generational Chinese Canadians like myself and there are new
immigrant Chinese as well. But everybody likes Chinese food.
Speeches begin with Libby Davies and Jenny Kwan. Both are former COPE
city councillors that talk about their times on the previous NPA
dominated city councils. Both are passionate in their talks, and
recieve warm applause from the audience.
My friend Meena Wong organized the COPE Chinese fundraiser dinner
I am sitting at table #19 with the musicians – the entertainment for
the evening. It is because of me, they are here. Dinner
organizer Meena Wong telephoned me to ask for names of
performers. Because of the Chinese Head Tax issue, we were able
to book Sean Gunn, writer of the song “Head Tax Blues” – he is
accompanied by singer Ula Shines and guitarist Keegan. On my
suggestion, Sean dedicates the song to former MP Margaret Mitchell who
is present in the audience. Margaret was the first MP to bring up
the Chinese Headtax issue in parliament back in the mid-1980's. I
introduce her to Sean and Keegan after their performance
My good friend Joe McDonald plays bagpipes with Sunny on Indian tabla
drums, as the group Brave Waves. They open with Joe's own
composition “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” then move into a song featuring
vocals by Joe, along with his Chinese flute. The applause is
good, and people comment on how multicultural the entertainment is.
I am invited up to the stage, and I personally the thank the COPE
councillors, Ellen Woodsworth, Anne Roberts, David Cadman, Fred Bass
and Tim Louis for their unaminous vote supporting the preservation of
Kogawa House. I introduce myself as the person responsible for
putting Ellen Woodsworth drumming on a dragon boat for the St. Patricks
Day Parade, and having Jenny Kwan wear Joy McPhail's tartan and Joy
wearing Jenny's cheongsam for the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner. I introduce the song “Chinatown My Chinatown” then lead
an audience singalong of a chorus – then change the words to
“Vancouver, My Vancouver.” Lots of fun.
Ellen Woodsworth drumming on a dragon boat on St. Patricks Day Parade