Raymond Chan's Dec 2 press conference in Mandarin Chinese only????
I attended the Raymond Chan press conference yesterday. They were only letting in
“journalists” and asked me for a card. I told the office
staff that I was writing a piece for www.thetyee.ca
and gave them the card that of editor David Beers and said David had
asked me to write a piece for him. I told his office staff that I was
there to hear Raymond Chan say why he was dealing only with the NCCC. Then
they let me in.
The whole thing was a bit surreal because everything was spoken in
Mandarin. I know only a few words in Mandarin “Wor shr Janada-ren
(I am Canadian)”, “Wor bu-dong (I don't understand)”, and “Dwei
bu-shei (Excuse me/I'm sorry)” – which I repeated for Chinese media
afterwards in the parking lot.
There were two media briefings available. One in English and one
in Chinese. But they don't say the same things. The English
one is basically a media advisory, and the Chinese one lists Raymond
Chan's views in point form
During the Q&A period, One writer for the Sing Tao got into a
verbal exchange with Chan – I am sure she was challenging him on some
of the points, because he got very defensive.
Basically Chan was saying that all the Chinese Canadian organizations
were on side with him, but a few minority groups were speaking
up. He also accused these individuals of being supported or
influenced by the NDP and Chinese media commentator Gabriel Yiu.
Sid Tan (Co-op Radio, Saltwater City TV) did ask a question in
English. Tan asked if each of the 280 “supporting organizations”
wrote statements of support. Chan said no – he did not have that
information. I know personally that many of the organizations
such as the Chinese Canadian veterans are apolitical and are only
asking for an apology. Some of the organization names are
repeated such as the Chinese Freemasons, and the Dart Coon Club –
because they are translations.
It has also since been revealed in the Chinese media that Kitty Ma of
the CCC, signed the agreement with ACE without taking it to the CCC
Board, so some of these organizations are apparently upset that their
names were used without their permission. Chan said that he had
the signatories of the Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre, Toronto
Chinese Cultural Centre and Chinese Benevolent Association and some
others, which represented those 280 groups.
After the Q&A period – Raymond's campaign/communications
coordinator came up to me to say hello. Surprise! It was
Ian MacLeod – president of Clan MacLeod Societies of Canada. Ian
is a regular at my Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners for the past 3 years
and he is a very nice guy. He even helped me find out how I can
register a “McWong” tartan.
MacLeod quickly introduced Raymond to me and told him I am the creator
of Gung Haggis Fat Choy. Raymond immediately acknowledged that he
already knew me, and has previously attended a Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner. Raymond shook my hand and said to me “I am sorry I cannot
give you what you ask for.” He was very quick with that apology –
although all I had said to him so far was “Hello.”
Hmmm…. maybe he got my letter to him about the CBC Radio interview
with Gabriel Yiu and Raymond Chan – the one that I posted on my
website, www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com and sent to all the Lower Mainland
MP's + party leaders.
After MacLeod had hustled Raymond Chan out to their next meeting, Sid
and I talked with some of the Chinese media reporters. Our
mandarin is pretty well non-existent and we wanted to know what they
had questioned Raymond Chan about. Before I knew it, they had
their tape recorders out and were asking us questions. Gee-
whiz… I didn't expect that! It sure was nice that they were
able to speak in English, and tell me what Raymond had said during the
press conference as they asked me my views on the issues.
I did point out that it was strange that everything was done in
Mandarin and there was no Cantonese or English translation – because I
thought that English and French were Canada's two official languages,
and Cantonese was the language of the original Chinese pioneers who had
to pay the head tax from 1895 to 1923.
I shared that when my great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan came to
Canada in 1896, the Chinese Methodist Church helpe to teach the
immigrant Chinese how to speak English. Rev. Chan Yu Tan
encouraged the family to learn Canadian ways, and we have been doing
that for 7 generations.
I told them I didn't understand why Raymond Chan was giving money to
many immigrant societies, because it was the head tax payers and their
descendants who paid with their blood and sweat for many years in order
to help repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act, and to pave the way for new
immigrants to come to Canada. It is like robbing Peter to pay
more later… I have to write my Tyee opinion piece now…