Saturday afternoon in Kitsilano – Oh the people you meet!

It's Saturday in Kitsilano – Oh the people you meet!

Kitsilano is a great neighborhood.  Filled with low income basement suites, students, expensive waterfront homes.
I went for a walk on Saturday afternoon with my girlfriend to pick up a
birthday cake for my father.  Little did I know it would be such
an adventure.

On a short walk we bumped into Liberal candidate Stephen Owen the
imcumbent MP for Vancouver Quadra. Owen is mainstreeting, along with
his wife and extended family including his cousin former Mayor Phillip
Owen.  I ask two women what he is minister for, and his wife
correctly tells me he is
Minister for Western
Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport).  She
introduces me to her husband Stephen, and I invite him to attend Gung Haggis Fat Choy,
my Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.  Owen is in good spirits,
he has heard of the event and he spontaneously these words fall from
his tongue:

Wee, sleekit, cowrin', tim'rous beastie,

O, what a panic's in thy breastie!

With this year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner falling on
Election Eve, it may be doubtful that many federal candidates may
attend.  But Stephen Owen doesn't say no. 

Former Mayor Philip Owen greets me as well and says he remembers
meeting me.  I am sure it was at a Terry Fox Run where we both
were speakers.  Of course I tell him that Mayor Sam Sullivan will
be at this year's GHFC dinner and last year then Mayor Larry Campbell
was our special guest.

Down the street we drop by Tanglewood Books.  Inside working
behind the cash register is James Mullin.  My girlfriend asks
James if he is all ready for Monday night for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
World Poetry Night.  “Oh my God, yes!” says James who says he
might have to borrow a kilt because he doesn't own one.

We find that the Notte's Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionary
is closed for annual holidays.  Too bad.  So sad.  My
father will not get his favorite cake – The Mexican Hat cake.  My
2 1/2 year old nephew will not get a marzipan animal.  He really
loved the marzipan alligator I gave him in September for my mother's

Vancouver Kidsbooks
is one of my favorite places in Vancouver.  I
could spend hours hanging out in this Vancouver cultural institution
created by Phyllis Whitney.  I searched for Paul Yee's
book Struggle and Hope: The Story of Chinese Canadians, which I have
been recommending to people to show/give to anybody that opposes
redress for Chinese Canadian head tax/exclusion issues.  But it is
now out of print.  I read through Paul's new book Bamboo, and vow to purchase it the next time I attend a book signing with him.  I purchase two copies of Half and Half by Lensey Namioka
about a family that is half Scottish and half Chinese.  (Trivia:
way around 1984 I silk screened t-shirts for Phyllis when she first
opened her store.)

I bump into Shirley Chan
at Safeway, where we go to shop for a birthday cake.  Shirley
married a Scottish Canadian descendant, and her daughter has attended
Gung Haggis Fat Choy wearing a Chinese top, a mini-kilt and loves the
image.  I gave Shirley a copy of Half and Half as a spontaneous
gift.  We talk about Joy Kogawa
appearing at the upcoming Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, and she tells me
she had recently purchased Naomi's Road and was shocked to hear about
the potetial demolition of Kogawa House, Joy's childhood home.  Funny to bump into Shirley after only seeing her two days before at the launch for Mother Tongue,
Susan Poizner's new television documentary series about women who have
made a difference in their many ethnic communities.  It was
Shirley's mother, Mary Lee Chan, who had helped lead the protest
opposition to destroying Chinatown with a freeway.  Shirley
herself, ran as a Liberal candidate in the last election, and had been
Mike Harcourt's personal assistant while he had been Mayor at City
Hall.  Hopefully we will see Shirley at
Gung Haggis Fat Choy.

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