Alcan Sustainability Award: nomination for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team

Alcan Sustainability Award:

nomination for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team

Every year the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival has special team awards.  For 2005, the Gung Haggis Fat Choy team won the Hon. David Lam Multicultural Award for being “the team that best represents the multicultural spirit of the festival.”

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For 2006, the Alcan Community Spirit award has been renamed as the Alcan Sustainability Award.

Alcan Sustainability Award – new for 2006
beautiful award is generously donated by the Alcan Corporation. The
Alcan Sustainability Award is given to the team that contributes the
most to the sustainability of their community. These contributions can
take on many forms and, as such, it is up to each team to interpret and
convey their contribution to a healthy and sustainable community. To apply, send a written submission to the Race Registrar, indicating why your team should win. Submissions must be received by May 31, 2006.

Below is the submission for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team


re: Alcan Sustainability Award

To Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team is pleased and
honoured to apply for the inaugural Alcan Sustainability Award.  We
feel that we contribute and embrace the concepts of sustainability and
apply it actively to our community.

Bio-diversity is important to the survival of our world.  So is
cultural-diversity.  Canada's multicultural program celebrating and
recognizing our globally influenced society is also important to the survival
of our society and our world.

Let's interpret sustainability
to as “cultural sustainability”, “community
sustainability,” and “heritage sustainability.”

From the World Commission on
Environment and Development:

“Sustainable development
meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

   from Wikipedia:

  “Sustainability is a systemic concept, relating to the continuity of

   economic, social, institutional and environmental aspects of human    society.

Taking the ideas of enviornmental sustainability:
Re-use, Re-cycle, Re-duce, Re-cover, and…. we add Re-store,Re-think, and Re-energize!

How can we apply them to the community and cultural activities of the Gung
Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team?

1 – Re-store and Reuse
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa
House dragon boat team actively promotes awareness for the preservation  of the Joy Kogawa childhood home.  We
have helped with fundraisers (January 22nd, June 23 and promotion of the
house).  Don't tear down a heritage house and Canada's literary and
political history.  Preserve it for the future.  We believe that Joy
Kogawa is an important literary figure, and that her childhome home that was
confiscated by the Canadian government during WW2, when her family was
interned, should become a national landmark for Canada.  We are honoured
to name Joy Kogawa as our team's honourary drummer. 

We need to
sustain Canada's cultural and literary history.

2 – Re-use & Reduce
Instead of trying to build from scratch a community dragon boat paddling
program for the public.  We volunteered to help take people out for a
dragon boat ride with a cultural and instructional introduction, on Sundays at
1pm.  People got to try a dragon boat for the first time, without trying
create their own team, or gather 20 friends… We volunteered our own time,
muscles and knowledge.

It is important to make it easy for people to try dragon boating, just as it is
important to make it easy for people to recycle.  By encouraging people to
paddle dragon boats, we are helping to sustain the dragon boat community by
introducing new people.   We also network frequently with other
teams, such as Tacoma Dragon Boat Association, Lotus Sports Club and Fraser
Valley Dragon Boat Club.  With these organizations, we have donated
prizes, joined together for teams, and events.  They are our
friends.  Last year, we held a party on ADBF weekend, and gave free
tickets to out of town dragon boat teams such as San Francisco Dragon Warriors,
Portland's Wasabi Paddling Club, and Portland's Kai I'Kai'ka team.  These
are our friends too! 

We help to sustain our dragon boat community
and networks.

3 – Re-cycle & Recover
Everything is valuable.  We don't just throw out our old ethnic cultures
when we come to Canada.  We recycle them into Canadian culture.  Gung
Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinners blend together the
cultures and history of Scotland and China.  We promote Scottish-Canadian
and Asian-Canadian poets and artists with a Chinese banquet dinner.  And
we invent our own traditions:  Haggis won-ton, Haggis lettuce-wrap, Haggis
spring rolls…. and coming soon Haggis-maki sushi.  And we also sing
“When Asian Eyes Are Smiling.” 

We actively sustain
Canada's cultural traditions.

4 – Re-think
Sustainability is not just about our environment.  It is also about hour
culture, our heritage and our society.  We must be proactive to sustain
our what is important to us, and we must find new ways to engage the public to
be proactive as well.  To this the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team
promotes our unique form of multiculturalism, or rather interculturalism. 
We host Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinners, and encourage the team to
participate in events such as Asian Heritage month.  Our dinner and social
conversations always seem to revolve around culture, heritage and how it is
applied to our food, music, activities, as well as community efforts. 

actively sustain Canadian multiculturalism, and its evolving society and

5 – Re-Energize and Self-Sustaining
The idea of sustainability is
also important  to include taking care
of ourselves so we don't burn ourselves out in pursuit of all our worthy causes
but continually strike a balance between what we need to do and HOW we do
it.  I think GHFCKH does a wonderful job of balancing
community/cultural/heritage/sport pursuits with having plain old inclusive fun
for community building and recharging our batteries.  

To look after the world and our community, we
must first be able to look after ourselves.

Think globally, act locally.
This is Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team.

Our team philosophy is that we are ONE!  One team, one paddle, one community,
one world.  There is no separation between paddlers on the boat, or on the
team.  What one person does affects us all.  Every team member is
valued, and nobody is turned away.  This is how we sustain a team, and
apply our principles to the dragon boat community, as well as our role in
Canadian society.

We embrace all of our world's cultural diversity, we recognize that it is our
shared heritage and our shared responsibility.   We share with our
friends, and help to develop our community.  We know it is important to
protect and nurture our heritage and culture for future generations.

This is
sustainability in action!

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House is deserving of the inaugural Alcan Sustainability

Todd Wong
Jim Blatherwick
Laurie Anderson

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Kogawa House dragon boat team

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