Monthly Archives: October 2006

Flamenco at the Cafe de Chinitas: Inspired performance by Mozaico Flamenco and Orchid Ensemble

Cafe de Chinitas: Inspired performance by Mozaico Flamenco and Orchid Ensemble

Cafe de Chinitas
October 28 at the Norman Rothstein

Mozaico Flamenco Company
+ Orchid Ensemble

Spanish flamenco dancing and Chinese musicians and dancers of Chinese,
Filipino and Caucasian heritage? Throw in a Japanese born traditional
flamenco singer, and this must be multicultural Vancouver on a good day.

the mid-18th century, there actually existed a Flamenco
singer's coffee shop in the city of Malaga in southern Spain.  This
region of Andalucia had good commerce with the Orient (primarily from
the Phillipines) and many Asian women, known as “chinitas” would attend
the cafe.  Today in Madrid, you can go to a specific 2nd story
restaurant in a 19th Century building, eat good spanish food and watch
flamenco dancing as part of the city's vibrant night life.

But for one evening, the city of Vancouver did Madrid one step better.

people filled the Norman Rothstein Theatre at the Jewish Community
Centre. The curtains parted to reveal five beautiful women in flamenco
dresses sitting motionless on chairs, their heads held high as if
posing for fashion magazines.  Sensual tension was high, as sparse
musical notes came from a flamenco guitar.  A woman's voice cut the air
in spanish tongue. A man dressed in black, moved haltingly slow and
dramatic, his heels hitting the floor in stuttering bursts of sound.  A
chinese erhu played melodic lines.  Unseen hands beat rhythmic bursts
on a wooden box.  Graceful arms arched skyward like a bird of prey.  A
flash of movement, a spin, then stillness and sparse percussive rhythm
back to dynamic tension, as the women sit quietly, not having moved an

Welcome to Cafe de Chinatas a la Vancouver, courtesy of
Mozaico Flamenco and Vancouver's renowned Chinese and New Music
performers, the Orchid Ensemble.  It is a musical collaboration created
by producer project
director Kassandra and artistic director Oscar Nieto. Guest dancer
Pablo Pizano, provided an exciting male lead to the five company
dancers of Spanish, Mexican, English, Chinese and Filipino heritage. 
Flamenco guitarist Peter Mole, flamenco singer Keiko Ooka and flamenco
cellist Cyrena Huang provided dimension to the traditional and
innovative music of Orchid Ensemble's Lan Tung on erhu, Gelina Tang on
zheng and Jonathan Bernard on percussion.

musicians had been working with Flamenco Mozaico on a daily basis,
learning the form of flamenco music. Bernard told me that this was the
first time he had played


the flamenco box-drum.  For one segment in the first act, titled
“Levantica,” Lan Tung
improvises on erhu, matching the vocal stylings of Japanese born
Cantaora (flamenco singer), Keiko Ooka.  The erhu literally  sings from
her heart and the depths of Tung's soul.  This is not the traditional
Chinese music I ran away from whenever I heard it in Chinatown.

Each musical or dance number gave a different
dimension to this unique take on the “East Meets West” theme. “Cafe de
Chinatas” is an actual traditional song and poem written by Federico
Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) that is often performed by flamenco dancers. 
Kasandra followed with a colourful solo dance.  Her dazzling smile,
subtlety and graceful flash contrasting with the seriousness and energetic tensionof guest dancer Pablo Pizano.

traditional style music, with the dancers dressed in red-golden chinese
cheong-sam dresses with the thigh-high slits, opened the 2nd Act with
music composed by Vancouver composer Jin Zhang.  Artistic director
Oscar Nietor took his solo turn dressed in a Chinese outfit.  He looked
like a graceful old Chinese Tai-Chi master, but he floated across the
floor on his stuttering flamenco footwork, deceptively balancing the
yin and yang of movement and stillness, hard and soft, quiet and loud.

Horses of Heaven is a contemporary piece in the Orchid Ensemble
repetoire by Vancouver new music composer Moshe Demburg. All three
principal dancers, Nieto, Pizano and Kasandra took to the stage,
blending and contrasting their unique dance styles of flamenco.  It was
wonderful to see, like an exotic ballet of style and movement.  Bernard
played the marimbas, while Lan Tung's erhu sang high melodic lines
chasing the delicate plucking of Gelina Tang's zheng.

There was a good buzz in the city on the weekend about the latest offering from Mozaiko Flamenco.  Both
the Vancouver Sun and the Globe & Mail wrote preview features.  I
was warned by Orchid Ensemble leader and erhu player Lan Tung, that the
show would be sold out.  It was. I sat backstage in  the wings and had
an incredible “insider's view” of the show.

My familiarity with flamenco is limited to witnessing performances by flamenco guitarist legends Paco de Lucia and Paco Pena
They bring top notch dancers and singers who have grown up steeped in
Spanish flamenco culture with them on tour.  Cafe de Chinatas captured
the flavor of traditional flamenco and added some special flavours to
the mix.  They transported the audience to Spain, but also infused it
with Vancouver's intercultural fusion seasonings.  This show was
definitely special. Aspects of this show should definitely be included
for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic offerings.  Chinese flamenco dancers
with Orchid Ensemble… better in my books and more representative of
Vancouver than snow mobiler and hockey stick carrying skaters in the
closing Olympic ceremonies of Torino.

Head Tax Compilation video on Shaw Cable: Watch EarthSeen

Head Tax Compilation video on Shaw Cable: Watch EarthSeen

Sid Tan has put together a compilation video with a “head tax” theme for the “Earth Seen” time slot on Shaw cable 4.  It's a one hour show.  Set your video machine!

EarthSeen: Head Tax Compilation

Wednesday, November 1 @ 8-9pm
Saturday, November 4 @ 3-4am
Saturday, November 11 @ 3-4am
Sunday, November 12 @ 4-5pm

1) Our Story: Chinese Head Tax Mash Up music video by no luck club (NLC). Very impressive presentation with profound message from youths” .to the world.

2) Gim Wong music video with words and music by Sean Gunn performed by the Running Dog lackeys. Celebrates Gim Wong's cross Canada motorcycle Ride for Redress in 2005.

3) A Paper Son by producer Gein Wong. A video from the Re/Present series of the Chinese Canadian Nation Council youth online project in 2005.

3) November 26, 2005 information line at closed redress conference at Chinese Cultural Centre and subsequent phto-op of then Prime Minister Paul Martin to SUCCESS.

4) Karen Cho's highlights of June 22, 2005 apology in Ottawa by Prime Minister Stephen Harper/Govn of Canada. Karen is director of In the Shadow of Gold Mountain.

(5) Head Tax Blues music video with words and music by Sean Gunn and performed by Sean Gunn and Ula Shine. Excepts of the this video have been on nation televison three times and also in Karen Cho's ITSOGM.

6) Mouseland (1992) animated short of speech by Tommy Douglas, founding leader of the CCF (later became the New Democratic Party). Introduction by Keifer Sutherland, Tommy Douglas's grandson.

ACCESS community television on Shaw cable 4, the cable community channel in Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley.

Saltwater City Television and EarthSeen are regularly scheduled volunteer-produced community television programs produced by the not-for-profits ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society with assistance from ICTV Independent Community Television Co-operative.

Thanks to Community Media Education Society (CMES), the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC), the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada (NARCC) and the Status Through Action Towards Unity and Solidarity (STATUS) Coalition for their human and morale resources.

Please do not ask me for copies unless you can pay for or barter an hour of time. We do this so people can record our programs off-the-air. If you don't have cable, ask a friend. No friends with cable becomes a special situation if you really need copy. Better yet, join us and you can make all the copies you want and even produce some television.

Take care.    anon    Sid.

Mark Ferris delights with Mozart's Concerto No. 3

Mark Ferris delights with Mozart's Concerto No. 3

Review by Deb Martin

Sinfonia, Orchestra of the North Shore
October 28, 2006
Centennial Theatre
North Vancouver

Austria – Land of Song
Guest artists:
Lambroula Maria Pappas – soprano
Mark Ferris – violin

Graceful, elegant, transforming.

For just a few minutes on Saturday night, I could close my eyes and
believe I was in a salon in Austria some 200 years ago. From the
opening moments Mark Ferris took our breath away with a performance of
Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3,  that was pure, elegant and brilliant.

This violin concerto was composed while Mozart was living in Salzberg, Austria, and is affectionately known as “Strassburg,”
The movments as written are gorgeous, and Mark played credenzas of his
own composition that demonstrated his brilliance as both a composer and

Mark is better known as the concertmaster of both Sinfonia and the
Vancouver Opera Orchestra, and as a composer, but he should definitely
take this show as a soloist on the road. I would love to hear it again.

And now for the rest of the concert: Light, fluffy and easy to digest.

Sinfonia performed its annual Austrian themed concert on Saturday
October 28 with a program called Austria, Land of Song. Conductor Clyde
Mitchell has lots of material to choose from with  W.A. Mozart,
Strauss Sr. and Jr. and Franz Lehar all being prolific composers of
greatest hits.

The pool of vocal talent in Vancouver is wide and deep. Lambroula Maria
Pappas sings with the best of them. She charmed the audience with her
delightful versions of arias from The Magic Flute,  Die 
Fledermaus and Merry Widow.

Kudos also go to Toni Stannick for her work as concertmaster in the first half of the program.

SUNDAY – January 28: New Date for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Dinner

SUNDAY – January 28, 2007:

2008 date is January 27th – SUNDAY

the following is information for the 2007 dinner.
New information for 2008 dinner soon.
Thank you for your patience.

New Date for
Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

It's Sunday…. Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
January 28th.

The 1st Sunday following Robbie Burns Birthday on January 25th.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy –
The infamous Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.
The “little dinner that could” and did:

Advanced price now until January 22nd, 2007 is:
$60 + $5 service charge for regular seating
$70 + $5 service charge for premium seating (closer seating + 2 bottles wine at the table)
see our 

Seating Plan for 2007 GHFC Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

After January 22nd, 2007
$75 including service ticket charge
$85 PREMIUM SEATING (closer seating + 2 bottles wine at the table and service ticket charge)
see our 

Seating Plan for 2007 GHFC Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

To celebrate our 10th Annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.

Look for the return of:

Silk Road Music

Joe McDonald and Brave Waves

New for 2007:

co-host Priya Ramu – host of CBC Radio's “On the Coast

Priya Ramu

Author Lensey Namioka – author of Half and Half

Half and Half

Leora Cashe

No Luck Club
instrumental hip hop band
no luck club

+ many more musical and literary surprises!

This is a fundraiser event for
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team

and Joy Kogawa House

For Tickets:
Firehall Arts Centre   Monday to Friday 9-6pm

Credit cards can be used.  Visa or Mastercard.
There is an additional service charge and tickets can be mailed out to you.

Redress: One Voice and More Strength Now…

Redress: One Voice and More Strength Now…

Sid Tan (in green) stands with leading head tax redress campaigners Victor Wong (CCNC executive director) and Gim Wong (WW2 veteran who rode his motorcycle from Victoria to Ottawa to raise awareness).  Sitting are Thomas Soon and Charlie Quan holding the 1st and 2nd cheques presented by Ottawa to surviving head tax payers – photo Todd Wong

Here's a letter from my friend Sid Tan, that summarizes the present state of the head tax redress campaign – after the successful presentation of the first payment cheque to Charlie Quan on Friday October, 20th.  Sid has been active on the head tax redress campaign since the 1980's.

Yo All.

Our struggle has just weathered the first of federal government's public relations and media opportunities well. There will be the spouses' payment and then the community fund government blitz and photo-ops. Already the boys at Quan Lung Sai Tong are reporting talk of compliant individuals floating positions asking for the return of symbolic $500. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I find such sentiments self-serving and seeking to curry favour with the government. It hurts our cause. The federal government has already set the financial bar at $20,000 and our basic principle is that all head tax families be treated equally. One certificate, one claim.

In our call for a just and honourable redress, there must be the respect and dignity of good faith negotiations with representatives of head tax families. Redress seeking groups must have non-competing positions. All must call for a full measure of justice and honour. Anything less for head tax families would forever reduce our community to one of undeserving or unable, forever discriminated, forever with less than equal rights. Our children and their children, our future generations will suffer our failure in political participation.

The Government of Canada is providing about 0.6% of head tax families those with surviving payers and spouses – with direct redress. Not all the remaining 99.4% of the families will be seeking direct redress. Indeed, some of these families may even oppose the call for direct redress. This is to be expected. We must be bold and clear about our demands. For me personally, they are quite straightforward:

1) the Government of Canada must recognize and acknowledge redress is incomplete;
2) the Government of Canada must commit to good faith negotiationswith representatives of head tax families seeking direct redress; and
3) the Government of Canada must act in the spirit as articulated in the Quan Manifesto of March 22, 2006.

The Head Tax Families Society of Canada, successor to the BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants, has now been incorporated under the BC Societies Act. Our small merry band has carried the struggle well the past year. Our numbers increase and we grow stronger by the day. We ask people across the country to sign onto our petition and help get signatures as well. The November 25 (starts 11:00am) Outside Inside event at the Chinese Cultural Centre to observe a year of struggle will be a membership drive kick-off.

ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society continues to support and will move forward the Quan Manifesto,  reducing the $35,000 refund to $20,000 as the government gave to surviving head tax payers and spouses in ex gratia payments. ACCESS will soon be asking the BC Ombudsman to investigate whether the BC government is intransigent and dismissive of requests to be
forthcoming in regards to its unjust enrichment of an estimated $9-million in head taxes received from 1903 to 1923.

Given how far we have come and how hard we are working, we can look forward to raising the incomplete redress in the upcoming federal and provincial election. The struggle still continues.

Take care.    Anon    Sid

PS  Following is an email sent to Minister Oda and Secretary Kenney with Quan Manifesto and the ACCESS position then.

May 8, 2006

Hon. Bev Oda
Minister of Canadian Heritage & Status of Women

Mr. Jason Kenney, MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Dear Minister Oda and Mr. Kenney,

Thank you for your continuing efforts to reach a just and honourable settlement for the Chinese head-tax and exclusion redress. On behalf of ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, I have the pleasure to support the proposal of Charlie Quan Song Now, a 98-year old head-tax payer and inspiring champion for a significant and meaningful redress. You may recall I passed you his handwritten proposal during the morning session of the March 24, 2006 consultation at George Brown House in Toronto.

What I call the Quan Manifesto is a simple, respectful and dignified approach to an appropriate redress. It will cost close to the approximate $425-million of the 1988 Japanese Canadian redress. With a financial cap of $450-million, it is actually less given the inflation factor. The Quan Manifesto assumes all claimant head-tax payer families have legal successors and eligible estates. It assumes all members of the family, the basic unit of Chinese and most civilisations, suffered hardship due to the head-tax and endured the separation of exclusion.

The Quan Manifesto
1) One certificate, one payment.
2) Payment to:
     a) Head-tax payer
     b) Spouse if deceased head-tax payer.
     c) Equally to children or in-laws. If no children
         to in-laws in place of sons or daughters.
     d) $35,000 tax free
      e) Apology to above in order
Charlie Quan Song Now, Foon Chang, Sidney Tan
March 22, 2006  Saltwater City (Vancouver, BC)

In our estimation, there are approximately 4,000 claimant head-tax payer families. The $450-million cap will allow for a $35,000 payment to 12,000 claimant head-tax payer families. In the Japanese Canadian redress, individual payments of $21,000 to claimants were approximately 3.5 times the initial number of claimants. Should the number of claimants be less than 12,000, the remainder would be added to the community fund. If the number of claimants exceeds 12,000, there would be a proportional decrease of the $35,000 payment to include all. Note there is a $30-million cushion as 12,000 times $35,000 is only $420-million.

As added value to the Quan Manifesto, we ask that 82,369 Canadian legal tender $1,000 Gold Mountain dollars, in gold alloy of course, be added to Canada's numismatic history. The initial $1000 payment to each head-tax payer claimant family would be a Gold Mountain dollar. Over $82-million from the $450-million cap would be required but if need be, some claimant head-tax payer families maybe required to accept more than one Gold Mountain dollar. Indeed, these Gold Mountain dollars may even fetch a premium which could be added to the $450-million cap.

The Quan Manifesto simply asks the government to pay back what we believe to be a fair, acceptable and symbolic amount to claimant head-tax families which is significant and meaningful. Clearly head-tax/exclusion money should go to those directly affected. The acknowledgment, commemoration and education community projects should be funded from existing programs within Canadian Heritage and other government departments and not funds directed to redress claimant head-tax families.

You should know Charlie Quan has thought long and hard about his proposal. It has the legitimacy of being made by a head-tax payer.  Note he wants all claimants to be treated equally with his “one certificate, one payment” principle. In doing so, he removes himself from the front of the line to stand with the others to receive what they receive. Mr. Quan asked me to deliver his proposal, after Foon Chang and I signed it, to you for consideration when I told him about my invitation to the March 24 consultation. You now have his handwritten proposal, which may very well turn out to be a historical document.

ACCESS, successor to Vancouver Association of Chinese Canadians (VACC), is a not-for-profit anti-racism, human rights and social justice society as well as a community television corporation. It is an affiliate of the Chinese Canadian National Council and a member of the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada and STATUS Coalition. ACCESS works with other equality seeking organizations to fight racism and discrimination, to advance the rights of citizens and migrants living in Canada and to press the federal government to redress the Chinese head-tax/exclusion.

We are willing to work with you and your government to resolve this injustice. Good faith negotiations within an open and transparent process for resolution will determine the success or failure in reaching a just and honourable settlement. We propose the $450-million financial cap because neither you nor your government has proposed one. We do understand consensus is not everyone in our community will agree with us, but that they may disagree with us but will not block or hinder us.

We would be pleased to receive comments from you regarding our proposal. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours truly,
Sid Chow Tan, President
ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians
For Equality and Solidarity Society

4040 Inverness Street
Vancouver, BC   V5V 4W5

Cc.: Victor Wong, CCNC
        Karin Lee, BC Coalition
        Harvey Lee, BC Coalition
        George Jung, BC Coalition
        Libby Davies MP, Vancouver East
        David Emerson MP, Vancouver Kingsway
        Ujjal Dosanjh MP, Vancouver South

CBC Generations filming: Rev Chan bible + descendants Rhonda and Tracey

CBC Generations filming: Rev Chan bible + descendants Rhonda and Tracey

On Saturday, we filmed Tracey, Todd Wong and Betty Wong with the Rev.
Chan family bible.  It is the largest bible I have ever seen. It is 106 years old, published in 1900.  Bound by leather, it was rebound several years ago, as it was held together by tape.  Karen Chan Wong is the keeper and preserver of the Rev. Chan bible.  She is the eldest daughter of Gerald Chan, son of Jack Chan, son of Rev. Chan Yu Tan…. so Karen is a 4th generation descendant.

Tracey Hinder is a 5th generational descendant of Rev. Chan Yu Tan.  Our grandmothers are sisters, the daughters of Kate Lee, the eldest daughter of Rev. Chan.  Last year in March 2005, Tracey won the BC regional Canspell contest held in Vancouver.  She later travelled to Washington DC for the annual Scripps Spelling Bee, as well as the inaugural CanSpell national championship in Ottawa. Tracey was interviewed by CBC documentary producer Halya Kuchmij on Friday morning.

Halya interviewed me
again to address head tax issues.  I share the story about Uncle Dan
writing to Parliament every year asking for an apology, but never
receiving an answer.  I spoke about how it was an important campaign for me to be involved in, as I have many ancestors who paid the head tax including my mother's father Sonny Mar, and my grandmother's father Ernest Lee.  Both are predeceased and will not be eligible for the Conservative head tax redress refund program.

Rhonda Larrabee, my mother's cousin was also interviewed. Rhonda is also Chief of the Qayqayt First Nations.  Her father Art Lee (my grandmother's elder brother) married Marie Charlie, a First Nations woman.  “Tribe of One” is a movie about how Rhonda came to understand both her Chinese and First Nations heritage, and resurrect the Qayqayt First Nations from obscurity.  When Rhonda first applied for Indian status, the Department of Indian Affairs had claimed that the Qayqayt no longer existed.  She proved them wrong.

Mayor Sam Sullivan and me, on board the Queen of Oak Bay

Mayor Sam Sullivan and me, on board the Queen of Oak Bay

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan and Todd Wong – just two boys who grew up in Vancouver's East End. – photo Todd Wong

I bumped into Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan on the 9am sailing to
Victoria on the Queen of Oak Bay.  Sam was travelling to Victoria for a
BC Munincipalities conference.  I was travelling with a CBC documentary
film crew because we were going to Vancouver Island to interview my
family elders.

Family history is a bit of a theme between Sam and me.  The first
time we met was a
few years ago, at a history fair at the Vancouver Public Library. 
had a display of the Rev. Chan family photos, and he stopped to share
stories about his family.  We discovered that we both grew up in
same East Vancouver neighborhoods, our fathers had shops in the same
area – his on Hastings and mine on Venables.  And we briefly
attended Vancouver Technical highschool together for one year.

In the years since, Sam has attended many events that I have hosted for
Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop or Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners. 
Last year, we featured Mayor Sam reading a Chinese poem as part of the
GHFC dinner festivities.

What do you talk about when you meet the Vancouver mayor on a ferry to Victoria?
Well… first of all, you have to appreciate that wherever Sam Sullivan
travels, he is approached by strangers who want to say hello. 
Sam's appearance at the Torino Olympics closing ceremony made an
incredible impact, as he waved the Olympic flag from his
wheelchair.  As a quadripelic mayor he has raised the profile for
wheel chair atheletes and physically challenged people globally. 

During our chat, a young boy came up to ask to say hello and ask to
take a picture with the Mayor.  Another traveller going to the BC
Munincipalities conference brought his  daughter who uses a
wheelchair, to say hello to Sam Sullivan.

Todd Wong and Vancouver mayor Sam
Sullivan at Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2006 dinner. Sam read a poem in
Chinese.  Maybe for 2007 we can find him a plaid neck tie with the
Sullivan tartan or a Chinese jacket.  Maybe we can find a Robbie
Burns poem to draw on his Scottish heritage of the Sullivan clan… –
photo Ray Shum.

Okay… we definitely chatted about the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner.  Mayor Sam will be pleased to attend.  I just have to
go through his City of Vancouver protocol department now.  I also
informed him about some of the latest issues in the Asian Canadian
community, and told him about a recent Head Tax Redress recognition day
at the City of Toronto.

“Do you think this is something we should do in Vancouver?” Sam asked.

“Oh yes… the head tax reress campaign started in Vancouver back in
the 1980's,” I said.  “We have many key figures here in Vancouver,
and the first redress payment was to Charlie Quan here in
Vancouver.  Vancouver city councillors Raymond Louie and George
Chow are also head tax descendants.”

CBC Generations filming: Searching for Rev. Chan Yu Tan on Vancouver Island

CBC Generations filming:  Searching for Rev. Chan on Vancouver Island

Rev Chan Yu Tan is 4th from the left, standing beside his elder and taller brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai at the 50th Anniversary of the Chinese United Church in Victoria, 1935.  Rev Chan Sing Kai first came to Canada in 1888 to help found the Chinese Methodist Church which later became the Chinese United Church.  Photo from family archives.

My great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan was a United Church
minister on Vancouver Island in Victoria and Nanaimo.  He first
arrived in Victoria in 1896, 110 years ago.  He then came to
Vancouver to work at the Chinese Methodist Church which was founded by
his older brother Rev.Chan Sing Kai, in 1888.  He also ministered in
New Westminster, then moved to Nanaimo in the 1920's before returning to New
Westminister where he retired.  I have a picture of my mother as a child at
the Rev. & Mrs. Chan's 65th wedding anniversary party back around 1943.

The CBC film crew went to Vancouver Island yesterday to interview my grandmother's cousin
Victor Wong and my grandmother's younger sister Auntie Helen Lee for a CBC Generations documentary.  They were Rev. Chan's
grandchildren who both remember attending their grandfather's services
in Nanaimo during the 1920's.  “Auntie” Helen and her younger brother Daniel, lived with Rev. Chan
and his wife for a time in Nanaimo.

I travelled with producer Halya Kuchmij, cameraman Doug, and sound guy Rick. We
caught a 9am ferry to Victoria, arriving at Uncle Victor's place just
after 11am.  Auntie Roberta Lum was also there to greet us. 
brought some pictures that were scanned for use in the
Uncle Victor talked about visiting his grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan,
about becoming a Canadian soldier and going to India.  Uncle
Victor is the president of the Chinese Canadian veterans association in
Victoria, and he was filmed two weekends ago when they hosted a reunion
in Victoria.  Uncle Victor gave a speech about how the
Chinese-Canadian veterans played a major role in bringing
enfranchisement to Chiense Canadians, helping us gain the vote in
1947.  Halya was very
pleased with the interview. 

“I loved my grandfather,” beamed Uncle Victor, as his face lit up and
he recalled happy times playing in Victoria.  He was a very kind

Here I am with my Grandmother's
cousins Roberta Lum andVictor Wong in Victoria.  Their mother was
Rose Chan Wong, a daughter of Rev. Yu Tan Chan.  My
great-grandmother Kate was the eldest child of Rev. Chan – photo
Halya Kuchmij

We finished after 2pm then went for lunch.  It was a 2+ hour drive
to Nanaimo.  We arrived at Auntie Helen's just after 6pm.  We
were also greeted by Helen's daughters Donna and Judy.  Auntie
talked about growing up in Nanaimo, and attending services with her
grandfather Rev. Yu Tan Chan.  She shared that she sometimes
accompanied Rev. Chan on his visits to Ladysmith, Duncan and Cumberland
where there was a large group of miners.  Rev. Chan held evening services for the miners.

She also talked about her grandmother
Mrs. Shee Wong Chan, whom I learned could be a very stern woman as well
as loving.  Mrs. Chan was also very active in the community,
knowledgable about Chinese herbal medicines and midwifery.  A
highlight of the interview was when Auntie
Helen sang “Jesus Loves Me,” and talked about the hymns that Rev. Chan
played on his pump organ at Church.

My favorite Grand-Aunt… Auntie
Helen is my grandmother's younger sister, at 91 years old.  She
has attended the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners and she LOVES to eat
Haggis – photo Halya Kuchmij

We caught the 9pm ferry back to Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay.  It was a
long day travelling from the 9am ferry in Tsawassen to a 10:45 arrival
at Horseshoe Bay.  But we captured some great interviews on
film.  Halya keeps saying “This is going to be a great
film.”  She is excited and it's great to be part of history in the

On Thursday morning we
filmed my 15 year old 2nd cousin Tracy Hinder at West Vancouver
Secondary School
during her
mandarin chinese language class.  She next did an interview and
about what she has learned of her family history and her plans for the
future.  Tracy really represents the future history of the
family.  At her young age, sh is already a newsmaker.  For
the film she also shared her experience winning the 2005 Canspell
contest in
Vancouver, and going to Ottawa for the National competition. 
Tracy remembers being at the Rev. Chan family reunions that her mother
helped to organize in 1999 and 2000.  Of course she was very young
but remembers that “there were lots of people.”

Filming continues this weekend.  Generations: Rev Chan is expected to air in Febrary 2007.