“Finding Memories, Tracing Routes:” CCHSBC book launch BIG SUCCESS for Chinese Canadian Family Stories

“Finding Memories, Tracing Routes:”
for Chinese Canadian Family Stories

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Vancouver Public Library

350 West Georgia Street.

Author Dan Seto
holding a copy of the CCHSBC book Finding Memories, Tracing
Routes”  Dan's story includes a beaver… how Canadian is that? –
photo Todd Wong

Almost two hundred people attended the book launch of the Chinese Canadian
Historical Society of BC's book launch for “Finding Memories, Tracing
Routes: Chinese Canadian Family Stories.”

and friends + interested listeners all crowded into the Alice Mackay
Room at the Vancouver Public Library to hear about how self-confessed
non-writers helped create the most significant new book about Chinese
Canadian stories.  CCHSBC executive members described how the 6
week writing project took place and what its' significance means to how
history will be understood. 

Henry Yu, UBC professor of History said “Many people think that history
is defined by the historians, but it's not – it's really defined by the
people who tell the stories.  The authors in this book have
changed how history is being told.”

Editor Brandy Liên
, who was a former editor for the Amerasia Journal
in Los Angeles, led the 6 week workshop.  With simple exercises,
the 8 first-time writers were able to discover their topics, and flesh
out their stories with details, sights, sounds and emotional
experiences.  Worrall was credited by each of the writers as being
supportive, and able to make their stories really come alive.

Chan, one of the writers, said she had always wanted to be able to
share the stories that her mother had told her – but she didn't know
how.  The writing workshop with a group setting not only helped her to
write, but she developed lots of new friends, and a sense of community

Hayne Wai (also my cousin), who is also currently president of the
CCHSBC, said it is important to note that nobody considered themselves
a “writer” before the workshop.  They didn't know what a
“metaphor” was.  And while they all had different reasons for
wanting to write, they also had different audiences to write for. 
Some people wrote for their parents or their ancestors.  Some
people wrote for their family and future generations.  But many of
the writers each admitted that it was also important for them to write
for themselves.

Seto was the one writer selected to give a testimonial presentation to how the
workshop helped him to give voice to the stories inside him, as well as
helping to understand his brothers and his parents better. And along
the way, Dan said the writing process helped him to mature.  Dan
introduced his family to the audience.  And he introduced his
dragon boat team too!  He asked the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon
boat team and its coach – me… to stand up and credited us with giving
him the support and listening to his stories about his family.

of the eight authors attended the book launch, and next took seats near
the stage.  They answered questions from the audience, then signed
copies of the books for family, friends and fans.

Author Dan Seto holds a copy of
“Finding Memories” with his dragon boat team buddies, Todd, Jen,
Stephen, Wendy, Jonas, Julie, Grace, Tzhe and Jeremy. – photo courtesy
of Grace.

really do love Dan on the dragon boat team.  He and many others on
the team regularly exchange ideas about Chinese-Canadian identity and
issues, as well as thoughts about issues that affect us.  This
year I openly shared with the team about my activities in the Save
Kogawa House and Head Tax redress campaigns.  Others talked with
Dan about where we grew up, and where our ancestors grew up.  And
like the writing group our  Dragon boat team members provides lots
of social support – the following paddlers came out to support Dan:
Grace, Julie, Jonas, Wendy, Jennifer, Jeremy, Tzhe, Joe, Keng, Gerard,
Stephen, Steven, Christine and myself.

CCHSBC president Hayne Wai (my
cousin!), Dan Seto and Todd Wong (me!), attending the Oct 21st CCHSBC
writing workshop at the Vancouver Museum – photo courtesy of Todd Wong

The Chinese Canadian
Historical Society of BC
proudly presents the first
collection of eight stories demonstrating the power of finding common
history in the lives and deaths of those who came before us. Created
during a six-week community writing workshop, this touching and
evocative book is a must-read for all Canadians who want to understand
the central place of Chinese-Canadians in our shared past.

Authors: Shirley Chan,
Belinda Hung, Roy Mah, Dan Seto, Hayne Wai, Candace Yip, Gail Yip and
Ken Yip.

Brandy Liên

Proceeds from the sales of this
collection will go towards the Edgar Wickberg Scholarship for
Chinese Canadian History

For additional
information on the book launch, please email

For information on the
collection and/or how to purchase, please go its
dedicated page.

find out more information on the upcoming February workshop that will
focus on “Stories about Family and Food” – please go to www.cchsbc.ca/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × = 3