Monthly Archives: March 2007

Our History is Still Being Written: The Story of Three Chinese-Cuban Generals

Our History is Still
Being Written:

The Story of Three Chinese-Cuban Generals

Vancouver Public Library, March 11 at 2:30;
the UBC Asian Centre, March 12 at noon

March 8, 2007      


Steve Penner – Our History Tour, Vancouver Organizer


expect a capacity crowd for the Sunday, March 11 meeting at the
Vancouver Public Library's largest venue, the Alice McKay Room, to hear
Mary-Alice Waters, the editor of Our History is Still Being Written:
the Story of Three Chinese Cuban Generals in the Cuban Revolution and a
panel of speakers.  Waters conducted interviews with the three
generatls over a period of four years to prepare the book..

Speakers at
Vancouver Public Library, Sunday, March 11,
2:30 pm

G r a c e   S c
h e n k e v e l d
: co-chair Head Tax Families Society
of Canada

T r e v  
S u e – A
– Q u a n
: author, Cane Reapers, Chinese
Indentured Immigrants in Guyana

S i
d   T a n
: Chairperson,
Chinese Canadian National Council

M a r y
A l i c e  
W a t e r s
: editor, Our
History; president, Pathfinder Press

Waters, is also the editor of 17 other books in teh Pathfinder Press
series “The Cuban Revolution in World Politics.”  That weries
includes Che Guevara's best known books such as Episodes of the Cuban
Revolutionary War.  Several of the books edited by Mary-Alice
Waters are being featured in a special display at the Vancouver Public
Library to promte the March 11 meeting.  The VPL is one of the
meeting sponsors along witht eh Association of Chinese Canadians for
Equlaity and Solidarity, the Vancouver and District Labour Council,
Pathfinder Books and others.

has spoken at meetings on the book from Cuba and Venezuela to meetings
organized by the Chinese Historical Society of San Francisco and the
University of California in Los Angeles.  She's also speaking at
UBC on Monday at noon.

Speakers at the
Asian Centre, UBC, Monday, March 12, 2:30 p.m.

A l e j a n d r
a   B r o n f m a n:
Associate Professor, Latin American
Studies, UBC

l l a n   C h o:

K a r i
n   L e e:
film-maker, Canadian
Steel, Chinese Grit; Comrade Dad

M a r y
A l i c e  
W a t e r s:
Editor, Our
History; President, Pathfinder Press

H e n r y   Y u:
Associate Professor: History, UBC; Asian American Studies,

E l e a n o r  
Y u e n:
Head, Asian Library UBC 

Armando Choy, one of the authors of Our History is Still Being Written who had
originally been scheduled to speak, is unable to come because of his pressing
responsibilities heading up the administration of the
Port of Havana .

For further information, to arrange interviews with any of the speakers, or for review copies of Our History is Still Being Written: the Story of Three Chinese- Cuban
Generals in the Cuban Revolution

please contact Steve Penner at 604-324-2671 or stevepenner @


Dragon Boat season again: Gung Haggis Fat Choy team hits the water on Sunday March 4th

Dragon Boat season again:
Gung Haggis Fat Choy team hits the water on Sunday March 4th

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat had an incredible season in 2006,
and we look forward to an even better season with so many returning
paddlers.  We welcome recreational and beginner paddlers… and if
we have enough beginner paddlers we will spin off a 2nd team for

Our team emphasizes fun, food, and fitness and multiculturalism… in
that order.  Sometimes we say we have a foodie team that likes to
paddle.  But our paddlers have also decided to unleash their
competitive nature for 2007 and really want to improve for this
season… while still accomplishing fun, food and fitness and

Scottish and Chinese cultures are our namesakes, derived from our
annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner
fundraiser.  It's an eclectic and wacky dinner event that features
traditions from Scottish and Chinese culture fused with contemporary
post-modern Canadianisms – whaterver that is!
Our team uniforms feature lucky gold chinese coins + optional kilts.

Our 2006 season included races at Lotus Sports Club's Bill Alley
dragonboat regatta, False Creek Women's regatta, ADBF regatta, Alcan
Dragon Boat Festival, Kent Washington Cornucopia dragon boat Festival,
Vernon Dragon Boat Festival, Cultus Lake Women's regatta, Victoria
Dragon Boat Festival, Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat
Races.  Plus we also raced in the UBC Day of the Long Boats with
Tacoma Dragon Boat Association, and the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival
Canoe regatta.  Paddlers signed up for the races they wanted to
attend and not every body attended every race… so we are very

The 2007 season will see many of the same races – but we may pare down
the number, or pair up with other teams as we did for Victoria with the
Pirates dragon boat team from Chilliwack, or the FC women's regatta
with Tacoma DBA.

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team's first practice is Sunday March 4th.
We meet at 1pm for warm-up stretches and cardio
We are on water from 1:30pm to 3pm

We paddle from Dragon Zone – run by the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival
It's in the South East Corner of False Creek – immediately south of Science World
Best places for parking are on Quebec Street, 1st Ave near Mario's Gelato or 2nd Ave.

We will start Tuesdays after the
switch to Daylight Saving time – dependant on how much light is

What to wear: fleeceys are good
at this time –  both tops and bottoms.  Rain gear if needed.  Definitely
a hat.  This will be a low intensity warm-up practice to shake off the
cobwebs, and develop good body posture and techniqe.

check out more on the website for:
Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team

To join the team contact:

Todd Wong coach and clan chieftain
e-mail:  gunghaggs @yahoo . ca

Vancouver Province: Paying head tax families is a just remedy – letters to the editor

Vancouver Province: Paying head tax families is a just remedy – letters to the editor

Some letters
on HT redress in the Vancouver
Province from Monday, February 26th, 2007.

first letter is by my friend Sid Tan, a long-time community activist
and advocate for head tax redress.  While his friend Charlie Quon
was the the first person to receive the head tax ex-gratia payment –
Sid's grandmother died in 2002, so she and the family will not receive
a payment.  Neither will Gim Wong, the Canadian born WW2 veteran
whose father paid the head tax, but died a long time ago.  It was
Gim who saluted the Prime Minister from the public gallery when Harper
made the apology in Parliament, in Ottawa.

The second person is from a non-head tax descendant who doesn't understand how redress works. 

tax redress issues have been an open sore on Canada's racist history
for far too long.  It needs to be treated.  The best health
care is always preventative.  Programs for the  prevention of
racism sometimes don't seem effective and a waste of money – but when
racism happens, it costs a lot, and everybody pays for it – sometimes
for generations.

head tax money had not been made mandatory – 81,000 Chinese migrants to
Canada could have paid for their health and dental care, homes to live
in, brought their wives and children to Canada, helped to send children
and grandchildren
to university (after universities allowed Chinese to attend) – and all
the things most Canadians take for granted, unless you are barred by

present head tax redress program by Conservative government is only
giving ex-gratia payments to individuals for living head tax payers or
spouses.  This means only 381 certificates from a total of 81,000
certificates are being recognized… less than 0.5%.  That's like
putting a band-aid on a completely burned leg.  Where's the justce
for the other 99.5%?

And redress advocacy groups are only asking for a “symbolic return” – not full tax refund with interest!

See below for the Vancouver Province letters:

Paying head-tax families is a just remedy

head-tax families is a just remedy

 Prime Minister Stephen Harper presents Chinese head-tax survivor Ralph Lee with a government apology. Now, families of those who paid the tax want compensation payments of $20,000 each.

Prime Minister Stephen
Harper presents Chinese head-tax survivor Ralph Lee with a government apology.
Now, families of those who paid the tax want compensation payments of $20,000

Photograph by : The Canadian Press

Paying head-tax families is a just remedy

Letter to Editor


February 26, 2007, A17 

families of Chinese head-tax payers are seeking what every Canadian would want
— a refund of an unjust tax.

No amount
of money could compensate for the hardship and loneliness of 62 years of unjust
legislated tax and exclusion against these families The federal government was
unjustly enriched by the collection of $23 million in head tax, of which the
B.C. government received an estimated $9 million.

federal government's message with its imposed settlement was: “The
government was wrong. We're sorry but we're keeping the money. Too bad your
parents or grandparents didn't live long enough. Take it or leave it.” Of
course, head-tax families believe it isn't over until we say it's over. We say
it isn't over.

If the
government unjustly takes a dollar from my family or me and apologizes, does
that mean it doesn't have to give the dollar back? Prime Minister Stephen
Harper and the Conservative government have shown a great deal of political
acumen and finesse on this file. Unfortunately, it now appears to be simply
pandering for votes, while neglecting the matter of justice and honour for head-tax families.

The prime
minister said the Chinese head tax and exclusion were morally wrong.

If that's
the case, shouldn't he do the morally right thing?

Sid Chow
Tan, Chinese Canadian National Council

Hospitals before head tax

Letter to Editor

The Province

February 26, 2007, A17 

I am sick
and tired of hearing about head-tax compensation.

government that we have now did not implement the head tax, and therefore
should not have to compensate anyone.

I don't
understand why government after government keeps apologizing, when they weren't
the ones who levied the head tax.

And for
those people who are trying to collect head-tax compensation because their
relatives had to pay it, they're just trying to get money from the government.

The government
could be using the money they have paid to expand emergency facilities in
hospitals, which is far more important.

Courtnee Anderson, Coquitlam

More Heritage recognition for Joy Kogawa House – write ups in Vancouver Courier and Journals of Commerce

More Heritage recognition for Joy Kogawa House
– write ups in Vancouver Courier and Journal of Commerce

Here are some articles about the Vancouver Heritage Awards. 

Fred Lee wrote in the Vancouver Courier
Urban Landscape

Mayor Sam Sullivan conferred honours on the champions of
heritage at the recent 28th annual City of Vancouver
Heritage Awards held in historic Coastal Church on Georgia
Street. Recipients included Duncan Wilson and Rowland
Johnson for rehabilitating the 1899 Rand House on Bute
Street, the Land Conservancy for its efforts in saving the
home of writer Joy Kogawa and H.R. Hatch Architect, McGinn
Engineering and Ballenas Project Management for the
preservation efforts on the Left Bank temple bank building
on Main Street. The Courier's Lisa Smedman picked up an
Award of Merit for her series on the history of Vancouver

Journal of Commerce reported the winners:
City honours 2007 Heritage Award winners

The 28th annual City
of Vancouver Heritage Awards were presented on February 19, the first
day of Heritage Week, to honour the extraordinary efforts of
architects, community organizations, developers, writers, artists and
ordinary citizens who work to preserve our heritage.

Mayor Sam Sullivan conferred award
certificates upon the winners who represented a range of projects which
reflect the diversity of the heritage in neighbourhoods across the

Awards of Honour were presented for:

844 Dunlevy Street: awarded to owners Graham
Elvidge and Kathleen Stormont for their exemplary restoration of this
Queen Anne house in one of Vancouver’s first neighbourhoods, and
advancing the education, awareness, and advocacy of heritage in the
community and the city.

TLC, The Land Conservancy: awarded to TLC, The
Land Conservancy, and the Save Joy Kogawa House Committee for its
outstanding advocacy efforts in saving the childhood home of writer Joy
Kogawa, and bringing municipal, provincial, national and international
attention to the effort with its theme of “Hope, Healing and