Monthly Archives: June 2007

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat after party fundraiser @ Doolin's

Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dragon boat after party fundraiser

Sunday, June 17th
8pm @ Doolin's Irish Pub
654 Nelson St. @ Granville St.

featuring Kilts Night – 1st Thursday of each month

wear a kilt – receive Free pint of Guinness

Price is $10 – $5 for special friends

50/50 Raffle Prize Draw

Live Music – featuring Pat Chessell

Open Mic downstairs in The Cellar

Ticket valid for a drink on us

Tix available from Gung Haggis team members
find us Saturday and Sunday

@ Alcan Dragon Boat Festival
FREE admission to the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival this year

key race times for Saturday:
Heat 7 – 9:06 am: Killarney Cougar Dragons
Heat 12 – 10:01 am :  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Heat 29 – 1:08     Gung Haggis  & Friends 50+
Heat 33 1:52 or Heat 34 2:03 pm  Juniors
Heat 37 2:36 or Heat 39 2:58 or Heat 40 3:09 Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Sunday times dependent upon Saturday's race finishes.

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Friday: Blessing Ceremony + we crash the VIP Party

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Friday: Blessing Ceremony + we crash the VIP Party

The blessing ceremony for the 19th annual Alcan Dragon Boat Festival went well.. except for Todd being slowed by North
Shore traffic.  Channel M had just called me and was asking if our honourary drummer James Erlandsen, leukemia patient, would be on the boat…

“Nope” I said, “his white blood count is too depleted.” 
“But James' spirit will be with us when we are on the boat, and our spirit is with his, in his recovery back to health.” We are helping to find a matching Eurasian bone marrow for James.  3 of our paddlers are Eurasian, and we have 3 inter-racial couples on the team! Hapa is s-o-o-o in!

Hmmm…. I arrived late and the team was already on the dock.  I
brought down the kilts which paddler Stuart Mackinnon and Drummer Deb each quickly put on. Team Captain
Jim Blatherwick already had his kilt on.

We loaded up the boat, and Taoist priests were already chanting and
dotting the eyes of the dragons…   then we paddled away from the
Dragon Zone dock.  Usually it is this time that drummer Deb does her
introductions of new guest paddlers on the boat – but in the 1st seat –
the female priest was singing/chanting.  Hillary's mother Bev Wong (James Erlandsen's Aunt), and currently inactive paddlers Jeremy and Jen – took pictures of us and waved to us from the Dragon Zone deck.

We paddled over to a float set up on the North side of Dragon Zone –
within good viewing of the VIP lounge on the North West side of the
Science World deck.  We let off the priest + a VIP + Captain Jim… the priests did
blessings.  Captain Jim stood during the ceremonies, and chatted with
the captains of Concord dragon boat team – Fred Roman, and captain of Cathay Pacific –
May.   Jim says the priests gave him a “lucky coin”.  While we waited
the 20 minutes while the priests did their equipment takedown – We paddled some
figure 8's and Deb introduced our guest paddlers.  2 youngsters from
Kitsilano Water Demons junior team, and their coach Chek Tay – whom I
have known since 1999.

We paddled back to the Dragon Zone dock – We started saying our
goodbyes because Deb & Todd were heading off to the ADBF VIP
party, and our paddlers were deciding what to do next when they were
immediately asked to help carrying things down to the dock, as Water's
Edge was setting up the race course.  While our paddlers helped out, and Todd bumped into ADBF general manager Ann
Phelps who said that she had to go help out her volunteers at the VIP
party.  Todd asked if she needed more volunteers, and offered the GHFC
paddlers. So we all did get to go to the VIP party afterall…. but as

It was easy… we served drinks, bused the used dishes, and Todd
helped out at the reception desk.  We were told that we could relieve the
current volunteer staff, switch off and enjoy the party.  We did…  
Free wine, beer, drinks and food, food, food. 

Steven Wong saw his brother Peter who is past-president for ADBF. 
Georgia and I talked with Marlene's very good friend Patrick Couling –
who is an ADBF race advisor.  Vancouver City Councillor George Chow asked me
to help out with the 100th anniversary dinner for the 1907 Chinatown
Riots.  I chatted up the Rogers VIP representatives we had paddled over
to the float – potential sponsorship maybe?  Deb even got her father
into the VIP party, by putting a GHFC shirt over his t-shirt.  We
schmoozed, we ate, we drank, and volunteered hard. 

Hillary, our rookie paddler is amazing… This is her first Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, and she is both a paddler and a volunteer. Tonight, she bused hard, following a previous night when she did a First
Aid course for ADBF volunteers.  Two weeks ago she volunteered at the ADBF regatta,
when Gung Haggis wasn't paddling.  And she will do so again during the
festival.  Thank You Hillary.

Gung Haggis really helped out the ADBF tonight – both during the
blessing ceremony and for the VIP party. ADBF Communications director
Anita Webster, also said I saved her bacon this morning when I
interviewed for 2 spots during the City TV Breakfast TV morning show-
and especially for coming up for a tour of the DZ clubhouse, when the
heavens let loose the rains at 9am this morning.

Thank You everybody.  This is a FANTASTIC team, because of the high
quality of the people on the team.  It is a group that I and its team
members really enjoy being around.

Slainte, Toddish

Dragon Boat Friday….

Dragon Boat Friday….

“The River Dragons must be angry” – this is what ancient Chinese thought when the rivers flooded.  Ancient Chinese believed in Air Dragons, Water Dragons and Earth Dragons.  They made offerings to the dragons to bring good rains for the crops.  That is what the ancient Dragon Boat Festivals were for – they celebrated the coming of Summer – the 5th day of the 5th month – Summer solstice time.

This morning I was interviewed by Tasha Chiu of CityTV's Breakfast Television.
She asked me about the symbology of Chinese dragons, and how the early origins of dragon boat racing have changed from wooden dragon boat heads to foam heads, and from wooden teak boats to fibreglass – bringing this ancient ritual into the 21st Century.

Eye of the Dragon – the sight-impaired dragon boat team, also taught Tasha how to paddle, and do a race start.  Anita Webster, communications director of the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, explained what was happening with multicultural festival in terms of 168 teams racing + lots of entertainment, and that for the 1st time in the festival's 19 year history…. it is now FREE!

So come down today to the site at 5:25pm… Watch the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team along with Cathay and Concord Pacific teams paddle Taoist Priests to the blessing site for the traditional  “awaken the dragons” from their winter/spring hibernation.  Watch the VIPs and dignateries “dot the eyes” with red paint – to “bring the dragons to life”.

Check out today's 24 Hours newspaper for a dragon boat cover story with a picture of Kat Starosta and a story about paddler Ed Cherry.

Check out yesterday's Vancouver Sun with a Westcoast cover story about dragon boats.Teams put the paddle to the medal.  There is a story inside of Andrea Dillon – coach of the False Creek Racing Canoe club mixed team, and Women's team – two of the top teams in the world.  Andrea is the most inspiring dragon boat coach I have ever witnessed.  In 2001, I was able to assist the False Creek Women's team prior to their travel to the World Championships in Philadelphia.  I only attended a few practices, but I did do some steering, filming, and time-keeping for the team.  What an honour!  They are incredible.

And there is a story about Jennifer Breakspear and her novice team
“Sisters in Synch” – Vancouver's first lesbian dragon boat team.  I knew Jennifer when… she showed up at Dragon Zone last year for Community paddle and helped teach her first paddle strokes in a dragon boat team.  She joined the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team and raced her first races at the Lotus Sports Club's Bill Alley Memorial Race and at the False Creek Women's regatta.  I knew then that she had tremendous paddling potential.  We are proud of Jennifer's development and contribution to the paddling community.  She is now the coordinator of Dragon Zone… so if you want to try paddling – come down to Dragon Zone, and ask Jennifer is she knows of any teams that are looking for paddlers.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team racing this weekend at Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Here is the 2007 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team for the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – photo taken by Richard Montagna on June 3rd at the ADBF regatta. sitting: Keng, Cindy, Deb, Todd, Barb, Stuart M
standing: Sean, Alex, Dan (back), Hillary, Jane, Art, Georgia, Sarah, Steven W, Marlene, Stuart H, Joe (with hat), Tzhe (with black cap), Gerard, Wendy, Jonas, Jim, Peggy.
Missing: Ernest, Stephen M.

We have a good strong core with 7 rookies who raced their first dragon boat races this year. We have 5 second year paddlers.  We have 14 paddlers who have raced for 2+ years.  We have built flexibility into the team, and have 3 people who can drum, 4 people who can steer, 5 people who can do lead stroke.

Jim Blatherwick is team captain for ADBF, Todd Wong is coach and clan chieftain, Deb Martin is drummer and Stephen Mirowski is steering.

For 2007, we have named
James Erlandsen
as our honourary drummer.  James is currently fighting leukemia, and while he has never before set foot in a dragon boat team, we hope to inspire his recovery for health, and find him a bone marrow donor.  James is Eurasian, which makes it harder to find a matching donor.  Our paddler Hillary Wong is James' cousin.

Our rookie paddler Stuart Mackinnon, is the teacher sponsor for the brand new Killarney
Cougar Dragons
junior team.  Todd Wong has been their coach, and Stephen Wong has assisted steering the team.

key times:
Heat 7 – 9:06 am: Killarney Cougar Dragons
Heat 12 – 10:01 am :  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Heat 29 – 1:08     Gung Haggis  & Friends 50+
Heat 33 1:52 or Heat 34 2:03 pm  Juniors
Heat 37 2:36 or Heat 39 2:58 or Heat 40 3:09 Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Check the full race schedulehere:

Jim is right – we are a Recreation team… and our objective is to have FUN…  paddle hard, work as a team, and medals will be gravy (now if we did enter a women's team, and ended up in the lowest division – medal chances would be 3/5 instead of 3/16 for Mixed division.)

50+ races get to race in the 50+ race at 1pm.
Keng, Gerard, Steven W. Jane, Stuart, Cindy, Joe, Marlene, Georgia,  any others I miss?  This will help our rotation of spares, to ensure that more people get 4 races over the weekend.

We will add Richard + paddlers from UA, Tacoma, Pirates to add up to 20 paddlers.  I will steer this boat.
5 teams in this race… chances of a medal are 3/5.
other teams are Team Momentuum, FC Grand Masters, Wasabi Mixed, and Dragon's Breath

50th anniversary of the election of- Douglas Jung – 1st Chinese-Canadian Member of Parliament

50th anniversary of the election of– Douglas Jung
– 1st Chinese-Canadian Member of Parliament

June 10th, 2007 marks the 50thanniversary of the election of Douglas Jung, Canada's 1st Member of Parliament.  I met Mr. Jung on two occasions – the first was at a community meeting for redress for Chinese Head Tax back around 1984 or so.

Recently Wesley Jung launched his film documentary about Douglas Jung titled “I am the Canadian Delegate” which aired in February 18thon Channel M.  Jung received many honours during his lifetime, including both the Order of BC, and the Order of Canada.

Jung's son Arthur Calderwood is now paddling on the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy dragon boat team.  I first met Art on May 12th, at the 60th
Anniversary Candian Citizenship dinner organized by the
Chinese-Canadian veterans of Pacific Unit 280.

Here are links for Douglas Jung O.C.

Order of BC Biography – Douglas Jung

Douglas Jung – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Burma Star biography: Jung

Burma Star biography: Jung

Captain Douglas Jung 
Special Operations Australia

Douglas Jung was born in Victoria , British Columbia on Feb 24 1924 and passed away on January 4, 2002. He will be remembered by his legion of friends and the public as an outstanding citizen with a host of accomplishments affixed to his resume.

Douglas graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1953, having the distinction as the first Chinese Canadian veteran granted university training by the Department of Veterans Affairs. After receiving his two degrees-Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws-he was called to the B.C. Bar in 1954. He made history in 1955 by becoming the first Chinese Canadian lawyer ever to appear before the B.C. court of Appeal.

During World War II, he volunteered for special intelligence duties and was assigned to Special Operation Australia which theatre of war covered Southwest Pacific. Trained in Australia as a paratrooper, he and twelve other Chinese Canadian soldiers was destined to operate in Japanese occupied territories in China . Operation Oblivion was canceled because General Douglas MacArthur wanted to have the South East Asia command to be an all American operation. Operation Oblivion was under the direct control of the British war ministry and it's role was under the direct command of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill. These S.O.A. members ended in Borneo and Guinea . Which four were awarded the M.M. for their war services. After demobilization from active service, Douglas joined the Canadian Army Militia, working his way up to the rank of Captain.

Douglas owned the honour as the first Member or Parliament of Chinese descent in 1957 representing Vancouver Centre. In his maiden speech in the House of Commons he urged Canada to take a leading role in serving as a bridge to the Pacific Rim Countries.

Recognized by his colleagues as an innovative M.P., Douglas was credited for the establishment of the Nation Productive Council (now called the Economic Council of Canada }. He achieved changes in the Old Age Pension regulations. Making it possible for pensioners to receive their pension while living any where in the world. Douglas also achieved the following initiatives obtained $750,000 grant to enlarge the Stanley Park Aquarium, established the Canadian Coast Guard Services, and tuition fees included as a deductible expense by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to represent Canada as Chairman of the Legal Delegation to the United Nations.
Reflecting on his term as a Member of Parliament, Douglas noted with satisfaction when Ottawa implemented the Amnesty program, the essence of which permitted thousands of illegal immigrants to regularize their status with the Immigration Department. This measure enable them to apply for the admission of their real families into this country. He was also instrumental in broadening regulations to permit more categories of family members to apply for resident status in Canada .

Time Magazine at that time credited him for pushing for these new progressive changes.
Douglas`s multi-faceted career also included a stint as a judge on the Immigration Appeal Board in Ottawa.

Douglas took a special interest in the welfare of Chinese Canadian veterans. In his view, the contributions made by his fellow veterans were enormous. Without their service and sacrifices, Chinese Canadian might not have received the right to vote and the community would not be as dynamic as it is today.

One of the projects he spearheaded was a visit for Chinese Canadian veterans to their ancestral homeland. During that trip, the veterans received the red carpet treatment from the Chinese government and Douglas was honoured as being the first Member of Parliament of Chinese origin in Canada . On another occasion, he brought a group of Chinese Canadian veterans to Ottawa who were well received by the Right Honourable Ray Hnatyshyn. Governor General of Canada .

Douglas` record of public service was accorded nationwide recognition.  His profusion of honour included the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia , the highest honour a citizen can receive from the federal and the provincial government respectively. Other awards came from the Chinese Benevolent Association, S.U.C.C.S.S. Chinese Cultural Centre, Chinese Canadian National Council and Chinese Association in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Thunder Bay and Toronto, Ontario, as well as the Quebec Japanese Canadian Citizenship Association in Montreal.

The broad scope of his community involvement was evident by his ready acceptance of the role as Life President of Army Navy Air Force Veterans in Canada Unit #280, Patron of S.U.C.C.E.S.S.: Director of Vancouver Symphony. B.C.: Deputy Director of the Governor General`s 1992 Regional Celebration of Canada 125th. Anniversary. Director of the Far East Relations of the Former Parliamentarians Association and the President of Japan Karate Association of Canada which awarded him a sixth degree Black Belt.

Douglas was predeceased by his two brothers. His oldest brother Major Ross Jung served as medical officer in the Canadian Army Medical Corps and second brother Flight-Lieutenant Arthur Ernest Jung was a bomber pilot in the Royal Canadian Air-Force during World War II.
The following is an abridged text of Douglas Jung`s address at the 40th Anniversary Reunion of Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans Pacific Command Unit 280. September 6 1987, Chinese Cultural Centre, Vancouver , B.C. Canada .

This transcript was made possible with the kind permission us Sid Chow Tan who recorded the event for Roger`s cable Chinatown today:
“Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and dear friends.  Seven years ago in Victoria , I had the honour of welcoming those who attended the reunion of the Chinese Canadian veterans who served Canada . Tonight in Vancouver , we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our veterans reunion.

I take pride in the knowledge that we belong to an exclusive and special club. We paid the “admission fee” to join this club and in fact for most of us, we even had to fight to be allowed into the armed force. From a military point of view, there were not enough of us to form our battalion.

Our contribution to the social and economic progress of our Chinese community was a far greater victory then any battle. The success of us veterans was entirely out of proportion to our actual numbers because after the war, we were able to demand and receive for the first time equality of treatment as Canadian citizens.

Unfortunately, after some forty years, there are many among us, particularly the younger generation and new arrivals in Canada, who are not aware that if it had not been for our efforts to demanding recognition of our status as Canadian citizens the Chinese Community would not be as dynamic, as affluent and as welcomed as it is today.

They take for granted that we have always had the right to practice any of the professions, to receive recognition for our distinction in the arts, sports, Business and academic achievement. These people know nothing about the very restrictions as to where we could live and know even less that we were denied the vote and to be recognized as a political voice, and they cannot and do not understand the discrimination which the Chinese community once suffered. For those members of the younger generation, it is almost inconceivable that these social, electoral and economic values existed .

Why should it be this way? Those of us who served during the Second World War were on the whole, less educated, certainly less affluent or sophisticated than the present generation because we never had the opportunity or privilege that Canadians now have. And yet we took up arms and made it possible for others to follow in our footsteps.

Is it too late for us to teach our children or educate our fellow citizens as to the value of what we did? I can tell you, we veterans, individually or as a group, have nothing to be ashamed of. We can hold our heads high because what we did accomplish could never been accomplished or bought with any amount of money.

We, who even denied the most fundamental rights of citizenship, acted as honourable citizens to serve our country in its hour of need.

And no one can take that honour away from us. We are now in the September of our years. Our time and resources are limited and common to all veterans in every land. Some of us have paid terrible emotional, physical and mental price for what we did.

But the price we paid was and remains a symbol of our loyalty and dedication to our country and we can be proud of our accomplishment.

I say this to you. We did something for the Chinese community no other group could ever have done. We should be proud and take satisfaction in the knowledge that without our contribution to Canada as members of the armed forces during the Second World War, none of the rights that exist in the Chinese community to day would be possible.

And to your loved ones and to members of your family, I say this, take pride in our accomplishments. Give to us the privilege to indulge a little bit in our comradeship and also give to us now, your support and understanding because what we did, we did for you.
Be proud of us, as we are with you. Be happy with us and take some time to spread the word and record of us among your friends so that someone will once more be inspired to take up the challenge to be a voice for our community in elected assembly. Do not, I beg of you, let our efforts go to waste simply because no one cares. Our efforts, instead of being recorded as a mere footnote in pages of Canadian history should, at least,, be a blazing and inspiring chapter of the Chinese people in the history of Canada.

And finally, to my comrades in arms I sent you my warmest and most affectionate greetings where ever you may be, I am proud to be one of you and to all I say, “Well done, Thank you for the honour and privilege of speaking to you. I wish you all continuing good health and success. I look forward to our next reunion. Until then. God bless.”

Submitted by W. Chong EX SOE

Douglas Jung – Canada's first Chinese-Canadian MP recognized in Parliament

Douglas Jung – Canada's first Chinese-Canadian MP recognized in Parliament

There were two statements in the House of Commons about Douglas Jung:
on June 8th by Jim Abbott (Conservative) and June 11th by
Meili Faille (BLOC). 

Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese  Canadian National Council sent me the following information.

From Hansard: June 11, 2007


Meili Faille (Vaudreuil-Soulanges, BQ)

Speaker, yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the election of Douglas Jung,
the first Canadian of Chinese origin to be elected to the House of Commons for
the riding of Vancouver Centre.

step of Mr. Jung's career set a precedent in relations to improve racial
tension. Mr. Jung was the first member of Chinese origin to sit in the House of
Commons and to represent Canada
at the United Nations and he was also the first Chinese lawyer to argue before
the British Columbia Court of Appeals.

anniversary gives us an opportunity to reflect on the contribution of
Mr. Jung and Canadians of Chinese origin of his generation who managed to
have the Chinese Exclusion Act repealed and who successfully advocated for the
creation of a special immigration program, inviting people of Chinese origin
who had entered Canada
illegally to come forward and have their status regularized.

colleagues in the Bloc Québécois join with me in calling for this 50th
anniversary to continue to guide our actions toward harmonious relations
between parliamentarians of all origins.

*   *   *

  from Hansard: June 8, 2007


Jim Abbott (Kootenay—Columbia, CPC)

Speaker, 50 years ago on June 10, 1957,
Canada 's first Asian Canadian was
elected to Parliament. As a Conservative, Douglas Jung was nicknamed the
“Giant Killer” when he took out the Liberal minister of defence in
that election. It was just one milestone in his notable career in Canadian
public life.

Born in Victoria in 1924, the two term MP was
the first Chinese Canadian to argue a case before the B.C. Court of Appeal and
serve Canada
at the United Nations. Despite not being recognized as an official citizen of
Canada ,
Douglas Jung enlisted in the Canadian Forces in World War II.

patriotism that he and his fellow Chinese veterans displayed ultimately paved
the way for the repeal of the Chinese exclusion act, and to full citizenship
rights for Chinese Canadians. Chinese Canadians continue to be leaders in many
fields of Canadian life.

I call on members of the House to join me in celebrating the achievements of
Mr. Jung in this place five decades ago.

*   *   *


For Immediate Release
– June 7, 2007

CCNC Marks 50th
Anniversary of Douglas Jung Election:

Calls on Conservative Government
to Implement Moratorium on Deportations

The Chinese Canadian National Council marked the 50th anniversary of
the election of Douglas Jung, the first Chinese Canadian Member of Parliament today by calling on the
Conservative Government to implement the motion passed by Parliament yesterday
afternoon “to place an immediate moratorium on deportations” of all
non-status persons and their families.

CCNC honours the legacy
of (late) Douglas Jung who was elected on June 10, 1957 becoming the first
Chinese Canadian Member of Parliament. “Douglas Jung received numerous
honours for his military and public service including the Order of Canada and
the Order of B.C.,” Colleen Hua, CCNC President said today.
“Douglas Jung was also instrumental in advocating for changes to the
immigration system including the first regularization program: Chinese Adjustment Statement Program, which
allowed an estimated 12,000 non-status persons to attain legal status in
Canada .”

Douglas Jung served in
the British-led Special Operations Executive unit during the Second World War
at a time when the Chinese Exclusion Act was in place and Canadian-born Chinese
like Mr. Jung had no legal status in
Canada . The service of Chinese
Canadian veterans gave moral weight to the community lobby for the repeal of
the Chinese Exclusion Act and full citizenship rights which followed in 1947.
Mr. Jung became a lawyer and eventually a candidate for the Conservative Party
and winning a seat in the 1957 federal election. Today there are 5 elected Chinese Canadian
MPs representing 4 political parties: Hon. Raymond Chan, Mr. Inky Mark, Ms.
Meili Faille, Hon. Michael Chong and Ms. Olivia Chow and 2 Senators of Chinese
descent: Dr. Vivienne Poy and Dr. Lillian Dyck.

Yesterday’s vote
on a motion introduced by MP Olivia Chow passed by a margin of 147 for to 115
against. The NDP and BLOC caucuses both supported the motion as did most
Liberal MPs. The Conservative caucus however voted against the motion.
“Where is the Douglas Jung in this Conservative caucus?” Victor
Wong, Executive Director of CCNC said today. 
“We urge the Government to implement the moratorium and to take
this opportunity to properly review the options for a fair and just regularization

need to stop this wasteful exercise of hunting down hard-working families in
their homes, workplaces or at their children’s schools and removing them
from their communities and from jobs for which there is no one else to take
their place.”

CCNC is a community leader for Chinese Canadians in promoting a more
just, respectful, and inclusive society. CCNC is a national non-profit
organization with 27 chapters across
Canada with a mandate to promote
the equality rights and full participation of our community members in all
aspects of Canadian society.


“Imagenes del Oriente” Mozaico Flamenco & Orchid Ensemble performance of Cafe de Chinitas at Edie's Hats on Granville Island

“Imagenes del

Mozaico Flamenco & Orchid
Ensemble performance of Cafe de Chinitas at Edie's Hats on Granville Island

Thursday June 14, 2007,

By Todd Wong & Christine Chin

Kasandra La China dances Flamenco Tango for Cafe de Chinitas – photo Todd Wong

It's an incredible intimate affair with passionate flamenco music and dancing
performed by people who love what they are doing and share what they love with
the audience.   Imagine a small funky hat store in Granville
Island 's Net Loft turned
into an intimate cafe.  Fill the store with seats for a cafe setting, set
up tables of food and a bar.  Allow the Orchid Ensemble to let loose with
their incredible musicianship, set fire by the flamenco artistry of Mozaico Flamenco's Oscar and
Kasandra La China
with their troupe of hot smouldering dancers dressed in Chinese cheong sam
dresses.  Wow!

Cultural fusion has happened all around the world.  Not just in Canada ,
but also Spain , the
Mediterranean, the Silk Road … but this
event was on a richter scale!  The event by invitation only took place on
Friday, June 8th… but repeats for the public on June 15th, Friday.  Call
Edie's Hats for tickets.  Check
here for the event info:


Here's a review of the evening by Christine Chin:

From the moment of the first chords plucked and the last dance tapped,
I was dazzled and enchanted with it all!  Café de Chinitas is a
re-creation of 19th century Flamenco culture, as it originated from the
Gypsies, in the cafes of southern Spain . 
Flamenco style dramatically performed tonight incorporated Spanish guitar
playing, ancient erhu and zheng sounds, staccato clapping, singing, and dancing
in an intimate Van Gogh café-like richness, electrified many times over! 
The dancers moved with combined gracefulness and intensity, and those who were
not singing or dancing were clapping and shouting out words of
encouragement:  ole! baile! baile!–Dance! Dance!

Cafe de Chinitas: Shyiang Strong is flamenco dancing in motion- photo Todd Wong

For two days June 8 & 15 the Vancouver-based Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre
presents “Imagenes del Oriente”, the first of their Café de
Chinitas series, combining flamenco dance with the complementary sounds of
traditional Chinese harmonies.  A unique blend of culture, dance and
music, the founders of Mozaico Flamenco, Oscar Nieto and Kasandra (also known
as “La China ”),
are truly intercultural visionaries.  They bring together the ideas to
celebrate cultural diversity in the form of sound and performance, by
collaborating with The Orchid Ensemble to create a truly ethnic ambience and by
understanding and incorporating a cultural representation of performers,

Among her many titles as producer and choreographer, and Project Artist
Director for Café de Chinitas, Kasandra is known as one of the rising stars in
flamenco dance in the city.  The combination of passionate expression and
precise style draws the audience in to her world.  As Artistic Director of
Mozaico Flamenco, Oscar is an accomplished flamenco dancer, and is singer in
this project.  Their supporting dancers hail from diverse Asian and
Western nationalities and exhibit a high professionalism to the art of
Flamenco.  Peter Mole is the Flamenco Guitarist, and as a musician, plays
a large part in Vancouver ’s
Flamenco community.

The Juno-nominated Orchid Ensemble
added a distinct Asian sound to complement the dance vignettes.  The
multi-ethnic trio utilizes ancient musical instruments from China ,
such as the erhu, a long-neck 2-stringed (Lan Tung), the zheng, an elongated
wooden tube with bridges and many strings stretching over it (Gelina Jiang),
and the marimba wooden keyboard of African roots to create a harmonious dynamic
rhythm (Jonathan Bernard).

Cafe de Chinitas' sponsors, artistic and musical
creators: Edie Orenstein, Kasandra, Sayo Nickerson and Lan Tung – photo Todd

The Event Sponsor of the show, Edie Hats transformed its space to create an
exquisite café scene of intimacy, elegance, and warmth.  The owner Edie
Orenstein is producer of this series, “Imagenes del Oriente”,
explained that the even the particular wooden layering of the floor was just
appropriate for the dance show, and half-jokingly remarked that smoking was not
allowed in this café because she was worried about her hats!  Edie was a
spontaneous and charmed hostess, guiding us throughout the presentation.

Sitting back on our high stools, a painter and his companion a writer for the
local paper, had graciously allowed me to join them.  We were
mesmerized by the passionate display of emotion, movement and sound, that at
one point I closed my eyes to feel the show.  The interactive dimension of
the audience as patrons to the café, you were captivated by the
experience.  I and all the patrons of the café clapped resoundingly to the
inner and outer beauty of Flamenco.

Kevin, Leon, Christine, Edie and Todd enjoy some snacks and socializing during intermission – photo courtesy of Todd Wong