Monthly Archives: September 2007

UBC Day of the Long Boat – revised schedule due to boats capsizing in English Bay

UBC Day of the Long Boat – revised schedule due to boats capsizing in English Bay

If you want to come out to Jericho Sailing/Paddling Centre and watch the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Mixed team and the Gung Haggis Braveheart Warriors Mens team paddling 10 person voyageur canoes in North America's biggest voyageur canoe race….


Just got a phone call from UBC Rec dept at 9:40pm
Sunday schedule is NOW revised….
Community Rec teams are racing at 11 am.  MIXED and Mens soon after

Boats were capsizing today in the waves and wind.
The races went behind schedule and are backed up into Sunday morning.

One Race only… and they will give us a partial refund.
have asked them to consider that community teams are experienced dragon
boaters and 2 races would be nice.  They will take that into
But for now…


Hip, Hapa an Happening…. Word on the Street Sep 30

Hip, Hapa an Happening….  Word on the Street Sep 30

Last week was a busy week for hapa events… this week busy with other things…

Last night I MCed the inaugural music cabaret for the Vancouver District Labour Council.  It was a wonderful event with incredible musicianship… a review will follow soon.

The Word On The Street – Book & Magazine Festival is full of hip, hapa and happening things.

This year Vincent Lam, the Governor General's Prize winning author of Bloodletting and Other Miraculous Cures is reading…

Ruth Ozeki, author of My Year of Meats, is reading as the wrap up finale to the 2007 One Book One Vancouver event.

World Poetry, led by Ariadne Sawyer is reading in languages from all around the world, including English.

Evelyn Lau is reading….

And who could be more Hapa than Hapa-girl Meg Tilly – born of Chinese and Caucasian ancestry, raised in Victoria. Meg made her name as an actress in The Big Chill and Agnes of God.  Now she is a writer!

Word on the Strike – a unique event of creativity and community

VANCOUVER—Visitors to Vancouver's favourite literature and literacy festival, the Word on the Street, will be delighted to discover Word on the Strike,
an upbeat special event presented by striking CUPE 391 library workers
at Library Square on Sunday, September 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CUPE
15 has also been instrumental in organizing and supporting the event.

Capitalizing on the diverse talents and creativity of Vancouver's library and civic workers, Word on the Strike, held along side of Word on the Street,
is intended as a complementary event featuring a diverse range of
information tables, haiku, face painting, a puppet show, origami,
buttons, and much more. Word on the Strike collector edition buttons will be distributed by donation at the event.

“We are pleased that Word on the Street will be able to
continue this year, and that we are able to keep the integrity of our
picket line in such an innovative way,” said CUPE 391 President Alex
Youngberg. “The past 10 weeks have been very difficult for both our
members and Vancouver residents. It is very important to us that we
continue to positively engage with the public.”

CUPE 391 and CUPE 15 members are looking forward to welcoming the
community to their event and are encouraging festival attendees,
authors, participants and performers to visit them at Library Square.

Word on the Strike
Sunday, September 30, 2007
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Library Square, 350 West Georgia Street

This week on the Library Square picket line… when I'm 64!

This week on the Library Square picket line… when I'm 64!

“When I get older… when I'm 64” – Chris and me waving to the cars on Georgia St.

I played Beatles songs on my accordion on Tuesday.  This was to celebrated Day 64 on the CUPE 391 Library workers picket line.  Music is a great way to lighten the mood, and engage the public.  I receive so many smiles from passers by, and so many thank yous from my fellow picketers.

On Wednesday evening, my friend Monica and I were sitting at the CUPE 391 information booth at the corner of Homer and Georgia when we noticed all the people wearing Canucks had an exhibition hockey game down the street at GM Place.  Monica hadn't brought her violin – but I had my accordion.  I quickly grabbed it and played the tunes associated with organists at hockey rink arenas.  I played snippets of Hungarian Dance #5, Scott Joplin's The Entertainer, and the tango La Cumparsita… I even played Entry of the Gladiators – normally associated with circus music.  We asked people to sign our petition, as we also offered free hockey trivia – making note that many reference questions are for sports trivia at the information desk.  We even had a family from Nevada sign the petition.  He used to be a librarian in Vancouver.

At one point a car stopped, and out popped Andrea Reimer, one of my new friends this year.  Andrea signed our petition and posed for a photograph.  Back in May, Andrea gave a talk for our VPL staff conference.  I also know her through other community contacts.  She is executive director of the Western Wilderness Committee.  I first met her back in 2002, when I helped organize Asian Heritage Month presentations to the Vancouver School Board, when she was the Green Party's first elected member at the Vancouver School Board. 

On Thursday night, I set up my accordion across from the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.  It was the opening season of Ballet BC, and they were presenting Giselle.  Sitting across from the Centre, the sound bounces very nicely, especially if I play something like Tocatta in D Minor by Bach.  I decided to open up my repertoire of classical pieces including Tchaikovsky's Neopolitan Song from the Nutcracker Ballet, Espana by Wautefel,  and a medley of Strauss waltzes.  We had lots of smiles from people passing by

Today is Day 68 of the CUPE 391 Vancouver Library Workers strike.  We have been without a contract for 271 days…  since December 16, 2006.  While our union proposed a contract to our employer back in December, we did not receive an official offer from them until two weeks into the strike.  This was after constant stonewalling, and refusal to address employee concerns and issues.  Please see the CUPE 391 website for
more information on our issues such as pay equity, improvements for
part-time and auxiliary workers, improved language for job security,
improvements for health benefits.

Thankfully, both sides have now moved to mediation with Brian Foley, which will be non-binding.  It is similar to what he has already worked with for CUPE 15 and 1004 Vancouver City inside and outside workers.  It was back on August 1st when the Vancouver civic strike had gone into its 2nd week, that city councillor Raymond Louie called for mediation to solve the strike issues.  7 1/2 weeks later mediation with Brian Foley  finally became a reality for CUPE 15 and 1004, while CUPE 391 Library Workers went into consultation with Debra Cameron.  Foley has now taken over CUPE 391 negotiations because Cameron was not further available due to time constraints.

This weekend is also Vancouver's The Word On The Street – Book & Magazine Festival.  It traditionally takes place at Library Square, and on the adjoining streets of Hamilton and Homer St.  But this year the CBC Plaza is under construction and pickets are up at Library Square.  Our union felt that it was integral to maintain our picket lines.  It is also unfortunate that picket lines have affected Vancouver arts and cultural communities and festivals, as many events have been forced out of the Orpheum Theatre, Roundhouse and False Creek Community Centres.  Hopefully the City management will soon see the terrible toll this strike is impacting on our city, and work towards a constructive resolution.

The Library Workers will be holding a parallel event titled Word on the Strike.  Information booths, displays, puppet shows, music performances, readings and theatre skits will be set up on the picket lines to help inform the public about the Vancouver civic strike.  All the creative things that we do to inspire the Globe and Mail news story titled Library workers picket with pizzazz.  It should all combine to be one very interesting day on the picket line.

VDLC Labour Cabaret – tonight at the Rhizome Cafe on Broadway

VDLC Labour Cabaret – tonight at the Rhizome Cafe on Broadway

Okay…. I got roped into being the MC for this event.
Somebody must have told organizer Earle Peach that I had my accordion out on the picket line.

Event starts at 7pm
Rhizome Café
a neighbourhood café that promotes the work of local artists, provides people with a 317 East Broadway, Vancouver. Phone: 604.872.3166.

Sandy Cameron–poetry

Bob Rosen & the Gram Partisans–songs

More Than Just Pay–songs

Tom Hawken–songs

Dave Lidstone & Andrea Smith–songs

Earle Peach & Barbara Jackson–songs

Dan Keeton–songs

Liz Thor-Larsen–songs

Phil Vernon–songs

Jen Efting–songs

Peter Marcus–poetry

Earle Peach & Barbara Jackson–songs

Expect to see a great selection of music, poetry, dance,
and who knows what else, all in honour of workers'

Terry Fox National School Run Day: I speak at Cleveland Elementary as a Terry's Team cancer survivor

Terry Fox National School Run Day: I speak at Cleveland Elementary as a Terry's Team cancer survivor

Students decorated the gymnasium with picture maps of the cities that Terry Fox visited on his 1980 Marathon of Hope.

In 2005, 9000 schools across Canada participated in the very first Terry Fox National School Run Day.  Hundreds of thousands of Elementary School children all participated in school assemblies about Terry Fox, watched videos of Terry Fox, then did their very own Terry Fox Run at their own school.

Last year I spoke at Cleveland Elementary School a week before the National School Run Day.  It was a very inspiring event.  We showed a video clip from the CBC television special 25 Years of Hope: The Legacy of Terry Fox, produced by my friend Moyra Rodger who also produced the GungHaggisFatChoy CBC TV performance special.
One of the parent/teacher representatives talked about how Terry Fox was a light for the world.  Then we watched a clip from the Terry Fox video “I Have a Dream,” followed by a run for all the students.

This year the video “I Am Terry Fox” was shown then I was introduced.  I asked how many of the students remembered me coming to speak to them.  I told them that last year I was involved with a CBC television documentary crew that wanted to make a story about my family history and me as one of the central stories.  I told them that my great great grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan had come to Canada as a methodist preacher for the Chinese United Church.  His life had been dedicated to community service and so were the featured members of our family. 

Todd Wong guest speaker with Cleveland School Terry Fox Run organizers Debra Pascuzzi and Susan.

The documentary wanted to include my community service work such as speaking for Terry Fox Runs, and how I had overcome a near fatal cancer tumor in 1989.  So in the documentary there is a picture of me with no hair on my head.  I explained to the students that chemotherapy is a cancer-fighting drug that kills all the fast growing cells in the body, so your hair and fingernails stop growing.  I had lost all my hair due to the cancer treatment, and so had Terry.  Our hair actually grew back in curly.

This year, Terry's parents Betty and Rolly Fox and his sister Judith and brother Darrell all had their heads shaved to help promote the 2007 Terry Fox Run.  I asked the students why they thought the Fox's would shave their heads, and one little girl answered “to be like Terry.”

“Yes!” I said, “they wanted to show compassion with other cancer fighters and help the public know what cancer fighters have to go through.  One small part is losing your hair.”

At that point the video tech signalled me, and we started the Generations: The Chan Legacy dvd.  She had to skip more than halfway to get to the picture of me when I was 16 years old, healthy and holding up two freshly caught salmon.  The School Run organizer Debra Pascuzzi thought it would be good for the students to see me as a healthy youngster before I lost my hair.

The documentary talked about me facing the challenge of cancer and next showed me having lost my hair, but soon there were pictures of me speaking at a 1993 Terry Fox Run in Burnaby.  I talked about realizing that this was a “second life” for me, and how it was important to give back to the community.

Next the documentary showed footage from the 2006 Terry Fox Run in Richmond BC, where I was the guest speaker.  In the video I say thanks to all the participants for coming out to support cancer research.  Next the video showed how I became involved in dragon boat racing.

“Dragon Boat racing… that's what I do now, ” I told the audience.  “I am healthy now, but when I had my cancer in 1989, it was a size of a large grapefruit behind my breast bone.  The doctors gave me a 60% chance to live with treatment.  Without treatment they said I would have died in two weeks.

“But cancer research has really improved since Terry Fox's time.  Many people who would have died 20 years ago, now recover and lead healthy lives.

“This week some of you or your parents might be attending the CIBC Run
for the Cure, or maybe you participated in the Lance Armstrong event,
or a different event.  Many of these events wouldn't exist today if it
hadn't been for Terry Fox.  It was 27 years ago today that he ran the
Marathon of Hope, which inspired the annual Terry Fox Run as a
fundraiser for Cancer Research.”

“And I want to thank each of you for helping to support and participate in the Terry Fox Run.”

After I spoke, the MC explained what would happen during the school run.  But before that two grade 7 students came up to talk about Terry Fox.  The parent / teacher rep came up to ask and answer questions about Terry Fox and cancer.  The kindergarten, grade one and two students sang a song about Terry Fox.  Then we watched one more short video about Terry Fox, and headed out to the field.  What a fun inspiring day!

Cleveland Elementary School – pictures for hope and inspiration for Terry Fox Run – photo Todd Wong

See my Flickr site for more photos:

Terry Fox National School Run Day

Terry Fox National School Run Day

Here are some of my related stories about Terry Fox and my cancer survival:

on Mon 18 Sep 2006 

on Sun 18 Sep 2005

on Sat 30 Sep 2006 1

on Fri 15 Sep 2006