Chinese-Canadians that inspired me in 2007

Last year in 2006, the Vancouver Sun published a list of 100 Influential Chinese-Canadians in B.C. in BC…. to much criticism – positive and negative.  I commented on my blog article: GungHaggisFatChoy :: Vancouver Sun: 100 Influential Chinese…

I am now working on my list of “Chinese-Canadians that inspired me in 2007”

I was inspired by seeing the name of Roy Mah, in the Vancouver Sun's list of people we lost in 2007, and shared the idea with my friend George Jung.   Rather than create a list of newsworthy or influential Chinese Canadians, we decided on CC's that inspired us.  This way there is NO
official requirement or standards.  It is  very subjective and personal.

I also emailed some friends to create their own lists:  David Wong and Gabriel Yu have sent me replies.  David's list can be viewed on

In no order, other than who came to mind first, who has crossed my path, and reviewing my blog to remind myself who I wrote about in 2007.

Roy Mah
the founder of Chinatown News, was written about in the Vancouver Sun
after celebrating his 90th birthday, as well as when the City of
Vancouver declared July 12th Roy Mah Day, in recognition of his
memorial service.  I have known Roy since I submitted an article back in the early '80's.  When he would make his regular trips to the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, he would also wave to me sitting at the Information desk.
Thekla Lit
for her work with Alpha Canada, promoting the film Rape of Nanjing, and inviting media and public to meet Comfort Women survivors.  Gabriel says that a columnist on the Global Chinese Press
has named Thekla the Chinese-Canadian of 2007, as she and her husband Joseph have been busy on these issues for a long decade.  I got to know Thekla when she joined the committee for Chinese Head Tax Redress campaign in the months preceding the 2006 federal election.  She is a very smart women, not afraid to say what she thinks.

James Erlandsen
the young Eurasian SFU Student needing a bone marrow donor as he fights
leukemia (James was named honourary drummer for the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy Dragon boat team).  James reminded me so much of my own 1989 battle with cancer, even going to the same high school and university.  There have been ups and downs, and he still puts on a brave face.  I did a City TV interview with James, when James and I met for the first time.  It was James' cousin Aynsley who first contacted me about writing about James for my blog.
Tracey Hinder
– the 15 year old inaugural BC CanSpell champion, featured in the CBC documentary GENERATIONS: The Chan Legacy.  People constantly told me after watching the documentary that they  thought that my young cousin Tracey was great in it.  She was very inspiring for the future of Canada, especially with Tracey's Eurasian heritage, learning Mandarin and being involved with her school's multiculturalism club.  This summer Tracey started an e-newsletter titled “Becoming Green” that gives suggestions how to create a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.  I knew from the beginning that Tracey had to be in the documentary.  The documentary also featured family elders Victor Wong, Helen Lee, and Gary Lee, artist/author Janice Wong and myself.  Read my blog stories about Generations: The Chan Legacy
Three generations of the Chan family: Tracey Hinder (left), Betty Wong and Todd Wong look over their family's impressive legacy.Tracey Hinder, Betty Wong and Todd Wong re: Generations: The Chan Legacy

Henry Yu
UBC professor of History, chair and organizer of the Anniversaries for Change '07 events
recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Anti-Asian Riots in
Chinatown.  Henry has organized events at UBC and throughout Vancouver recognizing the impact on Vancouver made by the 1907 Anti-Asian riot in Vancouver Chinatown, the 1947 franchise for Chinese Canadians enabling them full citizenship rights, the new immigration act of 1967, and the 1997 handover of Hong Kong.  Henry has attended many Gung Haggis Fat Choy and Asian
Canadian Writers' Workshop events over the past few years.  Henry always seems to have boundless enthusiasm and energy for all his projects.  But this past year was also significantly inspiring because he also became a cancer support person for his wife (see below).

Brandy Lien-Worrall – editor of Eating Stories: a Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck
and All Mixed Up – a Hapa anthology.  It is easy to be impressed by all the writing and editing projects that Brandy is involved in.  I got to know Brandy better when I took
the writing workshops sponsored by the Chinese Canadian Historical
Society of BC.  I truly learned what an incredible dynamo she is. She pushed us to write creatively, and from the heart.  And it was fun to have my stories and pictures published in
Eating Stories. Read:
Eating Stories, a Chinese Canadian and Aboriginal Potluck: book launch Nov 25th at Vancouver Museum
.  But more important to recognize is that Brandy finished editing Eating Stories in between chemotherapy treatments, after she was diagnosed with cancer in the summer.  Soon she started up a cancer blog in addition to her poem a day blog, and her 12 other blogs…  Just like James Erlandsen, Brandy is Eurasian… and also reminds me of my own cancer experience. 

Larry Wong, Todd Wong, Shirley Chan, Janice Wong with editor Brandy
Lien Worrall at the Eating Stories anthology official book launch at
Vancouver Museum – photo Deb Martin

more to come….

Jen Sookfong Lee

Margaret Gallagher

Karin Lee

Bill Wong

Vicki Wong

Joseph Wu

Tricia Collins

see part II
More Chjinese Canadians that Inpired me in 2007: part 2

Head Tax survivors Mrs. Der and Ralph Lee

Sid Tan – head tax activist

Bev Wong – community activist on bone marrow and blood donors

Douglas Jung building at 401 Burrard St. 

Lan Tung, leader of Orchid Ensemble, incredible musician and creator of Triaspora

Wesley Lowe – film maker, creator of I Am the Canadian Delegate – story of Douglas Jung

George Chow – city councilor

Raymond Louie – city councilor

Jenny Kwan – MLA

Jim Chu – 1st Vancouver police chief of Asian ancestry

Assaulted Fish – sketch comedy troupe

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre VACT presented three productions in 2007, Cowboy VS Samaurai, Asian Comedy Night, and Bondage.

Twisting Fortunes duo – Charlie Cho and Grace Chin

Chinese Canadian veterans

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