Want a Multicultural dragon boat team?
Go with Gung Haggis Fat Choy team!
The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team takes to the stage to receive a very special non-paddling award – the Hon. David Lam Award for multiculturalism.
Every year at Vancouver's biggest and oldest Dragon Boat Festival, teams are invited to submit letters why they should be worthy of the special awards of the Rio Tinto Dragon Boat Festival. In 2005, the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team won the Hon. David Lam Award. Here is the description:
David C. Lam Award
1995, the David C. Lam Award was introduced in honour of the Festival’s
founding father, Dr. David C. Lam. This prestigious and beautiful
award, carved from BC jade, is given to the team which best exemplifies
the multicultural spirit of the dragon boat festival. This spirit
manifests itself in many forms and as such, is up to each team to
interpret their contribution to the community. To apply, send a written
submission to the Race Registrar, indicating why your team should win. Submissions must be received by June 8, 2008.
Here is Gung Haggis steersperson and Co-Coach Bob Brinson admiring the BC Jade trophy.
Here is our letter:
Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival
Re: David Lam Multicultural Award
Global TV News highlighted what makes BC world class, they came to Gung
Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team to represent Vancouver’s
multicultural diversity. On February 26 2008, Reporter Elaine Yong
explained that Dragon boating is part of a 1000 year tradition from
China, and our team blends together Scottish history and culture as
well as Chinese and Canadian. She stated “the Gung Haggis Fat Choy team
is in training for the 20th Vancouver dragon boat Festival, now North
America's largest, and one of the biggest outside Hong Kong.”
Vancouver’s Celtic Fest started up their first St. Patrick’s Day Parade
in 2004, they asked Gung Haggis Fat Choy to participate. For 3 years
in a row, we put a dragon boat into the parade as a float entry. But
for this year’s March 16th parade, we brought in Chinese lion masks and
a 20 foot parade dragon was carried by 5 paddlers wearing kilts. We
didn’t have a dragon boat, but 2 paddlers sat on a car, and “paddled”
it during the parade.
the Vancouver Sun wanted to know about Tartan Day, celebrating Canada’s
Scottish heritage – they sent a photographer to our monthly Kilts Night
event. Some of our paddlers were featured in a March 18 Vancouver Sun
article about Tartan Day. And on April 6th City Councilor Raymond
Louie read the City of Vancouver Tartan Day proclamation, while a City
TV cameraman filmed everything for Breakfast Television, including us
loading into a dragon boat and unfurling a Scottish Flag for our
special but usual Sunday practice.
We believe that multiculturalism is about our
community, our paddlers and our combined heritage and cultures. We
express it by sharing our cultures openly with each other and for each
other. Every Tuesday we go to a different Asian restaurant following
practice. And we also don kilts for the monthly Kilts Night event at
Doolin’s Irish Pub. Our most recent event featured two different belly
dancers – one Celtic and one Iraqi – but both are paddlers on our
team. We LOVE our team’s ability to express cultural diversity
wherever it goes!
Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team also
actively helps spread the word globally, that multiculturalism is alive
and well in Vancouver. In December 2007, we were featured in a ZDF TV
(German public television) shown all across Europe. And throughout
July and August 2007, we were also shown across Canada in the CBC
Newsworld documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy.
In many media interviews, we
state not only how we share our many hereditary cultures through dragon
boating, but participate in many events that take it to the next step
– being intercultural!
Last year, we named James Erlandsen as our
honourary drummer. James is Eurasian and in need of a matching bone
marrow donor for a successful battle against leukemia. Being Eurasian
or Hapa (mixed race) is part of the challenge of growing up
multicultural in Canada. We have 3 inter-racial couples on our boat,
and 3 Eurasian paddlers.
In January we welcomed over 420
people to our famous 10th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns
Chinese New Year dinner, held in Vancouver Chinatown. It is a
fundraiser for our team that we share with the Joy Kogawa House Society
and the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop. Our dinners are legendary and
regularly attract lots of media attention as well as community leaders
and politicians, who dine on deep-fried haggis won-ton, and sing “When
Asian Eyes Are Smiling.”
consider the Gung Haggis Fat Choy to be the 2008 recipient for the Hon.
David C. Lam Award, – not only for all the continual multicultural
ambassadorship this team has done in our community but also around the
world through the media.
Coach and Founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy