Monthly Archives: July 2008

Rev Chan Yu Tan story in Sing Tao… “Late Reverend Chan Yu Tan won Golden Mountain Achievement Award”.

Sing Tao: “Late Reverend Chan Yu Tan won Golden Mountain Achievement Award”.

Sing Tao Chinese language newspaper has just printed a story about my late great-great-grandfather and his contributions to the community that he served from his 1896 Arrival in Canada until his retirement in New Westminster during the 1930's. I think it is great that Chinese language media is taking an interest in the history of Chinese pioneers in BC and Canada.

Check it out:

Here is a picture of Mrs. and Rev. Chan Yu Tan at their 60th Wedding Anniversary event in New Westminster back in 1934.

I never met my great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan or my great-great-grandmother Chan Wong Sze.  But I have grown up hearing stories from my mother, my grand mother and her brothers and sisters.

In fall 2006 I became a consultant for the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy which aired July 4th on my grandmother's birthday, and also repeated in July and August.  It really became a tribute the legacy that Rev. Chan left to his family.  We have had many family members dedicated to community service that acknowledge inspiration from the Rev. Chan stories. 

Check it out:

Here is my story on with the original press release from the Victoria Chinatown Commerce Association

Joy Kogawa House cited as example as campaign to save Al Purdy cabin in Eastern Ontario starts up

Joy Kogawa House cited as example as campaign to save Al Purdy cabin in Eastern Ontario starts up.

How important was it to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home?

Joy Kogawa House was recently cited in a Globe & Mail article about then endangered home of Al Purdy in an article by Patrick White titled: The house where Al Purdy lived is on the block

There may still be time to save it. But any effort would take a great
deal of cash and organization, says Don Oravec, executive director of
the Writers' Trust of Canada, which runs Pierre Berton's childhood home
in Dawson City, Yukon, as a retreat, and raised funds to purchase the
Vancouver house where novelist Joy Kogawa grew up. “The trick is not
just buying the house.” Oravec says. “It's also creating an endowment
to maintain the place.

Canadian literature is an important part to our Canadian identity. Sustaining and supporting our writers has long been a struggle and an issue.  White writes that the house played an important role in Purdy's development as a poet.

The move soon paid off creatively, inspiring what is perhaps the most
famous metamorphosis in Canadian literary history. Once a struggling
writer of tortured romantic verse, Purdy and his work changed forever
along the shores of Roblin Lake.

“It was really when they left Montreal and built that house that Al
went into a kind of hibernation and came of age as a poet,” says Purdy
friend, poet and House of Anansi co-founder Dennis Lee, who first
visited Ameliasburgh in the sixties to ink a book deal with Purdy.

Al Purdy, his wife Eurithe and their house also played a role in the development of author Michael Ondaatje and other writers by offering them refuge and support.

Michael Ondaatje, Tom Marshall and David Helwig hadn't published a
single book between them when “Al and Eurithe simply invited us in,”
writes Ondaatje in the foreword to Purdy's collected works. “And why?
Because we were poets! Not well-known writers or newspaper celebrities.
… These visits became essential to our lives. We weren't there for
gossip, certainly not to discuss royalties and publishers. We were
there to talk about poetry. Read poems aloud. Argue over them. Complain
about prosody.”

Read the entire article at

Madeline Thien is reading at UBC Thursday!

Madeleine Thien, author of Certainty,  gives reading Thursday at UBC,

Thien burst onto the literary scene with her short story collection Simple Recipes.  It was nominated for Vancouver Book Award, and many others.  She had a wonderful little children's story, The Chinese Violin, that was also turned into a short animated film.  Her latest work Certainty, has also received many accolades.  Great for her first novel!

I first met Maddy a few years ago in 2002, when we recognized her as a past winner of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop Emerging Writer Award, at our first ACWW Community Builder's Dinner which honoured Roy Mah, Paul Yee and Wayson Choy.

There's going to be a Madeleine Thien reading at UBC this Thursday July
17 at 3:00-4:30pm.   Besides UBC staff and students, various community
groups will be joining us for this reading, too.  CCHS will be one of
them.  I hope you can join us!

Thursday, July 17, 2008 – 3:00pm – 4:30pm

The Lillooet Room (301), Irving K. Barber Learning Centre


The Irving K. Barber Learning Centre is located at
1961 East Mall, Vancouver BC
at the University
of British Columbia.

Gung Haggis dragon boat team practice review for July 13

Gung Haggis dragon boat team practices race turns in bay beside David Lam Park.

Here's a picture of Gung Haggis dragon boat team racing in the Rec C medal Final at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival in June. – photo Ray Shum

It sure is nice not to have the water coliform bacteria warning for the East Basin of False Creek.  We can take so much for granted in our beautiful city, that unfortunately occasionally lets raw sewage empty into False Creek.  It's a wonder that False Creek has been the model for new city development in Dubai.

But paddling out by David Lam Park on Sunday was really beautiful.  There were people walking on the sea walk.  And when are dragon boats arrived, we provided a spectator sport for them, as we practiced some race starts, then created a mini-Guts & Glory “twice around an oval” race, as we started from one end of the bay to the other.

We had taken out two Gemini boats on Sunday, roughly Vernon roster vs non-Vernon roster with 12 paddlers in each boat.  We paddled straight to Cambie Street Bridge where we traded one paddler to even out the boats, then paddled a mini race along the North Shoreline of False Creek to David Lam Park. 
It was good to see the
competitiveness come out between the two boats as they paddled side by

Highlight of the practice was doing a mini-Guts & Glory Race.
probably about 700 to 800m total, at the David Lam Park Bay….  in
anticipation of the 1000m mini G&G in Vernon.

We started beside the sculpture, then raced towards the orange marker
for the first turn, back around the sculpture, and a final turn at the
orange marker, then back to the sculpture to complete the race.

First boat time 5:04 

second boat time 5:19

LOTS of FUN!!!!


6pm practice tonight…
It's going to be another beautiful sunny evening…

Expect another straight-ahead paddle out to David Lam Park where we will do some technique work.

It's also Stuart Mackinnon's birthday eve…

So Stuart's choice for Gung Haggis foodie club after practice.

Why isn't PM Harper attending Beijing Olympics? Is he trying to make a point?

Harper should attend 2008 Beijing Olympics, and promote the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been trying to woo the Canadian Asian ethnic vote by making an apology for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, and now for the Komagata Maru incident.  While both original actions were racist and unconscionable in retrospect… and the long overdue apology commendable… it would be plain silly for Harper to boycott the Beijing Olympics in his personal quest to call China on it's actions in Tibet.

So why would Harper slap the face of the homeland of Canada's biggest source of immigrants and our  largest trading partner?

Gabriel Yiu is a media commentator that I got to know as we both called for redress for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act during the 2005/06 campaign.

He puts forward a very good argument for Harper to attend the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. So I link it here for you to read.

Gee… if Harper doesn't attend the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, would he be considering the Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony… provided he gets re-elected.  The same might not be so lucky for David Emerson, Harpers's newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, who is still beleaguered in his home constituency of Vancouver Kingsway. 

But if Emerson could change his mind about the Conservative Party, and if Harper could change his mind about Emerson, then maybe Harper could still change his mind about the Beijing Olympics.

Harper shouldn’t boycott the Beijing

Gabriel Yiu

Global Chinese Press column 9.7.2008

When David Emerson was appointed foreign affairs minister,
it was widely expected that the appointment could help restore Canada-China
relations.  Having someone who knows and has experiences dealing with
China is
certainly better than relying on any of Emerson’s predecessors.

However, if the Conservative government genuinely wants to
improve relations with China ,
a great opportunity has presented itself – the opening ceremony of the Summer
Olympics.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper should attend the Beijing
Olympics in person.  The Beijing Olympic Games is an historic event for
China and friends of
China from around the world are visiting
and participating in it.  If the prime minister of
Canada doesn’t grace the occasion with his
kind of “friend” to China
is Canada?

By now, over 80 heads-of-state have confirmed their attendance
of the August 8 Olympics opening ceremony in
Beijing . The list includes US President
George Bush, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas
Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Australian Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda….

The prime minister of Britain
and the president of France
have reversed their earlier position of not attending the Beijing Olympics, so
even if Harper changes his stand and visits
China , it’s not disgraceful.

What is disgraceful is Harper’s excuse for his non-participation. 
Unlike the French president who cited
Tibet as the reason for the
boycott, our prime minister said that it is not the custom for a Canadian prime
minister to attend the Olympics.  Well, it’s a fact that former prime
ministers of Canada
had attended Olympic Games.  Besides, rather than just an excuse, what
kind of custom is that, and why do the Conservatives insist on sticking to it
and not follow the protocol of our western allies?

In fact, the prime minister of
Canada has better reasons to attend
Beijing Olympics than other heads of state.  First,
Canada is amongst the earliest western countries
which established formal diplomatic relations with
China . 
Canada recognized
China in 1970 — that was 38 years
ago — we’re old friends.  Equally important,
China is currently our second
largest trading partner.  Moreover, Canada
is the organizer of the 2010 Winter Olympics following
Beijing ’s 2008 Summer Olympics.

President Sarkozy of France
once said that his reason for not attending the Beijing Olympics is an
expression of boycott, to express dissatisfaction with
China ’s way of
handling the Tibetan riots. According to the same logic, Harper’s unwillingness
to participate would be seen as a boycott gesture.

President Bush said in his recent visit at the G8 Summit
that if he didn’t attend, it would be an “affront to the Chinese people.” 
Although I dislike Bush a great deal, I have to say that he is right this
time.  It’s because the Beijing Olympics is no longer a matter of face and
dignity just for the government of
China and its leaders. It is a
major event tugging at the heart of not only the Chinese in
China , but the
Chinese worldwide.

When the leaders of US,
UK and France all understand the symbolism
of their participation, why doesn’t our prime minister have the intelligence to
comprehend it?  For comprehend it he does not. What it shows is the same attitude
and hostility towards China
shown by Harper since he became prime minister.

Therefore, to those who expect that the appointment of
Emerson and a nice gesture to the new ambassador of
China can improve Canada-China relations,
I would say those are only small gestures more aimed at getting  the Chinese
vote than showing a change of Harper’s attitude.  After all, how many
times has Mr. Harper visited Israel ? 
Why hasn’t our prime minister paid a visit to our second biggest trading

If Harper is genuine in improving relations with
China , he
should take this opportunity to attend the Beijing Olympics. His sudden about-turn
would certainly signal a change, and would be appreciated and rewarded by
Beijing . The improved
relations would help resolve the current impasse on getting the Approved
Destination Status from China ,
and would bring in large number of Chinese travelers at the time of our
economic slowdown.

Remember, the key to improving Canada-China relations lies not
in our foreign affairs minister, but in our prime minister.

Also read Miro Cernetig's article

Why Canada and Vancouver need the Prime Minister to go to Beijing

Did Chinese discover BC first? Oldest new immigrants? DNA connections? Georgia Straight tackles the question?

Did the Chinese discover North America 1000 years before Columbus?

Who were BC's first seafarers?” is the cover feature on this week's Georgia Straight?

Daniel Wood writes a very interesting feature that addresses the Chinese legendary land of Fu Sang, interviews underwater acheologist enthusiast Tom Beasley, and explores the Gavin Menzies book 1421, the Year China Discovered the World.

I have written about connections between First Nations and Chinese people when Storyscapes was exploring the oral history of such meetings:  Vancouver Storyscapes: Where the Chinese met the First Nations peoples

It's not unfathomable that the Chinese discovered North America first.  Afterall, ancient Chinese civilization and science was much further advanced than European civilization circa 500 AD.  According to Menzies, the Chinese had huge boats 5X the size of Columbus' flagship.  A lot of trade and knowledge migrated to Japan from China, and Japanese glass fishing floats have regularly made their way to BC's shores, due to ocean currents.

I have often spoke with BC's First Nations people about Chinese-First Nations connections.  Afterall, my mother's blood cousin is Rhonda Larrabee, chief of the Qayqayt (New Westminster) First Nations.  Larry Grant, Musqueam elder, is half Chinese, like cousin Rhonda.

When I was up in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), I spoke with Haida people about the shared “mongolian birthmark” that both Chinese and First Nations people are born with.
Check out my stories:

Check it out:

Harry Aoki intervew featured in The Bulletin

Harry Aoki is interviewed in the Bulletin, a journal of Japanese Canadian community, history and culture

John Endo Greenaway is the editor of Bulletin, published by the Japanese Canadian Citizens' Association of Greater Vancouver,
celebrating their 50th Anniversary in 2008.  There are two feature interviews about Harry in the July/August 2008 Bulletin.

Harry Aoki – a life of music

Jul 5th, 2008 | By John Endo Greenaway | Category: 08.07.July 08, Lead Article

following article incorporates interviews done with Harry Aoki in 2001
and 2008. Some of the following has been printed previously in The

Read Interview Here

is common wisdom in these times of increasing globalization and
shifting job markets, that the concept of having one career over the
course of a lifetime has gone the way of the typewriter and the rotary
phone. Instead, young people entering the job market are told to expect
to have as many as four or five careers (or more) between the time they
leave high school or university and the time they retire.

If that is the case, then Harry Aoki is light-years ahead of his
time. At the age of eighty-six he can look back on roughly a dozen
careers. As he admits, he may have forgotten a few. He has been a
composer, recording artist, conductor, impresario, efficiency expert,
orchestral arranger, logger, teacher, ski instructor, musicologist,
traveler and band leader, among others. And he’s not done yet. Despite
recent health problems, he still maintains a busy schedule and
continues to search out new challenges.

read more at:

Interview: Harry Aoki

Jul 5th, 2008 | By John Endo Greenaway | Category: 08.07.July 08, Featured

sat down with Gary Cristall and Harry Aoki last week at Nikkei Place.
Gary is writing a book on the history of folk music in Canada and had
been wanting to talk to Harry for quite some time. When I invited him
along, he jumped at the chance. We covered a lot of ground in the
course of our conversation and the following is just a portion of what
we talked about.

JEG I You were involved in a redress movement in Alberta right after the war, something I’d never heard of before.
Yeah, that was . . . that was a tough one, you know. There was this
Justice Bird. Lot of brain. You know, photographic mind and
photographic reading, and the attorneys were arguing, you know, arguing
their cases, and he’s looking at this evidence, you know, he’s going
like this, slowly (mimes turning pages), and he’s reading the darn
thing. It’s in his brain.

JEG This was like a mini redress movement, then?
Yeah. This is when people were allowed to leave and to move around, and
it got some people like the Ohamas started. They moved to, what it’s
called, Rainier. And others did about the same sort of thing. They were
very successful as farmers, they were good farmers. So, yeah, that was
the first redress. It was just a handful, you know, able to do
something about it. They had to have a few bucks themselves too, you

read more at:

Harry Aoki Tribute concert July 20th, at Firehall Arts Centre

Harry Aoki is one of Vancouver's musical treasures. 

imageA Celebration of Harry Aoki

Harry was already high on the harmonica when he fell in love with
the double bass in the early 1940s, and the rest is history in the
making. For the past half-century he has been actively, sometimes
hyperactively, using classical, jazz, popular and ethnic music and
dialogue to promote the theme of harmonious diversity in culture and
identity. Join co-hosts Margaret Gallagher, Sherry Tanaka and Jan
Walls, together with Harry's old and new friends and fellow musicians
for an afternoon of musical, verbal and gustatory celebration of Harry
and his noble “work in progress.”

Musician/Composer/Ethno-musicologist Harry Aoki is truly a pioneer
of world music. Come join us to commemorate Harry's achievements with
an afternoon of multi-cultural music, storytelling and more! Join his
many friends in the creation of a Legacy to continue Harry's Dream!

Food and Beverages will be Served

Tickets: $26.00

Limited Tickets Available

July 20th
Firehall Arts Centre
280 Cordova Street

Todd Wong performing with Jessica Cheung, Masaki Watanabe & Harry Aoki, at the September 2005 Open House event at Historic Joy Kogawa House – photo D. Martin

I first met Harry Aoki through Asian Heritage Month events around 2002.  Margaret Gallagher (CBC Radio) raved about Harry, as he sometimes performed with her.

after, Harry came and performed at Todd's Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year Dinner events, including the inaugural Gung
Haggis Fat Choy Seattle dinner in 2007.  A friendship was formed and
Todd soon played at Harry's First Friday Forum.  Harry has been a big
supporter of the Save Joy  Kogawa House campaign which Todd was one of
the organizers of, subsequently Todd has joyfully invited Harry to
perform at a number of events including the 2006 Canadian Club
Vancouver “Order of Canada” luncheon where Dal Richards introduced
himself to Harry, and the first open house event at  Historical Joy
Kogawa House in 2006, captured on film for the CBC documentary
Generations: The Chan Legacy.  Songs they have played together included
“A Highland Lad”, “Hungarian Dance #5”, and “Chinatown My Chinatown”,
“Until We Meet Again”.

Harry Aoki performing on harmonica with musical friends, cellis Kira and percussionist Themba, at his First Friday Forum at the Nikkei Centre in Burnaby – photo Todd Wong

Here's a letter invitation from Wayne Soon to come to the Harry Aoki Celebration Concert.

Dear friends of Harry Aoki,

behalf of the Harry Aoki Celebration Committee, I would like to tell
you about an afternoon celebration with Harry Aoki and his friends.
This special celebration with Harry will
be held on
Sunday July 20th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 Cordova Street. (corner of Cordova and Gore Streets).

Harry Aoki is Vice –President of the GVJCCA and
also a special member of the Japanese Canadian and multi-ethnic, and
musician communities. On the first Friday of each month at Nikkei
Place, Harry has collected many professional musicians together for
an on-going series of evenings of
music and dialogue. This dialogue may examine diverse cultures and ways
they indicate similarities and common roots. Or there may be discussion
about world events and how they affect different ethnic groups in the

Many within the community have decided
to pay tribute to Harry for all his kindness and energy in developing a
strong communication link within our multi-ethnic community through his
music and dialogue. Over the past few months there have been concerns
regarding his health, so a plan was developed to honour Harry for his
efforts and contributions in music and
to the community, and also to support his dream of continuing the First Friday concept.

committee of friends who are organizing this event consists of members
of various organizations like the GVJCCA, musicians, academics and
others who support and admire his work. Some members of the committee
are also working with institutions such as the University of BC to
ensure that Harry’s dream of continuing the First Friday concept and
encouraging ongoing cross cultural understanding through dialogue and
music may be maintained through a legacy foundation. Tickets to this
event will cover the cost of the staging, light refreshments, and
staffing of the event. The balance of the money collected will go
establishing Harry's legacy foundation.

A limited number of tickets are being sold. To order your ticket, phone the Firehall box office at (604) 689-0926.
I hope you can join us and many of his multi-ethnic friends at this
Celebration in honour of Harry Aoki on July 20, 2008 at 2:00 at the
Firehall Arts Centre.

Wayne Soon
Co-chair, Harry Aoki Celebration Committee

Rev. Chan Yu Tan is announced as winner for inaugural Golden Mountain Achievement Award

Rev Chan Yu Tan is inaugural Golden Mountain Achievement Award winner as the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association celebrates the 150 year history of Chinese-Canadians.

Rev. Chan Yu Tan was one of the first Chinese ordained in Canada.   He arrived in Canada in 1896, at age 33, following his elder brother Rev. Chan Sing Kai, who had arrived in 1888 at the invitation of the Methodist Church of Canada.

The Victoria Chinese Commerce Association has launched an ambitious awards program that will be celebrated at the Empress Hotel in Victoria BC, coinciding with BC 150 celebrations.  see

Rev. Chan Yu Tan, my great-great-grandfather, is the first pioneer award recipient to be named for the
“British Columbia Lifetime Cultural or Multicultural” 2008 Golden Mountain Achievement Award.  Through the Chinese Methodist Church, he helped teach the congregations about Canadian ways, and to live a Christian life.  The Church was also the first organization to provide English language classes to Chinese immigrants.   Rev. Chan always emphasized learning to adapt to Canadian ways and culture, and was always wearing Western clothing. 
Rev Chan Yu Tan ministered to Chinese people in Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo and New Westminister.

Our family now has reached the 7th generation, and is spread throughout North American with descendants being active in the communities of Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, as well as Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and Colorado. 

Our family has become very integrated into Canadian and American society.  Rev. Chan's son Luke became an actor in Hollywood.  Grandsons became Canadian soldiers during WW2 when they couldn't vote.  Subsequent generations became a lawyer, a doctor and even an Indian Chief –  as well as a city councilor in Calgary, a CBC television news reporter in Vancouver, and even a Miss Canada 2nd runner up.

Here's a picture of Rev. & Mrs. Chan Yu Tan with Rev. Chan's sister Phoebe on the far left.  Standing behind them are son Solomon and daughter Kate (my great-grandmother).  Standing beside them are sons Jack and Luke;  in front is daughter Rose, and between them is the young Millicent.

Read the Press Release from the Victoria Chinese Commerce Association.


Reverend Chan Yu Tan Wins the
“British Columbia Lifetime Cultural or Multicultural”
2008 Golden Mountain Achievement Award
Join Us in Celebration

The Victoria Chinese Commerce Association (VCCA) and the 150 Years In Golden Mountain Celebration Committee are acknowledges the tremendous contributions Chinese people have made to British Columbia since the province’s beginnings in 1858 by hosting an awards gala dinner on August 8, 2008 and a celebration pageant on August 9, 2008. The presenting sponsors for both events are RBC Royal Bank and Fairway Market. The celebrations are presented with the support of BC150 (the Province of British Columbia), the City of Victoria, and with the participation of the Government of Canada.

Sinclair Mar, chair of the celebration committee, illuminated the importance of the Golden Mountain Achievement Awards; “these awards are to honour the achievements of Chinese Canadians in the areas of business, the arts, culture, education, public service and community service. We also want to honour our pioneers and those who have helped the Chinese over the years.”

An independent Awards Selection Committee has reviewed nominations for the Golden Mountain Achievement Awards from all across the country, with nominees spanning generations from early pioneers to more recent contributors still, active in the community. The independent selection committee has completed the challenging task of choosing award winners from 150 years of worthy nominees.  While not all award winners will be released prior to the Awards dinner the VCCA is pleased to announce the late Reverend Chan Yu Tan as the winner of the “British Columbia Lifetime Cultural or Multicultural 2008 Golden Mountain Achievement Award”.

 Reverend Chan Yu Tan was born in Canton, China and immigrated to Canada's West Coast in 1896 with his wife, Wong Chiu Lin. He was one of the first Chinese in Canada to be ordained as a minister. Reverend Tan always stressed the importance of multiculturalism and his legacy of cultural fusion lives on amongst his predecessors.  His great-great-grandson, Todd Wong, is the creator of the decade old Vancouver tradition, the “Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner”; an event which mixes traditional Scottish and Chinese celebrations together in the city of Vancouver.  Great-granddaughter, Rhonda Lee, has also exercised her great-grandfather’s gift for multiculturalism, becoming the chief of the New Westminster band, the Qayqayt. 

This award, along with others, will be presented at the sold out Gala Awards Dinner at the Fairmont Empress to his surviving family. Hotel on August 8 (08/08/08, an auspicious “triple 8” in Chinese culture). The next night the VCCA, will present a celebration pageant at the Royal Theater where award winners have been invited to attend and enjoy the premiere of an original pageant.  Join them is celebrating 150 years of Chinese Canadian Achievements. 

Mr. Mar elaborated on the Pageant: “This will be an exciting original show, with many performers: actors, dancers and musicians. Chinese history will come alive with a mixture of cultural presentations and new choreography and new music composed specially for this celebration.  Ticket sales are strong and we recommend early reservations.

President of the VCCA, Amanda Mills, said “Members of the VCCA feel it is their privilege and duty to celebrate and honor their ancestors and those Chinese Canadians who have achieved so much in 150 years of service to Canada.”

For more information, please contact celebration chair Sinclair Mar at 250-382-5744 or VCCA president Amanda Mills at 250-727-0222, or visit

The ODD COUPLE is presented by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, Asian style!

What would happen if a well-known Neil Simon play “The Odd Couple” was played with an almost all-Asian cast?


I've always wondered if West Side Story could be set in Vancouver East Side, but instead of Italians and Puerto Ricans… what would happen if the gangs were Italians and Chinese?  East Side Story!

If the story is really good, does the actor's race really make a difference?
Look at Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels?

If the acting is good, does the actor's race really make a difference?
Look at Kirsten Kreuk in Smallville?

If Vancouver's population is largely Asian, doesn't it make sense to have a regular Asian theatre series?  With Asian actors?

Vancouver Asian Theatre is continually challenging the predominently Caucasian-minded Vancouver theatre community and audience.  This month, they take a beloved traditionally caucasian theatre script and cast it entirely with Asians, with Chinese subtitles…. and runs in Richmond and Vancouver.

Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre challenged Vancouver audiences by presenting Sex in Vancouver, Vancouver's first serial soap opera theatre, running over a few episodes.  VACT has also pioneered Asian Comedy Night bringing Asian stand-up and sketch comedy to a developing audience.

Now… Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre… is changing the face of Vancouver Theatre… again!
They are going after 3 audience target groups at the same time.  1) their established audience of young 20 to 30 something Asians born in Canada or raised in Canada, 2) All Canadians who love Neil Simon's 1965 comedy The Odd Couple, and 3) Asians who want to see Asian actors in an Asian-Canadian theatre company.

Hmmm…. now what would Shakespeare look like, done with an all-Asian cast, and set in Aberdeen Centre in Richmond? or Oakridge Centre in Vancouver? or Metrotown in Burnaby?

Check out their media release.

Immediate Release



VACT comedy asks:

two polar-opposite Asian guys live together?

July •
17–27 &

13-21, 2008



BC (
16, 2008
– This summer, Vancouver Asian Canadian
(VACT) is bringing a fresh and unique twist to the classic Neil
Simon play, THE ODD COUPLE. In this
hilarious version, the cast will be predominantly actors of Asian-heritage – and for the
first time for the theatre company, all performances will include Chinese subtitles. Also, the show will
run in two locations – in both
Through July 17 to 27, the play will
be at the Richmond Cultural Centre
and through August 13 to 21, the
production moves to
Roundhouse Performance Centre.
Tickets are available in advance online at and at the


now in its ninth season continues its run as
only theatre group devoted solely to staging cultural stories focusing on the
modern Asian experience in
With its new production of Neil Simon’s 1965 smash hit, THE ODD COUPLE, VACT is hoping to bring
several segments of the community together. “We really have an opportunity here to grow
our audience base in a big way,”
says producer and VACT president Joyce Lam. “This production appeals to our core
audience of first generation and “Generation 2.0” young acculturated Asian
Canadians, but we think we’ll also attract recent immigrant Chinese especially
those living in Richmond, plus older Asian Canadians and parents especially
those who are familiar with the works of Neil Simon, and then finally every one
else who aren’t Asian Canadian but are looking for a unique and entertaining
cross-cultural experience.”


ODD COUPLE, first performed in 1965, is about two men – one divorced and one
estranged and neither quite sure why their marriages fell apart – move in
together to save money for alimony and suddenly discover they’re having the same
conflicts and fights they had in their marriages. Oscar is a messy, slovenly sportswriter
who takes in Felix, a neurotic neat
freak news writer. They skip the honeymoon phase of their new arrangement and go
straight into the hilarious bickering.


ODD COUPLE is directed by actor/director Raugi Yu. Most audiences will recognize
him as the hilarious gangster Kam Fong from the CBC Television series, jPod.
Oscar is played by actor/journalist Ron
and Jimmy Yi plays
Felix. In the supporting roles as the poker buddies are Sean Cummings (Speed) and past Sex In
Vancouver members Jono Lee
Tom Chin (Vinnie) and Ed Fong (Roy). And rounding out the
cast as the sexy Pidgeon sisters are Carmine Bernhardt (Gwen) and Lissa Neptuno


Event Details

Odd Couple

Neil Simon



Venue #1

Richmond Cultural Centre


17 through 27

evening performances at
matinees at

to Saturdays

(evenings) + Sundays


Venue #2

Roundhouse Performance



13 through 21

evening performances at
matinees at

to Saturdays

(evenings) + Sundays




in advance (

by reservation (cash only, pickup at the door) (Phone

at the door (cash only)

charges are included

call for Group Rates


more ticket information please visit