Monthly Archives: September 2008

Gung Haggis paddlers come third in the UBC Day of the Long Boat – the largest voyageur canoe race in the world!

It's the biggest voyageur canoe race in North
America… maybe the world!  300 teams in the UBC Day of the Long Boat at Jericho Beach.

Day of Longboats 34A ...2008 TW by you.Gung Haggis Fat Choy team paddles to the finish in the first Community Mens race of the day – photo Todd Wong

had fun.  We paddled hard.  We had good turns, we had bad turns.  Boats
passed us, we passed other boats.  Lots of boats made tactical
errors…  including us. 

Okay… we were third of three Mens teams…
But in our heat of races, we also beat 3 UBC Alumni teams and 2 Women's teams, in our final heat.

We were the first boat racing a roster of 2 women & 8 men. 

We arrived for the first race of the day at 7:15am to ensure
everybody was ready for the first race of the day at 8am.  Only 3 Mens
and 2 Women's teams were in this first heat. 

Day of longboats 43 the site...Samis

Sunny skies greet the UBC Day of the Long Boat racers – much nicer than 2007's windey white-capped waves – photo Dave Samis

It's an
interesting race start.  All the teams are sitting in the boats at the
water's edge, held straight by volunteers in wet suits standing in the
water.  The steersperson of each team, is not in the boat.  They are
sitting in a chair, located high on the beach.  The start is sounded,
and the steerspeople leap out of the chair, racing for the boat.  They
jump into their boat, and the team takes off.  All the boats head
toward a single huge yellow triangular float, where they have to turn
right.  All the boats bump and jostle each other, trying to get their
first, or to get the better position.

Samis steered the Gung Haggis Fat Choy boat, Tzhe was lead stroke.
Between them were Gayle, Ernest, Stephen, Joe, Pash, Tony, Dan, and
Richard.  The boat was jostling for position against the TD Lightning
Men.   The Scaly Bytes teams was in the lead.  The teams paddled East
past the Jericho wharf, and raced towards the beach where a runner
would jump out of the boat to grab a baton, then return to the boat to
finish the 2nd half of the race.  The Gung Haggis team came in hard on
the beach, and had some troubles trying to push off.  Tzhe returned to
the boat, and helped push the nose out.  They had to back paddle to get
past another canoe that had come in beside them.

Day of the Longboats 28..last bouy ..GH with me steering

Gung Haggis team rounds the last yellow marker in their first race – photo Todd Wong

The teams headed North out towards the North Shore Mountains into
English Bay, then turned left around another big yellow float.  From
here to the end, the Scaly Bytes women's team was nipping at their
tail.  Paddling hard they headed West towards the Jericho Beach
Boardwalk.  They turned left in front of the Jericho Sailing Club, and
paddled straight to the beach, Scaly Bytes Women's team hot on their
heels.  It was a tight race.  Wow!

This is a tough race that involved not only strong paddling, but
also good steering for the three turns.  The big surprise is always
what do do for the beach drop-off.  At 8am, the water was fairly
mid-high.  But by the 2nd race at 11:40, the tide was down, and we were
switching strategies to deal with all the shallow water.

Day of Longboats 62 Todd racing to our boat...samis

Race start! Todd sprints to the boat – photo Hillary Wong

Day of Longboats 63 and they are off...Samis
All the boats take off! Try not to collide with anybody – get ready for “bumper boats” – photo Hillary Wong

For our Mens Community Final race, Gayle moved to lead stroke and
Todd took over steering.  We had a good lane for the race – 2nd closest
to the buoy.  Our start was fast.  We pulled away from the TD Mens team
on our left, and the TD Women's team on our right.  No collisions with
anybody.  I steered a good line for the turn.  TD tried to go on our
outside, but we took a wide exit and cut them off.  They cursed,
dropped back and cut to the inside shore.  We all raced towards the

Meanwhile a lot of the teams behind us bunched up at the yellow
float colliding and bumping each other.  The Scaly Bytes team came up
behind us on our left.  TD took a tight line to the beach, but we
weren't going with them.  I had seen some teams get hung up on the sand
bard in their path.  We stayed further from shore, and Scaly Bytes came
up beside us.  As we approached the beach, we could see the water
getting shallower underneath our paddles.  It was exciting, we were in
the lead coming towards the beach.

Tzhe hopped out of the boat, ready to make the run through the
shallow water.  Oops!  The water was too deep – up to his thighs.  The
Scaly Bytes boat came up on our right and Tzhe got cut off from the
beach.  He pushed them out of the way, and ran up the beach.  We moved
the boat East along the water closer to shore, drifting past the Scaly
Bytes team as they waited for their runner.  Their runner jumped into
the boat, but we were blocking their way.  They moved forward bumping
us, as we drew right to stay close to shore, waiting for Tzhe to come

Darn but that beach was long…. TD Lighting Men took off from the
beach.  Another team took off headed for the yellow float.  Tzhe
arrived back at the boat, exhausted from the long run.  We dug in deep
and paddled away.  Richard was muttering “Damn, we're third again.”

Actually we were now in 4th place.  Another boat was right behind
us to our left.  They headed right towards the yellow float.  I took us
for a wider approach, cut in close and caught up behind the 3rd place

“Long and
strong!” shouted Gayle in lead stroke.  They cut in front and we
bounced in their wake.  The moved to the right, and we pulled up beside

“Go Long, Power Now!” shouted Tzhe.  We surge past them.  We looked
ahead.  We were slowly gaining on TD Lightning Men.  They were maybe
8-6 boat lengths in front of us.  The last yellow float was up ahead
for the final turn to the beach. 

TD Lightning made their turn.  We were still boat lengths behind,
but coming in for a good third.  The 4th place team came in tight for
the last turn and tight on our heels.  We surged for the finish,
pushing hard.  As we ran the boat up on the beach, Tzhe jumped out of
the boat.  He ran up the beach and banged the gong with the baton. 
Race finished.  Tony and Dan and Richard were all slumped over
exhausted.  We patted each other on the backs, and walked up the beach.

Tzhe  bangs the gong to finish the race at 12:48 – photo Raphael Fang

Bytes Men's team was already on the podium congratulating each other. 
They ran a good race.  They are experienced paddlers and some of them
are our friends.  Ron and Stuart have paddled with us in the past.  It
was nice to see them get the little black canoe trophies. 

We were disappointed our race wasn;t better.  Our mid-race beach
drop-off didn't work.  We jumped out too soon.  But we know that we had
a great start and got to the beach area first.  We know that we passed
teams on the way to the finish.  We did the best we could.

Our team mates who came out to watch congratulated us on our
finish… Wendy, Jonas, Hillary, Deb, Alissa, Ryan and Raphael.  Some
of them have paddled voyageur canoes with us in the past, and know how
challenging it is.  Some of them haven't, and look forward to their

Now…. Ft. Langley Cranberry Canoe Regatta in 2 weeks.

Georgia Straight: Ricepaper Magazine listed of “Best of Vancouver”

Ricepaper Magazine is the little magazine that could. 

It has outlasted many other Asian-American and Asian-Canadian magazines cover arts, culture and lifestyle.  Primarily Ricepaper Magazine covers arts and culture specializing in literary topics.  It originally started off as a newsletter for Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, then made the transition into a nationally distributed magazine with content from across the country.

It is published by Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop and is now in its 13th year.  Alexandra Samur is the new managing editor.  She also writes for 

In December 2007, ACWW went through a board transition and entered 2008 with a brand new board of directors including myself -Todd Wong as co-president with Leanne Riding.  Joining me on the executive were Ann-Marie Metten as secretary. Brian Lam and Ted Alcuitas as vice-presidents.

There are many very interesting articles in the brand new 13.3 issue of Ricepaper Magazine features articles on author Roy Miki by Alan Cho, architect Bing Thom by Victor Liang, “Losing Ground: The Humanity of the Three Gorges” by Andrea Warner, author Andy Quan by Alan Woo, photographs by Evan Lee, An Orientation to Colourschool: How to Un-name a colour by Liz Park, Precious Cargo by Emily Khong, plus many more articles and features.

Best Downsizing Of An Asian Canadian Magazine


During the past year, this
locally based Asian Canadian arts and culture magazine went from the
standard 8.5-by-11-inch magazine size to a literary-journal format of
6.5 by 9 inches. It also received an arty make-over to better suit its
content. Now that it's easier to pop into your trendy bag or laptop
case, it'll be easier to flaunt as a highbrow fashion accessory.

See Ricepaper Magazine online at

Georgia Straight: Historic Joy Kogawa House is “Best New Place to Get Writing Done”

Joy Kogawa House is:



Joy and brother Tim and Kogawa House circa 1944, chery tree and house
2007, Joy Kogawa and children from Thomsett Elementary School, Joy
Kogawa and house photo by Dan Toulget/Vancouver Courier
, Joy & brother Tim with school friends circa 1944

When I joined the “Save Kogawa House” campaign in September 2005, I
just knew it was something that had to be done. Three years later we
now have our first writer-in-residence program with the arrival of
Madeleine Thien and a grant from the Canada Council. 

House was purchased by The Land Conservancy of BC in May 2006, and we
have since had readings by Ruth Ozeki, Shaena Lambert, Sharon Butala,
Heidi Greco, Marion Quednau, and Vancouver’s poet laureate George
McWhirter, as well as Joy Kogawa herself.  We have also had musical
performances by opera soprano Heather Pawsey, flautist Kathryn
Cernauskas and pianist Rachel Iwaasa. 

It's an amazing
story that this house has survived not only the WW2 Internment of its
previous owners, but also rising real estate prices and the threat of
demolition.  It was a vision that we had to create a home for writers,
to both recognize the accomplishments and life of Joy Kogawa, as well
as to provide a place for them to hone their craft, and hopefully
inspire them to their own greatness.

out page 77 of the Sept 18-25 / 2008 issue of the Georgia Straight. 
Kevin Chong writes that “Madeleine Thine will take up residence at a
retreat dedicated to Joy Kogawa”

Historic Joy Kogawa House

1450 West 64th Avenue

that Joy Kogawa’s childhood home has been purchased and saved from the
wrecking ball after years of struggle, it’s set to become a writer’s
retreat for visiting authors, starting in 2009. (The first author to
arrive in the house, located in leafy, sleepy Marpole, will be
Madeleine Thien.) Hopefully, the house, which celebrates the
contributions of one of B.C.’s best-known authors while reminding us of
a regrettable episode in our nation’s history—the internment of
Japanese Canadians during World War II—will inspire new books in the
years to come. More info is available at .

Page 77

20th Anniversary of Japanese-Canadian redress: “Friendship Tree” plaque installed at Vancouver City Hall for the “Kogawa House cherry tree graft”

Kogawa House cherry tree at Vancouver city hall is given a plaque on the 20th anniversary of the Japanese-Canadian redress.

Cellphone photo of plaque in place at Vancouver City Hall, Sunday, September 21, 2008

“Friendship Tree” plaque at Vancouver City Hall for the “Kogawa House cherry tree” graft – photo Ann-Marie Metten.

Sixty-six years ago, in 1942, Japanese-Canadians were “evacuated” from Canada's Pacific coast and sent to internment camps for the duration of WW2.

in 1981, Joy Kogawa wrote her first novel Obasan, the first novel to address the issue of the Japanese-Canadian internment.  Joy Kogawa would receive the Order of Canada in 1986 for her literary acheivement, what Roy Miki called
“a novel that I believe is the most important literary work of the past 30 years for understanding Canadian history.”

2005 was a busy year for Joy Kogawa.  Obasan was the “One Book One Vancouver” selection for the Vancouver Public Library.  “Naomi's Road”, a mini-opera based on her children's novel debuted by the Vancouver Opera Touring Ensemble.   And the childhood home of Joy Kogawa, which she had always hoped her family could return to after the war, was threatened with demolition.

And on November 1st,at Vancouver City Hall, there was the Joy Kogawa Cherry Tree Planting”.
Then city councilor Jim Green accompanied Joy Kogawa in turning the sod.  Jim had helped Joy take the original grafts from the tree a year before.  They were accompanied by Vancouver chief librarian Paul Whitney, and Vancouver Opera managing director James Wright.

On November 3rd, a presentation was made to Vancouver City Council to do whatever they could to stop or delay the proposed demolition of Joy Kogawa's childhood home.  An unprecedented motion was passed to delay the processing of the demolition permit by 3 months.  read
Kogawa House: Vancouver Council votes unaminously to create 120 day delay to demolition application

Now there is a plaque to officially recognize and commemorate the significance of this young cherry tree.  It is grafted from the original cherry tree from Joy Kogawa's childhood home.

Joy Kogawa with City Librarian Paul Whitney, Opera Managing Director James Wright, and City Councillor Jim Green – photo Deb Martin

November 3rd, a presentation was made to Vancouver City Council to do
whatever they could to stop or delay the proposed demolition of Joy
Kogawa's childhood home.  An unprecedented motion was passed to delay
the processing of the demolition permit by 3 months.  read Kogawa House: Vancouver Council votes unaminously to create 120 day delay to demolition application.

In May of 2006, The Land Conservancy of BC purchased the house at 1450 West 64th Ave, to help preserve the childhood home of author Joy Kogawa.

In April 2008, Joy released a children's picture book titled Naomi's Tree.  It encompasses the stories of the WW2 internment, and also the saving of her childhood home, while reflecting on the friendship of a young child and cherry try as they both age and meet again.  This book tells the story of the “Friendship Tree,”  Joy Kogawa reads “Naomi's Tree” at Vancouver Kidsbooks for the Vancouver book launch.

It seems very fitting that a plaque at Vancouver City Hall be placed at the baby cherry tree on the 20th anniversary of the Japanese-Canadian redress settlement.

Vision Vancouver nominates 4 Asian councilor candidates + 1 First Nations school board candidate

Louie, Chow, Jang and Dhaliwal are nominated by Vision Vancouver to run for
a diverse Vancouver City Council

DSC_5906_57661 - V-V slate by FlungingPictures

Campaign sign for the joint slate of Kashmir Dhaliwal, Kerry Jang and Andrea Reimer at the voting site at Sir Charles Tupper School – photo courtesy of Patrick Tam – Flunging Pictures

It was a very happy party for the Vision Vancouver nominations results party last night at Science World. It was great to see so many faces that help make Vancouver such as vital and creative city.  People like Naomi Singer – creator of Winter Solstice festival and Paul Wong – video artist, as well as Paul Faoro- president of CUPE 15, and Alex Youngberg – president of CUPE 391 Vancouver Library Workers.  And I happily made a new friend with Jennifer Sweeney, who is Director and Co-Chair of the Campaign School for Canadian women Voters Congress.

I went down to check out the action at Tupper at 6:30pm, and saw many candidates and supporters all greeting the incoming voters with flyers.  It was like a Chinese night market as people called out “vote for (fill in blank), hawking their preferred vote.  I was greeted by Kerry Jang, Raymond Louie and Andrea Reimer – 3 of the councilor candidates that I gave personal endorsements to.  Then a nice enthusiastic hug from Constance Barnes who is running for Parks board.  I know Constance from her job as manager at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens.  She is a warm friendly person whom whenever I talk with, I know I want to get to know her better.

After voting from 10am to 7pm at Charles Tupper, the candidates and their support teams all headed to Science World expecting results announcements for 10pm – just in time for the late evening news.  I arrived after 9:30pm, to a very festive atmosphere.  People were dancing beside and on the stage.  Lots of greetings as new people constantly arrived. Warm hugs from Aaron Jasper, Parks candidate and his wife Arminder – they both were volunteers at the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner this year.  I got to know Aaron during the Vancouver Civic Strike last year when he would bring water to our Library Square strike line.  

It was great to see my old friend Sarah Millin and Imtiaz Popat from my Canadian University Press Days.   I met the newly nominated Vancouver Fairview MLA candidate Jenn McGuinn, and discovered we knew many people in common.  There were also people from the Green and COPE parties attending.  My friend Stuart Mackinnon, the newly nominated Green parksboard candidate, introduced me to Ben West, Green Party chair.  And I bumped into Green organizer Tom Cornwall who used to paddle on Gung Haggis dragon boat team many years ago.  Another former Gung Haggis paddler was Meena Wong, who is seeking the councilor nomination for COPE.  COPE school board nomination candidate Jane Bouey was also there.

DSC_6132_57827 - Meena WONG & Imtiaz POPAT by FlungingPictures

COPE nomination candidates: Meena Wong for Council, Jane Bouey and Imtiaz Popat for School Board – Patrick Tam – Flunging Pictures

This event was also very family friendly.  Children and adults were all playing with the different Science World displays.  Andrea Reimer's young daughter was on stage dancing with Andrea.  Kerry Jang's daughter was running and playing with other children.  Raymond Louie's daughter was walking around with her mom.

But there were delays as they counted votes cast by a record number 4,500 people.  And then there was a recount, as results for the last spots for council and school board were separated by only 17 and 8 votes respectively. 

Mike Magee came to the stage just before 12 midnight to announce the results.  Incumbent councilor Raymond Louie topped the votes, as all incumbent Vision councilors Heather Deal, Tim Stevenson and George Chow were easily nominated. Andrea Reimer led the polls for new council candidates followed by Geoff Meggws, Dr. Kerry Jang and Kashmir Dhaliwal. Geoff Meggs and his family were standing behind me when the announcement was made, and they were all very happy.  Heather Deal was standing in front of me and soon handshakes and hugs were congratulating all the winners. 

I am happy to say that 7 of the 8 winning nominated people for Vision's
council slate have very happily attended Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner
events in past years. Raymond and Heather were also very instrumental in helping to create the Tartan Day proclamation for City Hall this year.  Heather has Scottish heritage, and she made it into a Vancouver Sun photo with us to help promote Tartan Day, when she joined us for a Kilts Night event.  George, Heather and Tim also attended a photo recognizing Tartan Day proclamation at City Hall – even if Tim did hold the kilt up backwards, with the pleats in the front, “commenting that he can't do anything straight.” 

DSC_6480_58160 - Todd WONG & George CHOW by FlungingPictures

Todd Wong congratulating George Chow – photo Patrick Tam – Flunging Pictures

DSC_6530_58210 - Raymond LOUIE & Geoff MEGGS by FlungingPictures

Raymond Louie and Geoff Meggs, happy at the results – photo Patrick Tam – Flunging Pictures

DSC_6477_58157 - Gregor ROBERTSON, Mayoral candidate by FlungingPictures

Vision Vancouver mayor candidate addressed the crowd after the results, then invited everybody up for a well-deserved applause for a successful nomination campaign – photo Patrick Tam – Flunging Pictures

I was pleased to see that Parks Board candidates Sarah Blyth, Constance
Barnes, Aaron Jasper and Raj Hundal won their nominations.  I met Sarah
this summer at the Taiwanese Cultural Festival, as I had been
encouraging the skate board enthuiast to try out dragon boat paddling. 
I almost had Aaron and his wife Arminder in the dragon boat, after they volunteered for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner back in January.  I am sure that Constance and I will be planning a joint event at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens in some form.

Meena Wong, Aaron Jasper, Todd Wong and Carol Reardon – photo Arminder

Winning School Board nominations were Sharon Gregson, Mike Lombardi, Patti Bacchus and Ken Clement.  Clement hopes to be the first aboriginal trustee on the Vancouver School Board, helping to bring more diversity and recognition for First Nations issues.

There will be a recount as there were only 13 votes separating the 8th and 9th spots for Council candidate nominations. Only 8 names will be put forward.  Top 9 Councilor Voting results are:

3746 Raymond Louie

3704 Heather Deal

3271 Tim Stevenson

3248 George Chow

2988 Andrea Reimer

2951 Geoff Meggs

2387 Kerry Jang

2240 Kashmir Dhaliwal

2213 David Eby

Total votes and results can be viewed on Frances Bula's blog:

Grouse Grind: to break the 1 hour barrier

Gung Haggis dragon boaters climb Grouse Grind in less than an hour.

Team members from the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team have been regularly doing the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver this year.  We started as a team event two years ago on Canada Day, and repeated last year.  This year, team members have been making regular treks up the Grind to improve their times and their fitness.

The following report is written by Dave Samis.  Photos by Dave Samis.

Today (the 20th) your team went
back to that staircase from Hell for another go at it.

There was a light rain prior to our ascent which
resumed when we were on the stairs.
The group quickly split with Hillary and Dave
powering up the Grind with the intent of doing better than before.  In fact, these
two were trying to get to the top in less than an hour.  To our knowledge
no one at one of the Gung Haggis Grind climbs has a done that and the best time
known was Hillary's during the last climb when she did it in 1hr and 5
Other people have done the Grind in less time but
for this team, on a Saturday, when it is raining, breaking an hour is
 Above Hillary disappearing behind the 1/4 way
up sign.
Like an endless staircase from Hell.  That's
Hillary above going up and up without a rest.
As we climbed it looked possible to break the hour
then as we passed the 3/4 mark Hillary announced only 13 minutes left to break
the hour we have to do the last quarter in 13 minutes.  Later shee called
out 8 minutes to go.
Hillary got to the top in 58
  Dave got the top right after
at 59.5 minutes – just under the hour.
Joe and Raph arrived at to summit much

20th Anniversary of Japanese Canadian Redress celebrates with 3 day conference

Redress for the WW2 internment of Japanese Canadians is one of Canada's most significant actions to address Canada's past racist history.

This weekend there is a conference to acknowledge the 20th Anniversary of the Japanese Canadian Redress.

Highlights include panel discussions on related topics, plus music and performances by dancer Jay Hirabayashi, and poets/authors Roy Miki and Hiromi Goto.

Conference Schedule

Day 1: Friday, September 19

Host Venue: Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, Vancouver, B.C.

Theme: Reflecting the past in the present

Friday ScheduleView Friday's Schedule

Day 2: Saturday, September 20

Venue: Nikkei Place and Alan Emmott Centre, Burnaby

Theme: In the present, imagining the future

Saturday ScheduleView Saturday's Schedule

Day 2: Sunday, September 21

Venue: Nikkei Place and Alan Emmott Centre, Burnaby Sunday Schedule

View Sunday's Schedule

It was the 6 year old Canadian-born Generation Joy Kogawa that was put on a train in 1942 and sent with her 10 year old brother, Anglican priest father and mother, to the internment camps in the Kootenays.  This was done in the wake of Japan's bombing of the US naval base Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, and fears of a Japanese invasion of Canada's Pacific coast.  But no similar action was done against German ancestry descendants.   All Japanese-Canadians on the coast were sent to internment camps, and while there they suffered the indignity of having their houses and properties confiscated and auctioned off, supposedly to help pay for their internment.  The anti-Japanese racism extended years beyond WW2, as Canadian parliament enacted a dispersal policy, to restrict Japanese-Canadians from returning to the West Coast, sending them instead to work on beet farms across Canada, or to be “re-patriated” to Japan – even if they were born in Canada!

In 1988, Prime Minister Mulroney signed a redress settlement with Art Miki, and made an apology in Parliament.  This redress process also set in motion a redress movement for the Chinese Head Tax, when NDP MP Margaret Mitchell brought the issue to Parliament in 1984.  In 2006, Prime Minister Harper officially apologized for the Chinese Head Tax (initiated in 1885) and Chinese Exclusion Act (1923-1945), but failed to give a redress payment for all head tax certificates, whereas all Japanese-Canadians born up to 1947 were eligible for redress settlement.

I have been privileged to be involved in the struggle to save the childhood home of Joy Kogawa from demolition.  Kogawa's novel Obasan brought the Japanese-Canadian internment and struggle for redress to Canadians through literature.  NDP leader Ed Broadbent read a passage from Obasan in the House of Commons during the 1988 Parliamentary redress.

The internment of


On September 22, 1988, the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement was
signed by the President of the National Association of Japanese
Canadians (NAJC) and the Prime Minister of Canada. This document
acknowledged the injustice committed by the Canadian government
against Japanese Canadians during and after World War II, and pledged
that such events will not happen again. This was a major historic
event not only for Japanese Canadians, but to all minority groups as
well, in that it set precedence for other redress settlements in

September 22, 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the Japanese Canadian
Redress Settlement. To celebrate, the NAJC and its membership
organization, the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizen
Association (GVJCCA), will be hosting a national event in Vancouver,
British Columbia. The conference will focus on both the celebration of
the Redress Settlement and reflection on the future of our global
community. Some notable participants scheduled to attend are
inter-cultural group members, various government representatives, and
those individuals who took a major role in the Redress Movement.

You are cordially invited to join us in participating in plenary,
workshops, and performances during this special three-day event. A
student rate is available. Please visit for more information about
the conference and details on registration.

UBC Day of the Long Boat: Gung Haggis dragon boat team gets ready for next practice 1:30 Sunday

The UBC Day of the Longboat is the largest voyageur canoe race in North America.  Take over 100 teams of university students, staff and community teams, give them one canoe orientation clinic, then put them on the water in heats of ten for a bumper car style race start.  It's crazy!

10 voyageur canoes race towards a single buoy to turn right, The Gung Haggis team is in the foreground. Todd is steering.  Kristine is lead stroke. photo Dave Samis.

The community team event is on Sunday Sept 28th, so this weekend we will do an orientation in the voyageur canoes.  The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat paddlers first entered this race supplementing the Tacoma DBA team in 2004.

read our past adventures at the longboat race:
2007: Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team braved the white cap waves of Sunday's UBC Day of the Long Boats

2006: UBC Day of the Longboat – I paddle the distance equivalent of 16 dragon boat races in one day

2005: UBC Day of the Longboat – Full contact voyageur canoe bumper car race mayhem

2004: Day of the Longboat: voyageur canoe race

Check out the race description from the website:

Race Route Description

team members will begin in their boat, except for their runner, who
will start in a chair on the beach. Once the starting horn is sounded,
the runner will run to and enter their boat, at which point teams will
begin to paddle.

Teams will head straight for approximately
50m until they reach the first buoy. At the first buoy, teams will make
a 90 degree right turn, then race around a rocky point and toward the
Baton Pick-up location on the shore. Once the boat reaches the shore,
one team member must exit the boat and pick-up one baton from the
beach. After that team member has re-entered the boat with the baton,
the team will head back out towards the second buoy, where they will
make a 90 degree left turn. From there, teams will head to the third
and final buoy where they will make their final 90 degree left turn
towards the finish line.

Upon reaching the shore, the team
member wearing the team's race number will jump out of the boat,
carrying their baton and run up the beach to hit the gong.

Route Map

Click to enlarge

Sunday 1:30 Gung Haggis dragon boat practice.
I think we will go back to Sunday afternoons because:
more people had challenges meeting the 10am morning time.
Weather is getting colder too.

UBC Day of the Long boat – CLINIC ORIENTATION
4pm  – same as last year.

We have more men than women wanting to do long boat this year.
have switched the entry from MIXED to MENS.   Last year we raced 8 men
with 2 women, Sarah and Kristine – I am sure that Gayle and Pash will
be up to the task.

Last year our Men's team was right behind TD
Lightning, and they were surprised when they learned we had 2 women on
the boat.  We will certainly surprise them with Gayle and Pash!

Day of the Long Boat is a challenging but fun race.  2 km in a 10
person voyageur canoe, while English Bay waves bounce you up and down.
Races – 1st race around 9am, and 2nd race around 2pm (schedule to be
confirmed).  There is waiting around between races… and lots of UBC
students as there are over 100 teams.

Here is our team roster:

Todd W.
Tzhe L.
Stephen M.
Tony L.
Dan S.
Richard M.
Joe E.

Ernest W.
Jim B.
Hillary W.
Jonas N.

NBC discovers Vancouver has ethnic non-white actors – Diversity lives in Vancouver!!!

Diversity lives in Vancouver!  But can ethnic actors act? Or is the real question: “Can Studios accept that actors don't have to be white…”

For generations, Asian Canadian actors have been relegated to ethnic roles, and supporting characters.  Think of Robert Ito (Japanese-Canadian) in Quincy, George Takei in Star Trek, The Hop Sing character in Bonanza.

But recently, ethnicity is the new “hotness.”  Think Kristen Kreuk in Smallville (okay, she's playing a caucasian character), think the new 90210 with a Afro-American lead, think Cheech and Chong revival tour… think… hmmm not much else, unless you are Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Stephanie Song or Lucy Liu…

Here's a Casting Call for Actors of Colour – forwarded to me from Joyce Lam of Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.

Subject: NBC Open Casting Call for Actors of Colour

Please feel free to forward to anyone you know who may be interested.


representatives from NBC Universal, Los Angeles, will be in Vancouver
to meet diverse actors for non-specific roles. Specifically seeking
East Indian, African American, First Nation, Asian and Latino actors.

Monday, September 22nd
Tuesday, September 23rd


North Shore Studios
Building 4
555 Brooksbank Avenue
North Vancouver, B.C.
(Studio is located next to Park and Tilford Shopping Center. Plenty of street parking)

* Please bring picture, resume and demo reel (if available)

open call is designed to add diverse, new faces to our expanding talent
pool for film and television (Psych, Battlestar Galactica and Eureka)

For more information on NBC’s Diversity Initiatives go to

Story Telling Our Lives: Stories of Migration and Displacement – presented by No One Is Illegal and newworldtheatre.

Storytelling + Theatre + Human Rights = something compelling?

No One Is Illegal and neworldtheatre present…

Storytelling Our Lives:
Stories of Migration and Displacement

It was neworldtheatre that presented last year's fabulous My Name is Rachel Corrie, and the political satire The Adventures of Ali and Ali and the Axes of Evil.  Check out their latest collaboration with No One is Illegal. Community activist Harsha Walia sent me the following:

‘Storytelling Our Lives’ is an exciting new theatre production that
involves 5 young people of colour sharing their personal stories of
immigration and displacement in a series of deeply moving and courageous

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Doors at 2 PM
2:30pm – 3:30pm sharp
Chapel Arts
304 Dunlevy Avenue (corner East Cordova, 2 blocks East of Main)

Sunday, September 21, 2008
Doors at 2 PM
2:30pm – 3:30pm sharp
Chapel Arts
304 Dunlevy Avenue (corner East Cordova, 2 blocks East of Main)

Monday, September 29, 2008
Doors at 7:30
8 – 9 pm sharp
Room 1800, SFU Harbour Centre
515 W Hastings
[ These are all free events.  Donations will be thankfully accepted ]

These performances are a culmination of a series of workshops as part of a
collaboration by No One is Illegal and neworldtheatre. The project and
performances hope to jointly contribute to bridging the gap between art
and activism by bringing into focus the individual faces and unique
stories of those who have gone through the migration process. This project
also draws upon the deeply rooted and central role of culture, creative
expression, and storytelling as key components of resistance movements by
providing a connection between personal narratives and global

No One is Illegal-Vancouver is a grassroots anti-colonial migrant justice
group taking action on combating racism, colonialism, deportations,
detentions, wage-slave conditions, and security measures in the context of
the so-called “War on Terrorism.” Contact or email

neworldtheatre is a Vancouver-based theatre company which creates,
develops, produces and tours politically and culturally charged plays that
investigate intersections between communities and peoples. Visit

This project has been facilitated by Carmen Aguirre.