Monthly Archives: September 2008

Terry Fox Run brings out the best in our communities: Todd Wong attends Terry Fox Run in Richmond BC

Stories of Terry Fox and personal stories of cancer are shared by the Terry Fox Run site in Richmond BC.

The Terry Fox Run site in Richmond BC, is organized by John & Joan Young,   In this 2006 picture, Todd Wong(red cap) stands between Joan & John in middle.  Their son 3rd from right.  Deb Martin is far right.

The Terry Fox Run is the world's largest single day fundraiser for cancer research.  All throughout, Metro Vancouver. all of BC, and all across Canada, Terry Fox Runs took place communities large and small.  And also around the world.

The Richmond BC run site is one of my favorites.  It is organized by my friends John and Joan Young. Since 1993, I have been a Terry's team cancer survivor guest speaker in Burnaby, Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, North Delta, Richmond, Kelowna, Beijing, and many elementary schools.

Meeting different people, who all have a connection to Terry Fox or a cancer story, is one of the best things I enjoy at a Terry Fox Run.  This year at the Richmond run, I met somebody who personally knew Terry, a woman whose sister is dying from cancer, and a young boy who heard me speak on Friday at Chief Maquinna School in Vancouver.

This year, the guest speaker at the Richmond run was Glyn Davies, a Richmond school teacher, who personally knew Terry as a teenager.  Glyn shared his personal story of shooting baskets with Terry at Simon Fraser University, working out in the weight room, and running together.  Glyn's father is Lorne Davies, who was athletic director during Terry's time at SFU, who also became a personal friend of Terry and his family.  Glenn emphasized Terry's character of always trying to do his best, as well as his dedication to task.

During the opening ceremonies, John Young also introduced the mayor of Richmond, Malcolm Brodie, and acknowledge the many volunteers such as the cheerleaders, and bagpiper Noel Chalmers.  John acknowledged some of the special donors who had collected $500+ and $600+ such as Olea who was also responsible for putting up all the Terry Fox Run posters around the village of Steveston.

After the start of the run, all the runners took off, led by children on their bicycles.  I walked over to say hello to Glyn Davies, whom I had first met two years ago, when I had been guest speaker for the Richmond Run, and he had been one of the organizers.  Glyn soon introduced me to his daughter Crystal who has followed his footsteps by becoming a school teacher.  He proudly stated it is Crystal's first year as a kindergarten teacher.  I shared with her that I had helped her grandfather Lorne Davies start up SFU's first Terry Fox Day in 1994, when we also created a Terry Fox trophy case.  I also asked Glyn after his father and said that I had last seen Lorne Davies at the coin unveiling for the Terry Fox Coin at Simon Fraser University, and had congratulated Lorne for having recently received the Order of BC.

I told Crystal that on Friday, I had spoken at Chief Maquinna elementary school's Terry Fox Run, and I explained that many Terry's Team members will speak at Terry Fox Runs, and sometimes at Elementary schools, serving as living examples that cancer research has helped make a difference.

“Let me show you something special, ” I said to her and  asked her to open her hand, into which I placed my SFU Terry Fox Gold Medal.

“Simon Fraser University created this Terry Fox Gold Medal to honour Terry.  He was the first recipient on June 6th, 1981.  Twenty-two days later, Terry died on June 28th.

The Terry Fox Gold Medal may be given annually to “someone who demonstrates courage in adversity and dedication to society.” It includes a $1000 prize and three semesters tuition.  One one side is the SFU Crest with the words “Simon Fraser University”
and “The Terry Fox Medal.”  On the other side, the words “For Courage”
accompany a thoughtful engraving of Terry with his chin resting on his

I have been a Terry's Team member since 1993, when Terry's younger brother Darrell phoned me up after hearing me speak on the radio.  At the time I was being interviewed by Rafe Mair, for just having been awarded the Simon Fraser University Terry Fox Gold Medal.

“Darrell turn on the radio, somebody's talking about Terry!” Darrell's wife phoned him at work.  He was then director of the BC/Yukon Terry Fox regional office.  That evening, Darrell phoned me at home, and we talked about Terry Fox, the SFU Terry Fox medal.  Darrell also invited me down to the office to meet him, and we hit it off, also beginning a friendship with his eldest brother Fred Fox.

Continuing my way on the Richmond run, everybody ran or walked along the West Dike.  I met a woman who was walking, and we started chatting.  She said her sister is now on her last legs, after having been diagnosed with cancer.  We talked about how cancer also affects not only the victim, but also the family and friends around them.  It's important that the person with cancer, also have a good social support team.  I shared with her some of the things that my family went through, when I had my cancer.

After finishing the run course, (okay I only went up to the 2km mark then turned around), I chatted with Richmond Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt.  We had met 2 years previously at the 2006 run.  We talked about running, and also about the Vancouver civic strike and how Richmond was able to resolve the contract negotiations by not using the GVRD Labour Relations Board for negotiations.  She said made much more sense to negotiate directly with the Library, instead going through a third party.

“Hey… You were at Maquinna!” I heard a young voice suddenly say to me.  It was Brandon, a young student from Chief Maquinna school in Vancouver.  Brandon recognized me from the talk I did at Chief Maquinna school on Friday, for their school run. He and his mother were attending the Richmond run site, as their Church organization, Tapestry Church, had decided that the entire congregation should attend the Terry Fox Run, instead of having a regular Church service.  Wow!  I later talked with the Assistant minister, and met with some of their youth group, and suggested they start up a dragon boat team. hee hee…

Picture from 2006 Richmond Terry Fox Run.  bagpiper Noel Chalmers leads the head party with Sue Halsey-Brandt and Todd Wong. – photo D. Martin


Please support the Terry Fox Run by participating yourself, or making an on-line donation
go to

Bagpiper Joe McDonald appears on Globe & Mail front page about Canadian soldiers in Kandahar

Canadian soldiers in Kandahar and bagpipers in Canada:  What is the connection?

If you attend Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners, you will recognize Joe McDonald bagpiper.  Did you see him on the front page of Wednesday's Globe & Mail right away.

Section A Front 
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Joe McDonald plays his bagpipes for a lot of weddings.  He has even been flown to Mexico for weddings.  I guess they don't have any bagpipers in Mexico.

On Wednesday's September 10th edition of the Globe & Mail, Joe was playing his pipes for the June 21st wedding of Corporal Ryan Elrick who had lost his legs 2 years before in Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb exploded the light armoured vehicle Elrick was riding in.  The story's main point, is that Sgt. Prescott Shipway, the man responsible for saving Elrick's life on that traumatic day, has now died as victim of a similar “improvised explosive device” or IED.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard radio news stories of the killed Canadian servicemen.  The sound clips begin with the mournful wailing of “Amazing Grace” played by bagpipes.  I personally haven't known anybody killed near Kandahar.  I don't think I can name anybody who has served in Afghanistan.  But through my friend Joe McDonald, I am only two degrees of separation away from knowing somebody who has died in Afghanistan.

I had started writing this blog article, about the friendship that I have shared with Joe McDonald since he started performing at Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners in 2000.  Together we have performed on national television and radio, and there is even a youtube video of us performing our version of “The Haggis Rap”
 YouTube – Haggis Rap

But now, after reading the article's content about Corporal Elrick and Sgt. Shipway, I am deeply touched by their stories of survival and heroism.

I wish our Canadian Armed Forces men and women in Afghanistan safety, and the power to fulfill their missions objectives and to bring peace to the region.  I pray that they too can return to Canada as Corp. Elrick has, and to live out their friendships with their comrades, as I presently do with my musician friend Joe McDonald.

Please read Christie Blatchford's Globe & Mail article.  Links provided below.

Globe & Mail
Vancouver Edition
Wednesday, Sept 10, 2008
Page 1


Losing he who made their life possible

A soldier reflects on the fallen comrade whose efforts taught him to seize every da

September 10, 2008

They got married on June 21, 2008, two years to the day his legs were blown to bits and he almost died. It was a deliberate choice.

“Reclaiming the day,” is how Corporal Ryan Elrick puts it.

He survived, and ever since has felt the obligation to live fully, completely. He feels it more acutely now. This afternoon, a flag-draped casket carrying 36-year-old Sergeant Prescott Shipway – called “Ship” by most – returns to Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

It was Sgt. Shipway, along with Master Corporal Chuck Prodnick and a couple of other soldiers, who saved his life, not that Cpl. Elrick remembers. But he has pieced together what happened from what those who were there have told him, and he knows.

Read More:

Gung Haggis dragon boat team practice 2pm on Sunday

2pm Sunday practice for Gung Haggis dragon boat team

This is because of two reasons:

1)  It's Terry Fox Run Day in Canada…. 

     I encourage everybody to take part in a great Canadian tradition!
     We traditionally do not practice in the morning

     As a Terry's Team member, cancer survivor, I speak at Terry Fox Runs,
     and will be attending the Richmond Run at Garry Point Park 10am.


     Check my website for more information on runs
     or check

2)  Kelowna Dragon Boat Races – Sat/Sun  Sep 13/14
     Tony is racing with Sudden Impact Blac

3)  BC Seniors Games – Sat/Sun Sep 13/14
Steven Wong and Dave Samis are racing in Prince George for Seniors Games

Future practice Dates.

We will next practice every Tuesday 6pm – until Thanksgiving

Sunday Sep 21st is….practice

Usually we will follow with a voyageur
canoe practice for the UBC Day of the Longboat

Sep 28th
No Practice because of:
1) UBC Day of the Long Boat
2) Word on the Street Festival

Terry Fox Run at Chief Maquinna is inspiring: Guest speaker Todd Wong meets young leukemia survivor

Todd Wong speaks at the Chief Maquinna Elementary School Terry Fox Run.

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Elementary Schools across Canada, all hold Terry Fox Runs.  Chief Maquinna held their run on September 12th, and invited cancer survivor Todd Wong to be a guest speaker. photo Alan Zisman

Every year I speak at elementary schools as a Terry's Team member cancer survivor.  This year I was invited to speak at Chief Maquinna Elementary by my friend, teacher Bill Hood.

It was a very inspiring day.  Ms. Wort is a teacher and a cancer survivor.  She led a group singing of a song about Terry Fox, written by a former principal. 

Anna Maria Nicolli-Mullet, principal of Chief Maquinna School introduced me.

I told the students about some of my experiences being a Terry's Team member, and some of the stories I have learned about Terry through his family, friends, and coaches.  I emphasized that before Terry attempted his run across Canada, he did his training firs – his homework so to speak.

I shared that after Terry first lost his leg to cancer he inspired other students, as he continued to shoot basketball and do his training by running on one leg, up to Simon Fraser University.


The Terry Fox Run school assembly at Chief Maquinna School – Ms. Wort is singing song about Terry Fox. – photo Todd Wong

Then I told them about my own cancer story, that I was diagnosed with cancer while I was a student at Simon Fraser University.  It was a very life-threatening tumor behind my breast bone.  I was hospitalized and spent 5 months on chemotherapy treatment.

And now, I have followed Terry's words, that “only takes one person to make a difference” in my efforts to do community service.

Next up was a Terry Fox video, titled “One Step at a Time” which features the Proclaimers song “500 Miles.”

Some grade 7 students went up on stage, and led a warm-up for all the students.
Following the warm-up, the students left the gym.  The primary kids (about 60 or so) do a run on the sidewalk around the school.  The intermediate kids run on the sidewalk around the perimeter of Clinton Park, at Slocan and 1st. They usually do a few laps.


During the run at Clinton Park, I met a young student named David who is a leukemia survivor.  I showed him my Simon Fraser University Terry Fox Gold Medal and we read the inscription “For Courage.”


Please support the Terry Fox Run by participating yourself, or making an on-line donation
go to


There are many run sites in the Metro Vancouver area.

Vancouver –
Ceperley Park at 2nd Beach, Stanley Park 10am
Vancouver UBC –
Camosun Park, 16th Avenue & Discovery 10am
West Vancouver – Ambleside Park – 9am
North Vancouver –
Inter River Park on Premier St 10am
Richmond –
Garry Point Park 10:00 AM
Burnaby –
Swangard Stadium Terry Fox Route, Central Park – 9am
North Delta –
Sun God Arena, in front of pool, 112 Avenue & 79 Street – 10am
New Westminster –
Queen's Park
Port Moody –
Port Moody City Hall 10am
Tsawwassen –
Rotary Square, Town Centre Mall 9am
Port Coquitlam “Home Town Run
Hyde Creek Community Centre, 1379 Laurier, Port Coquitlam 10am

Take your picture with some of BC's most fascinating people at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria

Photo Library - 2899 by you.
Where is Joy Kogawa in this picture? 
Where is Chief Dan George?
Where is Yip Sang?
Where is Emily Carr?
Where is poet Susan Musgrave?
Where are the Beachcombers' Bruno Gerussi and Relic?
Where is Amor de Cosmos?
is the interactive photo display in front of the Royal BC Museum, in Victoria BC,  for
the “Free Spirit” exhibition celebrating the 150th Anniversary of
British Columbia.  These pictures are from “The Party” display which
features 150 of BC's most fascinating people.  This picture was taken when Deb and I went to Victoria on August 8th to attend the “150 Years in Golden Mountain” awards gala.  
display also features Japanese-Canadian David Suzuki and other famous
authors such as Jane Rule, Douglas Coupland, PK Page and Dorothy
Check out the website and find Joy and David Suzuki in:
you can stand behind Joy, as Kogawa House committee member Deb Martin
is doing.  This picture of Joy was taken by Kogawa House committee
members Deb and Todd Wong- who is is also featured in “The Party”

The exhibition opened in March, and Deb and I went to visit “Joy” in April:
read our story: Traveling to “The Party” at BC Royal Museum

P4230223 by you.

 “The Party” exhibit with some of BC's “fascinating” citizens including: (front row) founding governor James Douglas, Betty Krawcyk, Joy Kogawa, Karen Magnusson, Herb Doman; (second row): Vikram Vij, Cindy Lee, Gordon Campbell, Gordon Shrum. – photo Todd Wong

Our second visit to the RBCM this year was to see the picture of Todd Wong in the museum when I was “voted in” along with Trevor Linden.
“Toddish McWong” installed at the “Free Spirit” exhibition at Royal BC Museum

Many friends have been taking trips to Victoria and returning to Vancouver, saying they have seen me in the Museum.

Photo Library - 2905 by you.

 Todd Wong stands in front of former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, but behind King Freezy, Chee-al-thluc, Chief of the Songhees people. Also in this picture are “The Beach Combers”, “The Raging Grannies,” Sir Matthew Bailiee Begbie aka “The Hanging Judge Begbie”, Premier W.A.C. Bennet, Rosemary Brown, Sen. Mobina Jaffer, Roderick Haig-Brown – photo D. Martin.

Vision/COPE/Greens make a civic slate deal… Stuart Mackinnon of the Green Party is the real winner!

Who is going to make it past the nominations fight to represent Vision Vancouver, COPE, and Green Party for city council, school board, and parks board?

It's going to be tough. There are 17 Vision candidates and 5 Cope candidates positioning for 8 Vision spots and 2 COPE spots for City Council.  Assuming that the incumbent councilors David Cadman, Raymond Louie, George Chow, Heather Deal and Tim Stevenson all get in, – that leaves 13 Vision candidates for 4 spots and 4 COPE candidates for 1 spot.

Here's the deal as reported in the Globe & Mail
Mayor – 1 Vision
City Council  – 8 Vision 2 COPE = 10 total
School Board – 4 Vision 5 COPE = 9 total
Parks Board – 4 Vision 2 COPE 1 Green = 7 total

Frances Bula has a list of all the candidates for all the parties, including NPA, on her blog site State of Vancouver: Frances Bula on city life and politics

The best surprising story is the Green candidate for Parks board is included in this slate. 

Stuart Mackinnon has run for the Greens in past elections.  He is quoted in the G & M article:

“Personally, I am pleased that we've been recognized as a force in
civic politics,” said Stuart Mackinnon, the Green Party's park board

“And Vision is running the greenest mayor we've ever had. Gregor Robertson could be a Green Party member.”

While 5 COPE candidates scrap for 2 seats on Parks Board, and 6 Vision
candidates battle for the remaining 4 seats, Mackinnon is assured of
his spot on the COPE/VISION/GREEN slate.

Mackinnon with musician Michelle Carlisle of the Halifax Wharf Rats, at
Kilts Night event – 1st Thursday of each month at Doolin's Irish Pub –
photo Todd Wong

I am proud to say that Stuart Mackinnon is a 2 year member of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  While on the team Stuart has been exposed to all sorts of issues such as cultural diversity, paddling on sewage threatened False Creek, the importance of water front park land for dragon boat festivals, as well as Chinese-Canadian and Scottish-Canadian histories. Much of which was already close to his heart.

Stuart loved paddling so much in his first weeks last year, that he was inspired to start up a junior dragon boat team for Killarney Secondary students where he teaches as a special needs teacher.  The team won silver medals in their division in their rookie year at the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival and has matured tremendously and improved in performance in its second year.  Stuart and I are now preparing the 2009 team, with early planning for practices this fall.

It's been an honour to be welcomed into Stuart Mackinnon's life and become his friend.  He is an inspiring figure to his students, and those around him.  Last year, he led a delegation of teachers to China and gave an address about Norman Bethune, the Canadian doctor so revered in China.  Stuart is thoughtful, respectful and diplomatic.  He does his research, and he is passionate about his issues and beliefs.

I have learned a lot from Stuart about city politics over these past two years.  Through Stuart, I have also gotten to know his good friend Andrea Reimer, who is running for a Vision Vancouver nomination for city council.  Andrea was the first elected Green candidate tp a school board when she became a Vancouver School trustee in 2002. 

I have given an endorsement for Andrea Reimer's website, as well as for Raymond Louie, Meena Wong, Ellen Woodsworth, and Kerry Jang

Good luck to all the candidates… but especially to Stuart Mackinnon and the Green Party.

Gung Haggis dragon boat team: Tuesday Practice – we race two boats with 7 first-time paddlers!

7 first-time paddlers came out on the dragon boats with the Gung Haggis team, and found themselves doing 3 sprint races.

Dragon Boat racing is always more fun, when the boats are racing close together.  This picture features Gung Haggis dragon boat team racing against our friends GVRD 44 Cheeks in blue behind us at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival back in June. GVRD has quit paddling for now, while the Gung Haggis team continues paddling for exercise, fun and voyageur canoe regattas until November. – photo Ray Shum

What is the best way to introduce first-time paddlers to dragon boat racing?

Give them a race!

On Tuesday night, we had six students and one teacher from Killarney Secondary join the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  For the past two years I have coached the Killarney team, with teacher sponsor Stuart Mackinnon, who is also a paddler on the Gung Haggis team.  I
asked Gung Haggis paddlers to be good role models and to help mentor
the Killarney paddlers.  We had the newbies sitting in the back, and
matched with experienced paddlers.

Each boat had 16 paddlers per boat including coach + steers.  I coached one boat with 3 first time paddler students, 1 first-time teacher, 3 experienced students, + 7 experienced Gung Haggis paddlers.  Gayle coached the other boat with 3 first time student paddlers + 1 experienced student + 11 experienced paddlers.

We each circled The North Side of East Basin, then headed towards Cambie St. Bridge, and caught up at David Lam Park.
did a mini race piece with Hon's Won Ton team.  They only had 8 paddlers in a
6-16 and were very surprised they stayed even with our lead boat, especially since they are a first year team.  But a
lighter weight in a 6-16 against heavily loaded Gemini boat that sit deeper and heavier in the
water… is what happens.

We paddled almost to the Granville St. Bridge,then turned around and came beside the house boats on Granville Island where our paddlers switched sides, to help exercise both sides of their bodies.

After the races, I asked some of the experienced students, if we ever had races like that on their first day in the boat.

“Nooooo….” was the answer. 

Did the first-time paddlers enjoy the race?

“Yesssss…..” was the answer.  I think they are still shy.

Trying to coach 20 brand new paddlers at the same time, can be a very frustrating experience, as much of the time is spent trying to teach people how to put their paddle in and out of the water at the same time.  But by introducing the first time paddlers onto boats where they were partnered with experienced paddlers, they could watch the paddlers and feel how the boat surged with each stroke of the paddle.  With only 3 paddles going out of time on each boat, the boats really flew much faster than any of the earlier Killarney practices back in the Spring.  Hopefully we have inspired the new paddlers to tell their friends to come join the dragon boat team at Killarney.  And after the students graduate, they can join the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  Hmmm… maybe we now have a dragon boat farm team!

After a brief warm-up, we did another
race piece… to the Cambie St. Bridge.  The other team won again, by
about 3/4 boat length.  same as before.  We picked a paddler off their
team… Dan Seto.

Another Race… switch sides… back on the good side for most.
We won by about 4 seats…. VERY CLOSE!!


NEXT Practice Sunday 2pm (not 1:30pm)
Because lunch at Hillary's + Terry Fox Run Day….

Ethnic Issues and the Canadian Federal Election: Gabriel Yiu's commentary about Harper, South Asian community and the Komagata Maru redress

Ethnic issues and the Canadian Federal Election: Why the federal politicians are now paying attention.

I drove into work this morning, CBC Radio's “The Current” was
interviewing a Muslim-Canadian in Quebec and a Chinese-Canadian in
Vancouver about the importance of ethnic issues for this upcoming
federal election.

Chinese head tax issue was cited by one of the interviewees as being an
issue that caused problems for the Paul Martin and the Liberals. 
Without a broad-based consultation of Chinese-Canadians directly
affected by the head tax issue, the Liberals went ahead with their ACE
program (Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education) without an
apology or a payment settlement plan.  This raised the ire of not only
Chinese Canadians head tax descendants but also many non-Chinese
Canadians who said this was unfair and unjust.  In the ensuing
demonstrations and protest movement, I got to know Gabriel Yiu as one
of many community activists working to bring the issue to public
knowledge and government settlement.

Harper and his Vancouver colleagues saw the winds changing, and jumped
on the head tax band wagon.  Even Liberals Ujjal Dosanjh, David Emerson
and Stephen Owen found a “second opinion” distancing themselves from
Paul Martin and Raymond Chan plan.  Harper eventually made an official
apology in Parliament.  This was important because the Head Tax and
Chinese Exclusion Act had been federal law.  The Conservatives also
gave a settlement to surviving head tax payers and spouses, but not
anybody who died before they were elected.  This was very unfair, as
99% of head tax payers and spouses were already dead.

Harper and the Conservatives are playing to the South Asian community
for votes.  They are addressing the Komagat Maru incident but not
giving an apology.

Gabriel Yiu has written a wonderful commentary, that I am re-publishing here:

South Asian community shouldn’t
miss opportunity to redress Komagata Maru incident

Gabriel Yiu 

Global Chinese Press
column 5.9.2008

Also submitted to Indo-Canadian


In late 2005, the federal election was in full swing.  In the
Chinese community, the Head Tax redress was the hottest issue.  The
Liberals ran a close race against the Conservatives, so both parties made
extraordinary efforts to fetch votes.


Raymond Chan, the Liberal Multicultural Minister at the time, set up a
meeting in Vancouver Chinatown for his boss, Paul Martin, to make an
announcement to redress the Chinese Head Tax.  This so-called
“historical” redress offered no apology and no compensation, only a
sum of money for community organizations.


The Liberals’ “historical” redress triggered Chinese
activists like myself to step forward to fight it because it was unjust.


My view on the Head Tax is like this. For all the historical unjust
matters and tragedies, the present-day government can decide not to take any
action.  After all, we have enough more press modern issues for our
politicians to handle.  However, if today’s government decided to
redress this historical matter, the redress should be examined with
today’s morals and values. The government offering an apology for an
unjust historical wrong is the basic requirement.  A redress on the Head
Tax without an apology is an insult to the Chinese community.


The CBC Early Edition interviewed me and Raymond Chan on the
Liberals’ redress program.  I expressed my view and stated that
community opinions expressed on Chinese open-line shows were one-sided —
overwhelmingly opposing the Liberal plan.  After I hung up, it was Raymond
Chan’s turn. He said “Gabriel Yiu was lying” and
“Gabriel Yiu was misleading the community….”  Wow, a federal
cabinet minister scolded me in public on an English-language radio.  I
wondered whether I was being attacked or being elevated.


After the election, the Conservative government made an
apology for the Chinese Head Tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act.  So far, I
haven’t seen any community come up and sue the government on other past
historical wrong.  Raymond Chan’s claim that a government apology
would open the floodgates to lawsuits that would cost taxpayers huge amounts of
money has never materialized.  So who was lying and misleading the
community in the last election?


Due to the strong reaction in the Chinese community, Prime Minister
Martin was forced to change his position in the middle of his election
campaign.  In an interview conducted on a Chinese radio channel, Martin
apologized for the Chinese Head Tax.  A CBC reporter interviewed me and
said I must be happy about it and my reply surprised the journalist.  I
said, what kind of apology was that? Paul Martin didn’t offer his apology
in a national press conference but merely uttered it in an ethnic language
radio interview.  How sincere was it?  More importantly, the Chinese
Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act were legislated in the Parliament.  If
the government of Canada
truly felt remorse, an apology should be made in the Parliament.  In the
following week, Paul Martin promised to apologize in the Parliament after the


South Asian readers must find this familiar, mustn’t they?
(That’s right, I’m submitting this commentary to both Chinese and
South Asian newspapers.)  Looks like history is repeating itself. 
Frankly, I am quite surprised to see Prime Minister Harper and Multicultural
Minister Jason Kenney, who scored almost full marks on the Chinese Head Tax
redress file, would screw up like this and repeat the mistake of Paul
Martin/Raymond Chan.  It’s also incredible to see that Kenney, who
has been working hard to connect to ethnic communities, should rule out
immediately apology in the Parliament. Why should he draw such a hard line? 
Was it a slip of the tongue?  Or is it an attitude problem?

Since the Conservative government has already apologized to Chinese and
aboriginals in the Parliament, why would Harper insist in not apologizing to
South Asians on the Komagata Maru affair?

The 2006 federal election had helped resolve the humiliation of the
Chinese in the last century.  The South Asian community should grab this
coming opportunity to put a fair and just full stop on the Komagata Maru


Silk Road Music brings dancing to Enchanted Evenings concert at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Gardens

Chinese and African dancing accompanied Silk Road Music's always entertaining world music concert at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden's final Enchanted Evenings concert series.

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Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault of Silk Road Music Ensemble with their
friends African dancer Jacky Essombe and percussionist Pepe Danza – photo Michael Brophy

It was a great concert to close out the Enchanted Evening series, Friday Sep 4th, at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, by Silk Road Music, made more exciting by the presence of Cameroon dancer Jacky Essombe and the Chinese creative dance team of Jessica Jone and Cheng xin Wei, also known as Moving Dragon Dance Company.

Picture from Program.

The program opened with a traditional reel – not out of place in french-canadian or celtic circles.  Qiu Xia demonstrated esquisite picking skills on her pipa (Chinese lute), as Andre Thibault strummed furiously, and Pepe Danza played his drums.  Andre shared that they have played all over the world with Pepe, and they also perform together in the group Jou Tou where Andre is band leader (Qiu Xia leads Silk Road Music).

Qiu Xia invited dancers Cheng Xin and Jessica Jone out to join them, explaining that they would perform traditional Xingjian music from China, not often performed in Vancouver or Canada.  Next she invited African dancer Jacky Essombe, sharing that Jacky had been part of the Cultural Olympiad show that Qiu Xia had organized for Chinese New Year's earlier this year.

Clouds was a celtic inspired instrumental compsed and performed by Qiu Xia on her pipa, while Jessica performed a Chinese fan dance.  It was an unlikely but beautifully harmonious fusion of cultures, dance and song. Hmmm…. definitely something to consider for the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.

Andre and Pepe followed with a rollicking flamenco song, which Qiu Xia joined in on.  Andre loves playing flamenco, and it is amazing how Qiu Xia picks the melody on her pipa with her vituostic skill.

Jessica spoke to the audience about Moving Dragon's upcoming show at the Scotiabank Dance Centre for Sep 12/13, titled LuminUS.

Full of surprises, the rest of the program blended more chinese and african dancing with the Silk Road Music repetoire.  For the final song, Jacky invited audience members to the centre stage area to join her in African dancing.  She encouraged people to yell and make noise, as the room filled up with vibrant energy.  Canadian Africanized dancers young and old joined in the dancing.

Check out this links.

Dragon Zone closed for “Paddle for Kids” – no Gung Haggis dragon boat practice

Paddle for Kids raises money for BC Children's Hospital

No Gung Haggis dragon boat team practice this Sunday, because Dragon Zone is closed for Sept 7th, to host “Paddle for Kids

Next Gung Haggis dragon boat team practice on Tuesday, 6pm, Sept 9th.

Here are the details from the website

This fun-filled corporate and community event is an adult-oriented,
non-competitive dragon boat fundraiser, where experienced paddlers and
beginners race together in support of BC Children's Hospital.

2007, PFK hosted over 500 paddlers, and raised over $75,000 for BC's
sick and injured kids.  Let's make our 10th annual event at Dragon Zone
the biggest, and best Paddle for Kids to date!

PFK features both
a dragon boat obstacle course, and sprint, off-water Mini-Olympic
games, fundraising incentive prizes, food, fun, and more!

Team registration is now open.  Please check out the website for more info, or contact Amanda with any questions.

10th Annual Paddle for Kids