Monthly Archives: November 2008

Documentary film producer Halya Kuchmij thanked by Rev. Chan Yu Tan family.

120 years ago in 1888, Rev. Chan Sing Kai arrived in Canada.  He was later followed by his younger brother Rev. Chan Yu Tan in 1896.  Their sisters Phoebe and Naomi followed afterwards.  The family helped to found and support the Chinese Methodist Church in BC, and also spread to the American states of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Illinois and the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Alberta.

Generations: The Chan Legacy aired all across Canada on CBC Newsworld on July 4th, 2007 and repeated throughout July and August as the lead episode in a 7 part series of Canadian families called Generations.

2008_Nov15 079 by you.Halya happily holds up her award for “Best Picture” – photo Todd Wong



11am – 1pm

Floata Seafood Chinese Restaurant

#400 – 180 Keefer St.

Vancouver Chinatown

Halya Kuchmij returned to Vancouver for the first time since filming for The Chan Legacy in October 2006, and members of the Rev. Chan Legacy committee aggreed to:

  1. Give Halya a gift of appreciation for the wonderful work that she did in creating
    and telling the story of Rev. Chan Yu Tan and his family descendants.
  2. Have
    a family get together (not a reunion) to celebrate the television documentary
  3. Celebrate
    120th anniversary of Rev. Chan Sing Kai's arrival to Canada in 1888.

family members were interviewed for the documentary.

  • Victor Wong WWII veteran
  • Helen Lee – lived in Nanaimo as a child with Rev & Mrs. Chan Yu
  • Gary Lee – actor/singer
  • Janice Wong  – artist and author of CHOW
  • Todd Wong  – multicultural activist
  • Tracy Hinder P
    – 2005 BC Canspell Champion
  • Rhonda Larrabee  – Chief of Qayqayt First Nations

2008_Nov15 099 by you.98 year old Mabel Mar looks over family pictures with Janice Wong, daughter of her cousin, and Mabel's youngest daughter Sylvia. – photo Todd Wong.


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Halya Kuchmij, Todd Wong and Col. Howe Lee.  All have played roles in helping to tell the stories of pioneer Chinese-Canadians.

Stuart Mackinnon elected to Vancouver Parks Board

MACKINNON, Stuart GRN 48415

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Good friends rejoice: Andrea Reimer, Stuart Mackinnon and Andrea's daughter – photo Todd Wong

“You beat Andrea's numbers!” exclaimed Andy Miller – Andrea's husband and Stuart Mackinnon's sign man.  In the 2002 Vancouver civic election, Andrea Reimer grabbed the final 9th spot for Vancouver School Board with 44951 votes – the highest vote count for an elected civic Green.  Stuart's 48415 for 2008 Vancouver Parks Board beat that number by 3464.  For the 2008 election, Andrea ran as a council candidate for Vision Vancouver and received 59148.

“I'm overwhelmed,” said Mackinnon on Sunday afternoon.  He was spending some time visiting his father when I called him by cellphone.  “My father is very happy for me,” he shared. Stuart's paternal grandfather George Ernest Lawson Mackinnon had been the Kootenay East member of parliament for the National Government party (Conservatives) from 1940-45.

“I never expected to win,” Stuart admitted, even though advance polls had the COPE/Vision/Green slate leading in races for council, parks board and school board.  Mackinnon was the only Green party member on the combined slate. He is only the 3rd ever Green Party member elected in the Metro Vancouver area.  During the campaign when I had asked him who his campaign manager was, “You're looking at him.” was his reply.  Mackinnon had a very small but dedicated campaign team of volunteers consisting of friends and team members from the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  There had been no party headquarters or staffers for the civic Green Party.  Mackinnon ran his campaign from his newly bought formerly owned small condominium which he shares with his faithful Shiba Inu dog friend named Kiku.

In 2005 Stuart Mackinnon received 37824 votes for 14th place, 6738 votes behind COPE's Spencer Herbert who received 44562 votes.  The previous highest vote count for a Green Party Parksboard candidate was 32613 in 2002 for Catherine Carter who finished 4 places out of winning in 11th spot – but she still beat two NPA parks candidates.  In 1999, Roslyn Cassells was elected to the Vancouver Parks Board for the Green Party with 31, 694 votes.

When the COPE / Vision / Green slate was released on September 9th, I predicted that the Green Party was the big winner.  Read my article: Vision/COPE/Greens make a civic slate deal… Stuart Mackinnon of the Green Party is the real winner! 

In the 08 Election, COPE's Bill Bargeman, Alvin Singh and Anita Romaniuk were the only COPE members' of the slate not to be elected, while councilor David Cadman, school trustees Alan Wong, Alan Blakely, and parks commissioner Loretta Woodcock were re-elected, with the addition of former councilor Ellen Woodsworth and former school trustee Jane Bouey.  COPE was 6 for 9.

Vision went 15 for 16, with all candidates elected except for councilor candidate Kashmir Dhaliwal.

To capture the public's imagination, Stuart was the only candidate seen in a kilt during campaigning.
Stuart knocks on doors and delivers pamphlets – photo courtesty S. Mackinnon.

2008_Oct23 024 Stuart wore his “full dress” formal outfit to the Vision Vancouver dinner at Floata Restaurant: Todd Wong, Sharon Gregson (Vision candidate for School Board), Stuart Mackinnon.

Stuart is an avid participant on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team and Kilts Night.  He also is the teacher sponsor for the Killarney Cougar Dragons junior dragon boat team.  Stuart was featured in the German public television program “From Toronto to Vancovuer by Train” with the Gung Haggis dragon boat team. He has appeared many times in pictures and articles on

Gregor Robertson and Vision/COPE/Greens win Vancouver elections!

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I go to the DTES to hand out voting
pamphlets at Oppenheimer Park along
Hastings St. to Strathcona Community

COPE victory party at COPE headquarters

Vision Vancouver party at Hotel

Gregor Robertson wins Mayor

2008_Nov15 047 by you.

Andy Miller, Stuart Mackinnon, Andrea Reimer and Kerry Jang – photo Todd Wong
Raymond Louie, Heather Deal, George
Chow, Kerry Jang, Andrea Reimer, Tim
Stevenson, David Cadman, Suzanne Anton,
Geoff Meggs and Ellen Woodworth are on

Stuart Mackinnon on Parks with
Constance Barnes, Aaron Jasper, Raj
Hundal, Sarah Blyth, Loretta Woodcock,
and Ian Robertson

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Todd Wong (CUPE 391) Geoff Meggs councilor-elect, Sarah Blyth Parks Board-elect, Joe Smith Vancouver fire fighters)

Nov 15th 2008 Vancouver Civic Election

Nov 15th 2008 Vancouver Civic…

Nov 15th Civic Election Day:

Last days of campaigning in Vancouver

It's the last day of campaigning for the Vancouver civic election.  There have been lots of surprises.  There have been lots of meet and greets. I even delivered a few pamphlets for Stuart Mackinnon, our Gung Haggis paddler who is running for Vancouver Parks Board.  Here are some of the candidates I have bumped into this past week.

2008_Nov11 101 by you.

Alan Wong hands out flyers at Champlain Square with his mother.  Alan is running for his 3rd term on Vancouver School Board.  I first met him in 2002 with Andrea Reimer, Alan Blakely and Jane Bouey when I did a presentation to the VSB for Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society. – photo Todd Wong

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COPE school board incumbent/candidate Sharon Gregson met Corporal Lashambe at the Billy Bishop Legion on Remembrance Day – photo Todd Wong

2008_Nov11 038 Ellen Woodsworth former city councilor and current COPE council candiate shares an umbrella with Jenny Kwan at the Chinatown Remembrance Day ceremonies. – photo Todd Wong


Ping Pong Playa opens in Vancouver: imagine a hip hop speaking basketball playing NBA wannabe – but he is Chinese?

Ping Pong Player: Imagine a Chinese Will Smith playing table tennis with attitude

pingpong_cdub2 by you.

“C-Dub Wang” – the hippest hoppest ping pong player ever to wear a basketball jersey – in the movie Ping Pong Playa.

I just checked out the on-line preview of Ping Pong Playa.

Forget James Bond and Quantuum of Solace – I want to see THIS movie now!!!

pingpong_cdub_jennifer by you.

Girl meets Boy, doesn't like Boy – Boy finds a way to win Girl.  Smith Cho plays Jennifer and Jimmy Tsai plays C-Dub Wang.

Here's a message from my friend Joyce Lam of Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre

Dear Friends

I saw this movie at the Vancouver Asian Film
Festival and it is the BEST movie I've seen all year… if I could
nominate this movie for Best Picture and Best Male Lead Actor, I would.
Check it out yourself and Enjoy.


Here is a message from Jimmy Tsai and Jessica Wu, members of the PING PONG PLAYA Production….

are extremely thrilled to write to you about the upcoming release of
our movie PING PONG PLAYA beginning November 14th! It's an exciting
time–but here's where we need your help. We'll let the movie speak for
itself (if the reactions of people who have seen the movie is any
indication, we firmly believe you won't be disappointed), but we need
your help to spread the word about the release of the movie.
Independent movies don't have the marketing budget to compete against
the mammoth studio movies, but what we do have is intense, strong
word-of-mouth (just check out any of a number of our reviews–from
outlets large and small, from critics, bloggers, and chat room posters

Please help us continue to spread the word and come
check out the movie opening weekend (Nov. 14th at the CINEMARK

Our website:

See you at the theaters soon,

Jimmy Tsai – Writer/Co-Producer/2nd Assistant Production Accountant
Jessica Yu – Director-Writer
Joan Huang – Producer
Anne Clements – Producer
Jeffrey Gou – Executive Producer

Why haven't the NPA talked about last year's civic strike? Even while it was happening they ignored it!

“The NPA will not talk about the strike.  They refuse to talk about the issues we believe are important to Vancouverites,” said Andrea Reimer at last night's general meeting for Vancouver Library Workers CUPE 391.

IMG_1843 by you.

CUPE 15 workers came down to the CUPE 391 Library Square strike line in a support of solidarity on August 17th.

Andrea Reimer –  Vision Vancouver council candidate, Loretta Woodcock – COPE incumbent parks commissioner, and Stuart Mackinnon – Green Party parks board candidate, all were special guests addressing civic issues for the Nov. 15th Vancouver civic election.

“The civic strike affected our parks, our community centres, our libraries.  It is an important issue.  But the NPA have not been addressing it.” said Stuart Mackinnon.  “It is important for our civic workers to be treated fairly.”

“The NPA has a total disrespect for unionized workers,” said Woodcock.  “I see that as a parks commissioner.”

“The City just made many managerial staff exempt staff, by re-classifiying them at a cost of about $10,000 increased salary for doing basically the same job,” said Woodcock  “They are doing this to strike-proof the city.  They state that unionized workers are getting a 4% increase, and exclude that managers are also getting the same 4% increase.”

The special guest speakers were clearly the highlight of the meeting.  Woodcock also discussed how NPA parks chair had put a motion forward to initiate a morale survey, but withdrew it once Woodcock had identified key issues to address.  These same issues had shown up on an in-house library culture survey, that showed that the morale at the Vancouver Library was poor before last year's strike action.  Everybody agrees the situations are worse post-strike.

I did ask them what they thought about Sam Sullivan's comments to Don Cayo's interview in the Vancouver Sun. Sullivan says 'I did everything I wanted do'  Sullivan admitted that one of his regrets during his 14 years of city hall including 3 years as mayor, was that the strike went on too long.  Sullivan said:

'The strike is a considerable regret. I don't like to implicate
anybody. These are all my own weaknesses, my own shortcomings. But I
chose to not have any role in it — to leave a lot of room for our
staff. …

Everybody knew what the deal was — 17.5 per cent. We knew it the weekend the strike started. Everybody knew it.

So I suggested, “Why don't we just offer that?”

was, “Mayor, you don't understand negotiations. You have to offer less.
Then they ask for more. Then you offer more. And eventually you get to
the right number.”'

If this was truly the case, why didn't Mayor Sullivan step in to ensure that a strike never happened.  All the other municipalities saw the bargaining positions happening, and they were quickly able to avert forcing strike action.  Our CUPE 391 bargaining committee said they had never seen labour negotiations like the ones the city put them through in years of bargaining.  The GVRD labour relations bureau kept rejecting CUPE 391 proposals since January when the contract ran out, and never put forward a contract counter-offer until July when it was too late.  

Mayor Sullivan instead decided to table a “final offer” to Vancouver civic workers and then force them to vote on it which Vision Vancouver councilor Raymond Louie said “is dangerous bullying, and is more likely to provoke a strike than to end it.  It was actually Louie who proposed mediatio only two weeks into the strike, in an effort to bring it to a quick close.  Unfortunately the NPA rejected the mediation process…. and the strike dragged on and on.

The GVRD Labour Relations Bureau also had it set that they would not deal with the smaller CUPE 391 library workers, until it had finished negotiating with the larger CUPE 15 inside workers and CUPE 1004 outside workers.  So library workers were out of luck regardless.  This doesn't sound like a fair negotiating strategy that would ensure good labour relations for a city that has just been chosen as one of Canada’s Top 100
Employers for 2009
by Mediacorp Canada Ltd. 

It's actually an embarrassment.

Peter Ladner was not helpful in resolving the strike issues and actually helped to make them worse when he submitted “a vitriolic column in the Vancouver Sun
that regurgitates the City’s discredited propaganda and continues the
myth of a City council protecting residents from their city workers.”

Georgia Straight: The Straight slate for municipal elections in Vancouver and the burbs

100 years of South Asian-Candian Music and History + Delhi 2 Dublin info

My friend Tarun Nayar – one of the geniuses behind Delhi 2 Dublin sends me this message about 100 years of South Asian-Canadian BC history:

Hello South Asian music fans,

are a few very interesting things happening in the next couple of
weeks. Next week there's a whole variety pack of great talks, events,
and music to mark over 100 years of South Asian presence in Canada. In
1908, as the population of South Asians in BC grew to 5000, the
Canadian government passed the 'Continuous Journey' law to prohibit
further immigration. The events next week commemorate the long journey
it's been since then, the many twists and turns that have transformed
Canada into the amazing country it is today, and the work we have to do
in the future. More info below and at: An added bonus: all the events are FREE.

next week, check the Delhi 2 Dublin Remix CD release party. It should
be outlandishly fun, and will pack out, so pick up your ticket ahead of

Until next time, 

and hope to see you soon,


Vote for Kilt wearers in the upcoming Vancouver civic election! Mackinnon… Louie… Deal… Robertson… Chow… Stevenson and Capri

Everybody talks about the Chinese block voting… what about Scottish-Celtic block voting?

Wear a kilt and go after the Scottish-Celtic ethnic vote!

Vancouver, BC and Canada all have long Scottish-influenced roots.  Vancouver's first Mayor, Malcolm Alexander Maclean, was born in Scotland.  Canada's first two Prime Ministers Sir John A. MacDonald Alexander Mackenzie.  BC's first governor Sir James Douglas was raised in Scotland, after being born in British Guyana to a Scottish father and a Creole mother.  And then there are rivers named after Scottish-Canadian explores Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser.

Read the Scottish Page from “The History of Metropolitan Vancouver”

2008_Oct23 009 by you.

Green Party Parks Board candidate
Stuart Mackinnon with COPE school board candidate Bill Bargeman.  Bill
and Stuart current and retired school teachers and are past president
and vice-president of BCTF local 39.1  Stuart bought his kilt outfit last year soon after joining the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, and wore it with the team in a documentary about Vancouver's multiculturalism for German Public Television.  Stuart's kilt is primarily Green – like his party. – photo Todd Wong

Vision Vancouver candidates for council and mayor,
Raymond Louie and Gregor Robertson attended the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner with VIP host Deb Martin.  Raymond joined a kilted “Toddish McWong” on Rock 101's Bro Jake Show on Robbie Burns Day this year.  In this photo Raymond is wearing the Royal Stuart tartan, while Gregor wears his Robertson family tartan – photo
VFK / Todd Wong collection.

DSC_0001 by you.
Tartan Day (April 6) was proclaimed for City of Vancouver, on April 3, 2008.  It was moved by councilor Heather Deal and seconded by Raymond Louie.   Mayor Sam Sullivan and many city councilors have supported the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner over the years.  In this picture Tim Stevenson is holding the Fraser Hunting Tartan backwards.  He said after I corrected him “I can't do anything straight!”

Councilor Heather Deal is wearing a tartan skirt.  Bagpiper Allan McMordie wears his full dress outfit.  Mayor Sullivan and councilors BC Lee and George Chow wear tartan sashes. Toddish McWong wears the Fraser Hunting Tartan, as does councilor Kim Capri in the mini-kilted version.

Todd Wong (centre right in red vest) wears the tartan on St. Patrick’s Day, along with Nathalie Coulombe (right) and others at Doolan’s Pub.
View Larger Image View Larger Image and Story – click here!
Here's the best photo opportunity for a city councilor in a kilt!  English-born but Michigan-raised Vancouver City Councilor Heather Deal came to the April Kilts Night, and her family tartan graced the Vancouver Sun photo.  It was Heather who helped develop the Tartan Day proclamation and moved it at Vancouver City Hall on April 1st. 

It was councilor Raymond Louie who as deputy mayor, actually read the proclamation on April 6th Tartan Day at a ceremony at Creekside Park, with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. 
see story:
A Tartan Day dragon boat paddle practice… with bagpiper and proclamation reading

Remembrance Day 2008: First Nations Lt. Governor Steven Point attends Chinese-Canadian veterans ceremony in Chinatown

Lt. Gov. Steven Point acknowledges the Chinese Canadian veterans for their support of Aboriginal veterans at Chinatown Remembrance Day ceremony

2008_Nov11 069 by you.
Lt.Cdr. King Wan, Mr. Gwendolyn Point, MP Libby Davies, MLA Jenny Kwan, Lt. Gov. Steven Point, Col. Howe Lee, MP Don Davies – photo Todd Wong

It was a special day at the Chinatown Remembrance Day ceremonies with the presence of Lt. Gov. Steven Point and Her Honour Mrs. Gwendolyn Point.  This was the first time in the 5 year history of the Chinatown Remembrance Day ceremonies that a Lt. Gov. had attended.  Traditionally, the First Nations veterans have always been included.  Last year in 2007, a special First Nations tobacco ceremony was included featuring First Nations veteran Louis Schmidt.

DSC_5210_95648 - The Hon Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Gov of BC by FlungingPictures Lt. Gov. Steven Point addresses the crowd – photo courtesy Patrick Tam

This year's crowd was the largest yet for the Chinatown Remembrance Day ceremonies.  It was coordinated by Pacific Unit 280's

Alfred Woo with SUCCESS and MCed by SUCCESS executive director Tung Chan. 

DSC_5233_95671a - Overview 3-foto pano4 by FlungingPictures.
Here's a 3 photo panorama taken by Patrick Tam – I am on the far right next to Col. Howe Lee

2008_Nov11 052 My grand-uncle Daniel Lee is the first to place a wreath at the monument for Chinese Canadian Veterans.  He is currently president of Pacific Unit 280 and is the only Chinese Canadian veteran to receive Awards of Merit, Appreciation and Service – photo Todd Wong

Read my 2004 story about Daniel Lee: Nov 11 – Chinese Canadian Veterans: My Uncle Dan

DSC_5151_95589 - Todd WONG & Sue by FlungingPictures

I attended the ceremonies with my new friend – author Susan Crean – photo courtesy Patrick Tam

2008_Nov11 077

After the outdoor ceremonies, Pacific Unit 280 always goes for lunch to Foo's Ho Ho restaurant.  I introduced  Susan Crean to Alex Louie who is the subject of the NFB film Unwanted Soldiers. The film documents how Canada did not want Chinese-Canadians as soldiers, but was reluctantly forced to accept them.  The film was made by Louie's daughter Jari Osborne.  Susan lives in Toronto and knows Louie's other daughter there, the composer Alexina Louie.

2008_Nov11 088 Lt. Gov. Steven Point, Col. Howe Lee, City Councilor Raymond Louie and Lt.Cdr. King Wan – photo Todd Wong

At the conclusion of the lunch, Lt. Gov. Steven Point thanked Pacific Unit 280.  He said “In my culture, we always thank the cook with a song.”  He and his wife Gwendolyn Point, then began tapping the plates with forks to simulate a drum beat, and encouraged the veterans to do so.  They then began singing a First Nations song for the restaurant owner/cook Joanne. It was a very special highlight and everybody was touched by the graciousness and warmth of the Lt. Governor.

See my pictures on Flickr:

Remembrance Day 2008

Remembrance Day 2008