Monthly Archives: April 2009

2009 BC Book Prizes with Terry Glavin

2009_April_BookPrizes 031 by you. Todd Wong, with Terry Glavin, and Terry's wife Yvette – BC Book Prizes.

I was at the BC Book Prizes last night and my friend Terry Glavin received the Lt. Gov. Award for Literary Achievement.

It was a fun evening, and I sat with the Editors Association of Canada, the table organized by my friend Ann-Marie Metten.

2009_April_BookPrizes 025

Lt. Gov. Stephen Point always makes a great speech, not only about his personal contradictory job of being a First Nations Catholic representing the Queen, head of the Anglican Church, for which he had spent a large part of his life in defiance to for pushing First Nations rights, but also about the ability of BC authors, publishers and citizens for overcoming challenges for racial, historical and cultural differences.  I first met his honour, last year, when the BC Community Achievement Awards were presented at his Victoria home of Government House.  He really likes the concept of “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” and he shared with me that he does have some Scottish ancestry from a forefather named Jamieson.  Commander. King Wan is one of the six rotating honour guards that accompany the Lt. Gov. when he attends events in the Vancouver area.  Cdr. Wan is the first Asian-Canadian high ranking officer at HMCS Discovery in Stanley Park.  We know each other from the many events of Pacific Unit 280 for the Chinese Canadian veterans.

Our friend Daphne Marlatt won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. 

2009_April_BookPrizes 039

I met Steven Hume, author of Simon Fraser: the Search for Modern British Columbia.  We had a great time talking about Simon Fraser history – especially how Fraser was actually born in the United States just outside Vermont, in disputed New Hampshire territory, and how Fraser himself, had never ever set foot in Scotland.  The kilt I am wearing is the modern hunting Fraser tartan, which Steven thought looked amazing similar to a Hume tartan.  I recounted the story of how the origins of “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” go back to my days as a tour guide at Simon Fraser University telling stories of Simon Fraser University in the mid-1990's.  Standing with is is Howard White, publisher of Harbour Publishing.

Simon Fraser: In Search of Modern British Columbia Hume's “Simon Fraser' is the one book that I purchased at the end of the evening, published by Harbour Publishing.

2009_April_BookPrizes 038

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (aka “Haida Manga Guy”) was nominated for the BC Bookseller's Choice Award, for his book Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment.  Sheryl Mackay presented the first award of the event for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, then recorded the rest of the evening for her CBC Radio early morning radio show North By Northwest, and had everything edited for the delight of listeners less than 10 hours later… WOW!  Hopefully she was still perky and beatific!

Here are my pictures on Flickr.

BC Book Prizes 2009

BC Book Prizes 2009






BC Book Prizes Winners Announced





The West Coast Book Prize Society is pleased to announce the
winners of the 25th Annual BC Book
Prizes. They are as follows:


Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize Supported by Friesens and

The Man Game Lee Henderson,
The Man Game
Group Canada )


Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize Supported by
the BC Teachers’ Federation

The Given Daphne Marlatt,
The Given
& Stewart)

Hubert Evans Non-fiction
Supported by Abebooks

Gabor Maté,
In the
Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
Canada )


Roderick Haig-Brown Regional
Supported by Editor s’
Association of Canada ,
BC Branch

Stephen Hume,
Simon Fraser: In Search of Modern
British Columbia

(Harbour Publishing)


Sheila A. Egoff
Children’s Literature Prize
Supported by
the BC Library Association

Polly Horvath,
My One Hundred Adventures


Christie Harris Illustrated
Children’s Literature Prize
Supported by
Kate Walker and Company

Katarina Jovanovic
(author), Philippe Béha
(illustrator), The King has Goat Ears
(Tradewind Books)


BC Booksellers’ Choice
Award In Honour of Bill Duthie

Supported by BC Booksellers' Association and Duthie

Douglas & McIntyre
, Madness, Betrayal and the
Lash: The Epic Voyage of Captain George Vancouver




Terry Glavin
is the recipient of this award,
established in 2003 by the
Honourable Iona Campagnolo, which recognizes
British Columbia writers who have
contributed to the development of
literary excellence in the province.


A total of $19,000 is awarded to winners with each
prize providing $2,000 with the
exception of the Lieutenant
Governor’s prize which awards $5,000.


This year’s gala, emceed by
Alan Twigg and attended by the
Honourable Lieutenant Governor Steven L. Point, took place at
the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel in
Vancouver . The BC Book Prizes were
established in 1985 to celebrate the
achievements of British Columbia
writers and publishers. The prizes are administered and awarded by members of a
non-profit society who represent all facets of the
publishing and writing community. The West Coast Book Prize Society
congratulates all of the winners!


For fur the r details,

Ricepaper launches “The Aesthetic Issue”

Ricepaper launches The Aesthetic Issue, 14.2
readings from poets Ray Hsu, Caroline Wong, Rita Wong and Onjana

From Alex, managing editor: “On behalf of Ricepaper
and the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop I would like to invite you to
attend our upcoming poetry reading, a part of the BC Book and Magazine
Week's Main Street Literary Tour.

We are excited to have poets
Ray Hsu, Caroline Wong, Rita Wong and Onjana Yawnghe reading at the
Regional Assembly of Text from 7:45 to 8:20pm as part of this tour. We
will be selling copies of the new spring issue at the event and I hope
you'll meet us afterwards for the party at Cafe Montmartre. More
information can be found at the following link:

on April 18, we will also have a table at the Magazine Fair from
12:00pm to 4:30pm if you'd like to stop by! For more information please

Further info:

Thursday, April 23 · 6 PM – 9 PM · FREE
Main Street, Various venues, Vancouver

Ricepaper magazine, The Aesthetic Issue, 14.2
Tour B
7:45 – 8:20
The Regional Assembly of Text
3934 Main Street

Main Street Literary Tour After Party
8:30 onwards
Café Montmartre
4362 Main Street

I don't have a copy of the cover yet, but will supply it as soon as I can. Have fun, everyone! Hope to see you there.

Al Purdy Party at Joy Kogawa House with Shelagh Rogers, John Asfour & 3 nominated poets for BC Book Prizes: Daphne Marlatt, George Stanley and Nilofar Shidmehr

AL PURDY PARTY at Joy Kogawa House

2009_April_Kogawa 059 by you.

Rogers (host of “The Next
Chapter” on CBC Radio), Jean Baird (organizer of “Save Al Purdy
A-Frame”), George Bowering (Jean's husband and first poet laureate of
Canada), John Asfour (inaugural writer-in-residence at Kogawa House),
George Stanley (BC Book Prize nominatee for poetry) + “Joy Kogawa” –
photo Todd Wong

7:30 p.m., Monday, April 20
Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450
West 64th Avenue, Vancouver

John Asfour is indeed the perfect choice for our inaugural WIR.  On Monday
night, I shared with the group that the connections we have between Roy
and Art Miki, George Bowering, Purdy House, are amazing.  How is it
that John could have been friends with Art Miki on panel forums, and
that Roy was a consultant for Kogawa House… and great friends and an
editor with/for George Bowering, and we bring it all together with
Daphne Marlatt, who has read for Kogawa House events before, and
Shelagh Rogers (2005 former co-host for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner)
for an evening of poetry and friendship, and to help save another
literary landmark.

2009_April_Kogawa 055 Nilofar, Daphne, George and John – photo Todd Wong

The evening started with three BC Book Prize-nominated
poets—George Stanley, Nilofar Shidmehr
and Daphne Marlatt as part of BC
Book and Magazine Week.  Daphne read first, then George, followed by Nilofar.

2009_April_Kogawa 048 Jean Baird talks with Shelagh Rogers. – photo Todd Wong

After a brief intermission that allowed people to purchase books and have them signed by the guest poets, the talk turned to Save the Al Purdy A-Frame.  Shelagh Rogers shared her story of doing the last public interview with Al Purdy at the Eden Mills Writers Festival.  Jean Baird is heading up the Save the Purdy A-Frame campaign, and she and her husband George Bowering shared their many stories about Al Purdy and his wife Eurithe.

Asfour, a Montreal poet, is the first
writer-in-residence at Kogawa House and
will present poetry readings to a
variety of audiences, in collaboration
with the Canadian National Institute for
the Blind, Simon Fraser University’s
Writers Studio, Christianne’s Lyceum of
Literature and Art and the Vancouver
Public Library.

See more pictures on Flickr:

Kogawa House Purdy Party

Kogawa House Purdy Party

Terry Glavin wins Lt. Governor's Award for Literary Excellence





Terry Glavin named recipient of
the sixth annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award
for Literary Excellence


Okay…. it was author Terry Glavin who partly inspired me to create a “writer's speaking series” on the 2007 strike line of CUPE 391 Vancouver Library Workers.   Terry called me up for some reason or another, maybe to admit he was a big fan of my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, and somehow I asked him to give a reading on our strike line.  And that's how it started!  After Terry came many other authors such as Stan Persky, Hiromi Goto, Daniel Gawthrop, Rita Wong, Tom Sandborn, Chuck Davis….  but it started with Terry!

IMG_1743 by you.

Author, jounalist Terry Glavin speaks to the CUPE 391 Vancouver library workers – giving support – photo Todd Wong

We since became friends and look for reasons to go for a pint of Guinness at the Irish Times Pub in Victoria, or host a Gung Haggis house party at his place… but the only thing we manage to do is leave comments and links to each other blogs. 

Terry has written amazing books, and is very big on diversity – both cultural and environmental and bio-diversity.  Moreover, I think we recognize in each other a deep respect for First Nations culture and history, the ability to laugh and poke fun at mainstream institutions, and the necessity of shaking up the world a little now and then.

But on this Saturday, I will be able to have a drink and toast to my rabble rousing “outspoken voice” as he is feted by the BC literati.  In the mean time he says heVows To Resist The Urge To Cash The Cheque And Head Straight For The Track”


At last year's BC Book Prizes, I got to hang out a bit with Gary Geddes, the 2008 winner of the Lt. Gov's Award for Literary Excellence. 
Rita Wong and Gary Geddes big winners at BC Book Prizes Gala

Terry and Gary are friends, so Terry won't mind if I put Gary's picture in here…

Check out the official BC Book Prize website

and what they have to say about Terry:

Vancouver, BC
– The West Coast Book Prize Society is proud to recognize Terry Glavin as the
recipient of the sixth annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary

’s Lieutenant Governor,
the Honourable Steven Point, will present
the award at the
Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prize Gala to be held at
the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel in
Vancouver on April 25, 2009.

The event will be hosted
by BC BookWorld publisher and
author Alan Twigg .

“Terry Glavin,
author and journalist, has been an outspoken voice in
British Columbia as a conservationist and
nature writer. He is known for his passionate commitment to
British Columbia ’s First Nations and
for his deep understanding of how First Nation culture and way of life are
bound up with the province’s
natural history and our future as a just and sustainable society.

In addition to his books,
Glavin’s many articles on social and political issues are evidence of his
strong journalistic ability to marshal facts and his unwillingness to go with
the accepted wisdom of either
the right or the
left. In his role as an iconoclast, he is a critical voice in
the dialogue that sustains a civil society.

As editor, Glavin has also
brought us the innovative and
courageous Transmontanus series, published by New Star Books. Established in
1992 with the aim of exploring
the relationships between landscape and imagination,
this innovative series of 16 titles has given voice to authors and
the mes that might o the rwise
have been lost to us.

Glavin offers an
extraordinarily holistic vision that does not focus on single issues, but
instead in everything he writes shows us a world where culture and nature,
human aspiration, natural beauty, language, history and social justice are
inextricably intertwined.

Terry Glavin has won many
awards for his work as a journalist, as a science and technology writer, for
his editorial innovation and for his powerful essays. We are privileged to
honour him with the Lieutenant
Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2009, for his contribution to
life and letters in British Columbia
and for his willingness to show us how to see our world more deeply, more fully
and more truthfully.”

– Jury member Ellen Godfrey

The jury for this year’s Lieutenant
Governor’s Award: Ellen Godfrey, author and former literary publisher;
David Hill, Manager of Munro’s Books, Victoria; and Sheryl Mac
Kay , host of CBC’s North by Northwest.

This prize was
established in 2003 by former Lieutenant Governor, the
Honourable Iona Campagnolo, to recognize British
Columbia writers who have contributed to
the development of literary excellence in
the province. The recipient receives a cash award of
$5,000 and a commemorative certificate.


All BC
Book Prizes info at


Al Purdy Party at Joy Kogawa House features 3 poets nominated for BC Book Prize


This is going to be an exciting event, created for BC Book and Magazine Week.

4 poets in an intimate setting with special host Shelagh Rogers.  Innaugural Kogawa House writerinresidence John Asfour has invited  3 nominated poets for the BC Book Prizes Dorothy Livesay Poetry Award: George Stanley, Nilofar Shimehr and Daphne Marlatt.

Shelagh Rogers did the last public  interview Purdy at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival. Shelagh says “He was awesome,” and will share her Al Purdy memories with the audience.

This will be also be a fundraiser for Save the Al Purdy A Frame… in the Joy
Kogawa childhood home, a house that was saved from demolition to be
turned into a writer in residence program and a historical/literary
landmark for all of Canada

April 21 is National Al Purdy Day.


Shelagh Rogers, host of “The Next Chapter” on CBC Radio, to emcee

with John Asfour – inaugural writer in residence at Joy Kogawa House, George Stanley, Nilofar Shidmehr and Daphne Marlatt

George Stanley (Vancouver: A Poem), Nilofar Shidmehr (Shirin and Salt Man) and Daphne Marlatt

When: 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 20

Where: Historic Joy Kogawa House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver

Admission by donation. Space is limited. To secure a seat, please RSVP  

BC Book Prize-nominated poets—George Stanley, Nilofar Shidmehr and
Daphne Marlatt—have accepted an invitation from writer-in-residence
John Asfour to read at Historic Joy Kogawa House on Monday, April 20,
as part of BC Book and Magazine Week.

a Montreal poet, is the first writer-in-residence at Kogawa House and
will present poetry readings to a variety of audiences, in
collaboration with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Simon
Fraser University’s Writers Studio, Christianne’s Lyceum of Literature
and Art and the Vancouver Public Library.

is the author of four books of poetry in English and two in Arabic. He
translated the poetry of Muhammad al-Maghut into English under the
title Joy Is Not My Profession (Véhicule Press), and he selected, edited and introduced the landmark anthology When the Words Burn: An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry, 1945–1987 (Cormorant Books).

Radio host Shelagh Rogers will emcee the event, which is a
co-presentation of Historic Joy Kogawa House and the West Coast Book
Prize Society. George Stanley (Vancouver: A Poem), Nilofar Shidmehr (Shirin and Salt Man) and Daphne Marlatt (The Given) are finalists for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.

event takes place the evening before National Al Purdy Day, and the
League of Canadian Poets has invited all Canadian poets and lovers of
Canadian poetry to host a Purdy party to raise funds for the Al Purdy
A-Frame Project—Purdy’s former home on Roblin Lake, Ontario—and to
create a poet-in-residence program there that is similar to the
writer-in-residence program now under way in the childhood home of the
author Joy Kogawa.

poetry reading will be held at 7:30 pm at Historic Joy Kogawa House,
located at 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver. Entrance by donation.
Space is limited. To secure a seat, please RSVP

Judy Rebick comes to Joy Kogawa House

Meet Judy Rebick

Special guest at Historic Joy Kogawa House
with writer-in-residence John Asfour


When: 5 p.m., Friday, April 17
Where: 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver

Admission by donation. Space is limited.

To reserve a seat, please RSVP

John Asfour welcomes Judy Rebick to Historic Joy Kogawa House on
Friday, April 17. Rebick is a veteran activist, former host of CBC
Newsworld, chair of Social Justice and Democracy at Ryerson University
and former publisher of Come join us on Friday, April 17, as Judy Rebick speaks about her new book Transforming Power.

reader commented that Transforming Power “[is] a powerful, inspiring
treatise on a paradigm shift in social action that is taking place from
around the world. It offers new pathways to change making that are
critically needed in this time of crisis, and is an exciting window
into stories of hope and possibility around the world.” To attend this
event, please RSVP

A Gung Haggis Gaelic Easter Greeting…

It's been too rainy and cloudy for me to go skiing at Silver Star this weekend.  So I kayaked on Kalamalka Lake and helped walk the doggies up in Kalamalka Lake Park, where the snow still lies.

Yesterday I went to Village Green Mall in Vernon, where people were buying Chocolates and in the food court, an Easter show for families consisted of trying to fit 12 members of the Vernon Girls Trumpet Band into a giant balloon.  (photos to follow).

After a week of Tartan Day/Scottish Week activities… and not having any Chinese food in recent memory… I am beginning to question my Easter heritage.  Even though my great-great-grandfather was a Chinese United Church Minister, I never went to United Church for Easter.  For many years, I was a member of Celebration of Life Centre, and Centre for Spiritual Living – both New Thought Churches.

The only Chinese cultural event that I can think of, is giving Red Eggs at a dinner, one month after a baby is born.  But this isn't necessarily related to Easter, except perhaps as a reminder of sucessful fertility in relation to Spring fertility rituals.

I remember one childhood Easter where we received Easter baskets in Honolulu.  There were always lots of Chocolate bunnies for Easter as a child, but the Honolulu baskets had the little fluffy toy chick decorations… That was cool.  No grass skirts on Easter bunnies back in the 60's though.

The Gung Haggis dragon boat team paddled this morning to Granville Island for Hot Chocolate and Coffee, and found some Easter Eggs.  This is becoming a team tradition.

My Irish-Canadian writer friend Terry Glavin sent me this email message, and a link to his website:

The big Irish event among my
crowd, the event of the year that utterly eclipses St. Patrick's Day, has always
been Easter anyway. Thus:

Gung Hay Beannachtaí na Cásca Fat Choy, comrade.


Tartan Day and Scotland Week celebrated by SFU's Centre for Scottish Studies with Michael Russell, Scottish Parliamentary Minister for Culture!

April 6th is Tartan Day the whole world over.  And now there is Scottish Week.

The Centre for Scottish Studies, at Simon Fraser University, organized a conference on “Robert Burns in Transatlantic Context.”  I was invited by Dr. Leith Davis to perform on the Tuesday evening, and give a presentation on Wednesday afternoon, and attend the closing reception on Thursday evening.

Tartan Week in Vancouver was also the final stop for Scottish Parliamentary Minister of Culture, Michael Russell, who started his week at the Tartan Day parade in New York City, visited Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, then Vancouver again.


Toddish McWong meets Michael Russell, Scottish Parliamentary Minister for Culture, External Affairs and Constitution,
Scottish Development International – photo T. Wong

Last year I was featured in a Vancouver Sun story about Tartan Day.  Vancouver Sun: The next celebration – Toddish McWong helps to spread the word about Tartan Day

Then I helped organize a proclamation by the City of Vancouver:
Tartan Day (April 6) proclaimed in City of Vancouver, April 3

On April 6th, we had an informal ceremony filmed by Global TV News, with the proclamation read by City Councilor Raymond Louie:
A Tartan Day dragon boat paddle practice… with bagpiper and proclamation reading

This year the major events were organized by Dr. Leith Davis, director of the Centre for Scottish Studies, SFU.

The week started out with a Tuesday evening of music and song for the “Musical Celebration of Burns in North America,” featuring Jon Bartlett and Rika Reubsaat, performing “Burns Songs in BC”, and also Kirsteen McCue and pianist David Hamilton performing Burns Songs by Serge Hovey.  This was really interesting because Kirsteen is from Scotland, and she explained that these were the musical arrangements that Burns himself had used, but were only discovered a few years ago.

The third set of the evening featured Gung Haggis Fat Choy performers.  After a poem by visiting Scottish professor Dr. Robert Crawford, Dr. Jan Walls explained about Chinese clapper songs.  Jan is former director of International Communication at SFU, and also a former cultural attache for the Canadian embassy in Beijing.  At this year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, Jan performed a song about Robbie Burns to chinese clappers.  Leith was knocked out by Jan's performance.  This evening Jan performed the Burns poem “John Barleycorn.”

Leith's idea was to introduce all the travelling Burns scholars and conference attendees to a little bit of Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  She told them all that it was the “best Burns dinner” she has been to.  And she was amazed at how the Gung Haggis event incorporated and promoted cultural fusion.

MVI_0155 Todd Wong apologizes for being unable to “roll” his “r's” due to Chinese DNA which has no “r-sounds”in the Chinese language.

Leith asked for a performance of “The Haggis Rap” or “Rap To A Haggis”, in which bagpiper Joe McDonald and I rap the immortal Burns poem, “Address to a Haggis.”  I introduced it by saying that Joe and I had performed this on CBC national television, and our MP3 version had also been played on BBC Radio Scotland two years ago.  Meanwhile, Joe had found a haggis in the kitchen.  Gung Haggis dragon boater Debbie Poon followed Joe into the hall carrying the haggis.

MVI_0153 Joe McDonald pipes in the haggis for Scottish Week.

We closed off the evening by leading a singalong of Auld Lang Syne with the first verse and chorus in Mandarin Chinese.  Then dragon boaters Steven Wong and Debbie Poon helped lead some “volunteers” in a Chinese dragon parade, complete with two children carrying the Chinese lion masks.  It was fun, and lots of people thanked us afterwards with positive compliments.

On Wednesday there was a Community Research Forum on “Burns In BC.”

Jon Bartlett and Rika Reubsaat started the forum by talking about the history of Burns dinners in BC.  They were followed by Robert Barr who gave a history of the Vancouver Burns Club.  I followed with a history of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, its origins and its cultural fusion context.

I explained that BC is a young province.  While we are celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Robert Burns' birth, we only just celebrated the 150th anniversary of the colony of BC.  Vancouver is only 123 years old.  I explained that to me, the “Two Solitudes” of BC are the Scottish and Chinese.  Each arrived from an opposite direction, and lived in conflict.  I explained that if the Scots hadn't been in political power, there probably wouldn't have been a Chinese Head Tax or an Exclusion Act to keep the Chinese out of Canada.  To which many people applauded my statement.  I went on to say that many generations later, there are many Scots and Chinese intermarried, and sharing Scots and Chinese DNA, just like in my family.

I shared how I first wore a kilt for the 1993 Burns ceremony at Simon Fraser University, and how the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners grew from 16 people in 1998 to 550 people in 2009.  A CBC television performance special was aired in 2004 and 2005.   And with the SFU Recreation Department, I helped create the SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival in 2005 with dragon cart races, and later with the human curling event.  It was a good talk that also included how I was chosent to play Robert Burns for the Celticfest's inaugural “Battle of the Bards” which I won against actors playing Dylan Thomas and W.B. Yeats.

Making Burns relevant in a global 21st Century, is what Gung Haggis Fat Choy events do.  The growth of copycat dinners in Ottawa, the Yukon, Seattle and Santa Barbara, demonstrate that Gung Haggis is reaching people in a positive way.  While promoting Burns, it also addresses multiculturalism and racism.

Thursday's Scottish Week finale is a reception for Michael Russell, Scottish Member of Parliament.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team: Next practice Sunday 11am + Tuesday practice review

Gung Haggis Fat Choy paddlers are paddling into shape

Next practice is Easter Sunday 11am, followed by Tuesday 5:45pm

or if you need to have lunch time free…
join Gayle Gordon's G-Force Wind at 9:45am/10am to 11:30 on the water.

is video that I filmed on Tuesday evening, April 7th.  Last year we used video for a paddle clinic with former Olympic kayaker and FCRCC dragon boat coach, Kamini Jain.  see Kamini Jain gives paddle clinic to Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

I will analyze the video with
individual paddlers at the next practice.  But for now… please enjoy for
what it is… seeing a dragon boat team practice from a drummer/coach's position at the front of the boat.

this first video – Gayle and Wendy are leading at an easy pace.  Then
you can hear me call a power series.  The camera focuses on Wendy
first, then Gayle, then afterwards we can see more of Keng and Hillary
in the 2nd seat.

how much both Wendy and Gayle rotate and reach forward.  This is
Wendy's 4th year with Gung Haggis, after joining as a rookie in 2006. 
By 2007, Wendy had advanced to become a lead stroke.  Gayle has paddled
about 20 years on many competitive and high recreational teams.  You
can watch and see the difference of power that Gayle generates with her
body.  Special note is to watch Gayle really extend her outside
shoulder on her reach.  It almost “pops” forward for those extrat 4

2009_April 071 by Toddish McWong

this second video, you can see an actual start.  Six slow powerful strokes, followed by 12 quicker strokes, then settling into race pace. Watch how vertical the
paddles are at the start and Wendy and Gayle keep the paddles vertical
as they paddle.  Vertical paddles are important to get a stronger
stroke and avoid “slippage” from angled paddles.  As the boat
accelerates, you can really see the effort that Gayle and Wendy, and
Hillary (behind Gayle) make as they pull together with each reach.

This is Hillary's 3rd
season with us, and Keng's 5th season after joining us after Alcan Festival in 2005.

the 3rd row, Christine is on the left and Ashleigh on the right. 
Christine has paddled only about 6 times ever on a dragon boat so
far… Ashleigh has paddled since 2005, but missed Alcan races in 06
and 07 due to living abroad.  Mid strokes in the middle of the boat are
Stephen Mirowski (left) and Gerard Graal (right).  Stephen joined us in
2006, after moving from Thunder Bay where he had paddled 1 or 2
seasons.  Gerard joined us in 2005 along with his wife Keng.  You can
really see the rotation that Stephen has, and how he emphasizes a
vertical paddle, while keeping his top arm lower so he can see over his

2009_April 072 by Toddish McWong

see you next Tuesday…