Monthly Archives: January 2010

Menu revealed for 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner to welcome Year of the Tiger

What is on the dinner menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner?

RL101 by you.
For 2009, I introduced deep-fried haggis wonton to Visit Scotland CEO Phillip Ridell. In return Phillip gave me one of only 250 bottles of 37 year old special edition Famous Grouse whisky that was auctioned off for charity.  A fair trade dontcha' think?  2009 was Homecoming Year Scotland which started with Robbie Burns' 250th Anniversary Birthday, and ended with St. Andrew's Day (November 30).  I was fortunate to be in Edinburgh for the Finale weekends, as my picture was featured in the This Is Who We Are: Scots in Canada exhibit at Scottish Parliament.

There are some changes for the dinner menu for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.  We try to vary the dinner items from year to year, add some new surprises, take out items we are bored with.  This is a draft menu – subject to change.
See if you can spot the new additions – not repeated from last year.

1. Floata Appetizer Platter
a. Haggis Pork dumpling (Shiu Mai)
b. turnip cake (Lo-bak-goh)
c. Honey BBQ Pork
d. Jelly Fish

2. Deep fried haggis won ton
3. Vegetarian Winter Melon Soup
4. Diced Vegetable with Lettuce Wrap served with traditional Haggis
5. Pan Fried Prawns with Spicy Salt (shell on)
6. Budda Feast with Deep Fried Tofu
7. Gold Coin Beef – Beijing capital style
8. Deep Fried Crispy Chicken
9. Diced Vegetable Fried Rice
10. Dessert: Mango or Coconut Pudding

10-course traditional Chinese Dinner featuring:

Cold platter (Fusion of Chinese and Scottish Appetizers – Won Ton;
Haggis Siu Mai; and Jelly fish – Vegetarian spring rolls or BBQ pork).

Dim Sum means “pieces of the heart” or “pieces that touch the heart.”  Absolutely delicious morsels of delicacy and succulence… and we stuff them with haggis!  It's either very good or very “offal.”  But people are always so hungry they eat it up without realizing they are having haggis.  This year, after experimenting with haggis shrimp dumpling (har-gow) we are limiting the haggis stuffing to the pork dumplings
Neeps and tatties” are a tradition serving at Burns dinners, so we are adding pan-fried turnip cakes – a staple at dim sum lunches… just like my great-grandma used to make.
Honey BBQ Pork – what more can you say? 
Now “jelly fish” –  a strange Chinese delicacy… rubbery… weird… textury… the perfect
compliment to haggis.  Photographers can try stuffing their haggis with
jelly fish, for a memorable portrait.

This year, the appetizer
platter will be served promptly at 6pm.  So we encourage every body to
arrive between 5 and 5:45pm, so they can order their drinks from the
bar, and browse the silent auction items.

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2) Deep-fried Haggis Won Ton (Shanghai style)
We are combining haggis and shrimp in this dish.  When I created the
first deep-fried haggis won-ton in 2003, it was a gift to welcome CBC
radio host Shelagh Rogers and her Sounds Like Canada crew to Vancouver.
The gift was all about food and family connections, which included:
Pan-fried Turnip cake (Lo-Bak-Goh) that my great-grandmother used to
make for me, Apple tarts like those my father would bring home from
Chinatown, and for our future generations we created the now legendary
deep-fried haggis wonton.

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3)   Vegetarian Hot & Sour soup or maybe Winter Melon soup.
We have served Hot & Sour soup every year at the Floata, so we thought we would try something different. 
At the very first legendary
private Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner for 16 friends, I cooked up a
Winter Melon soup with lemon grass.  It was wonderful! 
It's a good
hearty soup full of vegetables that I think Rabbie would enjoy.  Very
appropriate for Chinese New Year.
Fin soup is a traditional soup for wedding banquets, and was one of my favorite soups as a
youth, but due to its environmental impact of
Shark fishing – it is not an option. I now support the movement to ban
Shark Fin soup!  

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4)   Haggis ( piped in with Scottish bagpipes) served with Chinese Lettuce wrap with diced vegetables
are moving up the Haggis offering this year.  In past years, it was
menu item #6 or #7.  The piping in of the haggis is always an important
ceremony at any Burns Dinner.  But too much bagpiping can turn a lot
of heads in a Chinese restaurant.  It is also very important to read
the Burns poem
“Address to a Haggis”
prior to the serving of haggis.  So please…. do NOT cut into your
haggis, until after we have finished reading the poem.  Oh – by the
way… We don't usually do the usual traditional reading of the poem.

many ways can you serve haggis?  Take a spoonful of haggis, spread some
Chinese plum sauce on it, add some crunchy noodles and diced vegetables
with water chestnuts, and wrap it up in a delicate piece of lettuce.
Magnificient!  Imagine if Marco Polo should have brought back lettuce
wrap to Italy instead of noodles?  Or if you are vegetarian – leave out
the haggis.

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5)  Pan-fried spicy salted prawns (Jew-Yim-Hah). 
This is
one of my favorite dishes and is served shell on.  Past dinners have
found that while people liked the ginger crab, cracking the shell is
kind of challenging and messy.  With the spicy salted prawns, you can
just chew through the shell for more taste and roughage.  That's what I

2010_January_RobbieBurnsDay 061

6)   Buddha feast
is an important traditional New Year dish – with long rice vermicelli
noodles and lots of
vegetables and lotus root.  All the good things that every vegetarian
loves.   Long noodles are important metaphor in Chinese cooking… The
longer the noodles, the longer the life you hope or expect to have.  The Chinese calendar is based on the 12 animals that came when
Buddha called.  The first animal to see Buddha was the Rat, I was born in the
Year of the Rat.
  The Tiger came third after the Ox.

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7)   Gold Coin Beef (Beijing Capital style)
an Olympic Year…. in Vancouver!  So Gold Coin Beef is perfect word symetry.  And the last Olympics were in Beijing, the capital of China. I've visited Beijing – it's a big city.  I was on a bicycle.  After pedaling to Beijing University, I felt I deserved a medal.  I also ran the Terry Fox Run in Beijing… 10km!  Terry Fox was definitely worthy of a Gold Medal

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8)   Crispy skinned chicken with shrimp chips
Another dish that was a childhood favorite.  Healthier than KFC.  And the shrimp chips were always my favorites as a child. 

9)   Vegetarian Young Chow Fried Rice or E-Fu noodles
is the dish you eat to fill yourself up, if you are still hungry.  We
had E-Fu long life noodles in 2008, but a lot of the Scottish people
thought that these traditional delicate noodles were too plain.  There
wasn't a strong sauce on them, and they weren't like chow mein
noodles… because they were E-Fu noodles!  Maybe it's an acquired
taste (like haggis).  For 2008, we went back to Young Chow Fried Rice. 
It's still a very special and tasty dish, that everybody likes!

2010_January_RobbieBurnsDay 075

10)  Mango or Coconut pudding
has been our most popular dessert of the years.  Chinese pastries are
okay… but mango pudding is better, but we might try coconut pudding this year… more subtle.. It's always a tradition to have
something sweet after the meal.  We thought about having Scottish blood
pudding… but there is a reason why we have the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner in a Chinese restaurant instead of a Scottish restaurant.  I
like Chinese food better, and that includes the puddings!  Julie wants
tapioca pudding.  I tried the black sesame pudding but it was very strong – Definitely mango or coconut pudding  is better.

77 pounds of haggis are ready for the 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner

77 pounds of haggis for dim sum and traditional one pounders, to be served with Chinese Lettuce Wrap

2009_Scotland_1 024 by you.
Haggis display at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow, Scotland.  The furry figure top left is described as a “wild haggis”.  The bottom right figure wrapped in plastic is described as a “domestic haggis”.  – photo T. Wong

There are 77 pounds of haggis that I have just picked up from Peter Black & Sons at Park Royal South in West Vancouver.  I will deliver them to Floata Restaurant tonight, enroute to my appearance to “Address the Haggis” at the Burns Supper for the Vancouver & District Labour Council.

Many people outside of Scotland revile the poor wee haggis.  It is the butt of many jokes.  While in Scotland, I visited the Kelvingrove Museum and even found a display of a “wild haggis.”  (see the picture above).  There was an accompanying sign that read: 

Some believe the haggis is a small creature with shorter legs on one side of its body, so it can run around the hills more easily. To most people, haggis is a delicious Scottish food, best served with “neeps and tatties” turnips and potatoes.

Haggis model
Haggis scotticus
created in Glasgow Museum's workshop 2005
created in a Scottish kitchen 2005

A “ceremonial haggis” should be “as lang's my arm” in length.  It is also called a “piper's haggis”, because it is piped in at dinners on a large serving plate for everyone to see.

Dim Sum can be translated as “pieces of the heart”
or “touch the heart” or “pieces of heaven.”  These are small portions
of food that are succulent and delicious.  But what happens when you
add haggis to this little heavenly morsels?  Will haggis, one of the
world's most celebrated and reviled foods ascend to the celestial

But you cannot give a proper “Address to A Haggis” if it's already cut up into little wee piece.

Scots still like to see a traditional haggis at a Burns Dinner.  We
serve a one pounder of haggis to each table.  It might be not enough
for 10 Scots guests – but it is more than enough for 10 non-Scottish
diners.  To solve the problem we encourage people to share.

also serve a 7 pound banquet haggis that is “as lang's my arm” to our
head table.  This ensures that it is pretty in pictures… as well as
extra leftovers for any of our guests.

GHFC2008 VF2_1709.JPG
Bagpiper Joe McDonald does the honours at the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner – photo VFK.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

– 3rd verse from Robert Burns poem “Address to A Haggis”

Watch Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson cut up the haggis at the 2009 Dinner

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2009
8 min – 29 Jan 2009

imagine layering a little bit of haggis with Chinese plum sauce, adding
crispy noodles, finely diced vegetables and Chinese water chestnuts,
and serving on a delicate leaf of lettuce.  This is our Gung Haggis
lettuce wrap, a cultural and culinalry fusion twist. But people say
they have never seen people eat so much haggis, or eat haggis so

And what does our traditional haggis maker think of all this?

Peter Black describes himself as a haggis rancher.

2006, we were paid a high compliment when haggis rancher Peter Black
attended the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner with his family!  Peter loved
what we had done with his haggis.

Peter Black & Sons, at
Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver, is BC's largest producer of haggis. 
Peter's haggis is a family secret with extra spices.  It is different
from a traditional lard recipe – which I have occasionally gagged on. 
I describe a Peter Black haggis to be like a nice liver pate, suitable
for serving with crackers at your next Super Bowl party.

Be sure
to visit Peter Black & Sons at Park Royal South – because there is
an annual display of “live wild haggis.”  Often the haggis is sleeping,
and you have to be very careful not to disturb it – but if you're
quiet, you can sneak up on it.

Peter Black & Sons with family at
the 2006 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, linking hands to sing Auld Lang
Syne to bring a finale to the dinner event – photo Ray Shum

Here are some of the menus from our past dinners:

2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy menu revealed… to welcome the Year of the Ox

2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy menu announced: now with Mongolian Beef to celebrate Year of the Rat

2007 Menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy™:Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

2006 Menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy™: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner – Celebrating the Year of the Dog

2005 Menu for Gung Haggis Fat Choy� at Floata Restaurant

Georgia Straight article about Gung Haggis Fat Choy as ultimate fusion feast!”

Wong (left) gave Mayor Gregor Robertson a stab at the haggis at last
year’s Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, an annual celebration of both
Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Year. photo Patrick Tam

Georgia Straight article about Gung Haggis Fat Choy as ultimate fusion feast! Interview by Carolyn Ali with “Toddish McWong”

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the ultimate fusion feast

Chinese New Year is fast approaching, and in Vancouver, that means it's time to roll out the haggis.

“People really like haggis dim sum,” says Todd Wong, otherwise known as
Toddish McWong. He’s organizing the 12th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dinner, which takes place next Sunday (January 31) at Floata Seafood
Restaurant. In the past, he says, the dim sum appetizers “have been so
popular that many people didn’t realize they were eating haggis”. So
they’ll be on the menu again this year, when over 500 people dig into a
10-course Chinese banquet that features the Scottish delicacy in
unorthodox forms.

In previous years, chefs have combined haggis with crunchy water
chestnuts as a filling for deep-fried won tons; mixed it with pork for
siu mai dumplings; and even added it to shrimp for delicate
rice-dough-wrapped har gow. The highlight, however, is always the whole
one-pound haggis, which is brought to each table with great ceremony.
It’s then devoured as part of a lettuce wrap along with diced,
stir-fried vegetables and a smear of hoisin sauce. (West Vancouver’s
Peter Black & Sons Butchers supplies the haggis.)

So what exactly is haggis, and who is Todd Wong?

read more

Special new dishes for 2010 menu at Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner – not just haggis & spam

What is being served at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner to welcome the Year of the Tiger and Rabbie Burns' 151st Birthday?

The haggis is ordered from Peter Black & Sons @ Park Royal.  Next up is the secret taste-testing dinner which is essential to the
planning of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.  We we want to make
sure the food selection is right.  And it is also a wonderful way to introduce
the performers to each other, as we combine our talents and creativity to try out new ideas.  I remember many rehearsal taste-test dinners when the performers brought out their musical instruments and started playing.

Deep-fried haggis dumplings + Spring rolls – from our 2005 menu – photo Todd Wong

year we re-adjust the menu for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.  We try
to find new ways to eat haggis, and new dishes to introduce to people
not familiar with Chinese food. 

2010, I am adding two of my favorite dishes that haven't been featured before.  People have enjoyed having
deep-fried haggis won ton for the past few years, done both Cantonese and Shanhai styles.  We have served up haggis-stuffed pork dumplings (su-mei) and shrimp dumplings (shrimp dumplings).  When I created the first deep-fried haggis won-ton in 2003, it was a gift to welcome CBC radio host Shelagh Rogers and her Sounds Like Canada crew to Vancouver. The gift was all about food and family connections, which included: Pan-fried Turnip cake (Lo-Bak-Goh) that my great-grandmother used to make for me, Apple tarts like those my father would bring home from Chinatown, and for our future generations we created the now legendary deep-fried haggis wonton. “Neeps and Tatties” always accompany traditional Burns dinners – so this year the “neeps” will be found in pan fried turnip cakes, which are usually found at dim sum luncheons.

other new dish will be Pan-fried spicy salted prawns (Jew-Yim-Hah).  It is one of my favorite dishes and is served shell on.  Past dinners have found that while people liked the ginger crab, cracking the shell is kind of challenging and messy.  With the spicy salted prawns, you can just chew through the shell for more taste and roughage.  That's what I do!

More menu items will be discussed in the coming days…  in the mean time, check out our past menus.

2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy menu revealed… to welcome the Year of the Ox

Cultural Connection interview: What is the connection between Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Supper?

Gary Jarvis interviews Toddish McWong for “Culture Connection”

Gary Jarvis is an Englishman in Canada.  And he is involved in Vancouver cultural and music scene.  He hosts a program on Co-op Radio Last Call on Vancouver Coop Radio every Wednesday midnight to 2amish. He does interviews for The Rational too.  And he's involved with Evolution 1079 online music radio station.

year Gary attended the Burns Supper hosted by Vancouver District Labour
Council, and was amazed by my reading of Burns' “Address to a Haggis” –
and my Chinese/kilt fashion combo. He asked me why???

Listen to Gary's interview of Todd Wong, creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, as he explains the Scottish and Chinese and BC roots of his brain child – a cultural fusion Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

See More
Todd Wong explains Gung Haggis Fat Choy by Gary Jarvis on MySpace
Blogs! New blogTopics added every minute. Todd Wong AKA Toddish McWong
explains the c

Kilts are every day garb: Vancouver Style 101 article features Raphael Fang

Vancouver Style 101 article features kilt enthusiast Raphael Fang

Raphael has many kilts… traditional wool, a black leather kilt, utili-kilts with pockets, event a denim kilt. I first met him at a Kilts Night event many years ago.  A few years later he paddled on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  Raphael was there when we did a Vancouver Sun photo about Tartan Day.  Here's a story about kilts by Lorelei Burk that interviews Raphael and his love for kilts.

Real men wear kilts 

January 11, 2:51 PMVancouver Style 101 ExaminerLorelei Burk

Casual kilts are growing in popularity. Model and Kilt Enthusiast: Raphael Fang
Casual kilts are growing in popularity. Model and Kilt Enthusiast: Raphael Fang
Photo By Philip Tong

Kilts are not just traditional garb to wear at weddings and parades
anymore. They have been coming back in style for years. Many men prefer
to be kilted rather than wear cumbersome pants. Kilts can be elegant at
a formal event or just as easily worn to a concert, club or movie. They
are no longer only made out of wool but are now seen in a variety of
fabrics from denim, canvas and even leather. More and more places are
exclusively making kilts for every day wear like Utilikilts, R-Kilts
and Bear Kilts of Vancouver proving that kilts are not just for Celtic

Kilts have been around since the 16th century. It originally was
long in length like a tunic and used to keep warm by wrapping it around
you which was known as the great kilt. It’s upper half could be brought
up over the head like a cloak or worn over the shoulder. By the 1700s
they adapted to shorter versions and became less functional and more
traditional as a symbol of national identity. The different parts of a
traditional outfit are; the kilt which is a pleated wool skirt or
tartan which is worn knee-length for men, the Sporran is the pouch worn
in the front of the skirt from the waist which is the pocket that the
wearer can use to carry his things, the Dirk is the small dagger that
is worn in the top of the kilt hose and the hose are the knee-high
socks that are worn with kilts. Although there are people that wear all
the traditional pieces of the kilt, the kilt has become fashionable
with t-shirts and boots and not all the components. What a man wears
under the kilt varies from man to man and also the climate where he is
wearing it. Most men I have interviewed wear nothing under their kilts
except their socks and shoes.

A man should never be afraid to wear a kilt. Every woman that I
have ever interviewed on the subject has told me that she finds a man
much more alluring, interesting and sexy in a kilt then in a pair of
pants. Plus the man in the kilt has already given the woman many ways
to strike up a conversation with him by wearing a topic of great
relevance. Vancouver based Kilt enthusiast, Raphael Fang who has been
wearing kilts since 1996, explains his point of view:

‘Pants are for Pansies!!! I would like to get men to realize
that there is another option. Kilts are not women skirts and it is not
the gateway to cross dressing as some people would think. I also like
to break the stereotype that most people have with kilts. Kilts are not
exclusively for the Scots and any one can wear them. Kilts are just
more fun than pants. We have been wearing pants for too long and it is
time to wear something that is designed better to fit the male anatomy.
This is the perfect time for men to do something different as the
fashion is changing and men can pay attention to things that had been
off limit to us.’

There are many social networks just for the kilted. The first
Thursday of each month Doolin’s Pub in downtown Vancouver usually hosts
a Kilt night where kilt enthusiasts can meet and talk about their love
of the fashion. If you arrive wearing a kilt, you will receive a free
pint of Guinness. You will also meet wonderful people like Raphael, who
is on a mission to kilt the world one kilt at a time, who can introduce
you to new people, other kilted events or just talk about his current
collection of 11 kilts and how he likes to wear them.

‘It is a night for the kilt wearers to meet for drinks and
share stories. It is easy to buy a kilt off a vendor, but for some
people it can be challenging to wear one out in the public for the
first time. Unfortunately, some people need a reason to put on their
kilts and kilts night would be that special night. It will give them
the courage that they need to make the first steps. It is a night to
encourage people to come out with their kilts. People who attend feel
that we are a band of brothers. We make new friends and try to see
whether new people are interested in joining us to be kilt wearers in
the future.’

Men used to be the peacocks of fashion and for the first time in
the past century the tables turned. Now it is time for the men to start
taking back their original nobility and begin dressing more spiritedly.
It’s time to take off your pants and show us your attractive
confidence, your great legs and your charming kilts.

Join the Kilt’s night facebook group.

Toddish McWong interview on youtube “Bringing Scotland back to the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner”

Gung Haggis Fat Choy referenced for UNBC next lecture about food and interculturalism

What does it mean if you mix up haggis with Chinese food? 
Anthropologist Dr. Marilyn Iwana presents a lecture: 
Borscht and Sushi: Do These Genes Make Me Look White?

Back in November, I was sent a facebook message from Dr. Marilyn Iwana, asking if she could use the image of me dressed in formal kilt with a Chinese lion mask.  She wrote:

Hi Todd, I'm an academic/poet (of sorts) up here in Prince George,
about to give a “scholars/community cafe” kind of talk on
food/identity/fusion. Would it be possible to use, duly cited, the Gung
Haggis Fat Choy photograph (the kilted lion dancer/piper from your
blog? Thanks very much. Marilyn Iwama

I was intrigued by what kind of talk she would be doing, and how she was involved in cultural fusion.  She wrote back:

It's been exciting and fun to hear about your blurring adventures-at
least the news that makes it online and on radio. Imagine your photo
travelling like that.

Our cafe night is in January, just wrote
the blurb for it and have started turning my mind there. I'm
Cree/Saulteaux/Metis/Mennonite (those HBC Orkney men); my husband's
Okinawan/Japanese and our kids are what they are. We've lived in some
places that have been great for our kind of family (Okinawa and Hawaii
esp.) and food's a huge part of the mix.

Marilyn sounded like my kind of Canadian – very open to recognition and acceptance of  multi-racial heritage, and celebrating it.  I suggested that she could create the first ever Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Prince George… even as a private house party.  I have had reports from people who have had private mini-Gung Haggis dinners in the Yukon, Whistler, Ottawa…

Check out the article in the Prince George Citizen:

What's Food Got To Do With It

Written by Bernice Trick

Citizen staff
Thursday, 07 January 2010

The next lecture in UNBC’s “Anthropology in our Backyards” series is a
presentation on the cultural significance of food to explore the
relationship between food and identity.
Borscht and Sushi: Do These Genes Make Me Look White? will be presented
by Dr. Marilyn Iwama to look at the ways in which deciding what goes on
the dinner table is being used to define Canadians. She will also be
looking at food as a cultural flash point and stabilizer.
The public is welcome to attend the talk at ArtSpace (above Books and Co.) at 7 p.m. January 12.
the Canada of 2010, grocery chains stock kim chee and naan next to the
perogies and chorizo. “We also attend boundary-blurring festivals, such
as Gung Haggis Fat Choy Day,” says Iwama, who has a PhD in
Interdisciplinary Studies.
“Claiming and recognizing ‘our’ food is
becoming harder and harder. What havoc have immigration, intermarriage
and intercultural adoption wreaked in the kitchen – and does it matter?”
an increasingly diverse society with families piecing together various
culinary and cultural traditions, deciding what will be served has
become increasingly daunting,” said Iwama.
“I suggest that Canadians are not only dining out on our changing society, but also counting on food to define it.”
talk is being sponsored by the UNBC Anthropology program in partnership
with Books and Co. with the aim of bringing together researchers and
the general public in exploring issues relevant to northern British
Iwama was born in Nipawin, Sask. of Cree, Saulteaux, Mtis
and Mennonite descent. She has focused her academic interests on the
transformation of culture and the interweaving of indigenous and
Western knowledge. Marilyn and husband, George, who is of Okinawan and
Japanese descent, have three sons.

See full article at

Kilts Night report for January 7 2010

KILTS NIGHT for a New Year

2010_Psyche 018Allan McMordie, Todd Wong and Debbie Poon, give a toast on kilts night.

Every 1st Thursday, we assemble at Doolin's Irish Pub for Kilts Night.  We wear our kilts, and are treated to a free pint of Guinness beer.  We have been meeting at Doolin's since January 1st 2005

Kilts Night for us, is a nice social evening for friends, supplemented by great celtic and Canadiana music by the Halifax Wharf Rats – who also throw in their own blend of celtic tinged classic folk and rock music.

My friends Allan and Debbie have been coming to Kilts Night over the past years.  But this night was special for each of us.  I had recently lost my kitty cat to a stroke a few days before.  Debbie had lost her pet ferret on December Solstice Day.  The McMordie's lost their pet cat Lilly back on BC Day weekend.  We gave a toast to them as our good and well-loved animal companions. 

The first time Allan showed up was for the March 2008 Kilts Night – and we just happened to have a Vancouver Sun photographer show up for the article: Vancouver Sun: The next celebration – Toddish McWong helps to spread the word about Tartan Day

2010_Psyche 019

Michelle, flute and keyboard player of the Halfax Wharf Rats, always delights the crowd at Doolin's by walking into the audience while she plays her flute solos.  Smiles abound from kilt wearers Clive, Bruce and Don.  I am setting up a special table for Kilts Night regulars for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.  Bruce came last year and bought tickets from me that night.

Todd Wong goes electric guitar

Dylan went electric…. Norah Jones has gone electric guitar now… 

Todd Wong shucks his accordion for a red electric guitar

2010_January_Vernon_NewYearsDay 051

It was a friendly music night at the home of Vernon friends, Jeff and Carol.  Just before New Year's Eve on Dec 30, we had gone up for a music night of classic folk and rock tunes.  I had taken my accordion.  It was lots of fun, similar to the musical ceilidh of Christmas and celtic songs at the McMordie household before Christmas back in North Vancouver.

With my accordion we had played some Elvis tunes, blues tunes, folk tunes even classics like Four Strong Winds, Hotel California and Del Shannon's Runaway.  We even sang accapella for Stan Rogers' classic North West Passage.  I also played some celtic accordion tunes from my music books, as one of the musicians had led off on flute with The British Grenadiers.  I also tossed off my standards of Hungarian Dance #5 and O Solo Mio and Tourna A Sorrento. 

But I had left my music stand behind.  So on January 2nd, Deb and I returned to the house and found ourselves at another music night – but without my accordion.  Carol offered me her red electric guitar without even asking if I could play guitar – even before offering me the keyboard in the corner.

Wow!  I hadn't ever played an electric guitar before.  I have my own accoustic guitar that I have strummed occasionally since high school lessons – but never an electric hooked up to an amp, and with a session jam before!

My finger picking was decent and I tried out the chords to House of the Rising Sun.  We played through Annie's Song, as I used to play a lot of John Denver back in the 70's.  But I was hungry for some Johnny Cash music. 

I think we really need to play a version of Ring of Fire, at the 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner since I discovered that Johnny Cash had Scottish ancestry.

2010_January_Vernon_NewYearsDay 053 Carol and Jeff's music house, with special guests Todd and Deb.