Monthly Archives: February 2011

Ricepaper Magazine: Call out for story submissions for Spring issue

Ricepaper Magazine:
Call out for story submissions
for Spring issue

We are having a callout for story submissions for our
upcoming Spring 2011 -16.1 issue. The theme is: Generations.

on the link for more details!

queries or comments? Contact our Editor Eury Chang at

Vancouver Chinatown Parade is Sunday, January 6th, 12pm to 2pm

Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown
begins 12 noon on Sunday Feb 6th

The Vancouver Chinatown Parade is one of Vancouver's most exciting and colourful festival events.  Last year it was almost canceled due to a conflict in scheduling times with the 2010 Winter Olympics, due to an afternoon hockey game.  The Chinatown parade was moved to an earlier time, to accommodate the clearing of the streets for security for the hockey game.  see

2010_Olympics_Feb14 030

a Chinese parade dragon.  How to tell a dragon from a lion?  You wear
the lion costume over your body, while the dragon is always held up on

2010_Olympics_Feb14 036

Lots of local politicians pass out lucky red envelopes (li-see), here is Vancouver city councilor Kerry Jang handing out lucky red envelopes called “li-see” for good luck!

Here are some details of the 2011 Chinese New Year Parade from the website of the Chinese Benevolent Association.  – one of the main organizers of the parade.

Chinese New Year Parade

The Chinese New Year Parade, Vancouver Chinatown's signature
event, will return on February 6th, 2011. With lion dances, cultural
dance troupes, marching bands and more, this parade is a cultural
extravaganza not to be missed. Come see the sights, sounds and
festivities of Chinese New Year to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit!

2011 Parade Highlights

The Chinese New Year Parade celebrates the new year of the Chinese
lunar calendar and is a fun-filled event for everyone to enjoy.
According to the City of Vancouver, the parade is one of the three
largest non-commercial annual parades of Vancouver. The parade features
the largest assembly of traditional lion dance teams in Canada with
dozens of colourful and energetic lions from the various local fraternal
and martial arts organizations. Other highlights include multicultural
dance troupes representing the diverse segments of our Canadian cultural
heritage, the Vancouver Police Department Motorcycle Drill Team,
marching bands and various community groups. The parade is expected to
have some sixty non-commercial entries, bringing over 3,000 participants
from various community and cultural groups. It is not surprising that
the parade draws over 50,000 spectators along the route each year plus
many more seeing it through TV coverage.

2011 Parade Schedule

The 2011 parade will start at 12:00 noon sharp on Sunday, February 6th, 2011, and will take two hours to complete.

Parade Route

The parade route is about 1.2 Km long. The starting point is at the
Millennium Gate on Pender Street (between Shanghai Alley and Taylor
Street), the parade will proceed east along Pender Street, turn south
onto Gore Street, turn west onto Keefer Street and then disperse at
Keefer and Columbia.
See map

Here is my article and picture of last year's parade.

Yarnbombing at Historic Joy Kogawa House to make knitted blossoms on the cherry tree

Knitted cherry blossoms to cover cherry tree at Historic Joy Kogawa House – come help!

Yarn bombing at Historic Joy Kogawa House
Pink cherry blossoms are being knitted to cover the cherry tree at Historic Joy Kogawa House.  In the photo above, the pinkness of the yarn is compared to the cherry blossoms on the cover of Joy Kogawa's children's story “Naomi's Tree, cover art by Ruth Ohi.- photo courtesy of Jeff Christenson

The Historic Joy Kogawa House Society—with Vancouver authors Mandy
Moore and Leanne Prain—yarn bomb Joy's cherry tree

Momentum and knitted cherry blossoms are growing for the yarn bombing project at Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Here's the invite from

Help writing blossom at Historic Joy Kogawa House! Join Leanne
Prain and Mandy Moore, co-authors of the book Yarn
Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti

You are invited to come and knit or crochet pink cherry blossoms to
help cover this historic tree, whose story is told in Joy Kogawa’s Naomi’s
, a picture book about friendship. Knitters and crocheters of
all levels are welcome to attend these FREE events.

Join one of these two community knit-ins at the Historic Joy Kogawa
House, 1450 West 64th Avenue, Vancouver, on:

Saturday, February 5, 2 to 3:30pm

Or help to stitch all of the cherry blossoms into place at Historic
Joy Kogawa House on:

Sunday, March 6, 2 to 3:30pm

Leanne and Mandy will entertain stitchers with daring tales of yarn
bombing feats from around the world, books will be available for sale
and signing, and refreshments will be served. Yarn and needles will be
provided; however, donations of pink yarn are appreciated!

Can’t make it to the event? Mail in your knitted or crocheted cherry
blossoms to be added to the tree, as follows:

Historic Joy Kogawa House

1450 West 64th Avenue

Vancouver, B.C. V6P 2N4

Or drop your blossoms in the covered bin you’ll find just down the
steps from the sidewalk in front of the house at 1450 West 64th Avenue.
Submissions will be accepted up until March 1, 2011. All cherry blossoms
should be made out of pink yarn. Patterns to use are available here.

For more information see our Facebook page or visit

(Arsenal Pulp
Press), as we cover the Joy Kogawa cherry tree in hundreds of knitted

Here is a wonderful blog article by Monica Miller @

And an article in the Vancouver Courier newspaper.

and blossoms

Vancouver Courier
Help writing blossom at Historic Joy Kogawa
. Join Leanne Prain and Mandy Moore, co-authors of the book
Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit

Georgia Straight: Lunar New Year statutory holiday debated in B.C.

Should Lunar New Year be a BC Holiday?
Georgia Straight brings up the debate:

please read the link for the Georgia Straight article by Joanna Chiu

Georgia Straight: Lunar New Year statutory holiday debated in B.C.

Vancouver Chinatown Parade in 2010, led by Guang Kung – the patron saint of Chinese travelers – photo T. Wong.

Every now and then, I get asked if Chinese language should become an official language, or should Chinese New Year be a holiday?

For years, Robbie Burns Day and St. Patrick's Day… and Chinese New Year have all been celebrated in their own communities, and have been exclusively Scottish, Irish or Chinese…. but in the Vancouver's 21st Century, we are seeing them evolve as multicultural events.  When Celtic Fest started up the St. Patrick's Day Festival for 2005, they specifically asked me to put an entry in.  Vancouver Chinatown Parade has seen Brazilian dancers, South Asian Bangra Dancers, bagpipers and more.

Is cultural fusion, or inclusion the future of Vancouver festivals?

In 2005, SFU Recreation & Athletics department asked me to help them create an event to bring together the large Asian student population with the adopted Scottish Traditions of Simon Fraser University.  We created the SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival that featured “dragon cart racing” and “human curling” and lots of haggis eating. Participating students loved it.

Too bad that SFU administration and ceremonies canceled it, and the annual Burns ceremonies at the 3 SFU campuses for 2011 – citing “budgetary reasons”.  But come on… how much is a haggis, and a volunteer bagpiper?

I've always participated in the Vancouver St. Patrick's Day Parade, by adding a dragon boat, or Chinese dragon, but last year, it was St. Patrick's Day parade and Celtic Fest that was canceled due to the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Ironic that VANOC CEO John Furlong was himself born in Ireland.

Vancouver Chinatown parade was also almost canceled too, due to the Olympics.  But it was saved by moving up the parade start time, to allow for street security for an afternoon hockey game.

The Carnival Band always plays in the Chinatown parade.  Each year they dress up as the Chinese zodiac animal for the New Year.  2010 was the year of the tiger.  Expect them to dress up as rabbits for 2011.  They are an example of the many non-Chinese groups that take part in the annual Chinese New Year parade. – photo T.Wong

It would be interesting to see an event that would incorporate both Naroush and St. Patrick's Day. We could call it “Persian Irish Spring Festival”.

Personally, I also think that St. Patrick's Day and Robbie Burns Day should also be considered for holidays too.  And I initiated the 2008 City of Vancouver Proclamation of Tartan Day, April 6th, which was also passed in Canadian Parliament in 2010, to help celebrate and recognize Scottish contributions and heritage in Canada.

But I think priority for the next provincial and national holidays should be given to events that can bring diverse communities together in unity.  Thus a “Lunar New Year Festival” that ALL communities can participate in – NOT a “Chinese New Year” – but something that can also include Robbie Burns Day, and other cultural communities.  

A few years ago, I was asked to participate in a “Lunar New Year” event at Chief Maquinna Elementary School.  Many if not all of the schools cultural groups was represented and included.  I performed songs on my accordion, that were Italian, Chinese and Scottish in origin.  It was a great time for all the kids, who sang along to “When Asian/Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “My Haggis Lies Over the Ocean, My Chow Mein Lies Over the Sea.”

And we should also recognize:
February 15th Flag Day – the day on which our Maple Leaf flag was unveiled in 1965 (much better than Cristy Clark's proposed “Family Day”.

November 19th Douglas Day – the day in 1858, which Governor James Douglas proclaimed the Crown Colony of British Columbia, in Ft. Langley – thus saving BC from very possible annexation to the United States.  Douglas himself was born in British Guyana to a Scottish father and a Creole Free Black mother.  His wife Amelia was Metis.  He is known as the “Father of British Columbia”

In 1858, He had a vision for a multicultural British Columbia, that was left unrealized by subsequent governors and premiers who succeeded at turning BC into a “White Man's Province”, enacting various legislations to restrict Non-White immigrants to BC, as well as deport Non-White Canadian born citizens, such as the Japanese-Canadian internment, dispersal and re-patriation policies.

Cheers, Todd

Happy Lunar New Year – Year of the Rabbit

Gung Hay Fat Choy
– for Chinese-Canadian pioneer descendants and Cantonese Chinese speakers
Gong Xi Fa Cai
– for Mandarin Chinese speakers
Cung hỉ phát tài 
– for Vietnamese New Year Tết Nguyên Đá
Gung Hogmannay Fat Choy
– for my Scottish friends

Good bye to the Year of the Tiger….

Welcome to the Year of the Rabbit

2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy is a big success… or was it Gung HAPA Fat Choy?


We celebrated the 14th Annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner on January 30th, 2011.
Our 2011 theme featured so many performers of Asian-Celtic-Gaelic heritage that we could have called it
Gung HAPA Fat Choy!

Co-hosts were actor Patrick Gallagher (Glee, Men of a Certain Age, Night at the Museum), Jenna Choy (CBC Radio), writer/comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu, and creator of the event Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong”Featured performers were: Jocelyn Pettit and her band – Siew & Joel Pettit + Bob Collins
Joe McDonald on pipes, accordion, Address to the Haggis, and Highland Fling.
Jay MacDonald, performing Loch Lomand and “Ring of Burns”
Jaime Foster singing Ae Fond Kiss
Vancouver Poet Laureate: Brad Cran
Dr. Leith Davis: Immortal Memory
Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums: led by Pipe Major Bob Wilkins with: Allan McMordie, Trish McMoride, Brenda McNair, Don Scobie, Danny Graham, drummers were: Casandra Lihn, Bill Burr and Tracey Morris

All photos below from our official photographer Lydia Nagai.

Creator and co-host Todd Wong aka Toddish McWong with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, try out the haggis won ton with chop sticks. – photo Lydia Nagai
Fiddler Jocelyn Pettit with her French-Celtic-Canadian father and the Chinese-Canadian mother – the Jocelyn Pettit Band! – photo Lydia Nagai

CNN reporter Percy Von Lipinski and his cameraman film Jocelyn Pettit as she performs! – photo Lydia Nagai

Actor Patrick Gallagher was our co-host, while our Bearded Scottish Lady roamed, and all posed for a picture with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and host and Gung Haggis creator Todd Wong – photo Lydia Nagai


Co-hosts 3 =  2 1/2 Asians…. Todd Wong, writer/comedian Tetsuro Shigematsu and Jenna Chow (CBC Radio). – photo Lydia Nagai


Todd Wong and Jenna Chow read the poem “Recipe For Tea”, written by Jim Wong-Chu, which describes how tea first traveled from China to the UK, via Scottish traders. – photo Lydia Nagai

Floata manager Antonio Hung carries the haggis during the Piping of the Haggis – photo Lydia Nagai

Dr. Leith Davis, director of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, cuts the haggis, as she read the 3rd verse of Robert Burns immortal poem “Address To A Haggis” as CNN reporter Percy Von Lipinski, films Leith close up. – photo Lydia Nagai


Film maker Jeff Chiba Stearns explains the meaning of “Hapa” as a word to describe people of Mixed ancestry with Asian heritage.  His film “One Big Hapa Family” was featured at the 2011 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner.  Co-host Patrick Gallagher, of Irish and Chinese Ancestry, looks on. – photo Lydia Nagai

The Head Table with MLA Shane Simpson, co-host Jenna Chow and friend Mattias, Meeka, Bahareh (partner of co-host Tetsuro Shigematsu),  co-host and founder Todd Wong, Jeff Chiba Stearns and partner Jen Kato. – photo Lydia Nagai

Musician Joe McDonald, sans bagpipes, flute or accordion – dances a jig, with bagpiper Don Scobie. – photo Lydia Nagai


Dr. Leith Davis, gives the Immortal Memory – talking about the “Life of Robbie Burns” and the connections of Todd Wong – photo Lydia Nagai


Trish & Allan McMordie, with guitarists Jay MacDonald and Bob Collins, join in the singing of “I Went to a Robbie Burns Dinner” – Burns lyrics set to the tune of Johnny Cash’s famous song – “Ring of Fire” – photo Lydia Nagai

During the singing of Auld Lang Syne, people joined hands to sing…. as the Chinese Dragon weaved through the crowd. – photo Lydia Nagai


Members of the audience joined performers on stage to sing Auld Lang Syne for the closing song.
(l-r Siew Pettit, Jocelyn Pettit, Todd Wong, Trish McMordie, Allan McMordie + 3 members of the audience) – photo Lydia Nagai

After the singing was over, a posed picture of kilts and legs, was taken!
(l-r: bearded Scots Lady, Bruce Clark, Todd Wong, Adam Todd, Don Harder and Allan McMordie – photo Lydia Nagai

Shelagh Rogers interviews Ken McGoogan, author of How the Scots Invented Canada

Ken McGoogan is interviewed on CBC Radio's The Next Chapter by Shelagh Rogers.
– with a mention of Gung Haggis Fat Choy by Shelagh

How the Scots Invented Canada by Ken McGoogan

Note that the tartan featured is the Maple Leaf tartan, featuring the yellow, green and red colours of a changing maple leaf.

It's a lively interview that Shelagh has with Ken McGoogan.  Of particular interest, McGoogan talks about pluralism and how the Scots themselves are an ethnically diverse group,

Shelagh: “I want to get back to pluralism because i find this a very interesting impact of the Scots in Canada, the population has never exceeded 16% of the country.  What do you think it wa was it about the Scots and what they brought over that created this pluralistic vision.

Ken: “Yes, that's a wonderful question Shelagh, because and you;re quite right to focus on that  because that to me is one of the central  themes of the book, and probably my favorite theme that arises in the book, because I do see Canada as multicultural and multi-racial. And I do trace that back… on the pluralism of the Scots themselves.  It's also interesting, the Scots were, First of all, they felt they were underdogs in relation to the English, Scots have always felt that England has always treated Scots badly.  There always had been this undertone of tension in the Scots' feeling to be underdogs.  But at the same time, in addition to that feeling, it made them more empathetic to other peoples than they might otherwise have been.  You also have the Scots being well educated and highly literate much earlier than almost anywhere in Europe.”

And McGoogan talks about Robert Burns, and his influence in Canada.  He calls it “singular and amazing,” who there are Burns statues and influences in Canadian cities from Halifax to Victoria.

Check out the TNC Special Podcast – Ken McGoogan

Shelagh's special unabridged conversation with Ken McGoogan, author of “How the Scots Invented Canada”.

Right click to Download TNC Special Podcast – Ken McGoogan
[mp3 file: runs 34:53]

Go to 18:10 to listen to Shelagh Rogers tell Ken McGoogan about Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Here are some reviews of McGoogan's book and a link to his own web page.

  1. Ken McGoogan: HOME

    Ken McGoogan is the author of four Canadian bestsellers about the search for the Northwest in October 2010, will publish How the Scots Invented Canada. –