Monthly Archives: January 2012

Gung Haggis Fat Choy on Global Morning News


Allan McMordie and I took Haggis wonton
and Haggis shu-mei to Global Morning News. Sophie Lui and Steve Darling
said they were delicious, they even had seconds!

We did two segments.  The first was cooking.  I heated up some fried rice, and added haggis.  Meanwhile, both Sophie and Steve tried the haggis wonton and haggis shu-mei that had been pre-prepared by the Float Restaurant the night before.

For the second segment, Allan played Scotland the Brave on his bagpipes, then I performed the first verse of Robbie Burns' immortal poem – The Address to the Haggis.  We bantered a bit about how our event makes Chinese New Year safe for Scottish-Canadians, and makes Robbie Burns Day and haggis safe for Chinese-Canadians.  Sophie ate the spicy jellyfish, but Steve politely declined. 

We also talked about how we have set Robbie Burns lyrics to a Johnny Cash song and Allan lets me play my accordion in his celtic ceilidh group, The Black Bear Rebesl.  Sophie said she loved all the fusion and fun of our event.

Click on 11:05 for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy segment on Global Morning News

Toddish McWong to appear on Global Morning News on Friday January 20th

Toddish McWong and deep-fried haggis and turnip cake on Global Morning News tomorrow at 8:00am

It's the cooking segment!!! 

I am bringing haggis and Chinese turnip cake to Global Morning news for some breakfast eats.

My bagpiper friend Allan McMordie will join me to say something how we made deep-fried haggis at your summer
place in Desolation sound, and how the left over haggis has been used in
omelettes and hash the morning after.
Look for host Steve Darling to eat haggis – disguised as a deep-fried won ton

Maybe we will try to get hosts Sophie Lui and Steve Darling into kilts.

2012 Gung Haggis Fat Choy press release

18th, 2012

immediate release



Toddish McWong’s

Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Dinner

photo Deb Martin

22nd, 2012


Dinner to 9:15pm – end time

Seafood Restaurant

– 180 Keefer St.



Ticket:  $65 + service Charge, prices for students
and children 

of Ten is $625+ service charge.

Firehall Arts Centre 604-689-0926

25th, 2012 marks the 253rd birthday of the famous Scottish bard, two days
after January 23rd Chinese New Year welcoming the Year of the Dragon
– the most auspicious and sacred animal of the Chinese Zodiac.

Haggis Fat Choy has become synonymous with cultural fusion and fun.  Often imitated, but never as successful,
musical, poetic, delicious, historical nor educative.

FEATURED 2012 Performers:

by Tetsuro Shigematsu and Toddish McWong

Wah – Parliamentary Poet Laureate

Walls – Chinese clapper tales and Chinese scholar

Harry McGrath – Robbie Burns Immortal Memory

Bear Rebels Celtic Ceilidh ensemble

Haggis Fat Choy Pipes & Drums

of dragons + surprises!

1998, “Toddish McWong” held a small private dinner for 16 friends with food,
haggis, poetry and songs – from both Scottish and Chinese cultures and thus was
born –
Gung Haggis Fat Choy
–  Now it is a dinner for 400 people!

than  a traditional dinner with music
and poetry.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
re-imagines a traditional Robert Burns Dinner format, within a BC or Canadian
historical context that puts Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian pioneers on
an inclusive and equal platform, while acknowledging historical racism and how
we move beyond it. This event has grown to also  celebrate contemporary Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian
artists and poets and their innovations to create something uniquely Canadian.


15 Years of Highlights for
Gung Haggis Fat Choy & Toddish McWong:

1998 – 1st Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner for 16 people in a living room.

– 1st Creation of deep-fried haggis won ton

– CBC tv television performance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”– nominated for 2
Leo Awards

– SFU GHFC Festival with dragon cart racing + human curling

– GHFC photo included in Paul Yee book Saltwater City

– “Address to the Haggis” rap version performed by Todd Wong & Joe McDonald

– GHFC featured in CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy

  Toddish McWong photo in BC Canada
Pavillion during Beijing Olympics.

– photo of Toddish McWong in the Royal BC Museum exhibit “The Party”

– GHFC written about in Charles Demers’ book Vancouver Special

– Toddish McWong featured speaker at Centre for Scottish Studies SFU conference
“Burns in Trans-Atlantic context”

– Toddish McWong photo featured at Scottish Parliament in the exhibit “This is
Who We Are: Scots in Canada.” 

– GHFC dinner inspired Hapa-Palooza Festival for Vancouver 125 Celebrations

Featured poets and authors
have included:

Joy Kogawa, Fred Wah, Brad Cran, Larissa Lai, Rita
Wong, George McWhirter, Jim Wong-Chu, Lensey Namioka, Fiona Tinwei Lam, + Musicians
Silk Road Music, Heather Pawsey soprano, Lan Tung, and Blackthorn + Film makers
Jeff Chiba Stearns, Ann-Marie Fleming and Moyra Rodger.

of the dinner go to Historic Joy Kogawa House Society, Asian Canadian Writers'

Workshop/Ricepaper Magazine and Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  Every dinner guest receives a gift
subscription to Ricepaper Magazine


Menu Highlights include:

haggis won ton + haggis pork dumpling (su-mei) and appetizer courses. 

served Chinese style in the form of pan-fried turnip cake, dim sum style.

haggis is served with Chinese lettuce wrap.

we always feature fun singalongs such as Loch Lomand, My Chow Mein (Bonny) Lies
Over the Ocean, and When Asian Eyes Are Smiling.

lots of surprises… such as new for 2012 – a revamped version of Robbie Burns
lyrics set to Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley music.


media inquires contact:



Gung Haggis Fat Choy CBC tv special was created in 2004

Gung Haggis Fat Choy – the TV special!!

Will it ever be shown again?

In 2004 CBC Vancouver created the Gung Haggis Fat Choy television performance special – it ran again in 2005.  Producer was Moyra Roger who was nominated for 2 Leo Awards for her wonderful work.

View Clip
Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Chinese New Year.
Robbie Burns Supper. Gung Haggis Fat Choy fuses the two unique cultural
events in a celebration of music, dance and tradition. Featuring
performances by The Paperboys, Silk Road Music, George Sapounidis, Joe McDonald & Bravewaves

A CBC Television production.

It was a lot of fun consulting for this project.  Moyra was great to work with, as was executive producer Rae Hull.  And I also became friends with Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibuault of Silk Road Music, George Sapounidis of Ottawa, and also got to know The Paperboys.  Neil Gray gave the Address to the Haggis.  And my longtime bagpiper friend Joe McDonald and his band Brave Waves was featured performing Auld Lang Syne with singer La La – who was also featured later at Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner events.

In 2007 CBC created a documentary series about long time multi-generational families across Canada.  The Rev. Chan Yu Tan family and descendants were selected to be the family from BC.   This was also due to the work I had done in organizing Rev. Chan family reunions, blogging about the family, and helping create a photo exhibition at the Chinese Cultural Centre titled Three Pioneer Canadian Chinese Families in 2002.

Some of the footage from the 2004 Gung Haggis Fat Choy tv performance special were included in the Generations: The Chan Legacy documentary, as well as footage from a 2004 interview I did with Peter Mansbridge for CBC's The National news show.

Here is the picture of me and write up about the Generations: The Chan Legacy documentary

Chan Legacy

The documentary begins with Todd Wong playing the accordion, wearing a
kilt. He promotes cultural fusion, and in doing so, he honours the
legacy of his great, great, grandfather Reverend Chan Yu Tan. The Chans
go back seven generations in Canada and are one of the oldest families
on the West Coast. Reverend Chan's granddaughter Helen Lee, grandson
Victor Wong, and great grandson Gary Lee recall being barred from
theaters, swimming pools and restaurants. The Chinese were not allowed
to become doctors or lawyers, pharmacists or teachers. Still, several
members of the Chan family served in World War II, because they felt
they were Canadian and wanted to contribute. Finally, in 1947, Chinese
born in Canada were granted citizenship and the right to vote.

Today, Todd Wong, represents a younger generation of successful
professionals and entrepreneurs scattered across North America. He
promotes his own brand of cultural integration through an annual event
in Vancouver called Gung Haggis Fat Choy. It's a celebration that joins
Chinese New Year with Robbie Burns Day, and brings together the two
cultures that once lived completely separately in the early days of
British Columbia.

Photo session for Globe & Mail of Toddish McWong

Snow and Kilts and Accordion and Toddish McWong at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Garden

photo by Deb Martin

The Globe and Mail is doing an interview profile on me for Tuesday January 17th, by journalist Sarah Hampson, and asked photographer Raphael to take pictures of me for the article.  Hampson asked me lots of questions about the hows and whys of Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.  She wanted to get the behind the scenes story of my personal motivations, and my community work.  Here is a link to the Hampson article Haggis wontons Robbie Burns night meets Chinese New Year

The Globe & Mail editor had suggested having the pictures taken in Vancouver Chinatown.  I suggested to the photographer that we meet at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens – currently nominated as one of the Great Spaces in Canada.  You can vote here for the Gardens

photo Deb Martin

Deb took some pictures of Raphael taking pictures of me.  The top and bottom pictures were posed exclusively for Deb, after Raphael had left, as we took advantage of the wonderful setting.

photo Deb Martin

This is me reading Robbie Burns' poetry to the pet dragon on my right shoulder.  Somehow, I thought this would make me more scholarly if we took the picture inside the Scholar's Study.

The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens looked incredible with the freshly fallen snow, and the red lanterns set up for the Chinese Lunar New Year season.  On January 29th, I will be returning to the gardens to play accordion with my fellow musicians in the Black Bear Rebels Celtic Ceilidh ensemble for the Chinese New Year celebrations.  We play 2 sets at 2:30 and 3:30pm.  The parade starts at 12 noon and goes to 2pm, so be sure to visit us!

More photos on my Flickr account here:

“How the Chinese Created Canada” and “How the Scots Created Canada” books will be prizes at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner

copies of “How the Chinese Created Canada” have just arrived.
via UPS,
thanks to Lone Pine Publishing… and publisher Shane Kennedy.
destined as prized for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, as we like to promote both the Scottish and Chinese pioneer history in Canada.
How the Chinese Created Canada provides an in-depth look at the triumphs
and struggles of one of Canada's most vibrant communities.

It's possible that Chinese sailors landed on the shores of the country
that was to become Canada long before Captain George Vancouver set foot
on the west coast, if research proves to be true. But even if the impact
the Chinese had on this land was not felt until they came in larger
numbers to mine for gold or to build the Canadian Pacific Railway, their
influence is seen in every city from Victoria to Halifax. Chinese
culture has permeated the fabric of Canadian society with bold, exciting
cuisine, art, music and alternative approaches to medicine and healing.
Talented and creative individuals have made these concepts an integral
aspect of everyday Canadian culture.

Regardless of the hardships they endured–hazardous work conditions on
the railway line, the government-sanctioned racism of the head tax, the
lack of suffrage in a country where they were supposedly citizens–the
Chinese persevered and forged a new chapter in our collective legacy.
And some of Canada's most influential and interesting people have
emerged from the families of Chinese immigrants–Adrienne Clarkson,
former Governor General; Norman Kwong, lieutenant-governor of Alberta;
Alfred Sung, fashion designer; Stephen Yan, chef and TV host of Wok with
Yan; Patrick Chan, Canadian figure skating champion and so many more.

15 copies of “How the Scots Created Canada” have just arrived too.
destined as prized for Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner
thanks to Lone Pine Publishing… and publisher Shane Kennedy.

The Scots who populated the New World that became Canada brought
vitality and a unique character to a vast land. Adventurous, hardworking
and sometimes outrageous, the earliest Scots settlers were rejuvenated
by later waves of immigration. Their spirit epitomized a central theme
of progress and development that permeates our culture and sense of

Some even believe the Scots from the Orkney Islands were the first
Europeans to land here. Or did they crew boats with the Vikings or St.

Their numbers filled every province, and we remember famous and familiar
names, such as Sanford Fleming, Hugh Allan, Alexander Keith, Robert
Service and Alexander MacKenzie. The rogues and scallywags might be less
well known, but their stories give great colour to our past. Even Sir
John A. MacDonald, Canada's first prime minister and the best-known
Father of Confederation, faced scandal and turmoil during his tenure.
Still, Canada's Scots brought you the RCMP, the telephone and standard

Paul Cowan takes us on an insightful, often irreverent journey from the
earliest days of exploration and fur trading through the centuries of
Canadian history. Sit back and pour yourself a nip of Scotch while he
tells tales filled with bold and outrageous characters, the Scots who
really did create Canada.

Scotland the World Over – take your picture of the Saltire and be part of a film

can be part of a film about the Scottish flag

– to be unveiled on
January 25th, 2012, Burns Night.

all you have to do is take pictures
with the Scottish Saltire flag in the middle of the picture….

Every now and then, I get emails or invitations for Scotland… check this out!

Firstly let me introduce myself. I am Graham Maclachlan, the Head of
Community and Content  at I'm writing to let you know of a
project we are doing in partnership with the Scottish Government which I
hope you'll be able to support.

Basically,we're making an
animated film based on images of the Scottish flag gathered from around
the world. We launched Wednesday, St Andrews Day, and already have
submission from all around the world, including, Iraq, Scandinavia,
Japan, China and of course Canada.

I've enclosed a copy of the Press Release which I hope you'll find time to read and a link to the micro site
It would be great fun to get you and you fellow Burn's devotees to participate in this exciting project.
Please don't hesitate to drop me a line if you want anymore information or help
Best regards Graham

Hello Graham

actually have a real Scottish flag, that I attach to a hockey stick and
prop up at the back of a canoe…  when we proclaimed Tartan Day in
Vancouver a few years ago….

Excellent I hope you join the fun  – you can put up as many daily  shots
as you wish between now and Burns night. It would be great to see the
Dragon in the film. As long as the flag fits in the the loader template
it should be fine.

Excellent Todd and thank for pass it over to Simon Fraser, it looks like
their going to participate too.  Everyone here is looking forward to
seeing Mr Toddish McWong and his chums flying the saltire once again.

The images can't be from an archive-they have to be new images, one a day and posted through the uploader.

Take a picture like this with the Saltire in the middle of the picture!

But while this picture was taken on St. Andrew's Day Eve for Homecoming Year Scotland in 2009.  You can't use archival pictures.

the saltire small and leave enough space either side for at least two
more of the same size. If you're in any doubt, take a step back and leave
more room!

People around the world will collaborate this winter to produce a social media movie and celebrate Scotland's global community/ spirit/ reach/ influence.

'Scotland the World Over' invites everyone to take part and photograph a Saltire wherever they may be and upload the image to .

Scots and Scots at heart will build a film, one frame at a time, by simply uploading pictures with a Saltire centred in the frame. What surrounds the Saltire in the rest of the image is entirely up to the participant. The finished film will then be premiered worldwide on Burns Night 2012 (January 25).
The initiative is hosted by BAFTA Award-winning life sharing social networking site – which shares over 1.5 million images from over 170 countries, each representing a single day in someone's life – in partnership with the Scottish Government.

‘Scotland the World Over’ was launched on Tuesday 29th November by Cabinet Secretary for Education Michael Russell.
Michael Russell Comments, “Scotland the World Over” is a great idea and will provide a fantastic showcase to celebrate Scotland both home and abroad. As a nation, we've always enjoyed a strong International profile and this wonderfully exciting project can only build on that.”
“I'd encourage as many people as possible to get involved, whether they're here at home or abroad. We welcome anyone across the world with an interest in Scotland to take part. I'm now looking forward to Burns Night with even more excitement and to seeing the wide variety of iconic images we're no doubt set to capture''.

Joe Tree, founder and CEO of Blipfoto, said: “Blipfoto is a truly global community, but we're very proud of our Scottish roots. There's an obvious parallel between the way Blipfoto reaches out and touches people's lives around the world and the positive global influence Scotland has long enjoyed”.

“We share a real outward-looking spirit, so we're delighted to launch such an exciting event and I'm really looking forward to the big reveal on Burns night next year”.

The name for Scotland The World Over was inspired but the final line of the Robert Burns poem A Man's a Man for A' That: “That Man to Man, the world o'er, Shall brothers be for a' that.

The initiative is not just for Scots or those living in Scotland. People from as many different countries and cultures are encouraged to have a go.

RIP Milton Wong 1939-2011

Rest In Peace
– Milton Wong
1939 – 2011


2009 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.
Milton Wong (centre) is a former chair of the Festival society,
Enzo Guerrero (left) is a present board member and former race committee member. 
Todd Wong (right) is former race committee member, present coach and paddler for Gung Haggis dragon boat team.

There is a big hole in Vancouver to start off 2012.  Favoured son Milton Wong passed away on December 31st, 2011.  There is plenty to say about Milton's business acumen, but much more to say about his community and philanthropic work as well.  For the past year he battled pancreatic cancer, but he was also recognized by being given the rare honour of the Freedom of the City Award in July.  He also received  the Vancouver's Mayor's Arts Awards for philanthropy in October, and in November he was named to be inducted into the 2012 Business Laureates of BC Hall of Fame, ceremonial dinner for the spring. 

I listened to CBC Radio this morning, and heard his friend Michael
Clague speaking, followed by my Uncle Ian – one of his life-long
friends. Milton had been best man at my Uncle Ian and Aunt Sylvia's wedding. During the interview, Ian had shared some of his memories about his friend.

Go to 2:12:00 on this CBC Radio Early Edition podcast with Rick Cluff.

Milton always had a smile for me, and it has been a pleasure
to know his brothers and their families. There are many news stories about Milton Wong's achievements.  For this article I will focus on personal connections between our families.   I first got to know him over the
years of his involvement in the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival, which
he helped to co-found.  My friend Sonny Wong, was doing marketing for the Festival, and introduced me to Milton, who of course knew of my parents, and my family.  My father grew up down the street from Milton's family, in Strathcona and remembers playing kick-the-can with Milton's older brothers William and Jack.

The more involved into the Asian-Canadian community, the more I would learn more about all the family connections and friendships.  Milton was also a founder of the Lotus Sports Club.  There is a boat named M.K. Wong at the Lotus boat club house. His nephew Peter was also member of the board for the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society.  Lotus Sports Club at Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby, was the first place I learned to dragon boat, and I have made many friends there over the years, and always support their dragon boat regatta in May.
Through Asian Heritage Month Society, I go to know Beverly Nann who also grew up in Strathcona with Milton.  Both would receive the Order of BC for their community service.  Another connection with Bev was that her mother and my maternal mother had been best friends.  Bev also would encourage me in my endeavors, and shared about her work with Milton in co-founding the Laurier Institution, a think tank for cultural diversity.
Milt—as chair of Laurier
Institution emphasized the importance of education, dialogue and
debate on issues creating cultural tensions in Canadian society,” Bev shares with me.  “Laurier's
research on 'Prospering Together' on First Nations communities in BC
precipitated Milt's major interest and involvement with the
 First Nations groups. 
I believe Milt's personal experience
of racism in his business career also fueled his determination to address the issue of racism.”
It was amazing to learn about Milton's community work through so many people.  Both Beverly and Milton are community leaders and inspiring role models who lead by example in helping to create the world they want to live in, and which embraces cultural diversity. The more
involved I got in the community, the more I learned about Milton, and
would bump into him

William (Bill) Wong, Milton's eldest brother, carving a dragonboat head with the next generation of Wongs – photo T.Wong

I also got to know
the Paddling the Wong Way Dragon Boat Team, over the years through
friendly competition and shared activities, such as carving dragon boat
heads in 2008 for a special project.  When the Wong Way Dragon
Boat team folded, Milton's nephew Steven came onto our Gung Haggis Fat
Choy dragon boat team, and has become an important part of the team,
providing leadership and assistant coaching.  One year, we honoured William Wong, Milton's eldest brother, as an honourary drummer.

I had always known about the Modernize Tailors shop in Chinatown, and that had belonged to the Wong family – but I also knew that my Uncle Laddie worked there too.  A few years ago, CBC created a television documentary about the family history, called Tailor Made  The documentary also showed that Modernize Tailors was moving back to its' original site in the Chinese Free Masons building across the street from the present site.  Milton had bought the building and was now restoring the building where his grandfather had founded the store, and adding seniors housing to the top floors.  Interestingly, I discovered that it was my architect cousin Joe Wai (another early role model for me, who also designed the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Classical Gardens) that was overseeing the renovations to the Chinese Free Masons building. It was great to learn more about the humble beginnings of the store, as well as the racism faced by brother tailors Bill and Jack Wong, who only turned to tailoring after going to UBC Engineering, and not getting jobs in their field – just like my father's brother Gilbert.  Tailor Bill Wong always tells me to say hello to my parents and Uncle Gilbert.

Modernize Tailors is in the newly restored Chinese Freemasons Building, on the corner of 5 West Pender and Carrall St., in Vancouver Chinatown.

And through the years, I would see Milton at some of the various
Chinese-Canadian community projects from the 1986 Saltwater City project
to last year's film screening of C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of
Migration film, at the Milton & Fei Wong Experiemental Theatre at
the SFU School of Contemporary Arts.  And I would smile and know that somewhere he had a part of making it happen, directly or behind the scenes…

After reflecting on his death and what he brought to the community, I think I would create a New Year's Resolution to give like Milton…. to volunteer and donate to community… to recognize and share time with friends and family… and to to always remember my family roots… and to look to the future.

Here are some of the news stories about Milton's life on his passing.

Here is the Global TV video story with an interview with his nephew Peter Wong

BC philanthropist Milton Wong dies – News Hour – Videos | Global BC

This Vancouver Sun story quotes my
architect cousin Joe Wai, as Joe helped Milton restore the Chinese Free
Masons building, where his father's tailor shop first began.

a good in-depth story about Milton Wong's life philosophy, as retold by
his niece Joanna Wong, and how he inspired and mentored others… + a
quote from me.

Life lessons from Milton Wong | The Vancouver Observer…/life-lessons-miltonwo

This is a good story with interview by Joanna Wong, Milton's niece:

Business leader Milton Wong dies at 72 – British Columbia – CBC