Monthly Archives: June 2012

Historic Joy Kogawa House… named one of 125 Places that Matter… by Vancouver Heritage Foundation

We had a ceremony with Vancouver Heritage Foundation to unveil the plaque that included Historic Joy Kogawa House as 125 Places that Matter in Vancouver!
Our lovely plaque!
Jessica Quan – Vancouvfer Heritage Foundation, Barbara Vanderburgh – Board Member of VHF, Michael Kluckner – artist, Todd Wong – president of Historic Joy Kogawa House/ Board member of The Land Conservancy of BC, Tamsin Baker – Vancouver Area Manager TLC, Ann-Marie Metten – Executive Director Historic Joy Kogawa House.

Happy Duan Wu Double Fifth Chinese Festival mixed with Greek Days on Broadway in Vancouver Day!!!

It’s Greek Day on Broadway St. in Vancouver… on the same weekend as Chinese Duanwu Festival, also known as Dragon Boat Festival and the Double Fifth, is a traditional and statutory holiday originating in China… hmmm…. time for a Chinese-Greek-fusion festival… Greek Haggis Fat Choy? Gung Greek Fat Choy? waitminit… don’t the Greeks wrap up rice in grape leaves and call them dolmades? Gung Haggis Fat Dolmades???
Check out this picture from China below – they are dressed up as rice dumplings, wrapped in green tea leaves… with strings attached. It is traditional to throw rice dumplings into the water at a dragon boat festival…. I should bring some to practice today.
 Check out Greek Day in Vancouver.

GREEK DAY 2012, Sunday June 24th – Greek Heritage Month & Greek Day

June 21st… 23 years cancer free on National Aboriginal Day

June 21st, it’s National Aboriginal Day, so I wore my Robert Davidson t-shirt, with my Yellow Macleod kilt for Kilts Night @ Doolin’s Irish Pub.  And I met Jaime Sanchez, who introduced himself to me, identifying our mutual friend David Wong.  I think Jaime looked at me, and said “You must know David Wong… who else would know a Chinese guy wearing a Aboriginal design t-shirt with a Scottish kilt.”

June 21st was National Aboriginal Day… Kilts Night… my nephew’s 9th birthday… and also the 23rd anniversary of my near-fatal cancer diagnosis in 1989. Here’s a blog story I wrote 5 years ago, how they year’s longest day, on Solstice, became my longest night. Sure glad I’m alive now – otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to go to Kilts Night last night… 😉

Here is a blog story I wrote 5 years ago on the 17th anniversary anniversary of my cancer diagnosis:

Summer Solstice: My longest day 17 years ago « Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy

17 years ago, my doctor asked me to come down for a visit. I had just been to the doctor on the Monday, June 19th. For a few months I had…

Gung Haggis dragon boat team wins the Rec D consolation final by almost 4 seconds

Leaving the dock for our 1st race on Sunday – the Rec D/E semi-final.  It was our 3rd race of the June 16/17 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival weekend.

GREAT day of Dragon boat racing with the Gung HAGGIS dragon boat team – so proud of our team leaders and new rookie paddlers… They worked hard… corrected mistakes… met challenges… tested my patience… made new friends… and won their final race… and are really bonding and supporting each other as human beings – It makes it all worthwhile 🙂

  • Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival HEAT 83 RESULTS
    1st – L1/2:23.840/ GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY
    2nd – L /2:27.030/O2P
    3rd – L8/2:27.240/Dragon with Hatch Tattoo
    4th – L5/2:28.240/Dragon Hearts Go-ju Go
    5th – L2/2:28.800/Team Coke
    6th – L3/2:29.030/False Creek Grandragons Too
    7th – L6/2:31.190/Vintage SAKE
    8th – L7/2:32.470/Dragon Zone Strokes of LuckWe came first by 4 seconds! in our final race!
    Team morale is good
    We had fun
    other paddlers want to join our team
    Our paddlers are looking forward to Wednesday practice

More stories and links to pictures later today…..


“Let it ride!” The team has just crossed the finish line in the Rec D/E semi-final.  We came 3rd at 2:39.240, missing second place by 4.790  seconds.  Only 1st place and the three fastest 2nd place times would make it into the Rec D medal final.  While we finished in the top three of our race, it was a very messy performance.  The rate was high, the timing was all over the place in the middle of the race…  But we were still strong compared to the other boats in our field.  We knew we were headed into the Rec D consolation race and had lots of room for improvement.
We improved our race time from Rec D 2:39.240 Semi-final to Rec D 2:23.840 Final by about 16 seconds. It was the best improvement of every other team in the Rec D finals and consolation finals. Most teams improved by about 10 seconds, some only by 6 or 7 seconds. The next best improver by 14 seconds was Brittania CC Have a Nice Day which won the Rec D silver medal. The Rec D gold medal winner was Splash Test Dragons who improved by 2:19.130. All race times have variables of tides and wind, as well as heat times… but a 16 second improvement is significant!!! Well done Gung Haggis team!!!

Gung Haggis dragon boat team has a wet day at the races… advances Sunday morning to Race 63 10:12am.

Gung Haggis dragon boat team Sunday morning Race 63 @10:12am. Paddlers please arrive by 8:45am.  

A 1st place finish will go to Rec D Final… 2:03pm  Three Fastest 2nd from Race 59,61,63,65,67 to Race 84 – any thing slower and we go into the consolation races prior.

Today was a great day for dragon boat racing at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – if you were a duck!

The heavey rain that got everything wet sucked – but team attitudes were great!!!
1st race – new seating orders, brand new drummer Deborah, 1st race anxiety jitters… and a time of 2:43-something…
– good race – but we still had gas in the tank.

2nd race – more seating changes, another brand new drummer Diana, rate was a bit high, timing went in and out by the 1st half – and we started to burn ourselves out… but by the 1/2 mark, the rate came down, and the timing came together – and we had a strong finish… with a time of 2:42.470.
So despite spinning our wheels and going out of time, we still improved!

Each race is a learning experience for our rookie paddlers – and our veteran paddlers are providing good leadership and knowledge.

Tomorrow we will bring down the rate for the start… and have a good steady, strong race.


Click on Dragon Boat BC Facebook Group – for race results, and the race grid for Sunday

Or check here:

The race grid for festival weekend is here: 2012 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Race Grid

Saturday results: 2012 RTADBF Saturday Results

Sunday advancements: 2012 RTADBF Sunday Race Grid

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team races Saturday at 9:50am and probably 1:52pm for Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival

Our core paddlers have been paddling since March… and we are ready….
Our new paddlers are enthusiastic, and learning more every time they step in the boat…
And we arrive on site 90 minutes prior to the race start.
We are ready!
Our first race is 9:50 Race #11
We are in race 11, lane 7
We are seeded 6th – and will most likely come 6th or 5th, but not 7th
If we finish

5th we go to Race 31 – 1:30

6th to Race 33 – 1:52
7th to Race 35 – 2:14pm

Sunday 1st race will depend on how we finish in our Saturday afternoon race.
We are a fun recreation team – so we could end up:
Rec E consolation 1:30
Rec E Final 1:41
Rec D consolation 1:52
Rec D Final 2:03
Rec C consolation 2:14
Rec C final 2:25

Getting ready for the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival on June 16/17

Curious seal checks out the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team

Something is happening in the water!
Steersperson Deb along with the backseat paddlers watch the seal swim behind the dragon boat
The seal swam the closest to a dragon boat that I ever saw!  Deb thinks it was at least 8 feet away.


Click on this link to watch the seal swim close to our dragon boat

Gung Haggis dragon boat team practice – 2nd last practice before Rio Tinto Alcan Festival

Good practice today!  We focused on race tactics as well as race day procedures.  Some of our paddlers only practice on Sundays or Wednesdays, so we will do the same thing on Wednesday.

After a warm-up, we explained where the team tents will be set up, and where the marshalling area will be.  At last weekend’s regatta, races were 15 minutes apart.  We then went through loading the boat, and how busy it will be on the dock, and leaving the docks to the race staging area on the water.

We did some paddling warm-ups for rotation, hips, reach and rate, then practiced some starts, then paddled to the race staging area in East Bay.  We quickly found the Hydro Dragons coached by Dan Hebert, whom I have known for about 10 years.  Dan called a race start between our two boats.  The start was close – both teams pulling hard with each stroke.  As I drummed for Gung Haggis, I stole glances at the Hydro team, watching the boat beside us.  I called a Power Series, and the team responded, digging deep for 20 strokes.

At the half way mark, the Hydro team pulled forward, and had to move to the left, as there was a boat anchored in the East Bay, in the middle of what will be the race course next weekend.  Our boat took in some water as Dan’s coach boat cast a wake in our path.  Some of our paddlers were distracted by the unexpected surprises of course change and boat wake.  This is a good exercise in dealing with unexpected surprises.  The Hydro Dragons proved to have a strong finish, and crossed the finish line before us.  We congratulated them, then did our own race debrief.

We then headed for the Center Bay of False Creek and did some exercises to help improve our race starts: front half and back half race starts.  This served to show the newer paddlers how well the veteran paddlers perform, and to inspire them.  The back half proved to be powerful, but with some timing issues and room for improvement.  We do believe in our new padders, and want to encourage them – there is great potential here that will be realized not in the next weekend, but later this summer.

We had our paddlers switch sides to work out on both sides of the body.  This is something we regularly do to encourage body symmetry and help develop paddling technique for both sides of the body.  We next worked on power series drills for front, middle and back thirds, while the rest of the team paddled 60% effort.  Next we turned the team over to veteran paddler Keng Graal who is also one of the team’s drummers.  Keng explained how she calls for the team, and what she expects.  She called a short race piece, to allow the paddlers to get used to her voice.

As we approached the startline in the East Bay, beside the island, we gave the paddlers a rest, and practiced some commands for positioning the boat.  We asked the paddlers to back paddle, and left front draw, right side draw – all to get the paddlers used to what may happen on Race Day.

We did one final race piece of 500m, with Keng as drummer.  This was good.  Keng is a demanding drummer that commands attention.  She first came to the team about 7 years ago in 2007.  She had been a drummer for the CC Riders dragon boat team for Columbia College.  We trained her to be a paddler.  The first race she did with us was 1000m.  She survived…  She stayed with the team… and has paddled with us in many races and has really grown into a team leader.  She is small, but really pulls a lot of water for her size.

We look forward to a great weekend for June 16/17.  We have great leaders on this team with Keng, Steven and Debbie as assistant coaches, Deb as steersperson, Karl and Gio as lead strokes, Xavier as “master of the kilt!”

Everybody on this team brings something.  It might be strength, experience, or a great sense of humour.  We encourage and acknowledge every person’s personality, and especially the cultural diversity that each paddler brings.  We have fun and we both encourage and tease each other, as well as respect each other, and what each person brings to the team.  This is good team building.  This is a good team.  I am having fun, and especially getting to know our new paddlers.


We only had 16 paddlers out on the water this Sunday – but we had fun…. and that is what is important.

Paddlers out on Sunday were:

Karl & Gio

Keng & Amelia

Caroline & Xavier

Steven & Walter

Florian & Gerard

Pedro & Todd

Justin & John

Pierce & Sabina

+ Deb Martin as steersperson.

Happy Italian Day – I will help celebrate on Commercial Drive today

In my heart I am Italian… Italian was my 3rd language (musically speaking), I play Italian-made Titano accordion, especially Funiculi Funicula and O Solo Mio, I grew up in Italian neighborhood of Grandview, I love cooking pasta… I dated Italian-Canadian girls… I loved Marco Polo Restaurant (wait – that was in Chinatown!)

Okay… I think that more than qualifies me for being Italian.  Much more than last week when Christie Clark states  “In my heart I am Filipina” at an event for Phillipine Independence Day-


Italian day | on Commercial Drive

Italian Day on the Drive Sunday, June 10, 2012, 12 PM – 8 PM The Italian Day Festival Society in collaboration with the Commercial Drive Business Society and the Italian Cultural Centre are excited to organize and present for the third consecutive year – Italian Day: a celebration of Italian her…

UBC gives degrees to 76 Japanese-Canadian students who were interned in 1942

UBC Remembers the Japanese Canadian Students of 1942

special to – By Allan Cho
On one sunny day in May 22, 2008 — Mary Kitagawa wrote to President and Vice Chancellor Stephen Toope inquiring about the possibility of UBC honouring its Japanese Canadian students who were taken out of university and put into internment camps.   In 1942, William Lyon McKenzie King’s government followed the American lead and removed 22,000 innocent Canadians of Japanese descent from the coast to prison work camps by separating the men from their young families – the War Measures Act, it was called.  The 76 UBC students were not exempted from this mass removal.
Mary Kitagawa’s 2008 letter was passed on to the Chair of the UBC Senate Tributes Committee.    Mary’s long and arduous cause for justice took four years and numerous campaigns to the media including the Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association Bulletin, Nikkei Voice, and the Vancouver Sun.  On October 5, 2011, UBC promised Mary that it would honour and recognize the former 76 UBC students, educate future UBC students about this dark episode in the form of an Asian Canadian Studies program; and also to have UBC Library preserve and bring to life the historical record.
On May 31, 2012, appropriately on the final day of Asian Heritage Month, these 76 students (some of them family representatives for those who passed away) were honoured at the Spring Convocation at the beautiful Chan Centre.   The classy evening tribute included a speech by Arthur Miki, an excerpt of a play “Shadow Catch” by Michael Mori, and “Songs from the 40’s” by Dal Richards which brought the audience back to the eve of war time in Canada. 
There was not a dry eye in the house as 92 year old Canadian music legend Harry Aoki walked across the stage to accept the degree on behalf of his brother, Ted.  At times, President Stephen Toope’s voice cracked at times, as he tried to hold back emotions of the evening’s procession.   Although many of the students of 1942 had passed on, their descendants and families did them proud by continuing and realizing their journey in Canada. 
Here are 3 links to some good links
  1. UBC awards degrees to interned Japanese Canadian students…/canada/…/bc-internment-ubc-honorary-degrees.html

    30 May 2012 – UBC is bestowing degrees on 76 Japanese Canadian students who were forced off the campus after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour.

  2. Strombo | 70 Years Later: JapaneseCanadian UBC Students To…/canada/70-years-later-japanesecanadianubc-students…

    30 May 2012 – Today, 76 JapaneseCanadian students whose education at UBC was halted when they were exiled are being granted honorary degrees from

  3. News for ubc degrees, japanese canadian
    1. JapaneseCanadians kicked out of UBC receive degrees – 70 years later

      Vancouver Sun‎ – 6 days ago
      In 1942, Roy Oshiro had just written his first exam at the University of British Columbia when he was told he wouldn’t be coming back.