Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Big Squeeze event: Accordion Noir Festival opens at Cobalt preceded by Todd Wong’s accordion parade circle

Guro thrilled the audience with her singing and playing!
917 Main Street, Vancouver,
Doors 9:00pm, Show 9:30
Tickets $12 advance, $15 door
Tickets also available at Red Cat, Highlife and Zulu Records.
Online at Big Squeeze is a Film Noir inspired night of dark and decadent tom squeezery hosted by the king of hard-boiled commentary, Geoff Berner.
Headlining the evening is alt-cabaret accordion siren, Guro Von Germeten, all the way from Norway. (Opening act for Kim Churchill tour on Vancouver Island after the AN festival.)
Proud Animal, Barbara Adler’s new glam folk group, fresh off their cross canada tour will bring their cheeky wit and musical mastery to the evening.
A rare meeting of musical giants, Albanian accordion wizard Ben Meti joins with Romanian Violin Maestro Lache Cercel, and the hottest of the hot players in the Roma Swing Ensemble, to close off Accordion Noir’s opening night show. Lache Cercel heads to the US on tour shortly after the festival.
Feature Cabaret Cameos by:
Alison Jenkins, local theatre star and gifted musician, collaborates with puppetry of Tom Jones and Sarah May Redmond.
Elliot Vaughan, composer/multi-instrumentalist, offers up his unique approach to accordion and collaborates with theatre/dance artist Elysse Cheadle.
Richard, Elena and Todd – with our accordions at night!
Glowstix are fun in the dark – Elena shakes her accordion!

Hapa Palooza Festival is Hapa-ning again!

Hapa Palooza is back!



Hapa-Palooza Book Readings and lively discussion tonight at Library Square – with my friends Ruth Ozeki who was one of the first readers at Kogawa House, and Wayde Compton, whom we hope to have as a special guest at the next Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner!

Hapa-palooza in the Strathcona Park will start with family yoga, have music by hapa DJ CRad, a super pro face-painter, a slackline exhibition, colouring sheets for kids to explore their roots and there are a whole host of kids activities right in the park: a playground, climbing boulder, big climbing diamond, and if you feel up for it there are tennis courts, basketball court, baseball diamond and soccer field.

Bring your family, friends, and community.


Canada likes females on the new $100 bill to be “white-washed” and racially-neutral?

Female image on $100 plastic bill – is “Too Asian” for the Bank of Canada

Earlier in August, a great debate started… and I commented lots on Facebook:
I posted the article on a few Facebook walls, as well as my own with the comment:
Todd Wong “I am thinking of Asian Canadian women who are valid and important scientists… and Dr. Hilda Ching was the Ruth Woodwyn Chair of SFU Women’s Studies – click this link to see her final report
There were lots of comments about the importance of promoting science, and since the $100 bill has a picture of insulin, people asked why are Banting and Best on the $100 bill?
But wait… Harper’s Conservative Government is putting an end to Canadian Science by muzzling them… so that can’t be true….
Feds muzzle scientist over salmon study
Yes… sadly… I had learned that the Canadian Conservative government was muzzing federally paid scientists.  This was all revealed during the Cohen Inquiry concerning the missing salmon in the Fraser River.  Federal scientists were told NOT to speak to the media or “others”.  What kind of country or society, would try to suppress information and knowledge?
But then I got a FB reply from Dr. Hilda Ching:
“This is Hilda Ching responding from Hawaii. Thanks Todd for your comments. I am amazed that the Woodward report is available. Since 6 of us founded SCWIST (Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology) in 1983, the profile of women scientists has changed considerably. The women are young professionals with Asian, Indo-Asian and European origins. We value their diversity, complexity of backgrounds and images. The change of the woman’s complexion to ‘white’ on the banknote reinforces the image that science as a white male and female’s elitist community. The white guy in a lab coat is history; so it would have been appropriate to have kept that image on the bank note as a ‘typical’ Canadian woman in science. In other words, ‘white’ is not ‘typical’ in the science community anymore.”
Then my friend Zarah Martzposted toTodd Wong
Your name was just dropped on CBC .. thanks for weighing in a Vancouver opinion on the $100 bill issues. Sad only people of European ancestry are deemed ‘neutral’ enough to be seen on a bill (by the focus group). Looking around at the vast diversity of people of all backgrounds celebrating multiple cultural heritages – it seems a step in the wrong direction. Let’s embrace Canada as mixed and representing our many cultural and ancestral roots.
I replied:

Todd Wong

huh? what was the context? I have been hanging out in Vernon with my non-Asian “in-laws” and their beloved daughter. Just spreading the awareness that Adrienne Clarkson and Michalle Jean were deemed worthy enough to be appointed the Queen

‘s highest representative in Canada – and racial “neutral-ness” was not a deciding quality. I met Hapa-Canadian Chad Soon for breakfast, and we plotted nominating hockey pioneer Larry Kwong, the first non-white to play in the NHL, to the BC Sports Hall of Fame… too bad, I didn’t get to also meet with my friend Betty Chan, the first Chinese-Canadian to be a national Highland Dance Champion – her father was Ernest Chan, the first Chinese-Canadian male to receive the Order of Canada.

21 August at 01:42 ·

Then I discovered that the Georgia Straight had published this story on their blog:

Chinese Canadian National Council applauds Bank of Canada’s apology

Prior to the apology, Vancouver cultural activist Todd Wong, organizer of the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, sent the Straight a revealing note from Hilda Ching, a former Ruth Wynn Woodward chair in SFU’s women’s studies department. It concerned the Bank of Canada’s design of its note (and it was emailed to Wong after he included a link to her report on his site).
All the pieces began to fit.  I had posted the original Yahoo news story on the Facebook Group “Not Too Asian” which is administrated by Victor Wong, executive director for the Chinese Canadian National Council.  I had also sent the Hilda Ching quote to Victor, so he quoted both myself and Dr. Ching in an interview on CBC Radio – which is where Zarah heard my name dropped.  Hmmm… interesting how a few emails and FB posts went from Vancouver to Victoria to Hawaii, back to Victoria and Vancouver, over to Toronto, then out to the rest of Canada on national radio.
This issue of the new Canadian $100 bill is much deeper than physical representation of white or asian.  It’s also not an issue of whether Banting or Best should be pictured with insulin.  What has been more revealing is all the racism that has filled the comment sections of the news media that discount the equal representation of women of colour, that was nixed by the so-called focus groups of the Bank of Canada.  This is what makes the comments by Dr. Hilda Ching so insightful. 

Todd Wong But what if the original picture was of a woman who was only “Half-Asian” like environmental scientist Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the daughter of David Suzuki, finalist for CBC’s tv show “The Greatest Canadian” of famed Canadian scientist, David Suzuki, Severn Cullis-Suzuki develop…See more

“Save the Salish Seas” canoe paddle to Cates Park

One of the day’s highlights was meeting 11 year old Ta’Kaiya Blaney.  She is a young activist that was spoken to large crowds about No Tankers.  When she tried to visit the Engbridge Corporate Offices, she was escorted out of the building and banned.   She has recorded a song titled “Shallow Waters” that is incredible.  She was kind to take a picture for me holding up an Eagle puppet.  Watch her music video of “Shallow Waters”as it captures much of the reasons and emotions to save the Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea from being polluted by oil.
The canoes paddled from Ambleside Beach to the Refinery docks in Burnaby.  There they gathered to sign a declaration of unity to protect the waters from an expanded Kinder Morgan pipeline and increased Tanker traffic.
The canoes then paddled towards Cates Park, and rafted together with the paddles held upwards in a symbol of peace.  The canoes then came in to shore, and one by one, a speaker from each boat, identified themself and their clanspeople in each boat.  They then asked for permission to come ashore.
Two chiefs, each from Squamish and Tsleil-waututh Nations spoke to the large crowd that gathered, to witness the arrival of the canoes.  When the canoes came to the shore, they listened to each speaker from each canoe, then acknowledged their connections and welcomed them to come ashore.