Monthly Archives: March 2013

Are Chinese Stickers Parody or Racist Stereotype? – Todd writes a commentary for Huffington Post

Here is the Blog Entry I wrote for Huffington Post

Are Chinese Drivers Stickers Parody Or Racist Stereotype? – by Todd Wong

| Posted March 22, 2013 | 12:27 AM

“C” stickers which apparently stand for “Chinese Driver” have been spotted on Vancouver vehicles. They’re a close replica of the official signs issued by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. to designate novice drivers.

So is the “C’ sign a warning for others to be cautious of this driver? Is it a symbol of nationalist or ethnic pride, like when people put a country’s sticker or flag on their car bumper? Or is it simply a parody to poke fun at the racist stereotype of bad Asian drivers?

chinese driver sign

The blogosphere has featured intense debates of late. Many Caucasian commenters call the sticker racist and offensive, while many Asian commenters said they put the sticker on their car because of ethnic pride, and they thought it was funny.

Then I checked some more blog forums, and somebody wrote: “IF I SEE THIS SIGN IN SOMEONES WINDOW, A ROCK IS GOING THROUGH IT. THIS IS A WARNING.”

There were lots of non-Asians threatening to damage cars that were identified as having Chinese drivers, as well as making racist statements. I found more overtly racist signs advertised at a Sears website, stating “Caution Chinese Driver,” and another sign with slanted eyes and bucked teeth. Anti-Asian stereotypes were alive and well, more than a century after the 1907 race riots that attacked Vancouver Chinatown and Japantown.

But I wondered if new immigrant Chinese drivers had no idea of anti-Chinese racist history or stereotypes in B.C., and were being corrected by their politically correct and culturally sensitive non-Asian citizens?

The C stickers are available in car accessory stores in Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby for $3.99 for plastic stickers or $8.99 for magnets. According to my Chinese friends, lots of Chinese people were putting them on their cars, and most of them were indeed immigrants, according to stories in the Chinese language media, and even blogs in China.

Technically, these C stickers are only “offensive” because people “think” they’re offensive.

24 Hours Newspaper puts “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” on the cover for St. Patrick’s Day Parade coverage

24 Hours likes our “multicultural flavour” – We were a pioneer in the inaugural Celticfest St. Paddy’s Parade in 2004, with a Taiwanese drago boat. This year we put a Chinese Dragon and Chinese Lion in Vancouver’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade… and our Gung Haggis sign was carried by a Korean-Canadian woman holding a Scottish flag on a hockey stick with a red Chinese hand puppet.

St. Paddy’s elicits multicultural flavour | Local | News | Vancouver 24 hrs

St. Patrick’s Day parade elicits multicultural flavour 0 By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver Sunday, March 17, 2013  CelticFest Vancouver, which celebrated Irish, Scottish and a range of other cultures that founded B.C., wrapped its weeklong celebrations on Sunday following the St. Patr…

Here are our own pictures from the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade for Celticfest Vancouver.

Here is our enthusiastic crew: Meena, Caroline, Lewis (hidden), Jenny, Karl, Justin, Sinae, Sam & Shaney (in the green lion).  Deb is driving the car.  – photo Todd
Decorating the Audi A4 for the parade.  The bridge was so windy, the plastic signs were blowing off the car.  Usually we tape the “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” sign over the rear passenger windows – not this year.  We mixed up green shamrocks, with Chinese red envelopes, plus Chinese tassels, and pictures of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy icon picture. – photo Caroline
“Toddish McWong” and Steve McVittie, parade marshal for the Celticfest Vancouver St. Patrick’s Day Parade. – photo Caroline
Justin leaps into the air leading the dragon head, as Jenny, Karl, Meena and Lewis follow as part of the 5-person dragon crew. – photo Caroline
The crowd gives a good reaction, as Justin lifts the draon up over their heads. – photo Caroline
Sinae and Todd walk along demonstrating the cultural fusion aspects of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy parade entry.  Sinae is Korean-Canadian and carrying a Scottish flag on a hockey stick, while holding a read Chinese dragon stuffy toy and wearing green.  Todd is wearing a yellow Macleod tartan kilt, while wearing a traditional Chinese Lion Mask costume. – photo Caroline

Welcome to the 2013 paddling season for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy paddlers building a big lead at the Steveston Dragon Boat Festival – 1st place in our consolation C race.

Scottish Robbie Burns music and poetry
+ Chinese New Year food and culture

+ BC history with Scottish & Chinese pioneers

= Gung Haggis Fat Choy

2013 is year 12, of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, paddling
every year @ Alcan Races and beyond since 2002.  It is also Year 17 for a
team that started in 1997 under the name Celebration Team and for which
the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event was
created as a fundraiser for in 1998.  This is the only team that has
twice won the Hon. David Lam Award for the team that best exemplifies
the multicultural spirit of the dragon boat festival (2001 & 2005)

We paddle every Sunday 11am -1pm (excluding holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day) and every Wed 6pm -7:30pm (starting next week).  Our first practice in 2013 was on March 10th, last Sunday.

We paddle from Creekside Community Centre, at the East Bay of False Creek.  It is centrally located to skytrain terminals and bus stops.  It is just a few steps southwest of Science World.

Gung Haggis dragon boat team leaving the dock for the semi-final races of the 2012 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – lots of enthusiasm, returning and new paddlers. – photo T. Wong

2012 was a rebuilding break through year for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. We started paddling in March, soon after celebrating our annual big Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner at Floata Restaurant on January 27th.

2012 Highlights included:
– 1st place Consolation Rec C Finals at Rio Tinto Alcan Festival
– 4th place D Division – Harrison Dragon Boat Festival
– 1st place Consolation C Dvision Steveston Dragon Boat Festival, Richmond BC Festival Canoe
– 2 teams in A Final at Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta

We will paddle throughout the Summer, entering races at least once a month, and finishing with one of the most fun events on  Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday October 8th – the Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta.  You don’t have to paddle every race.   Pick and choose where and when you want to race.

Lots of smiles on the 2012 team after we paddled in our first race of the season at False Creek, Vancouver  – photo – T. Wong

We have unlimited team registration to join our “paddling and social club”
– but race events are limited to 24 paddlers + drummer + steers.
(20 paddlers in a boat + 4 spare paddlers) – we rotate everybody fairly, and nobody
sits more than one race (unless they choose, or special circumstances).

$150 Team registration includes practices, boat rental, coaching + equipment.  And we have student prices!

Each race event will have a varying price depending on the cost.  From $40 to $20, as the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival team entry is $1800,   RTA is 2 day event with 2 races per day + special races,  one day regattas are usually only 3 races.

We have really enjoyed meeting lots of new paddlers so far this Spring and welcoming back our veteran paddlers.  Everybody has such a great positive spirit.  We want 2013 to be lots of fun, filled with new friendships + race results to rival last year: Our teams over 16 years have raced in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Burnaby, Richmond, Steveston, Vernon, Harrison, Cultus Lake, Ft. Langley + Banff AB, Kent WA, and Portland OR….

CONTACT: Team manager Karl Castillo
Coach and team founder Todd Wong
gunghaggis at yahoo dot ca

65 years ago – Larry Kwong broke the NHL colour barrier

65 years ago today – Larry Kwong from Vernon BC, broke the colour barrier in the NHL. He played one shift for the New York Rangers in Montreal – then he was sent back to the minors, despite being the top scorer of the New York Rovers farm team. He moved on to play Major Hockey for the Valleyfield Braves of the Quebec Senior Hockey League where he was named assistant captain of the Valleyfield Braves. In 1951, Kwong won the Vimy Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the QSHL. That year, he led the Valleyfield Braves to the league championship and then to the Alexander Cup, the Canadian major senior title. In the following QSHL season (1951–52), Kwong’s 38 goals were topped only by Jean Béliveau’s 45 tallies. Larry will be inducted to the BC Sports Hall of Fame in September.

Historic anniversary for Larry Kwong


65 years ago, Calgary’s Larry Kwong made hockey history by becoming the first Asian-Canadian to suit up in the National Hockey League. Larry Kwong joins us in studio to talk about his historic game.

On July 23, 2010 – BC Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Dinner (Penticton, BC) Who was the first player from the Okanagan to make the NHL: this video introduced him to the gathering.

LARRY KWONG: The Longest Shot


LARRY KWONG: The Longest Shot

Will BC Premier Christy Clark make an official BC government apology for the head tax, despite political woes of the memo?

The BC Liberals wanted to exploit the already-historically-exploited… “The BC government should never be seen to be profiting from racism. We take the view that these ill-gotten gains must be returned to the head tax families,” Victor Wong, CCNC. In actuality, Chinese-Canadians have been asking for equality since 1885, when the head tax was implemented and the right to to vote was taken away, thus disenfranchising a single racial group for 62 years, and separating families. A non-partisan, inclusive negotiation with descendants of head tax payers is the right and honourable way to an apology.

see the CCNC press release here:

But now BC Premier Christy Clark is saying that she is ready to issue an official apology anyways.

Christy Clark on CTV: “I think it’s the right thing to do to apologize for the Chinese Head Tax I’m very committed to that…The apology needs to be seen outside of politics. It needs to be an absolutely genuine apology…If the discussion about all the rest of this [the memo] is going to taint that, I say we wait.”

However CCNC executive director Victor Wong, who is the grandson of a head tax payer, is suggesting that British Columbia’s premier shouldn’t let her current political troubles with
“the memo” interfere with delivering a meaningful apology for the policy, if it would include a financial settlement that would be significant of the “$23 million collected in head tax levies, it transferred about $8.5 million back to B.C., which would be worth upwards of $1 billion today.”

Victor Wong says. “If you say ‘genuine apology,’ then we will take you at your word. If you mean genuine apology, then it has to be an apology that we’re willing to accept.”

“If we wanted just an apology, we would have got it back in 2011 or 2012 or early 2013,” he said. “It’s been offered to us. We’ve rejected it.”

Wong pointed to the federal government apology in 2006 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a model for the B.C. government to follow. The Conservative government doled out payments of $20,000 to living Chinese head tax payers and to living spouses of deceased payers.

Read more:

Rhapsody in Blue on Accordion… or Many Accordions…

I love the George Gershwin composition Rhapsody in Blue.  I have an abridged solo accordion transcription that I often play.
But if I had 25 more accordion-playing friends who could play along with me, then we could do this:

Rhapsody in blue George Gershwin Brodski harmonikaški orkestar “Bela pl. Panthy”, Slavonski Brod Godišnji koncert 2009 – Slavonski Brod
And if we had a 40 piece accordion orchestra + piano soloist – we could do this!
George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (Piano and Accordion Orchestra) Erik Reischl, Thomas Bauer, LAOH.  Erik Reischl performs Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. This is a special, live performance for piano and accordion orchestra. Landes-Akkordeon-Orchester …
If the “clarinet” player gets sick, they just give the part to another accordionist who pushes the “clarinet” switch on his treble keyboard. My accordion also has switches for bassoon, piccolo, oboe, violin, musette, organ, harmonium, bandoneon and accordion. I should try this at home!

CCNC calls on BC Government to return Head tax monies in wake of leaked document about targeting ethnic apologies

After the leaked documents revealed the BC Liberal party to use ethnic apologies for “quick wins”, the Chinese Canadian National Council, has now called on the BC government to return the provincial portion of monies received from the Chinese Head Tax 1885 to 1925.  In 2006, the Canadian government acknowledged that the Head Tax was racist and dark part of the country’s history.  Canada issued an apology in parliament and created ex-gratia payment of $20,000 for surviving head tax payers or their spouses if they were pre-deceased.  Only less than 1% of head tax certificates were recognized in this manner.  Another legacy program for education was created called CHRP.

Here is the link to the CCNC website:

Acknowledging BC’s Racist Past by Returning Head Tax Monies to the Families
Friday March 1, 2013 

The Chinese Canadian National Council called on the BC government today to acknowledge its racist past and to return the provincial share of the head tax monies received back to the head tax families.

Vancouver/Toronto. The Chinese Canadian National Council called on the BC government today to acknowledge its racist past and to return the provincial share of the head tax monies received back to the head tax families.

The Chinese have a continuous history in BC since 1858 and have faced overt discrimination right from the beginning. The BC government attempted to pass a head tax but it was declared ultra-vires by the courts because immigration is a federal responsibility. The BC government was able to pass legislation to deny Chinese residents the right to vote and local politicians lobbied the federal government to enact the Head Tax in 1885 and Chinese Exclusion Act in 1923.

A significant amount of these head tax levies that were collected were transferred to BC government. CCNC estimates that $8.5 million, a sum with a present value of $800 million to $1 billion made its way back to BC to pay for the government’s operations and public works investments. “The BC government was unjustly enriched by this arrangement,” Sid Chow Tan, Chair of the Head Tax Families Society of Canada said today. “The BC government must properly and sincerely offer a meaningful apology to the head tax families by returning these ill-gotten gains to them.”

CCNC is also disappointed with the contents in the Haakstad memo that was leaked on February 27, 2013. “Acknowledging a historic wrong should never be viewed as a partisan ‘quick win’,” Victor Wong, CCNC Executive Director added. “We appreciate the Premier’s apology for the memo and urge the BC government to negotiate in good faith with the head tax families to achieve a just and honourable resolution.”

“The BC Legislature passed a unanimous motion to support redress in 1992 and all parties should be included to ensure that the official legislative acknowledgement, apology and return of the head tax monies is seen to be non-partisan and sincere, and not made for political advantage.”

CCNC has lobbied for redress of the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act since 1984. In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a Parliamentary Apology which included direct redress to the living head tax payers and surviving spouses. The symbolic financial redress – $20,000 per applicant – affected an estimated 785 families. Redress remains incomplete because some 3,000 head tax families were excluded as the head tax payer and spouse in those families had both passed on. CCNC has proposed that the BC government return a symbolic amount to the head tax families to give meaning to any official apology.

Founded in 1980, CCNC is a national non-profit organization with 27 chapters across Canada and a community leader for Chinese Canadians in promoting a more just, respectful, and inclusive society. CCNC and allies are one of the co-recipients of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation’s 2008 Award of Excellence for its work on the Chinese Head Tax redress campaign.

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For more information or media interviews, please contact:

Sid Chow Tan, Head Tax Families Society of Canada:

Victor Wong, Chinese Canadian National Council:; 416-977-9871


Sid Chow Tan on CBC Almanac:

Feb 28 2013 BC Hansard:

Feb 27 2013 BC Hansard: