Monthly Archives: June 2013

Great time at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival – Gung Haggis team races for medals in E Championship,

Wonderful 3 days of Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.

Saturday afternoon, we finished our last race, and we are still a happy bunch.  Of course, we recruited the “dragons” to join us for our team picture.

Friday: we take our 5 person parade dragon down for opening night

Saturday: host TSA Dragon Flyers from California, our Gung Haggis team welcomes rookie paddlers, returning paddlers and guest paddlers from Go Ju Go.

Sunday: we raced for a medal in E Championship, and witness steady improvement with our paddlers. Our guests TSA Dragon Flyers won Gold in Rec D Championship.

Lots of fun, new friends, old friends… simply wonderful.

We had a joint team dinner on Saturday night at Floata Restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown, where I had to simultaneously attend a banquet dinner for the Irish & Scottish Studies International Conference, organized by the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University. The conference featured a Gung Haggis Fat Choy-styled dinner, so I invited dragon boaters to help carry our 5 person dragon to help lead the procession of the haggis. California paddlers were very keen to help out.  In this picture l-r is Anthony, Laura, Steven (from Gung Haggis), Billie and Jose.

Sunday Morning – welcome to the Church of Dragon Boating – as first we lifted veteran paddler Keng into the air, then now in this picture we lift Albert – who is 2 times as heavy as Keng.

Before our final race, our team relaxes by doing a group circle massage.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy team raced for a medal in Rec E Championship, but while we came 1st in lane one last year for the Rec D Consolations, alas, we came 8th in 2013. While Geoff George of TSA had steered for us in our 3 earlier races, the TSA team had to race 22 min later in the D Final, so our guest steersperson was my friend Suzi Cloutier from Portland’s Wasabi Team Huge.  Suzi paddled in the Women’s A Final to come in 2nd place, then stayed on the dock to await our team. She took control of our boat, and gave us lots of encouragement, while drummer Deborah Gee give us the calls for our starts and power series.  Assistant Coach Debbie Poon gave Deborah prompts, while we both yelled out along with Deborah to give her more support.

Here are the final results for all teams in the Rec E Championship race. It was good to race against our friends O2P, Metro Van 44 Cheeks, and the Eh Team.  Congratulations to the medal winning team and especially O2P – nice to see them beat us this year, after we bet them twice in race consolation finals last year in Vancouver and Steveston.

  • 8th– 2:33.510  – Gung Haggis Fat Choy
  • 7th – 2:30.610 – KDBC LIFT WHAT’S DRAGGIN
  • 6th – 2:30.040 – Metro Vancouver 44 Cheeks
  • 5th – 2:29.070 – Kwantlen Sea-Eagles
  • 4th – 2:25.170 – O2P
  • 3rd – 2:23.640 –Red Eyes Paddling Club
  • 2nd – 2:20.940 – The EH Team
  • 1st – 2:19.170 – Concord Pacific Team Too

After we did a quick team debrief, we watched TSA Dragon Flyers won Gold in Rec D with a time of  2:15.990.  They had a good start, and pulled out ahead after their transition to race pace, from their start.  It was fun to watch them come down the course, while boat 2 was very close, and other boats weren’t too far away.  TSA had a strong finish and kept a steady surge to the finish line.

Here is a nice picture of both Gung Haggis Fat Choy and TSA Flying Dragons posing together for a joint team picture. There was a good feeling of camaraderie and mutual support, as teams cheered for each other during races, and also joined together for a joint dinner on Saturday night.  Gotta admit this team looks pretty good with rows of blue and red, bookended by kilts!

Gung Haggis dragon boat team races at 10:34am Saturday in Race #15

Cheer on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team for Race #15 Saturday at 10:34am, then later in race 38, 40, 42 or 44 between 2:47-3:31pm. Then again on Sunday TBA.

We have an enthusiastic team filled with veterans and rookies, and supplemented with paddlers from the Go Ju Go team.  Our combined practice on Wednesday night was awesome – we are ready to race!  We are also pleased to be hosting the TSA Dragon Flyers team from Long Beach California.

Here is the link to the festival events and races

Here are pictures from Friday Night opening ceremonies and performances at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.

Tips on How to Choose A Luxury Watch

Tips on How to Choose A Luxury Watch

5 Tips on How to Choose A Luxury Watch

A luxury timepiece can represent the significant investment of time and also the value for its design, function and quality. The purchase of a luxury timepiece can be aroused from different intentions, as a personal milestone in a certain stage of life, as a token to be passed down to your next generation, to fulfill your enthusiasm for luxury watches or also as an investment. Whatever intention of yours is, it is sure a major life’s decision in choosing the right luxury watch to own or to invest in. Therefore, here are the five tips which lead you in your journey of purchasing luxury watches that suit you the most.


Know Your Intention and Preferences

No matter for men or for women, always be clear of your intention in owning a luxury watch. The luxury watch can be an accessory for social occasions, it can be an expression of an individual’s persona, it can be an impressive art piece or even an appreciation of the complex inner mechanics engineering. By confirming your intention in owning a luxury watch, you can get to know your preferences on the looks, the functions and the practicality of the luxury watch which you will be opted for. For example, if you are looking for something sporty with modern design and some sparks of colours, the Zenith Chronomaster Sport with tachymeter which contrasts beautifully with the colours of rose gold, navy and white accents on the latest and most technical evolution of revered automatic chronograph.




Get Clear on Your Budget

After getting your intention and preferences right on track, it is time to note down your budget for your shopping. There are different valuable timepieces out there for every budget. If you have a lower budget around RM2,000, the Seiko Prospex would be a nice one to opt for.


Higher budget around RM4,000 to RM12,000, Omega Speedmaster can be one of your choices. Available in CYT.





Study on Watch Movements and Materials

Another thing which you should do is your research on the movements and materials of the luxury watches as it influences the prices as well as the styles. What is meant by the watch movements? Watch movement is the mechanism that makes a watch to keep ticking and telling the time accurately. There are a few movement types which you can go through to check out which type you will be preferring more. The movement types are manual movement, automatic movement and quartz movement. Get the best rolex replica deals.

Manual movement is also called as the mechanical movement. A mechanical watch with mechanical movement needs to be wound manually before wearing it to make sure that you will be seeing the correct timing. This movement is the most traditional movements which can be found in conservative, expensive and collectable watches. Example of manual movement luxury watch, the Piaget. Available in CYT.


Automatic movement type of watch will be winding by itself while it is being worn on the wrist. However, if it is not worn for some time, the watch will stop working and it will be needing a manual winding to restart it. One of the examples for automatic movement luxury watch will be the Cartier. Now available in CYT.



Quartz movement watches work on the uses of battery as its power source. Therefore, it does not need a manual winding to make it works. This type of watch movement is currently the most accurate type of movement being produced and normally these quartz movement watches will be less expensive compared to the mechanical ones due to the craftsmanship of the production. Check out the automatic movement luxury watches, the Tag Heuer in CYT.



As for watch materials, stainless steel watches are more affordable, Titanium ones are light-weighted, carbon fiber material watches are less expensive than noble metals ones. Therefore, try to make sure of all these details when choosing for your ideal luxury watches.


International Conference coming

Your Guide on How to Plan a Corporate Event

Any business that wants to build lasting relationships, which is crucial for your company’s growth, needs to know how to produce professional events. Hosting a corporate affair allows you to strengthen bonds with current clients and partners, while developing genuine connections and attracting future ones.

“Events provide businesses a personal way to build relationships with their target audiences [as well as] build brand recognition and loyalty,” said Myke Nahorniak, co-founder and CEO of Localist. “LinkedIn messages, Facebook status updates and tweets cannot replace the meaningful connections made through in-person communication.” 

Whether you’re hosting a product launch for 300 people or an employee training for 15, it’s key to approach each gathering with an understanding of the basic elements of event management: research, design, planning, coordination and evaluation. Once an event is broken up into these manageable stages, it is much easier to conceptualize it and pull together the many moving pieces needed to bring it to life. These are the best corporate event venues.

1. Understand the purpose of your event.

Once you decide you want to host an event, your first step is to define what you hope to accomplish.

“It is important to know the goals and objectives of the event you are trying to produce before you can do anything else,” said Brian Worley, creative director and owner of B. Worley Productions.

Start by asking yourself why you are hosting the event and what you expect from it. Once you’ve identified your goals and expectations, you can then determine what kind of event will resonate with your intended audience.

“Rather than thinking of it as just a corporate event, think about it like you’re delivering an interactive brand experience,” said Serena Holmes, CEO of Tigris Events. “You want it to be meaningful and engaging.”

2. Decide on your audience.

An important part of the planning process is defining your target audience. Is it your company’s executives and upper management, business partners, or community members? Is it for longtime clients or potential clients? Maybe it’s a combination of some or all the above. Figuring out your target audience and understanding how to reach them is essential to a successful event. Once you can name your audience, you can cater the program to their needs and interests. 

It’s always stressful to determine how many guests to invite to these events. However, according to Julian Jost, CEO and co-founder of Spacebase, it’s better to invite too many people than too few. 

“For small businesses, empty seats and uneaten snacks look bad and are a waste of money,” he said. “In most situations, having too many people show up isn’t really going to spoil an event – with some exceptions, like venues with very limited space or where a three-course meal is planned. If too many people turn up, it’s also great marketing. You’re sure to create a buzz the next day, and it will add to anticipation about your next event.” 

Regardless of how small or large the guest list is, what people will remember is how they were treated. “Every person attending the event is a potential brand ambassador or word-of-mouth spokesperson for … your business,” said Valerie Gernhauser, owner and principal planner of Sapphire Events. “It is important to make a significant impact on the guest experience by not overlooking the finer details that each attendee will appreciate firsthand.”

3. Set a realistic budget.

You need to know how much money you have to work with to determine what sort of event you can produce. According to Worley, decide early on how much you want to spend, and then plan on spending at least 10% more. 

“Things are always changing, and you should have a cushion for added and unexpected expenses that pop up,” he said. 

Once you have a budget, knowing where to allocate most of your resources is essential. For example, if you spend more on fancy decorations than you do on a skilled tech crew or personable speakers, your event might be lacking in substance. 

Additionally, don’t skimp on food or beverages, and take into account attendees with dietary restrictions. Though this may not seem as important as other aspects of your event planning, audiences are more forgiving of missteps when they aren’t hungry or thirsty. 

4. Choose a theme and format.

Once you have set your objectives and defined the audience, it’s time to choose a theme or topic for the event and determine the best format for presenting it to your guests. 

For example, coordinating a client event with an industry expert, such as a guest speaker, can position your company as a trusted advisor, instead of just a vendor. Peer-to-peer learning with client panels, keynotes, roundtables and breakout session speakers are other popular options. 

“Always offer opportunities for attendees to do something fun, memorable and entertaining that they wouldn’t typically do anywhere or anytime else,” said J.J. Barnes, chief marketing officer at enVista. “This might include hearing from a famous speaker, comedian or band; playing on an incredible golf course; or trying something new, thrilling or exclusive for the first time.”

A successful corporate event is both immersive and educational, according to Worley. 

“The ones that are interactive – rather than sitting in a ballroom watching a speaker all day – are more successful, informative and fun,” he said. “We really try to create experiences these days that go beyond theater-style seating, and put the attendees in situations and in front of the right people for networking and learning.

“Determine what you are going to do to make this an ‘out of the box’ event,” Worley added. “Spend the time now to figure out what will differentiate your event from similar ones in your industry or even ones you’ve previously produced.” 

5. Establish a project timeline.

Designing the event requires you to keep track of a broad range of tasks. This can be facilitated by creating a master detailed checklist. Online project management software can streamline all of the tiny details and help you stay organized. 

“The overall planning checklist serves as a tool for the duration of the planning process,” Gernhauser said. She said her team starts with a list for 12 months out and works in checklist increments at nine months out, six months out, four months out, two months out, the month of, two weeks out, the week of and the day of the event. “Breaking down the task list like this helps our team foresee the schedule of milestones we need to target.” 

Italian for a day… in Vancouver

Italian Day, Commercial Drive, June 9

Italian for a day… Italian is actually the third language I learned, while I learned to play accordion. It is the language of music.. Rossini, Puccini… and O Solo Mio. I grew up near Commercial Drive and had lots of Italian-Canadian friends, and later I even had Italian girlfriends. I played accordion for their families. I cook fettucini and linguine noodles with beef stir-fry and Chinese oyster or soy sauce. And maybe… I will organize a dragon boat team for the Italian Cultural Centre.
These two ladies were dancers in the flash mob that took place in front of the main stage, after the speeches finished.  About 20 dancers with carnivale masks did a synchronized routine – spectacular!  One of their mothers took this picture for me.






My friend Giulio Recchioni is the Cultural director for Il Centro: Italian Cultural Centre. OMG… I am still wearing my kilt. I had just come from the Dragon Zone Regatta, racing with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. I think Giuilo would be a good paddler. Maybe we can create a dragon boat team for Il Centro: Italian Cultural Centre.


Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson reads from the city proclamation to announce “Italian Day in Vancouver”

After the speeches I chatted with Vancouver councilor Tony Tang (who wants to wear a kilt), Burnaby MLA Richard Lee, and Michael Cuccione – president of the ICC.
Sardines on the big grill, at the PCOV – Portuguese Club of Vancouver – always a big line up here.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team – back to race speed!


Looking Good! 2013 edition of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team continues a 16 year history that began in 1997 as Celebration Team. This team is a mix of veterans and rookies, as well as returning paddlers and borrowed paddlers. The Dragon Zone Regatta was the first race ever for Sunny and Russ, and was actually Russ’ 3rd time in a dragon boat.  Louise first paddled with the team in ’99, before the name changed to Gung Haggis Fat Choy in ’02. Michelle also paddled on a previous team years ago, and has rejoined dragon boating with us.  Keng and Gerard joined the team in 2005. Deb Martin joined the team in 2003 and has paddled, drummed – but now steers for the team.  Joy is back with us, after dragon boat paddling in Dubai.  Jan, Betty, Albert and Katie are with the Go Ju Goh team. Stewart is a paddling friend from O2P and is now on the VO2 Max team (I don’t know why he likes this letter and number teams, honestly!).

Sybil and Karl were lead strokes for our final race of the day.  Karl is also team manager this year, Last year he co-managed with Xavier, who is now drummer, and taking this photo.

Our first race of the year saw us boarding the boat, as the previous weather forecast proved wrong, and the sky started spitting rain, which turned into a downpour, once we were out on the race course.  Good thing we have trained our team to have a strong mental resolve.  We practice in the rain, because it might be raining on race day, and while other teams whine about the rain, we will be ready because we trained in the rain. Anyways, we came 5th in our first race with a time of 2:48. Not bad for a first race.  Our team goal is be “first in our lane and never be slower than 3:00” – okay… not really.


Our paddles go deep!  Nicely coached… by the third race, as we were warming up for the final race of the day.  We want our paddlers to lean up, keep their top arm out, and lead the stroke with their hips!photo

We had to race past a flock of Canada Geese that were swimming in the middle of the race course! The Dogwood Nothing pulled in front of us in this race – but we will get them back in two weeks… I promise!photo

Xavier looks comfortable as drummer on the boat, and he really “Rocks the Kilt!”  Did you know that he is the only kilt-maker on the team?  He also plays guitar and churango in the Black Bear Rebels Celtic Ceilidh group.

The Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy parade dragon has been very active in 2013 – will we be at the Dragon Boat Festival?

Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy dragon boat team is very multicultural, and very community-minded.  The team began in 1997 under the name Celebration Team, and was renamed Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy in 2002, named after the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner event, that had its first public dinner in 1998.

This year’s team has members with origins from around the world, as well as multiple generations in Canada.  But our parade dragon has been especially busy in 2013.  In June, we might make an appearance at the Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, as well as the On the Edge International Conference for Scottish and Irish Studies.

Here is a recap of our dragon parade activities so far….
In MAY Asian Heritage Month, we were commissioned to do our dragon walk at the Vancouver Opera pre-show lobby, during their May 4-11, production of Tea: Mirror of Soul.2013_May_Opera 014at Vancouver Opera pre-show with Alma Lee (founder of Vancouver International Writers Festival)


MARCH 17, for the past 8 years we have been in the Celtic Fest St. Patrick’s Day Parade
with either a dragon boat float, or our parade dragon.  This year, we ended up on the cover of 24 Hours Newspaper.

556952_10151400971289302_2138235483_nOur picture

February 17
The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade

January 27th
and our world famous Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner – as interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland, and filmed for local newscasts, and US Public Radio + many other media over the years.
DSC_0044_857158 - Piping in the VIPs