Category Archives: CBC TV Special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”

CBC TV Special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” + CBC Radio: All in one Day!!!

“Wow! What a show… fast moving – lots of interesting topics. Truly
quirky and at times full of irreverent trivia about Scots and Chinese –
just like the actual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner. Producer Moyra
Rodgers effectively captured the essence of the Toddish McWong Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year dinner.

I especially loved the animation segments that were extremely
reminescent of the old Monty Python's Flying Circus television
bits.  And the bits of trivia… such as how many times the size
or population of Scotland could fit into China – how fittingly
self-describes as “a completely uselsss bit of information.”

Quirky, irreverent, fun, educational, interesting… a juxtaposition
of diverse cultures giving new views of what it means to be Canadian. I
love it! Good on you Moyra! And to Rae too, especially for having the
vision and the courage to take a risk on Gung Haggis Fat Choy.
Afterall, 400 people at last year's dinner can't be wrong… and almost
another 600 people have already bought tickets for the the two nights
for Jan 24th & 25th, creating a 50% increase from last year.

This afternoon, soprano Heather Pawsey and I appeared on the CBC
Radio show The Afternoon Show with Kathryn Gretsinger and Fairchild
radio host Deborah Moore. Debra and Kathryn asked me about the origins of
Gung Haggis Fat Choy. Debra even asked what I was wearing under the
kilt! True to the code, I dinna gie her a straight answer! “We'll go
for a wee walk after the show,” I told her…

I brought Gung Haggis Wun-tun and spring rolls as an offering to
these queens of afternoon radio. And I brought along my accordion and
new friend Heather Pawsey. Heather is an accomplished classical soprano
singer who regularly appears with the Vancouver Opera and will be the
lead principle in the Feburary production of the Burnaby Lyric Opera.
While Heather was raised on a steady diet of Burns dinners since she
was a little girl, she has recently been singing in mandarin and has
developed a real appreciation for Chinese music and culture. There is
nobody better that I could think of to bring to the special Chinese New
Year programming day for CBC and Fairchild Radio at Aberdeen Mall in
Richmond BC.

After dropping Heather off back in Vancouver so she could prepare
for her evening gig at the Pan Pacific doing “Opera Nights,” I had
dinner with my girlfriend and her parents – visiting from Vernon BC.
This is what they had to say about it:

“I like it,” says Pat Martin, “Loved the blend of cultures… I
liked the music. I love the idea of dinner tomorrow. I love the idea of
watching the dinner show tomorrow and I can hardly wait to see who is
on. Waiting for lots of laughs.”

“I enjoyed the show thoroughly,” said her husband Bill Martin, who
is looking forward to having haggis at the dinner, and wants to take
some home to friends in Vernon. We watched for all the credits for our
friends and family.After the show was over, my girlfriend gave me a big
hug. She is very proud of me.

Tonight! Watch CBC TV – Gung Haggis Fat Choy, 7:30pm

Tonight… tonight… the stars align tonight…

Tonight we get to see how well CBC Regional Director Rae Hull's
vision of a multicultural television performance special has been
realized by producer Moyra Rodger.  I sat in on our first blue sky
conception meetings that were rejected.  I
recommended performers, locations and concepts in my role as

I watched the music video filmings at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden and on
Keefer St in Chinatown.  I brought my family in for filming a
simulated Chinese New Year Dinner.  I modeled a kilt on a late
night Gastown street. I listened to Moyra say that she is happy with
the production and that she is proud to have her name on it.

What can we expect?  Expect the unexpected!  Look for the
intersections between two of Canada's oldest non-official founding
cultures on the West Coast.  Look at how stereotypes are
flipped, racial images are juxtaposed with cultural images in ways
you never imagined before.  Think outside the box.  Think…
“What if?”

But most of all… think of how much fun all the performers had of
being a part of this show.  Think how much they enjoyed pushing
the boundaries of stereotypes and playing cheekily with the
traditional.  I haven't seen the final product.  I look
forward to seeing the show tonight with my girlfriend, Deb Martin, and
her parents who have travelled all the way from Vernon BC to attend the

I look forward to hearing comments from my parents and my 93 year
old grandmother who was born in Victoria BC, the grand-daughter of Rev.
Chan Yu Tan who came to Canada in 1896.  In each subsequent
generation we have had inter-racial marriages in the family.  The
blending of Scots and Chinese is truly nothing new to us!

January 23, 7:30pm is Gung Haggis Fat Choy CBC tv special

The date is set, the time is set… sit back on Friday, January 23 at 7:30pm with your haggis wun-tun and the haggis potato chips and get ready for the unexpected.

What will happen on the tv screen, I cannot say…  but it will included juxtapositions of Scottish Canadian and Chinese Canadian cultures that will make you marvel at the marvel we call Canada.  Everything was filmed in Vancouver, BC.  On locations, performers and props were in Vancouver – with the exception of George Sampson from Ottawa.

More info in my previous post about the Gung Haggis Fat Choy TV Special.

TV Special coming in January

Gung Haggis Fat Choy will soon become a tv special for CBC regional tv. It will air somewhere between January 21st and 25th. The featured musical guests will be: The Paper Boys (augmented with bagpiper and Chinese flute) filmed at Vancouver's beautiful Dr. Sun Yat Sun Classical Chinese Gardens; Qiu Xia He's Silk Road Music filmed on Keefer St. in Vancouver's Chinatown; Brave Waves (featuring Joe McDonald on bagpipes, and Andrew Kim on sitar + tabla drums) filmed in studio; George Sampson… (a Greek Canadian who sings in Mandarin and is now a part-time pop star in China – go figure) in studeio.

I will actually appear in about 3 different segments… Mostly in some of the back ground shots… We shot a Chinese New Year dinner segments with my parents, grandmother, girlfriend and friends. It was great fun – just what a good Chinese New Year Dinner should be. Dad even passed out li-see (lucky money). We chased away the ghosts, paid off debts and cleared the feng shui for prosperity to come our way. Joe McDonald my favorite and faithful bagpiper also joined us… If you watch closely there's a scene where I tricked Joe into the time honoured tradition of eating fish eyeballs… of course I ate the cheeks.

So now, Joe has followed me onto CBC Radio's “Richardson's Roundup” and Shelagh Roger's “Sounds Like Canada” and now a CBC television special! Who would have thunk it! It was back in August that CBC regional director Rae Hull invited me to a meeting to discuss pushing Gung Haggis Fat Choy (the dinner) up to another level. Producer Moyra Rodger of Out to See Productions was given the helm. She is an amazing woman that was able to capture the essence of Gung Haggis Fat Choy and transfer it to a television performance special. Each element of the show will include something Scottish and something Chinese – and of course it all comes out very Canadian. More details to follow.