Category Archives: 2006 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner

Kilts and family history abound during two episodes of the 6-part Generations series on CBC Newsworld

Kilts and family history abound during two episodes of the 6-part Generations series on CBC Newsworld

out what a 250 year old Anglophone family in Quebec City and a 120 year
old Chinese-Canadian family in Vancouver have in common.

Both have:
bagpipes and kilts
+ accordion music
+ canoe/dragon boat racing
+ immigration as a topic
+ Church music
+ archival photos/newsreels of an ex-premier
+ cultural/racial discrimination stories
+ prominent Canadian historical events to show how
   the families embraced them or were challenged by them
+ both featured saving a historical literary landmark.
+ younger generation learning the non-English language

Generations: The Chan Legacy features Todd Wong, founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a quirky Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, which inspired a CBC Vancouver television performance special.  Todd's involvements with Terry Fox Run, Joy Kogawa House campaign and dragon boat racing are also shown.

July 29th 4pm PST / July 30th 12am

4:00 p.m. Generations: The Chan Legacy
– Missionaries from China come to the West Coast help Westernize Chinese immigrant workers in the late 1800's.
Generations: The Chan Legacy

August 5th 4pm PST

4:00 p.m. Generations: The Blairs of Quebec
– An Anglophone family with 250 years of history in Quebec City struggles to maintain it's heritage.
Generations: The Blairs of Quebec

July 4, 10 pm ET/PT, July 8 10 am ET, July 29, 7 pm ET
documentary begins with Todd Wong playing the accordion, wearing a
kilt. He promotes cultural fusion, and in doing so, he honours the
legacy of his great, great, grandfather Reverend Chan Yu Tan. The Chans
go back seven generations in Canada and are one of the oldest families
on the West Coast.
Chan family
The Chan family
Chan and his wife Wong Chiu Lin left China for Victoria in 1896 at a
time when most Chinese immigrants were simple labourers, houseboys and
laundrymen who had come to British Columbia to build the railroad or
work in the mines. The Chans were different. They were educated and
Westernized Methodist Church missionaries who came to convert the
Chinese already in Canada, and teach them English. The Chans were a
family with status and they believed in integration. However even they
could not escape the racism that existed at the time, the notorious
head tax and laws that excluded the Chinese from citizenship.
the documentary, Reverend Chan's granddaughter Helen Lee, grandson
Victor Wong, and great grandson Gary Lee recall being barred from
theaters, swimming pools and restaurants. The Chinese were not allowed
to become doctors or lawyers, pharmacists or teachers. Still, several
members of the Chan family served in World War II, because they felt
they were Canadian and wanted to contribute. Finally, in 1947, Chinese
born in Canada were granted citizenship and the right to vote.

Todd Wong, represents a younger generation of successful professionals
and entrepreneurs scattered across North America. He promotes his own
brand of cultural integration through an annual event in Vancouver
called Gung Haggis Fat Choy. It's a celebration that joins Chinese New
Year with Robbie Burns Day, and brings together the two cultures that
once lived completely separately in the early days of British Columbia.

also meet a member of the youngest generation, teenager Tracey Hinder,
who also cherishes the legacy of Reverend Chan, but in contrast to his
desire to promote English she is studying mandarin and longs to visit
the birthplace of her ancestors.

Produced by Halya Kuchmij, narrated by Michelle Cheung.

July 11, 10 pm ET/PT, July 15, 10 am ET, August 5, 7 pm ET

250 years, the Blair family has been part of the Protestant Anglophone
community of Quebec City. The Anglophones were once the dominant
cultural and economic force in the city, but now they are a tiny
minority, and those who have chosen to stay have had to adapt to a very
different world. Louisa Blair guides us through the story of her
family, which is also the story of a community that had to change.
Ronnie Blair
Ronnie Blair

senior member of the family today is Ronnie Blair. He grew up in
Quebec, but like generations of Blairs before him, he worked his way up
the corporate ladder in the Price Company with the lumber barons of the
Saguenay. Ronnie Blair's great grandfather came to the Saguenay from
Scotland in 1842. Ronnie's mother was Jean Marsh. Her roots go back to
the first English families to make Quebec home after British troops
defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham in 1759. The Marsh family
amassed a fortune in the shoe industry in Quebec City.

Marshes and the Blairs were part of a privileged establishment that
lived separately from the Catholics and the Francophones, with their
own churches and institutions. The Garrison Club for instance, is a
social club that is still an inner sanctum for Quebec's Anglo

Blair family
The Blair family

Work took Ronnie Blair and his family to England in the 1960’s but his
children longed to return to Canada, and to Quebec City. Alison Blair
was the first to return, as a student, in 1972. Her brother David
followed in 1974. Both were excited by the political and social changes
that had taken place during the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and threw
themselves into everything Francophone. David learned to speak French,
married a French Canadian and settled into a law practice.

came the Referendum of 1995, a painful moment in the history of the
Anglophone community, and for the passionate Blairs. But David decided
he was in Quebec to stay, and today his children are bilingual and
bicultural. More recently his sister Louisa also returned to Quebec
City and a desire to rediscover her past led her to write a book
called, The Anglos, the Hidden Face of Quebec. Her daughter is also is
growing up bilingual and bicultural, representing a new generation
comfortable in both worlds.

Produced by Jennifer Clibbon and Lynne Robson.

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Friday: Blessing Ceremony + we crash the VIP Party

Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Friday: Blessing Ceremony + we crash the VIP Party

The blessing ceremony for the 19th annual Alcan Dragon Boat Festival went well.. except for Todd being slowed by North
Shore traffic.  Channel M had just called me and was asking if our honourary drummer James Erlandsen, leukemia patient, would be on the boat…

“Nope” I said, “his white blood count is too depleted.” 
“But James' spirit will be with us when we are on the boat, and our spirit is with his, in his recovery back to health.” We are helping to find a matching Eurasian bone marrow for James.  3 of our paddlers are Eurasian, and we have 3 inter-racial couples on the team! Hapa is s-o-o-o in!

Hmmm…. I arrived late and the team was already on the dock.  I
brought down the kilts which paddler Stuart Mackinnon and Drummer Deb each quickly put on. Team Captain
Jim Blatherwick already had his kilt on.

We loaded up the boat, and Taoist priests were already chanting and
dotting the eyes of the dragons…   then we paddled away from the
Dragon Zone dock.  Usually it is this time that drummer Deb does her
introductions of new guest paddlers on the boat – but in the 1st seat –
the female priest was singing/chanting.  Hillary's mother Bev Wong (James Erlandsen's Aunt), and currently inactive paddlers Jeremy and Jen – took pictures of us and waved to us from the Dragon Zone deck.

We paddled over to a float set up on the North side of Dragon Zone –
within good viewing of the VIP lounge on the North West side of the
Science World deck.  We let off the priest + a VIP + Captain Jim… the priests did
blessings.  Captain Jim stood during the ceremonies, and chatted with
the captains of Concord dragon boat team – Fred Roman, and captain of Cathay Pacific –
May.   Jim says the priests gave him a “lucky coin”.  While we waited
the 20 minutes while the priests did their equipment takedown – We paddled some
figure 8's and Deb introduced our guest paddlers.  2 youngsters from
Kitsilano Water Demons junior team, and their coach Chek Tay – whom I
have known since 1999.

We paddled back to the Dragon Zone dock – We started saying our
goodbyes because Deb & Todd were heading off to the ADBF VIP
party, and our paddlers were deciding what to do next when they were
immediately asked to help carrying things down to the dock, as Water's
Edge was setting up the race course.  While our paddlers helped out, and Todd bumped into ADBF general manager Ann
Phelps who said that she had to go help out her volunteers at the VIP
party.  Todd asked if she needed more volunteers, and offered the GHFC
paddlers. So we all did get to go to the VIP party afterall…. but as

It was easy… we served drinks, bused the used dishes, and Todd
helped out at the reception desk.  We were told that we could relieve the
current volunteer staff, switch off and enjoy the party.  We did…  
Free wine, beer, drinks and food, food, food. 

Steven Wong saw his brother Peter who is past-president for ADBF. 
Georgia and I talked with Marlene's very good friend Patrick Couling –
who is an ADBF race advisor.  Vancouver City Councillor George Chow asked me
to help out with the 100th anniversary dinner for the 1907 Chinatown
Riots.  I chatted up the Rogers VIP representatives we had paddled over
to the float – potential sponsorship maybe?  Deb even got her father
into the VIP party, by putting a GHFC shirt over his t-shirt.  We
schmoozed, we ate, we drank, and volunteered hard. 

Hillary, our rookie paddler is amazing… This is her first Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, and she is both a paddler and a volunteer. Tonight, she bused hard, following a previous night when she did a First
Aid course for ADBF volunteers.  Two weeks ago she volunteered at the ADBF regatta,
when Gung Haggis wasn't paddling.  And she will do so again during the
festival.  Thank You Hillary.

Gung Haggis really helped out the ADBF tonight – both during the
blessing ceremony and for the VIP party. ADBF Communications director
Anita Webster, also said I saved her bacon this morning when I
interviewed for 2 spots during the City TV Breakfast TV morning show-
and especially for coming up for a tour of the DZ clubhouse, when the
heavens let loose the rains at 9am this morning.

Thank You everybody.  This is a FANTASTIC team, because of the high
quality of the people on the team.  It is a group that I and its team
members really enjoy being around.

Slainte, Toddish

Gung Haggis Fat Choy goes Montreal via Maisoneuve Magazine/website

Gung Haggis Fat Choy goes Montreal

via Maisoneuve Magazine/website

Check out this interview I did for Maisoneuve Magazine with writer Christopher DeWolf



Christopher DeWolf writes about the different ways Chinese New Year is
being celebrated in Vancouver – but I will just get to the good stuff
here.  Click on the links to visit the full article at Maisoneuve Magazine

This much is obvious when you talk to Todd Wong, the cheerful founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy,
one of Vancouver’s newest and most intriguing cultural events. It all
started when Wong was a student at Simon Fraser University. “I was
asked to participate in the Robbie Burns Day celebration and nobody
wanted to. Nobody wanted to wear a kilt! It was too strange, it was too
weird. But I realized this is a multicultural statement. You’ve got a
fifth-generation Chinese-Canadian wearing a kilt. It really put a flip
on the stereotypes.” That was in 1993. Over the next several years a
series of small dinners with friends based around the
Chinese-cum-Scottish theme eventually ballooned into what is now a
600-person banquet featuring a twelve-course dinner, big-name guests
and a number of fun and prominent performers. Traditional Chinese New
Year dishes are served for dinner but the real star is the haggis which
finds itself transformed into wontons, lettuce wraps and spring rolls.
The cross-cultural culinary experience is upstaged only by the list of
entertainment. This year the long list of talent includes iconic
Japanese-Canadian author Joy Kogawa, who will speak to the audience
some time after Lala, a Chinese-Canadian artist who blends soul and hip
hop with traditional Asian and Canadian music, has performed. “We have
to have fun with multiculturalism,” says Wong.

But Gung Haggis Fat Choy isn’t just about multiculturalism; it’s about interculturalism.There’s
a fine but important distinction between the two. “It’s like a
marriage,” explains Wong. “When you have an intercultural marriage,
somebody’s actually coming into your family. For me, all my cousins on
my maternal side and half my paternal cousins have interracially
married. So we celebrate and everyone in the family is included.”
That’s a pretty apt metaphor for Vancouver, even in a literal
sense—last year, Statistics Canada determined that Vancouver is home to
the largest proportion of mixed-race couples in Canada. Vancouver’s
character is being built around cultural blending and exchange. “In
Vancouver’s search for its own identity, everybody gets to express
their own. We don’t have a long history—we are creating our history and
identity in this moment,” adds Wong.

inevitably then, in our lovely land of order and good governance, comes
the question of how to enshrine part of that identity in a legal sense.
Last year, a debate in Vancouver’s Chinese media about whether to make
the Lunar New Year a public holiday made it into the pages of the Vancouver Sun,
which asked, “Is it time to make it official?” Vancouver’s schools
already throw multicultural New Year celebrations and, last year, all
of the city’s high schools and half of its elementary schools closed
for Lunar New Year. So why not make it a public holiday? Both
Wong and Leung are skeptical. “It’s unfair to other cultural groups to
isolate a Chinese holiday,” says Leung. Wong concurs. “I think that it
is better presently to continue the status quo,” he says. “Should St.
Patrick’s Day and Robbie Burns Day become official holidays? Or Diwali?
or Persian New Year?”

They have a point, but
it’s helpful to remember that, unlike Robbie Burns Day or even Diwali,
the Lunar New Year is celebrated by a huge number of Vancouverites. Not
only is it a traditional festival for the Chinese, Korean and
Vietnamese population, many non-Asians celebrate it by attending
parades, the CFCC fair or by simply getting together with friends for
dinner. Making it a public holiday in Vancouver would be an important
symbol of the city’s dynamic character, one that is just as Asian as it
is European. Still, making the Lunar New Year a holiday would
ultimately be a token gesture; Vancouver’s character will continue to
evolve regardless. “When I travel through Vancouver,” says Wong, “to me
it’s intercultural. I don’t want to go to all the traditional dances
and all that; I want to see what’s exciting. How do we create our own
culture? How does Vancouver create its own identity by drawing on all
its ethnic ancestries?”

The answer will be
something for future generations to discover. In the meantime, have a
good Year of the Dog. Gung Hay–er, Haggis–Fat Choy!

Maisoneuve Magazine

Does Robbie Burns have Chinese descendants? What would he think of Gung Haggis Fat Choy?

Does Robbie Burns have Chinese descendants?
What would he think of Gung Haggis Fat Choy?

People have often asked "What would Robbie Burns think about Gung Haggis Fat Choy?"
I am pleased to share that the Burns Club of Vancouver definitely approves of my combined
Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.

In 2006, Dr. Ian Mason of the Burns Club of Vancouver spoke at Gung Haggis Fat Choy World
Poetry Night at the Vancouver Public Library, January 16th 2006. As well Ian also came to
the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner event at the Floata Restaurant on January 22nd, bringing with
him his wife and Burns scholar Dr. Andrew Noble.

Last night I attended the Burns Club annual Burns Supper, and was seated beside Dr. Noble,
who was the keynote speaker giving the Burns eulogy. All were very enthuasiastic about my
cross-cultural event and Burns Club members Don Mackenzie and Tony Breen also raved about it,
stating that it really reflects Burns' philosophy that "A man's a man for all that and all that."

Dr. Noble commented with me about Burns's job as an exiseman (tax collector), and his disdain
for having to collect taxes for the English government from his fellow countryment. No doubt,
we could have made more comments at the 2006 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, interviewing
Dr. Mason and Dr. Noble about what Burns might have thought about the Canadian head tax
for Chinese immigrants, and the present redress movement.

Grant Hayter-Menzies just found this on a site that lists all known descendants of Burns:

Click on the link "Descendants of Robert Burns" and you'll see Ching-Lin Chang, wife of Peter
Jack Gauld, parents of Andrew Jade Gauld and Arran Ethan Gauld.

2006 – Best Gung Haggis Fat Choy ever! with Prem Gill, Joy Kogawa, Rick Scott & Harry Wong

2006 – Best Gung Haggis Fat Choy ever!  with Prem Gill, Joy Kogawa, Rick Scott & Harry Wong

This was indeed the best ever Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's
Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner.  Every year has a different
quality, different performers, different guests, different co-hosts and
different suprises…  We celebrate the diversity of a “gung
haggis” world – full of intercultural fusion, no longer confined to
self-contained boxes of multiculturalism.

Max Wyman, one of Canada's leading cultural advocates and critics, as
well as head of Canada's UNESCO program, was very excited about last
night's dinner event.  He first told me, then shared with the
audience, that it was wonderful to see Canada's amazing cultural
diversity expressed through the arts.  All the hard work setting
the ground work helps to make it possible for us to show case our Asian
Canadian and cultural fusion artists. 


Wong and Max Wyman converse about the importance and expression of
cultural diversity. Max loved the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner concept
and the performance lineup.  In the front left is the Hon. David
Lam trophy for the dragon boat team that best exemplifies the
multicultural spirit of the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival.  The
winner in 2005 was the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team – photo
Ray Shum.

How else would we be able to see Moyra Rodger or Out To See Productions
direct and produce a television performance special such as Gung Haggis
Fat Choy for CBC for prime time audiences?

How else would we be able to see Jeff Chiba Stearns' unique animated
film “What Are You Anyways?” shown both on CBC primetime and for CBC

sings her self-written “Fortune Cookie” song, accompanied by Sean Gunn
who had just performed his own self-penned song about octogenarian
motorcycle riding “Gim Wong” – photo Ray Shum

How else could we see developing artists like LaLa work with Sean Gunn,
and have Joe McDonald and Brave Waves have their work supported in the
many festivals, and events around town, such as explorASIAN –
Vancouver's Asian Heritage Month festival?


Scott and Harry Wong re-created songs from their 5 Elements cd,
bringing a special intercultural energy to the evening.  Harry
flew in from Hong Kong that morning… the duo next performs a special
concert in Toronto on January 28th for the Royal Conservatory of Music
– photo Ray Shum

Rick & Harry represent a very unique collaboration between a
Canadian artist and a Chinese artist.  It had developed out of
Harry listening to Rick's cd's and writing songs for them, and the
project expanded.  5 Elements is a wonderful album about
friendship and understanding each other's cultures, and they brought
this to Gung Haggis Fat Choy last night.


Shirleys brought their own special performing magic to the show,
working in the word “haggis” into a call and response song with the
audience – photo Ray Shum

The Shirleys, are six (or seven) sassy soulful women whose ancestral
ethnicities represent many different cultures that they all share with
each other and with their audiences.  They brought such energy to
the show with their African songs, and a cross-cultural beauty to their
arrangement of the classic Chinese song Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower).

And how did the evening start off?


Joe McDonald leads the piping ceremony – photo Ray Shum

With the traditional piping in ceremony….   the performers
usually follow Joe McDonald & Brave Waves – but this time it was
Vancouver Mayory Sam Sullivan being piped in.  What a surprise!


Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan is piped
in, he follows Dohl drummer Preet, and is followed by Lynn Zanatta, and
ACWW president Don Montgomery. – photo Ray Shum

Todd Wong and Mayor Sam Sullivan – just two boys who grew up on in Vancouver's East End – photo Ray Shum

Mayor Sam Sullivan gave a warm welcome to the audience, where he
recognized that 6 city councillors were also attending the dinner,
naming Suzanne Anton, Heather Deal, George Chow, Raymond Louie, BC Lee
and Elizabeth Ball.  “We have quorum!” he exclaimed.  Then he
read a poem in Cantonese from the Tang Dynasty.

Lots of surprises during the evening, and our City TV co-host Prem Gill
handled them very well, whenever spontaneous creativities leaped in to
the program. 

Clan NDP showed up and we had Chinese descendant Mary-Woo Sims and
Scottish born Ian Waddell each dressed appropriately reciting verses of
Address to the Haggis.  Bev Meslo, Bill Siksay, Peter Julian,
Svend Robinson and David Askew – all sitting with my good friend Meena
Wong, and NDP organizer, who was born in Beijing.

Co-host Prem Gill of City TV, asks
NDP candidate Ian Wadell about his kilt – which once caught Queen Elizabeth's eye, while Qayqayt Band Chief
Rhonda Larrabee and Kelly Ip look on – photo Ray Shum

MP for Chinatown Libby Davies gave a welcome to the audience,
recognizing the importance of saving Kogawa House, and all the good
work of Asian Canadian Writer's Workshop and Ricepaper Magazine, and
the multicultural fun of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

Clan Green Party also showed up with national party leader Jim Harris
being invited to come up and read the 2nd verse of Address to a
Haggis.  He read it so well with a good brogue that free-range
Haggis rancher Peter Black gave him a big hug that he will be taking it
back to Toronto with him.  Green candidates Jim Stephenson and
Christine Ellis also attended, along with my good friend Cladia
Cornwall, a Green Party organizer – who was born in Shanghai to Jewish
parents escaping Nazi Germany.


groaning trencher there ye fill, Your hurdies like a distant hill, Your
pin wad help to mend a mill In time o' need, While thro' your pores the
dews distil Like amber bead.
Rancher Peter Black watches over National Green Party leader Jim Harris
as he reads the 2nd verse of Robert Burns immortal poem “To a
Haggis.”  Faye Leung, “the hat lady” awaits her turn for the 3rd
Vers – photo Ray Shum

Travelling dinner guests included Betty Chan Klepp who drove all the
way from Vernon.  Betty Chan as a youngster was Highland Dancing
champion, and her father Ernest Chan was the first Chinese Canadian to
recieve the Order of Canada.  Lensey Namioka, children's author of
the book Half and Half, a Scottish-Chinese-American family in Seattle,
travelled up from Seattle with her husband.  Victor Wong,
executive director of Chinese Canadian National Council, was in town
from Toronto, and really really loved the dinner event.  On
Thursday, following a news conference, I dressed him in my kilt for a
fun picture.  He was absolutely amazed at how many times I used
the term “head tax” last night… but this is my family, and this is
our world.


Leung, the famous “hat lady” with Todd wearing a Maple Leaf tartan…
Red is a good luck colour in Chinese culture, and looks good in kilts
too! – photo Ray Shum


highlight of the evening was poet/author Joy Kogawa.  Partial
funds from the dinner go to help Save Kogawa House committee, working
with The Land Conservancy in an effort to help save Joy Kogawa's
childhood home from demolition. At age 6, she and her family were
forcibly removed from the home and interned during the WW2 – photo Ray

Joy Kogawa was our poet for the evening.  The room was almost dead
silent as she read a new work about overcoming challenges and
developing friendship.  And then she mentioned a character named
“Toddish McWong.” I went into stun phase.  After hugging Joy for
her reading, Prem Gill says “Joy Kogawa has written a poem about you…
how incredible is that!”


Head Table: seated – Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, Joy Kogawa, Qayqayt
Band Chief Rhonda Larrabee. standing – MP Libby Davies, ACWW president
Don Montgomery, Lynn Zanatta, The Land Conservancey executive director
Bill Turner, Gung Haggis Fat Choy creator Todd Wong, and Libby Davie's
guest – photo Ray Shum
Our Artsy Head Table: (seated) Issac and Lensey Namioka, Susan Mertens,
Joy Kogawa, Max Wyman, Jenni Kato, (standing) Todd and Moyra Rodger,
Don Montgomery and Jeff Chiba Stearns – photo Ray Shum

Our head table guests included four Order of Canada recipients: Joy
Kogawa, Mayor Sam Sullivan, Max Wyman and brand new member Bill Turner
who attends his investiture on February 17th.  Also at our tabes
were Lensey Namioka, Seattle author of “Half and Half”, Jeff Chiba
Stearns, film animator/creator of “What Are You Anyways?”, MP Libby
Davies, and Moyra Rodger – director/producer of the CBC television
performance special Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  And Qayqayt band Chief
Rhonda Larrabee,
my 1st cousin- once removed, whom I pointed out to the audience that on
one side of her
family she's fighting for land claims, and the other side for head tax

Gung Haggis Fat Choy really is about the people who attend the dinner,
as much as it is about the people we have on stage performing.  So
many times I was stopped while I walked around the room greeting
people, to be asked to take a picture with them, or to be told that
they are Chinese, and their partner is Scottish or the other way
around.  So many people said that they had always wanted to attend
the dinner, and are so glad they could finally make it.


The wonderful crowd of almost
500.  Head table with Mayor Sam Sullivan in front, to his right in
kilt is Bill Turner, executive director of The Land Conservancy and Joy
Kogawa – photo Ray Shum

It's a lot of work, and we are so indebted to the many volunteers of
Ricepaper magazine, Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, and Save
Kogawa House/The Land Conservancy.  Afterall, they do have to work
for their fundraising…   But by bringing organizations
together, and sharing our diverse talents, we can create an event that
is bigger than ourselves as individuals.  Gung Haggis Fat Choy is
about our community.  It reflects our community and the people in
it.  And I am feeling very grateful to be part of such a wonderful

local haggis rancher, Peter Black & Sons, with family… Peter led
the Selkirk Address and read the first verse of “To a Haggis.”  He
had so much fun that afterwards, he invested me with the Order of the
Haggis! – photo Ray Shum

sings Auld Lang Syne – Our special guests: (seated) Todd and Moyra
Rodger (director/producer of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy tv special, Deb
Martin (my girlfriend and front of house manager), Don Montgomery (ACWW
president and E.D. of explorASIAN), Joy Kogawa and Mayor Sam Sullivan.
– photo Ray Shum

Getting Ready for Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2006 – the morning of…

Getting Ready for Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2006 – the morning of…

This is going to be the most exciting Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner yet.
We have people travelling from Seattle, Vernon, Victoria, and Kelowna, specifically to attend.  We have people who are in town from Toronto, Edmonton, and Scotland and specifically want to be at our dinner.

For the first time – we are going to integrate video with the dinner's events…
From the CBC Gung Haggis Fat Choy tv performance special, and the Jeff Chiba Stearns animated film What Are You Anyways?

The program is jam-packed… 

I am so excited the performers Rick Scott and Harry Wong are here….
Their East meets West children's cd 5 Elements is incredible.
Wait until you hear The Shirleys sing acapella.  And LaLa has a song about fortune cookies…
Joe McDonald and Brave Waves are going to put some multicultural takes on traditional singalong songs.   And then… Sean Gunn has a surprise for Gim Wong – the octogenarian WW2 vet motorcycle rider who rode from Victoria to Ottawa this summer.

We have TWO mayors who are ready to read some poetry.

It's the eve of a major federal election… What could be more of a photo op, than pictures with a haggis?  The Chinese head tax has been the sleeper issue of the election.  We have invited some candidates from the local parties to come read some Burns poetry.  What would Robbie Burns have to say about Head Tax and politicians?  Hmmm… be thankit hums…

And somewhere amongst all the excitement is the simple fact that we are raising funds for Kogawa House, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop/Ricepaper magazine and the Gung Haggis dragon boat team.

GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY 2006 – Seating plan for Jan 22, 2006 at Floata Restaurant “subject to change”

Seating plan for Jan 16, 2006 at Floata Restaurant “subject to change”

This seating plan has changed!!!

We are now using only the left (north) side of the restaurant.  The tables have been re-aligned and recognized according to purchase order.

Here is the revised seating plan for the GUNG HAGGIS FAT CHOY dinner at the
Floata Restaurant, January 22, 2006.  Premium tables are in PINK –
they are closer and two bottles of wine are served at the table. 
REGULAR tables are uncoloured.  YELLOW tables are for Head Tables,
Performer tables, sponsoring and beneficiary organizations such as Save
Kogawa House committee, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop and Gung
Haggis dragon boat team.  

Seating for Premium and Regular tables still available.  Premium
seating is $70 each, $700 per table.  Regular seating is $60 each
or $600 per table.  All tickets subject to $2.50 handling charge, as we had to have them printed and collated through our ticket centre.  Children 13 and under are 50% off.  The Firehall Arts Centre
is no longer taking reserve tickets at 604-689-0926.  Tickets
available at the door upon availablity.  Reserve your asap tickets
because we always sell out.

Tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy – if you are buying on the weekend

Tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy

if you are buying on the weekend

For people wishing to come to Gung Haggis Fat Choy… there are still tickets available at the door.

The Firehall Arts Centre has now finished their part in handling advance sales. We thank them for graciously handling advance sales for us.
There will be tickets at the door.  But there are only about 30 seats left.

$60 for Regular seating – further from the stage.
All adult price seats include subscription to Ricepaper magazine (value $20)
Prices are $70 for Premium seating – closer seating + 2 bottles of wine on the table
Childrens price is 50% off.
All tickets subject to $2.50 handling charge.

Please call me in advance to reserve these seats – but they must be claimed by 5:30pm
After that we will release them to the people waiting in line for tickets.

My number is 604-240-7090
but please acknowledge we are very busy with preparations for the dinner.

– please see links on the left hand column of the website.  Free
parking in Chinatown Parkade – at Keefer and Columbia (Quebec) St.
Drive up to the 4th level – and walk directly to the Floata
Restaurant's parkade entrance.

NOTE:  We have changed the seating for the restaurant
have moved the staging to the corner stage of the restaurant and are
limiting audience size to 450 maximum.  This provides for better
viewing for everybody

A new site map with table numbers will be posted asap  – it will also be available at event reception on Sunday.

What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2005 Dinner

What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2006 Dinner

Arrive Early:  The doors will open by
5:15 pm. All seating is reserved, and all tables are placed in the
order that they were ordered (except for special circumstances such as
a major sponsor hint hint).  We find this is the most fair, and it
encourages people to buy their tickets earlier to ensure a table closer
to the stage.  We expect a rush just prior to the posted 5:30pm
time.  This is the time to go to the bar and get your dram of
Glenfiddich or pint of McEwan's Lager – specially ordered for tonight's
dinner.  Ohhh…. but we might be having a special sponsor for drinks.  Well working on it.

The premium
tables will have two bottles of wine on each table.  This is the
reward for purchasing tables closer to the stage and paying $10 more
each.  This also means that you don't have to stand in line for your first drink.

Buy Your Raffle Tickets:
We have some great door
and raffle prizes lined up.  Lots of books (being the writers we
be), gift certificates and theatre tickets + other surprises.  The
best book prize will be BC Almanac's Greatest British Columbians. 
And one of the Greatest British Columbians will be one of our special
performers… Joy Kogawa!

Please buy
raffle tickets… this is how we generate our fundraising.  We
purposely keep our admission costs low to $50 for advance regular seats
so that they are affordable and the dinner can be attended by more
people.  Children's tickets are subsidized so that we can include
them in the audience and be an inclusive family for the evening.

This dinner is the primary fundraising event for
both the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, publishers of RicePaper Magazine and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon
Boat Team. Please support our missions of supporting and developing emerging writers,
organizing reading events, and to spread multiculturalism through
dragon boat racing – or come join our teams!

The Save Kogawa House committee
was added as a beneficiary for the event, because I feel it is
important to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home from demolition.  I
have been working on the committee, and I am pleased that The Land
Conservancy has stepped in to partner with us and help lead the
campaign to turn Kogawa House
into a National literary landmark and treasure for all Canadians.

The first appetizer dish will appear once people
are seated, and after the Piping in of the musicians and
hosts.  We will lead a singalong of Scotland the Brave and give
good welcome to our guests, only then will the first appetizers 
appear.  You want to eat, you have to sing for your supper!

From then on… a new dish will appear every 10 to 15 minutes –
quickly followed by one of our co-hosts introducing a poet or musical
performer.  Serving 60 tables within 5 minutes, might not work
completely, so please be patient.  We will encourage our guests
and especially the waiters to be quiet while the performers on stage.
Then for the 5 minute intermissions, everybody can talk and make noise
before they have to be quiet for the performers again.

This year's
dinner show will emphasize the show over the dinner.  In past
years, we have always tried to alternate food dishes with
performances.  But with the high quality of artists, we need to
highlight them… so this year… the show takes priority!

Expect the unexpected: I
don't want to give anything away right now as I
prefer the evening to unfold with a sense of surprise and
wonderment.  But let it do be known that we have an incredible
array of talent for the evening 

This includes the incredible children's entertainers Rick Scott and his buddy Harry Wong
I have seen them perform together at the Vancouver International
Children's Festival, and I have also seen Rick perform solo and with
his legendary folk trio Pied Pumkin.

harmonies and energy of The Shirleys will astound you.  I have
seen them twice so far… and each time my thoughts were…. “I want
them at Gung Haggis!”

Our non-traditional reading of the “Address to the
Haggis” is always a crowd pleaser.  I hand-pick members of the
audience to join us on stage to read a verse.  Past participants
have included former federal Multicultural Minister Raymond Chow, Qayqayt
(New Westminster) First Nations Chief Rhonda Larrabee, UBC
Director of the Chan Centre Dr. Sid Katz, a descendent of Robert the
Bruce, a doctor from White Horse, a UBC student from Scotland, somebody
doing a vocal impression of Sean Connery.

Who will it be for 2006?  We leave it up until the evening to decide.

The evening will wrap up somewhere between 9:00 and
9:30 pm, then we will socialize further until 10pm.  People will
leave with smiles on their faces and say to
each other, “Very Canadian,”  “Only in Vancouver could something
like this happen,” or “I'm telling my friends.”

Win Tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy – listen to CBC Radio 690 Early Edition

Win Tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy
– listen to CBC Radio 690 Early Edition

Win a pair of tickets to Gung Haggis Fat Choy on CBC Radio's Early Edition Friday show

Listen on Friday, Thursday Jan 19th, somewhere between 7am and 9am on 690
AM CBC Radio One for co-host Margaret Gallagher to give away tix as
part of “690 to Go
as she gives away tickets to the “city's hottest events.”  This
will be the third year Margaret has given away GHFC tickets to CBC
listeners.  We must be hot!  We think Margaret is hot. 
Margaret has both performed and co-hosted for Gung Haggis Fat Choy in
past years.  Margaret guest paddled in our dragon boat entry in
the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2005. We always sing “When Chi-rish
Eyes Are Smiling” –
only for Margaret.

Margaret will also be introducing one of the
Scottish descendant Early Edition crew members to Haggis Won Ton. 
Margaret grabbed some from our taste testing on Wednesday Night. 
This is going to be fun!  Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Canadian cultural fusion

– More raffle prizes coming….

tickets for Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre's next installment of SEX IN VANCOUVER: Doin’ It Again.

tickets for Firehall Arts Centre

swag from City TV

tickets for Curious? restaurant

passes for Maxfit fitness classes

tickets for Chinese Cultural Centre Museum

win a seat in a dragon boat for the St. Patrick's Day Parade!

lots of books on Asian Canadians and Asian Canadian culture from Harbour Publishing, including BC Almanac's Greatest Britishc Columbians

Chow from China to Canada: Tales of Food and Family from Whitecap Books

lots more prizes to be announced.