Category Archives: Kilts Night

June 21st… 23 years cancer free on National Aboriginal Day

June 21st, it’s National Aboriginal Day, so I wore my Robert Davidson t-shirt, with my Yellow Macleod kilt for Kilts Night @ Doolin’s Irish Pub.  And I met Jaime Sanchez, who introduced himself to me, identifying our mutual friend David Wong.  I think Jaime looked at me, and said “You must know David Wong… who else would know a Chinese guy wearing a Aboriginal design t-shirt with a Scottish kilt.”

June 21st was National Aboriginal Day… Kilts Night… my nephew’s 9th birthday… and also the 23rd anniversary of my near-fatal cancer diagnosis in 1989. Here’s a blog story I wrote 5 years ago, how they year’s longest day, on Solstice, became my longest night. Sure glad I’m alive now – otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to go to Kilts Night last night… 😉

Here is a blog story I wrote 5 years ago on the 17th anniversary anniversary of my cancer diagnosis:

Summer Solstice: My longest day 17 years ago « Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy

17 years ago, my doctor asked me to come down for a visit. I had just been to the doctor on the Monday, June 19th. For a few months I had…

What to expect at the 2012 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

What to expect at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2012 Dinner…

DSC_3644_103213 - view from middle of the hall by FlungingPictures. picture by Patrick Tam from the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner

Special for 2012
Every year, we invite new people to perform and co-host. For 2012, there is Chinese New Year theme emerging… because midnight will be the start of Chinese New Year's Day, Year of the Dragon!!!

Tetsuro Shigematsu
– Co-hosting duties are the responsibility of the inscrutable and irreverent samurai expert from the tv show “Deadliest Warrior” – better known as a comedian, writer and film maker.
himself is very intercultural, very Gung Haggis.  While he is technically of
Japanese ancestry, he was born in London England, and raised in Quebec. 
I first got to know Tetsuro back in
the early 2000's when he was a member of the sketch comedy group, The
Hot Sauce Posse.  Soon after he was the new radio host for CBC Radio's
“The Round Up” replacing Bill Richardson.

Fred Wah is the just announced Parliamentary Poet Laureate.  He is winner of both the Governor's General Prize for Poetry (Diamond Grill) and BC Book Prize (Is A Door). Fred is a true Gung Haggis-Canadian with both Scottish and Chinese ancestry, all dominated by his Swedish mother.

Dr. Jan Walls is beloved in both Chinese and Academic and other circles.  He is a scholar of Chinese language, as well as a former cultural attache for the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.  We love him because he performs the ancient tradition of Chinese clapper tales.  We are daring Dr. Walls to set the poetry of Robert Burns to the rapping beat of Chinese bamboo clappers.

performers include Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums, and the Black Bear Rebels celtic ceilidh ensemble… 
More on them in later posts…

The Arrival

What are you wearing?  Kilts and tartans, as well as Chinese jackets and cheong-sam dresses are preferred. But our guests are dressed both formal and casual – be comfortable, be outrageous, be yourself.  If you want to wear a Chinese jacket or top, paired with a kilt or mini-kilt… that is great! 

We might have a kilt fashion show for 2012… we might have a Chinese cheong-sam fashion show… we will see what happens.  One year, one guest dressed up like a Chinese mandarin scholar.  Another year, two guests dressed up as cowboys.

Arrive Early: 

The doors will open at 5:00 pm, All tables are reserved, and all seating is placed in the
order that they were ordered.

you bought your tickets through Firehall Arts Centre, come to the
reception marked Will Call under the corresponding alphabet letters. 
have placed you at tables in order of your purchase.  Somebody who
bought their ticket in December will be at a table closer to the stage
then somebody who bought it in mid January, or on the day before the event.  We think this
is fair.  If you want to sit close for next year – please buy your ticket

you are at a table with one of the sponsoring organizations: Historic
Joy Kogawa House, ACWW/Ricepaper Magazine, Gung Haggis dragon boat team –
then somebody will meet you at the reception area and guide you to your

The Bar is open at 5:00 and Dinner Start time is 6:00

expect a rush before the posted 6:00pm
time. We have asked that the 1st appetizer platter be placed on the
table soon after 6pm.  Once this is done, we will start the Piping in of
our performers and head table.  We sing “O Canada” from the stage, and
give welcome to our guests. “Calling of the Clans” is done for sponors, and reserved table clans – if you would like to have your clan or group announced, please reserve a table of 10.

Buy Your Raffle Tickets:

raffle tickets… this is how we generate our fundraising to support
this organizations dedicated to multiculturalism and cultural harmony. 
Food prices have been rising, but we have
purposely keep our admission costs low 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.
We have some great door
and raffle prizes lined up.  Lots of books (being the writers we
are), gift certificates and theatre tickets + other surprises.

FREE Subscription for Ricepaper Magazine:

Everybody is eligible for a subscription to RicePaper Magazine,
(except children). This is our thank you gift to you for attending our
dinner. And to add value ($20) to your ticket. Pretty good deal, eh?
Ricepaper Magazine
is Canada's best journal about Asian Canadian arts and
culture, published by
Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop,

This dinner is the primary fundraising event for:

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dragon Boat team
continues to promote multiculturalism through
dragon boat paddling events. Some paddlers wear kilts, and we have been
filmed for German, French, and Canadian television documentaries + other

Since 2001, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop,
has been a partner in this remarkable dinner event. ACWW works actively
to give a voice to ermerging writers.  ACWW is the publisher of Ricepaper Magazine.

Historic Joy Kogawa House committee joined our family of recipients in 2006, during the campaign to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home from demolition.  The Land
Conservancy of BC
stepped in to fundraise in 2005 and purchase Kogawa House
in 2006 and turn it into a National literary landmark and treasure for all
Canadians. In 2009, we celebrated our inaugural Writer-in-Residence program.


This year haggis dim sum appetizers will
be served. Haggis is mixed into the Pork Su-mei dumplings which we introduced a few years. This year we are adding vegetarian pan-fried turnip cake to represent “Neeps and Tatties.”  Our signature dish is our deep-fried haggis won-tons served with a special sauce.

after 6:00 pm the dinner formalities begin. People
are seated, and the Piping in of the musicians and
hosts begins.  We will lead a singalong of Scotland the Brave and give
a good welcome to our guests, and have the calling of the clans – all
the reserved tables and large parties of 10.  This is a tradition at
many Scottish ceilidhs (kay-lees), or gatherings.

From then on… a new dish will appear somewhere around 15 minutes –
quickly followed by one of our co-hosts introducing a poet or musical
performer.  Serving 40 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 are on stage.
Then for the 5 minute intermissions, everybody can talk and make noise
before they have to be quiet for the performers again.

Check this video from past year's Dinner

07:59 – 

The Performances

Expect the unexpected:  This year's dinner event is full of surprises. Even I don't know what is going to happen.  The idea is to recreate the spontaneity of the very
first dinner for 16 people back in 1998 – but with 400+ guests.  For
that very first dinner, each guest was asked to bring a song or a poem to share.  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 be known that we have an incredible
array of talent for the evening. 

by Robbie Burns and Chinese Canadian poets.  What will it be?  We often
like to read “Recipe for Tea” – a poem by Jim Wong-Chu, about the
trading of tea from Southern China to Scotland

Our non-traditional reading of the “Address to the
Haggis” is always a crowd pleaser.  But
this year, audience members might also be reading a different Burns poem to
tie their tongues around the gaelic tinged words.  Will it be “A
Man's A Man for All That,” “To a Mouse,”
My Luv is Like a Red Red Rose,” or maybe even “Tam O-Shanter?”

The evening will wrap up somewhere
between 9:00 and
9:30 pm, with the singing of Auld Lang Syne – we start with a verse in Mandarin
Chinese, then sing in English or Scottish. 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.”

Tickets now on sale
through Firehall Arts Centre


Kilts & Ceilidh Music will take over
the Dr. Su
n Yat Sen Chinese Gardens

for the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival\


Oh look – a teapot ad cup lantern set… There will be incredible lanterns everywhere…  speaking of which… I wonder if I can get a “kilt lantern”.  The18th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, in partnership with Secret Lantern Society.

I am very excited to be part of the 18th Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival this year. 
The Black Bear Rebels Ceilidh Music group will be playing traditional Celtic
& Scottish songs.  I have been playing my accordion with them for 2
years now, and they haven't stopped inviting me back, we have lots of fun, so I
must be doing something right. 

So we thought it would be great to bring this fun, and songs to share with the
Winter Solstice Lantern Festival.  And the chance to wear kilts in the
Chinese Classical Gardens just seemed like a very Gung Haggis type of thing to

Organized & produced by the Secret Later Society, their artistic director
and founder is Naomi Singer – whom I first met when we were both awarded the BC
Community Achievement Award
.  Since then, we thought it would be great
to participate in each other's events.  Naomi has helped out with last
year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner (secretly of course)… and while I have
attended past Winter Solstice Lantern Festival Events at The Roundhouse
Community Cetre, Granville Island ad Chinatown – this is the first time I will
be a performer!

We will be performing 2 sets in the Hall of 100 Rivers:

8:00 to 9:00pm

Please wear kilts if you have them – we will do a photo op for 6:15 or 7:45

Here is the full schedule

6:00 pm Procession
Procession from Strathcona Community Centre to Dr.
Sun Yat-Sen Garden
Shumsky & Friends (drummers); Procession leader: Terry Hunter
Zodiac Courtyard
6:30 – 7:00pm             Russell
Shumsky & Friends (drummers)
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese
Hall of 100 Rivers
6:30 – 7:30pm             The
Black Bear Rebels                        
7:30 – 8:00pm             The
Real Treble Makers Choir                      
8:00 – 9:00pm             The
Black Bear Rebels                                              
9:00 – 9:30pm             The
Real Treble Makers Choir                      
Southern courtyard
7:30 – 8:15pm            Drum
8:45 – 9:30pm            Drum
Scholars Study
6:00 – 10:00pm            Replay
Your Tea With Me                                             
China Maple Hall
6:00 – 10:00pm            Community
Lantern with the Community Arts Council                                     
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park
6:30 – 7:30pm             Saul
Berson & Paul Blaney – jazz duo
7:30 – 8:00pm 
8:00 – 9:00pm             Saul
Berson & Paul Blaney – jazz duo

It's officially (finally) Tartan Day in Canada

It's officially Tartan Day in Canada.

Canada finally has it's official Tartan Day, after all the provinces had previously proclaimed Tartan Day.  In 2008, I arranged to have Tartan Day proclaimed in the the City of Vancouver.

-photo courtesy of T.Wong

Xavier MacDonald, Todd Wong and Sean John Kingsley wear their tartans to the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team practice on April 6th, 2011, Tartan Day.

I also wore my kilt at the Vancouver 125 Celebrations where I was helping to supervise the ball hockey games at Jack Poole Plaza in the afternoon.  There was fresh snow on the mountains, so thank goodness it was warm in the sunshine.

Check out the different tartans of each province.  Personally, I like the Nova Scotia and Sasketchewan tartans… Something about the blues and yellows of each.  The BC tartan with its red and green looks too much like a Christmas decoration.

Night in December

Many people who struggle to get a good night’s sleep might be surprised to find out how much of an impact their environment has in getting some quality shut-eye. People who live in St. Louis, MO may have a hard time falling asleep during the hot summer season. Good thing there are a number of ways residents can create the perfect conditions for having a refreshing amount of rest in their own homes.

All it takes is making a few adjustments to your heating and air conditioning system. Simple tweaks can increase your likelihood of falling asleep quickly and gaining good-quality rest at the same time. Try some of these HVAC tips for a better sleep. If you encounter any kind of failures cease use immediately and get professional assistance from HVAC techs in Hawaii.

Achieving the Ideal Temperature

besttemperatureAs your body gets ready for its sleep cycle, it tends to cool down naturally to help you feel more relaxed. It’s possible to aid in this process by reducing the temperature in your bedroom.

Studies show the best temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees. Program your thermostat to begin cooling down shortly before your bedtime. By the time you’re in bed conditions should be perfect.

If you do this during winter, you may be able to save on heating costs. Summertime is a different story, and you may want to resort to using fans. Homeowners with zone-control air conditioning can just cool their own bedrooms.

Keep an Eye on Humidity

HumidityHumidity levels can also impact sleep. High levels can make the air feel stuffy and difficult to breathe. It also has a tendency to attract insects and promote mold growth in your home.

Low levels, on the other hand, can cause your throat and sinuses to feel dry and scratchy. Ideally, you will want between 40-50% humidity.

You can test the level using a hygrometer; an inexpensive device. Then use a dehumidifier or humidifier to adjust the humidity to your liking.

Make Use of Fans

FanSometimes fans are a better cooling option than air conditioners for sleeping. They consume a fraction of the energy while still being able to produce a draft that can cool down your skin and keep temperatures within the desired range.

It also circulates the air in a room, which can make it feel fresh and easy to breathe. Fans also come with a bonus feature. The noise they produce can be calming and help induce sleep while drowning out other noises that might wake you up. The perfect sleep accompaniment.

With a few simple tweaks, you can take advantage of your home’s HVAC system to both save money and get a refreshing night’s sleep. Just learn to program your thermostat and monitor humidity levels. Fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep by using fans to cool down your body. Get more quality sleep.

Kilts are every day garb: Vancouver Style 101 article features Raphael Fang

Vancouver Style 101 article features kilt enthusiast Raphael Fang

Raphael has many kilts… traditional wool, a black leather kilt, utili-kilts with pockets, event a denim kilt. I first met him at a Kilts Night event many years ago.  A few years later he paddled on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  Raphael was there when we did a Vancouver Sun photo about Tartan Day.  Here's a story about kilts by Lorelei Burk that interviews Raphael and his love for kilts.

Real men wear kilts 

January 11, 2:51 PMVancouver Style 101 ExaminerLorelei Burk

Casual kilts are growing in popularity. Model and Kilt Enthusiast: Raphael Fang
Casual kilts are growing in popularity. Model and Kilt Enthusiast: Raphael Fang
Photo By Philip Tong

Kilts are not just traditional garb to wear at weddings and parades
anymore. They have been coming back in style for years. Many men prefer
to be kilted rather than wear cumbersome pants. Kilts can be elegant at
a formal event or just as easily worn to a concert, club or movie. They
are no longer only made out of wool but are now seen in a variety of
fabrics from denim, canvas and even leather. More and more places are
exclusively making kilts for every day wear like Utilikilts, R-Kilts
and Bear Kilts of Vancouver proving that kilts are not just for Celtic

Kilts have been around since the 16th century. It originally was
long in length like a tunic and used to keep warm by wrapping it around
you which was known as the great kilt. It’s upper half could be brought
up over the head like a cloak or worn over the shoulder. By the 1700s
they adapted to shorter versions and became less functional and more
traditional as a symbol of national identity. The different parts of a
traditional outfit are; the kilt which is a pleated wool skirt or
tartan which is worn knee-length for men, the Sporran is the pouch worn
in the front of the skirt from the waist which is the pocket that the
wearer can use to carry his things, the Dirk is the small dagger that
is worn in the top of the kilt hose and the hose are the knee-high
socks that are worn with kilts. Although there are people that wear all
the traditional pieces of the kilt, the kilt has become fashionable
with t-shirts and boots and not all the components. What a man wears
under the kilt varies from man to man and also the climate where he is
wearing it. Most men I have interviewed wear nothing under their kilts
except their socks and shoes.

A man should never be afraid to wear a kilt. Every woman that I
have ever interviewed on the subject has told me that she finds a man
much more alluring, interesting and sexy in a kilt then in a pair of
pants. Plus the man in the kilt has already given the woman many ways
to strike up a conversation with him by wearing a topic of great
relevance. Vancouver based Kilt enthusiast, Raphael Fang who has been
wearing kilts since 1996, explains his point of view:

‘Pants are for Pansies!!! I would like to get men to realize
that there is another option. Kilts are not women skirts and it is not
the gateway to cross dressing as some people would think. I also like
to break the stereotype that most people have with kilts. Kilts are not
exclusively for the Scots and any one can wear them. Kilts are just
more fun than pants. We have been wearing pants for too long and it is
time to wear something that is designed better to fit the male anatomy.
This is the perfect time for men to do something different as the
fashion is changing and men can pay attention to things that had been
off limit to us.’

There are many social networks just for the kilted. The first
Thursday of each month Doolin’s Pub in downtown Vancouver usually hosts
a Kilt night where kilt enthusiasts can meet and talk about their love
of the fashion. If you arrive wearing a kilt, you will receive a free
pint of Guinness. You will also meet wonderful people like Raphael, who
is on a mission to kilt the world one kilt at a time, who can introduce
you to new people, other kilted events or just talk about his current
collection of 11 kilts and how he likes to wear them.

‘It is a night for the kilt wearers to meet for drinks and
share stories. It is easy to buy a kilt off a vendor, but for some
people it can be challenging to wear one out in the public for the
first time. Unfortunately, some people need a reason to put on their
kilts and kilts night would be that special night. It will give them
the courage that they need to make the first steps. It is a night to
encourage people to come out with their kilts. People who attend feel
that we are a band of brothers. We make new friends and try to see
whether new people are interested in joining us to be kilt wearers in
the future.’

Men used to be the peacocks of fashion and for the first time in
the past century the tables turned. Now it is time for the men to start
taking back their original nobility and begin dressing more spiritedly.
It’s time to take off your pants and show us your attractive
confidence, your great legs and your charming kilts.

Join the Kilt’s night facebook group.

Kilts Night report for January 7 2010

KILTS NIGHT for a New Year

2010_Psyche 018Allan McMordie, Todd Wong and Debbie Poon, give a toast on kilts night.

Every 1st Thursday, we assemble at Doolin's Irish Pub for Kilts Night.  We wear our kilts, and are treated to a free pint of Guinness beer.  We have been meeting at Doolin's since January 1st 2005

Kilts Night for us, is a nice social evening for friends, supplemented by great celtic and Canadiana music by the Halifax Wharf Rats – who also throw in their own blend of celtic tinged classic folk and rock music.

My friends Allan and Debbie have been coming to Kilts Night over the past years.  But this night was special for each of us.  I had recently lost my kitty cat to a stroke a few days before.  Debbie had lost her pet ferret on December Solstice Day.  The McMordie's lost their pet cat Lilly back on BC Day weekend.  We gave a toast to them as our good and well-loved animal companions. 

The first time Allan showed up was for the March 2008 Kilts Night – and we just happened to have a Vancouver Sun photographer show up for the article: Vancouver Sun: The next celebration – Toddish McWong helps to spread the word about Tartan Day

2010_Psyche 019

Michelle, flute and keyboard player of the Halfax Wharf Rats, always delights the crowd at Doolin's by walking into the audience while she plays her flute solos.  Smiles abound from kilt wearers Clive, Bruce and Don.  I am setting up a special table for Kilts Night regulars for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.  Bruce came last year and bought tickets from me that night.

Kilts culture in Vancouver: Kilts Night on Thursday + December ceildh on Sat night

Kilts Night at Doolin's Irish Pub + December Ceilidh at Scottish Cultural Centre.

Every 1st Thursday of each month, I usually meet with my kilted friends at Doolin's Irish Pub at Granville and Nelson St in Vancouver.   Free Music starts at 9pm with Halifax Wharf Rats – if there isn't a hockey game on.  It's always lots of fun, and a great way to meet people.  

Big Secret: Wear a Kilt and ask for a free pint of Guiness Beer.

Another monthly cultural event happens on Saturday. It's the December Ceilidh at the Scottish Cultural Centre. 

I like Scottish Country Dancing – I just wish I could get out to it more often.

After attending the Homecoming Scotland ceilidh here in Edinburgh at The Hub.  I am ready to go for another one.  It's really easy to do, as the callers give a demonstration and tell people what to do.  eg. turn left, grab the right hand, etc etc.

Here's a full message from Ron MacLeod

Greetings, a message from the Vancouver Gaelic Society and the Vancouver Gaelic Choir. Regards, the other Ron

1. WHAT:  December Ceilidh, an evening of entertainment.

WHERE: Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street (at 73rd ), Vancouver, B.C.

WHEN: 8 P.M. Saturday, December 5, 2009. Doors open at 7 P.M.

COST: $12.00; students $6.00; under 12 years free. Tickets at the door.

Ed McIlwaine; Accordionist Sandy Black; and, Lillian Lind to lead the
audience through a Gaelic sing-along. Plus other entertainment.

OTHER: Bar service; tea, coffee and goodies.

Last Kilts Night of Summer – Sep 03 @ Doolin's Irish Pub

September 03
Doolin's Irish Pub

Kilts Night at Doolin's has been a tradition since January 1st, 2005
That's when Terry “Bear” Varga and I joined Raphael at Doolin's Irish
Pub, when we discovered that the Atlantic Trap and Gill was closed on
New Year's Day.  Kilts Night had been the first Saturday of the month
for awhile… long before me, anyways.

Now we meet at:
Doolin's Irish Pub
Nelson & Granville St.

8:00pm to Midnight
Wear yer Kilt to receive a Free Pint of Guinness

I have 3 kilts + 1 mini-kilt  available for 4 people wanting

LIVE Music w' Halifax Wharf Rats.

The August Kilts Night was GREAT!
We were also invaded by the World Police & Fire Games
What happens when Kilts meet Police athletes from around the world?
We met Spanish female pentathletes and Norwegian male hockey players + a Pub Crawl “from the Troller to the Raven”.

2009_Aug_KiltsNight 004 by you.

Raphael, Todd and Stuart with Spanish pentathletes for World Police & Fire Games

August Kilts Night enhanced by World Police & Fire Games

Kilts Night is always fun…  We meet new lovers of kilts – some wearing kilts, some are admirers.

2009_Aug_KiltsNight 004

Raphael, Todd and Stuart + two members from Spanish team for World Police and Fire Games.

Every 1st Thursday of each month we meet at Doolin's Irish Pub.  Why? If you wear a kilt, you receive a free pint of Guinness.

Kilts Night is more than just kilts or Scottish culture.  It's about cultural diversity enjoying cultural diversity.  We have Asians in kilts.  We have surprised cottish tourists not wearing kilts.  On Thursday August 7th, we met members from the Spanish team for the World Police and Fire Games.  The tall blonde woman is competing in pentathalon.  They loved that Vancouver has a beach named “Spanish Banks” and that many places in Vancouver were named by Spanish explorer Juan de Fuca.

2009_Aug_KiltsNight 005

It was Mark Cameron's 40th birthday pub crawl. His kilt met members of the Spanish team for the World Police & Fire Games

2009_Aug_KiltsNight 008 

Mark and his buddies created a “Troller to the Raven Pub Crawl” immortalized in the Spirit of the West Song.  We gave them a warm Kilts Night welcome from members of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

2009_Aug_KiltsNight 003 Louis' first Kilts Night… and we put a kilt on him. Only one year ago, Louis was living in Paris with no kilts night!

Kilts Night August 2009

Kilts Night August 2009