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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gung Haggis Fat Choy: A Salute to Multiculturalism!

A group of friends and I attended the celebrated Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner Sunday evening at Floata Restaurant.

Todd Wong (or Toddish McWong as he is also known!) started this multicultural event more than a decade ago and it has blossomed into a much-anticipated party that acknowledges BC’s Scottish and Chinese influences. Along with the piping of the Haggis we also witnessed a dragon parade!

Toddish McWong
We enjoyed a wee scotch tasting, a fabulous, multi-course dinner prepared by Floata which included – believe me – haggis shumai and dumplings, plus wonderful Chinese dishes and our own haggis at each table.

As the evening progressed through Robbie Burns tributes, the addressing of the haggis, Scottish songs with Mandarin lyrics, Todd presented the Inaugural Gung Haggis Fat Choy Intercultural Awards of Awesomeness! I happily shared the stage on behalf of Vancouver Opera, and the award, with two truly inspiring gentlemen: Jim Wong-Chu and Fred Wah.

Tetsuro Shigematsu (left) and Todd Wong (right) present the
Intercultural Awards of Awesomeness to James Wright,
Fred Wah and Jim Wong-Chu. Photo by Charlie Smith.
The accomplished poet Fred Wah was born in Saskatchewan, but grew up in the interior British Columbia. His Canadian-born father was raised in China, the son of a Chinese father and a Scots-Irish mother, and his mother was Swedish-born Canadian. His diverse ethnic makeup figures significantly in his writings.

Jim Wong-Chu is a co-founder of Asian Heritage Month and a poet whose book Chinatown Ghosts was the first poetry book by an Asian Canadian writer. Jim is also the founder of the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop and Ricepaper magazine.

Bring on the Haggis shumai!
Todd cited Vancouver Opera’s commissioned opera Naomi’s Road, along with our other community engagement programs, as important steps in multicultural understanding in Vancouver.

I was honoured to accept his accolades for the company, and truly honoured to share this award with such distinguished an accomplished men as Jim Wong-Chu and Fred Wah.

- James Wright
General Director, Vancouver Opera

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