explorASIAN Festival Blog

Wednesday, June 4, 2008



The Vancouver premiere of this UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity will present five scenes from the classical repertoire. Included are excerpts from such renowned works as The Peony Pavilion (1598) and The Palace of Long Life(late 17th Century). Opera stars from Shanghai collaborate with members of theVancouver Chinese Music Ensemble as well as New York-based musicians. Kunqu is the oldest form of traditional Chinese theatre still performed today. Incorporating melodious singing with intricate dance, it is a truly comprehensive theatre art.

UBC and the Vancouver Society for Chinese Performing Arts present SCENES FROM KUNJU: CHINA'S CLASSICAL THEATRE By Tang Xianzu et al English subtitles and program


June 16 (The Peony Pavilion, The Lute Song, Lanke Mountain) 7:30pm
June 17 (The Palace of Eternal Youth andThe Butterfly Dream) 7:30pm

Tickets: $17/per evening @ Ticketmaster outlets/phone/online (plus s/c & fees)

Full Details at:

explorASIAN is a Community Partner for this special premiere presentation

Kunqu is the oldest and most literary style of traditional Chinese theatre performed today. It is a synthesis of drama, opera, ballet, poetry recital, and musical recital, which also draws on earlier forms of Chinese theatrical performances such as mime, farce, acrobatics, ballad recital, and medley.

Each word or phrase is also expressed by a stylized movement or gesture that is essentially part of a dance, with strict rules of style and execution much like classical ballet. Even casual gestures must be precisely executed and timed to coordinate with the music and percussion. The refinement of the movement is further enhanced with stylized costumes that also serve as simple props. In a Kunqu performance, three media work simultaneously and in harmony to convey the meaning and desired aesthetic effect: music, words, and dance. An accomplished Kunqu performer must master the special styles of singing and dance movement to convey the meaning. There are two, easily distinguished, styles of text and music. Arias, which are sung and accompanied by the orchestra, are elaborate poems of high literary quality. Prose passages (monologues and dialogues) are neither sung nor spoken but chanted in a stylized fashion comparable to the recitative of Western opera.

Once so popular that a troupe resided in the Forbidden Palace, Kunqu’s literary refinement and high technical demands caused a decline in late dynastic and modern times. Though recognised as a UNESCO Masterpiece of World Heritage, the Kunqu tradition remains under threat, though interest in this invaluable heritage is being renewed among China’s younger generations.

All three performers belong to a legendary generation of Kunqu artists from the Shanghai stage, born in the early forties and dominating the stage in the years after restrictions on the Chinese stage relaxed in the early 1980s. As a group, they represent a direct link between the present-day and the pre-modern tradition.

Liang Guyin (female role) is a National Performer of the PRC, 1st class and a winner of the highest prize awarded to Chinese theatre performers, the Plum Blossom Prize. Trained by pre-revolutionary masters of the art, she has thrilled three generations of audiences with roles ranging from runaway nuns to betrayed women. Considered a consummate master of stage movement, her emotional versatility has brought her acclaim in both the comic and tragic repertoires. Her performances have earned her accolades at home and abroad, with memorable performances including Sackler Museum of Art, the University of Michigan and the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as tours of Japan and Scandinavia.

Ji Zhenhua (old man role) has earned a reputation for having one of Kunqu’s great voices. In the solemn roles Kunqu assigns to older men, he has appeared as avenging magistrates, severe fathers, emperors and chroniclers of history. Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, he has built an unparalleled reputation in his role-type, earning, among other awards, the Plum Blossom Prize and being names National Performer of the PRC, 1st class. His innovative interpretation of Macbeth in the first production of a Kunqu Shakespeare play earned him nationwide attention.

Liu Yilong (clown) is one of the traditional stage’s greatest living clowns. Excelling in both good-natured and villainous roles, he has single-handedly brought about a revival in Kunqu’s comedic side. Renowned for his mastery of dialect and comic timing, Mr Liu has earned a great following among fans. And as a National Performer of the PRC, he has worked hard to ensure that a new generations of fans keeps Kunqu fans laughing.

NEW: The Six Faces of Genji: Manga Versions of The Tale of Genji - June 10 - 2:30pm

CBC Radio's Ideas program and UBC's Department of Asian Studies present a lecture entitled "The Six Faces of Genji: Manga Versions of The Tale of Genji " on June 10th, 2;30pm - 4pm at the Asian Centre Auditorium on the UBC Campus (next to the Nitobe Garden).

The Tale of Genji, purportedly the world's first novel ever written, was penned in 11th century Japan by a 30 year-old woman named Murasaki Shikibu and celebrates its thousandth anniversary this year. The Tale of Genji has spawned over 20 manga versions—from instructional tomes for children to shôjo girls, ladies comics, and gag introductory manga.

In "The Six Faces of Genji", professor Lynne Miyake introduces several of these manga, exploring their richness, their special vision, and their contemporary “take” on a beloved tale.

For further information, please visit, or phone 604 822-0019

Monday, June 2, 2008

NEW: Western New Music and Chinese Sensibilities - June 4 - 7pm

The Vancouver Public Library - 350 West Georgia
Alice Mackay room (lower level)
Free admission

In honour of Asian Heritage Month, join us for the fifth program in a six-part series produced by The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO), that aims to shed new light on the art of intercultural music-making. John Oliver, a composer of tremendous experience and much renown in the 'new music' world, has been exploring inter-cultural music making for some years now. He will present a program, together with several of his Chinese musical ollaborators, delving into the ways of creating inter-cultural music with a modern compositional sensibility.

The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra in collaboration with the Vancouver Public Library presents Music of the Whole World Explorations of World Music Cultures by Canadian Composers

A series highlighting the emerging art of intercultural music - Come enjoy an educational evening of music listening, appreciation, and live performance. Music of the Whole World is a free presentation of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO) in collaboration with the Vancouver Public Library.

The aim of this six part series is to provide access to educational materials that deal with the art of intercultural music making. Whether you are a veteran composer, a beginning student of music, or simply a music lover wishing to learn more about the many musics of world and the bridges between them, this series is one you will not want to miss.

NEW: Delhi To Dublin - June 5 - 8pm

Asian Heritage Month comes to a stunning end in Richmond with internationally renowned local fusion band 'Delhi To Dublin' playing at the Richmond Cultural Centre. "Richmond is very lucky to be able to attract cutting edge intercultural music of this caliber," says Alan Hill, Cultural Diversity Coordinator.

Delhi To Dublin blends east and west, electronic and acoustic, mainstream and underground. The five member D2D crew takes listeners on a borderless trip through global sounds and synchronicities. The band fuses the traditional sounds of tabla, dhol, fiddle, and sitar with cutting edge DJ aesthetics, to create a highly charged multi-cultural dance celebration.

Originally formed for a one-shot performance during Vancouver's Celtic Fest in March of 2006, word of their foot stomping, high energy live set started to spread, and the project soon took a life of its own. Recently, D2D were invited to open the massive Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa where they collaborated with Irish and Indian dancers and the National Circus School. They have since played many of the West Coast Canadian festivals and are poised to take the act to a global level.

With the able help of global fusion pioneer Adamh Shakh, they've just finished production of their first full length CD. It's getting steady airplay nationwide on the CBC and RJ1200 and has been played recently on BBC's Bobby Friction and Nihal and on Pathaan's Musical Rickshaw.

Richmond Cultural Centre
7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond
Phone: 604-247-8300

For more information or to book tickets call 604- 247-8300.
Tickets are $15 each.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NEW: explorASIAN FRIENDS & FAMILY Day - May 31 - 11am to 5pm

explorASIAN will be presenting a free fun filled day of performances, arts and crafts, and more at the Vancouver Museum.


Vancouver Museum, 1100 Chestnut Street (Vanier Park)
Saturday - May 31, 2008
11am to 5pm
FREE Event | FREE Parking

Featuring performances by:

12:30 pm & 3:00 pm - Award Winning Elvis Impersonators: Aaron Wong & Adam Leyk
1:10 pm - Master Wilson Wu (kungfu demo)
1:30 pm - International Champions of Magic Rod Chow & Company
3:30 pm - Kam To Tai Chi Chuan Association (tai chi demo)
4:00 pm - Vandna Sidher Bharata Natyam Classical Indian Dance
4:30 pm - Kathara Dance Theatre

11 am to 2 pm - DJ Trevor Chan
2 pm to 5 pm - DJ MissBliss

Children's Activities:
- Asian Canadian History Scavenger Hunt
- Mehndi painting by Pauline Basi
- Caricatures by Geoff Wong
- Free surprizes

Participating Organizations:
- Lang’s Mongolian Acupuncture
- Powell Street Festival Society
- Taiwanese Canadian Cultural Society
- UBC Department of Asian Studies (KUNGQU)
- C3 Korean Canadian Society
- Scripting Aloud
- Dr. Lyla May Yip Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Master Wilson Wu Kungfu Ocean Academy
- 411 Seniors Centre Society
- Kam To Tai Chi Chuan Association
- Raymond Chow, Artist
- Canadian International Dragon Boat Society

Click here for more details about explorASIAN's FRIENDS & FAMILY DAY

*PLEASE NOTE: There is a typo error on the printed version of the Family Day poster. The time should read 11am instead of 11pm.

NEW: explorASIAN 2008 Closing Celebration: DHARMAKASA Concert & CD Launch - May 31 - 8pm

Presented by explorASIAN

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Auditorium
1100 Chestnut Street (Vanier Park)

FREE parking

Ticket info:
$10.00 / person
General seating

Please contact Diana Stewart-Imbert at to purchase tickets in advance. Telephone 604.253.6292

Tickets also available at the door

Dharmakasa is a collaboration of four Vancouver-based musicians who perform on a variety of very unique instruments, from the ancient to the recently invented. At the heart of this innovative group are Alcvin Ramos, recognized shihan (master) of the shakuhachi flute and Andrew Kim, inventor of unique hybrid instruments. Both are of Asian descent. They are joined by Juno award nominee, Cameron Hood, on electric bass and Steve (Shambunata) Daniluk on drums.

These experienced artists have come together to create a sound that ranges from fiery shamanic dance music to meditative soundscapes and that fuses bold modern elements with the musical traditions of Japan, India, Africa, and Australia.

Dharmakasa has performed to great success at numerous festivals and events including opening for Anouska Shankar at Vancouver’s Chan Centre and for the Yoshida Brothers in both Vancouver & Victoria this May. Dharmakasa has been featured on CBC Radio and Television.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

NEW: Etch-YOUR-Sketch 2! SKETCH ON! Comes to Richmond! - May 29 - 7:30pm

Kwantlen Polytechnic University
8771 Lansdowne Road, RIchmond
(behind Lansdowne Mall)
$5/ticket + $1.00 service charge for Students only (from any educational institution with valid student identification - Student ID card needed to pick up tickets)

$10/ticket + $1.00 service charge - general public

Wild, ZANY, Gut-aching, peeing in pants - FUNNY! An evening of hilarity, camaraderie and just plain ol' fun and laughter!

Buy your ticket by May 23rd and be entered to win a pair of tickets to VACT's summer production of The Odd Couple by Neil Simon!

All tickets purchased online must be picked up at the Box Office. No tickets will be shipped and mailed out. Box Office opens at 6:00pm. Tickets will also be made available at the door. Cash only at door.

Purchase tickets online at

Winning Sketch Teams from Etch-YOUR-Sketch 2! SKETCHOFF!#$%!! will venture to Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond to perform their winning sketches to the people of Richmond and their lower mainland friends. Here is your chance to catch another night of wild crazy laugh-out-loud mayhem comedy.

Both Vancouver shows were SOLD OUT so don't delay - get your tickets now!

For more information, visit or telephone 778.885.1973.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NEW: Vince Mai Project - May 29 - 9:30pm

You may know Vince Mai by the sound of his trumpet or his compositions in Canadian film, television, radio concerts and even jingles. In fact if you turned on CBC radio this morning, you heard themes he composed for the Early Edition.

Well.. he has a musical group that will be performing at The Yale Hotel - 1300 Granville Street from 9:30pm-1am. Admission is FREE.

They'll be playing original tunes, some Latin-flavoured Jazz and Smooth jazz. You can find music samples at his website: The band features Brent Gubbels, Daryl Jahnke, Pepe Danza, Brad Turner, Tim Proznick and Timmy Fuller (TDaddyMack).

Friday, May 23, 2008

NEW: Book Launch and Reading by ANDY QUAN - May 29 - 7pm


A new book by Andy Quan

Bowling Pin Fire transcribes the arc of one man’s life from growing up Chinese in Vancouver, to seeing the world through the lens of fearless, free-spirited youth, to arriving at the initial cautionary glimmerings of midlife. The rituals and rivalries of grade school, the later experiments with everything new, the close-knit dynamics of family and far-flung friends, the happenstances and fidelities of love, the elation and hangover of travel to unexpected quadrants of the globe all prompt the quality of reflection necessary to the leading of a truly examined, contemporary life.

Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium
1238 Davie Street, Vancouver
tel 604 669 1753

Andy Quan is the author of four books: Calendar Boy (short fiction), Six Positions (erotica), and Slant (poetry), and his new book of poetry, Bowling Pin Fire (Signature Editions). He was also the co-editor of Swallowing Clouds: an Anthology of Chinese-Canadian Poetry. His poetry, short fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in many publications. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia on international AIDS issues.

More information on Andy and his writing can be found at:

NEW: Unity within Diversity - Asian Veterans Speak - May 31 - 4pm

While all soldiers have the common bond of wanting to defend their nation, each individual brings with him the hopes and concerns of his heritage. Our desire is to hear some of the living history as we look to the future.

All are invited to join Veterans of Asian Heritage to find out their experiences.

Questions from young people are especially encouraged both formally at the event and informally and at the reception to follow. Free event

Alice MacKay Room
Vancouver Public Library
350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Monday, May 19, 2008

NEW: The 8Th OurTube: Slide Show and Talk Event - May 28 - 8pm

Centre A presents The 8Th OurTube: Slide Show and Talk Event

(the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart)

Guest artists: Jayce Salloum & Khadim Ali
Navigator: Haema Sivanesan, the director/curator of SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Collective), Toronto

Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
2 West Hastings Street
Free Admission, Everyone welcome

For the 8th edition of Our Tube, we invite you to join us with Jayce Salloum & Khadim Ali

Navigator: Haema Sivanesan, talking about their upcoming project (the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart); A collaborative project between artists Jayce Salloum and Khadim Ali at Alternator Gallery in Kelowna, British-Columbia, in collaboration with SAVAC. (opening Thursday, June 12th, 2008, Exhibition runs June 9th to July 31st, 2008)

Jayce Salloum, a Vancouver-based artist, collaborates with Khadim Ali, a Hazara-Afghani artist living in Pakistan, on an exhibition of photography, video work and objects made and found during their work in Afghanistan this spring. The project focuses on Afghanistan's Bamiyan valley, where the Taliban destroyed two ancient statues of the Buddha in 2001, as well as geo-political issues related to migration, culture and imperialism.

In undertaking this purveyance of Bamiyan and by extension Afghanistan, the artists examine the ingenuity of survivors and bear witness to the endurance of the Hazara people. Is there scope for stability in Afghanistan? Is there hope for freedom? What is the First World's role and responsibility in the region? In reflecting on these questions, the project addresses political priorities and human values in a globalizing world, providing a unique perspective on the complexities of the post-9/11 landscape.

Jayce Salloum's practise exists between the personal, quotidian, local and the trans-national. He has been working in installation, photography, video, mixed media, text, and performance, since 1978, as well as curating exhibitions, conducting workshops and coordinating cultural projects. He has lectured and published pervasively and has exhibited at the widest range of local and international venues possible, from the smallest unnamed storefronts and community centres in his downtown eastside Vancouver neighbourhood to institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, National Gallery of Canada, CaixaForum, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Bienal De La Havana, Sharjah Biennial, Biennale of Sydney and the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Khadim Ali is a Hazara artist from Afghanistan living in Pakistan. He was trained in miniature painting at the National College of Art in Lahore and in mural painting and calligraphy at Tehran University. Now based in Pakistan, Ali is an ethnic Hazara whose familial connections are to Bamiyan/Hazarajat, a region occupied from 1998 to 2001 by the Taliban, which massacred thousands of Hazaras throughout Afghanistan. His exhibitions include shows at the Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore; Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi; Hijran Art Gallery, Shiraz, Iran; Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane; The Bathhouse Gallery, Tokyo and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. His work is held in many private and public collections including the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan, the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

OurTube will be held at Centre A's lounge space on the last Wednesday night of every month after gallery hours. Each program will be curated by young local and visiting curators and artists, who will also invite the curator for next month so that it continues like a chain event. The guest curator will select series of videos for projection, and initiate the discussion following the screening. Drinks will be served during the screening, so the atmosphere is pretty casual just like at home.

Our Tube is a play on "YouTube". The idea behind the project is not only to broadcast your video, but also to share the experience of watching video with others and talking about it.

For more Information, please contact the gallery:
Tel: 604-683-8326

Makiko Hara, Curator:
Debra Zhou, Public Relations:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

NEW: Shubhendra Rao & Saskia Rao de-Hass - May 22 - 7pm

EAST MARRIES WEST - An intimate fusion of Indian and European musical traditions.

Presented by Caravan World Rhythms Society, City of Richmond, and explorASIAN

Sitarist Shubhendra Rao & Cellist Saskia Rao de-Hass will be giving a demonstration and short lecture at the Richmond Cultural Centre, 7700 Minoru Gate. Free event.

This event is a special preview of their upcoming concert on May 23 (8pm) at the Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver. Click here for ticket info

Friday, May 16, 2008

NEW: Tom Lee Music Earthquake Benefit Concert - May 17 - 1pm

Earthquake Benefit Concert featuring performances by local Richmond artists

1pm - 4pm Saturday

Tom Lee Music Richmond - 3631 Number 3 Road

100% of all donations will be made to charity to benefit the families affected by the recent earthquake in the Szechwan province of China....

NEW: Roots, Rhymes and Resistance 2008 - May 23 - 6:30pm

Roots, Rhymes and Resistance 2008: Balik sa Komunidad, Balik sa Ugat

RRR will showcase local Filipino youth talent to bring forward the issues affecting Filipino community in Canada and the Philippines. Artists include hip hop acts Toxic Slime and Taong Gago, poet Sol Diana, local dance crews, and an art auction. The show will also feature multi-media presentations and speakers from progressive organizations.

Doors and art auction open at 6:30pm

Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School
419 East 24th Ave., Vancouver

$10 entry; $5 for students and low income youth

For more info please contact UKPC/FCYA at 602-215-1103 or

NEW: New Asia Film Festival - May 23 to 25

Asian Heritage Month Film Festival kicks off in Richmond

2008 New Asia Film Festival to Feature Groundbreaking New Films from Asian Filmmakers

To showcase the rich diversity of Asian-Canadian culture in Richmond, the Richmond Cultural Centre is co-hosting its first ever New Asia Film Festival with the Cinevolution Media Arts Society.

The festival features a total of 25 films that document Asian native/immigrant groups and cultures from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Germany and South Africa. The featured films range from documentaries and dramas to short films and animation.

According to Kirsten Schrader, Cultural Programmer at Richmond Cultural Centre, which is affiliated to the Richmond City Hall, Asian Heritage Month held every May across Canada is the best time and perfect opportunity for Richmond in British Columbia to schedule cultural events for the community, and introduce cultures to the new immigrants through cinematic art.

According to Rachel Fan, festival planner and Chair of Cinevolution Media Arts Society, Richmond's Asian immigrant population has undergone a noticeable change in recent years, with new immigrants making up nearly 60% of the residents, and with a diversity of immigrant groups from many different countries spread throughout the city. In addition, Richmond has embarked on ambitious developments in public and private projects, including the Canada Line, infrastructure improvements, brand-new business districts and high-rise residential towers, which are rapidly transforming the face of the city. "The festival highlights cultural perspectives in the process of urban development. Incorporating local and overseas points of view and styles, our feature films freely address many issues involved in urban transformation and development," says Fan.

This year's festival is based on two themes. The first is "Focus on Chinese Language Documentaries", featuring documentaries by Chinese filmmakers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas. Secondly, the "Salute to Asian Canadian Filmmakers" covers independent film works from Asian Canadian filmmakers from China, India, Japan and the Philippines. According to Ying Wang, Artistic Director of Cinevolution Media Arts
Society, this year's offerings present Asian cultural experiences from different perspectives. The documentaries and independent films, represented by the diversified Asian diaspora around the globe, provide their viewers with a glimpse of the present and the past of the Asian world.

"Focus on Chinese Language Documentaries" addresses current issues faced by ethnic Chinese societies. The 13 films selected include Umbrella, which received considerable international attention at the Venice and San Francisco Film Festivals, as well as at France's Cinema du Reel, and Please Vote for Me, (one of 15 films on Oscar's documentary shortlist]. Also being screened are How Deep is the Ocean and How High is the Mountain from Taiwan, official selections at several international film festivals, All's Right with the World from Hong Kong, official selection
at the Hong Kong film festival, and Life Among the People of Choni, a documentary from Tibet.

The "Salute to Asian Canadian Filmmakers" explores Canadian immigrant history with nine works, including Partition, which involves questions regarding Indo-Canadian identity, and Strangers Re-Unite, about Filipina workers. Two films, Sleeping Tigers and Shepherds Pie and Sushi, explore Japanese immigrant history and identity, and a new experimental film Shattered, which brings together two historic perspectives of the riots happening in Vancouver history. We are also honoured to be able to present two award winning animated shorts from a Japanese-Canadian filmmaker: What are you anyways? and Yellow Sticky Notes.

The sponsors also plan to assemble a distinguished group of overseas filmmakers this year, including Umbrella and Way of Fortune and Card Boom Mainland Chinese producer Jiang Xianbin, Taiwanese female documentary director Tseng Wen-Chen, whose works Homework and After Championship are being screened at the festival, and Tibetan director and scholar Yongdrol K Tsongkha. In addition, local directors have been
scheduled to participate discuss films with audiences after screenings.

In addition, the 2008 New Asia Film Festival is featuring an "Audience Choice Award" contest, where audience members can vote for their favourite film onsite after each screening. The organizer will announce the winning film before the conclusion of the festival at 8pm on May 25, and the winning film will be shown once more at the final screening.

For the updated information about the film festival, please visit our website at or call 604-247-8300

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

NEW: Burnaby Asian Musical Heritage Night - May 27 - 7:30pm

Burnaby Asian Musical Heritage Night featuring
Golden Pearl Ensemble & Traditional Vietnam Music with The Khac Chi Ensemble

Golden Pearl Ensemble:
Xu Qian (Erhu) Zhimin Yu (Ruan) Guilian Liu (Pipa)

The Khac Chi Ensemble
The traditional Vietnam Music showcasing rare and unique musical instruments from the mountain peoples of Vietnam, interspersed with the haunting melodies of Dan Bau…
There are few talents in the world such as those found in the Khac Chi Ensemble. Their concert performances are a rare insight into the wealth and sophistication of Vietnamese culture.

Venue: King's Best Western Inn, 5411 Kingsway, Burnaby BC

$25 advance (by email or phone below)
$30 at the door

Tel: 778 858 8201 or 778 686 7210

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Tailor Made: Chinatown's Last Tailors" wins the prestigious Golden Reel Award for Best Short Film

Realize Entertainment is thrilled to announce that their documentary "Tailor Made: Chinatown's Last Tailors" has won the prestigious Golden Reel Award for Best Short Film at the 2008 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. The award, presented during the Festival's Closing Night program in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, is presented to artists whose work exemplifies artistic excellence and the potential for future creative activity.

Directed by Calgary director Leonard Lee and Vancouver filmmaker Marsha Newbery, "Tailor Made" follows 80-something brothers Bill & Jack Wong for one year as they face the reality that they're getting too old to run the little tailor shop their father opened in 1913…and letting go isn't easy. With tailoring being a dying trade, finding someone to take over the family business has proved impossible, but Bill refuses to give up. From taking on a fashion journalist as an apprentice, to selling the shop to a young hot-shot corporate tailor, Bill becomes especially determined and pulls out all the stops.

"Tailor Made: Chinatown's Last Tailors" was commissioned for the CBC Newsworld strand, The Lens, and premiered to a sold out audience at the 2007 Whistler Film Festival. It is also screening as a part of CBC Vancouver's celebration of Asian Heritage Month on May 24th. Please visit for details and to book a seat. Screenings are also being held by the Vancouver Parks board all through May, please visit for details.

TAILOR MADE will be re-telecast on The Lens on Tuesday July 15th at 7pmPT (10pm ET), 10pm PT (1am ET) and 1am PT (4am ET) – Newsworld, Channel 26.

TAILOR MADE is presented by Realize Entertainment and produced in association with CBC Newsworld. TAILOR MADE was produced in association with Knowledge Network, and with the participation of The Canadian Television Fund: License Fee Program and Equity Investment Program, The Rogers Documentary Fund, Canadian Film & Television Tax Credit, British Columbia Film Incentive and developed with the participation of CBC British Columbia, Telefilm, and British Columbia Film.

NEW: Tracing the Lines - May 28 to 31

A Symposium on contemporary poetics and cultural politics in honour of Roy Miki

Following Roy Miki’s exemplary work as a socially engaged poet, editor, activist, critical theorist, and teacher, the symposium will address the challenges of linking intellectual and political work while imagining spaces of freedom and production.

Beginning with a reading by Roy Miki on Wednesday evening, the event will consist of three evening events (May 28, 29, and 31st) and two days of creative/critical panels and presentations addressing the reach of Miki’s work and its literary and social contexts. Topics include contemporary poetics; politics of the imagination; the role of the public intellectual; asiancy; editorial activism; and the history, politics and art of redress. To facilitate ongoing discussions and debate, there will be no concurrent sessions.

Participants include over forty Canadian and international scholars and writers.

Fully Employed---------------------------- $35.00
Under Employed & Students-------$20.00
or pay what you can

• Pre-registration would be appreciated to help with planning.
• To pre-register, send an email with your name and address to (pay when you arrive)
• Or send a check or money order to:
Asian Canadian Studies Society
342-East 5th Ave, Vancouver V5T 4H6


Sunday, May 11, 2008

NEW: SUN DO Taoist Yoga Classes

Sun Do is an ancient Taoist practice based primarily on breathing techniques performed with special postures to stimulate healthy functioning of the internal organs that leads to increase vitality, peace of mind, and expanded awareness.

Location: Yoga on 7th, 156 East 7th Avenue (enter from lane)
Time: Fridays 7pm to 9pm | Sundays 7:45am to 9:45am

Come to an introduction with drop in classes - $10

Saturday, May 10, 2008

NEW: Studio One Book Club: Padma Viswanathan - May 17 & 24

Saturday, May 17 & 24, 2008 | 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.

North by Northwest
CBC Radio One 690 AM

Listen to the CBC Radio Studio One Book Club to hear this year's New Face of Fiction, Padma Viswanathan and her riveting debut novel The Toss of a Lemon. Hosted by Sheryl MacKay and special guest co-host Jen Sookfong Lee (last year's New Face of Fiction).

Part one will be broadcast on CBC Radio's North by Northwest (690 on the AM dial in Vancouver) Saturday May 17 between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m.

Part two will be broadcast on Saturday May 24, same place, same time.

Tune in to win a copy too! Visit CBC Studio One Book Club for more information.


Saturday May 10, 2008 | 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. to May 16

Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall Street, Vancouver - in Chinatown

The Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden will kick off its 2008 Penjing Festival on Saturday May 10. The festival will run everyday from May 9 to 16.

Come out and see the Penjing (translates from Chinese as "tray scenery"). Penjing is the ancient Chinese art of growing trees and plants, kept small by skilled pruning and formed to create an aesthetic shape and the complex illusion of age. Penjing is very similar to and is the precursor of bonsai. Various Penjing, new and old, at the festival will move you with their beauty. Also on display will be examples of Rock Penjing.

NEW: I am the Canadian Delegate - May 19 - 7:15pm

I am the Canadian Delegate
Duration: 48:00 – Director - Wesley Lowe
Canada 2007. Director: Wesley Lowe.

Pacific Cinémathèque
1131 Howe Street, Vancouver

Wesley Lowe’s inspiring documentary tells the story of B.C.’s Douglas Jung (1924-2002), a World War II veteran who was Canada’s first Chinese Canadian Member of Parliament. Jung’s story embodies the struggles (and victories) of many early Chinese Canadians. Born and raised in Victoria at a time when ethnic Chinese were denied the rights of full citizenship, Jung nonetheless volunteered to fight for his country. The wartime service of Jung and others like him saw Chinese Canadians finally gain equal rights, including the vote, in 1947, opening the door for Jung’s groundbreaking political career. 48 mins.

For more information, visit:

Friday, May 9, 2008

NEW: Exhibition "ACROSS" - May 5 to 25

In celebration of Asian Heritage Month, Dundarave Print Workshop hosts an exhibition of etchings and monotypes by Taiga Chiba, Tomoyo Ihaya, Eunjin Kim and Janice Wong. Titled, "Across", the work in the exhibition explores individual expressions on the nature of Asian cultural perspectives.

Reception Sunday May 11 - 4pm to 7pm

Dundarave Print Workshop Gallery
1640 Johnston Street on Granville Island

Thursday, May 8, 2008

NEW: CBC Film Screenings for Asian Heritage Month

Friday, May 23, 2008 | 6:00 - 10:00 p.m.

SFU Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings St., Vancouver

Significant stories on the history of Asian Canadian communities in Canada.
Film screenings will include panel talks and special guests.

Continuous Journey
(Ali Kazimi, 2004)

Shadow of Gold Mountain
(Karen Cho, 2004)

Seating will be extremely limited, so please RSVP early to North American Association of Asian Professionals (NAAAP) Vancouver.

In partnership with NAAAP Vancouver | DOXA Documentary Film Festival | SFU Canadianized Asian Club | Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC

With thanks to the National Film Board.

Continuous Journey is a complex tale of hope, despair, treachery and tragedy. It is a revealing Canadian story with global ramifications set in a time when the British Empire seemed omnipresent and its subjects were restless and seeking self-determination.

In 1914, Gurdit Singh, a Sikh entrepreneur based in Singapore, chartered a Japanese ship, the Komagata Maru, to carry Indian immigrants to Canada. On May 23, 1914, the ship arrived in Vancouver Harbour with 376 passengers aboard: 340 Sikhs; 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus. Many of the men on-board were veterans of the British Indian Army and believed that it was their right as British subjects to settle anywhere in the Empire they had fought to defend and expand. They were wrong...

Continuous Journey is an inquiry into the largely ignored history of Canada's exclusion of the South Asians by a little known immigration policy called the Continuous Journey Regulation of 1908. Unlike the Chinese and the Japanese, people from British India were excluded by a regulation that appeared fair, but in reality, was an effective way of keeping people from India out of Canada until 1948. As a direct result, only a half-mile from Canadian shores, the Komagata Maru was surrounded by immigration boats and the passengers were held in communicado virtual prisoners on the ship. Thus began a dramatic stand-off which would escalate over the course of two months, becoming one of the most infamous incidents in Canadian history.

In the Shadow of Gold Mountain - Karen Cho, a fifth-generation Canadian of mixed heritage, discovered that half her family wasn't welcome in the country they called home. While Canada encouraged and rewarded immigration from Europe, it imposed laws that singled out the Chinese as unwanted and unwelcome.

Cho's film, In the Shadow of Gold Mountain, takes her from Montreal to Vancouver to uncover stories from the last living survivors of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act. This dark chapter in our history, from 1885 until 1947, plunged the Chinese community in Canada into decades of debt and family separation.

At the centre of the film are personal accounts of extraordinary Chinese Canadians who survived an era that threatened to eradicate their entire community. Through a rich melding of history, poetry and raw emotion, this documentary sheds light on an era that shaped the identity of generations and with deeply moving testimonials, it reveals the profound ways this history still casts its shadow.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NEW: BCGEU Celebrates Asian Heritage Month - May 8

ASIAN HERITAGE MONTH - Potluck Dinner & Movie Night!

Asian Canadian Labour Alliance
Thursday, May 8, 5:30pm
BCGEU Lower Mainland Auditorium

Join other Asian Canadian union members at a meeting of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance, before the film viewing. The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance provides a forum for Asian Canadian union members to connect, encourages the increased participation of Asian Canadian union members in the labour movement, and works to strengthen the relationship between labour and our Asian Canadian communities.

Share ideas and your favourite potluck dish at this meeting. Please RSVP to Laura Gibbons at 604-291-9611 or by May 6.

Thursday, May 8, 7-8:30pm
BCGEU Lower Mainland Auditorium
4925 Canada Way, Burnaby
(1/2 block west of Norland, enter off Iris Crescent)

In celebration of Asian Heritage Month, the BCGEU Equity + Human Rights Committee is pleased to invite you to a night of film. Light refreshments provided.

"Between: Living in the Hyphen"
A film by Anne Marie Nakagawa that looks at seven different multi-racial Canadians including award-winning poet Fred Wah, and gives voice to their "hybridized" experiences. The film challenges our assumptions about the "one ethnicity + hyphen + Canadian."

More information on the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance can be found at:

Monday, May 5, 2008

NEW: City of Richmond Celebrates Asian Heritage Month

Richmond residents can celebrate our multicultural community this May by taking part in Asian Heritage Month activities.

In Richmond and across the country, the Government of Canada has designated the month of May as Asian Heritage Month. Together the City and community groups will celebrate Pan-Asian arts and culture and explore Asian heritage and traditions.

Asian Elements of Britannia- Guided Walk
May 10 1:00-2:30pm
Britannia Heritage Shipyards
Learn the stories behind the Murakami House and Boatworks, Richmond Boatworks, Chinese Bunkhouse, and the Japanese Duplex buildings at Britannia Shipyard National Historic Site. Parents must accompany children.
All Ages Free (must be booked in advance)
For more information, call 604-718-8050

Hong Wo Store Exhibition
May to June
This Steveston store served the community of cannery workers and fishermen for 60 years. Hong Wo, “Living in Harmony” store, was established in 1904 by Tung Ling Lam.
Richmond Museum
7700 Minoru Gate
All Ages

Kala Utsav - Indian Arts Benefit For Global Relief
May 10 7:00-9:30pm
Richmond Cultural Centre 7700 Minoru Gate
All Ages $18 Adults, $12 Seniors and Students, Children under five- free
Proceeds go to the Canadian Red Cross

Musicians Master Class
May 22 7:00pm
Meet master musicians sitar player Shubhendra Rao and Cellist Saskia Rao de Hass, two of the foremost Classical Indian instrumentalists working today. Come and meet them and learn more about their craft. A rare opportunity to learn directly from two world class musicians.
Richmond Cultural Centre 7700 Minoru Gate
All Ages Free

"The Good Asian Drivers Tour"
Melissa Li is a singer-songwriter who has been performing for over 8 years. She and her tour partner, nationally recognized transgendered slam poet Kit Yan, are going on a cross-country road tour this spring and summer. The tour strives to inspire youth and provoke dialogue on gay rights, transgendered issues, feminism, and the marginalization of minorities. Presented by explorASIAN.
May 3 8:00-10:00pm
Richmond Cultural Centre 7700 Minoru Gate
Free admission - Limited seating
For more information, call 604-247-4391

Richmond Library Services Asian Heritage Months Events:

The Doctor who was Followed by Ghosts (1 hour)
May 1 7:00pm
This lively presentation and slide show about Dr. Li Qunying recounts the political, economic and cultural turmoil that existed in 20th century China. Presented by Louis Han. In English only. Registration required. (Max 35)
Brighouse Meeting Room

Introduction to Asian Culture (2 hours)
May 4 3:00pm
In partnership with The Royal Thai Consulate. These presentations aim to enhance people's understanding of the different Asian cultures. Sessions provided in English only. Registration required. (Max 60)
Brighouse Program Room

In addition, the following sessions are offered in partnership with the Richmond Multicultural Concerns Society.

May 2 7:00 pm Introduction to Korean Culture-
May 22 6:30 pm Introduction to Filipino Culture
May 27 7:00 pm Introduction to Indian Culture
Brighouse Program Room
For more information on any service offered by Richmond Library Services please call 604-231-6413.

Richmond Art Gallery Asian Heritage Months Events
Richmond Art Gallery 7700 Minoru Gate
RAG hours: M-F 10am-6pm, Sa-Su 10:00am-5:00pm
For more information, call 604-247-8300

Art Gallery Exhibition Tours in Mandarin
Apr 26-Apr 27 10:30am to 4:30pm
In co-operation with Doors Open
16+yrs Free

“Donated Organ” Amy Chang
Apr 26 – Jun 1
Considers global citizenship and the value of human life. Chang’s ceramic works directly evoke the international organ market. The gangs or groupings of individual pieces are at once attractive and repulsive, playful and unsettling.
16+ yrs Free

“Water, Rice and Bowl” Tomoyo Ihaya
Apr 26 – Jun 1 2008
Ihaya’s mixed media installation presents an assemblage of drawings, stuffed paper figures and found objects developed through the artist’s travels to India and Mexico and her immersion in those cultures.
16+ yrs Free

Richmond Art Gallery Family Sunday
Apr 27 and May 25 1:00-4:00pm
Family Sunday is a free drop in art program for parents and children on the 4th Sunday of the month
Richmond Art Gallery 7700 Minoru Gate
All Ages Free thanks to the RBC Foundation.

For more information about Asian Heritage Month in Richmond, please contact 604-276-4391 or download the Richmond Asian Heritage Month schedule at

NEW: Solo Works of Shyh-Charng Lo - May 9 to June 27

OPENING: Friday, May 9, 2008, 3-6pm, Shyh-Charng Lo in Attendance

Art Beatus is delighted to present the emotive and moving landscape works of Vancouver-based artist, Shyh-Charng Lo. “Solo Works of Shyh-Charng Lo” starts May 9, 2008 and runs through to June 27, 2008. Coinciding with the annual festivities of Asian Heritage Month in May, the artist’s recent oil on canvas paintings of Vancouver’s ocean, mountain and sky will be featured with hopes to inspire feelings of renewal and the freshness of the Spring season. A reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition will be held on Friday, May 9, 2008 from 3pm to 6pm. The public is encouraged to attend, not only to view the works but to meet the artist who will be present at the opening.

When looking at Shyh’s paintings, one is often presented a glimpse of the various angles and changing seasons through the artist’s window – the lush landscape which surrounds his home on the Westside of Vancouver is routinely the subject matter for his paintings. Lo’s works which are slightly abstracted versions of the landscape around him, are based on the feeling and essence of his surroundings, not the actual objects. His paintings are commonly referred to as tranquil, bringing peace and quietude to the viewer. This seems somehow reflective of the artist who frequently conveys his ongoing communicative relationship with nature. His constant awareness of the natural beauty around him is his inspiration and motivates him to express his connection with this particular beauty onto the canvas.

“A monologue becomes a dialogue with nature, not only helping me to express something deep at the bottom of my heart, but also opening a gate for my inner feelings to be comforted. My landscape painting has been simplified to basic forms and shapes for compositional and structural purposes and meditates on my relationship with my surroundings, articulating a perspective of inner peace, serenity and sometimes solitude”.

Shyh was born in 1945 in Nagano, Japan and moved a year later to Hsin-chu, Taiwan with his parents. While he showed artistic talent at a young age, he was never formally educated in art. When he was accepted into the National Taiwan University (the highest-ranked educational institution at the time), he chose the field of archaeology and anthropology. No art programs existed during this period of time at the institution and it was as close as he could come to studying art. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in 1970, he moved to Vancouver for graduate studies at the University of British Columbia. Upon receiving his Master’s, he traveled to Toronto to pursue museum training which eventually led to a position with the Royal Ontario Museum.

Throughout his studies and years of employment, Shyh continued to paint in his own time. His love of art grew stronger over the years and after a decade of working at the Royal Ontario Museum, he made the very daring decision to leave his job and dedicate all his time to painting. In 1989, he and his family moved back to Vancouver where they settled into their home in the Point Grey area. Shyh-Charng Lo has since established himself as a very respectable artist and the varying changes in scenery outside his windows continue to be a never-ending source of inspiration. Mr. Lo has had numerous exhibitions and his work can be found in the international collections of assorted institutions and private art collectors.

Art Beatus, with a location in Vancouver, Canada and two locations in Hong Kong, showcases international art with a focus on contemporary Chinese art.

Art Beatus (Vancouver) is located in the Nelson Square Office Tower at 108 – 808 Nelson Street.

For more information, please contact Tamla Mah or Akemi Kojihata by email to or by telephone at 604.688.2633

Friday, May 2, 2008


Pick up this week's copy of the GEORGIA STRAIGHT and read about some of the artists who are being featured at explorASIAN 2008 along with commentaries about the Asian Canadian experience.


NEW: CBC's Asian Heritage Month website

Radio One - 690 AM
Radio 2 - 105.7 FM
CBC News: Vancouver Saturday and Sunday

May is Asian Heritage Month. This month, CBC brings you special programming and events that acknowledge and celebrate the rich history of Asian Canadians, their contributions to this country and their stories which have become a strong and consistent part of Canada's social fabric.

Check out our highlights for this week below. You can also visit CBC's Asian Heritage Month website 24/7 at

May 5
CBC News: Vancouver Saturday
At 10:30 pm (after Hockey Night in Canada)

Tune into CBC News: Vancouver Saturday with host Rosa Marchitelli and watch CBC's special segment on what Asian Heritage Month is all about, and why it matters.

May 6
CBC News: Vancouver Sunday
at 11:00 pm

Join Rosa Marchitelli for another special segment for Asian Heritage Month. This segment profiles young musicians and poets with a "loud and proud" message for "gay'sian" youth struggling with their identity amid cultural pressures.

Tuesdays and Thursdays in May
To celebrate Asian Heritage Month, CBC Radio One's On the Coast is launching a new series with celebrated chef, author, and Vancouver tour guide Stephen Wong called Slice of the City. Stephen will take listeners to his favourite places to eat, shop and explore Asian culture in Metro Vancouver. This week Stephen will reveal where to get a truly delicious traditional cup of Chinese tea and where to find collectible tin wind-up toys. Check out Slice of the City on On the Coast, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:45 pm. On the Coast can be found on CBC Radio One 690 AM

Friday, May 9th
Tune into The Early Edition at 8:15 am for Margaret Gallagher's Weekend Wrap to find out about special events to mark Asian Heritage Month this weekend.
The Early Edition is on CBC Radio One 690 AM

Visit us on the web: | | |

Thursday, May 1, 2008

NEW: Introduction to Asian Culture - May 2 / 4 / 22 / 27

May 4 / 3pm - 5pm
In partnership with The Royal Thai Consulate. These presentations aim to enhance people's understanding of the different Asian cultures. Sessions provided in English only. Registration required. (Max 60)

Brighouse Program Room
Richmond Cultural Centre 7700 Minoru Gate

In addition, the following sessions are offered in partnership with the Richmond Multicultural Concerns Society. Brighouse Program Room

May 2 7:00 pm Introduction to Korean Culture
May 22 6:30 pm Introduction to Filipino Culture
May 27 7:00 pm Introduction to Indian Culture

For more information on any service offered by Richmond Library Services please call 604-231-6413.

For more information about Asian Heritage Month events in Richmond, please contact 604-276-4391 or visit the City website at

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

NEW: Mani Khaira concert at CBC Studio One - May 2 - 6:30pm

Mani Khaira concert at CBC Studio One

CBC Studio One, 775 Cambie Street Vancouver
FREE admission
Ever wondered what piano pop masters Elton John and Billy Joel would sound like if
they were writing music as young men today? That might be just what Mani Khaira is
doing with his music. But it's Mani you really hear because Mani Khaira brings an
emotional energy to his sound that always makes it personal. This is keyboard oriented pop for those who love a good tune.

Here’s your chance to be part of a live studio taping for Canada Live on CBC Radio Two.

NEW: Asian Heritage Month Broadcasts on Canada Live

7 nights a week from 8 to 10, CBC Radio 2 listeners will be transported to concert halls, music clubs and festival stages across the country for live performances from the best Canadian artists. The show will be on the move, coming from a different major Canadian music centre each night.

Tune in to these great AHM broadcasts on Canada Live:

May 3 Tambura Rasa + Debi Prasad Chatterjee

"From the Middle East to Vancouver's East side, and far and wide, Tambura Rasa takes you on a musical journey.

From the richness of India and the upbeat sounds of West Africa, to the sensual rhythms of the Middle East, the joyous dance of the Balkans and the Flamenco of Spain, Tambura Rasa's tour is non-stop.

Tambura Rasa a quintet featuring vocals, multi-percussion, bass and violin includes rich ancient traditions from diverse corners of the world with an acoustic underpinning that keeps the sound grounded."

Pandit Debi Prasad Chatterjee is a highly regarded name among Indian musicians as an outstanding Sitarist and teacher of Indian Classical Music. He has been honored with many awards throughout his illustrious career including the 'President's Award' and was named "National Scholar of Music" for his contributions to the promotion of Indian Classical Music. Chatterjee brings his instrument to CBC Studio One for a concert with local musicians Sunny Matharu and Peter Berkham. A collaboration between some of Canada's rising Indian musicians and an international star.

May 19 Mani Khaira + Navaz

Ever wondered what piano pop masters Elton John and Billy Joel would sound like if they were writing music as young men today? That might be just what Mani Khaira is doing with his music. But it's Mani you really hear because Mani Khaira brings an emotional energy to his sound that always makes it personal. This is keyboard oriented pop for those who love a good tune. Recorded in the sonic perfection of Vancouver’s CBC Studio One.

Navaz is a collaboration between guitarist Eric Tompkins and Persian vocalist Neda Jalali. Navaz translates from Farsi as "a soothing melody". The music will make you want to dance or take you on an exotic journey to far away places. Eric and Neda came from a somewhat far away place in the BC interior (Prince George) to perform a concert for a sold out audience in CBC Studio One in Vancouver.

Friday, April 25, 2008

MERGE by frozen-melt - May 3 to June 1

MERGE by frozen-melt (Naoko Takenouchi, Miyuki Shinkai, HiDe Ebina)

Presented by Powell Street Festival Society, Numen Gallery and explorASIAN

Numen Gallery, 120-1058 Mainland Street, Yaletown, Vancouver
An exhibition of glass and clay art by Frozen-Melt, a group of three well-known Japanese Canadian artists whose mandate is to: explore, re-imagine, re-invent identity through the merging of cultures, East and West, old and new, art and craft, philosophy and technology.

Opening reception on Saturday, May 3 from 4 - 6pm

Click here for artist bios

Friday, April 18, 2008

CANADIAN PREMIERE: The Good Asian Drivers Tour with Melissa Li and Kit Yan - May 3 & 4


Melissa Li is a singer-songwriter who has been performing in the Boston area in the United States for over 8 years. She and her tour partner, nationally recognized transgendered slam poet Kit Yan, are going on a cross-country road tour this spring and summer, lovingly dubbed "The Good Asian Drivers Tour".

Together, this radical duo will traverse the United States and cut across four different time zones, at least 30 states and over 20 major cities, including two cities in Canada.

They deliver honest and personal stories through their music and poetry about being queer Asian-Americans, while proving to the nation that they are indeed good, if not excellent, drivers. They’re so cute you might just want to adopt them.

The social impact will be tremendous, especially in areas of the United States where the voices of these under-represented groups are not often heard. In addition, the tour strives to inspire youth and provoke dialogue on gay rights, transgendered issues, feminism, and the marginalization of minorities.

Richmond and Vancouver are the only two Canadian stops on their North American tour. Don't miss this show!

Q&A after the show.

So if you’re gay, bisexual, transgendered, Asian, queer, an artist, a poet, a performer, or if you’re just a supporting ally, then come out and enjoy our show.

Show contains some strong language and explicit sexual references
The show is recommended for mature young adults ages 16+
Parental Guidance suggested for younger audience members

explorASIAN 2008 OPENING EVENT - May 1 - 7:30pm - SOLD OUT!


MAY 1 - Thursday - 7:30pm
"Infinite Echoes from Japan: New Directions in Traditional Japanese Music"

On the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Canada and Japan, the Japan Foundation is pleased to sponsor an evening of neo-traditional Japanese music as the opening event for the explorASIAN 2008 Festival celebrating Asian Heritage Month in Canada.

Frederic Wood Theatre
6354 Crescent Road, UBC

Location map

Free Admission - Seating is limited - Reservations are recommended.

Please RSVP by April 25 - 5pm PST. SOLD OUT!
RSVP Waiting List (email only) or show up at the theatre for unclaimed seats.
(sorry-no guarantees on either option)

Please RSVP via email to with the subject line "Opening Event" with your full name and number of tickets required. Limit 2 tickets per person lease.

Tickets not claimed at the theatre by 7:10pm will be released to the public. General seating only. Please arrive early for best seat selection.

"Infinite Echoes of Japanese Neo-trad Music"

Trad:isme will introduce new creative music while carrying on the old traditions of Japan. The traditions of Japan lie in not only music but also in other fields that are passed down century after century from one generation to the next, where each generation creates new elements to entertain audiences in the future. The "Trad:isme", guardians of the past and creators for the future, will play tunes that sound both classic and modern. (Concept notes by Mitsuhide Koike)

The Japan Foundation is proud to present the “INFINITE ECHOES FROM JAPAN” music ensemble.

This ensemble exemplifies the rich musical traditions that are present in Japan by combining traditional dances and songs from the southern islands of Okinawa and Tsugaru shamisen from northern Japan with western musical elements through piano and drums. This unique group is the cream of the crop of Japanese performing artists who have quickly risen to the top of their fields within the recent surge in popularity of traditional music in Japan.

Hailing from the north and south of Japan, this group of young performers represents the diverse musical traditions that have carried on from generation to generation, which continues to resonate in their beautiful performances. The discipline and skillfulness of the performers not only expresses their mastery and understanding, it also shows how deeply rooted they are in keeping to the authenticity of the musical traditions. This is echoed in their performance, and combined with their powerful creative energy, they are pushing the boundaries towards new directions of traditional music.

Brought together especially for the concert, this ensemble of performers will be touring across Canada, making stops in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

This tour has been organized to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan.

Consulate General of Japan in Vancouver

Sunday, April 13, 2008

APRIL events - Gearing Up For Asian Heritage Month in May

APRIL 14 - Monday - 7pm
(Literary) CBC Radio Studio One Book Club presents Padma Viswanathan

APRIL 15 - Tuesday - 7pm
(Lecture) 5th Annual UBC-Laurier Institution Multiculturalism Lecture:
"The Three Lives of Multiculturalism" by Dr. Will Kymlicka

APRIL 16 - Wednesday - 7:30pm
(Poetry) Indran Amirthanayagam's The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems book launch

APRIL 18 - Friday - 7pm
(Lecture) Japanese Canadian National Museum presents "THE NEW CANADIAN Newspaper"
Presentation by Ian Fraser “A tribute to THE NEW CANADIAN Heroes”

APRIL 19 - Saturday - 2pm
(Exhibition) Japanese Canadian National Museum presents "THE NEW CANADIAN Newspaper"
Gallery Tour

APRIL 19 to MAY 18
(Visual Arts) Everything Is Not Lost

APRIL 19 - Saturday - 6pm
(Music/Dance) Vaisakhi: Harvest the Fun

APRIL 20 - Sunday - 1pm
(Children) Vancouver Turkish Canadian Society presents The Vancouver Multicultural Children’s Festival

APRIL 23 to MAY 24
(Visual Arts) Asian Heritage Month Exhibitions at Place des Art

APRIL 25 - Friday - 8pm
(Music/Poetry) The Language of Music, The Music of Words: A Musical Evening with Joy Kogawa and Friends

APRIL 25 to 28
(Music/Dance) Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular

APRIL 26 - Saturday - 9am
(Literary) BEYOND THE BOOKENDS: UBC Asian Library Open House

Check out these great events in April!

For event details:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

100 South Asians who are making a difference in British Columbia

An era of influence

Randy Shore and Kim Bolan
Vancouver Sun
Thursday, March 27, 2008

Looking back over the 82 years since he arrived in B.C. from Punjab, India, Jack Uppal is amazed at his community.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have expected to have this many of our people here and doing so well. I never would have expected this at all," the successful Vancouver businessman and community leader said this month.

Just a baby when he and family joined patriarch Dalip Singh here in 1926, Uppal remembers how difficult some of the early years in Canada were.

There was discrimination. South Asians were denied the right to vote. It was almost impossible to sponsor relatives to join you in Canada.

But there were opportunities galore and community members made sure they capitalized on them with hard work and ingenuity.

Uppal owns Goldwood Industries, a lumber company in south Vancouver.

He thinks he has probably helped "thousands and thousands" of other Indians immigrate to B.C. by offering them employment and sponsorship.

"Every morning, I get up and I first thank God and then I thank my dad for coming out here and having me and my brother and my mother come out here to have the opportunity to live in such a wonderful place like Vancouver, Canada. And we have had the opportunity to prosper. It wouldn't have happened in any other country."

But it was not always easy.

The first South Asians to lay eyes on this province were the officers of a multi-ethnic contingent of the British army on their way to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee.

The loyal Sikh regiment was a favourite of Queen Victoria and frequently travelled throughout the colonies, according to historian Satwinder Bains, of University College of the Fraser Valley.

What those officers saw in 1897 was a vast land bristling with virgin timber, sparsely populated - a land of unimaginable riches.

A handful of years later some of those officers were back as settlers, as were many of their family and friends, who they had regaled with stories of the potential of this new world frontier.

"The first settlers to arrive in B.C. in 1903 had a very good reception," Bains said. They were considered exotic, but unthreatening. "There were very few."

The earliest Sikh community was founded in Vancouver, but within a few years there were settlements dotted along the Fraser River and as far inland as Golden. Some moved to Vancouver Island. Mayo Singh, who became a successful mill owner, founded Paldi, a small community near Duncan, naming it after his village in Punjab.

Many of the pioneers settled in Victoria and prospered there. At one point the Indian community in the capital was the same size at that in Vancouver.

By 1906, the new immigrants had banded together to form the Khalsa Diwan Society to look after their cultural, religious and political needs. The society bought land at 1866 West Second Avenue in Kitsilano and opened the first temple, or gurdwara, in 1907. Newly arrived men could stay there for free for as long as they needed a place while they searched for work in Vancouver sawmills.

Virtually any place in B.C. there was a mill, there were Indian immigrants working in and around it.

Other Sikh temples were built in places like Abbotsford and Golden.

Only 45 settlers came from India in the first full year of immigration to B.C. starting in 1904. The following year 387 arrived, followed by another 2,384 Indian immigrants the next year. The City of Vancouver had fewer than 6,000 registered voters at that time.

The influx of South Asian settlers was dubbed a "flood," said Bains.

In 1908 the local Caucasian settlers had seen enough and pressured the government to pass the first of a series of laws restricting migration from India.

The Continuous Journey Regulation was passed in 1908, requiring that all would-be immigrants arrive from their homeland by direct passage. Since no ships offered such service between South Asia and Canada, it had the effect of eliminating immigration from the subcontinent.

The Continuous Passage law directly precipitated one of the blackest incidents in Canadian history, the refusal of immigrants aboard the Komagata Maru.

In 1858, Queen Victoria had declared that Indians would enjoy all the rights and privileges afforded to citizens of the British Empire and Singaporean Sikh businessman Gurdit Singh took her at her word. He chartered the Japanese steamer Komagata Maru and arrived in Vancouver with 376 passengers, many of them veterans of the British Army from the Punjab, on May 23, 1914.

They were refused entry and the Canadian government summoned a battleship to back its position.

The Khalsa Diwan Society formed the "shore committee" to provide food and water to those aboard the ship and to try to fight politically and legally on behalf of the would-be immigrants. But after almost two months at an impasse, those aboard were forced to return to India.

The immigration door, which had only been open a crack, slammed tight to South Asians who could not even bring their wives and children to Canada. Immigration slowed to a trickle of about a dozen men per year through the 1920s, forming bachelor communities throughout B.C.

Some went back to India. But many more persevered and made B.C. their home.

"That first decade was tumultuous," understated Bains. But it was tumultuous for everyone. Chinese immigrants faced similar indignities at the hands of government and sometimes racist mobs.

The South Asian community fought back. Through the Khalsa Diwan Society and some political allies, they organized lobbying trips to Ottawa. Everyone in the community would pitch in money to help.

Jack Uppal remembers his dad and other community leaders being part of those early battles for immigration rights.

"Don't forget, there was no person who was not a son or a daughter of a legally entered Canadian into Canada up until 1950. That's when the first people started to come over in the quota. So when the quota came, it was 50 a year," Uppal said.

"And even when it came to increasing the quota from 50 to 150, I was at the forefront. We used to write quite a brief, for instance. I would write it and they would take it to Ottawa and present it to the government at the time. Having friends in all three political parties also helped me."

Indo-Canadians were also looking for voting rights.

Uppal was called in 1947 to fight in the Second World War for a country that would not let him vote. He had to report to the army camp at Oakridge on 49th Avenue.

"I had told the senior officer that if we don't have the right to vote, we shouldn't be called and he said, 'You are quite right. Your community has been fighting quite hard on this issue,'" Uppal recalled. "I said I would be proud to go if I was a first-class citizen like everyone else. I would be proud to go. But it didn't happen."

It would be decades before the most discriminatory practices of government were lifted. Indians in Canada were granted the right to vote in 1947 and immigration laws finally relaxed in the 1970s.

The result was a renewed enthusiasm for Canada on the subcontinent. In-migration from India immediately vaulted into the tens of thousands per year and settled to about 25,000 people annually right through the turn of the century.

The linguistic and religious mix of today's South Asian community owes much to the "chain migration" strategy employed by the early Punjabi settlers. Most of the early settlers were Sikhs and they in turn brought their family members and so on, building their families and communities in Canada link by link.

While the vast majority of South Asians residing today in B.C. are Punjabi Sikhs, the Hindu community has grown from a few dozen in the early 1900s to about 100,000 today. Similarly, Muslims of South Asian origin number just over 90,000.

Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's reign of terror during the 1970s prompted about 50,000 South Asians resident in that east African nation to flee. But the government of India barred the Ugandan Ismaili population from returning to the motherland.

It was only through the intervention of the Aga Khan, the leader of the Ugandan Ismaili community, and then-Canadian prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau that tens of thousands of Ugandan Indians were given passage to Canada.

Political upheaval and migration is a recurring theme in the migration of South Asians to B.C. and it was sectarian violence abroad that fueled the growth of the local Sri Lankan community. Indeed, every country with a significant South Asian community - Fiji, Uganda, Hong Kong and others - has supplied B.C. with another unique facet through immigration.

The result is a wildly diverse group of communities that are as culturally insular - prizing their unique traditions, languages and religious affiliations - as they are confidently and robustly participatory in B.C.'s public life.

South Asians have really shared B.C., said Uppal, who has been a constant observer for eight decades.

"We have helped to build the province of British Columbia, there is no question about it," he said. "I am quite proud of the fact that our people have done so well in every field, almost - but particularly in politics. Here we didn't even have the right to vote and now our people are making the laws."

"I was so proud of Wally Oppal becoming a judge and now of course he is attorney-general. And Herb Dhaliwal and Ujjal Dosanjh and all these others who have done so fantastically well. We have done a lot of good work and for that I am very, very happy."

It is from this perspective that The Sun undertook to identify 100 leading citizens from a truly global mosaic of communities hailing from South Asia. Diversity and inclusiveness are the dual tracks of this list.

From hundreds of names taken from the panoply of South Asian leaders, academics, community workers, artists, journalists, thinkers, speakers and doers, we have crafted a list of influential men and women in British Columbian society.

© Vancouver Sun 2008

100 influential Indo-Canadians in B.C.

British Columbia is unique in the world for the vibrancy and diversity of its people. When the results of the latest census are released next week, it is anticipated that four in 10 Metro Vancouver residents will be counted as visible minorities. Today The Vancouver Sun is looking at one important community that has more than a century of history in British Columbia. South Asians with roots in India, Pakistan, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Tanzania and Bangladesh number in the hundreds of thousands in B.C. and have exerted a positive and energetic influence on business, community, the arts, media and political life. Those on the list are diverse and vibrant as the province itself.

The Vancouver Sun undertook to identify 100 leading citizens from a truly global mosaic of communities hailing from South Asia. Diversity and inclusiveness are the dual tracks of this list. From hundreds of names taken from the panoply of South Asian leaders, academics, community workers, artists, journalists, thinkers, speakers and doers, we have crafted a list of influential men and women in British Columbia.

Jazzy B
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 27

Harry Bains
Sector: Politics
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 37

Parm Bains
Sector: Community
Origin: Canada

Pasha Bains
Sector: Sports
Origin: Canada

Davinder Bains-Gill
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 36

Renu Bakshi
Sector: Media
Origin: Canada

Paul Binning
Sector: Arts
Origin: Canada

Sadhu Binning
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 41

Mandakranta Bose
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 33

Arvinder Bubber
Sector: Education
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 17

Premaya Chaitanya
Sector: Religion
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 28

Nadia Chaney
Sector: Arts
Origin: Canada

Gulzar Singh Cheema
Sector: Politics
Origin: India

Raj Chouhan
Sector: Politics
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 35

Farid Damji
Sector: Community
Origin: Uganda
Years in Canada: 34

Shushma Datt
Sector: Media
Origin: Kenya
Years in Canada: 36

Herb Dhaliwal
Sector: Politics
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 50

Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal
Sector: Religion
Origin: India

Fabian Dawson
Sector: Media
Origin: Malaysia
Years in Canada: 20

Baltej Singh Dhillon
Sector: Law enf.
Origin: Malaysia
Years in Canada: 25

Peter Dhillon
Sector: Business
Origin: Canada

Robin Dhir
Sector: Politics
Origin: Canada

Amar S. Doman
Sector: Business
Origin: Canada

Raminder Dosanjh
Sector: Community
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 35

Ujjal Dosanjh
Sector: Politics
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 40

Shehni Dossa
Sector: Law
Origin: Kenya
Years in Canada: 34

Karimah Es Sabar
Sector: Science
Origin: Kenya
Years in Canada: 6

Arun Garg
Sector: Medicine
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 43

Seemi Ghazi
Sector: Education
Origin: Pakistan
Years in Canada: 26

Balwant Singh Gill
Sector: Community
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 38

Charan Gill
Sector: Politics
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 41

Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill
Sector: Community
Origin: India

Gurmail Gill
Sector: Law enforcement
Origin: Canada

Maninder Gill
Sector: Media
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 29

Moe Gill
Sector: Politics
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 53

Sohen Gill
Sector: Sports
Origin: Canada

Iqbal Grewal
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 27

Manpreet Grewal
Sector: Media
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 21

Nina Grewal
Sector: Politics
Origin: Japan
Years in Canada: 17

Suki Grewal
Sector: Medicine
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 34

Ian Hanomansing
Sector: Media
Origin: Trinidad
Years in Canada: 36

Dave Hayer
Sector: Politics
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 36

Kash Heed
Sector: Law enforcement
Origin: Canada

Mobina Jaffer
Sector: Politics
Origin: Uganda
Years in Canada: 33

Asa Johal
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 84

Jas Johal
Sector: Media
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 36

Satnam Johal
Sector: Sports
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 40

Dilbar Kang
Sector: Media
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 15

Aziz Khaki
Sector: Education
Origin: East Africa
Years in Canada: 34

Shinder Kirk
Sector: Law
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 47

Daisy Kler
Sector: Community
Origin: Canada

Ali Lakhani
Sector: Law
Origin: England
Years in Canada: 35

Amin Lalji
Sector: Business
Origin: Uganda
Years in Canada: 30

Farhan Lalji
Sector: Sports/Media
Origin: Tanzania
Years in Canada: 36

Chandra Madhosingh
Sector: Education/Sports

Peter and Shahram Malek
Sector: Business
Origin: India

Irshad Manji
Sector: Media
Origin: Uganda
Years in Canada: 36

Samir Manji
Sector: Business
Origin: Pakistan
Years in Canada: 35

Harbhajan Mann
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 37

Fazil Mihlar
Sector: Media
Origin: Sri Lanka
Years in Canada: 19

Bif Naked
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 26

Wally Oppal
Sector: Law Enforcement
Origin: Canada

Kewal Pabla
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 36

Mario Pinto
Sector: Education
Origin: Sri Lanka
Years in Canada: 42

Indira Prahst
Sector: Education
Origin: Canada

Malkit, Charan and Gurjit Singh Purewal
Sector: Business
Origin: India

Belle Puri
Sector: Media
Origin: Canada

Gurcharan Rampuri
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 44

Jatinder Rai
Sector: Media
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 33

Rob Rai
Sector: Education
Origin: Canada

Sarwan Singh Randhawa
Sector: Community
Origin: India

Amarjit Singh Samra
Sector: Business
Origin: India

Emanuel Sandhu
Sector: Sports
Origin: Canada

Gian Singh Sandhu
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 38

Balwant Singh Sanghera
Sector: Community
Origin: India

Kulwinder Sanghera
Sector: Business
Origin: India

Vic Sarin
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 40

David Sidoo
Sector: Business

Daljit Singh Sidhu
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 36

Moe Sihota
Sector: Media
Origin: Canada

Bobby Singh
Sector: Sports
Origin: Fiji
Years in Canada: 30

Jarnail Singh
Sector: Arts
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 8

Kamilla Singh
Sector: Community
Origin: Fiji
Years in Canada: 35

Tony Singh
Sector: Business
Origin: N/A
Years in Canada:

Vijay Sondhi
Sector: Business
Origin: Kenya
Years in Canada: 36

Ashwin Sood
Sector: Arts
Origin: England

Ratana Stephens
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 39

Jet Sunner
Sector: Law
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 32

Itrath Syed
Sector: Education
Origin: Pakistan
Years in Canada: 35

Sultan Thiara
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 40

Harjinder Thind
Sector: Media
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 29

Sunera Thobani
Sector: Education
Origin: Tanzania
Years in Canada: 19

Mossadiq Umedaly
Sector: Business
Origin: Uganda
Years in Canada: 30

Jack Uppal
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 82

Hari B. Varshney
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 41

Vikram Vij
Sector: Business
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 18

Karim Virani
Sector: Community
Origin: Uganda
Years in Canada: 32

Amrik Virk
Sector: Law
Origin: India
Years in Canada: 39

Harsha Walia
Sector: Politics
Origin: Bahrain
Years in Canada: 10

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

100 Influential Chinese-Canadians in B.C.

Meet some of the people of Chinese descent who strengthen our community

Michael Scott
Vancouver Sun
Saturday, October 21, 2006

The first Chinese newcomer to reach what would soon become B.C. stepped onto a Victoria wharf in the early summer of 1858. He had travelled north by steamer from San Francisco, in search of a golden opportunity on the sandbars of the Fraser River.

His arrival in the bustling colony was considered noteworthy enough to appear in the pages of the Victoria Gazette, as a harbinger of changes to come. And so indeed he was, followed close behind by a tidal influx of Chinese workers as the inhabitants of whole villages emptied out across the wide Pacific -- tens and tens of thousands, mostly men at first -- to pan the rivers, build the railways, stock the shelves and run the laundries.

History lost track of what became of that first "Chinaman," but his pioneering footsteps cleared a path for innumerable others.

Today, people of Chinese ancestry are the province's most populous ethnic minority, numbering almost 500,000 in the Lower Mainland. They wield immense influence on every aspect of our shared society. In field after field -- arts, politics, law, medicine, science, finance, business, religion, community affairs, philanthropy -- Chinese-Canadians have taken their rightful place as leaders and innovators.

In some ways, this is Canadian multiculturalism at its very best, a colour-blind gathering of talent and shared purpose.

There's just one problem: For most of our history, we have been anything but colour-blind. It wasn't the Anglo-Europeans of British Columbia who had to fight for the right to belong, or who endured a century of racism of the most despicable and institutionalized sort. It wasn't the Anglo-Europeans who were reminded over and over, for generations, that they were different, lesser than other Canadians: required to pay taxes but not allowed to vote.

These dark facts make the contemporary accomplishments of Chinese-Canadians in B.C. all the more impressive. Not only have they distinguished themselves in so many ways, but Chinese-Canadians have done so against a background of racism and discrimination that only just began to abate in the second half of the 20th century.

Prejudice has finally given way to politeness, but our divisive history lives on in the way the Anglo-European majority and the so-called Chinese community (actually not one homogenous group, but many sub-groups divided along linguistic, political and cultural lines) continue to conduct themselves as two solitudes: nodding acquaintances who sometimes still ignore one another.

Earlier this year, The Vancouver Sun's senior editors and writers began discussing new ways to reflect the depth and breadth of multicultural life in British Columbia. As a newspaper, we disagree with the old adage that good fences make good neighbours. In our experience, communities need ways to connect cultures, not separate them.

In multicultural Vancouver, bridges make better neighbourhoods than fences do.

With that in mind, we present this special tribute to the influence and contributions of our region's Hua-ren (meaning, literally, "China-people," regardless of whether they were born overseas and arrived a year ago, or are the Canadian-born great-grandchildren of 19th-century immigrants).

In the pages that follow, we profile 100 individuals whose talents and world views greatly enrich our shared life as British Columbians.

The Chinese character, Hua, which introduces this special feature, was brush-penned by Johnson Su-Sing Chow, 84, of Vancouver, specifically for The Vancouver Sun. Chow, who is revered internationally as a master painter and calligrapher, has lived in Vancouver since 1980.

His contributions both to world art and to Vancouver's cultural life are acknowledged more fully inside these pages. The fact that he has been here for a quarter-century and has never received a mainstream museum exhibition is one small example of the two solitudes in action.

To create our character, Chow used what is known as cursive or grass style calligraphy, an ancient brush style that prizes the free-flowing movement of hand and arm. While the original meaning of Hua is blossom, or flower, or flowering, nowadays it also usually connotes, in different contexts, the notion of China and of Chinese person, in the widest and most poetical sense -- including that of people from China, or people of Chinese descent, living abroad.

We felt that this character and its layers of meaning create an apt symbol for the blossoming of contemporary Chinese-Canadian influence in the Lower Mainland.

To create this special feature, we began by canvassing the newspaper's senior editors and reporters for suggestions of whom to include. Those preliminary lists were scrutinized by our colleagues at Chinese-language newspapers, who had many other names to add. We also consulted officials at the University of B.C. and Simon Fraser University, as well as trusted members of the community, who provided important counsel and advice.

One person who deserves particular thanks for his participation is Jan Walls, the director of the David Lam Centre for International Communication at SFU. Walls, whose profound understanding of Chinese language and culture regularly earns him the admiring sobriquet of "more Chinese than the Chinese," would certainly have appeared on our list in his own right, except for his Caucasian ancestry.

We do not intend the list to be a Top 100 ranking, or comprehensive in any hierarchical way. We see it more as an assembly of individuals who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. We have tried to balance the various areas of endeavour, gender and geographical origin. Where necessary, we opted to include people whose influence is already well-established, rather than younger individuals at the start of promising careers.

We opened the list to anyone living and working in British Columbia on a permanent basis, whether they are Canadian citizens, or longtime foreign residents.

Early on, we decided not to include the names of pioneers who are deceased. This was a difficult decision because it meant overlooking people such as Lilian To, whose humanity and drive made Vancouver's immigrant aid society, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., one of the largest institutions of its kind in North America; and Douglas Jung, the first Chinese-Canadian Member of Parliament, whose valiant efforts as a Canadian soldier during the Second World War were partly responsible for Chinese-Canadians finally being enfranchised in 1947.

The list, in its final form, presents an astonishing array of talent and dedication. Here are history-makers like Dorothy Kostrzewa, the first Chinese-Canadian woman to hold elected office in this country, still serving her Chilliwack constituents more than 30 years later; David Lam, B.C.'s former lieutenant-governor, the first Chinese-Canadian to hold a vice-regal post; and Madame Justice Linda Loo, the first female Chinese-Canadian to serve on the B.C. Supreme Court.

Here are people who helped define an era, such as Roy Mah, the longtime editor of the English-language Chinatown News, and David Y. H. Lui whose passion for the arts persuaded some of the world's greatest performing arts companies to come to Vancouver.

We meet titans of business like the dentist-turned-developer Benjamin Yeung, whose modest personal demeanour belies a portfolio of current development projects worth $800 million; and humane financier Milton Wong.

Here are architectural giants, responsible for the new face of Vancouver, James Cheng and Bing Thom; as well as writers, artists, dancers, choreographers. Here are scientists, peeling back the mysteries of disease, including Weihong Song and Victor Ling; politicians, media moguls, athletes, essayists and philanthropists.

Attempting to identify only 100 luminaries in a community of nearly 500,000 people, is of course going to be dogged by omissions, whatever criteria are applied. With that in mind, we invite readers to nominate their own influential Chinese-Canadians. A factbox at the end of this story will explain how to do that.

In the process of interviewing the many people whose profiles are included here, one quality presented itself repeatedly. Perhaps it is a vestige of long-held Confucian principles, deeply laced into family memory; perhaps it is a result of personal style, but again and again our reporters noted the abiding humility of the people they were interviewing.

No matter the accomplishments, no matter the distinctions and honours, many of the people we celebrate in these pages present a very un-Western lack of pretense to the world.

Perhaps lawyer and vintner Eugene Kwan put it best. Formerly the managing director of the Hong Kong office of Stikeman Elliott -- one of Canada's leading law firms, senior counsel to some of the largest Asian investors in North America and a very active board member at VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation, Kwan was uncomfortable being part of this list.

"You want to put me on a list of the 100 most influential Chinese-Canadians in the Lower Mainland," he asked. "Gosh, I don't know about that." A long pause.

"If it were the 10,000 most influential, that I might just deserve to be on."

© The Vancouver Sun 2006