It was wonderful to bring in the Year of the Tiger and celebrate the resilience of the Chinatown and Asian Canadian communities with two online events! In the early afternoon, Bruno Dias, Communications, Engagement and Events Manager at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, emceed an hour-long reading featuring six local poets: Catherine Lewis, Isabella Wang, James Wang, Lucy Yang, Jaeyun Yoo and myself. We read and discussed an array of poems about love, feasting, family, ancestors, dinosaurs and more that you can listen to on the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden’s YouTube channel here.
In the evening, Todd Wong hosted his annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy banquet which celebrates both Robbie Burns Day and the Lunar New Year. Todd and Elwin Xie showed video clips about the new Chinatown Storytelling Centre, as well as an excerpt of the new Chinatown opera that premieres with City Opera this fall. Most of the performers were live on stage at Floata restaurant in Chinatown while the audience watched online. (I zoomed in to read “Ode to the Plate.”) There were terrific music performances throughout (vocal, guitar, violin, and of course bagpipes), plus a great reading by Janie Chang from her novel, Library of Legends. Floata provided special haggis dumplings and other delicacies for take-out.