A Piperguy48 Production
“Gung Hay Fat Choy” is a traditional greeting used at the Chinese New Year. It is said to mean Health, Happiness, Longevity, and so on.
“Gung Haggis Fat Choy” on the other hand is a light-hearted, cross-cultural celebration that combines the Chinese New Year with a tribute to Scotland’s poet, Robbie Burns. The event began some 18 years ago when Todd Wong, a student at Simon Fraser University, was asked to help produce the university’s Robbie Burns Celebration. Todd added his own cultural twist to the event and it became a virtual bridge between East and West. Who better symbolizes the spirit of that idea than our daughter Lauren, one of Ontario’s Premier Highland Dancers and a blend of cultural and ethnic parents? David is one generation removed from Fife and Linda is two removed from mainland China. So David, Linda and daughter Lauren Black, southern Ontario members of the Clan Lamont Society, went to Seattle early last February for the Washington State version of this cultural mish-mash. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Toddish McWong (aka Todd Wong) from Vancouver. We had been in touch with him for some time promoting Lauren as the epitome of his annual extravaganza. So he featured her highland dance performance front and centre in the Seattle production presented on Sunday, Feb. 20th, 2011.
Lauren performed twice that evening along with the North-West Junior Pipe Band, Chinese Lion Dancers, piper Don Scobie and Toddish McWong delivering the Address to the Haggis in both English and Mandarin. There was quite a nice haggis served with a choice of sweet & sour or plum sauce, plus an eight-course Chinese banquet. The bar boasted an excellent selection of scotches and a local brewery’s ale labelled, very aptly, “Kilt Lifter”.
We owe much to the organizer and driving force behind the Seattle presentation of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, Mr. Bill McFadden. It was his vision to bring this event to Seattle to further his social outreach programs and philanthropic activities on the west coast. He was a gracious host who took us Eastern Canadian Scots into his heart and his home. It was an eye-opening experience and the event’s organizer/producer sent us home with instructions for setting up an eastern version of the event. I don’t think we’re quite that laid back here in the east. But we’ll see what happens. I don’t know how the folks of southern Ontario (on either side of the cultural coin) might view such outrageous antics, but it was good fun in aid of a good cause. All proceeds went to help the North West Junior Pipe Band compete in Scotland this year.
As proud bearers of the Clan Lamont mantle, we were warmly received in Seattle, Washington and as Lauren danced she represented our history, our heritage, and our traditions in grand style.
Dave Black & Family
Gung Haggis Fat Choy