Recent Updates

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Writers Roundup - Richmond Public Library

Are you interested in writing or getting published? Check out the workshop on June 19-20, 2015 at the Richmond Public Library.

Come see me at the Community Table on Friday, June 19, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. I'd love to talk about writing my memoir "A Cowherd in Paradise: From China to Canada"


Writers Roundup – Calling All Amateur and Professional Writers 

RICHMOND, B.C. – Richmond Public Library will be holding free interactive workshops for amateur and professional writers during its two-day “Writers Roundup” on June 19th and 20th at the Brighouse (Main) Branch, Community Place room, 7700 Minoru Gate. To register visit any branch of Richmond Public Library, call 604-231-6413 or register online at Workshops include the following: 

  • Fri. June 19 from 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon – Memoir Writing
  • Fri. June 19 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. – The Nuts & Bolts of Self-Publishing
  • Fri. June 19 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. – Getting to Know the Publishing Industry
  • Sat. June 20 from 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon  – Getting Started as a Writer
  • Sat. June 20 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. – Social Media for Creative PeopleTo register for this class only, visit 

“These workshops are geared to writers at all levels, including those just starting out, and more experienced writers,” said library Communications Officer, Shelley Civkin. “I encourage all writers to take advantage of these free workshops and network with other writers,” added Civkin. Space is limited so register soon.

My New Youtube Channel!

Here is the link to my very first Youtube video. It is a reading excerpt from Chapter 3 "Father Reborn", about his arrival in Canada in 1923 on the Empress of Japan.

What was your first experience of coming to Canada?


Mayne Island Library

Mayne Island is part of British Columbia's Gulf Islands chain and is accessible from both Vancouver Island (Swartz Bay) and Vancouver (Tsawwassen) via BC Ferries We had perfect weather on Saturday and the island was hopping with extra activities, which included the regular open-air market, a classic car show, a wedding featuring Taiko drumming at the Classical Japanese Gardens, fresh crabs for sale at the dock, and an evening outdoor showing of the film "ET".

Despite the numerous alternatives, and thanks to the Library Board, I had a full house! The library itself is a gem, perfectly situated with a park and restful views of the ocean.

I want to especially thank Eleanor Cocker of the Library Board, who hosted me for the day. We had a lovely lunch and tour of the island's main attractions, and she has whetted my appetite to return for a longer visit with my husband. 

A note about the Japanese Gardens: This is a memorial initiated by one of the Japanese families who had lived on Mayne Island before the Second World War, and who were deported and interned. None of the families have returned to live. The groom that day was a descendant of one of the families. This was indeed a day to remember our past and family connections.

Check out the photos from my visit.

Chemainus and Collingwood Updates

Chemainus is Vancouver Island's "Little Town That Did!" Like Wong Guey Dang (Ah Dang), the town successfully re-invented itself. 

Once a town whose prosperity depended on its sawmill, it fell upon hard times in the 1970's. With some Federal redevelopment funds and visionary leadership, the town embarked on a project to re-invent itself into a major tourist destination. The main attractions are the beautiful murals which honour the area's settlers, including the native Salish, as well as the Chinese, Japanese, and European immigrants. My favourite is "Arrival of the Reindeer in Horseshoe Bay"

Our family has a personal connection to the town, because it was here that my in-laws, Jeff and Doreen Cockerell, first lived when they came from England. They were sponsored by Philip and Enid Lomas. They built their first home in Canada, next door to the Sadds in Saltair. Jeff worked on the "green chain" at the sawmill. Their first son was born in the Chemainus Hospital.

We often bring friends and relatives from out-of-town to visit this special place. But we also visit on our own, to catch a Matinee performance at the Chemainus Theatre and enjoy a delicious brunch.

On this particular day, before my talk, I spent a fun morning browsing in the Farmers Market, Kinney Clothing Co., Bound to be Different, and The Art of Second Hand.

I was given a warm welcome at the Chemainus Library. The library had purchased extra copies in preparation for the reading - so it was a knowledgeable and appreciative audience. Have a look at the photos from the event.

Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH), built and established through the leadership of my friend Terry Taylor, is the community's focal point for immigrant settlement and social integration, seniors' activities, and children's education.  

I was particularly interested in a new program for seniors,which will use music to help stimulate memory.

Elwin Xie generously offered to videotape my talk, and an excerpt will soon be available on Youtube. His family's story is very much part and parcel of the development of Vancouver's Chinatown and some of it parallels the experiences of Ah Dang and Ah Thloo. Check out his website:

Amazingly, I met 3 members in the audience: Elwin and his brother Nelson, and Peter Kwong, whose ancestors had also sailed to Canada on the Empress of Japan!

Also in the audience were writers Jim Wong Chu and Edwin Lee (Some Young Guys).

Check out the photos from that day.


Why Premier Christy Clark's Apology is Important - 2 upcoming talks

On May 15, 2014, British Columbia's Premier, Christy Clark, apologized to the Chinese Community for "past wrongs", namely, institutionalized and legislated discrimination. This apology statement was preceded by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apology, on behalf of the Federal Government, in 2006.

Why are these apology statements important? They recognize the fact that no matter when, how, and why it happened, racial discrimination is wrong. The harm it has done, by separating generations of children from their fathers, parents from their sons, and wives from their husbands, have had long-lasting effects.

A Cowherd in Paradise: From China to Canada,  tells the story of these long-term and devastating effects on one family. I will be reading from my book and discussing the importance of these apology statements on:

June 11, 2014, noon - 1 pm, at the Chemainus Library, 2591 Legion Street Chemainus, BC. Call 250-246-9471 for more information. Free of charge. 

June 16, 2014, 1 - 3 pm, at the Collingwood Neighbourhood House, 5288 Joyce Street, Vancouver, BC. Call 604-435-0323, ext. 227 for more information. Cover charge $2.50 - refreshments served.