Saturday, October 8, 2011

Haggis Wontons: Cultural Fusion in Vancouver

Leith Davis of the English Department at Simon Fraser University analyzes Gung Haggis Fat Choy, in a 2009 article "A New Perspective of the Scottish Diaspora," here in html and here in pdf.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a blend of Burns Night and Chinese Lunar New Year, was first celebrated in Vancouver in 1998. Davis uses this event as an example of non-Scottish Discursive Unconsciousness (SDU). You can read all about SDU in Colin McArthur's chapter in Transatlantic Scots. Essentially, he has this idea that Scots go on auto-pilot when referring to Scotland and can not help themselves when understanding their (ancestral) homeland in terms of Culloden, tartan, Burns and shortbread tins. Davis argues that this unique Vancouver event, while having elements of traditional Scottish trappings, is also its own thing.

Read the article and see what you think. Davis makes a persuasive case. On the other hand, SDU is handy because if you are in an immigrant situation the host country will understand tartan, Burns and shortbread tins, but not necessarily newer, more recent images of Scotland like the Armadillo in Glasgow or the Falkirk Wheel linking the Forth and Clyde Canals.

Outside of arguments about identity creation, Gung Haggis Fat Choy simply sounds like a lot of fun. For more information about it try here and here.

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