At a number of publications I worked at, an editor would come up to me and say, "Some guy came in and talked my ear off." And right away, I would know it was Jim Wong-Chu.
As the founder of the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop (ACWW) and Ricepaper magazine, the passionate way Wong-Chu spoke reflected the unstoppable, boundless drive he had for Asian Canadian communities and culture.
If you traced his efforts, which spanned numerous decades, that helped to propel or even provide a start for writers, authors, poets, artists, and more, you would have a comprehensive who's who of Asian Canadian literary and artistic talents, including Madeleine Thien, Kevin Chong, Evelyn Lau, Rita Wong, Alan Woo, and countless others.
He also helped to foster connections between various Asian Canadian communities, including people from Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and numerous other ethnic groups.
Sadly, Wong-Chu, who came to Canada from Hong Kong at age four, died on July 11. But his legacy lives on.
Remembering Jim Wong-Chu: Celebration of Life, organized by the ACWW, will be held at 6:30 p.m. on September 11 at Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant (1132 East Hastings Street). The event is free. To register, visit the event webpage on Eventbrite.
Anyone interested in giving a speech can contact LiterAsian, the literary festival founded by Wong-Chu.