Although the Chinese American community has always strived to be good citizens, history has shown that they have not been treated fairly and need to let their Congressional leaders know that their service to our country needs to be recognized. Like many minorities, Chinese Americans overcame discrimination to serve their country bravely and honorably and we need to encourage the Congress to act favorably on this proposal to commemorate the service of these Chinese American veterans.
While in a desperate attempt to “clean house” before Chinese New Year, an old book purchased decades ago revealed itself. It was as if it the gods were telling me that perhaps the house needs more than a mere “cleaning.” However, since remodeling is not in my stars at the moment, I figured leafing through an encyclopedia of feng shui wouldn’t hurt!
Nope, my house will not be transformed into “house beautiful” any time soon, but following are some tips that might help in planning for it.
For the uninitiated, feng shui is the age-old Chinese system for arranging one’s surroundings to achieve harmony and balance. “Feng” is “wind,” and “shui” is “water.” The practice of feng shui is based on three principles: chi (life force of all animate objects), Tao (the way to order our lives to live in harmony with nature) and the yin and yang (the positive and negative forces that are in constant motion to gain dominance).
A basic tool used by feng shui practitioners is the bagua, the octagon chart that maps out the areas of the house to determine optimal placement of furniture and the use of colors. Incorrect placement will have a negative impact on the nine areas of the residents’ lives: power and wealth, reputation, relationships, creativity, compassion, career, knowledge, family and balance.
To complicate matters,there is more than one bagua. A novice asked the following question on a feng shui forum: I am totally confused about the bagua. If I apply the Western bagua, my career is at the main door. If I apply the classical Chinese bagua, my career is in the bathroom! Which bagua works better?
Members of the Minnesota Hmong and Chinese communities along with many city and state government representatives recently attended a special unveiling ceremony for Nkauj Hmong Lucy as guests of the Hmong Cultural Plaza Advisory Group held at the Community School of Excellence in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Nkauj Hmong Lucy is one of five Peanuts characters that will be sent to the City of Changsha, Hunan Province, China this spring as part of the Saint Paul-Changsha Sister City gift-exchange project established by the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society to coincide with the 30-year sister-city celebration in 2018.
The program included cultural performances and presentations from leaders from the Hmong community, local and state officials and the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society. It also included comments from Kao Lee Thao, the artist who painted Hmong Lucy.Add a comment
Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law are names well-known to Hong Kong democracy activists, the HK Police and, probably, Beijing. As of January 31, they were also officially “introduced” to the Nobel Foundation, thanks to 12 U.S. congressmen from both sides of the aisle.
In a move that may create more tension to an already tense U.S.-China relation, the 12 nominated Wong, Chow and Law for the Nobel Peace Prize for the trio’s efforts and leadership roles during the mostly peaceful 2014 Umbrella Revolution -- the largest pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong’s history. The three were sentenced and served prison sentences for their 2014 pro-democracy activities.
The congressmen’s letter of nomination stated, “Wong, Law and Chow and the entire ‘umbrella movement’ embody the peaceful aspirations of the people of Hong Kong who yearn to see their autonomy and way of life protected and their democratic aspirations fulfilled.”
The Nobel Peace Prize nomination is a first for Hong Kong and it could not have come at a more serendipitous time!
Beijing has been encroaching on Hong Kong affairs increasingly. Under Hong Kong’s “Basic Law,” (its constitution), Hong Kongers are guaranteed freedom of speech, assembly and demonstrations. However, it is clear the rights of the three student activists were infringed upon because their activities were not acceptable to Beijing and its agenda for Hong Kong.
By Mary Yee, contributor
Imagine going on a hike in the woods and suddenly coming upon a live dinosaur in a clearing. The botanical equivalent of this improbable event occurred in a remote corner of central China in 1941. In the village of Modaoxi in Hubei province, forester Gan Duo came upon a large tree he was unable to identify. Because the tree had already shed its leaves by that time of the year, Gan asked a local school principal to collect branches and seeds the following season. Whether those collections were ever made is not clear, but the principal, Yang Lung Tsing, became interested in the tree.
In 1943, Yang met up with a former classmate who had come to central China to survey the forests and asked him, Professor Zhan Wang of the Agricultural College in Beijing, to help identify the unusual tree. Zhan agreed to have a look and found that the tree resembled the Chinese swamp cypress. However, its leaves and cones were clearly not the same as the well-known cypress.
by April Xu, Sing Tao Daily, Jan. 10,2018
The following translation is a condensed version of a story about Kam Mak, the New York-based designer behind the new Year of the Dog stamp. The story was written by April Xu and appeared in Sing Tao Daily:
The U.S. Postal Service is slated to unveil its Year of the Dog stamp on Jan. 11 in Honolulu, Hawaii, to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year. It is the 11th of the second set of the Chinese zodiac series of stamps that USPS has issued annually since 1993. Kam Mak, born in Hong Kong and a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology who has designed this and other stamps in the set, shared the story behind the stamps with Sing Tao.
The first set of 12 zodiac stamps, designed by Chinese-Hawaiian designer Clarence Lee, was first introduced in 1993 and issued for 12 consecutive years. Since 2008, USPS has been working with Mak to launch the second set.
As any kid visiting relatives and friends during Chinese New Year will attest to, the next best thing after receiving the red packets is the variety of snacks that are offered. What lays under the lid of that Tray of Togetherness (攢盒) -- the round candy box – can make or break the visit!
Every traditional Chinese home will have a candy box sitting prominently on their coffee table or sideboard during entire 15-day Chinese New Year celebration. This candy box, also known as the “Tray of Togetherness” because it is always round in shape to signify unity and completeness, is filled with an assortment of bite-sized preserved candied fruits, sweetmeats and candy (obvious, isn’t it?) associated with auspicious symbolism: luck, prosperity, good health and fertility.
The box is traditionally made of red or black lacquer with characters and images representing good fortune or happiness on its lid and on the shallow porcelain trays within. The number of trays are usually six or eight as the number six represents luck and eight represents prosperity. However, the box in the photo below has seven compartments! Upon additional web surfing, I found the number of trays can range from five to nine! So … go figure.
It is also customary to place two tangerines with stems attached on top of the candy box because the word “tangerine” sounds like “gold” in Chinese and its color resemble gold. So, it pays to add a touch of “wealth” to the sweetness.for the coming year. The stems of the tangerines represent longevity.
Aside from the snacks, other auspicious foods families eat throughout the New Year are long noodles to signify longevity; fish because it sounds like “surplus/abundance” in Chinese and represents abundance in luck and wealth. One caveat on eating the fish – one never flips the fish over because in the old days, that can mean a fisherman’s boat turning over at sea!
Families also eat a vegetarian dish on New Year’s Day as a “cleansing” gesture. The dish is made with a kind of seaweed that resembles long hair (gross to look at and a taste for which this writer never acquired!) but because its name sounds like “get rich,” everyone makes it!
Of course, there are the “cakes.” The sweet version, niángo (年糕), is made of glutinous rice flour, almond extract and brown sugar, then and steamed. The slices are then dipped in egg batter and deep fried. The savoury version, law brag go (蘿蔔糕) is made with rice flour and grated daikon, with bits of Chinese bacon, mushrooms and spring onions. It also is sliced and pan-fried after being steamed. (This savoury version is readily available at dim sums.) The name of these “cakes” in Chinese is “go” and homophonic for ”high.” Therefore, eating them means kids will grow tall and adults will rise high in their jobs!
Happy Year of the Dog and happy eating for another year!
By Greg Hugh
Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings lost in the NFC Divisional Championship game to the Philadelphia Eagles thus disappointing die-hard Viking supporters dreaming of playing at home in Super Bowl XII. On the other hand, those who attended the Western Suburb Chinese Association Gala (WSCA) that disappointing evening got to enjoy quite an evening in the elegantly decorated Legacy Adult Daycare Center in Golden Valley, Minnesota.
The more than 300 guests were greeted by a Snoopy statue that will be sent to Changsha, China, as part of the St. Paul – Changsha China Friendship Garden at Phalen Park project. Proceeds from this WSCA Chinese New Year Gala will be donated to the project.
According to Linda Mealy-Lohmann, president of the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society (MCFGS), the gala was developed out of a preview initiative to showcase the five Peanuts statues that will be sent to Changsha, by different organizations within the Chinese community. Chen Zhou, lead organizer of the event, suggested that the WSCA would modify their Chinese New Year celebration plans and make it a fundraiser for the Friendship Garden at Phalen Park.
Zhou welcomed the gathering and went over the program for the evening, which included a song by a male duo, martial arts demonstrations by visiting Chinese athletes who also invited members of the audience to participate, a gymnast performing with ribbons, ball and hoops, a fan dance and another male singer that walked through the gathering while performing.Add a comment