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.
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
By Jackson Benning, contributor
Last Nov. 16, students (including me) from the University of Minnesota and Metropolitan State University visited the courtroom of the Honorable Judge Tony Leung, the first Chinese American federal judge in the state of Minnesota. We were all students from two classes taught by Professor Chang Wang at our respective universities.
The beauty of the United States Federal Building in St. Paul, did not escape the students. Marble floors; pristine, high ceilings; and the sheer silence of the building made us speechless. For most of us, this is the first visit to a federal courtroom. Everyone was excited.
As we entered Judge Leung’s courtroom, none of us wanted to break the silence in the courtroom. The courtroom was spacious with nothing on the walls except for the seal of the United States and a very intricate clock. Judge Leung walked into the room with a typical court entrance, with everyone standing and waiting to get permission to sit down. Instead of inviting us to sit though, he invited us to sit closer, at counsel table and in the jury box. It was at that point that I realized how nice and humble of a man Judge Leung was.
Besides being the first Asian-Pacific American to serve on the federal bench in Minnesota, Leung was also the first Asian-American judge in Minnesota, appointed to the state court in 1994.
By Pat Welsh, contributor
The communist takeover of China in 1949 saw a significant achievement of a comprehensive government. After the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China (中國人民共和國) on Oct. 1, 1949, the Communist Party (共產黨) expected fighting for a few more years. To their surprise, once Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (國民黨, KMT) armies were shoved off the mainland, the whole country seemed to accept the communist ascension. Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army (人民解放軍) found themselves able to sweep through the south and southwest fairly easily.
Public sentiment in the cities the first year was one of euphoria. The residents of the cities saw a conquering army of seemingly self-disciplined country lads who appeared to be both helpful and polite. This was in stark contrast to the looting and raping activities of both the warlords and all-too-often corrupt KMT troops. The new government was seen as cleaning things up. The streets and drains were cleared of not only the filth and garbage but also of the petty criminals, prostitutes and beggars. The beggars and those who had been involved in criminal and immoral activities were rounded up and sent for reeducation aimed at teaching them how they can and should become productive members of the new society. This activity was the source of the word “brainwashing” (洗腦).
Events in China moved faster than even the Party anticipated. The Communist Party numbered only about 750,000 members but there was a need to fill over 2,000,000 government posts at all levels. For that reason, the Party allowed most of the former KMT government to remain in their positions, receive salaries and continue their functions. While this was being done, the government abolished foreign privileges, stamped out corruption and mobilized the citizenry into people who repaired public works, spread literacy, repair railroads and steamship lines while controlling diseases.