By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer
As summer draws to a close and many families may be hitting the road for one last outing or preparing to send their children back to school, the staff of China Insight is also resuming publication after taking a month off to reenergize themselves. Following are highlights from a few summer events that took place during our summer hiatus.
The annual 2-day event at Lake Phalen was enjoyed by all despite the record heat that accompanied it. Complete details and results of the Dragon boat races can be found at www.dragonfestival.org.
Minneapolis-Harbin 20th Anniversary Celebration
A delegation from Harbin, China, lead by its mayor, Song Xibin, recently visited Minneapolis to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its sister city relationship with the City of Minneapolis. Minneapolis has sister relationships with nine other international cities. The delegation participated in Minneapolis’ 5th Annual Sister Cities Day Celebration & Ice Cream Social at the Nicollet Island Pavilion. In addition to sightseeing and shopping at Mall of America, the delegation were guests of honor at a dinner hosted at the home of Mary Warphea, co-president of the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association-MN.
The 20th Anniversary Celebration was held at the Walker Art Center that was attended by local government officials along with members of the Chinese community during which greetings and gifts were exchanged along with an invitation from Mayor Song Xibin for all Minnesotans to visit Harbin. The evening ended with the delegation from Harbin participating in the Acquatennial Torch Light parade.
Lucky 8s for Ming Tschou and Governor Mark Dayton
Ming Tchou, the founder of the Chinese Heritage Foundation and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently shared something in common upon a chance meeting at the Bachelor Farmer restaurant in downtown Minneapolis. Ming was there with a group of friends to celebrate her 88th birthday and Gov. Dayton was there for brunch which he frequently does at the restaurant which is owned by his two sons. The coincidence is that they both celebrated an “eight”: event: Ming’s 88th birthday and Gov. Dayton’s recent return from his eight visit to China.
According to Wikipedia, the word for "eight" (八 Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means "prosper" or "wealth" (發 – short for "發財", Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for "eight" and "fortune" are also similar, e.g. Cantonese "baat" and "faat".
There is also a visual resemblance between two digits, "88", and 囍, the "shuāng xĭ" ("double joy"), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 ("xĭ" meaning "joy" or "happiness").
The number 8 is viewed as such an auspicious number that even being assigned a number with several eights is considered very lucky.
Delegation from China meets with community leaders
A community meeting recently was held at the Buffet King in St. Paul for members and leaders of many Chinese community organizations to visit with a delegation from China representing the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council (OCAO). The delegation from China spoke on the services that OCAO as the administrative office responsible for communicating with overseas Chinese residing abroad as well as those returning to China.
This is their first ever visit to Minnesota. Labeled as the Home of all overseas Chinese, they introduced many different offices under this organization to help overseas Chinese in many different ways. All attendants asked a lot questions about the events and activities this government agency has specifically for overseas Chinese. Although several of the attendees sought assistance from OCAO to help promote Chinese culture and history within their communities as we do not have a huge Chinese population or China Town like Chicago, the head of the delegation stated that this was not part of the mandate of OCAO and such a project would be better off if funding was secured from some other Chinese government agency.