David Lam, 2009 Volunteer of the Year

davidlam2007 20 20140112 1551317474The Chinese Heritage Foundation has a very active Calligraphy Committee that has been going all over town, from Blaine to Burnsville, to do name translations and to deliver presentations on various topics on Chinese culture. They have done name translations at the annual Dragon Festival, public and private schools, business corporations, nonprofit organizations, and citywide multicultural festivals.

David Lam has been a mainstay of this active Committee. He is the chief translator and, eschewing easy phonetic translations that often don’t make sense in Chinese, he works hard to translate English names into authentic Chinese ones, complete with a popular or prestigious Chinese last name, and a given name that incorporates traditional Chinese values and aspirations, including the burdens that Chinese fathers often place upon their children. David does this quickly. On a busy day, the calligraphy team has done 200 names in three hours. That is more than a name a minute.

In addition to name translations, David often gives presentations on different aspects of Chinese culture. A gifted public speaker, he is at ease whether he is talking to professionals at Target Headquarters or to a grade school class in St. Paul. Mixing humor with facts, he charms his audiences on topics ranging from ancient Chinese pictographs to common practices during Chinese New Year, leaving them wanting to know more.

Volunteering has always been a big part of David’s life. For his many years of volunteering in 2008-3 30 20131107 1663518216Hong Kong he was honored in 1991 with an invitation to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. He immigrated to the Twin Cities in 1993, continued his volunteering activities and, in his spare time, went back to being a college student again. At age 69, he graduated, magna cum laude, from the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota.

 

(Ed.’s note: David passed away peacefully on April 7, 2010)

 

Chinese Minnesotans of Note

2018 Will Ahern
Will Ahern came to CHF shortly after he and his wife, Beth, adopted their daughter, Summer, from China. He felt instinctively that Summer should grow up with her Chinese heritage ever present in her life. He started volunteering for us...
2011 Stephen Tsui
Rev. Stephen Tsui is well known to the Twin Cities Chinese community as someone with a sympathetic ear and a discriminating taste in gourmet Chinese food. He is a patient listener to anyone who is carrying a burden, always thoughtful and empathetic as the situation demands...
2011 Stephen Mao
Stephen Mao, since immigrating here from China several years ago, has been part of this active team. While the rest of the team is busy, he is often a one-man team, serving as both translator and calligrapher at the same time...
2010 Moon fong
Moon Lan Fong was born on August 16, 1914 in the small village of Tai Shan Guangdong Province in China. Following the traditions at the time, she left school at the age of 16 and was married, in an arranged marriage...
2009 David Lam
David Lam has been a mainstay of this active Committee. He is the chief translator and, eschewing easy phonetic translations that often don’t make sense in Chinese, he works hard to translate English names into authentic Chinese ones, complete with a popular or prestigious Chinese last name...