Bill Wading presents "All the Tea in China"

2010 OpenHouse

The Tie That Binds

October 17, 2010

generalimg 13 20131107 1146965860One of the goals of the Chinese Heritage Foundation (CHF) has always been to bring different segments /generations of the local Chinese community together. At its sixth annual open house it did just that. There were nonagenarians and newborns, first generation immigrants and fourth generation ABC's (American born Chinese), as well as academicians and small business owners. The atmosphere was convivial, the tone celebratory, and the food scrumptious.

There has been much talk; most of it under the table as it were, about the gulf that separates the intellectuals from the restaurateurs within the Chinese community. Does it really exist? And if so, generalimg 15 20131107 1679348836does it last beyond the first generation?

The honoree for CHF's Chinese Minnesotan of Note this year was Jane Wilson, a 95-year-old lady who has spent the last 64 years nurturing three generations of Chinese Americans, watching them go from restaurateurs to other professions such as physicians and engineers, or remain in the family business. In her eyes, they are the same people, whatever their professions: all are warm, tight-knit, reverential of teachers, and respectful of family values and traditions. She loves them all.

That was the spirit that prevailed at the CHF open house. Attendees celebrated the accomplishments of CHF in its brief 6-year history. Continuing grant giving for worthy projects, such as CAAM Chinese Dance Theatre's outreach program for underprivileged school children and Families with Children from Asia's retreat for adolescent and teenage Chinese adoptees, gives relevance to the existence of the endowed CHF Fund. A Passage to China, the successful community-wide interactive cultural excursion and performances at Mall of America and a project of CHF Friends, highlights the need to promote mutual understanding among all Minnesotans.
The Volunteer of the Year Award, going to Moon Fong this year, emphasizes the generalimg 50 20131107 1037837227importance CHF places on volunteerism.

Responding to popular requests, CHF Friends (the activities arm of CHF) has decided to present more cultural/social activities in the future, on a membership-driven basis. Membership is open to interested people of all ages and ethnicities. An initial call for members at this meeting netted more than 20 enthusiastic responses. More information on its direction will be available shortly.

As it approaches its 10-year mark, CHF (in both its grant making and cultural activities) will build and expand on the common ground that binds all Chinese Minnesotans together. It will recognize and embrace differences, whether they be regional, geographic, linguistic, or social, and celebrate the common heritage and humanity among us all.


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A Passage to China 2009

April 4 & 5, 2009

CHF presented the second annual A Passage to China at Mall of America to great acclaim. An estimated crowd of 10,000 visited our two-day event. Read about the sights and sounds here.

2009 Ming Tchou Birthday Party

August 9, 2009

2009-5 3 20131107 1410837756It was five years ago at Ming Tchou's birthday party that she announced the creation of the Chinese Heritage Foundation. It has been an eventful five years since then for everyone at CHF. To mark Ming's continuing commitment to CHF, several friends got together to throw a surprise birthday party for her. She arrived at the home of Ida Lano on August 9, expecting an intimate Sunday supper with four friends. Instead she was greeted by a chorus of approximately 30 friends hollering, 'Surprise!!'

Ming was thrilled to see so many good friends gathered to help her celebrate her special day. There were many delicious dishes contributed by everyone: poached salmon, sesame peanut noodle, pot stickers, Buddha's delights, gluten vegetables, eight-precious longevity noodles, eight-precious rice pudding, stuffed glutinous rice balls, roasted suckling pig, cookies, and a luscious fresh cream mango birthday cake. Everyone had a marvelous time.

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2009 Visit by Flower Drum Song Author C. Y. Lee

June 25-29, 2009

2009-3 1 20131107 1681469658C. Y. (Chin Yang) Lee, author of Flower Drum Song, came to the Twin Cities in June to attend the opening performance of Mu Performing Arts's production of the 2002 Broadway revival of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical based on his novel. Spry and active at 93, Lee enjoyed this updated production very much and pronounced it a wonderful successor to the 2002 Broadway production. He was pleased that his East-meets-West story is now speaking to a new generation of theatergoers and Chinese Americans.

Lee also renewed his acquaintance with David Henry Hwang, the playwright of the 2002 Broadway2009-3 16 20131107 1702612134 revival, and met with the cast of the Mu production. He was very pleased to see so many established and emerging Asian American actors in the Twin Cities. Encouraging more Asians, particularly Chinese, to go into the performing arts has been one of his life long goals.
Many in the Chinese community, including some who were Lee's contemporaries in Kunming during WWII, came to the opening night to meet him.

They also came the next evening to Jun Bo Restaurant to attend a dinner and dance in his honor. Lee loves to dance and spent a good part of the evening on the dance floor. He also enjoyed the special performances presented by members of Daniel Lai's 2009-3 32 20131107 1098936361Chinese American Ballroom Dance Association and for DanSa.
Ming Tchou, president of CHF, is a long time friend of Lee's, and hosted him for five fun-filled days here. They toured many Twin Cities cultural landmarks, including the newly refurbished Cherry at the Walker Art Center's Sculpture Garden. Lee had a wonderful time and promised to return very soon.

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2009 Visit by Veteran Hollywood Actor James Hong

September 11, 2009

On September 11 the Chinese Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with China Insight, welcomed James Hong, veteran Hollywood actor and Minnesota native, back to the Twin Cities. Hong was in town to attend his 1947 class reunion at Central High School.

2009-4 5 20131107 1020870529A diverse audience, consisting of Hong's childhood friends and families as well as young American born Chinese who were attracted by his many movie credits, gathered at Grand City Buffet to greet him. Hong was gracious and gregarious, mixing easily with both old friends and new fans. He paid homage to his first English teacher, Miss Jane Wilson (94 years old and present) of the Westminster Presbyterian Church Chinese School and to his Mandarin Chinese teacher, Prof. Richard Mather (96 years old and living in St. Paul) of the University of Minnesota. He urged all young people to learn Mandarin, an ability that he felt would continue to gain in importance in the future.

He also encouraged more young people to go into the creative and performing arts, echoing the call of C. Y. Lee, author of Flower Drum Song who visited the Twin Cities three months ago, for more Chinese artists. Hong explained that in his young days the prevailing Chinese tradition placed performing artists at the lowest rung of desirable professions and discouraged young people, if they had a choice, from entering the acting profession. That is no longer the case. Acting is now a respected profession and, reinforcing a point he made in the PBS public documentary on Chinese actors in Hollywood, he said that Hollywood is now beginning to cast more Chinese actors in leading roles.

Underneath Hong's many easy going jokes was a disciplined professional. Comfortable with his Chinese heritage and, at 80, at ease with his long and successful career in Hollywood, he looks forward to many more roles, perhaps even that of Charlie Chan, played by a Chinese this time.

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