By Assunta Ng
The other night, I dreamed about Santa Claus delivering presents to kids in the International District. I rushed to him, waiting for my turn.
Santa took a quick look at me and smiled, “You don’t need one.”
“Why?” I protested. Because of my age? Like a child being abandoned, I was almost in tears.
“You’ve already got it,” Santa smiled again and touched my face.
“Ho, ho, ho,” he roared and then disappeared in my sleep.
I woke up in the morning, feeling energized. And words just came pouring out from my brain, flowing to my fingers, and I couldn’t stop writing on the computer. So here you go…
Last Friday, I strolled from Chinatown to Seattle City Hall for a concert. When I arrived, someone patted me on the back and said, “The concert is over. Just go eat,” pointing at the refreshments.
It was Friday, Dec. 13, not my lucky day! Naturally, I missed it. Little did I know the best part of the program was about to be unveiled.
When I sat down, the emcee introduced my Seattle Chinese Post staffer to say a few words. I never heard her speak English before. It blew me away! It was short, sweet, and relevant.
Next, a diverse group of Beacon Hill International School students performed a Chinese song called “Jasmine Flowers.” I don’t even know how to sing that song. These kids are fluent in Mandarin. They have studied Mandarin since they were in kindergarten. Then another Caucasian student told a story in Chinese. He didn’t have a script — he memorized the whole thing. What impressed me was that he wrote the story and designed the props himself. I completely understood all the words he spoke in Mandarin.
But that’s not the end of the story. A parent thanked me afterwards. She said the Asian Weekly wrote about Beacon Hill’s students’ Chinese program and that they needed to raise money to go to China to meet their Chinese pen pals. They have been writing to each other for a while. Last September, their Chinese friends from Chongqing visited them in Seattle. One reader responded and pledged to raise $5,000 for the group. Finally, the group raised enough money to go to China next year. Beacon Hill is now planning to raise funds for its second group to go to China.
When the Asian Weekly publishes stories, we never know what impact the paper will produce.
It’s important that people share with us how we have made a difference. That’s our reward.
Can Brad Goode, KOMO 4 news anchor, speak Chinese? Just watch Ninhao Seattle (translation: “How are you Seattle”?). If you don’t speak Chinese, Goode can fool you.
Created by Ben Zhang, this project, which cost about $1.18 million, is to attract Chinese tourists and business investment opportunities. Zhang owns Greater China Industries.
Zhang plans to make 20 of these, he said. “I lived here since 1993. I would like to promote Seattle first. Following it, there will be Ninhao San Francisco, Ninhao Las Vegas, Ninhao Chicago, Ninhao Boston, and Ninhao New York.”
He predicts the program will make millions of dollars in profits. All will be donated to build a school in China for disadvantaged children. It’s a win-win for Seattle and the kids.
Goode’s voice is actually being dubbed in the program. In the meantime, Goode has worked with a University of Washington Chinese student to brush up on his Chinese.
Julianne Kumasaka, an angel
Julianne Kumasaka is one of the founders of a senior activity program Kokoro Kai, part of Nikkei Concerns.
Most program founders eventually leave, but not Julianne. She has dedicated her time and energy to the program for 35 remarkable years. Her spirit of devotion, community, and loyalty speaks mountains about her compassion and personality. What a role model she is for the Asian community. Thank you, Julianne, for 35 years well done!
Education makes a difference
I was in Hong Kong recently, hoping to watch former Seattleite Martin Lau perform. But no, it was sold out. I couldn’t get in to see the show. I was disappointed, but happy for Lau, whom I met in Seattle when he was just a child.
Who’s Martin Lau?
Lau, 37, is now a hot commodity in Hong Kong Cantonese opera circles. He is one of the top-paid tai-pans and youngest master of the art. He doesn’t just lead operatic orchestras for a successful opera troupe, but is one of the most sought-after private instructors in Cantonese opera singing.
And his students are on the list of who’s who in Hong Kong.
I first met the Lau family when he emigrated with his parents at the age of 6. He left Seattle and went back to Hong Kong to see if there were opportunities.
What’s unique about Lau is that he’s the only master who has a college background. He studied English and science at the University of Washington.
Recently, the Luck Ngi Musical Club celebrated its 75th anniversary with an elaborate program of Cantonese opera at the Meydenbauer Center. Lau returned to lead the 10-man orchestra.
So thank you, Santa, for your gift of ideas. You are my inspiration for this blog. (end)