Not the usual Chamber’s dinner
So what was unusual?
Mayor Ed Murray, who declared he’s a sheep, spoke briefly at the Greater Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s Lunar New Year dinner at the China Harbor Restaurant last week.
Murray, 60, was born in the Year of the Sheep. According to Chinese astrology, anyone born in the same year as the named zodiac sign, it will be a year of turmoil. As if his first year wasn’t dramatic and challenging enough with the shakeup of the police department, the hiring of a new police chief, Kathleen O’Toole, and the passing of the $15 minimum wage and more—well we will soon find out, won’t we?!
Then Murray mentioned that he is also a Taurus (bull). Oh, the yin and yang balances! That might also explain how the Chamber arranged its seats for the VIPs. Consider that Murray, a Democrat, was sitting right next to Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant, a Republican. But that’s not the odd part.
What is interesting is the conflict and obvious tension between the City and the Port. Murray had asked the Seattle Dept. of Planning and Development to review, investigate and determine whether the Port lease of Terminal 5 to Shell Oil is allowed under the City’s and Port’s guidelinea.
I don’t blame Murray left early.
Then Walter Liang, a devoted Republican, bragged about Republicans buying two tables at the dinner. How about four tables next year? Republicans can afford it. (I know I am going to get flak for this!) The Washington State Republican Party also paid for a Happy Lunar New Year advertisement in the Northwest Asian Weekly without us asking for it. I hope the year of the sheep will be a start for the party to get involved with the Asian community.
I bought five raffle tickets and one of them hit the jackpot. I won the third prize (in terms of dollar value), a gift basket, but it was actually the best prize because it was the Chamber’s board members’ team effort pulling their resources together. What did it contain? The basket contained Nordstrom and Starbucks gift certificates, a comic book (Silk Comic Issue #1), a tea set, Girl Scout cookies, plus a month of kung fu classes donated by Master David Leong.
Winning the raffle was not just about winning. It also meant that a lucky aura had descended on me that day to prevent me from getting badly hurt the following day.
While I was frying pork for lunch the next afternoon, another stove inches from me, suddenly caused the plate on top to explode into hundreds of pieces with sharp edges and weird shapes. The broken pieces flew all over the kitchen, including on the food I was cooking. My husband thought he had turned off the stove, but it was not completely off. The switch was a half centimeter from the “off” sign, and the heat was still strong. Amazingly, I was not hurt. Despite the fact that I had no physical injury, my psyche was tarnished, and my body was trembling for a while. I had narrowly missed a frightening, deadly experience. If that wasn’t luck, what is?
Pam Banks vs. Kshama Sawant
Pam Banks, CEO of Urban League, has announced her candidacy challenging Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. On one hand, it is good news that a person of color is running for office. On the other, it might divide the minority communities. And two women will be running against each other. Banks is of Asian and African descent and Sawant is Indian-born. Oh my! What are we going to do?
Remember, we are living in a democracy. We are talking about choices and the right to vote for who you think can best serve you and the diverse needs of your district. We also have Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell running for re-election. It looks as if this election will turn out to be an exciting one for the Asian community in politics.
Win-win for all
How do you describe a guy who is restless, relentless, passionate about doing good things, and simultaneously manages to shed some spotlight for his company?
Meet Dwayne Clark, founder and chairman of Aegis Living, who has just co-written a play, “Seven Ways to Get There,” now playing at the ACT Theater. The story is about his counseling experience with a group of men and a counselor 16 years ago.
Aegis Living is also planning to build a Chinese-assisted facility in Newcastle, which will be breaking ground this year.
So before the show is even produced, Clark got his 28 CEO friends’ commitment to support the play by inviting their companies’ employees and families to watch it, too. Sixty percent of the seats have already been sold prior to the show.
I have a confession to make. I am not exactly a huge fan of plays, but more a symphony and Broadway-performance enthusiast. Nonetheless, I took my family to watch Seven Ways to support Clark’s endeavor.
Surprised, I actually shed tears (I won’t spoil the play and tell you what happens). The play was actually a comedy, and there were several moments of lively and funny conversation about how these men discovered and responded to each other’s secrets, fears, anger, anguish, challenges, and anxieties.
“My goal in writing this play was to raise awareness for mental health issues,” Clark wrote in his e-mail. “What I realized during this process is that everyone has mental health issues from time to time. It is unfortunate that we label and stigmatize people who do.”
Proceeds of the play will benefit Sound Mental Health, which serves over 16,000 people in the Puget Sound Area. The play will continue until March 15. I bet ACT folks are feeling great about the play, no need to sweat for sponsors or hustle for ticket sales. On Mar. 8, when I attended the play, it was about 70 percent filled. That’s darn good for a local theater when many theaters struggle financially. Clark took care of everything.
Clark has written several books and he has donated the proceeds. I wonder what Clark is going to do next. Perhaps produce a movie! (end)