By Assunta Ng, publisher
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The gift of presence
For three days last week, Lt. Governor Brad Owen was in the Chinatown–International District, attending a Chinese trade reception, a sing and dance party, and the NW Asian Weekly’s party honoring him and his wife Linda at the House of Hong.
Wasn’t he getting tired after a long legislative day in Olympia? How could he have so much energy and patience to quietly sit for hours, listening to speeches and songs he couldn’t understand?
Christine Lee, owner of the Ocean City Restaurant, said a few months ago that she and the Owens were at the same Chinese concert in Bellevue.
While Lee was sitting behind the Owens, she said she was “feeling bored to death.” She observed that they were being good sports about the whole event.
Owen’s talented performance
Many in the audience at the NW Asian Weekly’s event knew that Owen could play the saxophone well, but no one knew that he had been secretly practicing a Chinese song for the occasion. After the saxophone performance, he sang a rendition of Teresa Teng’s “The Moon Represents My Heart.”
He sought help from Ron Chow’s aide Annie Chou, while he was practicing. She found a complete Romanization of the song’s lyrics on the Internet, and Owen switched on YouTube to practice.
He learned to perform the Mandarin song in only two weeks! He received a standing ovation for his performance. American-born Chinese have often complained that it is too hard to sing a Chinese song. Doing it the Owen way is the solution!
Owen’s support groups
In addition to the Asian community, Owen has close ties with the consul corps. The Korean, German, Jamaican, Turkey, and Brazilian consuls all came to the event to celebrate with Owen.
A group dedicated to service work called the Washington Generals, which Owen is a part of, also attended. Warren Chinn is the only Asian general among them.
Chinn and 10 members of the Soo Yuen Benevolent Association were supposed to be in Los Angeles for a Lunar New Year banquet, but they decided to attend Owen’s party and canceled their trip instead.
Gifts for Owens
It wasn’t easy to think of gifts for the Owens. We wanted them to be especially meaningful keepsakes.
A custom-designed jewelry set with silver earrings and double bracelets, designed by Elizabeth Younger, was presented to Linda Owen. The necklace’s green focal point was made with Japanese-designed serpentine, China-made green beads with pink flowers painted on them, and Buri beads from the Philippines.
We used Brad Owen’s name and translated it into two Chinese characters. Each character served as an inspiration in a single verse of a poem composed by the Seattle Chinese Post staff. Tien Tho Thai, the owner of the House of Hong, wrote the calligraphy.
歐君豪情滿華州 — Your passion is felt throughout the state of Washington
文官風采貫四方 — An outstanding civil servant is Mr. Brad Owen
We also framed the stories that the NW Asian Weekly did on Owen and presented them to him. (end)
Read this blog in Chinese at the Seattle Chinese Post.
Assunta Ng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.