By Gerrye Wong July 2019
This seems to be the season of happy celebrations for marriage longevity. Winning the grand title for the most married years in my book goes to the youthful Wing and Dorothy Lai who recently celebrated their 70th anniversary of marriage.
Wing and Dorothy Lai cut wedding cake again
Long time natives of San Francisco they were surrounded by many friends from their hometown who came to celebrate their wedding which occurred in 1949 after Wing came back from serving in the Armed Forces.
Wing Lais are surrounded by their seven grandchildren
Held at the Lake Merced Country Club, the party saw the fog lift in this usually overcast Daly City location and the atmosphere in the room was of fun and frivolity and happiness for this very active couple. Old time friends Louis Kwok and Mel Lee said the best advice for a marriage to last as long as 70 years is to always say to the wife, “Whatever you say, dear – or yes you’re right, my dear!!” I wrote a song in honor of the pair, which all 150 family friends gathered together and sang in tribute to their favorite couple.
Gerrye presents song framed after audience sang in tribute to them
The happy Lais were surrounded by their children and seven grandchildren and even one great grandchild. Hailing them this afternoon were friends from Wing’s golfing companions and Dorothy‘s schoolmates. Especially eye-catching was the showing of her wedding gown on a mannequin alongside a traditional 1949 wedding picture of the very handsome couple and their wedding party.
Wing introduces his oldest school friend, Tim Chew
Wing made a point to introduce his oldest schoolmate from grammar school , Tim Chew, who oftentimes lives in Australia. Trading golf game memories at the party were Wing Lai’s golf buddies including Harold Suen, Dr. Roy Wong, Lippman Choy, Mel Lee, Don Lam, George Pon, Stan Wong and many other of his golfing cronies.
Surrounded by old friends Mel Lee, Pat Hing and Jeannie Lee.
Dorothy‘s claim to fame was she was once the poster girl for her medical health company’s advertisements where her picture was found all over their commercials, large posters and billboards displayed throughout the Bay Area. Children and grandchildren took the mike to recall happy days being babysat by Wing and Dorothy as they were growing up. One even remembered having his favorite toasted tuna fish sandwiches any time he visited which he still covets.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS CONTINUE….
Hampson Lum Family gather to welcome guests to 60th anniversary
The children of Hampson and Evangeline Lum could think of no better reason or place to have a grand party for their parents than at the Gold Ballroom of the famed Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It was a wonderful party for almost 200 friends and family to celebrate the diamond 60th anniversary of their parents.
Happy Guests arrive to congratulate Lums
What made this occasion extra special was that the honorees were the entertainment. Guests enjoyed seeing the prowess of ballroom dancers Evangeline and Hampson do their special choreography on the dance floor. Not only that but in addition Evangeline charmed her guests with her lyrical singing talent on stage also. A wonderful slide show of their family ensued.
Evangeline and sister Bette greet guests Gerrye Wong and Sandy Joe
To complete the celebration atmosphere of the evening, guests went out onto the dance floor as well to enjoy the live music provided. Sons Grande and Jordan Lum spoke of the many memorable vacations with their family and remarked that the closeness of the family was due to their parents concentrated effort‘s to make sure that they all got together many times during the year with their cousins and extended families.
Cake cutting after 60 years of marriage
Grandchildren Gianna and Garren and Brandon and Sophia Lum also added memories about their grandparents with loving thoughts. Seen in the crowd of well wishers were friends from their ballroom dancing clubs, Chinese OptiMs Women’s club, San Francisco Chinese Family Associations, and the Chinese Hospital Auxiliary.
Evangeline changes into traditional red cheong sam to show friends
Among the throng congratulating the happy couple were the Ronald Youngs from Hawaii, Hillsborough friends the Ken Gees and the William Joes, Eastbay friends Spencer Leongs, Patrick Ngs, David Yees and Sherwin Louies, South Bay friends the Ken Joes, David Wens, Howard Lums, and Wilson Fongs, and San Franciscans sister Bettie Lum and family, Bob Changs, Cynthia Yee and Mimi Chinn, Warren and Richard Achuck, Randall Lows, Steven Lees, Ethel Woon, Larry Yee, Susan and Mary Jane Tom, Larry Jews and Jackie Yees. It was a grand celebration to renew acquaintances with friends from near and far. Congratulations Hampson and Evangeline.
VISITING VANCOUVER, CANADA
Everyone says you go to Vancouver, Canada, to have a great variety of Chinese cuisine, and although we only had a few days there, we did get our fill of Chinese Canadian cuisine. However, our Vancouver vacation was made more interesting by meeting a local Chinese Canadian, Gary Lee, who shared an insight of the history of Chinese in BC Canada. Lee’s family history went back as far as the 1880s when his great grandfather, a Methodist minister, Mr. Chan Yew Tan, immigrated from China and settled in Victoria. A second generation of Lees soon evolved, and Gary’s grandfather, Lee Sing and wife bore 14 children while settling the family in Vancouver.
Josie and Gary Lee, center greet California friends Calvin Wongs and Gene Lims
While enjoying a family style meal with Gary and wife Josie Lee at their favorite Burnaby Chinese restaurant, Number One, he told us his father Gordon Wing Lee owned various businesses in the Vancouver Chinatown and as one of its leading citizens of the Vancouver Chinatown was sometimes called the unofficial mayor of the Chinatown. Gary Lee recalls that during the 1930s-40s when he was growing up, there were about 25 Chinese Canadian families who had small businesses and were trying to make a living in predominantly white Vancouver. Subsequent generations have assimilated throughout Vancouver’s business community and have moved to other more affluent sections of the city. As happens with all inner city Chinatowns, it is now inhabited by the latest immigrants coming into the city. Gary Lee himself enjoyed an engineering career, although his favorite second career was singing in local venues and on radio stations throughout his younger days, he admitted with a laugh. By the way, Gary, I am still enjoying listening to your CDs in my car, and can easily see why you were once called the Vancouver Chinese Frank Sinatra.
Calvin Wongs join happy crowds at Richmond’s Night Market
In the 1980s-90s when Canadians opened its doors to immigrants from China and Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Chinese population grew tremendously. A new Chinatown in Richmond, a local suburb, emerged and when we visited Richmond, we could see signs in Chinese abounding all around showing that obviously the Chinese have taken over this area. We enjoyed visiting the large indoor Aberdeen Center of all Chinese owned businesses, the Number 9 restaurant to have a great dim sum lunch, and even visited the bustling night market which had huge crowds of people lined up to taste all of the foods offered by the vendors within. Obviously this is a very popular place for the Chinese Canadian youth to congregate in the evenings with its lively carnival type setting.
Although we only had two days in Vancouver, we did many things as were lucky to have a downtown location of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver as our base. Although it can be said that classics never age, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver celebrated its 80th anniversary in the completion of a multi phase 75,000 million renovation this year. In homage to its history the Hotel collaborated with international portrait photographer Dennis Gocer to create a captivating photo exhibition that showed eight decades of moments of history. I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the Chippendale furniture around the hotel which came from the hotel furnishings in the 1960s era. Two hundred pieces had been hidden by a housekeeper while the hotel was being renovated to a new modern style design popular at that time. She only came clean and brought out the pieces when she approved the new restoration plan of highlighting and displaying the hotel’s history many decades later.
Seeing the colorful jellyfish exhibit at Vancouver Aquarium
Thanks to Abby Vogt, Regional Public Relations Coordinator of Fairmont hotels and Resorts in the Pacific Northwest, we were given many ideas of where to go and what to see during our short stay in Vancouver. We could go across the street from the hotel to the Vancouver Art Gallery or visit a mecca of shopping opportunities from European high end designer stores to the great Pacific Centre Underground Mall.
Learning how waste products thrown in Bay can affect sea life population.
Equipped with a great package of information from Sabrina Tey of Tourism Vancouver office of the Metro Vancouver Convention & Visitors Bureau, which gave us many more great places to visit in their fair city, we chose to go to its famed Stanley Park to visit the well known Vancouver Aquarium as well as experience the horse drawn carriage ride with other tourists around the park.
Riding horse drawn carriage through Stanley Park
Our only unfortunate experience in Vancouver was not being shown on signs anywhere that even if one displays a handicap placard and parks in a handicap parking space, it is necessary to pay a parking fee in Canada. Since parking is complimentary for handicap placard cars in the United States, we were unaware of this ruling and were given a $40 citation for parking non payment. Surprisingly, an unsympathetic reply came from the Canadian parking company to pay up anyway when I wrote an appeal stating there were no signs visible anywhere to notify foreign visitors of this rule. So handicap seniors,BEWARE!!!
If you’re visiting Vancouver soon, check its website www.tourismvancouver.com for great information whether you are indoor or outdoor enthusiasts, physically young and able, or seniors still young at heart. And of course, if you’re a foodie — although you may hunker for Chinese fare, there are restaurants galore from the vast diverse cultural scene that is now the heart of Vancouver for you to sample. Viva Vancouver – Great place to visit!
BACK ON HOME TURF
There’s still time to catch TheatreWorks THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE, a quirky comic drama about the potentials and limits of communication and features a linguist who is at a loss for words when speaking to his wife romantically. The play by Julia Cho and seen at Lucie Stern Theater in Palo Alto, is a whimsical story of this brilliant scientist whose goal is to preserve the dying languages of far flung cultures. Our favorite Francis Jue plays many roles – that of a person from a far-off remote country who is one of the last few knowing his dying language, and as well as a stranger on a train. As usual no matter what contrasting accents is demanded of him, he performs with ease adeptly. Francis is a joy to watch as an actor of many faces and body configurations when he takes on a character in a play.
Aaron Wongs and Calvin Wongs are meeting Language Archive stars Francis Jue and Emily Kuroda backstage in Palo Alto.
Playwright Julia Cho’s THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE earned her the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2010 and the show premiered at South Coast Repertory followed by an off-Broadway production the same year. This show plays through August 4, so still time to go on www.theatreworks.com to get tickets for the show.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
After a summer hiatus from fundraising, many non-profit social service agencies are coming out with plans for a benefit event to raise needed funds. Coming August 24. GUM MOON WOMEN’S RESIDENCE ASIAN W0MEN’S RESOURCE CENTER is presenting OHANA, Celebrating Families and Community. To be held at Far East Restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown on August 24, the event will present awards to their 2019 Honorees. Outstanding Asian Woman Award winner will be Gloria Hom. Receiving Outstanding Community Service Award goes to James Lim and accepting the Giving Back Award will be Gaylene and Tom Hoshiyama. To be honored with the Carol Lee Award will be Sriyanta Karki. Dress code is aloha attire, announces
Co-Chairs Peter Goetz and Selina Soo. Executive Director Gloria Tan informed us that Gum Moon Women’s Residence was founded in 1868 to rescue Chinese girls who had been sold into slavery and prostitution. To meet the evolving needs of its target population, Gum Moon directed its attention to the care and education of abandoned Chinese girls and babies in the late 1800s. Today Gum Moon offers many educational programs and social services to support the inhabitants of Chinatown today, and together the Gum Moon, AWRC and Asian Family Support Centers serve more than 5500 women, children and their families each year. For info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In South Bay, ASIAN AMERICANS FOR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT (AACI) will present its BETTER TOGETHER annual fundraiser on September 7 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. At the popular dinner, 2019 Better Together Honorees to receive the Gordon N. Chan Leadership Award are Assemblyman Evan Low and his father Community Leader Dr. Arthur Low. Health Champion Award wil go to Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President.
Emcee NBC Reporter Robert Handa will keep the program going smoothly, and there are always surprising and inviting prizes in the Live Auction for patrons to show their support of this fine non-profit organization. All proceeds will go towards another year of providing services to the most vulnerable members of our community, no matter their ethnicity. Having been on AACI’s board for many years, I know everyone’s support is needed to help AACT strenghthen the hopes and resilience of all the individuals and families this agency serves. For info: 408 975 2075. Tickets $200.