By Gerrye Wong October  22, 2019

Exciting times are coming soon when the SILICON VALLEY ASIAN PACIFIC FILMFEST (SWAPFF) brings movie magic to Silicon Valley.  Beginning November 1-3, this film festival will continue the whole weekend filled with different Asian American storylines. Opening night will be at the CineArts Theater in San Jose’s posh center Santana Row and everyone was invited to attend to meet and greet Valerie Soe, San Francisco State University Professor and Director of Opening Night movie “ Love Boat TAIWAN”. However, the website just read “Sold out” .  The Friday opening night sounds exciting beginning at 7pm with welcome by SWAPFF leaders, a movie short by Min Zhou “Going Home” followed by the main feature Love Boat Taiwan followed by Question and Answer Panel discussion, and a reception.

 CAPTION:Hundreds of US Chinese American students  attended the summer  Taiwan conference sometimes labeled  the Love Boat 

An all-day movie session for you movie buffs follows on Saturday. 11:00 am  beginning with Kuang Lee’s short “JAPANTOWN: A WALK THROUGH MEMORY”. The main feature, ‘MINETA LEGACY” directed by Dianne Fukami   follows with active Q and A with the Director.

Following a  1 hour break, after lunch the Erin Lau directed short film MOON AND THE NIGHT will be shown, followed by John Osaki directed “ALTERNATIVE FACTS: LIES OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066”

. At the conclusion of the film, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will go on stage to welcome the audience to this unique Asian film festival in his own hometown.


A full schedule of movies continues for the afternoon, with schedule showing  Director Rick Quan’s MR ED LEE, a documentary work written about the life of San Francisco’s first elected Chinese American mayor.

CAPTION:  Former San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

I’ve seen this film already and it is a moving, inspirational story of a man who rose up from the Housing Projects to become one of the most respected men in the City of San Francisco’s government offices.   During busy dinner hour there will be showing of MY MOTHER, MYSELF AND I directed by King Yaw Soon and FIND ME with  Director Tom Huang.  Keep those popcorn bags in your lap while you do this nice movie binge of Asian Pacific themed movies. The concluding Saturday night film shown will be DATING AFTER COLLEGE with a q and a panel discussion with film director Wong Fu.

Sunday November 3 schedules the concluding films to be the short film “IN FULL BLOOM” followed by main feature FINDING THE VIRGO BY Lauren Vuong.  Kudos to the SILICON VALLEY ASIAN PACIFIC FILMFEST leaders presenting this fifth annual event. SVAPFF is a project committed to promoting and showcasing stories that capture and reflect the history, contributions, diversity, aspirations, the interests of the Asian Pacific immigrants and residents, rich and poor, young and old, who are living and working in, and shaping the present and future life in the Silicon Valley.

Co Chair Steve Yamaguma said, ” This is so important a project because Silicon Valley, the preeminent center of international and domestic commerce, cultural exchange and high tech development on the Pacific Rim – has the largest population and workforce of people of Asian Pacific heritage, predominantly with college degrees. The committee welcomes all interested movie lovers to join and meet the filmmakers who are bringing their stories of Asian and Pacific Islanders to the mainstream audiences. Meet the directors and writers and next generation filmmakers.”

There will be food, music and entertainment at this fun-filled 3 day event, and all of this takes money which the committee is seeking from satisfied and committed sponsors.  Information:  www.siliconvalleyasianpacificfilmfest.org


CAPTION: Live Freely leaders Daniel and Arthur Jue with  DJ Casey Kasemdaughter, Kerri Kasem speak of need for health devices to ensure safety for seniors.

Arthur Jue’s LIVE FREELY, Inc. a Silicon Valley digital health company developing innovative technology to improve the well being of seniors and individuals suffering from chronic illnesses, recently announced the launch of BUDDY. As President and CoFounder Daniel Jue explained to the over 300 supporters and friends who were invited to the Live Freely launch of BUDDY at San Jose’s Hayes Mansion,  Our company’s goal has always been to provide innovative digital health technology solutions that empower seniors and their caregivers to live more freely, connected and independent lives.  Through machine learning and artificial intelligence, LiveFreely’s new application BUDDY, monitors, tracks and alerts caregivers, first responders and emergency personnel of critical health issues in real time through smart “wearables”. Being a senior, I was particularly interested in how BUDDY could keep me and my peers safe from unforeseen catastrophes in our health and well being.

CAPTION:  Panel telling thoughts of BUDDY’s health aids

Although the evening started out free and easy with wonderful string quartet music in the outdoor reception under a calm warm California sky, when guests were brought into the dining room, they were anxious to learn more about what BUDDY is and how “it” can help them or their family elders. Up on stage brothers  Daniel and Arthur Jue, leaders of Live Freely, told of having to care for their aging father in his final stages of life and the challenges met when he would wander and experienced many falls. As they said, they as caretakers faced lives that were never at ease in worrying about their father’s life as he became more dependent on their care.

CAPTION: Friends and supporters congratulate Arthue Jue at BUDDY launch

Arthur said, “With that experience it has become our mission to create an ecosystem where seniors feel safer and can lead more connected purposeful lives while giving their caretakers enhanced peace of mind.” So how does BUDDY work?  It is simply an app that can be installed by going to the Apple APP Store and downloaded directly onto one’s phone. The user needs to have a Fitbit Ionic Versa or Apple Watch to install the App on. You can also go to buddylife.com or download from the Apple App store.

CAPTION: Chi Am Circle members surround Daniel and Arthue Jue with congratulation wishes at launch.

The next question on everyone’s mind at the Launch was exactly how does it help the senior’s life and the caretakers’ peace of mind? When BUDDY is loaded onto your smart phone, the dashboard monitors your heart rate, blood pressure, glucose level, medication, number of falls, irregular health and boundary alert.  Suppose you call. When a fall is detected by the watch you’re wearing, a timer counts down from 5 minutes. Once time is up and you don’t respond saying you’re okay, 911 is automatically called.

Arthur also explained, “Seniors often forget their medications that are needed.  BUDDY sends medication reminders that can be set by uploading a photo of the medication label followed by inputting start date and frequency of medication. “ He went on to tell the audience of added BUDDY features. He said, “ Another great innovative and useful function of BUDDY is that one can set boundary alerts which allows caregivers to establish boundaries the client is allowed to go to on a map. When he/she crosses that boundary, an alert is sent to the pre-programmed caretaker.”

CAPTION:  Family members attend launch

A crucial element to one’s well being is the heartbeat. Code Blue on the APP sets off when a user’s heartbeat falls below 10 RPM. Likewise, irregular heart pattern takes a baseline around a person, and when patient deviates from that baseline, an alert is sent.  So you can see, by putting the BUDDY app on your phone, one need not be afraid when alone as you and your caretaker will be alerted if something  falls out of the ordinary on your numbers.

CAPTION:  Kelly Matsuura and Kerri Kasem discuss BUDDY’s assets for seniors

Next question I am sure in your mind is how soon can I get BUDDY after its initial launch last week.  Arthur was proud to announce that BUDDY will be ready for Beta Download on November 11th and the full product will be available in January 2020.  Excited enthusiasm could be felt in the Launch banquet room as we learned about the value of the features BUDDY will be providing, whether one is the senior or the caretaker. Everyone seemed to agree that whether one feels healthy and well enough, there are always unexpected emergencies that do arise and now BUDDY will be there to help us recognize danger signs, and monitor where we are, if we have forgotten medication,  or if we have fallen and need help.

CAPTION: Launch guests welcome BUDDY app to help seniors in their families.

To prove that the business and health field is also excited about this product, LiveFreely has been named the top medical alert system for 2020 by Healthtian (https://healthian.com/top-medical-alert-systems-for-2020/).  Arthur Jue was exuberant following the launch, telling me that the launch received awesome response with 240 press mentions reaching over 50.4 M viewers with features on ABC, NBC and Fox news. To prove interest, the company had received over 2000 sign-ups for the Beta a week after being introduced.

Thank you, BUDDY founders Arthur and Daniel Jue.  BUDDY will give us the peace of mind so needed in these busy lives as we age and need help for ourselves or our elders.  Tell your friends about this new app which will be so helpful to all of us.  info@livefreely.today.



CAPTION:  Birthday girl Dawn Ming with son Gary and wife.

When one turns 90, you deserve two parties, at least, so popular lady Dawn Ming and her family hosted two luncheons to share her happy 90th with all of her friends and loved ones.  Son Gary Ming welcomed everyone to the Lafayette Mr. Yu’s Restaurant alongside beaming Dawn, who never loses that smile on her face.

CAPTION :  Friends wish Dawn Ming happy 90th.

Formerly from East Coast, namely New Jersey, Dawn welcomed friends and relatives from all over the continent.  The popular lady loves to travel and is a voracious painter with many of her works hanging in the Rossmoor lobbies. Moving to California upon her and husband’s retirement, she was active with the OptiMs Club of San Francisco. Traveling the furthest to celebrate with Dawn were her sister Marylin Chou, nephew Quentin Chin and niece Fern Murtagh, children of eldest sister Cora.

CAPTION: Dawn greets longtime friends Lillian and Alson Lee.

Others celebrating this milestone birthday for Dawn were fellow Rossmoor neighbors Stella Chan, Bert and Helen Lee, Victor and May Lam, Ross Aguas, Felix and Donna Lau. Other family and friends included Helen Leung, Michelle Lee, granddaughter Kristin Ming, Alson and Lillian Lee.   Happy Birthday Dawn and may you have many more and perhaps three parties next time!!


Happy and sad stories were told at the Celebration of Life for my sister, Cheryle Lam Kawamoto, last week at her Hawaiian themed memorial .Pastor Jerry of her Sunset Ministry Church in San Francisco welcomed an overflowing crowd of Cheryle’s lifetime friends who all nodded in agreement when her children Erika, who delivered the eulogy, and Adam Lam, and friends Dale Lee, Cindy Feng, Flora Spalding and DeeDeeWong recalled memories of the lively, happy go lucky person she was, always living life to the fullest with her love of people, Asian festivals and flea markets, shopping, every animal you could imagine, and above all, her ukekele, of which she had 24.

CAPTION: Daughters Erika and Margot Lam dance and provide Hawaiian music for mother’s celebration of life.

Daughter Margot danced the hula accompanied by sister Erika on the ukelele symbolizing Cheryle’s love for anything Hawaiian, and her Ukelele club friends provided lively Hawaiian music for the courtyard reception.

CAPTION: Five first cousins came to honor Cheryle Lam Kawamoto’s memory.

Cousins Gary and Sharon Yee and Melanie Gong flew in to honor her memory, and she would have been happy to reunite with all of her friends, family and 9 grandchildren at this happy Hawaiian themed afternoon, albeit  under a heavy wet fog in the city she so loved, San Francisco. All agreed her raucous laugh, generous spirit and endless energy will be missed


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