MCCA Newsletter - January 2014


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The Purpose of the MCCA is to promote the understanding, appreciation and preservation of all aspects of Chinese culture, including the language, history, customs, music, art, and cuisine of the Chinese and Chinese-American people.

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MCCA Newsletter - January 2014

  1. 1. J a n u a r y 2 0 1 4 馬 連 縣 中 國 文 化 會 貳 零 壹 肆 年 壹 月 The Purpose of the MCCA is to promote the understanding, appreciation and preservation of all aspects of Chinese culture, including the language, history, customs, music, art, and cuisine of the Chinese and Chinese-American people. INSIDE THIS ISSUE: President’s Message President’s Message 1 Mandarin Classes MCCA Scholarship 1 Forever Ginling 3 MCCA Fall Open House MCCA’s Dragon and Lion Dance Team 4 New Year’s Message 7 Behind the Mask: Chinese Opera 8 Chinese New Years Greetings 11 Film Festival & Winter Banquet 12 AAAM Dinner 14 Volunteers! Asian Pacific Heritage Festival , ASF Auction 15 馬年 Go Green Newsletter now Available by Email See back of newsletter for details Copyright MCCA—All Rights Reserved Happy New Year! May 2014 bring you health, happiness, quality time with your family, loved ones, and your community. I would also like to be the first to wish you a Happy Chinese New Year for the year of the Horse 馬年 - which begins on January 31th this year. Gung Hay Fat Choy—恭 喜 發 財 ! And of course, you are all invited to our annual Chinese New Year Celebration at the San Rafael Community Center at 5pm on Saturday, February 22nd, dinner catered by Yet Wah Restaurant. (If you can help us with the dinner setup starting at 3pm that would be fantastic too!) In addition to delicious food, this year’s activities will include a spectacular magic show by “Tamaka and the Empress”, along with a meet -and-greet and photo op with Crystal Lee, Miss California 2013 and the first runner up to Miss America last year. She is a beautiful and inspiring role model (and a Stanford grad!) and we are honored to host her this year. Be sure to RSVP with the form included in this newsletter early as this popular event always sells out quickly, and while you are at it please remember to renew your membership for 2014 on the same form. On February 17th, the week before our big dinner, MCCA will partner with the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito to also celebrate Chinese New Year. This is a wonderful day for families to engage in arts and crafts, watch live performances such as that of our famous Lion Dancers, and enjoy a meal at our signature food booth. The event will take place from 9am to 4pm so we hope you can find time to join us. For those of you with kids who like to plan ahead, our Mandarin Summer Camp will be held again this year for students who in the fall will be entering first through sixth grade. The camp will be held for four weeks starting Monday, July 7th and running until Friday, August 1st at the College of Marin Kentfield Campus. Students may enroll weekly or for the whole session. The camp includes affordable tuition with innovative and interactive classes taught in both Chinese and English. The curriculum includes arts and crafts, science, sports, and other cultural activities. Check our website (MarinChineseCulture.Com) for updates. As many of you may know, MCCA's headquarters are now at the College of Marin - Indian Valley Campus. It offers a small theater, a dance studio, a kitchen area, and classroom resources available for the MCCA’s use. We are hoping these new facili-
  2. 2. MCCA Newsletter January 2014 Page 2 President’s Message (continued) ties will permit us to expand our offerings to MCCA members in creative and fun ways. So we need your new ideas for enrichment classes. If you have a course in mind you'd like to see offered, or if you have a specific talent you wish to share with the MCCA community, please drop me an email at: I appreciate each of you for being a part of our rich association and look forward to this next Year of the Horse as one of new experiences, discovery, adventure and success! Best, Denise Wear Mandarin Classes for MCCA Members The MCCA continues to offer two free Mandarin classes to members. Both classes are held at 30 San Pedro Road in San Rafael, in the office complex just east of highway 101 and across San Pedro Road from the Marin Civic Center. First, an elementary class is on Wednesdays (starting 1/15), 6:00 until 7:30 p.m. taught by Jie Zheng, a Sonoma State University graduate student. Next, an intermediate class is on Mondays (starting 1/6) 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. taught by Emily Peng, a San Francisco State University graduate student. While both classes follow a textbook, classes are informal, and can accommodate a range of familiarity with Mandarin. Classes focus on reading, writing, listening and speaking Mandarin Chinese, and additionally will provide students with the opportunity to learn Chinese culture and to practice conversation in a fun atmosphere. Enthusiasm for our classes currently runs at an all time high with 15 students attending the classes. If you would like to join the fun, please email Jean Bee Chan at (The office building’s doors are normally locked after 6pm so you need to alert Jean if you plan to drop by.) M C C A A N N U A L S C H O O L A R S H I P A WA R D S P RO G R A M Scholarship Descriptions: • Rodney Chin Memorial Scholarship. Cosponsored by Yet Wah Restaurant, this scholarship is awarded to a student of high academic achievement and leadership potential who demonstrates "an interest in and commitment to Chinese/Asian culture." • The May Lee Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a student of high academic achievement and leadership potential who demonstrates "a commitment to community and community service." The MCCA board is proud to announce our annual Scholarship Awards program. We now offer two separate, $1,000 scholarships to our members. Eligibility: MCCA scholarships are offered to MCCA members only. Priority will be given to entering college freshmen, but— based on each year's applicant pool—awards may be granted to high-school seniors or college upperclassmen as determined by the selection committee. Application forms are available from the MCCA website and should be completed and mailed to MCCA, PO Box 2035, Novato, CA or emailed to We welcome all of our student members to apply for either or both of these scholarships (application deadline is Friday, Jan 31st, 2014). Awards will be presented at our annual MCCA Chinese New Year Banquet on February 22.
  3. 3. Page 3 On Saturday, January 18th, 2014, MCCA will help support attendance at the play "Forever Ginling." It's a great opportunity to see and hear the story of an American woman who saved 10,000 women and children during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. By David Wong What: Forever Ginling, a play about the Japanese capture of Nanjing China in World War II and the dean of GinLing Women's College in Nanjing who was able to protect many women from the atrocities committed. When: On Saturday January 18, 2014, from 7 - 9 pm, MCCA members will attend this event. Where: The Mojo Theater, 2940 16th St. at Mission in San Francisco Tickets: If interested , performance and ticket information can be found at Also known as the "Forgotten Asian Holocaust," the Nanjing Massacre marks the darkest time in Chinese history. Over half of the 600,000 civilians and Chinese soldiers in the city of Nanjing were murdered. Every human being should be aware of the atrocities that occurred during this grim event so that there is no chance of something like this ever happening again. Come hear the story of how Minnie Vautrin, an ordinary woman from Illinois, kept thousands of women and children safe who otherwise would have been raped or killed. See why this event is becoming part of the modern Chinese national identity. This is a story you will never forget and is a perfect example of the good in humanity even during intense times of evil. (To see an interview with the cast - in either Cantonese or English - go to and search for “Forever Ginling.”) MCCA Fall Open House By David Wong Over 65 MCCA members and guests stepped away from their busy lives to attend the 2013 Open House Picnic on October 20th at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus. Indian Valley Campus Dean Nanda Schorske and her colleague MCCA Board member Jason Lau co-hosted the event. The Open House featured a sampling of many of the things MCCA membership has to offer, including a performance of the MCCA award-winning Lion Dance Team and the wonderful food and barbeque that has become a signature of MCCA events. Additionally, a walking tour of the Indian Valley Campus highlighted the facilities, including those that are being leased by the MCCA. Open House participants were able to avail themselves of the superb tennis, softball and football facilities. Thanks to the accommodating fall weather, it was a wonderful Sunday afternoon for MCCA for building fellowship, enjoying culture, and reveling in the sun. Check out the other pictures on Facebook at: MarinChineseCulture
  4. 4. Page 4 MCCA Newsletter January 2014 saries. Some of their major annual performances have included the Marin County Fair, The Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Chinese New Year’s Celebration, Youth-In-Arts Performing Arts Series, the Asian Pacific Heritage Festival and MCCA’s Chinese New Year Banquet. MCCA’s Dragon and Lion Dance Team By Shirley Lee It’s that time of the year again when we look forward to seeing our Lion Dance Team bring in the Lunar Year of the Horse. Celebrating with dragons and lions dancing on Lunar New Year’s Eve is an ancient Chinese tradition that in San Francisco culminates in an unforgettable parade through Chinatown and in Marin County culminates in the team’s performance at the MCCA Chinese New Year Banquet and Celebration. We hope you’ll cheer on our team this year at the MCCA Chinese New Year Banquet on February 22, 2014. This year we wanted to learn more about Dragon & Lion Dancing, so we decided to go straight to the source by interviewing Greg Chuck, MCCA’s Dragon & Lion Dance team director. Question 1: When was the Dragon and Lion Dance Team established and for what purpose? Greg: Our Marin Chinese Cultural Association Lion Dance Team was established in 1979, thirty five years ago to foster awareness and appreciation of Chinese culture through traditional Lion Dance. We changed our team’s name to Dragon and Lion Dance Team when we acquired a dragon two years ago right before the Year of the Dragon. Over the years, they have performed for countless auspicious occasions including Lunar New Year celebrations, grand openings, weddings, birthdays and anniver- Question 2: What’s the difference between the dragon and lion dance? Greg: The dragon dance requires a significant amount of teamwork; each dragon position has its own role. The dragon is heavy and the 10 members need to practice together so that they can move fluidly as one. People often confuse the lion with the dragon; the lion is performed by two people while the dragon dance is performed by anywhere from eight to perhaps one hundred persons like you may see in the Chinese New Year parade. MCCA has many lion heads acquired in different years, most of which were made in Malaysia. Question 3: Why do you dot the lion’s eye? Greg: The eye-dotting ceremony is performed on new lions to bring the creature to life. Normally a VIP will perform the dotting of the lions eyes, ears, nose and mouth to awaken the senses of the lion and bring it to life. Question 4: What about the symbolism of the lion dance? Greg: The lion dance traditionally is about scaring away the evil spirits and welcoming the Lunar New Year. The Chinese love to play on words or homophones. The word lettuce in Chinese “choi” sounds like the word prosperity “choi”. When the lion eats the lettuce and then kicks it out, the lion is spreading prosperity. Our team will use different scrolls for different occasions such as weddings and birthdays but traditionally, other dance troupes may perform different types of dances for different occasions. Question 5: How old are the members, what do they learn and when do they practice? Why do they like lion dancing and what are some of their challenges? Greg: The members are eight to eighteen year olds of all ethnic backgrounds who share an interest in Chinese culture and traditions. During the practice
  5. 5. Page 5 sessions, members receive instruction on the movements of the lion and the accompanying music of drums, cymbals and gong. They do not pay any fees but commit to once a week Saturday practices and perform many weekend performances. September/October is the time they have their special practice sessions for new members followed by the entire team practicing together in November through February at the Marin Recycling Center Environmental Classroom, 535 Jacoby St. in San Rafael. One main challenge the team faces is the conflicting schedules the team members have with the many and varied activities/commitments they have throughout the year. Here are some past team members comments on why they liked lion dancing : Tasha Yee: At the age of 8, I was dragged out of bed, not by my choice to attend lion dance practice. “It wasn't until middle school that I began to appreciate lion dancing and what it meant to me. Lion dancing was a culture and a part of my culture. We learned drumbeats and side jumps and how to blink the lion's eyes, but more so, the history, symbolism, and importance of the dance. I developed an excitement as the years went by. As a performer, I knew that beyond the cloth of the tail, or the lion's head, there were spectators old and young who watched us in amazement. They were wide-eyed as we became one with the lion displaying the lion’s emotions i.e. excitement, nervousness, and joy all while traveling on its journey through imaginary gates or over treacherous mountains. I realized how special and unique the sport was and how much teamwork and precision it took from the whole team. I understood the need for a scene full of loud sounds, fire crackers, lettuce explosions, and bows….and the importance of educating other youth about our dance. Lion dancing became such a huge part of my life that it easily found a place as the topic of my personal statement for college applications. Now, over twenty years later, I'm still excited to see the lions dance, to hear the rhythms of the drum, cymbals and gong, and to be filled with wonder at the accomplishments of even the youngest team members. Now, I still am connected to my teammates and thankful for the lion dance passion that was instilled in me so long ago by my teachers, Ben and Greg Chuck. My gratitude and appreciation to them for being persistent and patient in their teachings of lion dance with me, as well as all the youth they've worked with over the past 35 years.” Christopher Yee: “ Lion Dance played an important part in my childhood, as it served as the strongest cultural reference back to my heritage of anything I did as a child. When I started doing it over twenty years ago, Marin was a pretty homogenous place and we seemed to know all the Asian families in town. Therefore, having regular practices and performances really influenced my own growth and self confidence as an Asian American growing up in Marin. The best part of the lion dance experience was when Ben and Greg started getting into the new competition style lion dancing that became the rage in places like Malaysia. The team really responded to the new equipment, tricks and stunts that they would bring back with them from their trips. We would often get together outside of lion dance practice to try out new techniques to be more like the pros. Ben and Greg have done so much for so many children in Marin. When I was a kid, I thought that the fact that they built out their minivan to serve as a lion dance equipment hauler showed their dedication to the team. Now that I see the lion dance team still going to this date, I understand that the true demonstration of their dedication was never the van, it is the time, passion and energy that they give to the community to preserve the lion dance tradition.” Fafa Bretz: “ Lion dance has meant so much to me. I started when I was four years old, and I graduated at age 18, so many, many years and memories. It has been a way for me to stay in touch with my heritage, and for my family and I to be part of a supporting community. A few reasons I have continued it for so long is that not only do I get to meet and work with great people and get a good workout in, but it has also been a coming of age journey for me. Since lions has dominated a large part of my life, I remember starting at the instruments, but determined to
  6. 6. Page 6 be a lion. Through the years I slowly made my way up the pyramid, from the tiny lion head, past the medium sized red head and finally to the gold lion who climbs the mountain. Ben and Greg Chuck have been wonderful, and I don't think I'd be as good a lion dancer if it weren't for them, so a big thank you to the Chucks!! If you think your child might be interested in becoming a lion dancer, have them come out and watch the team practice. They are always welcomed to talk to team members/ team parents or Greg after class. The team is always looking for new team members (minimum age is 8 years old) especially older team members that can lift that dragon. Further questions can be emailed to Greg Chuck at The MCCA wants to acknowledge Greg Chuck and Ben Chuck for volunteering to teach dragon and lion dance to our members with such dedication and passion. Ben started the program thirty five years ago and Greg his son has been a part of the team for years and has dedicated himself to continue the teachings that he learned from his Dad and other lion dance teachers. We truly appreciate what they have done for all of us. MCCA Newsletter January 2014 Tai Chi Classes Tai Chi Ch’uan is the ancient art of “Meditation in Motion.” This slow, relaxing exercise helps people of all ages manage stress and develop their physical and mental awareness. Guang Ping Yang Style Tai Chi will be taught by Sifu Francis Wong, assisted by Simu Elaine Wong. Sifu Wong was instructed by Grandmaster Henry Look, a senior disciple of Master Kuo Lien Ying, who introduced Guang Ping Yang Style Tai Chi to the United States. The one-hour class will begin with warm-up exercises and end with a cooldown period that includes Chi Kung (Breathing and Movement) and I-Chuan (Mind Exercise). Tai Chi classes are held Sunday mornings from 8 - 9 am at Terra Linda High School in the courtyard at 320 Nova Albion Way. San Rafael. These classes are free to all MCCA members. Email Sifu Wong at with questions or to sign up for classes.
  7. 7. Page 7 新年寄语 Xīnnián jìyǔ New Year's Message 祝新老朋友开开心心,快快乐乐, 身体健康! Zhù xīn-lǎo péngyou kāikāixīnxīn, kuàikuàilèlè, shēntǐ jiànkāng! Wishing friends old and new tranquility, happiness and good health! The Chinese Zodiac uses 12 animal signs to predict people's fortunes based on their birth year. This is the year of Wooden Horse. It begins on Friday, January 31, 2014, and corresponds to the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. The horse was one of the Chinese people’s favorite animals because it provided the means of transportation before bicycles and automobiles. 一听它的叫声就知道, Suīrán lāchē de mǎ "gǔshòurúchái", zǒulù yáoyáohuànghuàng, dàn Bólè yī tīng tā de jiàoshēng jiù zhīdao Although the horse pulling the cart was a "bag of bones" whose gait was faltering, Bólè sized up the horse and recognized it. 这是一匹难得的千里马。 zhè shì yī pǐ nándé "qiānlǐma". It was a famed "Qiānlǐmǎ", a rare horse that could run 1000 miles in one day. 伯乐对驾车人说:“把这车卖给我吧!” Bólè duì jiàchērén shuō: "Bǎ zhè chē màigě wǒ ba?" Bólè told the driver: Would you be willing to sell this horse and cart to me? 驾车人还以为伯乐是个傻瓜呢, 立刻同 意了。 Jiàchērén hái yǐwéi Bólè shì ge shǎguā ne, lìkè tóngyì le. The cart driver, convinced Bólè was a fool, agreed to sell the horse and cart on the spot. This is the story of 伯乐相马 Bólìxiàngmǎ, an ancient horse whisperer and a horse named Qiānlǐmǎ. It tells us that it’s important to seek out a person’s special qualities. “Bólìxiàngmǎ” and “Qiānlǐmǎ” are both famous expressions dating back to the Zheng state, Zhou period 周朝代 (1045-221 B.C.): Artwork by Camille Davis (11) 伯乐是位养马专家。 Bólè shì wèi yǎng mǎ zhuān jiā. Bólè’s job was as the authority on choosing horses for the King. 一天,他在路上遇见一辆马车。 Yī tiān, tā zài lù shang yùjiàn yī liàng mǎchē. One day while traveling he came across a horse cart. 虽然拉车的马骨瘦如柴,走路摇摇晃晃,但伯乐 伯乐把马带回家,"尽心尽力"地喂养。 Bólì bǎ mǎ dàihuí jiā, “jìnxīnjìnlì” di wèiyǎng. Bólì returned with the horse, and put his “heart and soul” into nurturing the horse. 很快,这匹瘦马就变了模样,它看起来比谁都威风,跑起来 比谁都快! hěnkuài, zhè pǐ shòumǎ jiù biànle múyàng, tā kàn qilai bǐ shéi doū wēifēng, pǎoqilai bei shéi dōu kauì! Very quickly, this lean horse’s appearance changed; it began looking much more dignified, and starting to prance spiritedly. Contributed by JieZheng—MCCA Chinese Teacher and Board Member.
  8. 8. Page 8 MCCA Newsletter January 2014 Behind the Mask: Chinese Opera By Harold Hirsch The Chinese Opera, one of several vivid traditions the early San Francisco immigrants brought over from China (including Chinese New Years, Chinese dance, and Chinese art and writing), continues to survive here and abroad today. Yet, many modern audiences who have not grown up with it find it a challenge to understand. But it is worth the effort being so quintessentially Chinese, and given that its roots go so deep into history of China and that its origins can be traced to various China ancient cultural regions. On top of that, many of the opera stories are reenactments of the great classics of Chinese literature conveying the universal human foibles, passions, and yearnings of emperors, nobleman, monk and peasant alike. The first thing to know about Chinese Opera is that there is no single style. A quick search of Chinese opera, (xìqǔ/戲曲/戏曲) in Wikipedia informs us that there are some 386 “forms” – main examples include probably the oldest, the Suzhou opera (Kūnjǔ/昆曲) which has elements dating back to the third century Wu2 (吳/吴) Kingdom; the Cantonese Opera (Yuèjù/ Juut6kek6/ 粵 劇 / 粤 剧 ) which dates back to a 13th century migration south caused as the Mongols launched the Yuan (元) Dynasty in the north; the well known Beijing 北京 Opera (Jīngjù/京劇/京剧) which was brought over from Anhui 安徽 opera late in the 1700’s as a gift for the 80th birthday of the Qianlong 乾隆乾隆 Emperor; the Sichuanese 四川 Opera also originating in 1700s, the Taiwanese Opera (Gēzǎixì/ 歌仔戲/歌仔戏) originating from song-dramas from FuJian 福建 especially in Zhangzhou 漳州 and later influenced by Beijing opera styles. Each form has its own unique styles, mannerisms, costumes, make-up or masks. For example, Wikipedia describes Sichuan Opera as being well known for its singing, which is less constrained than Beijing Opera; it is more play-like, with “polished” acting being a major component. The Beijing opera roles were all performed by men until the late 1800’s; its vocal requirements are simpler and more reduced; it includes more acrobatic elements typically used to represent combat with all forms of weaponry; Cantonese opera has “water sleeves” 水袖 shuǐxiù– explained in Wikipedia as “long flowing sleeves that can be flicked and waved like water, used to facilitate emotive gestures and expressive…”(see picture) and richly colored customers. The musical instruments employed vary with style too (see photos for examples). All operatic forms have had to adapt significantly as China emerged politically through 1900 century (indeed operas were used as political tools), and as newer entertainment and technological formats such as radio, tv and the internet arose. Given the highly stylized performance requirements, one would expect that the operas are highly symbolic in nature. Indeed this proves to be true. Author Fergus Bordevich in “Cathay, A journey in Search of Old China” 1991 Prentice Hall Press relates how with Beijing Opera he needed to be “taught … to read the empires of the stage as if it were the mist in a classical painting, which contained with it the seeds of all form. ….I learned to interpret the symbols that could instantly invent a state of mind or an entire landscape; to feel the distress signaled by a turn of the finger, to see the mountain
  9. 9. Page 9 suggested by a chair, the torrent implied by an oar. ‘You drink tea but there is no tea; you climb stairs, but there are no stairs,’ he was told by a friend. ‘As much as possible is left to the imagination. Art that kisses reality on the mouth is never very good.’” Recently I had the good fortune to attend a Cantonese Opera performance with MCCA Board Members Sue Yee and Jean Chan courtesy of tickets offered to me by my employer, Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The performance, a collection of scenes from six operas, was held at the Lam Research Theater in associate with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on November 11 and was a annual benefit for Self Help for the Elderly (安老端鳳 第二十八 劇(剧)慈善粵劇). Scenes were drawn from various famous historical stories, “The Amorous Emperor”, “The Last Emperor of Southern Tong Dynasty”, “Story of Man Kee”, “Snowfall in June”, “Destruction of the Imperial Carriage”, and “Quarrelsome Lovers.” Sue translated some of the Cantonese dialog for me which, along with the synopses in the program, helped me follow the action on the stage. During my discussion with Sue, she related how she believes the opera sustained her mother, and other earlier immigrants, providing one of the few entertainment outlets in the otherwise difficult life in a new foreign country. What a rich and marvelous tradition – hopefully the availability of more information over the internet will make this art form more accessible to new audiences and generations so Chinese Opera can live on. (See Wikipedia on “Chinese Opera, Cantonese Opera, Taiwanese Opera, Sichuan Opera; also see this link http:// for an article on Sichuan Opera) Long time MCCA member, former MCCA President, avid Chinese language student, docent for the SF Asian Art Museum, ancient Asian Art lover, and Chinese Opera maven, Ralph Young agreed to be interviewed for this story and share a bit of his broad knowledge about Chinese Opera How did you first experience Chinese Opera? I first experienced Chinese opera as a little child when my mother and aunts would take me along with them to performances. Growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the only operas were Cantonese Opera because I would dare to guess that the entire Chinese population then was Cantonese. In the early days, there were about three to four separate troupes per-
  10. 10. Page 10 forming in San Francisco Chinatown; by the time I was introduced to the opera, it was down to two troupes. At first, the photos of painted faces scared me, but when I got into the operas, I got over that quickly! What is the history of Chinese Opera in the San Francisco? As I mentioned, in the early days of SF Chinatown, which would be in the 1800s, the Chinese population was almost 100% Cantonese. Although Chinese immigrants came from different areas of Canton (Guangdong today) and spoke differing dialects, Chinese opera was one bond that held them together because they all knew and loved the stories. The fact that Chinatown was "ghettoized" (kept to a distinct geographic area), also helped the community bond. My grandfather came to the United States in the 1800s, but he first settled in Hanford, which is near Fresno. Hanford had a thriving Chinese community at the time (a community center in Hanford where the Chinese congregated has been designated a California heritage site). My grandfather operated a shop selling barbecued pig, which is a favorite among the Cantonese. When he eventually returned to China, my father relocated to SF Chinatown and was able to pursue his love for Cantonese opera, which he passed down to me. Have you ever participated in a Chinese Opera? Absolutely not! It takes years of training to be able to perform even a minor role properly! How challenging is it to sing Cantonese opera? MCCA Newsletter January 2014 Extremely challenging. One particularly exciting scene in Zhào Zǐ Lóng (趙子龍) Accompanies His Master Across the River takes 30 to 40 minutes to perform if done correctly. It requires intensive vocal training and physical training for the acrobatic military action sequences. What is your favorite opera? My favorite operas were and still are those based on the novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sânguó Yǎnyì 三國演義 ) . These stories take place at the end of the Han Dynasty when it was split into three “kingdoms” and are considered wǔ 武(mo in Cantonese) or martial operas, filled with characters with elaborately painted faces and martial action. Who is your favorite character from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms? My favorite character is Guān Yǔ 關羽, the red-faced general who is the patron saint of martial arts. Many Chinese restaurants feature small altars for Guan Yu who brandishes a sword and is said to prevent fights. What is meant when a character in an opera “spits blood?” Spitting blood refers to anger or frustration that is so deep that you cannot express it in any other way than through the spilling of one's own blood. One of my favorite operas, Zhao Zi Long Accompanies His Master Across the River, ends dramatically when general Zhōu Yú 周瑜, frustrated that he has been outwitted by Zhào Zǐ Lóng several times, “spits blood” and collapses.
  11. 11. Page 11 Why do you think Chinese Opera is still relevant today? It certainly is to me because it is a medium through which the history and stories of ancient China -- the Generals of the Yang Family and the stories of the Tang 唐, Song 宋, Ming 明, and Qing 清 dynasties to mention a few -- are preserved and performed. There are also many, many stories from the great Chinese novels that are performed and preserved via this medium -- novels such as All Men are Brothers (Shuǐ Hǔ Zhuàn/水滸傳/水浒传), the Dream of the Red Mansion (Hónglóu Mèng/紅 When I'm in Chinatown, I browse the video stores hoping to find something, but it's becoming more and more of an unfulfilled wish. There are some amateur troupes in the Bay Area, but they usually perform snippets from primarily “wun” operas and I'm too spoiled by the full performances I remember from my youth. When we travel to China or to Hong Kong, I always look for opera performances. There is an Art of Cantonese Opera Association in Hong Kong whose purpose is to revive the older operas. They've recently expanded their work to include other forms of Chinese opera, such as Beijing, Yue, Jingkun, Taihung, and others I'm not familiar with. Their expansion is an effort to view Chinese opera as a Chinese artistic form rather than viewing each region’s form as an individual art. 樓夢/红楼梦), The Diary of the Western Chamber (xīxiāngjì 西廂記; /西厢记/), The Journey to the West (Xī Yóu Jì/西遊記/西游记) - the story of the Monkey King who accompanies the Buddhist monk XuánZàng 玄奘 to India in search of Buddhist sutras in the seventh century. While some of these have been made into movies, I still find the operatic medium more engaging. How are you involved with Chinese Opera today? I watch it on YouTube and have my own collection of Cantonese operas. I also have a set of Beijing operas. I still love the Three Kingdom operas and the martial types, although there are some "wun" or scholar type operas I also enjoy. Are there any new operas being composed? Yes, but I'm not too fond of the newly composed operas. For me they are too “sing-songy” and their melodies are easier to sing so they don't require the disciplined training of the old guard. They're also more in the mode of romantic operas, typically man and woman relationships which can still be engaging, but not the way they're done now. Do any of your family members still follow Chinese Opera? My brother does and one of my brother-in-laws is a devoted fan, but I'm afraid we're a vanishing breed. Chinese New Year’s Greetings by Emily Peng—MCCA’s Advanced Chinese Teacher During the first two weeks of the Lunar Year of the Horse, you can wish your family and friends well with these five greetings. 恭喜發財 gōng xǐ fā cái ( Wishing you a prosperous new year.) 萬事如意 wàn shì rú yì ( Hope everything goes well.) 身體健康 shēn tǐ jiàn kāng (Wishing you good health.) 心想事成 xīn xiǎng shì chéng ( Hope all your wishes come true.) 歲歲平安 suì suì píng ān (May you have peace year after year. Also we’ll say this to get rid of bad luck.)
  12. 12. Page 12 MCCA Launches Its First Asian American Film Festival at Its Annual Winter Festival Potluck Banquet By Meg Dufficy-Kang On December 8, 2013, a crowd of film enthusiasts gathered together to watch the first ever MCCA sponsored Asian-American film festival at the Annual MCCA Winter Festival at the College of Marin's Indian Valley campus. Three talented Asian-American directors were there in person to present, answer questions and have a dialogue with the audience about their films. The 3.5 hour film festival was a huge success with lots of lively interchange between the directors and the audience. The first film, Chinatown, was produced by Emmyaward-winning, independent television producer, director & writer, Felicia Lowe, whose films, including Carved in Silence and China: Land of My Father, have won international acclaim. Felicia, who grew up in Oakland's Chinatown, started out as a broadcast reporter and later taught Film Production and Scriptwriting at San Francisco State and Stanford. Chinatown was created in 1996 for KQED's ongoing series Neighborhoods: The Hidden Cities of San Francisco. Chinatown is a sensitive, emotionally rich, highly informative, and sometimes bittersweet history of 150 years of San Francisco's Chinatown. History is seen through the eyes of those who grew up in Chinatown−from the first immigrants who came to "Gold Mountain” from China in search of a better life in the 1840s to their children and grandchildren to current immigrants from around the world. The film graphically depicts the hardship of a century of MCCA Newsletter January 2014 shocking racial discrimination and exclusion of the Chinese in all walks of life and also the challenges of American-born Chinese Americans struggling to find their identity and their voice. Felicia did a brilliant job and we were thrilled to have her there as well as her daughter and son-in-law, who both work in the media field. We eagerly await her upcoming films, Chinese Couplets, which tells the story of her mother’s illegal emigration from China and its impact on four generations of women in her family, and a biography of Him Mark Lai, an internationally renowned activist and historian of Chinese America. The second film shown, Lil Tokyo Reporter, was produced by the talented Jeffrey Gee Chin, son of MCCA's longtime board member, Bob Chin and longtime MCCA member Rita Mah. Jeffrey also filmed the 2009 documentary series Ellis Island of the West, a study of the Angel Island Immigration Center. He is an honors graduate of UC Berkeley Film Studies and currently attends the USC Graduate School of Cinematic Studies. His honor thesis was a research project exploring life in American Chinatowns, especially San Francisco and New York. His upcoming projects include films about smuggling Japanese immigrants over the Mexican border and about New York's Chinatown Lil Tokyo Reporter (2012) is Jeffrey’s first live action narrative short. The film tells the story of JapaneseAmerican Civil Rights leader Sei Fujii (1903-1954), who fought tirelessly and against great odds for the rights of Japanese Americans. The film is set in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles in the 1930s and is so creatively filmed, casted and directed, that it is no wonder that it has won over 16 awards in film festivals across the US, including Best Short Film at the California International Shorts Festival, Sacramento Film Festival and DisOrient Oregon Asian-American Film Festival. . The third film, The Last Fisherman, directed by Larry Yung, tells the story of the only remaining Marin China Camp resident, Frank Quan and the effort to save
  13. 13. Page 13 China Camp State Park. Yung is an artist and designer turned director and founder of San Francisco-based 7&1 Media Company in San Francisco that creates music videos, commercials, documentaries and narrative film as well as branded entertainment. Larry stressed the film is a “work in progress” that to date he has funded himself. Larry will be starting a Kickstarter project to raise money to finish the film. We hope everyone will rally around Larry to help finish this important film about Marin County Chinese-American history. Following the screenings, the MCCA hosted its Annual Winter Festival Potluck Banquet, which was a great way to end the day. We are so grateful to Felicia Lowe, Jeffrey Chin and Larry Yung for their inspiring presence and great contribution in making this festival happen! We wish them the best of luck and hope that they and all of you MCCA members will join us for the next MCCA Asian-American film festival… To Be Announced. Scenes from the Annual Winter Festival Potluck Banquet following the film festival A Warm Welcome to the MCCA’s Newest Members     Heather Auyang Valerie Miller Ruina Qin and daughter Isabel Franchesta Wong
  14. 14. Page 14 The Annual Asian American Alliance of Marin Community Dinner By Sue Yee On November 15, 2013, 120 people gathered for the Asian American Alliance of Marin (AAAM) Annual Community Dinner held at Yet Wah Restaurant. Dr. Jason Lau, board member of MCCA, was recently elected to serve as the new president of AAAM. The 22-year-old organization comprised of Asian Pacific Americans and other individuals, promotes justice, equality, tolerance, human rights, and understanding in our communities. The MCCA was well represented with two tables including board members Jean Chan, Jason Lau, Kim Luu, David Wong, Yee Lee, Meg Dufficy-Kang, Liz Hom and Jie Zheng. As chair of AAAM, Jason talked about the importance of communities working together. To illustrate his point, he easily broke a single of stick; he then tried breaking a bunch of sticks, but was unable. He also showed an inspiring video of a young boy leading a group of adults to push away a fallen tree that was blocking traffic. These examples showed all of us the importance of communities working together to face our challenges. Chantel Walker from the Affordable and Fair Housing Issues in Marin was the guest speaker. Other guests included Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams, the Honorable Faye D’Opal Superior Court Judge, College of Marin Superintendent/ President Dr. David Wain Coon and COM Trustees Diana Conti, Dr. Eva Long and Brady Bevis. The evening ended with congratulations to former Board Member, Mona Miyasato, for being selected as Santa Barbara's newest County Executive Officer. AAAM welcomes more participation; anyone interested can contact Jason Lau, David Wong David Wong, or Sue Lim Yee . The next event will be the Asian Pacific Heritage Festival held May 4 in collaboration with MCCA and other community groups. MCCA Newsletter January 2014
  15. 15. Page 15 We are an organization of volunteers! Can you help? Upcoming Events Needing Volunteers: 2/15/14 (Mon) BADM’s Chinese New Year Event Arrive early to set up food sales (10 people) Serve/sell food (shifts) Clean up after food sales Make fried wontons Calligraphy Sell arts and crafts Help at the Membership table Contact Denise (860-3888, 2/22/14 (Sat) Chinese New Year Banquet Arrive at 3 pm to set up (20 people) Serve food, drinks, dessert @ 5 pm (20 people) Cleanup (stay afterwards to clean up) Auction items (contact Jean at Contact Kim (, 892-5161) 5/4/14 (Sun) Asian Pacific Heritage Festival Asian Pacific Heritage Festival 2014 Arrive at 10 a.m. at Student Services Bldg., College of Marin, Kentfield Campus Serve food or help with activities For more information about the event, visit Contact Jason Lau at ( Other Volunteers Needed For: Newsletter Committee If you would like to be a reporter on MCCA events or write articles for the MCCA newsletter, please contact either: Harold at (415-785-1143) Shirley at (415-461-8043) Volunteer Committee Contact Sandy at if interested Teaching a Class Do you have an interest/hobby or a talent/skill that you could share with our members? Come and teach a class! If interested, contact: Denise at (415-892-5161) We’re seeking donations of auction items for the Asian Scholarship Fund sturdy good toys  jackets in nearly new or excellent condition  dinner / water glasses  a weekend or a week in a vacation home in desirable location  antiques  silk scarves  Chinese jackets  gloves  utensils or serving spoons in good condition  dinner or dessert plates  wine glasses  coffee mugs  new or barely used luggage  Antiques  belts  clean empty glass jars  cases for reading or sun glasses  jackets/sweaters with/without Christmas motif Items should be brand new or nearly new and in excellent condition. Bring items to Jean Chan’s house (1281 Idylberry Road, San Rafael. CA 94903) on or before 2/21; Or bring items to the San Rafael Community Center by 4:30 p.m. on February 22 before the MCCA New Year’s Banquet. Come to the Asian Pacific Heritage Festival 2014 Sunday, May 4, 11:00 to 3:30. Performances in front of the Student Services Building. College of Marin Kentfield Campus Free admission and parking Join the excitement and attend the 24th Annual Asian Pacific Heritage Festival, co-sponsored by the AsianAmerican Alliance of Marin and the Marin Chinese Cultural Association with the help of ASCOM (Associated Students College of Marin) and the International Society Club at the College of Marin. The festival is a celebration of the culture, traditions and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Asian/Pacific AMERICAN HIERITAGE Week is celebrated nationally during the first week of May. Performances and activities this year include lion dancing, Taiko drumming, dancing by the Redwood Empire Chinese Association, Hawaiiian dancing, Aikido, Origami, Qigong, Tai Chi, Chinese calligraphy, and ethinc foods. All ages are welcome. For more information visit For info please contact Jason Lau at
  16. 16. 2014 MCCA BOARD OFFICERS Denise Wear Co-President Bob Chin Co-President Kim Luu Treasurer Amy Jonak Secretary Jean Bee Chan Publicity/Asian Scholarship Chair Ed Lai Programs Coordinator Ben Chuck Lion Dance Coordinator OTHER BOARD MEMBERS Yee Lee Coliero Sam Wear Meg Dufficy-Kang Jie Zheng Elizabeth Hom Jason Lau Marcus Lee David Wong Francis Wong Harold Hirsch Newsletter Harold Hirsch Shirley Lee Tina Huie This newsletter is published three times a year. We welcome submissions in the form of articles, reviews, news, calendar events, recipes, photos, or drawings from any interested members or their children. Submissions should be made by March 1, 2014. We also wish to acknowledge the businesses of our members. If you would like your business listed in the next newsletter, please submit it by Mach 1, 2014 Please send submissions by email to The MCCA newsletter can now be delivered to you as a .pdf file by email. If you wish to save a tree and receive the newsletter by email instead of USPS, please contact us at: Check us out on Facebook… or the web at Please Note: The MCCA will mail out a new membership roster to members in the 2014. Members who have not paid their 2014 dues will not receive the new roster. Questions? Contact: Marin Chinese Cultural Association P.O. Box 2053 Novato, CA 94945-2053