MCCA Newsletter October 2013


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MCCA Newsletter October 2013

  1. 1. MCCA N ew sletter October 2 01 3 O c t o b e r 2 0 1 3 馬 連 縣 中 國 文 化 會 壹 零 壹 貳 年 + 月 The Purpose of 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 Member Close-up…. Summing it up…. 1 China’s Poet—Du Fu 4 Lion/Dragon Team Calendar…. MCCA Classes 6 Dragon boat festival… Family Day Photos 7 MCCA Board Roster… 8 Newsletter Contributions 8 Hi Everyone, Well Summer has flown by, and now we’re heavy into our Autumn festivities! Here’s a look back—and forward—at all that’s happening with MCCA. I'm very pleased to announce our new partnership with College of Marin! By now you’ve all seen the COM Summer Course Catalog with MCCA's Lion Dance Team featured on the cover. MCCA offered three separate programs as we launched our joint adventure: Go Green – Newsletter now Look who made the cover of the latest College of Marin Catalog cover. Find out why….. Available by Email Artwork contributed by M. Kathryn Thompson Summing it Up… Earlier this year long time MCCA members Jean B. Chen and Pete Stanek won a Meritorious Service Award presented at the National Math Conference Prize ceremony, They were honored by a reception 1) Four 1-week-long Mandarin summer camps, where kids could learn Mandarin in a friendly, fun, active environment at a very reasonable cost. (Unfortunately, low enrollment ended up canceling this program.) 2) A sold-out 7-week adult Chinese and dinner with the national Mathematical Association of America ( president. The following is from an interview the MCCA Newsletter held with them. MCCA: Have you and your husband 蛇年–Year of the Snake
  2. 2. Page 2 MCCA brush painting class, with well-known master Mr. Alan Cheng S Lun. 3) A two-weekend course in Chinatown history, From Dynasty to Democracy, including a walking tour with delicious Dim Sum Brunch. MCCA’s mission 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-American people. I'm excited for this opportunity for all Marin County residents get to know us better. Let's join forces to welcome the partnership, and then enrich the upcoming programs. MCCA is also leasing space at the Indian Valley campus from COM as our new headquarters. We are planning classes and activities on the weekends for adults, young adults, teens, and children. We are in the planning stages and are open for suggestions, so any fun and interesting or inviting topics will be welcome. Other Summer and Early-Autumn fun has included: • Our Family Day picnic at College of Marin’s Indian Valley Campus (June 23). • Our very successful food booth at the Marin County Fair (July 3-7). Thanks to our leaders Bob Chin and Faye Chin, and to all the wonderful workers (and es- J E AN AN D P ETE— CONTINUED always liked math? JC: I have always loved math because it is logical and interesting. PS: I cannot think of a time when mathematics was not absolutely fascinating for me. MCCA” How did you get interested in math? JC: Math found me. PS: As a child in school, I found that mathematics was able to solve seemingly impossible problems. Mathematics always appeared mysterious and tantalizing. Also, useful in many areas. MCCA: Did you always find it always easy? Newsletter October 2013 pecially our great teens) who volunteered. • Our first-ever venture into the Dragon Boat Festival on Treasure Island (Sept. 14-15). Thanks to fearless leader Meg Duficy-Kang and our hearty volunteers. • Our rain-delayed but still lovely Harvest Moon barbecue picnic (Sept. 22), featuring Kim Luu’s delicious ribs and those traditional moon cakes. We have even more great events coming up over the next few months. Be sure to mark your calendars: • Open House Picnic. Sunday, Oct. 20, 12-3 pm. Enjoy the beautiful COM/IVC campus and share a potluck picnic with your MCCA friends and family. • Winter Festival Potluck, Sunday, Dec. 8, 4-7 pm. Bring the whole family and learn to make delicious dumplings, which we’ll cook in Kim Luu’s fabulous Winter Melon Soup. • The Bay Area Discovery Museum Lunar New Year Festival with the MCCA food booth, Feb, 17. Chinese New Year Banquet. Saturday, Feb. 22, 59 pm at San Rafael’s B Street Recreation Center. We’ll gather for our party of the year, with exciting entertainment, great food, and always-wonderful MCCA community. Thank you all for continuing to support MCCA and its goals. It’s all of us, together, who make MCCA the wonderful, important, successful organization that it is…...Denise JC: It was easy in high school but it has not been easy in college and beyond. Because math is so captivating, I spent time studying it. Some math problems had taken me years to solve. PS: I suppose I found mathematics easy because it was only a matter of logic and following the rules for computation and symbol manipulation. Mathematics has a rigid, yet simple standard. Matters are either true or false. What could be easier? MCCA: How does society value math skills? JC: Society values math skills because without math, there could not be engineering, computer science, electronics, physics, chemistry, economics, etc. Most people are proud to say they are not good at math. They seem to think some are born to know math when it actually takes lots
  3. 3. Volume 1, Issue 1 J E A N A N D P E T E — C O NT I N UE D of effort to become good at math. PS: It seems to me that society at large takes mathematics for granted. Sure, everyone is pleased that radio and TV works, computers do useful things, structures do not fall down, day follows night quite predictably. Appreciation and value are not quite the same. Society appreciates the results of mathematics, but does not intimately value this study. MCCA: Was there someone who inspired you? JC: I had many really good teachers, especially at the University of Chicago, where world-class mathematicians devoted their lives to do math. They assumed I would go to graduate school to earn a doctorate in math. After a while, doing math became my calling. PS: I was inspired by many teachers who were interested in explaining the universe if only I would take the time to learn. After a time, it was very important to me personally to reach the next level of understanding. Likely I spent a lot of time musing over the discoveries of Newton and Einstein. In my childhood technology was exploding, and mathematics was the foundation. MCCA: Did your family foster your interest? JC: My family considered education very important but they didn't encourage me to study math. PS: My family must have wondered about my obsessions, but they never tried to interfere. If anything, they allowed my interests to develop without constraints. They allowed me to skip graduating from high school and college because I couldn't wait to earn my master's and doctorate degrees in order to do research in math. MCCA: How important is good teaching, as compared to having a natural talent? JC: Good teachers inspire students to see the beauty of math. All children are born to love patterns and math but somehow they are turned off by math along the way. I think it is really important to study and think about math all the time until math becomes a way of life. Page 3 PS: Good teaching? Absolutely essential if we are to succeed as a society. I believe we are all born talented, our brains wired for mathematics. Good teachers can bring mathematical talent to light. Parents are even more critical to success in mathematics. MCCA: When you first studied math, were there many woman in the field? JC: No, there were only a few women math majors. I never had a woman professor in college, and that was regrettable because I didn't have a role model for my professional path. So I invented my own career path. For the first 15 years of my tenure at Sonoma State, I was the only woman faculty member at the Department of Math. PS: Few. But I didn't seem to notice. I attended an all-male high school, so women were not in the picture. Jean broke ground in this area, and became a leader and role model for female students. MCCA: Any advice you and or your husband have for the MCCA student members? JC: I believe any MCCA student member can succeed in studying math. Anyone can choose mathematics as a profession. Professions are rated every year nationwide. A couple of years ago, being a mathematician was rated the best profession, followed by statistician, and then actuary. All three are math related fields. Being a math professor is absolutely the best job in the world. It is challenging and fun! PS: I completely agree. Parents should encourage children in all academic pursuits. Since I think studying and learning mathematics is easy, parents have a simple task to channel their children's interests. Students, I think, should take time to think about their own future and make their own decisions. I hope no one falls into the trap of thinking that mathematics is too hard to learn or too much work. The MCCA congratulates Jean and Pete on their awards.
  4. 4. Page 4 MCCA Newsletter October 2013 China’s Poet -- Dù Fǔ 杜甫 Du Fu, whose influence on Chinese poetry has been compared to Shakespeare’s influence on English literature, lived from 712 to 770 AD and was born near Luoyang in Henan Province, China. While Charlemagne was consolidating Europe, which was locked in the Dark Ages, the Vikings were raiding Europe, the Mayan empire was collapsing, China’s Tang Dynasty was enjoying “a golden age of cosmopolitan culture.” But on the horizon were dark storm clouds. In the final fifteen years of Du Fu’s life, a horrific eight-year civil war tore China apart. The Civil War started with General An Lushan declaring himself emperor of Northern China and forming the parallel Yan Dynasty. As a result, China never during the remainder of the Tang Dynasty regained the stability, cultural standing, or territorial scope it had achieved in the early Tang Dynasty. Ironically given Du Fu’s literary stature, existing records reveal that he failed his Civil Service exams, for poetry no less, in the city of Chang’An (now Xi’an, where the terra-cotta warriors were unearthed.) At the time, Chang’An was the capital of Tang Empire and likely the world’s most populous city. Passing the Tang civil service exam was an important milestone because China appointed its officials based on their performance in these standard civil service exams just as today’s Chinese students gain entrance to universities based on one test. (And of course in the United States, high SAT or ACT scores opens doors to the most selective colleges today). Because he didn’t pass the exam, Du Fu spent the next twenty odd years traveling around the country, starting a family and working in several office jobs. During this period, he began corresponding with the elder Li Bai (701-762), another giant among Chinese poets of the Tang period. They met twice, in 744 and 755. Shortly thereafter, the Civil War that would decimate two thirds of the Tang population broke out. As so often is the case in history, humanity reflects most profoundly on its state in times of pain and misfortune. Du Fu greatest poems were written in this period - nearly 400 of them – many describing the tragedy of the times. Here is one poem that captures the zeitgeist: 兵车行 Song of the Wagons -- Du Fu …We know now having boys is bad, While having girls is for the best; Our girls can still be married to the neighbours, Our sons are merely buried amid the grass. Have you not seen on the border of Qinghai, The ancient bleached bones no man's gathered in? The new ghosts are angered by injustice, the old ghosts weep, Moistening rain falls from dark heaven on the voices' screeching. …信知生男恶 反是生女好 生女犹得嫁比邻 生男埋没随百草 君不见青海头 古来白骨无人收 新鬼烦冤旧鬼哭 天阴雨湿声啾啾 In 754, Yan Dynasty General An Lushan was assassinated. Capitalizing on the Tang-Yan Dynasties conflict, Tibetan King Trisong Detsen captured Chang’an in 763. Over the next years, Chang’an was seized and sacked by outsiders several times until it was finally recaptured by the Tang. The city of “protracted peace” became anything but. To evade the chaos of war, Du Fu headed back to Luoyang and, according to one source, in his final years turned to Buddhism, and “made a pilgrimage to Holy Huen Mountain where he was discovered by a magistrate familiar with his works.” He was feted at the magistrate’s house. He “had not for many years seen such a feast and ate hungrily. Then at this host’s request, he tried to compose and sing, but he fell down exhausted. The next day he died.”
  5. 5. Volume 1, Issue 1 Page 5 About two thirds of Du Fu’s estimated 1500 poems remain today. Because Du Fu was the first Chinese poet “to write extensively about real, immediate social concerns”, he is sometimes called the “poet historian.” Du Fu’s realism is apparent in the subject matter of many poems but is also reinforced by his technical virtuosity. Stanford critic James Liu cites a poem about a river in Hubei Province as an example of that virtuosity: …The stars drooping, the wild plain (is) vast; The moon rushing, the great river flows…. …星垂平野阔 月涌大江流… Du Fu, he writes, reveals himself as the observer of life by describing objectively the movement of stars, the river, and the reflection of the moon in the water…” And Du Fu employs a verb for each noun, so that his imagery “has greater richness and is more suggestive of movement.” A major theme noted in Du Fu life is his struggle between, “service or seclusion, duty versus reclusion,”- between choosing between “a lifetime of loyalty and service to the emperor and state” or a life of withdrawal from the confusion of the world and an irrational government. Explained in terms of China’s philosophical heritage, “Confucianism emphasizes the social responsibilities of man, while Taoism emphasizes what is natural and spontaneous in him… These two trends correspond roughly to the traditions of classicalism and romanticism in Western thought." Despite Du Fu’s struggles with Confucian thinking, the fact that he also harbored a “panoramic view of the human drama” in which “he saw that unfolding drama as a part of China’s vast landscape of natural process” gave him “a geologic perspective, a vision of the human cast against the elemental sweep of the universe” In his poetry, Du Fu sought to reconcile his Taoist worldview with his Confucianism. I can only imagine Du Fu time “Twittering” across the ages to our era with his poetry warning us that no matter how fractious our society becomes, we must strive to work out our dif- ferences – his tweet would be that there are few human tragedies as great as that of a divided society turning on itself. It is no wonder that Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1983), the San Francisco-based poet and a translator of Du Fu’s poems perhaps sums up Du Fu best as "the greatest nonepic, non-dramatic poet who has survived in any language."  Two good places online to find bi-lingual translations of Du Fu poems. (translated by David McCraw who received his PhD in Chinese Poetry under James JY Liu, at Stanford) (a excellent compendium of various translations.) Another online source handle/123456789/24120/Kunish.pdf?sequence=5 Winding River (1) Each piece of flying blossom leaves spring the less, I grieve as myriad points float in the wind. I watch the last ones move before my eyes, And cannot have enough wine pass my lips. Kingfishers nest by the little hall on the river, Unicorns lie at the high tomb's enclosure. Having studied the world, one must seek joy, For what use is the trap of passing honour? 曲江二首 (一) 一片花飞减却春 风飘万点正愁人 且看欲尽花经眼 莫厌伤多酒入唇 江上小堂巢翡翠 花边高冢卧麒麟 细推物理须行乐 何用浮名绊此身
  6. 6. Page 6 MCCA Newsletter October 2013 A Warm Welcome to Our DRAGON & LION DANCE TEAM PRACTICE SCHEDULES PRACTICE LOCATION: at Marin Recycling Center, 535 Jacoby, San Rafael (Environmental Classroom) Marin Recycling Center Newest Members   Subject to changes: depending on whether we have enough performers  Oct 5 *  Oct 26 * Nov 2 Nov 9 Nov 16 Nov 23 Dec 7 Dec 14 Dec 21 Dec 28 Jan 4 Jan 11 Jan 18 Jan 25 Feb 1  9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Oct 19 * 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon Room my not be available Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center NO PRACTICE Oct 12 * Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center Marin Recycling Center NO PRACTICE 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon 9am to Noon       Open to New members Performances: January 31, 2014 Chinese New Year August 14, 2014, (Sun) Ariane and John wedding Reception 1 West Blithedale Ave . Mill Valley        Herb & Pauline Ancell Hanlon & Patricia Chan Bruce & Kari Doll Stone & Dina Duong Darcy & Lou Ellsworth and daughters Lily & June Jennifer Fung Benjamin & Erin Hailer and daughter Chloe Yoshi Hollis Mike & Christine Murdoch and children Ian & Cecilia Lieu Phan Ken & Karen Rosenberg Yonghua & Ginger Tai and son Mason Conor Mangat & Rachael Wear and children Oliver & Spender Katherine Shotwell Bernice Wong Brown and children Myles & Harrison Bill Stephens & Elaine Wong and daughter KimberLee David Wong & Priscila and children Brett, Scott, & Kaitlin Beginner & Intermediate Mandarin Classes Mandarin classes are offered every Monday at the Marin Justice Center at 30 North San Pedro Road, Suite 290 in San Rafael. We have a beginners class that Jie Zheng teaches from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The intermediate class is taught by Emily Peng from 7:30 - 9:15. Both teachers use the Integrated Chinese textbook. Come for engaging interactive learning and an opportunity to meet new people. All those interested should contact Jean B. Chan at Tai Chi Classes Sifu Francis Wong and his wife Simu Elaine Wong teach the Guang Ping Yang style of Tai Chi every Sunday morning at Terra Linda High in the courtyard from 8 - 9 am. Sifu Wong has studied under Grandmaster Henry Look for over 20 years. For more information, please contact Francis (Fritz) by email at
  7. 7. Volume 1, Issue 1 The Dragon Boat Festival at Treasure Island by Meg Dufficy-Kang The MCCA decided to join this year's 18th Annual Dragon Boat Festival as an official vendor and take the leap by selling the traditional Dragon Boat Festival food: Page 7 the Festival and one of the Chinese newspapers were so surprised and impressed that we were selling zhongzi there, that they ran an article with a picture of MCCA members in the next day's paper! We also sold Denise's famous strawberry lemonade which was a big hit, luo ma kai as well as some This is the largest Dragon Boat Festival in the US with over 120 teams and 3000 paddlers participating! Benefits of the Festival go to 'The Self Help for the Elderly Group and the Chinese Dragon Boat Association Youth Program.. Zhongzi! Although not a well known food to many Americans, it is historically an integral part of the Dragon Boat Festival all over Asia…As to be expected, it was not the number 1 seller, not even the number 10 seller but it was greatly appreciated by those who were familiar with it!.. The organizers of the Festival were grateful that MCCA had added to the cultural significance of The weather was ideal and we had a beautiful spot on the waterway from which to watch the races! The Energy was young and electric! There was ongoing cultural entertainment each day with a special area for children's rides and activities and lots of stands promoting healthcare, the environment and selling Chinese cultural gifts! pork buns which arrived fresh out of the Clement street oven both mornings and bottled water…all of which helped to boost sales! Participating in this wonderful festival for the first time was a challenge and a worthwhile learning experience! We hope that all of you will join us next year! P H OTOS F ORM F A M ILY D AY J U NE 2 3 , 2 0 1 3 AT N T HE I N DIA N V AL L E Y C A M P US OF C OL L EG E OF M A R IN .
  8. 8. 2013 MCCA BOARD OFFICERS Denise Wear Bob Chin Kim Luu Amy Jonak Jean Bee Chan Ed Lai Ben Chuck Co-President Co-President Treasurer Secretary Publicity & Asian Scholarship Chair Programs Coordinator Lion Dance Coordinator OTHER BOARD MEMBERS Yee Lee Coliero Meg Dufficy-Kang Jie Zheng Elizabeth Hom Jason Lau David Wong Francis Wong Harold Hirsch Tasha Yee Karen Koenig This newsletter is published quarterly. 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 DECEMBER 1, 2013. 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 DECEMBER 1, 2013. 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