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
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:
Summing it up….
China’s Poet—Du Fu
Lion/Dragon Team Calendar…. MCCA Classes
Dragon boat festival…
Family Day Photos
MCCA Board Roster…
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
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:
Look who made the cover of the latest College of Marin Catalog cover.
Find out why…..
Artwork contributed by
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 (MAA.org)
The following is from an interview the
MCCA Newsletter held with them.
MCCA: Have you and your husband
蛇年–Year of the Snake
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
P ETE— CONTINUED
always liked math?
JC: I have always loved math because it is logical
PS: I cannot think of a time when mathematics was
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
• 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
The MCCA congratulates Jean and Pete on their
MCCA Newsletter October 2013
China’s Poet -- Dù Fǔ
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
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
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
Moistening rain falls from dark heaven on the voices' screeching.
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.”
Volume 1, Issue 1
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
…The stars drooping, the wild plain (is) vast;
The moon rushing, the great river flows….
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
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?
MCCA Newsletter October 2013
A Warm Welcome to Our
DRAGON & LION DANCE TEAM
PRACTICE LOCATION: at Marin Recycling
Center, 535 Jacoby, San Rafael
Marin Recycling Center
Subject to changes: depending on whether we
have enough performers
Oct 5 *
Oct 26 *
Oct 19 *
Room my not be
Oct 12 *
Open to New members
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
Benjamin & Erin Hailer and daughter Chloe
Mike & Christine Murdoch and children
Ian & Cecilia
Ken & Karen Rosenberg
Yonghua & Ginger Tai and son Mason
Conor Mangat & Rachael Wear and children
Oliver & Spender
Bernice Wong Brown and children
Myles & Harrison
Bill Stephens & Elaine Wong and daughter
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 .
2013 MCCA BOARD OFFICERS
Jean Bee Chan
Publicity & Asian Scholarship
Lion Dance Coordinator
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS
Yee Lee Coliero
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
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…
the web at www.MarinChineseCulture.com
Please Note: The MCCA will mail out a new membership roster to members in the 2014.
who have not paid their 2014 dues will not receive the new roster. Questions? Contact: KimLuu_92@Hotmail.com
Marin Chinese Cultural Association
P.O. Box 2053
Novato, CA 94945-2053