• North Beach tenants find strength and friendship as they fight to keep their homes – KALW/Public Radio Exchange

    from Melanie Young, KALW – Crosscurrents (via PRX.org)

    At the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, two dozen residents of North Beach come on a recent Tuesday night to hear from neighbors who have experienced evictions. The state’s Ellis Act allows landlords to withdraw from the rental market and evict their tenants. North Beach has one of the City’s highest Ellis eviction rates.  Read the full description.

  • Upcoming Book Talks and Poetry Readings by Judy Yung and Genny Lim

    Here are upcoming dates for poetry readings from the book, Island (University of Washington Press.) For thirty years, from 1910 to 1940, Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was the first, often the only, toehold in America for immigrants from China. From the Cantonese Pearl River delta district of Taishan they sailed, fleeing famine and the foreign concessions, bound for the Land of the Flowery Flag, the Golden Mountain. Some were relatives of earlier Chinese immigrants who had come to America for Sutter’s gold and stayed to help lay transcontinental railroad tracks. Others, in their anxiety to get to America at whatever cost, pretended to be relatives and arrived with identification papers bought in Canton, and with ‘coaching papers,” carefully constructed and memorized family backgrounds that they hoped would pass them through immigration examiners.


    Co-author Genny Lim says, “The up-coming Book Launch Dates for our book, ISLAND, detailing the effects of a racist U.S. immigration system on Chinese from 1882-1943, through oral interviews and poems inscribed on walls of Angel Island detention barracks, is out! The book is dedicated to the memory of our co-author, Him Mark Lai, the great Dean of Chinese American history, with Judy Yung and yours truly, Genny Lim. Our first edition of ISLAND received the American Book Award when it was published in 1980. This expanded and revised version is twice the size with twice the amount of oral histories and poems that include writings from Victoria, B.C. and Ellis Island.”

    These are free events, and books will be available for purchase.

    Saturday, December 13th, 2014
    Eastwind Books
    2066 University Avenue
    Berkeley, CA

    Saturday, January 24th, 2014
    Foster City Library
    1000 E. Hillsdale Blvd.
    Foster City, CA

    With Marion K. Hom
    Sunday, February 2015
    Main Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA

  • San Francisco Protesters Call for Social And Criminal Justice

    Protesters took to the streets in San Francisco for a second day on Saturday to show their solidarity with actions in other cities sparked by the refusal of two grand juries to bring charges against police in the killings of unarmed black men. The demonstrators once again blocked Market Street at Powell chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” and “No Justice, No Peace.”  Their were several arrests, including a woman who appeared to be in her 70’s, who was taken away as the crowd jeered at police. There were no reports of any injuries.





  • Primo Angeli: A Retrospective at Museo Italo Americano – Now Open

    From December 5, 2014 through April 19, 2015, the Museo Italo Americano will exhibit the works of San Francisco design legend, Primo Angeli.

    A master of advertising art since the early 1960s, Primo Angeli created innovative branding, packaging, logos and advertising posters for such stellar clients as Boudin Bakery, Ben and Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, DHL, Guinness, Robert Mondavi Winery, Tommy’s Joynt, Molinari & Sons, Xerox, General Foods, Banana Republic, Levi Strauss and the Oakland A’s – to name a few.



    Primo was also sought out to design celebratory posters of such events as the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations, the 50thAnniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Silver Anniversary of Grace Cathedral as well as the official poster for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. His other Olympics works include poster designs for the Salt Lake Olympics, the US Olympic Team for the Nagano games, and the US Olympic Team for the Sydney games. In 1998 he was chosen to design the official posters for the World Cup in Paris for the two final contestants, Brazil and France. (full story ->)

    Official poster of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Design by Primo Angeli, 1996.

  • From SFMOMA: Our Expansion – A Place For Artists



    Our expansion originated with the vision of increasing the museum’s capacity to share art with the many communities it serves, including the vital creative community itself. In 2016 and beyond, new programs and initiatives will ensure that artists will always have an open, forward-thinking home at SFMOMA. –>

  • From KALW Crosscurrents: Making a book from beginning to end, with one of San Francisco’s last remaining bookbinders

    Broadcast History

    First aired on “Crosscurrents” at KALW in San Francisco on March 10, 2014.



    Stepping inside the Taurus Bookbindery is kind of like stepping back in time. The wide open space is packed full of retro machines from the 1920s that could double as torture devices. There are electric paper cutters with long blades, sizzling hot, rusty knives, and eight-foot-tall cast iron weights. Rolls of cloth and leather line the walls, and their earthy smells mix with odors of oil, paper and hot glue.

  • A Hero to the Seeing World: Dr. David F. Chang
    Dr. Paul F. Chang (in red) examining a patient in Guatemala.

    Dr. Paul F. Chang (in red) examining a patient in Guatemala.

    Whenever anyone mentions in casual conversation that ultimately they will be needing cataract surgery, the name of Dr. David F. Chang always pops up as the number one recommended surgeon in Silicon Valley. His practice is one busy place with up to 200 cases a month. On his surgery days, he operates on up to 30 patients. Do you wonder why I felt privileged to finally be able to sit down with the tireless David Chang, breaking into his dinner hour to see him? David has received so many accolades in his 30 year career, but suffice it to say he is an internationally recognized cataract sub-specialist in his field. I met the young, eager David when he first came to Silicon Valley in 1984, having graduated Summa Cum Laude and earning his Medical Degree from Harvard and its medical school. Luckily for Californians, he ventured west to complete his ophthalmology residency at University of California, San Francisco, and has taught cataract surgery to ophthalmology residents in training for the subsequent 30 years. Wondering how David got on his career path, I asked what does he think prompted his choice of the eye profession. He replied, “I grew up in Baltimore among very few Chinese where my father was an anesthesiologist and my mother a biochemistry PhD, so their colleagues seemed to always have a science background or be in the medical field. Becoming a doctor was a natural choice, but it wasn’t until I saw a film on small incision catgaract surgery while in medical school that I chose to be an eye surgeon. Microscopic surgery fascinated me and in 1984, phacoemulsification (ultrasonically fragmenting the lens) was the new way of doing cataract surgery through a much smaller incision. My training in this new procedure during my residency allowed me to be the fist to offer it locally when I opened my own practice in Los Altos,” he added. Modestly he remembers he barely did 20 cases in his first year in practice but today he does the highest volume in Northern California and his own surgery center, opened 9 years ago in Mountain View, has a very specialized team established there and was the first specialized eye center in the area. Today besides David, another 14 surgeons use his center’s facilities. You can tell by David Chang’s enthusiasm when he talks about his work that he loves what he is doing, whether it is treating his own patients or being in the academic world. At least eight weeks of the year David can be found traveling the world as he is in much demand to be teaching, speaking, consulting and doing volunteer outreach trips around the world. After listening to all of his honors and professional responsibilities which would indeed make him a frequent flyer candidate, I teased him did he ever have time for family and community. He sat back and laughed and said, does coaching my children’s AYSO team for 9 years count? His son is now pursuing a mechanical engineering degree from Stanford and his daughter is getting her MBA and Masters of Public Health jointly at John Hopkins University, so his go-to DNA was surely passed on to them. A position he seems especially proud of was as the first minority president of the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (ASCRA) in 2012-13, the largest international eye surgical specialty organization numbering over 9000 members. You name any panel or advisory commission of any prestigious ophthalmology group, and you will see David Chang’s name among the leaders. He’s written innumerable papers on cataract surgery and has authored four best-selling textbooks on advanced cataract surgical techniques and artificial lens implants. If you have an impression here is a stodgy professor/doctor/lecturer/author/consultant who sits around thinking about eye surgery all the time, think again. He is also an adventurer and that was recently shown when he accompanied Senator Rand Paul on an international outreach trip to Guatemala. As current chair of ASCRS Foundation’s International Committee, he recommended partnering with Utah’s Moran Eye Institute as the University of Utah was the only American group with the ability to send an entire team of nurses, scrub techs and administrators to developing country at that time. As David described the trip, he and associate Alan Crandall worked with Senator Paul, an ophthalmologist himself, operating on cataract cases. As is typical in developing countries, these cases proved to be among the most difficult and intimidating one would ever encounter. Heavy press coverage sometimes heeded the work as they filmed the Senator operating in a primitive developing world setting, but Chang was content that during the 3 days he, himself had restored sight to 50 patients who had been totally blind from cataracts. Check this link of photos taken in the Guatemala eye clinic and O.R. they set up in this rural outreach location, advises Chang, who counts this experience as one of his most rewarding. David became very serious, saying “The #1 cause of blindness today is still cataracts because no surgery is available in so many places in the developing world. Nineteen million people worldwide are completely blind from cataracts and a 15 minute operation could cure them. When I see this happening all over the world, it spurs me to want to be a leader in seeing that eye care becomes available all over the world.”
    Dr. Chang teaching eye surgery in Lhasa, Tibet.

    Dr. Chang teaching eye surgery in Lhasa, Tibet.

    I mentioned to David Chang that although there are a large amount of Asian Americans in the ophthalmology field, he is the most active in organizations and renowned in the field of cataract and refractive surgery. He remarked that he is asked many times why he thinks he has become a leader. He hesitated but did admit he is very competitive so this part of him, he supposed, keeps egging him on to achieve higher goals. He does feel very fortunate to have achieved what he has thus far, but still hopes in the next 5 years he will be able to continue to enjoy the opportunities to work with a lot of new technology within his specialty of cataract surgery. Here is a guy who truly loves what he is doing and that is certainly the open secret to his success. When I asked him what he hoped to be doing in 10 years when he might be thinking of retirement, he laughed and said, will I sound dull if I say I hope to still be doing something in ophthalmology, whether it be volunteer consulting internationally or continuing my writing about blindness worldwide? No, Dr. Chang. Carry on, and the world looks much brighter due to the fine work you are doing in helping cure the blight of blindness here and abroad.
  • VDB Asks… Deborah Stratman
    Deborah Stratman
    Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Her films, rather than telling stories, pose a series of problems – and through their at times ambiguous nature, allow for a complicated reading of the questions being asked. Much of her work points to the relationships between physical environments and the very human struggles for power and control that are played out on the land.
    Deborah Stratman
    read more
  • Glenda Amayo Caldwell and Marcus Foth: DIY Media Architecture: Open and Participatory Approaches to Community Engagement


    From the recently concluded Proceedings of the 2nd Media Architecture Biennale Conference: World Cities, held in Aarhus, Denmark, Glenda Amayo Caldwell and Marcus Foth presented their paper: DIY Media Architecture – Open and Participatory Approaches to Community Engagement

    Abstract: Media architecture’s combination of the digital and the physical can trigger, enhance, and amplify urban experiences. In this paper, we examine how to bring about and foster more open and participatory approaches to engage communities through media architecture by identifying novel ways to put some of the creative process into the hands of laypeople. We review technical, spatial, and social aspects of DIY phenomena with a view to better understand maker cultures, communities, and practices.

    We synthesise our findings and ask if and how media architects as a community of practice can encourage the ‘open- sourcing’ of information and tools allowing laypeople to not only participate but become active instigators of change in their own right. We argue that enabling true DIY practices in media architecture may increase citizen control. Seeking design strategies that foster DIY approaches, we propose five areas for further work and investigation. The paper begs many questions indicating ample room for further research into DIY Media Architecture.


    Download (PDF, 1.11MB)



  • On the Scene: November News
    As the holidays come upon us, there are so many places to go, events to attend, and shows to see.
    At the SHN Curran Theatre I was taken back to my memories of the 1950s when my favorite comedy show on my black and white TV was I Love Lucy. Memories flowed back as I watched a new show called “I Love Lucy” Live on Stage at which we were supposed to be the audience watching a real taping of a Lucy show.  Lucy, played by Thea Brooks, was as wide-eyed and slam stick as the real Lucy and although this Ricky Euriamis Losada was taller and slimmer, as the show went on, he became a more believable Ricky Ricardo singing Babaloo.  For a walk down memory lane, spend an enjoyable evening watching Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel look-alikes doing a very good job. For more info:  shnsf.com or (888) 746-1799.
    A lighthearted comedy can be seen at San Francisco Opera’s  La Cenerentola which will be running November 9-26 at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. located at 301 Van ness Ave., .This is the basic story of Cinderella which we learned from the program has been performed all over the world for the last couple of centuries but usually in different versions.  Rossini’s Cinderella has a  bracelet replacing the lost shoe when Cinderella goes to the Ball and meets an enamored Prince and is not recognized by her aggressive mean sisters nor their father who in this story, has squandered all of Cinderella’s dowry so she must be kept as a servant, never to be discovered.  Karine Deshayes is magnificent as Angelina, the gentle servant girl Cinderella and the production has many comical moments to enjoy, although a bit long with an hour and a half first act.  Tickets:  SFopera.com; (415) 864-3330.
    Here’s another enjoyable show I just saw – and it took a one hour flight to Las Vegas to catch Million Dollar Quartet but it was worth the trip.  Playing at Harrah’s, the story is about a meeting between Elvis Presley,  Johnny Cash, Jerry lee Lewis and Carl Perkins in the office of the manager who gave them their first start in recording, and was known to be the one who discovered their talents and set them on the road to success.  This meeting has them playing together in jam sessions like the old days, they proclaimed, and the music and talent was outstanding.  The actors didn’t look that much like their famous characters, but their music was reminiscent of the tremendous talent those four star performers gave to the music world.  Thanks Sarah Medeiros for referring me to this Million Dollar Quartet, worth a million of applause.
    As usual, I get very excited about San Francisco Symphony’s December Holiday Concerts.  The concerts are always festive musical events for all ages to enjoy.  The Symphony’s holiday schedule will feature dozens of performances and concerts by an array of award-winning artists including Burt Bacharach, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Feinstein and Debby Boone. For the first time, the Symphony will present “A Charlie Brown Christmas – Live! daily from December 19-24 so concertgoers can enjoy a fun-filled journey through Christmas classics, including a live orchestra performance of Vince Guaraldi’s score for a Charlie Brown Christmas.  On December 3-4 “Disney in Concert” comes with “A Tale As Old As Time”, which is a magical collection of well-known music and film clips from Disney’s old and recent classics like Frozen, Tangled and others. The 60th anniversary of “White Christmas” will be celebrated cabaret-style on December 7 with a collection of songs performed by Michael Feinstein and Debby Boone and accompanied by their Big Band which should be a great excuse for a holiday date night. I love the lobby of Davies transformed into a Christmas wonderland complete with towering trees decorated with handmade ornaments by kids and volunteers from local schools and community groups. Davies Symphony Hall will be bringing in the holiday spirit in fine fashion with these holiday concerts, so get your tickets at www.sfsymphony.org and I look forward to seeing you.
    San Jose will come alive this winter when CIRQUE DREAMS and BROADWAY SAN JOSE join forces  to find San Jose’s best talent and transform them into a cirque star featured in a once-in-a-lifetime role when CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE performs at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts over Thanksgiving week November 25-30.  Created and directed by world-renowned circus impresario and Broadway director Neil Goldberg, CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE is a perfect holiday outing for families and audiences of all ages.  Looks like it will be a new cirque show, a Broadway musical and family Christmas spectacular all in one.  For us Silicon Valley residents, here’s a wonderful show right in our own backyard. It’s about time producers realized what a show oriented audience there is down here on the peninsula and bring more productions to town.  Between Christmas in the Park on Market Street which has carnival rides and cheery Christmas decorations throughout the park in San Jose’s downtown, this is definitely a place to bring the children to get in the Christmas spirit. Check wwwcirqueproductions.com.
    Franz Collection VP Joe Woulfe and Rita Beckman congratulate  Fusako Hoyrup on her beautiful floral decoration accenting the Franz vase.

    Franz Collection VP Joe Woulfe and Rita Beckman congratulate Fusako Hoyrup on her beautiful floral decoration accenting the Franz vase.

    The new Bloomingdales store at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto is bringing new life to the area, and the hordes of cars and traffic in and out of the shopping center is proof the store is bringing a lot of shoppers out.  This week the  Franz Collection of  ornate fine porcelain ware had a special showing of its one of a kind vases embellished with flower arrangements by Fusako Seiga Hoyrup, principal teacher of the Wafu School of Ikebana and president of the school’s California chapter.   Before a standing room only audience of predominantly Asian women who are familiar with this world renown Franz brand of fine china, Rita Beckman, North America Business Planner and Joe Woulfe, VP Sales and Marketing introduced the new line of  colorful vases.
    Sales were fast and furious following their presentation, and we heard from patrons that  they have been been followers of Franz  chinaware for many years  and noted that it is very popular in Taiwan, home of the founder/president, as well as China and Hong Kong.  Woulfe shared that Europeans are just learning about the product, and its delicate beauty was admired by everyone in attendance that day, according to Bloomingdale’s Marketing Manager Nancy Lueck.  A beautiful whole wall display of Franz porcelain products is beautiful presented on Bloomingdales third floor so be sure and go and enjoy the beauty of Franz fine china  made in China.  For more information: www.FranzCollection.com.
    Maggie Li, Rita Beckman and Nancy Lueck admire FRANZ limited edition porcelain bust. art piece.

    A limited edition Franz porcelain bust figure is admired by Maggie Li, Rita Beckman and Nancy Lueck at Bloomingdales private reception introducing the latest editions of the line’s fine designs.

    Franz vases are spotlights on Bloomingdales Stanford store, third floor.

    Franz vases are spotlights on Bloomingdales Stanford store, third floor.

  • Rally to Save The Internet In San Francisco Thursday Nov 20 At City Hall

    This Thursday is an important day for anyone interested in being heard about an upcoming FCC decision to preserve a democratic and open internet. Concerned citizens, activists and a coalition of advocacy organizations are gathering at San Francisco City Hall to hold a people’s hearing on the future of the Internet.

    Just last week, President Obama made a bold statement marking a critical turning point in the fight for the open Internet — but the Net Neutrality debate is far from over. Millions of people have pushed the FCC to protect real Net Neutrality. With a continuance of the rules that give everyone equal access, the open Internet will continue to thrive as a space shared and shaped by its millions of users. Big technology and media companies cannot allow faster speeds or give preferential treatment to big corporations or anyone paying to “ride in an internet fast lane.”

    The FCC will vote on December 11th how to refine existing laws and decide whether to designate the internet as a “common carrier” public utility that would satisfy concerns raised by earlier court rulings. The agency can preserve Net Neutrality only by reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service under the law. You can find out the basics of the issues that need to be addressed created by the non-profit Save The Internet campaign of Free Press.

    The Net Neutrality debate is moving fast on the heels of a record-breaking summer where millions of people spoke out against an FCC proposal that would permit large Internet providers to charge fees for access to parts of the Web. And by early next year, the FCC is slated to make a decision on a highly controversial merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable — a move that could lead to less consumer choice and less diversity online.

    Organizations including Media Alliance, ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, and the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) are inviting the diverse communities of the Bay Area to speak out and join local leaders, policy experts, technologists, and elected officials to testify at City Hall about why the future of the Internet matters to us.

    Participants will include former FCC Commissioner Michael CoppsMalkia Cyril of the Media Action Grassroots Network, local musician Jennifer JohnsJay Nath of the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Ana Montes of the Utility Reform Network and Amy Sonnie of the Oakland Public Library.

    What: Bay Area Speaks: A People’s Hearing on the Future of the Internet
    When: Thurs., Nov. 20: Rally outside at 5:30 p.m.; the hearing starts at 7 p.m.
    Where: San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
    Who: We’re partnering with our allies at ColorOfChange.org, Common Cause, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) and the Media Alliance to host this event.
    RSVP: Sign up here. This event is free and open to the public.

    Before the hearing, we’ll rally outside City Hall and raise our cellphones, laptops and tablets with ProtestSign.org loaded.

    If you live in the Bay Area, please sign up — and if you can’t make it, spread the word to your friends and neighbors. We need as many people as possible to push the FCC to do what it takes to protect our rights online.

    Original photo by Flickr user Sergio Ruiz

  • Friends of Children With Special Needs Gala Resounding Success
          Each year, Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN) has drawn  close to 800 supporters from  the East Bay communities to their annual fundraising gala. This year, their theme was BUILD OUR DREAM IN SOUTH BAY, and because in recent years, they have provided services in rented facilities in Silicon Valley, they drew over 900 patrons, many new supporters from the South Bay.  The purpose of the fundraising this year was to raise funding to refurbish a building this non-profit group bought earlier in the year so that they can be a full service provider for special needs students living in the south bay communities.  You could sense the excitement and enthusiasm emitting from the crowd when FCSN chair Limin Hu announced that once funds are raised to renovate, the Bascom property purchased will be a permanent South Bay Center, which hopefully can open before 2015’s next benefit gala.
    Gala co-chairs Jenny Lin, Limin Hu and Lillian Lin.

    FCSN Gala co-chairs Jenny Lin, Limin Hu and Lillian Lin.

    Announcing the happy news that FCSN was named the “Service Provider of the Year” by the San Andreas Regional Center, Hu praised the South Bay teaching team for their dedication in providing excellent programs in spite of not being in permanent quarters.  He said, “Since 2005, when FCSN began Adult Day Programs in South Bay, other programs have been added such as Supported Living Service and Independent Living Service, Work Empowerment, Life Empowerment, soap-making, summer camp, Talent exploration and QuickBook classes.” The evening began with the throng of people supporting the Silent Auction baskets and Raffle prize individual boxes where people could bid on special items gathered by the volunteers.  A rousing opening to the program began  when the East Bay Adult Day Program Percussion Ensemble, led by Conductor Daphne Devine, used drums, and large pieces of sheet metal to pound out a powerful number to catch everyone’s attention.
    Gerrye Wong and Mc Rick Quan lead Fund-A-Need Auction raising $166,000.

    Gerrye Wong and Mc Rick Quan lead Fund-A-Need Auction raising $166,000.

    From then on, you could feel the caring and love emanating from the audience as they heard further testimonials about the FCSN programs via video clips and the continuing program, led by Emmy award winner MC Rick Quan.  It was fully shown when Quan announced that four FCSN Board members, Albert Wang, Limin Hu, James Chiao and Chen-Ming Hu  were making a challenge to the audience that if  these 900 strong supporters in the audience would pledge $100,000,  the dedicated four would match that amount.  At that time, I joined Rick on stage saying we, along with event co-chairmen Jenny Lin and Lillian Lin, and our  on-floor team of Anna and Albert Wang  were not only going to match that challenge, but we were going to beat it!  A Fund-A-Need auction then began, asking for supporters to raise their number cards attached to their printed programs when the sum they wished to donate was called for, beginning with $25,000 pledges.  With much enthusiasm from audience members throughout the room,  Number Cards were raised as Rick and I called for pledges  for $10,000, $5000, $2500, $1000, $500, $250, and $100. We could hardly call the numbers fast enough on stage as the co chairman tried to calculate how much was coming in with the flurry of cards flashing up.   Within 15 minutes of bidding, I was able to proudly proclaim that yes, we had met the challenge grant  – and yes, we had surpassed it and received over $130,000  in generous pledges.  A very happy feeling of fulfillment  filled everyone in that room, each person knowing they were there to help FCSN make the  opening of their South Bay dream building come true – a dream to be fulfilled in 2015.
    FCSN Founder Anna Wang, fourth from left, welcomes Chi Am Circle members to her dinner benefit.

    FCSN Founder Anna Wang, fourth from left, welcomes Chi Am Circle members to her dinner benefit.

    We Fund-A-Need team members Anna Wang, Sylvia Yeh, Lillian Lin and me were exuberant our planning of this first time Fund-A-Need activity for FCSN was successful in bringing in $230,000, including the noted challenge match.  That sum, in addition to the $130,000 donated by FCSN’s many family and friends supporters before the event as listed in the program booklet, brought the outstanding total of $360,000 raised for this fundraising benefit to help achieve the dream of serving the students of the South Bay with their own home center. Rounding out the evening’s program were performances by the happy students who have benefitted educationally as well as socially by being under the care and guidance of this non-profit group which began some 18 years ago by 10 families.
    Co Founder Dr. Albert Wang  receives check from eager donor at  Build a Dream dinner.

    Co Founder Dr. Albert Wang receives check from eager donor at Build a Dream dinner.

    Entertaining the audience were the Chinese Music Ensemble, a group formed by 5 FCSN families  who performed a Chinese medley of songs. The FCSN Co-Ed group presented their version of “What Does the Fox Say” which the children danced to in their own concocted costumes to everyone’s delight. The FCSN Dancin’ Stars  proudly presented the year’s most popular animation dance, “Frozen”  , hopefully taking everyone into a mysterious snow kingdom and ice-castle, as choreographed by Selina.  FCSN Drama Camp presented “Hawaii Five O” School of Fish Dance, which came out of their 4 day camp experience where they had a fun time creating silly dances and songs. This one was the most popular, they said, and were most excited about performing it before this large audience filled with family friends. FCSN Dream Seekers call their Tuesday classes a singing and dancing party and sang to Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and danced to Pharrell’s hit “Happy”.
    Seen supporting FCSN fundraising dinner were local community leaders.

    Seen supporting FCSN fundraising dinner were local community leaders.

    I think those two titles could easily sum up how everyone felt as they left the Santa Clara Convention Center that night.  Everyone there knew they were there to support this wonderful organization whose goal is to bring happiness to the families who come to them, no matter what health disabilities or incapacities they are burdened with.  I commend Friends of Children with Special Needs for serving the needs of the community as well as the children and adult populations they welcome with open arms.   I am impressed with the dedication of the staff and volunteers, the tenacity of the students and the village of love that each individual encounters when enveloped within the arms of these caring leaders.
    Gerrye Wong greets recently elected Assemblyman Evan Low and Sue Chen.

    Gerrye Wong greets recently elected Assemblyman Evan Low and Sue Chen.

    I was honored to have been involved in making the Build Our Dream in South Bay benefit event such a heartwarming success. Much credit needs to go to Anna and Albert Wang who began the crusade to offer support to families with children with special needs.  In 18 years, they have grown from the 10 original families to over 800 students whose lives have been uplifted through the programs they participate in with FCSN. I hope that FCSN will continue and carry on embracing the new vision statement I heard that night, “Build a Community, provide a village of support and deliver happiness to all.” For those of  you wishing to support this fine organization, visit www.fcsn1996.org  or contact FCSN Headquarters in Fremont 510-739 6900 or San Jose Center (408)-725 8000.
  • Kimochi Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire Set for Dec. 13


    Kimochi’s Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire
    Saturday, December 13, 2014
    The Event Center at St. Mary’s Cathedral
    1111 Gough St., San Francisco, CA 94109

    Free Admission ∗ Free Parking (space available basis) ∗ Free Kimochi shuttle service to/from Japantown (pick-up/drop-off at Peace Plaza on Post St.)

    Contact Persons: Steve Ishii and Sakura Suzuki
    (415) 931-2294

  • Asian Business League Hosts Holiday Party Dec. 2


    Join the Asian Business League of San Francisco in celebrating the holidays on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 from 6-9 p.m. at Infusion Lounge located at 124 Ellis St. in San Francisco.

    Come meet and connect with other Asian professionals over hors’dourves and learn more about ABL-SF’s upcoming plans for 2015. Guests will also enjoy a free photo booth generously donated by A Vanity Affair!

    Please bring in a new toy to be donated to either children at Gordon J. Lau Elementary School in San Francisco’s Chinatown or children in the Galing Bata bilingual program at the Filipino Education Center. Toys should be appropriate for kindergarten to 8th grade students.


    ABL-SF Holiday Party: White Christmas at Santa’s Workshop


    Tuesday, December 2


    Infusion Lounge
    124 Ellis St.
    San Francisco


    $20 – Early Bird Pricing Until Nov. 21

    $25 – After Nov. 22

    $50 – Admission and One Year ABL-SF Membership


    DAESFAR  SF Japantown   Silicon Valley Real Ventures





    US Bank



    Special thanks to our community partners: Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, AsianWeek FoundationCenter for Asian American Media, Corporate Asian American Employee Network, Diasporic Vietnamese Artists AssociationKorean American Professional Society, Nakayoshi Young ProfessionalsSan Francisco Asian Professionals Meetup, and Taiwanese American Professionals – SF.

  • Kimchi Making Class Set for Nov. 20


    Just in time for the holidays, learn how to make kimchi, the traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish loved by generations for its crunchy texture and bold flavors. Ellen White, founder of Ellen’s Kimchi, first learned how to make kimchi from her grandmother as a young child living in Seoul. While recreating the cherished recipe for family and friends, she found that not only was there a retail demand for locally crafted kimchi, there were also many fans of her product interested in mastering their own kimchi making skills. Ellen will be leading a special class on Thursday, November, 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the Asian Business League of San Francisco at La Movida located at 3066 24th St. in San Francisco. More than a simple cooking demonstration, the two-hour interactive workshop is a guided, hands-on experience where students make and decorate their own 16 oz. jars of kimchi to bring home and enjoy after class. Ellen has meticulously sourced the freshest, locally grown, organic vegetables and fruits, as well as premium quality salt and spices, so all you need to add is your love. Students will chop, blend, spice, and create their own handmade jar of kimchi made to personal taste. You will learn how to naturally ferment your kimchi at room temperature, best storing techniques, and the optimal time to open and enjoy your handmade superfood.
    • A two-hour kimchi making class for one person
    • Hands-on lesson, with all ingredients, materials, and recipes provided
    • 16 oz. glass jar with BPA free lid, decorative napkins, and accessories
    Admission is normally $50 per person, but thanks to Learn From Neighbor, there is a special $20 discount for ABL-SF members and friends, making the final cost $30. To receive this special rate, purchase your tickets by Nov. 17 here. At check out, enter discount coupon code: lfnbay2014. Space is limited. Food and drinks at La Movida will be sold separately.  
  • Bay Area Social Notes
        “Stayin’ Alive” theme of the 26th Annual Generations Fashion Show needn’t have worried anyone whether there was enough interest, man/woman power and energy to launch another fashion show-luncheon to benefit the elderly of On Lok. On Sunny Oct. 18, a large crowed filled San Francisco’s iconic restaurant, the Empress of China, with plenty of loyal supporter from young toddlers to longtime supporters of the Community. Orchids to the new President Marlene Luke and her committee who brought the benefit fashion show luncheon back to its birthplace in the heart of Chinatown! Beautiful evening gowns and exquisite Chinese styled jackets were modeled by about 20 professional and prominent members of the community. Fashions were courtesy of designers: Monique Zhang – Bridal Religion, Victor Tung Couture, Shanghai Gifts, and Orange Caterpillar. Five prominent male members of the community showed smart outfits that matched their active lifestyles. Leading off was Calvin Louie, the cool-headed CPA who courageously ran for Governor of California and came up nearly on top! Meanwhile, last but certainly not least, was Steven Lee, a commissioner and Founder and Director of the Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Project. Steven says, “The 150th Anniversary of the hiring of the first team of Chinese Railroad Workers who built the great Transcontinental Railroad that connected the East to the Western US is coming upon us in 2015.” After 144 years, the Placer County Historical Society placed a brief descriptive plaque on a rock in Gold Run, on Interstate 80 to Reno, NV. Chinese Railroad Worker Memorial Project With the support of the Chinese Historical Society of America, Steven’s goal is to place a detailed memorial plaque in San Francisco in tribute to those workers and to highlight a larger memorial monument to commemorate the tremendous sacrifices made by the Chinese Railroad Workers. As many as over 1,200 perished in building the railroad through the treacherous Sierra Nevada. Donations are welcomed and appreciated. Please make checks payable to: CHS-Chinese Railroad Workers Memorial Monument, 965 Clay St., San Francisco, CA 94108. (415) 391-1188. E-mail a heads up notice to Lenora Lee, lenora@chs.org and Steven Lee, Steven.Lee.Venture@gmail.com that a check is on its way. Calling all BEARS….Alumni and Friends! Show your spirit at the Annual Big Game Dinner Rally at the Peony Restaurant in Oakland, Friday Nov. 21, 6:30 PM. Be entertained by performances from the popular UC Men’s Octet, TruElement Dance troop and the famous CAL Marching Band while enjoying a Chinese banquet and fun raffle prizes. A great time to be had by all! Tickets are $65 per person. Questions? Contact Victor Chan at 415-794-1053 or email victorchanhw@hotmail.com. Checks can be sent to CAA-Chinese Chapter 480 Pinewood Drive, San Rafael 94903. Go online at http://biggamedinner2014.eventbrite.com. Make your reservations NOW!   GO BEARS!!!!
  • Adventure in China
      October 13 Monday Alas our China adventure is beginning as we leave Sunnyvale for SFO to catch our 1:30 pm Korean Airlines flight.  Fourteen of our group greet us and we all seem very excited about our upcoming trip. The modern airplane was comfortable with ones own personal TV screen in front of your seat where I enjoyed three movies during our 10 hour flight to attractive Incheon Airport before continuing into Beijing after an hour layover. October 14 Tuesday It is nighttime when we finally arrive in Beijing.   We meet our guide quaintly named Shine, tour leader Frank Chang and his assistant Alesha who bus a very tired group to the Sofitel Wanda Hotel.   China – we have arrived!!! October 15 Wednesday As usual the buffet breakfasts in China are wonderful, extensive in their offerings of both western and Asian foods.  It’s always a great way to start a day in China. Luckily we are greeted with blue skies and little pollution our first day in Beijing as we leave the city to visit the Old Summer Palace. Lunch is at the famed Da Dong Restaurant which now has 8 sites in Beijing. It’s modern decor and elaborate presentations has obviously made it one of the  most popular Duck restaurants in this Capital city. The group, most of whom had never been to Da Dong before were overwhelmed by the plentiful  as well as the very attractive and tasty dishes.  The carving of the duck at the table is always a highlight photo op as well as the chocolate mousse dropped into liquid nitrogen. When the frozen mousse was put in our mouths, we could blow out smoke rings from the condensation resulting from the release of the nitrogen.    Our next stop fulfilled our shopping genes as we descended into Hong Qiao Market.  Here we are met with aggressive sellers of whatever you could want in clothes, electronics, jewelry,  and fashion accessories. Bargaining is the code word and as our guide advised, never pay more than one half the asking price, and learn to smile, look angry as they refuse your bid, and then smile as you shake your head and proceed to walk away. I followed his advice, paying one eighth of an asking price for lovely crystal and silver necklaces, one fourth for an attractive North Face men’s jacket, and one fourth of asking price for soft silk designer type scarves. Trying to see everything on the four floors of this bustling building is overwhelming but such fun even when we had to cram our shopper DNA traits into a mere two hours. October 16 Thursday. Beijing to Tianjin Luggage out ready to be picked up, we are soon loaded onto our large luxurious bus to visit the Qing Dynasty Tombs, over two hours away from Beijing.  Traffic is heavy but the roads are well maintained considering the traffic it handles daily.  Much like the Ming Tombs, these Qing Dynasty Tombs were very elaborate as the Emperors chose to be honored. We tried to imagine the weeks long trips to this site from Beijing as the slaves worked to build these tombs and as the honorable deceased were ceremoniously carried to the tombs for burial.  Stone animals lined the road leading to the tombs, as in the Ming Tombs, but unfortunately the Qing Tombs were not as secret , so more theft and robberies occurred at these tombs. We were given a glimpse into the history of the Qing Dynasty through this visit.   We have dinner at a fancy restaurant and are joined by the owner’s son Richard Qui who has recently returned  from UCSD. The family owns eight restaurants, considered the finest in the city. October 17 Friday Tianjin We tour the city of Tianjin today taking in the cultural shopping street selling the usual arts and crafts and souvenir jewelry and beads. We visited the Drum tower and the old city wall at which we climbed to the top. The city is very hazy and when we finally get to the Tianjin TV Tower, the fourth highest TV tower in the world, the scene below is not clear due to the fog which is very common in this city, we are told.  At Richard Qui’s other restaurants, we sampled  vegetarian and Muslim cuisine in very elaborate settings. October 18 Saturday We are up early to leave the hotel by 7:00 am with only our carry on luggage to catch the bullet train to Nanjing. The train station is very modern and after going up a very long escalator we wait very excitedly to board the train. Our reserved first class attractive seats are comfortable in maroon velvet type covering. An attendant comes by to check tickets and give us canned soft Chinese peach drink – yummy, and a box of cookies and individually wrapped other sweet snacks. We all were in awe of the smooth ride as the scenery zoomed past of the farmland and small villages of the countryside, and the three and a half hour ride flew by quickly.  Lily, our Nanjing guide, greets us and takes us to a spicy Huaiyang cuisine lunch. Next we are taken to the Sino War Holocost Museum.  We are appalled at the huge crowds of people lined up to enter, but that still didn’t prepare us for the mass of people we encountered who were inside the museum.  It made it impossible to get close to the displays that told the history of Chinese/Japanese relations and wars from the 18th century up to and after the famed six torturous weeks of the rape of Nanjing where it has been chronicled that over 300,000 innocent Chinese victims were tortured, raped, mutilated and killed during this short period of Japanese tyranny. The atmosphere of the museum is dark and somber  which made it difficult for anyone to read the many captions of the displays. But it was the the crush of people that made it a very stressful experience for our group, many of whom were affected emotionally by this horrible history of how cruel man can be to fellow man.  I will recommend that anyone who wants to visit this museum make sure it is never on a weekend as the guide said the overcrowding would not occur on a weekday.  Many of us have read about this sad episode of Chinese history, but visiting the site where the atrocities actually happened really makes an impact on one’s senses of the horrors of war. A  different type dinner with Anhui cuisine was spread before us tonight with the interesting dishes of stinky Dow foo something we all tried – phew! October 19 Sunday The breakfast at the Nanjing Sheraton Hotel is very extensive with a large variety of western breakfast fare as well as my favorite noodle soup dishes made specially to our choices of vegetables and condiments. A wonderful way to start any day. On our second day in Nanjing, we drive to see Dr. Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum where we are greeted with another mob of Chinese  humanity as this is a free attraction to the public. We see no Western tour groups but many many tours of local Chinese coming in many busses. It is quite a walk to get to the base which from there is 370 steps up to the top. On the way up there are flat terraces of flowers and two towers before reaching the large building which held the statue where SunYat Sun is supposed to be buried.  After a Muslim type lunch we visit the Old Ming Dynasty City Wall, climbing to the top to recall this is where the Japanese invaded to take over Nanjing before the eventual six weeks of the rape of Nanjing.   Our next stop was to a very busy Pedestrian shopping street in the old historic district of the city where there were many shops selling Chinese arts and craft items as well as the usual souvenir items of China.   Obviously this was a very full day so obviously by dinner we were all too exhausted to enjoy another big dinner so we ate simply at the hotel following much needed foot massages at a nearby parlor. October 20 Monday to JIUHUA Miuntain We are leaving the big city of 8000 residents, Nanjing this morning for a three hour ride to one of the most famous Buddhist mountains in China called JIUHUA MOUNTAIN.  We see a golden standing Budha on the way and after a simple vegetarian type lunch at a modest area on the way, we proceed around the mountains on a road of so-called 99 turns.  It didn’t seem that many but some were curby enough to make me want to put in my seat belt.  We rode a funicular car which held 35 people and took us to the top of the mountain in 4 minutes. From there a walk up about 50 stairs took us to an amazing sight.  It was of a mummy of a sitting monk who it was said was discovered in a cave 400 years ago by an Emperor. To preserve the figure, he was covered in solid gold which we saw encased in glass in front of the temple. Inside the temple we saw a ceremony where a dozen monks sang and played drums in prayer for some people who it was said had paid up to $1000 USD for this sacred ceremony which was to ensure a peaceful afterlife.

    A temple visit interests our group.

    October 21 Tuesday  Huzhou Hot Springs Hotel  Up early as we have a long four hour ride  to Huzhou for the highlight of our trip, which unfortunately is in the rain. We stop at the town for a hot pot lunch which had a large pot of boiling water in the center of the table. We proceeded to pile in thin pieces of beef and lamb, shiitake and inoki mushrooms, Dow foo, pot stickers, two kinds of noodles, taro and bamboo shoots. Delicious broth at the end is always a highlight of a hot pot meal.  Riding on, we suddenly have the large donut shaped hotel in our sight, and it is just as fascinating as we imagined. On arrival, we are greeted with cold grape juice offered under a gigantic crystal ceiling cover of more than 25,000 Swaroski crystals. Sheraton General Manager Douglas Brennan welcomes the group in front of a gigantic carved stone boulder which he proudly tells us is a piece of jade.  Assistant Director of Marketing Isabella Wang takes us on a tour of the hotel which just opened a year and a half ago, and at a cost of $1.5 billion USD. She pointed out the stone floors throughout the hotel were made of jade and the grand ballroom walls were decorated with large slabs of yellow jade. This uniquely moon-shaped building was the concept of a Beijing architect and is filled with modern art pieces throughout its seven restaurants and bars. Especially fascinating to me was the fact that as I entered my 12th floor guest room, the foyer lights went on and the drapes opened to display a wonderful scenario of a surrounding lake, attractive villas and surrounding mountains. All of the lights are turned on easily by the tap of buttons on a mini Ipad set next to the bed, but it was a challenge for this non-techie to figure out how to manage all the toilet devices, including how to flush the toilet and manage accompanying hot and cold sprays, from the illustrated panel on the adjoining wall. The spectacle that drew ahhhhs from everyone was the sight of the LED moving light show on the whole donut shaped building that went through a myriad of colors and designs every evening. This indeed is a unique hotel experience I would recommend to any visitor coming to Shanghai which the staff said is only about one and a half hours away by a very efficient highway, or to Hangzhou where you could travel on the second longest bridge in the world to get to Huzhou too. October 22 Wednesday. Huzhou Hot Springs Seven of us go to the Huzhou Hot Springs Golf Course for an exhilarating 18 holes of golf set among a mountain setting, making it a challenge for our balls to stay within the boundaries of the tight fairways and fast greens. Brave golfers were Calvin Wong, Wilson Fong, Bert Why, Tom Tanabe, Jim Leong, Howard Seto, our tour leader Frank Chang and me, the only lady golfer. We had bright pink clad caddies driving and guiding us along the course, and my gal, Jai was especially caring, always giving me her arm when we had to climb the many steep slopes of the course. While we golfed, the rest of the group went to the Nanxun Water village. Returning to the hotel, I enjoyed a brief swim in the hotel’s indoor pool with its one windowed wall giving me another great view of the outdoor scenery. On the advice of Mabel Lai and Barbara Why who claimed they had the best massage ever in the Nigel’s spa, I went for the Chinese Herbal Poltice treatment, a 90 minute session with a thoroughly  competent Thai masseuse who pressed hot compresses of herbs and found tender muscles needing messaging every inch of my body. It was a very relaxing session which she says was to relax one’s tense muscles and treat the body’s fatigue with the potent Chinese herbs.  We climaxed the day’s activities in a splendid dining room with a dining table that seated 22 of us around an electronically moving circular  lazy Susan tray. Twenty eight dishes obviously satiated our palates to everyone’s contentment and sent us to our luxurious rooms with happy faces.
    Pink clad clad caddies welcome Wilson Fong, Calvin Wong and Bert Why to the Huzhou Hot Springs Golf Club.

    Pink clad clad caddies welcome Wilson Fong, Calvin Wong and Bert Why to the Huzhou Hot Springs Golf Club.

     October 23 Shaoxing Thursday We take off for three hour bus ride to Shaoxing where we tour Shen Gardens which held a Buddha figure carved out of a once existing mountain here that seemed at least three stories high. The walk around the park took us to a lake, where we boarded three-passenger wooden Sampan boats which was maneuvered by elderly men using both feet on the ends of the paddle in rhythm with their arms steering the oars.  We then went to a historic ancient street which was designated a UNESCO site in 2003 and boarded pedicabs which drove down the historic streets in a parade bouncing along the bumpy street of the historic area. Our Crowne Plaza Shaoxing is modern and spacious and upon arriving back to the hotel, we see many adjoining buildings lit up with moving patterned colored LED lights.  China has really gone colorful, even in this so-called small city of 5 million people. October 24 Friday. Shanghai We traveled over the second longest bridge in the world …second only to Louisiana’s Pontchartrain bridge near New Orleans.  Arriving into Shanghai around noon, we go into a very posh shopping center to eat at the popular Din Tai Fun Shanghai dumpling specialty restaurant which has branches all over the world.  They are definitely the BEST dumplings we’ve tasted. We have one and a half hour of shopping at the Hong Qiao Pearl City Market and are disappointed  because the prices here are higher than in Beijing. We ended up with the usual purses, and scarves but although the place was almost empty, the clerks were reluctant to bargain.  We check in at the Hong Ta Luxury Collection Hotel Shanghai which gives us club lounge privileges of happy hour drinks and snacks before going to Jardin de Jade Restaurant for a Shanghai cuisine dinner.
    Happy faces always accompanied feast of over 25 dishes nightly for our China adventure group.

    Happy faces always accompanied feast of over 25 dishes nightly for our China adventure group.

    October 25 Saturday Shanghai Shanghai under blue skies is a marvelous sight, free of pollution, and looking over modern buildings of every shape and imagination. Being our last day in China, naturally shopping is on our minds so we taxi from our hotel in Pudong to central Shanghai, missing the usual traffic jams since it is an early Saturday. We arrive at 580 Nanjing Road, a three story building filled with little booths inside selling the usual China made souvenir items and we all buy our fill of jackets, more purses and silk clothing.  Later we take a 15 minute taxi ride to the Space and Technology Museum where we are greeted with a very spectacular modern building filled with hundreds of happy Chinese children.  Just behind the building is the underground subway station which is filled with more little stalls tempting one to stuff those suitcases to the brim.  Yes, the vendors are very persuasive and attack you with a vengeance as soon as you show a teeny bit of interest, but the bargaining is fierce and can be very productive for the buyer, so this from now on will be my suggested place to buy your favorite gift items.  Our farewell dinner is lavish, as per our leader Frank Chang’s traditional feasts, and we have a wonderful selection of China’s traditional dishes, including a true whole sharks fin soup among the 25 dishes before us. With many tears and hugs, it is time to say good bye to our China experience which will fill our memory banks and conversations for many a moon.  There is never a full moment or lack of different experiences when one comes to China, and although I claimed this was to be my final visit, who knows what 2015 will bring?  My roots in China continually calls to all of us …….it is a big country with many unusual sights and sounds to tempt us again. Thanks to our leader Frank Chang and his wonderful assistant Alesha for being the most caring, competent, charismatic,  capable and culinary champion guides one could ever ask for. Thanks for the memories…….

    The magnificent moon shaped Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort has a colorful moving light show nightly.