December 28, 2011
This one is all about Asian connections.
It began at Bellaken Garden, a skilled nursing care facility in East Oakland, where my mother, Connie, has been staying since August. I’ve been visiting there twice a week, crossing the Bay Bridge from San Francisco and popping in with potstickers from a nearby takeout restaurant.
For months, I’d seen this thin, white-haired woman seated in the lobby area, across from one of the dining rooms. After a while, we’d exchange smiles and hellos. I’d noticed her mainly because she always had a transistor radio with her. Being a radio columnist and occasional DJ, I asked what she was listening to. “Baseball,” she said. She was an avid San Francisco Giants fan, kept notes on their games, and kept their radio schedule close to her, all on a shelf of her walker. Her son, Jonathan, I would learn, works as a concessions cashier for both the Giants and the 49ers, so she was a football fan, too. We could talk.
I decided to do a little shout-out to her in my Radio Waves column in the San Francisco Chronicle, learned her name – June Kwei – and told her to watch for the mention. She appeared delighted, although I never properly introduced myself. Bad manners. (In Cantonese, “bad” is pronounced “kwei.”) Anyway, on December 11, the item ran, ending with “Holiday cheers to June Kwei.”
That evening, I received an email from a “Dede.” It was Mrs. Kwei’s daughter. I couldn’t believe it. Here’s most of what she wrote:
What a delight to see the mention of my mom, June Kwei, in your column today. I just wanted to let you know that we are huge fans of yours, and have been faithfully following you in print and radio, since the ‘70s!
About two weeks ago, my mom called to say that "I am going to be in the paper." This event in itself was amazing, since being the typical Chinese mom, she only calls me after...
Muktamar, the largest Indonesian - Malaysian Islamic Seminar in North America is being held in Las Vegas this year from December 23 - 27.
The 2011 Muktamar seminar theme is "Leveraging Our Ability to Best Serve Humanity." Click here to view a preview video of Muktamar 2011 shot and edited by Pungkas "Pongky" Nataatmaja and Leon Taufani of VegasProStudios.com and produced by the Indonesian Islamic Community of Las Vegas, Nevada.A special thank you to Pungkas "Pongky" Nataatmaja for permission to offer this informative and beautifully shot and edited video to AsianConnections' viewers. Pongky is a senior web designer and developer, and multimedia engineer. Since 1999, he has designed and built database-driven websites, e-commerce websites, and led overall project management including technology, branding and strategies from start to finish for numerous clients. Among projects, Pongky was senior web developer for the movie review site RottenTomatoes.com, and worked at DesignReactor, Inc. as an interactive game programmer and front end designer.
8 year old USA Team member Awonder Liang of Madison, Wisconsin is the best chess player in the world for his age group. He won the gold medal at the World Youth Championship in Brazil in the Under 8 Open, November 26, 2011.
This year's coach and World Chess Federation Senior Trainer (FIDE - Fédération Internationale des Échecs) was Michael Khodarkovsky.
Photo (Left): USA Team member 8 year old Awonder Liang wins Gold Medal at World Youth Chess Championship in Brazil.
Photo by permission Andrea Rosen
Here's a sample of the rankings from the American team competing at the World Youth Championship in Caldas, Novas Brazil this year:
Awonder Liang of Wisconsin earned a gold medal in the Under 8 Open with 7.5/9
Ruifeng Li of Texas earned a silver medal in the Under 10 Open with 7/9.
Sarah Chiang of Texas earned 4th place in the Girls Under 14Jeffrey Xiong of Texas earned 5th in the Open Under 12.
David Peng of Northbrook, Illinois earned 7th in the Under 8 Open.
Albert Lu of Southern California placed 12th in the Under 10 Open.
Kevin Wang of Maryland placed 15th in the Under 14 Open.
Varun Krishnan of La Jolla, California placed 14th in the Under 14 Open.
Click here for the story from NPR here for the story in the New York Times and
here to the U.S. Chess organization.
As a citizen by choice of the United States of America, Thanksgiving was a new holiday to me. What a great holiday! A day devoted to gathering and giving thanks with loved ones and that's all.
No gifts exchange, no specific religious reasons, which may trip up one group or another, just come together to share, celebrate the harvest, eat good food and give to thanks.
I can really get behind this!
What is Thanksgiving?
Most cultures have a festival to give thanks for the bounty from the earth. In my ancestral country of China, we have the Moon festival/Mid Autumn festival, on the eighth lunar month to celebrate the harvest and the fullest moon of the year.
Yet it took me to leave my birthplace and be transplanted into another culture and environment for me to fully appreciate Thanksgiving.
Is it the actual name of the American holiday, or is it the physical and emotional distance of being a newcomer that got me to look at the reason behind the holiday?
Have you ever had this happen to you? Where it took a physical, mental or emotional detachment or even the combination, before you could see what you really had?
Sometimes we only appreciate what we have when we are away from it, or more sadly, after we've lost it.
I am particularly reminded of this because this year marked the loss of several dear friends and my beloved mentor, Robert Muller.
Dr. Muller was the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and the most optimistic and happiest man I've ever met.
Since he dealt with numerous global calamities in his job daily, his bubbling enthusiasm was especially remarkable. I asked him during one of the rare times when he wasn't surrounded by people seeking his advice and attention, what gave him that positive energy.
He smiled broadly and practically sang out his answer. "I'm so thankful to be alive! I am thankful to...
The recent death of Steve Jobs, a man who dared to dream and create beyond the constraints of the prevailing consciousness, brought many people including me to a place of deeper reflection. What does it mean to be really alive? How do I make sure that I am living my highest potential every day? How do I ensure that I will feel at peace when it is my time to leave this planet?
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.” --- Steve Jobs
I believe above quote holds a key to Jobs’ success. He followed his life purpose, what he was born to do. He didn’t have his life path handed to him on a silver platter. He was given up for adoption; he quit college after one semester because it was draining his parents’ entire life savings for him to attend. He still wanted to learn so he slept on the floor of his friends’ dorm rooms. He sold soft drink bottles he scavenged to return for money to buy food so he could sneak in to attend classes.
What was remarkable about this story aside from the passion he had for learning was what he said about the experience. He said that not having to fulfill course requirements for a specific degree freed him to learn what fascinated him. He...