Hidden Temples of China

One our most recent trip to China, my wife and I by chance happened to visit many different religious sites.  While religious practice is not outlawed in China today, it is low-key.  During the last decade of Mao Zedong’s life religions were effectively banned and religious leaders and worshippers persecuted.  The climate is more relaxed today, but there is still tight control.  All religions are officially run by the government and no religion is allowed to be controlled by a foreign source.  So the Chinese Catholic church takes its orders from the Communist party rather than the Vatican for example. … Continue reading

The Grand Mosque of Xi’an

The city of Xi’an was China’s first capital over 2000 years ago.  This is where the first emperor, Qin Shihuang, ruled and it was the capital of China in many later dynasties.  Xi’an was also the starting point of the Silk Road in the Tang dynasty and it was in Xi’an where foreign goods from the far west first appeared.  Along with trade, travelers from the west brought foreign religions such as Buddhism and Islam to China.  Xi’an, being the gateway to China from the Silk Road, has a great many ancient religious sites. One of the must-see sights in … Continue reading

D.O.B unknown – Former Cambodian orphan and refugee running for Congress

Born under the Khmer Rouge regime as an orphan, Sam Meas does not know which year he was born, since the all the birth records were destroyed by the regime.  But he knows he should be somewhere between 37 and 40 years old.   He grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand was later adopted by an American when he was a teenager.  Despite his tough childhood, Meas, a Haverhill resident, has big dreams.  For one, he is running as a Congress candidate in the Republican primary in November, representing the Fifth District.  Meas opens up to the Sampan at … Continue reading

Chinese dulcimer

When someone tells you to name an instrument, which instrument comes to your mind first? Maybe a piano since it is very popular. Other instruments that might come to mind would be a guitar, a flute, drums, etc. What about the Chinese hammered dulcimer? What is a Chinese hammered dulcimer anyway? A Chinese hammered dulcimer, also known as a yangqin, is a stringed musical instrument. It has strings stretched over a trapezoidal wooden box. The dulcimer is usually played by two bamboo mallets. With the two mallets, you can hit the strings or plucks the strings. The dulcimer can be … Continue reading

Family matters

Hi, my name is Aileen, and I am the youngest of five children, at 17 years old. Not to mention I am the only female in the family other than my mother of course. Unfortunately I do not live with my parents; instead I live with my four brothers. No, my parents are not divorced, they are just in another state trying to handle a restaurant business and make a living. My brothers and I currently live in San Diego, California, while my parents are in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a six hour drive from San Diego to Las … Continue reading

Snacking with purpose

According to recent eating trends, snacks are becoming more like minimeals, making it even more important to snack with a specific purpose in mind–balanced nutrition. Nutrition and convenience are sought after when it comes to snack items and this has led to the production of many food products that aim to fit a variety of needs and preferences. Many snacks now boast having less “unhealthy” ingredients and more nutrients, helping to fill the “nutrient gaps” in our diets. There is even a slew of specialty products that speak to those with particular health and nutrition needs. America is an on-the-go … Continue reading