Mayor’s Asian American Advisory Committee connecting Asian residents with Quincy community for three years

The Mayor’s Asian American Advisory Committee convened on November 20th in the North Quincy Community Center to review the year’s accomplishments. Encouraged by Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, the committee was formed to provide a bridge between the City and Asian American residents.  It is composed of a dedicated volunteer group of Chinese Americans and long time Quincy residents who meet once per month to create a unified community environment. Committee member Betty Yau said, “We’ve been meeting since November 2007.  It’s really wonderful that we keep up this monthly meeting.” The committee has helped promote a cleaner and greener Quincy, … Continue reading

Author challenges immigrant narrative in book on Angel Island and talk for local organization

Although they lived almost a century apart, Erika Lee speaks about Soto Shee with warmth, as if she were a friend instead of a historical figure. Soto Shee, the wife of a Chinese merchant, was detained on Angel Island—the immigration station in San Francisco Bay often called the “Ellis Island of the West”—while trying to join her husband in the United States. During her detention, her infant son, Soon Din, grew ill and died. Denied release following her son’s death, Soto Shee hung herself, only to be saved just in time by a station matron. “In the end, she was … Continue reading

Asian American Film Festival launches in Boston

Films featuring Asian American actors, culture, and issues will be presented this year in five different venues across the Boston area.  The Boston Asian American Film Festival (BAAFF), facilitated by the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), will include 14 independent films and videos, five screening events, a workshop on Asian Americans in film, and 13 community presenting partners.  Ranging from comedies to dramas and short films, the festival will offer a wide breadth of topics for Greater Boston audiences. BAAFF kicked off with a fundraiser launch party on Wednesday, October 20th, at Splash Ultra Lounge. Attendees networked, enjoyed food and … Continue reading

Taiwanese puppetry showcased at the Newton Free Library

Taiwanese glove puppetry, a popular performance art, is now on display in the atrium of the New Free Library till September 30.  Provided by the Culture Center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston (TECO), the exhibit features eight series of Taiwanese folklore tales and temple fair tradition. One of the folklore series is Auntie Tiger, a Hakka folktale about a tiger spirit, who, through the use of black magic, turns itself into an elderly woman.  Disguised as a kind old lady, the spirit knocks on doors and preys particularly on children who are home alone. Its tricks … Continue reading

Globalized labor in 19th century Massachusetts

China officially surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy last week. At the same time, the millions toiling in the workshop of the world are grabbing headlines of a more controversial kind. Complaints of poor working conditions, suicide cases in factory campuses, wage disputes, and even strikes have caused concern for Modern China’s economic revolution. A much smaller group of Chinese laborers saw themselves in a similar struggle, not in Shenzhen, but in North Adams, Massachusetts, over a hundred years ago. The peculiar account of the lives of seventy-five Chinese men in the 19th century industrial hotbed is the … Continue reading

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