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2019
02/11
Author finds parallels in 1949 Chinese exodus to current refugee crisis
Helen Zia grew up hearing stories of her mother and aunt leaving Shanghai on the last boat. She had an inkling of how dire their circumstances were, but did not understand until later. “As an American-born Chinese, that didn’t mean much to me, it didn’t convey the panic,” Zia said. “When I heard my mother’s own story, it inspired me to know more about the nightmare she was living.” Zia details the story of four young people coming of age in “Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution,” which came out Jan. 22. She spoke to a hundred exiles about their journey, crafting a narrative from the perspectives of Benny, Annuo, Ho and Bing. The four recount growing up in the midst of war: first against the Japanese, and then between the Nationalists and Communists. They were among millions who fled in 1949. “There isn’t a single book or dissertation in English about this exodus, which had a tremendous impact,” Zia said. “The (Shanghainese) really brought the intellectual and social capital, even if they were completely broke.” When Mao Zedong emerged victorious in 1949, the citizens of cosmopolitan Shanghai feared retribution. Hong Kong’s population doubled in 1949, swelled by more than a million refugees. In Taiwan, about 1.3 million to 2 million Chinese “mainlanders” joined the 9 million people already living there. Hundreds more went to Southeast Asia and still fewer were able to emigrate to the United States and Britain. “The four of them reflected what their generation of Shanghainese had gone through and what that shows about the millions of refugees and migrants globally,” Zia said. Zia brings the world of Benny, Ho, Annuo and Bing to life. Each character is wonderfully complex and distinct, recounting their perspective a chapter at a time. Zia spent 12 years researching for her book, which included six months in Shanghai. Her work has a clear message. “The opportunity we have today to stop repeating history and inflicting inhumanity on people, who are just trying to have their children survive childhood,” Zia said. Zia lived in Boston in the 1970s, studying medicine at Tufts Medical School. After two years of studies, she became an activist, organizing for labor rights, Boston school integration and women’s rights. “My passion was the community,” Zia said. “I got very involved in the South End and the Castle Square community.” Today, Zia lives in the Bay Area with her wife Lia Shigemura.   “Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese who Fled Mao’s Revolution” by Helen Zia details the Chinese migration of 1949. (Image courtesy of Ballantine Books.) “I see myself as a feminist and someone who stands up for civil rights for Asian Americans, and also all people,” Zia said. “My writing is a part of my activism, so this book reflects my belief in stories that bring out the full humanity of each person.”
2019
02/11
Boston’s ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags went into effect Dec. 14, 2018. It gives a transition period based on the size of the retailer. Retail stores with more than 20,000 square feet had to implement the policy from last Dec. 14. For retailers above 10,000 square feet, enforcement starts April 1. The shops with less than 10,000 square feet must comply with the ordinance by July 1, 2020.
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England kicked off banquet season for the Year of the Pig on Feb. 6 at Empire Garden. Nearly 600 guests came out for the Chinese New Year celebration, despite freezing rain. “Chinese New Year is a great time to celebrate the diversity of this city,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. “Thank you to CCBA and the represented family associations for adding vibrancy to Chinatown.” The Boston Chinese Folk and Classical Dance Group girls performed three dances. Four girls from the Kwong Kow Chinese School played the Chinese dulcimer. CCBA president Paul Chan said, “We are moving forward, as we bring together 36 organizations with 42 directors. I wish everyone a healthy, happy new year.” New England Kung Fu Dance Group’s women performed a classical dance, while the ladies and gentlemen of the Healthy Dance Troupe swayed to a modern tune. Officials at the event included Walsh, Treasurer Deb. Goldberg, state Rep. Tackey Chan, state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, Boston Councilor Ed Flynn, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Boston Director-general Douglas Hsu, Boston Police Commission Willie Gross, Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development assistant secretary Nam Pham, Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants executive director Mary Truong and TECO Culture Center director Hung-wei Ou. Representatives for state Sen. Joe Boncore and Massachusetts Governor’s Council District Six representative Terrence Kennedy attended as well. The mission of the CCBA is to unite the Chinese community. It is a cultural and education nonprofit made up of family associations and community organizations. CCBA president Paul Chan received a citation from Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Boston Director-general Douglas Hsu. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)
2019
02/11
Boston plastic bag ban adds paper bag cost to Chinatown businesses
Boston’s ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags went into effect Dec. 14, 2018. It gives a transition period based on the size of the retailer. Retail stores with more than 20,000 square feet had to implement the policy from last Dec. 14. For retailers above 10,000 square feet, enforcement starts April 1. The shops with less than 10,000 square feet must comply with the ordinance by July 1, 2020. In several Chinese supermarkets in Chinatown, the ordinance to no longer provide plastic bags has been fully implemented. At Jia Ho, 88 and Hong Kong supermarkets, most customers bring their own reusable bags or plastic bags. Several community organizations had also told their clients about the change, such as the Chinese Progressive Association. The City of Boston has imposed an 18-month grace period on the ordinance on small businesses. However, some smaller shops in Chinatown have begun to comply with this policy. At Tai Tung Pharmacy owned by Nick and Eva Chau near Tufts Medical Center, plastic bags are no longer available, as paper bags and reusable bags are for sale. A staffer said the ordinance had an impact on the store’s bottom line, adding the cost of paper bags and reusable bags. Customers rarely use either type of bag. However, he expressed support for the ordinance reducing plastic waste.
2019
02/11
"Boston Taiwan mother parent-child will golden Pig Spring Gala Reunion" Boston Taiwan mother parent-child will hold a 2019"Golden Pig Spring Gala in Newton City, the sea and German Community Center on February 9, the event site has arranged Spring festival couplets writing, firecrackers, golden pig paper-cut, Zodiac drawings, shuttlecock, pick up red dots, roll dice, chess, Dance dragons and auspicious words and other activities warm up, so that the parent-child community will farm years of festive atmosphere, about 200 guests, parents and children attended the gala, the event scene lively extraordinary. 🇹🇼, director of the Boston Overseas Chinese Education Center, Ohongwei was invited to attend the new month to Taiwan folks, and also conveyed the greetings and blessings of Chairman Wu of the Overseas Chinese Committee and director Xu of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston, Ohongwei and President Zhang Huiwen also distributed red Envelopes and overseas Chinese Committee The pig's small lantern to the children, and sent each family overseas Chinese Committee will print the monthly calendar. President Zhang Huiwen The participants on the 2019 activities of the plan, welcome Taiwan's mother and family to participate in the May 4 will be held Newton "Taiwan Day", double ten national Day and other activities, in addition, the president of Zhang Huiwen this year invited Lulu Teachers and dance therapists, Hu Yuxian, have led to the dance and performance of flamingo Spanish dance music, so that Taiwanese mothers and children experience dancing treatment and express positive energy of physical and mental well-being. Ohongwei said that Taiwan's mother and child will celebrate the year of the pig, in addition to strengthening contacts with Taiwanese families, but also to allow the second generation to further understand Taiwan's multiculturalism, especially in the 12 zodiac ranking of the lunar calendar, but also to achieve the function of cultural heritage and sharing, can be said to be taught in music, it is meaningful; President Zhang Huiwen thanked the Overseas Chinese Committee and the Overseas Chinese Education Center for their support for the event, and will strengthen more contacts and interaction with mothers from Taiwan in the future!
The Malden Chinese New Year celebration took place Jan. 26 at Malden High School. Malden Mayor Gary Christensen unveiled the U.S. Postal Service’s Year of the Boar stamp, which was issued Jan. 17. The 2019 Malden Reads book selection is “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” by Lisa See. Cultural performances include singing, dancing, lion dance and live instrumental music. The event was organized by Chinese Culture Connection, Malden High School Asian Cultural Club and Malden Reads.
2019
01/30
Go Patriots!
THEY DID IT AGAIN!" New England Patriots won over Kansas City Chiefs in the playoff game last Sunday. This Time It Took Overtime but the Patriots Are Back in the Super Bowl Yet Again­­-- fighting for the title for the ninth time in the last two decades!! New England will play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 in Atlanta — which happens to be the 17th anniversary of New England’s Super Bowl victory over the Rams, who were then based in St. Louis. Lets watch and wait and see!