Monday, July 21, 2008

Mayor Harry Kim Sends His Aloha

The Mayor was busy with the new Federal task force on the effect of the vog, and he did not feel well by Friday evening. This is the only event he has ever missed with our group. I hope you can all appreciate that he wanted to be there. Mahalo, Harry, for all of your support. And again, I am sorry he could not make it.

Reflections on the Fourth 21st Century China Symposium

Well, there is always a lag between what actually happens and how you plan it. However, the most amazing part of this whole larger and growing community is how some people tend to arrive by "accident." On Saturday, I spent time with a friend and his wife who happens to be in the Parliament of New Zealand just before the symposium began. Afterwards, I ran into several people who did not attend the symposium but had a lot on their minds about China. The same thing happens nearly every day in my world. It is a subject whose time has come, or perhaps, is long overdue in the American psyche. Surely we realize how important this mission is.

Be sure to stay tuned, because I will post the symposium topics and discussion threads with links here soon. Right now, I am taking a break for a few days. Sand, surf, and other things are occupying my thoughts. I hope everyone understands. Hoku and I are looking for a temporary vacation retreat, if you know of one, for a little while before heading out to Oahu and Beijing for the Olympics.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Saturday Update: Meet at UCB 330 at 1:30 PM

Please let everyone know about this change. After all, the Coconut Wireless works great in Hawaii nei. We will send out emails and pass this information along at Borders, too.

UCB (University Classroom Building) is the new building straight ahead on the left as you enter the Main Entrance to campus from Kawili. We will have someone posted at the Library Lanai also.

Go to the middle of the building and take the elevator to the third floor. The room is on the walkway straight ahead. Be there at 1:30, or at least before 2 PM when Bob Jacobson is scheduled to speak.

UH President David McClain sends his aloha...

David has just received an outstanding rating from the Board of Regents. His assistant, Eva, emailed me, saying that he regrets he will not be able to attend this year's 21st Century China Symposium, as he is traveling on the Mainland at this time. But he supports the event and sends his best wishes for a successful symposium.

The Hawaii/China Connection Explored in New Documentary

A new documentary by a Honolulu-based production company explores the history and future of the Chinese in Hawai'i. While "Finding Sandalwood Mountain" is a complete, un-abridged story of the Chinese in Hawai'i, it appeals to audiences of all backgrounds, said director Greg Andermann.
"What happened here in Hawai'i among Asians who became Americans is very different than what happened on the U.S. Mainland," Andermann said. "So a lot of local people who have seen this film have commented to me — whether they're Japanese, Korean or Filipino — they say, 'This is our story, too.' "
"Finding Sandalwood Mountain" premieres tonight on PBS Hawai'i. The documentary examines the lives, stories and social impact of Hawai'i's Chinese immigrants and their modern-day descendants. Viewers will learn about the heritage and influence of the Chinese people in Hawai'i, how they overcame hardship and discrimination, and succeeded in changing the history of both Hawai'i and China, Andermann said.
The film profiles prominent local Chinese figures: Chun Ah Fong, nicknamed Hawai'i's Chinese merchant prince; Sun Yat Sen, the father of modern China; and Hiram Fong, the first Asian U.S. senator.
"The film presents, in addition to the background of how and why the Chinese came to Hawai'i, the influence Hawai'i's melting pot can have for all nations in their efforts to transcend individual cultures and ethnicities," said Roger K.S. Liu, president of the Hawai'i Chinese History Center.
The documentary is also the first and only one of its kind that examines important population movements of the last two centuries, added Daniel W.Y. Kwok, University of Hawai'i-Manoa professor emeritus of history.
"It tells not only what Chinese have done in and for Hawai'i, but also what Hawai'i has meant in the modern history of China," Kwok said.
The title of the film comes from the phrase that the Chinese have used to refer to Hawai'i — tan siang shang, Mandarin for "sandalwood mountain" — because Hawai'i was the source of most of the sandalwood that came to China, Andermann explained.
"It was the mythical, distant land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that offered opportunities," he said.
Making the documentary was a five-year process that "was like a labor of love," Andermann said. The project involved a lot of traveling between China and Hawai'i, doing hours of interviews and research, and collecting video footage, archived photos and memorabilia from various sources.
"When we started to do this, we originally thought we were just going to tell the stories of the Chinese in Hawai'i as seen through the eyes of ... the people who remembered the tales that their grandparents and parents told them," Andermann said.
"When we started to go deeper, we found that there were a lot of unanswered questions: Why had they come from China? What was the situation back in China? What did they find when they got here? We really wanted to find out ... and we realized we needed to tell the whole story."
It was produced by Andermann and his wife, Fawn, a native of Shanghai, through their production company, A2Media. The couple worked in cooperation with the Hawai'i Chinese History Center and the China Light Media Foundation, a Hawai'i-based humanitarian nonprofit organization. Most funding for the independent film came from grass-roots efforts within the local Chinese community.
"Finding Sandalwood Mountain" is much more than a history piece, Andermann noted.
"I believe the film is an impetus to look at where Hawai'i can go with China in the future, because China is clearly going to be the nation of the century," he said. ... "If you look at the amount of investment, amount of money, amount of activity in China, it supersedes the rest of the world, and so China is positioning itself to be the economic leader of the world."
If that's the case, Hawai'i needs to get ready, Andermann said. "And part of that is becoming culturally sensitive, part of that is learning some basic Mandarin, part of that is understanding and appreciating the history of the Chinese here."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Borders: Friday, July 18

Be sure to come to the opening of the 2008 21st Century China Symposium at Borders/Starbucks in Hilo. We will provide up to the minute details of how the
Symposium will proceed on Saturday and Sunday. Your feedback is welcome in advance.

One thing we are changing is the Banquet. Most people enjoy the potluck we have done every year, so we will do that again this year. On Sunday, we can all pitch in and buy pizza (our favorite pizza is usually from Big Island Pizza) while we enjoy the music. You may also bring along potluck dishes to share. We will have more chances this year for small group discussion. I just received word from Barack Obama that he would love to attend but his schedule will not permit it. Rumor is that he will come home to Hawaii in August, but we are working on details for him to possibly appear at a future symposium.

One thing is sure: this will be the best 21st Century China Symposium yet. I encourage you to come to Bob Jacobson's presentation. Most people do not realize that he has traveled to China many times and hi8s insights are fresh.
Email me at:

with questions, comments, suggestions, etc.

See you Friday night!!


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