Bok Kai Festival, Marysville, Ca. Feb. 2009

       Marysville once had one of the largest Chinese populations because it was the gateway for immigrants heading from the S. F. bay area to the gold fields in the mid-1850s. An annual Bok Kai Festival each year celebrates Chinese American history in this region. I participated with several other authors of Chinese American history at the Northern California Chinese History Museum during this event that included a town parade, and the water ritual of "bombs" in which young men scramble to catch water bombs.

   The festive atmosphere over the 2 days of talks added to the enjoyable social and intellectual exchange between the audience and the authors.  I spoke on what life was like for Chinese in the American South during the Jim Crow laws era on Saturday after the big parade that was climaxed with a double dragon dance.  On Sunday, using my identity as a Chinese American as a case study, I illustrated how this important aspect of a person is not a fixed or invariant aspect but one that ebbs and flows over time depending on the ethnic diversity of in areas where I lived over the years.

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