2/5/11

Chinese in the American South, Cerritos Library, Dec. 5, 2009

I combined information from my memoir, "Southern Fried Rice," and my social history of Delta Chinese grocers, "Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton," for my second talk at the beautiful Cerritos Library. I wanted to discuss the similarities and differences in the lives and experiences of Chinese in Georgia and those in Mississippi. Although there were a handful in the audience with southern roots, most people were unfamiliar with Chinese in the South and were quite curious about what life was like for them being neither black nor white living in the segregated South.

2/4/11

CSULB Emeriti Lecture, Nov. 2009

This talk was a unique opportunity for me to talk about how I got involved in this post-retirement career with an audience consisting of many other retired professors at my university, Cal State, Long Beach.  I shared with them some of the many unexpected adventures and surprising events that I encountered on this 5 year journey and how rewarding I felt it had been not only for myself, but for my audiences.  Typically, at my venues, I spoke to groups of older Chinese Americans, many that had immigrant parents like I did. In many ways, I could not inform them about anything they did not already know from their own experiences. In my view, much of the enthusiasm they had for my presentations was due to hearing someone speak positively about the contributions that their parents, and grandparents in some cases, had made to American society and to their children.

2/3/11

Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton, Houston, Tx., Oct. 19, 2009

I was delighted to be invited back to Houston to speak to the Chinese Professional Club. This time I spoke about "Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton," which was of particular interest in Houston where many Chinese from the Delta originally came from.

2/2/11

Berkeley Chinese Community Church Talk, March, 2009 on Mississippi Delta Chinese

This was my third invitation to speak to this lively group of Chinese seniors. Each visit has been rewarding as many of the people in the audience have personally experienced some of the topics that I talk about.
This talk was special since a contingent of Mississippi Delta Chinese, now retired and living in the S. F. Bay area attended my presentation on my book, Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton, which documented the lives of Chinese grocers in the Mississippi Delta. It was reassuring that they enjoyed my presentation and felt that I gave an accurate description of the Chinese experience in the Delta.

2/1/11

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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