Speaker Crystal Kwok 5/23/21
Crystal’s topic is so timely, with today’s challenges of a rising number of attacks and discrimination against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. This was fueled, sadly, by the rhetoric of the last previous U.S. President.
Crystal is in the process of completing the production of her documentary film, “Blurring the Color Line,” which addresses the Chinese American situation of those living in the segregated South, namely in Augusta, Georgia, from the 20th century. Crystal’s grandmother grew up in Augusta with her parents and 10 siblings. In wanting to learn more of her family’s history, she uncovered a curious blend of attitudes among the memories of her relatives there. This documentary film is integral to her dissertation as a Ph.D. student in Performance Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
If you think her name familiar, you may have seen her in movies in the late 1980s with Jackie Chan, Jet Li, or Maggie Cheung. Perhaps you may have tuned into her highly-rated TV talk shows or radio programs in Hong Kong. She was also a producer and director of film, bilingual edutainment videos, and theatrical productions. Her debut feature film, “The Mistress,” won the Audience Choice Award at the Deauville Asiatic Film Festival in 1999.
Crystal was born in San Francisco, CA and is a UCLA graduate with a B.A. degree in Theater Arts. Having won the title of Miss Chinatown USA, opportunities presented themselves for her to enter the film industry with popular stars like Jackie Chan. Television and radio, even newspapers, gave her time and space to host or write on topics that stirred up many sensitive women’s issues in Hong Kong that covered eastern and western cultures. She also earned a Master’s Degree from Hong Kong University in Literary Studies.
Now living in Hawaii with her husband and three children, she is anticipating the completion of her latest film for her doctoral candidacy. Please support Crystal Kwok in her endeavors by tuning into her talk via Zoom at our next meeting on Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 1 p.m. Hawaii time. Read more about her and her work on her website: https://www.crystalkwok.com
Speaker Claire Chao 2/21/21
Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels, an award-winning memoir that she co-wrote with her mother Isabel Sun Chao. She spoke to us of her research and discoveries, and shared a video book trailer.
The story follows five generations from imperial China to modern-day Hong Kong, and is accompanied by evocative period illustrations and photographs. Isabel grows up in the wealthy Sun family in glamorous 1930s Shanghai. When Mao comes to power, she journeys to Hong Kong, unaware that she will never see her father again. She and daughter Claire return to Shanghai six decades later to confront their complex past – one they discover is filled with love and betrayal, kidnappers and concubines, glittering pleasure palaces and underworld crime bosses.
Claire was born and raised in Hong Kong. She spent a decade creating Remembering Shanghai after thirty years in luxury brand management. She graduated with highest honors from Princeton University and was named to Avenue Magazine’s “500 Most Influential Asian Americans” and Tatler Hong Kong’s “Who’s Who in Hong Kong.”
The book is a winner of over 20 literary and design awards, including the Rubery Book Prize BOOK OF THE YEAR.
“Stop Anti Asian Hate” Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol
Roberta Wong Leung and her daughter Robbieana attended the Saturday, March 27, 2021 “Stop Anti Asian Hate” Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event was planned in light of the Atlanta, Georgia mass shooting against Asians and the increasing number of hate crimes aimed at Asians.
There were speakers from the State Legislature and various organizations, as well as a march around the financial district to Chinatown and back to the Capitol. There was wide representation from various minority and racial groups. Several hundred supporters carried all kinds of creative signs.
One of the goals was to support legislation that punishes hate crimes against minorities and women at the local and national levels. The Hawaii Legislature has passed such legislation.
It was a very successful rally, well-organized and peaceful. Similar rallies were held across the U.S. We cannot be silent and have to stand up and speak out.