On the Scene: Excitement Reigns in the Bay Area

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Wednesday, October 3rd was the first day of the 34th America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco with international teams from different countries competing under picture perfect blue skies.  Adam Liu and Stanley Mo, spokesmen for the China Team, eagerly told me of the exciting happenings on this first day where their China Team participated in two Match Races in front of hundreds of bystanders at the Marina Green park area.

China Team lost the first match race to France’s Energy Team, but undaunted, China faced a close challenge against Italy’s Luna Rossa PiraA a team.  During this close second race, they made 8 times of change of the attack and defense, contributing to 4 times of lead changes. During the last mark of the match race, China Team cleverly utilized their advantage of the breezes and passed the Italian team to the last mark of the race.  Not to be left behind, the Luna Rossa team tried the other side of the route after the last mark, but unfortunately, they maneuvered out of bounds and received a penalty, leaving the China Team the winner. Can you imagine the cheers for the China Team for their first win during the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco?    Each day this week the China Team will face challengers in two matches, so to root them on, get out to the Marina Green viewing stands usually between 4pm-6pm  each day.  Earlier this week four Chinese sailors, two only 19 years old, arrived in San Francisco to participate in the training and racing to gain more experience for the 2013 America’s Cup World Series and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup next September.

The China team, according to Adam Liu, was formed in 2005 when the government approached China Equity’s President Mr. Wang Chaoyong to assist in organizing and running this team for world competitions.  Historically, China had been a major force in ocean going vessels for centuries, so to participate in a world class international competition would let the world know that China may once again be a leader in ocean related travel.  China Team seems to be a true Chinese challenger as it is mainly led by a Chinese management team and sailors. Among its elite leaders are Founder and Chairman Mr. Wang Chaoyong, Managing Director Vanessa Fang, Project Director Carol Yang, and Racing Manager Vicky Song.  China Team Is endeavoring to introduce America’s Cup and Yachting to China and is supported by the General Administration of Sports in China and Chinese Yachting Association.

Wang, a successful entrepreneur businessman in his forties, feels a close connection to the sport of sailing and the future of the China Team and its team sailors, leading them with a supportive spirit of someday bringing back to China winning honors and world recognition for his China Team’s winning talents.    Yeah China Team!!     We salute your success in San Francisco Bay.


Honoree Linda Frank is introduced to AIISF supporters, Muriel Kao,Gerrye Wong, Sylvia Young, and Eli Frank.

A prime jewel of our San Francisco Bay is Angel Island, now a California State Park with hiking and biking trails, wonderful views of the San Francisco skyline, and alongside its perimeter calm blue waters perfect for the many sailboats coming to dock on its shores.   Once upon a time in 1910-1940, Angel Island was not such a pleasant place to be at, especially for the Chinese immigrants who were interrogated and most often detained unfairly in their quest to enter America’s shores.

New Executive Director Missal McKechnie, surrounded by California State Park employees.

To remember the plight of all immigrants, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russians, Jews, Germans and others, who came through Angel Island Immigration Station for those 30 years, a non-profit organization named the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation has pledged to educate and share this part of American history with an unknowing public. They have turned the old barracks into a museum depicting how the immigrants were housed, fed,  separated from family members, and were detained sometimes for years before being allowed to come in to San Francisco, or deported back to their home countries.  An annual fundraising dinner, held this year at the Hilton Financial District on the edge of Chinatown, brought together almost 400 patrons to hear Mayor Ed Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein tell the stories of their immigrant forefathers along with their own personal family history. In introducing Senator Feinstein, Mayor Lee pointed out not only her ability to obtain funding to renovate the immigration station, but her commitment to tell the story of Angel Island, the West Coast counterpart to Ellis Island. In receiving an award of recognition from the Foundation, Senator Feinstein spoke about the importance of preserving the National Historic Landmark for future generations and her efforts to help preserve it during a time of fiscal challenges.

Judy Yung, Marlon Hom, Mollie Leong, Laura Lai, and Lorraine Dong

The evening’s honorees, author activist Linda Frank, entrepreneur Vish Mishra, and Chinese principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet, Yuan Yuan Tan, shared their own immigrant backgrounds, and the organizational honoree, Chinese Hospital, Chinese Community Health Plan and the Chinese Community Health Care Association of Physicians represented by Board President James Ho, Dr. Edward Chow and CEO Brenda Yee told of the services their group have given to the immigrant community for many decades in the past.  Mistress of Ceremonies television anchor Thuy Vu went beyond her call to duty by assisting magician Tamaka as they lifted a coffee table off the floor miraculously by holding up the table cloth with no visible strings attached!

AIISF Executive Director Michael McKechnie, honoree Yuan Yuan Tan and dinner co-chair Sharon Seto

AIISF board member Heather Fong, Michael McKechnie, Awardees James Ho, Edward Chow and Brenda Yee, and emcee Thuy Vu.

At the Angel Island dinner from left to right: Mayor Ed Lee, Thuy Vu, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, Judge Ed Chan, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairperson Gerrye Wong

It was very appropriate and educational for the predominately Chinese audience to participate in the Shabbat Blessing, led by Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin of Temple Sinai, who told the audience of her own Chinese background. Following her lead, the AIISF diners watched her lighting of the candles, participated in the breaking of bread, and toasted each other with a sip of wine at each table.  An open auction was very lively when led by California Assemblyman Jerry Hill, who brought in bids for breakfast with Mayor Ed Lee, a painting by Senator Feinstein herself, and vacation packages with generous donations from Southwest Airlines and United Airlines to get you there. Caroline Young paintings, 49er and Giants memorabilia were popular items to bid on, and a Florida vacation package donated by Mrs. May Jew, along with Southwest tickets and a jade necklace were top prizes to entice patrons to buy raffle tickets. Hostesses and Host Richard and Loreen Quan, Maelene Wong, Pauline Fong, Pearl Lee, Shurong Niu and Mary K Lim were the eager sellers among others.

AIISF exec dir Michael McKechnie, emcee Thuy Vu, honoree Vish Mishra and AIISF board member and planning commissioner Rodney Fong

AIISF Board members Heather Fong, Gerrye Wong, and Buck Gee

New Executive Director Michael McKechnie  was officially welcomed by Board members Heather Fong, John Cu, Katherine Toy, Rodney Fong and President Buck Gee, as well as the General Overall Chairwomen of the successful dinner, Doris Grover, Sharon Seto and Gerrye Wong. Seen in the throng were photographers Frank Jang, Horatio Jung, Elaine Lee and Paul Lam, snapping away at patrons Richard and Barbara Rosenberg, David and Lauren Bellings, Melody Hom, Judge Lillian Sing, Pamela Fong, Yiaojun and Junning Lee, Rita Semel, the American Jewish Committee, Bill and Darlene Lock, Laura Lai, Judge Edward and Janet Chen, Andrew and Magdalene Chan,  Richard and Elizabeth Fullerton, Claudia and LeRoy Quan.  Many volunteers contributed their energies for this organization’s fundraising and should be applauded for their dedication and time for this worthwhile AIISF organization.

Ted Fang, Dianne Feinstein, Kathy Turner, Buck Gee, and George Koo


Two of Hawaii’s most beloved singers are bringing their music to the University of Santa Clara !! Hawaiian Divas Melveen Leed and Nohelani Cipriano will make their first-time together concert in the Bay Area October 5.  Melveen has often been coined Hawaii’s “First Lady of Hawaiian Country Music for the multi talented singer has won a Best Female Vocalist title 5 times. Nohelani is a recognized leader in Hawaii’s contemporary music industry as a vocalist, keyboard player and composer. Her latest CD, entitled  “My Precious Butterfly” was also released as a TV special and won the prestigious Telly Award for “Best Documentary”

Rush to your computer to log on to eventbrite.com and get a ticket to their October 4 one time performance before a Silicon Valley audience at University of Santa Clara’s Music Building.   Ho’omana’s  three members will bring Hawaiian influenced sounds of a six-string rhythm and slack key guitars, ukulele and electric bass. I’ll be there for a feeling of peaceful Hawaii, and superb music. For ticket info:  www.eventbrite.com.


The Asian American Cancer Support Network (AACSN) will host its fundraising gala HATWALK 2012 to celebrate the value of “HATS” and the comfort they bring to cancer patients.  This benefit will be held at the Fairmont San Jose November 10. For more info: www.aacsn.org or call 650 968 8488.  One unique feature of this fundraising is always the show of HATS modeled by volunteers, cancer survivors and those battling cancer today.  Guest emcees:  Janelle Wang and David Louie.

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