March 2, 2015

  • happy new year of the ram

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    I guess it's now a tradition with me to spend the last hours and the first hours of the lunar new year in Chinatown. Not that many Chinese come out to celebrate the stroke of midnight of the lunar new year. Many prefer to stay home. I guess it's because home is safe and you wouldn't run into any bad luck when you're on the outside.

    I remember back in 1977 when I was out for the lunar new year I got jumped by the Hop Sing Boyz at Kum Hon restaurant and nearly killed. So I myself is fairly wary of such running into bad luck on lunar new year night. Sun nin lao lao like they would say. Many of those who jumped me experienced a lot of bad luck in their lives following that incident.

    Chinatown has mostly white people and hipsters walking around burning firecrackers and fireworks. The intersections of Grant and Washington becomes naturally blocked with people just throwing firecrackers. Li Po bar....Buddha bar.... mostly whites going crazy.

    For me I hang out at Red's Place. A handful of us old Chinatown boys are there to celebrate. This year Red's had the biggest fireworks display. More like people bringing fireworks and setting them off by Red's. There was a string of firecrackers that went down half a block and two hexagons hanging.

    I video'd it with my Sony A6000 but unfortunately there's no sound for some reason.

February 13, 2015

  • I am a Fongie!

    I too was inspired by Rocky Gunn's feature on Life magazine in 1982 to further pursue wedding photography.  I attended several of Rocky's seminars and speeches.  I didn't have a car in those days.  I remember taking the Golden Gate Transit bus to the Marin Civic Auditorium theatre for Rocky's seminar.  It was amazing because he too was a Chinese American who grew up in San Francisco's North Beach.

    I've been following Gary F*ng ever since he spoke at our PPGBA meeting around that time.  He later started a digital photography forum call Digital Photographers Network (circa 2001) back in the early days of the internet before social media.  He highly recommended the Fuji S2 (2002) back then.  I've been a Fuji user since then with the S3 and S5 (2007) which I still consider my main camera though it's been eight years since it first came out.

    Recently he spoke glowingly of the Sony A6000 and highly recommended it.  I own a Sony A6000 because of him.  I am a Fongie!

    This very blog that you're reading is a result of Gary F*ng.  At a WPPI seminar he told everyone to start a blog on Xanga and to do the life membership too which I did and still  have this blog running to this day.

    Gary invented a light modifier to put on the flash which gives a much more pleasing softer light than a harsh direct flash.  I've been a faithful user of the Light sphere from the beginning.

    Gary became rich beyond his wildest dream from his invention of the Lightsphere and the starting and selling of a successful company called Pictage for millions.

    He built a beautiful house in Kelowna, BC, Canada.  Married and have two beautiful twins.   Though I never really personally met him nor talked to him, I was happy for his success.  He  is very public person and shares his life on social media.

    I found out recently that his house in Kelowna burnt to the ground.

    Home Destroyed in Ellison Fire Belonged to World Famous Photographer

    Fortunately the family and him were away and no one was hurt.  I posted this news article on my FB page.  I mentioned how he was enjoying success and now this unfortunate fire happens.  What karma.  I was actually sad for him.

    I immediately got a really nasty response from Gary with profanity and cursing in the comments and text.  He then unfriended me on FB.  I guess he took it the wrong way.

    He did mention it on his twitter;

    "I think perhaps it is time that I seek professional counseling. Not sure what is going on, I seem a bit touchy." http://fb.me/4DjjhLyQX 

    PS:  *the reason why I put an asterisk in the name is because I don't want him to see this.  I'm afraid he'll take it the wrong way again.

     

February 10, 2015

  • Chinatown 2AM

    Awaking from a three hour nap in the car in front of the old Great Star Theater in Chinatown.

    nextlife

     

    In my next life

    I would like to be an octopus

    I can get more things done

    with my eight arms

    It's been really tough trying to get so many things done in this life.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

February 8, 2015

February 6, 2015

  • A Local Joint

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    This is a draft by Ryan Wong of an exhibit in the planning stages with New York photographer, Corky Lee and I at the Chinese Culture Center sometimes next year.  They're trying to raise $30K to produce this exhibit.  A book will be printed with this exhibit.


     

    A Local Joint

    Leland Wong and Corky Lee

    Picture Chinatown

    No neighborhoods in the American imagination are as densely layered, as at once familiar and unknown, as its Chinatowns.  Leland Wong and Corky Lee have been two of Chinatown’s most faithful chroniclers, advocates, and community members, for much of the last forty years living and working in San Francisco and New York Chinatowns, respectively.

    Thirty-five years ago, they exhibited photographs together at the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco in Not on the Menu; in the decades since, their bodies of work have grown in proportion to the vast shifts in their Chinatowns. Another exhibition is due.

    Both had their careers sparked by the Asian American movement that swept through the country in the 1970s and fundamentally reshaped the cultural lives of Chinatowns.

    Leland Wong, born and raised in San Francisco Chinatown, attended and developed some of the first Asian American studies courses at San Francisco State. He learned his artistic craft there and at the new arts group, Kearny Street Workshop; since the 70s, he has designed flyers for the annual Nihonmachi Street Fair.

    Corky Lee moved to Chinatown in the early 1970s to become part of the seminal Basement Workshop and to document the protests and rallies of the movement there. He documented and contributed to burgeoning programs like the Chinatown Health Fair and the Asian American Arts Alliance.

    Since those early years of activism and grassroots artmaking, both Chinatowns have seen constant transformation. The 1965 Immigration Act sparked a fundamental reshaping of their demographics, size, economy, and social life.  San Francisco saw the razing and later rebuilding of the International Hotel, the creation of grassroots walking tours, the encorachment of gentrifiers in the real estate boom.

    In New York, Chinatown spread outwards to Queens and Sunset Park, has sparked restaurant and garment work strikes, survived the shockwaves of 9/11, been reshaped by an influx of Fujianese immigrants. Wong and Lee have been on the scene to document all of this. In their photographs, we see the elder ‘bachelor society’ sitting in the park, lion dances and hip hop concerts, activists taking to the streets, youth in arts classes and on handball courts.  We see Chinatown unsentimentalized, rendered in photographs as one would document a family through the years: turning points, trials, renewals.

    Any time spent in either Chinatown will reveal that Wong and Lee are known and respected by everyone—they are a constant presence, dedicated to the community that supports them and which inspires their art practices. These photos, then, are almost like notebooks, memories of lives spent in the neighborhoods. It is a pleasure to hear Lee and Wong talk about their photographs. Both can recall details of hundreds of the people in their photographs: some deceased, some moved away, some gone on to become nationally-recognized figures, many still living and working in the neighborhood.

    Photography, for them, is an exercise in building a collective visual memory. Chinese in America, so often either made exotic or removed from the master’s picture frame altogether, are given a home in these photographs. Lee and Wong use their cameras as vessels to make the exotic familiar, to make history personal.

    —Ryan Lee Wong

February 1, 2015

  • a translated article about Suey Sing Tong

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    華埠巡禮之全美萃勝工商總會

    舊金山華埠有六大僑團,包括致公、萃勝、英端、秉公、協勝、合勝,後面五個僑團全部源出致公。本專欄從本周起逐一介紹。
    全美萃勝工商總會由余亞帝倡議,並於1867年(清朝同治6年)成立,初期取名「萃勝堂」,會員僅數十人,會址在華埠積臣街現在為林家公所的地址,後又曾搬遷到現時梁忠孝堂的地址。
    後因會員人數日增,於1917年由梁世榮、陳祀堯、吳運三人發起購買永久會址之議,獲得全體昆仲的響應及支持,結果成功買下華埠下都板街925號大樓,這幢前後座相連的大樓經全面裝修後於1918年正式啟用,從此成為全美萃勝總會的永久基業。
    當年「萃勝堂」的成立,屬於華人傳統僑團以「義的結合」的一類團體,其他同類團體還有「合勝堂」、「秉公堂」等,目的是互相照應、維護權益、謀求自衛等。後來,因僑社狀況的不斷變化,各堂囗之間的關係開始漸演變成「利的結合」,彼此間開始出現各種各樣的利害沖突,時有堂鬥事件發生,令西人對這些僑團逐漸產生輕視之心,令華人社區蒙羞。
    「萃勝堂」面對這種局面,決定作出轉變。在1925年「萃勝堂」第三屆懇親大會上,當時的總理余雅章提議將「堂」改為「會」,得到多位昆仲的附議,並獲得大會的接納通過,以維護華人聲譽。自此,「萃勝堂」便正式改名為「萃勝工商會」。

    隨著會務的不斷拓展,萃勝工商會除了在舊金山之外,還有全美各地開設支會,最高峰時期共有10個支會,分別是舊金山總會、屋崙支會、美利允支會、士德頓支會、市連拿支會、砵崙支會、挖慎委支會、舍路支會、把所支會、孖舍支會、網自李支會。
    經數十年的歲月,隨著各地環境和人口結構的變遷,萃勝總會和支會的結構也作重新組合,近年又在羅省設立分會,形成今時今日以舊金山為總會,稱為「全美萃勝工商總會」,以屋崙、美利允、舍路(西雅圖)、士德頓、砵崙、市連拿、羅省等七個支會而組成的僑界工商團體。
    萃勝工商會創會的宗旨,是為聯絡僑社各界工商人士,促進僑社工商繁榮,熱心僑社公益事業,維護華人利益,現時增加了鼓勵華人參政,爭取公義權利,愛國愛鄉,促進中美友好關係,以及聯絡昆仲,推進會務等內容,使其宗旨更加完善。過去,總會由全美各支會會員投票選舉總理,均稱為「先生」,且可連三任。
    時至今日,總會於每年11月始接受投票選舉,在初選中,總會將從50位被提案人中選出25位職員,然後在覆選中選出正、副總理,繼由候任總理召開會議,選出各科職員,並於每年的1月1日舉行就職典禮。現時,萃勝總理可連兩任;能擔任四任總理者,可以獲得升為元老。
    早期申請加入萃勝,要購買價值20元的樓股,在當年已經是普通工人一個月的薪金。直至1941年,在萃勝聯席年會中被刪除,此後,凡申請入會者,只需繳交會費。早期的萃勝會員,大多是從事酒樓、餐館、農業、商業、洗衣館等行業的生意人,從而使萃勝整體上顯得財雄勢厚,因此,早年的萃勝在僑界被稱為「財主佬堂」。
    萃勝工商會和萃勝人一向都有著強烈的愛國之心。早在1939年2月在舊金山金銀島舉辦的「萬國博覽會」,中國正值抗戰,無力參展。當時的萃勝總理周銳先生本著「匹夫有責」之心,積極組織華僑,自籌資金參展;他們迅速成立“華商展覽場總公司”,集資25萬美元,建成了最為突出的「中國村」。
    自新中國於1949年建國以來,萃勝工商會更致力支持祖國的建設工作,主動參與各項愛國活動,如每年的慶祝國慶、捐款賑災、慶祝香港和澳門回歸等。1972年,萃勝工商總會通過了由元老周銳提出的議案,在總會大樓懸掛中華人民共和國五星紅旗,但因當年時機尚未成熟而未能實施。
    至到1994年中華人民共和國建國45周年前夕,由當時的總理池財龍在聯席會議上提出正式執行這項升旗議案。在1994年9月17日,萃勝工商總會舉行了隆重的升旗典禮,成為全美首個昇掛五星紅旗的傳統僑團。當日,萃勝邀請了歷任中國駐舊金山的總領事出席升旗典禮,盛況空前。

    United States Chamber of Commerce and Crafts wins Tour of Chinatown

    San Francisco's Chinatown has six overseas compatriot, including Zhi Gong, Crafts wins British side, impartially, Hip Sing, together wins, five behind all sources of overseas compatriot Zhi Gong. This column from this week introduced one by one.

    United States Chamber of Commerce and Crafts wins by Yuya Di Initiative, and in 1867 years (Qing Tongzhi 6 years) was established, initially named "Cui Sheng Tong" members only dozens of people, site of Jackson Street in Chinatown are now Lin Jiagong address, and then had to move to the current Liang Zhongxiao Church address.

    Due to the increasing number of members, in 1917, initiated by S. W. Leung, Chen Yao worship, Wu Yun three proposed purchase of the permanent site, get all the brothers of the response and support successful results under both boards Street in Chinatown to buy 925 No. building, this building before and after Blocks building completely renovated after 1918 was officially opened, the nation has since become a permanent foundation and Crafts Association wins.

    Then set up a "Crafts Sing", which belongs to the Chinese traditional overseas compatriot to "combine righteousness," a class of groups, as well as other similar groups "Hesheng Church", "Bing Gongtang", etc. The purpose is to take care of each other, to protect their interests, seeking self-defense, etc. . Later, due to the changing status of overseas Chinese, the relationship between the various imports Church began gradually evolved into "a combination of interest" between them began to appear all kinds of conflicts of interest, when the Church fighting incident, so those Westerners gradually produced overseas compatriot heart contempt, so the Chinese community into disrepute.

    "Cui Sheng Tong" Faced with this situation, the decision to change. In 1925 years, "Cui Sheng Tong" Third Family Reunion Conference, the then Prime Minister Yu Masaaki proposed "Church" to "will" get a number of brothers in the attached proposed and accepted by the General Assembly in order to protect the reputation of Chinese. Since then, "Cui Sheng Tong" has officially changed its name to "Crafts wins Chamber of Commerce."

    With the continuous expansion of the conference, in addition to stripping wins Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco, there are around the country will offer support, the highest total period of 10 months Branch, namely the Federation of San Francisco, Oakland Branch, Murray allowed Branch , Stockton Branch, City Glenealy Branch, earthern bowl Royalton Branch, dig carefully appointed Branch, Scotia Road Branch to the Branch, Branch homes margin, net since Lee Branch.

    After several decades of years, with the changing environment and population structure of the country, always wins and Crafts structure and support will be re-combination, in recent years, the province has set up branch in Romania, the formation of the Federation today in San Francisco, called "United States Chamber of Commerce and Crafts wins" to Oakland, Murray allowed, homes Road (Seattle), Stockton, Oakland earthern bowl, City Glenealy, seven Angeles Branch which consists of overseas Chinese business groups.

    The purpose of founding and Crafts wins Chamber of Commerce is to contact the overseas Chinese business people all walks of life, to promote overseas Chinese industrial and commercial prosperity, enthusiastic Qiaoshe welfare and safeguard the interests of Chinese, now increased to encourage Chinese politics, the right to fight for justice, patriotic, promote Sino-US relations, as well as liaison brothers, etc. to promote the conference to make it more perfect aim. In the past, always voting members from each branch of the US election the Prime Minister, are known as "Sir", and can be connected to a third term.
    Today, there is always at an annual 11 vote to accept the beginning of January, in the primaries, will always be 50 bits are the sponsors selected 25 -bit staff, then cover selected elected deputy prime minister, following either by waiting Prime Minister held a meeting to elect officers subjects, and in each year 1 month 1 day inauguration. At present, the Prime Minister can not even two wins and Crafts either; can serve four prime minister who can get promoted to veterans.

    Crafts wins early application to join, to buy $ 20 per floor share, in the year is already a month's wages of ordinary workers. Until 1941 , at the annual meeting of the co-extraction wins are deleted, then, where the application inductees, just pay dues. Early Crafts wins members, mostly in restaurants, restaurants, agriculture, commerce, industry businessman laundry shop, so that the rich and powerful seem thick and Crafts wins the whole, therefore, early wins in the overseas Chinese are called Crafts "rich guy hall."
    Chamber of Commerce and Crafts Crafts wins wins always have a strong patriotism. As early as 1939 years 2 months Treasure Island in San Francisco organized by the "World's Fair" China coincided with the war, unable to participate. The then Prime Minister Mr. Zhou Rui Sheng Crafts spirit "everyone is responsible," the heart, and actively organize overseas Chinese, self-funded exhibition; they quickly set up a " Chinese businessmen Showground Corporation " , raising 25 million dollars to build the most prominent "China village. "
    New China in 1949, since the founding of Commerce and Crafts wins more committed to supporting the construction of the motherland, to actively participate in various patriotic activities such as the annual celebration of National Day, disaster relief donations, etc. to celebrate the return of Hong Kong and Macau. In 1972 , the Chamber of Commerce and Crafts wins by a motion put forward by veteran Zhou Rui, in the People's Republic of China Federation of Building hoisted the flag, but when the time is not yet ripe but not implemented.

    To the 1994 founding of the People's Republic of China on 45 anniversary, by the then Prime Minister of the pool to make a formal implementation of the fiscal dragon flag-raising motion at the joint meeting. In 1994 years 9 months 17 days, Crafts wins Chamber of Commerce held a grand flag-raising ceremony, to become the nation's first overseas compatriot traditional hoisting of the national flag. On that day, Crafts invited successive wins Chinese Consul General in San Francisco to attend the flag-raising ceremony, unprecedented.

    Posted 27th March 2011 by iGoldenlink blog Share

  • Membership at the PPGBA

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    Wow...the membership at PPGBA has really dropped. I remember the days when we had enough trays to cover an entire table. That's really sad. What has happened? I can only guess. A number of factors.

    I ask myself, we I joined this organization over thirty years ago. I did for the monthly speaker which I expanded my knowledge of photography and keep me interested and continuing to grew as a photographer. I did it for education. The PPGBA sponsored the annual Golden Gate School of Professional Photography which I faithfully attended for many years.

    I did it for the comraderie and networking. Meeting other photographers and seeing what they're doing. Giving each other support. Assisting each other if we needed to know something...like what to get...the latest equipment...the mean church ladies...a helping hand.

    Things began turning as soon as digital photography became the regular standard for photography. People coming into photography nowadays do not consider photography to be a profession. For many, photography is not their main profession. They hold day jobs.

    People used to come from afar to attend the meetings. That seems to be no longer the case. There are so many youtube movies where you can learn so much about photography. Why bother driving all the way from San Jose when you can watch a youtube movie or order a DVD about a certain aspect of photography.

    For many photographers I knew, many are no longer in the business neither. Or at least on a full time basis. Business has really dwindled for many as well as I.

    I'm sure the board of the organization is trying to figure out what direction the group will go in these changing times. It will be interesting to see what will evolve in the near future.

    I will continue to be a member. I will try to attend every one of their meetings. It's not that far for me. And being a life member, I'm paying only half the full membership. :)

January 29, 2015

January 28, 2015

  • Life is Too Damn Short!

    harding

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    Harding passed away. A small memorial was held.


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    Laura Lai, the wife of the late Him Mark Lai, passed away.


    But we're still alive! Enjoy each and every day!
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    There's been as many as six deaths of people I know this last year.

    "Life is too damn short!" Like what one of my photo instructers, Don Blair, used to say.

January 27, 2015

  • page 3 photo

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    My breakfast at midnight. Ham and cheese omelet with hash brown. Which means I slept from 7pm to 12:30am.

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    The white panhandler on Stockton Street in Chinatown is doing a brisk business. He is envisioning a $100 bill. He has his goal set.

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    Looks like this guy is in charge of the vegetable stand. Making sure no one hao-yeh.

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    Karen and Corky was in town.

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    Everybody loves Chinese food.

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    Chinatown just installed these new public trash receptacles. The are all overflowing and getting garbage all over the streets.