Bill Wading presents "All the Tea in China"

2020 Events

2020 has been a most unexpected year for all of us, as well as CHF.  We were only able to present one event, Dr. Yang Liu on the snuff bottles at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  We hope to be back with more events in 2021.  Here's wishing everyone a safe and healthy remainder of 2020!

2018 Open House

2018 CHF Open House

On a sunny afternoon on October 28 CHF presented its 14th annual open house to a capacity audience. There was a festive feeling of celebration in the air as family members and long time friends of our honoree this year, David Fong, greeted him as he arrived with his wife Helen. There were big smiles all around and much excited chatter as everyone greeted each other and made his/her way through our scrumptious buffet table, prepared under the scrupulous eye of our in-house gourmand, Yin Simpson. Everyone enjoyed the smoked salmon, ham roast, asparagus, pea pods, tealeaf eggs, fresh fruit salad, almond and pine nut cookies, and cream puffs. Many went back for seconds!

During tea and cookies Margaret Wong began our program. There were introductions of our CHF history fellows at the University of Minnesota, as well as reports from the History Theatre by Paul de Cordova on the initiation of theatre classes at YuCai Chinese Language School, CHF Day at Theatre Mu by Randy Reyes, publication of Chinese-ness by Wing Young Huei by the MN History Center by Sherri Gebert Fuller. There was also a presentation of a song from the cycle Longing for Home, written by composer Carol Barnett based on poems of Bea Liu. The song was sung by mezzo-soprano Clasa Osowsky to enthusiastic applause.

Then Pearl Bergad introduced David Fong, our 2018 Chinese Minnesotan of Note, tracing his eventful life from Taishan, China to the Twin Cities. His legendary generosity, to both the Chinese community and the city of Bloomington, led to the proclamation of October 27, 2008 as David and Helen Fong Day in Bloomington. In his acceptance speech David reminded us of the age-old Chinese proverb: [? ???]. When you drink water, you must remember its source. It is the dictum by which he has lived his life.

CHF honors David for his abundant humanity, good cheer, generous and hospitable nature, quiet philanthropy, abiding love and devotion to Chinese traditions, family and friends.

Last but not least, CHF honored its longtime volunteer, Will Ahern. Will has been with CHF almost since its beginning, and has been the mastermind behind all our digital capabilities. Will always brought along his daughter Summer whose frequent volunteering for us has inspired us to create our popular Young Volunteers Program.

As our program ended our attendees left with a spring in their steps, happy to have witnessed so much goodness in our community.


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Bill Wadding presents "All the Tea in China"

On a balmy May afternoon the Chinese Heritage Foundation Friends presented Will Waddington of TeaSource in an informative talk titled, All the Tea in China. In a high-spirited, freewheeling interactive session with an engaged audience, Bill talked about the native origin of tea in China and its many variations and different individual practices in different regions of China. He dwelled on the six major types of tea: black, red, Oolong, green yellow and white, the ages of the tea leaves and the different stages of oxidation (or none) that they are allowed to go through, the effects of soil types, humidity and elevation on tea bushes, and the care one should take on keeping the ideal temperature of water or steeping time for each type of tea. He also brewed both an Oolong and a Purer tea for everyone to taste, demonstrating the differences the brewing time makes on the same type of tea. Everyone found the information most helpful, and the tasting, when accompanied by the special condiments personally selected by Yin Simpson, most enlightening.

There was also much laughter, particularly when Bill debunked myths, such as the specialness of leaves picked only by monkeys in inaccessible areas, and substituted astute and accurate observations instead. In cultivating special relationships with small individual growers in different regions of China and maintaining contact through many years, Bill has been able to offer high quality tea leaves that have received careful handling throughout the growing and tea making processes.

Soon the two-hour session ended, leaving many audience members with more questions and much eagerness to pay more attention to tea from now on, particularly in steeping loose tea leaves rather than relying on tea bags.


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2019 Open House

CHF Fifteenth Annual Open House

On the crisp morning of November 17, 2019, the Chinese Heritage Foundation held its fifteenth anniversary open house, again at the party room of the Gramercy Co-op Building in Richfield. Amid the excited buzz about this year’s honoree, Ruth Stricker Dayton, volunteers were busy decorating the room and preparing a veritable feast under the watchful eye of Yin Simpson

Shortly after 12 noon, a capacity crowd had gathered, including friends of Ruth Dayton and members of the staff at The Marsh. Everyone was in a festive mood, enjoying a delicious lunch of smoked salmon, crab puffs, seafood curry noodles, and tealeaf eggs. There were also special considerations for vegetarians, with vegetarian and yam noodles, fresh fruit and kale salads; and CHF’s signature almond and ginger cookies, as well as cream puffs and chocolate truffles.

While everyone was settling back with tea and dessert, Margaret Wong, chair of CHF Friends, began our program. After some welcome remarks, she turned to Ida Lano to showcase some of CHF grant recipients. Two theatre companies, History Theatre and Theater Mu talked about their theater classes in three Chinese language schools: YuCai, MN International Chinese School and Minhua Central Chinese School. This venture is in collaboration with CHF on its initiative to increase interest and participation of young Chinese families in theatre. Daniel Wang, a two-year participant at YuCai gave a short speech (excerpted below) in which he mentioned some of the benefits of the classes: learning how to speak in public, how to listen to others, developing self-confidence, and finding one’s own voice. These were just some of the lessons he learned that he felt are central for living a meaningful life.

Minhua Chorus, a long time champion of Chinese music in our community, received a grant for its annual concert and offered two samples from its program: Oliver Tao’s recitation of a famous poem by S? Shi and a vocal performance of a song by Josh McCallister. The poem, Sharing the Beautiful Moonlight Far from East to West, talks about the loneliness of the poet. Alone with wine in hand, he is dancing with his shadow on a clear, chilly evening with a full moon. He wonders what time of year it is and why the moon always seems to be full when he is alone. He yearns for the company of his dear family and friends, and recalls fondly their times together and their subsequent partings. Contemplating on the endless cycle of the waxing and waning of the moon, he hopes that likewise, humanity will endure, and that he will soon be reunited with his loved ones across the vast distance of a thousand miles.

In 2006 CHF established a graduate fellowship in History at U MN devoted to the study of WWII in China and its neighbors. Ann Waltner, chair of the History Department, stressed the importance of this fellowship to the Department and introduced three current graduate students who have benefited from this fellowship. Then she, together with Christine Marran, chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, introduced the audience to a new scholarship fund, endowed by CHF founder and president Ming Tchou, and jointly administered by their respective departments. Two outstanding students are already the beneficiaries of Ming’s generosity.

Margaret Wong then returned to the podium and briefly recounted the activities of CHF Friends in the past year. Accompanied by slides, she captured the highlights of four events: Decoding Chinese Opera, Crazy Rich Asians discussion, All the Tea in China presented by Bill Waddington, and a presentation by photographer Wing Young Huie.

Next came Pearl Bergad to introduce our Honorary Chinese Minnesotan of Note, Ruth Stricker Dayton, to our audience. She described Ruth’s triumph over lupus, using a comprehensive approach to wellness that engages the mental, spiritual and emotional, as well as the physical fitness in her life. She developed her personal philosophy of the mind-body connection, incorporating the Chinese concept of balance, that of yin and yang, and expanded it in her joint venture with her husband, Bruce Dayton, in The Marsh, A Center for Balance and Fitness. It is an inclusive place for wellness – physical, mental and emotional. It combines the allopathic philosophy of western medicine with holistic or complementary practices (or integrative therapies as they are now called) such as massages and Chinese acupuncture. Thirty-five years later, the Marsh is considered the premier center for integrated mind-body fitness in the U.S., and is a model in both Europe and Asia.

The Chinese Heritage Foundation honors Ruth Stricker Dayton for her big heart, altruism, humility, infectious joy, deep compassion, generous philanthropy, positive outlook, and abiding desire to serve the greater good. We celebrate her pioneering role in incorporating the Chinese philosophy of balance into the mind-body connection and integrative medicine. She is our role model for how to lead a purposeful, all embracing and rewarding life.

One of Ruth’s lifelong mentors is tai chi master ChungLiang Al Huang. Al flew in especially to honor Ruth. He spoke warmly of his admiration and respect for her, and when Ruth joined him at the podium, the entire audience stood up to honor one of the most remarkable ladies in Minnesota.

Our Open House ended on a high note and everyone went out in the developing cold late afternoon with warm hearts and a new resolve to lead a more purposeful life.

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Daniel Wang’s speech:

“Ever since I was young, I was always shy. I couldn’t look people in the eye whenspeaking, and I couldn’t talk without stuttering when I was talking in front of the class.But this all changed for the better when I started coming to Seats to Stage. Every class,we got up in front of the group and presented our writings, our stories, and our thoughts.This was new to me. I never had shared my personal thoughts or stories in front of agroup of people before. My former dog who pooped on the yoga mat, my unagreeable stomach during my trip to China, and my thoughts on culture were only a few examples that I shared with the class. This not only allowed me to be more confident in speaking with people, but also understand the importance of being more personal with them.Making people laugh, I learned, could help you strengthen the bonds between you andeveryone. With that said, I believe that Seats to Stage is a class where you can discover your voice, and encourage other people to discover their own voices. Thank you.”


Kiri Werner's speech:

"My name is Kiri Werner and I am in 6th grade at YingHua Academy.

I used this grant to publish a book that I wrote when I lived in China two years ago.

We lived in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. While we lived there I attended XingHua Primary school.

Every day when I would walk to school I would stop and talk to the local people. One day it might be the books store lady, another day it might be the fruit stall lady. Sometimes on the weekends I would help my dad fix things around our apartment. We would have to go out and buy little things at the hardware store and I would talk the old man that ran the store. 

I really liked learning about their lives and how they chose their jobs. So I started to do interviews with them.

In the end I did over a dozen interviews. We edited them and compiled them into this book. 

When I came back to Minnesota, I showed the book to the teachers at my school. They really liked it and thought it would be useful in helping to prepare kids that are going on the school’s annual trip to China. 

Now Dr. Lien is preparing the book so that it can be used in the school. 

We are very grateful for the CHF grant to be a partner in this project to help more kids to learn about everyday people’s lives in China. 

Publish: chu ban

Grant: 资助” (zi zhu)"



Sunday Tea with Wing Young Huie

On the afternoon of March 31, the Chinese Heritage Foundation’s Sunday Tea Series presented photographer Wing Young Huie in a talk on his career and his new book, Chinese-ness, The Meaning of Identity and the Nature of Belonging. Wing had invited us to meet at his studio, the Third Place Gallery, located in the heart of south Minneapolis. Fifty of us were seated in a semi-circle around Wing, bathed with natural light from the studio’s store front windows and surrounded by Wing’s large photographs on two long brick walls.

Wing began his presentation by talking about his father, who first came to this country from TaiShan in Guangdong Province in China when he was a very young. He worked very hard, saved his money, returned to TaiShan to marry and came back to work hard again. It was only after many such cycles before he was able to finally bring his wife and children over here. Wing was the only one of his six children who was born in this country.

Over the course of his absorbing presentation Wing took us through the major phases of his photographic journey as well as that of his search for his own identity. He showed us numerous examples of being a street photographer, asking his subjects, all strangers to him and often to each other, to write their thoughts on a chalk board (thus his Chalk Talks). Thus was born his Lake Street and University Avenue Projects. He showed us a particularly poignant example, that of a white mother and her African American adopted daughter. After having photographed them when the daughter was a baby, he found them again on the daughter’s wedding day many years later. The juxtaposition of these then and now photographs shows overwhelming emotions that only an artist who has established a close relationship with his subjects can reveal.

For his new book, Chineseness, Wing added a new concept: what if? In the I am You chapter Wing shows photographs of different people he had encountered in China, and then himself in their clothes. A special dimension has been added to the ambiguity of identity, a subject of later chapters in the book. Another topic that Wing explores in his book is Paper Sons and Daughters. Continuing the project that he began at the History Theatre’s premiere production of The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin, Wing has given prominence to this still frequently taboo and painful topic. The descendants of Paper Sons and Daughters no longer need to hide.

The Chinese Heritage Foundation is delighted to have been an underwriter of the printing of Wing’s new book and is thrilled that Wing has just won a Minnesota Book Award in the Memoir and Creative Nonfiction category. Many Congratulations, Wing!