The Strength of Water: Adventures in Book Cover Design and Interior Layout

I am enjoying working with Balestier Press on my book's interior layout and with their contract artist, Andre D’Rozario, on the cover. The Strength of Water is starting to feel real! Here I share a bit about the process. The book is the story of my mother's Chinese American odyssey, so for the cover, I …

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He Will Fit Wings to the Chinese Dragon — How An Oakland Engineer Became the Father of Chinese Aviation

This week's Asian American history adventure was to the Oakland Aviation Museum, a small gem of a museum near the Oakland Airport. In an age when flight is often undignified with body scans, cramped seats, and peanut snacks, the museum recalls the wonder and exhilaration of early flight. You sense the giddiness of first realizing …

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Eastwind Books: A Labor of Love for the Asian American Literary Community

This month's literary adventure was an afternoon of book shopping at Eastwind Books, a beacon of the Asian American literary community, where I picked up Cathy Park Hong’s bestselling memoir and work of cultural criticism, Minor Feelings. Eastwind Books is Beatrice and Harvey Dong’s labor of love for the Asian American and ethnic literary community. Founded in …

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Honoring the Stories of our Loved Ones on Qingming or Tomb Sweeping Day

Today’s literary adventure is a symbolic one in honor of Qingming Festival, called Tomb Sweeping Day in English. In China, this is a three-day holiday to honor one’s ancestors dating back 2500 years to the Zhou Dynasty. Families visit the tombs and graves of their ancestors to sweep them clean, pay respects, and honor memories. …

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Meet Me at the Formosa: A Chinese American Hollywood History Adventure

This week's Asian American history adventure is a visit to the Formosa Cafe, a Chinese American fusion cafe and bar in West Hollywood, which first opened in 1939. Located across from the then Samuel Goldwyn studio, stars like Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, John Wayne, Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley regularly popped …

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How Mom Celebrated Lunar New Year in the 1930s in Guangdong Province, China

Lunar New Year is upon us! On February 1st, we enter Year of the Tiger. My mother, Yee King Ying, grew up in the village of Tai Ting Pong (Dajingbang in Mandarin), Guangdong Province, in the 1930s. This is how she recalls celebrating. Spring festival was a chance to clear away the old and outworn …

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How the Autumn Moon Festival Offers an Ancient Tradition, Delicious Dessert, and a Touch of Magic

What if you could learn about an ancient tradition, enjoy a delicious dessert, and turn an ordinary evening into a fairytale? You can with the Autumn Moon Festival, a holiday born of legend. It traditionally falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month or mid-September to early October on the Gregorian calendar. In …

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Hiking the Donner Pass Train Tunnels, a Triumph and Tragedy of Immigrant Grit

Maybe you're seeking respite from the summer heat. Maybe you'd like to pretend you're in the Halls of Moria in the Lord of the Rings. Or maybe you want to hike through miles of graffiti art. Whatever your reason for coming, the Donner Pass Train Tunnels near Truckee, California, offer a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking …

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How CHSA Works to Combat Racism and Violence Through Soft Power

It’s Asian Heritage Month, and the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) in San Francisco is finally able to reopen at 50% capacity. To celebrate, CHSA is hosting a community event this Saturday, May 29th, from 8 to 10:30 pm. The event is a chance to view the exhibition Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion and see the …

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