Asian Avenue magazine - March 2014

Page 1

Harry Budisidharta

Think Smart.

Criminal Cases | Domestic Violence | DUI

(303) 377-3474 2012 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Recipient Awarded by the Arapahoe County Bar Association & Asian Pacific American Bar Association

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Dear Asian Avenue readers, After this fierce winter, I know we are all ready for the warm weather to come around! We can then get outdoors to play sports, go for a jog and enjoy the Colorado mountains. While obesity is a concern in the state of Colorado, Asian Americans have been reported to be the thinnest among all Americans. With the advent of new technologies such as activity tracking bracelets and the ability to share information through social media, more and more people are shifting to a healthier lifestyle. This includes both a regular exercise routine and eating a better diet. See the cover story to learn about what Asian Americans are doing to stay fit in Colorado. This spring, we celebrate the sixth annual Asian American Heroes of Colorado Awards. Please help us nominate outstanding individuals deserving of this recognition by visiting to download the nomination form. Thank you to Soyon Bueno and CU Denver Asian American Student Services for bringing photographer Corky Lee to Denver this month. Corky, known for his photos of Asian American activism, will be presenting on March 6 and 7, and his photography exhibit will be displayed at Anschutz Medical Campus Health Library until March 27. We look forward to meeting him and hearing his story. A salute to Kenny Sonoda - a restaurateur, sushi chef and recent retiree! Kenny opened Sonoda’s Sushi, one of Denver’s first sushi restaurants, back in 1988. He spent decades devoting his time and energy to teaching sushi cuisine to the people of Colorado during a time when raw fish had zero appeal. Today, the sushi trend has grown exponentially, and we have Kenny to thank for its popularity in Colorado. Thank you Kenny for your ingenuity and perseverance. We wish you the very best in your future endeavors! With the expertise of attorney Harry Budisidharta, we have started a legal column to provide education on important legal and political issues. This month, read about how lobbying works. We hope you find the topics to be informative and helpful. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please contact me at I want to conclude by saying thank you to all of the contributing ‘staff’ of Asian Avenue magazine. We truly would not be here without you. Thank you for helping highlight the outstanding individuals, hardworking organizations and colorful events that exist in our community. A special acknowledgement to Patricia Kaowthumrong, Brenda Velasquez and Mary Jeneverre Schultz for the countless hours they have put into the magazine. Your writing and your stories have brought our community to life! I enjoy reading your articles and hearing about your interviews and experiences every month. I thank you. All the best in the month of March,

asian avenue magazine

staff & support

Publisher & Founder: Christina Yutai Guo President: Annie Guo Production Manager: Peter Bui Senior Designer: C.G. Yao Designer: Jonathan Nguyen Staff Writer: Patricia Kaowthumrong Staff Writer: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Staff Writer: Brenda Velasquez Photographer: Trang Luong Intern: Akemi Tsutsui

advisors group

Patty Coutts, Donna LaVigne, Nestor J. Mercado, Sum C. Nguyen, Alok Sarwal, Peter Warren, John Yee, Nai-Li Yee, George N. Yoshida

contributing writers

Gil Asakawa, Harry Budisidharta, Elizabeth Jeong, Abhinetri Ramaswami, Harrison Tu

contributing photographers

Travis Broxton, Desi Digital Media, Kawafune Photography, Cliff Lawson, Rick Matson

on the cover

Amos Park (left) and Andrew Bui (right) jog at Mission Viejo Park in Aurora. Asian Americans are adopting healthy and fit lifestyles that include routine exercise and eating well. Photo by: Peter Bui


Annie Guo, President Asian Avenue magazine

To subscribe, e-mail marketing@asianavenuemag A one-year subscription is $25 for 12 issues, a two-year subscription is 40 for 24 issues. Please make checks or money orders payable to Asian Avenue magazine. For details about special corporate or group rates, please call during business hours: Monday Friday, 9am to 5pm. Shipping and handling included.


Asian Avenue magazine offers businesses the most cost-effective way to reach consumers in the Denver/Boulder metro areas and beyond. For more information, call during business hours or e-mail us at for our media kit and ad rates.

editorial 40

To submit story ideas, letters to the editor, or listings for the Events Calendar, e-mail to editor@ Asian Avenue magazine (ISSN 1932-1449) reserves all copyrights to this issue. No parts of this edition can be reproduced in any manner without written permission. The views expressed in articles are the authors’ and not necessarily those of Asian Avenue magazine. Authors may have consulting or other business relationships with the companies they discuss.

Published by Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 Fax: 303.750.8488 Asian Avenue magazine is in association with the Colorado Asian Culture and Education Network.


March 2014 | President’s Note

Launch Party!

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY Documenting 25 Years of an American Gamelan

Live MUSIC & DANCE OF BALI with Gamelan Tunas Mekar Featuring Artist-in-Residence I Made Lasmawan & Balinese dancer Ni Ketut Marni Plus, screening of documentary project Promotional Video


The Mercury Cafe, Denver


Children 12 & under FREE Tickets available at the door

Arrive early for Brunch at The Merc! 2199 California St. 303-294-9281 mercur

music video




Find Inside >> Table of Contents

6 7

Denver Exhibits Colorado Heights University assists international students with student visa applications


Spotlight Kenny Sonoda retires from the sushi industry after 40 years of experience




21 17

Restaurant Peek: Honey Bee Asian Bistro

Nathan Yip Foundation Fundraising dinner raises over $300,000 to give education to vulnerable youth

Feature: Photographer Corky Lee’s Exhibit in Denver See Lee’s photos of Asian American involvement and activism for civil rights

OCA Colorado Lunar New Year Organization hosts annual dinner event

On Scene


Butterfly Lovers Concerto Denver Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates Valentine’s Day with Chinese composition

Rising Star Jeffrey Chin dreams of becoming concert pianist at Carnegie Hall, and he is well on his way at the age of 12!

Indian classical music, Mehfil Denver enjoys classical music and poetry

Cover Story Asian Americans are taking action to becoming more healthy and active

Day of Remembrance Event keeps alive lessons of internment


Restaurant Peek: Thailicious



March 2014 | Table of Contents




APDC Annual Banquet 250 supporters celebrate the new year


24 25


Asian Chamber of Commerce Clarence Low elected new president National News Legal Column: Lobbying Harry Budisidharta educates about why why should lobby

Art: Japanese Lacquer Find a century of Japanese lacquer at the Denver Art Museum


Chinese Idiom

For more information call 720-873-6243 or visit our website today at: William Schoolcraft, MD • Eric Surrey, MD • Debra Minjarez, MD Robert Gustofson, MD • Jennifer Brown, MD

de nve r exhibits

2014 applications are now available! The seventh annual Miss Asian American Colorado Leadership Program is underway, recruiting for Asian American women ages 18-25 in Colorado to participate. The program aims to: • showcase the leadership, service, and individuality of Asian American women; • build a network of friendships and mentorships between Asian American women; • provide scholarships to talented Asian American women; • increase community awareness of the diversity and strengths in the Asian American population; and • encourage unity and understanding among Asian Americans in Colorado. The program believes that all Asian American women should be empowered with a sense of purpose to contribute to the growing community. The one-year experience develops leadership, service, and individuality through activities including community engagement, public speaking, and philanthropic events. Most importantly, candidates gain self-confidence where they can challenge themselves to reach new heights. The 2014 Miss Asian American Colorado will be determined at the finale show held on Saturday, July 12 at Auraria Campus. The scoring is based on participation in the program, organization of service project and overall leadership. Please share with outstanding women or send nominations to For more information or to download the application, visit

MISS AACO Q&A SESSION for potential candidates

Saturday, March 8 [11am - 1pm] Lollicup [1589 S Colorado Blvd. Denver, CO] If you would like to learn more about the program or if you have questions, come by and meet the 2014 committee members and talk to past candidates about their experiences.

Corky Lee: Eyewitness to Asian American Activism March 5 - 27

Anschutz Medical Campus Health Library 12950 E Montview Blvd | Aurora, Colorado 80045

Interactive Lecture

Thursday, March 6, 11am to 12:15pm Tivoli Multicultural Lounge 900 Auraria Pkwy | Denver, Colorado 80204 Light refreshments provided.

Presentation and Gallery Reception Friday, March 7, 4pm to 6pm

Anschutz Medical Campus Health Library 12950 E Montview Blvd | Aurora, Colorado 80045 Light refreshments provided. Open to public! For more info or questions, contact Soyon Bueno at 303-556-6209 or Join us for a photography exhibit and presentation by the renown photographer Corky Lee. Lee is lauded as the “unofficial Asian American Photographer Laureate” and his work has been featured in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Associated Press, The Villager, and Downtown Express. In a quote from Asianweek magazine, he stated that his photography has a distinct purpose “ …every time I take may camera out of my bag, it’s like drawing a sword to combat indifference, injustice and discrimination; trying to get rid of stereotypes.” In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights law, CU Denver Asian American Student Services and partners are showcasing the contributions of Asian Americans in the struggle for civil rights with Mr. Lee’s exhibit. His body of work expands 40 years and chronicles the diversity and nuances of Asian American life that is not often included in mainstream media.

A New Attitude: CHEN Man’s Provocative Interpretations of Contemporary Chinese Women March 1 - April 27

RedLine Denver Art Gallery 2350 Arapahoe Street | Denver, Colorado 80205 For more info, visit RedLine is pleased to welcome the exhibition A New Attitude: CHEN Man’s Provocative Interpretations of Contemporary Chinese Women, the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States. Known for her strong aesthetic eye and use of computerized 3-D rendering techniques, CHEN Man fuses her superb interpretation of the female form with an active artistic imagination as she mixes visual elements from China’s past with features of contemporary art and culture. Man’s work combines outstanding photography with innovative new-media skills, and the results are evocative, painterly images that reflect changing views on the female role in Chinese culture today. Curated by Julie Segraves, executive director of the Asian Art Coordinating Council in Denver, this solo exhibition of CHEN Man’s photographs will include 32 works. A New Attitude is part of RedLine’s 2014 She Crossed the Line, a year-long focus on female artists featuring five exhibitions of trailblazing female artists who have been instrumental in laying the foundations of contemporary art.

Left to right: Dao Than, 2014 Miss AACO President; Rebecca Newton, Secretary; and Whitnee Nguyen,Vice President


March 2014 | Denver Exhibits

Born in Beijing in 1980, CHEN Man studied graphic design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, during which she produced several groundbreaking cover photographers for the Shanghai-based Vision Magazine, a progressive art and fashion magazine, using techniques that had not yet been seen before in China. Her work has been presented in galleries and museums worldwide.

Applying for a Student Visa

The First Step to Study Abroad in the U.S. Elizabeth Jeong Admissions Director, Colorado Heights University

Almost half of our student body at Colorado Heights University comes to us from other countries and as a Director in the CHU Office of Admissions; I help them through the F-1 student visa application process. If you have relatives dreaming of coming to Colorado to study, there are a few things they should know. It can be overwhelming, so to get started, a prospective student should review the visa application instructions on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate office where they plan to submit their application. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at The requirements may vary, so checking the specific location is important.

Application Forms and Fees The first form in this process is the I-20/ DS-2019 form (I-20) that is issued by the university to the student after they have been accepted. Once the student receives the I-20 and the university acceptance letter, they can follow the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s instructions on their website to schedule an F-1 student visa interview. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel. The next form to complete is the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The local U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website will guide the student to complete this form online and to pay the visa application fee. Finally, there is a fee they pay online to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) which monitors students and exchange visitors in the United States. The university school code is needed to pay this fee at Important: On all forms and documentation, write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20/DS-2019 form.

Elizabeth Jeong

Admissions Director Colorado Heights University

Arisa Dou

F-1 Student Visa Interview I can’t emphasize enough how crucial the preparation for the interview can be. Each visa officer has individual authority on the decision if the visa is to be granted or denied. Students need to prove to the officer that they are an eligible student, are planning to return to their home country at the end of their studies, have enough financial assets to cover their education and that they are serious and committed to their studies. In other words, the officer must see that an American education is not just a way to come to the U.S. There’s also a list of paperwork the student is required to have at the interview. We provide the students with a detailed checklist of nine different forms of documentation they should have with them. You can find this on our website at under the “International” tab. CHU Staff Available To Help Although it’s a complicated process, our multilingual staff is trained to help the applicant understand the importance of each step and to be fully prepared. Arisa Dou, CHU Admissions Representative who speaks Chinese and Japanese, said, “When I explain the visa process to an international student in their own language, it helps them understand how important the interview really is.” When I asked Yoshi Sakashita, an MBA graduate of CHU from Japan how he felt about the process, he said, “Coming to the U.S. was made so much easier with the help of the university staff. I would have been lost without their assistance.” This is just a quick summary, so for more detailed information you can visit the “International” tab on or contact me at inter Good luck!

Admissions Representative Colorado Heights University

Yoshi Sakashita

MBA Graduate Colorado Heights University

Colorado Heights University (CHU)

caters to international students from Asia and all over the world. CHU is located at the site of the historic Loretto Heights campus at Dartmouth and Federal in Denver. Inside Story | asian avenue magazine


Mary Jeneverre Schultz Asian Avenue magazine

the end of a


Kenny Sonoda retires from his Sonoda’s Japanese Restaurant is now time for me to retire and enjoy the next chapter of my life. I will miss all of you.


March 2014 | Spotlight

As the owner of the first sushi restaurant in Colorado, Kenny Sonoda was a trend setter in the restaurant business back in 1988. He established his Aurora location during a time when the general eating public did not comprehend sushi and everything Japanese. Bad press and misunderstanding of raw fish spurred the eating public in a distasteful manner about sushi combined with the efforts of Green Peace opposing the death of dolphins from fishing nets of Japan, Korea and Norway. “It was a tough time for Japanese restaurant to grow,” recalled Kenny Sonoda, sitting in his first restaurant in Aurora at 3108 South Parker Road. Closure of Downtown Denver Last February, he shut down his location in downtown Denver at 1620 Market Street, hanging up his chef hat and packing away his sushi knives. He blames the inability to negotiate a better lease and sees himself turning 65 in a few short months as a sign to retire from the restaurant business. As he reminisces about his restaurant business, Sonoda talks about how history has intersected his life, sharing trends, facts about the war and the coincidences that have occurred during his reign as

the owner of Sonoda’s. During the late 1970s, Japanese businesses started expanding to the United States, and more and more sushi restaurants opened to serve the Japanese businessmen living locally. Besides catering to the local Japanese, sushi chefs in the United States tried hard to introduce sushi to Americans, but it was difficult to persuade people to try eating raw fish. Soon, the California roll was invented, and sparked a new trend towards fusion sushi. The California roll, containing imitation crab meat, was the perfect introductory sushi for people unfamiliar to raw fish. More and more Westerners started to eat raw fish and many adaptations were made to the Edostyle sushi to adapt with western culture. Growing popularity of Sushi Sonoda agreed pointing to New York and California as trend setters in “saturating the market” due to the large Japanese population in these two states. He also credits movies and mass media on the growing popularity including mainstream series such as the Sopranos, an Italian mafia family sharing a sushi dinner somewhere in New Jersey. Sonoda also believed that the 1980’s Miller Light beer commercials evolved the general public

into changing their eating habits and making healthy choices, which supported eating sushi. These commercials emphasized light beer and less calories. He also accredited the ease of today’s climate in the shipping business. Back when he started, after the restaurant was closed for the night, Sonoda would drive to Stapleton International Airport to pick up daily fish shipment. Today, more shipping companies are accessible in delivery, coming straight to his restaurant’s doors. In 1995, Denver Interational Airport also replaced Stapleton. Sonoda lived in New York when he first immigrated to the United States in August 1969. When his boss in New York asked him to oversee the construction of the first Japanese hibachi restaurant to the area currently known as the Tech Center, he could not resist the beauty of Colorado, deciding to make it his home. When asked about the secrets of his success, Sonoda shares “service is key.” He also attributes that a successful operation is one that gives back to the community. Retirement years Sonoda considers working as a greeter with a cowboy hat at Denver International Airport, a volunteer position for those assisting travelers, who are curious about Denver tourism and need more information. He loves how there is a direct flight between Denver and Tokyo and wants to be the first to greet for those passengers. He also wants to travel, a chance to see more places on his bucket list, which includes revisiting Japan and paying respect to his family. Or maybe he will volunteer at a history museum. This is a chance for him to explore his heritage and step in time in Colorado. SONODA’S SUSHI IN Aurora CONTINueS Fast forward to 2014, Sonoda leaves the Aurora restaurant to his trusted chef and long-time friend Makoto Kawafune. At 51, Kawafune doesn’t believe Sonoda will leave the restaurant entirely. He shares that his friend’s workaholic style will keep him around the Aurora location. “He might take off for three month, then come back,” said Kawafune, adding that it is hard to retire. Masaaki Kawafune, son of Makoto Kawafune, shares great enthusiasm of his father’s ownership of the established Sonoda’s Restaurant. “His cuisine has taken a different path over the past few years since he’s taken on ownership,” Kawafune’s son said. “The cuisine more or less serves the traditional side of Japanese cuisine.” Kawafune has created a fan base, faithful sushi lovers who will visit the Aurora restaurant for his traditional food items. “For instance, we have many customers from Japan who always make it a point to come in and have my father’s food and request traditional items that are not on our menus,” said Masaaki Kawafune. In addition to the loyal base of customers of Kawafune, faithful diners of sushi chef Jutaro (Jimmy) Tajima will drive to Aurora for “Jutaro-san’s sushi and culinary ability.” Tajima has worked in the industry for the last ten years. Loyal customers expressed their dismay of the closure of Sonoda’s in downtown Denver. “I enjoyed the flavorful tofu dishes offered there; I never felt these dishes were dismissive add-ons to placate a vegetarian,” said Carolyn Linville, a resident of Wheat Ridge, who frequented the downtown Sonoda’s. “Still, I equally enjoyed the presentation of the sushi dishes ordered by my lunch companion.” Sonoda’s will always continue the tradition of providing its customers with Japanese food from the heart—the food that different generations of Japanese native and Americans alike have enjoyed over the past 26 years. For more information about Sonoda’s Sushi and Seafood, visit its website at Mary Jeneverre Schultz shared her first Colorado Valentine’s dinner with then-boyfriend, now-husband Frank 15 years ago at Sonoda’s in Aurora. Follow her on Twitter @Jeneverre.

Kenny Sonoda with his daughter, Maki, and wife, Midori

I was one of the first to introduce the cuisine to Denver when the concept of sushi and sashimi was still unknown. I worked hard to teach Denver about a tradition and a delicacy that I love so very much. Makoto Kawafune, owner of Sonoda’s in Aurora, Colo.


Kenny Sonoda immigrates from Japan and begins his U.S. journey in New York

into a woman, Midori, he had met on his plane 1971 Runs trip to New York in 1969; she later becomes his wife the grand opening of Gasho in Denver, 1973 Oversees a Japanese hibachi-style steak house at 1627 Curtis Street

a free-standing replica of a 400-year-old 1976 Builds Gasho farm house modeled after one in Japan’s

Takayama City, sister city to Denver; it was built in Denver Tech Center, where Shanahan’s Steakhouse now stands

the first Sonoda’s in Aurora, Colorado, 1988 Establishes the first of four sites second location at 1620 Market Street in 1995 Opens Downtown Denver

2014 Closes downtown location and Sonoda retires Kenny Sonoda | asian avenue magazine


Chin’s piano teacher Jasmine Lee Steadman

Chin and Larry Graham, a retired CU Boulder piano professor and former Juilliard graduate


Chin and Van Cliburn Gold Medalist Russian pianist Olga Kern

Jeffrey Chin at age 12 aspires to be a concert pianist

Chin performed Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 at age 12 with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, which brought him a standing ovation from the audience.

Conductor Devin Hughes of the Boulder Symphony Orchestra congratulated Chin after he performed Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2.


March 2014 | Rising Star

Youth involved in classical music in Denver face long hours of practice and sacrifice precious time away from their friends in order to advance their instrumental skills. This was stated by Dr. Alejandro Cremaschi, President of the Colorado State Music Teachers Association (CSMTA), in a letter describing Jeffrey Chin. The letter was written to Fox Ridge Middle School sharing the exciting news that Chin had been selected as the Middle School Division winner in a state-wide music competition sponsored by CSMTA. “He is one of an elite group of only three music students state-wide, who will perform their winning selection with the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, a professional orchestra,” said Cremaschi. On January 26, Chin gave his debut piano soloist performance with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) at the Denver Performing Arts Center’s Boettcher Hall in downtown Denver. The solo performance opportunity was awarded to Chin after he won First Place Middle School Division in the 2012 Steinway Piano Concerto Competition, sponsored by Schmitt Music of Denver. He performed Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor at the CSO Side-by-Side Concert, which also featured the Denver Young Artists Orchestra. Afterward, the audience gave him a standing ovation. Scott O’Neill, Resident Conductor at CSO, said Chin’s performance put a smile on his face. Chin commented to his family later that he felt “electric” as he bowed to the cheering audience. Born and raised in Denver, Chin’s music passion started when he was just a newborn. In the first week of his life, he became ill with neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, a condition which required him to undergo extended phototherapy while lying bare-skinned and alone in an incubator. To calm his agitation and crying, his parents placed a toy mobile near his incubator that played gentle Baby Mozart music. The newborn immediately responded physically by calming down his body movements as he listened to the toy mobile.

In his toddler years, ‘little Jeffrey’ often spent time playing with an old family Yamaha electric keyboard on the floor, as he listened to favorite demo classical tunes such as Turkish March and Minute Waltz recorded on the keyboard. He watched the Yamaha keyboard screen intently as it displayed music notes moving up and down the staff following the demo tunes. Music symbols and notations found in songbooks soon piqued his curiosity, leading him to ask questions such as “what does augmented D minor mean?” At age 7, Chin participated in a fun introductory group keyboard classes at the Children’s Music Academy in Parker, Colo. He enjoyed the activity so much that his parents decided to sign him up for formal piano lessons. The next year, Chin began studying piano privately with Mrs. Jasmine Steadman, a conservatory-trained pianist with a studio in Aurora, Colo. Under his piano teacher’s careful guidance and expert instruction, he won six consecutive first place piano competition awards in the last three years: Kawai Baker (2011 Competitive II), Schmitt Music (2012 Advanced Competitive II and 2013 Competitive II), Colorado State Music Teachers Association Concerto (2011 Elementary and 2014 Junior), and Steinway Concerto (2012 Middle School). Judges from nearby universities praised him for his musical sensitivity and mature expression in performing Mendelssohn, Bach, Mozart and Liszt. He later began receiving additional bi-weekly technical training from Larry Graham, a former Juilliard School graduate and retired CU Boulder piano professor. In February 2012, Chin performed with the Boulder Symphony Orchestra, playing Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Major: Andante. At age 11, he performed with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO, playing Mozart Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K 453: Allegro. At age 12, Chin was selected to perform in a master class given by Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, Olga Kern, during which he played Chopin’s

Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22. In 2014, he placed first in the Junior Division at a state-wide concerto competition sponsored by CSMTA, which awarded him an opportunity to perform as soloist with the Colorado Chamber Orchestra. Chin plans to study piano in college and dreams of performing as a concert pianist at Carnegie Hall someday. He attends Fox Ridge Middle School in the Cherry Creek School District and goes to Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo. He also attends Great Wall Chinese Academy where he is learning Mandarin. Outside of piano, he enjoys origami, robotics, and tennis. The 12-year-old receives encouragement from his two older sisters, Amanda and Kimberly, who also studied piano, flute and guitar when they were young. Amanda currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, where she is an English instructor at Rikkyo University, and regularly initiates FaceTime chats with the family to stay informed about Jeffrey’s music progress. Kimberly is a recent graduate of CU-Boulder and takes time from her busy schedule as an intern with InterVarsity campus ministry in Fort Collins, Colo. to visit home and listen to Jeffrey practice piano. Jeffrey’s maternal grandmom, Wan-Jam Jeng, who is 80 years old, routinely travels from her home in Plano, TX, to attend his recitals and concerts. Visit Jeffrey Chin’s YouTube channel at www. to hear his music.

Nominate 2014 Asian American Heroes of Colorado! Now in our 6th year, we honor deserving members of the Asian American community, the unsung heroes, the shining stars, the selless leaders. Each selected hero will receive a plaque of recognition and be featured in the May 2014 cover story of Asian Avenue magazine. Nominations due March 31, 2014. For more information or to download the application, visit, e-mail or call 303-937-6888.



Jeffrey Chin is one of an elite group of only three music students state-wide, who will perform their winning selection with the Colorado Chamber Orchestra, a professional orchestra.

This past Thanksgiving, the Chin family enjoyed Jeffrey’s dad’s homecooked Chinese roasted pork, cha xiao rou. His dad, Dewey, is a physician at Kaiser Permanente in Wheat Ridge and his mom, Lana, stays at home to manage the family’s activities.

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Jeffrey Chin | asian avenue magazine


Asian Americans


are choosing and lifestyles.


Despite the challenges and excuses, middle- and upper-class families within Asian communities are maintaining healthy lifestyles in Colorado. Asians/Pacific Islanders are less likely to be obese or overweight and have only one third of the rate of obesity compared to the state’s population as a whole, according to 2009 Health Disparity Fact Sheet for Asians/Pacific Islanders in Colorado and the Office of Health Disparities. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also show that the thinnest Americans are Asian Americans. The report reveals that only 38 percent of Asian American adults have a body mass index over 25, the threshold for being considered overweight. That’s far below the 66 percent rate among whites, 76 percent rate among blacks and 78 percent rate among Latinos. So what are Asian Americans doing to stay fit? Christina Onpeng, health and fitness coach, graduated from University of Colorado Boulder in May 2011. She noticed weight gain and actively shed the increase through a cleansing program called Shakeology. “One of my friends posted how she lost ten pounds from drinking Shakeology and I was desperate so I decided to try it,” said Onpeng, adding she now enjoys jumpstarting others through a fitness journey. “It felt amazing and the weight started to fall off.” Staying Active Exercising is drudgery – same routine, day in and day out. But fitness gurus suggest a minimum of three visits to the gym with about one hour of exercise through cycling or running the treadmill. Fitness coaches maintain that exercise is an essential component to


March 2014 | Cover Story

healthy lifestyles. “I hated exercises and still dread it sometimes but the endorphins after completing a workout make it completely worth it,” Onpeng said. “Once people started noticing, I started to realize the importance of exercises and how it gave me more energy.” Andrew Bui, a student at University of Colorado Denver, admits that part of his motivation to stay in shape is for his appearance. “It is true that if you look good, you feel good,” he said. Bui also believes that achieving personal goals is motivating. “There’s nothing better than setting a physical goal and reaching it,” he said. “Fitness is addicting for me. It relieves stress and boredom. I workout about five to six times a week for two hours. This usually includes weightlifting and cardio. Everything in moderation!” Having a “workout buddy” also helps to stay on track. Bui frequently exercises with his uncle, Terry Rathburn, who has become his informal personal trainer. Rathburn pushes Bui to give 100 percent with each workout. Eating Right Through observations, Onpeng shares that it seems Asian Americans perceive eating healthy means dieting. “The Asian American community sees healthy’ foods as diet and not fuel or nature’s medicine,” Onpeng said. “Even my own family used to make fun of me because I would choose healthier options when we would dine out and I would choose to skip out on dessert.” In addition, cultural notions are attached to food. In a Filipino-American household, parents and older relatives can accuse individuals of being “pleasantly plump” yet offer food in the same greeting. “I think it’s harder for the Asian American community to take care

Staying active and eating right are two ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. With white-collar jobs and nine-to-five schedules, it’s difficult to spend time at the gym, while family obligations are calling loud and clear during the weekdays. Then, during the weekends, it’s easier to sit in front of the television to catch up on shows, lounge around the house and push back the exercise obligation to next week.

But how are Asian Americans doing it right? Andrew Bui (left) and Amos Park (right) live healthy lifestyles by incorporating regular exercise and eating right.

By Mary Jeneverre Schultz | Asian Avenue magazine

of their health because we love food,” Ongpeng said. “We are always greeted by food at family events, visiting family, etc.” For Amos Park, who works full-time in the finance industry, he prepares meals at the beginning of the week to take for lunch. This helps regulate eating out at restaurants and also saves money. Park said, “Fitness is important to me because it gives me more energy to enjoy life’s activities. It all starts with diet and being mindful of what you put into your body. I make sure to eat more veggies and fruits and less junk food.” Once healthy habits set in, it becomes a lifetime commitment. Kelly Trujillo, member of NAAAP Lead Toastmasters, shares her daughter helped her get out of eating processed food. “She threw out oil, butter, sugar, flour, rice – all of it,” Trujillo said. “I was shocked when I came home but it did make sense.” Preventive Health Younger generations and those born in the United States with higher education among the Asian Americans are showing healthy trends, according to Patricia Tabbilos, program coordinator of health projects at the Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC) in Aurora. Tabbilos, Filipino-American, shares she noticed this trend even among her own siblings living in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Asian/Pacific Islander population is as likely to have health insurance as all Coloradans. “It’s about awareness and health education,” said Eri Asano, clinic director for the behavioral health clinic at APDC.

Christina Onpeng is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach, graduate of the extreme workout program Insanity and regularly drinks Shakeology. Contact her on Twitter @ChristinaOnpeng.

Recent figures show a healthy population among Asian Americans. Ninety-one percent of Whites and Asian in Colorado report having good to excellent health, according to the 2013 Health Disparities Report produced by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Office of Health Equity. Another report supports the healthy populations within Asian AmeriAsian American Health | asian avenue magazine


Fitness is important to me because it makes me feel better physically and mentally. It also gives me more energy to enjoy life’s activities. I do physical activities such as working out to help build muscles, running and playing basketball for cardio. - Amos Park, 30 cans mirroring Caucasians. According to the ASA Series on How Race and Ethnicity Matters, Asian Americans are more likely to engage in preventive health practices related to diet, smoking, exercise and use of screen tests. Social Media and Technology Many platforms are available to users, who are interested in tracking their daily habits. Sometimes, it starts as simple as tracking food intake. Whether it is Facebook or Twitter, your friends can also become a support base in achieving goals in weight loss, exercise regimen or just being healthy. “I like to use my social media as a tool to share my journey with others and being able to inspire others to start working out and eating healthy,” Onpeng said. “It’s a way for me to showcase that being healthy can be fun and that eating healthy isn’t boring.” Activity tracking wristbands, such as Fitbit and Jawbone UP, sync to an application on the phone and computer. The personal activity tracker can help reach goals such as losing weight, increasing physical activity and controlling the number of calories consumed. Seeing how much activity you get day-by-day and week-by-week, can be motivating. At the very least, it will make you more mindful of your activity level, which is a huge first step to getting fit. By conducting an Internet search for training programs, you will also find numerous schedules, routines and tips for running, walking or completing daily activities. Rock and Roll Marathons ( and RunDisney ( websites offer a list of suggestions in training for these sport events. Sometimes, it takes an activity such as a marathon to think about healthy lifestyles. Other training programs include: and Longevity While it might be in the genes and ancestral blood lines, living a healthy lifestyle may result in longevity. Take a look at recent figures: It is significant to note that Asian American women have the highest


March 2014 | Cover Story

Lily Herreria, Filipino-American, uses weight equipment to strengthen her legs after a run on the thread mill.

APDC’s Program Coordinator of Health Projects Patricia Tabbilos signs up families and individuals for the necessary health insurance. In the library, she talks with Man Zan Ling, Lin Khua Hau with daughter Cing Sian Xung and son Hang Lian Pau.

There’s nothing better than setting a physical goal and reaching it. Fitness is addicting for me. It relieves stress and boredom. I workout about five to six times a week for two hours. This usually includes weightlifting and cardio. I also play lacrosse and try to eat as healthy as I can. Everything in moderation! - Andrew Bui, 20,

Student, University of Colorado Denver

life expectancy (85.8 years) of any other ethnic group in the U.S. Life expectancy varies among Asian subgroups: Filipino (81.5 years), Japanese (84.5 years), and Chinese women (86.1 years), according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Minority Health. While Asian Americans are healthy, they are not invincible. In 2010, the ten leading causes of death for Asian Americans were: 1. Cancer 2. Heart Disease 3. Stroke 4. Unintentional Injuries 5. Diabetes 6. Influenza and Pneumonia 7. Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases 8. Nephritis, Nephrotic Syndrome, & Nephrosis (Kidney Disease) 9. Alzheimer’s Disease 10. Suicide While Asian Americans are deemed “the thinnest” of all groups, numerous factors may threaten their health, including infrequent medical visits due to the fear of deportation, language and cultural barriers, and the lack of health insurance. Christina Pham, a dental student at University of Colorado said, “Health is important to me because it affects not only the quality of my life, but also the longevity. I want to make sure I am healthy so that I can live a full and happy life!” She says that while she isn’t able to find time for a regular workout, she makes sure what she puts into her body is healthy. “I recently did a five-day juice cleanse, which replaces all meals with juice made from a combination of fruits and vegetables. It’s meant to cleanse the toxins from your body. The energy that your body would normally use towards digesting food goes towards resetting your body to work most efficiently.” Pham’s goal is to replace one meal a day with fresh juice to keep up with the cleanse. Setting goals, like Pham, help to stay on track. If you committed to a New Year’s resolution in living a healthy lifestyle, good for you. “Start with baby steps, don’t deprive your body of treats,” Onpeng said. But if you neglected your New Year’s commitment, hopefully information in this article will motivate you to jump start your personal promise. Mary Jeneverre Schultz is attempting a half-marathon in October. Follow her on Twitter @Jeneverre.

I recently did a five-day juice cleanse, which replaces all meals with juice made from a combination of fruits and vegetables. My goal is to replace one meal a day with fresh juice.

- Christina Pham, 25 Dental Student, University of Colorado

Asian American Health | asian avenue magazine


Peter Bui Asian Avenue magazine

Most people familiar with Asian cuisine usually have some experience with Thai dishes such as pad thai, drunken noodles and maybe some Thai curries. Even popular chain restaurants carry the most well-known dish, pad thai, on their menus. But that is just the shallow end of Thai cuisine which is full of unique flavor profiles built using fresh ingredients and flagrant spices. And if this sounds tempting to you, then Thailicious is where you want to go. Bee Anantatho and her husband Chai Surabotsopon have only been two years removed from their home city of Bangkok where they were classically trained in traditional Bangkok-style cuisine. It only took one visit to Denver to pinpoint the city as the place to open their first restaurant. After two years of hard work, trips back to Bangkok and restaurant management classes, the couple opened Thailicious in December of last year. Like any good restaurant the focus is on the food. While Thailicious offers many dishes, none stand out quite as much as the Kow Mok Gai. This amazing dish is made with grilled chicken breast marinated with a special family herbal recipe that


March 2014 | Restaurant Peek

sits on top of a mound of turmeric fried rice and served with a tangy chili garlic sauce. Thai dishes are usually as colorful as they are tasty, especially the curries. Thailicious’ Traffic Light Curries is a prime example of the unique fusion of flavors. This curry dish offers red curry, yellow curry and green curry just as the name suggests with each one offering different levels of spice and savory flavors and cooked with your preference of meat. This order is great way to sample multiple curries. Noodle lovers must try the Thai Volcano. This Thai style sukiyaki is stir fried with a spicy sesame sauce, and is made with glass noodles, fresh vegetables, and your choice of meat. The great food is only accentuated by the décor which Bee and Chai personally shopped for in Bangkok. Everything from the water cups to wall decorations, to the woven baskets covering the lights is unique. Another perk is that Thailicious showcases a serene view of Sloan’s Lake with an amazing backdrop of our great city’s skyline. Add to that their delicious food and relaxing ambiance, and you have a picture-perfect dining experience.

2045 Sheridan Blvd., Suite E Edgewater, CO 80214 Tel: 303-237-1235 Free Delivery - 3 mile radius Thailicious Hours Mon - Thu: 11am - 9pm | Fri - Sun: 10am - 9pm Lunch Hours Mon-Fri 11am-2pm | Sat-Sun 10am-2pm

Honey Bee Asian Bistro

18541 E Hampden Ave. #126 | Aurora, CO 80013 Tel: 303.400.6117 Located at 7 Hills Plaza, next to Movie Tavern

Peter Bui Asian Avenue magazine

Ever since the very first Chinese restaurants opened in San Francisco circa mid-1800s, Chinese cuisine has grown to become a staple in American dining. In almost every city or town, you can find a Chinese or Asian fusion restaurant. This growing popularity strengthened the foundation for Honey Bee Asian Bistro, which serves many regulars who love the straightforward, all-around good food. Opened in 2008, Honey Bee Asian Bistro is located in the 7 Hills Plaza center in Aurora. The chefs each have more than 30 years of experience, which is seen through the wide selection of dishes. Honey Bee offers four different cuisines—Chinese, Vietnamese,

Asian Bistro

Thai, and Japanese. The menu is extensive, containing several dishes of each cuisine with the majority being Chinese. For starters, the menu offers Thai spring rolls, jalapeno cheese wontons and Vietnamese egg rolls. The egg rolls are fried crispy and served with vegetables and fish sauce to dip in. Honey Bee offers many healthy options like their specialty lemon chicken. The dish is a pan-fried breaded cutlet served with broccoli and topped with a sweet and sour lemon sauce. Another tasty menu item is the garlic string beans with chicken. Fresh green beans are stir-

fried with white meat chicken and garlic. The dish can also be made with pork, tofu, beef, shrimp or soy meat. The restaurant focuses on fresh vegetables and choice meats to provide quality dishes. They also have a vegetarian menu and give the option to add tofu instead of meat. Honey Bee offers take out, delivery and dine in. The restaurant sports a moderate-sized dining area with nice dĂŠcor; they also provide free Wi-Fi. The secret Honey Bee Asian Bistro recipe is to provide patrons with quality food, large portions and friendly service.

Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 9:30pm | Friday and Saturday: 11am - 10pm Online Order Available at | Delivery within a 5 mile radius of restaurant Like on Facebook:

Restaurant Peek | asian avenue magazine


Corky Lee is a product of the volatile ‘60s and ‘70s. He has covered immigrant political injustices, from small protests outside restaurants over unfair wages to issues of police brutality.

Corky Lee A photographer gives passion, dedication and sacrifice to seek photographic justice for what he sees as the underrepresented Asian American experience in the American media.

Corky Lee:

Eyewitness to Asian American Activism

March 5 - 27 Anschutz Medical Campus Health Library 12950 E Montview Blvd Aurora, Colorado 80045 In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights law, CU Denver Asian American Student Services and partners are showcasing the contributions of Asian Americans in the struggle for civil rights with Corky Lee’s exhibit. His body of work expands 40 years and chronicles the diversity and nuances of Asian American life that is not often included in mainstream media.

By Patricia Kaowthumrong | Asian Avenue magazine


March 2014 | Feature

A photograph commemorating the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 inspired Corky Lee to get behind the lens of a camera. However, the Chinese-American photographer, who has been documenting Asian-American culture for more than 43 years, was not captivated by the ingredients of the photograph, but essentially what was missing from the photograph: Chinese workers. Lee learned in junior high school that a crew of 10,000 to 12,000 Chinese laborers helped build the Transcontinental Railroad, but no Chinese workers are included in the famous photograph featured in social studies text books taken at Promontory Point, Utah. “I saw a certain amount of ethnic pride that (the Chinese) had done something to contribute to the development of this country, but in the photograph, there is no evidence that they helped completed it,” says Lee, who has dedicated his life to making AsianPacific Americans more visible. “When someone looks at what’s in the public eye—basically TV, movies, current events and even journalism—they don’t see the diversity of inclusion in America.” From capturing political injustices and activism, to cultural events and milestones, Lee’s portfolio offers an intimate look at the history of Asian-Pacific Islanders in the U.S. An art exhibit showcasing his photographs called “Eyewitness to Asian-American Activism” will be feaLee is lauded as the tured from March “unofficial Asian American 5-27 at the UniverPhotographer Laureate” and sity of Colorado’s his work has been featured Anschutz Medical in Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Campus Health Associated Press, The Villager, Library. and Downtown Express. Lee, a native In a quote from Asianweek New Yorker born magazine, he stated that his in Queens, was photography has a distinct purpose “ …every time I take born Lee Quoork. may camera out of my bag, The family’s last it’s like drawing a sword to name, “Quoork,” combat indifference, injustice was purchased as a and discrimination; trying to “paper son” by Lee’s get rid of stereotypes.” father (Yin Chuck) when he entered the U.S. in 1929. Yin Chuck was able to convince the immigration officials that he was a legitimate American-born citizen by birth, Lee says. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prevented the immigration of Lee’s father and other Chinese until the end of World War II. However, during the World War II, Lee’s father was drafted into service as an arc welder and was part of the renowned Flying Tigers, an American volunteer group hired by the Republic of China to down Japanese war planes prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. That unit was renamed the 13th Army Air Corps when the US declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy, but was decommissioned in 1947, according to Lee. Lee’s mother (Jung Shee) entered the U.S. as a war bride and became naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1960.

“My heritage has a lot of bearing on historical fact,” Lee says. Lee studied American history at Queens College in 1965 and became a community organizer for Two Bridges Neighborhood in Chinatown in 1971. In the early 1970s, he started taking photographs with a borrowed camera and helped found the Asian Media Collective, The New York Times reported. While pursuing his passion for photography, Lee also worked full-time for nearly 30 years at a printing company in Brooklyn, N.Y. Lee’s photojournalistic talent made the front page of the The New York Post in 1975. His photo of a middle-aged ChineseAmerican who had been beaten and was being hauled away by the police fueled a protest against police brutality. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Lee captured images of Pacific Asians and South Asians protesting racial profiling and terrorism; one of the photos earned him as award from the New York Press Association. Lee says that a lot of his photographs continue the heritage of Asian Americans from their mother countries; he likes juxtaposing Asian-Pacific subjects with things that are quintessentially American. But when asked about his greatest achievement or the subjects he photographs best, Lee says the jury is still out. “I’ve been told pretty consistently that I photograph children really well in candid moments, but I tend to disagree,” Lee says. “My money would be on empowering our mental portraiture of Asian Americans in events that illustrate civil rights and activism among Asian-Pacific Americans.” However, Lee is proud to have his photographs featured by organizations such as Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the New-York Historical Society, which will feature his images in an exhibit highlighting “Chinese in America.” Lee, who also is a founding member of the Asian American Journalism Association (AAJA), received the organization’s Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice in 2009. Lee’s upcoming projects include traveling to Denver to set up and lecture at his exhibit and rounding up 145 Asian Americans to pose in May for a reenactment of the image that inspired him to become a photographer. May 10, 2014 will mark the 145th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, and Lee hopes to recruit as many people from across the country as possible to gather at Golden Spike National Park in Utah, where the original photo was taken. Lee’s enthusiasm for Asian-American history also is evident in his extensive knowledge of the subject. From the origin of treats such as Sriracha and fortune cookies, to the experiences of World War II veterans, Lee is a valuable source for insight behind AsianAmerican heritage. His others interests include enjoying Thai and Vietnamese cuisine and following Asian-Pacific Americans in sports like Jeremy Lin and Manny Pacquiao. “These individuals help bring Asian-Pacific Americans to the forefront of acceptance in America, because everyone remembers sports heroes,” Lee says. “Sports has a really big influence on how people think. This is very different than actors and actresses in movies or on TV, because somebody can write a script for you, but nobody can write a script for you in the heat of a critical moment in sports. I get a big kick seeing Asian Americans do well.”

Photographer Corky Lee | asian avenue magazine


Brenda Velasquez Asian Avenue magazine

University of Denver violin professor Linda Wang performs The Butterfly Lovers concerto with the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo by Cliff Lawson

Chinese legend makes its Denver premiere during lovers’ concerto The Denver Philharmonic Orchestra celebrated this year’s Valentine’s Day with an intimate evening of music, drawing from three of the most famous tales of courtship revolving around the theme of young love. The concerto featured the Denver debut of The Butterfly Lovers, a renowned Chinese composition based on the tragic legend of an unconventional romance between a lady-in-disguise and her unsuspecting classmate. This centerpiece was accompanied by accomplished violinist, Linda Wang, a professor at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. “This piece is one of China’s most beloved works,” explained Wang. “A colorful, lush score that combines both Eastern and Western musical traditions. Through melody and musical drama, it tells the ancient tale of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, which can be compared to the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet.” The concertos’ music director Lawrence Golan discovered The Butterfly Lovers while conducting in Taiwan and brought the gem back to share with Denver society on this holiday night inside the Pillar of Fire Church downtown. Setting the mood for romance, staff greeted ladies with long-stemmed red, white and pink carnations at the entrance, inviting guests to pose for a souvenir portrait at a photo booth installed in a corner near the orchestra. Gentle cream lighting and ivory walls welcomed attendees into a heavenly chamber, a warm haven from the outside chill. At half past seven, the modest-sized orchestra whisked the audience into the enchanted world of a classic French fairytale, familiar to Americans in its Disney form recounting the magical story of Sleeping Beauty. Starting off with a jolting bang the concerto flucPhoto by Cliff Lawson

Lawrence Golan, concerto music director


March 2014 | On Scene

tuated between high energy violins and booming drums. Splashing echoes crashed against the church’s high ceiling and thick columns before settling down into soothing waves and finally pooling into a euphoric waltz. The concerto then transitioned into The Butterfly Lovers’ heartbreaking score, the voices of delicate flutes soaring through the air and the sweeping reverberations of the dreamlike harp generating a sense of nostalgia, recalling the doomed lovers who transform into butterflies upon their deaths and float off into the sky together, united in spirit. Wang took her place before the audience and recited from memory the tale of woe, infusing the performance with a poignant surge of sorrow as the piece shifted from periods of tranquility to tensionfilled intervals, Wang’s violin rising dangerously in pitch until safely and demurely fading away into a tinkling close. The tragedy ensued in the third and final act comprising Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite No.2, sparking an ominous aura with its slow, suspenseful opening. The steady tempo continued throughout the piece, a span of trembling tension evoking an image of Juliet and her Romeo sneaking into each other’s arms under the cloak of night. The climax occurred near the end, signaling the demise of the rebellious sweethearts with a lengthy series of booms, gradually waning like a faltering heartbeat. Clapping ardently for a thrilling performance, the audience rose to a standing ovation. Afterwards, a reception gave admirers an opportunity to meet the musicians and thank them for a musical journey commemorating the turmoil of young love. Photo by Rick Matson

Anne Silvas, Albert Ting, Liz Wall and Chelsea Morden on violins

Photo by Cliff Lawson

Emmy Reid on violin

Mehfil supports refugee community Abhinetri Ramaswami NISA

Sushma Bagga (left) and Nishika Ramawami (right) organized last month’s Mehfil event. Photos by Desi Digital Media

NISA brought the community together to celebrate Mehfil on February 9, an evening of classical Indian music, poetry, and extraordinary local talent in the name of a worthy cause. The inspiration for the event originated from the refugee narrative heard at the Colorado Refugee Wellness Center, of families who resettled in the U.S. under such foreign circumstances with the goal of selfsufficiency, including navigating our complex health care system. For all the challenges in refugees’ stories, their experiences are also filled with hope and acts of compassion enacted by people like the dedicated staff at the Wellness Center. Nishika Ramaswami and Sushma Bagga combined their love of the performing arts with their penchant for philanthropy in an endeavor that would not have been possible without the commitment of the world-class artists who volunteered their talent. NISA’s vision helped raise money and awareness with 100 percent of the proceeds allocated toward addressing the need within the local refugee community.

Mile High JACL’s Day of Remembrance event keeps alive lessons of internment Gil Asakawa Mile High Japanese American Citizens League

February 19 is commemorated each year within the Japanese American community nationwide as a Day of Remembrance. The date in 1942 was when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the incarceration of 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. The Mile High chapter of JACL, the Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest Asian civil rights organization in the U.S., marks the day with an annual program that invites the public to learn about internment. This year’s program was held on Feb. 16 at History Colorado Center, the museum where the event was held in 2013. The program began with live music by Taiko with Toni, featuring taiko musician and instructor Toni Yagami. The lively performance in the museum’s main foyer drew a crowd who enjoyed the dynamic sound of traditional Japanese drums. When the music ended, people were ushered into the museum’s adjacent auditorium, where photos of life in Amache, Colorado’s internment camp, were shown on a large screen. The photos were donated to Denver University’s archeology department, which has an ongoing project digging artifacts from Amache. Over 200 people, many who not Japanese American, and many who didn’t know about

Mile High JACL’s Mark Shimoda welcomes audience to Day of Remembrance at History Colorado Center.

what happened to Japanese Americans 70 years ago, attended the Day of Remembrance. Among them was Thornton resident George “Joe” Sakato, a veteran of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, who was recnelty honored by having his image featured in a postage stamp. Mile High JACL board member Mark Shimoda, who organized the Day of Remembrance event, welcomed the audience and introduced keynote speaker Patty Limerick, a professor of history and Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado. She gave a historical overview of the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, and also sprinkled her speech with personal anecdotes of meeting and becoming friends with Gordon Hirabayashi, one of the three men who fought internment all the way to the Supreme Court.

Then Limerick was joined by Min Mochizuki and Rose Tanaka, two internment survivors, who shared stories of their imprisonment, including the controversial loyalty questionnaire all internees over 17 years old were required to answer. Two questions in particular rankled Japanese Americans, because they assumed these American citizens were loyal to Emperor Hirohito of Japan, and asked if these prisoners would be willing to fight in the U.S. military. Tanaka and Mochizuki’s personal perspective added a touching contemporary relevance to the historical facts, and left audience members pondering the possibility of the injustice of ethnic imprisonment happening again. That’s precisely why it’s important for Mile High JACL to host this program every February – so that the lessons of the past won’t be forgotten. For more information, visit www. On Scene | asian avenue magazine


Photos by Travis Broxton

Nathan Yip Foundation raised over $300,000 at their Chinese New Year Gala on

February 1 at the Marriott Denver Tech Center. Proceeds will fund projects in Colorado and around the world that support vulnerable youth through education. Entertainment included 10-year-old contortionist Undraa Battulga and her sister, Uyanga, a violinist and senior at Denver School of the Arts; and a performance by youngsters from the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. The gala ended with host Jimmy Yip and board member Larry Chan leading the committee in the “Gangnam Style� dance.

Photos by Peter Bui

OCA Colorado celebrated its lunar new year dinner on February 8 at Empress Seafood.

The evening began with a lion dance performance by Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu, followed by musical performances from Ellen Guo and Hing Ryder. Guests also had the opportunity to win many door prizes and raffle drawings.

Photos by Kawafune Photography

Asian Pacific Development Center welcomed its friends, supporters and honored

guests to the Arvada Center for Arts & Humanities on February 8 to celebrate the Year of the Horse. The cocktail hour was an opportunity to socialize, get dressed up with henna tattoo, courtesy of Denver Henna, and have pictures taken. From the Pacific Pride and Island Hearts dancers to raffle drawings and silent auction, the night was full of excitement and laughters. 22

March 2014 | On Scene

Asian Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors elect Clarence Low to President On February 1, the Board of Directors of the Asian Chamber of Commerce (ACC) elected Clarence Low as President of the Chamber. He takes on all the duties of the role including business development, membership retention, community engagement and administrative responsibilities. “The decision was unanimous,” said Lynn Sargent, ACC board member. “Clarence has proven his capabilities and passion for this position with all of the exemplary work he has done for the Chamber on a voluntary basis this past year.” Clarence Low, a member of the ACC since 2007, is also President/ CEO at Archipelago Web. In 2013, he received the Asian American Heroes of Colorado award. Low has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science from The University of California, Santa Cruz. “I am honored to be elected to this position at the Asian Chamber of Commerce,” said Low. “I look forward to continuing to build bridges within our community and forging new alliances with our partners – locally and internationally.” The Asian Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)6 promotes Asianowned businesses and assists corporations, government agencies and universities in enhancing their diversity in procurement, project bids, employee candidate pools, customers and student populations. The ACC’s membership is over 800 individual, small business, corporate and nonprofit members, and led by a volunteer board of directors comprising of 14 members that represent all Asian ethnicities and countries, as well as those interested in Asian business and cultures. Please visit to learn more about the Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Clarence Low, newly elected president of Asian Chamber of Commerce, has been a member of ACC since 2007. On Scene | asian avenue magazine


Arthur Chu continues winning streak on Jeopardy!


uring Arthur Chu’s sixday winning streak on Jeopardy!, he sometimes interrupted host Alex Trebek and cut in before the host could finish a sentence. Chu, a 30-year-old insurance compliance analyst and voiceover artist, would often jump to the hardest clues on the board first and furiously tap his buzzer whenever he knew the answer. Chu’s disruptive style

of play dubbed him as either a “hero” or “villain” to fans of the game show. The Jeopardy! contestant, from Broadview Heights, OH, returned to the show in February and won $180,000 in his coffer. He said he hopes to donate some of his winnings to a research foundation to find a cure for fibromyalgia, a disease that afflicts his wife, a novelist.

Obama to Nominate Jane Chu to Head Arts Endowment


resident Obama announced his intention to nominate Jane Chu, a pianist and arts administrator from Kansas City, Mo., to lead the National Endowment for the Arts, which has been without a permanent chief for more than a year. Since 2006, Ms. Chu has been president and chief executive of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City. An energetic fund-raiser, she oversaw the construction and opening of the $326 million center, which has been lauded for helping to revitalize the downtown area.



Diversity equals higher ratings and revenue on television

iversity is not only the right thing for Hollywood to embrace, but it’s also profitable. That’s the conclusion of the 2014 Hollywood Diversity Report, Making Sense of the Disconnect by UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center. The study found shows with 41 to 50 percent non-white characters attracted the highest ratings on broadcast television. In cable, the same held true for shows with 11 to 20 percent diversity casting. Despite that, there is still a lack of diversity in both broadcast and cable with just five percent of lead characters going to minorities on broadcast television. Just under 11 percent of the lead actors on cable are non-white. March 2014 | National News

Malaya Watson makes it to American Idol’s Top 13


ixteen-year-old FilipinoAmerican Malaya Watson from Southfield, Michigan, has made it as a Top 13 finalist in the 13th season of “American Idol.” The bubbly girl with the big hair and the big smile sang Ray Charles’ “Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)” which earned her a spot on the magic 13. Pointing out to her that her

name means “freedom” in Tagalog, Malaya quipped, “Yes, I am here to represent the Filipinos too!” “I want to give back to the Filipino people because of the disaster that happened to them in the Philippines. I want to help,” she said, referring to super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that devastated many towns and cities in the Visayas on November 8.

Donna Mercado Kim could be the first Filipino American women to be elected to Congress


onna Mercado Kim is a Democratic politician currently serving as the 13th President of the Hawaii Senate. She has been acknowledged as the top contender for the first congressional seat vacated by U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. ”I believe I am that (strong and experienced) leader and have the record to prove it,” Kim says on her website. If elected, Kim would be the first Filipino American woman in the Capitol. She would join fellow Filipino Americans elected to the federal legislature, Robert Scott of Virginia, a Democrat, and Steve Austria of Ohio, a Republican, in Congress.


Baby Leukemia Patient Isaac Needs Your Help

ast summer, six-month-old Isaac was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. The treatment requires several rounds of chemotherapy and ultimately, a bone marrow transplant. His parents, Sarah and Joel, have essentially lived at the hospital with Isaac since July. The family lives in Dallas now, but they are looking to move next to a clinic in another part of the country to give Isaac the best treatment he can get. Their community — “Team Isaac” — has put together a fundraiser to help cover the medical expenses and associated costs. To donate, please go to:

Legal Column:

What is lobbying?

Welcome to the first Asian Avenue magazine monthly legal column! Annie Guo, President of Asian Avenue, and I discussed creating this legal column because many people in our communities are still woefully clueless of the legal system. I hope that my column will help educate our communities about their rights and how to navigate the legal system. For this month, I will write about lobbying and why all of us need to be active in our government. Next month, I will write about various bills that are pending before the Colorado State Legislature. What is lobbying? To put it simply, lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decision made by government officials. Most people have a negative opinion of lobbying because they think that lobbyists work only for wealthy people and big corporations. In reality, lobbying is done by many different types of organizations, and some of the organizations employ lobbyists to make sure that the government does not discriminate against minority groups. Who can lobby? Lobbyists come from all walks of life because there is no formal training or licensing requirement to become a lobbyist. Most professional lobbyists began their careers working as an aide in a congressional office or in a law firm. However, anyone can become a lobbyist because the First Amendment gives you the right to petition government officials. Can non-profit organizations lobby elected officials? The answer is yes. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization can engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity can cause the organization to lose its tax-exempt status. The IRS has two tests for determining whether a non-profit organization is engaging in too much lobbying. The first test is a subjective “substantiality test” based on the facts and circumstances of each case. The second test is the “expenditure test,” which is based on the amount of money spent for lobbying. Both of these tests are too complicated to

explain in this column, so I advise you to consult with a lawyer if you have any questions about these two tests. Please keep in mind that non-profit organizations are expressly prohibited from participating in any political campaign for any candidate for public office. However, they can conduct educational meetings, distribute educational materials, or hold educational town hall forum without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. Why should we lobby our government officials? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in America. Our population grew by 45.6 percent from 2000 to 2010, which is four times faster than the growth rate for U.S. population. However, despite our growth rate, our communities tend to have the lowest voter turnout among any racial and ethnic group. We also have very few AAPI elected officials at the federal and state level. It is important for all of us to participate in our government especially if we want our voices to be heard. I hope that this short article encouraged you to be more active in your government.


Harry received his law degree from the University of Colorado Law School. He has his own law firm and is the current president of the Mile High chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. In 2012, Harry was awarded the Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award by the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado and the Arapahoe County Bar Association. He also received the 2012 Mayor’s Diversity Award for his advocacy work on behalf of the refugee community. In 2014, he was selected to be on the Colorado Rising Stars list by the Colorado Super Lawyers magazine. For questions or comments, contact Harry at Legal Column | asian avenue magazine


All That Glistens:

Incense Tray by Tsuishu Toyogoro

Box With Turkish Bellflowers by Suzuki Masaya

Vase With Cranes Carp Orchids And Chrysanthemums by Iwasa Hoshu


March 2014 | Art: Japanese Lacquer

A Century of Japanese Lacquer Tucked in a corner of the Denver Art Museum, a tiny gallery houses an ethereal collection. Inside the black-walled salon, soft yellow light falls upon four panels containing thirty artworks gleaming and polished to perfection for their debut. Upon entering the room, visitors can read the history behind the lacquer tree, indigenous to China, India, and Tibet and introduced to Japan thousands of years ago. The tree’s toxic sap became a venerable art medium, yielding vessels esteemed for their lightweight, durable and versatile qualities that have allowed lacquer ware to evolve and persevere. Gazing through the glass encasement, the visitor finds that the majority of these highly-decorated artworks are functional pieces, serving as glossy containers and impressive folding screens; transforming ordinary household items into extraordinary masterpieces, the artists imbued the everyday life with an inspiring sense of elegance. A manifestation of the pieces’ balance between imagination and utility, the artisans frequently chose realistic natural subjects like cranes, rabbits, bamboo and chrysanthemums, but framed them within an air of mystique. Decorating the surface of a large square tray for example, a tangerinecolored fish with wing-like fins leaps into the air surrounded by a sweeping wave of golden flecks, its eye shining with iridescent mother-of-pearl, glowing with a celestial aura. Most striking, the vibrant creature exists suspended against a pure black barren canvas, caught in a moment of powerful stillness, a glistening organism born out of silence. This ebony plane in fact characterizes many of the pieces, portraying a vacuum of space which, unlike a black hole, begets creation; thus, rather than perceive its emptiness as a grave, the craftsmen likely viewed a void as an arena for divine genesis, housing a realm of wondrous possibility. Their creation spanning three eras: Taisho (1912-1926), Showa (19261989) and Heisei (1989-present), the works’ designs reflect the changing styles of the decades. One teardrop-shaped vase for example, resembled a 60s psychedelic lava lamp with a red-orange weather-map pattern floating along the contours. Another avant-garde artist defied the symmetrical geometry of his predecessors’ lacquer art by molding a fluid-like box with sloping sides and incorporating transparent materials; his plant imagery features dissected leaves exposing a tangled web of veins superimposed upon classical gold-plated blades, resulting in a semi-abstract work. These forward-thinking artisans incorporated new techniques and styles to generate a jarring interaction between tradition and modernity within one body of space. Standing in the middle of the gallery, a display counter provides insight into the intricate lacquer-making process. Accompanied by a heavy one-inch deep booklet explaining vocabulary and techniques, the sample box, which required three years to put together, showcases specialized tools and diverse materials: vials of gold and silver powder lie next to shards of precious metals. Common ingredients for lacquer ware include wood, charcoal, shells, and porcelain with a color palette dominated by opaque shades of red and brown, recalling the natural subjects’ earthly habitats. Lacquer ware’s prominent motif of layering adds depth and three-dimensionality to the vessels, giving them pronounced texture and raising their dynamic compositions into the holder’s appreciative hands. These brilliant treasures represent centuries of Japanese tradition, enduring through the years as artifacts of stunning beauty. All That Glistens is on view at the Denver Art Museum in the North Building Level 5 until Oct. 5, 2014. For more information, please visit www.

Article and Photos by Brenda Velasquez

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When the the Monkeys Scatter

Tree Falls

Meaning that when the master falls from power, those hanging on to him lose their support.

Calligraphy by Harrison X. Tu, Confucius Classroom in Denver

Early in the southern Song Dynasty, Cao Yong became a high official after he aligned himself with Qin Hui, who unjustly occupied the post of Prime Minister. Many people vied with each other to fawn on Cao Yong. Only his wife’s brother Li Desi refused to have anything to do with him. Cao was displeased with him and often bullied him. But Li Desi would not yield. After Qin Hui died, all his followers fell from power and Cao Yong was banished to Xinzhou. Li Desi write a prose poem entitled “When the Tree Falls the Monkeys Scatter” and sent it to Cao Yong. It was a satirical work full of cutting jests, in which he compared Qin Hui to a tree and Cao Yong and his like to a pack of monkeys. Cao Yong almost died from anger after reading it. - A Collection of Stories and Notes Compiled by Tao Zongyi of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)




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