Asian Avenue magazine - February 2019

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asian avenue magazine

Connecting Cultures Linking Lives

February 2019 Volume 14 Issue 2

DOWN to EARTH with Jaidison

Japanese American artifacts on display at History Colorado

An Education in Japan

The Confucius Institute at

Community College of Denver The Confucius Institute at Community College of Denver is a Chinese language and cultural learning center, established in 2007 with the support of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), to promote Chinese language training and intercultural understanding. Our programs and services include: n Noncredit Chinese language and cultural workshops n Private Chinese language tutoring n Chinese language proficiency testing n Scholarships to study in China n China summer camps n Seasonal Chinese cultural events n Seasonal professional development training for Colorado K-12 Mandarin teachers n An educational resource center For more information about the Confucius Institute, contact: Jane Lim n 303-352-6510




*FOLLOW US FOR OPENING SPECIALS Find us on @TeaStreetDenver Visit our website 4090 E. Mississippi Ave., Denver, CO 80246 *LIMITED TIME OFFER

An Evening with

YOU and YOUR ORGANIZATION are invited to an

EVENING of SOUL-FUL NETWORKING Saturday, March 9, 2019

ARVADA EVENTS CENTER 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard - Arvada CO featuring

MOTOWN LEGENDS REVUE with RON IVORY & One on One and The Miles Apart Band

EAT 6:30 Cash Bar and light Hors D’oeuvres MEET JARCC and other Denver organizations and communities GREET Exchange Educational, Cultural and Heritage programs to work together to serve and strengthen our communities

BEAT 6:30-7:30 Enjoy networking and the Soul Train Dance Floor 7:45 Seating for showtime

SEAT Purchase tickets at: $45.00 + $4.37 handling fee Preferred seating is assigned by order of purchase. Advanced purchase is suggested for preferred seating by Feb. 23, 2019. $55.00 at door. For more information contact: JARCC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization

F: IV F e g: CDum n l ri n u a vo at m lm e F o Fi WIn

March 1-3






Alamo Drafthouse cinema Sloans Lake 4255 W. Colfax Ave. Denver, CO 80204 For more info, please visit: and

Colorado Dragon Film Festival Brought To You By Dragon 5280 and Partnered with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Golden Shanghai Asian Restaurant

● The Best Chinese Restaurant by 710 AM Restaurant Show ● The Best Chinese Restaurant by the 1430 KEZW Restaurant Show ● Voted 2007 Top 100 Chinese Restaurant in the US

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CATER YOUR NEXT EVENT! $45 for 50 pieces of sushi


Warm up with a bowl!




2907 Huron St. Unit 103 Denver, CO 80202 Tel: 720.639.2911

Mon - Sat: 5pm - 1am | Sun: 4pm - 9pm

48 parking spots available behind the building!






A collection of Japanese American artifacts Contested Histories will be on display February 15-17 at History Colorado



10 11

Event calendar




Denver educator Priscilla Rahn reflects on the education system in Japan during a recent visit to the country


Modeling with Downs: Jeanette Martinez and Chai Saignaphone aim for more awareness of Down syndrome through the experiences of their son, Jaidison

Winter is not over yet! Learn more about what you can do in Colorado





With the help of physical therapy and other medical care, the Saignaphones share the milestones and triumphs of their son Jaidison.

Longmont to host annual Chinese New Year Celebration, February 16

How to sell your commercial property and what to look for in a broker



News across the nation



American Panda by Gloria Chao


Q&A interview with the author



12 6

February 2019 | Table of Contents


29 ASIAN AVENUE MAGAZINE P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 E-mail:

Director General Jerry Chang attends Taiwanese Flag-raising ceremonies

Sakura Foundation honored with Martin Luther King, Jr. Business Award

Find us @AsianAveMag


Dear Asian Avenue readers, By the time you are reading this, we will be embarking on the Year of the Pig! There are still several Lunar New Year/ Chinese New Year celebrations taking place around town! Don’t miss your opportunity to watch dragon/lion dancing and other cultural performances! Or you will have to wait until next January! Thank you to those who joined us for our annual dinner celebration; we always have such a great time connecting with our readers and friends in the community! I want to thank the Saignaphone family for being so vulnerable and open to sharing their story about raising Jaidison, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. His parents, Jeanette and Chai, hope to raise more awareness about Down syndrome and ‘change the face of cuteness’ through this cover story, as well as their Instagram profile @modeling_with_downs. We hope you will check it out! Each February, we honor and remember the 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, who were incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II. The annual Day of Remembrance event hosted by the Mile High chapter of JACL will explain the significance and impact of February 19, 1942 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. Learn more by participating in the discussion on Sunday, February 17 at History Colorado or visit the exhibit Contested Histories (page 8).

Annie Guo VanDan, President Asian Avenue magazine | Published by Asian Avenue Magazine, Inc. P.O. Box 221748 Denver, CO 80222-1748 Tel: 303.937.6888 |


asian avenue Publisher & Founder CHRISTINA YUTAI GUO

Marketing Manager JOIE HA



Senior Designer C.G. YAO

Staff Writer AMY NG



on the cover


Jeanette Martinez and Chai Saignaphone share their experience of raising a child with Down syndrome. Jaidison, who is now 8 years old, is full of love and happiness. He is involved in organizations including the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association. Photo by: Maria Tripodi

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contributing writers Danchen Astle, Rita Liu, Priscilla Rahn

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contributing photographers Maria Tripodi Asian Avenue magazine (ISSN 19321449) 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.


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President’s Note | asian avenue magazine


Estelle Ishigo Title unknown 1943 Oil on canvas Barrack nameplate belonging to N. Hirooka and H. Fukayama

Japanese American National Museum Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection (2015.100.15)

Japanese American National Museum Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection (2015.100.71)

Contested Histories: Art and Artifacts from the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection Japanese American artifacts from WWII American concentration camps come to Denver, February 15-17, 2019

Calligraphy on scroll, artist unknown Ink on paper Japanese American National Museum Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection (2015.100.46)


February 2019 | Museum Exhibit

Allen Hendershott Eaton’s historic 1952 book, Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps, explored art and craft objects created by persons of Japanese descent while wrongfully incarcerated in the World War II American concentration camps. It was one of the first books to examine any aspect of the lives of the 120,000 inmates. In the course of conducting research for the book and a never-realized exhibition of camp artifacts, Eaton amassed a significant personal collection of such artifacts. After many years of lying forgotten in storage, the collection was inherited by a family friend of Eaton’s, who in April 2015 attempted to put it up for auction. An outcry arose from Japanese American community leaders and activists, who rallied successfully to stop the insensitive sale of these important artifacts of Japanese American history. Ultimately, the collection

was transferred to the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) for safekeeping. It was displayed at JANM in early 2018. A pop-up version of Contested Histories is now traveling to other locations in the US, including Denver, for additional viewing and information gathering. The display includes physical or digital representation of every item in the collection—more than 400 individual photographs, sculptures, paintings and watercolors, jewelry items, vases, beads, nameplates, and other items handmade by Japanese Americans while enduring incarceration in the WWII camps. In addition to providing the opportunity to see a collection that inspired strong emotions and decisive actions within the Japanese American community, Contested Histories is intended to help gather information about each individual object so that the museum’s efforts to preserve and catalog

Asian Culture Gala Sumi-e painting, artist unknown Ink on paper Japanese American National Museum Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection (2015.100.40)

March 2, 2019


7:00 PM-10:00 PM Check In: 6:00 PM-7:00 PM


Contested Histories: Art and Artifacts from the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection Feb. 15–17, 2019 | 10am to 5pm Free and open to the public History Colorado Center 1200 N. Broadway | Denver, CO 80203 Tel: 303.447.8679

(16 and up)


(Ages 7-15) (6 and under)

All Saint's Catholic Church


2559 S Federal Blvd, This fundraising event Denver, CO 80219 will raise money for Children's Hospital. There will be live performances from different Asian Cultures and food will be provided. We hope hope to to see see you you there! there! We

If you have any questions, contact Judy Tran at or Katherine Nguyen at

Hosted By : the collection can be as complete as possible. Camp survivors and their family members and friends are encouraged to share with JANM information they know or remember about the objects, including who is depicted in the many photographs, most of which were shot by photographers working for the War Relocation Authority. This project was funded, in part, by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. Additional support was provided by George and Brad Takei, the Earle K. & Katherine F. (Muto) Moore Foundation, and Richard Sakai. The exhibit will be on display at History Colorado Center in Denver from February 15 to 17, 2019, 10am to 5pm. It is free and open to the public. Contested Histories is presented as part of the 2019 Day of Remembrance events hosted by the Mile High chapter of the JACL and History Colorado.





upcoming events VSA Boulder’s Lunar New Year Show Saturday, Feb. 9 | 7 to 10pm University of Colorado Boulder - Glenn Miller Ballroom 1669 Euclid Avenue Free and open to the public Event on Facebook Hosted by the Vietnamese Student Association, this year’s lunar new year show will feature lion dancing, a traditional girls dance and a co-ed dance, a modern dance and skit. Special guest performances by: Vietnamese artist Hue Thy and YouTube singer Will Jay. There will also be free Vietnamese food! Doors open at 6:30pm.

Benchmark Theater presents Wakey, Wakey by Will Eno Show runs through Feb. 16, Thursdays to Saturdays The Bench at 40W 1560 Teller St, Lakewood $30 General | $25 Student/ Senior/Veteran wakey “Is it now? I thought I had more time.” A man explores the journeys that everyone takes to eventually get to the same place, as he spends the remainder of days celebrating his life. In the process, he shares what is worth treasuring in this funny and moving story. Actor Augustur Truhn and actress Arlene Rapal are part of this production.


February 2019 | Upcoming Events

2019 Chinese New Year Celebration Saturday, Feb. 16 | 2 to 5pm Silver Creek High School 4901 Nelson Rd, Longmont Free and open to the public

Join the celebration for lion dancing (right at 2pm), Japanese taiko drumming, Kung Fu, a traditional Chinese fashion show, performances by the Longmont Youth Symphony, Chinese dance, chorus, educational hands-on activity booths, art shows, and food sampling.

Day of Remembrance Sunday, Feb. 17 | 1 to 3pm History Colorado 200 N Broadway, Denver Free and open to the public event/day-remembrance-events/2019/02/15

Keynote speaker Satsuki Ina, who was born in the Tule Lake Segregation Center, a Japanese American concentration camp, will focus on the women of the Japanese American experience. Following, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A with audience members.

Send community events to

Chinese New Year Dinner Celebration Sunday, Feb. 17 4:30 to 8:30pm Empress Seafood Restaurant 2825 W. Alameda Ave, Denver $55 General | $38 Student $28 Under Age 10 Celebrate with the Denver Kunming Sister Cities Committee as we usher in the Year of the Pig. Enjoy a 10-Course banquet, lion dance, silent auction, and prizes!

Colorado Dragon Film Festival ​March 1-3 Alamo Drafthouse 4255 W. Colfax Ave, Denver Tickets available at: This year, Colorado’s only Asian film festival celebrates the creative presence and projects of women on screen, behind the scenes, and in the community! Films featured are from India, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Denmark! In partnership with CU Denver, local films will also be shown.

Asian Culture Gala Saturday, March 2 | 7 to 10pm Church of All Saints 2559 S Federal Blvd, Denver $25 General | $12 Students Event on Facebook The Asian Student Association at CU Denver invites you to the Asian Culture Gala. Start preparing that appetite and those flashy dance moves for a night of food, performers, and most importantly, sharing in the beauty of different cultures and a common humanity. The event celebrates diversity, while simultaneously seeks to educate and empower the attendees. A percentage from each ticket purchased will be donated to Children’s Hospital!

Center for Asian Pacific American Women Regional Conference Saturday, March 9 8am to 5pm Community College of Denver, Confluence Building 800 Curtis Street, Denver

CAPAW’s “Building Whole-Person Leaders of the Future” regional conference is built on a mission to support and develop ethical and compassionate leaders who bring passion, purpose and authenticity.

ASIAN-PACIFIC ASSOCIATION OF LONGMONT (A-PAL) The Asian-Pacific Association of Longmont (A-PAL) was formed in 2010 in response to the need for cohesion within the Asian community, and to address the isolation of Asians in the larger Longmont/Boulder communities in Colorado. It was the vision of A-PAL founder, Rita Liu, to provide opportunities for the people of all backgrounds to experience and understand Asian people and traditions through cultural exchange, and to have them create new connections by working together on multicultural and educational projects. While A-PAL’s original intent was to showcase Asian culture, it quickly evolved into a cooperative effort with the community to promote multicultural awareness in all forms and across multiple platforms. A-PAL now collaborates with Longmont Multicultural Action Committee, City of Longmont, St. Vrain Valley School District, Silver Creek Leadership Academy (SCLA) at Silver Creek High School, and other cultural and educational organizations.


CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION Saturday, February 16 | 2pm to 5pm Silver Creek High School Longmont, CO Free and open to the public The annual Chinese New Year Initiative is A-PAL’s flagship event, drawing in over 1,600 people from Longmont, Boulder County, and surrounding regions. Preparation takes the better part of a year and includes hundreds of volunteers, adults and students. The program is multifold: Multiple organizations from across the region present a variety of cultural performances; authentic Asian cuisine is provided by local businesses; and, guests enjoy numerous interactive educational, cultural, and science activities and exhibits. Using the Chinese New Year Initiative, A-PAL mentors students at SCLA. Over the academic year, approximately 150 SCLA students learn about the process of planning, organizing, and managing a major project as they assist with the Chinese New Year Initiative. A-PAL also works with elementary schools, teaching

Chinese brush painting and showcasing the students’ art at the Chinese New Year Celebration. In the academic arena, A-PAL has integrated multiculturalism programs into the Silver Creek High School curriculum, introducing Chinese language classes, and facilitating student exchange programs between Silver Creek and schools in China. A-PAL has educated students and the community on environmentally friendly ways to operate by making their Chinese New Year Initiative a Zero Waste event. A-PAL offers community resource references that are applicable to those from all backgrounds. These include assistance in securing translation and interpretation services, finding language and citizenship classes, and finding medical and legal providers for those in need of those services.


This year’s program includes Lion Dance, Japanese Taiko Drumming, KungFu, Traditional Chinese Fashion Show, performances by the Longmont Youth Symphony, Chinese dance, chorus, 15 educational hands-on activity booths, two art shows, and food sampling. The SCLA will showcase their seven Capstone projects. The St. Vrain Innovation Center will provide fun, interactive projects showcasing the latest technology in areas of robotics, drones, and virtual reality.

CONTACT Rita Liu | Founder & President Asian-Pacific Association of Longmont |

Upcoming Event | asian avenue magazine


The Fushimi-Inari Fox Shrine is the head shrine of the god Inari, located in Kyoto, Japan.

Miyajima Island is one of the most scenic spots in Japan.

An Education in Japan By Priscilla Rahn

This fall, I was honored to join ten Asian American leaders from across the country who were chosen to participate in a unique person-to-person exchange trip to Japan. Part of the KAKEHASHI Project, which serves as a bridge between the people of Japan and the United States (KAKEHASHI means “arched bridge”), the experience left me with a deep appreciation for Japan’s remarkable people, culture, history and customs. Every day of our weeklong adventure was packed with enriching experiences — from learning about the Japanese economy and retirement system and touring the Japanese Stock Exchange to visiting the beautiful shrines of Kyoto. As an educator here in Colorado, serving as Chair of the Asian Education Advisory Council (AEAC) for Denver Public Schools, I was fascinated to learn about Japan’s educational system. Our meeting with officials at Japan’s Ministry of Education and tour of Kanagawa Sohgoh High School, a high-performing, comprehensive public school outside of Tokyo, offered a window into a successful system that is very much distinct from America’s pedagogy.


February 2019 | Op-Ed

For example, each of Japan’s 47 prefectures (prefectures are districts, much like counties in the U.S.) hires teachers and assign them to schools. Principals do not hire teachers. Also, teachers spend no more than five years at one school. This creates a dynamic in which educators benefit from exposure to new settings, share best practices and students experience a more diverse array of educators. Also, prefectures control budgets for schools under their jurisdictions. This stands in sharp contrast to most American school systems, which allocate budgets per pupil and give principals and school committees more flexibility and authority over the allocation of resources. As Japan is a global leader in technology, I was surprised that I did not see a single laptop, tablet or other modern digital tool in the classrooms. The instruction style is “old school,” with teachers writing on chalkboards and students using paper and pencil. This is designed to build a learning environment with fewer distractions that is conducive to concentration. While the instructional tools I observed were minimalist, teachers employed high-impact, dynamic in-

Visiting Kanagawa Prefectural - Kanagawa Sohgoh High School Left: Students in English language class that I had the joy of discoursing with!


IN JAPAN Principals do not hire teachers. Also, teachers spend no more than five years at one school. This creates a dynamic in which educators benefit from exposure to new settings, share best practices and students experience a more diverse array of educators.

structional strategies. For example, students in the English language classroom were asked to read an article and then share their opinions in small groups. The teachers were very much engaged in learning with their students and asked probing questions. Every aspect of the student experience reflected Japan’s cultural values, including community, shared responsibility and cleanliness. In many classrooms, students had a place to leave their shoes before entering the classroom. Each was supplied with several brooms and dust pans, a clear indication that maintaining a clean and orderly learning environment was a community responsibility. Also, each floor of the school had a student lounge area with tables and chairs made and decorated by students. While it is difficult to fully weigh and assess the pros and cons of our different

Meeting with Kiyoto Tsuji, Parliamantarian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

educational systems, I know there is much we can learn from the Japanese people in this area and others. And, they are certainly very open and interested in learning more about America and hearing from our people. Throughout Japan, I experienced remarkably welcoming, kind and polite people. Whether in a store, restaurant, office building or riding public transportation, our group was greeted warmly and sent off with a bow and gratitude. One thing is for sure: I look forward to returning to Japan. I am so grateful for our Consul-General Hirakoba, the Japanese government and the Japan International Cooperation Center for continuing to build positive relationships between America and Japan. I have many new friends and lessons learned that I will treasure for a lifetime.


Chair, Asian Education Advisory Council (AEAC), Denver Public Schools National Board Certified Music Teacher An Education in Japan | asian avenue magazine


Jeanette Martinez and Chai Saignaphone, the loving parents of Jaidison, manage the Instagram account @modeling_with_downs to raise awareness about Down syndrome.

By Annie Guo VanDan

Modeling with Downs Jaidison Saignaphone is changing the face of cuteness!

There is a saying that goes, ‘If you have seen one individual with Down syndrome, you have only seen ONE individual with Down syndrome.’ Just because two people are diagnosed with the same thing, doesn’t mean they will have the same life experiences. Everyone is different and everyone grows at their own pace. Photos by Maria Tripodi


February 2019 | Cover Story

He has brought so much joy and happiness to our family, and he loves to share his happiness to anyone and everyone! The only thing Jaidison does not share is, his food! Jaidison Saignaphone (age 8) loves to run, jump and ride his bicycle. At the time he was diagnosed with Down syndrome, his parents were told he may never be able to walk or talk. At eight years old, Jaidison Saignaphone enjoys some of the best things in life—playing basketball and soccer, eating at his favorite restaurants and traveling the world. When Jaidison was born, he was diagnosed with Down syndrome. According to the CDC, Down syndrome continues to be the most common chromosomal disorder. Each year, about 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the US (1 in every 700 babies). In 2016, his parents Chai Saignaphone and Jeanette Martinez began the Instagram account @modeling_with_ downs as a way to share the day-to-day experiences of Jaidison and shift any negative perceptions about Down syndrome. According to Jeanette: “We want to show the rest of the world that although Jaidison has Down syndrome, it has not stopped him from laughing at his favorite shows, going to school, making friends, shopping at the mall or being a lovable son. And that’s why Modeling with Downs exists, to show that you can live your life no matter what.” Jaidison knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to express himself. The photos shared on the account highlight his silly personality as well as his active involvement with Down syndrome organizations and communities. Looking Back When Sysanga Saignaphone heard the news that her nephew Jaidison had Down syndrome, she was heartbro-

ken. She said it was difficult at first, since it was all new for their family. Now as Sysanga reflects on the past eight years, she says, “Jaidison has grown to be such a lovable boy with unrestricted love for anyone.” “We have learned and shared so many challenges and experiences together as a family, especially his parents Jeanette and Chai. I am so proud to see how much they have done for Jaidison.” Jeanette, who is Mexican-American, and Chai, who is Laotian-American, met while both working at Wal-Mart in 2009. Chai asked her out to a movie one day, and the rest is history. Who knew that their son Jaidison would later be born on the same day as their anniversary? It may not have been a romantic love story, Jeanette says, but it was a love that was meant to be. Giving a Baby the Best Life Possible “After giving birth, we were informed that our baby showed physical signs of Down syndrome,” says Jeanette. “One week later, the doctor told us that he was positive for Down syndrome. I tried to remain calm, but when I went back to my room, I cried.” “We were also told that Jaidison may not be able to walk or talk due to the diagnosis, and all I felt was depressed.” And then, the news got worse. After Jeanette was discharged from the hospital, the doctor called and said three Modeling with Downs | asian avenue magazine


holes were found in Jaidison’s heart. “The news made us more attached to Jaidison. We just wanted to be with him 24/7 and do whatever it took to give him the best life possible.” The Love of Parents Jaidison stayed in the NICU for one month due to a low toned jaw that made it hard for him to eat. He also needed oxygen support because his lungs weren’t strong enough on their own. During this month, Chai would wake up at 5 a.m. for work, while Jeanette would head to the hospital to stay all day for Jaidison’s feedings. When Chai got off work at 5 p.m. after a 12-hour shift, he would rush over to the hospital to give Jaidison his last feeding of the day. “There were days we didn’t go home and just slept in the waiting room because staring at an empty crib at home was too much for both of us to handle,” says Jeanette. “We didn’t feel like a complete family with our baby boy being away from us.” The first month hospital stay was difficult, yet Jaidison was still able to smile through it all, says Chai. “I knew right then and there that he was going to bring so much happiness to everyone around him and he would make the world a better place.” Jaidison was born on January 7, 2011 in the midst of flu season. To reduce the risk of newborns catching the flu, only parents were allowed in the NICU, so their families did not meet Jaidison until he was one month old. “The word Jai means ‘heart’ in Lao and the first time I met him, he stole my heart,” says his aunt Sysanga.


bicycle. He can also climb around the playground at the nearby park with no help, and it was because he started therapy early. “At the hospital, an organization called Developmental Pathways stressed that starting therapy as soon as possible would be extremely beneficial,” says Jeanette. When Jai Jai was able to go home, they started him on occupational and physical therapy right away. His aunt Lynda Saignaphone explains that Jaidison does not have a ‘disability,’ instead he ‘develops differently.’ Since Jaidison has sensory sensitivity all over his head and mouth, he struggles with food textures, so his feeding therapy sessions help introduce new approaches to broaden his diet. Jeanette says: “We also practice with him at home and lately, he has been eating a variety of fruits and veggies!” Jaidison definitely loves his food, says Sysanga. “He has brought so much joy and happiness to our family, and he loves to share his happiness to anyone and everyone! The only thing Jaidison does not share is, his food!”

Go Jai Jai! Jai Jai, as he is lovingly known as, has worked hard to get himself to where he is today. Therapy has been tremendously helpful, as he was able to crawl before his first birthday and a few months later, he was walking! He is very independent as he runs, jumps, and rides his

The Strength of Family With the love and support of family, Jaidison is truly getting the best life possible, as his parents had hoped. Jaidison’s aunt Giao Vo says: “For me, I sometimes forget that he has Down syndrome. The reality only hits when his parents share with us his therapy schedule or some health complications that he has.” Vo explains that it is still hard for the family to accept the fact that Jaidison has a higher risk of medical issues and has to spend the night at the hospital to monitor or receive treatments from time to time. “Anytime that happens, we all try to stay calm and stay strong, especially his parents. We trust his medical team, follow the treatment plan, and offer support to each other,” she says. There may be unexpected things that happen, but Jaidison always bounces back quickly without letting a hospital stay ruin his mood.

The Saignaphone Family

Aunt Lynda

February 2019 | Cover Story

Aunt Sysanga

Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s ‘Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show’ “If his cousins can’t play with him at home, they will bring the party to the hospital,” says Vo. “If you see a hospital room filled with 20 visitors, that is probably our family.” While Jaidison receives incredible support from his family, he also receives incredible care and services from the Down syndrome community. Lynda shares, “I acknowledge that Jai is more privileged than a lot of other individuals with Down syndrome because he has a very supportive family and very determined parents.” “I’m glad that there are many resources out there for kids who develop differently. But it’s still so crucial for society to understand and accept that people with Down syndrome or a ‘disability’ are much more able than what society labels them.“ Stepping Up and Joining the Community As a family, the Saignaphones participate in the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk hosted by the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Assocation (RMDSA) every September. Their team name is ‘Jaidison and his minions’ because Jaidison loves minions. The family dress up together and it is a fun opportunity to support the Down syndrome community, get physical exercise and be silly together. Throughout the year, Jeanette volunteers with RMDSA and communicates with a family in Burlington, Colo through e-mails and answers their questions about her experience raising a child with Down syndrome. “We are also in the ‘RMDSA Parents’ Group’ on Facebook,

Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association’s Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk in which we share about our families, ask questions and post anything inspirational for other parents to look at in their free time,” says Jeanette. They have also volunteered with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, and Jaidison was a model for their ‘Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show’ in October 2018. At the show, Jaidison met many advocates for Down syndrome research including celebrities, such as Denver Broncos’ Von Miller. The family is still involved with Developmental Pathways, the organization that first visited with them in the hospital eight years ago. “They have been there for us ‘til this day with fun activities for Jaidison to participate in,” says Jeanette. Jaidison’s speech therapy and cardiology appointments take place at The Children’s Hospital Colorado. His follow up appointments, such as thyroid check-ups, are administered at the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome. How to Better Understand Down syndrome The family reflects on their personal experiences and understanding of Down syndrome. “There were definitely adjustments and learning curves for our family ever since Jai was born. For me, in the beginning, I think I just felt helpless. Mainly for his parents because I knew they would have to do much more for him to make his life as normal as possible in our society,” says Lynda. At times, she feels there is a sense of pity towards Jaidison, especially from the Lao community. When the family is out in Modeling with Downs | asian avenue magazine


Down syndrome 101 In the US, the condition is referred to as Down syndrome, not Down’s syndrome. Individuals with Down syndrome are people first. They are not identified by their condition. A person with Down syndrome is exactly that: a person with Down syndrome. We say that a person HAS Down syndrome; we never say that a person “suffers from” Down syndrome. A person with Down syndrome is NOT a “Downs person” or a “Downs child.” - Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association

Follow Jaidison on Instagram @modeling_with_downs

Resources for Families: Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Assocation Sie Center for Down Syndrome Global Down Syndrome Foundation Developmental Pathways

the community and are asked about Jaidison, they often receive sympathy with comments like ‘aww, I feel sad for him,’ or ‘he’s not going to be able to do anything.’ “They assume that his life is doomed because he has a ‘disability’ and that is not the case,” says Lynda. “I want people to understand that individuals with Down syndrome have goals and aspirations like everyone else, and should be treated as such. I want my nephew to know that he has the ability to dream and to aspire!” Jeanette shares, there is a saying that goes, ‘If you have seen one individual with Down syndrome, you have only seen ONE individual with Down syndrome.’ Just because two people are diagnosed with the same thing, doesn’t mean they will have the same life experiences. Everyone is different and everyone grows at their own pace. It is clear that everyone that comes across Jaidison can feel his love and happiness, as he gives kisses and hugs freely. Jaidison’s grandma Martha says, “Trying to explain how much I love my grandson is impossible, but what I can say is that I feel blessed to have him in my life.”


February 2019 | Cover Story

(L to R) Jeanette (back), Jaidison, cousin Scarlett, cousin Raiden, grandma Martha, uncle Alex and cousin Rayleene. “I want to tell the world how proud I am of him and how much I adore his smile, hugs, and most importantly, his heart. I am proud to call him my grandson.” A Love that was Meant to be It is to be expected that having a child with special needs introduces more stressors for the parents. For some, there are feelings of grief and anger with daily stress and worries that zap the positive energy from the parents’ relationship. “Obviously, it is not always sunshine and rainbows. But we can chose to let it impact us in a negative way or embrace the beauty it has to offer.” For Jeanette and Chai, they were brought closer together in a united effort to understand and best support their child. “I am very proud to share that throughout the obstacles we have faced and will continue to face, Chai and I have remained by each others’ side for nine years and counting,” says Jeanette. “Jaidison has made us stronger mentally by all the personal moments we’ve gone through with him, and we are physically stronger because we carry him around all the time!”

Revolutionary Laser Therapy Helps AsianAmericans Save Previously Hopeless Teeth Gum Disease is the leading cause for tooth loss in adults. Learn about the disease, the symptoms and implications, and how Dr. Nguyen uses a sophisticated laser to treat it! What is Gum Disease? Simply put, Gum Disease (further categorized as Gingivitis and Periodontitis) is a disease that affects the foundational tissues that hold your teeth in place. In a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, 60 million Americans over the age of 30 suffer from some form of gum disease. In the diagram, a healthy tooth can become inflamed and then riddled with debris and infection. Left untreated, it can cause the bone to dissolve, leading to moving teeth and ultimately the loss of teeth. Why should you care? While gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, infection of the gums affects more than just your dental health. It is strongly associated with heart disease, diabetes, premature births, respiratory infections and other diseases. Through frequent evaluations, we can catch the disease early and even reverse its affects. How do I know if I have Gum Disease? If you are experiencing red, bleeding gums, tooth movement, and bad breath, it’s very likely that you have some degree of gum disease. Listen to the first signs and seek an evaluation. Often marked as the “silent killer”, gum disease doesn’t often hurt until it has already become severe. If I do have Gum Disease, how can it be treated? Using an extremely sophisticated laser, treatment for severe gum disease has transformed from a painful, invasive procedure to a delicate, minimally invasive, “no cut, no sew “procedure. With a laser as fine as three human hairs, Dr. Nguyen is able to eradicate the bugs causing gum disease and save teeth that previously were fated to extraction. This remarkable technique and laser is the only FDA-approved procedure that has been proven to regenerate bone and heal teeth. What should I do if I have Gum Disease? Dr. Nguyen and the team at Barotz offer no-charge consultations where you can discuss all of your concerns with the doctor. You can also visit to learn more about the disease and LANAP Laser Gum Therapy through videos and free informational reports. About Dr. Nguyen: Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Linda M. Nguyen has now been practicing dentistry at Barotz Dental since 2017. Her impressive background and experience has afforded her an incredibly advanced dental skillset, enabling her to deliver comprehensive, life-changing dentistry for her patients. “At Barotz Dental, we offer Total Dental Solutions, which gives me the ability to take care of my patients from A- to-Z. You won’t be referred from one doctor to another because we can handle all aspects of your care in one convenient location.”

303-595-4994 · · 303 16th St. Mall, Ste. 250 · Denver, CO 80202

Winter Activities

in the Colorado Mountains

On the global stage of last year’s Winter Olympics, Asian Americans were represented in great numbers through snowboarding, ice skating and skiing. It’s hard to tell if representation in winter activities has been out in full force for this winter’s seasons in Colorado. However, deals and promotions are available for those who research closely. “During January, anyone can find promotions and discounted tickets, especially for beginners,” said Chris Linsmayer of Colorado Ski Mountain, who represents 23 ski resorts in Colorado, adding continued renovations are luring anyone interested in winter activities. Colorado Ski Country USA ( member ski areas have spent the spring, summer and early fall working on projects to elevate the guest experience with new capital improvements, investments in infrastructure and new programs that guests of all ages and experience levels will appreciate. Colorado will welcome six new chairlifts at five ski areas across the state, six new dining experiences and two terrain expansions for skiers and riders to enjoy. This year’s improvements will excite expert skiers and riders, but also those that are new to the sport or returning after some time away from the slopes. “Colorado is once again leading the ski industry with significant investment in lift infrastructure for the 201819 winter seasons,” said Melanie Mills, President and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “Guests to Colorado Ski Country member ski areas will experience new chairlifts, new terrain, new lodging, new dining options and multiple offerings that are directed at those newer or returning to the sport and those that may just be looking to enjoy the mountain environment.”


February 2019 | Feature

Winter Park Resort

By Mary Jeneverre Schultz

For local resident Lisa Truong Nguyen, she prefers Breckenridge as her chosen resort. “The mountain and terrain offer a wide variety and are laid out well for all ski levels. Plus, the incredible view of ten-mile mountain range can’t be beat!” Nguyen said. Tips for out of town visitors If family and friends are visiting Colorado for the mountain fun, share all your hydration tips and get them acclimated in one day before the mountain activities. There’s nothing worse than a headache after spending non-stop time on the mountain doing activities. You don’t want your guests to go home sick or suffer through migraines. Avoiding crowds Research the lesser known resorts online for more fun and less lines. Sometimes, amazing deals pop up online for resorts in places such as Granby, Eldora, Arapahoe Basin, Copper, or Monarch. Unique ski resorts Glenwood Springs offers a ski and swim package for the world-renowned hot springs. You can ski at Sunlight Ski Resort, then relax in the hot springs at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. Near Grand Junction, Powder Horn Mountain Resort has the world’s largest flat top mountain, with more than 1,600 acres. Night-skiing options in Colorado Keystone: Open most nights until 8 p.m., but closed Mondays and Tuesdays in February.

Echo Mountain

Copper Mountain

Echo Mountain: Open nightly until 9 p.m. except for Mondays, when the mountain is closed. Steamboat: The ‘Boat offers 1,110 vertical feet of skiing on five trails, Thursdays through Mondays, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Durango: Known as the largest night skiing operation in the southwest, Hesperus also offers tubing, rentals and ski school lessons. about-hesperus

ice skating. Some of the resorts offer a wide range of activities to enjoy winter. Skiing doesn’t need to be on everybody’s list. As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to be a skier to enjoy the Colorado Mountains, Nguyen has ventured into snowshoeing. “I love snowshoeing! It’s an excellent cardio workout, incredibly peaceful and provides rewarding views,” she said.

TIPS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR WINTER FUN TIP 1: To maximize your one-day, weekend or week-long winter vacation on Colorado mountains, book early. Linsmayer shared that heading up to the mountain without purchasing a ski pass or rentals is similar to arriving at the airport without secured airfare. Package deals such as lodging and ski rentals are bundled for more savings, and lots of different options are available for every level. TIP 2: No matter what level you consider yourself, invest in at least one lesson. It’s only two to three hours of your time to help you learn new techniques or brush up on skills. “It’s nice to come back to the fundamentals of skiing,” Linsamayer said. “It’s helpful to build up your confidence.” TIP 3: Research other activities such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snow sledding, shopping or even

TIP 4: Hate driving through the snow? Consider the Winter Park Express train service from downtown Denver to Winter Park. It is running for the third season with additional Fridays added as well as a lounge car for food and beverages. Visit WinterParkResort. com for more information. TIP 5: Buying online is much cheaper than in person. One great deal for those interested in maximizing on a discount is the Gem Program. Visit this website to check out if this deal is right for you and your family - This card can be used twice at each of the 11 ski areas and provides either 2-for-1 lift tickets or 30 percent off an adult ticket. It costs $25. Peak time is between mid-December to mid-March for mountain getaways. Get out of the city or suburbs for the day, weekend or use a week as a staycation to enjoy the Colorado Mountains. It’s so much fun right in our own backyard!

Arapahoe Basin

Winter Activities in Colorado | asian avenue magazine


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What is Chinese Hotpot?


Chinese hotpot is a communal eating experience, in which you order different ingredients to boil inside a simmering pot of broth. Think of it as Asian fondue where everyone at the table cooks their own food!

How to eat Hotpot?

At Aki, first choose your soup base (do you dig hot and spicy? Or are you more into herbal broths?). From there, choose your meats and seafoods ranging from beef slices, pork belly and meatballs to squid, fish fillets, shrimps and clams. Throw in your veggies: mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, sprouts, or boy choy, and the list goes on with over 20 options. Lastly, add your noodles and tofus, and don’t forget the dipping sauces! And the best part is that it is ALL YOU CAN EAT!

Kids age 3 and under: FREE Ages 4-6: $6.99 Ages 7-9: $10.99 Ages 10-12: $12.99 Seniors: $17.99

Adults: $19.99

What You Need to Know When Selling Your Commercial Property Compared to the residential side of our profession, the commercial real estate sales process is far more challenging, involving, for example, zoning considerations, property usage, capital returns expectations, property management arrangements and numerous inspections (including Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, environmental, HVAC and electrical). Further, commercial properties come in a range of types, sizes and locations. “Commercial real estate,” whether for investment or owner use, includes: • Undeveloped land • Retail hospitality properties • Retail stores • Industrial manufacturing sites • Industrial warehouse or distribution facilities • Office buildings • Multifamily dwellings Due to all of these factors, commercial property valuation and marketing are very rigorous processes. What can property sellers expect from their commercial real estate agent in these two areas? PROPERTY VALUATION The sales price is usually based on the “broker’s opinion of value” (BOV), also known as a comparative price analysis. Commercial brokers can develop a BOV in a matter of days. At Impact Commercial, a BOV is complementary and provided with no obligation to the sellers. It’s important to note that the BOV cannot be used as an appraisal figure as required by a mortgage lender. While residential real estate valuation is primarily based on comparable prices (“comps”) in the neighborhood, commercial real estate valuation is more complex. There are fewer comparable

benchmarks – similar properties in similar locations. Fortunately, commercial agents have access to very rigorous, data-driven systems that factor in historical and projected sales and leasing trend information. This information is considered in conjunction with detailed geographic market and submarket data for various types of commercial property. At Impact Commercial Real Estate, we use CoStar™, one of the industry’s most robust commercial real estate analytics services, to obtain this valuable information. Since commercial investment property can be either for investment or owner use, the BOV reflects both income and the capital return the owner can expect from the property. Additionally, value is measured to some extent by “replacement costs” – the cost to build a new structure similar to the property for sale. Other factors to consider in valuing commercial property include the current state of the economy and the seller’s exit timeline and exit plan. Clearly, commercial property valuation is complex, but it’s important to get it right. Regardless of whether the property owner is actively selling, they should always have a current BOV. OPPORTUNITY ZONES We should note here also that the valuation or selling price should take into account whether the property lies within an economic Opportunity Zone. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) has granted a number of urban neighborhoods and rural communities Opportunity Zone status to promote economic development, job creation and business startup activity in those locations.

STRATEGIC MARKETING Marketing commercial real estate is equally complex and multifaceted. A commercial real estate agent has access to proprietary, segmented databases of potential buyers in the categories identified above. These lists include previous commercial property buyers and others that might be in the market for any number of reasons. The agent also will promote a seller’s interests in three other critical ways:

#1 Reach out to various broker networks who specialize in a specific category of properties

#2 In the case of land or multi-family investment properties, contact owners of similar, nearby properties #3 Publicize the listings in appropriate traditional and digital forums There’s a good reason some brokers and firms specialize in commercial real estate. It’s a world apart from residential transactions – valuation techniques and marketing strategies are two of the primary differences.

DANCHEN ASTLE is Senior Vice President at IMPACT Commercial Real Estate in Denver and has been an active real estate broker for 18 years. E-mail her at or call her at 303.332.5955. Denver Market | asian avenue magazine


AsAm Indian American, the First First South Asian Woman South Asian To Serve On US Mayor In The United States Takes Office National Security Body


ndian American Democratic lawmaker Raja Krishnamoorthi was appointed as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) for the 116th Congress, making him the first South Asian to serve in the powerful body tasked with strengthening America’s national security. Krishnamoorthi who represents Illinois’s 8th congressional district in the House, was chosen along with Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, and Peter Welch of Vermont as the four new Democratic members of the committee. The HPSCI is tasked with overseeing the activities and budget of the 17 intelligence agencies of the U.S. “It is very humbling to be chosen to serve on the Intelligence Committee in this Congress, and I am ready to join with my colleagues in preserving the safety and security of our nation,” Krishnamoorthi said. Born into a Tamil-speaking family in New Delhi, Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s family moved to Buffalo, New York when he was three months old. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Princeton University, he attended Harvard Law School.

adaf Jaffer has become the first South Asian woman mayor in both New Jersey and the United States. The Pakistani American has dedicated her career to social justice and human rights. She’s served in both the United States Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning and the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of South Asian Affairs”. As mayor, she hope to bring her constituents together and inspire others to become more involved with local and national governance. “To me, City Montgomery is all about the people that make up our vibrant community,” Jaffer said to India Abroad. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Princeton University in South Asian Studies, teaching classes ranging from South Asian, Islamic and Asian American studies.

Smithsonian Opens Japanese Internment Exhibit In Arizona Capital

University To Offer Course On Japanese Incarceration Site In Wyoming

Smithsonian exhibit on the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans opened in Phoenix last month. The walk-through exhibit entitled Righting A Wrong: Japanese Americans And World War II will “bring heart-wrenching personal stories, fascinating documents, stunning photographs, and engaging interactives to audiences across the nation,” states the Smithsonian website. “Embracing themes that are as relevant today as they were 75 years ago, the exhibition takes a deep look at immigration, prejudice, civil rights, heroism, and what it means to be an American.” Arizona had two incarceration camps, both located on tribal reservation land. The Gila River War Relocation Center, on the Gila River Reservation south of Phoenix, held more than 13,000 Japanese Americans. At the Poston Relocation Center on the Colorado River Reservation south of Lake Havasu, 17,000 people were held. The exhibit will be open through April 7, 2019 at the Arizona Capitol Museum. Then the exhibition will go to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, followed by Minnesota, Utah, and New Mexico.

n northwest Wyoming, Heart Mountain silently overlooks the towns Cody and Powell. Between Aug. 1942 and Nov. 1945, the town’s people witnessed the incarceration of over 14,000 Japanese Americans. Now, according to The Billings Gazette, Montana State University-Billings (MSUB) is “offering a course dedicated to the Heart Mountain site” to educate students about a portion of history that is often overlooked. MSUB geography professor Susan Gilbertz hopes that the university’s newly offered course will emphasize “questions about how place and time interact with cultural identity,” and questions like “where are [the] geographies of war that are not in the news or not visible to us?” “Maybe it wasn’t a battle, but it was certainly something that happened because of war,” she said. In light of the current political climate, Gilbertz also stated”This is a really good thing to do right now — to talk about immigrants to the American society…It’s right here in our backyard,” she said. This holiday season, more than 14,000 migrant toddlers, children and teens, according to Time , spent Christmas in “U.S. government detention and processing centers across the country.”




February 2019 | National News




Sandra Oh and Darren Criss Win Golden Globes


t’s turning into quite a night for Asian representation at the Golden Globes. Two Asians won in the acting category and Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of Indian British Parsi rocker, Freddy Mercury of Queen fame, won for best movie drama. Sandra Oh, the night’s co-host and the star of BBC America’s Killing Eve won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a drama. Her parents were on hand to watch her accept the award. She closed her acceptance speech by thanking them both, and giving them a respectful bow from the stage. Darren Criss won for Best Actor in a Limited Series for his portrayal of Andrew Cunanan in FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Criss thanked his mom who is from Cebu in the Philippines and said he’s happy to be part of the diversity being represented at the Globes.

13-Year Old Wins Gold At U.S. Skating Championships


t the age of 13, Alysa Liu stole the show when she became the youngest skater to win U.S. Figure Skating Championships held in Detroit last month. The Richmond, California girl near San Francisco won the championship in amazing style by successfully landing two triple axels in her final long program, thereby dethroning 2018 winner Bradie Tennell at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. “I am kind of out of it right now,” Liu said to, “It’s not fully sunk in yet, I am not thinking about anything I just did.” Because of age, Alysa can’t compete in this season’s World Games because international competition require skaters to be 15 years old. So by the time the Winter Olympics come around in 2022, Alysa should be hitting her prime.

Naomi Osaka Becomes First Asian American To Be Ranked Number 1 In Tennis


aomi Osaka is the new queen of tennis. She beat Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open and now has become the first Asian woman or man to be ranked number 1 in professional tennis. The 21-year-old Japanese Haitian from Japan immigrated to the United States at the age of three. It was just a four months ago when Osaka won the U.S. Open, beating Serena Williams to boos from a crowd that was upset about controversial calls from an umpire. This time there was no such controversy. Just as in the U.S. Open, Osaka was gracious in victory. “Huge congrats to Petra, I always wanted to play you. You’ve been through so much and I honestly wouldn’t want this to be our first match,” Osaka said in her remarks to the crowd after the match. “You’re really amazing and I’m so honored to have played you.” “Women’s tennis is very open. You really never know who going to be there. But definitely she’s playing great game,” Kvitova said to ESPN. “She’s really big player, as she showed in the results, winning the US Open and Australian Open, it’s an amazing achievement.” AsAm News | asian avenue magazine


bookreview AMERICAN PANDA Author: Gloria Chao ISBN: 9781481499101 Pages: 320 | Price: $17.99 Publisher: Simon and Schuster Connect with Gloria: Twitter & Instagram: @gloriacchao Goodreads: American Panda Visit her tea-and-book-filled world at

Reviewed by: Mary Jeneverre Schultz Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Jeneverre American Panda is the perfect book for the nerds in your circle of friends. In this story, filled with giggles and laughter, the main character, Mei attempts to please her parents by starting her education in medicine. The themes of growing up between two worlds is weaved into the storyline. With a strong Taiwanese background, Mei complies as an obedient daughter to her parents. However, her struggles to enjoy dance, while hiding her hobby from her mother is making her sick with anxiety. She shares her angst in growing up as a smart, intelligent young adult, attending an Ivy-league school like MIT. GIRLFRIEND LOVE She doesn’t have many girlfriends but towards the middle of the book, she begins to latch on to her roommate, who has an unlikeable, sexual reputation. One of the earlier chapters shares the funny anecdote of her roommate with chlamydia. Mei, who is strung out on cleanliness, is absolutely horrified that her dorm room is infested with germs. Mei’s mom is represented as this strong “helicopter” parent. She’s always doing Mei’s laundry, cooking for her all the favorite dishes and calling her constantly when Mei is not in class. Some of the voice mail conversations is downright ‘laugh out loud’ moments. So don’t read this book in a quiet setting such as the library.


February 2019 | Book Review

Mei’s parents already hand-picked her spouse to marry. According to Mei’s mom, with the right spouse, she will live a “fortunate and happy” life. This smart and intelligent girl tries to live between two worlds, the obedient Taiwanese girl and the “trying to fit in” Americanized college student. It’s unbelievable how she struggles emotionally. When it’s simple to defy your parents, it’s hard to let go and begin living independently. FAMILY The story unfolds deeper as Mei attempts to reconnect with her older brother, who has broken away from the family because of his relationship with a girl, who cannot conceive a child. OVERALL Each chapter describes a cultural tradition and/or superstition. For those trying to learn the Taiwanese culture, it’s a great handbook. While other Asian Americans will totally “get it.” It’s the book any Asian American teenager would enjoy reading, a story relatable to those who have moms hovering as a helicopter parent in high school and college. Without giving too much away, find the book to see how it ends.

you wanted to write, and without knowing anyone in the business. I linked all the resources I used on my path to publication on my website ( hoping that it could help aspiring writers on their journey.

What inspired you to write the book? I wrote American Panda when I switched careers from dentist to writer and was having a hard time communicating with my parents. I wanted to write the book that I needed then and also the book I needed as a teen. What do you want readers to walk away after reading the book? I hope American Panda can show readers that they aren’t alone, that it’s okay to not feel wholly one thing or another, and that cultural gaps can be difficult. I tried to write a character that was relatable to many in her search for herself but also specific enough to show a window into another world. I also wanted readers to know that things can get better, as they did for me in real life. What do you want to share with writers, curious about the process of becoming an author? I am proof that you can publish a book without studying creative writing, without growing up knowing

What are some of your future projects? My second novel, tentatively titled, Our Wayward Fate, will be released fall 2019 with Simon Pulse. The book follows a teen outcast, Ali, who is the only Asian in her small, predominantly white Midwestern town. When another Asian family moves to town and Ali begins falling for the Chinese boy who shows up in all her classes, her mother forbids them from being together. As Ali searches for the reasoning behind her mother’s disapproval, she unearths dark family secrets that threaten her future. A

Q&A with Gloria Chao

second narrative set in 19th century China is woven throughout the contemporary story which gives clues as to what is happening in Ali’s life. This narrative is a re-telling of the famous Chinese folktale, The Butterfly Lovers. What are your hobbies/interests? I used to be an avid dancer and martial artist, but I stopped during dental school and have not picked them back up. Now, when I’m not writing, you can find me on the curling ice in the winter and on the golf course in the summer. I also love board games— the more complicated, the better— with some favorites being Takenoko, Pandemic, and Ticket to Ride.

American Panda is comedic novel written by Gloria Chao about a Taiwanese-American teen, Mei. Q&A with the Author | asian avenue magazine


Flag-raising ceremony in Denver

Director General Jerry Chang and his wife attended the Denver ceremony

DIRECTOR GENERAL JERRY CHANG ATTENDS TAIWANESE FLAG-RAISING CEREMONIES The Taiwanese community in Colorado held a flag-raising ceremony on January 1, 2019 in observance of the 108th founding anniversary of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the New Year’s Day. Director General Jerry Chang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver attended the ceremony. Director General Chang said that although the weather is cold, he is very touched to see the Taiwanese community in Colorado organize the meaningful ceremony, which

demonstrates their patriotism and support for Taiwan. He also wished the Republic of China (Taiwan) continuous prosperity in the year to come. In addition to Denver, the Taiwanese communities in St. Louis, Missouri and in the Greater Kansas City also held flag-raising ceremonies on the same day. Two staff members from the office attended the ceremonies in both cities to show the appreciation and support. The primary function of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office is

Flag-raising ceremony in Greater Kansas City area


February 2019 | On Scene

to protect the rights of Taiwan’s overseas nationals, as well as promoting bilateral exchange and cooperation in trade, investment, culture, education and tourism between the six states and Taiwan. For more information, visit www.

Flag-raising ceremony in St. Louis, Missouri

(L to R) Richard Yoshida, Joni Sakaguchi, Tom Migaki, Clarence Low, Stacey Shigaya, Joe Ozaki, DJ Ida, Karen Murakami, Gary Yamashita.

It has been 90 years since the birth of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an activist and civil rights leader whose words and deeds continue to impact and inspire the world. The Martin Luther King Jr. Business Award was founded in 1986 with an objective of “honoring individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations for their exemplary social responsibility in adhering to the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” This year, on January 18, at the Hilton Denver City Center Hotel, the following Martin Luther King Jr. Business Award recipients were recognized: Blair-Caldwell African American Library, Comal Heritage Food Incubator, GLBT Community Center, Rose Andom Center, Senior Resource Center, Anna Jo Garcia Haynes and Sakura Foundation. Additionally, the Asian Chamber of Commerce was a sponsoring organization for the luncheon. Sakura Foundation recognizes the Japanese and Japanese American (JA) heritage, culture and community and has been celebrating and sharing it with pride. It also acknowledges the need to bring the community together beyond ethnic lines in order to contribute to the inclusiveness of the region. The Foundation’s roots and passions reach back for many decades predating its inception. The internment experience of the 1940s continues to have a deep impact on the JA community. Sakura Foundation has provided grant support to the Mile High Chapter of the

Japanese American Citizens League for the annual Day of Remembrance celebration, which provides the opportunity to memorialize the internment and discuss how to utilize lessons learned to bring civil rights to those experiencing present day injustices. As recognized by Dr. King, there continues to be a need to ensure that the injustices of the past are not repeated, so long as cries and actions are made against such groups as the LGBTQ community, Muslims and immigrants. To this point, Sakura Foundation hosted “Living In Hope: A Mother & Her Transgender Son’s Journey,“ featuring authors Marsha and Aiden Aizumi, provided a sponsorship to the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Conference and participated in an API story-sharing panel discussion hosted by the Denver chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). These events focused on bringing understanding and inclusiveness to all people. Through its community grants, donations and sponsorships, Sakura Foundation expands its reach and impact of goodwill to the greater community. In the spirit of Dr. King’s indelible and substantial contributions, Sakura Foundation is proud of the relationships it has cultivated with many organizations and individuals within the community. Congratulations to all the recipients of the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Business Award. A video of the awardees can be viewed at

For more information about Sakura Foundation, visit


Sakura Foundation Board members and staff: Tom Migaki (2001 award recipient), Joni Sakaguchi, Ron Abo (1998 award recipient), DJ Ida, Joe Ozaki, Charles Ozaki, Stacey Shigaya, Tim Higashide, Richard Yoshida.

Sakura Foundation Executive Director Gary Yamashita receives the award from Wilma and Wellington Webb. On Scene | asian avenue magazine



Bilingual in Vietnamese


143 Union Blvd. Suite #120 Lakewood, CO 80228 Direct: 303-985-4555 Cell: 303-669-5255


If politicians are upright, there is no corruption. When everyone is tolerant, there are no ethnic disputes.

HUMBLE TABLE, WISE FARE By Venerable Master Hsing Yun