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A S I A N B O S TNO N ew Year! ®

NUMBER 3, JANUARY 2007 COMPLIMENTARY

N y p p a H

DAVID KONG

An American Tale business spotlight

RADY MOM

From chaos to Lowell Lowell

CLOSE TO HOME Education • Prevention

HSUEH-TZE LEE

Academia to the Dance Floor A Note Reads ‘TANGO’

AMAZIN LETHI

Living ‘Outside the Box’ A Global Success Story

Jaw Maran: ‘Here For You’ A Tribute to The King of Thailand Trista Meets with ‘Lourds Lane’ of NYC

LEGACIES OF WAR Adversity in Laos Hope for Tranquility

COVERING NEW ENGLAND & NEW YORK CITY


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contents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Letters to Home (Chinese & English)……........................3 Rady Mom (English & Cambodian)…………................4-5 Legacies of War…………..…………………….....................6 Business……..……….……………..…….......................8-11 Medical…………………………………...........…..........12-13 Berkeley Community Gardens……………….......….........14 King of Thailand…………………………….......................15 Art & Poetry…………………..….....................................16 Close to Home (English & Vietnamese)……..............18-19 Restaurants……………...…………………..................20-22 Beauty Tips………………………..……….............…........24 Modeling & Fashion…………………….…..................25-27 AsianBostonNYC…………………………....................28-29 Tai-Chun Pan ……………………………….......................30 Rainbow Bridge Journal …………………......................... 31 Hsueh-tze Lee…………………….................……….........31 Entertainment…….……………….................….........33-35 Teen Corner…………………………....................….........36

contributors Editor: Leslie O’Brien

Garden Story, Page 14

Tai-Chun Pan, Page 30

ISIS, Page 34

contact information

AsianBoston, PO Box 52137, Boston, MA 02205 Attn: Leo Anthony p: 617-275-4249 e: info@asianboston.com w: asianboston.com

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merchandise

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front & back cover credits

Cover Model: Trinh, Worcester, MA Front Cover Location: The Swan’s Café at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers. Full photo shoot credits on page 27 Front Cover Photography: Miss Sikarin (Fon) Thanachaiary Back Cover Photography: Oxana Dmitrieva, Lokagroup Back Cover Ad Design: Gunnar Glueck

message board

A new Japanese restaurant named ‘o ya,’ located in Boston’s Leather District, is seeking full staff, including sushi chefs. Please email resumes to Nancy at ncushman@msn.com or call 617-654-9900. Please reference AsianBoston. Kaji Aso Studio offers experience in visual arts, music, poetry, philosophy, and Japanese culture. 40 Saint Stephen St., Boston 617-247-1719 or kajiasostudio.com The Chinatown Walking Tour Collective: To schedule a youth-led community tour, please call 617-507-7927 or e-mail chinatownwalkingtour@gmail.com Original Musical: ‘Surviving the Nian.’ Performances: April 13-May 6, 2007. Calderwood Pavillion, 527 Tremont St., Boston, MA. Contact The Theater Offensive at 617-621-6060 or thetheateroffensive.org Have you ever wanted to take Ballet Lessons? Please contact Lucia for more information at 617-275-4249 or info@asianboston.com Asian American Outdoors Organization. We encourage active Asians to take advantage of the natural beauty of this spectacular region: asianoutdoors.org Wang YMCA of Chinatown, 8 Oak St West, Boston. 617-426-2237 or ymcaboston.org Please join our AsianBoston Yahoo E-Mail Group for updates on events in Boston, New England and New York City. Visit: groups.yahoo.com/group/asianboston

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Story Consultants Elaine Lau, Newton, MA Oxana Dmitrieva, Wellesley, MA Debbie Lee, Lowell, MA Liwen Wang, Hollis, NH Prinya Sommala, Lowell, MA Hoa Mai, Dorchester, MA Anne Hien Bui, Dorchester, MA Writers Lily, Brighton, MA Maravanna Chan, Lynn, MA Elaine Russell, Sacramento, CA Channapha Khamvongsa, NY, NY (Director, Legacies of War, NYC) Michael C. Tow, Brookline, MA Russell Chin, Esq., Hingham, MA Hidemi DeHays, Boston, MA Dr. Al Ko, West Roxbury, MA Caroline Leonard, Boston, MA Cholthanee Koerojna, Burlington, MA Donna Agnew, Marblehead, MA Meng Lang, Sherborn, MA Julie T. Pham, Boston, MA Tina Caminiti, Boston, MA Sondarya, S. Lawrence, MA Trista Allman, Braintree, MA Virginia Payne, Boxborough, MA Mariko, Quincy, MA Vladimir Shlimovich, Wayland, MA Michael Liane, Boston, MA Marika Gazsi, Pine Meadow, CT Anna, Charlestown, MA Professor Lenore Azaroff, UMass Lowell Photography Charles Daniels, Somerville, MA 617-629-2006 charles_daniels01@yahoo.com Trista L.A., Braintree, MA hrt2@aol.com Oxana Dmitrieva, Wellesley, MA lokagroup.com Olga Lisogurskaya, Natick, MA lokagroup.com Tonn, Boston, MA tonnmodel.com Shiran Nicholson, NY, NY shirannicholson.com Wayne Herrschaft, Dix Hills, NY headlampdigital.com Phil Macino, Seattle, WA macinophotography.com Steve Messina, Commack, NY stevemessina.com Jack Silberman, Vancouver, Canada Sokhelm Pot, Lowell, MA Jing Mu, Brighton, MA Photo Shoot/Clothing Consultants Leakena & Maravanna Chan, Lynn, MA Business Advisor Donna Agnew Art Director / Graphic Designer Gunnar Glueck 617-407-5595 or gunnar.glueck@gmail.com Translators Chinese: Liwen Wang, Hollis, NH Cambodian: Rith, To, Cambodia Vietnamese: Thu Truong, Dorchester, MA Boston Park Plaza Liaison: Sara Anderson Printer Winthrop Graphic Solutions Liaison: Mark Kelly Boston, MA, 617-268-9660 winprint.com

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Photography: Jing Mu

Lion Dance courtesy of the Shaolin Hung Gar Martial Arts Academy hunggarboston.com

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Photography: Charles Daniels Article design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

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By Maravanna Chan Rady Mom was born and raised in a little village called Ahmbah Paylin in Cambodia. Rady’s childhood memories were that of a peaceful and friendly village. His father was known as the town manager and considered a very important person in the community. This situation gave the entire family prestige, and would play an important role in building Rady’s character in the future. Growing up, Rady was busy playing outside, catching bugs, and running with his friends. One day, this carefree and wonderful life came to an abrupt halt. Rady was confused and could not understand why everything became so chaotic around him. Amidst this chaos, he remembers seeing white flags hanging lifelessly outside every home, and people packing their belongings. Rady soon found out that the flags symbolized surrender, and the people were packing to leave Ahmbah Paylin forever. Reality sunk in: Cambodia’s king was overthrown and the country was under the control of a communist’s regime, the Khmer Rouge. They were out to kill all who opposed them, specifically educated people. This doctrine put the family in immediate danger because his father was the manager of a village, and an educated man. The Mom’s had to try even harder to survive since they were a target for execution. Consequently, they were detained and put into camps. Their oppressors kept moving them to different camps so it was very hard to keep the family together. The Khmer Rouge ended up taking his parents away. As imagined, the days became never ending and the nights were just as brutal without his mother and father. Sleeping on dirt floors and eating rice porridge or whatever was given to him, was slowly breaking his will. The only thing on his mind was to survive and, hopefully, this madness would soon end. In 1979, after four years of horror and hardship, the country was freed and rid of the oppressors. Rady and his family were reunited and they relocated to Battambong, in western Cambodia. They were thankful to survive such

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a formidable ordeal. But soon after, Rady came down with an illness due to malnutrition and nearly lost his life. He had lost so much weight that his rib cage was piercing his body. Although he was very sick and close to death, Rady was not ready to leave this earth. His uncle became his savior by giving him medication that could not be found elsewhere, a remedy that saved his life. Once again, by the grace of Buddha, he had overcome yet another life-threatening impasse. The Philippines was the next stop in their search for a better life, free from any possible resurgence by the communists (they were still operating as a smaller resistance movement in western Cambodia until 1990). They remained in this tropical sanctuary until 1982 when they were sponsored to come to America! Their supporters welcomed them to Rochester, Minnesota, and then off to Duluth and a second chance at life. In 1984, while traveling in a motor home, the Mom’s trekked 1,468 miles, across eight states, in 27 hours to reach Lowell, Massachusetts, where they currently live today. For 26 years, Rady has been making a difference and loves to be involved in the Lowell community. He ran for city council in 2005, and has been involved with the city’s Annual Water Festival since its inception. Rady is 3rd generation of healers who treats the local people with ailments through acupuncture. Photography and painting are his passions; he actually took photographs of the Clintons. He likes to play the flute and has been golfing for the past 3 years. Rady teaches Asian Studies at UMass Boston, is a motivational speaker, peace activist, and a former monk. He has been studying traditional Chinese medicine for 18 years with Dr. Ming Wu, and learned Tai Chi from him during his apprenticeship. It’s apparent that Rady Mom is living his life to the fullest. It is here in America, in Lowell, Massachusetts, where his strong character and demeanor is greatly appreciated. He is free to continue to turn dreams and talent into reality. This is truly a man of principle and integrity.

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Lowell’s everything man Translation by To, Rith

Special Thanks to Linda Khem

Photography: Sokhelm Pot

Top: Rady at Green Meadows, Hudson, NH Bottom: Interview with Lt. Governor Kerry Healy at the 2006 Lowell Water Festival

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Photography: Jack Silberman

Laotian boy holding a cluster bomb; these bombs cover one-third of the land in Laos and harm villagers everyday.

T

he Legacies of War National Traveling Exhibition has a story to tell about a forgotten and tragic chapter of history. From 1964 to 1973, Laos became the most heavily bombed country in the world when the United States dropped more than 2 million tons of ordnance as part of the wider Indochina conflict. The campaign was equivalent to a planeload of bombs dropped every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years. Although the war in Laos concluded more than 30 years ago, the devastation and suffering continues today. Up to 30% of the bombs dropped, primarily cluster bombs, failed to detonate, leaving extensive contamination from unexploded ordnance (UXO) in 15 of the 18 provinces. “Bombies,” as the local Lao call them, have killed or maimed approximately 12,000 people since the war’s end, and every day they claim another innocent victim. The UXO remains a major barrier to people’s livelihood and food security. The Lao government, the U.S., and international organizations are clearing the UXO, but some estimate that it may take up to 100 years to complete the work at current funding levels. Founded in 2004, Legacies of War is dedicated to increasing awareness of the history of the war in Laos among the international community, while bringing healing and hope to Laotians and the Laotian Diaspora at large. The National Traveling Exhibition is designed to educate with the hope of encouraging additional U.S. and international financial support for UXO removal in Laos. Through a broader understanding of the terrible and enduring legacies of this war and the use of cluster bombs, the exhibit will contribute to contemporary debate on peace and global security. This is particularly relevant given the use of cluster bombs in recent conflicts in the Middle East such as Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq. The National Traveling Exhibition and Program opens in the fall of 2007 in New England, with multiple venues in Massachusetts, including Boston, Lowell and Amherst, and reaching communities in

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By Elaine Russell & Channapha Khamvongsa

Connecticut, Vermont and Rhode Island as well. New England is home to more than 12,000 Laotian Americans and nearly 100,000 Southeast Asian Americans, including Cambodian and Vietnamese. Phitsamay Sychitkokhong Uy, Legacies of War coordinator for the New England Region states, “New England is home to a large population of refugees and immigrants who had to flee their war-torn homeland. We hope that by sharing the story of one community, we’ll encourage other communities to share, not only their experiences of war, but also their hopes for a future of peace.”

Our team doing education outreach at Lowell Water Festival 2006.

The multi-media exhibit features illustrations drawn in Laos in 1971 by survivors of the US bombing; archival and contemporary photographs and films; original recorded interviews; as well as collaborations among visual and performing artists. A planning committee is under development and they are seeking space for a local office in Boston. Volunteers are needed to help organize the various programs related to the exhibit. Legacies of War National Office, 80 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004 212-764-1508, Ext 230 legaciesofwar.org New England Contact: Phitsamay Sychitkokhong Uy, puy@edc.org

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the Post-College Crash Course on Personal Finance If you’re a recent college graduate, you might be like many others in your position: spending money you don’t have, not saving anything for the future, and generally digging yourself a great big hole of debt. However, it’s not too late to establish some good financial habits for your own benefit. Take advantage of your employer’s retirement plan. Your employer may have a 401(k) plan in which you can participate. With a 401(k) plan, your employer might also match a portion of the money you deposit into a retirement fund. More importantly, this is the first step in starting your retirement savings.

Debt: Credit and College Loans

Michael Tow has been helping individuals and families with their investments for more than ten years and is a registered representative of Commonwealth Financial Network— a member firm of the NASD/SIPC. He can be reached at 617-734-4400 or mtow@newbostonfinancial.com

Unless you received a full scholarship, you have to pay those loans back—potentially tens of thousands of dollars. So how can you handle this? Consolidate your loans. Consolidation combines your loans into one larger loan that you pay off monthly. This may lower your interest rate and help you keep track of payments and pay them on time. Be selective about which debt you pay off first. Pay off high-rate debt first. You can refinance your debt by transferring it from a high-rate to a lower-rate loan in order to save on interest.

Today, many people realize that because the government and employers are less able to provide financial security, they must create their own personal safety net. Constructing a personal safety net requires thinking, in broad terms, about life events that could trigger financial adversity and taking the requisite steps to prepare for those uncertainties. While it’s impossible to predict all of life’s obstacles, it is possible to group them into a few common categories. They include:

• Morbidity Risk – In our low-savings, high-debt society, medical expenses for an acute injury or illness fall outside the reach of many Americans.

Pay Bills On Time You’ve probably been hearing this for years, but it really can’t be said enough. Many people have paid late or have missed a credit card payment, and many of us have bounced a check. Not only does this earn you additional fees and higher interest, but it also shows up on your credit report, which can affect your ability to negotiate lower interest rates or get a loan in the future.

Develop Good Spending Habits and Budget Accordingly Keep track of your spending—include all money spent on entertainment, food, clothing, and even those miscellaneous purchases that fall through the cracks. You may find the money you’re spending on extraneous items is amounting to a bigger chunk of your paycheck than you’d like. This is an exciting point in your life— you probably have more freedom and opportunities for growth than you’ve ever had before, but it also exposes you to a whole new level of responsibility. Be smart about your present, and your future may look a whole lot brighter. Article By Michael Tow, President of New Boston Financial, Brookline, MA

Now, more than ever, insurers are in the position to help offset the erosion of traditional social support structures by leveraging vast asset pools and economies of scale. Most people should consult their insurer and financial services representative to develop a portfolio that will prepare them for both the possibilities and uncertainties they face throughout their lives – the “ifs” in life. This article appears courtesy of Prinya Sommala. Prinya is a registered representative offering securities through New England Securities Corporation, a broker-dealer (member NASD/SIPC). He focuses on meeting the individual insurance and financial services needs of people in Lowell, MA.

You can reach Prinya at 100 Front Street. Worcester, MA, 508-890-6256.

• Mortality Risk – Life insurance allows an individual to insure against premature death.

• Longevity Risk – People are living longer than ever. Individuals should work with their advisors and insurers to develop a customized income plan for retirement.

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BUSINESS

New England Financial is the service mark for New England Life Insurance Company and related companies, Boston, MA. L0608EQVF (esp1207) ENT-LD.

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By Maravanna Chan

David Kong is a thriving businessman by any standard. Resembling many success stories, he struggled early on, trying to find his niche in life. He was born in Harbin, China, a city close to the Russian border. In 1990, he landed in the United States, on the shores of sunny California. He was living in San Francisco and working various jobs, until one day, he decided school was his best path. David relocated to Los Angeles, where he attended UCLA and graduated in 1997. He had married two years prior and shortly after graduation, moved to the east coast, to his wife’s home state of Massachusetts. For the third time while living in the states, David had to settle down in a new location; he had no friends or business contacts. Not one to be discouraged, he soon had a clever yet simple idea. One day, he sat down and his ‘American Road’ began with a likely resource, but underutilized for what he had in mind. The catalyst was an ordinary item found in nearly every home in America...it was the Yellow Pages! He just started flipping through it, not looking for businesses per se, but Chinese names in particular and therefore started cold-calling people. His intentions were to earn trust and make some friends. This was a unique perspective, but it wasn’t an easy approach. He stumbled upon some people who got angry and warned him never to call again; others would just hang up without hearing what he had to say. After convincing several people that he was an honest man just trying to get acquainted with the area, he earned their trust and acquired a foothold. David commenced networking, and started making friends and developing business relationships. As a result, he was invited to conduct seminars (for mostly Asian immigrants) on the importance of building individual financial independence in America. With a solid background in business and finance, he initiated talks with established business owners and actually created partnerships with some of them. Photography: Lokagroup

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Subsequently, he co-founded two local companies, August Financial Advisors and Great Wall Financial Advisors. Today, he is the proprietor of Asian American Financial and Insurance Group. David Kong thrives on helping clients achieve their goals. His networking technique has taken him all over New England and New York City. He has probably traveled to more towns and worked with more businesses in the little time he’s spent in this area than any lifelong New Englander. David is also owner of Newton Corner Mart, a convenience store in Newton, MA. The store benefits from a notable concept called ‘Yin & Yang.’ The store is stocked and lined with goods, but the defining difference is that every aisle is evenly divided: one side Asian food, the other American. This enables his store to market to a wider range of patrons. There is also a deli, which serves Chinese fast food and American sandwiches. David will soon be licensed to sell liquor in addition to groceries. He is completely confident with this method of marketing, and it’s evident in his Newton enterprise. He plans to expand with chains of convenient stores consisting of the ‘Yin & Yang’ model in cities and towns where there are considerable Asian American populations. It has been a well traveled road from his days of flipping through the Yellow Pages. David Kong seems to have found his niche in life, with many successful past and present business endeavors. “All you have to do to be successful in business is to be an honest person.” David continues, “And when you fail, to just learn from your mistakes and keep on going.”

ASIAN | BOSTON

BUSINESS

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lEGAl qUESTIONS & ANSWErS This is Part 1 of a new series with Attorney Russell Chin, who will respond to questions submitted by our readers and provide insight into common legal problems. The advice is intended for the general readership and no attorney-client relationship, expressed or implied, is established by this column.

Please feel free to send your legal questions to Russel L. Chin, Esq., at rchin@chinfirm.com Judy writes, I have a tenant who refuses to leave despite the fact that the lease expired. Can I change the locks and force them to move? The landlord-tenant laws in Massachusetts are unique and complex. Both sides would do well to understand their rights and obligations before making any hasty decisions. Clearly, a landlord may not lock out a tenant for any reason without first obtaining court authority. Tenants have many rights and due process requirements must be met before a landlord may evict. Some years ago, I was involved in the eviction of a tenant and her 17 cats. She refused to pack or leave despite losing a protracted court battle, thereby obligating the landlord to hire a constable and pay movers for 15 hours to inventory, pack, and store all of the tenant’s worldly belongings.

The landlord must first determine what type of tenancy relationship exists. There are two main types of tenancies: one is at will and one is under a lease. Those operating under a lease are required to follow the terms of the lease. When the lease expires, the relationship becomes a tenancy at will. In general, under a tenancy at will, the landlord or tenant can terminate the relationship by giving notice that is equal to the interval between the number of days of payment or thirty (30) days, whichever is longer. A landlord can easily obtain a Notice to Quit from a legal stationery store, a constable, a rental housing association, or even on-line. If the tenant refuses to leave, the landlord must begin an eviction proceeding (known as Summary Process) and produce a copy of the written Notice to Quit in court

with proof that the tenant received notification of the end of the tenancy. Most evictions are brought for non-payment of rent, although in this case, the tenant is holding over beyond the lease term while continuing to pay rent. If a tenancy at will is being terminated for nonpayment of rent, the landlord must give a written fourteen (14) days Notice to Quit to the tenant. Again, one can easily obtain this notice. Please be aware that there are two types of 14-day notices—one for at will and one when a lease is still in effect. In Judy’s case, even though she had a lease, it has expired and since a new lease was not signed, the tenancy has automatically converted to at will. Remember, she risks renewing the tenant relationship if rent is accepted after the Notice to Quit is served, which would then require starting the eviction process all over again.

SAVE A lIFE!

Improve Your Floor Finishing Business!

By Professor Lenore Azaroff, UMASS Lowell Do you sand and finish wood floors for a living? When is the last time you had a fire? Sometimes, homes are scorched or completely destroyed, or people are badly burned or killed by floor finishing fires. Fortunately, you can take preventive measures to help keep you safe and make your business profitable. Avoid Using Flammable Products Do you use lacquer sealers? Many lacquer sealers are flammable. This means that the vapor from the product can catch fire easily at temperatures below 100ºF (38ºC). Vapors from products can travel quickly. They can move into other rooms, up stairs, or into basements. Just one spark can start a fire in those vapors. Where do the sparks come from? Just about anything: pilot lights in water heaters or stoves; hitting a nail or staple in the floor; friction from rubbing cloth. Fires have started when floor finishing vapors traveled into the basement to a water heater many rooms away from the floor work. Sadly, 3 local workers have been killed since 2004. How Can I Know Which Products are Flammable? All products have information on documents called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Every MSDS lists a flash point. That means the vapors won’t catch fire easily at low temperatures. Ask your supplier for products with flash points above 100ºF (38ºC). Local suppliers, including Boston Wood Floors and Capitol Wood, will help select non-flammable products for you. To learn ways to improve your business, protect your customers’ property, and save your health, Viet-AID and the Dorchester Occupational Health Initiative are sponsoring free training seminars and advice from experts in the floor finishing field. Participants will win coupons for floor finishing products!

Please contact Viet-AID for more information: Thu Truong: 617-822-3717 x18 email: thu@vietaid.org Hoa Mai: 617-822-3717 x22 email: maihoa@vietaid.org 1 0 ASIAN | BOSTON

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A P P R O A C H

New Concept 447 Centre St. Newton, MA 02458

STRATEGY

RESULTS

Photography: Olga Lisogurskaya

781-888-1808 I M P L E M E N T

David F. Kong

Business Consultant / Financial Advisor

Attorney Russell Chin has represented Asian businesses and individuals in domestic and foreign legal matters since

Esquire

1011 Main St., Hingham, MA

781-740-9890 rchin@chinfirm.com www.chinfirm.com

blend of both trial and transactional experience, he is well-qualified to be your legal partner.

Celebrating 25 Years of Partnering With the Asian Community C O N N E C T I N G C U LT U R E S

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Ad design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

Russell L. Chin

1981. With a unique

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By Hidemi DeHays Photography: Olga Lisogurskaya Article design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

A person can walk into a physician’s office searching for a medical professional who can better understand his or her needs. In turn, doctors listen to our concerns, heal our ailments, and give us hope. However, it’s not often that the roles are reversed and one can hear the doctor’s history, hopes and concerns. Dr. Cheng-Ta Dai’s story provides insight into a profession that interests many, but remains a mystery beyond the white coat. It is what this doctor accentuates from years of experience that is truly enlightening. Dr. Dai was born in Taiwan, China, and moved to America with his family at age 14. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin and continued medical school in Chicago. Like many other men and women in his field, he worked hard in order to accomplish the complex requirements to become a medical doctor, and to specialize in gastroenterology as well. Dr. Dai now practices in New Hampshire where he consults and treats patients who are having troubles involving the digestive system. He deals with an array of cases on a daily basis, from colonoscopies (to check the health of the large intestine and colon), to gastroscopies, (a procedure

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MEDICINE

that looks for ulcers or signs of cancer in the stomach), and other surgical procedures. In today’s race-conscious society, it is common to assume that a hyphen American yields a unique experience worth romanticizing over. Dr. Dai feels that his racial heritage does not affect his practice in medicine. His career was accomplished through hard work, devotion and sacrifice more than any other factor. Yes, cultural background is important to him. His daughter studies history at Beijing University, and he visits China often. An incredibly humble man, Dr. Dai cites that a nice personality is just as important as a physician’s credentials. The medical profession, although physically and mentally exhausting, is worth it due to the shared passion amongst health professionals to “help people feel better,” as Dr. Dai points out. Although the common goal of all medical professionals is to help people, Dr. Dai stated that a physician must “do the best that he or she can,” and remember to “face the fact that you can’t save everybody.” In his field of gastroenterology, Dr. Dai deals with many cases of drug and alcohol abuse. In this situation, sometimes there are limited options to help salvage a

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person’s health, especially if their lifestyle inhibits the success of any treatment. He explained that the body, in the practice of internal medicine, becomes merely a physical structure - a ‘machine’ that must be repaired and nourished both mentally and physically. However, Dr. Dai explained that he must remind himself that, the sickly bodies in front of him were full of life once. Particularly, he mentioned doing rounds while on his residency years ago, and seeing an elderly man, sick and derelict, being visited by loved ones. At that moment, Dr. Dai realized that the ‘structures’ he operated on and treated had a beautiful life once, and are more than just machines...they are bodies with souls. The medical profession is a complicated process in which great obstacles are overcome, and important life perspectives are gained. Oftentimes, patients depend on their doctors as a panacea and forget that these men and women are human beings. Dr. Dai is genuinely looking to help people feel better, whether through his nice personality, or his qualifications as a physician.

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PlASTIC SUrgEry

More than Meets the Eye Ask anyone you know about plastic surgery and I am sure you will get some strong opinions. Whether it is Dr. 90210, ABC’s Extreme Makeover or the cover of any celebrity magazine, images of plastic surgery are everywhere. Which aging starlet has had her face worked on, her thighs lipo’d or her lips plumped with Restylane? Terms like Botox, liposuction and breast augmentation are becoming part of our everyday vocabulary. However, what exactly is the origin of plastic surgery? Most people think that plastic has something to do with synthetic or fake. Others think it has to do with materials that are sometimes used in surgery. In fact, plastic is derived from the Greek word Plastikos, which means to shape or mold. Plastic surgery is a modern sub-specialty with roots in ancient medicine. There are recorded descriptions of a technique for nasal reconstruction from India dating to 600 BCE! Most of the early development of the specialty came from surgeons attempting to repair and restore the injured faces of soldiers wounded in battle. In fact, after every major war, new techniques

emerged which were incorporated into plastic surgery. What most people do not know is that plastic surgery is much more than cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is a small part of a much larger specialty. Plastic surgery can be defined simply as a surgical specialty that attempts to correct or repair abnormal structures of the body

to restore form and sometimes function. Some common procedures performed by plastic surgeons are the repair of cleft lip and palate, skin grafting to repair damaged skin on burn victims, removal of skin cancer, and resetting of hand fractures using screws and plates. Plastic surgeons can even re-create a breast using skin and fat from a women’s stomach or the muscle from her back, after the breast has been removed due to cancer. These are just a few examples of how plastic surgeons help their patients’ everyday. By far, cosmetic procedures grab the public’s attention. Who can resist watching reality shows where doctors help patients feel good by transforming their bodies? That is the very essence of the specialty…taking a body part that is underdeveloped, misshapen or altered by time…and reshaping it to be more appealing and pleasing to the eye. Plastic surgeons must go through years of schooling and residency to learn their craft. A person considering any plastic surgery should do their homework. The most important thing to look for is Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This will ensure that your surgeon is fully trained in the latest techniques and adheres to a strict code of ethics.

By Dr. Al Ko

Photography: Olga Lisogurskaya

YOUR AD HERE! Please call AsianBoston Advertising Services at 617-275-4249

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MEDICINE 1 3


neighbors got involved. Many of the Asian gardeners, who tended the space on their own before it was officially a community garden (often referred to as ‘garden squatting’), remained in their original spaces and are still there today. With an organized garden comes responsibility, rules and regulations, and the Land Trust has handled them faithfully. Land Trust board members and garden tenders volunteer much of their free time through bi-weekly clean-ups, a mailing list for news and garden tips, repairs, security, vandalizing issues, and the annual lottery.

The Gardens officially became community-run in 1990. Each year, onlookers who have walked by what some people refer to as the urban jungle, come to test their luck in the annual Berkeley Gardens Lottery. Since the plots are so reasonable ($40 per summer), and are such a popular commodity, the Land Trust has set up an annual Spring Clean Up and Lottery Day. Anyone who is interested in having a garden can enter; however, the plots aren’t easy to get. Unless a former gardener has passed away or moved, they rarely become available. For those who do obtain one, they hear the same question from onlookers, “How’d you get one of these?” “Luck,” they often say. The season draws to a close in October when the fall air rustles the trees, Mums bloom and vegetables are harvested. That first evening frost is usually a sign that the gardening season has ended. Nostalgic talk and plans for the next season carry on amongst the gardeners. On one chilly Sunday afternoon, people begin to leave for the season. Luna Mac, an Asian gardener who has been there for 15 years, is picking her titanic squashes for stir fry and soup. Another gardener tells her that maybe next year she will try some of Mac’s tricks of the trade. Luna Mac laughs as she walks away, a squash in each hand. “See you next year,” she yells over her shoulder. “Yes,” her neighbor says. “See you next year.”

The Berkeley CommunityByGardens Caroline Leonard Perched in a neighborhood that has faced the common conundrum found in so many urban neighborhoods, the Berkeley Community Gardens in Boston's South End survives amidst the area's ongoing development. For more than 30 years, with 130 plots, the gardeners bridge the gap between cultures, ages and economic status. On any given day from May to November, this small space along E. Berkeley Street, (between Tremont St. and Shawmut Ave.) reflects the diversity that encompasses most inner-city areas. Vietnamese and Chinese parents grow vegetables for their families while their children run and play. Seniors, canes in hand, water and weed their plants every morning, as they have for decades. Young professionals learn a craft for the first time while experimenting with annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables. New families in the neighborhood gather to share a hobby with their children. They all mingle and pass each other by conversing on common grounds (often in different languages) with a simple nod and a thumbs-up for good work. There’s a buzz in this small community that permeates throughout each garden, but it hasn’t always been easy for these cultures to intermix. Misunderstandings have occurred throughout the years, mostly due to language and cultural barriers. It’s caused tension every so often, since the gardens first became a community-run area. Many of the older Asian gardeners, who have been tending plots for decades, have felt mistreated, disregarded, undervalued and misunderstood. Now, led by the South End Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust (SELROST), the gardens have come a long way. Even with cultural challenges, the community thrives. With misunderstandings come solutions, especially when there is a goal at hand. After years of reflecting the South End of days past, with buildings being renovated and torn down faster than neighbors can bat an eye, the space formally became a community-run garden in 1990. Dirt was trucked in; wood fencing was installed;

Photography: Caroline Leonard

Luna Mac proudly displays her squash harvest. Above, the gardens are a welcome oasis amongst the city’s landscape.

Article design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

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By Cholthanee Koerojna

Thai food plays the most significant role in the introduction of Thai culture to Americans. But, what most people don’t realize is that His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) of Thailand is the only monarch of a foreign country to be born in the United States. King Rama IX was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge on December 5, 1927, giving him the distinction of being the longest reigning king of any country in the world. During that time, his father, Prince Mahidol Songkla, studied Medicine at Harvard Medical School and his mother, Princess Sangwan, studied at Simmons College. December 5, 1999, marked the 72nd anniversary of the birth of King Rama IX. A few months prior to this juncture, an organization called the King of Thailand Birthplace Foundation (KTBF) was established to bring to light this momentous occasion to the people of Massachusetts. KTBF, a nonprofit corporation and public charity was incorporated in 1998 under a 501(c)(3) in Massachusetts. KTBF is comprised of Thai and American men and women who believe in cultural exchange, community service, and historic preservation. We have come together to achieve a common goal – a symbolic center of cultural exchange commemorating the birthplace of King Rama IX. KTBF is striving to establish a museum, library and cultural center, which will serve as a place where Thai people and the general community can learn about the life and works of King Rama IX. On November 18, 2003, a pink North American granite pillar, the King Bhumibol Adulyadej Monument, was installed at the corner of Eliot and Bennett Sts., (King Bhumibol Adulyadej Square) in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is a unique piece of art and serves as an icon of Thai culture in the USA. KTBF has been successful in its mission to preserve a piece of Thai history, with many more projects on the horizon. King Bhumibol Adulyadej Square is more attractive and visible to the public and worthy of His Majesty the King. Long live the king as we look forward to his 80th birthday on December 5, 2007.

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Cholthanee Koerojna, president of KTBF, proudly stands next to the King Bhumibol Adulyadej Monument in Harvard Square.

For more information, please contact Cholthanee Koerojna, President, KTBF Phone: 781-365-0083 ktbf@thailink.com Photos courtesy of Cholthanee Koerojna and www.thaiembdc.org Article design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

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You can take the man out of the country, but… By Donna Agnew

This is the charming story of a man who has a great thirst for nature and all its wonders. His homeland is China. His birthplace is Canton (Guangzhou), a place far from the big city and known for beautiful landscapes. The landscapes were his teacher, and they created an interest instilled in him to this day. This interest is photography, and the man is Eaden Huang, a soft spoken man who is passionate about his chosen profession. He left his homeland in 1986 to start life in a new land...the United States of America. Eaden established a photography studio in Malden, MA. Although he lives in close proximity to Boston, his talent lies in capturing the essence of nature’s beauty on the outskirts of the metropolitan area. As an artist, he loves the changing seasons of New England. “New life begins with every season. I can keep going back to the same place and see something new to capture,” as Eaden so eloquently expresses. Eaden has never had formal photography training. He is self-taught and his hard work and devotion has segued into a successful wedding photography business, with many clients from Chinatown, Boston and the suburbs. The business side of photography enables Eaden to continue bringing beautiful landscape images to the public. Eaden Huang proudly states that he owes his success to his wife, and has great admiration for her continued support and belief in his artistic talent. Eaden also has a son and daughter who are both active in art and music.

Eaden Huang’s portfolio can be found by visiting eadenphoto.com From what I observed in Eaden’s photography and our wonderfully sincere discussion, his home is most likely full of the same love and talent he shares with the world through his lens. His camera desires that ever-changing New England landscape: sunshine, snow, blooming flowers, and falling leaves. His images make us want to take the time to walk in a park, water our plants, or play in the snow. With any luck, maybe you will bump into Eaden one day in a park or on a mountainside.

…you cannot take the country out of this man.

what our bodies hold History travels through our bodies That is our life Life travels through our bodies That is our gift The gift travels through our bodies That is our road The road travels through our bodies Within our bodies the journey concludes All that our bodies hold Is the valor of their pure white bones? Is anticipation in their open eyes

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patriots Winter; our nation is in the wind A chill is upon all patriots Does loving this nation feel colder? All the more love, all the more shivering Only one winter is left Only one nation is left in the wind My call to others; the call of millions Blown far far away in the wind Winter; our nation is in the wind Bodies of patriots are being drained of warmth All the more love, all the more cold All the more patriots warming one another

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a prevailing resource By Julie T. Pham

Remember those summer days, when you plucked soft petals off moon daisies one at a time just to see if someone would love you back? Unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way of beautiful moments with the reality of money problems, school, work, and raising a family. For some people, the stress of life’s obstacles can be overwhelming. Emotions can overpower you, and lead you to act out your frustrations or anger. Such incidents sometimes result in slapping your child, pushing or punching a significant other, or using economic or psychological dominance over a spouse. Hence, these are just a few of the behaviors widely recognized as patterns of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a formidable issue. It’s usually hidden behind closed doors because people are afraid, ashamed, or embarrassed to disclose such delicate personal matters. These sensitive and painful secrets are rarely revealed and may only be suggested by bruises on one’s face, or scrapes and cuts on one’s arms. However, the worst is when a life is taken. Moreover, there is the lack of awareness on domestic violence issues among our diverse population; in particular, the Asian community. Fortunately, there are many non-profit organizations and coalitions around the world that are striving to alleviate domestic violence and bring back peace, love and understanding to families faced with this dilemma. One particular example is a distinctive and innovative organization called Close to Home - centrally located in one of Boston’s most culturally diverse towns, Dorchester, MA, and founded by Executive Director Aimee Thompson. She created Close to Home in 2002 to prevent domestic violence by providing a safe haven for the

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community and families in Dorchester. Close To Home offers programs on understanding the various facets of domestic violence and preventive techniques. She explained, “Part of the reason why we’re in Dorchester is because it has many wonderful community strengths, civic associations, a vibrant life and active neighborhood. There are great opportunities to activate these networks around this issue.” As a result, some of their main constituents are the youth community, neighbors, and the network of organizations in and around Dorchester. Some of Close to Home’s distinguished methods consist of prevention versus crisis response, education for all on domestic violence, and empowerment for the youth, women, and men in the community. One great example is the annual interactive theater production on domestic violence put on by teen volunteers. Additionally, Close to Home periodically generates a popular newsletter on the subject offering news stories, events, and connections within the community. Furthermore, Close to Home provides different programs to support their mission and vision in preventing domestic violence. Such programs include discussion groups, community leadership teams, community events, and digital stories. For instance, Aimee and her colleagues, Heather Benjamin and Anne Hien Bui, Community Organizers, often attend open dialogues through “kitchen table” talks where several friends, family members, or neighbors get together for a meal and discussion on what’s happening in the community related to domestic violence. Anne also frequents some ESL classes to provide conversations and training to the Vietnamese community, which exhibits a language and cultural barrier. She asserts, “Many of the Vietnamese don’t know what’s available out there and they’re not familiar with the programs.” Consequently, Anne provides them with the necessary means and resources to recognize and thus help prevent domestic violence in their own homes, or help support their friends and neighbors. Lastly, the abovementioned digital stories are short videos created by community residents. They use multi-media tools to tell of their own experiences with domestic violence. From events and programs like these along with the strength of the community and local residents, some of Close to Home’s key achievements are: • Reaching more than 10,000 residents with information and resources. • Developing strong associations with 30 or more community-based organizations by providing training in handling domestic violence. • Implementing public awareness events and community building around Dorchester. • Convening youth forums and training programs in combating teen dating violence. • Producing more than 22 digital stories that are featured throughout Boston Neighborhood Television Network. The Dorchester community is benefiting from the wonderful work this outreach organization is achieving. Close To Home is striving to bring troubled families many opportunities for a better and healthier lifestyle. If you want more information or would like to get involved with Close To Home, please visit their website at www.c2home.org or call 617-929-5151.

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Translation by Thu Truong

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Conveniently Located in the Heart of the Theatre District 63 Stuart Street Boston, MA 02116 Phone: 617-338-5600 Fax: 617-338-5348 montien-boston.com Ad design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com Photography: Lokagroup

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•Heat pot of water to boiling point •Peel shells from shrimp •Boil shrimp for 5 min. or 70% cooked •Mix corn starch with egg •Dip shrimp into mixture •Heat wok with oil •Deep fry shrimp until golden brown

•Take one teaspoon of dry fried garlic and one teaspoon of butter and pour over shrimp and cook for one minute •Take 3/4 teaspoon of five spicy salt and sprinkle over shrimp and stir for 1 min.

Ready to Serve…Have Fun!

Photography: Lokagroup

Jumbo Shrimp (1 dozen) 1 Egg Butter Corn Starch Dry Fried Garlic Five Spicy Salt

Vinh Sun BBQ 58 Beach Street, Boston, MA Phone: 617-338-1368

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MONGOLIAN Hot Pot: Lobster Roll Combo Ingredients

Yin Yang (divided) Pot:

1/2 Spicy and 1/2 Seafood Broths Anise, Chili pepper (spicy broth), Chinese dates, Garlic, Ginseng, Lichee nuts, Scallion, and Wolfberry

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•Heat broths to boiling point •Cut lobster into pieces •Boil lobster and vegetables to your desired taste •Replenish pot with water periodically

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Photography: Lokagroup

1.5lb Live Lobster Bay leaves Bok Choy Corn on the cob Corn Noodle Enoki Sesame seeds Spinach Watercrest

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ASIAN | BOSTON

DINING 2 1


Kaze Shabu Shabu Restaurant is recognized as one of Massachusetts’ best spots for Shabu Shabu. This restaurant follows strict standards on service, quality and presentation. Only the finest ingredients are used to deliver exceptional and exotic cuisine. You will be impressed with Kaze's beautifully appointed dining room and full service bar.

Photography: Charles Daniels

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310-289-4389 thesilvascreen@aol.com 23


It’s only in the last decade that the beauty industry has offered numerous products for eyebrows. In the past, the choices were either a black or brown pencil. Today, we have access to an array of colored pencils, powders, gels and entire eyebrow kits! My friend and I are huge fans of Nars eyebrow pencil in Ipanema. It’s not too dark or too light. But use caution when applying. Use light strokes so it doesn’t look painted or harsh. My suggestion is to sweep a coat of clear brow gel or clear mascara to keep eyebrows in place, and prevent them from sticking straight out. I recommend Sephora for all of your cosmetic purchases. They offer approximately 60 different products for eyebrows!

Another option is permanent makeup, which is a state of the art form of cosmetic tattooing. This specialized technique is often referred to as micropigmentation, micropigment implantation or dermagraphics. The cosmetic implantation technique deposits tiny individual implants of pigment into the dermal layer of the skin. The procedure is performed using machines similar to machines used for tattooing, as well as other machines specific to the industry. When having your brows down, the procedure could take up to four visits—the initial consultation, initial application of pigment and one or two follow up visits to adjust shape, color and density of pigment.

Surprisingly, men's spa services are one of the fastest growing in the industry. Spa personnel are recognizing the need for men’s services and understand a man’s hesitation to walk into a salon. More and more men are choosing spas for help in a range of treatments. The following services are usually available to men in neighborhood salons.

Basic Treatments: • Facial: Deep cleansing and exfoliation to reduce the impurities for overall healthy and glowing skin. • Manicure: Cleans hands and nails for a more professional appearance. • Pedicure: For healthy and clean feet. • Massage: To relax and sooth muscles from sports, exercise and stress. Massage also helps injuries heal faster and useful for preventive maintenance.

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BEAUTY TIPS

While this is definitely a more drastic approach to beautiful eyebrows, it makes sense in a lot of ways. If you’re like me, you’re always running late and don’t have the time to apply brow makeup. Also, I find it a great inconvenience to reapply after every shower, swim or workout. But keep in mind that this is permanent, and the individual performing the procedure can be inexperienced. This may cause unsatisfactory results or infection from contaminated needles. My suggestion is to do your homework and obtain referrals if you choose this particular procedure. If you would like your beauty products reviewed in this column, please contact Tina at info@asianboston.com.

Advanced or Clinical Treatments: • Microdermabrasion: A progressive skin re-surfacing technique that targets lines, wrinkles, superficial scarring, stretch marks, acne, and sun damage. • Threading: Tweezing or waxing, to clean up bushy eyebrows, upper-lips, chin, etc. • Laser hair removal: A permanent solution to rid thick terminal hair on the chest, legs or back. However, laser treatment is not for everyone. Please research before you proceed with this treatment. At Sondarya, we are fully aware of the concerns and needs of male and female clients who are new to spa services. We make it a point to have clients leave our establishment more relaxed and confident.

For more information, please visit www.healthnspa.com

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Please Welcome This Month’s Fashion Retailer...

Sanghee Kim of

Casting & Media

PIXI Accessories

COUSINS - QUINCY, MA

NICK & MAX

Allston, MA

175 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA Phone: (617) 782-1150 Special thanks to Lisa Lee for referring PIXI, and our sister team, Leakena & Maravanna Chan of Lynn, MA, for coordinating the models and clothing for the photo shoot.

AsianBoston is proud to have the Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers as the backdrop for this issue. I extend a personal thanks to Sara Anderson for allowing us the privilege of holding the event at the hotel, and especially for coordinating the shoot on such short notice. From the staff of AsianBoston Magazine, we sincerely thank the hotel employees who helped make that day a success. ~Leo Anthony

Casting & Media

EMILY

BEDFORD, MA

WAYLAND, MA

STEPHEN

Casting & Media

Article design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

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MODELING & FASHION 2 5


Casting & Media

BECCA & KATHY

Casting & Media

Casting & Media

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MODELING & FASHION

DOME

ALLSTON, MA

PROVIDENCE, RI

CHRISTOPHER

MATTAPAN, MA

SISTERS - CHELMSFORD, MA

ANIA

Casting & Media

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Casting & Media

DRACUT, MA

BOSTON, MA

KIANNI

RICHARD

Casting & Media

Photography & Makeup by Tosak Images Please see ad on page 32

Photographers: Visoot Sueksagan, Tosak Hoontakul & Miss Sikarin (Fon) Thanachaiary

Casting & Media

Assistant Photography: Jatechan Khiaophan Assistants: Mui Mui, O-Ba & Miss Sutavan Chairatanangamdaj

BOSTON, MA

VIVIAN

Makeup: Duanguedee Sueksagan & Polin Wilaireungsuwan

Hairstylist Cheryl Tarara & Jill Lawler Please see ad on page 32 Men’s clothing provided by Grandasia grandasia.com Footwear & Accessories provided by Pixi and Grandasia

Photo Shoot Location Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers Please see ad on inside front cover.

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MODELING & FASHION 2 7


By Trista Allman

Photography L-R: Phil Macino, Wayne Herrschaft, Steve Messina, & Shiran Nicholson

Article design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

The rock band, LOURDS, from NYC, performed at the elusive ‘Greatest Bar’ in Boston one night in October. They performed ten songs and put on a high-energy show worthy of a capacity-filled 60,000 seat arena concert. After the performance, Lourds Lane— lead singer and band namesake—ran from the stage to their portable media booth where they sold merchandise, and most importantly, shared their time with new fans. Still energized after her monstrous rock-out session, Lourds followed me up a spiral staircase and into the bar’s storage room. It was the perfect spot to interview this spirited prodigy. Lourds Lane is a fast talking New Yorker with a sexy-low voice. She moved through each question I put forth with smooth confidence. She was born into struggle, raised by a single matriarchal Filipino mother (also named Lourds) in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Her mother sold eggs in the Philippines to raise money to come to America, to make a better life for her children. “My mother falls into an Asian stereotype, which is actually true in my case: Asians are raised to become overachievers. Asian parents encourage their children to excel at every challenge in life, until they reach the top. But hey, screw it, man! Asians Kick Butt! You know…we rule! I am proud to be Asian.” Lourds continues, “My mother had me playing the violin and piano by the age of three. I was reading sheet music way before I could read literature. I spent every ounce of

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time practicing, learning, excelling and being supported and pushed by my mother and music conductors. They said I needed to master classical music and instruments in order to be the best.” Lourds had indeed excelled, and was entertaining people with classical music at an early age. At age seven, Lourds, with violin in hand, actually performed at Carnegie Hall! She began a rebellious stage as a teenager by playing everything but classical music. Lourds was a rock ‘n roller to the bone. To quote lyrics from a song by Stevie Nicks, “She could go her own way.” Go her own way she did. One day, Lourds had an epiphany; she reached back to her classical music roots and began fusing it with hard rock. She wields an electric guitar, mandolin, and violin expertly on stage, all the while exerting so much energy that it could light up Times Square! She wears a super girl charm around her neck and wrote a song called ‘Supergirl.’ Lourds explained that this song is most important because it allows her to get through life when she is feeling vulnerable, yet still giving her fans the super-charged performance they’ve come to expect. She sings about, sometimes "needing the protective wings of her angel, who will wrap her wings around her, to save her from pain and weakness." Lourds believes, "There's a melody to pain, and although your angel's wings can sometimes feel like daggers, at the darkest times of your life, you'll find that your

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LOURDS From Left to Right: Sarah Vasil - drums Gene Blank - guitars Lourds Lane - electric violin, lead singer Joey Sagarese - bass

angel has been with you all along." She loves the band Queen and would have loved collaborating musically with Freddy Mercury, or any other member. It’s hard to pick a favorite song by Queen, but she emphasized that “they harnessed an energy that ran the gamut of their time.” Lourds feels, “Our generation is filled with A.D.D, incapable of truly feeling the emotional roller coaster that Queen put forth.” She also hopes to work with David Bowie and Missy Elliot in the near future. “Her tracks make my ass shake and I would love to play violin on anything she produces.” This super girl’s favorite word is ‘perseverance,’ and that is what she continues to do every waking moment. She finds that the greatest melodies, harmonies, and lyrics come alive when she sits in silence and listens to the musical voices in her head. Lourds emphasizes, “I'm filled with so much music that it needs to come out." What are the plans for the bands future? Lourds quickly answers, “World Domination!” With a slight pause, and a compelling half smile, she says, “Our goal is to have each performance affect people whether it’s for 2 or 10,000 screaming fans. We always bring the noise and perform with the highest energy.” Please visit lourdsmusic.com

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“We begin to love with an open heart when it’s guided by compassion rather than separation. By Trista Allman With only the clothes on her back, Amazin LeThi came from the streets of Saigon, Vietnam, armed with only a dream that one day; she would make something from nothing! It took absolute willpower and the belief that she could overcome any obstacle, when many said it was impossible. Since leaving Vietnam, Amazin has traveled the world and now resides in New York City. She has a strong sense of individuality, and is a living embodiment of the ‘art of possible.’ Before becoming the Renaissance woman we see today, Amazin laid the foundation for her global success through perseverance, hard work and talent. Never one to let-up, Amazin remains active in fitness, sports, fashion, business, publishing, film, music, television and much more. The following is an interview covering one aspect of Amazin LeThi’s endeavors...bodybuilding. AB: How would you define your success as a bodybuilder? Amazin: My success has become less about lifting weights and competing, and more about being a positive role model for Vietnamese women. I hope to help break down conventional barriers and stigmas of Asian women in general. I have been noted as the first Vietnamese born woman to have a successful career in the mainstream entertainment industry.

We are all the same inside. It’s only our conditioned social belief that separates us. Sometimes, all we need is an open heart.” -Amazin LeThi community in kind. Society in general bombards women with unobtainable images of how they should look. I have found, as an Asian woman, that it was hard to find role models because I could never look like Naomi Campbell or Kate Moss. Women come in all shapes and sizes. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This career is about redefining what is beautiful. AB: What type of build do you have and how do you maintain your healthy body? Amazin: I have an athletic ectomorph build. I am naturally strong and build muscle easily. I weight train at least 4-5 times a week and partake in martial arts, boxing, yoga, Pilates, dance, Tai Chi, surfing, skiing and horse back

AB: How has society challenged you as a thriving Vietnamese woman? Amazin: I was never challenged by society. Society has always been challenged by me. I like to make people think outside their own boundaries, their definitions of each other and the world around them. I certainly did that by becoming a bodybuilder. I’ve always lived my life outside the box, not limited by conventional thinking. My unconventional choices in life have now been rewarded. Asian women are defining their place in society; we too can be independent, strong and choose any career path that we desire.

AB: How has bodybuilding affected your physique and what advice can you give women interested in pursuing it? Amazin: Once I started weight training, I was able to define my physique, broaden my shoulders, tone my arms and widen my back. I could truly sculpt my body into any desired shape, like a piece of art. My advice to women is to try bodybuilding; it can dramatically change your physique and also help improve your self-esteem and confidence. AB: What are your future plans? Amazin: My most exciting entertainment deal at the moment is signing a contract with Murdercap Records, the most controversial hip-hop label in the US. I’m a shrewd businesswoman and have my finger in many pies so to speak. I have a book coming out in early 2007 called “Free Weight Training.” You can find this and my other works on amazon.com. Amazin is a sensational entertainer, and we are certain that this former street kid from Saigon will continue to live the “American Dream.” www.amazinlethi.com

AB: Have you received positive feedback from the Asian community? Amazin: I’m very happy with the support from my community, and I support the

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riding. Everything should be done in moderation, which is good for balance. I stick to my Asian eating plan; rice, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. I believe the Vietnamese diet is one of the healthiest. When I have treats, it’s chocolate, French pastries or fish & chips.

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ASIAN | BOSTON

NYC 2 9


Tai-Chun Pan

a thirst for tradition

By Virginia Payne I first met Tai-Chun Pan in 1991 at Digital Equipment Corp., in Littleton, MA. My immediate impression was that he carried a friendly and relaxed demeanor. I remember a colleague nicknamed him ‘The Zen Master.’ Come to find out, Tai-Chun was not only a Taiji practitioner, but also a teacher of this moving meditation. Tai-Chun began his study of Taiji in Taiwan at an early age, and started teaching this art form soon after he came to the US in 1980 to pursue his master’s degree in Computer Science at Northeastern University. Taiji (a.k.a. Tai Chi) is an ancient internal martial arts form, consisting of a sequence of balanced, relaxed postures, connected by slow graceful movements, emphasizing body/mind coordination and relaxed breathing. Although there are many styles of Taiji, the one practiced by Tai-Chun is the “Older Form,” which was passed down by Grandmaster Hsiung Yang-Ho. The Yang family style is a longer form, which is the more traditional, but lesser known style. Tai-Chun chose this less popular style because it offers a more complete set of traditional forms that include San-Shou (the matching forms), sword, saber and staff. In his teaching, he explains that one can apply the Taiji principle of staying relaxed and concentrating on body/mind coordination to help cope with the stresses in one’s life as well as improve relationships with others. Upon my modest request, Tai-Chun gracefully agreed in 1991 to teach his colleagues this meditative exercise at lunch time, which he has continued for the last 15 years accepting nothing in return. For the past 26 years, he has been tirelessly teaching Taiji

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every Wednesday night in Arlington, and, along with his brother, Tai-Sheng, every Sunday afternoon at the Chinese Language School in Lexington. Tai-Chun is not only a colleague, a friend and a Taiji teacher of mine; he’s also my flute teacher! When he was nine, his older brother gave him a hand-made Chinese bamboo flute, and he has been playing it ever since. He was the first prize winner of the 1972 Taipei Chinese Music Instruments Competition, and has been a member of the Chinese music ensemble in the Boston area since 1981. He conducts a flute class every Sunday afternoon; and with the little spare time left, he also squeezes in private flute lessons for a selected few. In addition to his many obligations, Tai-Chun is also the president of the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association (GBCCA) Chinese Music Ensemble of Newton, MA, for the past 20 years. The Ensemble was founded in 1984 by members and friends of the Chinese Music Ensemble of Boston. Tai-Chun took over the leadership of the Ensemble in 1986 with one main goal in mind: to promote Chinese music literacy and appreciation among the Chinese ethnic population as well as the general American public. The Ensemble has achieved many accomplishments since its inception thanks to Tai-Chun’s enthusiasm and the members’ dedication. A couple of undertakings have been the tradition of giving yearly large-scale free concerts and frequently hosting visiting Chinese musicians, while performing regularly in various events all over New England. The “promotion of Chinese music literacy and appreciation” under Tai-Chun’s

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direction has been so successful, especially among the ethnic Chinese youth that the GBCCA Youth Chinese Music Ensemble was created in 2000; its members are chosen through auditions every year thanks to overwhelming interest and talent. However, Tai-Chun’s musical interests could not be easily pursued without the unconditional support from his wife, Tung-Mei, who is equally active in the Chinese Music Ensemble, and has been the director of the Youth Ensemble for the past five years. Musical talent definitely runs in the family: their son Jason practically grew up with the Ensemble, playing the lead Erhu (a Chinese bow & string instrument, similar to the violin). Currently a sophomore at Harvard University, he collaborated with a few of his college friends, and together they have recently founded the Harvard Chinese Music Ensemble. Twenty-five years ago, perhaps only a handful of folks in Boston heard traditional Chinese music. Today, music halls are usually filled to capacity when such performances take place. Tai-Chun is elated to see this ever-growing appreciation of Chinese music among the American public. He is equally delighted to pass down the more traditional form of Taiji to the greater Boston community and to see his students carry on this custom, which many of them are now in turn teaching to their own community. Undoubtedly, Tai-Chun’s enthusiastic efforts have helped spawn a growing cultural awareness. Photos: Tai-Chun playing Chinese flute, teaching Sanshou (fighting form) class, and demonstrating the Saber form.

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Mariko’s Rainbow Bridge Journal Actors Refugees Repertory Theatre (ARRT) A little more than a year ago, on the verge of summer’s end, my friend Eva Ng and I just finished a theatre performance and decided to sit down and talk. We discussed the possibility of forming a group for our actor friends to get together and further explore our craft. Eight of us gathered at Eva’s house for tea a few days later. A discussion group was formed that night: the Actors Refugees Repertory Theatre (ARRT). Our mission is to serve our community and help one another through theatre art. Since then, ARRT has evolved into an actors’ workshop in which we share our knowledge and help one another develop our acting skills. The activities consist of physical and vocal warm-ups, IMPROV acting, scene studies, monologues and cold readings. Occasionally, the meetings are conducted by some of our advanced group members or guest instructors. We welcome all aspects and levels of theatre from actors,

A Road Less

Traveled By Vladimir Shlimovich

As I entered the Church of Our Savior in Brookline, MA, there was a simple postcard-sized note that read “TANGO” pinned to the door. This was my destination, to conduct an interview with one of the most prominent Tango teachers in the Greater Boston Area. The teacher, delicately built, maintains her presence with a soft-spoken, yet eloquent and mesmerizing manner. Her name is Hsueh-tze Lee, and she was one of the pioneers of Argentine Tango in the USA, becoming an accomplished dancer and internationally acclaimed Tango teacher. Hsueh-tze was born in Canton, NY, just 20 miles from the Canadian border. Her parents were Chinese immigrants. At age 5, she moved to Hong Kong to live with her grandparents, and returned to the US after four years, to Philadelphia, PA. Later, Hsueh-tze moved to Boston to study at Tufts, MIT, and Harvard University. She became a biology professor at Wellesley College, and then… AsianBoston: dance Tango?

When

did

you

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start

to

Hsueh-tze Lee: I started dancing when I was 3 years old; it’s been a big part of my life since then. I learned everything from Scandinavian, English, Scottish, modern, to swing, but when I discovered Tango, it went straight to my heart. I’ve been dancing Tango for 16 years now. AsianBoston: Everyone says that you have a unique style of teaching. How would you describe your teaching style? Hsueh-tze Lee: Tango is often taught as a sequence of figures. The approach I’ve taken is more conceptual. I try to find a theme and work around it. At the beginning, our classes are oriented around technique. I feel this is important. Whether you dance a simple walk or the fanciest of figures, it will not be pleasant if it does not feel good. At first, students might not appreciate working hard on basics, but then…boom, overnight it clicks. Students typically begin dancing well in a much shorter time. At times, some have even been mistaken for Argentines because of how well they dance on many levels: musically, dynamically and emotionally. For me, one of the most gratifying things is hearing people say how much they enjoy dancing with my students. At the end of our conversation, Hsueh-tze contemplates her transition from an academic career to teaching Tango full time: “Many Asians tend to pursue a professional route, such as science or medicine. Teaching Tango is an unusual profession for someone in the United States,

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producers, directors and playwrights. Playwrights have the opportunity to present their original material. Producers are especially encouraged to explore our group for possible production value and potential sponsorship. ARRT encourages new members to participate in our group activities...there are no admission or membership fees. Meetings are held every Sunday from 7pm - 9pm at the MIT building at 50 Vassar St., Kendall Sq., in Cambridge, MA. ARRT contact information: myspace.com/arrtheatre email: arrt@googlegroups.com

“The rain will make the flowers grow, and the sunshine will make them smile brightly” -Mariko

Photography: Tonn

and culturally, even more unusual for someone who is Asian. I came from a professionally driven background, went to competitive schools, and worked hard on a career.” Hsueh-tze continues, “So to make a switch to dancing is an unusual step. In the process I turned down two tenure-track positions. My mother and sister have been very supportive. I’m making a living, and I am happy pursuing what I love.”

Photography: Oxana Dmitrieva

Hsueh-tze teaching Tango to one of her students, Emerson Liu.

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Professional Hairstyling for all Occasions Please contact Cheryl or Jill at 617-943-3118 Ad design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com Photography: Tosak Hoontakul AsianBoston Model: Trinh

Photography: Charles Daniels

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By Michael Liane

It’s close to midnight and Jaw Maran, tired and weary, needs

[

With LSE branches in Massachusetts and Japan, Jaw plans to establish several national and international locations.

]

to stay awake to put some final changes to what he hopes will be his next hit song. Writing music for his upcoming album, Here for You, along with Grammy winning songwriters and producers, seems like a full time job. According to Jaw, the creativeness is not a job, but rather his destiny ever since his days back in Burma. His relationship with music began at age eight when he was made to sing in his family’s musical group at church. Immediately, Jaw’s exceptional voice was recognized, and he was encouraged to continue in music. Over the next few years, he focused his energy on learning the guitar and piano as well as strengthening his vocals. His passion for music was put on hold in his late teens as Jaw focused his attention on learning business. The skills that he developed as a young entrepreneur would be invaluable to his success in the future. With a career in music and business already underway, Jaw earned a scholarship and attended a music university in Osaka, Japan. His plan was to fine-tune his vocal techniques by studying classical singing. Never one to be satisfied, Jaw attained yet another scholarship and soon moved to Boston to study music production at Berklee College of Music. During his downtime at Berklee, he started working as a freelance songwriter and producer and began traveling the United States from Boston to New York, and Los Angeles to San Francisco. It was during this time that Jaw was blessed with great success and recognition for his work. Some of his work was used as theme music for a hit Chinese Soap Opera. A second piece was a chart-topping hit in the Taiwanese and Asian markets for more than two weeks. Another was an album he contributed to on a Gospel record that grew to be one of the best selling in the history of Burmese music. With years of experience and schooling behind him, Jaw knew it was time to bring a dream of his to fruition—opening a full service production company. In January 2005, he founded Living Sound Entertainment (LSE), based in Allston, MA. LSE has four divisions: Studio LSE, a recording facility for radio and visual media; j’mar records, for represented artists; j’m publishing, for placing artists' songs in the hands of record label personnel; and the largest entity, j’maran productions, which deals with all aspects of industry networking, to create marketable artists and products. After a year and a half of business thus far, Living Sound Entertainment is gaining momentum and earning a great reputation in the entertainment industry. Jaw and LSE have developed this reputation by engineering records for many successful artists, such as Korean rap star MC Sniper, Japanese rapper group Far East Rhymers, and legendary Japanese singer Yumi ‘Yuming’ Matsutoya. As Jaw sits with his production assistants Atsushi Tanimura and Burak Becergen, they listen intently to the latest mix of a song off his upcoming album; Jaw reaches for the volume control, and with a smile, turns the music up gradually. At that moment, it is apparent to me that after all these years in the industry, he is still in touch with some of the simple pleasures that brought him to music as a child.

For more information please visit www.lseintl.com

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Photography: Charlie Cafarella

ASIAN | BOSTON

Stylist: Mie Higashimoto

ENTERTAINMENT 3 3 1


By Hidemi DeHays Seven years ago, two entrepreneurs, Jason Chung and Joey Chan, observed that the west coast had extensive production companies, which facilitated Asian involvement in the nightlife and entertainment business. Consequently, they realized something was needed to spice up the Asian nightlife on the east coast. In retrospect, the ambitious two started ISIS Productions, an entertainment company that provides a medium—primarily 4 Boston nightclubs on selected nights—to expand public relations, cultural awareness, and promote amateur and professional Asian-American entertainers from across the country. ISIS also works closely with the local Asian community and Asian college student groups. For instance, ISIS collaborates with Boston University, MIT, Wellesley College, and Northeastern University by hosting venues in which the respective student unions have opportunities to raise money and make intercollegiate connections as well. The potential for building relations is evident if one participates in the ISIS nightlife, as I was fortunate enough to experience. The concept of networking is ubiquitous as I floated around the room observing the groups of young individuals having a good time and meeting new people. In fact, I was privileged to meet two young men from Bulgaria who were enjoying the night. When I asked of their immediate thoughts on the club and Boston, they replied, “People are friendly and they would love to stay in Boston longer.” So eager to soak up the club’s ambiance, the two new-comers slipped right back into the action on the dance floor. During the night, Asian-Americans mingled with a visiting boxing team from Brazil, tourists from Bulgaria, singers, artists, students, and a myriad of other fun-loving, hard-working young adults. ISIS truly allows for a hip atmosphere for people to experience Boston’s nightlife and build individual connections. I encourage you to participate in the ISIS nights to broaden horizons, expand your knowledge of the Asian-American community, and to create your own network. After all, you never know who the person you may dance with might turn out to be…it’s a small world after all!

THE ISIS TEAM Top Row: James Phu, Eenae Tam, Josh Vicente, Nick Phelps, Amanda Nguyen, Pauline Mah, Alecia Huynh, Joey Chan Botton Row: Deb Yuen, Joanna Liu, Kaye Lee, Veronica Moy, Calvin Leung, Veronica Ge, Juliana Iglesias, Antwon Trinh Below left: Peter Chung & Jason Chung Photography: James Phu

For information on upcoming events, nightclubs, or to contact ISIS Productions, please visit isisnight.com. Article design: gunnar.glueck@gmail.com

ASIAN | BOSTON INFORM • ENTERTAIN • RELATE

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ASIAN | BOSTON

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AB: Sumie, what is your musical background? Sumie: I was born in Chiba, Japan, in a very traditional Japanese music environment. I started studying koto at age 5, and shamisen at age 17, along with classical Japanese singing. I went on to Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music (Tokyo Geidai) to pursue my studies in traditional Japanese music.

Sumie Kaneko A Japanese Spin on Jazz By Mariko The Spin, a jazz fusion and traditional Japanese music group from Boston, consists of three highly talented musicians: Sumie Kaneko, vocals, koto and shamisen (traditional Japanese string instruments), Toshio Tanaka, hand percussion, mokugyo (Japanese woodblocks), and Casper Gyldensoe, guitar. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sumie, a beautiful Japanese girl with long black hair. Her speaking voice is as mesmerizing as her singing voice.

AB: When did jazz come into the picture? Sumie: When I was at Tokyo Geidai, the atmosphere was extremely conservative. The formality was too much for me; you are expected to ‘fit in.’ There was no flexibility to do what you wanted, which was a huge dilemma for me. So, when I encountered jazz music at age 19, my first impression of it was ‘ultimate originality.’ Up until then, I thought music only existed on score sheets. I was amazed that the 36 measures of music could be shaped into anything you desired. It’s like water! AB: You attended Berklee School of Music in Boston. What did you study there? Sumie: I studied jazz vocal. I had never sung jazz nor could I read the codes prior to coming to Berklee.

AB: Can you describe your music? Sumie: I fall into three categories: jazz vocalist, Japanese/jazz instrumentalist, and traditional Japanese singer/musician. I tour frequently, performing the latter. I also compose, arrange and perform my own music. AB: What kind of compositions does The Spin perform? Sumie: We perform ‘cover material’ both in English and Japanese, and original instrumental and Japanese songs. Sumie often uses this traditional Japanese wooden instrument, called the koto. Sumie has started writing original songs in English, with a blend of Japanese words. We wish her and The Spin the best of luck in future endeavors. Sumie & The Spin can be seen at Kaji Aso Studio, Rutman’s in Boston, Lily Pad Art Gallery, and Ryle’s in Cambridge. For more information, please visit sumiekaneko.com

QUICK VIEWS

Walter Wong Direction & Fortitude By Marika Gazsi Boston born, Walter F.Y. Wong, has big dreams and he is making them come true. Son of divorced parents, Walter was raised by his father and grandparents in Boston's Chinatown. His family later moved to Brighton, MA. "My father brought me up to be a good person and he disciplined me

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well.” Walter continues, “I spent a lot of time with my grandparents as my dad was often at work. It was very painful for me when my grandfather passed away, then a year later, my grandmother. They were the backbone of my character.” In 1989, Walter began martial arts training in Kempo Karate, and then in 1992, he studied Tae Kwon Do with Jae Hun Kim, and Wah Lum Kung Fu at the Wah Lum Academy with Sifu Bob Rosen in 1993. In 1994, Walter entered Wentworth Institute of Technology, but left after a year. He went on to hold various jobs and earned a certificate in computer technology while taking night courses at Boston University. Soon, Long Fist Kung Fu and White Crane Kung Fu captured his interest and he began studying at Yang's Martial Arts Association. "Dr. Yang Jwing Ming is like a second father to me,” Walter says. “I am forever his devoted student." He has also trained in Liu He Ba Fa with Master Liang Shou Yu, and for the past year, in Nami Ryu Aiki Heiho with Sensei James Williams. Walter is currently teaching Long Fist Kung Fu, White Crane Kung Fu, Liu He Ba Fa and Nami Ryu Aiki Heiho. One day, a friend at Boston University asked Walter to play the lead in a film project and his passion for acting was

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awakened. He has decided to move to Los Angeles. "I hope to showcase my martial arts abilities in films, but also plan to train as an actor.” Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Boston born Donnie Yen, have all made their mark on the silver screen. Their martial arts skills broke down Hollywood doors, and helped pave the way for many Asian actors to follow. Walter recently worked on the film, The Departed, shot in Boston and directed by Martin Scorsese. “Working with Scorsese was an honor,” states Walter. "I was happy to be on the set, ready to follow direction. I will continue to share my passion with those sincerely interested in learning from me, yet, acting is my career choice. If you really want to do it, then just do it. I've come a long way with minimal training and I am prepared to work harder. It is my hope that great things are in store for me this year.” Walter sincerely emphasizes, “I do not have to face life's challenges alone, my father and I are very close and I have good friends.” For more information, please visit myspace.com/walteryfwong

ASIAN | BOSTON

ENTERTAINMENT 3 5


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617-720-4278

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By Anna

What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you ever worry about making enough money to support yourself and possibly a family? What if I told you that there is a way to have money going into your pocket without even having to work for it? There is a way, and it’s called investing. I was clueless about what investing was until I read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Robert Kiyosaki is an author, businessman, and an investor. He is a fourth-generation Japanese American who was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. While Kiyosaki was growing up, he had two dads whom he learned from. His Poor Dad was his real father who was an intelligent man with a PhD, but he did not care very much about money and ended up dying in debt. His Rich Dad was his friend Mike’s dad. He only finished eighth grade, but he was very savvy about money and became a self-made millionaire. At age nine, Kiyosaki was already beginning to learn how to think rich and manage money. He was able to retire at the age of 47 in 1994 and his wife retired at age 39. Do not think his books are about how to get rich quick...it is more than that. Through his books, he gives his life teachings and philosophies. By reading his books, I have been inspired and motivated to become financially independent. He has made me more

36 ASIAN | BOSTON

TEEN CORNER

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aware of changing society and how money works. I am currently a junior in high school. I’m an honor roll student and clueless as to what I want to be upon graduation. I’ve thought about becoming a model or an actor, but now that I’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad, I would also like to be a good investor. Being born into an Asian family, my parents expect me to get good grades in school, get a scholarship, attend a good college and get a good paying job such as a doctor or lawyer. If I took this road, it would be an example of what Kiyosaki calls the “Rat Race.” In the Rat Race, all you do is work, pay bills, work harder, make more money, buy a lot of unnecessary things, pay higher bills, work even harder, and continue to pay bills. Ninety percent of the population lives in the Rat Race, according to Kiyosaki. His purpose in writing his books is to teach readers how to get out of the Rat Race and into the “Fast Track,” where money works for you and not you having to work for money. I strongly encourage everyone, especially teens and women to start thinking about money and to start spending wisely. School teaches us book smarts, but it doesn’t teach us how to be financially smart. It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your financial freedom.

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Asian Boston Issue 3  

Issue 3 (Asian Boston Magazine)

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