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Silicon Valley


Impressions A magazine for the

Silicon Valley community: with love, compassion, and gratitude!

Senior Life: The Forum at Rancho San Antonio The Unsung Heroes: Caregivers to Seniors Golden Years Shine: Bay Area Seniors Where Will You Retire?

Interviews: Jeffrey Orth: Rotary International District 5170 Governor Judy Chu: Congresswoman District 27 Ro Khanna: Congressman District 17 2017 Food Trends Homage to an Ancient Land


more ...

ISBN 978-0-692-40495-9






4 Ro and Ritu Khanna 5 APAPA Silicon Valley Celebrates First Anniversary 6 The Omnivore’s Joy of Eating: 2017 Food Trends

Our Magazine can be found at the following locations. For a complete list of distributors please visit

10 The Forum at Rancho San Antonio 14 Having a Servant’s Heart - An Interview with Jeffrey Orth 16 The Rotary Foundation 18 Golden Years Shine: Bay Area Seniors 20 An Interview with Judy Chu 23 Golden State Warriors 24 A Salute to Caregivers: Our Unsung Heroes 26 Homage to an ancient land - Israel 28 Where will you retire? 30 In Memory of Tommy Shwe: A Pioneer in Civic Leadership

Subscription To receive a copy of our magazine at your house please subscribe online at: Silicon Valley Impressions,20111 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite #280, Cupertino, CA 95014. Don Sun | Publisher Beverly Lenihan | Editorial Advisor Ling Ling Kulla | Editor James Gong | Chief Photographer Ragini Sangameswara | Graphic Designer Elizabeth Softky | Copy Editor and Proof-reader

Advertise with us Please send inquiries to: or call (408)202-1080

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writers and interviewees. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher. Copyright notice: No part of this publication and/or website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without prior written permission of the publisher. Permission is only deemed valid if approval is in writing. Silicon Valley Impressions owns all rights to contributions, text and images, unless previously agreed to in writing.

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An interview with

Ro and Ritu

Khanna Silicon Valley Impressions: In your opinion, what is the most critical concern for the United States - China relationship? Ro Khana: We don’t want trade wars. We need to recognize that there are certain joint projects, such as innovation, research, and technology, that both countries can cooperate on in a civilized manner. To create that dialogue and open communication, there will be disagreements, or we’ll suspect that there may be currency manipulation. We should have frank conversations, but we should keep the channel of communications open. We can voice differences honestly and openly while maintaining mutual respect and cooperation. SVI: What about Taiwan? Will the new United States president challenge the “One China” policy? Khana: Again, we have to maintain an open dialogue, making sure that we don’t escalate symbolic gestures into real conflict. In my district, there are Chinese people from Taiwan and mainland China,

and they are getting along very well. There is no tension between recognition of Taiwan and China. They just have to know that it is not a zero sum game. SVI: What about job-related conflicts between the two countries? Khana: We need to create more jobs across America, especially in the mid-west, where we have lost jobs. We need to build tech and innovation hubs, centers of excellence, invest in training people for cyber security, data retention, machinists, and other skills for the future. I don’t think we have lost jobs to China, but to technological innovation, automation and high productivity. We have to invest in our workforce, and invest in our economically depressed areas. SVI: What about United StatesIndia-China relations? Khana: When we have disagreements on intellectual property and trade issues, we need to work

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together. These are three great civilizations and powers of the 21st century. We want to drive innovation and lead the global economy, but at the same time include China and India with their economic growth without hurting the U.S. We need to build trust between our countries and realize that there are many common issues such as cyber security and the radical threat in the Middle East. We need to build trust by making sure that there is no tolerance for hacking and spying between our countries, which will erode that trust. SVI: What is your first year’s agenda for your district? Khana: I will work with the community colleges to help create pathways for good paying jobs that would be accessible to different communities. I also want to raise the visibility of immigration and Social Security issues in the district.



Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs APAPA Silicon Valley Chapter Celebrates First Anniversary Mike Honda receives Lifetime Service Award from Ro Khanna. California Treasurer discusses his 2018 campaign for CA Governor.

L-R: (Back row) Michael Casas, Hsing Kung (Front Row) Mike Honda Guest, Mike Honda, California Treasurer John Chiang , Evan Low.

Christopher Moylan, Congressman Ro Khanna’s District Director, presents proclamation to former Congressman Mike Honda

L-R Back row: Stanley Kou, Albert Wang,Hsing Kung, Middle row: Amelia Hu, Kico Lin, Cady Yu, Jerry Chen, Teresa Lai, Gilbert Wong,Daphne Jew, Hung Wei, Front Row: Guest , Mike Honda, Evan Low, Don Sun, Savita Vaidyanathan, CC Yin, Kenneth Fong.

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The Omnivore’s 2017 Food Trends In 2016, Silicon Valley invested over one billion dollars in food related companies. This year, that number will grow. Food is a sustainable investment, and it is ten times bigger than the global software market. Silicon Valley food investors want their food to be healthy, natural, kind to animals, gentle to nature, have mass appeal, and provide great ROI. Niche brands will be for the fearless! Those who cannot innovate the actual food, will innovate food shopping experiences. Amazon Go is a new concept that may be the future of grocery shopping. With Amazon Go, you can use the Amazon Go app and take anything you want from the store and just walk out. It makes shopping easier, but it tracks your footsteps and gathers information on your food habits. Watch out, traditional supermarkets, your market share is in danger! Aldi, Trader Joe’s Owner, is a German supermarket chain which carries about 1,300 of the most commonly sold grocery items, with many of them being private labels. You can bag your own groceries, and pay a quarter deposit for a shopping cart, which you get back when you return it. At Aldi, you will be able to buy organic and specialty foods, and gluten free items for less. Lidl is another German supermarket chain, a cross between Walmart and Trader Joe’s. It carries more products than Aldi, and sells office supplies as well as groceries. The

Joy of Eating

public gets to select new store locations online, with their basic requirement of a minimum of four acres of land. Below, we have compiled a list of “hot” foods for 2017, hoping to bring titillating excitement to your palates this year. Enhanced Foods: Foods incorporating Matcha (Japanese-style green tea) and botanicals will continue to be trendy. Look for butters flavored with truffles, coconut oil, basil, parsley, sage, and garlic, to replace old-fashioned plain butter, and expect to see vegan nut “cheeses” appear on restaurants cheese plates. Dukkah, An Egyptian condiment consisting of a mixture of herbs, nuts, seeds and spices pounded together is also

offered in many restaurants. The ingredients vary from chef to chef and coast to coast. Turmeric has been known in traditional/herbal medicine to have health benefits as an anti-inflammatory and mood enhancer. Expect it to start to showing up on cocktail menus, as a juice add-ons, and to flavor meats. With many states legalizing marijuana for recreational or

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medicinal use, we will see edible cannabis on menus. Cannabis Brownies, butter, and steak seasoning will be used with curiosity and excitement. The cannabis industry is estimated to grow to $22 billion in sales by 2020. Animal Love: More animal free proteins will be made available. Imitation meat products from Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Muufri, Ripple, Perfect Day and CellPod are moving into mainstream markets and challenging the norm. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy these foods. Reducing Waste: Over the past five years, food companies have done a great job in reducing waste, as well as removing artificial colors, sugar, salt, artificial additives, and trans fat from their products. In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has, by switching to “Best if Used By” labeling, instead of “Sell by” or “Use by” labeling, to lower food waste. Trendy foods: Look for these food to change-up your plates and palates: Poke (Japanese-style seasoned raw fish), house-made charcuterie, fresh ramen, new cuts of meat; street-food inspired dishes; healthful kids’ meals; house-made pickles; artisan cheese; house-made condiments and sausages; protein-rich grains and



“Dear Parents, Do Not Fill Out FAFSA & CSS Until You Fully Understand The Very Complicated Rules of Financial Aid and IRS Tax... “ How to avoid the deadliest mistakes in applying for college financial aid? Parents, do you fit in any of the financial situation below: • High Income with High Assets • High Income with Normal Assets • Low Income with High Assets • Didn’t get or only got some financial aid after you submitted FAFSA/CSS Parents, when you fill out FAFSA “as is”, for sure, you cannot get college financial aid.

Our Suggestions: 1. If your family income is over $300,000 and you only have one child or two children four years apart---you should focus on saving taxes by setting up a Family Foundation. 2. For the rest of the families, please don’t fill out FAFSA with an “as is” financial situation. You should listen to a financial aid professional’s audio to understand the basic rules of Financial Aid, then position your family’s net income MAGI & net assets accordingly before filling out FAFSA/CSS. Parents, without preparation, for sure you cannot get college financial aid. Michael Chen College Financial aid & Tax Planning Specialist, Finacial Planner

When we make college more affordable, we make the American dream more achievable. (Bill Clinton)

Sucessful Cases: Case 1: Family Income over $300,000 An engineer’s family, after exercised its stock options (RSU), had income over $400,000. After setting up a Family Foundation, they saved $50,000 in taxes and can use this $50,000 for their retirement and for college. Case 2: High Income with Normal Assets An IT engineer’s family had a W-2 income around $200,000. As most parents, they never thought they would qualify for financial aid, through our FinAid tax planning, they have reduced $100,000 net AGI income. Each year they receive $40,000 financial aid and also $34,000 tax refund. Case 3: Low Income with High Assets A business owner with 5 rental properties had filled out FAFSA on their own and their application for financial aid was rejected. After getting planning, help and guidance from us, their child received $30,000 financial aid from UC’s and saved $120,000 for four years. Consult with us to avoid making mistakes. We are the #1 Financial Aid and Tax Planning specialist! Our email: Phone: 408.246.6900

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ancient grains; African flavors; and ethnic spices. Trendy concepts: locallysourced produce; locally-sourced meat and seafood; chef-driven fast-casual concepts; food halls, natural ingredients/clean menus; environmental sustainability; meal kits; simplicity/back to basics of nutrition.

Sriracha hot sauce and dashi stock are now available in restaurants across the U.S. Adding kimchi to burgers, chicken waffles, burritos and tacos will be in. Filipino cuisine will be the next popular ethnic food. Filipino cooking has a diverse background, with ingredients and flavors from the cuisines of Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, Spain and even the U.S. Typical dishes include pork filled buns, lumpia (spring rolls), adobo (braised pork or chicken), pancit (stir-fried noodles), roasted and stewed pork, as well as desserts like halo-halo, a mix of sweet beans, coconut, sticky rice, purple yam, shaved ice and sweet sauces. Generation Z: the

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generation from 5 to 20 year old will cook more, eat more ethnic inspired food and demand more food label transparency. They care about where and how their foods are made, grown, raised, and by whom. Cage free will evolve to pasture-raised; Halal and Kosher food will grow in popularity. They will require more sodium free and sugar free options in food production. They will eat less processed food and more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, ancient grains, and green tea. Seeds, nuts, avocados, fermented foods, kale, coconut products, exotic fruits and salmon will gain favor. Low-income areas will demand affordability and availability of nutritious food. The new landscape for food in 2017 sounds spicy, hot, diverse, flavorful, and exotic.


Kiss the ground you walk on The floor covering industry has developed new technologies and styling to create environmental friendly products. Two improved products are Resilient Plank and Carpet Tile. They are versatile and may be combined to create unique designs. Resilient Plank advantages• Waterproof • Termite proof • Odorless • Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) tested • Scratch resistance • Bacteria control • Appearance of wood or stone • Durable coating and fiberglass reinforced • Fast and easy installation with strong, robust locking. Carpet Tile advantages• High performance durable backing and fibers • Versatile designs from one consistent pattern to combination for unique textures. • Individual tiles may be replaced when needed.


Eco-friendly and comfortable floor technology that you will love and cherish happily ever after

Suggested uses for resilient plank or carpet tile are for high traffic areas including airports, healthcare facilities, offices, government facilities, schools, retail stores, etc. For residential areas, resilient plank has a waterproof surface making it a valuable addition to a kitchen or bathroom. More and more customers are appreciating the combined benefits of performance, looks and value compared to other flooring options. Both resilient plank and carpet tile are made with environmentally sustainable materials and can be recycled. High end resilient floors can have a look of stone or wood; it’s 100% water and termite resistent. Carpet tiles are easy to install and very versatile in use. Practice a little imagination and thinking out of the box so you can have a floor covering that is uniquely yours.

including Patcraft owned by Warren. E. Buffett. Patcraft is one of the top brands for carpet tile and resilient products. We have many years of experience in floor covering product selection and installation. We always update our knowledge of flooring design, technologies, and trends. Every floor we offer has more than surpassed our own high standards of performance and comfort. We not only care about choosing the best quality products, within the clients’ budget but also work with interior designers and provide on-site supervision to make sure that the floor preparation ( a key to durability) and installation is perfectly done. “Only the best is good enough for you”. We stand behind our products and we guarantee that you will be satisfied.

Home Flooring Plus specializes in floor preparation, installation, and after sales service of these two new floor coverings. We carry many good quality brands, S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7



The Forum

at Rancho San Antonio

An interview with Nancy Kao, Executive Director, and Nan Boyd, CFO

Silicon Valley Impressions: How long have you been working here? Nancy: I have been working at The Forum for seventeen years, and I’m the Executive Director for the community. Nan: I am the CFO, and I’ve worked at The Forum for nine years. SVI: How does ownership work at The Forum? Nan: The Forum is residentowned, with an equity-ownership financial model. Nancy: Onsite, we have one Sales Broker who is also our Director of Sales and Marketing, in addition to three licensed real estate agents.

The 319 membership are stock cooperatives and each of the memberships has voting rights. The Forum members pay property taxes and receive tax deductions based upon their individual ownership. The cost varies based upon the model type, and monthly fees vary as well, based upon the unit type. Nan: In California, equityownership is unique. Residents at The Forum all have a voice through their voting rights. Members vote for their representatives; they elect their Board of Directors who are also residents at The Forum. The Board of Directors have hired a management company called Life Care Services (LCS), to provide the management services needed to operate The Forum community, and

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we work for LCS. Nancy: We offer services such as Memory Care, Assisted Living (AL), Independent Living (IL), and health care, which all meet the regulations of federal, state, and local agencies. SVI: Is the “membership” the resident’s equity which they can buy and sell? Nancy: Residents own their membership, which includes the community’s amenities and services. Residents can also earn appreciation on their ownership. The usual industry practice is an entrance fee model where owners are guaranteed to receive a return of 75% or 80% of their investment.


At The Forum, members will typically receive a return on their investment, plus a share of the appreciation. Nan: What is beautiful about the idea of a cooperative is that very often when seniors retire there is a sense of loss; of being downsized, with responsibility and empowerment being reduced. At The Forum, seniors are truly the owners of this community living here with a continued sense of empowerment and engagement, as owners of a cooperative. At The Forum, there are two Boards of Directors, the Retirement Housing Corporation (RHC), and the Retirement Services, Inc. (RSI). The RSI Board oversees the Health Care Center (HCC), and the RHC Board has oversight for the overall community. The management company, LCS, manages operations on behalf of the Boards. SVI: What is the age-range of residents at The Forum? Nancy: In our Independent Living (IL) community, our youngest resident is 62 and the oldest is 101. According to actuarial studies done by AV Powell & Assoc., residents in IL live 3 years longer than most residents because they are more engaged and empowered.

Independent Living start around $3,000, and vary by model type. This fee includes weekly housekeeping, daily continental breakfast, and daily lunch or dinner, internet and cable TV service, maintenance and landscaping, programs, and services in the community, transportation for medical runs, and utilities. Nancy: Our real estate listing prices range from $400,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, to a villa for $2 million dollars. Nancy: Our Assisted Living (AL) program is a social module with a variety of social programming and activities. AL Residents have assistance with their daily living needs and all their meals are provided. SVI: How do you integrate your business into the Cupertino community? Nancy: Our residents are very well-educated, and volunteer as mentors for high school students. Our health care services are available to the community-at large. We offer high-quality health care services in our 5-star Medicare-rated facility for seniors needing skilled nursing care when they are released from the hospital


or other locations. SVI: What are your biggest challenges in the next five - to - ten years? Nancy: We welcome the ranks of 75 million Baby Boomers (according to Today’s Geriatric Medicine)! They will soon need long-term care and won’t accept “one-size-fitsall” solution. They will expect and need improved services and care, and more privacy. They will also need integrated medicine, such as acupuncture, and herbal medicine, chiropractors, and dieticians. They want activities that stimulate the mind and body. They need more gym spaces, diverse menus, and numerous activities. They will have more ideas about what they want from their long-term care, and will want to be involved in their health care choices. In conclusion: Nancy and Nan: It’s absolutely fascinating to be here at The Forum. There are so many wonderful residents with amazing histories. It’s a privilege to serve people with multitudes of interesting and illustrious careers and backgrounds, award-winners, designers and creators of fantastic products and services now in the marketplace or a part of everyday life.

In the retirement industry, people use “active” to describe a senior life-style; we use “engaged” for our seniors. We have seniors over 90 who are very engaged. Nan: Our residents also get married at The Forum. It’s quite frequent. SVI: What is an approximate cost to join The Forum? Nan: The monthly fees for S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7



Retirement: Time to Sell the Family House? Marian Chaney (408)805-6680 (650)383-7388 DRE # 01937247 Retirement: Time to Sell the House?

Your Realtor for Life!

After several years’ real estate boom since 2012, Silicon Valley’s homeowner retirees received one of their several biggest gifts in life – increased assetssince in real2012, estate.Silicon However, according to the 2016retirees Retirement After years’ real estate boom Valley’s homeowner received one of their biggest gifts in life Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 21% of Americans are very – increased assets in real estate. However, according to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit confident they will have enough money to retire comfortably. For many, it’s a matter of being house Research Institute, 21%where of Americans are of very confident they but willlittle have enough money to retire comfortably. For many, it’s rich and cash poor – aonly situation you have lots equity in your home cash left over to a cover matter of being house rich and cash poor – a situation where you have lots of equity in your home but little cash left over to your expenses during retirement, including property taxes, if you live mostly off of social cover your expenses during retirement, including property taxes, if you live mostly off of social security. security. Youmight might ask if it’s smart to sell househouse in order increase cash Depending on You askyourself yourself if it’s smart to your sell your intoorder to increase flow. Depending on your situation, at this your situation, this moment life, selling be a wise financial decision; moment of life,atselling your of house couldyour be ahouse wise could financial decision; and thanksand to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, you can sell thanks to the Taxpayer Actof ofup 1997, you can sell($500,000 your home and make amarried) profit of up to your home and make Relief a profit to $250,000 if you’re without paying any capital gains taxes. $250,000 ($500,000 if you’re married) without paying any capital gains taxes.

Let me present you a rather common scenario for many retirees. Case one: Rose is 65 and retired. Her only asset is her house Let me present you a rather common scenario for many retirees. Case one: Rose is 65 and retired. inHer San Jose which is free and clear – she has no mortgage. And her only income comes from Social Security and pension. Here’s only asset is her house in San Jose which is free and clear – she has no mortgage. And her only what her financial statements like: Here’s what her financial statements looks like: income comes from Social Securitylooks and pension. Assets

Paid Off House Investment SS Income

Total Income


Monthly Income $0

$3000 $3000

Taxes, Insurance, Maintenance



Cash Flow/Net Income

Expense s

$0 $1800

As you can see, even though Rose doesn’t have a mortgage, it still costs her $1200 a month to hold on to her property. Rose nets $1800 after housing expenses to live on. Her neighbor, Julie was in a very similar situation except she sold her home and became a renter:


Sold House

Investment SS Income

Total Income


Monthly Income $2500 $3000 $5500

Taxes, Insurance, Maintenance



Cash Flow/Net Income

Expense s

$2000 $3500

You can see that Julie’s rent is higher than what it cost Rose to maintain her home. However, Julie’s net income almost doubled can see Julie’s rent is higher cost Rose to ma (jumping from $1800 to $3500 a month) because she has investment incomeYou (based on that 6% annual return) andthan thatwhat moreit than As you can see, even though Rose doesn’t have a mortgage, it still costs her $1200 a month to hold on nettrips income almost doubled (jumping from $1800 makes up for the higher rent she pays. Now Julie can use her extra cash to take to visit her grandkids or just travel forto $3500 a mon to her property. Rose nets $1800 after housing expenses to live on. income (based on 6% annual return) and that more than makes u pleasure, to join community classes and gyms, to have dinners with her friends at nice restaurants without pinching pennies. Her neighbor, Julie was in a very similar situation except she sold her home and became a renter:

Julie can use her extra cash to take trips to visit her grandkids or community classes and gyms, to have dinners with her friends at Why can owning a home suddenly become a bad financial choice given it has pennies. been the “American dream”? Besides its function Assets Monthly Expense

of a shelter and our enjoyment, Real estate can be one of the best investment tools. For young families it can act like a forced Income s savings vehicle and provide appreciation potential. For many retirees, it’s fullWhy of memories still suddenly the mostbecome comfortable place choice can owningand a home a bad financial dream”? Besides its function of a shelter and our enjoyment, Real toSold callHouse home. But for many, from a financial perspective alone, expenses on owning and maintaining a house become a burden $0 tools. For younginvestment families it can act like that a forced saving and it can be a wise financial move to let it go or downsize. Cashed out equityinvestment can be invested in other vehicles potential. many retirees, it’s full demand less work and yield higher retiree For to better enjoy their life.of memories and still the mo Investment $2500 return. Thus selling a home can enable the

But for many, from a financial perspective alone, expenses on ow become a burden and it can be a wise financial move to let it go o If you have enough income to support your retirement and above scenario doesn’t fit your situation, owning or renting may notless work a be invested in other investment vehicles that demand matter to you. But if you are more in Rose’s situation, spending too much on amaintenance andthe taxes andto insurance etc,their and life. not home can enable retiree better enjoy having enough to really enjoy your retirement, maybe it’s time to redo the math and consider alternatives, like retirement what Julie and above If you have enoughother income to support your owning or renting may not matter to you. But if you are more in did. on maintenance and taxes and insurance etc, and not having enou maybe it’s time to redo the mathproducts. and consider alternatives, Speak to a tax expert or a financial advisor if you need help with analysis or recommendation for financial I’mother happy

to refer to you these professionals and provide real estate service when you decide downsizing or selling is the best solution for Speak to a tax expert or a financial advisor if you need help with a you. Through our life, we want to learn and to be informed and to make the best out of the situations forto now and for the future. financial products. I’m happy refer to you these professionals a What’s best for you now and your future? you decide downsizing or selling is the best solution for you. Thro

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to be informed and to make the best out of the situations for now you now and your future?



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Having a Servant’s Heart An interview with Jeffrey Orth, District Governor Rotary 5170 Silicon Valley Impressions: How long have you been retired? Jeffrey Orth: I am not retired. I am still very active in my business. I don’t plan on retiring any time soon, as I love what I do for a living. I am very active with my clients. My clients like me a lot during their pre-retirement planning, and they love me after they retire. I help my clients through the accumulation stage before they retire. Once they retire, we do what is called, a “Creative Destruction”. We find the most financially and tax efficient way to use assets. Sometimes, these efficiencies help the portfolio to continue to grow during the retirement years. Some of my clients want to give gifts to charity. I help them figure out when they want to give and how. In other words, do they want to give with a warm hand instead of a cold hand, and thereby experience the joy of the gift. I work with estate planning attorneys and help communicate what the client is looking for in their will and trust. SVI: How many hours do you work a day? Orth: Since I became the district governor, I have been working a lot. I have a full time job, and the

district governor is like another full time job. My normal day starts at 7:30 am and returning home at 8:00 or 9:00pm. I love being a Rotarian. Rotarians make a difference in the world. I had a nightmare when I was a kid that I would be born and breath air, eat food and never have made any difference in the world. I haven’t had that nightmare for a long time. I joined Rotary for fellowship and business contacts, and I stayed in the Rotary to change the world. Because of Rotary, there is now almost no polio. There used to be thousands of polio cases each year. However, in 2016, we had 38 cases. We are very close to eradicating polio. Rotary has built thousands of wells. There are many villages where a mother had to travel three hours round trip to get water. We also install water filters that create clean and potable water. With clean and ready-to-use water, the children can get a healthy start and the mothers get more time with their children and their families. Doing something for someone else in a volunteer capacity is neat. You may never meet the people that you are helping or they may never meet you, but you are making an impact on thousands of people all around the world.

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SVI: How long have you been in the Rotary, and how long have you been the District Governor? Orth: I have been in the Rotary for seventeen years, and Governor for one year (July 1, 2016 to June 30th, 2017). However, in our District, it’s a seven-year commitment. It takes two years to prepare to become the District Governor, one year to serve, and then four years to stay on to help with transition and continuity. SVI: What have you done during your year? Orth: My first obligation was to visit all the clubs. My district has 54 clubs with nearly 3,800 Rotarians, and 7,000 Interactors. In the first six months, I visited all 54 clubs from Oakland to Livermore, and from Watsonville to Hollister. SVI: What are your goals? Orth: My goal is to raise a million dollars for the Rotary Foundation, and raise another $200,000 for polio eradication, and add 300 Rotarians to the district. SVI: Please describe some Rotary projects. Orth: I went to Monterey Mexico and helped to assemble 350 wheelchairs. There was a


young man who was on two 2”x 2” sticks - the tops were wrapped with old t-shirts. When he sat in a wheelchair, he was so excited. He had been on crutches all his life and this wheelchair gives him mobility like he could never have imagined before. It was very touching. We also have the Faces of Hope project that provides surgeries for children with cleft palates. However one time, the operation was performed on a 55-year-old man. He told us through an interpreter: “I want to thank Rotary for this wonderful gift. This is the first time in my life that I was able to kiss my wife or anybody.” When I heard that, I was in tears, and many people in the room were also the same way. To give this kind of gift that affects people’s lives is very meaningful to me. There was a hospital in Bulgaria for the crippled. It was a three story hospital with no elevator. We raised the money to provide an elevator for them. We also work with Partners in Service an organization that comes alongside Rotary. They put used hospital equipment in needy areas. The organization takes medical equipment that our hospitals are replacing, and refurbishes them for other countries to save lives.

SVI: What are your jobs for the next six months? Orth: I will work till the end. Some of the things I am working on right now might actually happen two years from now. We are raising money for a bloodmobile which costs $400,000. It will not happen in my Governorship, but I am still working hard on it. I first joined Rotary to grow my business. Once Rotary penetrates your heart, you think differently. Even though I focus less on my business than ever before, it has flourished. Rotary helped my business to grow and I also grew as an individual. I am planning a trip with my youngest daughter. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner. We will do a cleft palate trip together. She will be going there as a medical professional. We hope to go sometime in the next couple of years. SVI: Where will you go? Orth: The heaviest concentration of cleft palate cases is in South America. The surgeons not only perform operations for the children there, they also teach the local surgeons how to operate. On each trip the surgeons can treat over one hundred cases.

continued from page 30 ... In Memory of Tommy Shwe

of Education also has a vacancy. He Zongning then decided to run for County’s board of education and was elected but I had lost. However, two years later, I was appointed to the FUHSD school district board of trustees.

board members, and the schools thrived during their tenure. Since then, many Chinese Americans have served on boards in primary and high school districts as well as college boards and the Board of Education.

From 1985, when Tom became the first Chinese school district board member, through 1995, there had been eight Asian school

Inspired by success in the initial elections, Zhang Xihong became the first Chinese-American mayor in the South Bay in 1997.


Jeffery’s Financial Tips I have a unique approach to the financial service business. I have coached my clients successfully through some recessions. The focus has been to minimize losses when corrections occur, and to take advantage in the up swings as the market recovers. I help people answer the four questions everyone should be able to answer before retiring: 1. Do you know the rate of return you will have to earn on your savings and investments to be able to retire at your current standard of living and have your money last through your life expectancy? 2. Do you know how much you need to save annually to retire at your current standard of living and have your money last through your life expectancy? 3. Doing what you are currently doing, do you know how long you will have to work before you can retire and have your money last through your life expectancy?If you don’t do anything different than you are doing today, do you know how much you will have to reduce your standard of living to last for your life expectancy? 4. If you don’t do anything different than you are doing today, do you know how much you will have to reduce your standard of living to last for your life expectancy?

Since then, many other Chinese Americans have served as mayors of other South Bay cities, as well as city counsel members. In the thirty years since Tom first ran for school board trustee, many Chinese Americans have followed his footsteps, becoming wonderful advocates for the community. His legacy will continue to influence many generations to come. We will miss him.

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Faces of Hope is a project where doctors are sent to perform up to 100 cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries on Myan children in Guatemala.

Operation snowflake provides a day of playing in the snow at Camp Costonoan in Stevens Creek Canyon. Ten tons of snow is spread on a hill side to make a sled run. The children have severe special needs. Santa also comes so they can get presents. S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7



Wheelchair distribution in China

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad. For more than 110 years, Rotary members have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, Rotary members are always working to better our world, and stay committed to the end.

Right Christmas identifies needy kids who are then taken for clothes shopping

Pumpkin carving and halloween party for seniors S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7



Golden Years Shine


Eeli Ram


When do you plan to retire? It turns out that retirement at age 65 is a fairly recent social construct. In 1881, Otto von Bismarck, the conservative minister president of Prussia, presented a radical idea to the Reichstag: governmentrun financial support for older members of society. In other words, retirement. The idea was radical because back then people simply did not retire. If you were alive, then you worked. Now fast forward to the United States in 1935 when Social Security began, establishing age 65 as the norm for retirement. This age was selected in part because life expectancy was about 60 years in 1935, and studies showed that using age 65 produced a workable system that could be

made self-sustaining with only modest levels of payroll taxation. Fast forward once again to 1986, when mandatory retirement was prohibited to prevent discrimination against any individual aged 40 and older. It was outdated to assume that someone’s age was an indicator of the contribution they might make in their workplace or community, especially when considering rising life expectancies and people staying fitter for longer. For example, my father, a teacher, was still grading his student’s papers well into his 90s. Not so surprising, the gap in years between actual age and the age you feel widens as people grow older. For example, when asked, “How old do you feel?”, the answer most likely will be anywhere from 10 to 20 years younger than your chronological age. Over the past few months, I have been talking with community members enjoying their “Golden Years” and found several common

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threads of both the positive qualities and the not so positive qualities of growing old. Positive aspects include spending time with their family, traveling for pleasure, having time for hobbies, doing volunteer work or starting a second career. These seniors enjoy the people around them, including those other than family, and intentionally nurture friends to rely on for companionship and social activities. Of course, there are the not so positive aspects experienced in old age such as illness, memory loss, an inability to drive, a struggle with loneliness and depression, and difficulty paying bills. While these attributes are valid, they are not unique to the over 65 crowd. Interview Highlights One of my favorite senior profile discoveries was the life story of Carmen Herrera. Deborah Sontag wrote a front-page story for the New York Times Art & Design section: “In a word, Ms. Herrera, a nonagenarian, homebound painter


with arthritis, is hot.” Herrera is a Cuban-born, Manhattan-based, pioneering abstract painter who reached fame in her 90s. The lack of acknowledgment from the art world did not detour Herrera. After 60 years of honing and practicing her craft, the artist finally had her first sale at the age of 89. In her 90s, her work became part of the permanent collections of MoMA, the Hirshhorn, and Tate Modern. Herrera finally received her due in critical, institutional and collecting circles alike while she continues to sketch by the window of her New York City apartment every morning creating brilliantly-colored, geometric abstractions. Closer to home is Oakland’s Elena Griffing who started working at Sutter Health 70 years ago in 1946 as a 19 year old. This nonagenarian says she feels the same as when she was in her 60s. Currently, Ms. Griffing works four days per week as the hospital’s Patient Relations Coordinator. There is no mistaking that this woman thrives in the workplace. Another story comes from The Forum, a Senior Living Community in Cupertino, that

boasts nearly 160 residents 90 years and older. Libby Codd, a nonagenarian, fully participates in life while using The Forum as a “base camp” for adventures. Music has been a lifelong passion for Libby as she continues to play the organ for her church, accompanies the Forum Chorus and plays duets with her granddaughters. While she is at home with classical music, she still retains a sense of humor instigating the tradition of singing the “Taco Bell Canon” after Thanksgiving dinner. Describing Libby as active would be an understatement. A recap of 2016 includes traveling with family to Cali, Colombia where she enjoyed horseback riding, shopping, and local delicacies; a 2016 Bay to Breakers finisher; and in Colorado she rode down the luge where Olympians practice, and floated down the Yampa River through rapids lying across a large inflated doughnut raft. Whether it’s interviewing new residents for The Forum Gazette, planning a trip, practicing her organ or taking a daily walk, Libby takes on the day with purpose and positive energy. Many seniors choose to remain in their family home. With family


and friends close by, living in his longtime home is a perfect fit for Roger. After a satisfying career as a dentist, this almost nonagenarian, keeps busy with photography, daily bicycle rides, retaining his title as ping-pong master, driving the first hydrogen fuel cell car on the block, and welcoming numerous guests to his home. It seems like each time he completes something from his personal bucket list; there are ten more ideas brewing. Last summer Roger and his son Brad flew to the Hawaiian Islands to witness the Kīlauea volcano lava flows as they entered the sea. The pictures taken from a small boat amidst the steaming seawater were spectacular. Both mentally and physically Roger has the outlook of a much younger person. The older adults I encountered retain a count-my-blessings attitude when asked to look back over the full arc of their lives. Confronting both the rewards and the challenges of growing old, the vast majority of my unscientific survey have made peace with their circumstances and chosen the appropriate age for retirement. Retention of a youthful perception is sure to make your golden years shine. My conclusion is that life after 65 is what you make of it.

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An interview with

Judy Chu Congress woman representing the 27th District of California Silicon Valley Impressions: Ms. Chu, you are on the Internet, Intellectual Property, and Homeland Security committees in the house of Representitives. What is China’s role in your work? Ms. Chu: We definitely have to have stronger ways to protect intellectual property. It’s an issue of great concern, and the talks between China and the United States are very important. I hope that we can reach an agreement that can strongly protect each country’s intellectual property; otherwise our creativity will be stifled. Why create if you are going to see your inventions stolen? SVI: What are some other areas of concern? Chu: The other problem is that if there are no protections for civil rights, racial profiling will happen. I am very involved in protecting Chinese scientists and engineers who have been accused of being spies for China. It is related to the intellectual property issue since it started with talk of economic espionage. I believe that the Department of Justice went overboard - there were no checks and balances. As a result, we have these scientists being accused, then charges totally dropped, and yet with no apology. Lives were ruined without having a firm basis for the accusations.

We have been pressing the Department of Justice for more detailed guidelines. That they have not racially profiled these scientists, I do not find it to be true, and we will continue to have more meetings with the Department of Justice on this issue. SVI: What can they do to protect people and be fair? Chu: The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations need to understand that people are watching and that the community is outraged that these accusations were not on firm ground to begin with. In the case of Professor Xi Xiaoxing, it was completely outrageous. He didn’t even know he was under investigation. He woke up one day and found that there are twelve FBI agents around him, with guns on his head, in front of his wife and kids, and the whole neighborhood. He was accused of things that would have landed him in jail for 80 years, with a one million dollar fine. In the end, it turned out that their evidence was baseless. SVI: What are the United States and China doing jointly to stop commercial espionage? Chu: There have been discussions between the two government representatives. on these issues. In

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every trade discussion, these issues are raised, and various proposals go back and forth. The U.S. is turning to China for help in cracking down on its own people who are doing commercial espionage. In the meantime, we are making sure that they don’t arrest innocent people. Why did they arrest Professor Xi? Was it because he grew up in China? That’s profiling. SVI: Is it difficult for Asian to become politicians in the U.S? Chu: It’s very difficult for Asian Americans to get elected to higher office. The obstacles are great. You have to be able to campaign successfully in very competitive elections. For positions in Congress, the competition is fierce, so you need a strong base of support, be able to raise money, be knowledgeable about the issues, and give speeches to make people confident and willing to support you. These are not easy things to do, and you cannot do them overnight. That’s why we have leadership institutes to help young people. Asian Americans are six percent of the population, but only 2.6% are members of Congress. Right now, there are only fourteen members who are Asian/ Pacific Islanders. We are under represented. SVI: Do you mentor particular people? Chu: Yes. For example, Ed Chao. He faced a very difficult race in his community. My office and his staff worked full time for his race to make him successful. SVI: What quality do you look for in the people you support? Chu: I look for people who have a strong base of support. Ed Chao


was on the Montebello School Board for a long time. He really worked hard for the community, and there were many who were very confident in him. He had all the elements in place: being able to fund raise, able to reach out to the community, and being a good school board member. I recommend that people who want to get involved should begin at the local level. Get to know the community, and get involved so people know you. First, run for a local office and then move higher. SVI: You have been very active in fighting military hazing. How bad is it in our country? Chu: As you may know, my nephew, Harry Lew, who grew up in Santa Clara, was a victim of military hazing. He was stationed in Afghanistan. He was a Marine, a Lance Corporal. One night, two his fellow soldiers, punched and kicked him for three-and-a- half hours. They smothered him with a sandbag, then made him dig a fox hole. Twenty minutes after they stopped, he crawled into the fox hole and shot himself to death.

Soon after that came the Danny Chen case. He was hazed for six weeks, while they called him gook and chink, and dragged him on his back until it bled. It is clear that there is terrible hazing going on in the Army. After five years of working on this issue, I feel that we still have a long way to go. I have worked very hard to make changes to make the military accountable. They wanted to brush it off, claiming that these are isolated incidents - few and far between. But these are not legitimate claims because there isn’t even any accounting for, or accurate numbers of how many of people have been hazed. However, there is one thing the report did say - that twelve percent of service members believed that there was military hazing. Finally, when I asked the Government Accountability Office for a report on military hazing, which I received in January 2016, it was the first objective report on military hazing in history coming from an outside agency. The report said that there are no accurate Chris Zhang, Esq., founding attorney, is a seasoned patent practitioner with years of experience in domestic and international patent law. Before founding Silicon Patent, he had praticed patent law at global law firms, and served as the Executive Editor on the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to startups and individual inventors.

Chris Zhang Phone: (408) 890-7925 Fax: (408) 249-5400

email: 1777 Hamilton Ave, Suite 2180 San Jose, CA 95125

Representive clients for whom Chris previously or presently work for include: Applied Materials, Adobe Systems, CafePress, University of Washington, Tegu, SunPower, DOCOMO, Samsung, HTC, Oracle.


figures, and that there is a lack of consistency of how military hazing is defined. The military needs to improved training, to define military hazing, and maintain an accurate database and evaluation of of its programs. I took those recommendations and put them as an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act. It is in the House of Representative’s version. The Senate just passed theirs. They have a bill now that they will vote on. Hopefully the two versions of the bill will go to the Conference Committee and will have these elements to eliminate military hazing. The military should be held accountable. It needs to stop right now, but nobody is stopping it. The sergeants do it under the guise of training, “to make the soldiers stronger”, but it’s really violence and torture. There has to be a line drawn when it becomes torture and violence.

Admitted to Practice: State of California, United States Patent & Trademarks Office. Affiliations: American Intellectual Property Law Association, Intellectual Property Section, State Bar of California Education: University of Virgnia School of Law, J.D., San Jose State University, B.S., Computer Science and Mathematics Chris is a pilot, which allows him to meet with clients from many different places at a moment’s notice. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and basic Japanese.

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G O L D E N S TAT E WA R R I O R S Chi nese New Yea r Ga me

Photo Courtesy : James Gong S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7



A Salute to Caregivers: Our Unsung Heroes By Colleen Hudgen

”The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest significance.” - Pablo Casals, renowned cellist This article is dedicated to all of the loving, caring and giving caregivers who we have the pleasure of working alongside to help make their decision to keep their loved ones at home an easier burden to bear.

caregivers who are vital to the health and safety of the dependent child, disabled adult, or senior.

A wife working outside the home: “I tried to work and take care of my husband, my dad, and my family, but it was too much. I crumbled Caregivers, you sacrifice their under the stress and put dad in a leisure time, vacations, privacy, and nursing home.” personal pleasures, and even your finances to care for loved ones. While some feel rewarded as You are indeed unsung heroes. Caregivers find themselves thrust caregivers, others express feelings into unsung hero roles in two ways. Your time of service is based upon of guilt, fear, loneliness, and the course of your loved one’s Most often, a family member or regret. Some are surprised at their friend suffers a sudden heart attack, illness or recovery, with their needs endurance and gift of giving. Still stroke, or accident and the caregiv- always coming first. others express relief when their er becomes the most willing and loved one dies, after many years of Let’s listen to a few of our caregiv- pain and suffering. available to resolve an immediate crisis that evolves into a long-term ers. An only child caring for aged parents: “I feel so alone doing commitment. At Live Oak, we strive to continue so much. I wish I had siblings touching one life at a time, while to share the myriad of tasks”. A The other way caregivers acquire easing the burden of caregiving one daughter (one of five siblings): their role is when a relative or family at a time. One of our clients “There wasn’t any conversafriend slowly deteriorates with is Irene, a 102 year-old who attends tion among us. I was the eldest. I dementia, Parkinson’s or another our Willow Glen center five days saw her most, so I got the job, no debilitating disease, and becomes a week. She loves dancing and election.” A spouse: “I feel like a more and more dependent on socializing with the new friends family or friends to remain in their prisoner. I never have any time for that she has made there. Most myself. He clings to me constantown homes. Thus, you become days, she is the first to arrive and ly. I hate when people call me a part of that vast army of invisithe last to leave. “I just do what I saint; I just do what I have to do!” ble and unpaid workers called have to do- that’s it” states Irene S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7

included the death of a dear and dedicated employee of eighteen years - Arline Crawford, our Development Associate; ongoing funding short-falls - all kept me very busy. Having a place like Live Oak was a life-saver. Working at Live Oak keeps me grounded and humbled because I can make a difference, one life at a time. Many of us at Live Oak have experienced what it is like to be in long term care-giving situations ourselves.

when asked the secret of her longevity and youthfulness. “She can dance circles around you, she has a great pep in her step and a constant smile on her face”, says staff. Let’s keep making seniors like Irene smile!

expertise in designing and developing health and human service programs for more than 35 years.

My dad died at home surrounded by family and friends, with dignity and a quality of life that money cannot buy. My sister Dorothy was definitely the unsung hero in In my own life, my father passed away after I had been caring for him our family. She made the ultimate for over 40 years, first in my home sacrifice, she gave her all! and then as a long-distance caregiver, after I moved to California. My About a year ago, I was faced with the challenge of caring for my father had several major strokes, husband Nate who suffered from emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood renal failure. I was also working pressure, diabetes, colon cancer and full-time and juggling all the other things that life was throwing my Stage 4 renal failure that left him totally dependent on family for most way! But, in the words of an old of his care. He was in and out of the Negro Spiritual “I wouldn’t take hospital (mostly ICU) over the last nothin’ for my journey”. five years of his life, and many times Nate refused to undergo dialysis. released into hospice care. He only wanted to “take care of myself and enjoy the foods that I My sister Dorothy quit her job to like and watch sports on television. provide 24-hour care for him. He When I cannot do these things, I do would often miraculously recover not want to live, I would feel like and be removed from hospice. I was a burden.” My dear Nate The doctors agreed that it was the excellent care Dorothy provided in passed away on April 29th, 2016. the home setting that kept my dad living way beyond medical expecta- Opportunities to be there for others always gives me strength. tions. I provided Dorothy with financial and emotional support, as After Nate died, there were cancer well as care coordination assistance, diagnoses in my circle of family and friends; challenges at work that based on my knowledge and

Santa Clara County, like most of the United States, will be experiencing tremendous growth in the senior population over the next ten years. There are currently around 200,000 individuals aged 65 and over living in Santa Clara County, representing over 11% of the population. This is expected to double in the next five-to ten years, with approximately 450,000 or 22% of the population over 65. Given life expectancy projections, the senior population living over the ages of 75, 85 and 100 will increase at the greatest rate. As the aging population grows, the need to care for their physical and mental health increases. Adult day care is a critical part of the continuum of care that supports aging in place. To all the caregivers of our seniors, at home or at work, we salute YOU!

Colleen Hudgen



Homage to an ancient land

By Juliet Sussman



“We’re about two miles from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” our Israeli tour guide said into the microphone without any hesitation. My tour bus was filled to the brim with forty American students and eight Israeli soldiers, ages ranging from eighteen to twentyone. The girl sitting next to me exchanged a worried glance with the boy in front of her. That is when our tour guide continued to say, “Whenever I tell you Americans this, you always freak out. What you need to remember is that distance in Israel is very different from distance in America.” To that, the Israeli soldiers chuckled to themselves. At the time I didn’t really know what he meant, until we were side by side with the Syrian and Lebanese border. Two rows of electric metal fences with barbed wire stretched across the mountains. There were about 100 feet between us and the border, but in reality the countries on the other side of the fences felt like worlds away. According to our tour guide, Gil, no matter your location on the

the organization. There we were, 40 American Jews from California to New York with nothing in common except for this country and its religion. We drove away from the border, leaving behind any shroud over our eyes we may have had about the current situation in Syria. We were headed towards the city of Tel Aviv, the so-called “New York” of Israel. Tel Aviv was our last stop on the ten-day journey. This is where we also left behind our new found friends from the IDF, also known as the Israel Defense Forces. It was on our third day in Israel when we were introduced to the set of IDF soldiers that were to accompany us for the remainder of our journey. The purpose of this was to blend American Jews with Israeli Jews of about the same age. It was strange to fathom that my The eight soldiers that accompapresence, our presence, in this nied us were about twenty years country was common place because old, give or take a year. That was of “Birthright.” “Birthright” is the craziest part, all of us were the process by which individuals just about the same age but in of Jewish heritage can visit Israel completely different stages in our for free, or at least paid for by the lives. To us Americans, the Israeli Israeli tax payers and rich donors to soldiers seemed so old because border, if you touch the fence, there will be an Israeli soldier in your presence within fifteen-seconds. A country that is in a constant state of war wouldn’t have anything less I presumed. This is also when our tour guide explained to us the controversial actions taken by the Israeli government when it comes to injured Syrians who come to the border. When an injured individual, regardless of whether they are a terrorist or civilian, touches the fence they are immediately taken to the nearest Israeli hospital to aid their wounds. Once their wound is taken care of, they are returned to the exact spot where they touched the fence and left there. As one can see, controversial is the exact term I would use for this practice.

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Coast of Caesarea

Negev Dessert Israel Defense Force Soliders and our group

they were in the Army, but to them it was the opposite, we were the ones who seemed old because we were already in college. In Israel, every citizen once they graduate high school around their 18th birthday must join the IDF, whether you were Jewish or not, and only after your term was done can you continue on to higher education. Being required to join the defense forces seems archaic in America, but considering how small Israel is, and the constant threat not only from surrounding countries but also the Palestinians within the country in the Gaza strip, it is understandable why this law is in place. Some of the soldiers were allowed to share their missions and stations, while others were top secret. That aspect of the trip was singlehandedly the coolest part. There we were in a different country with kids our own age with a completely different upbringing and viewpoint on the world, and yet we all got along as if we were from the same kibbutz (Israeli for neighborhood).

Looking back, there wasn’t a single moment that I was scared. Yes, there are soldiers situated throughout the country holding guns, for the sole purpose of safety measures, which for any American may seem jarring at first glance, but I suppose I had been habituated to it after my stay in Paris this past summer, considering that the country was on “high alert” after all of their attacks. So, although there is a constant reminder of the very real war being waged inside and outside of the country, Israel was inviting, beautiful, and rich with culture. We experienced the best the country had to offer, from the Dead Sea and the Western Wall all the way to the Sea of Galilee. I will look back on this trip and reminisce on riding my very first camel, but I will also look back and never forget the moment when we were on the peak of a mountain looking into Syria. Which, to put it into perspective for the future generations, I was able to pull out my Snapchat and I have the option of posting on the

“Aleppo Story” because we were geographically close enough.

The Dead Sea

Juliet Sussman is a third-year student at the University of California, Irvine.

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Where will you retire?

The kids are off to university, the house is quiet, and you start to wonder how many more years you will be working. You keep the big house ready for their winter and summer breaks, their rooms ready to welcome them “home.” Soon those winter breaks shorten due to trips they take with their friends, and the summer breaks get eliminated due to great internship opportunities that they can’t refuse. They graduate and decide that they will make their “home” in another city, state or country. Your neighbors slowly get replaced by young families with children, as your reasons for living in the San Francisco Bay Area dwindle in comparison to new families with children looking for good schools. So, where you will retire may require planning that you should start before you realize that you should have already moved. The world has become much smaller since you were born, and

it is rare that you grow up and die in the same city. Most Bay Area residents were not even born here in the first place, so retiring in another location seems normal. Many immigrants may opt to return to their native country, but even to them, it may seem distant and foreign after living their adult life here. The growing number of Americans who choose to retire overseas is exploding year-by-year. According to the Social Security Administration, the number residing outside of the United States for retirement grew by 17% from 2010 to 2015; that’s 400,000 Americans retired and collecting Social Security outside of the United States. There could be many, many more because some retirees are not collecting Social Security, or are keeping a United States address for correspondence. The Huffington Post published an article by an overseas retirement expert who “guesstimated” that the

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Marc Kulla

number is closer to 1.4 million. Many people retire overseas for the excitement of a new country, new surroundings, new friends, foods, and adventures. Others add in the reduced cost of retirement in many countries where you can live extremely well for under $2000 per month, and decide that the package is a wonderful way to make their savings, pension, or Social Security provide a much fuller and richer retirement lifestyle. The most challenging part of deciding where to retire is the enormous number of cities that are all wonderful locations for ex-pat retirees. So how do people go about deciding what country and city is best for them? There are many factors that go into the decision, and everyone’s results will vary based on their specific desires. The core considerations that should go into the decision must, at a minimum, include: health care, cost of living; visa, residency, or


citizenship requirements; local language and English language fluency; existing ex-pat communities; climate, location (beach vs. inland), and of course, safety. At this point, many are thinking about how they can give up their friends, and when they will see their families after they jet off to retirement in another country. Believe it or not, many ex-pat retirees feel a closer connection to their families as their visits become longer and more intimate. It is common for your son or daughter and their family to come visit you in the Dominican Republic for two weeks straight. They combine a long awaited vacation with the comfort of visiting parents. Two weeks of intimate time, day-in and day-out with your children and grandchildren, covers a lot of quick-stop visits or dinners out on occasion. In addition, friends often come and spend more time with you, as they may not be ready to take the leap of overseas retirement themselves, and want to indulge in staying with you for some extended vacations. With the expanse of the Internet, searching for your ideal location got easier, but the best you will be able to do is narrow down the world to a short list of two or three locations and spend vacation time taking a trip there. The “vibe” or feel of a city is just as important as the core considerations. You may find that you have successfully matched all of the core considerations with your needs, but after a few days walking around the city you cannot imagine yourself living there. Going by sheer numbers, Mexico has the most U.S. retirees due to many factors, one of which is how close and easy it is to retire

there. According to the International Living website (, there are approximately one million American citizens living in Mexico. Granted some are there for work; others spend part of the year there to avoid the cold weather further north; but many are there permanently as retirees living rich and vibrant lives. The path has been cleared by so many retirees over the decades that retiring there is just moderately harder than retiring in another state. Go to many of the popular tourist destinations like Puerto Vallarta, and you will find a thriving retirement community full of expats from all over the world, not just America and Canada. Thousands of articles are published yearly on the best countries to retire to for United States citizens. Most take into account eight-to-fifteen core considerations, and come up with overall rankings for countries. According to Kathleen Peddicord, the founder and publisher of the Live and Invest Overseas Website, Portugal, Malta, and Mexico all have cities that have “A” rankings – The Algarve region of Portugal, Valletta, the capital of Malta, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. US News and World Report for 2017 stated that Carvoeiro, Algarve Portugal is the top retirement location for those choosing overseas retirement. Given that many overseas retirees are doing so to retire earlier and cheaper, let’s take a look at some common monthly expenses in various cities around the world.


entertainment. Granted, you may have more expenses, but this is a good start. As of January 2017, given varying exchange rates, these monthly costs amounted to the following: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: $1125 per month. The Algarve, Portugal: $1175 per month. Cayo, Belize: $1190 per month. Chiang Mai, Thailand: $981 per month. Abruzzo, Italy: $1640 per month. Cuenca, Ecuador: $1230 per month. Although many Americans like to think about how living abroad is all about saving money, it is not, and one should not focus solely on that aspect of life in another country. However, if a lower-cost lifestyle affords us more luxuries and time, as well as shortening our working years, it should not be omitted from our decision. Remember, a lower cost of retirement and life overseas can extend your retirement, giving you more time at a younger age, and enhancing your life in ways that are far-reaching.

Whatever your reason is for considering retiring abroad, it is important to do your homework and be careful of false claims. Use reliable and long-term sources of information, talk to people in the ex-pat communities themselves, and most of all keep an open mind. You will be amazed at the The Live and Invest Overseas incredible lifestyle you could Website (liveandinvestoverseas. lead today by retiring in another com) includes the following costs country instead of fifteen more into a monthly allowance: rent, gas, electricity, water, telephone, Internet, years of working in Northern California. cable and T.V., groceries, and S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7



In Memory of Tommy Shwe: A pioneer in civic leadership A week after he disappeared mysteriously on Jan 17th, Tommy Shwe, a well-known philanthropist and Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent, was found strangled to death by a handyman he had tried to help. Our community mourns him and remembers him.

During the 1970’s, many Chinese engineers came to the San Francisco Bay Area for education, employment, entrepreneurship, or to raise families. Starting in the 1980’s, a few like-minded people found it necessary to actively participate in community work to help themselves and others thrive in a democratic society. Their first step was to register Chinese voters. Mr. Wang Dacheng and others formed a program to encourage Chinese registered voters to go to the polls.

By Hsing-Kung

In 1985, Tommy was a candidate for the Cupertino Union School District board. This created great excitement in the Chinese community, having a Chinese candidate in local elections. Mr. Shwe was an engineer for Measurex. He was enthusiastic in supporting his community. Beside his professional work, he had opened a school in Cupertino that taught Chinese children the Chinese language from elementary to high school. Since they rented Cupertino school district facilities, they often had to deal with school district personnel, giving him exposure to the many community service aspects of the school district board.

One of his neighbors, Ms. Elaine Alquist, a member of the school At that time, many Chinese board at the time, encouraged Tom immigrants were still hesitant about to join the board. With his innate voting - partly due to a lack of openness to new challenges, and interest, and partly to the fact that fearless stance in confronting traditionally, many Chinese people difficulties, he threw his hat into do not like politics. But gradually, the ring. His running in an election the Chinese immigrant community had a far-reaching impact on the began to understand that voting is a Chinese community. duty and a right of citizenship. Tommy and I are both alumni from the Department of Electrical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. I was two years his senior. I met him in 1983 while we were doing a community involvement activity in the Bay Area. We worked together in the community and for our university for thirty years. I admired him most for his pioneering spirit, for being interested in trying new things, and his perseverance in pursuing his ideals.

In 1985, with the help of Ms. Alquist and her friends, Tom became the first Chinese American in the South Bay to be elected. This is a major milestone in local political history. Inspired by his success, the Chinese community became more involved with voter registration and election efforts. Tom was re-elected in 1989. For the 1991 CUSD election, Professor Xihong Zhang from DeAnza College became a candidate. Professor Fang Wenzhong, who teaches politics at

S I L I C O N VA L L E Y I M P R E S S I O N S | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7

Evergreen College, and Zhang are directors of the Asian American Community Involvement organization (AACI). Tom and Fang planned Zhang Xihong’s campaign. Zhang had won. During the next twenty years, Zhang Xihong and Fang Wenzhong have become strong advocates in the Chinese community for political involvement and civic engagement. In 1992, the Asian American Parents Advisory Council (AAPAC) was established with help from Tommy, as well as Zhang Xihong, another school board member. This non-profit organization was organized by Chinese primary school parents, including Fred Chao, Jia Yiguang, Wu Zhihui, Zhang Zhaofu, Mrs Lin Shuhui,as well as Frank and Karen Geefay. Together, they helped the school district to improve the quality of education, recruit and assist the Chinese school board members in accomplishing their goals. At the end of that year, the Fremont Union High School District Board of Trustee was also having an election. Professor Tang Xianzhou of DeAnza College was elected. He was re-elected four times and served FUHSD for twenty years. By that time, the primary and high school districts all had Chinese members serving on their boards. In 1994, it was time for FUHSD to re-elect its board of trustees. Tommy encouraged me to run, while another Asian American Mr. He Zongning was also running at the same time. Later we have found out that Santa Clara County Board continued on page 15...



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