Chinese American Citizens Alliance - Houston Lodge Learning Series
Introduction to this Series
Why this series? If you are like me, you were either born in America or came to America when you were very young. Your parents, who wanted you to become a good Chinese American citizen, probably said to you that in order to succeed in America as a Chinese, you had better study hard and get a good education. Therefore, they spent considerable time, money, and effort pushing you to achieve this goal.
This meant sending you to an American school. Here you learned how to read, write, and do arithmetic, the 3 R's. Of course, with the exception of mathematics, which is pretty much universal, your education was taught in English, you studied English grammar, and read English novels. You studied the history of western civilization, including American history. Unless your parent(s) or grandparent(s) spoke to you in Chinese, or unless you went to a Chinese school (usually after school or church), you did not get much of a formal Chinese education.
Even if your parents cooked Chinese food at home, if you and your friends went out to eat, you more than likely ate pizza, burgers, and hot dogs - American cuisine. Instead of reading about Chinese myths and legends, you probably spent your free time reading comic books, teen magazines, watching t.v., going to a movie or listening to the radio.
Your parents would probably teach you some Chinese customs and traditions, but not go into too much detail. Most of customs you knew anything about were Western or American-based (i.e., Christmas, 4th of July, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc).
Therefore, although you are Chinese by race, you are for all practical purposes a true red-blooded American. You probably have more in common with your next door neighbor, than a relative who lives half way around the world from you. And if you visit that relative one day, you could have a problem, as you may not know how to properly greet them, share common history and stories together, or maybe not even be able to speak to them.
So, this is the main reason for this series. To sort of help re-connect us all to our "roots", so to speak. Sure, while it is possible for you to put together any one of the topics presented yourself, why not collaborate together on this series, one that would put together our collective knowledge. Even if mistakes are made along the way (and there will be), we can fix it as we go.
This series, therefore, is an on-going project. Don't expect everything to be fully completed at your first glance. The plan is to develop and provide information slowly like a fine meal being served at a Chinese banquet, that is, one topic at a time in each of the subjects presented. In this way, you can get a "taste", reflect on it and hopefully "enjoy" it properly. When possible, we will provide a link to a site on the internet. Then, if you choose to, you can click on it and explore more deeply into what is presented, sort of like a master chef. Maybe you can find something that will improve on the "recipe" presented.
As this series develops more fully, it will hopefully will become a starting point for you to share, particularly with your children and grandchildren, information about their Chinese heritage. You are welcome to review any subject or topic, but more importantly, it would be nice if you will also participate by contributing.
So, as the old saying goes "the longest journey begins with the first step". If you just would like to look, do so, but I hope you will join me on this journey of rediscovery of our Chinese heritage.
Editor/Thomas Eng,President 2013-2014
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