AN EASTER SUNDAY TRADITION

By Richard Fong (2008)

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army (of Wa Sung volunteers) to put on yet another memorable Easter Pancake Breakfast. The 52nd annual event was held at Lincoln Square Playground at 11th and Harrison Streets in Oakland Chinatown. There were 1200 participants, all enjoying delicious pancakes and sausages.

The program began at 8:20 a.m. with Cyndee Lim giving the President's message, followed by the Heiwa Taiko Drummers, who delivered a rousing performance. Next up were the Ballet et Cetera dancers, directed once again by Yukiko Sakakura. The youth and adult participants performed modern jazz, tap and ballet pieces. Michael Chae of the American Cancer Society then presented Wa Sung with an achievement award. Wa Sung has been working together with the Society for over ten years.

Next, the Rising Dragon Lion Dancers pranced on and off the stage, exciting everyone, especially the children, with their up-close performance. For the first time at this event, the Six Golden Flowers, hailing from the San Francisco Gu-Zheng Music Society, took the stage. Guzheng, or Chinese zither, dates back 2500 years and is the precursor of the Japanese Koto. The group has been playing together for six years; and has achieved many awards, including first prize at the 2007 International World Cup Folk Instruments Competition. Roland Hui was instrumental in bringing this musical group to Wa Sung's attention.

Of course, the Easter Bunny made her/his appearance. Children hunted gleefully for their eggs and treats in a fun fest sponsored by Karen Dea and Richard and Adrienne Fong. Equally happy were the many prize and raffle winners. The 2008 Wa Sung Directory was presented on schedule, thanks to Roland Hui and his Directory Committee; and the Directories were distributed to eager recipients. Stanley Ho, a second grader at Lincoln School, designed the cover artwork.

In Rev. Dr. Jefferey Kuan's invocation, he paid tribute to several recently deceased members, including Director Nancy J. Lee, Life Member Gordon Lee, Past Member of the Year Joyce Cheng, and Mary and Freeman Chan, both Life Members.

As mentioned earlier, it took a multitude to make this a successful event. The planning and pre-work was done by Chairpersons Florence Lau, Ron Hing, Bill Sakakura, Arnold Mew, and Richard Fong. They spent many hours planning this and did a great job executing the plan. We would like to give a big "Thank You!" to the following, starting with our sponsors: Albert Brown Mortuary, Aroma Restaurant, State Farm Insurance; Hera Tong-Gutierrez, Horizon Beverage, Pacific Rim Produce, Grant Miller Mortuary, Greer Family Mortuary, and Asian Health Services, Friends of the Asian Library, Karen Dea, and Richard and Adrienne Fong. We are very proud and thankful for all of our sponsors!

We must thank Mike Wong and the grill cleaning crew for all the hard work. They cleaned and prepared all the grills for Sunday Morning. Mike also supervised the staging and setup of the stoves and the cooking of all the pancakes. Karen Dea then planned the Easter egg hunt for 200 children with the help of Roger Dong, Jeannie Pong and Jeannie Chiang. She and her team revised the location for safety and prepared all the goodies and treats for the youth. Thank you Karen! Thanks to Pete’s Ace Hardware for the generous discount for the Generator to make our coffee. Thanks to Clayton Yukumoto for getting the signs printed by PDQ Printing and Arnold Mew for getting those tickets printed by KRW Printing. From then on, the plan was easy to carry out. Many volunteers jumped in to ensure the success of Number 52. Audrey Huie and Florence Lau started the ticket distribution to our members and to Gilbert Gong at the Lincoln Recreation Center. Thanks to all our members for selling the tickets. Great big thanks to our top sellers. Thanks go to Loretta Siu who sold 140 tickets, Arnold Mew who sold 104 tickets, Raymond Tang who sold 100 tickets, Clayton and Cheryl Yukumoto for selling 70 tickets, Richard and Adrienne Fong for selling 60 tickets, Francis Young for selling 50 tickets and for all those members who sold their books.

It was dark at 5:30 am Easter Sunday. Soon the Youth groups show up to set up the event. Amy Wei and the AYSC volunteers were eager to get the setup and event going. Thank you Walter Chinn, Life Member and AYSC co-founder for all the support. Other volunteers included Circle K, Castro Valley High, Cal Chun and the El Cerrito High Swim Team, SF Gu-Zheng Music Society volunteers and Skyline High. A big thanks to the “Youth”, they did so much to see to the success of this event. Thanks to Jeanne Chiang for printing up all those signs so, we knew where to go in the early morning hours. Thanks to the members and non-members who just came and took on the tasks such as Tony Lim, Patrick McNamara and his wife at the sausage station, Young Fong and James Wong inside the kitchen mixing the pancake mix, Mike Wong in the grill area setting the standard for our flippers. Big thanks to Derek Lang and Clayton Yukumoto for organizing the youth volunteers. Thanks, Peter Chu, for attending to the generator without a break. Thanks to Cheryl Yukumoto and Loretta Siu for the orange slices, butter, syrup and drink areas and John Tam for making all the coffee. All the jook makers deserve a big hand for their delicious jook to help fortify the hunger of our workers. Thanks, Jeanne Chiang, Adrienne Fong, Florence Lau, Loretta Siu, Cheryl Yukumoto, and Linda Wong. Our thanks also go to Helena Mew, Arnold Mew, Wilma Wong, Florence Lau, Kei Lam, for handling the ticket lines and funds. A big thanks to Bill Sakakura who lined up all our entertainment by the "Six Golden Flowers," Ballet et Cetera, Rising Dragon Lion Dancers, and Heiwa Taiko Drummers. Thanks to Barbara Hing and Lucy Meyer for announcing all those raffle winners. Thanks to our MC Dr. Wayne Fong and Roland Hui. We are also very grateful to all the “Members and Spouses” who just showed up and jumped in to help.

In summary, Wa Sung's Easter Pancake Breakfast is everything Wa Sung stands for rolled into one -- Fun, Food, Festivities & Fund Raising -- save the date!