CAFAM Newsletter – September 2013

Ni hao! We’re pleased to announce CAFAM’s inaugural electronic newsletter, which replaces the print newsletters in order to go “green” and to save on production costs. In this edition, we include news, events, profiles, resources, a “language corner” and photos. 

As of this issue, longtime editor Craig Dietrich has passed along newsletter duties to us, your new editors, Connie Zhu and Cindy Han. We hope you find this newsletter informative and accessible, and we welcome your input!

Happy Moon Festival to all! Connie and Cindy 


CAFAMCelebrate the Moon Festival with CAFAM

CAFAM’s annual Moon Festival celebration will take place on Saturday, September 21, at Woodfords Church on Woodfords Street in Portland, beginning at 4 pm.  It’s always a fun-filled evening with great food and entertainment. The Moon Festival dates back more than 3,000 years, to the the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon in the autumn, believing that the practice would bring them a plentiful harvest the next year.

Join us in the celebration. We will have moon cakes, of course! Bring your favorite dish and perhaps a moon poem or song to share with everyone.

Confucius Institute Boosts Chinese Presence in Maine

Chinese language and culture will receive a greater level of attention in Maine with the opening of a new Confucius Institute at the University of Southern Maine this month.

In partnership with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China, USM has established this new Confucius Institute to provide a regional resource for educators, business professionals, and community members to engage in Chinese language and cultural studies. The USM Confucius Institute joins 400 institutes throughout the world and 90 institutes nationwide.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 8.06.47 AM

This fall, USM’s School of Education and Human Development will begin to offer teacher training and classroom programs for K-12 educators. In addition, local school districts (Portland, Gorham, Falmouth, and Scarborough) are planning to offer Chinese language programs. Also, a new Chinese language and culture course will be offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

“We’re very grateful we’ve been granted this opportunity to host a Confucius Institute at USM,” says Dr. Joseph McDonnell, CAFAM board member and dean of the USM College of Management and Human Service, who will serve as director of the Confucius Institute. Dean McDonnell has experience in Chinese culture and business practice and served on the Stony Brook University Confucius Institute Advisory Board. “I think this will be of extraordinary benefit to the people of Maine. China has become such an important country in the world, and we now have with a relationship with a strong university in China.”

The link between the new institute and CAFAM is strong, as is the likelihood of future collaborations and programs. The Confucius Institute’s board of directors will include McDonnell, as well as CAFAM’s longtime leader Professor Ah-Kau Ng of the USM Department of Applied Medical Science.

“As a long-term member of USM, CAFAM and the local Asian community, I hope my background and experience will be of help to promote the mission of the Confucius Institute,” says Ng. “CAFAM and CI share interest in Chinese cultural exchange and Chinese language education. Together, we can complement each other’s strengths in serving the community.”

An inaugural celebration for the Confucius Institute will be held September 25 on USM’s Gorham campus [see “Events”].

Chinese Women Artists Exhibit and Symposium

CAFAMAn exciting new exhibit will open at Bowdoin College on September 27, featuring artwork by several leading women artists from China. “Breakthrough: Work by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists” will include pieces that center on themes of the body as a metaphor in contemporary Chinese society.

Shu-chin Tsui, Associate Professor of Asian Studies and Film Studies at Bowdoin, is organizing the exhibition, and is also bringing together an international symposium “Female Embodiment of the Visual World: Women’s Art in Contemporary China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan” on September 28. A number of prominent Asian art scholars from the United States and China, including Jia Fangzhou and Tao Yongbai, will also be participating. The goal is to allow people to engage with these significant works of art and to further critical understanding of recent women’s art from China.

Maine China Network Holds First Dragon Boat Festival

Dragons and lobsters go together in Chinese language and food, so it’s fitting that the Maine China Network hosted a Dragon Boat Festival and Lobster Boat Ride fundraiser in downtown Bar Harbor in June.

On land, there was a lion dance performance was led by Steve Wong, the first Bangor-born Chinese person. There were arts and crafts activities and homemade zongzi tastings for the public. Also, the first Bar Harbor-born Chinese, Prof. Leon Chai and his wife Cara Ryan, surprised the gathering with a visit. On the water, aboard the Lulu lobster boat, guests enjoyed Captain John’s discussion of lobster fishing, seal watching and sightseeing.


The celebration continued with dinner at China Joy Restaurant in Bar Harbor, including homemade zongzi by Christine Chou and Lily Crane.

Maine China Network is a volunteer group formed two years ago with the goal of fostering mutually beneficial, long-lasting Maine-China relationships. Based in Bangor, the group holds 10 monthly meetings each year.

The next meeting is September 10, 1 to 3 pm, at Oriental Jade; all are welcome. On the agenda is the feasibility of bringing a “real” dragon boat festival and race to Maine. Maine China Network is seeking partnerships with other organizations who are interested in the same goal.

Bringing a Dragon Boat Festival to Southern Maine

On a related note: CAFAM’s Gary Libby is working with Maine China Network on the effort to bring a Dragon Boat festival to Maine. In fact, he and about 20 CAFAM members took a train trip to Boston in June to see the Dragon Boat races there.

“The friends who came all had a great time watching the dragon boats and cultural events and eating Asian and American food provided by a wide variety of vendors,” says Gary. “There were Chinese drummers and dance performances, a dragon dance from the Boston side of the Charles River across the Lars Anderson Bridge to the event tent on the Cambridge side, Indian dance performances, and martial arts demonstrations.”

Gary Libby (email: gwlibby2 at welcomes any input or suggestions for a possible Dragon Boat festival here in Maine.

Historic Photos Display Chinese Residents of Maine

CAFAMOver the past decade, CAFAM has discovered many photographs depicting members of Maine’s Chinese community. The photos cover the time period between the 1890s through the 1950s. CAFAM donated those photographs to the Maine Historical Society as part of what has become the Maine Chinese Archive.

Although the photographs have been available to the public through Maine Historical Society’s library in Portland, CAFAM came to the conclusion that such extraordinary photographs should be more widely viewed. So, in 2011, as part of its ongoing effort to document the history of Maine’s Chinese community, CAFAM partnered with the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine Historical Society to select a dozen of the photos and exhibit them to the general public.

The idea was to loan the images to Chinese restaurants and other locations where they could be seen by the public. To date, the photos have been exhibited at: Chia Sen restaurant in Scarborough; The Oriental Table Restaurant in Portland; the Glickman Library at University of Southern Maine in Portland; and the Brunswick Public Library. Currently, they are on display at The China Jade Restaurant in Bangor with the hope that they will then rotate through other Bangor area locations.

CAFAM welcomes suggestions of other places where we can exhibit these photographs. Please contact Gary Libby with questions or ideas at gwlibby2 at

  • You can see the dozen photographs now on display and many other photographs at (use the keyword “Chinese”).

Chinese School Ready For Students

Phoebe Suva dances her farewell ribbon dance

CAFAM Chinese School is preparing for the Fall semester, which starts October 19 and runs Saturdays through November 18. The school is located at Ocean Avenue School in Portland, and offers a full morning of Mandarin language, art, martial arts and traditional Chinese dance classes.

The Chinese School would like to recognize two special students who are off to college this fall. Last year marked the final performances by two of the school’s pioneer students and beloved dancers (and the true jiejie of the school): Quinn Lavigne, daughter of school treasurer Susan Lavigne, who is starting her first year at Smith College; and Phoebe Suva, daughter of principal emeritus Kari and Bob Suva, is attending St. Lawrence. Their mothers are founders of the Chinese School, and Phoebe and Quinn were involved as babies and then were part of the school all the way through, as volunteers and dancers, until they graduated.

The CAFAM Chinese School wishes both girls much good fortune in their new adventures.

CAFAM Board Members Continue to Serve

In June, CAFAM held its annual Picnic in the Park at Winslow Park in Freeport. Those who came enjoyed picnic food and fun along the beach. Each summer at this event, CAFAM elects its board of directors. These are the current CAFAM board members:

Meilin Brodeur, Michael Connelly, Martin Connelly, Bob Greene, Sally Li, Gary Libby, Susan Lieberman, Joe McDonnell, Ahkau Ng, Patti Oldmixon, Robert Rovner, Fran Sayers, Cynthia Setchell, Amanda Szala, Kwok Yeung, Mary Tennant, Marilyn Thomas, Amy Yu

Also: NC Lai is a supporter in New York

Many thanks to these departing CAFAM board members:

Shannon Lyons, Craig Dietrich

We owe a special thanks to Craig Dietrich for not only being a motivating force behind CAFAM all these years, but for single-handedly producing issue after issue of CAFAM newsletters that were always thoughtful, lively and info-packed. You’re the best, Craig, and we dread having to muddle along without you!

CAFAM Picnic, Winslow Park, Freeport, June 23, 2013

CAFAM picnic 2
Xiaolan Yan, a Yue Opera singer, entertained CAFAM members with an aria from the classical Dream of the Red Chamber, in honor of Professor Craig Dietrich, followed by a cake celebrating Craig’s invaluable contribution to CAFAM. Thanks, Craig!

Xiaolan with Craig Dietrich.
Xiaolan with Craig Dietrich.
A cake celebrating Craig's invaluable contribution to CAFAM … but we aren’t ready to let him go yet! Thanks, Craig, and see you around!
A cake celebrating Craig’s invaluable contribution to CAFAM … but we aren’t ready to let him go yet! Thanks, Craig, and see you around!


Chinese Language Roundtable

Sept 20, 2013; noon-1:00 pm

  • Fox Intercultural Consulting, 500 Congress St., Portland
  • This gathering of Mandarin speakers meets on the first and third Friday of each month.

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival Craft Making

Sept 21, 2013; 1:00-2:00 pm

  • Portland Public Library, Portland
  • Local author Jennifer DeCristoforo will be hosting a hands-on Chinese crafts workshop and teaching kids about the Moon Festival; she has just published Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts (See “Resources”)

Moon Festival

Sept 21, 2013; starting at 4:00 pm

  • Woodfords Church, Woodfords St., Portland
  • CAFAM hosts its annual celebration with food and cultural entertainment

Confucius Institute, Inaugural Celebration

Sept 25, 2013; 4:00-5:30 pm

  • 10 Bailey Hall, University of Southern Maine, Gorham campus
  • The public is invited to join USM’s new Confucius Institute, CAFAM leaders, members of the Chinese consulate and representatives from Dongbei University, for an evening of festivities, including a Chinese dance performance, art exhibit, and ceremonial tree planting.

Lecture: “Breakthrough: Work by Contemporary Chinese Women Artists”

Sept 27, 2013; 5:30-7:00 pm

  • Kresge Auditorium, Visual Arts Center, Bowdoin College, Brunswick
  • Opening of exhibit of leading women’s art from China

Symposium: “Female Embodiment of the Visual World: Women’s Art in Contemporary China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan”

Sept 28, 2013; 8:30 am-4:30 pm

  • Beam Classroom, Visual Arts Center, Bowdoin College, Brunswick
  • An international symposium addressing the issues raised by the Chinese women’s art exhibit at Bowdoin

China and the United States: Weaving Friendship through History and the Arts

Oct 18-20, 2013

  • US China Peoples Friendship Association 24th National Convention
  • Hilton Garden Inn—Richmond Downtown, 501 East Broad Street, Richmond VA
  • Reservation block expires September 17, 2013. For more information, go to


Bob Greene

CAFAMAfter retiring to Maine, Bob Greene has been a busy man. In addition to serving on the board of CAFAM, he has also been on the board of the Maine Philanthropy Center and the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity of UMaine. As the tennis writer for Associated Press between 1980 and 2001, he visited Shanghai for the first time in 2001 in preparation for the upcoming Masters Cup. He fell in love with the city, which “bustled like New York in the day and quieted down like Portland at night.” He also took a boat trip up the Yangtze River and “absolutely loved ” the red pepper chicken dish in Chongqing. He still enjoys cooking Chinese food at home for friends and relatives.

Born and raised in Portland, Bob comes from an African-American family whose ancestry traces back eight generations in Maine. Truly exemplary of the Chinese notion of “good fortune,” Bob is blessed with five children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. For the last four years, he also hosted a Chinese student from the University of Southern Maine.

“For a little boy from Munjoy Hill, it’s been a fantastic life,” said Bob in a Maine magazine interview. And life has not slowed down for Bob. He has been active in CAFAM events and hopes he will continue to do more for the community.

Ruiqi Sally Li: In Her Own Words

CAFAMI come from Shenzhen, China, which is a very young, lively, prosperous and fast-paced city. It used to be a tiny fishermen’s village, but in the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping designed the Reform and Opening Up plan which emphasized the future development of Shenzhen because of its unique location adjacent to Hong Kong. Since then, people from all over China have come to this city and made great contributions to it, and my parents are one of them. In only 30 years, Shenzhen’s economy has reached the level of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. It is one of the economic centers of the country and has one of the only two stock exchanges in Mainland China. It is also the “factory of the world”; for example, millions of Apple products are assembled there every day.

I went to elementary and middle school in Shenzhen and am now going to Waynflete in Portland. Although it is the largest city of Maine, Portland is nothing like Shenzhen, which I think is a pleasant change for me. It is much colder in Maine while it does not snow at all in Shenzhen. Portland has far fewer people than Shenzhen, where the population is around 10 million. Life is more relaxing in Portland and there is a stronger sense of neighborhood connection, which is what I like a lot.

Through Sally Ng, who has always been very involved in CAFAM, I learned about the organization and became part of it. I volunteered on the arts and crafts day and did the calligraphy table at the Chinese New Year Celebration. During my two years in the U.S., I have recognized a lot of stereotypes about China in the media. I want to contribute my time and energy to CAFAM and show the beautiful side of Chinese culture to more people, which is why I joined the board. Although I am a senior in high school, I will continue to help at CAFAM’s activities. I am already looking forward to preparing for the 2014 Spring Festival Celebration.


The Chinese Language Table & Blog


The Chinese Language Table meets at Fox Intercultural Consulting, 500 Congress Street, Portland on the first and third Friday of the month, from noon to 1 pm. Participants catch up on news and carry on informal discussions in Mandarin. All language levels are welcome.

If you are interested in the event, you may email Clare Morin or follow Karen Morency’s China Roundtable Blog, which offers a glimpse of the event and also insight into the evolving language. Karen was born in Taiwan, emigrated to Newfoundland at the age of 10, and then moved to Maine. Her love for the Chinese language and culture was renewed when she began teaching her children Chinese.

The JLJ Group: Market Research & Consulting

CAFAMThe JLJ Group, formed in 2003 and acquired by the Sovereign Group in 2013, is an integrated services provider that helps international companies understand and operate in the China market. JLJ services include market research and consulting, company formation and accounting outsourcing. Its North America Director is Professor Francesco Duina of Sociology at Bates College (email: fduina at

JLJ’s website provides up-to-date market and industry information, such as 2013 China Calendar, China Updates, China Industry Reports, etc. You may subscribe to its free newsletter China Focus:

Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts

CAFAMIf you are interested in finding new ways to teach your children Chinese history and culture, check out the Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts. It offers more than 100 projects and ideas for traditional fine arts, Chinese festivals, performance and dance, as well as Chinese folk toys and games.

Author Jennifer DeCristoforo is a writer, illustrator, teacher and crafter from Yarmouth, Maine. When she adopted her baby daughter in 2003 from Jiangxi Province, she became increasingly fascinated with Chinese culture and interested in integrating it into her family life. Email Jen (info at, try a free project or buy the book on her website:


Characters in Pictures – Can you see the characters in the pictures?

美 丽 的 家 乡
Měilì de jiāxiāng
Beautiful hometown

雄 鹰 展 翅
Xióngyīng zhǎnchì
Strong eagle spreading wings

孙 悟 空
Sūn Wùkōng
Monkey King

The Monkey King is from the classical novel Journey to the West, written by Wu Cheng’en in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty. The legendary monkey is also known as Monkey Sun and the Heavenly Sage. Wukong is actually a Buddhist name given to him by Master Xuanzang. 悟 wù means awareness or enlightenment, and 空 kōng means empty/emptiness.


A Happy Reunion

A happy reunion at the home of Sally and Ah-Kau Ng in honor of Wang Jinbo, a CAFAM member from the late 1980s, who visited Maine with his wife and two daughters (front right) at the end of July. They are currently living in the Detroit area, where Jinbo is an engineer at TRW Automotive. Jinbo came to Maine in 1989 to study at USM School of Business, sponsored by Southworth Industries. The next year he and Wensha were married at a CAFAM gathering.

From left to right, 3rd row standing: Mark Kremzner, Wensha (Jinbo's wife), Gao Lan, Marian Lee and Jinbo; 2nd row sitting: Steve, Susan Lieberman, Craig Dietrich, Sally Ng and Steve Lee.
From left to right, 3rd row standing: Mark Kremzner, Wensha (Jinbo’s wife), Gao Lan, Marian Lee and Jinbo; 2nd row sitting: Steve, Susan Lieberman, Craig Dietrich, Sally Ng and Steve Lee.


The CAFAM newsletter is jointly produced by Cindy Han and Connie Zhu (who both wish Craig Dietrich were still doing the work) with publishing support from Jay Collier (the Wiz). If you have any questions, comments or material for the newsletter, please send them to: cindyhan09 at or connie at

9 thoughts on “CAFAM Newsletter – September 2013

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thanks for the nice comments about the CAFAM newsletter. As for the Chinese New Year celebration, I don’t think a date has been set just yet. We’ll try to get that date out as soon as we know. Stay tuned!
      Cindy Han

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