CAFAM Newsletter—November 2014

This is the online version of CAFAM’s annual print newsletter, which was mailed to CAFAM members in Nov 2014.


News & Updates

  • Welcome to CAFAM
  • Chinese School in Action

Upcoming Events

  • “Ya Ji”: East/West Cultural Gathering
  • Chinese Language Roundtable
  • Chinese New Year Celebration: Year of the Ram

Recent Events

  • “Tao & The American Dream: A Martial Monk’s Journey”
  • USM Confucius Institute Anniversary


  • Mike Palmer: A Lifelong Relationship with China
  • Empire Restaurant


Welcome to CAFAM

ChineseHuanyingWelcomeThe Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine (CAFAM) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote friendship between non-Chinese Americans, Chinese-Americans and Chinese people from all over the world. We promote awareness of and appreciation for Chinese culture in Maine.

CAFAM hosts a number of activities and events throughout the year, from an autumn Moon Festival to our annual Chinese New Year celebration. We publish both print and electronic newsletters, and we disseminate information about upcoming programs or areas of interest relating to Chinese people and culture.

CAFAM contributes to the Maine Historical Society archives with information about the Chinese presence in Maine, and we work with other local organizations whenever possible. We also promote educational outreach.

The CAFAM Chinese School is a significant part of our organization; its focus is on exposing students to Chinese culture and language. Please see information about the school below.

CAFAM invites anyone with an interest in China to become a member. Please join or renew your membership by going to JOIN on this site. If you prefer not to join online, please mail your check to: Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine, P.O. Box 10372, Portland, ME 04104.

Welcome! Huanying!

Chinese School in Action

TumblingChSchoolRibbonDanceChSchoolDiaboloChSchoolDanceTeachersChSchoolCAFAM Chinese School students are cartwheeling through a fall semester that has brought new kinds of fun—and brought back a beloved dance teacher.

The Circus Conservatory of America is offering classes in tumbling and diabolo (Chinese yo-yo). Two instructors work with students from fourth to eighth grade to perfect such feats as moving from a handstand into a fluid roll. Students are learning how to make the Chinese diabolo dance along a string and how to make it fly high but then catch it.

Aikido of Maine is teaching skills in a new martial art to the younger children. Lotus class student Emilia Ruth is back as an Aikido teacher.

Dance instructor Fan Luo has also returned to the school to teach the two oldest dance classes and to launch an apprenticeship program for the oldest dance students. Four students—Mae Rosenstein, Sylvie Rosenstein, Lily Thompson, and Sophie Frantz—are studying how Fan teaches, refining their own dance skills, and teaching classes when Fan is away. Sophie Frantz is also solo teaching the bathtub dance to the littlest students.

The school meets from 9 am to noon on Saturday mornings at Ocean Avenue School in Portland. Classes include basic Mandarin for elementary grade students and conversation workshops for middle schoolers. High school students have a conversation class that involves exchange students who attend area high schools. Students at the school range in age from 2 to 15. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Kelli Pryor at 892-3640 or


Mei Salvage’s work “Fear Not” intentionally shows a mirror image of text from a 17th century Chinese book.
Mei Salvage’s work “Fear Not” intentionally shows a mirror image of text from a 17th century Chinese book.

“Ya Ji”: East/West Cultural Gathering

  • Nov. 19, 2014; 5:30-7 pm
  • ThinkTank Coworking, 533 Congress St., Portland
  • Free admission; Chinese tea will be provided

Inspired by the elegant cultural gatherings of the Song Dynasty, Ya Ji is a modern day salon about Chinese contemporary art and culture in New England. This first Ya Ji is held in conjunction with the exhibition “Journey to the East,” by Portland-based artist Mei Salvage.

The event is hosted byFox Intercultural Consulting; contact Clare Morin at for more info.

Chinese Language Roundtable

A casual meeting of Mandarin speakers in the Portland area. Feel free to bring your lunch! Organized by Fox Intercultural Consulting.

CAFAM Chinese New Year Celebration

To usher in the Year of the Ram, we charge forth with our annual festival, including Chinese dance, music, martial arts, crafts, demonstrations, food and much more. Don’t miss the premier Chinese New Year celebration in Maine!

Thank you to our generous 2014 Chinese New Year sponsors:

  • Event level – IDEXX Laboratories; Oxford Casino
  • Gold level – Beacon Analytical Systems, Inc., FairPoint Communications, SAPPI Shared Financial Services, Southworth International, Sun Diagnostics
  • Silver level – Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics, Falmouth Kumon Math Center, Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, McTeague Higbee, Richard Lu
  • Bronze level – Craig and Sherilyn Dietrich, Fox Intercultural Consulting Services, Robert E. Greene, Key Financial Services, Ellen Goodman & Robert Levey, Amy C. and Joseph Yu
  • Friends of CNY – Dr. Sally C. Hoople


A martial monk from China, Master Bing demonstrates Wudang kungfu at Bowdoin.
A martial monk from China, Master Bing demonstrates Wudang kungfu at Bowdoin.

“Tao & The American Dream: A Martial Monk’s Journey”

Master Bing gave a presentation on Wudang kungfu, Taoism and martial arts. The event was organized by Bowdoin’s Asian Students Association and co-sponsored by Counseling Services and Asian Studies, with help from Ken Ryan and Maine Coast Taijiquan.

USM Confucius Institute Anniversary

The University of Southern Maine’s Confucius Institute marked its one-year anniversary with a celebration in September. USM has partnered with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China, to host Maine’s first Confucius Institute. The institute offers Chinese language courses to undergraduate and graduate students at USM, adult community members and local K-12 students.

USM’s CI also hosts cultural events and seminars, offers study abroad scholarship programs, gives CI students the opportunity to visit China, and is an official testing location for the HSK, a Chinese Language Proficiency Exam.

For more information, please visit


Mike Palmer: A Lifelong Relationship with ChinaMikePalmerCroppedCAFAM

Since I have been a member of CAFAM since 1992, I thought you might be interested to learn why I feel the organization has been an important part of my life’s journey.

chongqing_locationI have always had a love for China and like to say that I really am a “zhongguo ren.” After all, I was born atop a small mountain, 2,000 steps up from the Yangtze River, directly across from Chongqing in Szechuan Province. Chiang Kai-Shek’s wartime residence known as “huangshan” was a few hills over. My father was the Szechuan manager for Standard Oil and, as such, was the leading foreign businessman in this remote part of China back in 1931.

Since China was totally closed off when I finished my education and military service, I earned my living and raised five kids as a businessman here in the States. Always, however, was the desire to return to China and find my birthplace.

British ship near Chongqing in the 1930s.

That opportunity came in 1992 as I neared retirement. CAFAM hosted a dinner for the Chinese ambassador, which I decided to attend. When I was introduced to the ambassador, I asked him if he knew my childhood pal from Tsingtao and Shanghai, Ambassador James Lilley. “Of course, we are very good friends, and we are having dinner together later this week,” came his reply. He then urged me to return to China and offered to assist me in doing so.

He was as good as his word when I had the opportunity to join General Vinegar Joe Stilwell’s daughter to dedicate a museum in honor of the General in Chongqing. I managed to find my birthplace and made several speeches to the assembled dignitaries. Never before had any American born in Chongqing been seen in those parts, and I felt like a returning hero. I also honored my dad for his wartime service as an Air Force Colonel.

Soon after returning from China, I joined the CAFAM board and was made treasurer. During that period, we took on the task of hosting a US China People’s Friendship Association national meeting and also swelled the treasury to $20,000. This event was a turning point in enabling the smooth transition to the vibrant organization you see today. I feel privileged to be a part of this.


Mike Palmer

empire1942-e1415508422123CThe Rule of the Empire

The new Empire Chinese Kitchen, which opened in Portland last year, can trace its history to the original Empire Restaurant (pictured here in 1942), which served an upscale clientele at its Congress Street location in Portland from 1916 until 1953.

For many years it had a two-story sign advertising “Chop Suey.” During World War II, the Empire was a favorite “dine-and-dance” hangout for servicemen.



The CAFAM newsletter is produced by Cindy Han with web support from Jay Collier. If you have any questions, comments or material for the newsletter, please send them to: cindyhan09 at

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