CAFAM Newsletter—March 2015


News & Updates

  • Confucius Institute: Education and Training
  • Teach English in Taiwan
  • CAFAM Membership: Online Renewal
  • Mandarin-Speaking Tour Guides

Upcoming Events

  • Free Kidney Screening
  • Talk by Edison Liu: “The Art & Science of Creativity”
  • Ya Ji: “Language and Identity”
  • Chinese Language Roundtable

Recent Events

  • Chinese New Year Celebration 2015: Year of the Ram
  • “The Search for General Tso” Film Screening
  • Ya Ji: “Migration Stories”

Book Review: Conflicted Legacy

  • Book by Oliver Hanson Woshinsky; review by Craig Dietrich

Travel Journal

  • “A Charming Neighborhood in Taipei”: Report by Connie Zhu

About This Newsletter: This e-newsletter is provided to CAFAM members and is edited by Cindy Han, with technical support from Jay Collier. 


Confucius Institute: Education & Training for K-12 EducatorsScreen Shot 2013-09-06 at 8.06.47 AM

The Confucius Institute at the University of Southern Maine offers Mandarin Chinese classes and teacher training for K-12 educators. The Institute is planning to start a new cohort in the fall and is welcoming any teachers or aspiring teachers who are interested in becoming proficient in Chinese, improving their current proficiency, or receiving guidance in the teaching of Chinese. The course is open to students who wish to receive credit as well as those who do not. Students who take the class for credit may apply the classes to a degree or certification program. Local teachers of all subjects and levels are invited to enroll. If interested, please contact the Confucius Institute at

Teaching English in Taiwan

teach-english-in-taiwan.001The Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Boston is looking for people who would like to teach English to K-9 public school children in Taiwan for the 2015-16 school year. Native English speakers who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher as well as a teaching license may apply. The compensation includes round-trip airfare, housing allowance and salary (depending on experience).

The program is part of an effort by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan to enhance the English-learning environment for school-aged children in rural areas.

Applications are due April 17, 2015. For more information, click here or contact Ms. Levina Huang, (617) 737-2055;

CAFAM Membership Renewal & Donations

Have you renewed your CAFAM membership this year? If not, please do so now!

Chinese-THANK-YOU-MWe’ve made it easy with our new online renewal system. Just click RENEW CAFAM MEMBERSHIP to pay your dues electronically, using PayPal. From now on, we are simplifying the membership renewals so that September is always the start and end of an annual membership. That’s why you should act now and renew your CAFAM membership today!

For more specific information about membership and dues, click MEMBERSHIP INFO. Anyone who is interested in supporting our organization’s efforts to promote and support Chinese culture and language in Maine is welcome to click DONATE TO CAFAM. We thank you for any amount of support!

If you prefer not to renew online, please mail your payment to the address below. Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine P.O. Box 10372, Portland, ME 04101

Request for Mandarin-Speaking Tour Guides

Lighthouse in Portland Maine In Fort Willams ParkWe are continuing to gather names of people interested in serving as tour guides for Mandarin-speaking visitors to Maine. CAFAM is helping the Greater Portland Convention & Visitors Bureau compile a list of possible tour guides during the busy summer tourist months. Tour guides do receive payment, and typical bus tours travel around the Portland area. Visitors are mostly from China or Taiwan.

If you are interested, please contact Cindy Han at Thank you to those who have already offered to help. More information is on the way!


Free Kidney Health Screening42-15625101

  • Saturday, Mar 28, 7 am-12 noon
  • A health seminar on “8 Steps to Your Kidney Health” will be held at 11 am
  • Chinese Gospel Church of Portland, 99 Gray Road, Cumberland
  • Free screening

This service is being provided by the Chinese Gospel Church of Portland in conjunction with the Kidney Disease Screening and Awareness Program, Harvard College, which is led by Dr. Li-Li Hsiao of Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston.

Talk by Edison Liu: “The Art & Science of Creativity”MaineCenterforCreativity_30915

Ya Ji: “Language and Identity”

Photo by Ni Rong
  • Tuesday, May 12, 5-7 pm (5-5:30 pm tea, followed by talk)
  • Institute of Contemporary Art, Maine College of Art, 522 Congress St., Portland

As part of an ongoing cultural salon series hosted by Fox Intercultural Consulting, this event will feature: Ni Rong (photographer, Rockland); Frank O Smith (writer, Portland); and Lady Zen (hip hop, Portland).

Chinese Language Roundtable

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


Chinese New Year: Year of the Ram

Good fortune for the Year of the Ram! We enjoyed a window of good winter weather for CAFAM’s Chinese New Year Celebration at Westbrook Center for Performing Arts on Saturday, Feb 7th.

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The day of festivities included a gym full of arts and crafts tables and community booths, including an inviting setup by our co-sponsor, the University of Southern Maine’s Confucius Institute. Lively lion dance performances by Steve Wong and his son, who came down from Bangor, included plenty of interaction with the crowd, including having children bang on drums, crash cymbals and join the lion in parading around. Young diabolo (Chinese yo-yo) performer Henry Florman displayed his expert skills.

The highlight of each year’s celebration are the young performers from CAFAM’s Chinese School.  The students brought color and energy to the stage, from the adorable bathtub dance to the eye-catching ribbon dances. A talent show followed, with a wide variety of musicians, dancers and more.

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CNYkidsnoisemakers copy CNYbathtubbow copy

A delicious lunch included offerings prepared by Panda Garden as well as dumplings and bubble tea from the hard-working Chinese School “Dumpling Dads.”

Speakers rounded out the day’s events, from a talk about Chinese teas by CAFAM’s Martin Connelly to contemporary Chinese artist Mei Selvage.

Many thanks to our enthusiastic helpers and volunteers. And we are grateful to our sponsors:

 10960075_793302297416371_2629240586743065168_oCNYpattidumplings copy10547751_793302260749708_2313860604846549129_o

“The Search for General Tso” Film Screening

CAFAM is proud to have sponsored the screening of “The Search for General Tso” at Space Gallery in Portland on the evening of February 7th. The documentary was delightfully entertaining while also educational, taking viewers on a playful detective search for the origins of the popular Chinese-American restaurant dish, General Tso’s Chicken. A packed house enjoyed the film itself, as well as a Q&A session with filmmakers Ian Cheney and Amanda Murray. Moveigoers also had the chance to taste the hot Chinese tea served by CAFAM’s own Martin Connelly.

CAFAMgentsomartintea CAFAMgentsofilmmakers CAFAMgentsoCHtable CAFAMgentsofilmdish


Conflicted Legacy: by Oliver Hanson Woshinsky

(2015, distributed by book cover copy

Review written by Craig Dietrich

Most family histories are of limited interested to outsiders. Conflicted Legacy by Oliver Hanson Woshinsky is an exception for several reasons.

The author portrays his characters in an almost novelistic way, not assuming that the reader knows all about Uncle So-and-So and Aunt Whatsername. Affectionately but unblinkingly, Woshinsky describes his characters’ personalities and actions, pulling the reader in. And quite a cast of characters it is.

Two central figures are Woshinsky’s maternal grandparents. One photograph says a great deal. It was taken as the young Methodist missionary couple arrives at their destination, the small town of Tai-an in northern China. The year is 1903, shortly after the Boxer uprising had claimed hundreds of missionary lives. Not only that, but they have a baby girl of scarcely four months, mother and child bundled against the cold on a Chinese wheelbarrow, father on foot. How many young couples would trot off to an utterly alien civilization with their infant? The answer has nothing to do with risk taking and everything to do with a dedication to spreading the gospel. In this generation and the next of the Hanson family the desire to missionize in China was very strong.

Perhaps more extraordinary, and another thing that sets this book apart, is the utterly improbable pairing of the author’s parents. What are the odds that a rather plain, retiring daughter of the aforementioned missionaries, and who is seemingly headed for spinsterhood at 30, would meet in Minneapolis a Russian Jew from Odessa (Soviet Union) who is barely into his early 20s, and that she would marry him in China, pregnant with child, namely our author? Woshinsky lays out the sequence of events that led to this odd outcome. How the son of a humble Odessa cobbler is sent to live with his rich uncle in Tientsin [Tianjin] China, does poorly, but meets schoolmates, two brothers from a missionary family (guess whose), follows them to the University of Minnesota, supported by Uncle Toiva until the latter learns he is not, as instructed, studying engineering. Meanwhile he falls in love with the brothers’ sister (guess who), is recalled to China by his irate uncle, even as his reluctant beloved returns separately to stay with her missionary parents. They heartily disapprove of this suitor, but not as much as Uncle Toiva dislikes the Shiksa. Finally succumbing to young Woshinsky’s ardor, she becomes pregnant. Given the times, they marry.

As if this weren’t “interesting” enough, and another thing that sets this history apart, the time frame was 1939, as world events were rumbling toward the calamity of World War II. That year Hitler would invade Poland and light the fuse for war in Europe. Already in China violent conflict with Japan had been underway since the summer of 1937. The infamous Rape of Nanking occurred late that year. Since the United States and Japan were not yet at war, the American missionaries were non-belligerents, but that hardly removed them from danger. To add to the young parents’ tribulations, Tientsin suffered a devastating flood just as the baby came. Somehow they made it to the mission in Tai-an. All Americans were being persuaded to leave China. But the Woshinskys faced the challenge of, first, obtaining an American visa for this Soviet passport holder, and secondly, boarding him and his family on any Japanese vessel bound for the U.S. Another nail-biting episode.

Finally in America, the Woshinskys bounce their way to rural Vermont, where the author grows up. The setting was bucolic, yet life for the Woshinskys was anything but. The father suffered from mental illness. The mother and was repeatedly confined in tuberculosis sanatoriums. Financially, the family hovered between barely scraping along and penury, even as three more children came along.

How this all turned out quite well for almost everyone involved is explained in the later sections of the book, again punctuated with odd circumstances. One last China episode finds the grandparents back in their mission at war’s end, only to get caught up in the civil war that brought Mao Zedong and the Communists to power. When the Korean War broke out only months after Mao proclaimed the birth of the People’s Republic, the grandparents found themselves among a small remnant of missionaries essentially held captive, and in these circumstances, the author’s grandmother suffers a fatal heart attack.

There’s a great deal more to this very well written memoir, one might almost say “saga”. And some interesting issues arise, for example about immigration and factors for “success” in America.

A final note of disclosure: the author of this review was a colleague of Oliver Woshinsky for over 30 years and is a friend. But if I didn’t have nice things to say, honestly, I would have said nothing at all.


Oliver Woshinsky was born in China, but spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Vermont. The travails and adventures that his parents and grandparents lived through occurred long before his birth or before he could remember. He grew up in peaceful New England communities hearing tales of drama and tragedy in far-off, unstable lands. Eventually, he left home to study at Oberlin College and Columbia University, served three years in the U.S. Army, got a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University, and taught for three decades at the University of Southern Maine. He has lived and lectured in Britain, France, and Russia. His specialty is European and comparative politics, and he is the author or co-author of six books in his field. He and his wife currently reside in Portland, Maine.

The author can be contacted at


A Charming Neighborhood in Taipei

A Report from Connie Zhu

Taipei has many destinations for tourists:  the elegant Taipei 101 (once the tallest building in Asia), the National Palace Museum, and the Maokong Gondola lift that offers you an aerial view of the city, to name a few. It is also studded with night markets, cafes, bakeries, and numerous eateries–big and small, fancy and simple, from hot pots to ice shops, from beef noodles to stinky tofu, you name it.

大安公園. Da'an Park.
大安公園. Da’an Park.

The neighborhood we have been living in is southwest of the beautiful Da’an Forest Park, built in early 1990s and inspired by New York’s Central Park. As you can imagine, it is such a relief to live right next to a park in a bustling city, where we walk through often to the subway station or the City Library.  We live in a National Taiwan University faculty apartment building between Taishun and Wenzhou Streets. We are simply amazed how much this neighborhood can offer. My iPhone photos certainly can’t capture fully its magic but hopefully, you can catch a glimpse of this interesting microcosm of Taipei life.

泰顺街. Taishun Street.
泰顺街. Taishun Street.
小巷. Narrow alley.
小巷. Narrow alley.
很多花草。 Plants everywhere.
Plants everywhere.

There are new high-rises as well as old Japanese-style buildings.

There are four 7-11 stores within five minutes’ walk from us. I cannot think of any convenience that it cannot provide! Besides snacks and beverages, you can pay bills there, order tickets for trains (regular and high speed), concerts, sports, etc., print and photocopy, send packages, buy an umbrella/raincoat when it pours.

In addition to two supermarkets (not the American size), there is a vegetable market, a meat market and a fruit shop. If you don’t feel like cooking, there are many eateries where you can get a quick and tasty meal.

And then, there is a cool little cafe with a patio right across our lane. You never know what you’ll discover walking through those lanes. We’re so lucky to call Taipei home for a year!

泰順鮮果專賣店。 Taishun Fruit Shop.
Taishun Fruit Shop.
Just call it SEVEN!
Just call it SEVEN!
燒臘店. Hong Kong style roast meat restaurant.
燒臘店. Hong Kong style roast meat restaurant.
“糊塗麵”. A noodle & dumpling restaurant.
“糊塗麵”. A noodle & dumpling restaurant.
粥. Porridge Lady.
粥. Porridge Lady.
餛飩. Wonton.
餛飩. Wonton.
紅豆、綠豆湯.  Sweet Bean Soup Cart.
Sweet Bean Soup Cart.
咖啡館. Cafe.
咖啡館. Cafe.

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