Gung-hay Fat Choy! / Gongxi Fa Cai!
The Yee Fung-toy Family Association of Phoenix, Arizona celebrated the advent of the time-honored Lunisolar (Agricultural) New Year in CE 2010 in its traditional fashion. While the family-centered feasting for typically three consecutive nights (New Year¡¦s Eve, New Year¡¦s, and Opening-the-Year) would of course have been observed at our private residences and restaurants throughout the Valley of the Sun, according to the different customs of our areas of origin in China, the Association commemorated this premier festival of the year with several special events on one date.
This year, on Saturday, March 6th, about 70+ members of the Association, male and female, young and old, gathered at the Clan Hall on 3040 North 16th Street in central Phoenix at noon to pay respects to our ancestors in the ceremonial manner that Chinese culture has generally instructed for over four millennia in front of the artist¡¦s conception of the appearance of the eponymous Yee Fung-toy / Yu Fengcai, whose origins date back to the Northern Sung / Song dynasty in the region of Kuangtung / Guangdong, approximately 1000+ years ago. The ceremony on this occasion was officiated by Mr. Kam Tim Yee. Afterwards, our usual abundant potluck luncheon featured the distinctive and customary Cantonese-style roast suckling pig, soy-braised and American fried chickens, with an array of accompanying side dishes, highlighted by the traditional dessert pastries brought by our own skillful cooks.
Later that evening, the Association hosted over four hundred diners at a Festive Banquet held at the Great Wall Restaurant, inviting not only a broader representation of all the Yees of many generations resident in the area, but also an array of community leaders and honored guests and friends. Mr. Jack J.F. Yee and Ms. Betty Yee were the Master and Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. The welcoming remarks were delivered by the newly elected Association President Mr. David M. Yee. Ms. Angie Yu introduced the Association officers and honored guests. Grand Elder John M. Yee offered the formal toast ¡V not once but instructing us to drink up several times!
To add a further note of good luck and happiness, over two dozen generous door prizes were available to be drawn; many of these were meals from several well-regarded Chinese restaurants in the metropolitan area so that a quite appropriate note of feasting would continue. The happily noisy raffle was conducted by Ms. Kathy Yee, Ms. Janet Yee, and Ms. Gale Yee.
Naturally, with our strong
families and characteristic cultural emphasis on good
education, the Association is always delighted to
highlight this most meaningful occasion with scholarship
awards to our youth to encourage them to set good examples
and to continue their excellence in their every endeavor.
Our Scholarship Committee was led once more this year by
long-time Chairwoman Ms. Mary Ann Yee who welcomed these
new scholars to our long list of annual honorees. As
listed below, the other Committee members then introduced
the awardees of 2009-2010 at their respective levels of
educational accomplishments, with acknowledgements as well
of their rightfully proud parents and grandparents ¡V
Ms. Jeanette Hing presented
four graduates completing their senior years of high
Larissa Dong; daughter of Reicher and Michelle Dong
Kyle Evan Michael Yee; son of Allan and Missy Yee
Jordan Yee; son of Larry and Joanie Yee
Kyle Tompkins; son of Scott and Pam Tompkins.
Ms. Mayen Yue presented two
graduates completing their 8th grade years of elementary
Elizabeth Yee; daughter of Fred and Ellen Yee
Richard Yu; son of Mr & Mrs Walter Yu
Ms. Betty Yee presented four scholars of the Phoenix Chinese School (offering instruction in Mandarin & Cantonese) ¡V
Nathan Yee; son of Harold and Lisa Yee
Derek Yu; son of Jian Yu and Xiao-hua Huang Yu
George Yu; son of Kerbin and Sherry Yu
John Yu; son of Kerbin and Sherry Yu
Newly elected Association Vice President Joe Yue then warmly thanked everyone for their attendance with us to observe what we all pray will be the beginning of an auspicious White Metal Tiger Year, 4707.
The Phoenix YFT Association hopes to observe the Spring Festival again in 2011 in a time of peace and plenty, and to welcome all with new happiness and new honors.
May your New Year be blessed with good health, good fortune, and great prosperity!
M. Cheak Yee, Mary Ann Yee, Angie Yu, John M Yee & Eddie Yue, Phoenix
On May 2, 2010, a full house of over 100 Yees and kin-by-marriage gathered just after noon for a grand festivity commemorating and celebrating several threads of our common life.
This was the occasion when our local clan members gather in the April/May season to commemorate the opening, 21 years ago in 1989, of the Phoenix Yee Fung Toy Family Association Hall. Of course, a buffet luncheon feast is always a noisy-happy crowded event, highlighted by the offering of six whole Cantonese-style Roast Pigs, with the distinctive golden crispy skin. (Here in Arizona, with our many friends and business associates of Mexican and Hispanic descent with whom we appreciate chicharrones, we¡¦re able to say that it¡¦s even better with the whole layering of savory fat and seasoned meat!) Not only can we enjoy this treat on site, but our generous donors at membership renewal season (and especially all our seniors above 75) are able to take more portions to continue the celebration at home. It goes without saying that additional tables full of American southern-fried chicken, stir-fried noodles, vegetable medley, and desserts from the cuisine of both our native lands round out the occasion when, alas, all too many of us round ourselves out too¡K
This year, the Roast Pigs were generously provided by ¡V Mr. Willie Yee, Mr. Kam Yui Yi, Mr. Kim H. Yee, Mrs. Jerry M. Yee, Mr. John M. Yee, Grand Elder and Mr. David M. Yee, our current Association President.
This is therefore also the premier occasion at which we, the descendants, offer up the respect to our parents and grandparents and to all our ancestors immemorial, symbolized by the traditional rites of veneration. These were observed in our Clan Hall before the portrait in oil of an artist¡¦s conception of our Clan Grand Progenitor, T¡¦ai-tzu, Yee Fung-toy (Yu Feng-tsai or in pinyin, romanization, Yu Fengcai). Such a term is of course redolent of a historical pattern in Chinese history, when the founding emperor of a dynasty would often be posthumously designated as a Grand Progenitor.
Our eponymous ancestor was himself also a Cantonese, born at what then was named Shaochou, in 1000 C.E.* and he served with distinction as an official in the Northern Sung Dynasty (960-1127 C.E.) After his death in 1065, the reigning Chih-p¡¦ing era Emperor awarded him an honorific title of nobility: the Chung-hsiang Kung [Loyal-Assisting Duke] or in an informal Cantonese rendition, ¡¥Chung-sheung.¡¦ This feudal-style title actually looked back then to a vanishing age and yet these type of honors would continue to be granted, relatively rarely, until the end of the imperial era in 1912. When our Clan Grand Progenitor flourished, a well-developed civil service administration of China had arisen and afterwards ripened into court and factional politics involving talented commoners rather than the older fading aristocratic and military families of the preceding T¡¦ang Dynasty era (618-906 C.E.).
(It was also during this period that the famed civil servant and polymath Fan Chung-yen [989-1052 C.E.], by his example in clan devotion, set the fashion among the Chinese people in the millennium afterwards for clans to erect ancestral halls and to compile formal local histories ¡V invaluable to scholars. The national clan association for Yees in America was founded over a century ago in San Francisco; our local association in the Phoenix area was established in 1961.)
Naturally, the specific title for our Grand Ancestor, the Duke, would have been selected to commemorate and honor his qualities in life: his loyalty, and his administrative helpfulness, to the Throne. (For the millennium and half before, if someone had been created a duke, it meant the receipt of a fief of territory with population, income, and hereditary power.) The character, hsiang, has as its organizing radical [i.e., that part of the ideograph which signifies its meaning, rather than being a clue to its pronunciation], the element which means ¡§clothing.¡¨ In this case, hsiang refers to the need to remove/disrobe clothing in order to prepare for the hard and typically muddy work of agriculture. In our day, we would say that Yee Fung-toy was a roll-up-your-sleeves, get-it-done kind of guy. Surely he would be well worth our respect and even veneration at any occasion. Yet even more than being a source of pride for us descendants, however, he himself doubtlessly would only be satisfied to know that we were following his example. This is the core meaning of filial piety (hsiao), a truly root virtue in Chinese culture.
* C.E. is an abbreviation for ¡§Common Era,¡¨ to refer to the period of history in which both Jews and Christians shared a frame of reference; the previous custom, to refer to A.D. for ¡§Anno Domini¡¨ [Year of (our) Lord], has come to be seen as slighting the elder brothers/sisters in the Judeo-Christian faith tradition.
Article by M. Cheak Yee (¡§check¡¨), Photographs by Eddie Yue. Phoenix
Yee appointed to District 10 House; replaces Quelland after his removal
Well-known policy advisor Kimberly Yee has been appointed to replace former Rep. Doug Quelland.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors made the selection on Aug. 2.
Yee was one of three names that precinct committee persons from Legislative District 10 earlier submitted to the board. The other two people nominated were Francine Romesburg and Henry Grosjean.
Yee has been in the public affairs arena for more than a dozen years.
She has served as director of communications and government affairs for State Treasurer Dean Martin
She was also deputy cabinet secretary to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a senior research analyst in the Arizona Senate and a policy analyst for the State Board of Education in California Gov. Pete Wilson¡¦s administration.
In a news release, Maricopa County Supervisor Max Wilson said he nominated Yee after consulting with Gov. Jan Brewer and House Speaker Kirk Adams.
Yee, who is also running for the House in a contested primary, will serve the rest of Quelland¡¦s term. Quelland was removed from office, and his seat declared vacant, in May.
Quelland fought hard to keep his seat after the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission found last year that he violated campaign finance rules during his 2008 campaign for the House by paying a consultant to do political work with money from his business.
The expenditures, the commission argued, violated rules for publicly funded candidates.
Quelland denied the allegations, arguing that any political work done by the consultant was made on a volunteer basis and that he paid only for work done for his business.
He also said he was denied due process when his office was declared vacant.
By Arizona Capitol Times Staff
Published: August 2, 2010 at
Supervisors name replacement for ousted lawmaker