Youth Forum 1
Happenings (to Year 2000)
Building the Yee Family World Wide Web
Welcome to the WYC1 issue of the Yee Fung Toy Youth Forum,
covering events (up to the year 2000) of interest to youth in the World
[The following is extracted from a brochure that promotes the Kung Fu
Club that held weekly classes at the Vancouver YFT Hall from 1995 to
The Lion Dancing Tradition
Lion dancing is a popular Chinese art that has a long history. It
combines athletic and artistic skills into a spectacular dance form.
The lion is made up of two people holding a lion costumed prop. One
dancer controls the head and front feet, and the other controls the
back feet and tail. To the beat of a drum and cymbals, they can make
the beast roll, walk, jump, and even stand on two feet. The lion brings
good luck to all undertakings, and appears in all traditional Chinese
celebrations such as New Year's, grand openings, anniversaries, etc.
Lion dancers are traditionally trained in martial arts as well.
The YFT Kung Fu Club
The YFT Kung Fu Club is a group of students directed by White Crane
Martial Arts instructor Franky Fan, owner of the Fan Yeung Chung Health
& Fitness Centre. Their lion has danced at birthday banquets, grand
openings, and other celebrations. Sponsored by the Yee Fung Toy Society
of Vancouver (part of a world wide organization of the extended Yee
family), the group has been meeting twice a week for over two years.
The students range in age from 8 to 18. Classes are given in lion
dancing, martial arts, Chinese language and culture, and self
The group invites interested students to join, regardless of
martial arts experience or knowledge of Chinese culture. The YFT Kung
Fu Club also welcomes the opportunity to bring excitement and good
fortune with its lion to your event.
[In an attempt to make the YFT of Vancouver Youth Committee a
"profitable" experience for all, Jim made the following pitch in the
summer of 1996.]
Welcome to the first conference of the YFT Young Entrepreneurs. I want
to thank you all for taking the time to attend this meeting. Most of
you have read my memo that suggested this meeting. I would like to say
a few words to elaborate on my ideas and address my remarks
specifically to the group of university and college students with us
Why run your own business
We are here to talk about running a business, and how a young person
can learn how to start and run a small business. First, let us
understand why it is important for young people to have this knowledge.
We live in a world when governments and corporations are all
cutting back and downsizing. This translates to fewer permanent jobs
for everyone, especially for young graduates. Even if you get a job
when you graduate, you cannot be guaranteed of long term employment.
The trends of the national and the global economies are changing our
old concepts of work. In the future, workers must be prepared to change
jobs much more frequently than at present. One way of preparing for the
future is to be your own boss and run your own business. The current
issue of Vancity Credit Union’s Working Dollars has a cover story about
New Work” of the future. I recommend you read it.
Where do you learn how to be an entrepreneur
So you want to be an entrepreneur. The next question is where do you
learn the skills to become one?
The obvious answer is at school. Some of you are taking
Commerce and Business Administration at University. Would you say that
the courses you are taking are sufficient knowledge for starting your
own business? I would say not by themselves, since they were designed
for a general academic purpose, not for a specific one. They are
necessary for an all round education, but not sufficient for starting
you own business.
Another answer would be to learn on the job. Many of you have
held summer and part time jobs. Do you learn anything about running the
business? Probably not. You are only trained to do your specific job,
and probably a low level one. So you do not have a chance to see the
big picture, let alone take part in management decisions.
Traditionally, the best way for a young person to be an
entrepreneur is through a family business. Ideally, the parents allow
their children to work up the various levels in the family business, as
the children gain experience. Eventually the children take over the
business. But how many of your families have a business, let alone one
that you would take a deep interest in?
So it seems that even though the future demands greater
entrepreneurial skills of our young people, society has no
well recognized means of providing the training and experience to
achieve them. There are some recent attempts directed at specific
groups. In the current issue of Working Dollars is a story entitled
“Youth Employment - Inspiring Hope” about a local initiative to
establish a small enterprise to inspire young people to develop
self-reliance. But they are targeting the program for street-involved
young people. I guess that rules out all of you.
Another initiative, this one on a national level, has just
been launched. The Canadian Youth Business Foundation is backed by two
banks, and will provide bank loans, backup advice by volunteer mentors,
and an Internet Web site for information. However, only young people
who are out of school and out of work are qualified for the bank loans.
I suppose none of you would qualify now. However, you should browse
their web site, which is mentioned in the April 10 Vancity story.
There are other short term and seasonal programs for young
entrepreneurs, usually providing loans for students to start up
businesses. These two are of interest because they provide more than
financial support. They recognize that to ensure success it is
important to provide mentors for advice and guidance.
What the YFT can provide
Now, what has all that got to do with us today? Well, you students have
to prepare for the world of work when you graduate. What you hear today
and in the media do not paint a rosy picture. However, you still have
time to do the best you can now to prepare for whatever the future may
bring. You should get the best education that you can get. After that,
you should be prepared to take charge of your career. Do not think that
an employer, whether large or small, is going to look after your needs.
If you are convinced that learning entrepreneurial skills is important
to your future, then listen on.
Members of the YFT Youth Committee recognize that we have a
responsibility to provide a viable future for our children and young
members of the YFT. We recognize the urgent need to provide the
opportunities for our young people to be self-reliant and
It is with this in mind that we have called this meeting. We
want to set up a structure where you students can try your hand at
starting and running your own business, with the support and guidance
of mentors from the YFT. At this point I want to thank the YFT board
for their support, and for those YFT members who have accepted the
invitation to attend this meeting and make their contributions. We will
discuss specific business proposals later. But I want to make it very
clear that the single most important objective of this exercise is to
create a learning experience for young entrepreneurs. If you have
learned something about managing and operating a business, then we have
done our job. To make this a success, we need commitments form both the
students and the mentors. The mentors must be committed to provide
support and advice where appropriate. The students must be committed to
act and think like entrepreneurs, to take on responsibilities of a
business owner. This is no longer a job where you only do what you are
told. You take part in planning, scheduling, and implementing
[The following appeared on the 2002 Vancouver Spring Banquet table
The YFT began Chinese Mandarin classes in 1997, after a survey
held during the Spring Banquet that year. We had a good turnout over
the past few years, and have developed a unique approach to teaching
Chinese to our children. We teach a way of being Chinese. This of
necessity takes the students into language as well culture and history.
How we teach the Chinese Language:
- Multi-media: songs, art, calligraphy, stories, and other
appropriate media are used to capture the interest of the students and
to support the learning of the language
- Multi-lingual: Cantonese and English, if necessary, are
used to facilitate the understanding of Mandarin
Why learn the Chinese Language:
- More career choices are open to the young person with
fluency in Mandarin, especially as China is opened up for trade with
Canada and the rest of the world. On the other hand, a young
professional who practices locally also gains a competitive edge by
attracting clients who communicate better in a Chinese language than in
- Cultural identity: the experience of being Chinese in
Canada can only be appreciated by developing knowledge of Chinese
language, culture, and history. Without this Chinese Canadian identity,
we allow our children grow up to be “bananas”: yellow on the outside
but white inside.
Our classes are small, and each student will get lots of individual
attention. We offer flexibility combined with a pragmatic vision.
Give us a try! Come to a class any Saturday at 1:30 PM and check us
My name is James Yu. As a Vice Chair of the YFT of Canada, I bring you
New Year's greetings from the board of directors of the YFT. This is my
first visit to the YFT of Calgary, and I am very happy and honoured to
be here to celebrate the Chinese New Year with all of you. I would like
to take this opportunity to share with you my views of what the YFT is
about. At the same time, I would also like to hear what the YFT means
The YFT has its roots in China. It is an association of people
whose family name is Yee, with spelling variations like Yu. It spread
to North America with the arrival of the early Chinese workers who came
to build the railways. The YFT and other benevolent associations in
Chinatowns all over North America became the gathering places for men
who had no other family in this foreign land so far from their homes in
China. The YFT looked after the needs of the Yee family members,
whether it be writing a letter home, playing a game of Mah Jong, and
even arranging funerals for those who never made it back to China to
retire. In the ensuing generations, the YFT built up a network of
independent centres across Canada, from Vancouver to Montreal, with a
national body, the YFT of Canada to coordinate the various local
organizations. In the United States, where they have 10 times our
population, there are even more centres and a bigger national
This proud legacy is now passing into the hands of a younger
generation. As the older generation moves on, we are left with a
tradition that is rich in history and culture. We face the challenge of
maintaining the core values of our family oriented organization, but
also provide programs that attract the Chinese Canadians of today.
Obviously, the programs that might have drawn people to the YFT 60 or
so years ago will no longer work. The Chinese Canadians of today are
part of mainstream society, are busy with career and family, and
therefore might not look to the YFT as a first resource for their
needs. This is a problem not only in the YFT, but also in other family
associations. Not just in Canada, but also in the United States. We are
in a period of transition. Either we adapt the YFT to the needs of our
members, or the organization will die with the passing of the older
We certainly are very concerned in Vancouver about this
problem. You in
Calgary no doubt have the same concerns. So we were delighted to hear
that you have formed a Youth Committee, and read its newsletter with
great interest. In Vancouver we have also formed a Youth Committee. Our
first task was to establish Martial Arts and Lion Dancing classes. We
are very proud to have our lion dance for the first time in the annual
Vancouver Chinatown New Year’s Parade last Sunday. The kids had a great
time, and their parents and our elders were bursting with pride. This
is a classic example of a program that combines Chinese culture and
tradition, family values, and lots of fun and excitement for all.
We also have had a scholarship program in place in Vancouver
10 years. This year, we had over 20 applicants. To help us select the
winners, we recruited Winston Yee, who is now practising corporate law
in Vancouver. He was a YFT scholarship recipient when he was a student.
Now he is back at the YFT as a director on the board of the YFT of
Canada. He is a mentor to a promising scholarship recipient, Anne Yu,
who is studying Business Administration. Now this is another clue as to
what our organization is in a unique position to offer.
All Chinese families place high values on education, and the
YFT is on
the right track in offering scholarship awards to encourage high
scholastic achievements. However, we are in a position to offer more
than financial support. Those who have benefited from the awards and
are now in the workplace can return as mentors to help promising
scholarship students. This is a win-win situation. The student
obviously gets the benefits of the mentor’s experience, and the mentors
get to practise communications and leadership skills, as well as a
satisfying feeling of having really help someone develop and succeed in
life. And all this can done in the family environment of the YFT. In
the meantime, we are giving everyone opportunities to develop important
communications and leadership skills such as public speaking and
organizing events for seniors and other groups in our organization.
This is one way of developing our YFT leaders for the future, and in
the meantime provide meaningful programs for all segments of our
This is the vision for the YFT that the directors at Vancouver
working towards. We hope to show you further concrete results in the
coming two years. Our directors and I would to hear from other chapters
of the YFT as to ways to strengthen our organization. I would like to
take this opportunity to hear from all of you. I will be in town until
Monday. Please give me a call on my cell phone, and I will be glad to
talk to you, either individually as as a group. I would also like to
see more opportunities for closer communication between each chapter
and the YFT of Canada, and also between chapters themselves.
In conclusion, I would like to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New
Year of the Ox!
The Seattle Yee Fung Toy Association held its 1999 annual
picnic at Woodland Park on August 1.
This year's picnic was a particular memorable one. First,
there were over 145 Yee family members in attendance, most of which
came from the Seattle area to participate.
Second, we had the honor of having 24 Yees and friends who
came down from Vancouver, B.C. to join us. Third, thanks to the hard
work of Aunt Amy and cousins, Gordon, Gary and Jeannie, we were able to
offer our first Yee picnic tennis clinic to over 15 children and
teenagers at the Lower Woodland tennis courts from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
The clinic was a tremendous opportunity for our youngsters who wanted
to pick up valuable tips and pointers from the true tennis experts.
As usual, the food at the picnic was wonderful. Thanks to Suey
and Linda and all the others who organized the ordering, delivery, and
serving of the food for the picnic. The highlight of the picnic was the
announcement of scholarship moneys to our Yee children and the drawing
of door prizes. Uncle James served as the master of ceremony for the
picnic. The weather cooperated with very sunny and mild condition
throughout the day. After the picnic, Fred Yee served as the "tour
guide" for the Vancouver Yees, leading them to visit Chinatown, the
Great Wall Shopping Plza in Kent and the Supermall in Auburn. The day
ended with 4 tables of people enjoying a wonderfully delicious dinner
hosted by the Seattle Yees at the Hong's Garden Restaurant in Renton.
What a wonderful time to share among the Yee clan. We all look
forward to having our next annual picnic in the year 2000.
To resume publication of the Fung Toy Quarterly as an on-line magazine,
available to members around the world via the Yee Fung Toy web site,
with a budget of $2000 per issue and one-time setup cost of $1000, on a
- Produce a publication in a cost-effective manner within a
- Use the latest technology in disseminating news and stories
to all members in a timely manner.
- John M. Yee, Grand Elder from Phoenix, will continue as
editor and use his vast experience and contacts to gather news,
stories, and pictures from Yee Fung Toy chapters. Members will continue
to send him stories and pictures via mail, fax, or email. John will
edit and format the contents of each issue of the magazine.
- David Yee and Edward Yue, both of Phoenix, will look after
technical matters, including:
- Input of Chinese and English text and Pictures into
- Format and upload new issues of the magazine, and
old ones, to a web site linked from the main Yee Fung Toy site,
- All chapters will receive simple instructions to access the
magazine and download issues and print them. Members can download and
print their own personal copies, or have one members download and then
make photo copies for other members in their chapter.
- The on-line Fung Toy Quarterly will provide excellent
for the new Yee Fung Toy web site and increase use of the newly
- Members do not have to know about computers to get the
magazine. They can ask their sons, daughters, and grandchildren to
download and print the magazine. These young people will naturally be
exposed to the Yee Fung Toy Family Association and its activities in
the process of downloading and printing the magazine. When their
parents or grandparents ask them to get involved in the organization,
e.g., in setting up a web site for their own local chapter, these young
people will better understand what the family association is about and
be in a better position to help.
The year 2000 marked 1000 years since the birth of the most
member of the Yee family, Yee Jing (also known as Yee Fung Toy),
scholar and court official in the Sung dynasty. The worldwide
celebration of this event was centered near his birthplace in Shaoquan
in Guangdong province. The Yee's Clansmen Association of Hong Kong took
the initiative to host a convention of Yee Family members from all over
the world in November to celebrate this historic occasion. We met for 3
days in Hong Kong. The highlight of the convention was the formation of
the World Yee Family Association, modeled after the United Nations.
Membership in this organization will consist of national Yee Family
Associations, like the Yee Fung Toy Society of Canada. Other members
include the Yee Fung Toy Association (USA), Yue Clansman of Hong Kong,
and family associations from Thailand, Philippines, and Malaysia. We
elected a board of directors, as well as a Chairman and six
Vice-Chairs. The next world convention will be held in three years, at
a location to be determined. We expect even more members to join the
world organization then.
Our hosts in Hong Kong then took us on a 5-day tour of
Guangdong province that started with Shaoquan in the north and ended
with Taisan and Kaiping in the south. There were 420 of us, in a convoy
of 11 buses, a couple of vans, and two police escort vehicles. Our
security, medical needs, and comfort were well looked after. We
attended a formal tribute to the life of the Honorable Yee Jing
organized by the University of Shaoquan, quite appropriately, as he was
both a renowned scholar and a career government official. We also
attended a service at his tomb just outside Shaoquan.
Taisan is the place of origin of many Yee family members,
especially those of us who emigrated and settled in North America and
other parts of the world. We overseas Chinese understand the needs of
our family members in China, and have a tradition of generously
supporting the building of schools and hospitals in Taisan and nearby
Kaiping. We visited several schools that we help build, including the
Feng Cai High School that was founded 60 years ago. We were welcomed
everywhere with school children lining the road, waving flags and
flowers, chanting words of warm welcome. Many of us took the
opportunity to visit relatives and ancestral homes that we have not
seen for years.
It has been a very memorable journey home for us. Despite
vast changes and improvements to the villages and towns of our origins,
we can still see the China of our childhood and youth. Though it is
harder to imagine what life was like a thousand years ago, we take
great pride in celebrating the life and times of the Honorable Yee
Jing. We have come home to renew our bonds to the Yee family and the
Chinese heritage. We want to thank the Yee's Clansmen of Hong Kong for
organizing this historic homecoming, especially to Mr. Johnson Yee (Kin
Lun) for spearheading the effort.