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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Chinatown’

Chinese-American Museum of Chicago opens new exhibition

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

In the middle of Chicago’s Chinatown on 23rd Street stands the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. After a devastating fire that destroyed nearly everything in 2008, the Museum, much like the journey of survival and triumph of immigrants in this country, re-emerged with splendor and opens with a new exhibition today.

The new exhibition “My Chinatown: Stories From Within” features the life stories of many Chinese in Chicago. The preview reception and celebration held at the museum last night drew a large crowd of community leaders and supporters, including Soo Lon Moy, Exhibition Committee Chair; Kim Tee, President of the Museum; Gary Johnson, President of the Chicago History Museum; and Terry Mazany, President of the Chicago Community Trust.

The joy and excitement of Moy and Tee were contagious. The new museum and new exhibition are the result of years of hard work and dedication.

“We re-did everything in the building,” Tee said with pride.

Mazany joked about Chicago’s history of getting “something good from devastating fires”, comparing the rebirth of this beautiful city from the fire in 1871 to the nicer Museum we have today.

In addition to My Chinatown, other exhibitions include “Great Wall to Great Lakes: Chinese Immigration to the Midwest” and “MAPPING”–An exhibit of works by students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago that explore Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood and its importance within the Chinese and Chicagoland communities.

Visit the Museum if you are in the vicinity. It is located at 238 West 23rd Street, 
Chicago, IL 60616. Phone: 312-949-1000. Check out more information at http://www.ccamuseum.org/index.php/en/home

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China, which has been developed into a feature-length documentary movie.

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Bilingual Talk

Sunday, May 17th, 2009
chicago, chinatown
Image by see phar via Flickr

I’ve made many appearances at book groups, schools and libraries since the release of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. But never once did I have the need to address the audience in both English and Chinese. I was surprised when Ms. Chen, the Branch Manager of the Chicago Chinatown Library, asked me if I could give the talk in both English and Chinese. Somehow, it never occurred to me there might be such a need.

I have done much translation work before, both written and oral; however, at such occasions, I was either able to look at the text or take notes before I converted them from one language into the other. Translating my own talk was a totally different experience. I realized that I spoke too long in one language before I caught myself and switched to the other; and when I did so, I was not able to do a “translation”—the spontaneous talk couldn’t be recaptured word for word. Instead, I recreated the talk that covered similar content, but not in the same order or words.

However, I managed to switch from English to Chinese and vice versa. I was quite amused by the process and appreciated the patience of the audience, especially those who were only fluent in one language. When it came to the question and answer session, all the Chinese raised their questions in Chinese, no matter how fluent their English was. I translated the questions into English for the non-Chinese and proceeded to address the question(s) without pause. It was not until the end of the session that I became aware that I addressed most of the questions in English, with only a brief summary in Chinese! I was grateful that no one seemed to mind.

A few Chinese stayed behind after the event and continued our discussion. A Chinese woman who called herself Jane had lived through the Cultural Revolution in China. She urged me to turn the book into a film and let more people know and remember this episode in history. I certainly enjoyed our chat in Chinese.    

Jian Ping, author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China.  Visit www.mulberrychild.com

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