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Chinese New Year Lantern Parade 2023

It was an exhausting yet exhilarating weekend. Friday, January 14, industrious and creative Kam members decorated a flat bed truck. Georgette and Joaquin once again loaned out the truck for the weekend. The members worked their magic and turned the truck into a colorful float. Westley Mow painted the rabbit and scenery. 

Members: Sally Kam, Karen Kam/Husband, Margaret/Felipe Manangan, Lynette/Daniel Kam, Colleen/Marvin Lee, TerriJean Ogawa, Georgette Silva, and Jocelyne Chun feverishly finished the truck by 7:00 pm and celebrated their results with dinner at Hong Nien.


About 35 Members meet at Capitol to walk behind the float on Saturday.  Eight senior members was able to ride the float, the others donned bamboo hats and swung the lanterns down Hotel Street. Many waved and wished the crowd a Gung Hee Fat Choy. Afterwards we feasted on Panda’s Chinese food at the See Dai Doo Building.


Hope you folks will join us again next year.

Check out the KHNL news video:


Who's Your Daddy?

       Hey, do you know who your father's father is?  Do you know if he was born in Hawaii ? Was he born in China?  What village is he from? 

       My cousin Kevin Mow who is  Kam member was rummaging around his closet, looking for fishing gear and he found three lineage scrolls.  He had forgotten that his mother had given him these scrolls  many years ago, since Kevin was the only one interested in their genealogy.  Coincidentally, I had called him to help me fill out my genealogy.  He excitedly called me the next day to tell me about his find.  

     The scrolls were brown and delicate but was clearly handwritten.  There were also working drafts and a map with the villages.   I was impressed with the diagram's organization and how easily I could follow my linage back to 1630.  It was amazing that I could go back to my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. Did you count that? It was nine generations!  


Kevin Mow with found scrolls

Copy of genealogy chart —handwritten

Canton map

Kangsi map

Ancestry/Family Tree


Are you interested in being a part of the Kam ancestry?  It's still a work in progress but there is a very simple template.  We can email the template to you. complete it  and email it back to Eugene Kam (kamsociety.webmaster@gmail.com). We'd also love to have a photo of you. (not required) .You can view several members now.    It'll be so cool to see how you are connected in the Kam Family Tree.  

Jocelyne Chun

JAI - LIVE Zoom Demonstration - Jan 31, 2021

The live ZOOM demonstration was a hilarious third attempt for me.  We're still learning and had a few glitches.  Approximately 17 Zoomers joined in. I've never made Jai, fortunately, I was guided thru the process with Popo June Tong and Mae Wataoka.  Hopefully you folks will be inspired because if I can do it, you can too.  Its actually easy, prep the ingredients, make the sauce and throw in the ingredients, boil,  taste and adjust the seasoning.  I must admit there are many ingredients and we had a blast shopping at Sun Chong in Chinatown.  (check out our shopping video clip below).  Canton Market and Bo Wah has excellent selection of ingredients too. The recipe and individual ingredient  pictures is located under Popo's recipes. So now that you're well equipped with information, go forth shop and cook! 

Much mahalos to Eugene Kam, who did the video, lighting and sound system and Tiffany Sakamoto managed the ZOOM from Washington state. 

Jocelyne Chun

Shopping for Jai ingredients

Getting ready for Chinese new year, Jocelyn, Eugene & Mae went to Sun Chong Market in Chinatown. They are the jai headquarters for all of the ingredients. You can buy the ingredients packaged or only what you need. The owners are very helpful and will suggest what you need. Everyone cooks jai to their tastes so ingredients will vary. Its so amazing what they have and how much varieties they carry.

Public parking entrance on Maunakea street.

Dont forget to grab some dim sum at any of the nearby bakeries.

Chinese New Year's Traditions

JAI – the symbolism in its ingredients

by Wendy W.N. Mow

Whenever someone asks “What do you eat for Chinese New Year?”, I answer “Jai”.  Jai, also called “Monks Food” or “Buddha’s Delight” is a vegetarian dish well known in Chinese and Buddhist cuisine.  In Hawaii, Jai is normally served only at Chinese New Year, at certain Buddhist special occasions, however due to its popularity, you can eat it year round.

There is no one recipe in making Jai as it all depends on the individual’s preference.  Some recipes are sweet and some are salty.  The number of ingredients also vary – some are as simple as 8 ingredients while others can have over 20.  But like any special Chinese dish, there are certain symbolism in the ingredients used and Jai is no different.  If your recipe uses the following ingredients here’s its symbolism:

Arrowroot – Good Fortune; Good life

Bean Curd – Wealth and happiness

Bean Curd Sticks – Blessing the house

Black Fungus - Longevity

Black Moss (black hair) – Wealth

Lily Flower – Wealth (gold)

Gingko Nuts – Wealth (silver)

Glass Noodles (bean thread) – Silver Chain

Lotus Seeds – A full wallet; many male children

Oyster – Good fortune; Good business; All good things; Good luck

Shitake Mushroom – Longevity

Snow peas – Unity

Vegetable, green – Close Family ties

Water Chestnut – Unity

I’ll be making Jai for my family with the recipe that my father used for the past 60 years and passed on to me.  Our recipe uses about 22 ingredients and it’s truly a labor of love.  No matter what day it is, it our tradition for our family to gather in the morning and welcome the New Year with a bowl of Jai, rice, and Tea with candied fruits.  I hope the next time you make Jai, you not only enjoy the dish, but also remember the symbolism in the ingredients you used.  

FAI CHUN (Good Luck Red Paper)

by Jocelyne Chun

Every Chinese New Year, It was our tradition to purchase our  (Fai Chun) good luck red paper.  We would ponder the list of good luck quotes like :  have a prosperous year, good health, happy life,  smart studying etc. and select the best ones that fit our wishes.  They would cost about $2 each and we purchased the gold handwritten calligraphy ones. We would tape the red good luck paper to our entrance doors hoping it would all come true.

There is a story which is related to Fai chun history. According to the legend, there was a monster that lived in the deep sea and has a lion-like head and an ox-like body, who named ''Nian'' (年).[5] When the time around New Year, it scared the villagers and eating their crops, livestock and even villagers. 

At one time, during a rampage, Nian was seen running away from a house which had a red shirt hanging outside and then later, from a light. Consequently, the villagers discovered that the monster was afraid of red color, loud noise and flaming light. Since then, before every New Year, people paste red couplets in and outside their house, let off firecrackers and firework, in order to scare the monster away. 

After Nian went back to the sea, people would come out and celebrate for the New Year. This becomes a tradition every year, people keep pasting red couplets every year, which is called Fai chun now. 

NIAN GAU (Chinese New Year Cake)

by (Poppy) Paulette Ing

This sweet, dense sticky glutinous rice cake symbolizes "reaching soaring heights".  made of just three ingredients: glutinous rice flour, sugar and ail, and steamed for many hours, it symbolizes long life, harmony and many children  This is revered much like the Christmas fruit cake.  Chinese New Year is celebrated by more the 20% of the world. February 12, 2012 is year of the Ox.


by Colleen Lee

Giving Lisee is a common practice among the Chinese.  Lisee is the red envelope containing money given at social gatherings and happy occasions such as weddings, birthdays and Chinese New Year.  Money used to be wrapped in red paper and given.  Red envelops are now commercially produced with gold writing or pictures.  The red and gold symbolize prosperity and good luck and is said to ward off evil spirits.  Designs may be of Chinese surname characters or wishes such as "double happiness", "good fortune" or "health".  Pictures can be of Zodiac animals or other symbols for different well wishes such as the peach for long life or fishes for abundance.  Other color and fancier designs are currently also produced.  Lisee can now even be given virtually.

Chinese New Year is the special occasion that children especially anticipate.  When offering respect and New Year greetings to grandparents, parents, and other relatives, children receive the cherished envelope.  Adult children can also give their parents Lisee as a sign of respect.  Employers may also give their employees Lisee at Chinese New Year.  Giving Lisee at Chinese New Year is a way to spread good luck and well wishes to others during a happy occasion.


by: Raquel Fay

The Lion Dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture where performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune.  The Lion Dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year (CNY) and other traditional cultural and religious festivals.  It may also be performed at important occasions or wedding ceremonies or used to honor special guests by the Chinese communities.

I enjoy watching his cultural practice.  I especially like listening to the drums and hearing the firecrackers go off. It is awesome to see and to share this cultural experience with the children I teach.  I's just such Good Luck!