South-East Asia Center (SEAC) celebrated your birthday, in fact, everyone’s, as is the custom on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year. We hosted a special birthday, New Year lunch for 160 seniors, staff and volunteers at our Chicago historic landmark at 5120 N. Broadway.
Staff and volunteers artistically decorated the facility with traditional red lanterns, blossoms, cakes, sweets, and tangerines (representing new birth, new crops, hopefulness of spring as cultures throughout the world celebrate this season as days begin to be longer). Videos of lion dance, fire crackers popping, Chinese and Vietnamese new year songs were played intermittently.
As attendees joyfully wished each other well for the arrival of Spring, the level of joy and happiness rose with the arrival of two of our aldermen, Ald. Matt Martin, 47th Ward and Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th Ward. Regular attendees of our lunar new year banquets (prior to COVID-19), the aldermen were quickly spotted and welcomed by the residents of their Wards before our Executive Director San O made special introduction of our long-time supporters.
A regular attendee of our Adult Day Service Program, Mr. Thoi Ngo, presented each alderman with an origami swan that he folded and assembled using 800 tiny pieces of paper. Mr. Thoi told the guests that it took him one whole week to finish each one, and that he is happy that he could share them. Mr. Thoi also shared his secret of his own way of origami making. Apparently, he learned his craft by watching You Tube videos demonstrated by amalgamating the best techniques of different cultures and countries. His cross- cultural technique resembles our cross-cultural bridge building mission. While our Center builds bridges, Mr. Thoi builds swans.
This successful event could not have been possible without the huge support of our major sponsor, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of the Republic of China along with other important sponsors including Aetna Better Health of Illinois, International Bank of Chicago, Tai Nam Food Market, Swedish- NorthShore Hospital, and Weiss Memorial Hospital. We THANK YOU each from the bottom of our hearts!