Article by Shawn Shaknitz
On Jan. 26, 2012 S.G.A. (student government association) and the Multicultural Department invited students and faculty to celebrate the Chinese New Year. From noon to 1 p.m., students gathered in East 203 to partake in the celebration of the “Year of the Dragon.” Students sat at tables decorated in traditional ornaments while eating Chinese food and listened to stories told by Linda Fang.
Linda Fang is a Chinese storyteller focused on folktales and anecdotes from her culture. According to Fang’s biography, she started her career as a young child. At the age of ten, a teacher wanted to help her with a shyness that impeded her ability to speak up in class. The teacher handed her a book and told Fang to return tomorrow and tell her a story. After that day, Fang never stopped telling stories, which led to her profession.
At the beginning of the event, HACC student Tina Tran gave opening remarks welcoming everyone and telling them how happy she was to be able to celebrate a part of her culture with everyone. After a brief synopsis of the Chinese New Year, Tran introduced Linda Fang.
Fang began her presentation with teaching the audience how to wish someone a happy new year in Chinese. After a few repetitions of audience participation, Fang said how happy she was to be back at HACC. Fang then went into the traditions in celebrating the new year. Fang told the audience that the new year was celebrated for fifteen days, and that there are two new year eves. The first eve is the cooking night where they prepare all of the food. The second eve is dedicated to the actual celebration. Children go out into the street and set off firecrackers. The reason for the explosions are to dispel all of the demons and evil spirits.
Part way through Fang telling stories, audio problems started to occur with the PA system. For a few minutes feedback was heard throughout the room- an uncomfortable feeling for all. As a true performer, Fang never missed a beat. Fang continued on with her performance while the problem was being rectified.
After a couple of stories were were told, Fang decided to close the show with some songs. “It’s an experiment,” said Fang, “I’m learning to sing, as I’m not a singer, and I’m building a new show that incorporates more songs, so I thought I would take a chance.”
After Fang left the stage, S.G.A. president Joe Blauberg took the stage to thank everyone for coming out to the event. Blauberg thanked and praised Fang for coming out, then wished the audience a happy new year.
Nathaniel Torres, a HACC student, mentioned on the turnout for the event, “I feel that this was one of the biggest turnouts of the semester.” “I also really enjoyed her stories. I thought they were interesting,” said Torres.
Raynisha Reason, a social service major, commented on the event. “I liked the stories that she was sharing and found them really funny,” said Reason.