Author: Fei-Kuang Tseng
America is the heaven on earth where everyone longs to go, and it is the country with the largest immigrant population in the world. However, before 1965, there were very few Taiwanese immigrants in the United States, because in accordance with the original immigration laws that favored European immigrants over Asian immigrants, Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants were limited to an annual immigration quota of 200 people. Additionally, in those days Taiwan was under martial law, which deprived people of their human rights and restricted their freedoms. The only people who were legally able to go abroad were diplomats and students. In 1964, I came to Los Angeles to pursue the American Dream. At that time, there were only about a hundred Taiwanese people living in Los Angeles! Starting with implementation of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which had been advocated by President John F. Kennedy and passed by Congress under President Lyndon Baines Johnson, the annual Taiwanese immigration quota increased to 20,000. Other countries also had their quotas increase. Because of this, the Taiwanese immigrant population grew substantially, and now there are hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese people living in Southern California.
We Taiwanese have immigrated here to this paradise – the most clean, free, and tolerant place in the world – to pursue the American Dream. We have taken part in the rich successes of this place; and so, we must ask ourselves, have we benefited too much? And contributed too little? Since we want to stay here and settle down, then we must also actively participate in community affairs, devoting our effort and services to the community and helping to advance social harmony and prosperity. Based on such a belief, a number of Taiwanese residents of Los Angeles established the “Taiwanese Lions Club” in order to gather our strengths to serve the community, give back to society, and integrate ourselves into the mainstream American ideal. On August 23rd, 1993, Mr. Kun-wang Chao gathered a number of enthusiastic Taiwanese community members pursuing the American Dream, inviting them to a preparatory meeting for the Taiwanese Lions Club of Los Angeles. The meeting was held at 7pm at NBC Seafood Restaurant, Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park. The people invited to attend the preparatory meeting include: Kenjohn Wang, Chin-ling Wang, Isaiah Lee, Symeon Woo, Kuang-chao Wu, Li Pei Wu, Joseph Hong, San John Huang, Lucas Chen, Kuo-liang Huang, Fei-kuang Tseng, Shu-yuan Tseng, Ying-ming Huang, Ri-hsing Liu, Hui-hsiung Wen, Fen-fen Weng.
After discussion, the meeting participants elected Kun-wang Chao as their Founding President. They also made Fei-kuang Tseng the Secretary-general, in charge of contacting fellow community members who might be interested in participating in the establishment of the Lions Club. In 1993, the founding members combined forced to establish the Taiwanese Lions Club in order to carry forward the Taiwanese spirit, uniting Taiwanese people passionate about public service to work together to serve the community, promote cultural exchange, and advance the international community’s understanding of Taiwan. After the club was established, we used Ying-ming Huang’s hotel in Rosemead City as our headquarters, advancing one step at a time, keeping our heads held high. Our members were enthusiastic for public service, donating generously and dedicating themselves to the club. The outstanding performance of the Taiwanese Lions Club can be seen through the many awards received from Lions Clubs International, the affirmations of people from various corners of society, the compliments from Taiwanese in Southern California, and the attention and praise received from people of all levels of society in Taiwan. The name “Taiwanese Lions Club” shows our connection to Taiwan.
The Taiwanese Lions Club holds regular membership meetings and Board of Directors meetings twice a month. Each year, when the Presidency and official roles change hands, the Lions Club holds a grand celebration banquet. At Lions’ Night, held at the end of the year, the club members gather for a feast and gala. The club’s important public service activities include: Presenting gifts to the elderly of Southern California Taiwanese Elder’s Association on the Double-Ninth Festival; sending presents and playing with the children at LA CASA Center; cooperating with national elementary schools to host National Flag Day activities; hosting the Lions Club High School English Speech Competition; donating scholarships for Taiwanese American citizens; providing free eye exams; holding a drive for new and old glasses donations; organizing the Taiwanese Lions Club disaster relief fund, etc… The club’s regular recreational activities include tourism, sight-seeing, the year-end party, and organizing travel groups to return to Taiwan to participate in international exchanges.
Lions Clubs International is the largest multi-national non-political service organization in the world, with over 190 nation-level organizations that are directly affiliated with the Lions Clubs International headquarters. Lions Clubs International headquarters participates in the world-famous Rose Parade every year, with the President and officers standing on a Lions Club float. For many years, the President and officers have stayed at Ying-ming Huang’s hotel in Rosemead City. They have also hosted the Lions Float Inc. & District 4-L2 Present the Annual International Present Reception. This has been a great opportunity for Taiwan to participate in the global community and spread its name to the world; the Taiwanese Lions Club plays the role of the host, allowing Taiwan to shine.
Established in 1981, the Tung Feng Lions Club was the first Lions Club in Taiwan. In order to promote international exchange, they invited founder of Taiwanese-American Foundation and model Taiwanese American Kenjohn Wang to act as intermediary. The two Committee Chairmen, Lo Yung-fa of Tung Feng Lions Club and Cheng-tsung Chen of our own Lions Club, were brought together, and in 1996 the Taiwanese Lions Club and Tung Feng Lions Club became sister organizations. In the 21 years since then, our organizations have remained close and our Lion Friendship has stayed strong. We have organized groups to visit one another many times. This year was the 25th anniversary of our club’s charter, and the Tung Feng Lions Club organized a delegation, led by President Ho Ching-lung and Chairman Lo Yung-fa to come and celebrate with us. Our long friendship is truly admirable! In the 25 years since the Taiwanese Lions Club was established, with each addition of new members the club has grown stronger with every generation. The current President, Mei-feng Wang, has a lot of experience and is carrying our cause forward with good leadership. The club is prosperous, and our lives are wonderful and filled with joy. Looking back on the past and forward into the future, we will advance forward holding our heads high, getting along like one big family that is enthusiastic about serving our community benefiting the public, dropping roots in this great place, and sharing our love with the world as we continue to strive towards the American Dream!
Taiwanese Lions Club hosts free eye examinations in Rosemead, CA 11/19/2016
Taiwanese Lions Club 1995 Publication
Taiwanese Lions Club Winter Sending Love to Children at LA CASA
Sourced from Fei-kuang Tseng 12/2017
Translated from 34. 美國台灣人獅子會簡介