Introduction of Taiwanese Association of America(TAA)-St. Louis
By Lii-Mei Beverly Chang Tsai, MD
(Editing and addition by the members of TAA-STL is welcome.)
Mr. Ker C. Chen Ph. D. came to work in St. Louis, MO in 1962, when there were approximately 12 Taiwanese folks in St. Louis: Mao Shiau Wang, Ph.D. & his wife, another couple, four graduate students of Washington University and two Concordia Seminary students. Mr. & Mrs. Mao Shiau Wang very much cared for Taiwanese folks and often invited them to his home for holiday gatherings. That time, no organization was formed yet because of small number of people. From 1963 on, there were gradually more and more graduate students and professionals moved in. In early 70’s, many Taiwanese physicians came, followed by more Taiwanese business immigrants who opened groceries, restaurants, news paper publishing, and got in real estate business. There are also scholars who stayed in St. Louis after doctorate degree from local universities.
During this period, late 60’s to late 90’s, different Taiwanese organizations were gradually formed, such as Baseball team, Valley Ball team, TAA, Taiwanese Christian Fellowship (Ref. T.A. Archives – Introduction of Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Greater St. Louis), North American Taiwanese Women Association (NATWA), FAPA, NATProfessors A, and the Student Associations of each of the Washington Univ., St. Louis Univ. and Missouri State University, etc. Each organization had its own activities, but always with interactions. People were very close to each other. The baseball team played well and often challenged the other states. St. Louis team also hosted the East Region TAA Baseball leagues. The spirit of the sports were strong and only slowly faded in late 80’s.
TAA-STLwas established quite early, in 1968. The members increased to more than 200 people in 70’s to 90’s. Every year there were 4-5 events. Many people enthusiastically joined and involved in the services of multiple organizations. . The following is the list of the presidents of TAA-STL: (academic degrees omitted)
|The first year 1968: Paul Din, Ph. D., now in L.A., CA|
|1970||Lo, Hong-Seen (Cleveland, OH||1971||Liaw, George (late||1972||Lo, Hong-Seen (Cleveland, OH)|
|1973||Lin, Frank Y. (NJ)||1974||Liao, Kun T. (late)||1975||Hsu, Tzoa Troo (L.A., CA)|
|1976||Jason Liu (Taipei);||1977||Huang, David (late);||1978||Joshua Su (L.A., CA)|
|1979||Liaw, George (late)||1980||Shieh, Kenneth K. (late)||1981||Su, Anthony H. S. (STL|
|1982||Chen, James Z. (STL)||1983||Yang, Kim W. (Dallas, TX)||1984||Lin, Shiu San (D.C.)|
|1985||Chiu, Tai-Mao (Dana Point, CA)||1986||Tsai, Chung-Ta (?)||1987||Lin, Tommy Y (Lo-Dong, TW)|
|1988||Hsieh, Jowe-Ynn (STL)||1989||Leu, Fei-Tung (Sacramento, CA)||1990||Tsai, Cheng C. (STL)|
|1991||Shieh, Kenneth K. (late)||1992||Grace Hatch (STL);||1993||Lin, Tom T. (San Fran. CA)|
|1994||Wang, Maw Shiau (late)||1995||Chou, David H (?)||1996||Chang, Shih C. (late)|
|1997||Kun.S. Chao (Taichung)||1998||Yuan-Ho Wang (Raleigh, NC)||1999||Chiou, Leanne (STL)|
|2000||Lin, YouLin (STL)||2001||Shieh, J.J. (STL)||2002||Shen, Wilson (STL)|
|2003||Kuo, Carol (Voorhees, N.J.)||2004||Kuo, Albert (STL)||2005||Huang, Susan Leu (L.A. CA)|
|2006||Wang, Samson (STL)||2007||Ho, Christina (STL)||2008||Lin, Tai (STL)|
|2009||Hsieh, Roger H.Hsieh||2010||Chen, Sandy Chiu (Dana Point, CA)||2011||Lin, Tai (STL)|
|2012||Lin, Sheila (Taipei)||2013||Su, Tony H.S. (STL)||2014||Chang, Lii Mei Beverly (STL)|
|2015||Chang, Lii Mei Beverly (STL)||2016||Su, Tony (STL)||2017||Su, Tony (STL)|
|2018||Lin, Tai (STL)|
In the fall of 1972, Kaohsiung Medical University alumni gathered at Cheng C. & Lii Mei Tsai’s apartment and formed St. Louis KMU Alumni Association. On that day, there was a discussion to form a National Taiwanese American Medical Association, which eventually formed at Cleveland in 1984 by the leadership of Dr. Samual Chou.
The Taiwanese people in St. Louis love and care for their mother land Taiwan very much. They have been united and participated with zeal in the movement of promoting democracy of Taiwan. The members of TAA have strong Taiwanese identity. To support FAPA and Taiwan democracy, groups of 3-6 people sometimes visited the Legislative representatives of Misoouri, Illinois or other states to support, communicate and propose for Taiwan democracy. Some members held fund raising events for the senate or congressman. In 1986年, before Hsu, Shin-Liang went back to Taiwan to form a political party, The St. Louis TAA members supported him and invited him to give a speech. Right at that time, the Democratic Progressive Party(DPP) was just newly formed. So Hsu decided to support the newly formed DPP, rather than forming his own party. STL TAA members came together, charging him to carry the flag of DPP Oversea Organization to go back to Taiwan.
Another significant anecdote was the friendship between Professor Peng Ming-Min. It was during 1987 and 1988, When Prof. Peng left FAPA, Dr. Lin Ei-Shun stretched his arm and embraced him. They developed a dear friendship. He visited St. Louis several times, and St. Louis Taiwanese, welcomed and adored him respectfully. The whole Taiwanese community, the members of TAA, FAPA, NATMA, NATPA, and NATWA actively attended the gatherings. Overtime, STL Taiwanese people have been very active and unified to promote the democratic movement of Taiwan. Many TAA-STL members are simultaneously members of other organizations. Many have been life time members of more than one organizations.
During those years, TAA-STL events were attended by more than 150 to greater than 200 people. The activities were like Lunar New Years’ Events, Mid-Autum Festivals, 228 memorial event, outdoor activities like picnics, canoeing, pig roasting, ball games, games, and the involvements in international events, to exhibit cultural materials (garments fashion shows, common clothes, calligraphy, tea ceremony, …), native Taiwanese dance, food/jewelry sales; and sometimes inviting MO state representatives with or without speeches, American VIPs, and Taiwanese speakers from USA or from Taiwan. TAA also was invited to exhibit & demonstrate Taiwanese culture and their contributions to the world in technology, culture, tropical medicine, music & musicians, art, drama, and movies, etc..
In 1989, the graduate students of St. Louis University Wong, Ray-Lin and of Washington University Lin, Tai invited Tony Su, to start the St. Louis Taiwanese Youth chamber Orchestra (STYCO: STL Taiwanese Youth Chamber Orchestra). All the instrument music was composed by three of them, including compiling, rewriting, and edition. They shared all the works, responsibilities, conducting, and teaching instrument technics. Every year the STYCO performed well above standard. The repertoire emphasized in classical music and orchestrated versions of Taiwanese folk music.This continued until sudden abrupt in 1996.
Since 1989-1990 USA President young Bush had proposed to promote and celebrate different ethnic heritages. In1991, President Clinton declared May to be the month for the Taiwanese American Heritage. Since then, TAA-STL, like other subchapters, designed and celebrated every year the celebration, open to public, inviting the American main stream society and American people. Through incorporation with St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum , Science Center, autistically renown Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis Mosaic Project of St. Louis International Institute, Washington Univ. St. Louis Univ., or Mandarin House Banquet Hall, TAA introduced Taiwan culture, aboriginal dances, other performances, sponsoring the theses competitions on youth’s studying Taiwan. In recent years, TAA-STL introduced the Taiwanese World Champion in Kite design and making, accompanied with a kite flying event that many American families experiencing the fun; inviting Taiwan expert in ecology and bird watching to exhibit and lectured in the endangered species of birds in Taiwan; inviting paper artist exhibiting paper cutting art; demonstrating the challenging construction of the snow mountain tunnel in Taiwan; Chu, Chun-Nan Art Exhibition at FontBone University sponsored by Dr. Cheng C.Tsai; two classical concerts open to American public at Sheldon Concert Hall to introduce a young female Taiwanese American prodigyof first violin, Jecolia Wang and Carpe Diem String Quartet featuring Ms. Carol Ou as a Taiwanese American cellist professor and a Taiwanese composer & painting artist, Mrs. I-Uen Hwang. Both concerts mainly arranged and fund raised by Dr. Lii Mei Beverly Chang, incorporated with TAA-STL; and two years of Taiwan Culinary Food Fares, coordinated by Dr. Cheng C. Tsai. (Ref. T.A. archives from 2013). In March 2014, TAA-STL also supported the rally for Sunflower movement at the front lawn of St. Louis Art Museum.
The First Lego League International Mechanic Contest (FLL) is held every year in St. Louis. 2015 world champion belonged to Taiwan Kaohsiung Jin-Yuan Elementary School team and 2016 a different team got the 16th out of 108 countries. (One of the main contest members got GI flu or food poisoning, visited ER twice and stay in hospital one day.) It was our honor to serve them. Under the leadership of Mrs. Sophia Leu and Mrs. Grace Hatch, St. Louis TAA and NATWA joined the team to help, care and support.
Regretfully in 2000’s, with the factors of aging and healthy problems, children moving out of state, dwindled number and different philosophy of immigrants, outflow more than inflow, TAA-STL members have decreased in number. Willing participation in presidential and board directors works dropped. Currently to Jan. 2018, there are only 7 board directors. The president position is by drawing lots as shown below. Roger Hsieh volunteers to be the treasurer and Lii Beverly Tsai the secretary. President by lots：2017 Tony Su, 2018 Tai Lin, 2019 Sonya Hong, 2020 Cheng C. Tsai, 2021 Roger Hsieh, 2022 Lii Beverly Tsai, and 2023 Raymond Yeh. In four years before 2016, J.J. Shieh, Samson Wang, Sidney Yang, Leanne Chiu and the invited guest director from Washington Univ. post-doc, Wen Chih Lee had served in the board.
The new generation immigrants have different culture, interest and value. Each universitiy has Taiwanese student association and TW Scholar Association. In recent years, TAA-STL presidents and director have exerted efforts to connect and participate in the young generation’s events, also sponsor and support financially their activities. The relationship has significantly improved. But still couldn’t convince them to take over the TAA-STL. We will continue to connect with them and support them, until we become too old and depleted our capabilities and funds.
My personal observation through international travels has revealed to me that after one to two generation(s), most of the immigrants associations or fellowship would fadeaway, because the younger generations will assimilate with the people and society of the country they are born. They have lost the zeal/love and the influence of their parents’ countries and identity, culture, tradition, and custom. Unless there were mass immigration of the kind, this is a natural phenomenon. The Jewish heritage is the only special case, but many of them also have assimilated with others in this giant pot of America.
I believe the members of TAA-STL, past, current, all have contributed more or less into the goals and visions of TAA-National: Nurturing the friendship and protecting the right of people of the Taiwanese community in St. Louis metropolitan areas; Promoting Taiwanese culture and Taiwan’s contributions to the world; and Enforcing the interaction with USA; and Caring for Formosan affairs and strengthening the development of Taiwan’s democracy. Many people have tried their best and whole-heartedly hope that there are young people to receive the baton and march on for the NEW GOALS and VISIONS for a better future !!
By Lii-Mei Beverly Chang Tsai, MD
I am grateful to Mr. & Mrs. Ker C. Chen and Mr. Tony H.S. Su for their providing important information and encouragement.
- On October 16th, 2005, Legislator Tsai Ing-wen visited St. Louis. The association held a symposium at Cheng C.’s home.
- On May 4th, 2008, a number of local American residents had fun flying kites.
On June 25th, 2011, the Taiwan Disabled Dance Troupe came to the United States on tour. The association went to support them. (Video)
- 2014 Lunar New Year Dinner, Missouri Senator David Pearce was speaking, and Professor Kuo-hsin Chi asked a question.
- March 25th, 2014, the Association Directors were invited to attend a Senate Session as guests of honor on Capital Hill in the capital of Missouri.
- On March 30th, 2014, the Association, the Taiwanese Church, and a number of students demonstrated support for the Sunflower Movement in front of the St. Louis Art Museum.
Sourced from Lii-Mei Beverly Chang Tsai, MD 01/2018
Posted in 01/2018