(Austin, TX) - Chinese Society of Austin (CSA) held its annual Lunar New Year gala on Feb. 4th, 2017 at Asian American Resources Center (AARC). Hundreds of guests, dignitaries and community leaders joined the celebration. Tickets were sold out days before the event despite CSA’s repeated efforts to add extra seating.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and his wife, Diane Land, joined the party. They graciously shared many photo-takings with guests throughout the evening. Council members Allison Alter, Jimmy Fannigan and Ora Houston, were also present and wished everyone Happy New Year.
Texas House Representative Tony Dale, Cedar Park councilman Jon Lux and Williamson County Judge Dain Johnson enjoyed the Chinese food and festivities. Deputy Director Natalie Lee from Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Houston was also among those dignitaries that joined the dinner party.
Mayor Adler presented an appreciation plaque to CSA Vice President, Peter Chao, along with Mrs. Chao, Angela Qian, in recognition of their community service to Chinese Americans. Mayor Adler also read a proclamation dedicated to the founder and principle of Texas Health and Science University, Lisa Lin, for her outstanding achievement.
CSA is proud to have the renowned ophthalmologists, Dr. Mitchel Wong and Dr. Shannon Wong from Eye Institute, deliver a Keynote speech on "Giving Back". Dr. Shannon Wong talked about his family’s decision to contribute more than $20 million to Dell Medical Center of The University of Texas at Austin. He said he has worked on average 80 hours a week over the last two decades and is determined to create a leading-edge center to train future ophthalmologists and provide patients with the best medical and surgical eye care possible. Dr. Shannon Wong vowed that he will continue to work hard and give back to the community.
Dr. Mitchel Wong talked about growing up as one of the few Chinese back in the 50s in East Austin. He told a story about how he almost got killed in an armed robbery at his parents’ grocery store. Dr. Mitchel Wong reminded everyone that opportunities in Austin abound as long as one is willing to look for and seize them. He said proudly that the biggest different between Asians and other minorities is that Asians do not look for hands out. Asians seek opportunities and work hard to better their lives.
Many guests were in tears by the time the doctors finished their speech. The entire audience applauded the two doctors with a standing ovation and, rallied by CSA President Meiching Chou, chanted and flashed the "Hook’em Horns!" sign.
Following the keynote speech, CSA guests enjoyed the high-energy Hip Hop, Ballet and Modern Dance ensemble led by professional dancer and choreographer, Leo Paschal from Platinum Status.
Austin Mandolin Orchestra, a string music orchestra led by composer and founder, Joel R Hobbs, presented memorable performances of traditional, classical and modern repertoire.
Soprano Joanne Hui, a music major from Northeast Normal University in China and currently a student at UT Butler School of Music, touched many hearts among the audience with her beautiful loved songs.
The Austin Moonflower Performing Arts Group, a 40-member local performers, ended the evening on a high note with their music and dance ensembles ranging from Chinese dance to western Jazz. Many guests stayed late and continued to dance and network.
With over 40 years of history serving the Chinese American community in Austin, CSA encourages social engagement and cultural exchanges within the Chinese community as well as with the broader mainstream society. Thanks to the hardwork of CSA directors and the generous support of many sponsors, the Year of Rooster Gala was a huge success. More than 100 guests signed up to become CSA members at the Gala.