HAWAII MARKS SUN YAT-SEN’S AN­NIVER­SARY

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By CHEN WEIHUA in Honolulu, Hawaii chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Chi­nese across the world will mark the 150th an­niver­sary of the birth of Dr Sun Yat­sen on Nov 12. In Hawaii, where Sun re­ceived his teenage ed­u­ca­tion and huge sup­port for his rev­o­lu­tion, it is even a more sen­ti­men­tal oc­ca­sion.

Sun first came to Hawaii in 1878 as a 13-yearold boy. He went to Hawaii six times for long and short stays and later be­came the first pres­i­dent of China’s first repub­lic by over­throw­ing the deca­dent Qing Dy­nasty in 1911.

The Pu­na­hou School, known as Oahu Col­lege at the time, was the one Sun en­rolled in for the win­ter and spring semesters of 1883. Its Old School House is still be­ing used as class­room to­day. US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama also grad­u­ated from the school in 1979.

The Iolani School was where Sun en­rolled as a board­ing stu­dent from 1879 to 1882. But the cam­pus at that time was on Bates Street and Nu­uanu Street, rather than the cur­rent lo­ca­tion on Kamoku Street.

At the Sun Yat-sen Me­mo­rial Park on the cor­ner of Ho­tel and Bethel streets in down­town Honolulu, a statue of Sun at age 13 greets vis­i­tors.

Next to the statue is Sun’s quote, “This is my Hawaii … here I was brought up and ed­u­cated; and it was here that I came to know what mod­ern, civ­i­lized gov­ern­ments are like and what they mean.”

The Dr Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foun­da­tion, which do­nated the statue to the city of Honolulu, has on its web­site a map of all the his­tor­i­cal sites where Sun left his foot­print while in Hawaii and also a Google vir­tual map of the sites cre­ated by Zhengyuan Ma.

Un­for­tu­nately, most of the orig­i­nal build­ings where Sun lived, worked and de­liv­ered speeches were gone due to the big fire in Chi­na­town in 1900, ac­cord­ing to Yen Chun, ex­ec­u­tive vi­cepres­i­dent of the foun­da­tion.

To mark the 150th an­niver­sary, a day­long fo­rum will be held on Aug 6 at the Univer­sity of Hawaii at Manoa cam­pus to ex­am­ine Sun’s rev­o­lu­tion and his sup­port in Hawaii and Cal­i­for­nia.

An­other con­fer­ence, called the 11th EastWest Philoso­phers’ Con­fer­ence, was held on May 26 at the East-West Cen­ter, fo­cus­ing on Sun’s his­tory in Hawaii, Ja­pan and Sin­ga­pore.

Chun, of the Dr Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foun­da­tion, one of the co-spon­sors of the event, said the Aug 6 fo­rum is open to the pub­lic and will in­clude 50 del­e­gates from Sun Yat-sen/Soong Ching Ling af­fil­i­ated or­ga­ni­za­tions from the Chi­nese main­land, Tai­wan, Sin­ga­pore and Hong Kong, and 45 Sun Yat-sen fam­ily mem­bers.

Other events in Hawaii mark­ing the an­niver­sary will in­clude a char­ity golf tour­na­ment, Sun Yat-sen trails in Oahu and Maui, and a global eco­nomic symposium.

Chun de­scribed Sun as “self­less, ded­i­cated and com­mit­ted for the cause”.

“Two of Dr. Sun’s fa­mous teach­ings are “Bo Ai” (Univer­sal Love) and “Tian Xia Wei Gong” (The en­tire world as one com­mu­nity). They are con­sis­tent with Hawaii’s ‘aloha’ spirit and ‘Ohana’ (fam­ily). These are very pow­er­ful tools to re­solve con­flict and to teach peo­ple to treat oth­ers as equals, with ac­cep­tance and re­spect,” she said.

Roger Ames, a pro­fes­sor of philosophy at UH Manoa who chaired the May 26 con­fer­ence on Dr Sun, told China Daily that the world has seen few rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies who have af­fected the lives of more peo­ple than Sun.

“Over a 16-year pe­riod with Hawaii as his base, the over­seas Chi­nese di­as­pora as his con­stituents, and his brother Sun Mei as his great­est ad­vo­cate, Sun Yat-sen brought into fo­cus a vi­sion of the new China that is still be­ing shaped in our own his­tor­i­cal mo­ment,” he said.

“Sun Yat-sen is revered as a son of Hawaii as well as the found­ing fa­ther of the new China, and his rev­o­lu­tion be­longs to Hawaii’s Chi­ne­seAmer­i­cans and his many Amer­i­can friends as well as to the Chi­nese peo­ple,” Ames said.

“As a his­to­rian of mod­ern China, I per­son­ally view Dr. Sun’s legacy as a Chi­nese revo­lu­tion­ary and re­former, with close con­nec­tions to Hawaii, the Asia-Pa­cific, the United States, and the world,” said Shana Brown, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of his­tory at UH Manoa, who will mod­er­ate the Aug 6 con­fer­ence.

Brown said Sun came to Hawaii as a young man un­der the spon­sor­ship of his older brother Sun Mei, and he was in­flu­enced by events in Hawaii at that time. He and his fam­ily were here dur­ing the era of the over­throw of the King­dom of Hawaii and its an­nex­a­tion by the US. He was also here when there was con­cern over the im­pov­er­ish­ment of Hawai­ian farm­ers as well as the treat­ment of over­seas Chi­nese.

“This con­text al­most cer­tainly con­trib­uted to his em­pha­sis on the need to pro­tect China’s sovereignty, pro­mote eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, and en­sure re­spon­sive gov­ern­ment. For me, his cos­mopoli­tan out­look is a cru­cial el­e­ment of his legacy,” Brown said.

Back in China, the coun­try’s top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sory body, the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence Na­tional Com­mit­tee, last Novem­ber an­nounced a se­ries of events to mark the 150th an­niver­sary.

Sun is called in the state­ment “a great na­tional hero, pa­triot and the fron­trun­ner of China’s demo­cratic rev­o­lu­tion.”

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