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Do Not Forget about Chinese Traditional Culture

¨C Henry Tai, founder of SBCAA 

Mr. Henry Dai was born in Jiangsu Province and graduated from the Department of Journalism at The National Chengchi University. After he moved from Shanghai to Taiwan in 1949, he had worked at the ¡°Central Taily News¡± for 11 years. During that time, the ¡°Central Daily News¡± was the No. 1 newspaper in Taiwan. No other private newspaper could compete with it. The experience of being a journalist has greatly enhanced Mr. Tai¡¯s thinking, resoucefulness and the ability to successfully deal with different situations. Therefore, Mr. Tai treasures his time of being a journalist the most. His love for this profession has made him keep his professional habit even today---he spends a lot of time every day reading various kinds of newspapers to get different information.

At the end of 1960, Mr. Tai came to the United States. That year, his entire family boarded a cargo ship and spent a month on the sea, finally reaching Los Angeles. By the time they arrived, it¡¯s already 1961. It¡¯s the turning of a new page for Mr. Tai. He started to pursue a master¡¯s degree in library management at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the Capital of Tennessee. It only took him five quarters to get his degree. After graduation, he worked briefly at the libraries at Pennsylvania State University and The State University of New York at Binghamton. In 1966, he was invited to work at the library at The University of California at Santa Barbara to establish its East Asian library. He had served as the director until his retirement in 1991.

The founding and development of SBCAA has been his chief concern during Mr. Tai¡¯s late years. In 1994, he realized that the Chinese Americans in Santa Barbara were too widely dispersed, making it impossible for them to meet and come to know each other. He thought that the Chinese Americans should be united and be able to communicate with each other. At the age of 72, he founded the SBCAA and served as the president for the first two terms. He also started the publication of the SBCAA newsletter. Mr. Tai particularly emphasizes the responsibilities of the Chinese Americans overseas. He thinks that we should continue to organize and expand events that reflect Chinese national characters, such as the ¡°Chinese festival¡±. It should be organized every year as the festival for the Chinese Americans. The Chinese festival is very significant, since it¡¯s a window displaying Chinese culture to the Americans. It¡¯s something that we should all be proud of.

Mr. Tai hopes that SBCAA can continue to grow to be the best bridge between Chinese and American culture, so that more and more children of the local Chinese Americans can learn about Chinese culture. The development of SBCAA will need the joint efforts of the local Chinese Americans. He urges the Chinese Americans overseas to carry on the excellent tradition of Chinese culture, and discard its negative elements. For those American-born Chinese, since they grow up in the West, it is especially important for them to receive sufficient education under both Chinese and American cultural backgrounds. Those young Chinese Americans should learn more about Chinese history and must not forget about Chinese traditional culture.

(Translation) Sa Zhang 

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