Toronto Hakka Conference
July 3-5, 2020
Herbert Ho Ping Kong is the G. Raymond Chang Speaker for this sixth Toronto Hakka Conference. Born into a large Hakka shopkeeper family in Jamaica, HPK as he is affectionately called, studied medicine at the University of the West Indies and then earned a Ph.D. in the United Kingdom. He emigrated to Canada in 1972 and worked in Montreal before moving to Toronto. In his book The Art of Medicine: Healing and the Limits of Technology, he argues that in an age of specialization and research, doctors should rely on the arts of seeing, hearing and palpitation. His work is continued by the Centre of Excellence for Education and Practice at the Toronto Western Hospital.
Paula Madison retired as a vice-president National Broadcasting Corporation and General Electric. Born in Harlem, she had never met her Chinese grandfather who returned from living in Jamaica to his home village in China, Crane Lake New Dwelling. She travelled to Toronto in 2012 because a cousin residing there told her that the Hakka people in that city had started to hold conferences on Hakka ancestry and culture. She met the co-founder of the conference, who turned out to be her 25th generation cousin from Crane Lake. She immediately rounded up her family and took over twenty of them to China. Since then, she has been a champion of family reunification. She founded the New York Hakka.Conference, and continues to expand the Lowe family tree.
Professor Abraham Anthony Chen, retired professor of Physics at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica campus, was a team leader on the United Nations Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change in 2013. The Committee was co-winner of the Nobel Prize. Professor Chen’s team was responsible for reporting on the effects of climate change on small islands.
Justin Poy established in the early 90’s one of Canada’s first ad agencies specializing in reaching ethnic communities. He currently heads one of the top firms involved in the ever-growing business of Chinese social media. He recently co-organized a major conference at the Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library, Robarts Library, University of Toronto, on “How WeChat Changed the World”. He also delivered a similar keynote speech to open the 2109 Asian Heritage Month for the Canadian Foundation for Asian Culture, tying in the Chinese film industry and Professor Ruifeng Liang is a native of Shanggang, Fujian province, who was a researcher at Cambridge University before becoming a professor of Materials Sciences at the University of West Virginia. He researched the energy efficiency of Fujian tulou for a television program commissioned by the History Channel. He is currently testing rammed-earth houses in Alaska on a federal government contract. As a community worker, he is the founding president of the Shanggang Association of North America. He is currently designing a Hakka network to go global on We Chat but which will have regional nodes.
Professor Ruifeng Liang is a native of Shanggang, Fujian province, who was a researcher at Cambridge University before becoming a professor of Materials Sciences at the University of West Virginia. He researched the energy efficiency of Fujian tulou for a television program commissioned by the History Channel. He is currently testing rammed-earth houses in Alaska on a federal government contract. As a devoted community worker, he is the founding president of the Shanggang Association of North America. He is currently working on the design of a Hakka network to go global on We Chat but which will have regional nodes.
SPEAKERS (TO DATE)
Robert Hew is the current president of the Chinese Benevolent Association in Jamaica. A Rhodes scholar, with expertise in law and administration, he has digitized all the records of the Chinese cemetery of Jamaica, translating Hakka words into Mandarin so that the listing of villages on modern maps can be utilized. As well, he provides guidance on linking that data base to Jamaican and foreign records of births, deaths, marriages, etc.
Huihan Jie, president of My China Roots, with agents all over China, will speak on a genealogy panel.His company is based in London, United Kingdom.
Felicia Chang, president of Plantain, a bespoke genealogy firm, will speak on a genealogy panel. Her company is based in London, United Kingdom.
Pooran Rodney Bridgelall has many years of experience as a researcher and teacher in the Mormon church. Having specialized in the Caribbean community, he is now including the Indian diaspora of Mauritius, South East Asia, South Africa and the Panama Canal. In his recent workshop at Roots Tech in London, he utilized resources such as Records of Indenture, Estate Registers, Cadastral Maps, Church records.
As a doctoral candidate in New York City, Bayer Lee became interested in the Hakka for being devoted as much to their folk religion as to biblical Christianity. He was one of the first scholars to attend the initial conferences on Hakkaology and he witnessed the diminution of this school of thought. He is also keenly interested in Ming dynasty defences of China’s southern coast, and in Punti-Hakka conflicts. He is therefore well qualified to speculate on the future of the Belt-and-Road undersea tunnel from Macao-Zhuhai to Hong Kong.
Minjun Luo is an elder in the Luo/Lowe family of Crane Lake, Longgang, Shenzhen. Under the leadership of his father, he produced a new genealogy of the Luo family going back one hundred and ten years before Christ. He will accompany his cousin Paula Madison to Salt Lake City within the next few months to present an even older Luo genealogy (jiapu) to the Mormon Church for preservation and analysis.
Xiaoyan Li has a Master’s degree in cultural tourism development. A passionate but systematic observer, she has travelled to all corners of the Hakka heartland and lately to remote Hakka settlements in eastern and northern China. Her forthcoming book is a guide to families as well as scholars, and a testament to Hakka love of the land wherever in the world they may be.
Harry Truong survived the horrors of the Vietnam war as a teenager. He lived briefly in the USA and then sought refuge in Canada. With the mindset of an inventor and philosopher, he developed several businesses while mindfully seeking to resolve contradictions in both capitalism and communism in the age of technology. He has distilled his thoughts and experiences in a forthcoming book titled The Twelve Virtues: Success, Happiness and Harmony the Hakka Way.
Mitzi Espinosa Luis is a board member of the Chee Gung Tong of Cuba as well as a writer and lecturer. She has delivered papers in such forums as the International Society of Chinese Overseas and the New York Hakka Conference. She served as translator and guide to the team led by Dr. Keith Lowe to the 150th anniversary of the Chee Gung Tong of Cuba. She is consultant to the restoration of the Chinese cemetery in Havana. Her latest book is Chinese FootprintsThis Side of the Atlantic.
Professor Kathy Lopez is a Rutgers University professor who speaks regularly at the Miami Forum on Caribbean Immigration into the Caribbean Basin as well as at the New York Hakka Conference. She is author of the book Chinese Cubans. She spoke at the inaugural conference of the Confucius Institute of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.
Corky Lee is well known in Chinatown America as a passionate but humourous activist who uses his camera as a weapon in fighting for Chinese and Asian-American communities. In addition to shooting many urban events, Corky travels annually to Utah to the site where the eastern and western railroad connected. He stages and shoots the melodrama of top-hatted magnates, Irish labourers and off-stage Chinese workers.
Professor Janet Tai Landa is full professor of Economics, Emerita, York University, Canada. She has written two books on Hakka-Chinese entrepeneurship in West Malaysia, Singapore and Malaysia. She has been visiting professor at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. She was a nominator for the Nobel Prize 2000-2004, and was credited for launching a new area in economics, namely, the economics of identity.
Daniel Clarkson Fisher has a master’s degree in Philosophy. He recently graduated from Ryerson University with a Master’s degree in Photographic Arts. His thesis was a documentary video titled the Oral History of Jamaican Hakka.
Jennifer Ann Ho is an associate professor of literature at the University of Colorado at Boulder, following her tenure up to the last academic year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She will be the next director for Center for the Humanities of the Arts with a half-time appointment in Ethnic Studies. Her latest book is Racial mbiguities in American Culture.
Joe Li was elected Regional Councillor of the City of Markham in 2010. He is also chair of the Hakka Canadian Association established in 2017. He will describe how the City and the Association teamed up to win the rights to host the 31st World Hakka Conference held every two years for promoting business and friendship. Plans are being developed to receive over two thousand delegates in Markham in October 2021.
Dr. Ken Chong, a Meixien hakka, retired as Research Professor at George Washington University, and Director of Mechanics & Materials at U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). He earned a Ph.D in Mechanics from Princeton University. He published 200 technical papers, 5 textbooks; and gave over 50 plenary lectures. He was awarded the NSF Distinguished Service Award, the highest award at NSF, for his exemplary direction of the Mechanics Program and for his role in nurturing the emerging field of nanomechanics.
Dr. James Chen, a Dungguan hakka, received his PhD from Harvard University in high energy particle physics and has held professorships at the University of Pennsylvania, the State University of New York (SUNY), and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Germany. He has been a faculty fellow at NASA and a NATO senior scientist. His publications cover high energy particle physics with time reversal invariance as well as proton- and synchrotron radiation-induced x-ray emission. He was invited by the U.S. Center for Disease Control to investigate the toxicological causes of the Legionnaire’s Disease outbreak in Philadelphia.