Gah San in Jamaica


The annual spring ritual of Gah San when graves are cleansed with incense and the dead woken with firecrackers and fed with wine was celebrated on April 2, 2023, in Jamaica.

The ritual was led in the Jamaican capital of Kingston by Mr. Dalton Yap, who has resumed the presidency of the Chinese Benevolent Association. Standing by the cenotaph beside a long table laden with a whole roast pig accompanied by poultry, seafood and fruit, he prayed for the security and prosperity of the community.



After lighting many candles and pouring wine at the foot of the cenotaph, he ignited a long roll of firecrackers at the foot of the cenotaph. He was assisted by former president Mr. Martin Chin.

Christian prayers were offered by Pastor Cornel Chai. The president of the Jewish synagogue, Mr. Ainsley Henriques, could be seen in one of the front rows, along with many persons who had flown in for the ceremonies from Miami, New York, Toronto and England.

Mr. David Chang once again laid out his Chinese catalogues of deceased persons under the roof of the pavilion and wrote out the locations of graves in English for each family who might have missed Gah San for several years. He often accompanied them to areas covered by bush and debris.

Zichan QuiOne of the most prominent visitors was Ms. Zichan Qiu (right), a student from Guangdong now enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of IIlinois in Chicago. Guided by Mr. David Chang (left), and Mr. Dennis HoSang (middle), she visited the premises of the Chee Gung Tong (Freemason) and the Chinese Benevolent Association. She will be supported in her research by Ms Yichi Zhang, who is enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica campus.

Gah SanDr. Keith Lowe, codirector of the Toronto Hakka Conference since the year 2000, celebrated the restoration of the grave of his father’s uncle Hing Gee. He was accompanied by Hing Gee’s granddaughter Ms. Colleen Lowe, president of Magnetic Signs, a company which produces metal plaques used at the public Dovecot cemetery. The photo below was taken by Dalton Yap.

Dr. Lowe also travelled south to Trinidad where he enjoyed the new year feast with the executive of the Fui Toong On society in the capital city of Port of Spain. He gave a lecture about his 200-year-old village Luo Shiu Hap located north of Shenzhen in Guangdong province.


Gah SanDr. Lowe was taken to tour the main cemetery in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain, which has an acre of land near 1st Street West filled by the graves of deceased Chinese persons.

Among the graves there is one containing the remains of John Chen, who is the father of two outstanding Trinidadians who reside in the city of San Fernando. They are sculptor/novelist Willie Chen and his brother the doctor/poet Wilfred Chen. The latter’s wife, deceased, was also a medical doctor as well as a prolific and profound poet named Rajandaye Ramkissoon-Chen.

John Chen



Vari Hall

The York Centre for Asian Research of York University, The Toronto Hakka Conference & the New York Hakka Conference convene at the Vari Hall entrance to the University to welcome the 31st World Hakka Conference held June 24-26, 2002, in Markham, Ontario.

Conference organizers

Prior to gathering at the Vari Hall entrance to York University in order to salute the 26th World Hakka Conference, officials of York University and of the Toronto and New York Hakka Conferences introduce themselves to one another and set goals for the future.

Clockwise are York University and Hakka Conference officials — Alice J. Hovorka, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change; Paula Madison, president of the New York Hakka Conference; Rhonda L. Lenton, president and vice-chancellor of York University; Vivienne Poy, honourary conference patron; Jack Leong, Associate Dean of Libraries; Prof. Abidin Kusno, Director of the York Centre for Asian Research; Prof. Cary Wu, Sociologist; Dr. Bayer Lee, Advisor to the New York Hakka Conference; Charles Li, president of the Los Angeles Hakka Society; William Su, President of the World Hakka Federation, Eastern USA; Prof. Ruifeng Liang, president of the International Institute of Hakka Studies, University of Western Virginia; and Dr. Keith Lowe, co-founder of the Toronto Hakka Conference since 2000 AD.

Vari Hall

From left to right: Dr. Jack Leong, Associate Dean of Libraries; Prof. Cary Wu, York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR); Dr. Keith Lowe, Co-Founder of Toronto Hakka Conference; Prof. Ruifeng Liang, Environmental Engineering, University of West Virginia; Ms. Paula Madison, President, New York Hakka Conference; Prof. Rhonda L. Lenton, President & Vice Chancellor, York University; Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy, Patron of YCAR and Toronto Hakka Conference; Prof. Alice J. Hovorka, Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies; Dr. Bayer Lee, director, New York Hakka Conference; Prof. Abidin Kusno, President, York Centre for Asian Research; Mr. William Su, President of the Myanmar Hakka Association of North America; and Mr. Charles Lee, President of the Hakka Association of Los Angeles

G. Raymond Chang - bio
G. Raymond Chang distinguished speaker award


The Toronto Hakka Conference started with the dawn of the millennium, in the year 2000. It dawned on the Hakka, the most diasporic of Chinese ethnic groups, that an era of global peace and prosperity was possible.

This vision was especially strong among those who migrated from the former European colonies to the New World, and who would settle finally in countries like Canada and the USA where ethnocultural equality was enshrined. Conservationist, studious and thriving wherever they sojourned, they could become a leading edge in a world where material energy was diminishing as dramatically as human communication was increasing. It dawned on the Hakka or “guest people” that they were becoming global citizens. The guests, wandering no more, could become hosts.

Building the future of the community, the Hakka of Toronto and Canada have convened every four years since 2000. The fourth Toronto Hakka Conference (2012) gave birth to the New York Hakka Conference (NYHC), which has convened in Manhattan chinatown in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Instead of holding its planned conference in 2020, NYHC asked its attendees to go to THC2020, now postponed to 2021 because of Covid-19. The Shangghang Hakka Association of North America, founded in West Virginia and affiliated with the Organization of Chinese Americans in Washington DC, held its movable annual meeting in Toronto in 2019, will invite its members to attend THC2021. As well, five Hakka community learning centres based in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan have agreed to endorse THC2021. As a result, there will be a coordinated effort to build a North American, Asian and eventually global network of Hakka learning centres in both the community and university formats.

Great impetus for building the network now comes from the decision of the biennial World Hakka Conference to hold its 31st conference in Toronto’s adjacent city of Markham, June 24-26, 2022. The 30th World Hakka Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October 2019.

Towards a more connected and healthy planet! One World, One Heart!



We will convene conferences in key cities of the Americas to transmit to Hakka and non-Hakka persons our traditional culture so that they can create the best of lives in the contemporary world.

We study together to build global consciousness, to unite humanity as one family and to be ever closer to the earth which we inherited.








Herbert Ho Ping Kong


Education – MBBS, University of the West Indies,
Jamaica; Ph.D., London University

Service – University of the West Indies, 1971-73; McGill
University, 1973-1984; Toronto Western Hospital,
University of Toronto Health Network,1984-1989.

Focus – How should a doctor be educated and trained?

Recognition – Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong, also known as
HPK, received the 3-M teaching award in 1999.



Training in the use of the five senses to diagnose illnesses was facilitated by the purchase of a warm and pulsating dummy nicknamed Harvey.




With assistance from Michael Posner, HPK wrote a book entitled The Art of Medicine: Healing and the Limits of Technology. It is distributed free of cost to each person graduating from a Canadian medical school.

In 2018, the book was translated into classical chinese script for use in all medical schools in Taiwan.

The Art of Medicine


A Centre for Excellence in Education and Practice was funded by HPK’s school mate, financier G. Raymond Chang. HPK was able to work on his projects until well after the usual age of retirement.

It is estimated that HPK and colleagues have trained about 6,000 doctors. Many of them now hold important positions in hospitals and medical schools.


HPK now takes another step in his career by showcasing his medical work to a cultural forum, the 6th Toronto Hakka Conference to be held July 4-6, 2020, at York University. This conference was co-founded by Keith D. Lowe (Ph.D. Stanford) and the late G. Raymond Chang in the year 2,000 and is held every four years at York University.

G. Raymond Chang Teaching Clinic


Click to see Globe & Mail article on Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong




Medicine as we know it has now arrived at a crosswords. Several directions can be taken, but two major routes are becoming apparent.

One route is blazed by the application of information technology and super-computing, resulting for example in the sequencing of the human genome. Treatments of illness are growing exponentially with the discovery of new drugs and surgical techniques. The economic costs of health care, while alarmingly high at present, could be reduced significantly through the development of a health information highway.

The other route is based on a re-visioning of the physician as the central figure in the health care system. She or he is called to a more humane and holistic practice, directing rather than being directed by the innovations of medical technology. Doctors and medical practitioners are to be trained in core principles of diagnosis with emphasis on the arts of seeing, hearing, touching, as well as empathy and advocacy.

We are perhaps feeling the need for debate or dialogue today such as was urged on us by C.P. Snow in 1959 when he argued that a failure to grasp the dichotomy of science and the humanities could stall the scientific revolution. Two persons who could spark a similar debate/dialogue about the medical revolution of our time are Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong of Los Angeles and Dr. Herbert Ho Ping Kong of Toronto.

Dr. Soon-Shiong’s achievements were presented in Forbes magazine of September 29, 2014, which acclaimed him the world’s richest doctor, with patents in diabetes and cancer drugs. An intrepid entrepreneur, he aims to cut health care costs by roughly one-half through ultra-rapid diagnosis, prescription, monitoring, and record-keeping.

Dr. Ho Ping Kong, an internist with the University Health Network, has received many awards for his insightful and provocative teaching methods. His vision for developing a physician-driven and patient-centred approach is presented in his book The Art of Medicine: Healing and the Limits of Technology, published in 2014 by ECW Press. A copy of the book is presented to all students graduating from Canadian medical schools.

It is proposed that we put the two doctors on one stage and let them debate/discuss the divergent routes for the advancement of medicine. It will be a great match-up — Soon-Shiong and Ho Ping Kong.

Keith Lowe, PhD
August 2015



Hakka Achievement Awards



Glenor Chang Josephs
Glenor Chang and her late husband Leslie Josephs emigrated to cold Canada from warm Jamaica in 1977, with the idea that they could make a living by making freezies as they did on the island. The Audacity of Hope! Blessed with four sons and working long hours they succeeded mightily! Today Kisko freezies are a staple of summer in Toronto, loved by the young and not so young. Kisko now distributes across Canada through the largest supermarket chains and is constantly improving by adding natural juices and ecological packaging. The company is known for building schools for pre-school children in rural Jamaica.


Jennifer Chin
Jennifer Chin immigrated to Canada with her family when she was just 12 years old. She was part of the first graduating class of Francis Lieberman High School, and obtained a degree in business from the University of Western Ontario. She is now general director of George’s Tastee Foods Corp, a landmark in the fast growing city of Markham. Since 2017, Jennifer has served two terms as President of the Tsung Tsin Association of Ontario (TTA). Transforming TTA into a hive of activity, Jennifer helped its members stay active and connected to their heritage. Her co-operation with Councillor Joe Li and the City of Markham was instrumental in bringing the 31st World Hakka Conference to Markham.

Jennifer earned the black belt in taekwondo alongside her three daughters. She is an avid cook and baker, and has been documenting traditional Jamaican and Jamaican-Chinese recipes to pass on to future generations.


Jane Ku
Jane Ku is an Associate Professor in Sociology and Coordinator for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Windsor. She has published in the areas of transnational feminist interrogation of racism, imperialism, diasporic identity, immigrant integration and belonging, Canadian multiculturalism and political organizing. Recently, she published an article in Canadian Ethnic Studies on being recognized as Chinese and Hakka in Canada (Ku 2019), and another on renarrating Japanese Canadian incarceration during World War II (Ku 2021). These publications are part of an autoethnography to explore her Chinese Hakka and Indian roots.


Thalia Lyn
Jamaican-born Thalia Lyn is an inspirational leader with experience across many industries, including teaching, investments, and diplomacy. Her most celebrated success, however, is in pioneering the most popular indigenous chain of Quick Service Restaurants on the Jamaican food landscape – Island Grill.

Thalia is the founder and CEO. Inspired by the vibrant flavours of Jamaica and the iconic Jerk Chicken, Island Grill has morphed into a chain of 19 restaurants in Jamaica and Barbados. Island Grill’s commitment to “Eat Good, Live Good” galvanizes its championship of innovation in all aspect of restaurant operations – from healthier Jamaican menu items to earth friendly packaging.

Thalia has been showered with National Honours from Jamaica and also from the Kingdom of Thailand, which she represents as the Royal Thai Honorary Consul General. She is the recipient of numerous Business and Philanthropic awards and is a member of the Private Sector Organization, Jamaica Manufacturers & Exporters Assoc., Women’s Business Owners Assoc., the Chinese Benevolent Society, the Women’s Leadership Initiative (United Way), the International Women’s Forum, and the Consular Corps of Jamaica.


Patricia Chin
Over 60 years later, from a small used-record shop in Kingston, Jamaica, to a New York City based, multinational company, VP Records stands as a symbol for reggae music, for the culture and message of its abiding roots and continued legacy. As a Grammy winning label co-founder, retailer, merchandiser, and with accolades too numerous to mention, Miss Pat has left her indelible mark, and has tremendously impacted the lives of many around the world.


Beryl Yap
Patty King of Toronto is the success story of the Chong family from Jamaica. The parents, father David Chong Foo Yin and mother Wong Kim Moy, gave the start from 1945 in Kingston Jamaica with Sunbeam Bakery. The story in Canada involves Beryl Yap and her five brothers Egbert, Stan, Eddie, George and Geoffrey. Significant contributions were also made by many other members of the family. This is a story of a family business.



Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation offers to buy closed hospital to help fight coronavirus pandemic

AsAm News

Patrick Soon-Shiong was born into a Hakka family in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. His wife Michelle B.Chan was born into a Hakka family in East London, South Africa.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has now turned his attention to the global incidence of Covid-19 and its persistence among the poorer nations. He looks forward to a vaccine that can be delivered as a pill and developed in his native South Africa for distribution to other African countries. He is also alarmed by the recent rise of racism in North America.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong on CNN Business


Hakka Geneology Museum

finding Sam Lowe



In November (2018) Donette Chin-Loy Chang was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) by the University of the West Indies. The UWI is rated among the top 5% of universities in the world. A journalism graduate of Ryerson University, Mrs. Chin-Loy Chang runs an annual fundraising campaign for the UWI. As well, she is a director of Food for the Poor, Canada. A benefactor to the Toronto Hakka Conference, she sponsors the G. Raymond Chang keynote speaker of the event, which is held every four years at York University in Toronto.

More recently she was chosen to join the ranks of the 100 most accomplished Black women in Canada. Upon receiving the UWI Honourary Doctorate, Mrs. Chin-Loy Chang and her husband G. Raymond Chang, O.J.,O.C., will make history as the first husband and wife, to do so. Ray received the same honour in 2007.



Celebration of Dr. Donette Chin-Loy Chang’s honorary doctorate from UWI


Henry Leong Bee LEE is the new honorary consul-general of Malaysia in Toronto. The official appointment of this well-known business consultant and community worker is as follows:

He was a key organizer of the Toronto Hakka Conference in 2004, 2008 and 2012. He filled the role of emcee in 2008.

He began his career as an economist working in a Malaysian government agency responsible for developing industrial and foreign investment. In 1978 he was assigned to Toronto to promote Canada-Malaysia economic cooperation and joint ventures.

He was accepted as a resident of Canada in 1987. He worked as a consultant for international investment to companies such as London Life. Since 1995, he worked as an investment adviser at CIBC and RBC Dominion Securities until his retirement in 2013.

Among the voluntary and charitable organizations served by Henry are:

  • Malaysian Association of Canada – Founder and Chairman
  • Chinese Cultural Centre of greater Toronto – Vice-President
  • Canadian Multicultural Council – Asians in Ontario – Past President and Adviser
  • Scarborough Hospital Network Foundation – Co-Chair Philanthropic Council
  • Toronto Police Asia-Pacific Community Consultative Council – Member
  • SEAS Centre Foundation – Vice-Chair

Mr. Lee is a winner of the Hakka Award of Distinction for Community Service.




Mulan Poster Competition


Winners of the Mulan Poster Competition

Olivia Lue Sang, a student at St. Brother André Catholic High School, was the winner for Scenario 1.
Glen Chan-Choong, a student at Ryerson University, was the winner for Scenario 2.

The awards of $500 each were made at a ceremony held on August 4, 2021, at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, attended by the winners and their families. Cheques were presented by Mr. Lipton Wong, treasurer of the Conference, and by Dr. Keith Lowe, co-director of the Conference, on behalf of an anonymous donor.

Olivia Lue Sang stands to the left and Glen Chan-Choong stands to the right with their respective posters.
Mulan poster winners

In the photo below, Olivia stands on the left side of the Toronto Hakka Conference banner with her family, and Glen stands on the right side of the banner with his family to the right of the banner.
Mulan poster winners
LEFT: Paula McIntosh, Ronald (Sonny) Chang, Marissa Lue Sang, Elinor Lue Sang, Adeline Lue Sang, Joan Chang, Ray Lue Sang, Olivia Lue Sang.
RIGHT: Glen Chan-Choong, Sonia Chan-Choong, Anthony Chan-Choong, Marjorie Lue Sang, Jonathan Chan-Choong, Keith Lowe, Lipton Wong, Gladstone Lue Sang.