Bits 'n' Pieces: Riding into the Year of the Horse

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter



Like the horse itself, the upcoming Year of the Horse will be hardworking. It'll be a good year, but it won't be easy. In the end, results should be "outstanding," said Roger Young.

"People born during the Year of the Horse are energetic, intelligent and physically strong. Horses are naturally lucky when it comes to money, resources and career; they are financially independent and stable," Young, a member of the Vancouver Chinese Association and a key organizer of this year's local Chinese New Year celebration gala, wrote in an email.

The New Year is just as big a deal in China as it is in the United States, Young said, and local Chinese have been getting together to put on an annual party for the past decade. It grows a big bigger every time, Young said.

"It's all about sharing cultures," he said, both with second-generation Chinese Americans who are losing touch with their heritage -- and with mainstream Americans who ought to learn a little something about Chinese culture too.

Young said the Chinese community in Clark County is concentrated in east Vancouver and Camas, with many professionals who work at high-tech firms such as WaferTech and SEH America. Young himself came to the U.S. with his family when he was 16 and has worked at On Semiconductor in Gresham, Ore., for 17 years. His wife, Li Xu, has been chief practitioner at a traditional Chinese medical clinic, Mind & Body Natural Healing, for the past 13. So the family is both very modern and very traditional.

"My daughters were born in the United States, in Vancouver, but they never had good exposure to Chinese culture," he said.

No matter how good the traditional Chinese cooking at home, he said, he can't miss the twinkle in their eyes at the mention of McDonald's.

It's no problem, Young said.

"I think it's a very good experience. It's always good to have exposure to more cultures," he said. "Especially in this global economy, everything is so tied together. Vancouver and Camas and Portland all have a tight business relationship with China. It's a good thing to share that culture with the community."

This year's party will include authentic Chinese food and performances in the traditionally eye-popping Beijing Opera style: full of brilliant costumes and virtuoso musicians playing everything from violins to zithers also known as guzheng. Altogether, there's more than 21/2 hours of entertainment on tap.

The Vancouver Chinese Association is asking that guests register, so they have a sense of how many they'll be feeding and entertaining. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and children as old as 11. Those younger than 3 are free. Email The event is set for 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Union High School, 6201 N.W. Friberg St., Camas.

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