07 March 2017
(Reported by Susan Wang-Selfridge, Los Angeles)
Renowned for its excellence in preserving Chinese culture, Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy hosted the 2017 Chinese New Year Gathering on February 26th in the City of Walnut, welcoming community members to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rooster with traditional cultural flair. Over one hundred people participated in the event, and everyone had a blast!
Mayor Eric Ching of Walnut presented a certificate of appreciation, acknowledging Tai Ji Men’s contribution in global promotion of love and peace and spreading positive energy and cultural exchange within the community. He also urged the collaboration between the City of Walnut and Tai Ji Men in the near future to bring more goodness into the community! In addition, there were numerous dignitaries in attendance, including Consul General Aung Kyaw Zan of Myanmar in Los Angeles and his wife; Angie Shaw, representative of California Senator Josh Newman; Nancy Tragarz, councilmember of the City of Walnut; Helen Hall, member of the Walnut Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees; Jack Tanaka, former mayor of the City of Diamond Bar and Mrs. Tanaka; Mary Ng, vice president of the Chinese American Association of Walnut; and Victor Hung, president of Liok-Kui Foundation. The honored guests took a commemorative photo together as they jointly held a huge bamboo sieve bountifully filled with freshly handmade Chinese rice balls symbolizing unity and fulfillment to wish everyone a joyous and smooth-sailing year!
The festivity of the New Year celebration was through the roof! One of the most popular activities was the re-enactment of the Celestial Official’s spreading blessings to the world. Event participants swooned over to have their photos taken with the “Celestial Official” upon his appearance, gathering good luck! Looking closely, the attendees were surprised to find out that this tall gentleman dressed in a Cathay red robe and Celestial Official’s hat was an Anglo-American named Michael Selfridge. He expressed that he has been coming to Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy to practice qigong every weekend, enduring a two-hour driving time from Ventura to Walnut for the past 12 years. Practicing qigong enables Michael to remain calm even when confronting adversities in life. In addition, he has gained a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and improved his Chinese. Other festive activities included “celestial children” distributing red envelopes containing kind wishes, which brought smiles to the attendees’ faces! A group of youngsters outfitted in rooster costumes served as the “Five Treasure Messengers,” enthusiastically spreading the five treasures of life – Health, Wealth, Wisdom, Joy and Happiness – to the audience. The youngest performer within the group was only five years old; they fueled the whole room with high octane energies, bringing joyful ambience to the maximum! As the program progressed, a group of Tai Ji Men members aged between 11 and 65 performed a Chinese song “A Grateful Heart,” warming the hearts of the audience, some of whom were so moved that tears welled up in their eyes. Hispanic guest Eloina Cuevas shared that although she didn’t understand the song’s lyrics, she was moved by the power of the performance, feeling a stream of warm energy going into her heart. Consul General Aung Kyaw Zan of Myanmar expressed that he was deeply touched by the singing of the song “Love.” He said, “After listening to the song, I felt my heart was filled with love and kindness.” “I understand that Tai Ji Men qigong is not only for the body but also for the mind, the beautification of the mind. That’s why conscience is very important to everybody. I totally agreed with promoting and preserving conscience to spread the (importance) of human conscience all over the world. That’s why I fully support this endeavor.” Also noteworthy was that traditional Chinese New Year gourmet treats were served at the celebratory event, and the participants were provided with a hands-on opportunity to make Chinese rice balls and to learn its underlying meaning: the Chinese wisdom of a well-rounded way of living.
Tai Ji Men’s Chinese New Year Gathering brought joy to people with diverse cultural backgrounds through cultural exchange. Many participants indicated that they had a blast on this heart-warming Sunday afternoon. They were especially touched and encouraged by Tai Ji Men youth generation’s endless energy and their efforts to make the world a better place!
Photo: Back row from right to left: Mayor Eric Ching of the City of Walnut, Tai Ji Men member Pamela Chen, the “Celestial Official” Michael Selfridge, and Tai Ji Men member Andy Wang.