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Phoenix Yee Fung-toy Celebrates Spring Festival

Once more on the first Saturday of March, 2018, the Yees in the Phoenix area gathered to celebrate the advent of another Lunisolar Year. The cycle of 12 Living/Life Resemblances entered into the Year of the Dog on February 16th in this case, and the banquet at the Great Wall Hong Kong Cuisine site with another full-house crowd of 40 tables, certainly illustrated the theme of sincere friendship.

The Yee Surname World President, Mr. Eddie Yee and his wife, from San Francisco was, an especial guest, and he himself expressed the delight to make an address, after decades of living in America, using the rural Four Counties (Szeyup or Siyi) patois, Taishan Cantonese. Our longtime regional friend, Mr. Alan Yee and his wife, once more made the trip from their Los Angeles area to highlight a special relationship indeed. Truly spoken was the Sage, the Master Kong, when he remarked as recorded in the Analects: ''When friends come from afar, is it not pleasant?''

The Hon. Kimberly Yee, first Chinese or Asian American woman ever elected to the State Legislature of Arizona but eight short years ago, also delivered brief remarks; it was noted that she is now not only elevated as a State Senator and the Majority Leader for the Republicans, but now is seeking to be elected as the State Treasurer. Mr. Barry Wong, currently serving as the Executive Director of a gubernatorial office for equal opportunity, read a Proclamation for the occasion from Governor Doug Ducey.

Once more, a half dozen scholarships to deserving students progressing in their education were presented, as well as many dozens of generous prizes raffled from China Chili Restaurant, Great Wall itself, and Super L Ranch Market (now relocated to Scottsdale) as well as each table having a gift from the Chinese Restaurant Association of Arizona. And, of course, the widely respected community elder, Mr. John M. Yee, highlighted the occasion, typically too busy to enjoy the excellent cuisine always available at this premier local restaurant in the Cantonese regional style.

The Spring Festival banquet for the year 4716 (in a continuous count, but including times rather legendary, by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Founder of the Republic of China in 1912 as an absolute break from previous imperial chronological practices of two millennia but very natural for the Christian convert he became in youth) since the reign of Huang Di (the Yellow Ruler), was another characteristic occasion of happy reunion and forward-looking hopes for good health and prosperity and peaceful harmony.

Many Yees have local roots in recent centuries from the Guangdong Province area, and so this Association in Phoenix commemorates a truly fellow countryman -- a scholar-official of the Northern Song dynasty (960 ?1125 C.E.), Yu Jing, or in the Cantonese rendering of his nickname, Yee Fung-toy (Yu Fengcai). That hao derived from his reputation, confirmed by the emperor himself, for inspiring elegant demeanor in a hoary age when courtesy and politesse mattered, when intensive cultivation in poetry, in calligraphy, and in scholarship counted. Truly a Model Ancestor to be emulated and venerated; hopefully, erroneous notions in certain local circles that such respect constitutes any type of divine worship will in time pass -- for error, even stubbornly ignorant, generally does.

M. Cheak Yee / Yu Wenchuo

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