February 11, 2022

Volume 2, Issue 3

Dear Friends,

As the Lunar New Year’s season continues, we at the 1990 Institute want to wish you all a Happy Lantern Festival (and lots of yuan xiao rice dumplings). Have fun watching the Chinatown Lunar New Year’s parades and the Beijing Olympics with us. If you haven’t seen our video on the Chinese and Western zodiacs, you can watch it here. We also have a sneak peak of our NEW video on the U.S.-China relationship surrounding technology, and a NEW podcast episode out now on the pressure of college admissions and mental health. Scroll down to Spotlight for details. 

Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe.


Why have zodiacs survived and how do the Chinese and Western zodiac systems compare? Find out in our new video: “Chinese and Western Zodiacs: So Different. So Similar.


How do Lion Dancing, Lunar New Year’s parades, and the Beijing Olympics teach us about identity?

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


One of our Chinese School teachers reached out to me this weekend to ask if I knew where the Chinese School lions were, and if she could borrow them to teach her class of 10-year-olds how to lion dance. 

Of course, they’re in my basement. 

The only catch is that she has to keep them, she can’t give them back. 

I have been taking care of our Chinese School lions for almost 20 years, since my oldest children were in first and second grade, but now my youngest is graduating from high school and Chinese School, and so it is time to pass on the lions. 

I should be happy to be getting these three huge boxes out of my basement, but I was so sad. We have lion danced at events big and small all over the state—schools, libraries, organizations, festivals. There were snow storms, car troubles, crowded venues, good and bad meals, disorganized organizers, creative performances, great audiences. We have done it all. 

This Lunar New Year, my youngest performed Chinese Yo-Yo at a Detroit Pistons basketball game and at a local Chinese American-owned coffee shop, and he is beginning to learn to navigate these events on his own. 

The first Chinatown Lunar New Year’s parade in San Francisco was held in 1851. The first lions and dragon arrived in America a few years later. With its marching bands and beauty queens, the Chinatown Lunar New Year’s parade is an American invention, as well as a mark of cultural pride and a clever way to draw in tourism dollars. Today they are even pan-Asian American. Because of Covid, many parades have been on hiatus for the past two years, but now they are beginning to come back. 

We will be watching the parades even as we watch the Beijing Olympics.   

On January 30, Asian Americans gathered around the country to stand up together against anti-Asian American violence in several Asian Justice Rallies. January 30 commemorated one year since the day 84-year old Thai American grandfather Vicha Ratanapakdee was violently pushed over for no reason. He later died of his injuries. Coincidentally, January 30 is also Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

“My father would want us all to rise above hate and lead with love,” Monthanus Ratanapakdee, Vicha Ratanapakdee’s daughter, said before the march in San Francisco. “If he was alive, he would tell us to be strong and keep on fighting.”



Listen to our Bund to Brooklyn podcast – Episode 8: Try Harder! and the Pressures of High School with Debbie Lum


Curated News

'We will not be silent': Hundreds rally in SF to seek justice for victims of anti-Asian hate crimes | ABC 7 News  Asian Justice Rallies were held in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City, and virtually.

2022 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Winners | APALA   The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) announced the 2022 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature winners.

ESSAY by Viet Thanh Nguyen: My Young Mind Was Disturbed by a Book. It Changed My Life. | New York Times  Nguyen writes about how we shouldn't oppose the banning of books by saying that books are good for us, but by saying books are bad for us. Books are dangerous, and that's why they're fun.

China hosts Olympics amid controversy | PBS NewsHour  The Beijing Olympics are taking place against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic, China's troubling human rights record, and the country's strengthening relationship with Russia. 

Why Russia and China are strengthening relations | PBS NewsHour  Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Friday met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and reaffirmed their desire to have closer ties. 

‘No light at the end of the tunnel’: Americans join Hong Kong’s business exodus | The Guardian  Worsening Sino-U.S. ties, strict Covid rules and the crackdown on dissent have dented the territory’s fabled allure as a business hub, say expats.

WATCH Nathan Chen sets WORLD RECORD with breathtaking short program | Winter Olympics 2022 | NBC Sports

WATCH Karen Chen steps up to skate U.S. to silver in Olympics team event | Winter Olympics 2022 | NBC Sports

VIDEO ESSAY by Eileen Gu: I Admit It. I’m in Love With Fear. | New York Times  Eileen Gu, American born freeskier competing for China’s Olympic team, describes finding balance between confidence in her ability and the thrill of uncertainty as she competes for gold in halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air.


See a short promo for our new video, “U.S. and China Seek Relationship Counseling: Technology in the Crosshairs," coming to our YouTube channel on Monday, February 14



  • NEW VIDEO LAUNCHING ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14: Forty years after coming together for the 1979 U.S.-China Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, it seems time for the U.S. and China to seek counseling for their strained relationship. What will happen to all the successes born of their long-standing relationship, a relationship deeply rooted in the global community? We’ll dive into these issues in our newest video. See a sneak peak now for “U.S. and China Seek Relationship Counseling: Technology in the Crosshairs” and look for the video on our YouTube Channel on Monday, Valentine’s Day! 
  • BUND TO BROOKLYN PODCAST SEASON 2 IS HEREThe new season of Bund to Brooklyn has launched with Episode 8: Try Harder! and the Pressures of High School with Debbie Lum. With humor and heart, documentary film director Debbie Lum captures the reality of the American college application process in “Try Harder!” at the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity. Debbie joined us to talk about her film and what she learned about the pressure of college admissions and how it impacts the mental health of the predominantly Asian American student body at Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco. Bund to Brooklyn is available to listen on all major podcast platforms, including Spotify.
  • NEW VIDEO: CHINESE AND WESTERN ZODIACSOur new video, “Chinese and Western Zodiacs: So Different. So Similar.,” was released to celebrate Lunar New Year. Many cultures throughout history have created their own unique-yet-similar celestial systems for predicting the future…while observing the exact same stars and planets. How are the Chinese and Western zodiac systems different or similar? Why have zodiacs survived? What would it look like if we merge them? We explore all these questions and include a fun section on “Prediction” vs. “Reality” for some of your favorite famous relationships. Be sure to watch it here.

Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


1990 Institute
P.O. Box 383  | San Francisco, California 94104



Copyright 2021 The 1990 Institute. All rights reserved. 

Follow Us


Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

Unsubscribe or Manage Your Preferences