Sunday, May 15, 2011


posted by Alan
click on pictures to see them full size

Before you read this post, just note that I am not confused, nor wavering on my manliness…


After watching Fast 5 yesterday (which I enjoyed very much), it got me wondering. Girls in Shanghai see girls in western movies and seem to be influenced by the way they look, act, etc. Guys on the other hand.... I was once told ‘In Shanghai, girls aren’t attracted to guys with muscles because it means you have to spend time in the gym, which means you’re not focused on making money.’ This is a city where it’s common to see skinny guys with tousled hair, wearing capris and carrying man purses. Shanghai women have the stereotype of being “li hai” which means fierce, while the men are stereotyped to be submissive. It’s hard to argue when you see guys holding the girls hand on one side and her purse or frilly umbrella in the other. It’s weird to say this, but I try to exude a sense of masculinity. I think as Americans, we’re conditioned as men to be big, tough and assertive. Most of you reading this are from there, so you know what a picture of masculinity looks like. It makes me wonder what they think of when they see that here. Do they not recognize it? Do they see it, but dismiss it? Or do they say ‘Ew, who would want to be like that?’

What I’m about to say is merely my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree with me. We can still be friends.

I’ve wondered if I should concede to the different culture and accept that this is what manhood means here, but I can’t do it. I believe it’s not a cultural thing, it’s an inherent thing. I believe that men SHOULD be masculine. Men and women are different and it’s meant to be that way. There is room in masculinity for patience, sensitivity and compassion. But we should also be bold and firm in what we believe and not be afraid to make tough decisions and assume responsibility for them. We should command respect.

Of course, these are stereotypes and not ALL men here fit the description. I know some local chinese guys that are as manly as any red-blooded, meat-eating American. But I feel that in general, the guys in Shanghai need to man up. I will now step down from my soapbox.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Modern Family

Posted by Alan
Click on pictures to see them full sized

Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren (minus Daisy and Janie)

In 1911, Chen Fung Yeu was born in Tai Shan, China. 100 years, 6 children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren later, on April 24, 2011, 120 of us gathered in Queens, New York to celebrate the matriarch of our large and awesome family.

Family portraits; Granddaughters

While much of the family is based in New York, dozens more came in from Canada, Boston, California, Hong Kong, Georgia and me from Shanghai for this reunion, hosted by her grandchildren, headed up by my cousins Shirley and Jennifer. It was years in the making and when it happened, it was pretty incredible that everyone was actually together in one place.

Granddaughers and Grandsons

Restaurant Takeover

I always knew our family was pretty special. I’ve always appreciated how we truly enjoy being with each other and no matter how far or how long it has been since we’ve seen each other, we still feel close. This weekend gave me a new appreciation for the gift of family. Thanks to all of my cousins for making it happen.

The Grandchildren