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Teaching About Asia - November 2008

USCI's monthly e-newsletter on news and resources for teaching about Asia
November 1, 2008

Restauranteur Madame Sylvia Wu with Cary Grant, ca. 1966.

Happy Thanksgiving! If you are still planning your holiday meal and want a bit of Asian inspiration, visit the click here for a sampling of recipes from the legendary Madame Sylvia Wu, restauranteur to the stars. Her Santa Monica eatery, Madame Wu's Garden, was a favorite of Hollywood luminaries, politicans and other VIPs for over four decades. Of the three recipes contributed by Madame Wu and her son, federal judge George Wu, the one for Toasted Shredded Chicken Salad (favorite of Cary Grant), can be found below.

If you are planning ahead for future learning and teaching opportunities, see our announcements below for information on a Korean history and culture workshop in Los Angeles, summer study program in Japan and education funding resource for 2009. The Korea Academy for Educators will offer a workshop on history and culture in LA's Koreatown, the University of Coloraro will take teachers through Japan in the footsteps of 17th century poet Basho, and the ING Unsung Heroes program is seeking to help turn ideas into reality with teaching grants of up to $25,000 for educators.

Please share this newsletter with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe (go to our newsletter subscription page and select the “K-12 Education” subscriber category).

In this issue:


♦  Madame Wu's Asian Inspiration

Madame Sylvia Wu was born in Jiujiang, China, and came to the U.S. to attend Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1944. There she married King Yan Wu, an MIT graduate from Hong Kong and grandson of Wu Tingfang, China's first ambassador to the United States.

At her Santa Monica restaurant, Madame Wu’s Cantonese cuisine attracted a large following until its closure in 1998. By then she had published popular cookbooks (Madame Wu’s Art of Chinese Cooking and Cooking with Madame Wu: Yin and Yang Recipes for Longevity), a memoir (Memories of Madame Wu) and a remembrance of Song Qingling, the widow of Sun Yatsen (Memories of Madame Sun). She has since had a busy semi-retirement, producing Madame Wu’s Garden: A Pictorial History. She is currently at work on a second memoir.

Below is a recipe for a Chinese chicken salad dish, inspired by a conversation with her longtime customer and friend Cary Grant.
Toasted Shredded Chicken Salad (Sao See Gai)

2 chicken breasts or drumstick thighs (Put in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes; remove and drain on paper toweling)

Have Ready For Deep-Fry:

2 quarts vegetable oil
8 squares wonton dough cut into 1/8” strips
1/3 package rice noodles
Chicken (prepared as above)

Step 1:

Pour the 2 quarts of oil into a deep fryer and heat to 350° F. Test for readiness by dropping one of the rice noodles into the oil. If it sinks to the bottom, the oil is not hot enough. When it pops up immediately put the dough strips and fry to a light tan color. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Step 2:

Divide the noodles into 3 parts and deep-fry separately. The noodles should “explode” on contact with the hot oil and should be instantly removed before the oil is absorbed. Drain on paper toweling.

Step 3:

Now deep fry the chicken meat for 5 minutes. Remove, drain on toweling, bone and cut into strips, including the skin.

Have Ready For Chicken Salad:

2 cups cooked chicken meat
1 teaspoon liquid mustard
¼ teaspoon 5-spice powder (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped fine
½ cup thinly sliced green onions, using only bulb and white stem
½ teaspoon salt

Step 4:

Put the chicken meat in a large bowl. Add the mustard, Five-Spice powder, sesame oil, soy sauce, almonds, green onions, salt, and mix well.

Step 5:

Add the crisp fried wonton strips and noodles and mix thoroughly. The will break into small bits by the mixing. Pile the salad over the lettuce bed, but do not toss; it will become soggy.

Recipe serves four.

♦  Asia in the Classroom - USC campus events

USCI and other USC research centers coordinate a range of on-campus programs exploring important issues and trends in Asia.  Below are several events that highlight topics you may wish to cover in your classroom. 

For additional event details and to browse our entire event calendar, please click here.  Visitor information for the USC campus can be found here.  

•  Lecture - China's Place in the Global Financial Crisis

Speaker: Calla Wiemer, UCLA Center for Chinese Studies

Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Time: 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Location: USC University Club, Banquet Room
Cost: Free

Contributor, victim, and/or potential savior? Calla Wiemer will discuss China's place in the global financial crisis.

Calla Wiemer is a Visiting Scholar at the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, a Research Associate at the National University of Singapore East Asian Institute, and a Consultant to the Asian Development Bank.  She has been an observer of the Chinese economy since studying at Nanjing University in 1981 and has just returned home to southern California after four years in Singapore. More information...



♦  Resources for Teaching about Asia


•  Council on Foreign Relations - Crisis Guide: Climate Change

The Council on Foreign Relations has updated their Crisis Guide: Climate Change website. In addition to a compelling video and multimedia component (overview, recognizing the problem, sources and impacts, weighing options, countries and resources, perspectives by sector, resources), the site includes many print materials.

The "Countries and Resources" tab on the multimedia platform is especially useful for educators - at a glance, you can get data on population, GDP, emissions, and much more.



♦  Learning Opportunities for Educators



•  Korea Academy for Educators - Summer 2009 Workshop in Los Angeles


K-12 educators are invited to apply for "Korean History & Culture and the Korean American Experience," the Korea Academy for Educators' Fifth Annual Seminar for K-12 Educators, to be held from August 3-7, 2009 at the Korean Cultural Center (5505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036).

Participants will hear from prominent scholars, view engaging and informative films, explore Koreatown, visit a Buddhist temple, and learn about Korean arts. The program also includes daily breakfast/lunch, parking and course materials. Additional information and applications available at

•  University of Colorado - Summer 2009 Program in Japan

In the summer of 2009, the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado is leading a four-week seminar in Japan on 17th century poet Basho’s Oku no Hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Interior). Participants will follow Basho’s route, visiting the historic, religious, and literary sites he visited, studying his writings, and meeting with contemporary poets and scholars of his work. 

Open to secondary teachers of World History, World Literature, and Japanese Language. Additional information and applications available at Application deadline is February 6, 2009.

♦  Funding Opportunity for Educators



•  ING Unsung Heroes - 2009 Awards


For more than 10 years, with $3 million in awarded grants, ING Unsung Heroes has proven to be an A+ program with educators.Each year, 100 educators are selected to receive $2,000 to help fund their innovative class projects. Three of those are chosen to receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000

Announcements of the 2008 awards, as well as information and applications for the 2009 awards are available at Application deadline is April 30, 2009.

♦  Museum Exhibitions on Asia

•  LACMA - The Age of Imagination: Japanese Art, 1615–1868, from the Price Collection - Encore


Dates: Through January 4, 2009
Location: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036; exhibition shown at Japanese Pavilion
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 12 to 8 pm; Friday 12 to 9 pm; Wednesday closed
Admission: Adults $12; seniors (62+) and students $8; children 17 and under free
Education coordinator: Alicia Vogl Saenz, 323-857-6512

The Etsuko and Joe Price Collection is world-renowned for its collection of Japanese paintings of the Edo Period (1615–1868) featuring screens, hanging scrolls, and fan-format paintings and reflects the eclectic diversity of a remarkably creative span in Japan's history of visual art. 

View a video narrated by Joe Price here.

 •  Pacific Asia Museum - Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art

Dates: Through January 11, 2009
Location: 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Admission: Adults $7; students/seniors $5; free every 4th Friday of the month
Education coordinator: Amelia Chapman, 626-449-2742, ext.19

Features Chinese ink rubbings, folk paintings, silk embroideries and Japanese woodblock prints related to the ritual of honoring the ancestors, an important concept in Confucian ideology.

The museum’s website also offers an online exhibition:Rank and Style: Power Dressing in Imperial China

•  Mingei International Museum - India Adorned

Dates: Through April 19, 2009
Location: 1439 El Prado (on the Plaza de Panama), San Diego, CA 92101
Hours and admission: click here

Objects of worship, personal decorations, and items used in daily life are among those included. Many items can be viewed via the website.

•  Bowers Museum - Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China


Dates: Ongoing
Location: 2002 North Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm; open late the fourth Thursday of every month until 8:00 pm
Admission: Adults $12; seniors (62+), students and children (6-17) $9; children under 6 free    
Education coordinator: Linda Kahn, 714-567-3679

Exquisite textiles and silver jewelry highlight the beauty and wealth of the Miao peoples of southwest China. Symbols of status and culture include finely pleated skirts, complex batik pattered cloth, intricate silk embroidery and shining textiles woven with metal.

Discounted museum tickets can be purchased from Goldstar Events.

♦  Teachers on Asia

•  Asia in My Classroom Discussion Forum

Teachers of all levels and subjects are invited to join our "Asia in My Classroom" forum. To become a registered user (enabling you to post to the board), please e-mail us your request along with your name, school, and the grades and subjects you teach.  What teachers have been talking about:

→  On teaching about global health issues: "We have a sophomore project where students must pick a world problem, do a research project and 40 hours of community service related to it. In my class, I presented this Time magazine article for students to read and present to the class to open awareness about cancer in different ethnic groups and countries around the world. Please note the experience of Chinese women in American and Asia..."
- Priya Talreja, Pioneer High School

→  On using Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book in literature class: "I have...directed [students] to make lists; usually I give them two or three topics a night...and they are doing a fabulous job. Many are very simple and rudimentary, but other students are taking the time to explain and elaborate on choices. I am very interested to see how they develop these lists once we actually begin to study The Pillow Book. If you wish to see what my students have created, we use an online journal:"

- Christy North, Carson High School

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