Banners honor Chinese community contributors

Oct. 24—Fourteen people are being honored posthumously by the Better Chinatown Organization and the City and County of Honolulu for their significant contributions to Chinatown and the Chinese community.

Fourteen people are being honored posthumously by the Better Chinatown Organization and the City and County of Honolulu for their significant contributions to Chinatown and the Chinese community.

Banners of the honorees have replaced the old, faded banners surrounding Kekaulike Mall. The change goes hand in hand with the Better Chinatown Organization’s beautification efforts.

The organization’s founder, Eddie Flores, hopes the new installment will inspire pride in the community through the recognition of Hawaii’s heroes of Chinese ancestry.

“The community as a whole should be very proud of these people because they made tremendous contributions to Hawaii, to our economy, to the community, for politics, for everything, ” Flores said.

Those being recognized :

Chung Kun Ai—businessperson and philanthropist Sau Ung Loo Chan—attorney and community activist Clarence T.C. Ching—businessperson and philanthropist Chun Quon Yee Hop—businessperson and philanthropist Hiram Fong—business ­person and U.S. senator Chinn Ho—entrepreneur and real estate developer Lum Yip Kee—businessperson and real estate developer Constance Hee Lau—businessperson and banker Tai Heong Kong Li—physician and community activist Kan Jung “KJ ” Luke—businessperson and philanthropist Joanna (Lau ) Sullivan—businessperson and philanthropist Lawrence K.W. Tseu—dentist and philanthropist Chock Tong Wong—businessperson and banker Joseph W.C. Young—dentist and community activist Images of those honored and detailed descriptions of their accomplishments were formerly displayed at Central Pacific Bank in downtown as an exhibit, Flores said. But upon walking through Chinatown about two months ago, he noticed Kekaulike Mall’s banners had faded and frayed. He then decided that hanging the images around the mall could not only help spruce up the area, but also spread awareness of the honorees’ accomplishments.

With rail construction planned to take place next to Kekaulike Mall, Flores also plans to take more steps in beautifying the area. Chinatown is already moving in the right direction, he added, noting an increase in visitors, police presence and a decline in homelessness. His current plan is to build an archway at the mall’s entrance near to where rail passengers will disembark.

“Every city you go to, all the tourists want to go to Chinatown, ” Flores said. “Now, with the rail being built with a stop right there, we have to keep it clean, keep it safe.”

Flores’ pride for those honored also comes from recognizing the humble beginnings of some of those honored.

“They worked in a plantation, and when a contract expired, they came out and started the business, started to do their own thing and became very successful, ” Flores said. “They set a lot of records in the United States, so we are very proud of them.”

Learn more about the awardees, their accomplishments and their contributions by visiting the Better Chinatown Organization’s website : .——Linsey Dower covers ethnic and cultural affairs and is a corps member of Report for America, a national service organization that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues and communities.

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