On Sunday night, we had a screening at the Chinese Association of Victoria. In the late afternoon, Rae and I took the train from Flinders Station to Wantirna, a suburb of Melbourne. Lillian and Rex Lai picked us up from Blackburn Station and drove us to the CAV. The association was founded back in 1982 by a group of 30-40 Chinese from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia immigrants who shared common objectives for the future of Chinese in their newly adopted country of Australia. After meeting in members’ homes and rented facilities for several years, they opened up the CAV Centre in Wantirna in 1995.
It was at the CAV Centre where we held our screening. We always enjoy showing the film to Chinese organizations such as these, because their primary membership base are often people from our parents’ generation. One of the things that I enjoy asking is how they came to the decision to leave their country of birth to immigrate to Australia or the United States. As we take Autumn Gem to additional international locations, we’ll be asking this question more and more. I find it fascinating to think how one decision changed the course of history for them and their families. As first-generation American born Chinese, we have been fortunate to have grown up in relative prosperity. The decisions we made in our early twenties pale in comparison to those our parents faced. We owe a great deal to them for their sacrifice in providing us a better tomorrow!
One person in attendance was a very sprightly 96-year old CAV member. We recently attended the 100th birthday celebration of my grandmother in San Francisco. They were both born right around the time of the fall of the Qing Dynasty. 2011 is the 100-year anniversary of the 1911 Revolution, which saw the establishment of the Republic of China. As I mentioned in a previous post, we want people to think of our film when researching the role of women during this time!
Following the screening and a brief supper, two of the founders of the CAV, Chooi Hon and her husband drove us back to our hotel in downtown Melbourne.