Remember when ... in 1960? Dwight Eisenhower was President and John Kennedy was running against Richard Nixon. The Philadelphia Eagles were champions of the NFL and the first superbowl had yet to be played. On the local level, work was just starting on the BART transbay tunnel.
Where were you in 1960? Wa Sung President Alan Dear was a young CI in Fort Stewart, Georgia; Past President Stanley Huey was in high school and Recording Secretary Mabel Chong was not yet born!
In 1960, the Wa Sung Service Club, organized several years earlier, decided to formally incorporate as a non profit organization. Reprinted on the previous page is the Articles of Incorporation signed by 1960 President Hon Chew and Secretary Raymond Louie. The Articles list the original 12 Directors of the new corporation and five of them, Hon Chew, Clinton Lee, Howard Ah-Tye, Hoover Ginn and Clayton Soohoo are still active members of the Club - a combined membership of over 200 years for these five "old timers".
What was the Club like in the 60's? They all remember an all male club, similar to many of the service organizations of those days. One annual event was the "wives night out" which was a big social event before the days of women's liberation and the civil rights ending of all male clubs. This event has evolved to Escort's Night Out.
They all remember the camaraderie and closeness when the Club was first formed. Wa Sung was one of the first clubs in Oakland Chinatown, and Hoover remembers that some of its members helped spin off other organizations such as the Oakland Chinese Golf Club and the Chinatown Lions Club.
Hoover also remembers the big inaugural balls that were held in the old Goodman Hall near Jack London Square. Over 400 people attended the dinner and 800 attended the ensuing dance, since it was "the only thing going at that time". The Club hired an orchestra of over 20 musicians to accommodate the biggest social event in Oakland Chinatown.
Clayton Soohoo, Club President in 1959 and Member of the Year in 1977, has fond memories of the Club, including an incident at the sailboat house when Hoover Ginn awarded a "door prize". It was a door that he had taken off the hinges and presented to the winner. Hoover literally and figuratively "tore the house down".
Howard Ah-Tye was President in 1963 and Member of the Year in 1964. He has fond memories of some of the Wa Sung eating events. Richard Lee served terrific steaks at nominal prices at his restaurant, the House of Lee. Hoover Ginn, the great fisherman, also provided fresh black bass for Board of Director dinner meetings and also conducted popular fishing derbies. Many members still remember Hoover's great cioppino night meetings.
Hon Chew joined the Club in 1956 and his favorite Wa Sung memory of the 60's was the institution of programs to build up the charity fund, including the start of the Easter Pancake Breakfast. He recently commented on the changes he sees in the Club, including the recruitment of young members. Hon, forgets that he was only 27 when he joined the Club!
All five members have seen many changes in the Club, the most signifi¬cant of which has been the greater involvement of female members in the Club and increasing diversity in the membership. All five of these charter members have been Past Presidents and Members of the Year. All have been honored as Life Members of the Club.
The Club has changed a lot since 1960, but then so has the community and the rest of the world. Laurens Van der Post, in Venture to the Interior , wrote "Life is its own journey, presupposes its own change and movement, and one tries to arrest them at one's eternal peril."
Old members, new members . .. the Club changes, the Club endures.