The first Chinatown Arch at King and Kekaulike Streets will honor fourteen Chinese individuals who made significant contributions to the Chinese community and Chinatown. They are the movers and shakers in the Chinese community. Their profiles will be inscribed at the base of the arch’s two pillars. The selection committee consists of Michelle Choy, Victor Lim, Elisia Flores, Mona Choy, Peter Shi, Leonard Kam, Edwina Lee, Dr. Lucy Wong, Gifford Chang, Joseph Hu, and Eddie Flores, Jr. The selection committee received the names of twenty-six qualified candidates for consideration. They made the final selection by secret ballots for the fourteen honorees. Their votes were sent directly to Joseph Hu who made the final accounting. The selection process was fair and transparent.
The selection was based on (1) outstanding record in his/her business or profession, (2) recognizable name in the community, (3) significant contributions to the Chinese community and Chinatown, and (4) a trailblazer that pave the way for the Chinese community
A big mahalo to all the members of the selection committee for their hard work and Jill Fukumoto who assisted in the research. The fourteen honorees are listed in alphabetical order.
Chinatown Arch Honorees
C. K. Ai
Businessman and philanthropist. Mr. Ai is the founder of City Mill, one of the largest building material suppliers in the Pacific. He supported the shipping of clothing to China, Japan, India, Korea and Okinawa for many years after World War II. In 1953, he founded the Chung Kun Ai Foundation. The foundation has aided churches, charitable organizations and deserving students throughout the world in obtaining higher education. Mr. Ai was also instrumental in building the First Chinese Church of Christ in 1929. He was also one of the founders of the Nuuanu YMCA.
Sau Ung Loo Chan
Attorney and community activist. Ms. Chan is the first female lawyer of Asian ancestry in Hawai’i. In 1943 she organized the Circuit Court Small Estate and Guardianship Division, which she managed until her retirement in 1976.Throughout her career, Ms. Chan fought for the rights of the poor and the less privileged. Her testimony in 1948 before Congress helped amend unfair aspects of the Immigration Act of 1924.
Clarence T. C. Ching
Businessman and philanthropist. Mr. Ching developed the Damon Tract, Airport Industrial Park, housing developments in Moanalua, and Honolulu Country Club. He was part of a group that founded Hawaii National Bank. Clarence played an instrumental role in the redevelopment of Chinatown Honolulu building the Chinese Cultural Plaza and Kukui Gardens. His foundation continues to help many Hawaii’s needy communities.
Businessman and community activist. Mr. Chun helped transforming Chinatown. He was the founder of the C.Q. Yee Hop, Big Island grocer, rancher, food wholesaler, logging company owner, furniture manufacturer and real-estate developer. He helped Chinese immigrants by housing them and providing jobs until they were self-sufficient. Mr. Chun acted as a banker for Chinese immigrants by sending close to $750,000 worth of gold back to China and by securing its safe delivery to their relatives over the course of 8 years.
Businessman and U.S. Senator. Mr. Fong was the son of an illiterate immigrant. He overcame poverty and became the first Asian-American United States senator, serving from 1959 to 1993. He was a graduate of Harvard Law School. Mr. Fong partnered with 5 other families to establish Finance Factors. It is one of the first industrial and consumer loan companies to service the growing numbers of minorities in Hawaii.
Entrepreneur and real estate developer. Mr. Ho pioneered Asian involvement in the Hawaiian business community through the purchase of $1.2M stock in the Waianae Sugar Company. It was the first time an Asian had executed such a large purchase in Hawaii. Mr. Ho was also the first Asian to own a major newspaper. He bought the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Mr. Ho developed the Ilikai Hotel, and he was the former head of the Honolulu Stock Exchange.
Businesswoman and banker. Ms. Lau is the first woman to chair two major corporations in Hawaii (Hawaiian Electric Company and American Savings Bank). She was voted as the 25 most powerful women in banking in 2004, 2005, 2006. Lau also serves on the boards of the Hawaii Business Roundtable; the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies; Punahou School; and the Consuelo Foundation, which helps women, children, and families in Hawaii and the Philippines.
Tai Heong Kong Li
Physician and community activist. Dr. Kong was the first woman to practice Western medicine in Hawaii. She was credited for delivering more babies than any practitioner in the United States. Dr. Kong was involved in establishing the First Chinese Church of Christ and provided medical services for the church supported Wai Wah Yee Yin Hospital (Palolo Chinese Home). She was president of the Chinese Church Women’s Society, the Honolulu Chinese Orphanage Society, and chaired the Chinese Committee of the American Red Cross.
K. J. Luke
Businessman and philanthropist. Mr. Luke established the Hawaii National Bank. He started Loyalty Associates (a real estate investment partnership), Loyalty Investments, and co-founded Loyalty Enterprises, a management servicing company. Mr. Luke supported education by establishing the Luke Center for Chinese Studies at Punahou School, the Luke Chair of International Finance and Banking at University of Hawaii, Harvard University, and a student center at St. Louis School.
Lum Yip Kee
Businessman and real estate developer. Mr. Lum established the merchandising firm of Wing Duck Chong. He helped to develop taro plantations in Manoa, Moiliili, Palolo Valley and Kahalu’u, established three poi factories in Honolulu, and managed and developed the largest rice planting operation and wholesale distribution agency on the island. He became an active leader in the Chinese business community and helped found the Chinese American Bank and the Liberty Bank of Honolulu.
Businesswoman and philanthropist. Ms. Sullivan started Foodland with her husband, Maurice. The Sullivan Family of Companies includes Hawaii’s largest grocery retailer with 32 Foodland and Sack N Save stores statewide, as well as more than 150 retail stores across nine states and 4,000 employees. She funded many scholarships and made sizable donations to St. Francis Cardiac Care Center, Chaminade University, the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Ronald McDonald House and Queen’s Medical Center West Oahu.
Dentist and philanthropist. Dr Tseu ran a successful dentistry practice for 50 years and remains active in the community as a philanthropist. He served on the Board of Regents at St. Louis School, Chaminade Board of Regents, and the University of Oxford, where he is the chairman of the Tseu Medical Institute. Dr. Tseu funded many projects which include the Chaminade University Nursing School, St. Louis School, Fine Arts Center, the University of Hawaii Culinary School, Kapiolani Medical Center Auditorium; and the American Cancer Society.
Businessman and banker. Mr. Wong was the president and CEO of Liberty Bank. He helped raising money for a new dormitory at the Palolo Chinese Home and was instrumental in securing a loan from the Republic of China to prevent the Chinese Cultural Plaza from going into bankruptcy. He served as president for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and United Chinese Society of Hawaii. He was a director at Nuuanu Memorial Park, Manoa Chinese Cemetery, and Mun Lun Chinese Language School.
Joseph W.C. Young
Dentist and community activist in Chinatown. Dr. Young was appointed as the honorary mayor of Honolulu Chinatown. He was named the Chinese Citizen of the Year in 2005 by the United Chinese Society, recognizing his extensive work on Chinatown improvement projects and other civic work that benefited the Chinese community in Hawaii. Among the major civic projects are raising money for renovations to the Palolo Chinese Home and getting new Chinatown street signs for Chinese speakers.
The fourteen honorees who made significant contributions to the Chinese community and Chinatown were selected by secret ballots. A big mahalo to the selection committee members who spent time in researching and making the final decision on the fourteen honorees.
The Members of the Honolulu Chinatown Arch Selection Committee
Eddie Flores, Jr. – Chair
Chairman of L & L Hawaiian Barbecue. Former Chairman of Honolulu Board of Water Supply and Honolulu Police Commission, Chairman Emeritus for Filipino Community Center, Former Board of Regent for Chaminade University and East West Center, Director for Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, A Better Chinatown Association, Advisor for Hogan’s Entrepreneur and Shidler College of Business.
Lucy Wong M.D. – Member
Retired board-certified family medicine physician. President of See Dai Doo Society, Friends of John A Burns School of Medicine President and Vice President for Hawaii Permanente Retiree Association. Fellow of America Academy of Family Physicians
Peter Shi – Member
President and Chief Executive Officer of CAA Construction and Cabinets. President of Hawaii Fuzhou Business Association. Director for A Better Chinatown Association and Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. Very active in the Fuzhou community in Hawaii.
Edwina Lee – Member
President of the Associated Chinese University Women and 1st Vice President of Tsung Tsin
Association, and incoming Secretary for the Organization of Chinese American Women – Hawaii Chapter. Held leadership positions in other organizations in Jaycees, Boy Scouts, National Legal Secretaries Association, and Goo Association.
Elisia Flores – Member
Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chair for L & L Hawaiian Barbecue. Director for American Saving Banks, A Better Chinatown Association, Diamond Head Theater, Kapiolani Health Care, Hawaii Restaurant Association, and Hawaiian Humane Society. Advisory board for Kapiolani College Culinary Arts Program, the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership, and the University of Hawaii Family Business.
Mona Choy – Member
Senior Vice President and Hawaii Regional Manager for Home Street Bank. Executive Committee Member for the Hawaii Bankers Association, Past President of Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, 2nd Vice President and Trustee of the United Chinese Society, Director for Women’s Fund of Hawaii, Board of Governors for Filipino Community Center and a Rotarian of West Honolulu Rotary Club.
Victor Lim – Member
Owner of five McDonald Restaurants in Hawaii. Graduated from the University of Hawaii with a BBA and MBA. Awarded Hall of Honor from Shidler College of Business. Past president of Lum Sai Ho Tong, Organization of Chinese Americans Hawaii Chapter, Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, and the United Chinese Society of Hawaii.
Leonard Kam – Member
Active in the Chinese community for over more than 30 years. Past president of Kams’ Society, Tsung Tsin Association, Chung Wah Chung Kung Hui, Ket On Society, See Dai Doo Society, and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii. He volunteers in many community organizations and is currently serving as President-Elect of the United Chinese Society of Hawaii.
Gifford Chang – Member
Principal Broker of Ideal Properties, Inc., President of Western Tariff Bureau and DB Productions, Inc. Past President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and OCA for Asians and Pacific Islanders, Inc. Honolulu Planning Commissioner.
Michele Choy – Member
Retired Dental Office Manager; Immediate Past President of Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii; President of the Chinese Chamber Foundation, 2nd Vice President of Tsung Tsin Assn.; Trustee for Ching Clan Benevolent Society; Director for See Dai Doo Society
Joseph Hu – Member
Retired as the President of Servco Pacific Insurance (SPI) in 2018. Past President of the Hawaii chapter of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU), Professional Insurance Agents (PIA), the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, and is currently the 1st Vice President of the Hawaii Chinese Association.