By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
The Asian Hall of Fame inducted a stellar class of four new honorees this month in Seattle.
News anchor Connie Chung, martial arts legend Bruce Lee, Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and General Antonio Taguba received the honor from the Robert Chinn Foundation before a crowd of several hundred.
“I’ve always considered myself Chinese-not Chinese American, as I’m not a hyphenated person,” said Chung during her induction speech.
Chung became just the second women to anchor a network newscast when she co-anchored the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in 1993. Her career in broadcast journalism spanned 30 years during which she worked with NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN as well as the CBS station in Los Angeles.
“In 1969, there were so few women in journalism, the biggest barrier was being a woman and secondary was being Chinese. It was a male dominated profession. I would think and conduct myself as a White male. Today I stand before you no longer thinking I’m a White male. I stand before you thrilled and honored to be just a Chinese girl,” she declared.
Perhaps no one is responsible for popularizing martial arts in the United States more than Bruce Lee. He not only taught Jeet Kune Do, a form of martial arts in the United States, he wowed the world with his martial artistry in five feature length films. His most famous was Enter the Dragon from Warner Brothers which was released six days after his death in 1973. His wife Linda Caldwell accepted the award on behalf of her husband.
“One of his goals was to show the world the beauty of China’s culture and martial arts,” she said. “He raised the esteem of Chinese men and women. He had passion, energy and belief in self and fulfilled his purpose. He influenced people to be confident in their goal setting, and be motivated ot take action in their lives.”
Kristi Yamaguchi won the Olympic Gold Medal for the United States in figure skating in 1992 in Albertville, France. She is also a children’s author, philanthropist and producer of her own fashion line, Tsu Ya.
“I am Asian American at my core,” said Yamaguchi. Sometimes I don’t feel Asian enough. Sometimes I didn’t feel Caucasian enough. The Asian work ethic is a connecting link between Asian groups. We are taught by parents and grandparents who enabled us to succeed. They ingrained in us not to complain, to respect mentors.”
Retired General Antonio Taguba is only the second U.S. Army General from the Philippines. He served in the military for 35 years beginning in 1972. He authored the report on abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib Prison in 2004 and later in 2008 accused the Bush administration of committing war crimes.
“Being truly successful means doing good for the community and settling a standard of community giving, said Taguba who has been an advocate for the AARP and a big proponent of mentoring young leaders. “As a Pacific Isander, I felt on top of the world for being honored. Maybe my story may have possibly had an impact on young or old. I felt honored and respected to share our story to raise future leaders.”
The induction of Chung, Yamaguchi, Lee and Taguba brings to 22 the number of people inducted into the hall since 2004.
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