Soo Lon Moy and Ben Lau

Recorded November 11, 2020 Archived November 10, 2020 40:23 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: chi003394


Soo Lon Moy (70) speaks with her friend and colleague Ben Lau (62) about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, their lives, and the Chinese community in Chicago.

Subject Log / Time Code

BL talks about how the museum changed priorities since the pandemic hit to help it survive with funding and shifting to virtual events.
SLM describes their fundraiser including that it was a 10 course Chinese dinner
BL says they will now do things differently even after the pandemic ends to reach different audiences including virtual exhibitions saying it has changed the way they'll do business in the future.
SLM talks about a Chinese phrase "eat bitterness" about Chinese immigrants and the transcontinental railroad
SLM says they're no strangers to discrimination and racial injustice and talks about the subtle signs she's seen in Chicago compared with the more than 3000 documented cases nationwide.
BL says the museum can do virtual events to educate people to end discrimination. SLM says they can collaborate with other Chinese museums across the world to stand together, unite with great hope.


  • Soo Lon Moy
  • Ben Lau

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type



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00:08 Hi, my name is to lawn mower. I'm 70 years old. Today is Wednesday, November 11th, 2020. Where in Chicago my partner's name is Sven changbin lau and we are colleagues at the Chinese American Museum of Chicago.

00:33 I have it one. My name is Ben lau and I am 62 years old and today is Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 and we are in Chicago. My partner's name is soo Lon Moy and

00:53 I'll relation My Relations to my partner used to friends.

00:59 And what members and the Met?

01:08 Nice to see you then covid-19, which really has devastated everyone and the whole world as well as quiet. And so I would like to see if you can talk about the priorities that have shifted during the pandemic covid-19 at the Museum.

01:50 Okay, you know before the epidemic our museums priority is implementing some action items listed in our Retreat last year like something like him as a friend thing thing the right things and you know, we have to switch, you know, all our Focus from you know, it is automatic and items to to keeping out Museum survive during the Potomac and this is not absolutely from on a few of my museum and operations. We also are try to find more funding.

02:39 And

02:41 And we also you know shifting out or no. On our in-person operations like a coward some of our events actually. So why would you mess right now from Unity present to go to show like a one of the major events that we are you sure do you have any person know you went outside outdoor, but now we put out meet Autumn Festival, you know on the virtual platform and other very important. I'll make sure you bring yourself. I had to go fund raiser. We used to have a fundraiser as you know, you seen Maddie is here, but we closed at the time. We thought that that that time is not the right time for you to drink some in person though. He went for a fundraiser and we postpone that it to October.

03:42 Thinkin Bout You Know by that time of the epidemic with the over but unfortunately it a situation to create go and then we decided to go with Rachel and so these other in the priority is being polite thing off that have been shifted during the time it maybe you can you know where I'm at to what I said. So so. Do you have any thoughts on this special day off Monday through with the Chinese banquet dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown and where we have hundreds of people attend in the same with the celebrating the mid-autumn festival last year.

04:42 Oh, I think over 600 people registered for that and it wasn't a huge. I need the Chinese festival of autumn Festival in Thanksgiving of I'll pay you what you think do. We really miss, you know, but right now to be safe, we still have our same Partners, especially with the Field Museum Chicago Park District and The Nature Conservancy. We still celebrate the mid-autumn festival together to a virtual event and with wonderful performance.

05:42 And you did a great job and recording many of the performances for us and told you it was very successful Drop Shipping our priority from from one form to another so we have been doing that and it's where you have adapt adapting to to the new dorm virtual events thought that that you may not be well received. No because people may may may have thrown you some kind of a resume or you know, so but it has do, you know real quick. He will have three we can we can we can do a great compliments from The audience's Amanda Partners so that it was great.

06:41 And

06:44 Yeah. Wanna website, you know, so I would encourage people to check that out, which is ww.w. T. C a m u s e u m. Org, so please check it out. I think our fundraiser challenging Frost you want to talk about Albert Pujols fundraiser.

07:16 Yes, we thought that we could do. You know, I'll do a life, you know streaming of a wish your fundraiser, but we got in a different different in Antarctica that we made, you know, come across with her some technical difficulties unexpected technical difficulties during the year to live streaming. So we eventually decided to do pretty record everything and and now we have asked, you know, our what members were volunteers our interns our staff and and you know, I'm already has to keep that testimonies WeMo and appealing to our you know, how many of the members to support us and we need that one hour. We also incorporate some performances.

08:16 From you know what I from man golion my music to Chinese traditional music dances and even you know some Chinese and English, you know poetry from a by the elementary students and it turned out great and we originally expected to raise or no $10,000 for this first-ever virtual fundraiser for us, but

08:48 We not only exceeded our goal of $10,000. We exceeded by a very large. Margin. We got to Noel.

09:04 Nations $1,000 Thursday 80% you know about a hour ago. So I would say that was a very successful fundraiser is far more, you know expected Morgan to be on Alex expectation. So what do you think, you know and I can get Lisa do you think about maybe having smaller many fundraisers or event to cater to different audiences now that we know it all dead people are interested in this type of event. It's wonderful because of the pandemic there's so much to learn and remember and we all lost revenues and we have to learn how to get loans and grants from Government Center.

10:04 Really you do with a lot of hard work and for us to start getting the resources and putting things together so we can apply for these loans and grants and so far. I think we've been pretty successful in terms of getting in that area. Do you want to mention some of the things that we some of the grand that we have recently? Yes that we apply for the PPP loan status paycheck protection, you know long and we got it successfully in May in helping us to know to sustain of operation for 2 and 1/2 months. And then we also need to apply for it and I'll cry.

11:04 From the other, you know, presentations and we can rent, you know from from the state to so

11:15 How to say that you know those Grande really help, you know, how to improve our financial, you know my situation. Otherwise we will have those forever and I hope I hope you know that, you know, I leave soon so that we can you go back to peace nursing home on, you know, that's normal. And but anyway, I have to say that you know what I'm even though the dependent may be over, you know.

11:51 We still

11:53 Quit changing are some of the ways that we had a geisha Lawrence. I would say that you know, we will try to create you no more virtual events and before before we actually we didn't have any virtual events, but now we like to have me to create, you know, somewhere in which events even though we will have no interest in Branson This Witch of the West app to help us to reach our border in a pool of all the answers and different audiences. Like I'm not only event we also could put you off on your foot up your ass and worship is a patient's like early we have to our attic treasure to Espeon you to put on Virtual platform so weak we got in our audiences from other states that give us a note very good compliments on our way show you no expectations. So I was thinking that you know the time

12:50 Change the way that we do business in the future.

12:56 Yes, that's wonderful. Yes. I know we need I'm with the exhibition. I'm getting really wonderful plan on having more virtual.

13:13 Events are exhibition and as well as election. So I think this is the way to go. We would also like you said, you know, it's wonderful to be able to reach why do audience and and get materials out there to educate everyone in your group that come in.

13:53 Okay. Yeah, that sounds great. So events online and change the way that people to communicate and to meet flight on you know, where you use our resume platform to do. You know how virtual what meanings?

14:16 So are you the passing of members may not be able to join us because of the transportation issues, but now they Canyon City. Comfort comfortably at home to do the online. You know, I'm I'm meeting just like in the correctly we can do the virtual meetings.

14:37 I'm home. So I think that's not a way that people made change to meet me in the future like you and I want to send you somewhere actually made it more and more meetings will go on Rachel platform like the text Abby not as text areas on some of the younger people we managed to learn and and do that, you know, not just minimal we do but it's very enjoyable though, and it saves a lot of time and effort but you know, we would love to be able to get back to some impersonal in-person meeting for the social isolation aspect of it, which is very important to all of our

15:37 Relationship. Okay, you know what, you know, why was changed you know how our financial planning to so we'd like to talk with the financial in the committee to see if we can secure Morgan and dahlman so that we can have a more sustained, you know operation funding source or in the future. So everything change, you know.

16:04 Doing the pickup, and I'm a very true. So we're always looking for new ways of helping.

16:17 Show

16:21 Do you find yourself drawing on thinking about critical time?

16:32 Are there any specific family community or cultural memory like at these are sources of strength that you are reflecting upon and leaning into right now.

16:46 Because of the time because of the shelter in the order that they change Academy but you know what they are some people that they prefer not to stay home that you know, they came out to help, you know, our communities especially the front light workers some, you know, where individuals from nonprofit organizations take came out to help out with the with the Potomac when you know with those people who have been in. A fact about the time it so we currently have a project call Mo Mo stands for our Chinese American Museum of Chicago came up together against covid-19 special collection.

17:39 On this special project. What's the septic aside? We see that there are a lot of new individuals who came out to help in the front light workers who fight against Toronto covid-19. So this project has a go of recording the experiences and stories of individuals families and organizations during business challenging and difficult times and will include various form of contents.