An Era of Conscience

Spectacular cultural performances spread positive happy energy Tai Ji Men Chinese New Year Gathering galvanizes the attendees at Cal Poly Pomona

(Reported by Effie Chen) 

On the beautiful afternoon of March 8 at Cal Poly Pomona, Tai Ji Men presented a series of spectacular cultural performances that touched the hearts of over100 attendees of different ethnic backgrounds; the energetic and jubilant program gave the participants a taste of traditional Chinese New Year!

On March 8, which happened to be the start of this year’s Daylight Saving Time and represented the arrival of spring, Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy in Los Angeles and Cal Poly English Language Institute teamed up to host the 2015 Chinese New Year Gathering to allow people in the local communities to experience the traditions and customs of Chinese New Year. 

Most attendees came with their family members, and many parents brought along with them their children attending schools in Walnut, West Covina, Rowland Heights, Pomona, Arcadia, and Temple City.  While many of them are not of Chinese descent, it seems that more and more people in the mainstream of the American society are paying attention to Chinese New Year.

Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, Zhang-man-ren of Tai Ji Men, stated in his welcoming remarks: “A good beginning is integral to the whole success. May everyone find the key to unlock happiness. Let’s change ourselves, change our lives and change our beings for the better.” He also conveyed his best wishes for all people: “The life journey is full of wisdom and sunshine. Great march forward starts with everyone’s first step. Peace and blessing comes when everything is in balance and good order. A heart is filled with great joy as the meaningful coincidences are fulfilled.”

 Celestial Official Michael Selfridge (first from left); Dr. Tony Torng (second from left), board member of the Walnut Valley Unified School District and  Ambassador for  Ling Ling Chang, 55th District Assemblywoman, Tatumn Walter (third from left), representative of Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Pamela Chen (middle), representative of Tai Ji Men; Dr. Roberta Perlman (fourth from right), board member of the Pomona Unified SchoolDistrict; Mary Ng (third from right), vice president of APAPA-SCR; Daniel Lesho (second from right), director of Cal Poly English Language Institute; and Joseph Hsu (first from right), director of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles.  

The event was graced by distinguished guests such as Tatumn Walter, representative of Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Dr. Tony Torng, board member of the Walnut Valley Unified School District and Ambassador for Ling Ling Chang, 55th District Assemblywoman; Tony Cartagena, council member of the City of Walnut; Dr. Roberta Perlman, board member of the Pomona Unified School District; Mary Ng, vice president of APAPA-SCR; Victor Hung, president of Southern California Lau Kuai Clansmen Association; etc.

The highlights of the program were Tai Ji Men’s cultural performances, including “Celestial Official

  The “Celestial Official” and honored guests.  Tatumn Walter (first from left), representative of Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; Celestial Official Michael Selfridge (second from left); Pamela Chen (second from right) representative of Tai Ji Men; and Tony Cartagena (first from right), council member of the City of Walnut.

Bestowing Blessings upon All,” “Auspicious Lions Bringing Good Fortune to All,” “Lantern Dance,” “Martial Arts Formation,”etc., which galvanized the audience.  Many children were attracted to the joyful and peaceful

 “Auspicious Lions Bringing Good Fortune to All:” lively lions and happy kids depict a happy and peaceful society in the old days.  

“Auspicious Lions” and lined up to take photos with the lions.  One of the lions was played by 16-year-old Fletcher and 46-year-old Kevin. Kevin said, “In Chinese the pronunciation for ‘lion dance’ is the same as that for ‘being selfless.’ Doing the lion dance requires a lot of stamina; I have learned to overcome the age difference between my energetic teenage partner and me and cooperate well with him.  Our shared goal is to make the lion come alive and spread happy and peaceful energy to all participants of the event.” In addition to the energetic lion dance, 6 young Tai Ji Men members also electrified the

   Ladies at Tai Ji Men present the “Lantern Dance,” which symbolizes that a bright light guides people to the way back home and encourages people to follow their conscience to do good deeds.

audience with their powerful positive energy as they agilely and forcefully delivered a martial arts demonstration. The “Celestial Official” was played by Michael Selfridge.  Eager to learn about Chinese culture and the philosophy of yin and yang, Michael started to practice qigong at Tai Ji Men a decade ago.  Through years of qigong practice, he has

 Martial Arts Demonstration  

acquired and accumulated a great deal of wisdom and positive energy. The audience burst into spontaneous applause as they saw a Caucasian dressed in a traditional Chinese costume of the “Celestial Official.”  The “Celestial Official” kept waving his long sleeves to spread blessings to the audience and wish them the best of luck in the Year of the Ram!

Besides Tai Ji Men’s cultural presentations, the Alma Tica Costa Rica Folk-Dance Group and a beautiful young lady of  Indian descent also shared their traditional cultures through fun and graceful dances.  Cultural exchanges can easily bring people closer together and spread the messages of love and peace, which are especially important in today’s world, where geopolitical tensions are escalating among different ethnic groups and nations.

At the end of the program, all participants were invited to take a group picture with the “Smiley Earth” and do the hand gesture of conscience in support of the movement of An Era of Conscience.  Mariann Vargas, who brought her grandson to the gathering, said that she felt a lot of happy and positive energy at the event, and felt especially touched at the end as the group picture encompassed everyone just like a big family.

Dr. Roberta Perlman, board member of the Pomona Unified School District,  said that she was very honored and pleased to attend the event and had learned a lot about the different cultures. She said that the performances were very energetic and full of happy energy.  She also believed that the movement of An Era of Conscience is very important in education because students must act according to their conscience. Jennifer Dill, an MRI technician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, cheerfully said that she had received a lot of happy and harmonious energy and would bring the positive energy back to her home and workplace and pass it on.

An auspicious lion interacts with the attendees.  

Each participant received a unique necklace with the words “Good fortune is coming to you” on it and a red envelop with a bookmark inside that has words of wisdom printed on it.  After attending this cultural feast filled with happy and peaceful energy, the participants all left with smiles on their faces and a great deal of happy, positive energy in their hearts, which was a great way to get the Year of the Ram off to a good start!


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