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St. John's Chinese New Year celebration rings in Year of the Dog

Celebrations of the Chinese New Year in St. John's included the recognition of oncologist Dr. Kim Hong, who was awarded a Senate of Canada 150th Anniversary Medal. —  Alick Tsui Photography
Celebrations of the Chinese New Year in St. John's included the recognition of oncologist Dr. Kim Hong, who was awarded a Senate of Canada 150th Anniversary Medal. — Alick Tsui Photography - Submitted

Doctor, CANL founder honoured by Senate

The largest Chinese New Year celebration ever in the province’s history saw 375 guests dance, eat, and sing their way into the Year of the Dog Saturday evening at CLB Armory in St. John’s.

It’s said that the Year of the Dog is about promoting hard work and loyalty. It seems fitting, then, that Dr. Kim Hong — a man known across the province for embodying these qualities—would be recognized at the event with a Senate of Canada 150th Anniversary Medal.

The medals are given to people who do great things for their communities, but who generally do not seek the limelight.

Celebrations of the Chinese New Year in St. John's included a traditional lion dance. — Alick Tsui Photography
Celebrations of the Chinese New Year in St. John's included a traditional lion dance. — Alick Tsui Photography

Hong graduated from Dalhousie University in 1966 and started working as a radiation oncologist in St. John’s in 1971. He spent his entire career in the province providing cancer care for thousands of people.

Hong also founded the Chinese Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (CANL) back in 1976. CANL organizes the annual Chinese New Year celebrations.

Current CANL vice-president Frank Huang says Hong is best known for his “compassion and outstanding commitment to his patients and their families.”

Two people Hong provided care for include Sen.David Wells’ late mother and grandfather. It was significant, then, that Wells presented Hong with the medal.

“He treated my grandfather in 1980,” said Wells. “And my mother … throughout the ‘80s, and she subsequently died in 1988. But he gave her great care, and of course that care extended to the families as well.

“Dr. Kim Hong has done a lot, not just for the Chinese community…but he’s also done amazing things in the medical industry as a radiation oncologist, and as a teacher, and as a mentor, and a person who cares for families in need.”

Hong says the most memorable event over the course of his career was to see the expansion of the cancer centre in St. John’s, and the regional clinics across the province, “which in turn provided more services to people near their homes.”  

Saturday evening’s Chinese New Year celebration in St. John’s was the biggest one yet, and included various performances. — Alick Tsui Photography
Saturday evening’s Chinese New Year celebration in St. John’s was the biggest one yet, and included various performances. — Alick Tsui Photography

When Hong founded CANL in 1976, he had a vision for the Association that he says he’s happy to see ongoing today.

“To make us better citizens of the land,” said Hong. “By trying to achieve that, you would have social events and functions, integrate with the larger community, and thereby become better citizens.”

juanita.mercer@thetelegram.com

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