By Charles Lam
The Northwest Asian Weekly
The Northwest Asian Weekly celebrated its 30th anniversary last Friday, Oct. 5, with about 650 guests at the Seattle Sheraton hotel ballroom. The gala was part dinner, part benefit, part variety show, and part celebration, featuring entertainment from six different individuals and performance groups, an auction benefitting the International District Emergency Center, and a roast of NWAW Publisher Assunta Ng.
The gala opened with a dragon dance led by gubernatorial candidates Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee bringing guests into the dining room. The dance was followed by an introduction from hosts Molly Shen and Andy Wappler, KOMO news anchor and former KIRO chief meteorologist, respectively.
After a Filipino choir performed the national anthem, guests sat down to a three-course dinner, featuring tea-smoked chicken, braised black cod, flourless bittersweet chocolate cake, and strawberry mochi.
During dinner, guests bid on their table centerpieces and participated in a live auction with all proceeds going toward charity. The live auction raised about $3,000 for the IDEC and featured a pearl and agate necklace donated by Frank Lau Jewelry, a signed jersey and VIP tickets to a Sounders FC game donated by Vulcan Incorporated, pearl earrings donated by Ben Bridge Jeweler, and a professional table tennis table and lesson donated by the Seattle Pacific Table Tennis Club.
Before the live auction, guests were entertained by a bhangra performance from Rhythms of India, a Kung Fu demonstration by Master Hong Yijiao, a Korean fan dance by Morning Star, a performance of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” by Bob Santos, and, most notably, a roast of NWAW Publisher Assunta Ng.
Six of Publisher Ng’s oldest friends appeared on stage before the live auction to roast her, taking their best shots at her aggressiveness, drive, and sharing their favorite stories, including hassling diners in restaurants for donations to the Olympic Sculpture Park and convincing Mayor Norm Rice to appoint more Asians and Asian Americans to his administration. The roasters included CenturyLink’s Jane Nishita, former King County Executive Ron Sims, former Seattle Art Museum Director Mimi Gates, Seattle real estate agent Thach Nguyen, former Seattle City Councilmember Dolores Sibonga, and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
After the roast, Publisher Ng took the stage herself to rebuke the roasters and poke fun at herself, including lamenting that she could only attract two gubernatorial candidates instead of two governors and the fact that she has “no vision” other than to keep the Northwest Asian Weekly in print.
“I don’t know how to do anything except the news business,” she admitted. “In fact, I don’t want to do anything else. I love journalism.”
The gala closed with an a capella performance of “La Bamba” by Washington State Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez and a Happy Birthday song, celebrating the birth of the newspaper, Publisher Ng, and everyone else in attendance.
The Northwest Asian Weekly would like to thank the organizations that sponsored the event, purchased tables, donated gift baskets, raffle items, party favors, and auction items, as well as its readers, subscribers, and supporters for the past 30 years. (end)
Charles Lam can be reached at email@example.com.