BLOG: Uncle Bob still fools us

Bob Santos, unofficial mayor of the International District, who hardly looks 80, celebrated his 80th birthday at the Nisei Vets Hall last Saturday with more than 200 guests. Well, Uncle Bob, if you follow comedian Billy Crystal’s advice, you are going to celebrate your birthdays for at least 20 more years.

Crystal wrote in his book, “Still Foolin’ ‘Em,” that the older you get, the more you should celebrate your birthday. “… every day that I’m here, I am grateful,” he wrote. “I believe birthdays are to be celebrated, especially when you turn 65.”

Just look at Santos. He’s fit and trim, energetic, young at heart, and his mind is sharp. He still plays a vital role in collaborating with diverse leaders to do good for the community. People like to pick Santos’ brain. The Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation invites him to speak every year at our summer youth leadership program. The students rave about his feistiness, wits, and leadership. Born and raised in Seattle’s Chinatown, Santos is perhaps one of the last Asian leaders living and carrying through our struggles and ensuring that the Asian community receives its share of recognition. And during his six decades of community involvement, he has built many bridges across all sorts of lives — the rich and poor, passive and militant, and doer and talker. You name it, he knows them all. He knows how to mobilize them do something positive for the community.

At home, Santos is taking care of himself and his wife, Rep. Sharon Tomoko, who has a demanding job as a legislator. He said he’s a good cook and especially enjoys preparing dinner for his wife when she comes home late from legislative sessions. He has never been idle after his retirement. Those are the secrets to longevity. Have a purpose at home and in the community.

Simplify a party

Santos set up new rules for an enjoyable party: No dinner, no speeches, just dance, and have fun. Organizing a dinner requires lots of time-consuming planning and money. Even First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated her 50th birthday at the White House without a dinner. Her invitation asked guests to wear dancing shoes and implied that everyone should eat before showing up. Santos’ invitation said, “Uncle Bob’s Dance Party.” That’s the kind of party I like — not too much sitting around, more mingling with friends. Santos’ party served lots of delicious items, such as Chinese barbecue pork and yummy potatoes. Sharon kept bugging me to eat. I guess she didn’t want to bring home any leftovers.

Santos loves to talk, sing, dance, and entertain. It’s delightful to watch him dance and sing. And no speeches, just party! How cool was that!

Money is the evil for Chinese students

Did you read the news lately about two Chinese students involved in two different fatal car accidents close to Olympia and Auburn? It also happened in California, in which one Chinese student was arrested after a high-speed police car chase on Feb. 20. Fortunately, this one did not result in any fatalities.

For the past few years, universities and community colleges dealing with financial crises have actively recruited Chinese nationals for one reason — they have money. Why not?  Rich students help to pay the bills, compensating for what the state budget fails to provide for higher education.

International students pay as much as $30,000 to $40,000 a year for tuition and room and board, while in-state students pay much less — about one third of that amount.

The trouble with these wealthy Chinese students is that parents give them too much money.

They are just kids — 17 or 18 years old, not adequately supervised, and they love to show off their money by buying fancy cars.

Parents, show your love by giving them just enough to get by. Never allow them to buy cars. Don’t think you can just dump your kids here and say goodbye. Otherwise, you will have to face ugly consequences later. (end)

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