'When you drink water from the well, never forget who dug it.'
Beginning in 1937, the onset of the Second World War with the brutal Japanese invasion of China was one of the darkest chapters in Chinese history. Millions of brave young men and women died or were seriously injured on the frontlines and millions more of displaced Chinese also suffered immensely and were in dire need of help. Meanwhile back in Vancouver, BC, and in direct response to the raging war taking place back home, the Wongs’ Benevolent Association of Canada in 1939 formed a new Chinatown athletic group open to all Chinese-Canadians regardless of surname with the sole purpose of raising funds through Chinese lion dancing to send back to those in desperate need in the motherland. Although the Wongs could have named this new entity after their own surname as a symbol of their association’s wealth, prestige and status, they had the foresight and compassion to ensure that all in the community would be welcome to join in this great cause. Thus, this new athletic group would be named after one of their most famous warrior ancestors instead - a brave general from China’s fabled ‘Three Kingdoms period’ named General Hon Hsing (birth name: Wong Joong). General Hon Hsing was not only a Wong by birth, but he is recorded in Chinese history as having deeply cared for his troops despite their different surnames and backgrounds. Thus the “Hon Hsing Athletic Club of Vancouver” was aptly named in perpetual memory of the great general and a new Chinatown based youth group under the patronage of the Wongs’ Benevolent Association of Canada was formed. Interesting trivia: It is widely recognized that the Hon Hsing Athletic Club of Vancouver was the very first school to offer organized Chinese martial arts lessons anywhere in Canada!
Hon Hsing building history:
In the 80 years since its founding, the Hon Hsing Athletic Club of Vancouver has evolved from its early days of just fundraising to its dedication to the community today through: the support of worthy charitable causes both here in Canada and in Asia, guiding Asian-Canadian youth through traditional physical activities such as Chinese Dragon & Lion Dancing, Chinese Martial Arts, Sports, General Fitness, Folk Dance, Chinese Classical Music, the development of good leadership qualities in our youth and in the alignment of our club’s efforts to further promote Chinese traditions, culture and history to mainstream Canadian society.
General Hon Hsing (漢升公) Wikipedia: