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My Cup of Tea

A Chinese Odyssey - Year of the Dragon.

April 12, 2012
Sarah Ruppenthal · Contributing Writer - Contributing Writer , The Maui Weekly

When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 23, 2012, we ushered in the Year of the Dragon. Until recently, I didn't know much about this legendary symbol of the Chinese Zodiac--not to mention, its symbolism.

Thankfully, my friend Dean Wong helped demystify the significance of the Year of the Dragon.

"The Dragon is the mightiest of the signs," Wong explained.

Article Photos

Sarah Ruppenthal
Contributing Writer

With its brilliant coat of mysterious colors, the Chinese consider the Dragon to be an enigmatic, unpredictable and untouchable animal, yet it (paradoxically) demands our undivided attention and respect.

In Chinese astrology, those born in the Year of Dragon are exceptionally auspicious. It's easy to see why: Dragons are revered as wise, powerful and gifted creatures that bring about good fortune throughout the zodiac year (I, for one, was happy to hear that).

Fire-breathing capabilities aside, Wong said Dragons possess unparalleled courage and strength of character. "They are always confident and fearless in the face of challenge."

This is precisely why "A Chinese Odyssey - Year of the Dragon" is an apropos theme for Women Helping Women's 15th Annual Elegant Afternoon Tea Fundraiser, which will take place on Sunday, April 29, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Yokouchi Pavilion.

Wong, who presides over the Women Helping Women board of directors, assures this year's event will lead each of us to celebrate our inner Dragon--while supporting a very good cause.

Starting at 1 p.m., the afternoon tea will feature an exotic Chinatown Marketplace, "Chinese Firecracker" live auction, Ming Dynasty silent auction, live music and entertainment and specialty Chinese cuisine prepared by Chef Bev Gannon.

The mission of Women Helping Women is to end domestic violence through advocacy, education and prevention. In 2011 (The Year of the Rabbit, if you're keeping track), Women Helping Women serviced more than 500 victims of domestic violence throughout Maui County. Proceeds from the Elegant Afternoon Tea will keep this mission alive.

"This year, in the Year of the Dragon, we will be fearless in the face of challenge," said Wong. "We will be recognized as the beautiful creatures we are, gifted and utterly irrepressible--as a community, as a woman, as an advocate, as a volunteer or as a survivor."

To reserve your seat at this year's event, contact the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Box Office at 242-SHOW or call Women Helping Women's Main Office at 242-6600. For more information, visit



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