Watched the Documentary: “Finding Sandalwood Mountain” (307/366)

“They came to a distant land in search of a new life, and changed Hawaii and China forever.”
~ “Finding Sandalwood Mountain

A few years ago on our annual trip to Maui, Mom and I visited the Wo Hing Museum on Front Street – one of the earliest Chinese community meeting places in Lahaina – where before even the whalers and missionaries came there was a thriving Chinese population.  There, I learned that a documentary called Finding Sandalwood Mountain, about the history of the Chinese in Hawaii, had just been released.  I’ve always been interested in the history of Hawaii’s migrant workers, and how as a melting pot, Hawaii’s face and culture has been shaped by so many other cultures through the generations.  I bought a copy of the DVD, but never got around to watching it.  Like I’ve said before, one of the things I love about the INDT project is that it gives me an excuse to explore and learn more by finally reading books, watching documentaries, and trying new things I had previously put off.  So after purchasing this DVD years ago here on Maui, bringing it all the way back home to San Francisco and letting it sit on my shelf, I packed it in my computer case and brought it all the way back here to Maui on this trip so we could watch it.

Here’s the trailer:

This documentary is absolutely fascinating.  From the stories of the clever and entrepreneurial Chun Ah Fong (Hawaii’s Chinese “Merchant Prince”), to the youth and development of  Sun Yat Sen, the “Father of Modern China” (did you know he was raised in Hawaii and attended high school and college there?) and all the way to modern times and Sentator Hiram Fong (the first Asian U.S. Senator), the Chinese in Hawaii changed the world in ways I had never known.  And today, Hawaii’s Chinese are reaching back to China, spreading the aloha spirit and strengthening the connection between China and America in their own unique way.

Although it may not be as polished as some documentary productions out there, this is one of the richest documentaries I’ve seen – it is simply a wealth of previously untold information, and definitely worth checking out.

Related Links:
Finding Sandalwood Mountain (DVD)

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