Around Town | February 4, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 4, 2022

Around Town

CULTURAL PRESERVATION ... The future of Cantonese language classes at Stanford University has been in turmoil since December 2020, when the university cut the only lecturer position for the program. The decision propelled a group of students, alumni and community members to band together and form the Save Cantonese at Stanford campaign. Since then, Stanford has brought back two Cantonese courses taught by a part-time instructor. The group's goal of endowing a permanent, full-time lectureship at the university was recently boosted with a $1 million gift from S.J. Distributors Inc. The Milpitas-based wholesale company provides vegetables, frozen meat, seafood and dry goods for restaurants, chain stores and the public. "Language is how we transmit culture. Handed down from ancient times to the modern age, Cantonese still retains much of the pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar of Classical Chinese literature, which proves that this language is of profound cultural importance," S.J. Distributors CEO Scott Suen said in a Jan. 28 press release. "By providing long-term support for Cantonese classes, we believe this opens a channel for those who love Cantonese language and culture to continue to access them." Save Cantonese at Stanford's leaders were grateful for the substantial donation. "When S.J. Distributors reached out to us with their offer, we were simply floored. This is a dream come true for the entire team," campaign leader Dr. Jamie Tam said in a statement. The spirit of appreciation also resonated with fellow leader Maciej Kurzynski. "We are thrilled that S.J. Distributors shares our vision and that Cantonese continues to be taught as a modern, living language," Kurzynski said.

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