Pam Chun

2005 Kapalapala Po`okela Award for Excellence in Literature for WHEN STRANGE GODS CALL


Pam & Alan Cheuse (NPR)at the launch of his latest book at 2008 BEA in Los Angeles

At the Smithsonian with The Hawaii State Society of Washington DC

My talk at the Smithsonian Institute
was sponsored by the Hawaii State Society and the Smithsonian
in Washington DC
Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Pam & Dr. Franklin Odo of the Smithsonian

Recent Recognition

Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize
Fiction Judge

2007 Asia Pacific Leadership Award
University of San Francisco
Center for the Pacific Rim

2004 Outstanding Overseas Chinese
Chinese Consolidated Women's Association & the Chinese Six Companies
San Francisco

Meet Pam Chun

Christmas: Hawaiian style!

My Father's Last Odyssey

Woody and his friends on the Old Pali Road, Honolulu, O`ahu

The last time I saw my father alive he asked me to write him ‘a good book.’ So frail then, he fixed me with eyes glossed with such sadness I was afraid to ask what he meant. Did he mean a book about his life? Or his obituary? Two weeks later he was gone.

Throughout his six month slide from robust independence at home to his passing in a Kane`ohe hospice, he faced death by refusing to accept it. He did not go gently into the night as expected of a soft-spoken gentleman. His last two months he was fed through a tube in his side. On his worst days, he fought for air, even while on oxygen. Although he was over ninety-seven when he got his pacemaker, he fretted about outliving his batteries. He swam against the current, fought the outgoing tide, and struggled to dig his toes into the shore of life until his eyes closed for the last time.

I was thousands of miles away in one of the oldest cities in China when my eldest brother left a message. Dad had died. He scheduled the funeral for next week, two days before I could return. My brother would not wait for me.

My father and I had a special bond that time, space, and death could not diminish. But I could not start his ‘good book.' So he appeared in my dreams, each time to teach me one more lesson, to reveal one more truth he felt I needed to know. He gave me his love and the strength to write his 'good book.'

Enjoy this step back in time with photos of Old Hawaii and Woody's favorite recipes.

The impact of my first novel

THE MONEY DRAGON was #1 on Hawai’i’s Best Seller List in both its hardcover and paperback release. Pam received a Gubernatorial Commendation from the Governor of California for THE MONEY DRAGON. She has spoken at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the National Archives and Records Administration Conference on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, The Chinese Historical Society of America, University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim, The Hawai’i State Library and national organizations and bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Hawai’i, and Washington DC.

THE MONEY DRAGON was named one of 2002's Best Books of Hawaii. In 2003 it received a Ka Palapala Po`okela Award from the Hawaii Book Publisher’s Association for excellence in literature about Hawaii.

Pam Chun and THE MONEY DRAGON is featured in the documentary, HAWAII'S CHINATOWN which premiered on Hawaii PBS.

In 1990, U.S. Senator Fong, Hawaii's fist U.S Senator, told me about my great-grandfather, Lau Ah Leong.

In 1990, Senator Hiram Fong, Hawai‘i's first U. S. Senator, told me that he had known my great-grandfather, Lau Faat Leong. L. Ah Leong, as he was known then, had owned one of the largest retail/​wholesale businesses in the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1900’s.

I was mystified. I had never heard that name before. When I asked my elders who was this L. Ah Leong, they asked why I wanted to know. And anyway, there wasn’t anything good to say about him.

Yet, at the corner of King and Kekaulike Streets, you will see “L. Ah Leong Block - 1909” in huge gold letters towering over the heart of Honolulu’s Chinatown.

Despite his phenomenal success, L. Ah Leong is not mentioned in any book on Hawai‘i’s history, nor in any book about the Chinese in Hawai‘i. It took me ten years to discover he had built a successful business, was known to the Hawaiian monarchy, knew the American businessmen who became the powerful elite, and was able to use the laws to his advantage.

Despite turbulent times, L. Ah Leong amassed a business empire in Hawai‘i and China, had five wives, estates in two countries, and dozens of children.

THE MONEY DRAGON is a portrait of an Asian-American tycoon who had the power and influence to circumvent discriminatory U.S. laws and racial profiling. But the empowered women in his family complicate his plans. Like King Lear, Ah Leong makes a tragic decision that shatters his family. The book includes authentic historical documents and photos of Ah Leong and his family.

Pam Chun received a Gubernatorial Commendation from the Governor of California on the day of THE MONEY DRAGON's release. The Commendation states "By sharing your talent and unique perspective, you have given greater insight into the cultural traditions of the Chinese-American community. Your dedication to artistic excellence has made a lasting impact on your community and on the literary field."

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Click book title below for Synopsis & Reader's Guide

Memoir, Aging Well, Distance Caregiving
In the early 1900s Woody grew up running barefoot in the lush valleys of Territorial Hawaii. From camping at Kailua Beach with his buddies to raising his family, he’s immersed in the exciting blossoming of the Paradise of the Pacific. But as he approaches ninety, he insists he’s too busy to die.
When Strange Gods Call is a story of old family rivalries that threaten ill-fated lovers who defy generations of family hostility. Hawaii, a tropical paradise alive with history and myths, is the temptress that lures the lovers back and becomes part of this tale of love lost and rediscovered.
Historical Fiction
Chinese American financier and merchant Lau Ah Leong, an immigrant to Hawaii in the 1880's became one of the wealthiest men in Hawaii during a time of racial discrimination.