Monday, June 4, 2018

Coming Up Next: Diane Ako from Hawaii and a Tribute to her Late Mother, Dancer Extraordinaire Vi Wong

It’s time to get out your dance shoes! 

When I was in Hawaii recently I read a very touching obituary about the one and only Vera Ako -whose stage name was Vi Wong- who at age 88 years “went over the rainbow” in Kailua on March 23. 

In the 1960s she was among the first wave of Asian American pioneering entertainers who dazzled audiences across North America, Europe and Japan at such venues as the legendary Forbidden City Nightclub in San Francisco, California. Celebrities who attended these Chinese performers included Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Duke Ellington. 

There’s more! Vi Wong was part of the dance team headed by legendary Dorothy Toy -who just turned 101 years young- and Paul Wing -at a time when Hollywood overlooked the talents of Asian American performers. 

Joining me from Honolulu on Conversations on the Saturday, June 9 broadcast of Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim is Vi Wong’s daughter, Diane Ako. 

An award-winning journalist, Diane Ako anchors and reports for Honolulu’s ABC affiliate KITV Island News. She’s also reported at stations in California, Pennsylvania and New Mexico and worked at KHON2 and KHNL. Her reporting has garnered ten first-place award from the Society of professional Journalists’ Hawaii Chapter and four Emmy nominations from the San Francisco/Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 

Check out her blog at

Diane Ako launched and headed her own boutique public relations agency, Diane Ako PR. From 2010 to 2014 she was the public relations director and spokeswoman for the luxury resort Halekulani and Waikiki Parc Hotel in Hawaii.

Ako is a Kamehameha Schools alumna who earned a B.A. in Communications from Menlo College and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Do you get the impression that groundbreaking and talent runs in the family? I certainly did! You will, too. 

Please tune in on Saturday, June 9 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time/10:30 p.m. Beijing Time on 1490 WGCH and via live-streaming on anywhere. If you cannot tune in live we have you covered! Those on our email list will get a direct link to the show when it is archived on, on, Facebook, LinkedIn and more!

My friends I have a request. 

Vera was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in Year 2013. Her family requests that you consider a memorial contribution to the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine “in memory of Vera Ako.” 

Here’s how:

1) Indicate if it's for the Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Education Fund (#12722004), the Preclinical Research Fund for Alzheimer’s (#12583204), or both

2) Please make checks payable to UH Foundation

3) Mail to:
University of Hawai‘i Foundation
P.O. Box 11270

Honolulu, HI 96828

Thank you!

Xiexie! Thank you for tuning in to Marvels of China: Pathways to the Pacific Rim. My weekly news blasts and blog site are here to connect you to my show on NewsTalk AM 1490 WGCH Radio, China and the other cultures of East Asia and the Pacific Rim. 

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