The Kwan Family, December 30, 1911

A Legacy

The Influence of Women

Stephen Bau
4 min readOct 24, 2018


Inspired by Rachel Held Evans

I am listening to the Audible version. I am enjoying the perspective of a woman from Appalachia deconstructing her southern evangelicalism with such wisdom and insight, delivered in a drawl and twang that adds to the humour and warmth that she brings to her evolving understanding of these ancient libraries.

Hypothetically, what if the wife of a British police officer in Canton found a young girl orphaned by violence and social unrest in 19th century China?

As refugees of the Taiping Rebellion, the girl’s family was on their way to Canton, when her mother was killed by the “Red Scarf Bandits”, the followers of the self-styled ‘Christian’ Emperor Hong Xiuquan. Her father left her resting on the steps outside a house to go on his own to search for the girl’s brothers, but never returned.

The girl grows up and marries a Christian man, the first Chinese dentist to practice in Hong Kong and Canton. Their children and their children’s children and grandchildren become distinguished members of society in China.

One grandchild marries a doctor and they have five children, raising them during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. After the war, they travel to Mauritius, then return to Hong Kong when the political situation feels more secure.

As the matriarch of the family, the mother plays the role of a Proverbs 31 woman, investing in Hong Kong real estate. They send some children to do their schooling in Australia because racism will prevent them from being able to hook up. Their eldest son will dream of being an artist but will instead be compelled to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Members of the Bau family at the inauguration ceremony for the Bau Institute of Medical & Health Sciences Education, October 22, 2015

Chasing a girlfriend to Vancouver, he gets dumped and stranded without money and without a job. A hospital in the city just happens to have an opening for a residency position. He accepts the medical residency, marries a nurse and has three boys. He becomes active in the Jesus people movement in Vancouver. He benefits from his mother’s investments in Hong Kong real estate and opens a private medical practice and a Christian book store in a suburb of Vancouver. As a member of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, he actively supports televangelists Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson and Benny Hinn.

His eldest son becomes a graphic designer, who becomes actively engaged in the Vineyard movement, working with a celebrity worship artist on the design for a live album, sparking a movement called Love Your City.

His deconstruction begins when the church splits. Over the years, the son becomes estranged from his evangelical family.

When Trump is elected President, he feels complicit because of his part in the evangelical power grab and begins speaking out against the rise of authoritarianism around the world, tracing the problem back to Constantine, when the church got into bed with empire.

Nancy Kwan

Nancy Kwan, actress, stars in The World of Suzie Wong.

Sylvia Kwan

Sylvia Kwan, architect, competes on Survivor.

James K.M. Cheng

On December 30, 2012, James K.M. Cheng 鄭景明 (7–3–1–1) was appointed to the “Order of Canada” by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. Cheng was recognized for his contribution and influence in developing Vancouver style of architecture.

Kevin Kwan

A distant cousin (Kevin Kwan, 9–1–2–3) on his grandmother’s side writes a book that gets made into a blockbuster, Crazy Rich Asians.

Hypothetically, mind you.

Imposter Syndrome

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved.

“It’s a crazy business, John.”

Aubrey Plaza trolls viewers on the Daily Show by being really weird and existential

“Isn’t every moment in life an improv scene, John?”

Stephen Bau, 2–10–1–1



Stephen Bau

Designer, educator, social architect, founder, Builders Collective. We are exploring how we imagine, design, and build the future together.