By: Elsie Sy-Niebar
*A Tribute to the late MAURICE MUDLONG, first Filipino who ‘opened’ the door of Chicago City Hall to the Fil-Ams during Mayor Richard M. Daley’s reign
*Gong Hey Fat Choy! Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!
*CHICAGO needs our PRAYERs for OUR SAFETY
A TEAR dropped from my eyes followed by “Oh, my God” silent scream when I received an email from Erice Mudlong Cheng about the passing of her beloved Dad, a very dedicated “community person and Kababayan,” the late Maurice Mudlong. He passed away from ALS illness last January 27, 2021, in his hometown, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Few years back, after retiring from the City of Chicago as a city employee, with his devoted wife, Pina, they decided to retire in their hometown. They were very happy enjoying the woodlands, the farms, their fresh produce from their garden, and nature.
But what drowned me most was the email from my Brod Rudy Urian. He is one of our Political Leaders which gained our Fil-Am community some Political Empowerment never heard before. Rudy and Maurice were close buddies. Rudy’s email began with: “I’m so sad upon hearing of the passing away of MAURICE MUDLONG. My heart goes to his loving wife Pina, and their amazing children Erice, Arlene, Cedric families and all the beautiful grandchildren. He was my best phone buddy deep into the night as we talked about strategies, next moves, recommendations for appointments, who’s in, who’s out, and still time to exchange family stories on how the children were doing, was the norm with Maurice! So much that our wives would ask, “Who are you talking to this late at night?”! *** Following what Rudy said above – Yes, it’s true. Maurice opened the door of the City of Chicago City Hall. Yes, Maurice was the first Fil-Am whom former Mayor Richard M. Daley had hired because he more than deserved it. Maurice had a close connection with the mayor particularly in terms of issues related to the Asian American community which Maurice donated his time to find out.
Rudy’s email continued: “Maurice was not only a mover and shaker in our community, but a pillar in our Filipino American Political Empowerment Movement here in Chicago since the 1980’s. I feel so honored, proud, and humbled to have served with a leader who had a heart of gold and the fighting spirit of a Manny Pacquiao. Together with other like- minded activists, we saw the need for a voice, a platform and formed the Filipino American Democratic Organization of Cook County (FADOCC) and partnered with the Filipino Political Action Committee (FILPAC) and, nationally, with the Filipino American Political Association (FAPA) based in California: Elsie Sy-Niebar, Caesar “Bobby Sison, Matthew DeLeon, Roberto Roque, Tim Gabriel, Lee Maglaya, Dr. Prisco Olaya, Carmen Estacio, Rudy Figueroa, Angelo Salutillo, Leah Borromeo, Dionisia Battung, Fran Alayu-Womack, Juanita Salvador Burris, Jerry Clarito, Reverend Vic Esclamado, Maria Visto-Perez, Amie Parisi, Araceli Somera, Dalisay Villalon, Dr. Nunilo Rubio, Bert Roman, Eduardo Fernandez, Anong Santos, Roxanne Volkmann, Angelynne Amores and joined later by Teresita Sagun, Gerry Reyes, Jun Rodriguez… all the while inspired by my visionary late father Federico “Fred’ Urian, who said, “We need to organize the Filipino Community to have a voice!”
“So Dad guided me towards people in our community that he felt had the wherewithal to lead us, and that’s how Bert, Maurice, Elsie, Fran, Lee and Bobby joined Matt and me to form the leadership team of FADOCC and then partnered with FILPAC, who had already been out there. We brought another dimension due to our actual local political affiliations, went National and became leaders of the Asian Political Empowerment Movement!”
“Maurice was involved locally with his Alderman, Cedric Giles of the 37th Ward at that time and that’s what made it easier for us to bond, speaking the same language. Our involvement with the Mayoral election of Richard M. Daley bolstered our FADOCC reputation, and, most importantly, as a leader with the Asian Political Power movement as well. Maurice was one of the first appointees in Mayor Daley,s new administration as the Finance Control Officer for the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training, under Director Mary Gonzalez Koenig. He was the first to actually open the doors of City Hall and we were all ecstatic. His work ethics, professionalism and reputation opened the door for many more Filipinos and Asians. We will miss you, Maurice, but we will not forget you my friend! May you now rest in heaven! Amen!”
Rudy E. Urian, is the former Executive Director, Commission on Asian American Affairs, City of Chicago appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 1989-1990. For several years now, he is the Chief of Staff to Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo, Jr., District 8.
From this columnist: What I remember most about Maurice was his jolly laughter especially when the “problem” at hand affecting our community projects has been resolved under his “no big deal” resolution. Not once did I see him raise his voice in the midst of argumentative “hit” from the group. He was one person who never refused to help or find means to help. The last time I had a conversation with Maurice, was, I think during one of the Philippine Independence Week Committee meetings. He was telling me about the “good life” he and Pina were enjoying in Nueva Ecija, especially doing their gardening. He and Pina loved to “brag” about their produce by displaying it on their email photo-shoots on FB, thus, making us jealous! LOL! Our Heartfelt Condolences to The Mudlong Family: Maurice was predeceased by his parents (the late Mr. Marcos & Mrs. Felicidad Mudlong. He is survived by his beloved and loving wife Pina, their three children Erice (Joe Cheng); Arlene Delapaz; Cedric (Cindy Reyes); and grandchildren Tiffany, Jared, Victoria, Aaron, Dean, Justin, Jason and Elyssa. And his three siblings: Benedicta Muldong, Reynaldo Mudlong (Luzviminda Williams), & Arcadia Mudlong along with nieces and nephew: Reymond Mudlong, Louella and Sean (Clayton, Lanaye and Jayden) Keys, and Karen and Francisco (Raelyn and Logan) Medina.
Maurice’s Funeral Service and Interment was held last February 6, 2021 at The Garden of Eternal Blessings Memorial Park, Guimba, Nueva Ecija, Philippines.#
Our heartfelt condolence to you, dear Pina from VIA TIMES NEWSMAGAZINE for your loss of Maurice – a loving Dad to your children and a great husband to you. I know how it feels to lose a “best half” sent by the Lord to be with us “in Joy and in Pain until God calls him to “Come Home.” Be happy and grateful to Him for sending you Maurice for many happy years. And God gifted you with loving Children, Family, grandkids and Friends. I feel what you are feeling. Been there. And… Still there. But still… God is Great. (Elsie). *** The Chinese New Year this year started on February 12. According to the Chinese zodiac, this year is the Year of the Ox. What does the Year of the Ox stand for?. There are 12 animals in the zodiac with its own personality traits: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
According to the Phoenix Chinese Weeks information, The ox zodiac sign is considered “diligent, dependable, strong, determined, hardworking (and) stubborn,” Those who were born during the Year of the Ox this might be a year to watch out for. Some Chinese believe that one’s zodiac “presents obstacles that could either bring misery or new opportunities.”
Some Chinese Lunar New Year traditions and belief: “Out with the old, in with the new”: Setting off fireworks will scare away evil spirits.
Cleaning one’s home ahead of the new year is thought to rid the space of bad luck. However, sweeping your house on the first day of the New Year will wipe away any good luck. Red envelopes containing money (preferably crisp bills) are handed out to younger family members who are in school or unemployed. GONG HA FAT CHOY!!!
CARJACKING! HOLD UP! HOME INVASION. COVID 19!
WILL NEVER MAKE AMERICAN GREAT AGAIN! And it’s rampantly happening around us today! Please take time to Pray for God’s Mercy. If You don’t know how to pray, just kneel and close your eyes for a few minutes. Then THINK about what YOU WANT! Amen.
One of those days in the life of the late Community Leader MAURICE MUDLONG shown above with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.