Asian Heritage Month Program

For Chinese New Year, we introduced a special school program, Ching Shih: How a Female Pirate Ruled the South China Seas, a virtual program for grades one to five that looks at a personal history that could only have unfolded in China. We are offering the program during Asian Heritage Month in May as well. 

At the height of her power, Ching Shih commanded a fleet of 1,500 vessels and had 80,000 pirates under her leadership. She was such a force that the Chinese government of the time amnestied her and the pirates she commanded in exchange for their cooperation in maintaining order in the region.

This program, delivered by our programs supervisor Dennis Chen, will cover Ching Shih’s early life, her career as a pirate and her life after the government granted her amnesty. Dennis will also look at some other Chinese pirates, particularly Ching Shih’s known associates.

This presentation will challenge students’ assumptions about pirates. Ching Shih was a pirate, but she is nothing like the stereotype we all conjure when we imagine a pirate. Dennis will talk about some of the stereotypes about pirates and how they are inaccurate. A theme in this discussion is diversity.

Dennis will also discuss the unique Chinese culture that provided an environment that allowed Ching Shih to become a powerful leader.

This presentation will include images and videos and an interactive question and answer period.

Dennis Chen has been the programs supervisor since 2017, and he teaches courses about China at Alexander College.

Ching Shih: How a Female Pirate Ruled the South China Seas is ideal for grades one to five. The program is available to book for May 4 at 1:30 pm and May 12 at 9:30 am

If you would like to attend this program, but your classroom is not available for these dates, you can book a general virtual school program and request Ching Shih. 

Tickets for this event are $35 per classroom. Sign up now to secure your spot. If you have questions about this program or if you have difficulty booking online, please email



Image Sources

RootOfAllLight, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

AnonymousUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons