Monday, February 8, 1999

Name: Leilani Hwei Tan
Age: 24
Position: 1999 Narcissus queen
Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Hawaii
Hobbies: Music, reading, traveling

Future voice for children

Leilani Hwei Tan plans to be a lawyer someday, maybe a voice for children -- a child advocate.

She will enroll in the University of Hawaii law school this fall. "I would like to pursue an interest in family law," she said. "I just look at law as a chance to be a voice for somebody rather than a self-serving profession."

Studying elementary education made an impression. "Working with children has made me realize that children need a voice, too," she said.

Tan was crowned Narcissus queen at the recent coronation ball, marking the Narcissus Festival's 50th anniversary,

She also won the pageant talent competition, playing Fiocco's Allegro on the violin. She has played the instrument for 16 years, performing at Carnegie Hall in New York with the Iolani School Concert Orchestra in 1991. She has also played with the Hawaii Youth Symphony.

Her cheongsam, the traditional Chinese dress for the pageant, was designed and tailored by her mother, who hand-sewed more than 180,000 sequins on the dress.

Born in Montreal, the Iolani and UH graduate is the daughter of Dr. Siang Yong and Alexandria Lee Tan. She came to Hawaii when she was 3.

Her father named her Leilani after "Sweet Leilani," a song his band used to play.

Right now, she's her father's office assistant -- for the second time. The first time was when she was a fifth-grader.

"My duties were watering the plants and tidying up the magazines," she said. "I just started working for him (again) right after the pageant was over."

She and her court will go on a three-week Narcissus goodwill tour in June to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

A number of other Hawaii travelers will join the annual tour, organized by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce as part of its Narcissus Festival sponsorship.

As Narcissus queen, Tan feels honored to represent the Chinese community, learn more of her culture and share it with others, she said.

Harold Morse, Star-Bulletin

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