( Audie Chang is former Chairman of FF Fraternity, a non-profit service and fellowship organization founded in 1910 by Chinese students studying at New England colleges. He and his wife Susan have two adult children and two granddaughters. Audie was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1958. He studied theater and history in college but decided to pursue a business career as a CPA and financial executive in the Silicon Valley. He loves music and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Peninsula Symphony of Northern California.)
Friendship in its simplest form develops from spending time together and sharing common experiences. The FF Fraternity gave its members and me the opportunity to spend lots of time with lots of wonderful people that has led to many lasting friendships.
Back in 1979, I was invited by my girlfriend Susan (later my wife) to a Christmas party hosted by Mateo Go, a doctor in training. Halfway into the party, a bunch of guys carried a huge cardboard box into the living room and out popped Paul Chin, an aeronautical engineer, in boxer shorts. Apparently, he was Susan’s Christmas gift. Instead of running for the door, I stayed long enough to enjoy the party. Turned out Mateo and Paul were FF Fraternity brothers from college.
At the party, I also met Tony Keng, who would later join the FF Fraternity, then sponsor me to join the fraternity in 1983. Tony was an outgoing guy who was gifted with a high EQ (emotional quotient). I often witnessed how he would engage a perfect stranger in a conversation and end up becoming friends after discovering their common connections. A lifelong bachelor, Tony recruited over 50 brothers into the FF Fraternity and made it his family. Tony would often call me at unexpected times for lunch or dinner when I was at work, on vacation or with my family. If I told him I was busy his typical response was “you’re no fun”. I found out his unpredictable phone invitations to be a common experience among his friends. When I did make it for a meal, it would be an event because he would have invited other people without telling me. He was eager to introduce people he had befriended and they were always interesting. Tony was the catalyst that brought people together.
Before joining FF, I was introduced to Billy Lee, an FF brother and one of the friendliest people I have ever met. He is one of the reasons I joined FF. There were many occasions when Billy and Lucille would open their home to host a pot luck dinner for FF brothers and their families. The crowd was always lively, friendly and joyful. Like Tony, Billy was a friendly magnet who attracted talented and interesting people who he enjoyed introducing to his other friends and/or to the FF Fraternity.
Considering the likes of Tony and Billy multiplied by an order of magnitude as members of FF Fraternity, one can appreciate the rich opportunities to develop and maintain friendship for its members. The highlight of the FF experience is its annual reunion where members from the U.S. and Asia gather at a different location every year to renew friendships and share in a wealth of activities that include a business meeting, Ted talks, food tours, skit competition, basketball, tennis and golf tournaments, and a formal gala.
The friendship that has evolved from FF Fraternity often extended to the children. This happens partly by design and partly by accident. In fact back in the 1990’s, a number of FF brothers and sisters with children thought it would be a great idea to get together for a long weekend every summer so the families could enjoy each other’s company and celebrate their common Chinese heritage. As a result, the West Coast Chinese Family Camp was formed at a site in Monterey. Each year a family would volunteer to be the host family and organize activities that included an icebreaker, Family Olympics, skit night, bowling tournament, Chinese cultural event, campfire singalong, sports and games. The children who first attended the camp are now working adults with families of their own. Their friendships which were created during the camp years continue in full display at annual gatherings and recently at weekly Zoom meetings during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place.
Looking back, I believe every community should have an organization like the FF Fraternity to encourage and nurture the friendships that enrich our lives by providing opportunities to spend time together and share common experiences.
I cannot not think of Joe these days, when the world is questioning, what does the death of George Floyd, a black man choked to death by a white policeman, mean to us, our society, and our humanity. Joe was a highly respected Police Chief in San Jose, California, 1976-1991, and subsequently a much-quoted Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. “He brought Reform and Modernization to the San Jose Police Department when such changes weren’t popular, and taboo between police and residents, Latino in particular,” wrote SFGate. “An eloquent and engaging critic of Drug War, Reactionary and Aggressive Policing, and Militarization of Law Enforcement,” Washington Post described him. In October 2011, he wrote for the Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: “You Say You Want a Revolution”. He was philosophical as well as visionary.
I met Joe around 2008, when I joined a neighborhood group of 70s-and-over retired fellows who still thought they had something to prove on the tennis courts. Joe was a gung-ho baseball-softball fella, but at this late age tennis became his second love. Having directed a large police department of 1000 officers earlier, he was used to directing, but with this group of tennis pals he was just faster in making suggestions. He kind of liked to lead, and the group generally cooperated, as he was always friendly, reasonable, and insightful.
I seemed to be his favorite doubles partner, as we often started the game with him saying, “I play with Billy.” Actually, he had it figured out that our teaming up would not overpower the others, yet we did complement each other, as he would be able to exercise his powerful right-hand down-the-line shot more frequently. Joe constantly encouraged me to use my head and play with the wind. When we played at Stanford University courts, I remember him pointing to the nearby flapping American flag and giving me a wink, more than once. In some way, he seemed a Method Player, like Method Acting. I marveled at the way he controlled, very methodically , not only the hardness of the shots, but also the speed of the ball’s travel. I observed that he had a system in serving. The same swing, but a variation of speed in four distinct arcs — pull back, reach over the top, sting the ball, and follow-thru.
We had a special bond, as he was very dear and close to his grandson Matthew, whose mother, like me, came to the United States from Hong Kong. Matthew came to play with us old folks many times. Grandfather Joe was very proud, as he was instrumental in encouraging Matthew’s tennis development. Matthew seemed proud of his Grandpa in return. It was a delight to observe the LOVE between them.
Our tennis group often dropped into a nearby bar and grill together for special burgers, beers, and peanuts. We gathered socially with our wives together on special occasions — at one of the members’ home, or a favorite local restaurant. I do not know all the wives real well, but I feel a unique bonding with them, just the same.
Joe’s wife, Laurie, is most friendly and outgoing. I have kept in touch with her through email. She sent me recently a letter Joe wrote that was published by the San Jose PBA –describing Joe’s life journey, challenges, friendships, and more. I shall post it below for your interest:
Oct. 7th, 2010 Bill, ( Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher, The Farsider – Affiliate of SJPBA )
You and Leroy provide a unique service for us. Being a member of the SJPD wasn’t just another job. It was our lives during the good and the bad. I’m fascinated by the various pieces of news in the Farsider. But then, I became fascinated by cops, what they think, and what they do, starting when I joined the NYPD at the age of 21. I never thought I’d stay at it. My dad retired after 26 years as a patrolman, then took a job as an armed bank courier. Along with his pension, it gave him about the same take home pay that he earned on the P.D. He died five years later of cancer at the age of 56.
I viewed his career as a trap to be avoided. My older brother, who died with 30 years of service with the NYPD at the age of 53, also was never promoted. He never married, either, and lived with my mother, then after her death, with my sister, her husband and three kids. “The Job” was his life and love. When he wasn’t working, he and other cops sat in various bars telling each other cop stories.
Despite my original intent, I fell in love with police work myself as a rookie walking a foot beat in Harlem, then New York’s highest crime area. Our precinct covered only one square mile, but we had 100 homicides a year, My first arrest was of a guy who had just stabbed another guy to death with a 10-inch butcher knife. It turned out it was premeditated and he was indicted for Murder One.
They wanted to promote me to detective because of the arrest, but since I hadn’t yet learned how to be a cop, I was successful in avoiding the promotion. Then Uncle Sam called. My fellow cops thought it hilarious, saying the guy I busted will be out before me. It may well be that given the leniency of the New York courts, the killer did get out during my two years on the “Western Front.” After basic training I was stationed in a very strange place: Van Nuys. For a year-and-a-half I unsuccessfully looked for a city called Los Angeles that was supposed to be in the area. (Those who ever visited New York City will know what I mean.)
What I started to write about today is the GIANTS baseball team. I grew up about a mile from Yankee Stadium. About five of us were mavericks who hated the Yankees. American League ball was boring. The Yankees bought anyone who played well against them. But the National League had the hated Brooklyn Dodgers as well as Stan Musial and the St. Louis Cardinals. My friends and I walked an extra mile past Yankee Stadium to the Polo Grounds to see Willie Mays play in his first year. He will forever be my favorite player. Baseball was the only sport in those years. We lived for it. No NFL or NBA. I played left field for my high school team. Our home field was just across the street from, Yankee Stadium. In 1952 we played for the NYC High School Championship at Ebetts Field, the home field of the Brooklyn Dodgers. I wish I could say we won and that I starred, but we lost 1-0, and I went 0 for 2. Still, it was quite a thrill for us kids. In 1951, I got home from school just in time to watch Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard ’round the world” off Ralph Branca on TV. All of those years of losses were worth it to beat the Dodgers in the playoffs and win the pennant. Then to our horror, the Giants betrayed us and moved to a far away place called San Francisco, and the Dodgers moved to L.A. They played in the Coliseum, a joke of a baseball park, but servicemen in uniform were admitted free, and when the giants were in town I got to see some games. I played left field on our Battalion softball team and was the only guy who had worked for a living before the Army. The others had all been playing minor league ball. We were to play for the 6th Army Championship finals at the Presidio, and I was looking forward to finally getting to visit San Francisco. Alas, my CO wouldn’t let me go. As Battery Clerk, I was considered indispensable. The First Sergeant and the Executive Officer couldn’t find even a letter in the Orderly Room files. The team lost, but won second place.
After the Army I put in my years with the NYPD, but in 1964 I had a very painful experience. I was promoted to sergeant in the then-28,000 officer military-style NYPD. It meant an automatic transfer, and I was assigned to an adjacent precinct. While it was still in Harlem, it also took in Columbia University and NY City College. This was during the Vietnam War protests. I immediately sought out the cop who was coach of the softball team and asked when there would be tryouts. He said he was sorry, but they had a firm rule: No Bosses. It would be a full 12 years before I would again play softball. I’m grateful to have been a member of the SJPD for many reasons, but one of the most important is that the troops let me play softball with them. Some will remember that Joe DiMaggio was good enough to throw out the first ball in a charity game that the Chief’s team played against the news media for the benefit of kids in San Jose who had diabetes. When we won 17 to 1, I joked and said it was the only time we beat the media all year.
I was fortunate to get to know Joe D. As chief, you get to pose with presidents and other big shots, but the only picture hanging on my office wall is of Joe D. with me in center field at Municipal Stadium wearing my Chief’s Office softball uniform. Almost all visitors stop, stare, and ask, “Is that Joe DiMaggio?” He and I talked baseball during several lunches with just the two of us. He even took me to lunch in San Francisco after I came to Hoover. Needless to say, I never mentioned to him that I walked past Yankee Stadium to watch Willie Mays. Our conversations were fascinating, and I’ll send them to the Farsider in the future if there’s any interest.
As some may have guessed, this burst of nostalgia was triggered by the Giants winning the Division Championship. It’s been a strange life for a kid from the Bronx who followed in his father’s footsteps as a flatfoot.
You guys had to put up with me for 15 years, so I’ve hesitated to impose more stories on you. But how often do the Giants win a Championship?
Joe (McNamara) <email@example.com>
________________________________________________________________ Laurie just told me:
The SJPD Chiefs and officers tell her they still often say,
Friendship is a well deliberated subject and there are many aspects of it for one to explore. As an octogenarian, perhaps it is appropriate that I should reflect on some personal experiences that may be worthy of reminiscence.
I would start my story not too early in life. I arrived in Singapore in 1960 in my late twenties for career prospects but with very little family and social connections. Several factors favour a new arrival like me, the friendliness of the average Singaporean, the absence of social barriers and generally openness to talent. Under these circumstances I made many friends within a reasonably short period, and as could be expected most of whom were in my age group.
There was one notable exception. A gentleman who was a lawyer and retired politician. He was some 25 years my senior. We became well acquainted as I served on the committee of the golf club for which he was the president. We have the same love for golf and common interest in running the club well.
CC had a wide circle of friends but I noticed he had two or three younger friends in roughly similar situation as myself. We were regularly in his social activities including many golfing tours overseas, in which his good connections made the difference. In the next 20 or years before he passed we became close friends. I often sought his advice for his experience. I would in turn helped him whenever some of his physical frailties required. In those days I did not give it much thought but on reflection CC clearly cultivated younger friends, although he did not lack friends of his own age.
Now for myself, over the last dozen years or so I have lost a large number of friends through natural cause. I’m however glad to say I have profited from CC’s example and made a fair number young friends from recreational activities (golf and bridge) and ministries in church.
Occasionally there is even an element of luck! A couple of years ago I attended a financial services talk, and was approached by someone I barely recognised. He rather kindly reminded me I interviewed him for a job way back in the 70s. In fact subsequently he recorded this episode in his University of Singapore class of 66 Reminisces, as that interview turned out to be a launching pad for his career. I thanked him for sending me a copy and mentioned that 4 of his classmates named in the article are also friends of mine. Two weeks later all these long lost friends met for lunch, amongst whom were a professor and 2 members of parliament. Our conversation recalled Singapore as a struggling new nation in the early days and how each of us dealt with tougher times. And these lunches are now a regular feature.
With younger friends I don’t need to pretend to be their age, I just have to be young at heart and “speak” the same language. I know they enjoy stories about bygone days particularly about names they recognise.
Another pool of my friends is a resource everyone has, one’s old school chums. I went to boarding school in Hong Kong for 5 years as a teen. Now after ignoring each other for some 50 years, I had a hand in organising the first class of 52 reunions in 2001, which was a big success. Old boys residing in US, Canada, UK, Thailand and Singapore met in a Thai resort and followed up with dinner at the same dining hall of our school in Hong Kong.
These reunions have since become an annual ritual, usually include a tour and a cruise. One was held partly in Singapore which has turned out to be not barren as a tourist destination, culturally speaking. Generally there is nothing extraordinary about old boys reunions. In our case most of the participants were boarders and had spent five years in same dormitories and naturally knew each other very well. As teenagers we would exploit and tease each other’s quirks and weaknesses mercilessly. As octogenarians the same teasing would be performed with a morsel of elegance and less unkindness, but nevertheless resulted in great hilarity. Hence even our accompanying spouses have become familiar with this brand of repetitious humour. The highlight of these reunions is the amount of laughter generated by 80 year olds behaving like and making belief they are teenagers. But who can argue against laughter and being happy about remembering teenage days.
Like most youngsters I had a best friend in boarding school. LY was one year older but somewhat more mature. We started off with much common interests and he kind of treated me like a younger brother. On reflection spending time with him strengthened my outlook on certain values and his encouragements built my self esteem. We took different paths in our tertiary education and later careers, and did not meet again until the recent reunions.
At the first opportunity I thought an expression from me would be appropriate. I arranged a quiet meal with just the two of us. I told him not only what his friendship meant for me but also the beneficial outcome in my mature years gained from our association and friendship. My sentimental outpouring somewhat surprised LY but I gather gave him considerable satisfaction. To me it was a celebration of great friendship and the topping off of the old boys reunions.
It would not be unusual to become friends with colleagues or business associates in the normal course. The first 25 years of my career was with two expat corporations. As may be expected there were a large pool of expat staff the majority would return to their home countries on retirement. In addition there were a few of overseas business associates who visited Singapore and whom I would call upon in their home countries. Friendship developed with a good number of these expats, including our wives. Some were kind enough to keep an eye on our children studying overseas and become friends for the whole family, so to speak,
Well in subsequent years my wife and I have been asked to visit these friends in their homes in UK, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Most if not all times we would be invited to stay with our expat friends. We make it a rule however not to stay more than 3 days. In the process inevitably we get to know each other better and become closer friends. Over the years, I can recall more than 20 of such overseas visits. Many of them returned the courtesy when vacationing in Singapore and stayed with us at our home.
Lastly I have an unusual “friendship pool”. For this I need to return to the mid-19th century! My grandfather YW started life in a mission school in Hong Kong. It so happened the principal, one Rev. Samuel Brown decided to return to New England for health reasons. One day he asked if any of the 13 year old boys in school would like to accompany him back. Well YW created history by putting up his hand. He first attended Monson Academy, Mass. then went on to become in 1854 the first Chinese graduate in Yale, in fact in any US university.
His burning ambition after that was to modernise feudal China. In the process he dreamt of having as many of his young countrymen enjoy the same education he did.. Upon returning to China, he worked his way to become a trusted staff of an influential viceroy. His initial assignment was to establish China’s first modern factory, an arsenal cum machine tool plant. With that under his belt he dared to ask for the project of his heart, modern education for young Chinese students in America. Well 17 years after his graduation from Yale, the Manchu Court allowed YW to take 120 young boys from 11 to 16 years old to New England high schools. YW arranged for all the boys to be accommodated with American families for their all round immersion. This was the beginning of the Chinese Education Mission, CEM.
Many of the 120 became high achievers in Chinese history, amongst whom was the first president of Tsinghua University, a prime minister, the pioneer of railways in China, a foreign minister and 2 admirals. Two of the young students stayed back in US and married American ladies. Now the interesting part of how I come into the picture comes via the descendants of some of the 120 students. To commemorate their grandfathers an informal association was formed. In 1998. One such descendent, who happens to be a distant cousin and also dear friend, organised a first gathering with an informal meeting at Yale. Four descendant families showed up. Since then there have been 4 more such meetings held at Yale and in Zhuhai, YW’s birth place. I have attended all but one of these, missing out on account of 9/11. The last such gathering was attended by 38 families of descendants.
In the course CEM descendents from all walks and many parts of the world ,and many of whom are professors, meet to talk about their families, starting from their grand dads. But the affinity and warmth generated was almost electric. Between the descendants and myself additionally is something of a mixture of friendship and gratitude. I have visited many of them at their homes in Beijing, Austin Texas, and of course New Haven and Zhuhai. On numerous occasions, after the ice breaking, they would say to me’….if it were not for your grandfather, we wouldn’t be where we are today…..” I know these expressions to be heartfelt. My response have always been “….if it were not for Rev. Brown, none of us would be here today…..”.Then would come the warm hugs. Where can one have such readymade friendship and how blessed I am to have relationships like these.
A game changer for cultivating friendship in the last 30 years has been technology. The internet ,4G , skype and Zoom enabled us to dig into and keep in touch with our reserve of friends, many times find lost friends, and most important of all, talk to and see each other on our home screens. Distances have been overcome. What is more, the thought that we have a generous resource we can reliably call upon to reconnect almost any time we desire, I believe make us more wealthy than we could hope for. We are the blessed people.
WHAT IS A FRIEND ? IT’S ONE CORNER OF MY LIFE TRIANGLE
MYSELF ———————- MY FAMILY ——————– MY FRIENDS
Life is not complete without any one corner. With no family, life becomes “MEANINGLESS”. With no friends, life becomes “ FUNLESS “.
I have four good friends since I was 13 (from year 1944) . They (let me call them Z, Y, J and S) were all my classmates at the lower middle school we attended . Z was our leader. He was an ardent reader of novels and some “serious “ reading (on philosophy and economics) , He recommended those “out-of-school” books to us , and we met once every week at his home (he had a small living room for himself) to discuss what we read. Those books were mostly on “revolution”, and we all became “revolutionists” – but with no action except talks.
We came from different social classes. I from a prosperous family (My Grandfather was a retired high government official and later the President of a University), Z and Y from medium middle-class, while J and S from lower status. We were cordial with each other – no “class-struggle” among us.
In 1947, my family sent me to America for higher education; we kept writing letters to each other. I was deeply moved by their letters. I still remember one letter from S, in which he wrote about working as an apprentice in a bookstore, one of his jobs was to deliver newspaper to subscribers. He described how he used to ride the bicycle under heavy rain and strong wind and felt proud and happy.
I returned to China in 1951, but we were still separated – S and I in Beijing, Z, Y and J in Shanghai, but we kept close contact. There were a few incidents I remember well :
When computers came, it was a luxury to own one at home. S (then the Editor-in-Chief of the China Youngsters Daily) bought one and asked me to help him on how to operate it. I happily agreed but then there was a period with no news. I was surprised and soon learned that his grandson (the only son of his only son) wanted to play games with it, and did not want to share it with his Grandfather. So till S’s death he couldn’t master a computer of his own.
J’s father owned a small workshop with 4 weaving machines which he passed over to J. Under the new regime, the workshop produced cloth for public use with cotton supplied by the government. During the anti-corruption movement in 1952, one of his cousins falsely accused him of stealing government’s cotton so he was jailed and the cousin took over the shop. Though the court later found that he was wrongly accused, he still lost the shop and was out of job. He soon applied for a teaching job at a far-away western city in China. He was there for more than 20 years till he decided to return to Shanghai. Before he left, the whole school (teachers and students) came to the terminal to bid him good-bye. He was jobless when he returned (the anticipated workshop was already absorbed by some state enterprise). It was Y who introduced him to the Municipal Tourism School, where he served as a gatekeeper. The trainees (mostly local tourism officials) liked him very much and many invited him to tour in their cities. After he retired , he was taken care of by his two daughters. They provided him a living room with toilet and kitchen where he could have a peaceful life by himself. He passed away merrily at old age.
Y returned to his home city (in northern Jiangshu) after finishing lower middle-school. There he used his knowledge of the local conditions to serve as a guide for Communist cadres from Shanghai in danger of arrest after escape secretly into the “red” district. His guidance was so successful that it became the safest route available. After the new regime was set up , he returned to Shanghai and was later appointed the Director of the Municipal Tourism Bureau He enjoyed reading my Memoirs and when he was hospitalised he asked me to translate the poem Remember (by Christina Georgina Rosetti) into Chinese which he recited wholly and carried it to his death.
Now only Z and I are left out of the Five – he in Shanghai and I in Beijing. He was appointed leader of the journalist team to Shanghai for the Peoples’s Daily and was quite popular with the articles he wrote on economic affairs. We have corresponded by letters, and each year we have met once or twice either in Shanghai or Beijing. Now he sends me his writings and some other articles he considers worth reading. We sometimes talk on the phone but my bad hearing limits its use.
I deeply enjoyed our friendship, because it made me feel life more meaningful. It opened to me the door to the outside world. The pleasure and regrets it offers make me feel life more colorful and worth living, more valuable and enjoyable – MORE FUN – than routine reading and traveling.
So far, I have collected manyBEAUTIFUL STORIES about FRIENDSHIP AND FRIENDSHIPOLOGY for my websites, but very few SAD or VERY UNFORTUNATE ones. I decided today to write about a true story belonging to the latter category.
This story is about two old friends ( both deceased now ) who came to America from Shanghai, China, to pursue their Western Education. They were about the same age, rich, handsome, and suave. They joined an elitist Chinese Fraternity and were very popular with their women friends. So many wonderful times they had together, double-dating as well as leading various faternity’s social and philantropical activities together. They considered each other Best Friends.
After graduate schools, the one from Wharton, stayed on in New York City and did well in Finance. The other became an eminent professor in the Mid West. Both got married and had happy families and professional careers. They kept in touch and met fairly regularly at their fraternity reunions etc..
Much later, both in their late seventies, they migrated to the S.F. South Bay. Single now, the finance fellow had an apartment near San Jose. The professor and his wife had a nice house near Stanford University. They were delighted to live not huge distance from each other any more, but the half hour drive between them still made it difficult for them to see each other often – especially since the finance fellow no longer drived.
So here is the story. The Finance Fellow was flying back from a long trip from Hong Kong. The professor went to pick up his friend from S.F. Airport then delivered him back to the San Jose apartment . After entering the apartment, the Finance fellow immediately went up to his second floor bedroom. He said he was exhausted. The professor was also exhausted from driving, so he plopped down in the living room sofa and turned on the TV to relax a bit. His hearing was not good so he turned the volume on really high.
The old friend from the second floor was furious because the loud TV was disturbing. He bluntly reprimanded the professor, ” How can you be so inconsiderate ? “. The professor was not at all happy about that. He instantly got up to leave, complaining “How can you be so ungrateful for all I have just done for you ? They parted angry at each other. Due to various reasons they never apologized to each other. That was the end of their Old Friendship. It’s so sad and truly unfortunate.
The lesson I learned is that when people are tired they are often not at their best. We need to be more forgiving. Also, I really feel guilty myself for not having tried harder to help them regain their good feelings for one another. In such cases the third mutual friend should really do more to help out.
Thank you for inviting me to say something about FRIENDSHIP. I shall say what I feel most acutely in meeting people cross-cultural, and making friends, especially around Stanford Campus in recent years.
There is a paranoia about Chinese women, as though we were thieves, whores, and hookers, that would steal men away. I was personally insulted a couple of times.
Once at an academic seminar on Chinese American immigrant history, I was properly introduced to a faculty working on the Railroad Project. When I informed him that the Northern California Chinese Community Railroad Project would host a gala in SF in a couple of weeks, celebrating Chinese contribution to the construction of railroad, this white male immediately turned his back, and said to me, “Oh, my wife has a surgery. ” Then he immediately walked away.
Does he think of me inviting him to dance, or for a date? Stupid swine!
When I confided to a white woman friend, she explained to me why people have such paranoias. Her high school lover and husband over twenty years went to work in Hong Kong, fell in love with a Chinese woman. Only a few months later, he came back asking the wife for a divorce. Now she was left alone. “Chinese women are real horrors.” I was sympathetic. After all, she was a Stanford woman, able to tell the difference to trust me with her story.
In American society male and female relationships are often sexually interpreted. It’s not the same in China. Sexual harassment is not a widespread social problem there.I taught in China in recent decades. In Chinese society, I could invite a male colleague or graduate student out to dinner without his wife. It is perfectly normal. There is no sexual expectation.
Students are very close to their professors, like their children, friends and families. Men and women could be close friends for years without sexual involvement.
The wives wouldn’t feel insecure unless the husband did not come home after ten or eleven o’clock. Women were expected to manage their own men, and respect other women. Fighting with another woman out of jealousy is considered bad manner, disgrace, lost of control, failure of her management. That is why many Chinese women disrespect Hilary Clinton, who failed to manage her own man. How could she manage a country?
I was raised in China after Women’s Liberation. In my time, mostly men went after women, not vice versa. To suggest for a woman to approach, flirt, or seduce a man truly makes her “cheap”, losing respect in public eye. Therefore, it is degrading, humiliating, and insulting even to suggest the woman is plotting after a man. Indeed, when the Concerned Asian Scholars Delegates came to visit China in 1970s, they reported in a book, “Inside China”, that women’s status in my hometown was first rate in the world.
Of course things changed in recent decades, but this was only because contemporary women in China blindly imitated Hollywood culture. In the meanwhile,isn’t the “success” of American feminist agenda to “Engender China by sexual revolution in Western style” that have brought such changes—creating alienation between men and womenat the same time ? That has liberated “ Chinese female sexuality ” in Hollywood style? And that has reduced our status to the stereotypes of thieves, whores and hookers?
In this Age of Corruption, academic whores are everywhere, I have seen, on and off campus, inside and outside of office. Some were Asian, some black, white, hispanic. . .not all Chinese, please. Not me, at least. True Friendship is possible only when men are liberated from Orientalist fantasy, and women are cured of “penis envy.”
JENNIE WANG PH.D. Professor of English, Independent Thinker, Scholar, and Critic; Author of Novelistic Love in the Platonic Tradition, The Iron Curtain of Language; Editor of Querying the Genealogy, China Men’s American Dreams; and numerous academic articles on Postmodern Fiction, Transnational Studies in Chinese American Literature. After her retirement, she continued to write, and published two memoirs–The Education of Jennie Wang (2015) and License Plate Number One (2018). She received an Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for“career longevity and demonstrated unwavering excellence in her chosen field” in 2018. Her books are available at amazon.com