Monday, June 12, 2017

Advice to New Immigrants? Don't Shy From Representation

Statistician and activist Nancy Lo, Ph.D. was born in southwestern China, but escaped to Taiwan at age six. (See post one.) For most of her early days in Taiwan, she was sheltered with other Air Force families, only meeting the local children when she went to Middle/High School. (See post two.) Despite this foreign atmosphere, where she didn't always understand the language, she succeeded in going to the top university in Taipei.  And, while social pressure shunted her away from pure math, it also pushed her to attend Oregon State University (See post three).   She was an early pioneer of cross-cultural relationships in Oregon, marrying her classmate John Ferguson in 1967. She graduated with a Ph.D. in statistics. (see post four). Over the years, she's returned to work/visit relatives in China on numerous occasions. In addition to seeing pollution as an issue, she is concerned about the false "cloak of Communism." (see post five.)  Her concerns about the U.S. include excessive military intervention and our unbalanced immigration policies. (See post six.)While she isn't concerned about the U.S./China relationship, she has had concerns for China and Japan. She has worked tirelessly over the years to improve the relationship through acknowledgement of past mistakes/forgiveness through the Association for Preserving Historical Accuracy in Foreign Invasions--APHAFIC. (See post seven.) It hasn't been easy.
 Nancy lamented APHAFIC's' lack of political muscle.
“I tell lot of young people staying in the U.S. If your kids are interested in political science/social science, let them do it, instead of just getting a degree in medical science/computer science. We need more power in the political arena where can we talk through the Congress.
“You look at how many of Chinese descent are in the Congress.  (Currently, Judy Chu remains the one person of Chinese descent in the 535 members of the House and Senate.)
First Chinese-American Elected to Congress--2009
“Hopefully people will see the system in the United States. Without representation in the legislature, it’s hard.”
(With gratitude to Nancy, this concludes our interview.)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Educating People About History

Statistician and activist Nancy Lo, Ph.D. was born in southwestern China, but escaped to Taiwan at age six. (See post one.) For most of her early days in Taiwan, she was sheltered with other Air Force families, only meeting the local children when she went to Middle/High School. (See post two.) Despite this foreign atmosphere, where she didn't always understand the language, she succeeded in going to the top university in Taipei.  And, while social pressure shunted her away from pure math, it also pushed her to attend Oregon State University (See post three).   She was an early pioneer of cross-cultural relationships in Oregon, marrying her classmate John Ferguson in 1967. She graduated with a Ph.D. in statistics. (see post four). Over the years, she's returned to work/visit relatives in China on numerous occasions. In addition to seeing pollution as an issue, she is concerned about the false "cloak of Communism." (see post five.)  Her concerns about the U.S. include excessive military intervention and our unbalanced immigration policies. (See post six.)
Nancy is not concerned about the relationship between China and the U.S. (“Right now it seems to be good.”) But, she is concerned about the relationship between China and Japan.
“I was hoping the U.S. would put some force on Japan, and ask them to apologize for what they did during WWII…For example, Obama went to Hiroshima in May 2016. I wish (Japanese Prime Minister) Abe would go to Nanking to visit the Nanking Massacre Museum.”
It will be very difficult for China and Japan to develop a strong relationship with this glaring wrong being unacknowledged. “Chinese are not going to get over with that until Japan does something.”
Since 1998 Nancy has lobbied on behalf of legislation involving the teaching of Asian history,  has organized conferences with San Diego State University and UC San Diego, hosted documentary screenings and book signings, raised funds to send teachers to China and hosted Global Alliance conferences on the preservation of WWII history. In 2002 she and a handful of people founded TheAssociation for Preserving Historical Accuracy in Foreign Invasions in China(APHAFIC.org.)
“Her commitment is one of such passion,” said Aaron De Groot, a San Diego High history teacher Lo’s association sent to China in 20017. “It’s not about retribution. Nancy’s group is just working to get the Japanese government to acknowledge the horrors that took place.”
“Right now, it’s (APHAFIC) basically educational. We wish we could get into the politics. It’s not so easy...the best we can do right now is to educate people about history.”
(To be continued. Final segment: Advice for new immigrants? Don't Shy from Representation.)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

American Immigration--All Farmers, No Scientists

Statistician and activist Nancy Lo, Ph.D. was born in southwestern China, but escaped to Taiwan at age six. (See post one.) For most of her early days in Taiwan, she was sheltered with other Air Force families, only meeting the local children when she went to Middle/High School. (See post two.) Despite this foreign atmosphere, where she didn't always understand the language, she succeeded in going to the top university in Taipei.  And, while social pressure shunted her away from pure math, it also pushed her to attend Oregon State University (See post three).   She was an early pioneer of cross-cultural relationships in Oregon, marrying her classmate John Ferguson in 1967. She graduated with a Ph.D. in statistics. (see post four). Over the years, she's returned to work/visit relatives in China on numerous occasions. In addition to seeing pollution as an issue, she is concerned about the false "cloak of Communism." (see post five.) 
As for problems in the U.S., Nancy sees two issues: “U.S. wants to be the king of the world.  So much of the U.S. government budget is spent sending the military people around the world. Even like the islands that China claims in S.E. Asia—U.S. can send the troops to that area.
“If people ask for help, you can help. If people don’t ask for help, you don’t have to (get involved.)”
Just as Jason Tu mentioned in our interview, Nancy was also troubled by our immigration policies.
“I know some scientists from China. They come here, get Ph.D. degrees, and work as Post Docs. 
"They have their names put on the list to stay in the United States legally, but it takes many years before their documents are approved. But, if you come here illegally you get protected. 
"So, we welcome the illegal immigrants that are doing farm work, but the ones who have high-tech backgrounds, we don’t want them.”
(To be continued. Next: Educating People about History.)

Monday, June 5, 2017

China's Big Problem--Pretending to Be Communist

Statistician and activist Nancy Lo, Ph.D. was born in southwestern China, but escaped to Taiwan at age six. (See post one.) For most of her early days in Taiwan, she was sheltered with other Air Force families, only meeting the local children when she went to Middle/High School. (See post two.) Despite this foreign atmosphere, where she didn't always understand the language, she succeeded in going to the top university in Taipei.  And, while social pressure shunted her away from pure math, it also pushed her to attend Oregon State University (See post three).   She was an early pioneer of cross-cultural relationships in Oregon, marrying her classmate John Ferguson in 1967. She graduated with a Ph.D. in statistics. (see post four). 
Over the years, Nancy has been back to China quite often.  She joined a United Nations project in Shandong in 1987. She wrote to her cousin in China, suggesting they meet in Beijing. He wrote back and said, “You need to write a letter to my principal for permission.”
At the time Chinese needed a permit to travel…even if it was just to the next province.
Since then, citing specifically the skyscrapers and bullet trains which travel at 187 miles/hour, she said, “the change in China is incredible, I tell you. It’s just incredible.”
Like many, Nancy says the biggest issue facing China is air pollution. On top of this, she is troubled by, “the cloak of Communism. They are more Capitalist, in general. It would be real nice--I don’t know if it’s possible—if one day they could accept some political parties to make it a really Democratic country.”
(To be continued. Next: American Immigration--All Farmers, No Scientists.)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pioneer in Cross-Cultural Relationships

Statistician and activist Nancy Lo, Ph.D. was born in southwestern China, but escaped to Taiwan at age six. (See post one.) For most of her early days in Taiwan, she was sheltered with other Air Force families, only meeting the local children when she went to Middle/High School. (See post two.) Despite this foreign atmosphere, where she didn't always understand the language, she succeeded in going to the top university in Taipei.  And, while social pressure shunted her away from pure math, it also pushed her to attend Oregon State University (See post three). 
At Oregon State she entered the MBA program.  In her class, she was the only female, only Chinese, only non-native speaker. Despite the challenges, she earned straight A’s, and switched her emphasis to something even more to her liking: statistics. She got her Ph.D. in 1972 and began her career in fisheries.
But, to back up a bit, in one of her classes, she met the love of her life: John Ferguson. Oregon had repealed all legislation banning interracial marriage in 1951, and the Supreme Court finally jumped on board in 1966. So, I wondered how they fared.
“It was early for a cross-cultural relationship, especially in Oregon. I think American people are more open-minded, but not some of my Chinese friends. One classmate of mine told me, ’You better think twice, because I don’t think your parents will be very happy ’”
The classmate was correct. Although Nancy and John went ahead, marrying in Corvallis in 1967, her father (initially) was not happy. . He wrote to her from Taiwan…“'I have two sons-in-laws. One does not talk, and another one doesn’t speak Chinese.' My mother however was very open-minded…She ordered a cake, and invited her friends to celebrate.”
(To be continued. Next: China's Big Problem--Pretending to Be Communist.)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Oregon's Warm Welcome

Statistician and activist Nancy Lo was born in southwestern China, but escaped to Taiwan at age six. (see post one.) For most of her early days in Taiwan, she was sheltered with other Air Force families, only meeting the local children when she went to Middle/High School. (see post two.) 
Upon graduation, this very intelligent woman was accepted into her first choice university: National Taiwan University in Taipei. By this point, she had discovered she was interested in math and science.
Very few girls went into math in the 60's
“But at that time, very few girls would go to that field. So I kind of changed my mind.”
Instead of pure math, she studied economics, then accounting. When she graduated in 1964, and there was a push—and an examination--to send students abroad for further study, Nancy gladly took the challenge. She passed the exam, and decided to attend Oregon State University--as she was offered a tuition waiver, and the cost of living in Oregon was low. Also, as the least expensive transport was Flying Tiger Cargo airlines (what started as military transport), she took that.
“That flight—inside it was not so fancy like a regular airplane. They had seats along the wall-- not like regular seats in commercial airplane.”
"It was not so fancy...they had seats along the wall."
Nancy landed in San Francisco and took a Greyhound to Corvallis, Oregon, enjoying the sightseeing along the way. She was met by a representative from the international affairs office, quickly found a furnished room to live in next to the campus for $30/month, and was heartened by the warm reception she received.
“Corvallis is not that big city. It’s a college town. I just think people are very friendly. On campus people say, ‘hello’ to you even if you don’t know those people. I thought that was really nice.”

(To be continued. Next: Pioneer in Cross-Cultural Relationships.)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Middle School: Like Entering Another World

Statistician and activist Nancy Lo was born in southwestern China, but escaped to Taiwan at age six. (see post one.)
Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek moved his capital from China to Taiwan, and more than a million Chinese fled between 1945-49 with him to escape the Communist takeover. Nancy's family was part of that exodus.  I’ve often heard of people fleeing to Taiwan, but I wondered of the mechanics of it. Do you take everything? Where do you stay? Are the locals welcoming? 
Nancy said that a truck ferried all their family's belongings to and from the airfields. And, when they arrived in Taiwan, villages had been set up for the military and their dependents according to rank. A two-bedroom house was waiting for Nancy and her family in  Lo Chung Village, Kangshan, a small town in  Kaohsiung (高雄). It was a Japanese-style house, as Japan had occupied Taiwan for fifty years (1895-1945.) 
Nancy admits that the influx of over a million Nationalists to this island of roughly 5 million created conflict. In fact, there was something called "228," which referred to a riot between the Taiwanese and the incoming Nationalists on February 28 (Thus the name '228'), 1947.  Thousands of people were killed, and today there is a memorial park remembering the chaos. 
But, at the time, Nancy knew nothing of this. She didn't arrive in Taiwan until 1949. And even when she did move there, she didn't mingle much with the locals.  She attended Air Force Elementary School with other Air Force children.
“I had such a good memory of the time I was in Taiwan, and it just sometimes makes me tears. The school was not that far. The short-cut to get to school would be to cross the river. Sometimes we walked to school. Other students rode their bike. It was just wonderful.”
It wasn’t until she entered middle school that she encountered local Taiwanese students for the first time. 
"While the incoming Nationalist government promoted Mandarin, some Taiwanese students still spoke dialect." So, it was difficult for Nancy to understand her classmates. Additionally, she was used to being insulated in a middle-class bubble. In her new school, the student who scored highest on the entrance exam was a local girl whose father was a butcher. 
“It was kind of like entering another world.”
(To be continued. Next: Oregon's Warm Welcome.)