Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Born on the eve of China’s Cultural Revolution, Ping Fu was separated from her family at the age of eight. She grew up fighting hunger and humiliation and shielding her younger sister from the teenagers in Mao’s Red Guard. At twenty-five, she found her way to the United States; her only resources were $80 and a few phrases of English.
Yet Ping persevered, and the hard-won lessons of her childhood guided her to success in her new homeland. Aided by her well-honed survival instincts, a few good friends, and the kindness of strangers, she grew into someone she never thought she’d be—a strong, independent, entrepreneurial leader.
“She tells her story with intelligence, verve and a candor that is often heart-rending.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“This well-written tale of courage, compassion, and undaunted curiosity reveals the life of a genuine hero.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Her success at the American Dream is a real triumph.”
—The New York Post
citizen,” I answered. He lost interest and moved on. The second man was a waiter carrying a tray decked with wineglasses. “White or red, madame?” he asked. Wine gave me migraines, so I declined, asking for a glass of water instead. When I overheard a group of guys talking about “tee times” a short while later, I went in search of tea that I never did find, only coffee. I didn’t even drink the same beverages as these men. My orphaned upbringing at NUAA had taught me to be comfortable
“Our great leader Chairman Mao passed away today.” The piece of wienerschnitzel I had been chewing fell out of my mouth and onto the red tablecloth. I felt sick to my stomach. Blood rushed to my head, and I worried that it would trigger a migraine headache. I had been taught year after year to worship Chairman Mao. Even though I’d had my frustrations with our living conditions and the lack of freedom and choices, Chairman Mao was the absolute leader. It was hard to imagine that he was gone.
employed at one point to avoid punishment for having made inflammatory political remarks. Then, he said, I should drop out of school, returning only when the controversy had blown over. I did not follow Uncle W’s advice, but rather chose to stay on at Suzhou University and complete my education. It was the only hope I had left of pursuing my dream job: I wanted to be a newspaper reporter because I loved to travel and explore. I dared not reinvolve myself in the literary magazine, however. I
for admission as an overseas student. I applied in many countries but heard back first from the United States. With my college admission in hand, I went to check on the status of my passport. As I stood in the police station corridor wondering whom I could possibly ask for help, I was blessed with another stroke of good fortune. A beautiful young policewoman with a compassionate smile appeared and explained that she was in charge of my case. She called me into her office to talk about my
company. Thanks to Li’s warm embrace, memories of those middle school years suddenly flooded back into my mind, and I found that I could put a name to almost every face at the table. I was excited to see that Fong had made it to the reunion, as well as the sympathetic teacher, Lu, who had rescued me from my tormentors. She told me that I had made a strong impression on her back then because I was so courageous and resilient. I was shocked when a man named Huang, who I didn’t think even