What does the American Dream mean to you? For my Chinese immigrant parents it meant working hard and sacrificing to build a better life for themselves. They overcame obstacles unimaginable to me as an American-born citizen.
My father grew up during the Communist takeover in China. As a child, his family fled Shanghai in an attempt to escape the chaos, but did not make it out of the country in time. As a result, he witnessed the turmoil of the takeover, including public executions of dissenters and extreme poverty.
Eventually my father escaped, making his way to Hong Kong, and then to America. With little money and no grasp of the English language, he started as a bus boy in a Chinese restaurant in New York City. Over time, he learned English, received his high school diploma, a Bachelor of Science degree from college, and then a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
During the Communist takeover, my mother’s family made it to the safe haven of Hong Kong. My father went back to marry her and then brought her back to America. Together through hard work, perseverance, and faith, they created a new life and raised three children in a loving, protective home.
They brought me up to believe I could achieve whatever I wanted as long as I worked hard. They taught me that love can come in the form of sacrifices to better the lives of their children. It’s something I can carry forward to my own children, and I want to make sure they never take the American Dream for granted.
With this in mind, I share an exclusive new video, “This is American Chinese Originality” featuring American Chinese trailblazers. In this video, presented by Panda Express, the next generation of thought leaders present inspirational narratives that honors the past and defines the future regarding the American Dream.
- Lisa Ling – Journalist and Author
- Melvin Mar – Executive Producer of “Fresh off the Boat”
- Jennifer 8. Lee – Journalist, Author and Documentarian
- Andrea Cherng – Chief Marketing Officer at Panda Restaurant Group
- Glen Luen Yang – Writer of graphic novels and comics
- Alvin Huang – Renowned Architect and Entrepreneur
American Chinese Trailblazers Discuss the American Dream
View how it all began, the influence of Chinese cuisine, and personal stories from these American Chinese trailblazers: www.pandaexpress.com/american-chinese/#1
Share your thoughts and experiences on the American Dream in the comments below!