By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer 

The Year of the Ox was celebrated by U.S.-China Business Connections (UCBC) recently at a special networking event held at Grand City Buffet in St. Louis Park, MN.  The guests were treated to an evening that included talks, entertainment, a Chinese buffet and, naturally, plenty of networking time.

By Greg Hugh, Staff Writer 

The Year of the Ox was celebrated by U.S.-China Business Connections (UCBC) recently at a special networking event held at Grand City Buffet in St. Louis Park, MN.  The guests were treated to an evening that included talks, entertainment, a Chinese buffet and, naturally, plenty of networking time.

The evening’s program began with Jim Smith, UCBC Board Member, introducing Brenda Fong, Community Bank Manager for Wells Fargo, which was a sponsor of the event.  Also, as is customary at most UCBC functions, the guests were then asked to introduce themselves to the rest of the group.

Smith then introduced the speaker for the evening, Ping Yao, a System Engineer for Wells Fargo and UCBC Board Member, whose talk recounted her life in China through different periods of her life and her observations of the changes during these periods.

(photo of Yao)

Yao began her talk by noting that although many in attendance may have traveled to China recently, they do not know how life was in China 10-15 years ago.   Although she was experiencing what she perceived as a normal life in China, her outlook changed In 1989 as a result of her horrible experience in Tiananmen Square.  Because of this experience Yao recognized that she did not wish to live under such conditions and in 1990 earned a scholarship to the University of Minnesota from which she graduated with a Master Degree in Engineering and has worked here since. 

Although she returned to visited China in 1997, this was not a good experience at all, according to Yao “there are not many changes, and people are losing jobs. Last a couple of years, even though there are a lot of talks about changes in China, but I was very skeptical.”

This past summer, Yao’s 16-year-old son wanted to see the Olympics and China, so she visited Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Shuzhou, and met some her relatives and college friends.  Her reaction after this trip was that there were “fantastic and dramatic changes.” To her surprise, she could not find her way around any more...the places had changed and so had the people.

Yao then concluded her talk by commenting on her experience of how her friends' lives have dramatically changed and shared photos documenting her journey focusing especially on living conditions, transportation, food, education, jobs and communications.

After the talk, the group was invited to help themselves to the buffet while the room was being set up for the entertainment portion of the program.  As the group enjoyed their buffet, several dances were performed by dancers Clara Wong, Kristine Pan and Grace Chang from Twin City Chinese Dance Center lead by Zhang Huan-Ru, Artistic Director.  Zhang Ying also performed and demonstrated several wind instruments.


PHOTOS:

#1- Ping Yao
#2- Dance of Happiness Together by Kristine Pan & Grace Chang
#3- Carrying the Bride Dance by Clara Wong
#4-Zhang Ying playing wind instrument
#5-Kristine Pan performs Rain of Bliss

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

CHINAINSIGHT is the only English-language American newspaper to focus exclusively on connections between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

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