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From Ironing Board to Corporate Board
My Chinese Laundry Experience in America

 

Author: Ginny Gong
Order No. 1054
ISBN-13: 9781931907507                 
ISBN-10:  1931907501
Binding: Paperback
Pub Year: 2008
Language: English
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Page: 151
Price: $12.95
20% Off: $10.36

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BOOK DESCRIPTION

 

Growing up in the back of a Chinese laundry in Long Island, New York was no picnic, but Ginny and her brother, Ken, did not know better. Playing among the dirty clothes, eating and doing homework on ironing boards was a way of life for the Eng children. From Ironing Board to Corporate Board: My Chinese Laundry Experience in America is the story of an immigrant family’s struggles to survive the challenges of life in a strange country as seen through the eyes of the oldest daughter of the family. The joys, frustrations, and challenges of a young girl emerging into adolescence are candidly portrayed in this chronicle of the Chinese in America.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ginny Gong immigrated to America at the age of six. She has a master’s degree in education and was a teacher/administrator for more than two decades. She serves on a number of boards and commissions and is a frequently requested speaker. She is currently serving her fourth term as National President of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), a national pan-Asian American organization headquartered in Washington D.C. with 80 chapters and affiliates. Gong is also the host of a weekly television talk show, Ginny’s … Where East Meets West, which goes into its tenth year.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Prologue
Chapter 1: Meeting Baba in America
Chapter 2: A Family Reunited
Chapter 3: Opening the Chinese Hand Laundry
Chapter 4: Life Behind the Ironing Board
Chapter 5: New School, New Lessons
Chapter 6: An Eldest Child’s Duty
Chapter 7: Outside the Laundry Walls
Chapter 8: Wiping the Slate Clean
Chapter 9: From Board to Board
Epilogue

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BOOK REVIEW

“Ginny’s journey from the ironing board of a Chinese hand laundry to corporate boards and public service is a story of transformations ... She is the embodiment of the American dream come real.”
George Takei, Actor, Activist, and Mr. Sulu in Star Trek

“I recommend this book not only to the young readers who are interested in learning about the experiences of immigrants but also to those who study the history of immigration ... It deserves a place in every library and personal reading list.”
—Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, Chief of Asian Division, the Library of Congress

“Ginny’s journey isn’t just a simple affirmation of the traditional values of growing up in a Chinese laundry, but a perceptive account of American life with all its opportunities, complexities, and injustices yet to be corrected. An immigrant child, a beauty queen, a teacher, a corporate board member, a talk show host, and a national president of one of the oldest civil rights advocacy group in Washington D.C. are just some of the roles Ginny has played while pursuing her Asian American dreams.”
—Gary Mar, director, Asian American Center, Stony Brook University

“This modest memoir is a gem of an introduction to the lives of Chinese Americans, including hard-working immigrant parents and their children. Ginny describes her experiences as a young girl, growing up in a Chinese laundry, negotiating the intricate paths towards independence within a traditional family and the difficulties and joys of engaging the outside world.”
—Franklin Odo, director, Smithsonian Institute, Asian Pacific American Program

“In this wonderful autobiography, Ginny demonstrates how she came to be the person that she is – confident and strong, warm and personable, proud of Chinese and Asian heritage, and committed to social justice for all. Going back to her childhood and her subsequent years growing up as a young Chinese American, Ginny integrates personal biography and social history seamlessly through delightful storytelling and personal reflection. I highly recommend the book to young Asian Americans who wish to compare their experiences ‘growing up Asian American’ with their family experiences.”
—Larry Hajime Shinagawa, PhD, director and associate professor, Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland, College Park

“Ginny’s story is my story. I can relate very well to it because we, like thousands of other Chinese immigrant families, grew up in laundries where we experienced hard work and long hours. From those humble roots we experienced the disparity of merging two cultures and being accepted by the dominant society. This book is a beacon to all immigrant youngsters confronting the same problems that we experienced growing up and adjusting to two societies.”
—Betty Lee Sung, author, and professor at City University of New York

“This is a delightful story of a Chinese American girl of the ‘1.5 generation.’ She is the thread that holds together the diverse patchwork of America. Born in the Old World and arriving in the New at an early age, she is adept at navigating around the shoals of cultural anomalies. Because of her, the Chinese laundry shop immigrants, who are her parents, are able to make this alien land their home.”
—Veronica Li, author of Journey Across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home

“As a child of the Chinese hand laundry, I applaud Ginny’s success going from ironing board to the corporate board, making community service a major part of her life work, and keeping in touch with the heart and soul of her life. Her story has brought back memories of my past, growing up behind a hand laundry in Brooklyn, New York. The future always looks and feels strong when it is filled with warm memories.”
—Laura Chin, former executive director, Organization of Chinese Americans

“I truly enjoyed reading Ginny’s narrative of her coming into her own. I was struck by its clear, simple flow and yet complexity of the choices she made and the challenges she finessed, one at a time, to become the leader and multi-talented individual and model she is. In a time when many seem to have forgotten the fundamental steps of life that lead to lasting success, and it doesn’t matter whether your origins are Asian, African, White, Hispanic, or Native American, Ginny has provided an excellent resource for secondary students – a modern ‘Pilgrims’ Progress’ of how to arise from humble origins to pinnacles of success within the American promise and dream of the right to the pursuit of happiness. She does so concisely, illustratively, and effectively. If you care for your children, you must read this book and make sure they read it too … perhaps together.”
—William Poy Lee, author of The Eighth Promise

“As one of Ginny’s closest friends and just when I thought I knew everything about her and her family, she had taught and delighted me with new stories and wisdom with this wonderful work. It is a must read for young adults, family historians and Asian Americans to learn about our heritage.”
—Sandra Lee Kawano, founder of Chinatown Health Clinic, New York

“This book is more than just a story about a young girl’s journey into adulthood. It is a powerful and honest account of an American heroine’s negotiations through life as a perpetual foreigner; the lessons learned about character and nobility, respect and traditions.”
—Michael C. Lin, past national president, executive director of Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), and member of the Board of Trustees of Montgomery College

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