2016.033.005 The Family Journey of Chin Family

Edward Chin used to be the son of Sun Sing Theatre owner, an engineer, and a lawyer. Now, he enjoys his retirement and travels around the world to play golf with his friends. In this interview, Chin discusses his father’s movie business, family history about the paper son, his schooling experience, careers in law firms, ethnic identity, and thoughts about racism.

0:00 - Introduction, Born in Hong Kong (1947), Personal background, Coming to the US (eight months old), Parents already in the US (father in 1920s, mother in 1930s), Going back China after WWII, Father a paper son, the person sold the paper to father, Mother’s trip to Minneapolis, Mother moved to NY, Parents meet in the US, Father as a leader in the New York Chinese community (the president of On Leong Chinese Merchants Association and Overseas Community Affairs Council member), Parents’ names.

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7:07 - Older sister Dolores, using paper son surname, Parents in Hong Kong since 1946, Father involved in movie business, Opening Sun Sing Theatre after back to US, Influence of growing up with Cantonese Opera and movies, Learning Languages (Cantonese, English, and Mandarin), Childhood in 48-50 Mulberry, Albert Anastasia’s funeral, Moving to Bridgeview (1961), Developments in Chinatown, Against a demolishment of a theater after law school, Chinese theaters in Chinatown, Business of Sun Sing Theatre.

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16:19 - Schooling at PS 23, Attending boarding school (St. Vincent De Paul School and Mount Saint Michael), Major in engineer at New York University, Master degree, Studying law, Feelings about Chinatown, Seeing Chinese working in auto mechanic for the first time in San Francisco (1956), Chinatown as a limit, Relationship with father, Getting surname back, Racism in childhood.

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25:06 - Dolores’ past, Studying engineering, Impact of Vietnam War, Graduate school, Working as an engineer, Going to law school, Having six US patents, Complaining about his salary as an engineer, Getting a job in Wall Street, Lawyer Career, Meeting wife (Sophia), Marrying(1971), Going to law school together, Commuting among law school, home, and the firm, Reason of attending law school, Law school being tough.

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33:33 - Enjoyment of corporate law job, Racism in the industry, Not much Chinese coworkers, First job (Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, from 1977 to1981), Transferring to a smaller firm in midtown (1981-1999), Networks among firms, Parents thoughts toward his career, Parents only asking him to study hard, Father’s role in Chinatown.

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44:29 - Forty years old when their first son was born, Parenting, Careers of two sons, Sophia’s background, Language used at home, Sons learning Mandarin in Beijing, Learning Mandarin, The couple developing their own career with the support from their parents, Lives in Rye, New York, Sons’ educations and childhoods, Children’s Chinese identity.

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55:59 - Sophia’s professional life, Not putting pressure on sons, Parenting style, Second son meeting his wife at Loyola University Maryland, Wife’s background, Identifying himself (Edward) as American, Cannot survive in China, Asians growing up in Asian having no conception of being yellow people, Thoughts about the relationship between China and the world, Passions about Mandarin and Cantonese, Trips around the world to play golf with the Crazy Chinese Golf Association, Words to the museum, Importance

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