Thursday, October 13, 2011

Author Talk: Cantonese Yankee

Thursday, November 17, 2011, 7:00 p.m. — Cantonese Yankee is the narrative of Kwong Bing Kong or “Bing,” a student sent by Imperial China to New England to study Western science and technology as part of an educational mission. One of 120 boys sent over between 1872-1881, the biography follows Bing and his ten year stay in America and his subsequent return to China as a modern Mandarin. Tang has written an absorbing and romantic drama based on family stories and her own hours of research at the Yale University Archives and the Connecticut Historical Society. During the 19th Century, China faced a cabal of foreign powers ready to sweep the ancient empire from the pages of history. There have been books written about those days but few have plumbed the depths of her civilization—what were the customs, mores and ethos of her people? In Cantonese Yankee the author presents the intimate life of Bing and his family and the people of his day—and we are there with them. LOUISE SU TANG, Bing’s granddaughter, was close to her grandfather during her childhood years in Shanghai. After a three year interlude in Portland, Oregon, where her father was Chinese Consul, she completed her secondary education at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Shanghai. She received her B.A. in journalism and political science from UC Berkeley, and her M.A. in School Administration from CSULA. Join us for an absorbing evening of this author’s insights into Chinese and Western history.