“FRIENDSHIP” by Frank YungCheng Yung – Grandson of Yung Wing ( First Chinese Graduate in U.S. from Yale) – june 2020

Frank and Billy are what people call “Kissing Cousins”. They are cousins of their most dear Cousin Millie Yung – Frank from Millie’s father side and Billy from Millie’s mother side.


Friendship is a well deliberated subject and there are many aspects of it for one to explore. As an octogenarian, perhaps it is appropriate that I should reflect on some personal experiences that may be worthy of reminiscence.

I would start my story not too early in life. I arrived in Singapore in 1960 in my late twenties for career prospects but with very little family and social connections. Several factors favour a new arrival like me, the friendliness of the average Singaporean, the absence of social barriers and generally openness to talent. Under these circumstances I made many friends within a reasonably short period, and as could be expected most of whom were in my age group.

There was one notable exception. A gentleman who was a lawyer and retired politician. He was some 25 years my senior. We became well acquainted as I served on the committee of the golf club for which he was the president. We have the same love for golf and common interest in running the club well.

CC had a wide circle of friends but I noticed he had two or three younger friends in roughly similar situation as myself. We were regularly in his social activities including many golfing tours overseas, in which his good connections made the difference.  In the next 20 or years before he passed we became close friends. I often sought his advice for his experience. I would in turn helped him  whenever some of his physical frailties required. In those days I did not give it much thought but on reflection CC clearly cultivated younger friends, although he did not lack friends of his own age.

Now for myself, over the last dozen years or so I have lost a large number of friends through natural cause. I’m however glad to say I have profited from CC’s example and made a fair number young friends from recreational  activities (golf and bridge) and ministries in church.

 Occasionally  there is even an element of luck! A couple of years ago I attended a financial services talk, and was approached by someone I barely recognised. He rather kindly reminded me I interviewed him for a job way back in the 70s. In fact subsequently he recorded this episode in his University of Singapore class of 66 Reminisces, as that interview turned out to be a launching pad for his career. I thanked him for sending me a copy and mentioned that 4 of his classmates named in the article are also friends of mine. Two weeks later all these long lost  friends met for lunch, amongst whom were a professor and 2 members of parliament. Our conversation recalled Singapore as a struggling new nation in the early days and how each of us dealt with tougher times. And these lunches are now a regular feature.

With younger friends I don’t  need to pretend to be their age, I just have to be young at heart and “speak” the same language. I know they enjoy stories about bygone days particularly about names they recognise.

 Another pool of my friends is a resource everyone has, one’s old school chums. I went to boarding school in Hong Kong for 5 years as a teen. Now after ignoring each other for some 50 years, I had a hand in organising the first class of 52 reunions in 2001, which was a big success. Old boys residing in US, Canada, UK, Thailand and Singapore met in a Thai resort and followed up with dinner at the same dining hall of our school in Hong Kong.

These reunions have since become an annual ritual, usually include a tour and a cruise. One was held partly in Singapore which has turned out to be not barren as a tourist destination, culturally speaking.  Generally there is nothing extraordinary about old boys reunions. In our case most of the participants were boarders and  had spent five years in  same dormitories  and naturally knew each other very well. As teenagers we would exploit and tease each other’s quirks and weaknesses mercilessly. As octogenarians the same teasing would be performed with a morsel of  elegance and less unkindness, but nevertheless resulted in great hilarity. Hence even our accompanying spouses have become familiar with this brand of repetitious humour. The highlight of these reunions is the amount of laughter generated by 80 year olds behaving like and making belief they are teenagers. But who can argue against laughter and being happy  about remembering  teenage days.

 Like most youngsters I had a best friend in boarding school.  LY was one year older but somewhat more mature. We started off with much common interests and he kind of treated me like a younger brother. On reflection spending time with him strengthened my outlook on certain values and his encouragements built my self esteem. We took different paths in our  tertiary education and later careers, and  did not meet again until the recent reunions.

At the first opportunity I thought an expression from me would be appropriate. I arranged a quiet meal with just the two of us. I told him not only what his friendship meant for me but also the beneficial outcome in my mature years gained from our association and friendship. My sentimental outpouring somewhat surprised LY but I gather gave him considerable satisfaction. To me it was a celebration of great friendship and the topping off of the old boys reunions.

 It would not be unusual  to become friends with colleagues or  business associates in the normal course. The first 25 years of my career was with two expat corporations.  As may be expected there were a large pool of expat staff the majority would  return to their home countries on retirement. In addition there were a few of overseas business associates who visited Singapore and whom I would call upon in their home countries. Friendship developed with a good number of these expats, including  our wives. Some were kind enough to keep an eye on our children studying overseas and become friends for the whole family, so to speak,

Well in subsequent years my wife and I have been asked to visit these friends in their homes in UK, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Most if not all times we would be invited to stay with our expat friends. We make it a rule however not to stay more than 3 days. In the process inevitably we get to know each other better and become closer friends. Over the years, I can recall more than 20 of such overseas visits. Many of  them returned the courtesy when vacationing in Singapore and stayed with us at our home.   

Lastly I have an unusual “friendship pool”. For this I need to return to the mid-19th century! My grandfather YW started life in a mission school in Hong Kong. It so happened the principal, one Rev. Samuel Brown decided to return to New England for health reasons. One day he asked if any of the 13 year old boys in school would like to accompany him back. Well YW created history by putting up his hand.  He first attended Monson Academy, Mass. then went on to become  in 1854 the first Chinese graduate in Yale, in fact in any US university. 

His burning ambition after that was to modernise feudal China. In the process he dreamt of having as many of his young countrymen enjoy the same education he did.. Upon returning to China, he worked his way to become a trusted staff of an influential viceroy. His initial assignment was to establish China’s first modern factory, an arsenal cum machine tool plant. With that under his belt he dared to ask for the project of his heart, modern education for young Chinese students in America. Well 17 years after his graduation from Yale, the Manchu Court allowed YW to take 120 young boys from 11 to 16 years old to New England high schools. YW arranged for all the boys to be accommodated with American families for their all round immersion. This was the beginning of the Chinese Education Mission, CEM.

Many of the 120 became high achievers in Chinese history, amongst whom was the first president of Tsinghua University, a prime minister, the pioneer of railways in China, a foreign minister and 2 admirals. Two of the young students stayed back in US and married  American ladies. Now the interesting part of how I come into the picture comes via the descendants of some of the 120 students. To commemorate their grandfathers an informal association was formed. In 1998. One such descendent, who happens to be a distant cousin and also dear friend, organised a first gathering with an informal meeting at Yale. Four descendant families showed up. Since then there have been 4 more such meetings held at Yale and in Zhuhai, YW’s birth place. I have attended all but one of these, missing out on account of 9/11. The last such gathering was attended by 38 families of descendants.

In the course CEM descendents from all walks and many parts of the world ,and many of whom are professors, meet to talk about their families, starting from their grand dads. But the affinity and warmth generated was almost electric. Between the descendants and myself additionally is something of a mixture of friendship and gratitude.  I have visited many of them at their homes in Beijing, Austin Texas, and of course New Haven and Zhuhai. On numerous occasions, after the ice breaking, they would say to me’….if it were not for your grandfather, we wouldn’t be where we are today…..” I know these expressions to be heartfelt. My response have always been “….if it were not for Rev. Brown, none of us would be here today…..”.Then would come the warm hugs. Where can one have such readymade friendship and how blessed I am to have relationships like these.

A game changer for cultivating friendship in the last 30 years has been technology. The internet ,4G , skype and Zoom enabled us to dig into and keep in touch with our reserve of friends, many times find lost friends, and most important of all, talk to and see each other on our home screens. Distances have been overcome. What is more, the thought that we have a generous resource we can reliably call upon to reconnect almost any time we desire, I believe make us more wealthy than we could hope for. We are  the blessed people.   


THINKING OF MY FRIENDS – by Yuansan Chang – from Beijing – June 2020



Life is not complete without any one corner. With no family, life becomes “MEANINGLESS”. With no friends, life becomes “ FUNLESS “.

I have four good friends since I was 13 (from year 1944) . They (let me call them Z, Y, J and S) were all my classmates at the lower middle school we attended . Z was our leader. He was an ardent reader of novels and some “serious “ reading (on philosophy and economics) , He recommended those “out-of-school” books to us , and we met once every week at his home (he had a small living room for himself) to discuss what we read. Those books were mostly on “revolution”, and we all became “revolutionists” – but with no action except talks. 

We came from different social classes. I from a prosperous family (My Grandfather was a retired high government official and later the President of a University), Z and Y from medium middle-class, while J and S from lower status. We were cordial with each other – no “class-struggle” among us.

In 1947, my family sent me to America for higher education; we kept writing letters to each other. I was deeply moved by their letters. I still remember one letter from S, in which he wrote about working as an apprentice in a bookstore, one of his jobs was to deliver newspaper to subscribers. He described how he used to ride the bicycle under heavy rain and strong wind and felt proud and happy.

I returned to China in 1951, but we were still separated – S and I in Beijing, Z, Y and J in Shanghai, but we kept close contact. There were a few incidents I remember well :

When computers came, it was a luxury to own one at home. S (then the Editor-in-Chief of the China Youngsters Daily) bought one and asked me to help him on how to operate it. I happily agreed but then there was a period with no news. I was surprised and soon learned that his grandson (the only son of his only son) wanted to play games with it, and did not want to share it with his Grandfather. So till S’s death he couldn’t master a computer of his own.    

J’s father owned a small workshop with 4 weaving machines which he passed over to J. Under the new regime, the workshop produced cloth for public use with cotton supplied by the government. During the anti-corruption movement in 1952, one of his cousins falsely accused him of stealing government’s cotton so he was jailed and the cousin took over the shop. Though the court later found that he was wrongly accused, he still lost the shop and was out of job. He soon applied for a teaching job at a far-away western city in China. He was there for more than 20 years till he decided to return to Shanghai. Before he left, the whole school (teachers and students) came to the terminal to bid him good-bye. He was jobless when he returned (the anticipated workshop was already absorbed by some state enterprise). It was Y who introduced him to the Municipal Tourism School, where he served as a gatekeeper. The trainees (mostly local tourism officials) liked him very much and many invited him to tour in their cities. After he retired , he was taken care of by his two daughters. They provided him a living room with toilet and kitchen where he could have a peaceful life by himself. He passed away merrily at old age.

Y returned to his home city (in northern Jiangshu) after finishing lower middle-school. There he used his knowledge of the local conditions to serve as a guide for Communist cadres from Shanghai in danger of arrest after escape secretly into the “red” district. His guidance was so successful that it became the safest route available. After the new regime was set up , he returned to Shanghai and was later appointed the Director of the Municipal Tourism Bureau  He enjoyed reading my Memoirs and when he was hospitalised he asked me to translate the poem Remember (by Christina Georgina Rosetti) into Chinese which he recited wholly and carried it to his death.

Now only Z and I are left out of the Five – he in Shanghai and I in Beijing. He was appointed leader of the journalist team to Shanghai for the Peoples’s Daily and was quite popular with the articles he wrote on economic affairs. We have corresponded by letters, and each year we have met once or twice either in Shanghai or Beijing. Now he sends me his writings and some other articles he considers worth reading. We sometimes talk on the phone but my bad hearing limits its use.

I deeply enjoyed our friendship, because it made me feel life more meaningful. It opened to me the door to the outside world. The pleasure and regrets it offers make me feel life more colorful and worth living, more valuable and enjoyable – MORE FUN – than routine reading and traveling.


WHERE ARE YOU FRIENDS ? 朋友在哪里? by Prof. Y. AN 安蓉泉 – Hangzhou, China

Thanks to Catherine Zhao for the translation

Prof. An and Billy at Allied Arts Garden March 2020





Friends are like the sun, moon and stars in the sky,

Popular in thousands of miles, glorious world;

Friends are like food, clothing and transportation

It’s hard to let go, always in your life.





Some people complain that friends are changing all the time without prediction;

Some people lamented that friends are difficult to find like rain reaches the ground.

Maybe the problem is not with friends,

But in understanding friends, we will understand friendship.





Friendship should be a gift from the snow,

Concerned about the other party’s cold and warm, even if rain and snow are one after another;

Friendship, you must be inseparable,

Cherish the old feelings of the past, the water of Taohua Lake is deep





Mutual aid without affection,

that was like a trade and will only be warm for a while.

Lack of trust,

Like political games, relationships rise and fall with power.







This is a world of mutual benefit,

Don’t blame people for being indifferent.

This is a society that values ​​people’s hearts,

Who really takes fair-weather friends seriously?

Exchange is exchange, the heart is the heart,

Long-term love, long-term love, deep water…









Friends cannot be found by one-way,

Strengthen yourself to attract others

Friends are not for usefulness,

Glowing by yourself, shining around to warm others.

The friend is a pot of old wine,

Long-term emotions, strong and deep;

Friends are auspicious clouds,

Everyone usually attends, and sows in the drought.





Friends don’t need to be decorated with good words,

A few small things can be understood.

Friends can simply turn enemies into friends,

Let smart people become sincere.






Where are your friends?

Sediment is the benefit,

After filtering the left is sincere.

Hope you are doing well,

and find your soulmate friend.




So far, I have collected many BEAUTIFUL STORIES about FRIENDSHIP AND FRIENDSHIPOLOGY for my websites, but very few SAD or VERY UNFORTUNATE ones. I decided today to write about a true story belonging to the latter category.

This story is about two old friends ( both deceased now ) who came to America from Shanghai, China, to pursue their Western Education. They were about the same age, rich, handsome, and suave. They joined an elitist Chinese Fraternity and were very popular with their women friends. So many wonderful times they had together, double-dating as well as leading various faternity’s social and philantropical activities together. They considered each other Best Friends.

After graduate schools, the one from Wharton, stayed on in New York City and did well in Finance. The other became an eminent professor in the Mid West. Both got married and had happy families and professional careers. They kept in touch and met fairly regularly at their fraternity reunions etc..

Much later, both in their late seventies, they migrated to the S.F. South Bay. Single now, the finance fellow had an apartment near San Jose. The professor and his wife had a nice house near Stanford University. They were delighted to live not huge distance from each other any more, but the half hour drive between them still made it difficult for them to see each other often – especially since the finance fellow no longer drived.

So here is the story. The Finance Fellow was flying back from a long trip from Hong Kong. The professor went to pick up his friend from S.F. Airport then delivered him back to the San Jose apartment . After entering the apartment, the Finance fellow immediately went up to his second floor bedroom. He said he was exhausted. The professor was also exhausted from driving, so he plopped down in the living room sofa and turned on the TV to relax a bit. His hearing was not good so he turned the volume on really high.

The old friend from the second floor was furious because the loud TV was disturbing. He bluntly reprimanded the professor, ” How can you be so inconsiderate ? “. The professor was not at all happy about that. He instantly got up to leave, complaining “How can you be so ungrateful for all I have just done for you ? They parted angry at each other. Due to various reasons they never apologized to each other. That was the end of their Old Friendship. It’s so sad and truly unfortunate.

The lesson I learned is that when people are tired they are often not at their best. We need to be more forgiving. Also, I really feel guilty myself for not having tried harder to help them regain their good feelings for one another. In such cases the third mutual friend should really do more to help out.



Jennie Wang

Thank you for inviting me to say something about FRIENDSHIP. I shall say what I feel most acutely in meeting people cross-cultural, and making friends, especially around Stanford Campus in recent years. 

There is a paranoia about Chinese women, as though we were thieves, whores, and hookers, that would steal men away.  I was personally insulted a couple of times. 

Once at an academic seminar on Chinese American immigrant history, I was properly introduced to a faculty working on the Railroad Project. When I informed him that the Northern California  Chinese Community Railroad Project would host a gala in SF in a couple of weeks, celebrating Chinese contribution to the construction of railroad, this white male immediately turned his back, and said to me, “Oh, my wife has a surgery. ” Then he immediately walked away. 

Does he think of me inviting him to dance, or for a date?  Stupid swine! 

When I confided to a white woman friend, she explained to me why people have such paranoias. Her high school lover and husband over twenty years went to work in Hong Kong, fell in love with a Chinese woman. Only a few months later, he came back asking the wife for a divorce. Now she was left alone. “Chinese women are real horrors.”  I was sympathetic. After all, she was a Stanford woman, able to tell the difference to trust me with her story.

In American society male and female relationships are often sexually interpreted. It’s not the same in China. Sexual harassment is not a widespread social problem there.I taught in China in recent decades. In Chinese society, I could invite a male colleague or graduate student out to dinner without his wife. It is perfectly normal. There is no sexual expectation. 

Students are very close to their professors, like their children, friends and families. Men and women could be close friends for years without sexual involvement. 

The wives wouldn’t feel insecure unless the husband did not come home after ten or eleven o’clock. Women were expected to manage their own men, and respect other women. Fighting with another woman out of jealousy is considered bad manner, disgrace, lost of control, failure of her management.  That is why many Chinese women disrespect Hilary Clinton, who failed to manage her own man. How could she manage a country? 

I was raised in China after Women’s Liberation. In my time, mostly men went after women, not vice versa. To suggest for a woman to approach, flirt, or seduce a man truly makes her “cheap”, losing respect in public eye. Therefore, it is degrading, humiliating, and insulting even to suggest the woman is plotting after a man. Indeed, when the Concerned Asian Scholars Delegates came to visit China in 1970s, they reported in a book, “Inside China”, that women’s status in my hometown was first rate in the world.

Of course things changed in recent decades, but this was only because contemporary women in China blindly imitated Hollywood culture. In the meanwhile, isn’t  the “success” of American feminist agenda to “Engender China by sexual revolution in Western style” that have brought such changescreating alienation between men and women at the same time ? That has liberated “ Chinese female sexuality ” in Hollywood style?  And that has reduced our status to the stereotypes of thieves, whores and hookers? 

In this Age of Corruption, academic whores are everywhere, I have seen, on and off campus, inside and outside of office. Some were Asian, some black, white, hispanic. . .not all Chinese, please. Not me, at least. True Friendship is possible only when men are liberated from Orientalist fantasy,  and women are cured of “penis envy.” 


JENNIE WANG PH.D. Professor of English, Independent Thinker, Scholar, and Critic; Author of Novelistic Love in the Platonic Tradition, The Iron Curtain of Language; Editor of Querying the Genealogy, China Men’s American Dreams; and numerous academic articles on Postmodern Fiction, Transnational Studies in Chinese American Literature.  After her retirement, she continued to write, and published two memoirs–The Education of Jennie Wang (2015) and License Plate Number One (2018).  She received an Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for “career longevity and demonstrated unwavering excellence in her chosen field”  in 2018. Her books are available at amazon.com


To get along in this world, we need a SENSE OF HUMOUR – Here is a Collection of Hard-hitting, Humous Comments – THANKS to George Rider, Roger Anttila, David Sherman, and Phil Batoni

A Collection of  hard hitting, humorous comments… 

*”In my many years I have come to a conclusion, … that one useless man is
a shame,  two [useless men] is a law firm and three or more [useless men] is
a government.”*

~John Adams 

*”If you don’t read the newspaper you are  uninformed, if you do read the
newspaper, you are  misinformed.”*

~George Bernard Shaw  

*”Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in
rich countries to rich people in poor countries.”*

~ Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University 

*”Giving  money and  power to  government is like giving whiskey and car
keys to teenage boys.”*

~P.J. O’Rourke,  Civil Libertarian 

*”Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics
won’t take an interest in you!”

~ Ronald  Reagan  

*”The  only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the
taxidermist leaves the skin.”*

~Mark Twain 

*”What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.”*

~Edward Langley,  Artist (1928-1995)  

*”A  government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough
to take everything you have.”*

~Thomas Jefferson  

*”We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”*

– Aesop


BRAVE NEW WORLD by Phil Chun – June 2020

Teacher at Cupertinio Senior Center

IN ANTICIPATION – ( another article for your friendship website )

As the days and weeks lie ahead, we are anticipating that the lifting of the lockdown can’t come soon enough. I’m a bit tired of the confinement plus, I need a hair-cut badly. Our venturing out would be dramatically different than what we could ever have imagined just 3 months earlier. 

The New Normal 

After 3+ months within the confines of our homes, we will shortly venture out of our protected cocoons. Will we all function as before? I have always been quick to greet and extend shakes with others, particularly with my students. Each of us will be behind virus protected N95 masks, where smiles will partly shield our enthusiasm with each encounter. Do we greet each other with elbow bumps now that the proverbial handshakes are taboo? How about the enduring embrace? 

Let’s step back and examine the pre-Covid 19 days. The word, social distancing, didn’t exist at least not in the context of today. Perhaps it did for others previously too, who didn’t want to share their world’s with ours. The ease of befriending someone certainly was easier back then. How about coffee or lunch sometime? Our smile and handshake reaffirms our sincerity. Facial expressions now hidden behind our masks, could connections still be made? Post Covid 19, are we to be leery of others particularly in making new friends? Can we trust others even if both parties have been tested negative? Has our society erected a shield that makes it impenetrable to meet others and making new friendships? It will certainly be a challenge and we must extend ourselves even more than before. 

A Brave New World

My Conversational English classes previously have been populated with students from all corners of this planet. The union and blending of each rich culture meshed nicely with our American ideologies, makes for a bright future. I’ve always consider my classes as the sharing of ideas and the love for one another. These thoughts are paramount for me. My legacy is to leave my class and this world happier, always with a sense of hope. Whenever the school year resumes again, I will as always explain the virtues of love and the caring for all.

During the last several months, we found how fractured we are as a society and the depth of the financial divide amongst us. Even more so now is the need for unity. To coexist in this world, we depend on one another. After each of my sessions, I will continue to say, “be good to someone new and love those who are close to you”. Then off to lunch at a nearby restaurant for eats, treats and more stories. Creating the environment of caring and love must be nourished by all of us. The enrichment by all is what makes our world a better place. This can be achieved mainly by making friends. 

Will my students return and will new ones attend? I’m looking forward to the Brave New World and what it brings. 


‘Every day is unique and special’



Roz Koo, 92-years-old, gets help from Letty Avena (right) as she prepares to read a book in the garden courtyard of her apartment building on Thursday, May 14, 2020 in San Mateo, California. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle

Koo helped found Self-Help for the Elderly’s San Mateo senior center. During our present Coronavirus Epidemic, Self-Help has closed their physical spaces, but they still deliver food to those who need it. And they offer Connection From a Distance. Koo and eight (or so) others have split the duty of calling 1,000 of the center’s users. They have another 100 to go. They speak to them in Mandarin or Cantonese or English. “Mostly they appreciate someone calling them. I tell them this all will pass, and we can come back to the senior center again. Something to look forward to.”

Roz is also Co-Founder of the The 1990 Institute <www.1990Institute.org>