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8 Things about Vivian

Posted by Vivian Wong on August 26, 2008

Since this is my first blog on this site, I figured I should introduce myself to the world ;-).

1. I am the classic product of Cultural Revolution in China.  I was the only one in the family that was born in the Black Dragon River province – Northeast of China. My parents were relocated there by the “communist party” after graduating from Beijing university.  Black Dragon River was colder than cold (minus 25 degrees Celsius in winter). The first sentence I learned at school  was “Long Live Chairman Mao!”. The second sentence I learned was “Long Live Communist Party!”.

2. My great grandfather migrated from Canton (now known as Guang Zhou) to Australia during the gold rush in the late 1800s. My great grand aunt migrated to San Francisco in the early 1900s. She recently passed away in Oakland although I never got to know her.

3. I grew up in Australia. We moved to Sydney in the early 80s and I didn’t get to go to school for the first couple of years due to our immigration status. My sister taught me maths and physics at home.  She was born an over-achiever – she always came first in her class and set the bar high for me (which I didn’t appreciate during my younger years).  She even started cooking for the family when she was 8 y.o. and I still can’t cook to save my life. (I do make a decent Thai Fried Rice though – I got its recipe from a book called “Hardly in the kitchen“. My friend Anthony suggested I should write a book and title it “Never in the kitchen”.)

4. Learning English as a second language was difficult for me. When I was in high school, I was petrified if the teacher asks me a question and the answer had a “three” in there. I also struggled with words such as “soup” vs “soap”, “walk” vs “work”. “sheet” vs “shit”. You can imagine how much fun other people had when I told them “I love drinking soap” or how “that  bedshit looks pretty” and how I enjoy “work to work” or that “I am going to the bitch”.   One of the more embarrassing moments in my life was when I went to Top Ryde public library and asked the librarian where I could find “pussy-chology” books and she looked both confused and horrified at the same time. I spelled out “psychology” on paper for her and she kindly corrected my pronunciation. I was so embarrassed that I ran out of the library and hyperventilated.

5. I always wanted to be a police-woman but was told I didn’t “meet the height requirement” when I graduated from high school.  I am 5 foot 6 and half (with 4 inch heels). I was elected the “hygiene police” in second grade (in China). My job was to examine my classmate’s nails, elbows and ears. (If they were dirty and unkept, I’d send them home.)

6.  My very first presentation at school was about Madame Mao Jiang Qing and how wonderful she was. On the day of the presentation, she was arrested together with the rest of the “gang of four“.  All of a sudden it was not cool to talk about Madame Mao.  This was the political climate in China during my childhood.

7. I love food (and people and animals too!). I am a snack queen.  You can’t take me anywhere without finding food in my handbag, backpack or pockets.  And yes, I pack treats for both my dog and I even if we go for a 10 mins joy ride in my car.

8. I’ve lived in America for over a decade and love it here – I actually supported Team USA for the 2008 Olympics. I love to travel and experience the world. My biggest complaint about living in the US is that we don’t get enough vacation days. Justin just reminded me yesterday how he gets 4 weeks of vacation in Australia every year. Perhaps I will move back to Sydney sometime in the future so I can also celebrate Queen’s birthday and Boxing Day with the rest of the Australians.

8 Responses to “8 Things about Vivian”

  1. A very fascinating insight about one of the leading thought leaders in the HCM space.

  2. Meg Bear said

    Vivian we are so glad that you are now official on TalentedApps (although we have been talking about you here for some time!). Sorry to say you had me laughing out loud at your language lesson, very insensitive of me but what can I say? It really is not possible for you to move back to Australia, just think of the impact to my wardrobe? 😉

  3. Adam Kovalevsky said

    Brilliant article Vivian. Those of us who grew up in the US or Australia can’t really imagine the hardships that you and your family have been through … indeed, the hardships that most of the world goes through. Your achievements and your life, business, home, and family experiences are phenomenal. And your constantly positive outlook is truly inspirational. Thank you very, very much for sharing.


    P.S. I recall having the odd embarrassing moment in Top Ryde library myself … but, sadly, nothing to match “pussy-chology”.

  4. rajeevramani said

    Nice Article Vivian.

  5. Jayavel said

    I am very glad that at end of all struggle and hardwork you are successful in your profession and life.

    Btw, knowing you for the last 2 years I am not aware of many of these. The only known fact listed here is #7 – you are a great snack queen!

  6. […] Bush jokes. Laugh at a Chinese official and you could be behind bars before you even know it. (As a kid in China, we were taught to dob in anyone (including our own parents) should they make disrespectful […]

  7. Kevin White said

    Fascinating article, Vivian. I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard when reading about your English language struggles as a child. Clearly these were horrifying moments when happening, but at least they make for a good story now that they’re in the past. BTW, you’re English language skills are excellent now anyway–this article is a perfect example.

  8. […] can tell you from experience, that having people who are positive and happy on your team can help you out when things get […]

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