I have three wonderful children – I could not ask for better. They have grown up in a bubble within a bubble in the Silicon Valley and I want them to appreciate what they have and understand that it’s by a stroke of fate that they were born into privilege. I want them to empathize with those who started life under less favorable circumstances and share their resources to help others break out of that cycle.
Life might have been very different for me. My grandparents migrated to Malaysia from China with a dream of a better life for themselves and their families. That is where I was born. My parents worked hard and instilled in me, from a very young age, the importance of education and a strong work ethic. This enabled me to have a very satisfying managerial career, first at Intel and now at Apple, which brought me from Malaysia to California.
My parents also taught me to be compassionate – to listen to the life stories of others and help them achieve their dreams. My father always lent a helping hand to anyone who asked. For example, he became guarantor for one of his students so the boy could go to flying school to be a pilot – his dream job. My mother frequently visited friends in the hospital, always bringing something to cheer them. She would sit for hours listening and comforting them. They taught me to be grateful for what I had and to help others whenever I could. I want to pass that same lesson on to my children.
Our family has taken little steps in that direction. We introduced American culture to UNESCO child refugees from the Karen tribe in Myanmar who were waiting to be resettled. We raised funds for scholarships to support children of migrant workers in Shanghai, China. We worked with orphans in Kenya and taught English to Mayan girls in Guatemala.
Working with others has given us a better understanding of their struggles and inspired us to do more. I am excited about Global Pearls – about taking some larger steps now to help others. In the process, I hope to be a role model for my children to make this world a kinder place.