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带着感恩,回馈主流——许华章先生与美国主流社会

施之上          于 April 22, 2008 at 23:20:18:
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在休斯敦华人圈子里提起许华章这个名字,可以说是无人不知。他赞助的活动数不胜数,他支持的社团不计其数,他热心,他慷慨,他无私。

其实,许华章这个名字在美国人圈子里,特别是在那些关心中国的美国人当中,同样也不陌生。休斯敦热心公益的人不在少数,但是真正地能将公益和爱心融入美国主流社会的华人却屈指可数。

许华章出生于越南,上中学时,就读于著名贵族学校 ------ “自由太平洋英文书院”(Free Pacific Institute),该校所有的老师都是美国人,在那里他接受了良好的英文教育。1975年4月底来美国后,就读于Oklahoma State University的企业管理专业,79年毕业,定居休斯敦,1981年创业开始经营Liquor Store连锁店。良好的教育为他日后进入美国主流社会打下了基础。在早期来美国的越南华侨当中,做生意成功的很多,但是在美国读完大学的却寥寥无几。

许华章先生第一次参与主流政治活动是1981年。那时,在美国这块土地上,华人还非常稀少。青年才俊、意气风发的他被选为亚美咨询委员会(Asian American Consultant Committee)的理事委员,当时的会长是周玉颖先生Michael Chow。该会的宗旨是推荐亚裔精英进入主流社会,推荐能代表华人利益的美国人进入政界,帮助自己推荐的人选赢得竞选。

1984年,许华章先生当选为华裔选民协会(American Chinese Voters Coalition)副会长,会长为袁国鹏(Michael Yuan)。当年,该会推荐Kathy Whitmire竞选市长,一举成功。Kathy Whitmire一共做了五届休斯敦的市长,为争取亚裔的权益做出了贡献。同年,该会还推荐周丽娴女士(Hannah Chow)竞选法官,也获成功,周丽娴成为第一位亚裔民选法官。华裔选民协会不遗余力地树立亚裔在休斯敦的形象和地位,在选举中起到了举足轻重的作用。

1985年,许华章先生参与共和党。同年,为Ronald Reagan推选选民名单,由于工作出色,获金色奖状(Golden Certificate)。

1987年,身为德州越棉寮华裔联谊会会长的许华章接到布什总统贺函,通知他获纳为“共和党联邦参议员圈内人” (Standing Member of U.S. Republican Senatorial Inner Circle)。 “共和党联邦参议员圈内人”组织主要成员涵盖各界名流,包括前国务卿舒兹、库尔斯啤酒集团总裁瑟库尔斯、劳德化妆品公司总裁艾斯蒂劳德等。

许华章先生始终认为,移民来美国,应该对美国有一颗感恩之心,美国是一块自由的土地,为移民提供了无数的创业机会和自由的空间,提供了在母国永远也不会有的赚钱机会。所以,在赚到钱之后,一定要学会回馈,当这块收留移民的土地有需要的时候,应该义无反顾地去伸出手去施以援助,美国是大家的美国,这其中包括我们华裔。许先生是这么想的,也是这么做的。许华章先生1981年开酒店的时候,赚了一些钱。一赚到钱,他就想到要回馈给美国社会。

1993年美国中部发生巨大洪水,无数人受灾。连续两个周末,许华章先生都冒着烈日,分别在两家超市外站台,为美国受灾的人民筹款。其他时间,他还专门去发动那些有爱心的人士捐款,最后,一共筹到$10,549。休斯敦第二大报纸Houston Post(当时还没有同Houston Chronicle合并)在头版头条对华人群体捐钱支援受灾民众一事做了报道,国际红十字会也为许华章先生颁发了奖状。这说明美国社会是一个懂得感恩的社会。在主流报纸上刊登这样的消息,对提高华人在美国当地人心目中的形象起了非常积极的作用。许先生认为,这次捐款,不是他个人的事情,而是整个华人社区共同努力的结果。

许先生说:我们从踏上美国的第一天起,就得到美国政府的帮助,使用纳税人的钱,所以也可以说,从来到这个国家的第一天起,我们就欠债,欠这个国家的债,欠这个国家所有纳税人的债,所以,只要有机会,我们就应该去帮助这个国家,也帮助这个国家需要帮助的每一个人。

2000年12月许华章先生大力赞助了由贝勒医学院和德州大学安德森癌症中心(The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center)联合举办的“二十一世纪医学-----第一届中美研讨会”。会议结束后,贝勒医学院院长Ralph D. Feigin,安德森癌症中心总裁John Mendelsohn,和德州大学健康科学中心主任L. Maximilian Buja为许先生颁发了证书,感谢他对中美医学的共同发展做出的贡献。

来美国之前,许先生在越南住了很长的时间,目睹了东南亚的一些排华运动,但是在越南很少有排华的现象。这是因为,越南的华人比较懂得如何回馈整个社会,当时,在越南做得最好的医院就是潮州六邑医院,这个医院不光为华人服务,而是向全社会服务。越南华侨对越南人民所做的贡献是有目共睹的。所以,他认为,要想在美国长久的立足,就必须感谢美国,回馈美国,只有这样,才能确保作为少数裔的我们和主流社会的和谐。他还提到,当时,北越排斥南越时,也不能算是排华,那时政权交替的结果。

近年来,尽管美国的华人世界天天歌舞升平,莺歌燕舞,但是,能上美国主流报纸报道的活动,几乎不见。所有的活动似乎都与中国或台湾的政治相关联,而很少同美国的政治和命运有关系。许先生呼吁:华人社区是美国大社会的一分子,我们也是这个国家的主人,我们首先是美国人,然后才是美国社会里的华人。要想提高华人在美国社会的公共地位,我们就必须团结一心,这样才会有力量。

Giving back to Society with a Grateful Heart
--Mr. William Hua and the Mainstream Society of the United States

By Jay J. Shi

William Hua is a celebrity in the Chinese community in Houston. Warm-hearted, generous, and selfless, he is the financial supporter of many activities and mass organizations.

In fact, the name William Hua is not unfamiliar to many Americans, especially those who are concerned about China. In Houston it is easy to find people who are keen in welfare programs, but it is rare for Chinese-Americans to engage in welfare programs in the mainstream society of the United States.

William Hua was born in Vietnam. As a teenager he attended the prestigious Free Pacific Institute, whose teachers were all from the United States, so he received good English education. He moved to the United States in April 1975 and studied business management at Oklahoma State University. After graduating from the university in 1979 he settled down in Houston. In 1981 he started his own business—the chain liquor stores. His good educational background laid the foundation for his entry into the mainstream society of the United States. Of the overseas Chinese who came to the United States from Vietnam in the early days, many were successful in their business, but few completed their university education in the United States.

William Hua participated in a mainstream political activity for the first time in 1981. At that time the number of Chinese people was rather small in the USA. The young and ambitious William was elected to be a member of the Asian American Consultant Committee, with Michael Chow serving as the Chairman of the Committee. The purpose of the Committee was to recommend elites of Asian origin to the mainstream society, to help Americans who can represent the interests of the Chinese population to go into politics and to help candidates recommended by the Committee to win elections.

In 1984 William Hua was elected to be the vice chairman of the American Chinese Voters Coalition. In the same year, Kathy Whitmire, a candidate recommended by the Coalition succeeded in winning the election to become Mayor of Houston. She remained on the position for five consecutive terms and made her contribution to striving for the rights and interests of people of Asian descent. Ms. Hannah Chow, another candidate recommended by the Coalition in the election for judges in 1984, was also a success and became the first judge of Asian descent elected by the general public. All the efforts made by the American Chinese Voters Coalition to improve the image and status of Asians in Houston were vital in helping its candidates win the elections.

After joining the Republican Party in 1985 William Hua worked out a list of voters he recommended for Ronald Reagan. He was awarded the Golden Certificate because of his outstanding work.

In 1987 William Hua, who was chairman of the Association of Chinese People Originally from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, received a letter of congratulation from President Bush, telling him he had been named an “inner circle member of Federal Senators from the Republican Party.” This organization consists of eminent figures from all walks of life, including George Shultz, former secretary of state of the United States and president of Coors Brewing Company and president of Esteel Lauder.

William Hua always believes that immigrants to the United States should feel grateful to this country. To him the USA is a land of freedom, providing immigrants with numerous opportunities for starting their own business and plenty of free space for development. It provides the immigrants such opportunities to make money that are never found in the countries where the immigrants originally came from. So he said if anyone was lucky enough to make some money, he/she should give back to society. When this land of immigrants is in need, we should not hesitate to help out. The USA is everybody’s USA, including everyone in the Chinese community. William Hua does what he has preached. After he made some money from his liquor stores, he decided to give back to society.

In 1993 the central part of USA was hit by floods and many people suffered as a result. For two weekends running, William Hua braved the scorching heat outside two supermarkets to raise money for the flood-stricken areas. He also talked privately to many who he thought would be more than willing to donate. Finally he raised a total sum of 10,549 dollars. Houston Post, the second biggest newspaper in Houston at that time (the merger with Houston Chronicle was yet to take place), ran a report on its first page about the Chinese community making donations to the flood victims. The International Red Cross awarded to William Hua a certificate of merit. This indicated that the USA is a country where people show their gratitude to those who have helped them. Covering a story of this nature in a mainstream newspaper plays a positive role in improving the image of the Chinese people among the local residents. William Hua believed the donation campaign was not a personal affair, but concerted efforts by all in the Chinese community.

William Hua said that on the first day we set foot on the United States, we received assistance from the US government and used taxpayers’ money. Therefore, we could also say that we owed something to this country and its taxpayers the first day we moved to the USA. So once the opportunity props up, we should help this country and everyone who needs help in this country.

In December 2000 William Hua gave financial support to the “Medical Science in the 21st Century—the First Sino-American Forum” co-hosted by the Baylor College of Medicine and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas. Upon the completion of the forum, Ralph D. Feigin, president of the Baylor College of Medicine, John Mendelsohn, president of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and L. Maximilian Buja, director of the Health and Science Center of the University of Texas awarded a certificate to William Hua, commending his contribution to the progress of medical science in China and the USA.

William Hua had lived in Vietnam for a long time before he moved to the United States. He saw some of the anti-Chinese campaigns in Southeast Asia, although they rarely happen in Vietnam. One main reason is because the Chinese people in Vietnam know how to give back to society. One example is the Liuyi Hospital run by people from Chaozhou, south China’s Guangdong Province. This hospital does not only serve the Chinese population, but is open to all. The contribution made by the Chinese-Vietnamese was obvious to all. So William Hua believes that if the Chinese people want to have a long-term future in the USA, they must feel grateful to the country and give back to the US society. Only then can there be harmony between the minority Chinese and the mainstream US society. He also pointed out that North Vietnam’s rejection of South Vietnam was not a case of anti-Chinese campaign; it was the result of transition of power.

In recent years peace and prosperity reign over the Chinese community in the United States. But mainstream US media rarely cover what is happening in the Chinese community. Almost all reports about them are related to politics in China or in Taiwan, but rarely related to American politics or the fate of the United States. William Hua believes that Chinese communities are part of the bigger US society. We are also citizens of this country. We are Americans first, and then we are Chinese in American society. If we want to raise the status of Chinese people in the United States we should unite as one; only then can we become stronger.




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