Since I grew up in the USA, all the Chinese adults I knew were scientists and engineers. Then when I was in college, I was lucky to be an intern for six weeks for the Chinese media and business icon Yue-Sai Kan. I still recall the shock of seeing Yue-Sai, Chinese like me, a woman like me, China’s most famous woman, changing the world through her own remarkable force. My brief time with her opened up my eyes to the vast possibilities of my own life.
A quarter century later, that’s the effect that I hope my book has on Chinese women everywhere – to open up your eyes to the vast possibilities of your lives. And that’s why it’s so meaningful to me that Yue-Sai wrote the Foreword for my book. Reading her words, and seeing her shower love on my daughters makes me feel like, if we’re really lucky, sometimes the best things in life go around and around.
Here’s the full text of Yue-Sai Kan’s Foreword from Do Not Marry Before Age 30:
Working in China for the last 30 years, I have witnessed firsthand the extraordinary speed of change in Chinese society. The changes are not just economic, but also social. When I first got there in the 1980s, China was definitely puritanical. I still remember how shocked I was when, in 1992, one of my beauty consultants at Yue-Sai Cosmetics told me that she was living with her boyfriend — in her parents’ house!
After I divorced in 1996 people were very embarrassed and ashamed for me. When they wanted to ask about my divorce, they would first ask for my permission to talk about it. Today women speak freely not only about divorce, but about their sexual desires and problems, even on TV.
Amidst such breakneck change, you would think there would be many books to help Chinese women to think through the most important questions of life. But there are very few! While the traditional idea of marrying young is still around, Chinese women now are faced with many other options. Do Not Marry Until Age 30 (don’t you think that’s a great title?) is a book that will help you to think through these options.
In my life, I have done a lot of things considered “not normal.” I left my home in Hong Kong to go to college when I was only 16. I participated in a beauty contest at 19. I started a TV program, the first of its kind and shot on location all over the world when no one was doing that. I became a cosmetics entrepreneur when very few women went into business. I sold my business successfully when very few people were selling their businesses. I have written seven best-sellers on subjects that few people were writing about. I have been successful in all, I think, because I was willing to ignore the rules.
Our author Joy Chen is also such a person, willing to ignore the rules. Today she is a married mother of two, but she did not marry until age 38 (I married at 39!). She started out a shy Chinese girl in America and went on to become Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles, educating a generation of Angelenos and serving as an inspiration to all on how to make it in America.
at the media launch of the book
I am so proud of Joy for writing this remarkable book. Whether you’re single, married or divorced, this book is for you. It shows you how to think. How to chase your dreams. How to have dreams. How to charm the man of your dreams. How to capture everything in life that you know you deserve. Best of all, how to do all that with joie de vivre and devastating style.
I am sure you will be able to relate with much of what the book says so candidly. Joy writes about society’s boorish demands that we abandon our own selves in service to husbands and children. She writes about what it means to “have it all,” and about how to fly in the face of convention. These are issues that we as women all wrestle with and yet rarely discuss openly.
This book is a reflection of our times. I believe this book also will shape our times, pushing our society forward to one where all women are free to be beautiful, healthy, successful, and complete.
Read this book. Then buy one for your mother. And, if you’re married, buy one for your mother-in-law!