Related News

Home » Feature

Honoring women with brains, heart

CHINA is filled with brilliant and successful women in many fields and their ranks are increasing as they gain confidence and make contributions to society.

Shanghai Daily interviewed four of them, selected by Jessica magazine for its "China's Most Successfull Women" list for 2010: former model and now philanthropist Malina Yung, of the famous Yung family of entrepreneurs; former women's world chess champion Xie Jun; Xie Jingxian, a post-1980s generation pianist, and Zhang Qiong, a successful business woman who founded her own investment company, and does philanthropy.

Xie Jingxian - Piano

Xie Jingxian is a pianist, composer, freelance writer and simultaneous interpreter - contradicting many people's notions about China's supposedly self-centered post-80s generation.

Born in 1983 in Shanghai, Xie was the first Chinese to win the top prize in the 15th Palma Ram?n Llull International Piano Competition in Palma de Mallorca, Spain (2008), and the youngest finalist of the International Seiler Piano Competition in Germany. She has staged recitals and concerts since she was 18. She began studying piano at the age of four and was admitted to the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich. From 2002-08 she took master classes with Professor Gitti Pirner, who once said Xie was "born" to play the piano.

Q: What does piano mean to you?

A: I am very grateful to piano. It is the piano that brings me to the international audience and give me this opportunity to present China to the whole world.

Q: Who is your favorite composer?

A: I like many composers from different periods, like Chopin and Debussy. But I find that Brahms' works really resonate with me. They contain lots of mystery and depth. You only understand them when you gain enough experience in your life.

Q: How do Chinese and German music education differ?

A: There are huge differences. I wish these two forms of educations could integrate.

Chinese education puts a lot of emphasis on contests and teachers help you prepare for the competition. But German teachers don't care that much. For them, competition is your own business. They focus more on understanding and playing the works every day.

Q: How do you spend your leisure?

A: I like many things. Art, interior decoration and photography are among my favorites. I also like reading, especially philosophy books. I appreciate Buddhist wisdom.

Q: What's your plan for the future?

A: I am full of dreams. I want to translate foreign musical books into Chinese and I want to help more people, maybe in benefit concerts. Fame is not as important as a person's soul and thoughts. I want to be remembered as a woman with a special personality.

Xie Jun - Chess

One of China's most beautiful minds is twice-reigning women's world chess champion Xie Jun, China's second chess grand master.

Her success at the top of women's chess from 1991-96 and 1999-2001 boosted the popularity of international chess in China. She became a hero for her upbeat spirit and dramatic attacking style

Xie, born in Beijing in 1970, began to play Chinese chess at the age of six. In 1991, Xie defeated Maya Chiburdanidze of Georgia, reigning world chess champion for 13 years, becoming the first Chinese to win the title. She also won the gender-blind Grandmaster title that year. In 2002, Xie became director of the Beijing Chess Institute. Q: Compare life as an educator with life as a chess player?

A: You live different lives at different stages in your life and you have different senses of responsibility at different ages. Life as professional chess player is simpler as you have only one goal - to win. But it is also more pressured. The most difficult part is that winning is precarious - it doesn't solely depend on you. A professional player blocks out outside interferences. But to manage an institute I have to take in lots of information to make sure every part of the institute works perfectly.

Q: What's your view of chess in China?

A: China has a long history of playing all kinds of chess. Chinese chess and Gomoku (Five in a Row) are all very popular. For chess, more time is needed for it to become popular. We have lots of outstanding players now, but as I said, winning is not absolutely certain, even when you are good enough.

Q: Why did you choose a psychology PhD program when you returned to school?

A: Having a stable mentality and an appropriate mindset is very essential and vital to success as a professional chess player. But different thoughts and emotions have always attracted me.

Before learning psychology, I constantly felt that as a chess player, your biggest enemy is yourself. Psychology is a science that studies ourselves. That's why I chose psychology. Of course, it was also the best program in Beijing Normal University where I study.

Q: What's your life philosophy?

A: Happiness means the most to me. Whatever you do, just make the choice that's going to bring pleasure to you.

Q: Does your daughter like chess?

A: She doesn't seem to like it and I don't want to force her into anything. She's into other stuff, like reading, so I will let her follow her heart and interests.

Zhang Qiong - Business

Zhang Qiong is chief executive officer of ABC Group and founding and managing partner of ABC Capital Management Co Ltd. She is also founder/director of 7 Days Inn Group in China. She has donated to the construction of Hope Schools for disadvantaged children in remote areas such as Yunnan Province. She has traveled widely and loves art.

Q: What are women's advantages and disadvantages in business?

A: Women are more sensitive °?°?- it is easier for women than men to get along with others, so good communication skill is the biggest advantage. But the biggest disadvantage, I believe, is also about communication. Men have common interests and topics - about cars, football and yachts - it's quite hard to be involved as a woman.

Q: Why did you choose business?

A: My childhood dream was to be a writer, my first profession was law, but now I'm a business woman. It's quite magic. I pursue my career out of interest. Before I became a lawyer I read a book called "Angry Angel" that inspired me to be a lawyer. Then I got interested in business and changed my career.

Q: What does making money mean to you? Is it the most important thing in your life?

A: Making money means I have more freedom to do what I want. For example, I like travel and art. With sufficient money I can go wherever I like and buy whatever I want.

Q: How do you spend your leisure?

A: I like reading literary works, especially from the early 19th and late 20th centuries. I read all kinds of books, and I'm definitely a tolerant reader. I recently read an article written by Guo Jingming. I know people like to criticize him for plagiarizing. But somehow I appreciate his imagination in some of his works. I believe literature is essentially about tolerance.

Malina Yung - Charity

Lady Malina Yung, the chair of American Dragon Group, a Sino-US cultural and art exchange center, is a member of the famous Yung family and grew up on the fashionable Upper East Side of New York. She didn't have to work, but she carved out her own career - first as a model and actress, now in charitable work. She dedicates herself to charity and cultural exchanges between Chinese and Americans. Q: You have spent so much time and money in charity. Do you ever wonder if it's worthwhile? How do you value your payments and profits in charity?

A: Actually there is no point in valuing. From the time when I began charity, I never thought of claiming a reward. Recently, we did a charity project to finance surgery for children with congenital heart disease. Without surgery they would die by the age of six. When they had recovered, I felt I was rewarded - I saved lives.

Q: Was there a particularly touching moment?

A: I remember a policeman working in China Town in New York several years ago. He is the third generation of Chinese immigrants. He told me that he felt so sad about those Chinese children whose parents were busy working and had no time to take care of them; he asked me to help them. I was deeply touched, because he was the third generation but he still considered himself Chinese and tried his best to help Chinese people. I think I should do the same.

Q: You have so many responsibilities - charity, cultural exchange, beauty contests. How do you balance your work and private life? Are you annoyed you don't have more time for yourself?

A: No. I never feel annoyed about this, because it's my life. I intend to do charity, to hold lectures and contests. Those are parts of my life. I enjoy it and I'm used to it.

Q: What's your main focus?

A: Charity takes much of my time. And the Miss China International Pageant, a beauty contest we organized; the counterpart contest organizer in Venezuela wants to cooperate with us. It's a good chance for promotion. We also plan a TV drama about communication and love. After filming it will be shown on the Chinese mainland.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend