Late last month I had the pleasure of reading about a truly remarkable individual who upon arriving in this country as an immigrant from mainland China, endured numerous hardships and went on to become a major economic and political force in California.
Chei Chen (“C.C”) Yin was born in 1936 and fled with his family to Taiwan after the communists took over in 1949. In 1964 he borrowed money from a relative which he used to secure a berth on a cargo ship headed for the West Coast. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, he set about looking for work. In the article, it is described how Mr. Yin slept on bare floors and on occasion ate left-over chicken skins to survive. So much for my “I will sleep in dive hotels and eat dog food if need be” mantra. He ended up enrolling in the University of Washington to continue his studies in engineering and earned a Master’s Degree.
After having been laid off from his engineering job during the seventies, he once again found himself working odd jobs and acquired a run down McDonald’s franchise in Oakland. Now this was one neighborhood that was definitely not for the faint at heart. “C.C” gives mention to the million dollar loss that he incurred in addition to the rampant crime that frequently took place. Being taunted with signs reading “Chinaman Go Home” also made his efforts difficult.
Over the course of time, he became aware of the advantages of building political clout. He and his wife Regina have contributed to a wide array of political officials (both Democrat and Republican) and have helped numerous Asian American individuals come into the political forefront. What’s especially admirable about this noteworthy entrepreneur is his commitment to giving back and making a difference in the lives of other. The charities and other programs that have benefited from the Yin’s generosity have had a profound impact on disadvantaged and at risk youth along with senior citizens. Once in a position where their personal situations have improved, those who have been fortunate to have received the Yin’s benevolence are expected to go out and to serve others in return.
Although C.C. Yin has definitely become a man of means, he still retains a humbleness about him and does not forget the personal circumstances that drove him to pursue a better life here in America. He definitely exemplifies what the American Dream is all about. This is one individual who I hope I get the privilege to meet in person.
My thanks to Stephen Magagnini of the Sacramento Bee who wrote the article from which the information in this post was obtained.
For pictures of this remarkable individual and humanitarian, click on the link below to see photos posted in www.sacbee.com (photos by Renée Byer of the Sacramento Bee)
Here’s to you “Making It Happen!”