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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

American Dream

My rich uncle and his extended families living in LA arrived in Hong Kong via Guangzhou today; and I was a bit surprised that the party - five professionals and four children - would check in the Park Hotel at Tsimshatsui (TST). "When I was young, I used to take the TST train back to Taipo; and the sight of the grand Park Hotel heightened my inferiority complex." He said. "I didn't dare go near it." He confessed.

Born after the War, my uncle was poor and had no relatives in US, but he had his American dream. To begin the first step of his journey to success, he seized the opportunity to believe in Mormons and the institution helped remove his obstacles in studying in US. Not only did he become a US pharmacist and have his pharmacy, but he also met his equally capable accountant wife originating from Guangzhou.

The smart and hardworking couple also invested in their children (whose names began in the order of "A","B" and "C" - American Born Chinese) and in real property. "A" is now an entrepreneur, "B" a medical doctor and "C", a dentist married to another dentist. Rather than leaving all the tangible legacy to them, the retired couple chose to travel more with them, chasing their roots incidentally.

"We saw Mom's old home in Guangzhou and she had fond memories of it," said the dentist daughter-in-law. I suspected their tight schedule would not enable them to go back to Lam Tsuen to see their Dad's old home. I however felt the urge to document the true story as to how the sight of the grand Park Hotel back then could have inspired a village boy to master his fate and make his American dream come true!

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