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Book details
  • SubGenre:Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
  • Language:English
  • Pages:636
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781543909838
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543909821

My Impossible Life

by Liza Cheuk May Chan

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This is the author's "impossible" story, from her birth in the burgeoning, post-World War II British Crown Colony affectionately dubbed "Pearl of the Orient," to waking up a paraplegic from a non-elective spinal cord surgery fifty years on, and the kaleidoscope of trials and tribulations, and the cornucopia of travails and triumphs, in the interim decades and beyond.
A no-holds-barred memoir of a Chinese woman born in Hong Kong under British colonial rule, nurtured and groomed in the 1950's and 1960's in that unique, bi-cultural society, came of age as a lesbian-feminist in New York City while an undergraduate at Barnard College in the 1970's, and proceeded to attain graduate and professional degrees as a "foreign student" in America. While practicing as a young attorney in Michigan in the early 1980's, she gained infamy as "the Chin Case lawyer," while overcoming multiple serious health challenges in the 1980's and 1990's. In the early 2000's, at the prime of her life and professional career, she became a paraplegic after a non-elective spinal cord surgery. Her life thus unwittingly detoured onto a spiritual and healing journey of karmic life lessons and miraculous grace, an odyssey that is still unfolding and evolving twelve-plus years hence.
About the author
The author was born and raised in British colonial Hong Kong in the 1950's, nurtured and groomed in that unique bi-cultural society in the hey days of post-World War II boom. She received her preparatory education at St. Stephen's Girls' College, a prestigious, private Anglican primary and secondary school in Hong Kong. Admitted to Barnard College in New York City, she spent much of her freshman and sophomore years off-campus as an activist in the nascent feminist and gay rights movements. After graduating with a B.A. degree in Political Science, and attaining her M.A. degree in Government from Texas Woman's University in two semesters, she completed her law studies at Wayne State University Law School. In November 1980, she was sworn in and licensed as an attorney, and embarked on the private practice of law with a small firm in Southfield, Michigan. In April of 1983, she was one of a handful of Asian American attorneys in Michigan who became involved in seeking justice in the Vincent Chin case, in which the two killers in the allegedly racially motivated baseball-bat fatal attack on the young Chinese American draftsman received only probation and fines for their heinous crime. The Chin case was the catalyst for the Asian American civil rights movement, and galvanized other dispossessed minorities to demand civil rights and equality under the law. Meanwhile, the author's own immigration status posed a challenge; legal permanent resident status was a pipe dream for her until the unexpected enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. Moreover, beginning in her 30's, the author suffered a series of rare and serious medical conditions, all of which she courageously stared down. Her luck, however, ran out in the early 2000's, at the prime of her life and career, when she became a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair after a non-elective spinal cord surgery. That proverbial transformative event launched a spiritual and healing odyssey that is still unfolding and evolving today, 12-plus years hence. Through the decades of trials and tribulations, this is, ultimately, a story of overcoming physical disabilities, spiritual reawakening, and triumph of the spirit.

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