Shan went through Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and was able to witness and experience the results of then that time central planning.
He highlighted numerous time that he stopped schooling after 12 ( elementary school ) and was sent to the Gobi Desert for crop cultivation (manual labour).
Do take note that during that time, reading / education was frowned upon unless they are doctrines from Mao, Marx and Lenin
He had a hunger for reading and taught himself Mathematics using candlelight without any system.
Stayed there for a total of 6 years, and was one of the first cohorts of Chinese students allowed to study in US after the Cultural Revolution.
1hr 18 min
My Take from the interview
- He was brought up in a society whereby he had no choice, it was only when he went to US then he was asked ( given ) to make decisions/choices
- His hunger for knowledge during that 6 years in Gobi allowed him to acquire the ability to study in US -> that is why he believe strongly in Knowledge that it will bring you out of poverty
- What I think was very important during the Gobi days, he was with this Chinese Pilot whom was trained in the US, their conversation about the US opened up San’s mind to a different world
- Reading is always important as it opens another world -> it opens your imagination
- In his opinion – Hope is something we will strive for
- Another interesting thing that i notice is the way he look at how to resolve situation. sometimes people talk about half empty and half full, he put forth the notion of what are the differences and what are the similarities and we should reconcile base on our similarities. ( this is a personal opinion )