Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hwang on Tong

U.S. Senate candidate William Tong was attempting to catch some of that Linsanity, when it was in full swing. So, this week, when I happened to run into Rep. Tony Hwang, the other Chinese-American legislator, I asked him what he thought about Tong and his attempt to associate himself with basketball phenom Jeremy Lin.
Though he expressed admiration for Tong, calling him a friend, Hwang stopped well short of an endorsement.
I don't know, but maybe it's because they're in different parties? Maybe.
"He was the first Asian-American to be elected to the Connecticut General Assembly," Hwang said of Tong. "As a colleague and as a friend, I applaud him"
Hwang did note that he, too, has shared his own background when running for office, and there are some surprising similarities between candidate Rep. Tong and Rep. Hwang.
Both are children of Chinese restaurateurs, though Hwang says there were some significant differences.
Hwang emigrated at the age of 9, and wasn't afforded a high standard of living early on. Tong is fond of saying that his campaign began with the 57 cents his father came to this country with, but through sacrifice was able to send the future candidate to boarding school Phillips Academy.
"I spent the first three years in a housing project," Hwang said. 
Hwang, unable to speak English in his early years, was an ESL student in Syracuse (NY) public schools, before heading off to Cornell.
But, Linsanity or not, the Republican state representative is not put off by Tong's references to his Chinese heritage. Quite the opposite.
"I'm proud of him as an Asian-American," Hwang said.

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