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Bambi Nancy Shen shares life story

Bambi Nancy Shen shares life story
The BSP Suva Central Bank staff in their pink attire pose for a photo. Photo: BSP
August 14
08:08 2014

Throughout her challenging and extraordinary life, the strong and successful Bambi Nancy Shen, 74, has followed her personal mantra to have the courage to take action and practice kindness to others.

Ms Shen was keynote speaker at the National Women’s Expo held in Suva last week.

She was invited by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni.

Ms Shen is the author of her well known memoir, “The Uncrushable Rose: A Memoir from Concentration Camp to Becoming a Free Woman” which is printed in Chinese, English and Spanish.

“Growing up in French Indochina (now Vietnam) I constantly received negative messages from my mother, who berated me and repeatedly told me how she wished I’d been born a boy,” she said.

Ms Shen said her mother’s harsh words to her had somewhat of an opposite effect on her.

“My mother told me I would never be married because I was too ugly and I would always be a burden to my parents, just a useless mouth for them to feed,” she said.

However, Ms Shen said, she was determined to overcome all of her negative prophecies and made a living and a life for herself.

“I want to use my life story to inspire and empower women of Fiji to raise their sights and expand their horizons,” she said.

Ms Shen said during the Japanese occupation Vietnam in World War II, her family endured internment in concentration camps, surviving hunger and bombing air raids, which twice came close to taking her life.

“I persevered and sought out an education, winning a scholarship and travelling alone on a one-way ticket to the United States of America to attend college,” she said.

Ms Shen said she was determined to make it in the USA and at that point, it was sink or swim and she chose to swim and find the gate in every wall.

“I want to advice other women to work hard and not to take any harsh words too personally. Let other people’s judgments roll off your back,” she added.

Ms Shen said despite having extreme differences with her mother she had spent years caring for her until her death.

“The first step is always difficult but if we make a commitment we can succeed in whatever we want and we need to work together and help each other,” she said.

Ms Shen is an author, a philanthropist, a teacher fluent in four languages, a former restauranteur and an inspiration to women.

Feedback: zafiya.shamim@fijisun.com.fj

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