Sunday, December 31, 2006

<<世界日报>> 采访文章3 (from the World Journal)

【本報記者徐敏子東灣 - 新墨西哥州電話採訪】 80-20促進會前不久選出一員女將出任促進會主席職務,她就是來自香港的德州退休商人杜潔靈(Kathleen To)。成立於 1998 年的促進會於四年前開始在繳費會員中選舉產生領導成員,杜潔靈是促進會的第二位、第三任主席,前任吳仙標連任兩屆。

杜潔靈於 2002 年加盟促進會,隔年當選促進會秘書,任期至今年年底屆滿;她也是促進會教育基金會的秘書和財務,當選促進會主席後,她將卸去基金會的職務,將精力集中在促進會整體工作上。

1964 年從香港移民來美的杜潔靈持有奧克拉荷馬大學的細胞遺傳學碩士學位,曾經是達拉斯德州大學皮膚癌研究團隊的成員;離開科研領域後她曾經營私人投資公司,從事零售業及地產業,目前已退休的她在新墨西哥州定居。

杜傑靈來美後就十分投入亞裔參政事務,曾為多位亞裔候選人助選;在達拉斯經商時,她也是當地美華協會的活躍成員;1990 年,杜潔靈曾獲德州州長任命擔任德州「商務大使」,負責德州與亞洲國家發展貿易關係。

被問及「新官上任」的工作計畫時杜潔靈表示,促進會將作更多的教育工作,「教育全美亞裔提升對80-20 促進會理念的認知」,告訴大家「團結起來集團投票營造亞裔政治影響力」的意義。
杜潔靈說,亞裔在過去一直有作政治捐款,但「對共和黨、民主黨一半一半,到後來誰也不聽我們,亞裔的利益還是沒人來代為爭取」,她說那種捐錢後僅滿足於與政客合影的時代應該結束了。杜潔靈期望通促進會的努力,使亞裔選票真正能發揮左右選情關鍵票的角色,進而令主流社會對亞裔刮目相看,這一教育工作還要通過教育家長作到下一代身上,杜潔靈說,不少亞裔家長常津津樂道於自己孩子的 SAT 成績有多高,但對孩子的政治成長卻不關心,因此加強實習生計畫也是杜潔靈任上的工作重點之一。

80-20 促進會號稱目前有 75 萬網上支持者,由 18 位各界精英組成的董事會中包括前不久新當選的六位新鮮人,董事會的七位董事組成執行委員會。明年 3-4 月間,董事會將在灣區舉行新董事會的第一次全體會議。

English Version (translated by Helen Wang)
Interview by Minzi Xu, World Journal correspondent, via telephone.

Recently, the 80-20 Initiative elected Kathleen To, a Hong Kong native and a retired Texas businesswoman, as their new chairwoman. Established in 1998, the Initiative began four years ago to elect leadership candidates from dues-paid members. Ms. To is the second chairperson of the Initiative, the first being two-term former chairman, Dr. S.B. Woo.

Kathleen To joined the 80-20 Initiative in 2002. The following year, she was elected as the Initiative’s Secretary, a position in which she served until the end of 2006. Until this past chairperson election, she also served as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Initiative’s Educational Foundation. She will relinquish these Educational Foundation positions in order to more fully concentrate her energies on the overall work of the Initiative itself.

Ms. To emigrated from Hong Kong to the US in 1964. Afterward, she earned a Master of Science in Molecular Genetics at the University of Oklahoma. She is a former member of the skin cancer research team at the University of Texas at Dallas. After leaving academia, Ms. To started a private investment firm, and engaged in retail and real estate transactions. At present, she has retired and resides in New Mexico.

After arriving in the US, Ms. To has actively participated in Asian American politics. When in Dallas, she was a dynamic member of several Asian-American Associations. In 1990, she was appointed by the Governor of Texas to be the Honorary Commercial Attache of the State of Texas to Asia. Her main duties included encouraging the development of trade relationships between Texas and Asian countries.

Upon being asked about any new plans she will bring to the table as the new chairwoman, Ms. To replied that the Initiative will engage in more educational work in the future. Hopefully, this educational aspect will elevate the primary goals of the Initiative into the consciousness of Asian Americans. One primary goal is that Asian Americans recognize that, if they unite to create a single voting bloc, they will influence politics in a powerful way.

In Ms. To’s view, Asian Americans in the past have always made financial contributions to both political parties, but “…these contributions were split evenly between the Republicans and Democrats. In the end, neither party competes to cater to Asian American interests.” Ms. To states that the days of Asian Americans donating funds in order to get a picture with a political candidate should end now.

Ms. To hopes that, through the Initiative’s diligent efforts, the Asian vote may develop and play the critical “swing vote” role between the Left and the Right. This will cause mainstream society to do a “double-take” and recognize Asian Americans on a deeper level. Ms. To also hopes that the Initiative’s educational work may continue through heads of families in the Asian American community. Too many heads of families only focus on a child’s SAT score, and do not focus at all on a child’s political cultivation. Therefore, an important agenda Ms. To plans to pursue is to increase the number of interns at the Initiative.

At the present, 80-20 Initiative has 750,000 online supporters, with eighteen Board Members who are industry elites in various fields. Six of these Board Members are newly elected. Within the Board, there are seven members who comprise the Executive Committee. Between March or April of 2007, the new Board will confer for its first Board meeting in the Bay Area.