A: Yes. My father was a farmer, who grew mostly rice. He never went to school and could not write his name, but neither could my mother, which was common for that time. My family was probably the poorest family in the village. I had two brothers and two sisters. I am the second child. My brothers and sisters all worked in a coop, but we often owed the coop money since we had a big family. We had no electricity and were really totally disconnected from the world. I had no idea about life outside the village at that time.
Q: Did your father expect you to follow in his footsteps?
A: No. In fact, my father once told me "Son, if you don’t study hard, you will not have enough food to eat." I remember not having enough food to eat every day. In those days, my family normally had enough food for 9 months, but not the rest of the year, so we had to look for anything else we could find for the other 3 months. Because life was hard, there were really no expectations for a career at that time. The best I could hope to do would be to leave the village and find work, where entry level salaries were about 18RMB ($3) per month outside the village. I was doing well in my early adulthood to earn 3RMB ($0.5) a month.