May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and we are proud to offer our platforms to our team members to share their stories in their own unique voices. Today, we are pleased to feature Chin Hong Chua, our Resident District Manager at Texas State University.
“While growing up as third-generation Chinese Malaysian in Southeast Asia, the importance of education was instilled in me at an early stage of my life by my family. I had to learn Chinese (both Traditional and Simplified writing), English (although it was British English), and Malay language (National Language). A disadvantage back then was the lack of tertiary education opportunities. The entire country had less than nine universities, making it extremely hard to be accepted to study one’s area of interest. Thus, studying abroad was almost a certainty for those that qualified and could afford it.
When I studied for my B.A. in International Business and Economics at the University of Arkansas, I worked as a dishwasher. The income supplemented the allowance provided by my parents and the free meal helped a lot, even more so during the 1997 Asia Financial Crisis. What started as a job to get a free meal has now become a lifelong career. I have been blessed to have worked in this organization in multiple capacities and continue to grow my career. I am honored to have worked with the best in the industry and have earned multiple recognitions such as National Account of the Year, Inclusion Excellence Award, and Center for Excellence.
In my free time, I play badminton and enjoy stamp collecting – which I have done since I was six years old. I loved bowling when I was at the University of Arkansas, and also enjoy traditional board games with friends. Since I live in Texas, experimenting with smoking a mean Texas BBQ Brisket is almost a constant. Now during the pandemic, I have been learning the art of bonsai to keep my mind at peace.
One of my favorite foods is Chinese Sticky Rice Dumpling (Zongzi). It’s marinated pork belly, chestnuts, black-eyed peas, shitake mushroom, peanuts, salted egg yolk, sticky rice, etc. wrapped in bamboo leaves and boiled. It’s usually prepared during the Dragon Boat Festival. The tradition started when the Chinese people memorialized a famous poet who drowned more than 2,300 years ago. The villagers dreamt that the food they threw into the river to commemorate his sacrifice was eaten by the fish, and as a result, the ingredients were then wrapped in bamboo leaves and delivered by boats to be dropped in the center of the river.”