Thank you Mrs. Huang!

When I was in middle school in Taipei, Taiwan, many moons ago, Mrs. Huang, my Chinese literature teacher tested us daily to make sure we knew our vocabulary words and how to use them. To qualify for high school, all middle school students had to pass a national high school entrance exam in Taiwan. This was a full two days of testing during the first week of July when it was 100 degrees and 90% humidity, with no air conditioning on our tropical island. The year I took the exam, the Department of Education added Chinese composition as part of the standard exam. I became the first group of middle school students required to complete the written composition portion and have it count toward the total score. The total score dictated which public high school (the worst to the best) you would be admitted to in the City of Taipei – home of over two million people.

Mrs. Huang prepared us by requiring that every week each of us write one article to practice for this important life event. One day, Mrs. Huang decided to illustrate how NOT to write a composition. She told us that if you wrote in the way that would be read, it would guarantee you would not get into high school. (That’s right – not all students pass the exam and get into public high school.) Mrs. Huang asked the top student in class to read the article to a room of sixty-five students. Everyone was very nervous that it could be their composition, and that the other students might laugh at them. Of course, the essay turned out to be mine. I was publicly chastised and humiliated by Mrs. Huang’s cruel comments. Mrs. Huang was known for her harsh treatment to her students, and back then, it was typical, normal behavior for teachers. (Luckily, not so much now by today’s standards.)

When high school entrance exam scores were announced, my composition score ranked in the top two in the City of Taipei. Mrs. Huang was furious, outraged and in disbelief. She filed a complaint with the exam board to review my file. But since there were tens of thousands of students who took the exam, no one bothered to responded to her. (If they did, maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t find out.)

After that, I lost any interest in writing or even reading. So much so that I even earned the nickname “Lazy Jolly” in college from my English professor. I only turned in what was required – not one word more.

Perhaps you are now wondering if I wrote a book just to prove Mrs. Huang wrong. Not really. I actually want to thank her for what she did. Without her, I might not have taken on the challenge of writing at all. Many of you asked, “Have you ever wanted to write a book?” Again, not really, because due in part to Mrs. Huang’s cruel comments, I never wanted anything to do with writing again in. I wrote Show Me the Money for marketing reasons. But it’s turned out to be a great milestone.

Chia-Li ChienI sincerely appreciate your support and continued encouragement. There is a list of people I want to thank, but did not get a chance to do so at the party on June 8, 2010. Many thanks to my sweet husband T.C. and daughter Con-Ning. Their daily support and love makes all the difference in the world. Many thanks to my parents for their continue guidance and love. I’m so blessed to have a great family who are my best cheerleaders! Of course, my editor Aprill Jones did her magic and worked wonders to make the book readable. Yes, English is my second language, and my poor Chinese foundation sets the parameters for everything I write.

Thank you once again for coming to support me. I hope you enjoy the book. Your reviews and comments at are appreciated very much. Thank you and please help spread the word!

Chia-Li Chien

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