HOUSTON, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- "Stay diligent and be curious," overseas Chinese Situ Dehong would always tell the younger generation, drawing the lesson from the 50 years of his life in the United States.
"Work hard and do your part," he offers his advice to the new Chinese immigrants whenever there is a chance, adding that they should keep away from drugs and other bad addictions.
Using both their brains and hands, tens of thousands of overseas Chinese have worked hard and learned fast to achieve their success and established respectable status in the United States in the past decades.
Born in China's Guangdong province in the 1930s, Situ came to the United States in 1969 to join his elder sister via Hong Kong. Arriving in a completely foreign country with only five U.S. dollars, he worked his way for half a century, from a restaurant worker to a multi-store owner.
"I could barely speak English when I first came to the United States, so I had to work in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant," Situ told Xinhua at his home in Houston, Texas. "Someone asked me how many days a week I worked, and I said 'eight' because I worked long shifts every day."
While working hard, Situ pinched and scraped for two years to save enough money to fly his wife and four children to the United States from Hong Kong.
"Life was hard, but it's always happy with the family," he said.
In order to learn English, Situ quit his job in the kitchen to become a waiter, and then he helped at a relative's grocery store while observing how it was operated.
After working for others for seven years, Situ finally opened a small grocery store with his own savings and named it after him and his wife.
"My family worked very hard to keep our inventories tidy and clean. We treated customers warmly and thoughtfully. Our business was quite good," Situ noted.
After living in the United States for 30 years, Situ returned to China for the first time, and was surprised by how much his hometown had changed.
According to Situ, China was very different from when he first came to the United States. "I've been back twice this year and will go again in October to celebrate the 100th anniversary of my alma mater," he said.
"More than 40 years of reform and opening up has brought about tremendous changes in China. China's high-tech is very developed. We can go up to the space or dive deep into the ocean. I'm so proud to be an overseas Chinese," he added.
Like Situ, many from the old generation of Chinese immigrants have earned respect for their excellent manual skills and spirit for hard working. The younger generations of overseas Chinese, including increasingly more intellectuals, are still able to excel with diligence and curiosity.
Wang Nan is one of those new immigrants. After graduating from Peking University in 1988, she came to the United States to pursue a PhD in biochemistry, during which she developed an aptitude for the medical field. Now she is an ophthalmologist at the world-famous Texas Medical Center.
"The old and new generations of Chinese immigrants have much in common. They are diligent people with strong learning abilities, and they have solid foundations in both skills and knowledge," she told Xinhua.
Wang found her 30 years of living in the United States an overlapping period of vigorous development of China's reform and opening up. In her opinion, the two countries' development in the past decades were incomparable.
"When I first came to the United States, I felt it was very advanced and convenient here. But China's urban construction has taken on entirely new looks. People's life quality has been greatly enhanced. Now it is more convenient in China than in the United States in some ways. It's very encouraging to see China's development," she said.
Wang pointed out that China's rising international status has also changed the way the world views it. She admitted that she always felt being "assisted and aided" when she first came to the United States. "Chinese culture, such as food, clothes, and festivals, have been accepted by the mainstream American society now."
In daily work and life, Wang gradually felt the change of attitudes that Americans hold toward Chinese.
"More and more patients coming to the medical center insist on seeing Chinese doctors," Wang explained, "because they believe Chinese doctors are knowledgeable, patient, and dedicated. Chinese doctors have good reputation in the country."
For the younger generation of Chinese immigrants, Wang is full of expectations. "Students of Chinese descent should remain true to our original aspiration, which is to be diligent and hardworking. No matter today or 100 years ago, this is the excellent tradition of Chinese virtues, and it's an important reason why overseas Chinese are successful," she said.