Convocation Inaugurates School Year
In the president's Opening Day Convocation, celebrated author Maxine Hong Kingston told students and faculty that among her formulas for a community, learning to live in peace was "deep, nonjudgmental, compassionate listening." Kingston held her audience rapt as she encouraged her listeners to cross social and cultural boundaries to form one community.
The author's popularity among college students derives from her focus on the recent experience of Asian Americans who have been marginalized: the women "who have been historically enslaved, and the difficulties lying in wait for the men who emigrate to Hawaii, California, and New York."
The author described her untiring efforts to reconstruct hundreds of pages of her manuscript-in-work consumed in a 1991 fire. Starting over by rigorously completing ten pages a day while teaching creative writing at the University of California at Berkeley, she hopes to publish her new work, A New Book of Peace, by the year 2000. Kingston read several passages from the work in progress, recalling her seven trips to China and her interpretations of the symbolism and myths still alive in rural areas. In her closing remarks Kingston shared her recipe for personal peace: "Drink Chinese tea; be happy; don't work for the government."