Southern Fried Rice

Southern Fried Rice

Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.07.55 PM This memoir conveys the experiences, first of my parents and subsequently of our family, the only Chinese people living in Macon, Georgia between 1928 and 1956. It describes our family’s isolated existence running a laundry, enduring loneliness as well as racial prejudice for over 20 years, explains why and how it moved across the continent to live in San Francisco near a Chinese community, and relates how each family member adjusted to the challenges and opportunities of their new lives. 

John Jung grew up in Macon, Georgia, where his Chinese immigrant parents operated a laundry for more than 20 years and raised the only Chinese family in town.  He was a professor of psychology for 40 years and upon retiring from California State University, Long Beach, he began a new career on the history of the Chinese American experience.   He has published five books about Chinese immigrants running family businesses such as laundries, grocery stores and restaurants that afforded their children opportunities for better lives.  The goal of these books is to inspire, educate, and preserve the history of the many contributions of the Chinese to American society.

Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South (Paperback)


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Other Titles 

Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain

Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers

Sweet & Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants

A Chinese American Odyssey: How A Retired Psychology Makes A Hit As A Historian.

John Jung on BloggerJohn Jung on FacebookJohn Jung on Linkedin
John Jung
After a 40 year career as a Professor of Psychology, in 2002 I began to reflect on many aspects of my personal development and returned to a question that I had avoided many times during my life, namely, how do I, as a second-generation Chinese American fit in a predominantly black and white society.

I grew up in Macon, Georgia, where I was born to Chinese immigrant parents who operated a laundry during the years before the civil rights era. Ours was the only Chinese family in town, so it was difficult for me to understand who I was, ethnically speaking. Even after we moved to San Francisco when I was an adolescent, it was still difficult for me to know what it meant to be a Chinese American because I was so different from the San Francisco Chinese who had lived so closely among other Chinese all of their lives. Then just as I was 'becoming' Chinese American, I moved to other parts of the country where few Chinese lived, and I had to just forget about or ignore my "Chinese-ness" and concentrate on my career development and live as a "color-neutral" person.

My attempts to understand how my ethnic identity emerged led me to write a memoir "Southern Fried Rice: Life in A Chinese Laundry in the Deep South," in 2005. I soon realized from positive responses from readers and audiences when I gave book talks/signings all over the U. S. that this was an important story to preserve and share. Several people, for example, shared that they too grew up in cultural isolation where they were the only Chinese people in their communities and/or they also grew up helping in their parents'laundry.

I never aspired to write more than one book about Chinese Americans, but in the course of doing research to further my understanding of how and why my parents ended in Georgia, and how they were treated, I was inspired to write "Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain" (2007) which examined the vital role that this ethnic business had for Chinese immigrants for over a century all over the U. S. and Canada.

A third book in 2008, "Chopsticks in the Land of Cotton: Lives of Mississippi Delta Chinese Grocers" described the history of Chinese grocery store owners in small communities during the era when Jim Crow laws prevailed.

"Sweet and Sour: Life in Chinese Family Restaurants," published in 2010 is a study of another stereotypical Chinese business, the restaurant. It examined origins, operation, and impact of Chinese restaurants.

My four books share the common goal of exploring how Chinese immigrants, starting from the late 1800s until beyond the middle of the past century, managed to overcome the hostile societal prejudices against Chinese and other "Orientals" to succeed in opening family businesses such as laundries, grocery stores, and restaurants that enabled their children to gain education that allowed them to move from these humble origins to careers in many fields. For books, book signings, and videos of talks go to http://yinandyangpress.webs.com/

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