Finding our roots through art and culture— Dinner with S. Alice Mong, Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center
Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures.
Born in Taiwan and moved to the US at the age of ten, Alice has always been fond of finding one’s voice and expressing it through art and culture. Working in New York as the Director of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), she witnessed the organisation’s transformation from a New York Chinatown institution to a leading national museum, showcasing experiences of Chinese descendants in the United States.
Now living in Hong Kong, she currently serves as Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center (ASHK), promoting mutual understanding between the people of Asia and the United States in a global context.
Over dinner, Alice chatted about her struggles growing up as a minority in the United States, and how it moulded her into who she is today.
What life philosophy do you live by?
You have to know where you come from. As for me, I’m Chinese but I’m also American. Sometimes I have to shift between the two identities when facing different people, but I keep a clear identity of who I am.
Recognising my roots gives me confidence.
Arts and culture allowed me to to find my identity. We need these different institutes (e.g. museums) to tell us stories, so that we could discover and understand our own place. We don’t have to totally understand them, merely appreciating them is enough. By acknowledging them, we are listening to someone’s voice through art and learning from their stories.
Do you have any advice on job hunting?
When I’m job hunting, I have to love the job, the mission has to speak to me, and I have to love the people. These come before money.
Always keep your heart open and be prepared to seize every opportunity!
The younger you are, the more chances you can take!
By the way, if you’re considering entering Hong Kong’s art and cultural sector, I would say definitely go for it! To me, this is the most exciting sector. Hong Kong is starting from ground zero here, there’s so much potential!
Is there one action you want us to take away from you tonight?
I think we always have this concept that only rich people are expected to give or to donate. But it shouldn’t be like that! Have a look at the US, the most charitable country on earth.
Ordinary people can give also! It doesn’t have to be money, time counts too.
Donating should be part of the culture. I believe if you start giving once, you will continue doing it. It is like a chain effect that spreads positivity throughout our world.
For more amazing opportunities, visit Time Auction to volunteer and meet inspiring mentors!
This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium: https://timeauction.medium.com/finding-our-roots-through-art-and-culture-dinner-with-alice-mong-executive-director-of-asia-db719af8552