<HTML><HEAD> <META name=GENERATOR content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19019"></HEAD> <BODY> <H1 class="cN-headingPage articleHeading prepend-5 span-11 last">Success demands some sacrifices </H1> <DIV class="push-0 span-11 last"><!-- cT-storyDetails --> <H5 class="cT-storyDetails cfix">John Garnaut</H5> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"><CITE>October 1, 2011</CITE> </DIV> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"><A href="http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/success-demands-some-sacrifices-20110930-1l1im.html">http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/success-demands-some-sacrifices-20110930-1l1im.html</A></DIV> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"><!--<ul> --><!-- --></DIV> <DIV id=googleAds class="ad adSpot-textBox"></DIV><BOD> <DIV class=articleBody><!-- cT-imagePortrait --> <DIV class=cT-imagePortrait><IMG alt="Chen Bi with her mother Yisu." src="ctsart-353-chen-bi-yisu-200x0.jpg"> <P>Chen Bi with her mother Yisu ... ''I say it's not about money.'' </P></DIV> <P>Chen Dongchu was born in October 1949, a few days after Chairman Mao proclaimed the People's Republic of China. ''Dongchu'' means the sun in the East has begun to rise.</P> <P>His daughter, Chen Bi, was born at her parents' factory compound on October 7, 1976, a month after Mao died and a day after China's leaders closed the book on his radical ways by arresting his wife. Her name was chosen for its individuality. The character for Bi is so obscure it does not exist on most computer databases. And she was born into a world where the Eastern sun really did begin to rise.</P> <P>Today 34-year old Chen Bi is a stylish, strong-willed lawyer who works on global investment deals at one of the world's most prestigious firms.</P> <P>Her mother Yisu - which means ''change old customs'' - looks back nostalgically at their old lives in a factory compound in rural Sichuan, where everyone was equally poor. But the family project was always to find a way to get Chen out of there.</P> <P>''Even some relatives made fun of the fact that I was from the countryside when I visited them in big cities," she says.</P> <P>After she graduated, Chen's parents scraped together their savings - ''it wasn't very much,'' she laughs - and paid her way into a commerce degree at the University of NSW. There she worked a dozen jobs and ''lived on instant noodles for two years''.</P> <P>She landed a job selling Foxtel subscriptions door-to-door at night - a job that no other female dared to take - because she knew it would force her to communicate convincingly in English. She ended up as Foxtel's salesperson of the year.</P> <P>Chen returned to China for a job at a top state-owned financial firm and then opened a small transport business. She soon looked around for a new challenge, and chose law. ''I thought if I wanted to change my life then I would have to do something very difficult.''</P> <P>Chen graduated from law at Sydney University and now has a booming practice advising outbound Chinese investors at a top British firm.</P> <P>''My parents wanted me to work very hard so I could get out of that town, but now I've done that they think I should stop,'' says Chen.</P> <P>''My mum thinks that in building my dream I sacrificed a lot of things that are very important, especially my private life and my family. But those things are more important to them than they are to me.</P> <P>''She says 'how much money do you want, you can only eat so much and sleep in one bed', but I say it's not about money. Coming from a really small backwater it's really important to prove that I can do it. The more exposure you get, the less you realise you know - it's curiosity that drives you.''</P></DIV></BOD></DIV></BODY></HTML>