On her retirement from the Board of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation of Canada
By Howard Chu, Board Member of SCLCFC
September 27, 2018
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
I would like to take this opportunity tonight to honour a very special lady, Eileen Lin. I have a lot of nice things to say about Eileen, and how she is an outstanding person, but to do this in a short few minutes is a very difficult challenge for me.
But let me start by telling you about Eileen’s contribution to the work of the Foundation. In 1981, Eileen and her late husband Paul were living in Vancouver after Paul’s retirement from the McGill University. Madame Soong Ching Ling, who Paul and Eileen got to know intimately while they were in China, passed away in that year. Paul and Eileen worked to form the Soong Ching Ling Children’s Foundation of Canada, with a mission to improve the education and welfare of children, as a way to commemorate Madame Soong Ching Ling for the work she had done for women and children in China. Over the last thirty-five years, under the inspiration and dedicated work of Paul and Eileen, the Foundation has supported many children’s projects in China and in Vancouver. In the school year from last September to August this year alone, the Foundation dispensed $65,000 in support of children’s projects both in Vancouver and in China. And we expect to spend a similar amount in the current school year---not bad for a small non-profit organization like us. Like tonight’s fundraising dinner, we expect to raise $25,000 all of which will be earmarked for projects at the Britannia and Tupper schools in Vancouver. Just imagine, as a result of the vision, kind intentions and hard work of Paul and Eileen, thousands of children have benefited from the work of our Foundation which Paul and Eileen had founded.
In 2001, when China was still a developing economy, Eileen and Paul donated and raised $400,000 to set up a Paul and Eileen Lin Trust fund to help the children in the countryside of China to attend senior high schools. Twelve years later, by 2013, when this scholarship program was discontinued for various reasons, the trust fund was donated to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to provide annual grants to university students who participate in social service programs in the countryside of China. This program is designed to increase the awareness of the university students about the needs of the society, and connecting their community service experience with their academic studies. Throughout the lives of Paul and Eileen, they are constantly giving because they always care for others and especially those who are in need.
Lastly, I would like to talk about a very major personal achievement by Eileen. Before Paul passed away in 2004, he never did fulfill his plan to write a book on contemporary Chinese history, even though he had accumulated a lot of important documents and made a lot of notes of many significant events through his personal experience. Eileen, who was already in her eighties, took up the task and spent seven years to finish writing the book which was a memoir of Paul Lin and of course of herself as well. This end product was a superb, masterpiece of work. The book, titled “In the Eye of the China Storm”, was published by McGill Queens University Press in 2011 under the Footprints Series which is exclusively reserved for extraordinary Canadians who have led exceptional and important lives. This book was subsequently translated into Chinese by Ms. Hu Shoufang. The book talked about how Paul and Eileen, who in their idealistic youth, went to China in 1950 to serve the new China, with the noble aim to help build a new society. I would like to just offer one quote from the first page of the book, this book is “Dedicated to a generation of idealistic Chinese youth and intellectuals who in the twentieth century ventured upon an odyssey of purpose, pain and hope to build a new China, strong, prosperous, and democratic, with justice for all”.
This quote says it all about the noble character of Paul and Eileen, and the sacrifices they were willing to make by serving the people of China from 1950 to 1964. And after their return to Canada in 1964, they continued to serve both Canada and China, helping to connect the two countries in establishing diplomatic relationship.
Eileen, you can always look back and take great pride in your accomplishment!