Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
By Senior Airman Danielle Quilla, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 19, 2017
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
A simple red envelope. That’s all it took for one small child to feel like his fortunes were changing.
“Lunar New Year is the most significant event in my culture,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Weiqi Fu, a contracting specialist with the 509th Contracting Squadron. “As a child, one of the things that I looked forward to the most was receiving the red envelope from adults.”
In the Chinese culture, a red envelope always contains allowances and signifies good fortune. During this annual event, family members are brought together to celebrate the future.
Born in Shanghai, China, Fu immigrated to the U.S. in 1996 at the age of 10 when his father was accepted for a job. The biggest culture change for him was the education system. While the Chinese school system emphasizes book knowledge, the U.S. schools encouraged freedom of thinking and creativity. When he attended elementary school in China, he was enrolled in multiple afterschool programs and weekends were occupied by extracurricular school activities.
“The cultural thinking in China was that in order for the children to be successful in the future, the early development is extremely important,” he said.
When Fu started attending school in the U.S., he noticed that his peers associated intelligence with Asians.
“While it is true that most Asians do well in school, however, it has a positive correlation to the amount of dedication to their school work,” said Fu. “Regardless of your cultural background or ethnicity, success is influenced by hard work.”
In 2011, Fu enlisted in the Air Force as open general and knew his dedication to his schoolwork would benefit him in his new job.
“I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be able to get into my number one career field, contracting,” he said.
When asked about what he hopes to pass on to his children, he said, “I want to pass on to my children the different Chinese dialects. I believe being bilingual is extremely important in today’s global market. I would consider my children to be very lucky that their parents are both bilingual. It makes the language learning process significantly easier.”