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A Case of Political Descent
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When Wayne Chang 3L was six years old , he was introduced to Soong May-ling, also known as Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the oldest living member of a dynasty that for decades had ruled Taiwan, and before that, mainland China. To a kindergartener, the meeting was terrifying and mysterious. Wayne recalls that his parents' friends encouraged him to talk to Madame Chiang as if she were his great-grand mother, but at the time Wayne saw no connection between himself and the octogenarian.

It was another ten years before 16-year-old Chang was called into his father's room and told the secret of his lineage: Wayne learned that he was the direct descendant of Taiwan's founder, the legendary Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and grandson of the country's first president, Chiang Ching-kuo. As the child of President Chiang's illegitimate son, John Chang, Wayne's family background had remained a “public secret,” known to virtually everyone except Wayne himself.

Despite the potentially life-transforming revelation, Wayne remained level-headed. “I was certainly surprised, but I don't think it changed my life a lot. I tried not to take advantage of my family background,” he says. “My dad told me, ‘You still have to be yourself.' He insisted that I keep a very low profile, go to public school, and live like an ordinary person.”
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