Oral Histories

Interview of Karen Kuo-Limb

Immigrant from Taiwan. Founder of Macro International Company, an import-export business and leading distributor of Neoprene.
Series:
Suburban Chinatown: Chinese American Business and Political Leaders in the San Gabriel Valley
Topic:
Asian American History
Interviewer:
Cline, Alex
Interviewee:
Kuo-Limb, Karen
Persons Present:
Kuo-Limb and Cline.
Place Conducted:
Kuo-Limb's office at Macro International in Irvine, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Alex Cline, series coordinator, UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research; musician. Cline prepared for the interview by studying biographical information supplied by the interviewee.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Kuo-Limb was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content but made no changes.
Length:
4.5 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Audio:
Series Statement:
The Suburban Chinatown series focuses on political and business leaders in the San Gabriel Valley who came to the U.S. in the post-1965 wave of Asian immigration after the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolished the quota system based on national origins. The series was undertaken as a collaborative effort between the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research and the American East Asian Cultural and Educational Foundation (AEACEF). AEACEF recommended the majority of the individuals interviewed and introduced the interviewer to the narrators. Many of the narrators are also featured in the AEACEF’s book Thirty Years of Chinese American Immigration in Southern California.
Upbringing in Taipei, Taiwan—Influence of Japanese culture on parents—Importance of education in Taiwan—Parents’ focus on education and high expectations—Reflection on college years and decision to attend graduate school at University of San Diego—Reflections on relocation to the United States and cultural differences—Meeting future husband, Korean American Jong Kim—Initial difficulties in the relationship and eventual marriage in San Diego,
Aspirations to have import-export business in United States—Beginnings of business and deal with Neoprene—Business expansion and move from San Diego to Orange County—Hiring employees—Rapidity with which company began supplying most of North America’s Neoprene—Extension of products into the medical field—Support from and relationship with husband—Parenting philosophies and emphasis on traditional Chinese culture—Family’s relocation to Mission Viejo—Volunteer work at South Cost Chinese Cultural Center/Irvine Chinese School—Embrace of Buddhism and spirituality—Relationship with employees.
Decision to call company “Macro”—Assimilation as an immigrant—Reflections on involvement in the City of Irvine—Review of commitment to traditional Chinese culture and tradition—Review of involvement with Buddhist community—Reflections on leading the campaign for construction of South Cost Chinese Cultural Center/Irvine Chinese School—Reflections on volunteer work as the president of the Orange County Chinese American Chamber of Commerce and the Global Federation of Chinese Businesswomen—Thoughts on relationships between disparate groups of Asian immigrants—Thoughts on the Chinese American community in Southern California—Plans for the future.