Investment Banker Remembers How China Lost Its Culture, Sees Revival in Shen Yun

December 27, 2015

HOUSTON—At 81 years, investment banker Larry Fraser, has spent the last nearly-60 years building and growing banks, starting five banks and cleaning up two more, keeping them out of bankruptcy.

He has also seen the fall of China’s cultural heritage.

“I remember the Red Guards, I was here … I was a young man when Mao came in there. It was really bad,” Mr. Fraser said. 

Under 60-some years of atheist communist rule, China’s divinely inspired, traditional culture was all but destroyed. But in 2006, Shen Yun Performing Arts was formed by artists from around the world in order to revive those 5,000 years of Chinese civilization.

There was absolutely a spirituality in the culture New York-based Shen Yun presented on stage, Mr. Fraser said.

“That was very good, beautiful,” he said. “The color is beautiful; the dancing is fabulous.”

Mr. Fraser saw the Dec. 26 evening performance with his wife, Barbara, who thought the performance led the audience into a “happy attitude” and feeling.

While many audience members were surprised that traditional Chinese culture was so deeply spiritual, the Frasers were not.

“I thought it was a good idea to introduce that because to me, a great deal of spirituality has come from the East,” Mrs. Fraser said. “It’s certainly a part of the history of China.”

Also in the audience was Gwyneth Windon, who remembered when the communist regime came into power when she was still in school. By the time she was in college, “it was en vogue to read Mao’s Little Red Book,” she said, and she had known next to nothing about the China that came before that. “And I’m a history buff—ancient history is where I get my thrills!” Ms. Windon said. 

So when she saw Shen Yun, it opened her eyes. 

“He would try to take all this from people’s way of life? What was he thinking!” Ms. Windon said, speaking of Mao. She was horrified, and said his thinking must have been monstrous and maligned, “because he was taking all the art and culture down.”

She realized there was so much to the culture that was so little known. Even living with a large Chinese population in the Bay Area taught her less than she thought she knew, she said. She had no idea the Manchurian fashionistas of the 17th century sported high-heels (without the heel), or that gymnastics originated from classical Chinese dance. And she realizes Shen Yun barely scratches the surface of 5,000 years of stories in two-and-a-half hours, no matter how comprehensive. 

“I’d never seen such elegance and beauty. I was completely delighted to see them,” Ms. Windon said.

Gwyneth Windon (R) saw Shen Yun Performing Arts with friends and family in Houston on Dec. 26, 2015. (catherine Yang/Epoch Times)
Gwyneth Windon (R) saw Shen Yun Performing Arts with friends and family in Houston on Dec. 26, 2015. (Catherine Yang/Epoch Times)

Reporting by Sarah Guo and Catherine Yang

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.