Ten Things You Don't Know about Wendi Deng

LEE HAN SHIH
Apr 16, 2009
*Special to asia!
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Twenty years ago, the combined income of her family in Guangdong, comprising her father, two sisters, a younger brother, and an uncle, was 350 yuan (now about US$46) a month.

1. In 2005 Deng complained to her friends that she, Rupert and their two daughters were forced to squat in a US$50,000-a-month Manhattan flat while their house was being renovated. Twenty years ago, the combined income of her family in Guangdong, comprising her father, two sisters, a younger brother, and an uncle, was 350 yuan (now about US$46) a month.

2. Deng openly fusses over her husband and admonishes him for not taking enough care of his health. One of her ex-colleagues noted that “Murdoch seems to enjoy the scolding”.

3. Many mainland Chinese women living in Australia now blame Deng for having created the stereotype of Chinese women as “scheming and husband-hunting”. “We are being seen as no better than prostitutes,” said a female blogger in Sydney.

4. Deng takes on a few directorships outside of News Corp, one of which is (or was) in a kindergarten in Manhattan that caters specially for Chinese children. In that, Deng was actively involved.

5. The kindergarten helps train Deng’s two daughters – Chloe, 7, and Grace, 5 – to become effectively bilingual speakers. The girls converse with their mother in Chinese (most of the time) and their father in English.

6. Eight years of marriage and two daughters later, Deng has discovered a new sartorial favourite: the décolleté. She turned up at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards in a low-cut shiny black outfit that wowed many netizens in China. Does anyone still doubt she’s Murdoch’s top weapon in invading the mainland?

7. The woman who is seen as a super-achiever with a Yale MBA was a slacker in school. Li Yun, a former secondary and high classmate, says in an interview that “Deng was never among the top ten students of the class. Her English was then quite lousy.”

8. Li also says Deng “was not feminine, and certainly did not attract any attention from the boys in the class”. Tell that to Rupert.

9. Deng discovered her ambitious nature after moving to freewheeling Guangdong in 1985. Suddenly she blossomed and became an A-grade student, president of the school athletic association, and head of the volleyball team. It was also in Guangdong that she met Jack Cheery, who helped her move to the US for her studies.

10. According to Chinese horoscope, Murdoch is a “sheep” while Deng is a “monkey”. Chinese astrologers say this is at most a “mediocre match” as the sheep is “warm and gentle” while the monkey is “cerebral and calculative”. Many would argue neither could be called “warm and gentle”.

lee han shihLee Han Shih is the founder, publisher and editor of asia! Magazine.

 

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