As far as he knew, unlike other Chinese organizations in America, the entry requirements for the Committee of 100 were extremely stringent. Members would need to first recommend the person, who would then need to be examined and approved by the other members before entrance could be given.
He shared what he knew and Elson laughed, "If we recommend you, I think they would be willing to accept you."
After some consideration, Li Du declined Elsons offer.
Any Chinese-American would be tempted to join the Committee of 100.
The Committee of 100 was the most influential Chinese organization in America. Each year, they would invite many key persons from the political and business arenas to join.
Li Du remembered that in 2007, the Committee of 100 had invited the future President Obama to give a speech. In 2008, they invited the former Vice President, Big Blues Bill Gates, and Apples Steve Jobs, all of whom had attended some of the events.
Joining the Committee of 100 would mean that hed reach the heavens in a single step, and transform from being an average Joe to a member of high society.
The Committee of 100 emphasized mutual assistance and for its members to have solidarity with each other. As long as they accepted someone into the committee, even if that person were a Chinese beggar, they would not hesitate to help him or her become the chief of all beggars.
In short, to any Chinese person, as long as one possessed the network offered by this organization, then one could become a multi-millionaire in no time.
But even with millions in fortune, one still needed to depend on ones own ability to strive; it took a good blacksmith to make steel. The Committee of 100 could provide assistance, but it was not omnipotent.
The problem was that Li Du was more than a multi-millionaire. He had millions between his bank and watch. He also had the very valuable bejeweled dagger at home.
To him, the Committee of 100 might not provide that much additional assistance.
But if he were to join it, the elevation in his social standing and growth in connections would be apparent; this organization included the most outstanding Chinese representatives from almost every industry in America.
For example: the former Dean of Berkeley University, Tian Changlin, the first Chinese governor in America, Gary Locke, the first Chinese female mayor, Chen- Li Wanruo, epidemiological research expert He Dayi, Yahoo founder Yang Jiyuan, the famous CEO Li Kai-fu, and many more.
Elson was evidently aware of such insider information. He also knew that sending Li Du into the Committee of 100 would be a great boost to the young man.
Without any exaggeration, to an ordinary person, joining the Committee of 100 would result in a rebirth, or a step into Heaven: almost equivalent to saving someones life.
Li Du guessed that Elson wanted to do this to thank him for saving Steve, as well as to return the favor.
But he had the little bug on hand, and becoming a wealthy man had been easy for him. He would be fine without the help of the committee, so why would he still need to join it?
Having been rejected, Elson asked, puzzled, "You dont wish to join? Mr. Li, perhaps you are not aware of the Committees work?"
Li Du said, "No, Mr. Elson. Im aware, and I still decline.
"If I join the Committee of 100 now, it will be due to the help from someone of status, and not because I earned entry based on my own ability. According to Chinese culture, this is called haste makes waste.
"Besides, my position and status are no match for this organization. It may be easy to join it, but it would be a challenge to connect and interact with other members on their level.
"Most importantly, Mr. Elson, is that one day I will join the Committee of 100. Not through recommendation, but through their invitation."
After hearing his logical analysis, Elson laughed, "It will not be an easy task to score an invitation from the committee. "
Li Du laughed along with him, "Theres another Chinese saying: It all depends on ones efforts. Im confident in my own ability; I will surely make it."
Elson patted his shoulder. "Good fella, then I wont go on. All the best to you!"
Americans admired confident people, especially young people. Elson found Li Dus fighting spirit and confidence very appealing.
At the airport, before he left, Li Du said, "Mr. Elson, I know why you want to help me apply for the Committee of 100."
"Oh?" Elson smiled.
He nodded. "Yes. And you dont need to worry about it. I saved Steve because Im just a normal person, and only because of this. Any normal person will render help when he sees another person in need."
Elson stared at him and slowly nodded. "Good. Young man, I understand."
They waved in parting and Li Du, Big Quinn, and Godzilla boarded the plane; Elson had booked three first-class tickets.
Seated on the large comfortable seat, Big Quinn smiled, "Boss, I think your words just now won over the old man."
Li Du said, "They were not to win him over. Thats really how I feel."
Big Quinn was puzzled. "But you really did something significant; that was a very big favor."
Li Du patted his shoulder. "Ill share with you guys another saying in Chinese culture: Do good without being concerned with what it leads to. That is a gentlemans attitude."
This seemed to strike a chord with Godzilla. "Boss, Im interested in your culture."
Back in Flagstaff, Li Du resumed his peaceful life.
It was early September and the weather was still very warm. He had nothing much to do during the days and spent them amusing Ah Meow and Crispy Noodles. When Sophie finished work in the evenings, he would have dinner with her and theyd play with Ah Ow together.
Ah Ow ate and drank well, and become very well-developed. However, she still could not bark and instead made howling sounds.
Sophie joked that Li Du had great foresight and had given her a very appropriate name.
During the first weekend of September, a buyer for the mahogany was found through Hanss connections. It was a Chinese wood sculptor from Phoenix.
After Hans had connected with him, he asked Li Du to contact him as well.
Li Du said, "Im not good at negotiating prices."
"Its not at that stage of negotiation yet," Hans said. "First, we have to stabilize this source. It will be easier for you to identify with him since both of you from the same country."
The Chinese sculptor was named "Wright Chen." He was an outspoken young man who switched to Mandarin upon learning that Li Du was a foreign student. "Brother Li, send me the mahogany, the price can be negotiated!"
Wright Chen lived in the city of Tempe in the Phoenix metropolitan area.According to the countrys geographical division, it was part of Phoenix, but was also an independent city. Arizona State University was located there.
Since they were available during the weekend, Li Du and Hans drove over with the mahogany.
Wright Chen was very earnest. After giving them the address, he said that his residence was not easy to locate and instead asked them to wait at the entrance of a resort named "Sheraton."
But he sounded a little too enthusiastic over the phone, and Li Du felt a little unsettled.