Sheng Aiyi

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Sheng Aiyi (Chinese: 盛爱颐; pinyin: Shèng Àiyí; 1900–1983), was the first Chinese women entrepreneur in the entertainment industry, the general manager of Shanghai BaiLeMen company. She was also a member of the school board of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (the original Nan Yang College of Chiao Tung). She was the seventh daughter of Sheng Xuanhuai, Shanghai's biggest capitalist at that time.[1]

Biography[edit]

Sheng Aiyi was so smart and glib when she was still a little girl that she became the most favorite daughter of Sheng Xuanhuai. Sheng Aiyi was admitted to Shanghai St. John's university, and she had a good knowledge of English. She also had many other talents, such as drawing Chinese pictures, embroidering and hand writing. Her father died she was 16 years old, and at that time she had already become a graceful lady. If there were any private things, her mother, Mrs. Sheng, would like to share with her. Though less than 20 years old, she was so well informed that she became famous in Shanghai.[2]

Emotional World[edit]

As a talented woman of an era, Sheng Aiyi was chased by many men, the most famous one was the affair with Song Ziwen, the brother of Song Meiling. However, at that time Song Ziwen was just a poor boy back abroad and then became the personal secretary of Sheng Enyi (Sheng Aiyi’s brother). Song Ziwen and Sheng Aiyi then fell in love with each other but it was strongly rejected by Mrs. Sheng because of Song’s inferior household. So later Song Ziwen went to Guangzhou to seek his fortune and Sheng Aiyi promised him not to marry to other man before his return. He then served as governor of the Central Bank of China and minister of finance In the Kuomintang-controlled government and married to Lo-Yi Chang (張樂怡 Zhang Leyi), ignoring the fact that Sheng Aiyi was still waiting for him.[3]

Events[edit]

In September 1927, Mrs. Zhuang died because of illness, and Sheng Aiyi's three brothers, namely Sheng Enyi, Sheng Shengyi and Sheng Zhongyi, declared all the property to themselves, excluding her right to inherit the patrimony. Much to their surprise, Sheng Aiyi was a modern woman and she put his three brothers and two nephews to court in June 1928, which fully proves her courage and lofty quality because she was the first woman in China's history to practise the law to protect women's rights. So finally, with the support of Song Qingling and Song Ailing, Sheng Aiyi won the case and got her rightful share of the property, despite of paying a high attorney fee. Anyway the lawsuit had a very important social significance, and from then on women's inheritance problem followed her practice.[4] In 1932, with the money Sheng Aiyi won from the case, she built a six- floor building in American style, namely BaiLeMen ballroom(also Paramount), an entertainment company. It was said that the mayor of Shanghai of the national government also attended the opening ceremony. Since then, the BaiLeMen ballroom became one of the most famous luxurious entertainment club in Shanghai. Many KMT officials joined the club, and even Song Meiling often had reception banquets there.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "民国十大才女之二:盛爱颐 盛爱" (in Chinese). Forum.home.news.cn. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  2. ^ http://www.qikan.com.cn/ArticlePart.aspx?titleid=dowz20090309
  3. ^ Bai Haijun, "The Romance of the Beauties in the Republic of China (1912-1949)", page 152-160, 2009
  4. ^ http://www.news365.com.cn/wxpd/ds/rw/200902/t20090201_2181370_4.htm
  5. ^ http://forum.home.news.cn/thread/80001820/1.html

External links[edit]