Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Foreword

Eugene J. Van Scott

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pp. ix-x

My career in medical and biological science research has been divided into two distinct phases: the before-Ruey Yu period and the Ruey Yu period. Throughout both, I sought to associate with and work with those who would be my teachers in areas of science where I was less knowledgeable. Since 1968, Ruey has been the...

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Prologue: Taiwan, 1946

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pp. 1-4

I was a fourteen-year-old boy with a passion for math and sciences. I was small for my age, my growth stunted by hunger and hard labour during the war years. But the war lay behind me now, and ahead lay a future of knowledge...

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1. Coal Dust and Daydreams

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pp. 5-8

My Memories of early childhood are shrouded in a fog of coal smoke and the din of freight trains clanging through the railway station behind our home. Amid those hazy recollections, one scene stands out forever in my mind—a scene that, even today, hits me with the raw force of childhood emotion...

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2. Bowing to the Emperor

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pp. 9-14

I turned seven years old in the spring of 1939. It was a year of war throughout the world, and though our small island remained relatively sheltered, it would soon be drawn deeper into the global conflicts. In Europe, Hitler’s Nazi army invaded Poland and brought the Allied powers of Britain and France into the...

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3. A “City Monkey” in the Country

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pp. 15-20

In 1943, my father returned home from mainland China and resumed his job at the Hsinchu railway station. His return brought an improvement in our living conditions. Dissatisfied with the shack at the brick factory, Ah-Shain...

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4. Starvation and Surrender

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pp. 21-26

As 1944 crept toward 1945, our hunger edged toward starvation. There was no food to be had anywhere in the village. Even the farmers couldn’t control their harvest. The Japanese soldiers confiscated the crops to feed the war effort, locking hundreds of pounds of rice in a heavily guarded storage house in the village...

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5. Return to Hsinchu

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pp. 27-34

In the spring of 1946, my grandmother, my brother, and I packed up our few belongings and returned to Hsinchu to live with my parents. We found the city in a state of absolute chaos.
The Japanese had formally given up authority over Taiwan in September 1945, and all Japanese nationals had been ordered to...

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6. The Tale of the Poor Scholar

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pp. 35-42

When I was in junior high school in the late 1940s, the Buddhist monks in our neighbourhood would stage a play one night a month in the public square outside their temple. As night fell, the drummers struck up a dramatic beat and the monks appeared beneath the electric stage-lights, dressed in lavish costumes and...

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7. A Diamond in the Trash

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pp. 43-46

in those post-second world war days of the 1950s, Taiwan stood on the Front line of the Cold War between Communism and Capitalism. Chiang Kaishek’s Republic of China, which controlled Taiwan, and Mao Tse-tung’s People’s Republic of China, which held the mainland, each claimed to represent the “true”...

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8. Pedalling Through Taipei

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pp. 47-56

In the fall of 1952, I arrived in Taipei to begin my studies. It was the second time in my life that I’d moved away from my hometown of Hsinchu. Nearly ten years before, I’d been the smart city boy, arriving amid the country bumpkins of Fangliao. Now my role was reversed: I was the wide-eyed provincial lad, coming...

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9. Pure Chemistry

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pp. 57-62

During my university studies, chemistry became the great passion of my life—a passion that has grown and intensified the longer I’ve worked in the field. For me, the great fascination of chemistry lies in the fact that it is so...

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10. Quemoy

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pp. 63-70

In the summer of 1960, I reported for duty at the military base in Taichung in central Taiwan. Before me lay three months of gruelling boot camp in humid, hundred-degree weather. We rose at six in the morning every day, performed drills, learned to load and fire automatic weapons, and marched for many kilo...

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11. Snowed Under

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pp. 71-82

My overnight flight landed in Seattle, where I had a layover of several hours before I was scheduled to board a connecting flight to Vancouver. Rather than leaving me alone in the airport during that time, the airline had assigned a Chinese employee to accompany me. This was not a case of courteous hospitality...

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12. Coming to America

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pp. 83-90

After finishing my PhD, I received a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship in the Division of Bioscience at Canada’s National Research Council. My research objective was to study chemical and biochemical aspects of pathogenic fungi that infect human skin. Though I wasn’t rich, the fellowship covered...

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13. A Life-Changing Discovery

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pp. 91-98

In 1974, Gene and I published a landmark paper in the scientific journal Archives of Dermatology describing the effects of alpha-hydroxyacids on ichthyosis. The paper caught the interest of dermatologists across the United States and around the world. Some doctors sent us their patients. Others asked us to send them jars...

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14. Taking a Gamble

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pp. 99-104

In 1980, I received a letter from the dean stating that my job would be cut to part-time. This was my first inkling of the dire things to come at the Skin and Cancer Hospital.
My salary, previously around $30,000, was reduced to...

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15. Avon Calling

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pp. 105-110

Some people might have thought I was crazy to continue my chemistry research for years without pay. But research was my driving passion, and in the end my gamble paid off, both scientifically and financially: in 1986 Gene Van...

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16. A Wrinkle in the Business

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pp. 111-118

Prior to joining neostrata in 1993, Les had been the president of the Dermatological Division of Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Before ascending to that role, he’d been a high-placed sales and marketing executive at Ortho, at a time when the company experienced...

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17. Head to Head with the Pink Lady

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pp. 119-132

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but in March 2005, our date in court finally arrived. Our legal trial team, led by the famous trial lawyer Michael Ciresi, flew in from as far afield as Minneapolis and New York City. We rented the entire floor...

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18. Moving Forward, Giving Back

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pp. 133-140

After the Mary Kay case, business continued at NeoStrata under the excellent guidance of Mark Steele, whom we hired as CEO in 2006. In 2009, our original patent on AHAs as a wrinkle-fighting treatment expired, and the knowledge entered the public domain. This ended a lucrative revenue stream based on royalty...

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19. New Research Directions

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pp. 141-146

Since founding NeoStrata in 1988, I had never stopped pursuing my research into skin biochemistry and dermatological diseases. Although our company’s profitability depended on creating products to treat wrinkles and aging skin, in fact only about 20 percent of my time was spent on those cosmetic problems. I...

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Epilogue: Philosophy and Vision of My Life

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pp. 147-152

Certain components of my philosophy of life were developed early in my childhood, from the combination of inherited factors and environmental conditions. Over the years, I’ve developed a more mature philosophy and vision...

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Afterword: Ruey Yu as a Child of Taiwan

Scott Simon

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pp. 153-166

The island of Taiwan, baptized Ilha Formosa (“beautiful island”) by sixteenth-century Portuguese explorers, emerges from the Western Pacific Ocean like a verdant fortress of rainforests, windswept plains, towering mountain peaks, and teeming life, all in an area half the size of New Brunswick, that is, 36,000...