Born in Macon, Georgia in 1937, where his family, the only Chinese in the city, lived above their laundry. After moving to San Francisco in the early 1950s, he attended Lowell High School before going to U. C. Berkeley. After earning a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at Northwestern University, he joined the faculty at Long Beach State College. Author of several academic textbooks, including Psychology of Alcohol and Other Drugs, he is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at California State University, Long Beach
Reinventing himself in retirement, he became an "historical ethnographer," researching aspects of Chinese American history from the life experiences of everyday people. This new career has led to 4 books and over 25 talks to many community groups, professional societies, universities, and historical museums.