Saturday, January 30, 2016

Quincy Lunar New Year Market and Food Fest at North Quincy Highschool

I went to this... and put Shao to work selling my book.
Go and do your drumming.

If you sell enough books I'll buy you one of those Nepalese singing bowls you keep looking at.

Thanks to Grace Lee  of Hubstar Realty and Investment for letting me use the table.
Go check them out if you want to buy or sell a house. Just click on the link.

Kung Fu and Love, get it from the lion head. It's good luck.
Okay so it occurred to me that people won;t buy books on New Year because "shu" sounds like to lose. But whatever. I saw Rhode Island Kung Fu club do their thing, as well as Gund Kwok. But we were so far away, I couldn't get into it. Plus I just can't be tripping over people just to get a glimpse of a lion head. I can see helping another team out, but I'm not going to arch my neck to look at something that well... I do very often. Right?

Mostly this was good experience and warm up for Noah in preparation for Next week.... and then the week after that. I found out that Noah actually plays drum pretty well. Saw a lot of people I knew. That was fun. 

Double Chin post by Gloria Chin

(First posted by Gloria Chin to Facebook)

Not really a fan of purple but I know that's the color my parents would be rocking if they were here to cut the red ribbon with me on this very special day. I always knew that starting our own business would be hard... but I never would've expected the overwhelming emotional experience that came with it. I cannot even begin to express how much gratitude I have for all the support I've gotten during this journey. The amount of love I received from so many different people that I've crossed paths with is beyond anything I could've fathomed; it makes me feel so warm amidst this January weather. I never knew that having no life and going full throttle as a sleep deprived machine could be so fulfilling. The irony is that I haven't felt so alive in so long, if ever. No matter how tired I am, whenever someone asks me to tell my story of #doublechinbos or explain a dish to them, a part of me fires up and I feel a sensation that ignites me with passion--not something I can quite capture with words but definitely an experience that I truly wish everyone can find for themselves at least once in their lives. It's still hard for me to believe that as a food obsessed overdocumenter, I was fortunate enough to have my 6000th Instagram post be to celebrate the grand opening of my very own dream restaurant. Emily & I had a vision; with the help of our fierce army/clan/cheerleaders, what was once a figment of our imagination is now a resident at 86 Harrison Ave. I don't know how I can possibly thank those who never lost faith in me--those who believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself. Success has never tasted so good and now I'm hungry for so much more!! All I can think about is what post 7000 will look like

Double Chin opening

I was biking through Chinatown when I heard the lion dance beat. It was too loud and clear to be people practicing in their club. I followed it and found that Hung Ching was doing the opening for Double Chin. I met my cousin, who i knew was my cousin because I knew his sister, but I had never met him, said hi to some young men I had taught Kung Fu to when they were boys (and who are now in Hung Ching) and then went in to eat some food at Double Chin.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Interview with Bob Halloran, author of "White Devil" at Hei La Moon :Part one

If you don't know what book I am talking about, click here and buy it on Amazon.

I got a chance to interview Bob Halloran, author of White Devil today and I learned a lot. I think there might be a knee jerk reaction from a lot of people in Chinatown when they see that someone wrote a book about John Willis.
Some things that I have heard are,

"He wasn't that big a deal."


"They are just writing a book about him because he is white and this book is just glorifying what he did and perhaps exaggerating it."

I didn't hear anyone one come out and say this (because I didn't really ask any activists or educators about the book) but I can imagine someone complaining that this book will perpetuate the idea that Chinatown is a dangerous place.

First of all, not really, because Chinatown has changed since the early 90's and people know that.
In many ways this book documents a street life that is gone. Some would argue a street life that had already started to disappear before John appeared on the stage. (the book does deal with that, mostly in the middle)

But also, Chinatown really WAS like that. You cannot deny the history.

Having finished the book, I have a very positive view of the work the author did. Bob does touch on a lot of the issues mentioned in the book but you won't pick up on that if you just skim it.

Some people say that actually the Ping On days were over way before John Willis even started hanging out in Chinatown. But in one line of the book John Willis says that "It's not like we were printing T shirts that said Ping On" and that maybe the group wasn't exactly Ping On any more, but all those guys had been, and de Facto they were what was left of it.

The book does not aim to glorify John at all. Bob Halloran says that by telling his story that does make him more famous, or infamous. But you have to understand that the White Guy being par of the Asian gang is the hook to get people to read it. But after they read it they will learn a lot about John'S worldview, which ultimately, is very close to the Chinese worldview regarding Yi Hei, which a concept and a belief system which runs through both gang like, and regular business and every day Chinese culture, especially in Chinese communities resistant to by communist ideals.

Bob argues with this worldview (or the gangster version of it) in the pages of the book, and although John Willis at times comes off as sympathetic (which the author did no intend) there is a lot to be learned here about a sharing of culture. I feel like Bob and I touched on similarities between things that are rooted in his childhood, things that were ingrained in John in his teen years, and things that were instilled in me through my Kung Fu training.

Pretty much anyone reading this book will find a human  story that they will probably be able to relate to. But at the same time, they will be peeking into the world of Chinese gangs. By finding something in common with someone like John,  the reader will see a fuller picture of Chinese gang life than they would if they watched a police drama where the characters are nothing more than background and are often very shallow caricatures of human beings with strange haircuts and mannerisms.

Even if you know John Willis, don't write this book off. Really read the whole thing, don't judge the book by it's cover! Some details may be different than your account but isn't that true of any story? You may learn something knew about John.

And besides how many books are written about Chinatown?

How many books about Chinatown even mention the fraternities that are so essential to Chinatown culture?

How many books are written about the gangs?

I haven't heard of any others. This may very well be the first.

Of course if you have please let me know because this is the Boston Chinatown Blog after all.
But a book this mainstream?

This is going to be a big deal historically.

I'll try to post the video and audio of the interview because Bob had a lot of interesting things to say both about this book and his others.

Again, whether or not you like John, I think you enjoy reading his story.

Double Chin

I was supposed to head down there with the Gund Kwok team Thursday night.. but I fell asleep next to Noah and didn't wake back up. Here are some pics though from Nancy Funn.
This is the Cube Toast desert or matcha ma. I have o try that one with Noah. I could probably split it with him. (Photo credit Nancy Funn)

And the noodle pic is from Nancy too. "The noodles are very moist and not too spicy." did a nice little review. Check it out here.

The next day, I went to check out Double Chin today just to have a taste. From what I've heard and glanced from the article it is an Asian Fusion restaurant. This may be true, but what really caught my eye was the Super Hong Kong like stuff. The stuff that was fusion, before people were saying fusion.
I had a Hong Kong milk tea in a fancy substantial British glass and a Hong Kong French Toast. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a peanut butter filling, topped with sweetened condensed milk and red beans. I haven't had a version of that type of French toast since I was in Hong Kong and honestly, Double Chin did it better. Why? Well the one I had in Hong Kong was a smaller portion, lower quality bread, and didn't have the Hong Dao red bean. Don't get me wrong. The one in Hong Kong was good. And it was my first taste of such a thing so I will always remember it. But seriously the one in Boston was better.

The atmosphere was cool. Shelves with books like Twilight and the Hunger games if you wanted to grab a book. 

People in Boston who have never seen a place like this might think "Oh look at how they are mixing American stuff with Chinese stuff." But for me it really felt like Hong Kong. It was something in Boston's Chinatown, emulating something in Asia, that was emulating a classy perception of the west. 
And I'm sure the big cities in China have these types of places now too. 

And that just shows you what a global, connected world we've become. 

I also had the Spam and Taro fries. Now that might be a new invention. I don't know. I don't really eat french fries that often any more. But I can tell you that it is nice to have these Taro and spam fries. I didn't realize how blah, regularly fries were until I realized there was another option.

I have to bring Noah back here and try some of the other dishes... or maybe I'll have to have him try the French toast again. This place is going to be a staple for Jook Sings, hipsters, and students from Asia looking for that updated atmosphere.

I noticed at the end of the review (which I will admit I just skimmed. I noticed that it said that the restaurant is in the Theatre District. Is all of Chinatown the Theatre district?) Anyway, they are totally opening for 21 hours when the weather gets nicer. I'm thinking of all the times that friends from Chinatown went to IHOP or whatever. Well now you can have all sorts of Hong Kong French toast at 2am in Chinatown. (Or the Theatre district.. technically in both) I would be really excited to be a teenager of twenty something year old. Any friends want to hang out here at night some time?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Stories:Lion Dance: Old School Hong Kong Heights

Last year Lion Dancing season was also ice dams season. One of my Dad's friends showed me a video of him clearing off his own roof. This is something I would never do. In fact even though I have done lion dance on stilts, I am scared of heights. Which isn't that contradictory because stilts aren't that far off the ground.

"You know in Hong Kong I used to do the Lion Dance. When we stand on each other for those big chiang we would stand up taller, not just two at a time but three at a time. I was very light, not like now, so I was always the top. I would just run up those two guys, you know, and stand on the top of them with the head and take the chiang. That was my job, that's all I did."

But actually standing on top of two other guys was not that tall.

"I was in the Navy too and one time" Okay I forget the reason why this was being done. But he ran up the mast to grab something for some reason, "It didn't take me long I just bebebum right up to the top. My" (supervisor? I forget the exact term) "I scared him, you know, he told me don't ever do that again. But for me it was nothing. No big deal."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lion Dance: A changing culture

Chinese New Year is coming up so it's lion dance time.
I was thinking, Lion Dance has changed a lot over the years, and it would be interesting to look at some of the differences. I remember doing lion dance as a teenager and over hearing an African American spectator, saying "Now you can't tell me that there isn't gang activity going on around here."
The gang stuff in Chinatown was actually on the decline, but one of the Si Hing's who grew up in New York, had never been in a gang but had been shot at because he had been mistaken for someone else, and grew up to be a psychologist said that the FBI probably had files on us just in case. In fact there were spectators in the crowd who just looked out of place and were so focused on taking a shot, but obviously not for artistic reasons.

Fast forward to now and I don't think lion dance has that connotation at all.
In fact, one could even say that lion dance  has gentrified even more than Chinatown has.

Maybe a lot of it has to do with the competition style lion dance that became popular internationally.

But locally I definitely noticed a shift right around the time that Gund Kwok Women's lion dance team came out. The types of gigs that they got and the types of members that they had made lion dance an activity for a whole new group of people.

A lot of women before would not thinking of joining a lion dance team because they did see it as somewhat gang related. But when there was a team specifically for Asian women, I feel like that got a whole lot of people into lion dance that otherwise would never have been involved.

Then their husbands or boyfriends, though not involved in the actual dance, still came to hold sticks etc. Firecrackers in New York were banned. And then suddenly you had a ton of really children at the parade. I mean I remember being a little child watching the lion heads, but I feel like it became far more family friendly in recent years.

Gift Cards for a good cause?

I was at a JP birthday talking to JP moms about raising money for the local school etc. and the subject of the conversation bounced around between the Superbowl, my upcoming interview with Bob Halloran, and my Blog about Chinatown in General.

"Hey do you think some restaurants in Chinatown would donate gift cards for our school's fundraiser?"

Immediately I didn't want to do it. Or at least I didn't want to be the one asking. Why?
First of all I've never been that good at that sort of thing.

Now businesses give these sort of gift cards or coupons out all the time. They are often the prizes that are raffled off at the Kung Fu Federation Banquet, and I'm sure they are at other banquets as well.
I felt like if I was asking for them to donate to something at a school in Chinatown, or a school where there was a significant amount of Chinese people that would be better. But I just felt like, "Why should they donate to something that has nothing to do with them or their kids and our JP school is already really good." I just imagined losing a lot of friends.

"No, they might want to do it because they would be getting people to come to their business who normally wouldn't. I mean people from JP go down to Chinatown.... I mean sometimes people don't even use them, but they help raise money for the school anyway."

I guess it's kind of like Groupon.. I don't know anything about owning a restaurant.... is this legitimately a good idea? I mean for the owner.

I asked around and someone told me it might be good to ask the newer restaurants because they might be more willing to try something like that. I mean if you're already established and doing well why do you need that sort of promotion right?

Well if anyone is interested and owns a business, let me know. Also if you think this is a good idea or a stupid idea let me know too. I'd like some feedback before I go make a fool of myself.

I guess a Kung Fu gift card might be good too. But I totally know my school will not go for something like that, even if it did help business... for the reason that my Si Hing does not consider the Moh Goon a business. (for better or worse)

 But other schools might think it is a good idea.

I guess I'm just tossing the idea out there for now.. ...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Gambling on Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is coming up. For me Chinese New Year is always about Lion Dance and red envelopes... and that's about it. Grace asked her Youtube "Sifu" what a Chinese New Year dish would be. His response was that he's been posting Chinese dishes for 2 years.. if she could get a dish from that, he didn't know how to help her.
So she asked for a specific Chinese New Year dish... and his response was that his adult son liked all the Jook Sing American Chinese food.

I vaguely remember vegetariasn dishes and sweet fu jook tofu skins... but for me again, I don't know much about what food you are "Supposed" to have.

There are a lot of traditions and they are becoming simplified. A lot of people go out on New Years (Or is it New Year's eve?) So when I lived at the Kung Fu school we would go to Boston Bowl and see that a majority of the people there were Vietnamese, dressed to the nines (especially the girls.)

In other words, for different people there are different traditions. One of those is gambling.

Now gambling with your family is pretty cool I guess, especially if it's not for high stakes. In that way it's really more like you are just getting together and playing Mah Jong.

But some people go to the Casino or the Gambling houses in Chinatown.

I heard that back in the day you could actually make money on Chinese New Year (if you were shameless) and visit all the gambling halls, with out gambling. Everyone going in there got a Hung Bao of $100.00 They made money back of course because most people would be going to gamble anyway. And they would bet that extra $100 pretty quick. But you totally could just leave after watching a few things and go home.

Now, I haven't been inside a gambling den since I was three. That's right. I was in a gambling den when I was three. But I have become increasingly against gambling as I've had more and more negative experiences with it. Not with me gambling. I don't gamble because my father was an addict for sure, and I know it's in my genes to be an addict. (Noah's too. I can see how intense he gets at stupid gambling games at like Story Land. No good.)

I agree with one of the parents of my students.

Nei Yang do hai shu.
That if you gamble on Chinese New Year.... even if you win.. .you lose. I mean what the hell are you doing at a gambling hall or a casino on Chinese New Year. So that's your real family? The people you gamble with? You loser.

Shu, jau gung ga shu

If you lose, then you are even more of a loser.

I think Mah Jong and gambling games are part of Chinese culture. I grew up playing with gambling chips.. stacking them and sticking them between my toes, and the house had dominoes and packs of dice. I love their smell and how they looked. I associated these objects with a connection to my father because they had been his... and he had been partial owner of a gambling house.

But how many hours did he spend away from me because he was gambling? And we only had four years together. The money lost, yeah that sucks. My mom and him could have bought a house with that money, when the land was so cheap.. And now that house would be worth millions.

But then maybe I wouldn't have the children I have now, and I have gotten attached to them So I wouldn't trade a house and other kids I don;t know for the ones I have now.

But the time.

Even if I had hit the lottery and become a billionaire I could not buy back those hours that my dad spent gambling for him. Hours in a dark smoke filled room wher everyone is focusing on cards or tiles and the energy, the Chi of the area is just low low low.

It's true. Even if you win, you lose. You lost your time, your health, and likely, you will lose that money gambling later, or be robbed walking home.

The roar of Mah Jong tiles brings character to Chinatown... but I really think it's time to start changing things.

I mean I really don't want to do lion dance to "bless" these places. They should all close.

But I understand that people need a place to play the cards. We can't shut these places down cold turkey. We need a nicotine patch.

What if more legitimate places ran Mah Jong nights, even gambling nights, the way churches run bingo nights.

In fact how about that, the churches?

You may ask, well what's the different?

Well you could pay to get in the door, and then gamble with monopoly money or whatever. Just for the feel of it. Or you could keep everything low stakes, the way Good Times used to have low stakes black jack run by the lottery. You could have the police actually run it and have it be a fundraiser for some police run charity. And not only that, you could get the gentrified people into the game, have it be cosplay or something too, some other type of gimmick.

I mean Mah Jong was actually big in the states in the 1920's and white people would dress up in Chinese clothes and actually yell what you had to yell in Chinese. The Jewish community has kept the game as part of their tradition.

Mah Jong is probably good for old ladies to keep up some sort of social life and also reduce chances of getting alzheimers. But even with low stakes, it becomes a problem when these Pau paus forget to eat or to take their insulin and end up collapsing at the Mah Jong table.... yeah it happens.

Let's move toward legitimizing this game. Bring it out of the shadows of gangsters set ups and cut throats and bring it into the open in a controlled way. Keep what is beneficial and slowly clean away the damaging aspects of the behavior.

Kung Fu Dad: Lion Dances for the Quincy School system

Kung Fu Dad: Lion Dances for the Quincy School system: There were a few years that our lion dance team performed at the Montclair and Wollaston school. In the past we had a lot of members of our ...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Gangs, Gentrification, Bullying, Poltics

I started reading White Devil and got really into it. Then there is a whole section in the middle that is pretty much about Steven Tse, the 1991 shooting... and reading it I got a sickening feeling and a bitter taste in my mouth. For some reason I kept feeling like a little boy being really tired, holding my mom's hand walking home from Kwong Kow at night, out of Chinatown, into Castle Square. I felt small, and weak and unprotected.

And hell nothing even ever happened to me and that's the feelings I got.

Okay my mom was robbed while I was there in the stroller once and the gun was pointed at me. The robber was black...

What's my point?

I wanted to write something about gangs that wasn't glorifying or even overly vilifying it.. but find that maybe I'm not qualified.

I'm just going to list some concepts that floated around in people's minds in Chinatown. It's hard to put my finger on really but for instance when you list these old organizations like On Leong, Hung Mun, or any Tong or any Gung sau there are very strong and contrasting emotions that probably come up... for me anyway.

On the one hand feelings of violence, injustice, tyranny and just dirty ugly aspects of humanity my surface.

On the other hand, at the same time feelings of community, loyalty, safety, home, family, may surface. White Devil sort of touches on this.. but I'm talking about everyday people, not even gang members that would have these feelings. Me, my mom, active church leaders. Really really really good people will have these feelings, the good and the bad.

It's weird but at the same time it's normal.  Can someone help me with what I'm trying to say here?

In any case, Chinatown could totally use one of those clubs that you have in college or in high school well people get together and talk about this stuff, with no goal in particular in mind.

I'm going to throw some ideas out there, and they may offend people, in fact they offend part of myself. But their just some questions.

Does gentrification mean that Chinatown is safer? Can you say that look, you may whine about gentrification, but having rich white people around.. isn't that why the police are paying more attention? Isn't that why things like that massacre don't happen as much?

Or, are they unrelated coincidences?

Does Chinatown being more white, make it more safe and therefore all that is way better for Chinatown residents, especially the new immigrants? Does Chinese-ness, or rather clannish, tribal, Herng ha-ish mentality make Chinatown dangerous? or does it make the community stronger and safer and more cohesive? Does there just need to be a balance?

When I did crime watch a lot of friends, mentors, and older members of the community openly criticized crime watch to me. They saw a danger in the idea that Chinatown should police it's own (thinking that was what crime watch was about) and cited that '91 shooting as what you get when you have community policing.

The thing is Crime watch also involved the same community organizations that often were tied with gangs. Legitimate Politicians are often evolved from, or the children or least in-laws of Gang leaders.
To compare to something outside Chinatown that everyone is familiar with... JFK was president, his grandfather was a bootlegger.

FDR was president.. his grandfather was an opium trafficker in China.

Ummm... Obama is President, his father was a dictator of sorts.

At some point we should talk about that evolution in Chinatown too, but I need more details and my words must be measured and careful for that subject. If not for my safety... than at least for the fact that I still have to interact with the Chinatown community.

So people viewed Crime watch as a return to Ping On, a step backward. But actually, what parading around in blue and hiring a police detail did was invite the police in. The police didn't feel like the whole neighborhood was against them and so many police, white police, actively paid more attention to Chinatown even when they weren't hired as detail cops. The neighborhood became THEIR neighborhood.

Scores in Chinatown tend to be settled more on paper now than in the street with guns. In fact that trend had already started when John Willis first stepped in, which is why a lot of the other groups (who had become more of a fraternity than a gang)  saw him as a wannabe. That is not to say he wasn't a real gangster. Obviously he was. It's just that him and his group was behind the trend. You could say the same about Bulger and Flemmi. The Irish had already moved onward and upward. It was a time for Irish to be Lawyers and Doctors. So gangster figures are somewhat an embarrassment, and then when their deeds are glorified that is more embarrassing. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about it.

Even though Chinatown has moved more toward legitimacy and handling things in court, there is still a bullying aspect to that behavior that is ugly and nasty. Now some would say, "Adam you are an idealist that doesn't understand how the world works."

Or they might even say, "Adam, who are you to talk?"

Well more on that later. But I do see a need for dialogue.

And I think that White Devil does have the potential to get people talking.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Chinatown Main Street Flower Market

If you're wondering what a flower market is, this is basically a place where you can buy a bunch of stuff for Chinese New Year, including the traditional Chinese New Year flowers, red envelopes, that type of thing. Chinese New Year starts on Feb 8th, so this is where you buy the stuff before hand. I remember doing the lion dance for this, in fact I recognize myself as being in the Liu Bei (multi colored) head. I know it's me because I was the only one wearing those giant Snow boots. Why would I do that? Well the thing is JP was relatively snowed in. The sidewalks depend on individuals to shovel by hand. But in Chinatown, by this time the parks and rec and other big Institutions like the Hospitals  and the projects had all there stuff plowed out real nice. So where as walking down the street with snow boots in JP looked prepared, walking down the street in Snow boots in Chinatown looked downright foolish. And doing lion dance in Snow boots... well when I went to kick the oranges I was totally not used to the weight. It actually had to do with how sloppy my technique had gotten. If you lift your knee high enough, the extra weight didn't matter. But if you got lazy and didn't lift the knee... well my timing was off. Tony Yee (is in the picture on the right) and I could actually hear him saying to a friend "I don't think it's that easy to kick the orange in boots..." as I let one orange fly out of the mouth... and then slip, I kicked it but not straight on. "See he just missed it." Tony Yee said as the crowd kind of "Awwwed" in disappointment. 

Just to clarify there is no rule that the Lion MUST succeed in kicking the orange. It's not bad luck to miss. The whole thing is just the lion playing with an orange, like a cat playing with yarn. That's it as far as representation and symbolism for this particular  thing goes. But I did realize that people watching REALLY want you to hit it and make the thing fly or even break apart. Plus when I did Kung Fu in those boots, it was brutal. 
(Interesting note: I have been practicing in these boots almost everyday recently. But something good for practice is not necessarily good for performance)

The next week (or maybe next next week) for the Chinese New Year parade I did NOT wear the boots, and got wet feet, because I wanted to make sure I hit the oranges. But my feet were all wet. 

So, after a bout a year I made sure that I really lifted that knee high enough before firing the kick. To be honest, it was really more mental than physical. You just have to remember to lift your knee a little higher than you would think you have to, so you lift as high as you can. The next Chinese New Year, I wore the boots for the big parade and kick a bunch of oranges pretty well all day. 

But if I hadn't heard the audience go "Awww" and Tony Yee mention my miss... well I probably wouldn't have given any thought to the importance of hitting the orange straight on. If I hadn't got the miserable wet feet, I wouldn't have bothered about making sure I could do the kick in those heavy boots. You kind of do learn more when it doesn't go exactly your way. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kung Fu Dad: Chinese New Year in Non Chinese neighborhoods

Kung Fu Dad: Chinese New Year in Non Chinese neighborhoods: I submitted a little call to action type article. So that's why my writing style today is all weird. It will be cool if it gets printed...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

As big a deal as Wong Fei Hung or Chuck Wegman/Rocky or Apana Chang/Charlie Chan

I will be interviewing Bob Halloran, author of "White Devil", a biography of John Willis, and I want to get as much about John Willis as I can before the interview.
It's interesting because people who don't know John Willis and just saw the article where he got arrested could immediately see the fact that this was going to be a movie, a big deal, dollar signs everywhere, not necessarily for John.

Grace had asked me if I knew him and that I should write a book about him. It's not that I didn't want to. I had a letter all written out to send to him. But when it comes down to it, I'm not there yet in terms of journalism or name as a writer.

Bob Halloran wrote "Irish Thunder" about Micky Ward which became  "The Fighter" starring Mark Wahlberg. Now he has written "White Devil" about John Willis, and that's also going to be made into a movie.

The thing I'm starting to hear around Chinatown is that John Willis wasn't that big a deal. In terms of Gang organization he was average. In terms of money he was average, in terms of brutality he was average, and that there are a lot of other guys who were a bigger deal that they haven't made movies about, and they think the main reason is because those guys aren't white.

But think about this....

How big a deal was the real life Wong Fei Hung? He wasn't as big a deal as the movies were. He inherited a Kung Fu School from his dad, he may have been a medic for the Black Flag Militia, but in the movies, he saves China. Now Wong Fei Hung is really a big deal. Because of the movies. They used the character to talk about issues like modernizing China, the opium wars, and European powers abuses of China.

Let's take a look at Chuck Wegman, who fought Muhammad Ali fro 15 rounds and Sylvester Stallone saw it and wrote a screenplay, but filled in the personality gaps with his own experience. The true story is no easy feat, but in the end he didn't win. He certainly didn't end Communism the way Rocky did in Rocky IV. Rocky Balboa, is still a big deal. Creed is still in the theaters.

And finally let's look at Apana Chang. Maybe he was the first Chinese Detective on the Hawaii Police Force. He was arguably significantly cooler than Charlie Chan, who was based on him, but author Earl Derr Biggers, made the personality of Charlie Chan more like himself. But the countless movies where Charlie Chan travels all over the world saving it, that became a bigger deal than the real Apana Chang was.

Now Charlie Chan was from a different time and is pretty racist, but at the same time, a lot of Chinese American actors got work as the supporting cast (but never the star, who was a white guy in yellow face.)

Basically the John Willis concept is the INVERSE of Charlie Chan. Instead of a white guy playing a Chinese Detective speaking English in an accent, you will have a white guy, playing a white gangster in a Chinese gang, speaking Chinese in an accent. There is a lot of potential here. Not just for one movie, but for sequels and a series. There's no reason why the imaginary character has to end up in jail.

He can escape.

He can go to Hong Kong.

You could have a crossover movie that taps into the Asian market as well as the American one.

Imagine a movie that was half Ben Afleck's, "The Town." and half the Young and Dangerous movies that starred Ekin Cheng.

I mean who was James Bond based on? The guy actually failed in his mission right? But who is James Bond now?

Now I'm not saying that Chinatown will be shown in the best light. But since the bad guy/protagonist is white
the supporting Chinese cast can be a lot of good people.  I'm just saying that the concept has a lot of potential. And it has a lot of potential for GOOD. (okay for bad too.)

But ultimately everything will come back to the origin story of the concept. Because if this was just made up, it's sort of not believable. Only with the "Based on a True Story" to back it up can it get enough momentum to become a franchise. And that's why Bob Halloran's book is so important. In fact, that's why it's also important that a writer like Bob Halloran was the one who took interest.

In any case Bob is taking the time to meet with me in Chinatown soon. So please, if you have any questions or stories or stuff that you think I should know before this interview let me know. If you don't tell me than you can't be like, "Adam you should have asked him... " afterward and complain how certain things never get talked about outside of Chinatown discussions over tea and cigarettes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cesspools, playrgounds, and Minding your own business

At the last AACA clean up Chinatown meeting one of the big discussions was about the Oxford Place Parking lot and how basically i's a cesspool. It's privately owned, which sort of makes it harder to do anything about. It's part of a little shortcut to well known to thieves, muggers, guwak jai's, dealers and people who tell stories about them.
The asphalt often breaks up, people dump there, and so you get these piles of trash and puddles of grossness breeding rats, mosquitoes and an ecosystem of nastiness.
(Community Garden? Or would there not be enough sunshine or just make it easy for grossness o grow.)

"I'm sorry to tell you," piped up Amy Guan, (Auntie Amy Matriarch of Chinatown) "But when I was a young child, the whole thing was paved with cobblestones. And since nobody could really access it we played there quite safely."

I don't know I just found this little tidbit fascinating. Basically, if the cobblestones had just been left there, the thing would have been fine. There would be children playing safely in it right now.

It was said that it probably won't become a top priority to repave the thing until there is a huge snowstorm and a snow plow goes in there and the blade gets ripped off the truck because the asphalt isn't in good condition. Then all of a sudden focus will be drawn to it.

We talked about drawing more attention to Tai Tung Park. And I said some stuff about that because I do teh sweeping thing and it concerns me.

And then the meeting went on for 10 minutes about one particular guy who owns a particular building and how to get in touch with him about barrels etc.

I stayed the hell out of that one. First of all because I didn't have any contact info to add or anything. But also because I do know the guy and consider him a friend, but I only ever see him in Chinatown so I don't have a contact for him. I sort of felt like some sort of spy or narc because the conversation went for so long. But it's true, there's nothing I could add so why jump in the middle of it all?

I bet people say I'm already in the middle of it with my street sweeping and all that. I don't mean people who read this blog. I mean people who read the title and just write it off and say, "Who are you to be doing all this?"   You think that do-gooders are liked?
Man people hate do-gooders.

That's why the saying is, "No good deed goes unpunished."

If I were selling drugs in Chinatown and blogging about that I'm telling you from a certain crowd that would be respected. And the people who would caution me against such a lifestyle would actually only really caution me about getting caught.

It's getting caught that is the sin.

That and sweeping the street for free.

 That's like the worst offense ever as a young white man.  Who are you the great white hope? I know it, people hate me for it (except the old ladies). Man I think I don't want to sweep alone again cause when I'm with the Senior Citizen Tai Tung crew it's like, "Oh maybe he's just helping out." But the notion that I would initiate such a thing  really rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I can tell, because I can read their faces, because a lot of them are friends.

With that  said, for the most par I DO mind my own business (sort of) and try to justify  why I sweep the street. (The ties to that street because Moh Goon is there etc.) And I justify that I only put in a certain amount of time and that I am in control of my vile do-gooderness.

Basically, I don't think that tomorrow, with the weather like this, that I will be sweeping.

Monday, January 18, 2016

An idea for Martin Luther King Day in Chinatown

I'm watching the movie Selma. Why am I blogging during this? Well it's intense. But it also gives me an idea for what Chinatown can do for MLK day... perhaps next year.
Now 2 Boylston Street, the home of Chinatown Main Street, the Chinese Historical Society, and Gund Kwok would be a good place to have a movie screening.

Chinatown actually has quite a number of African American residents, or African American people who are involved in Chinatown activities. A good number of them speak some Chinese. Now wouldn't it be cool to have a little movie screening with free food. The movie should be Selma. Maybe you get a version that has Chinese subtitles. The free food, well it could be Chinese food. It could be a mix of catering and potluck. But wouldn't this be cool. But traditional Chinese food and African American food (soul food) that have similarities together. That would be a subtle way of showing the similarities.

Plus you don't market it like it's a political meeting. Market it like a party. Which means, no stupid speeches. Just get people together and eat hang out, and then show the movie.

Whose the target? Wouldn't it be great to get a good portion of the African American members of Chinatown in there with all the Pau Paus? Maybe there could be some door knocking to let people know about the movie. Or maybe you just hand out the flyers, but it would be good if its not just an academic thing. You want a good portion of people who wouldn't normally watch this movie in there.

Also to kick it off, you have Lion Dance and drumming outside, flags and and all that. It's a party. But then when you see the movie, and some of those powerful scenes... BAM! it will have an impact on hearts and minds. Now the CPA would love something like this. But I really think you need to get everyone on board. The gesture of such a movie screening would really mean a lot I think. It really could.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Daughter's Pride

(First posted to Facebook by Susanna Liu)

I'm so proud of my Mom. She was in 10 performance pieces tonight doing Kung fu dance and Chinese drumming. After 20+ years of her supporting my Chinese music and dance performances, I'm able to see her perform on the very same stage I started off on. 

Thanks for passing on the talent and good looking genes, mom! (btw she's in her mid 60s!!!)

Photo credit and  posting by Susanna Liu
(performance took place at the 5th annual Kung Fu Dance Association Banquet at Empire Garden)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sam Bo fahn: Chinatown Cafe

Grace was watching videos of the best Siu Lap Chinese barbecue places in New York on You tube.
So obviously this led to having a craving for this food.

Chinatown Cafe is my go to place for this dish. In fact, I think I've only been to one other place that serves this in Chinatown.  Buy orange line it's just the closest thing to Tufts Medical Center. You do the Kung Fu school or BCNC thing and the Chinatown Cafe thing and you're back on the train.

By car, it's common for people to double park or send someone out to get the Siu Lap
(That is siu lap)

While the car waits. You can also call ahead. If you think about it, this is the fastest fast food there is. Faster than McDonald's. Everything is already made, and then they just chop it up and put in on rice.
Yes they serve other things as well. I often like to get the Fai Yuk Wonton Noodles. (That's like a siu lap wonton mix) But the siu lap is the fastest thing. Sometimes people get it unchopped to serve it at home, where they chop it up to compliment the meal they have already made. You can get just Char siu or just Fau Yuk or you can get a mix. Sam Bo fahn, is three different things on rice. Sam Bo Fahn might be a different combination depending on the place. Today, because Grace watched those Youtube videos she requested Duck, Char siu, and Fau yuk.

This order basically fed the whole family... along with Nachos as we watched football. 

Chinatown Cafe actually has a lot of history and a prime location. So I bet a lot of people have their own stories about this place. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The woman behind the counter (on the closing of a Chinese fast food restaurant on Downtown Crossings Winter street.) by Betsy Lu

A Mother's Strength

By Betsy Lu

There is something to be said about a woman who has worked as much as my little mama did in her lifetime. She started working as a maid at the age of 8 foregoing any formal education to support her family. At age 20, she had to leave home and flee a war. Sponsored by a church in Tennessee, she came to this country not knowing any English and without a penny to her name. By the time she was 27, she ahd 5 children to support-3 of her own, 2 adopted. 

When it came time for her U.S. citizenship exam, she failed. And she failed multiple times. Although this woman learned o converse in 4 languages on her own, English was never her strong suit, let alone American history, politics, and our judicial system. On her 6th and final attempt, she practically yelled at the judge and said she had no time to study Engish. She told him to stop giving her a hard time, she was busy enough as it was working and had 5 mouths to feed, and knowing the 3 branches of government isn't going o help her do so. Whatever else she said to him that day, it worked. She was granted citizenship at 33.
At 35 she opened her first fast food restaurant with her partner in Downtown Crossing on whatever savings she had and borrowed money from a dear friend. For the past 23 years, this restaurant has been the backbone of our family. It took us from the projects to the suburbs. It raised us all and gave us the life mama always dreamed about. While she wasn't raised in a privileged life with food, shelter, clothing, and an education, she made damn sure that my siblings and I were. 

It is with a bittersweet note that she will be closing this restaurant officially on Friday January 15, 2016. With the rising prices of operation, rent, food, labor, it is no longer as sustainable as it once was. There is also something to be said about the last man standing. This is the only business to have survived the 2+ decades of change Downtown Crossing has been through. You probably have walked passed it a million times on Winter Street. 

It is unassuming but the spirit and force behind it is insurmountable. If you have been there, then you know she is the friendly face behind the counter, the one that calls everyone, "my friend" when they walk in, and the one that generously over stuffs you plate with food. 

Although her presence and food will surely be missed, I am so thrilled and proud to say, it is finally time for this little lady to retire. At 58, she had worked more in her lifetime than most of us ever will in ours. It is time for her to relax and enjoy life, and I may be able to show her a thing or to about that. 

When asked what she is going to do after she retires, she says she finally has time to learn some English.  

Photos and article by Betsy Lu

Interview with "White Devil" author

So we may be getting an interview with Bob Halloran, author of White Devil for this blog.

What would people like to ask him?

I know also that there are people who read this blog who actually know John Willis.

Not sure why but it didn't occur to me to interview anyone directly about him. Probably because it would get awkward when stuff came up that you couldn't talk about. That being said, if you have anything to chip in, and can be put in anonymously in the Bob Halloran interview, or we could even ask him what he thinks about it etc.

I've also been told I can get my hands on a promotional copy of the book, which will be awesome as well.

Well let me know, (however you choose) if you have any comments or questions. I don't know when this interview is going to take place but I want people to have a heads up about it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ho Lun Doong

I didn't really want to do street sweeping today. And it so happened as I walked over to Tai Tung I saw Tong How Jerng and the crew walking towards me.
(In Chinese)
"Are we doing this?"

"I was about to ask you.... look I think we just have to make a rule that if it's below 20 degrees we aren't coming out here. Because especially us, we need to take care of our bodies." Tong Hong Jerng said.

Tong How Jerng and her crew are older than almost all of my relatives, with the exception maybe of my Aunt Dotsy, but still I'm not sure. In any case she is definitely in the know on longevity and I was so glad to hear her say that we shouldn't do this today.

"Also the street isn't that dirty, probably it's so cold that nobody wants to dump cigarettes because they don't want to go outside to smoke.

It was cleaner than last week. I think there was just the issue of street sweeping (the city one with the big machine) having stopped over the Holiday or something.

"I don't want to do it either" I said, and they went back inside while I checked in with the Tai Tung Office.

I rode my bike back to JP. Riding in the wind was at my back. Riding back the wind almost blew me over once and most of the time was a head wind. When I got back home I had the feeling that I had a knew understanding of Ho Lun Dong. I'm not saying I literally froze my dick off, but I think I was getting there to the point where it wasn't just an expression. I was wearing Jogging pants because with all that pedaling I was actually sweating and most of my body was quite warm.

I've heard people say they are freezing their balls off. I've felt that when going into the ocean I guess. But this was something different.

I felt stupid for having taken my snow pants off this morning because I felt too hot.

I took a hot shower to try and get some blood flow and I thought of when yesterday, while eating at the 3 meals and a soup place in that back alley across from Jia Ho I had seen a guy walk in with a kilt. (more on that next post)

Well kilts are great for him but for me it's going to be snow pants from now on.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Street Sweeping: Who'd you piss off?

The post New Year's street sweeping was pretty bad.
1) We had taken a few weeks off.
2) The Senior crew hadn't started back up yet so I did it by myself
3)It was cold
4) I couldn't believe the amount of trash.

There was trash like hangers, used maxi pads, that kind of thing. Gross.
I called in two needles, and that should remind me not to pick up the trash with my hands no matter what even if I'm wearing gloves.

A mailman passed by and he looked at me.

"Dude who'd you piss off to get this neighborhood?"

I looked at him quizzically and he repeated himself.

"Actually I'm doing this on my own."

I guess he had seen me as white, and he had assumed that I was working for the city. This taught me that even as a street sweeper, a paid street sweeper, to be a paid street sweeper in Chinatown is to be the lowest of the low or perhaps is considered to be punishment.

Here I am sweeping for free. Go figure.

He encouraged me though and talked about how a lot of people don't want to work Chinatown. It's considered dirty and the people are considered nasty. I didn't realize we had such a bad rap compared to other neighborhoods.

But he said that he actually liked this neighborhood even though there is a language barrier (he's white) and that he enjoyed talking to some of the old ladies. But he mentioned that it seems like only the old people and the old ladies especially do anything to help the community. From his perspective the young people are horrible.

"They just walk by, they spit" I spit too for the record. But ever since I've been doing this sweeping stuff I've tried to cut down, because it doesn't look good if I spit and someone sees me.

He mentioned One Greenway being built, brand new sidewalk and two weeks later it looking like garbage.

The thing is pre new year it had come to the point where Tyler Street was cleaner than the street I live on in JP. I was considering starting to do the Jp street sweeping. But now Tyler Street looks horrible.

"Do they even do Street sweeping in the summer" he asked, because from his view it didn't look like they did. I think they actually street sweep in Chinatown twice a week on paper. But I bet there was a New Year's holiday thing. And when a car is parked on the street and it belongs to someone who knows someone... well I think there are a lot of ways that maybe the street doesn't get fully swept.

he mentioned when the trash was collected how it just spilled out every where because of the amount, and the small streets.

he said that actually it's a nice community, "well the old ladies anyway, not so much the guys." I laughed out loud at that. I'm not saying he's wrong. I happen to know a lot of old guys and be friends with them, but from his perspective there must be some reason for this comment.

In any case I learned something.

We smiled and parted and he went back to his job and I went back to mine. And in any case I feel like that little conversation built a small bridge. Neither of us live in Chinatown, but both of us are part of the community. Him even more so than me, because the mailman is the most routine person and is the first to notice what's off, and often spot crimes etc more than police.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Schools: Chinatown could use 5 or 6 Nativity's or Epiphanies part One

For those who don't understand my title, I went to s Jesuit run school called Nativity. It was pretty much free. The point is it was a school for lower income inner city kids that was supposed to connect them with elite high schools.

I have talked to some people about what it would mean to start something like this in Chinatown because I thought a version of this type of school (not all boys, and not all low income) would be a way to promote Chinese culture among a diverse student body. Diverse both in race, culture, and economic background... just like Chinatown is. At the same time what would hold this group together would be that they would learn Chinese and learn about Chinese culture.

Recently I was approached for a gig at Josiah Quincy for their after school program and I heard something disturbing which I haven't given much though to since my mother had to fight for a spot at that school.

A lot of kids from Chinatown, who live within walking distance of the Quincy lower and upper schools, are shipped to Harvard Kent, Edward School, Charlestown High...

The parents are in tears because their kids get home pretty late, and their after school program is pretty much being on a bus.

(It would be good to do an interview with some of these kids and their families huh? Anybody know anyone or want to share their story?)

Some people blame this on the high rise condos and "those parents" taking up the spots.
Someone else can share that story if they want. I am going to briefly share a story from one of "those parents."

Living in JP I had the opportunity to talk to a Gay father of an adopted black child. His partner was Chinese. From his perspective, a lot of low income Chinese are bigoted towards blacks, towards gays, and he and his family had a hard time with the other parents and he had some stories about the administration as well. His tactic was to raise a shitload of money for the school and then suddenly people listened to what he needed.

On the other side people feel that higher income parents might be better represented and that's unfair to the lower income parents.

I immediately say to this, "Doesn't more money for the school mean more money for everyone in the school?"

But actually this series of posts is not so much about that issue, but about solution.

Chinatown just needs more schools.

I'm sure the CPA and other groups are fighting for the Government to provide this. Let them. That's great. Send me something to post and I'll post it.

But having gone to Nativity I know there is yet another solution.

We.. and I mean WE, can make a few small private schools for lower income families.... and have them be affordable for higher income families too. Why not? Everyone wants to go to a school down the street. And a smaller school means they will have more say and flexibility fro what goes on at that school.

Chinatown already has the buildings and the organizations.
Kwong Kow Chinese school could totally have a school during the day. The building is there, it just isn't being used.

The CCBA building used to be the old Josiah Quincy School. During the school day those classrooms are underused. It could have a school in there again.

The On Leong Building could have a school in there.

Boston Chinese Evangelical Church has a lot of stuff for the community. They could also have a school.

St. James Church is probably the most underused building I have ever seen. You could totally have a school n there.

Oak Tin association is a powerful Family association. It could house a school.

Wong's Association too.

All of these locations could have small schools in them. Would they be exactly like Public schools? As big? As impressive in there INSTITUTION? No. But they can have a few kids in there learning something during the day for local kids whose parents are working and need the kid to be taken care of.

So we have the buildings.. what about the teachers?

Okay so you don't necessarily need accredited teachers. Don't we have a lot of Chinese people looking for work in Chinatown?

Think of the most anti-Chinese racist you know. Can you ever imagine them saying, "Chinese are no good at math." Can you imagine them saying, "Chinese are no good at Chinese." So there's your first to subjects.
What about English and Science? What about sports and art? What about Creativity? Okay I'll get to that in my next post.

But the focus of these schools should be Chinese, Math, Science, and programming. And these schools, small as they are, will have high income families fighting for spots because of their location and because of what they are offering. How?

I'll get into that in my next post.

Now I know some of my friends are like, "Adam just likes to talk."

But consider this. I started talking and e-mailing about a Chinatown Library at the CCBA. Now I didn't do any of the legwork.... but before I started talking and e-mailing there was no library at the CCBA. And now there is. So I figure if I talk and e-mail about these schools, a few might start to appear. And Chinatown can totally use more than one.

Oh yeah. The function rooms in the several projects and Condos. Tai Tung, Mass Pike,  Archstone, Metropolitan, Castle Court. Yes you could have schools there too. I don't know about the legalities of this... but at Mission Park,  (a housing project with a lot of Chinese... a lot of whom go to JQS in Chinatown) they have a little Chinese School and other programs. Now you can say that there is a big difference between having an after school program and a full day school in a building. You need this, this and this. Okay. I'm not arguing with that. But can you physically teach about 30 kids in some of these spaces. Yes you can.

Next post: Whose teaching?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Street sweeping video

I think my children will learn how to make fantastic videos before I figure out how to do this efficiently.

By the gate.

Photo credit: Marion Wong

CRA Joy Luck liquor presentation

I couldn't make it to this meeting. Luckily Chinatown Resident's posted a video.

Kung Fu Dad: Altar talk

Kung Fu Dad: Altar talk: I think I have an interesting belief system, especially since it is still absorbing new ideas. So I'm going to start making videos abo...

I'm sharing this from my other blog only because I mention Kwan Gung, a Chinese deity you will see in many Chinese businesses. In fact that gives me an idea. Maybe I should do an altar research piece. I.e. go into a business take a picture of their altar, and ask them what they feel about it. Only that could piss people off so maybe I should just ask people to volunteer their stories.... but then I'll never get any stories. What to do?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dim Sum: Bubor Cha Cha

This Sunday we went to Chinatown for dim sum. As we walked into Bubor Cha Cha, Noah commented "I want to go to the restaurant with Ngau Cherngs!" Ngau Cherngs being beef rice noodles, his favorite dim sum dish. The thing is looking at Bubor Cha Cha, you wouldn't know that they did dim sum, every day, until as late as 1pm and even later.

"They do have Ngau cherngs here" I told Noah, "In fact you get to look at a menu with pictures on it and pick out what you like."

"I like pictures better than just words because at least then I know what it is." Noah said. Noah is 6.  He can read English. ....even I can't really read Chinese.

We wnet over to our table to sit down. Jonah was on my shoulders and I spun him off to dismount and sit in his chair. I heard a "Aiya!" behind me.

I hadn't seen tat the waitress was standing right there. Jonah must have stuck his leg out and heel kicked her in the temple, which would hurt, even though he is four, because I had spun him. That kind of soured the mood.

"Stop your thoughts." Grace said.

We got our guk fa cha or Chrysanthemum tea and Grace went to ordering.

We started with desert. A sesame red bean donut or "chee jai" though not everyone knows it by that name. Good thing for pictures. Ngau Cherngs (rice noodles) Pai gwut (spare ribs) and a plate of noodles followed. The noodles really had a strong "Wok Hei" or Chi or air from the Wok.

"I can still smell the wok." Commented Grace.

I could do another post about "Wok Hei" itself.

What type of noodles? Something to do with Seafood and the very thin type of noodles. Har Moon noodles. Honestly we sort of just picked that one randomly. They were good though.

It has become a thing with me that when I eat out I want to eat fried noodles now. Whereas before I would never order that. Maybe it's the Wok Hei. Maybe it's that it's easy to fill up on noodles. Maybe it's the attraction to starch that your body converts right into sugar mixed with grease and that is what my body craves. Not sure.

We also had the Phoenix claws or chicken feet.

"This they really do good." Grace commented. The Chicken feet are not that easy to get right and it's one of those things that really needs to be fresh. And Bubor Cha Cha does an exceptional job at this dish. You could say that this particular dish is the holy grail of dim sum. It used to gross out a lot of westerners, but it has become the thing to order to show that you know what the hell dim sum is. And besides when else do you eat chicken feet.. and call them Phoenix claws?

We finished up and left heading out to a nearby bakery to get Baos for tonight's desert after dinner, and for breakfast for the next two days.

-Sifu Adam

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Chinatown History Exhibit on 2 Boylston

I went down to the Chinese Historical Society to interview them and it turns out there is an exhibit about Chinatown's history. 

Chinese have been in Boston since 1798. Granted the 1798 date might be just one guy, but still I didn't know that.

I didn't take pictures of all the pictires.. because that is stupid. But Just took some ones I thought were crucial in understanding Chinatown. 

The boy in this picture is Reggie Wong. Founder of the Knights. CCBA president. Leader of Hung Ching, and general leader of Chinatown. He passed away, and let's put it this way, even though I never belonged to anything he founded and was simply just part of the community, I felt the vacuum from his passing. He would stand on the corner with a cup of coffee and I would see him and he would say hi to me in Chinese by name. I have heard that a lot of leaders have this capacity to remember everyone's name. In any case, he was one of those leaders.

I had to take a picture of this old lion dance, not only because I do lion dance.. but because they are called Dragons in the article. Not only that, but Gund Kwok Lion and Dragon Dance team practice in the space where this exhibit is, so I can imagine the girls going over and reading this and being like, "What the hell?"

It just goes to show that we can't all know anything. I need to learn from Chinese Historical society, but the scholarship is not the only part of the picture. To get a full picture of Chinatown you need it all, perhaps even the msistakes. For instance a white guy that knows nothing much about Chines culture, but does Kung Fu and Lion Dance would know these are Dragons not Lions. But someone can be super Chinese to the marrow in custom culture, mannerisms and scholarship... and totally miss this. 

I learned this at the New Year's party I was at. There one pf the people their had the inside scoop on Peach Farm's chef.. that he left and now he's back... and he was white... but he lived in Chinatown. That's why this blog needs all kinds of input to have a full picture. All I can do is share my stories and the people who are willing to do interviews with me.

Comments and write-ins are the easiest way I can think of.

Anyway, check out this exhibit and then go into Chinatown for lunch it will be both fun and educational. The exhibit will live at the China Trade Center until someone else needs the space.. and it is free. If you are a teacher it would be good to go hear after a Dim Sum trip of some sort.