I was talking to an old timer in Chinatown about my blog and he was telling me that some things are better not only not to write... but not know. Basically because if you know than you will become a target. If you actually write about it... then you will really become a target. He mentioned that a white guy had actually written a book about San Francisco's Chinatown. He said he was involved in gang activity under Shrimp Boy but since he was white, nobody believed his story but at that same time, people who knew it was true wanted to attack him. And that actually San Francisco, New York, Boston's Chinatown... they are all inter-related. There is so much corruption and shady stuff going down... that it's just better to keep you head down so you don't become a target.
I actually don't know what this story is about because so far I haven't found out anything that theoretically I couldn't write about. I mean I would hurt some people's feelings or bring up some old stuff... I mean I guess I know w little bit of stuff that people would rather I didn't write about. But the truth of it is, nothing I know is anything like say, "Spotlight." That's pretty bad. Maybe there are hints of stuff that I know but the criminal stuff is just so common place.. I mean it's what you expect and the truth of it is, when it is explained it shows the human side instead of the demonized Chinatown underground depicted in those 1960's pulp fiction type stories which are extremely racist. I mean the stereotype is Fu Manchu. Anything in real life worse than that? And although this is no longer popular... is the common conception of Chinatown or Chinese people really better? It's just that recently we've been focusing more on Muslim Americans and Russian Americans. (Seriously watch some budget action movies.. recent action movies.. and pay attention to how they're depicted carefully. It's ridiculous.)
A long time ago a Teet Da patient who I assisted in treatment said to me about these stories, "They are good to know...but bad to be involved in."
I think that is closer to my standpoint. Of course by writing about it... well if I was an outsider journalist type I could just write about it and then move on to another city or another story or whatever. The Spotlight story about abuse in the Catholic Church only happened because an outsider was editor.
But here is the thing. When it comes to Chinatown.. there simply isn't a story that is THAT juicy. I mean the world exploded over the John Willis story. But when it comes down to it, the most interesting parts in White Devil involve John Willis's first contact with Asians (because that is interesting, meeting of cultures... but it wasn't even criminal at that point) and then the stuff about Steven Tse was extremely interesting.. and then when Johb Started selling Oxy. I mean that was interesting too but in terms of a news story it actually wasn't that big and in terms of a crime.. I mean he sold what is legal to sell with prescription.. illegally. Is that evil?
People really complain that the only reason the story was told was because John was white. But hey Bob Halloran is white and his audience is mainly white.. and at least some Chinese people are telling me that I shouldn't even KNOW certain stories let alone talk or write about them... so nobody tells the story. So the book never comes out. So the movie never is made.. and we all complain that Scarlett Johannson is playing an Asian (robot.. can robots be Asian?) and Ming Na, who starred in Joy Luck club, condemns this and when she got that Joy Luck Club part she really wanted to make sure there was no yellow face going on in the movie. (But one character that was originally mixed race and looked white were cast as full Asian. Should I as a mixed race guy who looks white feel underrepresented? I don't btw. And I get it that all the mixed race actors get to play straight white characters too so they gt a pretty sweet deal there.)
Anyway, if you don't tell the stories you don't get the representation. So maybe I should put it all in fiction then?
I don't know as Chinatown continues to disappear (despite denial of this) I think books and blogs like this are going to be increasingly more important.