This story is back from my crime watch days. I was reminded of it by an interview that I just had with someone who had trouble while working abroad in Hong Kong.
But anyway, I was reminded of this time when I was doing the rounds in Chinatown with A Hon. A Hon is a local businessman who in addition to having an interest in this live poultry place, also does the DJing for a good number of weddings. You probably know him.
In any case I pretty much followed him around Chinatown. It was a weird thing, Crime watch. It was the first time that I learned that Chinatown has a sort of class system. It's not a caste system but there is a group at the top. Yes they or their parents or grandparents worked their way up there, but it never occurred to me that Chinatown had a nobility, and that that nobility did not live there.
Now it's not like Downton Abbey, these guys bust their butt working over 12 hours a day maybe even more than that. Because you have to account for their job, and then all the community related activities helping to better or run Chinatown or whatever including crime watch, then they go home to the burbs and then they wake up and come back to Chinatown in the morning.
At the time I lived in Chinatown, illegally, and worked (legally) and also worked where I lived, a Kung Fu school and did this other stuff. But I was viewed as an outsider. I was a white guy part of a Kung Fu school doing good in a community of color. As Chris Rock would say talking about Obama going into communities of color, "That's something white people do, (people pf color) don't do that, they already live there."
But that's how people saw me. They didn't know who my father was or that I grew up in Chinatown.
But growing up in Chinatown I never knew that there was a hierarchy or that I was not a part of it.
Recently someone told me that by now, because of who my father was and his age, he would have been considered a leader in the community. Now.. I would be a different person if that were true.. and in a way it was just impossible, unless my father had had some sort of Fasting and became Vegan or something and his health drastically changed.... actually I guess it isn't impossible at all.
But I get a pang and some moisture in my eye when I hear that, and I'm not sure why. It's not like "oh I wish I could bring my father back" I'll tell you the truth. I freaking did it already. I look at my son, and strangely enough, the white one, Jonah, eerily looks like my dad sometimes. I freaking did it. I did bring my dad back to life. Done.
And it isn't that I wish we had had more support growing up. My mom chose our life We could have moved back to Philly or I don't know she didn't want me to join certain groups in Chinatown.. I mean maybe I wouldn't have fit in really. I don't know.
Why do I feel a pang? It's not that I wish that I was a part of this Chinatown Nobility. I've seen how hard people worked for their money. You cannot be jealous of that type of money or assets because the daily work put into it... I mean it isn't like hitting the lottery.
My life as it is....
That is like hitting the lottery.
I have all status because of my skin and my address through no work of my own.
Maybe I just feel the pang of loneliness my mom felt when I realized for the first time there is a disconnect between me and the old timers of Chinatown... and that simultaneously I am connected to them through blood and only now are people starting to know it, because I advertise it on a blog as a curiosity more than anything else.
Regardless there I was biking around with a Hon pondering some of this and we checked out his poultry place to make sure nobody was back there shooting up or something.
There was this gate, and construction and a giant biblical sized pillar of a stone. What it was used for.. foundation, I have no clue, but it was blocking the gate of this back alley way behind the poultry place.
Hon was upset that the gate couldn't close and I went to move the stone.
"You can't move that."
I think he was thinking like I knew Kung Fu and I thought I was superman or some craziness like that. I guess this was somewhat true, because I did get into a stance and actually attempted to shift it and it felt like a mountain.
But then I put my back to the wall and started to push it with my legs like I was pressing it.
Hon had said, well I'll do it with you even though it's impossible so it was two of us. We pushed and it felt like a mountain but we kept pushing together and the immovable moved EASILY.
Of course because one the momentum got going it just moved. It didn't move that far but it did move and the gate closed. For some reason I always remember that moment because if you were to retell that story, without being really clear you would think I was talking about Kung Fu Super natural strength. But it's not. It's just physics. I mean you have to see the giant freaking stone too.
And it's not like we are weight lifters.
There are a lot of things that seem impossible that when you go to do it, from the right angle and with the right help... they are actually easy and you laugh at the fact that you even would have considered it to be impossible afterwards because it wasn't even hard.
Strange what you can learn just biking, or doing whatever in Chinatown.