Monday, June 27, 2016

This Spinach is for Pigs!

I was buying my weekly 1 dollar vegetable at Jia Ho when this old Chinese grandma comes up to me...

"No.. Young man!.. No spinach I show you, I show you!"

"Uhh oh okay... how about this one?"

"You speak Chinese? Wah!!! No this spinach is not spinach. In China we would only use this to feed pigs! I raised pigs in China. They are lying to you. Let me get you some real spinach. You are still young. You have a few more decades to work. I'll PAY! Come on I will pay for some good vegetables for you to eat. I have money."

"What? No I have money too."

I'm cheap not poor. there's a difference.

This was so awkward because now I didn't want to get the spinach not because it was bad but because I didn't want to insult her.  So I just got some other 1 dollar vegetable.

Here's the thing. I understand what she's saying about eating good food. She said if you eat bad vegetables it will be no good for your system. But of all the crap that I put in my system, I'm telling you one dollar vegetables is extending my life not shortening it.

Also, it's not like Grace doesn't buy good vegetables. It's just that we end up forgetting about them and they will become around the same quality of 1 dollar veggies by the time we eat it. So I usually get 1 dollar veggies for the purpose of binge eating vegetables. The early morning Wednesday seems to be the freshest one dollar vegetable time slot I have seen.

Later outside she called to me as I got on my bike,

"Please young man, I know this country is in a sad state of affairs where the young like you support the old with your taxes and your hard work meanwhile you have to suffer to eat things not worthy of pigs." She was like almost in tears, "I know you are a good man."

I didn't have the heart to tell her I was just some loser blogger... but I get what she was saying. This would have made a great commercial for some sort of right wing politics right here. But nobody would believe it.

"He doesn't speak Chinese!" her friends laughed at her.

I spoke to them in Chinese just so they wouldn't think she was nuts and as they looked confused I took of on my bike and waved good bye.

This was probably my most eventful and eye opening vegetable buying session ever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Marty Walsh's Coffee hour at Elliot Norton

You know, it's funny because I was in a meeting, I think it was the AACA clean Up Chinatown meeting, and we were talking about whether, the Elliot Norton Playground was really in Chinatown. Well, if the Mayor's Coffee hour that is going around to parks in all the neighborhoods hits Elliot Norton for Chinatown... then yes, that is Chinatown right?

Anyway, everyone of importance was there. And I got to say hi to friends and even patch things up a little.

I ran into Uncle Paul.

"Hey I heard you were mad at me."

"I'm not mad at you. Who said that? No you're just doing your thing which you believe is right, and maybe I don't agree with everything you are doing.. but as long as you keep a journalistic perspective and objectivity.."

Well I'm actually not that objective. But I think I am more objective than a lot of the papers. And I will share multiple sides of the story. In any case I feel better about that.

Michelle Wu brought her son and he was playing in the playground.

City Councilors and heavy hitters were milling about and old people were looking for free coffee and flower pots.

I went to one of these things in JP and honestly the whole feel of it was completely different. First off, the plants were just up for grabs for anyone to take.  And in the end, they had extras left over. The JP one was at the Tot Lot, the starting place of JP Moms (sometimes called JP mobs, a story for another blog altogether)

I also collected some other stories that might be of interest. I was running dry and today I have like a week's worth of posts in one day. Go figure.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Adam Cheung: Fork You -by Joyce

This is based on a little incident that happened Dim Summing in Malden.

More to come on the Malden experience versus Quincy and Chinatown.

Here's the post.

Adam Cheung: Fork You -by Joyce: This is my punishment. I went to eat Dim Sum at a Malden restaurant. A place where I am unknown... though people tend not to recognize me ev...

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Adventures with Mandy Chan: Gund Kwok Lion Dance full video

Well I have been trying to learn the art of film making from Master Mandy Chan. Editing and working the cameras have been challenging for me, but I think I have been picking some stuff up. I had the opportunity to actually contribute some footage to this video. Maybe a second or two. But I know I have a lot to learn.

After this event we went out to eat with the GK members and talked a lot about the meaning of Gund Kwok and sot stories and ideas around. It was pretty fun.

I think I'll save that story for another day... maybe after checking about the meaning again. A lot of it was poetic Chinese language which I need cliff notes to follow.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chinatown alternatives?

Here's a story from a friend.

"Travelling to LA or Texas or whatever you get a lot more diversity.... and authenticity. I mean you go to a Japanese restaurant and it isn't a Japanese restaurant run by Chinese people. It's real Japanese people and real Japanese customers speaking Japanese. The food is good. It's in a strip mall so everything is well lit and ventilated... and also it's approachable so you see a lot of Indians and other types of people in the restaurant. People who might be afraid to go to Chinatown for whatever reason. I mean they aren't going to go into Chinatown because the parking or the language barrier or who knows but that doesn't mean they don't like real Asian food. And next to the Japanese restaurant you get a Korean Market. It's all cheaper because the land is cheap and just more welcoming to outsiders."

I also took a trip to Malden and had that experience. We had at Yong Yong something or other for Dim Sum and then went over to 99 Asian Supermarket. It wasn't as crazy as Chinatown is on the weekends. 

The Dim Sum was the easier kind that you just tick off the menu. You can get it like that at Bubor Cha Cha too. ANd I think I prefer it that way. That way when I'm eating it's not so intense and high stress. On the other hand. When you get dim sum from a cart you get it all right there at once. I guess there are draw backs and benefits to both systems. 

Anyway, more on the Malden experience next time. It was like Chinatown... but in a lot of ways it was different too. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Gund Kwok Graduation video

Monday, June 13, 2016

Adam Cheung: The story of the Nian dance

I just posted two lion dance videos and realized that perhaps I should explain it a little. Where he is an explanation from another blog.

Adam Cheung: The story of the Nian dance: This was an intro to a book that has morphed into "Lions and Dragons and Drums." I actually tell this story every children's...

Gund Kwok Graduation Video

Gund Kwok Graduation

Here is a video Mandy put together real quick of the Gund Kwok Graduation. Some of my footage was used too. I also did some interviews with my Go Pro and I'll post that later.
It was pretty fun hanging out. Obviously I've gotten to know some the members quite well and the group has all types. Young and not from Boston, and also the type who have family history in Boston's Chinatown going way back. 

Invisible forces

You know on the one hand it's really hard to figure out what is going on in Chinatown. On the other hand, people who gossip can tell you everything about pretty much everyone. And these same people will tell you "Ngau MM lei li di" I don't pay attention.

When i wrote "Kung Fu and the Invisible Hand" I played with this idea in short stories that I just made up. Some would argue that I should have stuck to that, so as to remain out of trouble. But I don't regret writing stuff on this blog that was controversial. Some China Bloggers once talked about writing controversial things and how that in order to know where the wall was, the limit to speech, in China was, you had to test it and only then did you know where it was.

Technically in the United States, we talk about Freedom of speech. That is not to say there aren't limits to free speech by law. There are also social limits. People will hate you or attack you if you say certain things. And that limit, in Chinatown, is perhaps even more restrictive.

But really what I learned, is about illusions. Not to say that I know more now. What I learned I always suspected to be true, but to truly find out, somethings you just need to test. I was never a tester as a child or an adolescent and so I have had to find out quite late, what most people would probably already have learned in Kindergarten.

In my next post I think I will continue to talk about some Chinatown Politics and what I have learned from campaigning for Diana Hwang (some of the backlash from that) and compare that to Leland Cheung's Campaign. Unless something more interesting comes up.

In any case, Leland Cheung is running for State Senate and the Election is November 3rd. It is a ways off. Chinatown is not in the district. But of course this is related to Chinatown. If it wasn't than why does Leland come to a lot of the Family Banquets?  To think that Chinatown is a completely separate community from other Chinese or Asian communities is ridiculous. Of course it is all interrelated as Chinatown tends to be the meeting place for many Chinese and Asians in general.

It is no longer THE meeting place. But it is one of the centers.

Friday, June 10, 2016

An Old Opium Story

Well as it was told to me it was Opium. But I think Heroin probably makes more sense. Stories change when passed along in the same language. When you have to translate too? Of course things get mixed up. In any case it is an Opioid story.

I thought originally that this took place in the 60's, but that might not make too much sense. Maybe this was more like the 20's before the Red scare and before the FBI started looking at all Chinese as potential Communist Spies regardless of whether that was true or not. When China was sort of America's little brother.

The story goes like this. These Chinese guys are trafficking an Opioid. But going through customs, barrels tip over and all of the product spills out for everyone to see.

What happens next?

Arrests. Now there caught right?

Actually no.

Nobody even panics.

The product is calmly picked up and put back in the barrels and brought right in.

How is this possible?

The answer is simple.

The Border people, customs, officials, whatever you want to call them... they were on the take... not as individuals. But the whole government organization was paid off. This was back in the day when nobody gave a crap about the Opioid epidemic because those drugs were seen a problem fro people of Color.

Of course there were white people that did these drugs and there were also some anti Chinese movements that claimed that this drug was so dangerous because it encouraged white women to sleep with Chinese men, and you can't have that. Any time you want to condemn a substance or a form of music or an art, just say it encourages mixing of the races.

Think about that in today's terms.

Many more of us are mixed and accepted as being so (I say this because we've always been a lot more mixed than we admitted, it's just that now it is more or less okay. People against mixed race tend to be on the fringes.)

But what with all the "Build a wall" rhetoric. Let's think of this (and for the record, even though I think the whole wall thing is stupid, I'm actually voting for Trump. I have my reasons. But it still doesn't make me agree with all that he says.)

There were laws in this story. There were agents of the government... but they were in on it. They were part of the problem. They were taking money from the Drug Traffickers... and They were also taking money from the taxpayer. So what good is that? If it was a corrupt private company handling it. You fire them and hire a new one.

Supposedly this story happened here in Boston too. Anyone know more details? Any corrections to my version?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Meetings Meetings Meetings

I can't make all these meetings, and a lot of people that go to these done't want to write about it, for good reason. It's weird how being a blogger ends up being a lot more like being a spy for the public than being a journalist.

Anyway, feel free to go to this and comment or write in.  

Final reminder that the MPIC meets tonight6 pm, at BCNC.
Suggested agenda items:
-next steps regarding Parcel 25/26
-hotel proposals
-historic preservation of CCBA building

Also, today is the deadline for public comment on the 2 Oxford St (73-79 Essex St) hotel proposal.

Encourage everyone to submit comments on the proposed Oxford/Essex Street hotel project.  Information summarized below, including key points from MPIC discussion.


Submit comments by Monday, June 6 to:
Raul Duverge
Project Assistant
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

250-room, 8,095 s.f.. hotel 
17 stories, height 186', floor area ratio (FAR) of 15.8
Fitness center, second floor restaurant
No parking; loading area on Oxford Street
Proposed community benefits:
-two public meeting rooms roughly 600 s.f.
-local hiring for jobs
-required linkage contribution

at the corner of Oxford and Essex Streets (site of the Ho Toy Noodle Factory).

 -Project far exceeds Chinatown zoning of 100' and FAR of 7 – about double the guidelines
 -Does not address community priorities of affordable housing, library/community facilities or affordable small business space
- Major concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety; traffic will run through the heart of Chinatown on Oxford Street, a narrow, residential street.  
 -Developer's traffic analysis, increase of 4-8 more cars for a two-hour window, doesn't seem realistic for 250-room hotel.
 -Construction management plan also must address traffic and pedestrian safety concerns
- Height of project will leave neighbors in shadow
 -If project built at smaller scale, community needs first source hiring agreements with clear goals and early public reporting, funding to expand training opportunities for local residents

Friday, June 3, 2016

Post Memorial day sweep up

I felt like a real sucker sweeping up after memorial day on Tyler Street. A) I no longer have ties to that block because I am separated from Moh Goon. Also it's like I am some sort of servant to the CCBA (again which is on that block) except I am unpaid. I remember being stopped by someone who thought I was from the City and they asked "Man who did you piss off to get this neighborhood." I.e. nobody wants to sweep in Chinatown. Later in the day I did see a young African American woman sweeping down by the businesses (she really was from the city) Very young. So that probably means bottom of the totem pole. I didn't ask her how much she was getting paid. I don't  know. I guess I thought she might have thought I was being a creep.
If she was older or ugly or a man, maybe I would have asked.

so back to feeling like a sucker fro sweeping for free...

B) That was the nastiest the street has been since right after New Year's. My theory is that it is because street sweeping didn't happen because of Memorial Day.

One of the items (which I did not remove from the street) was a shopping cart. Because what the hell am I supposed to do with that?

Other items were, a dead mouse, someone's whole living room in the playground, a whole back of trash that was extremely heavy...

So on the up side no needles.

But still gross.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Airline Video

I saw some people filming by the gate today and I asked what they were doing. In turns out they were making an airline video. There is recently a direct flight from Copenhagen to Boston and Chinatown is one of the big attractions.
This was amazing to me actually.
"Isn't there a Chinatown in Copenhagen?"
"No... I think London has one but that might be the only one in Europe. I mean there are a couple of streets with a few restaurants but nothing as dense as this like in Boston."

I guess this was amazing to me because Gu wak Jai (Young And Dangerous) part 4 or 5 I forget which one, takes place in Copenhagen. It's the movie with Wu Ah.

Anyway, so I figured there was a big Chinese population.

There could be many reasons why European Countries don't develop a Chinatown. Space. Laws. I know in Germany you can't have two Chinese businesses right next to each other. They wanted to make sure a Chinatown didn't form.

I knew that New York or San Francisco or Toronto or Vancouver's Chinatown was tourist worthy on the international bucket list. But it was cool to see that Boston's Chinatown was worthy of even filming And it got me to thinking. If you just had the Chinatown without the gate. You know something for tourists to stand under and take a picture... it wouldn't work.

But then uf you just had the gate, with out the old guys playing Zherng Kei and Chau dai di right there at the park... that wouldn't work either.

The gentleman gave me his card and I'll share a link to the video.. as soon as I find that card.

What else is new? A few things. Leland Cheung is running for Senate against incumbant Pat Jehlen. Both progressives. But mainly the differences is in style of running things. Decision making that sort of thing. I can empathize with that. Sometimes when you are in charge it's not actually the ideology that makes a big difference, but the small things. Will Chinatown play a major role in his campaign? We aren't in the district but he comes to all the Family Banquets. We'll see.