In October 1966—50 years ago—Chinese leader Mao Zedong appeared on Tiananmen Square in Beijing to address an audience of 1.5 million Red Guards, the paramilitary youth he had called upon to tear down the Communist Party hierarchy. “Long live the Red Guards!” he shouted, to roars of approval. “Long live the great Cultural Revolution!”
That spring, Mao first called for a “Cultural Revolution,” urging the working class to “struggle against and crush those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road” and “criticize and repudiate…the ideology of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes.”
Approximately 18,000 San Franciscans live in single-room occupancy hotels in the city, the vast majority of them (73 percent) in Chinatown. The buildings, with their small living quarters, community bathrooms and community kitchens, are some of the city’s few remaining remnants of affordable housing.
A new documentary short, Home Is a Hotel, tells the story of a mother and daughter who share an 8×10′ SRO unit in a private, for-profit building in Chinatown. Directed by local filmmakers Todd Sills and Kevin Wong, the film is currently streaming as part of the PBS Online Film Festival, an annual three-week showcase of short films.
America’s cities may be home to individuals belonging to thousands of cultural groups and myriad socioeconomic statuses. But these urban centers are surprisingly no melting pot. As Nate Silver pointed out in several infographics,diverse cities are often the most segregated, especially at the neighborhood level.
To add to this gloomy reality, today’s urban developers often use subtle tactics to keep cities economically and racially divided. “The fair housing laws passed in the last half-century have forced racists to devise whole new methods of discrimination, subtler but serving the same purpose: to keep people of color out of ‘white’ spaces,” author Daniel Kolitz wrote on the online culture publication Hopes & Fears.
这张照片收录在王先生的新书《看见光明：华埠40年》（Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown，Chin Music出版社）中。它聚焦西雅图，不过也收入了旧金山、纽约和不列颠哥伦比亚省温哥华的照片。照片配有简短的轶事散文。几十年来，主流文化对华人社区的描述充满偏见，极为单一，仿佛它只是充满异国情调、与外界隔绝而又无关紧要，人们只在这里订快餐，或是在春节时对这里丰富多彩的各种仪式表示一下惊叹，这本书堪称一种有力的反拨。尽管外界对华埠有着顽固的刻板印象，认为它只是一个充满活力与异域风情的地方，这些照片提醒我们，华埠还承担着重要的社会功能，它是新移民的门户与家园；是艺术、历史与传统的守护者；亦是华裔免于歧视的庇护所。为了做到这一点，王先生不是靠精美的图文，而是细致入微地记录日常生活中的仪式，关注那些被主流媒体忽略的人们平凡或不平凡的私人故事。
Visit Chinatown in the early morning, and you’ll may come across Chinese elders stepping through the graceful and deliberate movements of tai chi in Portsmouth Square or Washington Square Park. But despite its reputation as a popular activity for the elderly, this Chinese martial art is enjoyed by both young and old folks alike.
Originating in traditional Taoist and Confucian philosophies, the internal martial art of tai chi today includes five schools based on variations of a parent style founded in Chen Village in China’s Henan Province in the 17th century.
Chef Brandon Jew has been preparing for his new restaurant, Mister Jiu’s, for a long time now. Returning to his hometown of San Francisco after cooking stints in Italy and Shanghai, Jew’s new endeavor is a reclamation of sorts. On his Kickstarter, Jew listed his hopes to “revitalize Chinatown” and “bring integrity back to Chinese food.” Even the restaurant’s name is Jew’s attempt to reclaim what was lost in the immigrant experience, using the correct Romanization, Jiu, in the place of his mistranslated surname.
Mistranslation. If I were to boil down my experience of Mister Jiu’s and its lofty goals of restoring glory to Chinatown, then that would be the word.
There is one thing we do not see in a compelling 1982 self-portrait by Dean Wong: his face. Taken in Seattle’s Chinatown, the photograph zeroes in on the back of a metal helmet, polished to a mirrorlike finish. In it is reflected a crowd of neighborhood residents — a metaphor for the people and hometown community that have shaped and fascinated Mr. Wong.
The image appears in Mr. Wong’s new book, “Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown” (Chin Music Press), which centers on Seattle but includes images from other cities, including San Francisco, New York and Vancouver, British Columbia. Juxtaposing photographs with short, anecdotal essays, the book serves as a powerful corrective to decades of one-dimensional and blinkered reporting on neighborhoods generally represented in the cultural mainstream as exotic, insular or irrelevant, as places to order a quick meal or marvel at the colorful rituals of the Chinese New Year.