"Chinese Signs In Richmond: Should There Be A Limit?"

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Pogo Pogo's picture

They are shopping malls.  Looking at google street views is as useful as looking on a map.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Pogo wrote:
The bigger problem is around the myth that the Chinese community is enormously wealthy.  Much of it is based on anecdotal evidence which tends to take the stories of the truly rich and magnify them to the point that it makes them appear far more expansive than they really are.  Yes there are rich families with monster houses and astronaut children, but most immigrants are living a life of grinding poverty in comparison to average Canadians.

It is not just the priveleged that I have heard complaining about losing space to the new comers.  When I worked at the homeless shelter there was alway complaints about Chinese people encroaching on their defined territories collecting pop cans and bottles.  It is in many ways a natural human response and the way to respond is with facts.  The point is we want to get people to change their opinions not harden them.  The response to first categorize them as worthy of hate and then hating them is not something that will help improve things.

Bang on. Thanks for this post, Pogo.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

It is very similar to the Korean area of North Road in Burnaby.  The signage is predominantly Korean and in some of the small malls almost exclusively Korean. However the Korean community is not the largest in the area but Korean businesses have concentrated there  Around #3 Road is the highest concentration of ethnic Chinese in Canada and maybe North America. I worked at a firm on the corner of #3 and Alderbridge Way and there is no doubt that most of the stores are geared to a Chinese clientele but they were always friendly to me and I am of European descent.

Pogo is right that the signage is mostly in Chinese and unlike most areas of Toronto #3 Road and North Road both have a series of small malls that are set back from the mains street and the signage in those malls is definitely not primarily in English and some of them have no virtually no signs in English.

If these racists don't want to live in a Chinese community they should fucking move back to Europe.

Quote:

This commercial section of Richmond includes part of the region known as “The Golden Village,” an array of glittering high-end Chinese-themed malls and hotels, including the Aberdeen Centre, President’s Plaza, Parker Place and Yaohan complex.

According to the Canadian census, an astonishing 80 per cent of the residents in the rectangle of highrises, low-rises and retail outlets east of No. 3 Road, between Landsdowne and Blundell, are ethnic Chinese.No neighbourhood in Metro Vancouver appears as dominated by one ethnic group as this urban Chinese enclave east of No. 3 Road. The only region of Metro that is almost as concentrated along ethnic lines is the west Newton area of north Surrey.

But this buzzing census-tract neighbourhood, where four out of five residents are ethnic Chinese (mostly from China) does not stand alone in Richmond, a relatively affluent suburb that is home to Vancouver International Airport and its scores of daily flights to and from Asia.

There are two more large, high-density ethnic Chinese enclaves to the east and west of this No. 3 Road neighbourhood. These are residential zones where more than two-thirds of inhabitants are Chinese.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Mapping+ethnicity+Part+China+comes+Richmond/5553726/story.html#ixzz2NwFSY7F9

6079_Smith_W

Yes, though it would be just as bad if it was directed at rich people, and being able to afford a business and rent on a major strip isn't exactly grinding poverty. If this was just about signage in a smaller, poorer enclave I doubt these people would have a problem with it.

It's already clear that this is ignorant and racist and stupid. I don't need any convincing that it is moreso.

And unless there is actually some chance that they might get anywhere with this nonsense (and I can't imagine how), I am with radiorahim. I don't think it is deserving of any attention at all.

 

ryanw

isn't being fabulously wealthy by Canadian standards a requirement to live comfortably in the greater vancouver area 

you can see the old guard chinese take their collected cans back to their luxury vehicle. It's not grinding poverty per se, but it was at one time. and old habits die hard

6079_Smith_W

dp

6079_Smith_W

@ ryanw

You can still see the effect of the depression here in people who tear a strip off you for throwing out a dried crust of bread, or a paperclip.

And yes, those slurs about people being wealthy and powerful are certainly there. But I don't think this is mainly about poverty, because if this was Chinatown or the Punjabi Village I don't think they'd care. This is about main street, and people getting freaked out about what they think is their turf.

MegB

ryanw wrote:
 

you can see the old guard chinese take their collected cans back to their luxury vehicle. It's not grinding poverty per se, but it was at one time. and old habits die hard

I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make, but this statement is racist. Give your head a shake.

ryanw

can you help to explain to me why it's wrong, what component was racist, what you heard?  I thought Smith had the understanding I was going for, but as always I'd be open to hear how others receive it.  while Babble encourages persons to "join the conversation" it can feel lacking in supports for those negotiating unfamiliar territory

 

MegB

Smith isn't a moderator. I am. When you make a sweeping statement based on race and/or ethnicity, it's called racism. No one gets a free pass on that.

Since, as you say, this is unfamiliar territory, I suggest you educate yourself.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Most of the Chinese people in Richmond are recent immigrants.  if one eats in the restaurants in the area you see those people cooking and waiting tables if you go into the shops you see recent immigrants staffing the tills. There are also trade people and other working class people of Chinese heritage in Richmond.

There is a wealthy class of Chinese just as there is of all other nationalities however it is racist to suggest that there are no poor Chinese and even the bottle pickers are somehow able to drive a fancy car.  Equating all Chinese to that class is the same as talking about Jewish bankers. It is not true and leads to people hating the Chinese because "they" all have more than "us."

theleftyinvestor

Rebecca West wrote:

ryanw wrote:
 

you can see the old guard chinese take their collected cans back to their luxury vehicle. It's not grinding poverty per se, but it was at one time. and old habits die hard

I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make, but this statement is racist. Give your head a shake.

I don't know exactly where you are seeing this, but the elderly can collectors of all ethnicities that I see in Vancouver tend to take their bag or bundle buggy onto the bus, or they wheel around a full-size shopping cart. Unless that constitutes a "luxury vehicle". 

6079_Smith_W

Many people who have an understanding of hard times are going to carry that over in their way of doing things. That part I get.

But while there are groups who might have a keener understanding, it is not specific to any culture. Nor should any group be singled out because of it.

(edit)

Actually, a transition like this happened in the prairies and in in other places decades ago, though it was far from complete. People who were once considered pariahs and sent to camps as enemy aliens are now effectively part of the mainstream.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Winston, you are still operating under the false assumption, introduced by ryanw, that it is a "thing" that "old guard" (racist) immigrant families have made a fortune after starting out collecting bottles (racist, classist) still do it, even though they drive luxury vehicles (racist). It is not a thing. I would say it has never happened once in the lower mainland -- that's right, not even once -- let alone enough times to constitute a trend.

So what say we drop this racist narrative altogether and return to the thread topic.

MegB

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

ryanw wrote:
 

you can see the old guard chinese take their collected cans back to their luxury vehicle. It's not grinding poverty per se, but it was at one time. and old habits die hard

I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make, but this statement is racist. Give your head a shake.

I don't know exactly where you are seeing this, but the elderly can collectors of all ethnicities that I see in Vancouver tend to take their bag or bundle buggy onto the bus, or they wheel around a full-size shopping cart. Unless that constitutes a "luxury vehicle". 

What part of "sweeping statements based on race or ethnicity" is difficult to understand?  We're not talking about "all ethnicities". We're talking about characterizing one specific ethnicity in a particular socioeconomic way.  

Here's an idea. How about a response like, "I'm sorry, I didn't know that could be construed as racist." Or would that be too much to ask ...

6079_Smith_W

Catchfire, I'm not talking about the lower mainland or recent immigrants at all.

I'm talking about family members and friendss - some you might consider imperialist stock, others not - who grew up knowing hardship, and carried that on, even though they now own property and have money in the bank and we are in not much immediate danger of starving to death.

And my point was that that is not something particular to any culture or race. I could have pointed it out in the form of a gotcha. I didn't.

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

No, you responded to it like this: "here is another way that racist thing you said happens." It's a form of validation, and I want it stopped. Next, please.

6079_Smith_W

Bullshit.

I said that the depression mentality did that to people here, because the cause of it is suffering and scarcity, not race.

And I was talking about my family and the family of friends of mine.

We are talking about several things in this thread; not all of them are tied together.

I could have jumped on his comment; I did not. That doesn't mean I said it.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Catchfire wrote:
Next, please.

MegB

Rebecca West wrote:

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

ryanw wrote:
 

you can see the old guard chinese take their collected cans back to their luxury vehicle. It's not grinding poverty per se, but it was at one time. and old habits die hard

I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make, but this statement is racist. Give your head a shake.

I don't know exactly where you are seeing this, but the elderly can collectors of all ethnicities that I see in Vancouver tend to take their bag or bundle buggy onto the bus, or they wheel around a full-size shopping cart. Unless that constitutes a "luxury vehicle". 

What part of "sweeping statements based on race or ethnicity" is difficult to understand?  We're not talking about "all ethnicities". We're talking about characterizing one specific ethnicity in a particular socioeconomic way.  

Here's an idea. How about a response like, "I'm sorry, I didn't know that could be construed as racist." Or would that be too much to ask ...

Sorry, that wasn't directed at you lefty.

theleftyinvestor

Rebecca West wrote:

Sorry, that wasn't directed at you lefty.

No worries. I was composing a calm response pointing out we've been ensnared in a multi-level quote, but then I saw your response to your own response to my quoting you in your response to ryanw. ;-)

The particular stereotype of the elderly Chinese lady collecting cans, well they do exist (most notably in Strathcona although I crossed paths with a few at UBC) but I can't claim to know anything about their back stories. I was merely pointing out that while can collectors do exist in Vancouver, I had never seen one taking the cans into a luxury car (or any car at all for that matter).

milo204

i worry about lanuage rights when there's a systemic campaign waged to erase someones culture (residential schools) not when people are simply going about their lives in whatever language they are most comfortable with.  These debates about signs and menus just seem a little stupid.  As long as there's nothing stopping you from using your language of choice in whatever way you want,who cares!

my view is that if your culture, language etc has to be imposed on others by force, it's probably not worth keeping anyways.

Seems most cases of situations like this one are about people being scared of change and other people....kind of like the "it's immigrants stealing our jobs" attitudes.  it's a racist scapegoat for those who want things to stay the same.

 

 

ryanw

I suppose someone could have asked for clarification but its much easier to shadowbox and not actually have a conversation

if someone wants to say I was referring to all chinese when I mentioned "old guard" which looks like a pretty obvious non-generalization that's fine, that is the reality of the limitations of these message board formats which allow you to write 10 seconds of dialogue then come back ~24hrs later and hope people are still talking about what you said. That's rarely the case; its already been wrapped up in a neat "your conversation is over" package because someone had the conversation in their head and they were right every step of the way.

the population I'm talking about is relevant[perhaps also to the phenomena this thread discusses] and disproportionately represented within Richmond, the sponsored family class and yes, they do get a ride in their kids' luxury car and pick up bottles to take home, always to the embarrassment of their kids.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Old guard, would that be the Chinese who immigrated over a hundred years ago?  Doubling down on a bad bet is always a dangerous thing to do.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The petition was brought to the Richmond city counsel and tabled by a counselor.  It did not get a seconder so it didn't even get debated as a motion.

I loved the last line of this story. Ann Merdinyan is one of the two racists who brought it forward.

Quote:

Merdinyan says she doesn’t expect council to go further with the issue, and is not sure where to go from here herself.

“Home, for tea,” she said, in her British accent.

http://www.theprovince.com/life/Chinese+signs+Richmond+stay+after+counci...

6079_Smith_W

“Harmony is built on understanding. Communication is key,”

Oh, that made me laugh. Thanks k.

Do you think she's going to try peddling this shit any more, and try to get malls to hassle their tenants, or has she had enough?

 

ryanw

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Old guard, would that be the Chinese who immigrated over a hundred years ago?  Doubling down on a bad bet is always a dangerous thing to do.

that's so weird

conversations aren't winning/losing proposals

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Arguing with the mods over whether something you posted sounds racist is.

Sean in Ottawa

A couple responses:

The issue of people picking up bottles-- this is not at all funny presented in the extreme given how close it is to the reality of many immigrants. Immigrants who come to Canada come here for the most part with money and good health. Their experience is commonly a reduction in economic prospects and in health. Their children do better. Canadian born seniors also can struggle-- you see some in old age working retail jobs because they can't live on their pensions. Immigrants have their pensions (when they do get them) pro-rated to cover their time in Canada. Many struggle to make ends meet with much smaller pensions than other Canadians. That a person, any person, would be looking for bottles to get enough money to get through a day is very sad and shameful. And it does happen. And it does happen to immigrants disproportionately more than Canadian born people due to policies on pensions.

With respect to the question of protecting English. I do agree with language laws where a language is threatened. If some centuries from now English were threatened I would have no trouble seeing that language protected. A language and associated culture is a public good. Clearly suggesting English is threatened today is absurd. Questioning when a language is threatened is fair comment. I lived in Québec as a young person during the 1970s. I do remember the public discussions of the time, the studies that were well known, the acknowledgement that French was indeed threatened. I understand that many will look at Québec today and say French there is not threatened. Actually, it is only protected by an ongoing effort to preserve it and those efforts have certainly delayed a crisis that otherwise would have meant a huge loss that we would be seeing today if it were not for those efforts as controversial as they were and are. This is not to say every decision is correct as that is never the case but the thrust of the action was and remains warranted. Chinese language here is also a public good. There is tremendous value in allowing people who come here with a language to preserve it. The idea that there are places where there is a lot of Chinese is a positive thing-- not just for those immigrants who speak Chinese but for the efforts some have to help their children who may even have been born here, retain and share the language their parents have. Having this community have a special character and culture is wonderful. It is too far for me to go to but if I were in the area I'd go out of my way to visit. If I lived there I assume I would learn the characters I needed to begin to enjoy the language. In any case the large numbers of Asian immigrants there are helping these communities participate in a wider Pacific world.

Those women complaining are quite possibly afraid. Fear is a motivating factor in a lot of racism. Fear and nastiness is a potent mixture.

6079_Smith_W

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

That a person, any person, would be looking for bottles to get enough money to get through a day is very sad and shameful. And it does happen.

The only shame is when, as you say, a person is forced to anything out of need. And the shame is on us.

I don't have any feeling at all when I engage with people who do that work here; It is their livelihood. Some are very organized and damned good at it, and there is no difference between some of them and other scrapmongers, who do important work. Anyone who understands thrift understands that the real shame is in the thoughtless way most people waste without thinking.

As for those petitioners certainly it is fear. The fear of realizing that they don't run the entire show anymore. It is surprising though, that they actually expected something different than what they got.

Sean in Ottawa

I agree that the shame is on us. I thought that was obvious.

I think their fear is more than just that they don't run the show though. That this fear exists is no excuse for what they have said. Racists fear change in the same way bullies do-- when you bully people you fear they will do the same to you given the chance-- perhaps becuase you presume theya re like you after all and partly becuase you fear they may want payback.

6079_Smith_W

I figured you did; I just mentioned it because the implication in the stereotype is that there is something odd or shameful about the person. Really, the only thing of note about a person picking up a can is that the person is not too proud to be seen doing that. Not every person of means has that lack of entitlement.

And yes, I think it is sad that they feel that kind of tension about people who are really just being part of the community.

 

Otavano

As far as I'm concerned, an official language is a language for official purposes. Government has no business regulating nonofficial use of language, end of story. I'd actually emailed YVR city council a while back right after this news came out asking if they'd conculted with the local First Nation. I'd expressed that I'd rather they not pass any such law but that if they did, then to at least consult with the local First Nation.

NorthReport

I am just not seeing that  the highly charged and frequently overused word "racism" is applicable here in the Richmond mall chinese sign issue.

People can disagree on issues without being racist about it.

This is quite different.

A ‘Yellow Peril’ Response from Down Under

 

 

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