Pagoda madness - Page 2

A native son counters the myths of Chinatown in a new book

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Such is the beauty of Choy's book. It retells a neighborhood's story that's too often render mythic by rumors money-hungry tour guides and ignorant outsiders. San Francisco Chinatown illuminates the untold history of the enclave, urging readers to consider its quiet alleyways and SROs housing six people just above the busy streets. The book wants you to consider the political, historical, and cultural implications of Chinatown's very existence.

Says Choy of the generations who lived in this neighborhood, "they were pioneers of the city. They did more than just open laundries."

PHILIP CHOY: SAN FRANCISCO CHINATOWN

Oct. 7, 1pm, free

California Historical Society

378 Mission, SF

www.litquake.org

 

Oct. 27, 11am, free

San Francisco Public Library

100 Larkin, SF

(415) 437-4844

www.sfpl.org

Comments

"As Choy and I wander Grant Street in search of the infamous pagodas "

It's Grant AVENUE, not Street.

Posted by Nancy on Sep. 05, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

We removed the word STREET above

Posted by caitlin on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

A motivating discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to write
more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but usually folks don't discuss such subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

Posted by play hulkshare|play hulk share on Oct. 29, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

". A father who was unable to enroll his daughter in the racist SF public school system started the school to provide educational opportunities for Chinatown youth."
That's not quite accurate: Joseph Tape (of Chinese descent) sued the SF school district and its principal because his daughter Mamie was not allowed to attend Spring Valley Grammar School. It was the School Board that leased a building on Jackson Street (called the Chinese Primary School) to keep Mamie from attending the public Spring Valley Grammar School.in 1984. (page 166)

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 10:03 am

Thanks for catching the issue around the Chinese Primary School. Apparently there had actually been a petition to create a school for Chinese children since 1878, created by B.S. Brooks, but it had been ignored until Joseph Tape sued the district a few years later. The Board started the Chinese Primary School in order to adhere to the Supreme Court's ruling that Chinese youth had a right to an education, but stick with its agenda of rigid racism and segregation. That inaccuracy has been fixed!

Posted by Emily H. on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 11:49 am

Is this an opinion piece masquerading as a book review? While Philip Choy writes on page 150 that the theater "has been converted into a shopping area occupied by multiple concessions," Emily Hunt writes that the theater is:

"a cheap retail center, (that sells) garish home decorations..."

Some tourists, and for that matter, Chinatown residents actually enjoy buying 'garish home decorations' -- if they didn't these places wouldn't exist.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 10:31 am

Did Hunt drive in from the Marin or what, who in their right mind drives to Chinatown?

Posted by marcos on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 10:32 am

In your review of Phil Choy's book, "San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History and Architecture (City Lights Publishers), I would like to make some comments about your choice of words in certain paragraphs.

1.)"Choy pauses as we stand outside a street food stall..."

I think the phrase, "street food" stall is very different from the "Sidewalk Stalls" that Phil Choy describes on page 123.
"Street food" has a whole different context in this day and age of food trucks, etc.

2.) "ginseng root, which...became a staple Chinese delicacy."

I would point out that ginseng root was used for medicinal purposes, like valerian root, and not a "delicacy" like sea cucumbers.

3.) ""urging readers to consider its quiet alleyways and one-bedroom apartments housing six people..."

I would call the SRO (Single Room Occupancy) exactly that--these single rooms are not "one-bedrooms," which implies more room and luxury than they really are.

Posted by Hwang Qian on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 10:36 am

On what planet is a one bedroom luxurious?

Posted by marcos on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 11:48 am

We've made your suggested corrections above

Posted by caitlin on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

Grow a backbone. A stall is not a truck.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

SURELY there are more important people you could be goading

Posted by caitlin on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

"The only legitimately Chinese quality of the structure is its green, yellow, and red color motif."

One doesn't need to be an art student to know that colors are just colors: not "motif.

"Choy, who navigates Stockton Street with shocking deftness."

Why is that so "shocking?"
Mr. Choy is 85 years old and has made it this far all in one piece. Long life noodles for Mr. Choy--a dozen lashes with a wet noodle for Ms. Hunt.

By writing such nonsense, Ms Hunt seems to be a member of the "ignorant outsiders" she writes about.

Posted by Wong Ch'ien on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 11:49 am

Any one that can dodge slow-moving packs of tourists earns high marks in my book

Posted by caitlin on Sep. 06, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

Thanks for catching the issue around the Chinese Primary School. Apparently there had actually been a petition to create a school for Chinese children since 1878, created by B.S. Brooks, but it had been ignored until Joseph Tape sued the district a few years later. The Board finally created the Chinese Primary School in order to adhere to the Supreme Court's ruling that Chinese youth had a right to education, but also stick to its rigid agenda of racism and segregation. That inaccuracy has been corrected!

Posted by Emily H. on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 11:45 am

Thanks for catching the issue around the Chinese Primary School. Apparently there had actually been a petition to create a school for Chinese children since 1878, created by B.S. Brooks, but it had been ignored until Joseph Tape sued the district a few years later. The Board started the Chinese Primary School in order to adhere to the Supreme Court's ruling that Chinese youth had a right to an education, but stick with its agenda of rigid racism and segregation. That inaccuracy has been fixed!

Posted by Emily H. on Sep. 07, 2012 @ 11:48 am

Outside of the historical correction relative to the Chinese Primary School, the dings against Ms. Hunt's account of her walking tour with Phil Choy are minor and overkill. She obviously found the encounter edifying, educational and enjoyable. I thought her article was delightful and illuminating.

Posted by Guest Chris on Sep. 11, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

I love that place, it's crowded indeed but it's a small glimpse of Asian spirit in an occidental culture, that's such an interesting mix. I am a fan of Asian cultures, everything about it fascinates me.

Posted by events in Hanoi on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

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