September 11 Digital Archive

Jack Chin


Jack Chin



Media Type


Chinatown Interview: Interviewee

Jack Chin

Chinatown Interview: Interviewer

Teri Chan

Chinatown Interview: Date


Chinatown Interview: Language


Chinatown Interview: Occupation

shop owner

Chinatown Interview: Interview (en)

Q: We can begin. Today is January 7, 2004. My name is Teri Chan. I’m at the New Crown Inc., which is located at 57-59 Mott Street in Chinatown, New York. Please tell us your Chinese name and English name.

CHIN: My Chinese name is Chin Won Kun. My English name is Jack Chin.

Q: When were you born, and where?

CHIN: I was born in China, in 1939.

Q: Where in China?

CHIN: In Guangdong, Taishan.

Q: Is Taishan a city or a village?

CHIN: It’s a city. The village is Tai Chun.

Q: Were you born in the city or in the countryside?

CHIN: In the countryside.

Q: When did you come to America?

CHIN: 1954.

Q: At that time, about how old were you?

CHIN: 12 years old.

Q: How did you come to America?

CHIN: Well, it’s like this, my father applied for us to go to America and then go to Canada.

Q: You came to America first. Where in America?

CHIN: The first place I came to in America was San Francisco.

Q: How long did you live in San Francisco?

CHIN: I just went through immigration there.

Q: And then where did you go in Canada?

CHIN: Then we went to Cornwall, Ontario. And then we went to Montreal, and at that time I was in high school.

Q: Did you come over as a family, or by yourself?

CHIN: When I came, it was with my mother and my cousin.

Q: With your mother and your cousin?

CHIN: No, my mother came over later.

Q: It was you and your—

CHIN: Cousin.

Q: Cousin. Why was it just you and your cousin? How was your cousin able to come with you?

CHIN: At that time, my mother was still in the countryside, in Guangzhou. I could already go through Hong Kong. I had already come over, but my mother was in Mainland China and at that time, she still hadn’t been approved (for immigration).

Q: Why did you first go to Hong Kong even though your mother hadn’t gone there yet?

CHIN: At that time, we had to have our application approved in order to go to Hong Kong. I had already gone to Hong Kong, but she wasn’t approved to emigrate.

Q: At that time was it legal to apply to emigrate?

CHIN: Yes. But it was harder to get approved in China at that time.

Q: Back in the countryside, did you have brothers or sisters?

CHIN: My older brother went to Canada a little earlier. He went to Canada one or two years before me.

Q: And you didn’t apply together?

CHIN: Yes, we applied together. But the problem was that at that time my brother was in Hong Kong and I was in Guangzhou.

Q: What did your father do in Canada?

CHIN: My father ran a restaurant and a grocery store in Canada.

Q: When did he go to Canada?

CHIN: He’d been there a long time. He must have gone there before I had been born. At that time he had gone over there as a student to study abroad.

Q: At that time, did he feel that studying abroad was a very common thing, or was it pretty difficult?

CHIN: I don’t know about that. I know that he arranged to go to Canada as an overseas student, that’s what I heard them say then.

Q: Then how about you, what were your feelings when you first arrived in Canada? How did you feel?

CHIN: At that time I was still young. I played, I had a good time.

Q: Had you gone to Canada to learn English?

CHIN: Yes, I learned English in Canada.

Q: How long did you stayed in Canada?

CHIN: About ten years.

Q: And then where did you move to next?

CHIN: To New York.

Q: Why did you move to New York?

CHIN: Because my wife’s brothers and sisters were all there. At that time, it was easier to find jobs here. So we came here.

Q: Where did you meet your wife?

CHIN: In Hong Kong.

Q: So after you came to Canada, you went back to Hong Kong and met your wife?

CHIN: Yes. We were distance relatives, and somebody introduced us.

Q: Can I ask, at that time, how old were you?

CHIN: I was about 21 or 22 back then.

Q: At that time, was it considered to be a young age to get married?

CHIN: Kind of.

Q: So what were your feelings back then?

CHIN: At that time, our generation obeyed our parents’ wishes. We listened to our parents to start a family. So it was relatively early.

Q: It was your father and mother that told you to go back to Hong Kong and meet this girl.

CHIN: Yes.

Q: So what differences do you feel existed between your life in Canada and your life in New York?

CHIN: I believe that funding for social programs is better in Canada than here. But if we’re talking about working or doing business, then it’s better here, there are more opportunities.

Q: Why are there more opportunities here?

CHIN: The population here, there’s more people here. A wealthier city is going to be busier than other places.

Q: When you came to New York, where did you live? Was it in Chinatown?

CHIN: When I first came, I lived in Brooklyn. At 18th Avenue and 52nd Street.

Q: At that time, when you lived there, were there any Chinese people?

CHIN: Yes, there were a few Chinese people.

Q: Why did you live there?

CHIN: Because at that time, when we came – my wife’s sister’s classmate had bought a place there, so we went there to live.

Q: What was your first job?

CHIN: It was right here as a waiter.

Q: At which place? At which restaurant?

CHIN: At the Four Seasons, Blues Hall, at the intersection of 57th Street and Park Avenue.

Q: Why did you go there to work? Was your English already very good back then?

CHIN: What should I say - it wasn’t good, but I could make do.

Q: At that time, was it an American restaurant?

CHIN: It was a Chinese restaurant, a restaurant that was owned by a Chinese and an American.

Q: What year was that?

CHIN: That was around 1970.

Q: As far as working around the Midtown area goes, how did you feel about the opportunities there?

CHIN: At that time, I worked five days a week. On my day off, I went back to Chinatown, to the Louis Zhong’s Bar, and would be there for the day. It was a part time job.

Q: What was the name?

CHIN: Louis Zhong.

Q: Louis Zhong?

CHIN: Yeah.

Q: Where was it?

CHIN: Now it’s at a corner by China Bank [China Trust Bank].

Q: On what street?

CHIN: At the corner of Mulberry and Canal. The second place down.

Q: At that time, how was your work situation in Midtown?

CHIN: It was pretty strict. We started work pretty much around 5pm. For example, at five o’clock the restaurant started up and we had to be on standby, we had to be at our positions in the waiters’ stations.

Q: You only worked afternoons?

CHIN: No. We had morning shift and we also worked dinners.

Q: How did they treat you?

CHIN: Average. Just average. A little better than they do in Chinatown.

Q: In what way was it a little better?

CHIN: At that time, our clients were a little higher class. We were paid by the hour.. They counted each hour of work. So it was a few dollars per hour. They counted you by the hours you worked. Not like Chinatown here where they do it different, they pay monthly. We did it by the hour.

Q: Did you get to keep your tips?

CHIN: Yes, we got to keep the tips.

Q: At that time, how were your tips distributed?

CHIN: Whatever the customers gave us belonged to us. Whatever they gave to the captain belonged to the captain. Whatever they gave to the coat check people belonged to them. It was separate for everyone.

Q: Is it still the same now?

CHIN: I don’t think that restaurant is still in business.

Q: How long did you work there?

CHIN: I worked there for about nine years.

Q: Did you ever have any special experiences, strange, unusual or happy incidents, having worked there that long?

CHIN: You know, at that time, there were some – we were managed by those mangers. As waiters, sometimes when you were lucky, you had some customers who were really good people. And sometimes they weren’t so good. As far as we were concerned, it averaged out. At that time, we made 700, 800 dollars a month.

Q: Was that considered a high salary back then?

CHIN: That’s how I got by.

Q: How was it different from your work at the bar?

CHIN: As far as the bar goes, whenever I was off, I just went to the bar in Chinatown and worked as a waiter. Sometimes when the owner took a break or went on vacation, he would have me help him look the place over, and sometimes—

Q: The bar also served food?

CHIN: It was a restaurant. It started as a restaurant. But most of the people who went there drink alcohol.

Q: What kind of people went there to drink?

CHIN: Chinese people and Italians.

Q: At that time, what was Canal Street like?

CHIN: At that time, Canal Street wasn’t as busy as now.

Q: What kind of people were they, and what kind of businesses did they have, back then?

CHIN: At that time, half of them were Italians, and then there were Chinese. Some [inaudible] that’s all I know.

Q: What were most Chinese people doing for a living back then?

CHIN: Back then, Chinese people worked in restaurants, or dry clean, and lots of garment factories. Before, Chinatown had seven—according to what some people said, back then, Chinatown had more than seven hundred garment shops. Now, I think there are a hundred, or maybe seventy or eighty. That’s what I heard people say, I don’t personally know. I don’t work in that industry.

Q: How did you change careers and work in this company?

CHIN: At that time, we had a friend, back when we started at downstairs of the C.H. Oak Tin Association, our friend had been working in a restaurant. And then he started working at a bank. And I heard people saying that they were going to do something – that they were going to start up at Bayard Street, in 1979. So I didn’t do the restaurant anymore. I started working at Bayard Street.

Q: That time, it was the same store, but it was on Bayard Street?

CHIN: Around nineteen eighty—or it must be in 1990, we moved over here.

Q: At that time what did you sell?

CHIN: At first we just sold those ceramics. We sold those magazines and newspapers.

Q: But the main thing was selling ceramics –

CHIN: No, at that time, we sold a lot of newspapers there. At that time, there weren’t so many newspaper stands along that street. Back then, on Grand Street (?), we sold a lot of newspapers. In one day, we could at least sell eight or nine hundred copies. How much money was each copy worth? It was a newspaper market.

Q: At that time, how many different newspapers did you sell? Do you remember?

CHIN: At that time, there was Sing Tao, United, North America and News Daily, these ones…

Q: So in all, there were four newspapers—

CHIN: And China Press [Qiao Bao]. Back then, there was also China Press.

Q: What was the address on Bayard Street?

CHIN: Number 62-64.

Q: Was it the same name?

CHIN: Before it was Crown, Inc. After the move, it became New Crown, Inc.

Q: At that time, it wasn’t your own – your friend invited you—

CHIN: It’s mine, it’s my own. It’s just that they went to the restaurant business and then banking. I took it over.

Q: You bought it ?

CHIN: Yeah, we took it over.

Q: What made you decide to take it over? You had never done this sort of business before?

CHIN: It’s like this. At that time, I had worked as a waiter for roughly nine years. To do something like this, to come out and make this sort of change – back then, a lot of people, they all came to me and talked with me and helped me out. It was enough to support the family. So what happened was, a lot of people came up to me and told me to and tried it, it would be alright.

Q: Was it difficult in the beginning? Did you make money?

CHIN: It was very difficult at first because I hadn’t done this sort of business before. So that was why my business wasn’t so ideal then. Slowly, over time, I built it up.

Q: Did it take a long time?

CHIN: After seven or eight months, I got used to it. I had a hard time for about seven or eight months. Back then, my uncle and friends, they’d often come over to support me and help me.

Q: How did they support you? Did they buy your things? How did they help you?

CHIN: Some people said to me that if I needed some money, they could invest some money with me. I took their advice, but I didn’t take the money. Sometimes, there were some—

Q: I know that the main customers for the newspapers are Chinese. But who are the main customers for the ceramics?

CHIN: Back then, it was mostly Chinese people. Gradually, Westerners began seeking us out too.

Q: Back then, did many visitors come to Chinatown? Were there many Western tourists?

CHIN: At that time, when I was on Bayard Street, it flourished at night. So we stayed open until midnight. Back then, Bayard Street was a lot more lively than Mott Street. For a while, back when we were running the business, along pretty much the whole street, there were lots of restaurants open through the night. Lots of restaurants stayed open until five o’clock.

Q: When did all that start to change – when did Bayard Street stop being so busy?

CHIN: Not long after we moved over here, Bayard Street wasn’t as busy at night time.

Q: Why did you move to this location?

CHIN: Because back then there were two [people], one relative, one friend, they always helped me, they helped me to succeed. They helped me voluntarily at the company. So I asked them, if you’re interested, I’ll move to this place and we’ll run it together. I put out the basic goods. They agreed to it. That’s how we got a place here and started running it.

Q: How did you find this space for your business?

CHIN: A friend introduced me to it.

Q: I’d like to ask, back then how much was the rent for this location?

CHIN: The rent for this space was over three thousand dollars back then.

Q: Did you have a lease, or did you just have a verbal agreement about the rent?

CHIN: We began at number 59. Over here, the landlord is friendlier. We get along pretty good – our landlord is pretty good now.

Q: These two shops are together, right?

CHIN: Yes. We were at number 59 before. This one is number 57.

Q: After you moved over here, what was the main thing you sold? Did you sell the same things, or you were selling different things?

CHIN: It was pretty much the same things.

Q: But I see a lot of furniture, when did you start selling other things?

CHIN: I moved over here in ninety-something, ’92, ’93, and I started selling furniture. So I must have started doing that back in ’92.

Q: Have you seen any changes in Chinatown since you moved here? During these dozen or so years, how has it changed?

CHIN: After moving over here, I think it’s thriving a little more than it used to. At that time, [my business] was easier to run.

Q: How was it easier?

CHIN: Huh?

Q: How come it was easier back in the past?

CHIN: Competition. Back then, there wasn’t so much competition. I guess that’s it, I don’t know. It was just easier back then.

Q: How about the last few years? How has business been?

CHIN: These last few years, well, it’s pretty average.

Q: Could you please tell us about how 9/11 has impacted your business? Has it had any influence, and if so, what kind?

CHIN: Ever since 9/11, it’s influenced [inaudible] things—

Q: I can’t understand you.

CHIN: The impact has been really extreme – we’ve fallen off a bit.

Q: And what’s the reason for that?

CHIN: Huh?

Q: Why is it that your business has suffered so much?

CHIN: There are fewer tourists.

Q: Let me ask you from the beginning. Where were you when 9/11 occurred?

CHIN: At home.

Q: And where was that?

CHIN: I was at my Chinatown apartment.

Q: Upstairs?

CHIN: Upstairs.

Q: How long have you lived in Chinatown?

CHIN: I’ve lived in Chinatown for 15 years.

Q: How did you know what had happened?

CHIN: My son called and told me, something big had happened in New York, at the World Trade Center. He told me to turn on the TV immediately. At that time, the first airplane had turned right into it, and we thought it was an accident. But I turned on the TV, and when I turned it on, I saw the second airplane flew into it. They had done it intentionally. And at that time I saw all that.

Q: Did you come out and watch?

CHIN: At that time, I came out right here. But at that time, we didn’t open the doors. But everyone was walking right here. They were from Wall Street, walking through here. Lots of them. Those people, their hair, their clothes, there was so much dust. Seeing it at that time was even more terrifying.

Q: Did you think that you should also go away?

CHIN: At that time, how should I put it, my son and daughter were here. With that in mind - where could we go? I mean, we would just see what would happen.

Q: Where were your son and daughter?

CHIN: My daughter was in New Jersey. My son was in Los Angels, in Hollywood.

Q: And your wife, where was she that day?

CHIN: We were both at the Chinatown apartment.

Q: Can you talk about how 9/11 impacted your business?

CHIN: It had a huge influence.

Q: Why?

CHIN: Because there were fewer tourists. People didn’t dare to come to New York. I asked a lot of friends, relatives, they said that they were worried about coming to New York. Therefore less visitors.

Q: Then, at that time, your main customers were Chinese or Westerners?

CHIN: To be honest, for those of us who work here in Chinatown, the important thing is to have lots of tourists. Lots of New Yorkers are our customers too. But we mainly sell souvenirs to tourists.

Q: Did you apply for any economic assistance money?

CHIN: Yes.

Q: How did you know that there was money for economic assistance?

CHIN: Next door there were some restaurants, some friends, and all of them, they insisted we had the right to go and get it. So we went to apply and got it.

Q: Where did you go to apply?

CHIN: To the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA).

Q: Do you think they helped you?

CHIN: They helped out some, they helped.

Q: Do you think that it was difficult to apply?

CHIN: It wasn’t that difficult. But it also wasn’t easy.

Q: What about it wasn’t easy? What about it wasn’t difficult?

CHIN: There were some questions, they needed to ask a bunch of questions, and there were those requirements, that stuff. And I had to find the accountant, get documentation, need to prove things. I just had to do some stuff, and there was so much to do. But speaking frankly, it was necessary. It should be like this in order to get compensation, it shouldn’t be just slipshod.

Q: But you think that other people would find it to be pretty difficult?

CHIN: If you’re legitimate, then it shouldn’t be a big deal. If you want to do something legitimately, just follow the law and do it.

Q: Do you think that the economic assistance funds were sufficient?

CHIN: This question... [Laughs] What should I say? At that time, doing business was really – considering the impact on Chinatown, it wasn’t enough. At that time, it wasn’t just my one place, but rather every single shop, they all suffered after 9/11.

Q: Besides going to the CCBA to apply, did you also apply anywhere else?

CHIN: No. As far as that, they told our company, there was someone at the CCBA, he went to Church Street to get it. That’s the place. Can get some economic assistance, three days of economic assistance would be a few thousand dollars. That’s not enough to compensate for such a long period of business.

Q: How long was your business weakened?

CHIN: It was impacted for a rather long time.

Q: So about half a year? One year? Three months?

CHIN: It still hasn’t stopped. It still isn’t very ideal.

Q: Then—

CHIN: To speak frankly, it’s only been the last few weeks, I’m talking about after 9/11 – maybe it’s the good weather – but these two or three weeks, business has been very good, not bad. I hope that things continue this way. [Laughs]

Q: So how was business before 9/11?

CHIN: Huh?

Q: So what was Chinatown like before 9/11? How was your business? What was Chinatown like?

CHIN: There wasn’t so much pressure, it was more relaxed. You could easily keep everything stable.

Q: Since your business has been bad since 9/11, have you thought any way to improve it? How to fix this situation?

CHIN: You have to ask yourself, you have to think about what to do.

Q: So do you have any new plan?

CHIN: Huh?

Q: Have you thought of any new way to handle the situation? Could you speak a little bit, to educate others, how best to get through this situation?

CHIN: You just rely on yourself now, how to solve your own difficulties.

Q: Have you asked friends to help?

CHIN: Yes.

Q: Can you speak about some of the problems resulting from 9/11?

CHIN: There were problems, yes—

Q: If—

CHIN: I hope the community could help out Chinatown, improve Chinatown. The CCBA should do something for the businesses, the neighbors, the government, do some things – I think that the CCBA hasn’t done enough for the businesses. Just look at Little Italy, it’s so small, and yet they’ve done so much to make it prosperous, they’ve done such a good job. Our CCBA, I’ll put it like this, they don’t do as much, and they don’t learn from others how to do things. I wish that whoever it is, acting as chairman of the CCBA, the CCBA should go study the excellent things others are doing, and they should improve themselves. The CCBA should unite and lead. Whatever’s the best way to lead, they should work together to improve Chinatown.

Q: Other than the CCBA, is there any other community group that you wish would help out?

CHIN: Of course I wish they would!

Q: Is there any specific community group you wish would take action?

CHIN: Whichever community group is fine with me, if they can serve us in Chinatown, the businesses, help us Chinese-Americans.

Q: So do you think—

CHIN: It really doesn’t matter which community group, whichever one.

Q: Do you think that’s because the city government doesn’t place enough importance on Chinatown?

CHIN: I feel a little bit that way, a little.

Q: What do you think that Chinatown can do to make the city and state governments care about it more?

CHIN: That all depends on those leaders, those Chinese-Americans, those thinkers, those in the political world, they’ve got to communicate, tell them to come help Chinatown to develop and so forth, and learn how to do these things. Look at Little Italy, and you see them so prosperous, doing so well. Such a small area, and yet they’ve done so well. Chinatown is such a large area, yet we haven’t learned how to do it.

Q: Then have you ever thought of stepping forward, helping out, acting as a spokesperson for Chinatown? Acting as a leader?

CHIN: No, I don’t have that kind of talent.

Q: Then what kind of individual do you think can be a leader for Chinatown?

CHIN: We should look for those individuals whose education and political backgrounds enable them to communicate, those who are fluent in English. We don’t use Chinese language outside, we need to speak both Chinese and English. If you have someone who only speaks Chinese as our leader, his English isn’t going to be good enough. It will take time to translate and interact, and that’s more difficult.

Q: Have you encouraged your children to return to Chinatown and act as this sort of leader?


Q: Why not?

CHIN: I haven’t. They were born here. They have their own way of thinking, different from our way of thinking.

Q: Have you taken part in any of Chinatown’s activities, community organizations?

CHIN: Yes, we’re involved. We’re a part of this area, because we’re doing business here. Sometimes they call on me to manage their financial affairs, that sort of thing.

Q: Who do you manage for?

CHIN: I help associations, like the C.H. Oak Tin Association, On Tin Club, and Shiu Kai Fong, to manage their finances.

Q: How do you help them manage their finances? How much time do you spend doing it?

CHIN: Not much. Sometimes I help them manage their finances, doing things in Chinatown. Sometimes, if I can help the public, then I help. I help out, that’s what I do. I use a little of my time.

Q: How do you help them? You help them to collect [membership] fee? Or do you help them write check?

CHIN: Sometimes I help them by signing checks. Sometimes I help them to deposit money into their checking accounts.

Q: How did you start helping them, volunteering to do these things?

CHIN: I volunteer to do it.

Q: How did you start?

CHIN: It was a long time ago, when I was working Chinatown, back in nineteen eighty-something, starting in ’82, ’83, doing stuff for them.

Q: Have they ever helped you out in return?

CHIN: Huh?

Q: Have they ever turned around and helped you?

CHIN: The associations belong to everybody. If you’re part of the group, then you want the group to do well.

Q: How did you became a member of these associations?

CHIN: It was those older men that called on me to join. Back then, when I came back to run the business in Chinatown, I started helping out in the associations. It was like that.

Q: You joined the associations because the businesspeople were there? Or because you’re originally from the same place [in China]?

CHIN: At that time, I joined the associations because I was doing business in Chinatown everyone knew each other, everyone was pretty much in contact with each other, everyone—

Q: So all the members were people doing business in Chinatown?

CHIN: Some of them weren’t. Some of them were. It wasn’t all.

Q: I hear at that time, the associations was very powerful. Is that true?

CHIN: At that time, one of the associations was very powerful, it was the Chinese Merchant’s Association. And there was the Hip Sing Association, its powerful was greater.

Q: How were they powerful? Why were they so powerful?

CHIN: Because they protected their members. That was the way that, sometimes—

Q: How did they protect their members?

CHIN: Huh?

Q: How did they protect their members?

CHIN: I’m not really clear on that. I know that whenever they had problems, they would help their members. They wouldn’t oppress [take advantage of] people. They would handle things fairly. They would just be fair, right or wrong, they would do it like that.

Q: How about you, have you ever been taken advantage by anybody while doing business in Chinatown?

CHIN: In Chinatown, we haven’t really been taken advantage by anyone. If you do business in Chinatown, you would have some protection by joining these associations. At least, everyone works together to solve problems.

Q: How are you protected?

CHIN: Huh?

Q: How are you protected?

CHIN: If there’s some crisis, then everybody talks about how to solve it.

Q: I’ve heard that at that time, toughs would come over to get “lucky envelopes” [money], was that true?

CHIN: That was true. During Chinese New Years, they would delivery a plate of lucky fruits, then one person [tough] would take a hundred and some dollars, several hundred dollars, like that. Some of them paid protection money, every month they have to pay protection money, the restaurants. That’s what I hear anyway. I don’t know if it was true or not.

Q: You didn’t have to pay?

CHIN: I’ve never given any [protection money]. But during New Year, or the fifteenth of August [Moon Festival], they would bring some mooncakes and I’d give a hundred and some dollars. Or during New Year, they would bring some lucky fruits and I would give a hundred and some dollars to them.

Q: How long has this situation been going on?

CHIN: Well, this kind of situation started when I began in 1980. At the beginning, when I had just started, I would give a red envelope of several hundred dollars to those toughs. Or else they would do something.

Q: And when do you stop?

CHIN: I already stopped doing that many years ago.

Q: Five years ago? Ten years ago?

CHIN: It’s been at least seven or eight years. Ever since Chinatown started to clean up that kind of thing, those toughs—

Q: Was it the government that cleaned them up, or did the police get rid of them?

CHIN: I don’t know about that. Whether it was the government or the police, I’m not really sure. But anyway, during these last eight or ten years, that type of thing hasn’t been happening.

Q: So nobody else has tried to bother you?

CHIN: No. Not in the last few years.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about Chinatown, or about yourself?

CHIN: I wish that the Chinese-American leaders of Chinatown, that is those leaders in the CCBA, I hope that they will interact with the city government to get them to help us, to save our Chinatown. Because our Chinatown is – we have so many businesses here, so many people here, but we haven’t gotten significant attention, not like Little Italy, I wish that we—

Q: Then what plans do you have for the next few years? What plans do you have for this shop?

CHIN: I rent this place. As far as that goes, I’m good friends with the landlord, we’re friends, we get along pretty well. As long as the landlord lets me rent it, I’ll rent it. (Laughs)

Q: Then when would you like to retire?

CHIN: Huh? (Coughs)

Q: Then when do you intend to retire?

CHIN: How should I put it, this is something I haven’t -- when I have time, there’s still plenty of time to retire, I’m still working hard. It’s not time yet.

Q: So what does your wife do?

CHIN: She helps me out.

Q: So you—

CHIN: She comes and goes, she also works. Sometimes she comes and helps me.

Q: How many people work for you?

CHIN: Three.

Q: Are you open seven days a week?

CHIN: Yes.

Q: And what are your business hours?

CHIN: Usually it’s 11 AM to 9 PM.

Q: That’s a long time to be open each day.

CHIN: Ten hours. All of us Chinese here go by the time.

Q: Have you ever gone back to China or Hong Kong for vacation?

CHIN: We go back to China two or three times a year to get new goods. It’s not for vacation. It’s always to go to the factories and get goods.

Q: What do your children do?

CHIN: My daughter is an accountant, a CPA. My son is in business management.

Q: Are you satisfied with their choice of work, with their lives?

CHIN: It’s OK. We struggle really hard, but my children make good money. You know Chinese people have a tradition: the parents should go without eating if necessary and struggle in order to give the children food and let them study hard. They study hard and gain some skills, they get a good job, and that’s our—

Q: Have you thought about asking your children to come back and continue your business?

CHIN: We struggle so much, and we are only taking a salaries. But they have such freedom, they already have really good jobs, they wouldn’t want to work so hard just to make a living. It would make no sense for me to tell them to come back and do this kind of work.

Q: One day when you retire, do you intend to live in Chinatown, or would you like to move somewhere else?

CHIN: I also have a home in Queens now. I always come back. This is where I work, and it’s more convenient. I can go outside and come back in.

Q: When would you like to retire and live in Queens?

CHIN: That’s what my wife wants now.

Q: Where in Queens?

CHIN: It’s in Briwood.

Q: Briwood. Are there many Chinese there? Why did you choose to live there?

CHIN: We’ve had that place for a long time already. We bought a place there back in ’73.

Q: Why did you choose that place?

CHIN: At that time, that place wasn’t so expensive, it also wasn’t so cheap, it was a few tens of thousands of dollars. We were able to afford it.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

CHIN: Nothing else.

Q: OK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chin.

[end of session]

Chinatown Interview: Interview (zh)

<p> 問: 我們可以開始了。Today is January 7, 2004. My name is Teri Chan. I’m at the New Crown Inc., which is located at 57-59 Mott Street in Chinatown, New York. 今天是七月六,no,一月七日2004年。我是陳秋紅。現在我們在新皇冠公司,Mott街,57-59號,紐約市。請跟我們說你的中文名字與英文名字。</p>
<p>陳: 我的中文名字叫陳穩強。我的英文名字就叫Jack Chin。</p>
<p>問: 你是幾時出生, 還有在那裏出生?</p>
<p>陳: 我是在中國出生,就1939年。</p>
<p>問: 中國那裏呢?</p>
<p>陳: 廣東,台山。</p>
<p>問: 台山是城市,還是村子呢?</p>
<p>陳: 是個城市來的,村子是大村。</p>
<p>問: 那你是城市裏出生還是鄉下呢?</p>
<p>陳: 是鄉下出生。</p>
<p>問: 那你是什麽時候來到美國的?</p>
<p>陳: 1954年。</p>
<p>問: 那時候你大概多大啊?</p>
陳: 12歲。</p>
<p>問: 那你是怎麽來到美國的?</p>
<p>陳: 是,這個呢,我爸爸申請我們,去了美國就去加拿大。</p>
<p>問: 你是先來美國呢? 你先來美國里那呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我先到美國就是在舊金山。</p>
<p>問: 在舊金山住了多久啊?</p>
<p>陳: 我在那是過境。</p>
<p>問: 然後你們去加拿大那裏呢?</p>
<p>陳: 然後我們去Corwall, Ontario。然後就去呢Montreal,讀high school那時候。</p>
<p>問: 你們是一家人一起來的呢還是你一個人自己過來的?</p>
<p>陳: 我來的那時候是跟我mother還有我的cousin來的。</p>
<p>問: 你的媽媽還有你的cousin?</p>
<p>陳: No, 我媽媽後來才來。</p>
<p>問: 是你跟你的--</p>
<p>陳: Cousin。</p>
問: Cousin。爲什麽只有你跟你的cousin呢?是怎麽可以申請你的cousin一起來的呢?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候我媽媽還在鄉下,在廣州那時候。就,那時候我已經可以過香港了。我已經來到,但是我媽媽在大陸那時候還沒有批准她來。</p>
<p>問: 爲什麼你先去香港而你媽媽沒去香港呢?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候我們又經過申請批准來到香港。然後到了香港未能來移民出國。</p>
<p>問: 那時候是可以合法申請—申請移民出國了?</p>
<p>陳: 是的。但是那時候在中國比較難批准。</p>
<p>問: 你在鄉下還有哥哥,妹妹,或者姐妹嗎?</p>
<p>陳: 我哥哥就早一點去加拿大。早我一年、兩年前, 的時間去加拿大。</p>
<p>問: 你們不是一起申請的嗎?</p>
<p>陳: 是的,是一起申請。但問題因為我哥哥那時候在香港,我那時候還在廣州。</p>
<p>問: 那你爸爸是去加拿大做什麽的呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我爸爸在加拿大做餐館還有做雜貨店。</p>
問: 他什麽時候去了加拿大呢?</p>
<p>陳: 很久了。應該我還沒出生的時候他就去了加拿大。那時候他是留學時過去讀書的。</p>
<p>問: 那時候,對他來講,留學是不是很平常的事,還是比較困難的?</p>
<p>陳: 這一層呢我就不知道了。我知道他辦留學去加拿大的,那時候我聽他們講。</p>
<p>問: 那你怎麼樣,你剛到加拿大你感覺是怎麽樣?你感覺是怎樣?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候還年輕,我玩哪,還蠻好。</p>
<p>問: 你那時候是不是去加拿大學英文的?</p>
<p>陳: 是的,在加拿大學英文。</p>
<p>問: 那你們留在加拿大留了多久呢?</p>
<p>陳: 十年左右。</p>
<p>問: 接下來你們搬到那裏呢?</p>
<p>陳: 搬到New York。</p>
<p>問: 爲什麽搬到紐約呢?</p>
陳: 因爲我太太的那些兄弟姐妹都在這裏。那時候在這裏找口飯吃比較容易。後來就來這裏。</p>
<p>問: 你在那裏認識你太太的?</p>
<p>陳: 在香港。</p>
<p>問: 你過來了加拿大之後你才回香港認識你太太?</p>
<p>陳: 是的。有些少親戚關係,有人介紹才認識的。</p>
<p>問: 那時候你是幾歲, 可不可以問一下?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候21、2歲左右。</p>
<p>問: 那你覺得那時候這麽早結---那時候算不算是早結婚呢?</p>
<p>陳: 算的。</p>
<p>問: 那你那時候感覺是這麽樣?</p>
<p>陳: 我們 那一代,那時候,我們多數是聽那些爸爸媽媽的意思。比較聽爸爸媽媽,去成立個家庭。所以比較早。</p>
<p>問: 是你爸爸媽媽叫你回香港認識這女孩?</p>
<p>陳: 是的。</p>
<p>問: 那你感覺,你覺得在加拿大的生活與過來紐約的生活有什麽不同啊?</p>
陳: 我認爲加拿大的福利投資比這裏好。你如果講做工或做生意就這裏比較好,機會好一點。</p>
<p>問: 爲什麽這裏的機會會好一點?</p>
<p>陳: 這裏的人口,這裏的人口比較多。繁華的城市比較繁忙。</p>
<p>問: 那你跟我說,剛剛來到紐約住在那裏?是不是唐人街?</p>
<p>陳: 剛開始我們來時住在Brooklyn。在那個18大道與52街那里。</p>
<p>問: 那時候你住在有沒那裏有唐人呢?</p>
<p>陳: 都有,很少唐人。</p>
<p>問: 爲什麽住那裏呢?</p>
<p>陳: 因爲那時候,我們來到那時候---我太太的家姐的同學在那買了屋在那裏,所以我們也去那裏住。</p>
<p>問: 那你第一份工作是什麽? </p>
<p>陳: 就在這裏當企檯邊(待應)。</p>
<p>問: 那家餐廳?</p>
<p>陳: 在Four Seasons,Blues Hall。57街與Park Avenue交街。</p>
問: 爲什麽會到那裏工作呢?你那時英文是不是已經很好了?</p>
<p>陳: 怎麽講,不是好,但是可以應付就是了。可以應付。</p>
<p>問: 那時候是不是鬼佬,Four Seasons是不是一間鬼佬餐館啊?</p>
<p>陳: 是唐人餐廳,鬼佬同唐人合作做的。就是西人同唐人合作做的。</p>
<p>問: 那時候是幾年呢?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候是1970年的時侯。</p>
<p>問: 你在Midtown做事你覺得機會是如何?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候我在那裏做,一個星期做五天。休息時就回唐人街那個Louis鍾那個bar做一天。散工來的。</p>
<p>問: 叫什麽名字?</p>
<p>陳: Louis鍾。</p>
<p>問: Louis鍾。</p>
<p>陳: Yeah.</p>
<p>問: 在那里?</p>
<p>陳: 現在就是靠這個corner這個,中國銀行那里的location。</p>
問: 在那一條街?</p>
<p>陳: 在Mulberry與Canal交接哪里。第二間。</p>
<p>問: 那時候你在—你在Midtown工作情況是怎麽樣?</p>
<p>陳: 比較嚴格了。我們上班差不多開工的時候五點---譬如五點鐘餐開始時,我們要standby, 就是企檯的station那個position來的。</p>
<p>問: 只有下午班?</p>
<p>陳: 不是。我們都有上早班,晚餐都做。</p>
<p>問: 待遇好不好?</p>
<p>陳: 一般了,就一般了。就是比中國街那些好一點。比中國街那些好一點。</p>
<p>問: 怎麽樣好一點?</p>
<p>陳: 我們那時候做那些就比較客仔比較高級一點。我們那時候出糧都是算一個鐘頭給我們的。就是算鐘,就是個几銀錢一個鐘。就是沽一個人的鐘。不像中國街這樣算是不同的,論一個月的,我們是論一個鐘頭。</p>
<p>問: 那小費是不是自己入袋的?</p>
<p>陳: 是,小費我的自己入袋的。</p>
<p>問: 那時候是怎麽樣分法,你們的小費?</p>
陳: 在那裏呢,我們就他們客人給我們是我們的,給captain是captain的。給check衣那些是他們的。他們all分開的。</p>
<p>問: 現在是不是一樣的?</p>
<p>陳: 現在那餐館應該沒做了。</p>
<p>問: 那你在那裡做了多久?</p>
<p>陳: 做了九年。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有遇到什麽特別,怪事啊,或者不平的事啊,或者開心的事,在那裏做了那麽久?</p>
<p>陳: 你知道那時候,怎麽說,有一些---那些---我們由那些經理,waiter那樣的。有時呢,你好運時,你有一些人好的客仔。有時就差點了。我們呢平均來講都過得去。那時候,都有七,八百塊每個月。</p>
<p>問: 那時候那個價錢算高資嗎?</p>
<p>陳: 都過得去那樣。</p>
<p>問: 那你講給我聽,在酒吧做工的時候有什麽不同?</p>
<p>陳: 酒吧呢,就我off呢就回來唐人街酒吧我又是做企檯。有時老細(老闆)休息時或vacation就叫我來幫他望一望有時候就---</p>
問: 酒吧都有給吃?</p>
<p>陳: 它有餐館。就它是餐館來的。不過多數人去那裏是喝酒的。</p>
<p>問: 是什麽樣的人去那裏喝酒呢?</p>
<p>陳: 唐人還有義大利人。</p>
<p>問: 那時候Canal街是怎麽樣的?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候Canal街就沒有,怎麽講,沒現在這麽忙。</p>
<p>問: 大部分是什麽人,還有什麽生意來的,那時候?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候都是,一半那些義大利人,還有中國人。有些(inaudible)就我所知。</p>
<p>問: 他們大多數,那時候唐人是做什麽生意的?</p>
<p>陳: 唐人那時候就做餐館,做那些衣館,那些車衣的多了。車衣廠了。以前,那時候唐人街都有七,聽那些人一般講,中國街那時的車衣廠都有超過七百間。現在,我想有一百間,七,八十間都不一定。我聽人家講的,我也不知道。我不是這行的。</p>
<p>問: 那你又怎麽轉了行來做這家公司了?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候,因爲我們有一位兄弟,就我以前開始在篤親公所樓下的,我們的兄弟,就他做了個餐館。又去做了銀行來的。那我呢就聽過話他們去做什麽---<br>

<p>問: 那時候是一樣的店,但是在Bayard街?</p>
<p>陳: 我們啊,我們在8,應---我們在90年就moved過來這裏。</p>
<p>問: 那時候是賣什麽的?</p>
<p>陳: 開始時就賣那些瓷器。就賣那些magazine賣報紙了。</p>
<p>問: 但是主要是賣瓷器啊?</p>
<p>陳: 不是,那時候賣報紙賣很多在那裏。那時候街邊那裏沒那麽多報紙檔,在Grand街那時以前我們在那裏賣很多報紙。一日呢,可以講到至少都八、九百份。多少錢一份啊?一份銷路的報紙。</p>
<p>問: 那時候是賣那幾份報紙,你記不記得?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候有星島啦,聯合啦,北美啦,北美日報,還有哪個新報,這些啦。</p>
<p>問: 總共來講這四張是---</p>
<p>陳: 僑報啦。那時候有僑報啦。</p>
<p>問: 那在Bayard街幾號啊?</p>
<p>陳: 62-64號。</p>
問: 也是一樣的名字啊?</p>
<p>陳: 以前是皇冠,搬來就是新皇冠。我們搬來是新皇冠。</p>
<p>問: 你是---那時候不是你自己的,是你朋友叫你---</p>
<p>陳: 是我的,是我自己的。就是他們自己去做餐館,去做銀行,我就接過來做。</p>
<p>問: 你買過來做的?</p>
<p>陳: Yeah, 我們接過來做的。</p>
<p>問: 你是怎麽決定接下來做的呢?因爲你沒有做過這一行?</p>
<p>陳: 是這樣的。那時候做企檯已經做了將近九年了,將近九年了哦。這樣出來,這個,這個樣轉的時候---那時候我出來,很多人,都對我都,我那時候在那裏上班來講我都過得去。都能夠維持家庭的。這樣有些人都跟我講,我出來嘗試是可不可以的。</p>
<p>問: 剛開始覺得辛不辛苦啊?有沒有賺錢啊?</p>
<p>陳: 開始那時候就還滿辛苦的。因為自己不是這一行的。這樣生意就不是這麽理想。自己就慢慢慢慢的就做起來。</p>
<p>問: 時間長不長啊?</p>
陳: 過了七、八個月的時候,我就應付得了。都挨上七、八個月。那時候我們的叔父啊,朋友啊常常來支持,幫助我。</p>
<p>問: 怎麽支持呢?他們是買東西呢,怎麽幫你呢?</p>
<p>陳: 有些人呢有說,如果我需要錢就可以---給些錢我投資。我呢,給我意見他們,但是我都沒拿。有時候啊,有些---</p>
<p>問: 那你賣的陶瓷,我知道報紙主要的客人是中國人。但陶瓷主要賣個什麽人?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候開始就是中國人多。逐漸逐漸呢西方人都有找我們。</p>
<p>問: 那時候多不多遊客來唐人街?西方人遊客多不多?</p>
<p>陳: 我們在Bayard街那時候,晚上就很旺。所以我們那時候開到12點鐘。那時候Bayard 街就比,夜晚來講,就比Mott街旺很多。那時候Bayard街,過了一段時間,我們做的那時候,那全街,差不多全是,很多餐廳開夜。五點鐘---很多餐館都是(開到)五點鐘。</p>
<p>問: 是什麽時候開始改變那些---Bayard街沒這麽忙?</p>
<p>陳: 我們搬過來這裏呢Bayard街不久就---就比較,夜晚就沒這麽忙。</p>
<p>問: 你們爲什麽搬來這個地方呢?</p>
陳: 因爲那時候有兩個, 有個親戚,有朋友,就時時幫我,在公司義務式幫我來的。所以我問他(們),你如果有興趣就來這裏那個位置一起做。我就基本貨拿出來。他們就允許。這樣他們就拿個舖位來這裏做。</p>
<p>問: 你的舖位是怎麽拿?</p>
<p>陳: 是個朋友介紹。</p>
<p>問: 我想問一下當時的舖位租金是多少?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候舖位的租金都上三千塊來的。</p>
<p>問: 那你是做約的,還是口頭上答應租的?</p>
<p>陳: 那是我們開始是在59號那裏。現在我在這裏屋主就比較friendly。對我們就滿好的---現在我們的屋主滿好。</p>
<p>問: 是不是一起的,這兩家?</p>
<p>陳: 是。以前我們在59號,這裏57。</p>
<p>問: 那你搬過來之後,你是主要是賣什麽?是不是賣同樣的東西,還是已經賣不一樣的東西?</p>
<p>陳: 差不多同樣的東西。</p>
<p>問: 但我現在看到很多家具,你幾時開始做其他的東西?</p>
<p>陳: 我呢就有,搬過來這裏呢,九幾年,九二、三年,就開始做家具。應該是92年左右開始做。</p>
問: 你搬過來之後呢,你見到唐人街有沒有轉變啊?這十幾年來,是怎麽變化?</p>
<p>陳: 搬過來呢就同以前來講呢,就我們感覺到現在比以前旺一點。就比以前就—那時候比較好做點。</p>
<p>問: 怎麽樣好做點呢?</p>
<p>陳: 啊?</p>
<p>問: 怎麽樣好做點呢,以前?</p>
<p>陳: 競爭,就競爭沒這麽多了,那時候。我想,我不知道。以前就比較好做點。</p>
<p>問: 那這幾年來呢?那近來這幾年生意是怎麽樣?生意情況是怎麽樣?</p>
<p>陳: 這幾年呢就都,怎麽講呢,就不是,就一般這樣了。</p>
<p>問: 可不可以講一下關於911對你的生意的影響? 有沒有,怎麽樣影響呢?</p>
<p>陳: 自從911就都影響到(inaudible)什麼來的—</p>
<p>問: 聽不懂。</p>
<p>陳: 就很厲害的---就很厲害的---就跌得比較小一點。</p>
<p>問: 是怎---是什麽原因呢?</p>
陳: 啊?</p>
<p>問: 是什麽原因呢你生意跌得這麽厲害?</p>
<p>陳: 少些遊客。</p>
<p>問: 那我重新問過。你911發生的那一天你在那裏?</p>
<p>陳: 在家裏。</p>
<p>問: 家在那裏呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我在我唐人街的apartment來的。</p>
<p>問: 在樓上?</p>
<p>陳: 在樓上。</p>
<p>問: 那你在唐人街住了多久啦?</p>
<p>陳: 在唐人街住了都有15年---15年了。</p>
<p>問: 那你是怎麽知道是---當日的情況是怎麽知道的?</p>
<p>陳: 我兒子就打電話給我的,說New York發生這麽大的事,World Trade Center。他叫我立刻開電視看。那時第一架就轉過來就,怎麽了,—就已經以爲是accident。但我打開TV,我開了TV那時候呢,看到第二架那架飛機就這麽轉過來。那時候就是有意的了。我那時候就睇見什麼了。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有出來看一下?</p>
陳: 我出來呢,那時候我就下來這裏。但我們那時候就沒開門---就沒開門了。但是人都在這裡這裏走。在華義街,在這裡走過來。就很多,那人呢,頭髮,衣服,好多那些塵灰啊。看見那時候就比較可怕。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有想自己也走呢?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候呢,怎麽講呢,我的子女在這裏。這樣就,怎麽說,走去那裏?意思來講,就見步行步了。是這個情形。</p>
<p>問: 那你的子女去了那裏,那時候?</p>
<p>陳: 我的女兒是在New Jersey。我的兒子在洛省, 在Hollywood那裏。</p>
<p>問: 那你太太呢,那一日在那裏?</p>
<p>陳: 我們一起在中國街這個apartment。</p>
<p>問: 你可不可以講一下911對你事業的影響?對這裏生意的影響。</p>
<p>陳: 影響是滿大的。</p>
<p>問: 爲什麽呢?</p>
<p>陳: 少了那些遊客了嘍。沒有這些遊客,人不敢來New York。我都問很多朋友,那些親戚的,他們,就 (講) 來New York比較有些心“歉”(不舒服)。這樣他們就少一些了。</p>
<p>問: 那時候你主要的客人是遊客,中國人,還是西人呢?</p>
陳: 坦白講呢,中國街我們這一行來講,主要是很多是遊客的。我們都有很多New York的本地客了。但是我們主要是遊客,做那些禮品。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有申請那些補助金啊,救濟金啊?</p>
<p>陳: 有。</p>
<p>問: 那你是怎麽知道救濟金啊?</p>
<p>陳: 就他們, 隔壁有些餐館啊,朋友啊,個個就,應當我們有權,去拿。我們就去申請拿了。</p>
<p>問: 你是去那裏申請的啊?</p>
<p>陳: 去這個中華公所。</p>
<p>問: 你覺得他們有沒有幫到你呢?</p>
<p>陳: 都幫到些,都幫到。</p>
<p>問: 你覺得申請困不困難啊?難不難啊?</p>
<p>陳: 困難也不是很困難。也不是很容易。</p>
<p>問: 怎麽不容易呢?怎麽不困難呢?</p>
<p>陳: 有些問題呢,他(們)需要(問)很多問題,有些條件啊,又去找那些會計, 拿那些證件,需要證明這些東西。就有做一些,就有做多少事。 <br>

<p>問: 但你覺得對其他的人比較困難?</p>
<p>陳: 合手續就應當沒什麼,你要做些合手續上,正規去做。</p>
<p>問: 那你覺得你拿的補助夠不夠呢?</p>
<p>陳: 這個問題, (laughs)怎麽講呢?那時做生意真是,生意來講,對唐人街的影響,真是不夠的。那時候不是只有我們一家,家家都是怎麽樣,都是很差,911之後。</p>
<p>問: 那你除了去中華公所申請之外,還有沒有去其它地方申請?</p>
<p>陳: 沒有。這個呢,就我們公司,叫我們公司,中華公所有個人,去那個Church街那裏拿個, 那裏是舖頭。拿一些補助,補助3日,就幾千塊。都不夠,生意這麽久的時間。</p>
<p>問: 生意是淡了多久呢?</p>
<p>陳: 都影響到几長的時間了。</p>
<p>問: 大概半年,一年,三個月?</p>
<p>陳: 都不止。以現在來講,都還沒有,什麽來的,自從911後都不是很理想。</p>
<p>問: 就---</p>
陳: 這些是---坦白講,就是這些,911之後來講呢,這幾個星期呢就---或者氣候好一點,那兩三個星期呢,生意是滿好,不錯的。但希望這樣繼續下去就好了。(laughs)</p>
<p>問: 那911之前生意是怎麽樣呢?</p>
<p>陳: 啊?</p>
<p>問: 那911之前的唐人街是怎麽樣呢?你的生意是怎麽樣?唐人街的情況是怎麽樣?</p>
<p>陳: 沒那麽逼,比較輕鬆點。都維持,都輕鬆點維持。</p>
<p>問: 那你,那你自從911生意怎麽不好之後,有沒有想怎麽樣來補助呢?補救這個情況呢?</p>
<p>陳: 這些,有你自己對自己,去想這麽做。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有新的方法呢?</p>
<p>陳: 啊?</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有想過新的方法呢?行得通的,可以講給其他人聽得?教一下其他人的。</p>
<p>陳: 現在就靠自己去,怎麽去解決自己的困難。</p>
<p>問: 你怎麽樣,有沒有叫朋友的幫忙啊?</p>
<p>陳: 有。</p>
問: 那你有沒有想講有關911的問題呢?</p>
<p>陳: 有麽有---</p>
<p>問: 如果---</p>
<p>陳: 都希望社區如果能夠幫我們唐人街的,點樣整好唐人街。應當他們中華公所做點這些,做些事出來,給些商戶,給些街坊,比些官方,做點事出來,要不然個個,這麽說---我認爲中華公所爲我們的商戶都做不出什麽來的。義大利區這麽小的地方來講,做得那麽旺,做得那麽好。我們中華公所呢,我認爲呢,這麽來講呢,就做不到這麽多,學不到人家的做法。我希望他們能夠,誰做中華公所主席好,就中華公所是怎麽樣去學人家的比較優秀,進步優秀。因爲團結中華公所領導。這麽樣去領導,去合作發展華埠。</p>
<p>問: 除了中華公所之外,你有沒有希望其他社團都出來幫手?</p>
<p>陳: 當然希望了!</p>
<p>問: 有沒有什麽社團你希望他們出來?</p>
<p>陳: 那一個社團都好,能爲,怎麽說,爲我們華埠,能爲要幫我們華埠,的商業,幫我們華僑。</p>
<p>問: 那你覺得…</p>
<p>陳: 無所謂那個社團。</p>
問: 你覺得是不是因爲市政府,市政府對唐人街不重視呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我也感覺這裏有一點。</p>
<p>問: 那你覺得唐人街應該可以做什麽使市政府與州政府對唐人街比較重視?</p>
<p>陳: 那要靠那些頭,那些華人,那些領導,那些僑,那些有頭,裏面那些政界,有得溝通,叫他們來幫我們中國街怎麽發展,怎麽樣學一學這些。義大利區你看看人家多旺,多好。那麽小的地方,都做得這麽好。我們中國街這麽大的地方,都學不到。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有想過自己出來,幫手一下,替唐人街做一下宣傳啊,做一下領導?</p>
<p>陳: 沒,我沒這樣能手。</p>
<p>問: 那你覺得什麽樣的人才可以做唐人街的領導呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我呢,怎麽講,我認爲這個,找那些學職同對政府政界要夠通的。能夠明白那些伶俐的英語,那些東西的。我們外表不是講中文的,是中文與英文的。找個中文的出來做領導,他英文又不行。要花點時間翻譯交通比夠困難一點。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有鼓勵你子女回來唐人街做這些領導呢?</p>
<p>陳: 沒有。</p>
問: 爲什麽?</p>
<p>陳: 沒有。我們,怎麽講呢,他們在這裏出世。他們有他們的想法的。同我們的想法不同。</p>
<p>問: 那我想問問你,你有沒有參加唐人街其他的活動,社團,像這些---</p>
<p>陳: 我們參加呢,有時就是環境上來講,因爲我們在這裏做生意。有時他們叫我呢,就那時候叫我呢,打理那些財務,那些東西。</p>
<p>問: 在那裏打理啊?</p>
<p>陳: 幫那些公所啊, 篤親,安親,秀溪房打理財務。</p>
<p>問: 你是怎麽樣幫他們打理財務呢?用多少時間?</p>
<p>陳: 很少。有時候幫他們管理的財務,怎麽講,我們在唐人街做事來講。有時呢,能幫的到公家就幫了。就幫了,就怎個意思。就抽些時間。</p>
<p>問: 你是怎麽樣幫他的?你是幫他們收錢,還是幫他們寫check啊。</p>
<p>陳: 有時,就幫他們有時sign check。有時幫他們間中拿錢去,進入那些支票account。</p>
<p>問: 你是怎麽樣開始幫他們做,義務做這些是呢?</p>
<p>陳: 是義務做的。</p>
問: 你是怎麽樣開始的?</p>
<p>陳: 很久了,那時候,唐人街做,八幾年那時候,八二、三年開始做,替他們做。</p>
<p>問: 他們有沒有反過來幫你呢?</p>
<p>陳: 啊?</p>
<p>問: 他們有沒有反過來幫你呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我們,怎麽講呢,公所的團體是大家的。你在這個團體,你都想這個團體好。</p>
<p>問: 你是怎麽樣入公所做工所的會員啊?</p>
<p>陳: 是那些父兄叫我進去的。那時候,在唐人街做生意那時候回來,進入,回來公所幫幫,就是幫公家,這樣了。</p>
<p>問: 你進入公所是因爲大家做生意呢?或者是因爲你們同一個地方出來的?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候我,進入公所那時候是,開始入,我那時候呢,去唐人街做生意的。就大家認識,大家多些聯絡的. </p>
<p>問: 會員全部都在唐人街做生意的?</p>
<p>陳: 有些就不是。都有些是的。都不完全是。</p>
問: 我聽那時候公所厲害很大的。是不是真的?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候就是,一方面呢就是公所厲害大。那時候就是一個,安良公商會了,還有一個協勝工會。它就比較什麽來的,實力比較大的。</p>
<p>問: 他們的實力是怎麽樣大呢? 爲什麽他們的實力這麼大呢?</p>
<p>陳: 他們就保護他們的會員。就像是有時---</p>
<p>問: 怎麽樣保護呢?</p>
<p>陳: huh?</p>
<p>問: 怎麽樣保護呢?</p>
<p>陳: 這我就不是很清楚了。我知道是他們有什麽問題呢,就他們會保護他們的會員了。他們不想給人家“蝦”(壓迫)。他們就拿個公道出來了。就他們就比較,拿公道,對不對或不對,就這樣。</p>
<p>問: 那你在唐人街做生意又沒有給人“蝦”過啊?</p>
<p>陳: 我們在唐人街呢,就沒怎麽給人“蝦”過。所以就,在唐人街做生意呢,你進入這個會呢,就有些保障了。At least有什麽事大家合作解決問題。</p>
<p>問: 怎麽保障呢?</p>
<p>陳: huh?</p>
問: 怎麽保障呢?</p>
<p>陳: 有什麽急事就大家,有什麽困難大家商量下什麽解決了。</p>
<p>問: 那我聽那時候流氓會過來問,拿利是這些。是不是真的?</p>
<p>陳: 是真的。我們來講呢,就過年呢,他們就送盤吉果,就一人拿一百幾十塊了,幾百塊這樣的。有些就給保護費,每一個月都要個保護費了,餐館啊。但是我是聽他們講。真是假我就不是很知道。</p>
<p>問: 你自己就不用給?</p>
<p>陳: 我就沒給過。過年就,或八月十五,拿些月餅就給一百幾十塊給他(們)。過年啊,拿吉果,就給一百幾十塊給他們。</p>
<p>問: 這個情況維持多久呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我開始做那時候, 八十年, 都開始有這個現象。那時候我開始都有,開始做那時候都給紅包給那些流氓。好像幾百塊那時候的紅包。不然他們就什麽來的。</p>
<p>問: 那什麽時候才停呢?</p>
<p>陳: 停止都有很多年。</p>
<p>問: 五年內,十年內?</p>
陳: 都七、八年,最少都有七,八年。自從中國街就,那個,clean up那些什麽,那些流氓就---</p>
<p>問: 是政府清理他們,是警察拉走他們?</p>
<p>陳: 那我就不知道。不過這些就是政府或是警察我就不是很清楚。不過這十年,八年就沒有這樣的現象出現。</p>
<p>問: 沒有其他人來bother你們?</p>
<p>陳: 沒有。這幾年沒。</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有其它想講,關於唐人街,或者關於你自己的呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我希望這個唐人街的僑領,就中華公所的領導,最好希望他們領頭市政府,交通這些,怎麽樣來幫助我們,來怎麽拯救我們的華埠。因爲我們的華埠真是,怎麽講,就沒,不是這麽,我們有這麽多商戶在這裏,有這麽多人在這裏,起不到大的作用,同人家這個義大利區比人,希望我們---</p>
<p>問: 那你覺得以後幾年你自己有什麽打算啊?這間店有什麽打算呢?</p>
<p>陳: 這個是我租來的。這個來講呢,屋主我們都是好朋友,都是朋友,都蠻好的。屋主給我租我就租了。(laughs)</p>
<p>問: 那你想什麽時候退休呢?</p>
陳: huh? (coughs)</p>
<p>問: 那你想什麽時候退休呢?</p>
<p>陳: 怎麽講,這還沒,怎麽講,自己有時,退休時間又多,做工又辛苦。還不是這樣。</p>
<p>問: 那你太太是做什麽的?</p>
<p>陳: 過來幫我手的。</p>
<p>問: 那你---</p>
<p>陳: 她來有時走,她也是做工,有時過來幫忙。</p>
<p>問: 那這裏你請多少人做工的啊?</p>
<p>陳: 三個。</p>
<p>問: 那你是開七日的?</p>
<p>陳: 是。</p>
<p>問: 時間是到幾點鐘呢?</p>
<p>陳: 通常11點到9點。</p>
<p>問: 時間都滿長的。</p>
<p>陳: 十個鐘頭了。我們中國人在這裏個個都是靠時間。</p>
問: 那你有沒有回到大陸或者香港玩呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我們一年都回大陸兩次到三次拿貨。都不是回去玩,都是去廠拿貨,就是拿貨了。</p>
<p>問: 那你子女是做什麽的?</p>
<p>陳: 我女兒是會計師來的, CPA來的。我兒子就是做商業管理來的。</p>
<p>問: 那你對他們選擇的工作,他們的生活滿不滿意呢?</p>
<p>陳: 都ok啦。自己辛苦,子女,他們都賺錢。你知道我們中國人都一般的傳統,父母不吃也得給子女吃多辛苦都供子女讀書了。他們讀得成書有本事,有份好的工作,是我們就---</p>
<p>問: 那你有沒有想過叫子女回來接這個生意來做呢?</p>
<p>陳: 他們,怎麽講呢,我們這麽辛苦,多是拿份人工。他們多自由,他們有份好的工作,他都不會想要這樣這麽辛苦來找口飯吃。這樣沒有道理叫他們來做這行的。</p>
<p>問: 那你有一天退了休你會不會想在唐人街住下來,或者搬到其它地方退休呢?</p>
<p>陳: 我現在在Queens也有間房子在那裏。我都有回來。我在這裏做工,比較方便出入這樣。</p>
<p>問: 你想那一日退了休回去Queens。</p>
陳: 我太太就這麽想。</p>
<p>問: Queens那裏啊?</p>
<p>陳: 在Briwood那裏。</p>
<p>問: Briwood。那裏唐人多不多?你們爲什麽選那裏住?</p>
<p>陳: 我們很久了。我們七、七三年買在那裏。都七三年開始買在那裏。</p>
<p>問: 爲什麽選那裏呢?</p>
<p>陳: 那時候環境就,那棟房屋又不想貴,又不是平(便宜),幾萬元可以買得到。那時候按自己的能力去做這件事。</p>
<p>問: 還有什麽你想講的呢?</p>
<p>陳: 都沒什麽了。</p>
<p>問: OK. 多謝,陳先生。</p>


“Jack Chin,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed March 29, 2023,