Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oakland Chinatown: May 27, 2008

Today, we went to Chinatown in downtown Oakland (marked with the "A"). It only took us a few minutes to get there on the bus, but it was so different from what we're used to! Some of us have never been before, even though we've lived in Oakland our entire lives.

We had new groups this time and got to choose which topic we explored. Our topics are still the same, though. Between the six groups, we looked at safety, aesthetics (how things look), health and accessibility, diversity, economics, and food.

Make sure you check out some of our personal blogs, too! Just click on the links to our blogs from the "contributors" section (below, right).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To all who wrote about the Oakland Chinatown.

Looking at your photos (Delilah, Vanessa R., Jackie B. , Beatriz Cinthia, Lesley, Olivia Daniela, Laura, Yesenia and Brian), I see many similarities between the Oakland Chinatown and Melbourne Australia or Brisbane (where I live now). It is always great to go shopping there, beautiful food in restaurants and the supermarkets are a delight with lots and lots of exotic foods with exotic labels that I can't understand and I must take home and try. I am not certain about your comment "wasn't much diversity when it came to food" and then you talk about "Chinese food, with some Vietnamese and Japanese places". These are very different cuisines. You may just be talking about the fact that rice is the staple Asiatic diet, instead of bread so it makes food look similar to an outsider- or it could be that these restaurants are just an Chinese idea of what Americans may like in Chinese food (here in Australia such take always seem to only deal with fried food - definitely not the breadth of Asian cuisine) – this would be a pity. My experience of eating regularly in the local Asian markets is that I am faced with a great variety of choice and delight of discovery every time I go there… and I go there often.

I sympathise with your difficulties in getting interviews from Chinese people. My experience in this area is that many Asiatic people come from repressive regimes and as a result are too scared to talk in public about anything. In Australian government systems where client response is required (such as facilitating say complaints by clients), policies and procedures need to take into account the difficulties Asian people have in complaining as a result of past experiences at home and devise means to assist them in overcoming fears of retribution.

From my experience, there seems to be a good understanding amongst Chinese people about business, starting at a very young age, which appears to result in a lot of trade between them and a certain level of basic wealth (Jessica, Maria, Jackie P, Valeria, Jasmin and Ernesto). It could be that because their cultures back home have no social system to speak of, so “if you don’t trade you don’t eat” which is a great incentive for business. This has worked against Chinese people in some palaces abroad however, because in some areas they are hated because they have the trade while the locals may not have work (like the Jews before the war I guess, who where blamed for their money expertise). A year or so ago in Indonesia there were mob attack against the Chinese business community from locals who burned their stores and houses, and many Chinese fled.

I loved reading about Walnut Creek, Fruitvale and Oakland.

Great work… thanks for your blogs!

Christos, Australia