Chinese New Year Mourning January 27, 2009Posted by peterong in Uncategorized.
Tags: chinatown, Chinese New Year
It is the year of the ox and as I walked the streets of Chinatown, I watched the cleaning crew sweep up the multi-colored confetti. I watched tourist swarm around corners with their guides pointing at destinations yet to have been arrived. I walked and there is such a feeling of loss of this tradition in New York City. When I grew up, we were able to celebrate with fire crackers. for the most part, this section of the world was ours. my family and those other chinese people who shared something with each other. i remember watching with excitement as the dragon danced closer to me and I would hold my ears as the firecrackers exploded just inches from my feet. feeling exhilarated from being so close to danger. being engulfed in the sea of red collateral firecrackers.
now, chinatown is so different. there are still dragon dances but mostly by non-Chinese youth. the firecrackers are replaces by these air pumped confetti makers, there are just as many people from Ohio as there are Chinese people, the restaurants are now filled with more people wanting General Tso’s instead of jelly fish.
Chinatown was formed as an ethnic ghetto but when I was a child, it was a haven for me. To being able to have place where i am not “the other.” it was a place where i was reminded that i wasn’t alone. that when i saw other kids, we understood something. there was something about those unhurried Sunday’s when i entered this world. a world that i barely recognize anymore.