The Other Side of Lost in Translation



Last month it was about Korean community in New York,
And this month I am writing about Chinese community.
Though I did not want these two articles to be too similar,
they are becoming very different naturally.
After all, they are very different immigrant communities.
Chinese immigration are the one of the more traditional sense.
As they are mostly poor in their own country,
they come to U.S. for the financial opportunity.
Of course, Koreans come to U.S. for the same reason as well,
but the most of them are from the middle class,
or maybe the lower middle class, I guess.
Japanese do not come here as immigrants of the traditional sense
because Japan is no longer poor
just like Irish and Italians do not immigrate to U.S. any more
with a massive number.
Since I had wondered why Koreans kept coming to U.S.,
I did not hesitate ask them why.

And this is what they said....
1) Although the country of Korea itself may be no longer poor,
Korean society still has a big gap between rich & poor
and even lives of the middle class are not very stable
socially and financially.
2) Korean parents believe in their kids' education religiously.
As in Korea, passing the entrance exam of good schools is
even harder than in Japan,
affluent parents send their kids to U.S..
The families cannot afford that, they move to U.S. as immigrants.

But unlike '80s and early '90s,
when Korean small business owners thrived in U.S.,
moving to New York no longer guarantees financial success to them
because of the steep rise of
the residential and business rent in this city.

On the other hand,
the Chinese immigration has exploded in New York city.
Now along with the ones in Manhatan and Queen,
we have a new Chinatown in Brooklyn as well,
the picture above is the Chinatown in Sunset Park of Brooklyn.

Well, for the last and this month,
I have talked to many Koreans and Chinese.
The one thing I have learned from that is something very simple,
the mutual communication is the most important.
If you talk to people you do not know very well,
you can tell they are the same humans just like you are.
yeah, you say of course you know that.
But the reality is that we are so segragated by the race,
the language, the religion and the cultural background.
Even in the city like New York
where people from the all over the world live,
knowing someone outside of your own community is very difficult
unless you are very very interested in other people
for one reason or another.

And we tend to see other people with stereo type images.
But why do we do that???
There are many reasons why.
As it takes too long to explain everything,
I am not going to do that here, sorry, some other time.
However, the one thing I can say is that
stereotyping is dehumanizing.

Criminals dehumanize Victims
because if they think the victims have
the same emotions and feeling like theirs,
it is much harder to harm them.
Think about it when you see other people
with stereo type images next time.

People in Chinatown do not look like Japanese
not because of the race
but because of their economical conditions.
We just do not have
the massive number of underclass people like them in Japan.
And the poor immigrants do not paticulary look good.
Time to time, I go to Chinatown to get fruits, veggies
and some fish, but I never had made much conversation with them
becuase they hardly speak any English.
I have to admit that
I had been seeing them with stereo type images.

I talked to the guy in his '20s, who came to U.S.
about 6 years ago from the small town of China
because he did not want have a life like his dad.
he paid $60.000 to the smuggler and worked 12 hours a day
as a waiter every day to pay off the debt.
Now he is happily debt free.
Well, I could not help asking him how he had done that.
Because he worked for a long long hours
and lived in a tiny dormroom with his roomies for years.
Now he likes to improve his life by going to school
but his long shift hours prevents him to do that.
He was a young guy just like any other in Chinatown
but I felt very close to him after listening to his story.
I de-dehumanized him......
And that made me feel good.

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