Interesting thing these blogs.
As we ramble along with various rants and anecdotes, we notice that blog visitors spike in readership when controversial items appear.
Yeh, in your face
Our blog, the UGLY Chinese Canadian endeavours to present insights and thoughts that break the stereotypical Chinee houseboy label. We enjoy and appreciate a lot of the sweet and more pleasant blogs out there. BUT, some of our readers inform us that we’re not pollyanna nor sweet. Oh, shucks. We guess it’s because every so often, we present another perspective, and explore some of the other offerings around our city… the not so nice ones.
Growing up on the mean streets of Vancouver and losing friends to violent crimes and to jail sort of gives you an attitude. The UGLY Chinese Canadian was labeled a “street kid”, when young… having been a part of youth gangs and other ugly things. So, in part, this blog is a product of my environment.
We thought we’d write a bit on stories of some of the people who live on the streets of our city.
Today, I met Vince and Ronda. They were shooting up in one of the cleaner back alleys in Chinatown. We had a great time yakking, laughing and reminiscing about the old days of Vancouver. Both Vince and Ronda agree that people are less friendly now. They no longer say ‘hello’, nor offer a helping hand. Ronda mentioned that some “phony do-gooder” organizations that have appeared in the downtown eastside contributed to the loss of friendliness.
They (the organizations) really only care for themselves. Their phony attitudes encourages more cold and selfish attitudes in others.
Ronda’s grandpa was Chinese. She was proud to inform me, that she is one quarter Chinese.
Ronda was born in Maple Ridge. She works the mean streets of Vancouver, as a call girl, and is a drug user.
I introduced myself as the UGLY Chinese Canadian, and both Ronda and Vince were surprised.
You’re not ugly. You’re actually very beautiful.
You’re the first Chinese who’ve said “hello” to us in all this time. And you don’t look at us as garbage.
We’re not garbage, we’re people and it is those other people who push us around… those who pretend (profess) to help poor people who are the ugly ones. Their hearts are ugly.
Vince is from the Cree nation. He was born in Manitoba, and came to Vancouver “years” ago. He is a welder and a pipe fitter, and is a proud Cree.
As he was munching his apple, he said he hangs around the city’s safe injection site, “Insite”. His friends there has a handle for him, a name. He doesn’t use the internet, so he doesn’t have an email.
We spoke about the decline of Chinatown, both Vince and Ronda put the blame on failed city programs. Failed programs based on the simple fact that many of the decision makers have no clue of what really happens. I mentioned to them that it is called “champagne socialism”, people who promote themselves and their organizations on the perception that they’re helping the ‘down and out’.
Vince knew that. He knows that there is big money involved in “helping the downtown eastside”.
… it’s called the poverty industry.
They asked me to tell them a bit about myself. So I did.
They found it interesting that I took an interest in the hidden side of Vancouver, and that I was tuned into their world. Vince said I was a real Canadian,
… you’re more canuck than Chinese!
They loved seeing the many photos I had taken today, and asked me if I was going to submit some photos for the great local calendar that gets published annually, I said no. I just like taking photos. Vince recognized all the off the beaten track locations I photographed, including the hidden roofscapes, crevices, and graffiti. He knew this Chinatown neighbourhood well.
I really enjoyed meeting Vince and Ronda. I’ve met many back alley people over the years, and have collected hundreds of photos of them, the forgotten.
Later, I’ll write about toothless Jim. I’ll share his story of how he manages to gum down hamburgers every day at lunch.