September 11 Digital Archive

Wing Ma

Title

Wing Ma

Source

transcription

Media Type

interview

Chinatown Interview: Interviewee

Wing Ma

Chinatown Interview: Interviewer

Amy S.

Chinatown Interview: Date

2003-11-07

Chinatown Interview: Language

English

Chinatown Interview: Occupation

garment factory owner

Chinatown Interview: Interview (en)

Q: Mr. Ma, people might be watching or listening to this interview fifty years from now; we’d like them to know a little bit about who you are and where you came from.

WING MA: Okay

Q: So if you could please start out by saying where and when you were born, and tell me a little about your childhood and family, that would be great.

WING: My name is Wing Ma, actually, I have a middle name Guo Kua and in Chinese, we usually have the last name come first---it’s Ma Wing Guo, which means, my last name, which means “horse,” --- “ma” is “horse,” “wing” is “forever,” “Guo” is country, that’s what it means.

I was born in China in a very poor family. We were like---exactly my grandfathers, grandmothers, they are all like farmers in China at that time. After I was two years old, our whole family went to Hong Kong, and I actually grew up in Hong Kong, and when I was 18 years old, I came to this country for college. Ever since then, I stayed in this country---after I graduated, I stayed in this country and I got a job.

To begin with, I was an engineer, and afterwards I had my own business, and I was the owner of a garment manufacturing company in Chinatown here, but four years ago I closed my business because of the economy and also the competition between the offshore and the domestic---you know, we cannot compete with them, so I closed the business, and now I’m working for another business now.

Q: I’m going to take you back for a minute to start out. Do you remember anything about the trip from China to Hong Kong?

WING: Oh, I was about two years old. I remember a little bit. At that time, it was very unusual for people to, with documents, that’s going from China to Hong Kong. I got the document---my family, they got the document from China to Hong Kong, but the Hong Kong they do not accept us at that time, the reason being that there were a lot of refugees that went from China to Hong Kong during the late 50s and early 60s, and that’s why they could not handle too many people who come to Hong Kong at the same time, so our family have to have refugee status to get into Hong Kong. That’s all I remember.

Q: Did your mother or father ever tell you anything about how they made that decision to leave China?

WING: Actually, it was my mother’s decision, more than my father’s. My father actually went to Hong Kong before us, and then he went to the Philippines after he arrived to Hong Kong, and he worked there as a cook. My father was a cook back in China, years ago. He was a very experienced cook, so somebody in Manila hired him from Hong Kong to work over there, at that time, in the early 60s. So my father went to Hong Kong first, then, after about two years, my mother and my two other sisters and me, four of us, we went to Hong Kong afterwards.

Q: So what was your life like in Hong Kong?

WING: Hong Kong is a great city. I grew up. I like Hong Kong, but the only thing is, right now, I like New York better. I like New York better than Hong Kong now. It’s a great place to visit, but not a great place to live, to me personally. I like New York better.

Q: What kind of a place did you live in?

WING: In Hong Kong? Oh, we lived in---in Hong Kong, they don’t have like, they do have houses, but not as many like this country. But because of the limited amount of lands over there, we lived in high rises buildings, apartments, that was where we lived.

Q: Was it big, or small---

WING: Oh, small, it was about like, you have a 300-square foot apartment, you’re lucky, very, very, lucky.

[tape interruption]

Q: So, you were saying about that you were lucky to have an apartment in Hong Kong.

WING: That’s, as I said last time, when we had a discussion, my mother, she is a very tough and strong lady. She is like the head of the household. She make all the decisions, and they are good, prove to be good. (laughter)

Q: So was she working while you were living in Hong Kong?

WING: She works, at that time she has to take care of my two sisters and me, so she could not go out and work, she just took some home work that she can do at home.

Q: What kind of work did she do at home?

WING: Needlework.

Q: What kind of school did you go to?

WING: I went to Hong Kong, in the Catholic school, from primary to secondary. It’s a British educational system; they don’t have like grade one, two, three like this country. There are six grades in the primary school, and five grades in the secondary school, and then two years in the post-secondary school, three year colleges. Actually, it’s the same thing, because they have three year college, but they have two years post secondary, which is 12th and the 13th grade, they’re called.

So when I finished my secondary school, I took one more year post secondary, and then I came to this country for college.

Q: Did you like school?

WING: Oh, very much. I was a very good student. As a matter of fact, I had a GPA of 3.5 in college. And I have my master degree in engineering, too. My master degree’s GPA was 3.8.

Q: And, are you Catholic?

WING: Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’m not. I don’t have any religion, personally. I respect all the religions, but I don’t believe in any religion. I respect all of them, because they are all good.

Q: So, what kinds of things did you do for fun, growing up in Hong Kong? What was your daily life like there?

WING? You mean, when I was there?

Q: Yeah.

WING: At that time, there wasn’t anything like what we have now. We did not have any video game, we did not have any TV, at that time if you own a TV at home you are very luxury, you are like rich. But at that time, not to many people had a TV at home. So we just hang around with our school friends and play some kind of games of our own, you know, but at that time when I was in Catholic school, I have a lot of school friends that they are from other countries. So we learned English from them and they learned Chinese from us, which is a lot of fun. I love that kind of interchanging knowledges, which is good.

Q: And how about when you were a teenager, what sort of social life did you have?

WING: Very simple. Because I grew up in a family that is pretty strict. We are not allowed to go out, hanging around the street, by ourselves, so I usually stayed home, and we usually go out with our friends with the permission of my mother, or father, you know, so it’s like very simple. Usually we go out to the movies, or go to play some kind of a basketball, or you know, sports, that’s all. Pretty simple, and pretty enjoyable.

Q: What kinds of movies would you see?

WING: Some Western, some Chinese movies. At that time, there are a lot of movies from the United States too---they are in Hong Kong, so a lot of good movies I saw in Hong Kong, I’ve seen again here on TV, which is very funny.

Q: How did you make the decision to come to college in the United States?

WING: Because when I graduate from the secondary school, there were only two universities in Hong Kong. And when you graduate from a secondary school, how many students? Over a hundred thousand students, to go into two universities for about two thousand seats---the two thousand seats not only for the students in Hong Kong, but for overseas students, too. So you’re talking about only a thousand seats for a hundred thousand, more than a hundred thousand people. Less than one percent. So I could not make it. So that’s why I have to come to this country for college education.

Q: I remember you said that your father was a cook in the Philippines. Did he come and live with you all in Hong Kong at all while you were there?

WING: Yes. My father worked like ten months over there, and come to Hong Kong for two months vacation, and every year is like that.

Q: I remember you telling me before in our previous interview that you met him for the first time when you were eight.

WING: Yes. Because when I was about like a few months old, my father left China for Hong Kong, and then from Hong Kong to the Philippines. But when we arrived at Hong Kong, he was in the Philippines, so I didn’t see my father until I was eight years old. The first time he came there from the Philippines to Hong Kong was 1964, 65, something like that, so that I was like about eight years old, maybe less. That was the first time I met my father.

Q: What was it like when you met him?

WING: Oh, very exciting. In the Hong Kong’s Airport, at that time. Now, it’s, I’ve heard they have another, bigger airport now, so, at that time, it’s like dreaming, you know? It’s sort of very common at that time in the Chinese family, because parents, especially the father, usually they have to go out to work. It’s difficult to make a living in China at that time, so we usually stay home, and father work outside China, in Hong Kong, or in some other Southeast Asian countries, at that time Southeast Asian countries have a better economy than China. So they work there, and then they send money back to China. That’s very, very, usual at that time. But after we went to Hong Kong, we met each other, so we were, sort of, closer to each other. And we are lucky. A lot of people they don’t---they are not like us, they probably did not see their father for many, many years. It’s very, very possible.

Q: How did you feel then, when he had to go back to the Philippines, after you had met him for the first time?

WING: You mean, my father? Well, you know, at that time, I knew that he would come back in about another ten, twelve months, so you know, there’s a hope there, which is better than the first time that I had seen my father, eight years ago, which is too long.

Q: So, when you were getting ready to come to college in the United States, what were your expectations like about what your life here would be?

WING: I did not expect a very easy life, which I prepared for it already. I knew that to go to a new environment, to go to new place, you have to start all over again---it’s not easy. Which I managed to handle everything correctly, and because I was brought up in a family that had a very good---my family is very strict. My mother and mother they did not allow me to do this and do that. We are not in a Catholic family, but some of the Chinese way of teaching the kids, I think they are good in certain ways. I’m not saying that they’re 100 percent okay, but at least I was influenced by those thoughts. And I use the same thoughts that my parents taught me to teach my kids now. I don’t know whether they accept my teaching or not, but I at least I do the same thing now.

Q: Is there anything you do different now, than what your parents did?

WING: Oh, yeah. Because the kids now is a lot different from---the time is different. A lot different from what we were before. So it’s like, sort of they have more freedom than what we had before. Freedom in a way that my parents say something at the time, we could not say now. They could now. They can say no, to us. Which, you know, I have a very open mind. I am not like a very, too strict like my parents. But I still let them know that some Chinese way of educating and teaching the kids, the way that we are teaching them, is better than the Westerners. But I would say not 100 percent --- at least, passed down through our ancestors to now---has been proven to be good, so I think some of them they accept it, some of them they do not because they thought that’s, that’s ridiculous, that’s what they thought. I know (laughs) they think it that way.

Q: Can you give me some examples of things you do that part of the Chinese way of raising children?

WING: We punish them, we will punish them, like what you call---this country does not allow to do that. We hit them. We use the, what they call the ruler or something to hit their butts. That’s what we usually do. But, we try not to do that, because we thought that that wasn’t that good either. To me, personally, that’s not good. But at least, we had to let them know we have that kind of penalty for the kids before. But they thought that’s ridiculous. And we were not allowed to do that in this country. So I would say that sometimes you do need something like this to help the kids to understand rules and regulations.

Q: What are some other things? Can you think of any others?

WING: We teach them to pay respect to their elders, parents, grandparents, not only us, but people outside our families too. Which, in this country the educational system to me, personally I think that they do not teach this kind of moral thing than what we had before. They only teach them knowledges in terms of books, in terms of computers, in terms of mathematics, that’s it. They do not teach them how to live in the society, how to live with other people, how to face other people, that kind of thing. I don’t think they have enough education like what we had before.

Q: I wanted to ask you, when you were deciding to go to college here, were there any other options that you considered at that point, when you were finished with high school, besides going to college?

WING: No. I had a very strong will that I wanted to come to this country for college. That’s the only way---one way street. I never thought of other alternatives, because I love education, and I love coming to this country. Of all the countries in the world, I have considered, like Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, I pick this country. I like this country better.

Q: Why?

WING: I don’t know why. Because I have a feeling that this country has a better education than other countries, which, when I saw, when I read from newspapers about the Nobel Prize people, a lot of them are from this country, so I was very influenced by those articles in the newspaper.

Q: Were there any other things you remember seeing that made you think that maybe life in America would be for you?

WING: Yes, because at that time, as I said, because my family was so strict, I at that time was a teenager, I need freedom. I want to be free. But, I wanted to taste the freedom in this country also, which I experienced for many years. I know that freedom is something but you’ve got to make good use of the freedom. You just cannot abuse it. That’s another thing. I want to leave my family. I want to be free.

Q: Did you abuse your freedom at all when you got here?

WING: No, not at all. I am a very self-disciplined person. When I say something, I will do it. When I promise somebody something, I will deliver the promise. That’s why I---well, probably this is the education from my family.

Q: Could you share some of your first impressions that you had when you came here?

WING: First impressions?

Q: The first day that you got here.

WING: Oh, the first day I got here. At that time, we stayed in Chinatown. And when I know America, this country on TV, on newspaper, it wasn’t like that. There’s a lot of high-rise buildings, you know. It’s a very advanced country. How come the buildings in this country is so old, and a lot of the buildings are like---we didn’t even have that in Hong Kong. We had better living conditions than a lot of the buildings here, a lot of the apartments here. And, it was like, to me it’s like a totally different thing as what I have read in the paper or on the TV, so it was not a good impression to me when I first came here. But after I find out that a lot of the buildings had been---for so many years because of the zoning problems, because of the---a lot of restrictions, you’re not allowed to do anything. That’s why they keep the way it was.

But in Hong Kong it’s different. Buildings that they are older than 20 years, they knock down and build high rises, more space for people, so a lot of the buildings in Hong Kong are newer than here.

Q: Did you know anyone when you first came here?

WING: My sister was here at that time. I came here, I lived with my sister for a few months, then I moved to New Jersey because I studied in New Jersey.

Q: So your sister and her family and friends, did they give you any advice about what you’d have to do to make a life for yourself here? Do you remember any conversations you had with people when you first got here about Chinatown, or about life in the United States?

WING: At that time, when I first came to this country was 1976, there wasn’t too many Chinese at that time, as compared today. There’s like ten times more than ’76, so it was more quiet than what we have right now, less people than what we are right now. It’s not exactly like what we are right now. What I’m saying is, it’s not like Hong Kong. Now, it’s like 90 percent like Hong Kong. Before it’s like, it’s like Chinatown, really a Chinatown. A lot of things I’ve seen is very, very, funny as compared to same things that we had in Hong Kong. Many people still live in that way. It’s different from what I’ve seen in Hong Kong, so it’s very funny.

Q: Like what?

WING: The bowls are thicker. We had the very beautiful bowls that we would have the rice, to eat on. The bowls. They’re very thick, and it’s very Americanized. Something that, in daily life, that we use is different from what we are using in Hong Kong.

Q: So what was college like for you?

WING: Difficult. I work and study at the same time, and so, pretty tough to me. But I, as I say, I have a very self-disciplined for myself, so I manage to finish my college in three and a half years. I have no problem.

Q: What did your parents think about you doing coming here?

WING: When I told them that I’m coming to this country, they said okay. They give me permission to come here.

Q: Did you keep in touch with them after you were here?

WING: Oh, yeah.

Q: How did you keep in touch with them?

WING: I wrote them letters. At that time, telephone wasn’t that popular like what we have right now. It was very expensive to call international calls. It’s like three dollars per minute at that time. It’s very expensive. So, only call---I only call my parents on the phone during Chinese New Year’s, just once a year, because it’s too expensive. I write, I wrote them letters.

Q: Why did you choose engineering?

WING: I was a science student. In Hong Kong, when you are in Form Three, or Form Four, that’s tenth grade, you have to decide whether you go to arts or science. I picked a science subject, so that’s how I got into engineering field.

Q: Did you enjoy studying that?

WING: Oh, very much. I love engineering fields, I liked engineering courses. I was a mechanical engineer. I worked as a mechanical engineer for five years before I start my own business.

Q: So it sounds like you were very busy during college. When you did have a little bit of spare time, what did you do?

WING: I didn’t have much spare time. When I have spare time, I study, I work, I enjoy my college life very much. It was tough, but very rewarding to me, you know, because I got my degree, I find my job. Everything works out fine to me.

Q: Was there anything that surprised you, or that was unexpected about your life here?

WING: Like what? I---

Q: Anything, anything about you know, what American people were like, or what---school?

WING: In school, nothing surprised me. Actually, the first two year of the school, in the college, was not that hard to me, because a lot of the subjects I learned before in Hong Kong. The third year, we had the major subjects, that’s the year that’s the toughest year. Third year. Junior is the toughest year for me. Senior is a lot, is a bit easier, because the major subjects are what we studied before applied to the labs and everything, so Junior is the toughest year. A lot of new subjects to me that I never learned before. Mechanical engineering subjects. That’s the year that I spent a lot of time studying.

Other than that, nothing special. Nothing surprised me. But about my business, it surprised me that the government is not supporting the industry. They are using---I think they betrayed the industry because they used our industries to trade some other business or some other thing from other countries, like they are selling high-tech to other countries, and in returning they let them import the garment to the country. It’s good and no good, you know?

Q: So you’re married, is that right?

WING: Yeah.

Q: How did you meet your wife?

WING: I met my wife in Hong Kong. She---my wife is my brother-in-law’s niece. So we are, like, we knew each other when she was in Hong Kong, when we met each other. So, when she came to this country, then we met again and that’s how we got married.

Q: Did you keep in touch before she came here?

WING: Very rare, because I was so busy, and I didn’t have time to---I only wrote letters to her like three times, and that’s it.

Q: Did she come here with the idea that you would get married, or did you sort of---

WING: No, she just came here, and then we met, and then, no we did not expect that at that time.

Q: So what was it about her that made you want to marry her?

WING: Oh, my wife is a very strong-willed lady. She is pretty, she is nice, she is hard-working, she works together with me when we had a business together, and she almost like managed the whole business for me internally, so I have time to do externally.

Q: When you were working as an engineer, what kinds of work did you do?

WING: Design engineer. I worked in three different companies. The first company, called the CE-Lummus in Bloomfield, New Jersey. It’s a company that builds lots of petrol chemical plants, and I’m working in the mechanical engineering department of that company. And the next company I work for is a machine design company, designing spot welding machine. The third company I work for is a filter company. They make a lot of filters. It’s one of the largest filter company in this country, called the Pall Corporation, in Long Island.

Q: Why did you switch from job to job?

WING: If you don’t switch, you don’t get paid better, at that time. You have to---either you have to find a job that pay you better, or, if you stay there, you don’t---the raise each year that they pay you cannot catch up with the job that you switch. If you switch a job, you get a better pay.

Q: So then you opened your own business, after five years of working as an engineer?

WING: Yes.

Q: What led you to make that decision?

WING: When I had my third job, I was laid off by that company, and engineering was very good at that time when I was graduated from college. After wards, it just went down. Most of the engineering firms are laying off people, so I was one of them, so that’s why. I got laid off at that time, so I was without job for like about nine months. And during the nine months I drove, like, a black car—they call it the limousine---I drove a black car for nine months in order to make a living, you know. That was before I opened up my business.

Q: How did you get into---could you say a little bit about what kind of business it was?

WING: It’s a garment manufacturing business. I opened up a factory in Chinatown, and I hired like about, at that time, when I just started I hired about fifty, sixty people. And before I closed my business, I hired more than 100 people.

Q: How did you get the capital to start a business?

WING: My brother-in-law helped me. He helped me---he was in the business at that time, in the garment business before me. And he started his business in 1977. I, when I got laid off, he said if I want to be in the business he would help me. So he gave me the capital to open up the business.

Q: What was the garment industry like at the time that you got into it?

WING: At that time, it’s a lot easier. When I say easier, it’s, there were not too many competitions from offshore. Everything you did was domestic. Not everything, I would say 95 percent are domestic. Only like rarely to from the imports. As compared of today, 99 percent are from imports. Only one percent are domestic. Maybe I’m exaggerate a little bit, but it’s close---it has to be very close to that.

Q: What sorts of things did you make?

WING: I make women’s clothing. Sportswear. Skirts, pants, you know, those are the items that I made. And I made those items for Sears, for JC Penny, for Wal-Mart or Kmart. A lot of big chain stores. And those big chain stores now they bought from offshore. So we’ve lost a lot of business domestically.

Q: Was it hard to find workers?

WING: In the beginning, yes, when I just started, in like, 85, it’s not easy to find workers, because not too many new immigrants. In the ‘90s, starting from the ’90s, when there are a lot of new immigrants coming from China, coming from Hong Kong, coming from a lot of Southeast Asia countries, then it’s a lot easier to find workers. What I mean, easier to find workers, doesn’t mean that you can find a good worker. Good worker is difficult to find still. Luckily, about 80 percent of my workers, when I closed down my business, they will stay with me. A lot of them are with me for more than ten years. They are very nice to me, and I’m very nice to them, too, I believe. (laughs) We had a very good relationship. Otherwise they would not stay with me for so many years.

Q: Could you tell me a little bit about the people who worked for you?

WING: Mostly ladies, because they are doing needleworks---

WING: ---a few men doing some kind of physical work. That’s why my wife is taking care of the inside work. It’s easier to let girls talk to girls, right? So I went outside and got the business.

Q: Were your workers unionized?

WING: Yes. We were actually a union shop. All our workers are union members. We belong to, at that time it was ILGWU---International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Now it’s called UNITE, Local 23-25.

Q: Did you ever have any problems, any labor problems, during that time you had the business?

WING: Internally, no. Externally, yes. Not because of our workers, but because of the external problems, like the union problem, the, some kind of outside influence as, not because we had a problem, we never had a problem. I have---most of the time I have enough work for my workers, I pay them well, I pay them on time, I have no problem with them, and that’s why they’ve been with me for so many years. A lot of shops, not because they are not good, but because a lot of times they could not do the paperwork and everything accordingly, so a lot of the workers they may not like the shops. That’s why. I would say, 99 percent is the management of the business. If you manage your business well, everything’s fine. It doesn’t really matter you are union or non-union, or, you know, anything.

Q: So what do you think it was about your shop that made 80 percent of your workers stay with you?

WING: Stable. I have a very stable work supply for them, and I have, I pay them very stable. I don’t pay them like, this week something, next week something. Everything is like, on a very good track. So, if you have a good system, everybody will follow. That’s how I think.

Q: So what was an average wage? Do you remember what your workers would make when you first opened in the 80s?

WING: Let’s see, I have to think. At that time, in ’85, I believe the rate was three dollars something, I don’t remember exactly, and then four dollars something, and then---right now, it’s about six dollar ninety cents per hour or seven dollars, something like that. Don’t quote me, because I’ve been out of business for four years now. Probably now it’s about seven dollars an hour. Union rates. The federal rate is $5.15 an hour. State rate is $4.75.

Q: So you didn’t pay by the piece, but by the hour?

WING: We pay by the piece, but we convert the piece to hour, so they got paid more than that.

Q: Why did you end up having to close the business?

WING: I could not compete with the importers. Let me give an example. For a piece of, let’s say for a pair of pants like this. If I have to make it here, just the labor alone may cost you, let’s say, five dollars. If you buy a pair of pants from China, from Sri Lanka, from India, from whatever Southeast Asian country, five dollars is including everything, with the material. How can I compete with them? With us, just the labor alone is five dollars, so we have no way to compete with them. The only thing, the only reason that there’re still some shops still around because we have what they call the quick-response system. We can make something that the offshore people cannot do. Time. We have a shorter period of time to finish something that the manufacturers want us to do, which the offshore manufacturer could not do it. Like we can do it in something, two or three weeks, or even a week. If you do something offshore, you cannot make it in about three months. You know, so that’s the only advantage we have. That’s why there are still some shops around.

Q: You were president of the Garment Manufacturers Association---

WING: I was.

Q: Twice?

WING: Two times.

Q: How did that come about?

WING: It’s an association that gathers all the---our member actually is the shop owner. We have, like, every year we have a function, an annual dinner or gala, we exchange some information, and we have meetings every month, like I’m going to the meeting later on. They still have me as a board member because they want me to have some input to the Association, which I appreciate them.

But every year we had a fundraising, not actually a fundraising, we just get some money to maintain the association, and that’s it. We are not making money from that dinner or anything. And people are participating very well, every year. Even though, right now, the economy isn’t that good, they are still supporting the Association, because this is the only association in garment industry locally in our community. There were a few before, but they could not last like what we last. Our association is like, 45 years now.

Q: What were some of the things that you had to do as the president? What were some of your duties?

WING: We negotiate the contract every three years with the union. We try to get the best benefit to our association members, as well as the workers. It sounds like very contradiction, but it’s not. The reason being that the workers actually, we face them everyday. Even though they’re union members, we want to get the best benefits out of the union for them. And as an association president, we have like a lot of board members, then we have a negotiation team, to negotiate with the union every three years about the contract. And we go to some other association or some other states to get some resources back to New York. That’s what we’re doing.

Q: How would you do that?

WING: We have a lot of like Garment Industry Development Corporation. They have an office down on Centre Street. We work very closely with them, and even though we have a contract with a union, we work very closely for the union to try to get some work back from other states, or back from offshore, which did help a little, but not very successful because bottom line is price---we cannot compete with offshores. But at least they will give us something to do here, and if they need something very, like quick response, they would stay with us. They would not go to some other places.

Q: What sorts of things were you negotiating with the union over, during the time that you were president of the Garment Manufacturers Association?

WING: Mostly on the benefits for the workers and what the shop owners, our members--- Health benefit is the most important thing, because every member, every union member, that is, every worker in our shops, they need health benefit, which is getting more and more expensive, and they could not, a lot of their workers could not afford it. And now, a lot of the workers has to co-pay, which is a very heavy burden for them, which I, when I was president of the association, I tried to have the union make them not to do the co-pay, but very unsuccessful, and now they try to have the shop owner do the co-pay for them, which is very unfair to the shop owner either, because it’s very expensive overhead for the shop owners. We’re talking about, about two hundred some dollars a month per worker. It’s very expensive.

Q: Where was your factory specifically located?

WING: Not too far from here. Located on Mott Street. Now the building has been converted to a medical building. Half of it, not the whole building. Because that building is like two buildings, but they have a big building by knocking down the walls years ago, it’s a very old building, and over 10,000 square feet per floor. I was on the third floor. Now they have half of the building became a professional building, and the other half is still garment manufacturing. And I don’t think they have any more lease, and they are only working like month to month.

Q: When you closed the business, what happened to the people who were working there? How did they react?

WING: Some of my workers, they cried. They would never have thought of me closing down the business, because I had been supplying a very stable work source for them, so they, the money had been very stable for so many years. They never thought of going out to work for some other people. So, it was a tough time for a lot of the workers, too.

Q: Do you know what kind of work they were able to find afterwards?

WING: Afterwards, some of them work for other factories, some of them changed their professions to become, how do you put it, medical help or something like that, I don’t know what they call it, they have to be trained by the CPC (Chinese-American Planning Council) or Manpower, to become qualified for this job.

Q: Nurse practitioner?

WING: Something like yeah, home helper, or whatever, to help the seniors.

Q: Do you ever see any of them?

WING: Oh, yeah. Even now, I met a lot of my previous workers on the street. And they still want me to open up again, but I say I cannot do it. Not because of me alone, just because of the economy, because of the competition, that we cannot compete with the offshores. So I couldn’t do it.

Q: How did you decide that that was the moment when you needed to close the shop?

WING: At that time, when I closed my business, I still make money. I’m not losing money, but I figure out if I still want to do it, I make some projections. I will be losing money maybe in about six months. So I said if I keep on doing this for another six months I will be losing a lot of money. So I would rather do it now than six months later. So, which, I think I make a very good decision. Right now a lot of people are, a lot of the shop owners are crying for what they are doing. Not because they don’t have work. Sometimes they have work, but no workers. Sometimes they have workers, no work. It’s very difficult to make the adjustment.

Q: What were your options, then, after you closed the factory?

WING: I was looking for some other business, but at that time, when I closed my business, it was in 1999, and the economy was going down. At that time, the economy wasn’t look good, I did not decide to do anything yet, so I like, stayed home for two years, did not do anything, I just see which is the right way for me to go to. Which business is going to be better for me to get into. So, about a year and a half, two years ago, I started to work again, but not business. I’m working for another business now. Liquor industry.

Q: And what do you do?

WING: I was working as a sales rep for a distributor, but right now I’m working for a supplier.

Q: And how did you pick that?

WING: I like liquor, cognac, very much. That’s how I got to know a lot of the people in the industry. And they referred me to some of the job openings over there. I find it a pretty interesting industry.

Q: You’ve been involved in the community in all different kinds of ways. You talked about being involved in the Garment Manufacturing Association. Could you talk about some of the other things that you’ve done?

WING: I was---when Speaker Peter Vallone was the councilman of New York City I was one of the Asian American Advisory Council member of Peter Vallone. The job of that is to bring messages from our community back to the City Council. Tell them what we expect the city council to do, and what we want and what we need from the city. This is one of the positions that I had when I was president of the association. And I happened to know of the Museum of Chinese in the Americas, and I find it is very educational and very good for the next generation to know about the Chinese heritage, and so I you know, support this Museum of Chinese in the Americas as well.

Q: When you were on the Asian American Advisory Committee for Peter Vallone, what sorts of issues were you dealing with? What sorts of messages did you bring to him?

WING: I remember at that time there was some street cleaning problem that we tried to bring it to the city, and some parking meter problem, because a lot of parking, there are, like, no place for the people to park in Chinatown, that will cause a lot of people not to come to Chinatown and have a lot of tourists not coming to Chinatown. So we tell the city to give us a lot of, more parking space, more people to direct the traffic, to make it easier for the people to come to here, and help the restaurant and help the other business to grow in Chinatown. That’s all. You know, most of the issues of the community.

Q: And were you successful in getting what the neighborhood needed?

WING: Sort of, yes. Pretty good. Like before, I would say before 1995 or something like that, Canal Street they allow to have people park there, and blocking the traffic. Yes. Now no more. You are not allowed to park on Canal Street. Even after seven o’clock. Which is good, I would say, because you can have a lot of traffic flow thoroughly, not staying there and polluting the whole community.

Q: You were also on the Community Board. Is that right?

WING: That was in 1993, I remember. I was on the CB Three, Community Board Three for about two years.

Q: And what was that experience like?

WING: We had vender problems, venders, you know the people that are selling, the, what they call the---a lot of the, maybe the souvenir on the streets so we want to group them together and put them in Roosevelt Park---is it Roosevelt Park? Yeah---and, but very unsuccessful, because they only been there for like about a few months, and then they have to be relocated or, so, I feel there is very too much politics involved, so I quit. I cannot tell them---I told them what it is; I hope they can follow my way of doing it, but I find out that it’s not that simple. Something that we cannot just say and they will do it, so I will say, it’s not something I can manage, so I quit and I’m not going to be a member anymore.

Q: So on the day of September 11, 2001, where were you? How did you find out what happened?

WING: I was home. That morning, I was trying to drive to work, and before I left, my sister called me. She said, “There is a plane hit the World Trade Center.” I said, “What?” And I turn on the television. I saw the smoke coming out from one of the towers that was hit, and then I watch the TV for like a few minutes---another plane, hit, hit the building. It’s like watching a movie, but it’s real. There was something that have a very big impact to me, because World Trade Center is like a landmark of our city. And I’ve been like New Yorkers, and I love New York. It’s like something that---I could not believe it, so--- I almost cried, you know? It’s like something I cannot accept. Two days, I watch TV, I didn’t go to work. Like, you don’t know what you’re doing, you know? It’s very, very, upset.

Q: What were you thinking about as far as Chinatown as you were watching that happen?

WING: The first thing I did was, I called a lot of friends in Chinatown. Tell them to leave as soon as possible. Because I have a lot of friends, they are working in Chinatown. A lot of friends that still have business in Chinatown. I tell them, don’t stay here, go home. I know there’s something---if something like this happen, it is terribly wrong. So, luckily, in the beginning, the phone still working. But after awhile, the phone was not working, and then, only the cell phone was working, and after a while---even the cell phone is not working! So it’s very, like, to me it was like the end of the world at that time. Very frustrating, very, very upset. A lot of my friends, they could not get home on time, they had to stay in Manhattan for like another day before they could go to their home. It’s like, Chinatown was like totally paralyzed. Not only Chinatown, but even up to, the whole Manhattan, whole New York, even the whole country, for that two day was like doing nothing.

Q: You have children, right?

WING: I have two children.

Q: Two children. How did you explain to them what had happened? How did they find out about it?

WING: Oh, they knew it through school. School, I think they have television, and the teacher, you know, tell them what happened.

Q: How did they feel about it?

WING: First they---I don’t really know how they feel, but what I know is the kids are very patriotic to the country. That’s what I understand.

Q: What do you mean by patriotic?

WING: Patriotic to the country? What I mean is like my son, he is very Americanized. He’s like, you know, everything is USA, so that’s why, it’s very, it’s a lot of impact to these kids, too, because it’s something they’ve been seeing, they’ve been there before, and now no more. I would say the kids are also very upset about that too.

Q: Do you feel patriotic?

Q: So you mentioned that your son was feeling very patriotic, or is a patriotic person. How about you, are you patriotic?

WING: Yes. But when I just came to the country, and I, to me, it’s---everything was new to me, but as time goes by, I’ve been in this country for so many years. I’ve been like, personally I’ve felt that I already naturalized to this country, and that’s why I think---and I’m an American citizen now, so I think I am a patriotic person. But I don’t know if the country look at it to me that way too, you know? I don’t think they think it that way. But, I don’t know. But as far as I’m concerned, I think I am very patriotic to the country.

Q: When you say that you’re not sure if the country thinks of you as patriotic, what do you mean by that?

WING: Because, well, as I said, this is an immigration country. Everybody, except the Indian, the red Indian, they are the domestic local people. Everybody came from outside countries, like Irish, Scotland, England, or European country, Asian country, everybody come from all different places. But the people that control this country now, they---only controlled by a small group of people. Whatever they think is right, is right, is wrong is wrong. So, of course, I think it’s more up to them to think whether you are really a patriotic person or not. It is not up to what I think. It is up to them. That’s what I mean.

Q: Did September 11 effect or change the way you feel patriotic at all?

WING: It make me more patriotic than before. Because I think they should not---I mean, the people that they attack the World Trade Center, they should not do that. This is nothing to do with the innocent people. If you are not agree with the government, you fight with the government, not with the innocent people, which I think it’s just very, very, wrong, very, very bad thing that they have been done.

Q: You own real estate in Chinatown also, is that right?

WING: Yes.

Q: How did you first start getting into that?

WING: Because I want to diversify my investment, to begin with, so when I was in my garment industry business, I tried to diversify my investment in real estate in Chinatown, and at that time I did not have any, like intention, or anything like---just wanted to do some investment, that’s all. And I found out that right now that prove that to be a very good investment, because all the real estate has been growing tremendously in the last two-three years, especially in early 2000, the year 2000. It’s like booming. And right now it’s still good, but not as good as like a year ago. As far as the rental concerned, after 9/11 I was totally affected by the incident of 911. Because all my tenants moved out gradually, and my building was like vacant for more than twenty months. And little by little, I had my new tenants back, and right now, I only have 60 percent of my building rent. I still need more tenants. But I still have to pay my real estate tax, I still have to pay my---everything. I applied for some assistance from the government. All I got is about six thousand dollars. Not even one month of my mortgage payment. I pay my mortgage like about twelve thousand dollars a month.

Q: Where did you apply for the assistance?

WING: I applied through the one on Williams Street. I forgot the name of it. There are two places where you can do some application. One is on Williams and one is on Rector (Street). I did it through the Williams Street.

Q: How did you hear that you might---that the government, or that different organizations, were giving out aid?

WING: There are a lot of non-profit organizations, they give out brochures, they had some information that they give out on radio, on Chinese radio too. So I called and find out I am qualified for this. So I went to get an application and applied for it. But I didn’t know that, that’s the only, only like six thousand I got for over twenty months suffering.

Q: How did they come up with that figure?

WING: They said two percent of my income. That’s how they got that figure.

Q: When you went to apply for the aid, what was the place like, were people friendly and helpful, or was it really difficult to get through the paperwork?

WING: They were very friendly, very helpful. But the only thing is, the decision, and the amount of money to be qualified for who, and for what, you know, that’s not decided by those people. That is decided by somebody else. And by looking at those applications, you don’t really know whether these people are really the sufferers or not. That’s what I thought. I told them that I lost a lot of income because of that, and they only say that because you are not---as a landlord, you are not really a business over there, I thought, that’s wrong, because I do business in the real estate business, this is business. They said it’s not. So, they said only qualify for about two percent of my total annual income. That’s how they got the figure.

Q: I have to change the tape.

Q: You were talking about the aid that you got after September 11. I’m curious---the friends that you have in Chinatown, business people that you know or individuals, what sorts of stories have you heard about being trying to get aid?

WING: Not that many, because I wasn’t involved too much about this, but I heard the people that they live in this area, residents, they get more than I got, as a business person. I don’t know how they justify it, who is going to get more or less or how much. I really don’t understand how they get a figure like this, and for our business, and, that you lost in this period of time. We are not asking for more---we are just asking for, like, for example the real estate tax---I just want them to give me like some time to pay. I paid, like about two weeks late; they charged me the interest for two hundred dollars and change. They still charge me for that. Not because I don’t want to pay, but because I had a hard time to pay at that time. I have no tenants, and I have to get the money from someplace else. Out of my own pocket. So it took me a while to, you know, to do this. It was like a very hard period of time for me at that time.

Now it is a lot better, because I have my new tenants over there, and everything works out okay. At least I don’t have to lose money. I’m breaking even now. But I got to make up something that I lost for the twenty months that I have my building vacant at that time. So it’s very, very difficult. I hope the government can do something to those business owner in the area. And I’m from south of Canal, which is the secondary major damage area. And there is something that I don’t understand which is I don’t understand why they don’t give us, like my new tenants, give us some leeway or some assistance to my new tenants, because my new tenants are opening up a business over there, and they have to go to Department of Building to apply a lot of license, or you know, doing the renovations, things like that, and the Department of Building they give them a lot of hard time. I really don’t understand why they do that. They are bringing business to this area, and make it prosperous again. And they try to give them hard time---what kind of a psychological thinking is that, you know? I think this is too bureaucratic. That’s it.

Q: You’ve been involved in politics before, and you know, trying to get the community’s concerns heard by the government. Did you ever consider complaining, or trying to change the way they were dealing with the aid?

WING: I don’t think I, as a person, can do anything about it. But I did talk to a lot of non-profit organization people, that I know of, but it doesn’t seem to be like any successful. I only just talked to them, you know. I just talked to them about if cases like what I have maybe a lot of people, have a very similar situation like what I have, so what should we do? Nobody could give me an answer.

Q: Who did you talk to?

WING: I talked to people from CPC, you know, those local non-profit organization. They supposedly have to help those local community people.

Q: Who were your tenants before September 11?

WING: Before September 11 I had people---my tenant, one of my tenants is Pearl Paint, they use my place as a office and warehouse, and I have a second and third floor was garment industry, garment factory.

Q: And now?

WING: And now, my first floor is a restaurant and bar. Second floor in a training center. Ironically, it’s a place for people to get job re-training, after the effect of the 9/11. This is the institute that you have to go to. One of the institutes. And the third floor is artists that is making sculptures, those sorts of things, for big companies.

Q: How do the rents compare?

WING: About the same that I rent before, because the situation wasn’t that good. If I insist to get more rents, I don’t think I would rent it out today. So I lower my rent like tremendously. A little bit better than before. That’s all. But I give them a lot of free rents, a lot of---many months. Like, some of them I give them like six, seven months free rent, in order to get them to stay here. You have to do something, otherwise, I don’t have any advantage.

Q: What kind of a restaurant is it that’s opening?

WING: The owner is three partners. One of them from India, one from Turkey, and the other one, I never seen them. He is in Florida, and he is in garment importing business. (laughs) So they are opening a restaurant and bar over there, because that’s the area I think it’s very good for the, they call it TriBeCa, it’s very good for the yuppies, to stay, hanging around after work, and happy hours. So I think it will be helping the area to become more prosperous again.

Because right now, right after 9/11 was like a dead city, nobody wants to go there. Now, people start to, little by little, going back to the TriBeCa area again. I can see that, you know? And during the off hour, like from five to seven, a lot of people kind of stopping by a bar, having a drink, or have something to eat over there, very good, you know the environment is getting better and better. That’s why I think the Housing Department has to give the tenants not only mine, the people who want to do business over there, some kind of help, and not give them too much hard time.

Q: And where exactly is that building?

WING: I’m sorry?

Q: And where exactly is that building?

WING: The building is on 52 Walker, two blocks south of Canal. (coughs)

Q: Want some water?

WING: No, I’m fine. Probably because of the air.

Q: What do you think the government or non profits could have done better, to help the people in Chinatown and businesses in Chinatown after September 11?

WING: I don’t want to have any offense to anybody, but they could have done a lot better job than this. There’s a lot of money out there for, to help the people, for people that has been suffered from 9/11, but I don’t think the money has been allocated correctly. A lot of the money has been wasted, and a lot of the money has been sitting there, doing nothing. Because---I don’t know, whatever reason, either bureaucratic, or something, they just do not want to give it out. That’s why, by the end of the deadline, they want to rush the money out to whoever that is qualified, even though they are really not qualified.

Something like, in my situation, I think I should get at least something to compensate, or some kind of grants, or some kind of, you know, loans or something, to help me for this hard period of time, but I didn’t get anything. Or, I get something, but it’s not enough for me to maintain a month, so from my own opinion is they should really do something more personal, instead of just give them a very brief review and they giving out the money. I don’t think that’s correct. And I heard a lot of cases, a lot of instances that they have to get the money back from the people that they gave it to, which is something that they did not do in the right place to begin with.

Q: The first phase was giving out aid to people. Now there’s all this money coming into New York for reconstruction. If you had some of that money to use in Chinatown, what would you do?

WING: For the community?

Q: Yes.

WING: To improve the business, you have to do something like advertising and make to clean up the streets, to direct the traffic better, and have all the restaurants, all the business people to participate. A lot of campaigns: this month is for restaurant, this month is for banking, or this one is for finance, or you know, different business center has a special for a month, right? And I don’t think you have to spend a lot of money to do something like this, because those business people, if they participate, I think they will be very willing to give some money too. So between the government, and the business, and the community people, they can participate into the program with the help of the non-profit organization, I think they can do a good job. Each month have something different for the whole year, and then have some advertising, not only to attract the local people, but to attract tourists from out of state, even out of the country. It would help to boom up the---not only in this area, but the vicinity area as well, like Wall Street. Less and less people come into New York because of the tax, because of the instance of 9/11. You have to bring back the people to come to this area, to this city. Right after 9/11 the hotel rate was so low, now it’s slightly picking up again.

But before 9/11 the hotel rate was very good. I heard they were booking like over 90 percent in the whole city, so you see the difference. And between that 9/11, the two years, a lot of business went, out of business, a lot of restaurants or some other business, they are totally gone. Now, you give them a chance to come back again, you give them a chance to do business again. You need to help them. I think the city, the federal, the state, they should do something, not only to New York, Chinatown, but to the whole city.

Q: Do you think there are any organizations, or even any individuals in Chinatown who could organize or lead or advocate for something like that?

WING: It’s---I believe it’s not individual, or one organization or two organizations to do it. It’s a group effort. Everybody has to participate.

Q: I was asking you about who in Chinatown could possible lead or organize an effort to do some redevelopment or whatever, and you’re saying it has to be a group effort.

WING: Yes, but, I’ve got to add something with the two largest organization. Not non-profit, but they are the community organizations. One is called the CCBA (Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association), and the other one is the American Fujianese Association. These are the two biggest community associations in Chinatown. And they have a lot of influence to many people here. And I think they should do the lead of the functions that we just mentioned.

Q: Would you ever consider getting involved with something like that?

WING: If possible, yeah. I’d be involved, not a problem. I would do my best.

Q: I remember you talking in the first interview we did about how a lot of the people who were here when you first came were here to make money and get out and weren’t really involved in the community. You, who came at that time, have done all kinds of community work. What is it about you that makes you get involved in that way?

WING: A lot of people they don’t live in this community. They only work here. They only make money from the community, and then they leave. I’ve been living in the community for many, many years, and before I move, the reason I move is because I need my kids to live in a better environment. Just me and my wife, we didn’t care about that really. I live in Chinatown for more than fifteen years. And then, I believe that if you are making money from a community, not only here, whatever community that you’re living in, you should give back something to the community, in terms of money, in terms of work, in terms of charitable functions or anything, anything that you can possibly think of, I think you should do something, work something, pay back to the community, because what you are making, the money is from the community, so this is, as I said before, something like our education from Chinese way. You do something you’ve got to pay back something to, you know, whoever helped you.

Q: Why do you think Chinatown hasn’t gotten the same amount of money or attention as other neighborhoods that have been effected by September 11?

WING: They did not get as much money like the other neighborhood? I really don’t know, but I think probably there are too many chiefs, no Indians. Too many people applied for the same money, and nobody like of the leader of the community to do the same thing. So it’s not focused enough. Too many people doing the same thing. They just can’t give the money to---certain money to this association. They’ve got to give it to all of them. So that is why the money is like spread out.

Q: Can you talk a little bit more about some of the reasons why you aren’t so actively involved in politics now as you were in the past?

WING: At that time, I was in the business, and I thought, I hoped that politicians, politics and business, should go hand in hand in order to make your business better, in order to make your community better, in order to help the people in the community better. Yes. Sometimes they will help. But a lot of politicians they change every four years. Sometimes they can help you, but after four years, they can’t do anything, because they are not in the position anymore. So it makes me very frustrated sometimes.

Like I was the advisory council member of Speaker Vallone before, now Speaker Vallone is no longer with the city council. So whatever that we built up before is waste. So I think it’s like very difficult to have a good follow through thing to make the community better. So if you have to do something like this you have to have like a group of people, professionals to do it full time. It’s a full time job. It’s not something that we are doing it part time, can manage or can achieve for the community.

Q: Did you find that politicians, while they were in office, were responsive to the needs of Chinatown?

WING: It depends on the individuals. Some do, some don’t. Some politicians are good. Some politicians they are only looking for votes and money. Some politicians they really do the job. I would say it all depends on individuals.

Q: I wonder if you could think of any specific examples of challenges that you faced, or that you saw in getting involved in politics and getting your voice heard that way?

WING: Like what?

Q: Any specific instances where there was something that you, or an organization that you were working for were trying to achieve and weren’t able to.

WING: Yeah.

Q: What were some of the obstacles? What was hard about it?

WING: We had a hearing in City Council about the garment industry, about five years ago. I was involved. As a matter of fact, I was one of the speakers. Our executive director, me, and president at Brooklyn Apparel Association, a good friend of ours. We had a hearing at City Council, talking about the garment industry effecting the economy, and everything, to the community.

And we make this arrangement through a city councilman, Jerome O’Donovan. He was the councilman from Staten Island, and he used to be committee chair of economic development for the city council; that’s why we want him to do something for us, which, he is a very responsive person, that he respond to us, and he arrange a hearing for us. We appreciate that. And I don’t know whether it will help to other government officials to understand more of what we say, but at least we did something. This is one of the major things that we achieved.

Q: Can you think of any instances where you weren’t able to achieve what you were trying to do, or you weren’t able to get a response from politicians?

WING: This is not, one or two politicians can help. This is like, something that I think the decision by the top country people, like, maybe the congressman, or maybe the senators, that they make all these decisions. So whatever that we said, or whatever that we told them during the hearing, they just used it as a record. And, you know, the people that make the decision when they look at it, they may only not agree with what we have been saying to them, so I don’t know whether it helps or not, but at least we did something to get their attentions----that’s all we want to do, that’s all. I know it’s difficult to get their attention, but at least we did something right.

Q: And when was it that you did that?

WING: About five years ago, at City Council.

Q: What do you think the future of the garment industry in Chinatown holds?

WING: There is no future in this industry at all. What I mean is, because there is no comparison between the labor price in this country and the labor price in all the South American, Caribbean, Asian countries. We cannot compete with them. There will be less and less people working in the industry, domestically. There will be more and more people working for importers. So, I would say this is like a sunset industry. There will be still some people staying in the business. As I said before, the reason why they stay is because they need people to do domestically for some quick turn-around goods. So, maybe five percent of what we have right now.

Q: I know that the garment industry has been for a long time sort of the backbone of the Chinatown economy. What do you think will fill that void, what do you think will happen to Chinatown? How’s it going to change?

WING: Well, Chinese people are very flexible. They have the garment industry, they work for the garment industry. If the garment industry’s gone, they will do something else. I don’t see any problem. But the only thing is, they need some---in transition state, they need some help from the government, to, let’s say, as I said, like the other professions, they need some kind of a training in order to get the license or whatever to go to the other professions. I think, we will survive, but it will be better for them to survive if the government can give them a little bit of help.

Q: What other kinds of help do you think the government might be able to give, besides training?

WING: Create more jobs, you know. Let’s say, if there are some other industry that they need to help from the government, help them. For example, the tourist industry. This is one of the main sources of income for the whole community. So, give them a little bit of help. Give them a little promotion. I think, you know, if you have more tourists come to New York, we pay more tax to the government, so it’s like, it’s not a one-way street, it’s a two-way street. The government will make something, and the people will make something, so I think it’s a good idea.

Q: We were talking a little bit before about patriotism, and what it means to be patriotic, to you, and I’m curious, as an immigrant, during a time when immigration sort of had a bad name, or there were a lot of changes in immigration policy in the United States, making it harder for people to come here, did you feel that any of those public sentiments impacted on you, personally?

WING: Oh, yeah. Even though I’m a citizen, I think we are like a secondary citizen. We are not like the same level of a citizen as those people that originated in this country, or they were born in this country, because we are naturalized. At least, from what I think is our education, from Chinese education, telling us that if the country did something to you, you have to be, you know, good to the country. I’ve been getting an education from this country, and I think I’ve learned a lot and I got a lot from this country, I need to pay back to the country. That’s what I think patriotism is.

Q: Did you ever feel, sort of, less welcome after September 11, when people were feeling---I think America felt a little bit more closed right after that, to some people. Did you feel that at all?

WING: Yes. They are more---closer than before, and people are like more willing to help each other than before. Especially right after 9/11. The NYPD people, they are much, much nicer than before. I had a feeling, they don’t just give out summons and like that. They will let you go, sometimes. It’s like a thing, a feeling and environment that you never had here before. Never! At that time, it’s like people are very willing to help each other. People can do whatever people want. There is no boundaries between ethnic groups. At that time, it’s like one of the best times, in terms of human relationships.

Q: How about since then, has that changed at all?

WING: Changed back to the before 9/11 environment. Well, at least we know that all human beings can do something like what I said before. It’s not something that they were born to that.

Q: Have you ever thought about running for public office? For elected office?

WING: I don’t think I’m qualified for that. It’s good to give a lot of advices or a lot of my opinion to the elected officials. I don’t think I can be one of the officials to run the---you know, I’m not interested in that.

Q: Have you ever supported particular campaigns, or particular---?

WING: A few. We supported quite a few City Councilmen. We support (Governor George E.) Pataki when he, second term, when he ran for the governor, we support councilwoman Kathryn Freed our local councilwoman, when she ran for councilwoman, and when she ran for, what was the position, I forgot---public advocate. She lost. This time, she ran for one of the judges. I don’t know whether she won or not, but I vote for her. I believe she won. Another one is Jerome O’Donovan. We supported him financially, because we are not in the district, and we supported Mark Green, when he ran for mayor. What else? We supported (Rudolph W.) Giuliani, and we supported (David Norman) Dinkins.

Q: When you say, “we” who are you talking about?

WING: Our association.

Q: The Garment Manufacturers Association?

WING: Yes. Because I am not doing those jobs as an individual. We did it as a group of people.

Q: I remember you saying before that you had had some experience as part of the Garment Manufacturers Association in talking to politicians and deciding who to support and trying to let them know what your concerns were. Could you talk a little bit about those experiences now?

WING: Yes. When, I believe it was in 1986, was it ‘80? That’s the term that Dinkins running for the mayor position. There is another gentleman, he was the head of the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) before---I forgot his name. We supported him to run for the mayor. But he lost in the primary. The reason why we supported him is---ah, I remember his name: Dick Ratrich. Richard Ratrich. He ran for the position, our whole association supported him. He is a person that nobody know him at that time. But he was the head of the MTA before, commissioner of the MTA. We don’t know why we support him, because our president before, the former president, he said he is a guy that can help our community, he can help the voice of our community, if elected as a mayor, he will help us, that’s what he said.

At that time, I’m just like a new guy, in the political---I don’t know what I’m doing. But we supported him anyway. And, he lost but we had a very good experience, we know that if we want to support somebody, we have to be in a group, not as an individual. That’s the experience that we had. It was very successful, though, even though we lost.

Q: In what way was it successful?

WING: We had fundraising for him, and like over 800 people turn out. Which is very good. That means, we had our ability to arouse the attention of the community, which is one of the things that we learned at that fundraising. And from then on, we know better how to do a fundraising, and how to choose candidates to support.

Q: What do you think that the government could do right now to support the garment industry?

WING: It’s difficult. Because they already did something that cannot be changed. It’s like a one-way street. You cannot go back. For example, the government had the NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, they already have that, that hurt our industry. They have, what they call the 806-807 agreement, it’s between the Caribbean and this country. It’s cut in this country and make over there. So it’s also had a very bad impact to our industry.

So something like that they already did, and they already had this kind of agreement with a lot of countries. In return they have some other trade with them, for high-tech or for computers or whatever. But, I think if they want to help this industry, right now I think they have to at least give some percentage back to the people to do in this country. So that they can have better employment for a lot of people. This industry helps employ, when they are in peak time, over a million people in the city. Directly and indirectly related to the industry. Over a million people. Right now, maybe a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand? A lot less than before. Many big manufacturers, they went out of business. They were very, very, big before, but they are nobody now. It’s sad, but that’s the way history---it’s like a history. That’s the trend, of the history

Some industry goes down, some industry goes up, you know.

Q: I’m trying to think if there’s anything else we haven’t touched on. Is there anything that you would like to add?

WING: Just now you said how the government can help industry. We are not asking for a lot, we are asking for maybe five percent. If there is five percent, there will be enough for a lot of employment.

Q: A five percent increase in---?

WING: Not increase, maintain five percent of the, let’s say, a hundred percent for the import. A hundred percent, five percent. Bring it back to this country. Bring it back to New York. We will employ over a hundred thousand people. I’m serious.

Q: I remember one thing that you had said before that I wanted to bring up again, about the fact that so many people in Chinatown can’t vote, or don’t vote, and how that’s one of the challenges.

WING: There are a lot of people, as I said before, they work in Chinatown, but they don’t live here, so they don’t have rights to vote, maybe they have a right to vote in the place that they live. And a lot of people they registered to become a voter, but they don’t vote. I don’t know why. It’s probably because of the, the Chinese---historically we do not want to deal with the government. The Chinese people are very conservative. They do not want to deal with the government because they thought when you are alive, you don’t want to deal with the government. When you are dead, you don’t want to go to hell. Something like that, you know. So they don’t want to deal with the government. They thought if you deal with the government, something bad must be happen to you. Either you go to jail or you go to trial, something like that. That’s why they thought it’s a different country than China. This is a democratic country, and they never have time to adjust to this system yet. So that’s why you need a little education, and I think maybe in a few more years they will be more and more alert about this, and they already got a lot of information from some of the associations, some of the non-profit associations, too, like the CCBA, like the Fujianese Association, they give them a lot of education about why vote, something like that.

Q: Do you see the attitudes changing at all yet?

WING: Not much, but gradually, I would think so, because the second generation will have a different point of view than the first generation.

Q: One more question. I remember you said a little while ago that you thought the CCBA and the Fujianese Association were two organizations that might take the lead in organizing some development efforts in Chinatown. Do you think they could work together?

WING: Yes, why not?

Q: Do you see any challenges in their cooperating?

WING: Maybe there are some conflicts between them politically, because one is supporting Taiwan and one is supporting the mainland China. Their political ideas are different. But if you are working for the benefits of the community, I think they have the same goal. I don’t see any problem.

Q: Okay. Is there anything else you would like to add?

WING: Basically, you have covered everything.

Q: Well, thank you very much, for taking the time to come in and do this with us.

WING: Thank you. I don’t know if I’ve been any help to you.

Q: Oh, I think you’ve been a great deal of help. This will be very useful to a lot of people now and into the future.

WING: I hope so. I don’t know---

(end of interview)

Chinatown Interview: Interview (zh)

<p>
錄音帶002-1 A面</p>
<p>問﹕Ma先生﹐人們可能會在50年後看到或聽到我們今天的談話﹔請先簡單介紹一下您是誰以及您是哪裡人。</p>
<p>WING﹕好。</p>
<p>問﹕請先談一下您是什麼時候在什麼地方出生的﹐以及您的童年和家庭情況。</p>
<p>WING﹕我的名字是WING Ma。實際上﹐我的中文名字還有Guo Kua。我們習慣把姓放在前面---所以是Ma WING Guo﹐我的姓的意思是“馬”---“Ma”就是“馬”的意思﹐“WING”是“永遠”的意思﹐“Guo”是國家的意思。</p>
<p>我出生在中國一個非常貧窮的家庭。那時﹐我們﹐實際上是我的祖父母﹐是中國的農民。在我兩歲的時候﹐我們全家移居到了香港﹐所以﹐我實際上是在香港長大的。後來﹐在我十八歲的時候﹐我來美國讀大學。從此﹐我一直呆在美國---在我畢業之後﹐我一直生活工作在美國。</p>
<p>開始的時候﹐我是個工程師。後來﹐我開始自己做生意﹐我在這裡的唐人街開了家服裝製造公司﹐但四年前因為經濟不好被迫關閉﹐還有一個原因就是國內和國外的競爭---你知道﹐我們很難和他們競爭。所以﹐我不得不關閉﹐現在﹐我在為另外一家公司做事。</p>
<p>問﹕對不起﹐先打斷一下。您是否還記得您是怎樣從中國到香港的﹖
<br>
WING﹕噢﹐當時我才兩歲﹐我還有一點印象。在那個年代﹐國內很少有人能夠持有合法文件去香港。我們家辦了從大陸去香港的手續﹐但是當時香港政府不接受我們﹐理由是50年代末和60年代初有很多的大陸難民到香港﹐他們一時沒有辦法同時接收這麼多人﹐所以﹐我們全家只好申請難民身份才能進入香港。我就記得這麼多。</p>
<p>問﹕您的父母有沒有跟您講過他們當時為什麼決定要離開大陸﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕實際上﹐這多半是我母親的決定。我父親在我們去之前已經去過香港﹐然後他又去了菲律賓﹐他在那裡作廚師。我父親在中國以前也做過廚師﹐非常有經驗。所以﹐在六十年代初﹐菲律賓那邊有人把他請過去了。所以﹐我父親先到的香港﹐兩年之後﹐我母親﹐我的兩個姐姐和我一起到了香港。</p>
<p>問﹕您在香港生活得怎麼樣﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕香港是個好地方﹐我是在那裡長大的。我喜歡香港﹐但現在的問題是﹐我更加喜歡紐約。現在﹐我喜歡紐約多過我喜歡香港。香港是個旅遊觀光的好地方﹐但對於我個人來講不太適合居住。我更加喜歡紐約。</p>
<p>問﹕你當時住在什麼地方﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕在香港﹖香港也有房子﹐但沒有美國這麼多。因為那裡地方小﹐我們都住在大樓的單元裡。</p>
<p>問﹕地方大不大﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕很小。你如果住一間300平方尺的房間已經是非常幸運了。
<br>
問﹕您的意思是說您在香港有地方住就很幸運了。</p>
<p>WING﹕我母親是個很要強的女人。她差不多是一家之主﹐所有的事情都是她一個人做主﹐而且都是正確的決定﹐經過驗證都是正確的決定。(笑)</p>
<p>問﹕你們在香港住的時候﹐她有沒有做工﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕她有。因為當時她要照顧我的兩個妹妹和我﹐所以她沒有在外面做工﹐只是在家做一些能帶回家做的活。</p>
<p>問﹕她在家做些什麼樣的活﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕針線活。</p>
<p>問﹕您在香港上的是什麼樣的學校﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我在香港上的是天主教會的學校﹐從小學一直到中學﹐是英國式的教學系統﹐不像我們這邊的一年級﹐二年級﹐三年級。那邊小學有六年﹐中學有五年﹐高中有兩年﹐然後是三年的大學。其實是一樣的﹐因為那邊大學要念三年﹐但是必須先念兩年高中﹐相當于十二﹐十三年級。</p>
<p>所以﹐讀完初中﹐又上了一年的高中之後﹐我便來到美國上大學。</p>
<p>問﹕您喜歡上學嗎﹖
<br>
WING﹕非常喜歡。我是個成勣優秀的學生。我的GPA有3.5﹐而且我還有工科碩士學位。我讀碩士時候的GPA是3.8。</p>
<p>問﹕您是天主教徒嗎﹖<br>
WING﹕很幸運﹐或者是很不幸運﹐我不是。我本人沒有任何宗教信仰。我尊重所有的宗教信仰﹐但是我從來不信。我尊重宗教信仰是因為信仰是好的事情。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼﹐您在香港長大時有什麼娛樂嗎﹖您在那兒的生活怎麼樣﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕你是問我在香港的時候﹖</p>
<p>問﹕是的。</p>
<p>WING﹕當時沒有像現在這麼多的消遣。我們沒有電子游戲﹐電視。如果在那時家裡有電視都算是很奢侈﹐很富裕了。當時﹐很少有人家裡有電視。所以﹐我們只是和同學在一起﹐有時是在一起做遊戲。當時在天主教會學校﹐我的很多同學都是從其他國家來的。所以﹐我們跟他們學英文﹐他們跟我們學中文﹐還算很開心。我喜歡那種知識的相互交流﹐是很有益的。</p>
<p>問﹕您在十幾歲時﹐您的社交活動如何﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕非常簡單。因為我家裡管得很嚴﹐我們不能自己出去在街上閑逛。所以﹐我大多待在家裡。即使出去﹐也要得到父母的同意。所以﹐生活還是比較單調的。我們通常都是出去看電影﹐打籃球﹐或是其他的體育運動。比較簡單﹐但也很有樂趣。</p>
<p>問﹕你們看什麼電影﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有西片﹐也有中國電影。那時﹐在香港可以看到很多美國電影。
<br>
所以﹐在香港看了很多好電影後又在這裡的電視上看到﹐覺得還是蠻有意思的。</p>
<p>問﹕您當時是怎樣決定來美國上大學的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕因為我當時中學畢業時香港只有兩所大學﹐而且你知道每年有多少學生中學畢業嗎﹖十萬多﹐而兩所大學也不過招收兩千左右的學生。這兩千多學生不光是香港本地的﹐還包括外國留學生。所以﹐差不多是十萬多個學生競爭一千個位置﹐比例還不到百分之一。所以﹐我根本就沒有希望﹐這就是為什麼我來美國讀大學的原因。</p>
<p>問﹕我記得您剛才提過您父親在菲律賓做廚師。你們在香港住的時候﹐他有沒有過來跟你們一起住﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有。我父親在那邊干了差不多有十個月﹐然後休假來到香港呆了兩個月﹐以後每年都是如此。</p>
<p>問﹕我記得您在上次採訪時講過您八歲的時候才第一次見過他。</p>
<p>WING﹕是的。因為在我幾個月大的時候﹐我父親離開大陸去了香港﹐後來又去了菲律賓。當我們到香港的時候﹐他在菲律賓﹐所以我直到八歲才見到他。他第一次從菲律賓回到香港差不多是1964或65年﹐當時我只有八歲﹐也許還不到八歲。那是我第一次見到我父親。</p>
<p>問﹕您見到他時的情景是什麼樣的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕非常激動。當時是在香港機場﹐現在我聽說他們有一個更大的機場﹐當時就好像是在做夢。那時﹐對於中國家庭來講﹐家裡父母﹐尤其是父親﹐在國外做工是很普遍的。當時在大陸謀生是很艱難的﹐
<br>
所以通常是父親在國外﹐比如香港或是其他東南亞國家打工﹐我們留在大陸﹐那時東南亞國家的經濟狀況比中國好。所以﹐他們在國外工作﹐然後把錢寄回中國。這在當時是非常非常普遍的。但後來我們到了香港能夠彼此見面﹐所以關係也更加親密了。我們算是很幸運的﹐但是很多人都不是﹐他們不像我們﹐他們可能很多年都不能見到他們的父親。這是很有可能的。</p>
<p>問﹕當時您和您的父親第一次見面後﹐他又要回菲律賓﹐您的感覺如何﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕你指的是我父親﹖當時我知道他十個月或十二個月後還能回來﹐所以還算是有指望﹐比起跟他相隔八年後第一次見面還算好多了。</p>
<p>問﹕當您準備來美國上學之前﹐您對您在這邊的生活有什麼期望﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我知道這邊的生活不會太容易﹐而且我對此也有準備。我知道去一個新的環境﹐一個新的地方﹐一切要重新開始--這不會太輕鬆﹐但是我還算應付得可以。另外一方面﹐我的家教比較嚴﹐我父母不允許我做這個那個。儘管我家不是天主教家庭﹐一些中國式的教育方式從某些角度來看還是很好的。我並不是說他們是百分之百的正確﹐但至少我受了那些思想的影響。現在我又用同樣的方式來管教我的下一代。我不知道他們是否接受我的方式﹐但這些都是我從父母那裡學到的。</p>
<p>問﹕您現在有什麼地方跟您父母做的不同嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有﹐因為現在的孩子跟以前不一樣﹐時代也不一樣了﹐跟我們以前有很大的不同。他們比我們有更多的自由﹐比如有些事情我們父母能夠講﹐但我們不能講。現在的孩子就沒有這些限制﹐他們可以對我們說不。不過﹐我的頭腦也很開放﹐我不像我的父母那麼嚴厲﹐但我還是想讓他們知道很多中國式的教育方式和管教孩子的方法比西方好。但是﹐我並不是說這麼多代人傳下來的方式方法是百分之百的正確﹐或被驗證是正確的。
<br>
我想他們只是接受了一部分﹐另外一些他們會覺得很可笑﹐我想他們是這樣想的。(笑)</p>
<p>問﹕您能給我們舉一些中國式管教孩子方法的例子嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我們有體罰﹐我知道這在美國是不允許的。我們打孩子﹐我們經常用尺子等打他們屁股。但是﹐我們總是儘量不這麼做﹐因為我們也知道這樣做不好﹐我本人也是這麼認為﹐但至少我們必須要讓他們知道以前有這種管教孩子的懲罰方式。但他們覺得這是很可笑的﹐而且在美國我們是不能這樣做的。所以﹐我只是想說有時有必要用類似的方式讓孩子們懂得些規章制度。</p>
<p>問﹕有沒有什麼其他的方式﹖您能再舉些其他的例子嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我們教育他們要尊重長輩﹐父母﹐祖父母﹐不光是家裡人﹐還包括外人。我個人認為美國的教育方式裡沒有這些道德方面的內容﹐跟我們從前不一樣。他們只是教授一些書本上的知識﹐比如計算機﹐數學等﹐僅此而已。他們不教授怎樣在社會上生存﹐怎樣和別人相處﹐打交道等。我認為他們在這些方面沒有我們受的教育多。</p>
<p>問﹕我想問一下﹐您在中學畢業之後決定來這邊讀書的時候﹐有沒有考慮過其他的選擇﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕沒有。我當時有很強烈的願望要來美國讀書﹐只有這麼一條路---單行路。我從來沒有考慮過其他的選擇﹐因為我喜歡受教育﹐而且我想來美國。在我考慮的所有國家中﹐包括澳大利亞﹐新西蘭﹐英國﹐加拿大﹐我選擇了美國﹐我更喜歡美國。</p>
<p>問﹕為什麼﹖
</p>
<p>WING﹕我也不知道。我當時總有一種感覺認為美國的教育比其他的國家好﹐我從報紙上看到很多諾貝爾獎獲得者都是美國人﹐所以我受到報紙上那些文章的影響比較大。</p>
<p>問﹕您還記不記得其他什麼事情使您覺得美國的生活會更適合您﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有﹐我剛提到我家裡的管教很嚴﹐我當時有十幾歲﹐我需要自由﹐我嚮往自由。我想嘗試一下美國的自由﹐現在我在這邊生活了很多年﹐我知道自由是個好事情﹐但你必須正確運用﹐不能夠濫用﹐但那是另外一個話題。我當時只是想離開家裡人﹐想獲得自由。</p>
<p>問﹕您來這裡時有沒有濫用自由呢﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕沒有﹐絕對沒有。我是個非常自斂的人。話一出口﹐我一定會做到。如果我答應別人什麼事情﹐我也一定會照做﹐這也許是我的家庭教育。</p>
<p>問﹕您能否談一下您初次來這裡時的第一印象嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕第一印象﹖</p>
<p>問﹕您來這裡的第一天。</p>
<p>WING﹕噢﹐來這裡的第一天。當時我住在唐人街﹐這裡同我在電視和報紙上看到的美國不一樣﹐以前覺得美國有很多高樓大廈﹐是個非常先進的國家。所以不懂得為什麼這裡的樓房這麼舊﹐在香港都很少見到這麼舊的樓房。我們那裡的生活條件比這裡很多的樓房和房間都好﹐這同我在報紙和電視上看到的截然不同﹐所以我初次來這裡時的印象不是非常好。
<br>
但後來我才得知這是因為城市規劃的需要﹐政府對很多的事情都有所限制﹐所以才會有今天的這個樣子。但這在香港卻不同﹐二十年以上的樓房都要被推倒﹐再在原有的地方建高樓﹐以容納更多的人居住﹐所以很多香港的樓房都比這裡的新。</p>
<p>問﹕您剛到這裡的時候有沒有什麼認識人﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕當時我姐姐在這裡。我來之後和我姐姐住了幾個月﹐然後就搬到新澤西州了﹐因為我在那裡上學。</p>
<p>問﹕那您姐姐和她的家人朋友有沒有給您任何在這邊謀生的建議﹖您還記不記得您初次來這裡時別人是怎樣談唐人街或美國生活的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我第一次來美國時是1976年﹐當時這裡沒有像現在這麼多中國人﹐現在差不多是76年的十倍﹐所以當時沒有現在這麼熱鬧﹐人也比現在少﹐跟現在大不一樣。我是說﹐不像香港﹐現在跟香港百分之九十差不多。以前只是唐人街﹐的確就是“唐人的街”。當時我看到的很多事情跟香港比起來是很滑稽的。現在很多人還是老樣子﹐這和我在香港見識的不一樣﹐所以覺得很可笑。</p>
<p>問﹕比如﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕這裡的碗很厚。我們吃米飯的碗都是很漂亮的﹐但這裡的碗很厚﹐非常美國化。很多日常用品都跟我們在香港用的不一樣。</p>
<p>問﹕您的學校生活怎麼樣﹖
</p>
<p>WING﹕比較辛苦。我一邊打工一邊讀書﹐所以比較辛苦。但就像我剛才所講﹐我對自己要求比較嚴格﹐所以我花了三年半就完成了學業。一點問題都沒有。</p>
<p>問﹕您父母對您來美國有什麼看法﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕當我告訴他們我要來美國时﹐他們同意了﹐他們同意我來美國。</p>
<p>問﹕您來這裡之後有沒有和他們保持聯繫﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有。</p>
<p>問﹕您和他們怎麼聯繫﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我寫信給他們。當時﹐電話沒有像現在這麼普及﹐打國際長途是很貴的﹐差不多是每分鐘三美元﹐很貴的。所以﹐我只在春節的時候才給我父母打電話﹐每年打一次﹐因為電話太貴了。我通常是寫信。</p>
<p>問﹕您為什麼選學工科﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我是學理工科的。在香港﹐當你讀到三﹐四年級﹐相當于這裡十年級的時候﹐你必須選擇是學文還是學理。我選了理科﹐就這樣我就學了工科。</p>
<p>問﹕您喜歡您的專業嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕噢﹐非常喜歡。我喜歡工科﹐我喜歡上工科課。我曾做過機械工程師﹐在我開自己的公司之前﹐我做了五年的機械工程師。</p>
<p>問﹕看來您上學的時候還是很忙的。如果有業余時間﹐您都做些什麼﹖
</p>
<p>WING﹕我沒有太多的業余時間。在空閑的時候﹐我也是在學習﹐工作﹐我非常喜歡我的校園生活。儘管辛苦﹐但我覺得還是蠻有收穫的﹐因為我有了學位﹐又找著了工作﹐還算比較順利。</p>
<p>問﹕您在這邊的生活﹐有沒有什麼使您吃驚或是意想不到的事情嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕比如﹖</p>
<p>問﹕任何事情﹐比如美國人或學校﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我在學校沒有什麼覺得不適應的。實際上﹐大學的前兩年對於我來講並不困難﹐因為有很多課程我都在香港學過。第三年我們開始上專業課﹐那是我最辛苦的一年﹐三年級的時候我最辛苦。四年級就好很多﹐因為很多專業課只是把以前學過的知識應用在實驗室裡。所以大三最辛苦﹐很多課程都是我以前沒有接觸過的﹐機械工程的課程﹐那年我花了很多時間學習。</p>
<p>除此之外﹐沒有什麼特別的﹐沒有什麼覺得吃驚的。但關於我的公司﹐使我吃驚的是政府不支持這個產業。我認為他們背叛了這個產業﹐因為他們利用我們的產業來換取其他國家的其他產業或產品﹐好像他們向其他國家輸出高科技然後再進口服裝﹐這有利也有弊。</p>
<p>問﹕您已經結婚了﹐是不是﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是的。</p>
<p>問﹕您和您的太太是怎麼認識的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我和我太太是在香港認識的﹐她是我姐夫的外甥女。所以﹐我們在香港就認識。
<br>
當她來美國的時候﹐我們又見面了﹐後來就結了婚。</p>
<p>問﹕您在她來之前有沒有和她一直保持聯繫﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕很少聯繫﹐因為我很忙﹐沒有時間。我只給她寫過三封信﹐僅此而已。</p>
<p>問﹕她來這裡時有沒有想到要和您結婚﹐或您有沒有...</p>
<p>WING﹕沒有。她只是剛好到這裡﹐然後我們見了面﹐我們當時沒有想到要結婚。</p>
<p>問﹕她的哪些方面讓你決定跟她結婚﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我太太是個非常堅強的女性。她很漂亮﹐人好﹐勤懇。當我們開公司時﹐我們一起干﹐她差不多是掌內﹐所以我才有時間管理一些對外的事務。</p>
<p>問﹕您在做工程師的時候主要做些什麼﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕工程設計﹐我在三家公司做過。第一家公司叫作CE-Lummus﹐在Bloomfiled 新澤西州。他們建造很多石油化工設備﹐我是在那個公司的機械工程部工作。我工作的第二家公司是搞機器設計的﹐設計焊接機器。我工作的第三家公司是生產過濾器的﹐他們製造很多的過濾器﹐是美國最大的過濾器廠家之一﹐叫作Pall Corporation﹐在長島。</p>
<p>問﹕您為什麼總是在換工作﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕在那時﹐你不換工作就漲不了薪水。你必須找一個薪水高的工作﹐如果你不換的話﹐薪水是不會提高的。公司每年提高的薪水沒有你換工作後的薪水多。只有你換了工作﹐薪水才會漲。<br>

<br>
問﹕那您是在做了五年的工程師後才開始您自己的生意的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是的。</p>
<p>問﹕是什麼促使您做這個決定的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我在第三家公司做的時候﹐我被公司裁員裁掉了。我當時畢業時工程師還是比較搶手的。後來就不行了﹐很多工程公司都在裁員﹐我也是這樣被裁掉的。我當時被裁掉後大約失業有九個月。在那段時間﹐我開一輛黑色的出租車﹐當時他們叫轎車。我開出租車謀生﹐那是在我開公司之前。</p>
<p>問﹕您是怎樣---您能不能講一下那是一個什麼樣的公司嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是個服裝製造廠。我在唐人街開了一間工廠﹐剛開始時僱了有五﹐六十個工人。在我關閉公司之前﹐我僱了有一百多個工人。</p>
<p>問﹕您開公司的本錢是哪裡來的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我姐夫幫了我。他當時是做服裝生意的﹐他是1977年開始自己生意的。在我失業的時候﹐他說如果我想搞服裝他會幫我的。所以﹐他借給我錢開公司。</p>
<p>問﹕您當時做服裝生意的時候﹐市場怎麼樣﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕當時還比較容易。我說的比較容易是指當時還沒有太多國外的競爭﹐只是國內的市場。其實也不能說是全部﹐差不多有百分之九十五是國內﹐只有一小部份是從國外進口的。相比之下﹐現在百分之九十九都是進口﹐只有百分之一是國內生產的。也許我有些誇張﹐但大致是這種狀況--非常接近。<br>

<br>
問﹕你們主要是生產什麼的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我們生產女裝﹐運動裝﹐裙子﹐褲子。我們把產品賣給Sears﹐JC Penny﹐Wal-Mart﹐Kmart﹐很多大的連鎖店。現在這些大的連鎖店都從國外進口服裝。所以﹐我們國內失去了很多生意。</p>
<p>問﹕找工人是不是很困難﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕開始的時候是。我剛剛開始的時候﹐大概是85年﹐工人很難找﹐因為新移民不多。在90年代﹐從90年代開始﹐有很多從中國﹐香港和很多東南亞來的新移民﹐然後工人才比較好找。我說工人比較好找不是指好的工人容易找﹐好的工人現在還是比較難找。還好﹐當我公司關閉的時候﹐大約有百分之八十的工人還想跟我干﹐很多人給我干了十多年。他們對我非常好﹐我相信我對他們也不錯。(笑)我們的關係還是很好的﹐否則﹐他們不會跟我這麼多年的。</p>
<p>問﹕您能跟我講一下那些給您打工的人嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕大多是女工﹐因為做的是針線活。</p>
<p>WING﹕有一些男工是做體力活的﹐這就是我太太掌內的原因。女人和女人之間溝通還是比較容易的﹐是不是﹖所以我是負責在外面拉生意。</p>
<p>問﹕您的工人有沒有成立工會﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有。我們實際上是個工會組織﹐所有的工人都是工會成員。我們隸屬于﹐當時是叫ILGWU---International Ladies Garment Workers Union。現在叫UNITE﹐Local 23-25。<br>

<br>
問﹕您辦廠期間有沒有什麼麻煩﹐勞工方面的麻煩﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕內部沒有﹐但是外部有。倒不是因為我的工人﹐是一些外部的問題﹐比如工會的問題。一些外來的影響﹐倒不是我們自己的問題﹐我們從來沒有什麼問題。大多時候我有足夠的活給我的工人做﹐我給的工資高﹐也準時付﹐所以都沒有什麼問題﹐這也就是為什麼他們跟我這麼多年的原因。其他很多衣廠﹐倒不是因為他們做的不好﹐只是他們有時不能夠完善一些手續和落實一些事情﹐所以很多工人因此不是十分滿意。所以我說﹐百分之九十九在於公司的管理。如果公司管理沒有問題﹐一切都不會有太大的問題﹐這跟是不是有工會沒有太大的關係。</p>
<p>問﹕您覺得有哪些因素促使您百分之八十的工人都會留下來給您做事﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕穩定。我總是有固定的任務交給他們做﹐而且我給他們發的工資也很穩定。我不是這個星期發一個數﹐下個星期發一個數﹐一切都是很穩定的。所以﹐如果有一個好的制度的話﹐大家都會遵守的。這是我的看法。</p>
<p>問﹕您發的工資的標準大致是怎麼樣的﹖您還記不記得﹐在八十年代剛開廠的時候﹐您的工人的工資是多少﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕讓我想一下。八五年那陣兒應該是差不多三美金﹐我記不得準確的數字。後來是四塊多﹐現在是六塊九或七塊錢左右。我說的也不一定準確﹐我的工廠已經關閉有四年了。現在差不多是一小時七美金。這些都是工會定的標準﹐聯邦的標準是一小時5.15美金﹐紐約州的標準是4.75美金。</p>
<p>問﹕那就是說﹐您不是按件計的﹐而是按小時計的工錢﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我們是按件計﹐然後再將件數換算成小時﹐所以他們的工資會高一些。</p>
<p>問﹕您為什麼最後要關閉公司呢﹖<br>

<br>
WING﹕我競爭不過那些進口商。讓我舉個例子﹐我如果要在這邊做一條這樣的褲子的話﹐單是人工就要差不多5美金。如果你從中國﹐斯裡蘭卡﹐印度﹐或其他東南亞國家進口一條褲子﹐5美金會包括所有的成本﹐包括材料的費用。這樣我就很難和他們競爭了。我們這邊單單是支付工人的工資就要5美金﹐所以我跟他們競爭不了。現在還有一小部份廠家還能夠勉強經營是因為我們這邊有一個所謂的“迅速反應”的系統。我們可以做一些國外廠家做不到的事情﹐時間。我們可以在較短的時間內完成購買商需要的產品﹐但這是外國廠家做不到的。比如﹐我們可以在兩三個星期﹐以至于一個星期內完成任務。你如果找國外的廠商﹐差不多需要三個月。所以﹐這是我們唯一的優勢。這也就是為什麼現在還有一些國內廠家的原因。</p>
<p>問﹕您曾是服裝製造商協會的主席(the Garment Manufacturers Association)﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是的。</p>
<p>問﹕曾經當過兩次﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是兩次。</p>
<p>問﹕您能談一下嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕那是個廠商的協會﹐會員其實都是工廠的老闆。我們每年舉行一次年會﹐像是每年一次的會餐或宴會﹐以便相互交換一下信息。而且我們每個月還要開會﹐我遲些時候也要去開會。他們還讓我做委員會的成員﹐因為他們需要我繼續為協會出些力﹐我也因此感激他們。</p>
<p>我們每年還要舉行一次募捐﹐其實也不是募捐﹐只是需要籌集一些資金以便維持協會的一些正常開支。我們並沒有打算因此賺錢﹐但每年大家參與的情況還是蠻不錯的。儘管現在的經濟不好﹐我們還是在維持這個協會﹐因為這是我們當地唯一一個服裝業的團體。從前也有過一些﹐但後來也就沒有了。我們的協會從成立時到現在已經有45年了。<br>

<br>
問﹕您作為主席主要負責些什麼事情﹖您的職責有哪些﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我們每三年同工會商討一次合同。我們儘量為我們的會員爭取一些利益﹐同時也會顧及工人的利益。這聽起來好像很矛盾﹐但其實不然。因為我們每天都要面對我們的員工﹐儘管他們是工會成員﹐我們希望他們能夠從工會那裡獲得最大的利益。除了我做主席之外﹐我們還有很多委員會成員﹐然後我們組成一個談判小組﹐負責每三年與工會商討一次合同。還有﹐我們負責與其他一些協會或其他州聯絡﹐以便把一些資訊帶到紐約。我們差不多就做這些。</p>
<p>問﹕您一般是怎麼做的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有大部分是跟服裝業務發展公司合作﹐他們在Centre Street都有辦事處。我們與他們的聯繫比較密切﹐雖然我們與工會有合同﹐我們也與他們密切合作﹐儘量攔一些外州的業務﹐或是國外的業務。儘管這有一些幫助﹐但是幫助不大﹐因為關鍵還是要看價格---我們還是競爭不過國外的廠商。但至少他們有時還會向我們訂貨﹐如果他們需要趕時間的話﹐他們都會找我們的﹐不會把生意送到別處去。</p>
<p>問﹕您在做服裝製造商協會(the Garment Manufacturers Association)主席時和工會主要談判些什麼事項﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕主要是工人福利方面的問題---最重要的是醫療保險問題﹐因為每個工會成員﹐即衣工的職工﹐都需要醫療保險。而且這些費用是越來越高﹐很多工人都支付不起。現在﹐很多工人都要支付一部分費用﹐這對他們來講是很大的負擔。所以﹐在我做協會主席的時候﹐我想說服工會不讓工人支付這筆費用﹐但是沒有什麼效果。現在他們想讓衣工出這筆錢﹐這對廠商也不公平﹐因為這是一項很大的開支﹐一個工人每月差不多是兩百多塊錢﹐實在是太貴了。<br>

<br>
問﹕您的衣工具體在什麼位置﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕離這兒不遠﹐在Mott Street。現在那棟樓已經改建成醫院了﹐不是全部﹐只有一半被改建了。那棟樓其實是兩棟樓﹐但他們在很多年前把牆打通了﹐所以就成了一棟很大的樓﹐每層都有一萬多平方英呎。我當時是在三樓。現在他們把一半的空間改建成辦公樓﹐另外一半還是服裝製造廠房。我想他們沒有再簽長期合同把地方租出去﹐只是每個月現出租的。</p>
<p>問﹕當您關閉衣廠時﹐廠裡的那些工人怎麼樣﹖他們的反應如何﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕一些工人哭了。他們沒有想到我會關閉衣廠﹐因為他們都是有非常穩定的活做。這麼多年來﹐他們的收入也是很穩定的。他們沒有想到要到其他地方工作。所以﹐這對很多工人來講也是一段艱難的時期。</p>
<p>問﹕您知不知道他們後來找到什麼樣的工作了嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕後來﹐他們有些去其他衣廠做了﹐有些改了行﹐做了類似于醫務助理的工作等。我也不知道準確的稱呼是什麼﹐他們必須接受CPC(中美規劃處Chinese-American Planning Council)或人力部門(Manpower)的培訓才能合格上崗。</p>
<p>問﹕護士﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕差不多吧﹐家庭護理什麼的﹐幫助照顧老人。</p>
<p>問﹕您有沒有再和他們見面﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有。甚至現在我和很多以前的工人都有在街上碰到﹐而且他們都還想讓我重新開廠﹐但我跟他們講我不會了。倒不是因為我自己的原因﹐而是整個兒的經濟環境﹐因為競爭﹐我們很難和國外競爭。所以﹐我不會再開廠的。<br>

<br>
問﹕您為什麼覺得應該在那個時候關閉衣廠呢﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕在關閉衣廠的時候﹐我其實還有盈利。我還沒有虧本﹐但是我覺得我如果想繼續做下去的話﹐我必須作些財務預期規劃﹐發現可能我再做六個月就要虧本了。所以﹐我知道如果再這樣繼續下去﹐再過六個月我會損失很多錢的。所以﹐我寧可當時關閉﹐也不想再拖六個月。我覺得我還是做了個明智的決定。現在﹐很多人﹐很多衣廠的老闆都在抱怨﹐倒不是因為他們沒有訂單。有的時候﹐他們有活做﹐但找不到工人﹔有的時候﹐有工人﹐但沒有活做。這是很難調整的。</p>
<p>問﹕您當時關閉衣廠後都有什麼選擇﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我想做別的生意﹐但我關閉衣廠的時候是1999年﹐當時的經濟是在走下坡路。當時﹐整體的經濟形勢都不好﹐我也沒有決定要做些什麼﹐所以我在家呆了兩年多﹐什麼也沒有做。我只是在考慮下一步要怎樣﹐哪一行比較適合我。所以﹐大概是一年半﹐兩年前﹐我又開始工作了﹐但沒有自己開廠。我現在在給別人打工﹐是酒業。</p>
<p>問﹕您是做什麼的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我是做分銷商的銷售代理﹐但現在我在為一個供應商做事。</p>
<p>問﹕您為什麼選擇這份工作﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我喜歡酒﹐尤其是法國白蘭地酒。因此﹐我認識很多的業中人士。他們就給我介紹了一些職位。我覺得這個行業還是很有意思的。</p>
<p>問﹕您同社區在很多方面都有緊密的聯繫﹐您剛剛提到過在服裝製造商協會(the Garment Manufacturing Association)擔任職務。您能否談一下您做過的其他的事情嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕當Peter Vallone議長還是紐約市議員的時候﹐我是他亞美顧問理事會(the Asian American Advisory Council)的成員。我的職責是將社區的一些情況反映到市議會﹐
<br>
告訴他們我們希望市議會做些什麼﹐我們需要些什麼﹐以及我們需要市裡做些什麼。這是我在任協會主席期間擔任的眾多職務之一。我湊巧知道美中華人博物館(the Museum of Chinese in the Americas)﹐我認為這個博物館比較有教育意義﹐有助于我們的下一代了解中國的文化﹐所以﹐我也在支持這個博物館。</p>
<p>問﹕您在Peter Vallone的Asian American Advisory Committee任職的時候﹐主要處理些什麼事務﹖您都向他反映了什麼情況﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我記得當時我們要向市里反映些街道清潔的問題和停車計時器的問題﹐因為唐人街的很多地方都不能停車﹐於是很多人和遊客不願意來唐人街。所以﹐我們要求政府多提供些停車場地﹐多安排人手指揮交通﹐以便吸引更多的人來這裡﹐來支持唐人街的餐飲業和其他產業的發展。大概就是如此﹐大部份都是有關社區的議題。</p>
<p>問﹕那您的努力是不是很有效果﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕基本上是﹐還不錯。比如﹐1995年之前﹐人們可以在Canal Street停車﹐以至于造成交通堵塞。現在基本上已經沒有了﹐現在Canal Street不准停車﹐即使在七點之後。這樣就對了﹐因為這樣很多交通流量可以暢通無阻﹐也避免了污染整個兒社區的環境。</p>
<p>問﹕您也是社區委員會(Community Board)的成員﹐是不是﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我記得那是在1993年﹐我在第三社區委員會(Community Board)做了差不多兩年。</p>
<p>問﹕您那段經歷怎麼樣﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕一些小商販給我們帶來一些麻煩﹐那些在街上賣紀念品的小商販。我們想把他們組織起來﹐安排在Roosevel Park﹐
<br>
應該是Roosevel Park。但是﹐不是非常有效﹐因為他們只在那裡呆了幾個月﹐後來就又重新找地方了。我覺得做這個職務需要很多關係﹐所以就退出了。我跟他們講過要怎樣做﹐我希望他們能夠按照我的方式去做﹐但我後來發現這並不是那麼簡單。不是說我們說了後他們就會照辦﹐這不是我能夠控制的﹐所以我就辭職了﹐沒有再繼續做委員。</p>
<p>問﹕2001年9月11日那天您在哪裡﹖您是怎樣知道發生的一切的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我在家裡。那天早晨﹐我正準備開車去上班。在我臨走之前﹐我姐姐打電話給我。她說﹕“有架飛機撞到世貿中心(World Trade Center)了。”我說﹕“什麼﹖”然後我打開了電視﹐我看到姐妹塔中的被撞的一座已經開始冒煙了。在我打開電視的幾分鐘之後﹐另外一架飛機也撞了上去。當時就好像在看電影﹐只不過這是真的。這對我的打擊很大﹐因為World Trade Center是我們城市的標誌。我像個紐約人﹐我喜歡紐約。所以﹐這簡直是難以置信﹐我都差不多哭了﹐實在是難以接受。在那之後﹐我在家裡呆了兩天看電視﹐沒有上班。就好像人不知道在做些什麼﹐非常非常沮喪。</p>
<p>問﹕您在看到這些事情發生的時候﹐您有沒有想到唐人街的什麼﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我做的第一件事是打電話給很多唐人街的朋友﹐告訴他們儘快離開﹐因為我的很多朋友都在唐人街做事﹐很多朋友都在唐人街有生意。我叫他們不要待在那裡﹐趕快回家。我知道一旦這樣的事情發生了﹐肯定是出了什麼問題。還好﹐開始的時候電話還能夠打通。過了一會兒﹐電話就打不通了﹐只能用手機。後來﹐連手機也打不通了。所以﹐當時對于我來講就好像是世紀末日。非常無奈﹐也非常非常沮喪。很多朋友不能按時回家﹐他們只能在曼哈頓呆到第二天才能回家。唐人街也全部癱瘓了。不光是唐人街﹐整個曼哈頓﹐全紐約﹐乃至全國在那兩天都是無所適從。</p>
<p>問﹕您有了孩子﹐是不是﹖<br>

<br>
WING﹕我有兩個孩子。</p>
<p>問﹕兩個孩子。您是怎樣向他們解釋發生的事情的﹖他們是怎麼知道的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕他們是在學校知道的。我想學校那裡有電視﹐老師也跟他們講了。</p>
<p>問﹕他們有什麼反應﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我也不知道他們怎麼想﹐但是我知道他們是很愛國的。</p>
<p>問﹕您指的愛國是什麼意思﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕熱愛這個國家﹖我的意思是說﹐我的兒子非常美國化﹐美國是他的一切。這對他們來講也是一個很大的打擊﹐因為他們也曾經看到過World Trade Center﹐也去過那裡﹐現在卻已不復存在了。所以我的孩子對此也是非常傷心的。</p>
<p>問﹕您是不是也愛國﹖</p>
<p>(磁帶中斷)</p>
<p>問﹕您提到您的孩子是很愛國的﹐或者說是個愛國者。那麼您呢﹖您愛國嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我認為我是愛國的。當我剛到這個國家的時候﹐所有事情對於我來講都是新鮮的﹐但時間久了﹐我在這裡也住了這麼多年﹐我自己感覺都已經融入這個國家了。我現在入了美國籍﹐所以我認為我是愛國的。但是﹐我不知道這個國家是否也是如此看待我的﹐我想應該不是。無論如何﹐我不知道。但是﹐就我本人來講﹐我認為我是非常愛國的。<br>

<br>
問﹕您說您不知道這個國家是否認為您愛國是什麼意思﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕因為先前我提到過﹐美國是個移民國家。除了印第安人是本土人以外﹐所有人都是從其他國家移民來的﹐比如﹐愛爾蘭﹐蘇格蘭﹐英格蘭﹐或其他歐洲國家﹐亞洲國家﹐大家都是從不同的地方來的。但是﹐現在掌管這個國家的只是一小部份人﹐他們怎麼想就是怎麼樣。所以﹐我認為應由他們來評論你是否愛國﹐而不是我自己的看法。這就是我的意思。</p>
<p>問﹕911有沒有改變您對愛國的看法﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕它使我變得比以前更加愛國﹐因為那些恐怖分子不應該襲擊World Trade Center﹐這與那些無辜的受害者沒有任何關係。如果他們反對政府的一些作法﹐他們應該去找政府﹐而不是無辜的人民。所以我認為他們這樣做是非常非常錯誤的。</p>
<p>問﹕您在唐人街也有一些地產﹐對不對﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是的。</p>
<p>問﹕您是怎樣開始介入地產業的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕因為我想在多方面投資。當我在做服裝生意的時候﹐我已經開始在唐人街的房地產上投資。在當時﹐我沒有任何想法﹐只是想做些投資而已。我現在發現這是一個非常好的投資﹐因為所有的房地產在近兩三年都上漲了很多﹐尤其是2000年﹐形勢非常好。現在也還不錯﹐儘管不像一年前那樣好。就租金來講﹐我受到911的影響很大﹐因為很多房客都陸續搬走了﹐我的樓有二十多個月都沒有人租。後來﹐一點一點地﹐又有了一些新的房客。現在﹐我只租出了60%的地方。但是﹐我還需要更多的房客﹐我還需要付房地產稅﹐支付很多費用。我已向政府申請了一些資助﹐
<br>
但只拿到六千美金﹐還不夠我一個月支付抵押貸款的費用。我每個月要支付大約一萬兩千美金的抵押貸款。</p>
<p>問﹕您是向哪裡申請資助的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我通過Williams Street的一個機構申請的﹐我忘了叫什麼名字。一共可以向兩家機構申請﹐一家在Williams﹐另外一家在Rector Street。我是通過Williams Street的那家機構申請的。</p>
<p>問﹕您是怎樣知道政府﹐或是其他機構﹐會提供一些幫助的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕一些非盈利機構派發了一些小冊子﹐或是在電臺有廣播﹐在中文電臺都有。所以﹐我跟他們聯繫﹐發現我也有資格申請。於是﹐我就填了張申請表。但我沒想到我遭受二十多個月的損失卻只拿到了六千塊錢。</p>
<p>問﹕他們是怎樣計算的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕他們說是我收入的百分之二﹐他們是按照這個數算的。</p>
<p>問﹕您當時在申請這些補助的時候﹐那個機構對您怎麼樣﹖那裡的人是不是很友好﹐很願意幫助您﹖還是說﹐辦這些手續很繁瑣﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕他們非常友好﹐非常願意幫助我。但問題是最後把補助發給誰﹐發多少﹐都不是由他們決定的﹐而是由另外一些人決定的。單是看這些申請表﹐你很難知道那些人是否是遭受損失了。這是我的看法。我跟他們講我因此損失了很多收入﹐但他們說我只是房東﹐不是做生意的。我認為他們這麼講不對﹐因為我是在做房地產生意﹐這也是生意﹐但他們說不是。所以﹐他們說只能給我我年收入的百分之二。他們就是這麼算的。</p>
<p>問﹕我需要換磁帶。<br>

<br>
TAPE 002-2 SIDE</p>
<p>問﹕您剛纔提到911之後獲得一些補助。我有些好奇﹐您有沒有聽到您在唐人街的朋友﹐一些生意人﹐也得到了補助﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕聽到的不多﹐因為我也沒有太關注這些事情。但是我聽到一些在這裡住的居民得到的補助比我一個生意人多。我不知道他們是怎麼算的﹐到底能拿多少。我實在是不知道他們是如何計算的﹐比如在這段時期的營業損失。我們並沒有想多要﹐我們只是請求﹐比如說﹐再多給一些時間交房地產稅。我已經支付了﹐但是晚了兩個多星期。他們收了我大約兩百塊的利息﹐他們還收這個錢。倒不是說我不想付這個錢﹐只是我在那個時期比較困難。我沒有房客﹐我必須從其他地方把錢搞到﹐從我自己的腰包裡。因此我耽誤了一些時間﹐對於我來講﹐那段時期的確是困難時期。</p>
<p>現在就好很多了﹐因為我有了新的房客﹐一切又步入了正規。至少我不會再賠錢﹐現在剛好持平。但是﹐我必須彌補我二十多個月房屋空閑的損失﹐這是很困難的。我希望政府能夠為這個地區的業主做些事情。我是在Canal Street以南﹐是第二大受重創的地區。我不明白他們為什麼不能給我們﹐比如那些新房客﹐一些便利﹐因為我的新房客在這裡營業需要去Department of Building申請很多的執照﹐或者需要裝修﹐但是Department of Building都不給他們提供便利。我實在是不明白為什麼他們會這樣。那些房客給這個地區帶來很多生意﹐使這裡更加繁榮﹐但政府還是不通融---真不知道他們是怎麼考慮的﹖我想他們實在是太官僚了。<br>

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問﹕您以前曾為政府做事﹐比如﹐向政府反映社區的一些問題。您有沒有考慮過投訴﹐或試圖改變他們處理分配補助的方式﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我覺得我個人做不了什麼。但我的確同很多非盈利組織的人員交涉過﹐但沒有什麼效果。我也只是跟他們提起過﹐我只是問他們如果有很多人都有我類似的情況我們該怎麼辦﹐沒有人能回復我。</p>
<p>問﹕您是跟誰談的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我跟CPC的人談過﹐那些地方性的非盈利機構。他們理應幫助這些當地的社區民眾。</p>
<p>問﹕在911之前﹐您都有哪些房客﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕在911之前﹐有一個房客是Pearl Paint﹐他們租我的樓作辦公室和倉庫。二樓和三樓是做服裝的﹐是衣廠。</p>
<p>問﹕現在呢﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕現在﹐一樓是餐館和酒吧﹐二樓是培訓中心。諷刺的是﹐這是在911之後人們接受再培訓的地方之一﹐這是政府要求的。三樓是一些藝術家﹐他們為一些大公司製作雕塑。</p>
<p>問﹕現在房租的水平同以前相比如何﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕和以前差不多﹐因為現在的形勢也不太好。如果我堅持收更多的租金的話﹐我的地方是租不出去的。所以﹐我減少了不少租金﹐只比以前稍多一些。但是﹐我還要給他們免很多租金﹐幾個月的租金。有的是六個月﹐有的是七個月﹐就是為了能讓他們留在這裡。你必須這麼做﹐否則對自己也沒有什麼好處。<br>

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問﹕那家餐館是什麼餐館﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕他們有三個合伙人﹐一個是印度人﹐一個是土耳其人﹐另外一個我也從來沒有見過﹐他在佛羅裡達﹐在做服裝進口生意。(笑)他們在這邊開了一家餐館和一間酒吧。因為這個地區﹐他們叫TreBeCa﹐比較適合那些年輕的專業人士消費﹐他們下了班可以來這裡﹐正好是酒吧優惠時間。所以﹐我認為這樣會使得這個地區再次繁榮起來。</p>
<p>因為在911之後﹐這裡就好像是一座死城﹐沒有人想來。現在﹐人們逐漸過來光顧這個地方﹐我都可以感覺到。在下班後﹐大約五點到七點鐘﹐很多人來酒吧喝酒或吃東西。這樣很好﹐你感覺到這裡的環境越來越好了。所以我認為Department of Housing應該給這些房客﹐不單單是我的﹐包括在這裡有生意的人﹐一些便利﹐不要給他們太多的限制。</p>
<p>問﹕您的樓在哪裡﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕什麼﹖</p>
<p>問﹕那座樓在哪裡﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕在Walker街52號﹐Canal街以南兩個街口。(咳嗽)</p>
<p>問﹕要喝些水嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕不用﹐也許是空氣的原因。<br>

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問﹕您覺得在911之後﹐政府或那些非盈利機構在哪些地方還可以做得更好來幫助唐人街的居民和這裡的生意﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我不想冒犯任何人﹐但他們完全可以做得更好。基金其實是很多的﹐很多人也受到911的影響﹐但是那些基金沒有很好的落實下去。很多錢都是浪費了﹐很多錢沒有利用上﹐我也不知道是什麼原因﹐或是官僚主義什麼的﹐他們就是不想把錢派出去。所以﹐最後期限到了的時候﹐他們祇想倉促地把錢分出去﹐即使有的人並不符合條件。</p>
<p>像我本人的情況﹐我想我至少可以獲得些補償﹐或者補助﹐或是些貸款什麼的﹐以便我能夠度過難關﹐但是我什麼都沒得到。或者﹐只得到一些﹐但是還不夠我維持一個月的開銷的。所以﹐我認為﹐他們實在應該再做些具體實際的調查﹐而不是草率地審核一下就把錢分了出去﹐我認為這樣做是不正確的。而且我聽說他們很多時候還要把一些已分配下去的錢再追回來﹐這就說明他們一開始把錢分下去就是錯誤的。</p>
<p>問﹕第一步是把一些資助分配下去﹐這些錢都是用來重建紐約市的。如果您有了這些錢用來重建唐人街﹐您要怎樣做﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕為社區﹖</p>
<p>問﹕是的。</p>
<p>WING﹕為了改善經濟﹐我們必須要做些廣告宣傳﹐清潔街道﹐管理好交通﹐要吸引眾多的餐企業人士和生意人參與。要搞很多的活動﹕這個月是搞餐企業的宣傳﹐下個月是做銀行業的宣傳﹐再下一個月是金融業﹐各行各業都有自己的一個宣傳月。而且﹐我想做這些事情也不需要很多錢﹐因為如果這些生意人也參與的話﹐他們也會願意出一些錢的。所以﹐那些非盈利性的機構可以把政府﹐生意人﹐和社區的群眾組織起來﹐我認為這樣是會有很好的效果的。全年的每一個月都有一個主題﹐然後再做些宣傳。這不僅會吸引一些當地的民眾﹐而且也會吸引外地的遊客﹐甚至國外的遊客。這樣會促使﹐不光是唐人街﹐包括附近地區﹐像華爾街﹐繁榮起來。人們因為紐約的高稅率﹐因為911事件,而愈來愈少到紐約。
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我們必須把人們吸引過來﹐吸引到紐約。在911之後﹐旅館的價錢降得很低﹐現在才開始慢慢好轉起來。</p>
<p>但是在911之前﹐旅館的生意還是很好的。我聽說整個紐約市百分之九十的房間都已經訂滿﹐區別實在是很大。在911之後的兩年裡﹐很多地方都被迫關閉﹐很多餐館和其他一些生意也完全消失了。現在﹐需要給他們一個機會回來﹐給他們一個機會重新開始。我們需要幫助他們﹐我認為市裡﹐聯邦﹐紐約州應該為他們做些事情﹐不僅僅是為曼哈頓﹐為唐人街﹐要為整個紐約市。</p>
<p>問﹕您認為有沒有一些機構或是唐人街的一些個人能夠組織﹐領導﹐或者倡導一些事情呢﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我認為這不是個人﹐或一兩個機構能做的事情﹐應該是群體的努力﹐大家都要參與。</p>
<p>(磁帶中斷)</p>
<p>問﹕我剛纔問您在唐人街誰能夠領導或組織一些事情來發展唐人街﹐您說這必須是群體的努力。</p>
<p>WING﹕是的。但是﹐我要針對兩大機構再做些補充。他們不是非盈利機構﹐但他們是社區的組織。一個叫作中華公所CCBA (Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association)﹐另外一個叫作American Fujianese Association。他們是唐人街最大的兩個社區團體。他們在當地的影響力很大。我想他們應該牽頭舉辦我剛纔提到的那些活動。</p>
<p>問﹕您有沒有考慮過也參加組織一些類似的活動﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕如果有可能的話﹐當然可以。我會積極參加的﹐我會盡力的。<br>

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問﹕我記得第一次採訪的時候您談到很多人剛剛來到紐約的時候在這裡賺了一些錢﹐然後就離開了﹐沒有太融入這個社區。您也是那段時期來的﹐您卻做了很多的社區工作。您有哪些特殊的地方使得您會這樣做﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕很多人並不在這裡住﹐他們只是在這裡上班﹐只是在這裡賺錢﹐然後就走了。我在搬走之前在這裡已經住了很多年﹐我之所以搬走是因為我需要讓我的孩子居住在一個更好的環境。我和我的太太倒不是非常在乎這些。我在唐人街住了十五年。當時﹐我認為如果一個人在一個地方賺了錢﹐不只是這裡﹐而是在任何地方﹐都應該對當地有所回報﹐包括金錢方面﹐工作方面﹐慈善方面等﹐任何事情。我認為我應該做些事情﹐以回報這個社區﹐因為這些錢或其他的東西都是從這個社區賺來的。就好像是我剛纔提到的中國式的教育﹐你總是要報答那些曾經幫助過你的人。</p>
<p>問﹕您覺得唐人街為什麼沒有像其他那些受到911衝擊的地區得到相同的資助或關注﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕他們沒有像其他地區得到同樣多的資助﹖我實在不知道﹐但我想可能是因為太多的人管事﹐卻沒有人去落實。太多的人申請相同的基金﹐卻沒有一個社區的代表。所以﹐不是太集中。很多的人在做同樣的事﹐而他們不能夠把一些錢分給這個機構﹐他們必須把錢分給大家。所以﹐這些錢最後分配得比較分散。</p>
<p>問﹕您能不能談一下您為什麼沒有像以前那樣積極參與一些政治活動的原因﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕在那個時候﹐我有自己的生意。我當時認為政治和經濟應該攜手合作以使生意越做越好﹐這樣我們的社區也會越來越好﹐這樣才能更好地幫助社區的民眾。的確﹐有的時候政府官員是肯幫忙。但是﹐他們很多都是四年一換﹐一段時期他們能夠幫助你﹐但是四年之後﹐他們卻不能做任何事情﹐因為他們已經不在那個位置上。因此﹐有些時候﹐我也是很無奈。<br>

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比如﹐我以前是Vallone的咨詢理事會的成員﹐現在他已經不在市議會了。所以﹐我們以前建立的很多關係都用不上了。因此﹐我認為的確是很難保持一個持續的系統來造福整個社區。所以﹐在這樣的情況下﹐必須能有一些人﹐一些專業人士全職做這些事情﹐而不是我們利用自己的業余時間去做這些事情。必須是有全職的人來管理才能夠有效果。</p>
<p>問﹕您是否認為在職的政府官員應對唐人街的所需負責﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕這個取決于個人。一些是﹐一些不是。有的政府官員不錯﹐有的只是為了拉選票和贊助。一些官員是真做事情的。所以我說完全是看個人。</p>
<p>問﹕您能否舉一些您面臨挑戰的具體實例﹐或是您看到的有關從政方面﹐以及使別人了解自己觀點方面的挑戰嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕比如﹖</p>
<p>問﹕任何實例﹐比如您或您所在的組織想要達到一些目的但最後沒有實現。</p>
<p>WING﹕有。</p>
<p>問﹕都有什麼樣的障礙﹖具體有什麼困難﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕大約在五年前﹐市議會開了一次服裝業的會議﹐我也有參加。實際上﹐我是發言人之一。我們的行政主管﹐我﹐和Brooklyn Apparel Association的主席﹐也是我的一個好朋友﹐在市議會舉行了一次聽證會﹐討論服裝業對經濟和社區等的影響。<br>

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最後﹐我們通過市議員Jerome O'Donovan做出了一些安排。他是來自Staten Island的議員﹐他曾任市議會經濟發展委員會主席﹐這就是為什麼我們請他為我們做些事情,他是個非常負責任的人﹐他回復了我們﹐並為我們安排了一次聽證會。我們很感激他。我不知道這是否有助于其他政府官員了解我們的想法﹐但至少我們做了些事情。這是我們成就的主要的一件事情。</p>
<p>問﹕您能不能舉一些您努力去做但沒有達到目的﹐或您沒有收到政治人物答復的實例﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有些事情不是一兩個政治人物能幫到的。我想那是由國家的高層人士﹐比如國會議員﹐或參議員來決定的。所以﹐他們只是將我們所講的﹐或在聽證會上的發言記錄在案。當那些做決策的人看到的時候﹐他們也許並不讚同我們的觀點﹐所以我不知道這些是否有幫助﹐但至少我們做了這些事情﹐引起了他們的關注---這就是我們要達到的目的﹐僅此而已。我知道很難引起他們的關注﹐但至少我們做了些正確的事情。</p>
<p>問﹕那是什麼時候的事情﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕大約五年前﹐在市議會。</p>
<p>問﹕您覺得唐人街今後服裝業的前景如何﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕這個行業根本就沒有什麼希望。我的意思是說﹐因為這個國家勞動力的價格沒法和其他南美洲﹐加勒比海﹐亞洲國家的勞動力相比。我們競爭不過他們。國內在這個行業做的人會越來越少。相反﹐越來越多的人會為進口商做事。所以﹐我認為這是個衰落的產業。也許還會有人繼續做這一行﹐正如我剛纔講過﹐那是因為國內需要有人能夠在短期內生產一些產品。這些差不多佔百分之五。<br>

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問﹕我知道服裝業在很長一段時間是唐人街經濟的支柱。您覺得什麼會填補這個空缺﹖唐人街以後會變成什麼樣子﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕中國人是很靈活的。在有服裝業的時候﹐他們會投入服裝業。一旦服裝業消失了﹐他們會做些其他事情。我認為這不是什麼問題。但唯一的問題是﹐在這個過渡時期﹐他們需要政府的幫助。正如我先前所講﹐像其他行業一樣﹐他們需要經過培訓才能獲得那個職業所需的執照。我想﹐他們會挺過去的。但是﹐如果政府能夠給他們一點點幫助﹐他們不至于那麼艱難。</p>
<p>問﹕除了培訓以外﹐您認為政府還能提供一些其他什麼樣的幫助﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕創造更多的就業機會。比如﹐如果其他什麼產業需要政府的資助﹐政府應該幫助他們。比如說旅遊業﹐這是這個地區主要的收入來源。所以﹐要幫助旅遊業﹐刺激旅遊業的發展。我想﹐如果越來越多的人來紐約﹐我們就能夠多向政府交稅。所以﹐這不是單行道﹐而是雙行道。政府能夠從中獲利﹐民眾也能從中獲利﹐所以我覺得這是個好主意。</p>
<p>問﹕我們先前談到愛國﹐以及您對愛國的理解。我想知道﹐作為一位移民﹐在移民不是受歡迎﹐或美國的移民政策有很大變化﹐人們來這裡越來越困難的時候﹐您有沒有覺得那些公眾的看法對您個人有影響﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有。儘管我是公民﹐但我認為我是二等公民。我們不像那些在這裡土生土長的美國人﹐或在美國出生的人﹐我們是歸化後的公民。但至少從我們受到的中國教育中﹐我們知道如果這個國家為我們做了一些事情﹐我們也要有所回報。我在這個國家接受了教育﹐而且我在這裡學到和獲得了很多東西﹐我也應該為這個國家做些貢獻。我就是這樣看待愛國主義的。<br>

<br>
問﹕您有沒有感覺在911之後﹐外國人不太受歡迎。我覺得在那之後美國對很多人已經關閉了大門。您是否也有同感﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是的。人們比以前更加親近了﹐比以前更願意幫助別人﹐特別是在911發生後不久。紐約的警察也比從前更加友善。我都能夠感覺到﹐他們不再是發號施令﹐他們變得很通融。這是我們以前沒有體驗過的事情﹐感覺﹐或是環境﹐從來沒有﹗當時﹐人們更加願意互相幫助﹐有更多的自由。各個種族之間也沒有界線。在那個時候﹐就好像是人與人之間關係上的最佳時期。</p>
<p>問﹕在那之後﹐這些有沒有改變﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕又恢復到911之前的狀況。但至少我們知道人們會做到我剛纔講述的那樣﹐這不是每個人天生能夠做到的。</p>
<p>問﹕您有沒有考慮過要參加競選擔任公職﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我認為我不符合資格。向政府官員提建議或表達自己的意見是好事情﹐但我認為我不適合做那個位置﹐我不感興趣。</p>
<p>問﹕您有沒有支持過一些什麼競選的活動﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕有一些。我們支持過很多市議員。在(Governor George E.) Pataki競選連任州長的時候﹐我們支持過他。在Kathryn Freed﹐我們當地的女議員﹐競選議員和公眾代言人的時候﹐我們也支持過她。但她沒有選上。這次﹐她競選法官。我不知道她能否被選上﹐但我投了她的票。我相信她選上了。另外一個是Jerome O'Donovan。我們給了他一些經濟贊助﹐因為我們不在那個區。在Mark Green競選市長的時候﹐我們也支持了他。還有誰﹖我們支持過(Rudolph W.) Giuliani和(Daivd Norman) Dinkins。<br>

<br>
問﹕您講的“我們”指的是誰﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我們的協會。</p>
<p>問﹕The Garment Manufactureres Association﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕是的﹐因為我不是以個人的名義做這些事情的﹐而是以團體的名義。</p>
<p>問﹕我記得您剛纔講過在您在Garment Manufactureres Association任職的時候和一些政府官員交涉﹐決定支持哪些人﹐以及向他們反映一些你們的實際問題。您能否再談一下您的那些經歷﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕好的。我記得在1986年﹐或者是80年代﹐Dinkins競選市長的時候﹐當時有個人曾擔任過MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)的負責人---我不記得他的名字。我們支持他競選市長﹐但他在初選就落選了。我們支持他的原因是---我現在想起他的名字了﹕Dick Ratrich, Richard Ratrich。他競選的時候﹐我們整個協會都支持他。當時別人都不知道他這個人。但他曾是MTA的負責人﹐MTA的委員長。我不清楚我們為什麼支持他﹐但我們協會以前的主席說他可以幫助我們社區﹐可以替我們的社區講話﹐如果他當市長的話﹐他會幫助我們。</p>
<p>當時﹐我在從政上還是個新手---很多事情我都不懂。但是﹐我們還是支持他。後來﹐儘管他落選了﹐但這對我們還是一個好的經歷﹐我們懂得了如果我們要支持某個人﹐我們必須以團體的名義﹐而不是個人的名義。這就是我們的經歷。儘管我們失敗了﹐這個經歷還是比較成功的。</p>
<p>問﹕在哪些方面您認為是成功的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕我們為他籌集資金﹐有八百多人參加﹐這已經是很不錯了。這意味著我們有能力吸引社區民眾的關注﹐這是我們在那次集資行動上學到的事情之一。在此之後﹐我們懂得了怎樣搞集資﹐以及怎樣選擇我們支持的候選人。<br>

<br>
問﹕您認為現在政府能做些什麼來支持服裝業﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕這很難﹐因為現在很難改變他們已經做的事情。這就好像是單行路﹐你不能往回走的。比如﹐政府制定了NAFTA﹐北美自由貿易協定(the North American Free Trade Agreement)。他們已經制定了﹐這個協定損害了我們的產業。他們還有所謂的806-807協定﹐是美國和加勒比海國家制定的。這是犧牲美國的利益以使別的國家受益。所以﹐這也使我們的產業受到重創。</p>
<p>所以﹐就是這些他們已經做了的事情﹐現在﹐他們已經和很多國家有類似的協定。作為補償﹐他們和那些國家制定了一些其他方面的貿易協定﹐比如高科技或計算機方面的。但是﹐我認為如果他們想要支持這個產業﹐他們現在至少設法把百分之幾的市場要回來。這樣很多人的工作就業問題就會有很大的改善。這個產業﹐在鼎盛時期﹐能夠解決市里上百萬人的就業問題﹐這些工作都直接或間接地與這個產業有關係。一百多萬人。現在也許只有十萬﹐二十萬﹖比以前少多了。很多大的製造商都倒閉了。他們以前都搞得很大很大﹐但現在都沒有人知道他們了。很不幸﹐這就好像是歷史﹐是歷史的趨勢。一些產業衰落﹐另外一些產業開始紅火。</p>
<p>TAPE 002-2 SIDE B</p>
<p>問﹕我在想還有沒有其他事情我們沒有談到。您有什麼補充嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕你剛纔談到政府如何幫助這個產業。其實﹐我們的要求並不過份﹐我們只是要求比如說百分之五的市場。有了這百分之五﹐很多人都會有工作。</p>
<p>問﹕增加什麼的百分之五﹖<br>

<br>
WING﹕不是增加﹐是保持百分之五。比如說﹐有百分之百的進口。百分之百和百分之五。把這一部份帶回到這個國家﹐帶回到紐約﹐我們會創造十萬多個就業機會。我不是在開玩笑。</p>
<p>問﹕我記得您剛纔談過一件事情﹐我想再提一下﹐就是在唐人街的很多人不能夠選舉﹐或是不願意選舉﹐您為什麼認為這是個挑戰呢﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕正如我先前所講﹐很多人在唐人街做工﹐但不住在唐人街﹐所以他們沒有選舉權利﹐也許他們在他們住的地方有選舉權。有很多人做了選民登記﹐卻不參加選舉﹐我不知道為什麼。這也許是因為傳統上中國人不想和政府打交道。中國人很保守。他們不想和政府打交道是因為他們認為在活著的時候沒有必要和政府打交道﹐在死後﹐也不會下地獄﹐差不多是這個意思。所以﹐他們不想和政府打交道。他們認為﹐總是因為有不好的事才會需要和衙門打交道﹔或是牢獄之災或是吃官司等等。但這裡同中國不同﹐美國是個民主的國家﹐但他們還從來沒有時間來適應這裡的制度。所以﹐這需要一個教育引導的過程﹐我想再過一些年他們會逐漸有這方面的意識。而且﹐他們已經從一些組織﹐一些非盈利機構那裡獲得很多信息﹐比如中華公所(CCBA)﹐the Fujianese Association。那些組織機構經常會教育他們選舉的重要性等。</p>
<p>問﹕他們的看法有沒有改變﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕不多﹐但是在逐漸改變。我是這樣認為的﹐因為第二代人總是和第一代人的觀點不一樣的。</p>
<p>問﹕最後一個問題﹐我記得您剛纔說過﹐您認為CCBA和the Fujianese Association是兩個能夠牽頭帶動唐人街發展的組織﹐您是否認為他們能夠在一起合作﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕可以﹐為什麼不呢﹖<br>

<br>
問﹕您認為他們在合作上有什麼挑戰嗎﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕也許他們在政治上有一些衝突﹐因為他們一個支持台灣﹐一個支持中國大陸。他們的政治觀點不同。但是﹐在為社區謀利這方面﹐我想他們的目標是一致的﹐我認為應該是沒有什麼問題。</p>
<p>問﹕好的﹐您是否還有什麼要補充的﹖</p>
<p>WING﹕基本上﹐該談到的我已經都談到了。</p>
<p>問﹕非常感謝您能花時間接受我們的採訪。</p>
<p>WING﹕也謝謝你﹐我不知道我會不會對你們有所幫助。</p>
<p>問﹕我覺得您對我們有很大的幫助﹐這在現在和將來對很多人都會有很大幫助的。</p>
<p>WING﹕希望如此。我不知道---</p>
<p>(採訪完畢) </p>

Citation

“Wing Ma,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed July 17, 2019, http://911digitalarchive.org/items/show/88945.