September 11 Digital Archive

S.W. Sang

Title

S.W. Sang

Source

transcription

Media Type

interview

Chinatown Interview: Interviewee

S.W. Sang

Chinatown Interview: Interviewer

Lan Trinh

Chinatown Interview: Date

2004-03-10

Chinatown Interview: Language

Cantonese

Chinatown Interview: Occupation

jeweler

Chinatown Interview: Interview (en)

Q: Today is March 11, 2004. We are at the Museum of Chinese Americans. Please say you name.

Sang: My family name is Sang, and my name is Zhuo Huai, S.W. Sang.

Q: How long have you been in Chinatown?

Sang: I have been here since October of 1969.

Q: Where are you from?

Sang: I used to live in Macau. In 1966, I went to Dominica in Central America, and in 1969 October, I came to the United States.

Q: Were you born in Macau?

Sang: No. I was born in China.

Q: Where of China?

Sang: I was born in Yanping, China.

Q: Which year?

Sang: 1946.

Q: Where in the Mainland were you born?

Sang: Yanping Province, China.

Q: You went to Macau when you were nine years old. Why?

Sang: This is because my whole family has left for Macau.

Q: You went from China to Macau?

Sang: Since my father was in preparation to move to Venezuela, my family went to Macau. I was studying in Macau.

Q: What kind of images and memories do you have for China? You must have remembered much, since you were already nine.

Sang: I certainly remember; very much so. The area of Yanping was poor. Many of our villagers went overseas. Going overseas means going out to another country and work. This had more future to it. Because of this, our villagers like to leave the country, for the United States, for Central Americas. Most of them, however, went to Dominican Republic.

Q: How did you enter there? Did you sneak in country? Did you apply for entry?

Sang: We did not sneak into the country. We first apply as tourists. Once we were in there for six months, we applied for resident status.

Q: That’s quite easy.

Sang: Yes, it was very easy.

Q: When your family was still in China, what was your family business?

Sang: My grandfather used to own a factory in China, where he manufactured bricks and various construction materials. However, when the communists came, all of the properties were confiscated. This way, our family was not able to make a living, so we had to leave the country.

Q: Why did you go to Southern America?

Sang: This was because most of our extended families and friends were there in South America. Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Q: You already have a few generations there?

Sang: Not a few generations, just from my generation. But my grandfather had gone to Venezuela for almost forty years.

Q: When you were nine, you whole family moved to Macau?

Sang: Part of the family. My mother, two brothers and I left first. Afterward, my grandmother came with the other two brothers. We were all living in Macau.

Q: What about your father?

Sang: My father was in Hong Kong involved in the Bakery Business. He made bread at his factory, wholesale and distribute them to places such as coffee shops.

Q: This is to say, your father has gone for Hong Kong at an earlier time.

Sang: Yes.

Q: For how long did you live in Macau?

Sang: I lived in Macau for eleven years.

Q: In terms of studying, were you there for both Grade School and High School?

Sang: Yeah, I went to St. Joseph for both.

Q: When you were in Macau, were you studying Chinese or were you studying English? Did you study English?

Sang: There were both English and Chinese.

Q: Did you study Portuguese?

Sang: I understand a little. This is because I understand Spanish, and Portuguese is similar to Spanish.

Q: How old were you went you went to - -?

Sang: Twenty years old.

Q: It was Dominican Republic, wasn’t it?

Sang: Yes.

Q: How did you feel when you got there?

Sang: I was there, apprenticing under an uncle, who did watch repairing work. I was also learning the things related to the Jewelry business.

Q: You were in Macau until you were twenty. Did you go to college there?

Sang: No. I left not too long after I finished with high school. In Macau, there was no college there. The highest education you could attend was high school.

Q: When you were in your teen years, did you think about what kind of career paths you would take when you grow up? Perhaps leaving the country?

Sang: My great hope was to become a medical doctor, but there weren’t many chances for me to continue college to become one. But now, I am very fortunate. I couldn’t become a doctor, and became a jeweler. When you are designing and making jewelry, you don’t have to be responsible for people’s lives. If you are a doctor, you are held responsible for lives. So, I feel I am lucky that I did not become a doctor, and that I am doing what I am doing.

Q: When you were twenty years old, did you already have family members in South America?

Sang: No. All of them were in Macau. Only I went. I went to work for an uncle who was from the same village.

Q: When you were there, what kind of works were you doing?

Sang: I was involved with watch repair, and the jewelry business.

Q: At that time, the place you were, were there much Chinese?

Sang: At there, during that time, there were approximately a few thousands people. In our shop there were fifteen people working, some did watch repairing, some did watch selling & buying, and some were involved in the jewelry business.

Q: After you went there, did you feel that it was easy and quick to get used to the new way of life?

Sang: We were happy. Back then, the brotherly apprentices were always playing football (soccer). Life was good, very good, indeed. The way of life was very different from the lifestyles of Macau, Hong Kong and the United States.

Q: How are they different?

Sang: In Spanish places, people’s characters are passionate, and very friendly. They do not discriminate against the Chinese. They thought highly of the Chinese, and therefore there is no discrimination. That’s better.

Q: You only started learning Spanish once you moved there?

Sang: Yes. There were a bunch of us working there. We hired a lawyer. There, we worked in the morning, and at night, once the lawyer got off from his day job, he would then teach us. He collected ten dollars per week per person. We made a blackboard and started learning Spanish.

Q: How long did you study for you to understand?

Sang: In terms of studying, one can speak after around two years of studying, and approximately three to four years in order to write a little.

Q: While you were there, had you always been involved with repairing?

Sang: I was working - - repairing watches.

Q: During that time, did you ever consider going back to school to become a doctor again?

Sang: No. During that time, I had already started in this job, and I could not change anymore. As I continued working, there were pressure and responsibilities. At that time, I did not think about studying. The most important thing was to make a living. During that time, the first thing was to make money.

Q: Money can be made in this profession?

Sang: Over there, I worked for three years. I already came out and started my own business after three years. I opened my own store, and became my own boss.

Q: How many years were you living there on your own?

Sang: Three some years. Not quite four years.

Q: After you came to the United States?

Sang: Yes, I came to the United States.

Q: How did you - - Did someone sponsor you over there? Or did you do it your own?

Sang: During the time when I came over, I already have colleagues who worked at big factories in the United States. It appeared that those jobs were stable. Also, in our profession, during those times, the pay was quite decent. It was around one hundred twenty, one hundred thirty dollars per week.

Q: That was in 1960s?

Sang: Back then, when you take a regular job at a restaurant, it would be around seventy-five to a hundred dollar per week. In this case, we made more money. Not to mention, the work was more comfortable, since it was more technical in nature, it was never - - Originally, when I first came over here, my father-in-law was in the restaurant business. He wanted to teach me the business. But when I saw the actual restaurant, wow - - I saw the head chef, while pushing a button with his foot, twisting and turning his body all around. I really felt I would not be able to do that. I like cooking. My mother used to teach me how to cook. I love cooking. But this was too tough. I thought I better stick with what I was dong in the Jewelry business.

Q: When you come to the United States, did you also come as a tourist? Or did you apply to come over here?

Sang: For the first time, I came over here as tourist. When I came the second time, I also came as a tourist. Afterward, I was working at a workshop that was owned by a Jew. When it was about time, I applied for residency.

Q: When you were at the Jewish place, you were also doing repairing work?

Sang: Yeah, repairing watches.

Q: You came to New York when you first came into the country in 1969?

Sang: No. That was 1970, not 1969. It’s exactly 1970.

Q: You came to New York when you first came?

Sang: I came to New York, when I first came here.

Q: Why did you choose to come to New York? The United States is so big.

Sang: This was because before when I came to visit, I saw some Chinese supermarkets. I saw that they have everything kind of Chinese food available. That was suitable to the Chinese palate. For me, the most important thing was to be able to eat. In Dominican Republic, those Spanish places, there also were plenty food products. But here, there have every kind of Chinese food products that I care about. For this reason, I came.

Q: Did you consider going to San Francisco, other places with Chinese - -

Sang: Since many of my friends were in New York, I considered coming to New York.

Q: Did you feel it was hard to adjust when you came over here? Winter is very cold here. Many things are different. Were you able to communicate - -

Sang: We got used to it, since we were young, and we liked playing football (soccer), and sports - - I am quite active and outgoing, so it was quite easy to adapt to the environment. I did not feel cold at all.

Q: When you came over, did you know English?

Sang: I knew a little. I understood it when I was studying in Macau. While I was - - When I was studying Spanish at Dominican Republic, I studied the language using English. I learn them together.

Q: You were twenty-something when you came over?

Sang: Yes.

Q: That was quite young.

Sang: Yes.

Q: What did you do when you first came over? But - -

Sang: When I first came over I repaired watches. After working for that westerner for a year, I got residency. After working for about a year, I immediately came out and opened my own business. Along with a friend, I opened my own shop, in Harlem even! You dare not go over there, but the rent was cheap. Back then, it was only one hundred and twenty dollars. I said, “Okay, let’s rent the space out, open up the shop, learn as I do!” I was trying to figure out what the American jewelry market was like. To be honest, when I first opened there, I was not thinking of making profits at the beginning. I wanted to first dive into the profession, observed the market, and figured out the business.

Q: During those years, was rent in Chinatown expensive? You had to go to Harlem?

Sang: No. Since during those years, I had a bunch of friends living up there. He saw a - - It was because I had a villager-friend opened up a restaurant in front of that space. The restaurant was called “Hua Ting”. He operated that restaurant for twenty some thirty years, and it is now closed. He told me there was retail space right in front of his restaurant, and the rent was cheap. He suggested me to open up the shop up there. He said there were many Spanish people there, and that the Spanish people’s business was the best. I told myself to give it a try. After around a year, my partner and I already made around eighty-thousand, hundred-thousand dollars. Then, we had another partner, and opened another shop at Concord Ave of the Bronx. In this way, I had two shops. After a year and half, we again made around a hundred, two-hundred thousand dollars. At this time, I went to open up a new store at 225 Canal Street, which has remained opened until today.

Back then, around 1971, after around a year, I opened up a second shop in Bronx, where my partner was the shop manager. I was the overseeing the shop that was located at 157th Street and Broadway. Alan was looking after the upper shop. After around half a year, I found a retail space, and moved down to Canal Street. That was in 1973.

Q: It sounds as if you were very brave. You were only twenty-something.

Sang: Is that right? I don’t think so. I certainly - - One must be brave. Being a human, one must be brave. Back then, my next door neighbor was a bank. There was a bank robbery. There were three machine guns at the entrance. I could only run. Three machine guns in Harlem bank! Even the police cars turned around!

Q: Is it true that since you were able to speak Spanish, you were able to communicate with those customers - -

Sang: Yeah, I was able to communicate. So - - But it was also easier work back then. There was less competition. Not too many people were in the business, and the business was good. Many of my villager-friends, families and friends told me I should never get involved in the business. They told me in the United States that no Chinese were involved in the jewelry business.

Q: Before you came to the United States, what kind of impressions did you have?

Sang: About the United States. Since I often read history, news and current affairs, I understood that United States was the only country that had a modern society and had the strongest economic development. Also, since the dollar was stable, business was also stable. Especially to us hard worker types, we were certain to become successful. All we needed was a little confidence.

Q: Before you came, did you already have a family?

Sang: Not yet.

Q: When you first came over, what did you think Chinatown was like in 1970s?

Sang: Confucius Plaza had not been built yet, during those years in Chinatown. There were many broken, abandoned houses. There were warning signs reminding people to be aware of pickpocket. It was about being careful of people stealing things from you. There were only a few broken down houses around where Confucius Plaza is now. I lived near the side of East Broadway, right next to the post office.

Q: During those times, the area definitely was not as large as it is now?

Sang: The area was not as big as it is now. Also, back then, the people - - Almost every time I went out, I knew everyone. In other words, when you’re in Chinatown, you knew everyone. Everyone knows everyone else. There were less people during those times.

Q: A little more intimate?

Sang: A little more intimate, since everyone knew everyone. You knew everyone where you managed your business, and where you hung out. It’s not possible these days. You can’t meet all of them now.

Q: After you came to the United States, did you feel that it was difficult? For everything, you had to - -

Sang: It had been smooth. It had been very smooth.

Q: Why had it been so smooth for you?

Sang: It was because I have confidence. I am hard-working and aggressive. Yeah.

Q: These things had allow you to conduct your businesses so smoothly?

Sang: Right. You’re not incorrect.

Q: In which year did you open your store in Chinatown?

Sang: It was seventy - - Let me see -- It was 1972. In 1972, I moved down to Chinatown. But in 1971, I already opened one in Bronx. Somewhere in the middle of 1972, I don’t remember quite well of the exact date. In any case, I moved down to Chinatown, and it was 225 Canal Street, right at the corner of Centre Street. Also, I was the first Chinese who rented a space to do Jewelry business.

Q: Back then in 1970s, were there many triads in Chinatown? Did you feel a great sense of danger being in this business?

Sang: Yeah, I did not feel that at all. Because - - Why? In our business, we certainly had to be careful of entrances and windows. One has to be aware of these things. But it was not that dangerous. Since I was brave enough to open a shop in Harlem, I wouldn’t feel dangerous opening one up on Canal Street.

Q: Have you ever experienced a robbery? And let other - -

Sang: Yes, many times indeed. People just grab and ran. Or in another case, you’re at gun point, and you could only wait for him to pick and leave.

Q: Were your family members ever - -

Sang: Yes, they had.

Q: But, you still are not scared?

Sang: No, I am not scared. I - - When people come robbing me, I told them to just take the things away, and don’t be nervous. I told them the first thing is not to be nervous, just take what they want, and leave.

Q: Do you carry guns?

Sang: I cannot carry gun. If I was to carry guns, I must have already killed a few times. But I don’t like to react with carry guns. Right now it’s just robbery, right? If I was to carry guns, it would either be him shooting at you, or you shooting at him. That’s not good. In our business, it would be dangerous if you own guns.

Q: Back then in early 1970s, even though there were many triads, did you have to contribute to one particular gang - -

Sang: No, I have not.

Q: - - to protect you?

S: The triad society indeed asked for money, but not on our side. In the 1970, although there was instability, it does not mean that they robbed in Chinatown every day. I established Canal Street Jewelry Merchant Association. I was the president and hired six security guards to guard the street. I handled them. These are armed guards. They carried pistols to watch out every block. The robbers went elsewhere but not to us.

Q: Are you paying them personally?

S: No, they belonged to the Association.

Q: Association?

S. Every member paid the association three hundred dollars. I am the organizer and the president. I collected the money and paid the guards. I was also the accountant. If the other stores did not pay, I paid for them.

Q: As a Chinese, what differences are there between being a Chinese-American in the United States, and in South America? In terms of how an American view the Chinese as to how a Southern American view the Chinese?

Sang: I believe, when you interact with people - - If you really are competent or are knowledgeable in certain area, people would not look down on you. Unless you doing some bad things, or behavior - - In this case, not to mention foreigners, even the Chinese would look down upon you. I don’t feel so. I often do not feel that I was discriminated against. For example, when I first opened a jewelry shop, there were a group of Jews that had stores on Canal Street. When they saw a Chinese came opening up a ship, one of them said, “Hey Chinese, you should open doing something else, such as opening a restaurant, or selling food else where. Why did you come getting involved in our businesses?” He first used a discriminatory, make-fun style. But I was very polite and explained to him. I told him, “Long time ago, in Egypt, even before the birth of Christ. The Jews were enslaved by Egyptian kings to build pyramids. When Mosses brought those Jews back to the Middle-east, they had much trouble with the region, and had no where to go. They followed the path of the Silk Road, and entered China in the Tang Dynasty. There were some twenty some thousands Jews entered China. This was the first time us Chinese protected you Jews during your hard times. The second time was during the Second World War, when Hitler was killing the Jews ferociously and cruelly. Did you have a place to run and hide? Only we China accepted you and you settled in Shanghai. During two major hard times, we Chinese have saved you. You cannot discriminate against us. We are your friends.”

Q: And then you said - -

Sang: - - (the Jew responded) “Hey Chinese, don’t tell us this story anymore.” I said, “If you want to hear more history, I will tell you more.” He said, “in other words, one should not discriminate against others.”

Q: This means, you have to use historical logic to argue, in order to - -

Sang: That’s not it. If you are intelligent, no one can discriminate you. They dare not look down on you. They would respect you. The most important thing is yourself, right?

Q: You came to the United States and opened shops. Did you continue to operate the two shops in Harlem?

Sang: Not anymore. I moved the stores from Harlem to Canal Street.

Q: How many shops do you have now?

Sang: I have three now. My wife took care of the old one. I manage the one located underneath Veteran Association. I also look after the one right next to my wife’s.

Q: Where do you live? Now - -

Sang: I now live in Astoria, Queens.

Q: You haven’t lived in Chinatown for quite a while?

Sang: No, I haven’t. I used to live on East Broadway. Yeah. But I moved in 1979.

Q: During the time when you were living in Chinatown, did you feel that for many Chinese people who lived in Chinatown, Chinatown was the world to them? They didn’t really go out to other places in New York. It seemed to be a rather small place. Was your life, similar to that?

Sang: No, since we like to travel every year to another place. Also, I have a bunch of friends any where I go. Sometimes I go visit my friends. We do not live a closed way of life. Our generations move along the currents and trends of times. In other words, we are not like those old uncles, who never stepped out of Chinatown. They have been in Chinatown for tens of years, yet they stayed in Chinatown mostly, and have not even got on the subway. We are definitely not like that.

Q: Back in the 1970s, did you think that the neighbors were united in Chinatown? During those times, they mostly were Toishanese and Cantonese. Was it not as complicated as it is today, wasn’t it?

Sang: Generally speaking, eighty percents of the population were Toishanese. Back then, for us Hakainese, our friends were mostly Toishanese. Yeah.

Q: Did you feel that the Chinatown back then, was more united than it is today? In other words, it was not as complicated as it is now. Currently, there are more different kinds of people.

Sang: I feel that it depends on which aspects you’re talking about. If you say things are complicated, I feel that it is so in terms of different opinions and point of views. It is definitely not so when it comes to an individual, and the relationship between an individual and society. In other words, when you say the situation is complicated, it is only true at your personal level as an individual experience. I do not feel it is true at the societal level.

Q: Do you not feel that Chinatown is not untied? The Cantonese, Toishanese, Fujianese - -

Sang: Definitely not so. I treat Fujianese, Toishanese, as well as my villagers, all the same. In my heart - - even when I overheard my friends being unfriendly to someone else because they’re Toishanese, or Fujianese, I would explain to them with reasoning, and that they shouldn’t. How can the Chinese discriminate our own kind? I have all kinds of clients, some are Spanish, and some are Africans. I have been treating them equally all along.

Q: Perhaps you personally - -

Sang: Right.

Q: - - is like that. But for plenty of Chinese, we are not united in Chinatown. Therefore, we don’t have power. Because many associations are not unified, everyone has their own opinions. How do you - -

Sang: I feel that, compare to what it used to be, I rarely participated those social clubs and community activities. But most recently, at times, a bunch of my friends would invite me to come out and participate. A little more contact. I think for us Chinese, community organizations and clubs such as “family name” associations, are very Chinese. These are invaluable cultures. A group of villagers coming together, and helping each other out when there’s a problem, like borrowing money. Or when there’re issues, family quarrels, there a group to solve the problem. Externally, whether you and another organizations - - in other words, to be together. Of course, when one comes together with another person for a short time, they cannot come along. Of course, when the points of view are different, whether it’s at the business-level, or at the national-level, these views need to be brought out. Everyone should be understanding. Sometimes we argue. No big deal, as long as everyone should come up with something truthful, and work at it together. It ought to be done this way. This is true for both society and nation. I am part of many committees, but I have never fought with anyone. No one ever yelled at me before. I have some many committees, but I could only do it together. The only way is to discuss all different opinions and come to agreement.

Q: Ever since you came to the United States, have you considered return to Macau, or visiting for leisure.

Sang: Yes. I have gone back for vacation. When I went back, a bunch of classmates, a bunch of friends, and - -

Q: But have you thought about moving back to leave? Moving back - -

Sang: Definitely not. My children grew up here, studied here. You see - - family is most important. My business is also here, so I wound not - -

Q: If this is the case, it seems that the business of your stores is quite successful, isn’t it?

Sang: I feel that I am quite satisfied when I can support my family. Because for all of us, the most important thing is to feel satisfied. Also we need to have confidence. We live in this way, in order to - -

Q: Now we’re back in time, during 9/11.

Sang: Right.

Q: The year during the 9/11 incident, were you in Chinatown?

Sang: Yes, I was in Chinatown. I was on my way to work - -

Q: Do you remember - -

Sang: My car was at Delancey, when the first airplane hit there. I thought it was a fire accident. I was still at Delancey and Bowery, right at the corner, and saw smoke coming out of the windows.

Q: Afterward, how did it affect your business?

Sang: Right after 9/11 happened, we were closed for three days, because the smoke - -those smoke have covered all of Chinatown. The air was not comfortable. Also, I felt the air was still very uncomfortable. In other words, when you breathed the air, it was very filthy. That’s why we did not go back, and remained unopened for three days.

Q: During those three days, was there any burglary? Did anyone cause any problems?

Sang: Definitely not. That time everyone knew what had happened, since telecommunications was so advanced in the United States. In everyone minds, they were asking questions such as how do you we protect this country, and were thinking how best to protect this country. I don’t believe in those things happening, and there definitely no burglary. I feel that New York has improved, and the quality of people has improved.

Q: Was your business affected, I mean, after the 3 days closing down?

Sang: Of course, the aftermath was immense. A lot of my customers came from World Trade Center, such as staff from Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers. They used to skip their lunch and came to us for our watches, and wedding bands. Now they all moved elsewhere and never return to us.

Q: Do you mean a lot of your customers were not from Chinatown but a lot of them from Wall Street?

Sang: That’s right.

Q: American besides Wall Street came to you also?

Sang: Yes.

Q. About how much was the business loss?

Sang: From time to time, shortly after 9/11, only thirty percents of business was retained. Then, business increased gradually. Up to now, we are still twenty five and thirty percents behind.

Q: Did you apply for 9/11 assistance?

S: I did not apply directly. One time, they mailed us a form to subsidize rent. I filled it out and I received four thousand dollars at one time and three thousand dollars another time. Approximately, I received seven thousand dollars.

Q: Did your rent increase in recent years?

Sang: The rent increased gradually?

Q: 9/11 did not affect the scope of increase?

Sang: We have to pay in accordance to a signed lease that agreed to have rent increase at interval. Because of 9/11, the landlord waived us one month’s rent.

Q: But I feel that when I walk around in Chinatown, it seems that there are less gold shops as before, isn’t it?

Sang: No. It has been the same. Not less. There shouldn’t be less.

Q: Compare to in the past - -

Sang: Yeah, approximately the same.

Q: - - approximately the same to before 9/11?

Sang: Right.

Q: Do you feel that there are less Chinese customers? Because during these few years, economy has become much worst, perhaps when people do buy gold and watches, they don’t spend as much money as before. Not spending as much - -

Sang: When you compare it to the past, according to my understating, with regard to the market - - Since nowadays, the Americans has

[END OF SIDE ONE; BEGIN SIDE TWO]

experienced a phenomenon and their understanding have increased. The knowledge of economics has also deepened. It’s interesting. When there’s opportunity in the stock market, everyone rushed to buy stocks. But ever since the burst of the internet (bubble), everyone feels that once it becomes unstable, you lost all your money. They now buy houses. They buy their first house to live in. They buy their second one for investment purpose. Should you have a son getting married, then you buy another one. If each family has from one to three mortgages, and contributes money to these mortgages, their cash flows are locked completely by these mortgages. Our economy is like this. For example, if you’re selling a house to me, or I sell one to you, after we have signed the papers, the money is turned around back to the banking systems. That’s why the bank would overflow with money, yet there would be no cash flows in the market. This is the reason why a lot of retail businesses would be down. I used to have a group of young friends who worked in Merrill Lynch. They came to me, and buy watches from me. I conversed with them. I have quite an understanding in financial matters. I like to have conversations with young people, and I like to talk about how to observe the market, and how the economy goes. We talked very often, so I see it quite clearly.

Q: During the thirty some years you were in Chinatown, which period was best for you? When you business did most well - -

Sang: The best time was the seven years between 1983 and 1990. During those seven years, it was the best for the jewelry and retail businesses. All retail businesses were doing extremely well.

Q: - - How is your opinion when it comes to the affects 9/11 has on Chinatown? Do you feel that the community has become more united ever since this incident? Or do you feel that it is the same as before?

Sang: After 9/11, we all felt that it was a time that we should unite. Many restaurants lost businesses; some lost thirty percents, while some lost seventy percents. Under such circumstances, during such difficult time, we all hoped to find a way where we could work together. In other word, we all work together, and find a way to turn Chinatown into a better place, and especially in the area of cleaning it up. We wish we could build up Chinatown a little more.

Q: On your business card, I saw that you have joined a lot of different organizations, some are - -

Sang: Right.

Q: You are chairmen, presidents, members of many organizations. While numerous agencies co-exist in a small Chinatown, do you think that they communicate with each other. Or jewelry association communicates only with jewelry stores. Restaurant association communicates only with restaurants. Do they communicate with each other?

Sang: I wish to share my experience of Chinatown with the community. Members of the associations should work as a group and share a common goal. We Chinese used to lead our lives in a closed system, so we are still primitive. A simple example would be, once I went to a banquet hosted by the Consulate General of China. Thirty guests sat together. Twelve different languages were spoken. One of my friends asked why there are so many dialects in China. Why are there over 10 dialects in one Guangdong Province? My answer was simple. China was a closed agricultural society. My villagers would not come to your village. If you lost a pig, you would suspect that I stole it and ate it. Or you lost a cow and would say the people in the neighbor village stole it. The villages quarreled with each other and would not trust each other. So we spoke our language in a way that liberally confused you. At the same token, we did not understand your language. The closed system resulted in primitive livings for thousands of years. We should open ourselves and communicate with other, so that you may learn more. Even though you may not like it, you learn from it.

Q: Do you mean that these traditions were brought from Mainland China to Chinatown. Both groups act similarly.

Sang: These practices are not correct. We are should communicate a little more, and try to understand a little more. We should do different things with friends from different groups and different levels. In this way, you will increase your talents, which is knowledge. There are many things that you cannot learn from books. You have to have people contacts and communicate.

Q: What do you think a regular foreigner’s views of Chinatown? When one first think of Chinatown, what would be the first thought?

Sing: Firstly, they would want to know the Chinese’s way of life. But once they came into Chinatown, they will be many things are different. The Chinese eats different kind of food, and use different kind of things. So are gift shops and culture. But they already know that there are many things that are worth while for them to learn. Most simply, around twenty, thirty years ago, I had an accountant called Mr. Lee, Mr. Sum-Chi Lee. He was in the accounting business, and did tax related work on Canal Street. There was “Wang An” Computer. Wang An was a top-notch computer engineer. He knew how to make computer at the theoretical level, but he was unable to apply and materialized mechanically. He came to Mr. Lee’s place and saw an old man using an abacus. He came to an instant understanding. He realized that he could now make computer, which was to design the arrangement of electric circuits as it would be for an abacus, with numbers moving both horizontally and vertically. This was where modern day electric circuit design came from. Many people did not know that the functioning of computer was made possible by the Chinese Abacus.

Q: This is to say - -

Sang: Without Chinese abacus, it would have been impossible to turn computer into real machine.

Q: When it comes to the images a foreigner has about Chinatown, you think that they feel that there are many worthwhile things to learn? Isn’t it?

Sang: Right. There are some who know that Chinese food is most rich and diverse in the world. That is why Jin Wang Kwan won in the French Chef Competition three times in a role. In other words, it would be impossible for the world to catch up to the high level of Chinese cuisine arts.

Q: Even though there are much Chinese people in New York, yet politically speaking, our power is still very limited, since many Chinese do not vote. When it comes to you and your family, do you participate - -

Sang: I have been encouraging my friends and my children. I make them vote, it’s a must. It is us citizens’ responsibility. Secondly, whatever things that we wish to do in Chinatown, we must have votes as background. In this way, our voice is louder. If we have city government support, and have their understating, they would pay more attention to this community. Similar to the “Chinese Club” in the past two years, they were very open, and often times host speeches and receptions for state governors. If we maintain constant communications with them, we will be able to ask them directly whenever we need something from them. They would give us a little more attention. We have to do it this way. Whether it’s a successful effort is a different matter. But our attitudes toward the community should be this way.

Q: You have been living in the United States for some thirty years. Do you feel that you are a Chinese living in the United States? Or are you already a Chinese-American?

Sang: I am definitely a Chinese-American. I have already gained citizenship, right? But I would not deny the Chinese culture that I have internalized. I have a better understanding of Chinese culture, so my interests are also more Chinese.

Q: According to you, what do you think are the biggest issues in Chinatown now?

Sang: When it comes to the biggest issues, I think the first one is transportation. Second one would be sanitary problem. The third issue would be economics. Our economy is under threat ever since we lost the clothing factories. Those women, who used to work in those factories, now have to adapt and take new professions such as health care. This transformation has to be gradual. Other than transformation, the Chinatown business model also has to change into more tourism focused, more tourists-oriented, besides the traditional sales technique to attract middle aged women. We should provide products that fit the American markets, while attracting tourists with high consuming power to spend money here. In other word, we need to turn Chinatown into a cultural and tourist center. For our economic survival, we have to build Chinatown up in this direction. We should employ a liberal approach. We cannot act the way we used to, thinking and satisfying on the limited businesses that the clothing factories provided. The old way how bosses could go to Atlantic City and spend tens of thousands on the gambling tables, is not possible nowadays. We have to treat our community more seriously, while pushing for its transformation. That’s why I joined Rebuild Chinatown Association - -

Q: You mean NYC Promotion & Tourism Association, right?

Sang: Yeah, that one.

Q: NYC Promotion & Tourism Association existed even before the 9/11 incident. We hope to spread whatever news we have of Chinatown. We want the media to promote for us, and let them understand Chinatown, and understand Chinese cultures. Quite interesting - - One time we were hosting a group of media, including journalists from New York, and a woman form the state department. She was the head in promoting ethnic culture. I forgot her name. When she came, we brought her around Chinatown for a grand tour, and brought her to Chinatown for dim sum. We went to Good Harmony Restaurant for Dim sum. She asked, “It is now eight thirty, why there are so many people here for breakfast? Is it because they did not have dinner last night?” I told her not. I said for the Chinese, the most important thing after you get up is to “Yum Cha”. “Yum Cha” is an old habit of Chinese that date back to thousands of years. When it comes to “Yum Cha”, you can see that over there is a group of older men reading a paper together. They would discuss the current events of the day, whether it’s political or politics, all is discussed here. You can also see other tables, where there are children. They are families. They could be discussing family affairs, or it could also be someone’s birthday today. And the table next to it, you can see a bunch of business people, with their business suits. It’s possible that if a man owns another, money, and he would be invited to “Yum Cha” the next say. Then, you will have to remember to bring five hundred dollar to return to the lender. Here, you do business, family meeting, business meeting, as well as community leaders discussing community affairs are all here. That’s why for us Chinese, we don’t have to pay to go to those psychologists, those psychiatrists. We all get heal here. Whatever problems that we have, you come out, talk to a friend and you are cured. The psychologists know nothing about your personal life. But your friends understand you, and they can solve your problem. So I feel that in the western world, this kind of culture does not exist. “Oh, you guys are real smart!” (Said the woman representative) Whenever we have problems about business, we just need to invite them out. Whatever that’s not right, you discuss here until all is right. Why engage in meeting? You have to meeting this and meeting that. Here, we agree on everything. When we eat and discuss enthusiastically, it’s easier to smooth things down, and less arguments. If I talk business to you, should there be anything wrong, I would not slam the table and start yelling. The westerners would slam tables and start yelling whenever there’s something wrong during meeting. We can’t do that because we have tables around us. It would not be good if other people see us. The most we could do was to yell quietly. She said, “I have never heard anything like this!” I replied, “That’s why I am telling you now. If you want to write a book, a novel - - if you wish to learn the traditional Chinese cultures, and values – In other words, many people are not familiar this kind of lifestyles, but if you’re sensitive, you may gradually come to an understanding. You will be able to write them down as content for your novel.”

Q: Previously I asked you, what the biggest issues are in Chinatown. During this project, I also have spoken with a number of neighbors. It seems like they are either of; transportation, sanitary, rents, and housing issues. - - Right.

Sang: These things are very important.

Q: Even though everyone knows what the problems are. But how come after ten, twenty years, the problems are still to be solved? Why is Chinatown still dirty, still so cramped?

Sang: But I feel that - - Let us begin with the housing issue. I remember those days in the seventies, when the Confucius Plaza was being built. There were many vacant apartments, which took quite a while to be rented out. Not too many people applied for them. Gradually, there were more immigrants, but at the same times, many Jews moved away in the East side, while the Italians were also moving out of Little Italy. But right now, it is completely full. That is why housing is such a problem. Even if there were space now, it would be very expensive. A Square feet of space would cost around a few hundred dollars, but it would still be bought to build houses. These houses could be sold for at least six, seven hundred dollars per square feet. Population density has increased, city’s value has increased, but when it comes to sanitation - - That is why there exists an organization called Clean Chinatown Campaign. Ever since Bill Lam and Danny Lee organized this club, I have been supporting them every way I can, such as soliciting members and others to donate money. I have been quite passionate with my effort, they all know that. Compare to a decade ago, there has been a great improvement since ten years ago. Chinatown is much cleaner now, don’t you think? But it’s not as perfect as - -

Q: Midtown.

Sang: Right, as Midtown or Park Avenue. This is because they do not have as many people and tourists. Also, the density of traffic is also not as high as here. Like when it’s Saturday and Sunday, there are ten to twenty thousands people rushing into here, and turn it into - - When there are more people, then inevitably it’d be dirtier. That is the reason why we have been educating people, and tell them not to throw trash on the street. Most simply, for example, there was this one time, I was on the street. I saw a woman threw a paper bag on the street. Next to this woman was her friend which I knew personally. This mutual friend saw me, and said to her friend, ‘People are promoting clean Chinatown, why don’t you pick up the trash?’ In other words, it is important to educate people and let them know it’s important to keep streets clean. That is why in the future, we will record a Sang about how cleaning is everyone’s responsibility. We are trying to see whether we could get Jackie Chan to sing it, and broadcast it publicly, and remind people not to carelessly throw trash on the street. We still have to hire people to clean the streets, and change those trash bags. Chinatown is much better than before. Back in those days, those garbage treatment companies did not care at all. I later discovered the reason why Chinatown smelled so bad. It was because those garbage collection trucks, first collected wet, dampened trash, and after they pressed them, the liquid would overflow all over. That was the reason why it smelled bad. I went and spoke with different officers and representatives at those companies, and told them to change their schedule. I told them they should collect wet trash at the end of their schedule. In this case, those liquids would not be overflowing all over Chinatown, and the bad smell has at least decreased by fifty percents. We have to pay attention to clean, and be aware to where dirtiness comes from. But we are unable to - - Since a lot of people come here, and the fish markets are located in the central area, it would be impossible to do a perfect job, but we could try our best. To be perfectly clean means no one could come, which is worst than being dirty.

Q: It seems that you not only do business in Chinatown, but you also spend a lot of times doing community services.

Sang: Yeah.

Q: - - Your children, do they have the same thoughts?

Sang: They study. My son is studying at Tufts. He already graduated from Northwestern University, and worked for two years. After he got his master degree, he wanted to go for his Ph.D. He told me that it’s free of charge. I told him to go for it. He studies philosophy.

Q: And you - -

Sang: I would not force them. If the next generation has the interests, than of course are their choices.

Q: - - never pressured them to be in your profession?

Sang: No. Absolutely not.

Q: The future of your business ……?

Sang: My sister and brother, they each has one shop. So, if I did not pass them to my children, I could pass them to my siblings. I would never do that. My father used to be in the bakery business. In summer times, he asked me to help him at his bakery. We bought flour and sugar for three hundred dollars, and at night we could collect three to four- thousand dollars. It was very profitable, would you be interested? I said, “But I have no interest, I still prefer the watches”.

Q: In other words, you do not pressure your children?

Sang: No.

Q: - - what do they do?

Sang: It’s quite interesting. My eldest daughter, graduated from Swarthmore University. She likes arts. She is now working at the Education Department of Metropolitan Museum. My youngest one is studying at Haverford College, in Pennsylvania. She is now in Spain doing a study abroad program, and won’t come back until June. I told her, saying that since your brother wouldn’t help me, and your sister went to work at the Metropolitan Museum, you are my last hope. Will you help out with the family business? Guess what she told me? She said, “Daddy, you are talking about your own dream, you’re not talking about my dream”. You’re talking about your own dream. You’re not talking about my dream. It’s difficult, since we have different dreams.

Q: It has been over two years since 9/11. Do you feel that it has become as lively as it was before 911, and that the business has normalized?

Sang: The business in Chinatown is still quite quiet. It cannot be said that it is as lively as it was before. Other than the effects of 9/11, there is also the influence of the American Economy, where the real estate market has locked up all the cash flow. This is true to all businesses in the United States. You remember those times when the Hong Kong real estates market was speculated by the real estate companies. They want to push all the poor people back to their hometowns, in China. Even though they are all economists in Hong Kong, but what they did was wrong. If there are only a few rich people in Hong Kong, and have no one to consume in the markets, no one to cook for you, how can you open up restaurants? No one to make coffee for you, then you will not have coffee to drink. You life would be abnormal. You have to - - About the survival in a social environment - - I wrote a letter to the head of LMDC, John Whitehead. I said, “For New York to survive, the small businesses must also survive, in order for the big businesses to survive”. Just like our planet’s environment, if there lack a grass root level to absorb all the water, it would become a desert, and big trees would not be able to grow. There must be much grass, before the trees grow. All across the world, when there’s no grass, there’re no trees. You must have grass field to absorb the water, in order for the big tree to grow. I told him to pay attention not just to the bigger companies such as those in II World Trade Center, but also to small businesses. If there were only big trees, while the small businesses are bad - - If it’s a desert surrounding a tree, that tree would surely have no leaves. It will die. I told him that this is economics. I realize that for New York, seventy percents of company taxes come from small businesses, while big businesses only contribute around thirty percents. They called it Small Business Investigation.

Q: Great. We talked about many different things today. Is there anything else you would like us to know? Is there anything that I have not already asked? Is there anything you want to share with us?

Sang: I don’t have any other ideas. But the most important thing is to promote Chinatown and Chinese culture to everyone in the United States. We should make them interested in coming here to learn our Chinese cultures, whether it’s about the food, gifts, or the jewelry market. Around the world, there is no jewelry markets that can be compare to what we have here. On forty-seven street, they only sell American styles. But here, we sell the Chinese styles, European styles, and American styles. All international styles can be found in Chinatown. No where else has there a market that is stronger and better than ours. I wish people would come and purchase from us, and bring more business to us.

Q: You are confidence that in the future, the business will pick up? It will - -

Sang: Yes, It will. Once the interest rate increased, the property market will cool off. Once the property market cools off, the cash flow will not be locked dead, and the retail business will improve. Just like those days when they speculated in the property market in Hong Kong. There was a lack of businesses, and all went dead. Everyone use their money to pay mortgage, while the banks were soaking up all the money. When you had to store less than a million dollars at the banks in Hong Kong, you had to pay storage fee to the bank. They did not even give you interests. They had too much money. They were speculating the property market. It just like when you’re on an airplane. If you have all your weights on one side, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for the economy.

Q: Okay. Thank you for your time…

Sang: Well said.

Q: to chat with us. I wish you lots of good Luck.

Sang: Yeah, thank you.

(End of session)

Chinatown Interview: Interview (zh)

<p> 問﹕今天是三月十一號2004年,我們在華人博物館,請你講你的名字。</p>
<p>岑﹕我姓岑, 叫灼槐,岑灼槐。</p>
<p>問﹕你已經在唐人街多少年了﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕一九六九年十月已經來到美國。<br>
<br>
問﹕以前你從那裡來的﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕我以前在澳門住。一九六六年, 多明尼加,中美洲多明尼加, 後來再在一九六九年十月到美國。<br>
<br>
問﹕你在澳門出生的﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕不是, 我是在大陸出世的。</p>
<p>問﹕在大陸那裡﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕在大陸恩平出世的。<br>
<br>
問﹕在那一年﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕四六年。</p>
<p>
問﹕在大陸那裡出生﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕在大陸恩平縣。</p>
<p>問﹕九歲 時候就到了澳門, 為什麼﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕因為我們全家都搬到了澳門。</p>
<p>Q﹕為什麼你從中國去澳門﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕因為我爸爸,他們準備去委內瑞拉,那麼我們全家出了澳門,我在澳門讀書。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼,你對中國有什麼印象呢﹖九歲倒應該記得很多事情吧。</p>
<p>岑﹕當然啦,記得好多啦。我地恩平啦就的地方就好窮的。我們同鄉的人呢都是個個出外洋的,出外洋呢,就是出去第二個國家,然後工作,比較有前途的,因為這樣,所以我們鄉下裡的人都很喜歡出國,去美國啦,去中南美洲,恩平人去多明尼加,最多。</p>
<p>問﹕是怎樣去的呢﹖是偷渡﹖還是申請去的呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕不是偷渡的,我們是申請去旅遊,入到去之後六個月後,可以拿到居留。</p>
<p>問﹕挺容易的嗎﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕是,以前是非常之容易的。<br>
<br>

問﹕那麼你以前家裡人是做什麼的呢﹖在大陸的時候﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕我祖父以前在大陸做工廠的,做磚瓦,就是製造建築材料的工廠,但是後來,共產黨來了之後,所有財產被沒收了,這就變了我們家族沒有法子謀生活,所以就要出國了。<br>
<br>
問﹕為什麼會到了南美洲呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕因為我們以前鄉親全部,多半也是到了南美洲, 多明尼加,SANTA DOMINGO 。</p>
<p>問﹕你已經有幾代在那裡啊﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕沒有幾代,由我這代才開始,但是我爺爺去VENEZUELA(委內瑞拉),去委內瑞拉差不多四十年啦。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼,你九歲那年,你全家去了澳門?<br>
<br>
岑﹕一部分,我和我媽媽和兩個弟弟,後來,就我祖母和另外兩個弟弟都出來,全家都在澳門住。<br>
<br>
問﹕你爸爸呢﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕我爸爸在香港是做麵包的。也就是在BAKERY(麵包店)那些,弄一些BREAD(麵包),發給人家的,是工廠,也就是賣給那些COFFEE SHOP(咖啡店)。</p>
<p>問﹕也就是說你爸爸早就去了香港啦﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕是。<br>
<br>

問﹕那麼,你在澳門住了多久了﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕在澳門住了十一年了。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你讀書,小學中學也是在那裡﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕我也是在聖約瑟讀中學。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼那時候在澳門讀中文﹖還是讀英文﹖讀英文--<br>
<br>
岑﹕有中文有英文。<br>
<br>
問﹕-- 你有沒有學PORTUGESE(葡萄牙文)﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕我認識一點啊,因為我懂西班牙語,PORTUGESE跟西班牙語好相近。</p>
<p>問﹕你是幾歲時候就去了--<br>
<br>
岑﹕二十歲啊。</p>
<p>問﹕二十歲才去DOMINICAN REPUBLIC(多明尼加共和國)是不是﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕是。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼,你到了那裡,感覺是如何﹖在那裡?<br>
<br>
岑﹕我在那裡跟了一個UNCLE(叔叔)做WATCH REPAIR,也就是修理手錶,JEWELRY的東西,也就是首飾,跟他學。<br>
<br>

問﹕你在澳門到二十歲,已經讀大學了嗎﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕不是啊。我在讀中學沒多久就去了,我們澳門那個地方是沒有大學讀的,也就是到最高也只有有高中。<br>
<br>
問﹕你在十多歲的時候,有沒有想過以後成長,長大,時會有什麼樣的事業呢﹖出國之類﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕我最大的願望是做醫生,但是不太有機會繼續讀大學做醫生,但是現在我很幸運,我自己做不了醫生,就做了一個JEWELER(首飾師傅)。也就是,因為設計首飾,做首飾啊是無須要對生命負責任。做醫生呢。對生命有責任,要負責。所以我覺得我真好沒做醫生,我做回自己的工。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼,你二十歲的時候,在南美洲已經有家人嗎﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕不是,我的家人都在澳門,只是我一個人去了。到了和同鄉的UNCLE(叔伯)那裡去做工。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼,你在那裡,做一些什麼樣的事﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕是做修理手錶啊。做JEWELRY(珠寶)啊。<br>
<br>
問﹕那個時候,你住的地方,多不多華人啊﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕啊,我們那裡,那時候,差不多有幾千人。我們鋪頭做工有十多人,我們的鋪頭有十五人做工,做修理手錶啊,做買賣那些錶啊,還有JEWELRY那些東西。</p>
<p>
問﹕那麼你過了去,覺不覺得容易好快就習慣了那邊的生活﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕我們好開心啊,那時候,師兄弟,常打球,生活好開心,非常之開心啊。也就是生活的方式跟澳門﹑香港﹑美國完全不同的。 <br>
<br>
問﹕是怎樣不同呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕在西班牙地方呢,人們性格好熱情的,還有好FRIENDLY(友善)的,對那些中國人沒有歧視的。覺得那些中國人呢,高人一等的,也就是沒有歧視你們中國人啊,好少這情況。<br>
<br>
問﹕你是過到去才開始學西班牙文的﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕是。那時候我們,在那裡做工,一班人。我們請了一個律師,在那裡做工,不是,也就是我們早上做工,晚上律師下班後就教我們,收我們每人,一個人,一個星期十元,於是我們做了黑板學西班牙文。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你讀多久就已經明白呢﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕讀,通常來講呢,讀了兩年就可以普通可以講,大約三,四年就可以寫一點。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你在那裡,一路是做修理--?<br>
<br>
岑﹕一路也是做工,修理手錶。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你在那時候,有沒有想過繼續讀書,再做醫生呢﹖<br>
<br>

岑﹕沒有,那時候我們已經做了這個行業,已經不能改變,工作的PRESSURE(壓力)和責任,一路一路的做下去。那時後,沒想到,沒想到讀書,最重要的是掙得錢,那時候,首先掙錢。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼,做這職業,是能掙錢的﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕做,做了三年呢,在那邊做了三年,就已經自己開出來了,開了舖子,也就是自己做老闆。</p>
<p>問﹕你一共在那裡住了多少年了﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕住了三年多,沒到四年。<br>
<br>
問﹕就來美國了﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕是來美國。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你是怎樣,有人擔保你過來嗎﹖還是你自己﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕因為我過來的時候,已經有師兄弟,已經在美國,大的廠裡面做。之後見到那些工作安定,而且做我們這個職業,那時候,工資還好,都有一百二十元,一百三十元一個星期。</p>
<p>問﹕那是1960年代?</p>
<p>岑﹕以前普通餐廳 ,去餐館普通打工,七十五,一百銀。這樣的話,我們多一些。而且工作比較舒服,就是做技術性的工作,就沒有--,原本我過來這裡的時候,我的外父呢做餐館,<br>

想教我做餐館。但是我見到餐館的時候,哇﹗我去見到做廚師呢,一腳頂一個按鈕,全身擺動,這樣我真的不能啊。我是好喜歡煮餐的。我以前媽媽教我煮餐,我好喜歡煮餐!但是,我見到這樣辛苦是挨不了,我還是做回自己珠寶那個行業。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你過來美國,也是一個遊客這樣過來啊﹖還是申請過來﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕第一次過來是遊客,第二次過來也是遊客,後來我在猶太那個,一個工廠那裡做。差不多時候便申請居留。<br>
<br>
問﹕在猶太也是做修理的﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕修理手錶,YEAH(是的)。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你69年,一來就來紐約嗎﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕不是啊,那時應該是70年,不是69,是70年才是。EXACTLY(正確是)。<br>
<br>
問﹕那麼你一來就來紐約嗎﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕一來就來到紐約啊。<br>
<br>
問﹕你為甚麼選紐約呢﹖美國那麼大﹖<br>
<br>
岑﹕因為我以前來旅行,我見到有中國的SUPERMARKET(超級市場),見到有我們中國的食物什麼也有。是適合我們中國人口味,因為我第一最緊要,最緊要的事就是要有得吃。因為多明尼加那裡呢,<br>

西班牙那地方啦,也是什麼食物都有。但是我注重中國式的食物樣樣都齊全。我就是為了那邊多東西吃,所以我來的。</p>
<p>問﹕ 沒有考慮去舊金山啊,其他地方,有華人--?</p>
<p>岑﹕因為我所有的朋友都在NEW YORK(紐約),所有我考慮來NEW YORK(紐約)。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼你來到有沒有好難接受﹖這裡冬天又這麼冷,好多東西也不同,你那時候冷不冷?</p>
<p>岑﹕因為我們呢,我們習慣了,因為我們以前年輕時,好喜歡打球,運動啦。我個人是很ACTIVITY(活躍)的,就比較,也就是活動性的,也就是適合環境就是很容易的,也就是完全沒覺得冷的。</p>
<p>問﹕你來的那個時候,懂不懂英文呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕我也懂一點。我以前在澳門讀書都懂,一路也是在多明尼加那時候讀西班牙文,我們也是用英文的,兩種語文一起地讀。</p>
<p>問﹕你來的時候有二十多歲啦﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕是。</p>
<p>問﹕還是蠻年輕的﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕是啊。</p>
<p>問﹕你剛過來的時候是做什麼的呢﹖但是--</p>
<p>
岑﹕我剛過來的時候是修理錶啦。跟那個西人做了一年,之後居留就好了。之後因為我自己在那邊做了一年老闆,我就立即自己開間公司。跟一個朋友立即自己,還在哈林區開﹗你們不敢去那裡啦,但是那邊舖子租金便宜啊,那時候,一百而十多元舖租。我說,好,租一間鋪出來,先開了鋪,一路做,一路學,也就是在美國去摸索怎麼在美國做珠寶。實在在那邊開了,初初也不是志在賺錢,是志在先入了行,看市場,怎樣的做法,怎樣自己做。</p>
<p>問﹕那時候,唐人街的屋租,是不是很貴﹖你要到HARLEM(哈林)呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕不是。因為那時候,我有班朋友,住在上面那邊。他見到有一間-- 因為我有個同鄉,在對面開了餐館,叫做華庭餐館。他開了幾十年了,現在沒有做了。他說,“對面有個鋪位,租金廉宜,你不如上來這裡開啦﹗那邊很多西班牙人,西班牙人的生意最好啦”。我說,“試試看就租了來做。我們做了一年左右,我們已經賺了十萬,八萬了。我們又跟另一個PARTNER(合夥人),兩個人在BRONX那邊Concord又開一間, 那麼我變了兩間,變了開了一年半之後,我們又賺了十多﹑二十萬。這時候,我就去了CANAL (堅尼路)開鋪。在CANAL 225號開,開了之後,一路到現在,我的舖子還在。</p>
<p>問﹕NO NO NO WE CAN’T [PAUSE] </p>
<p>岑﹕那時候,就是七一年,開了大約一年左右呢,我們在BRONX(布朗士區) 的concord又開第二間,我的PARTNER (合夥人)就去守那間,我就守157街BROADWAY那間。那麼ALAN在上面守呢,後來在過半年之後呢,我找到鋪位,我搬下到CANAL街來,那時候是七三年。</p>
<p>問﹕聽來,好像是很大膽,你只有二十多歲。</p>
<p>
岑﹕是嗎,我不是,我絕對不-- 也就是說一定要勇敢,做人一定要勇敢。那時候我隔壁哈林啊,打劫啊,那間銀行打劫,三支機關槍帶到門口,我趕快逃啊。打劫我隔壁的銀行,HARLEM啊。HARLEM BANK,三支機關槍,教那些警車也走回頭路﹗</p>
<p>問﹕那是不是你懂西班牙語,可以跟那些顧客--</p>
<p>岑﹕也就是可以溝通,YEAH,可以溝通,所以,就--。但是我們那時候做就比較容易,就沒有那麼多COMPETITION(競爭)。還有是很少人做,生意也很好。所有好多的同鄉,親戚朋友,都說千萬不要做,說在美國,是沒有中國人做珠寶的。</p>
<p>問﹕你來美國之前,對美國有什麼印象呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕對美國,因為我們很多時候會看歷史,報紙,還有時事新聞,也知道美國是唯一一個國家,現代社會,經濟發展得最強的。而且,美元穩定啊,也就是來到這裡,工作生意也比較穩定。特別我們這些勤力的人,一定有成就的-- --就是要有點信心。</p>
<p>問﹕你來之前,是不是未有家庭﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕還沒有。</p>
<p>問﹕你剛來的時候,你看,你覺得那時候七十年代,唐人街是什麼樣子的呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕唐人街那時候,就是孔子大廈也還沒有起(興建)。那時候有很多的爛破屋的﹗那裡有牌子寫著「提防小手」,也就是提防那些偷盜。<br>

那時候只有幾間破屋,在孔子大廈那邊。我們就住在EAST BROADWAY(東百老匯)那邊,在郵政局隔壁。</p>
<p>問﹕但是那時候,那個範圍一定沒有現在那麼大﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕範圍沒有現在那麼大,而且那個時候的人--差不多我們出街,每個人也認識的。也就是說,你在唐人街,人人都認識的。每一個人都認識每一個人啊。也就是說當時比較少一點人。</p>
<p>問﹕親密一點啦﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕親密一點,也就是每一個人都認識。你在那裡做生意啊,你在那裡出入,每個都認識。現在不可以啦,認識不了那麼多啦。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼你來到覺得困不困難呢﹖你每一樣事也要--</p>
<p>岑﹕我很順利的,我是非常的順利。</p>
<p>問﹕你為什麼這樣的順利﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕因為我自己有信心,我自己勤力和爭取,對啊。</p>
<p>問﹕就是這些東西令你做生意很順利﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕對。沒錯。</p>
<p>問﹕你在那一年在唐人街開舖子的﹖</p>
<p>
岑﹕我在七--讓我看看-- 七二年搬入,七二年那時候搬下去唐人街的。但是七一年已經在HARLEM開了啦,到七二年中間那時候,我不太記得,忘了日子啦。這麼就搬了下來唐人街這裡,是225號CANAL街,也就是225號,在中央街和CANAL街交角那裡,還有的是,我是第一個中國人在那裡租舖子做珠寶。</p>
<p>問﹕在那個時候,七零年代唐人街是不是還有很多黑社會呢﹖你做這個行業,覺不覺得有很大的危險性﹖也就是--</p>
<p>岑﹕YEAH,我覺得絕對就是不會的。因為--為什麼呢﹖我們做這行業,我們當然要小心門戶,門戶要小心,也就是自己要提防啦。但是也不是那麼的危險。我也有膽在HARLEM開,我在CANAL街更加不會覺得危險啦。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼你有沒有試過打劫呢﹖給人家--?</p>
<p>岑﹕有啊。試過很多次啦。給人拿起就走啊,這樣啦,一支槍指著,只可等他拿走。</p>
<p>問﹕但是你的親人有沒有給人家--?</p>
<p>岑﹕有,有啊。</p>
<p>問﹕但是,你還是不怕﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕我不怕的。我-- --人家來打劫我,我說,你最多拿東西走,你不要DON’T MAKE NERVOUS,當然不要NERVOUS,先不要緊張。你要什麼,你拿去,就走。</p>
<p>問﹕你自己本人,有沒有拿住槍﹖</p>
<p>
岑﹕我不能夠拿槍啦。如果真的要拿槍,我已經打死了幾次人。但是我不喜歡,拿槍對待。現在打劫,只是拿一些東西,對嗎﹖拿槍,如果拿槍,抓槍去來,不是他射你,就是你射他,不能的。做我們這個行業有槍是很危險的。</p>
<p>問﹕那時候,七十年代初,雖然唐人街很多黑社會,但是有沒有要給錢某一黨派去?</p>
<p>岑﹕沒有,我們沒有。</p>
<p>問﹕-- 保護你﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕是有這些事。我們這邊沒有。因為七十年代初那時候,雖然就-- --很混亂,也就是每天都有人下來唐人街這裡想打劫那些舖子。當時呢,我就組織<br>
了一個會,一個叫CANAL STREET JEWELRY MERCHANT ASSOCIATION(堅尼路珠寶商人協會)。我做會長,那時候,就請了六個ARMED GUARD(警衛)守這條街。我是做HANDLE(處理)的,就請這些ARMED GUARD(持械警衛),六個ARMED GUARD,有槍的,看守,每一個BLOCK(街口)看守,所以他們去那裡打劫,不敢到我們那邊。</p>
<p>問﹕那些是你私人--</p>
<p>岑﹕不是,是我們會的。</p>
<p>問﹕--會的﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕我們那個會,每人三百元,也就是我做組織啦,那時候我做會長的。我在HANDLE(處理),收錢啊,給那些GUARD(警衛)。做計算,人家不給我,我自己給人家那一份。</p>
<p>問﹕由一個中國人來講,你覺得在美國做在美國的中國人,和在南美洲有沒有什麼不同的呢﹖以一個美國人對中國人來看,和南美洲人對中國人來看﹖</p>
<p>
岑﹕我相信呢,你自己相處那些人,如果,假如你自己真正在某方面或是有知識啊,這樣人家也不會歧視你的。除非你做一些,不好的事,或是行為啊,舉動啊,也就是做得不好,即使是同類,人家,不是中國人也會歧視你。我不感覺,我常常也不會感覺給人家歧視啊。好像我最初呢,開珠寶店的時候,有一班猶太人,在CANAL街做的。見到我們中國人來開,他說,“中國人啊,你應該在對面開賣食物啊,或是開餐館,做那些。為甚麼你會來做我們這行業呢﹖”他,第一會歧視,取笑的型式,但是我會很斯文的跟他講,我說猶太以前,在埃及,也就是耶穌誕生之前,在埃及,給埃及王拉去做奴隸,起金字塔,當摩西帶猶太人回去中東的時候,跟中東的有非常的衝突,沒路可走,就跟絲綢之路,在唐朝時代入了我們中國,有二萬多猶太人,入了我們中國。在第一次世紀之難,我們中國人保護了你們猶太人,第二次呢,那個希特勒呢,第二次世界大戰,就殺那些猶太人,殺到手弱的時候,你有地方走嗎﹖只有我們中國人接受你,去了上海。兩次世紀之難,我們中國人都救了你啊。你不能夠歧視我們啊,我們是你的朋友。</p>
<p>問﹕然後你說--</p>
<p>岑﹕HEY,中國人啊,你不要再講這個故事。我說如果再想聽多些歷史,我再講。他說,也就是說不應該歧視人。</p>
<p>問﹕也就是說,你要用歷史道理跟他講,這樣才可--</p>
<p>岑﹕也不是,如果你自己有(料)才幹,沒有人可以歧視你,不敢歧視你啊﹗人家會RESPECT你,尊敬你,最緊要你自己是嗎。</p>
<p>
問﹕你來到美國開鋪,後來哈林兩間有繼續﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕哈林區那間,我搬了去CANAL街,沒有做啦。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼你現在總共有幾多間﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕我現在有三間。也就是我太太看那間舊的,我自己在軍人會樓下一間,我太太隔壁那間也是我的。</p>
<p>問﹕你本身是住在那裡呢﹖現在--</p>
<p>岑﹕我現在住在QUEENS,ASTORIA(皇后區的亞士多利亞)。</p>
<p>問﹕也就是沒有住在唐人街很久啦﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕沒有住啦。我七九年已經搬了過去了。我舊時在EAST BROADWAY(東百老匯) 住啊。YEAH</p>
<p>問﹕那麼你在唐人街住的時候,你覺不覺得好像好多中國人在唐人街,全個世界就是這個唐人街,不多出去紐約其他地方﹖長時間來看,好像好小的一個地方。那麼,你的生活,會不會是這樣的﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕我是不會的。因為我們呢,就每一年,都喜歡去旅行啦,去第二個地方,而且我一班朋友啦,在那裡住也有朋友的,有時候去探探朋友啦。也就是說我們不是封閉式的,我們生活幾代會跟潮流轉的。也就是不會像那些老伯那樣,不出唐人街。他們在唐人街幾十年,整天留在唐人街,就連搭火車去出門也沒有,我們絕對不會是這種啦。 </p>
<p>
問﹕你覺得七十年代那個時候,唐人街那些街坊團不團結呢﹖那個時候,多數是台山跟廣東人,也就是沒現在那麼複雜﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕不過一般來講,以前大約百分之八十也是台山人,那時候我們一班客人,朋友也是台山人多。YEAH。(是的)</p>
<p>問﹕你覺得那時候的唐人街,比較現在,會不會團結一點呢﹖也就是沒有現在那麼複雜呢﹖現在比較多種人。</p>
<p>岑﹕我覺得得看由那一方面來講。如果你講複雜,跟每個意見各方面來講就覺得。一個人和一個人跟社會的關係,這樣的就絕對不會。也就是說你複雜的情況是你自己個人的情況,不是整個社會的,我覺得情況不是這樣。</p>
<p>問﹕你不認為現在唐人街是好不團結,廣東人﹑台山人﹑又福建人好像--</p>
<p>岑﹕絕對不會的。我對福建人﹑台山人﹑還有對我自己鄉里,也是一樣。在我心目中,就算我聽到朋友講話,跟誰過份什麼的,台山福建這樣,我都會用理由去解釋,他這樣不應該。我們中國人怎麼可以歧視我們自己中國人呢﹖我的客戶有西班牙人﹑非洲人﹑什麼人種類也有,我都他們呢,始終我在我的觀感來講是沒有等級的。</p>
<p>問﹕可能是你本人--</p>
<p>岑﹕對。</p>
<p>
問﹕--是不是這樣子。但是很多中國人在唐人街來講,我們是不團結的。所以就在紐約市來講就沒有一種權力 ,因為好多唐人也是不團結,每一個會也有自己的看法,那麼你--</p>
<p>岑﹕我覺得呢,跟以前比較呢,我很少參與社區活動那些會的。但是最近來講呢,一班朋友呢,也就是有時要做些什麼,就要我出來,參與一下,我們多一點接觸。我認為中國人呢,團體啊,姓氏啊,那些會啊,是非常我們中國的,是最有價值的CULTURE(文化)。一班同鄉啊,走在一起,大家有困難,互相幫助啊,借錢啊,或是有什麼意見啊,家庭問題啊,自己有一班人解決。對外而言,是他沒有跟一個GROUP(團體)去交-- 也就是去相處啦。當然啦,一個,那個人去跟第二個個人去相處不很久,就是不明白的。當然對每一種事的看法就不同,無論是做事,一個國家都一樣,對看法不同,拿出來,大家互相去argue(爭吵),沒緊要,去爭吵,沒緊要,找出一個真理,大家一起要做,應該是這樣的。社會是跟國家一樣的。我有很多COMMITTEE(委員會)一起,那麼我是從來沒有吵過架的,也沒有人罵過我的。我這麼多COMMITTEE(委員會)做,跟他們一起做,只可能將不同的意見,大家相量去解決。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼你來了美國就沒有考慮到過回澳門或是回去玩﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕有,我有回去玩,回去看看,我一回去,一班同學啊,一班朋友啊,很有--</p>
<p>問﹕但是沒有想過回去住﹖回去--</p>
<p>
岑﹕絕對不會啦。因為我的兒女在這裡長大,在這裡讀書,家庭最緊要嗎。我事業也在這裡,就是不會--</p>
<p>問﹕這樣子,好像你的事業,店鋪,也是很順利的,是不是﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕我覺得,勉強可以支持我家庭的生活,那麼我就已經覺得很滿足,因為我們一個人呢,最重要是覺得自己滿足,而且自己有信心。這樣子去生存,然後才可以--</p>
<p>問﹕現在回到9/11那個時候啦。</p>
<p>岑﹕是。</p>
<p>問﹕9/11那一年,你在唐人街﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕是,我在唐人街,對,我還在上班--</p>
<p>問﹕你記不記得--</p>
<p>岑﹕我的汽車在DELANCEY(地蘭西),那時候,第一架飛機呢就撞了在那裡,我就以為是火災,我們還在DELANCEY(地蘭西)那裡,回到DELANCY(地蘭西)和BOWERY(包厘)那裡,CORNER(街角)那裡,見到在窗門那裡起煙。</p>
<p>問﹕後來那段時間,對你的生意有什麼樣的影響﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕啊,9/11發生之後,我們關門,關了三天,因為那些煙呢,那陣煙味,整個唐人街COVER(被掩蓋)了,空氣很不舒服,同時,那時候就覺得那些空氣,還是很不舒服。也就是說那些空氣呢,呼吸空氣的時候,很污濁的。所以我們沒回去,沒有開門三天。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼,在這三天時間,有沒有人打劫﹖有沒有人打擾什麼的﹖</p>
<p>
岑﹕絕對沒有。那次就是因為美國的通訊和資訊先進,每個人都知道發生了什麼事啊--大家應該用什麼的心態去保護這個國家,怎樣去--什麼意見去提出來啊,怎樣去保護我們的國家啊,也就是那個同時的情況,怎樣發生,所以每個人心中就是問這些事。我相信不會,那些出來打劫那些事就絕對沒有。所以我覺得NEW YORK(紐約)已經進步了,或是水準高了。</p>
<p>問﹕那麼,你的生意有沒有影響了呢﹖也就是說,除了那三天關門之後﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕當然是影響非常之大啦,因為以前我們在II WORLD TRADE CENTER(世貿中心)那裡做工的人,好像MERRILL LYNCH(美林證券),跟LEHMAN BROTHERS(李曼兄弟),很多在那裡的也是我的客戶。他們在LUNCH TIME 的時候,LUNCH也不吃,出來看一下表啊,WEDDING BAND那些,他們這些人,已經全走了去第二個地方工作,這些客戶不再回來了。</p>
<p>問﹕你意思是你的客戶,不只是唐人街的唐人,很多WALL STREET (華爾街)啊--</p>
<p>岑﹕對啊。</p>
<p>問﹕-- 其他鬼佬也來的﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕對。</p>
<p>問﹕大約你BUSINESS(生意)損失有幾多呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕一段一段時間啦,初時只剩下三分之一,後來慢慢地一路去好,但是現在相差還有二十五到三十個PERCENT(百分點)。</p>
<p>問﹕你有沒有去申請9/11救助金﹖</p>
<p>
岑﹕我就沒有去直接地申請,但是有一次,他寄來一張FORM,就填表,可以幫助我們的租金這樣。我們啦,收了四千元,一次四千元,一次三千元,好像是七千元。</p>
<p>問﹕你的屋租有沒有起價,這幾年﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕我的屋租就一路一路有起的。</p>
<p>問﹕也就是說不是因為9/11的影響﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕因為我們簽租約的時候一路是這樣起,要按照租約那樣交租啦。我屋主就減了一個月屋租。</p>
<p>問﹕但是我覺得唐人街CANAL STREET(堅尼路)走起上來,好像沒有以前那麼多金鋪,是不是呢﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕不是的。始終也是這麼多,沒有少過,應該是沒有少了。</p>
<p>問﹕跟以前差不多?</p>
<p>岑﹕YEAH,差不多</p>
<p>問﹕跟9/11以前﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕對啊。</p>
<p>問﹕你有沒有覺得,唐人客戶少了呢﹖因為這幾年,經濟差了很多,可能人們買金買表,沒以前花錢那麼多,沒以前花的--</p>
<p>
岑﹕如果跟以前,我自己的觀感,對MARKET(市場)來講呢。因為現在美國人,呢,就受了一個市場的經驗,知識水平高了,對於經濟學研究深了,所以好得意,股票賺錢,一窩蜂個個買股票。但是INTERNET(科網)爆了之後呢,個個覺得一不穩定,錢就全不見了。他們現在就買屋,他們買屋,第一間就買來住,第二間買來投資,有兒子結婚呢,就再買一間。如果一個家庭有一個MORTGAGE(貸款)到三個MORTGAGE,把錢給了MORTGAGE,他們的CASH FLOW(現金流量),已經給MORTGAGE LOCK(鎖)死了。所以我們的經濟就這樣啦。舉例,你有一間房子賣給我,或是我有一間賣給你,我們SIGN UP (簽署)了PAPER(文件)之後,這些錢TURN AROUND,回去銀行,所以銀行會水浸,就有很多錢啦,但是MARKET(市場)就沒有CASHFLOW,所以變了很多RETAIL BUSINESSES(零售業)都會DOWN(下降),我自己以前一班,在MERRILL(美林證券)做財務的年青人呢,在我們那裡買表,我跟他們談話。我對財務的事,認識也非常之深。因為我喜歡年青人CONVERSATION(對話),如何看MARKET(市場)啊,經濟如何的轉啊,我們經常的談,所以我看得很清楚。</p>
<p>問﹕你在唐人街三十多年來,那個時代最旺你﹖你的生意最好--</p>
<p>岑﹕最旺是1983年到1990年那七年,那七年我們做珠寶跟RETAIL BUSINESS (零售業)最旺的。所有的RETAIL BUSINESS是最旺的。</p>
<br>
<p>
問﹕你對9/11對唐人街有什麼影響,你有什麼看法﹖你覺得這個COMMUNITY(社區),有這件事之後,有沒有團結多一點﹖還是大家跟之前也是一樣﹖</p>
<p>岑﹕9/11之後呢,大家都認為覺得是一個時間我們應該要團結在一起。很多餐館也不見了生意,百分之三十,有一些百分之七十。在這樣的情況下,在困難的時候,大家都希望能夠找到一個方法WORK TOGETHER(互相合作),也就是大家一起做工,想大家如何能夠把唐人街變得更加好,還有在清潔各方面做得更好。希望能夠將唐人街這地方,能夠再BUILD UP(復興),好一點。</p>
<p>問﹕在你的名片上,我看到你參加了很多會,有一些--</p>
<p>岑﹕對啊。</p>
<p>問﹕你是CHAIRPERSON,PRESIDENT(主席﹑會長)啊,有一些就是MEMBER(會員)。唐人街這麼小的地方,看上來有很多的會。你認為這麼多會,大家有沒有來往?有沒有溝通?還是只是珠寶,就只有珠寶那行業,餐館就只是餐館那個行業,大家沒有--</p>
<p>岑﹕如果這樣-- 希望把我的經驗,就是在唐人街的經驗,拿出來跟大家分享一下。如果參加這些會呢,是一個GROUP(團體)的人,做一個GROUP(團體)不同的事。大家心態做一件事。我們中國人呢,因為我們的生活方式是家族式的,封閉式的。所以為什麼我們中國幾千年也這麼落後,就是因為我們用封閉式的生活去處理人生。最簡單有一次,我去領事館,領事請我們吃飯,大家坐下來大約三十個人,但是有十二種言語。其中有一個朋友提起,問為甚麼我們中國有這麼多方言的呢?為甚麼我們只是在廣東也有方言十幾種呢?我說這是很簡單的。我們以前中國是農業社會是封閉式的。我們村不跟你們村打交道,因為你們村不見了豬就說是我們村偷了得,吃了。或是你們不見了牛,又說是隔壁偷了,所以經常爭吵,不來往的。所以我們村講的話,<br>

希望你們村不明白。我們又不明白你們。就是這種封閉式的生活使到中國幾千年也這麼落後。應該開放多一些跟別人接觸,這樣你可以學得很多東西。就算是不喜歡,也會學得很多。</p>
<p>問﹕你意思是,這些在風俗從大陸,這麼多年的歷史,就帶到來,唐人街,也是一樣?</p>
<p>岑﹕這樣就是不對,大家應該多一些溝通,多一些了解,不同層面的朋友,跟不同GROUP 的朋友做不同的事,你會增加你自己的TALENT,也就是知識。很多事不是能從書本上學回來的。一定要跟人家接觸,然後去溝通。</p>
<p>問﹕你認為普通一個鬼佬外國人,對唐人街有什麼樣的看法呢?如果你一想唐人街,你會先想到什麼呢?</p>
<p>岑﹕第一,他們會想知道我們中國人的風俗是怎樣的。但是來到唐人街之後就會見到所有物品不同啦,也就是我們中國人吃的東西不同啦,用的東西不同啦,GIFT SHOP, CULTURE 也不同啦。但是他們是已經知道,中國人有很多東西是值得他們去學。最簡單,二十多,三十年前,我有一個做會計,叫李先生,李深知先生,做會計的,在CANAL街那裡計數啦,報稅這樣,那時王安電腦,那個王安,他以前是COMPUTER ENGINEER(電腦工程師),是很TOP(頂級)的,在原理上,已經知道如何製造電腦,但是在機械上,他們沒辦法過關,他們來到李先生這裡,看到有個老人,用算盤打數就想到,啊可以啦﹗我們要將電子線路安排像算盤那樣,走上去一個數,走橫去一個數,這樣就可以啦。我們現在的電路的設計就是這樣來的。所以電腦的FUNCTION(功能),也是由我們中國的算盤那裡來的。有很多人不知道這件事。</p>
<p>
問﹕也就是說--</p>
<p>岑﹕沒有了中國的算盤,根本沒有可能將電腦結構成機械。</p>
<p>問﹕一個外國人對唐人街的印象是什麼,你認為他們會覺得中國人有很多東西是值得去學。是不是這樣?</p>
<p>岑﹕對,是這樣。有一些,他們也知道中國的食物是全世界最豐富,而且是多樣化,所以那個法國主廚比賽那個進王軍,三界也得到冠軍。也就是說,中國的美食和藝術,做食品的藝術,已經是全世界沒有辦法追的。</p>
<p>問﹕但是在紐約雖然有很多華人,我們政治方面,權力還是很小,因為很多中國人也不選舉,那麼你自己,親人,有沒有參加這些--?</p>
<p>岑﹕我呢,一路鼓勵我的朋友,我的兒女呢,我也要勉強他們去投票,一定的。一定要的。這是我們公民的義務。二來,我們唐人街要做一些什麼事,也一定要選票做BACKGROUND(背景),也就是聲音可以大一點。要是我們要做什麼的,可以得到市政府,了解我們多一些,也會對社區關心一點。好像中華公所那樣,那兩年,非常之OPEN(開放),常常接待州長啊,他們來啊,演講啊,經常跟他們溝通啊,我們需要什麼的可以直接地跟他講啊。他們也會給我們一些注意力。我們是一定要這樣的。做不做到,成不成功是另外一件事,但是我們對社區的態度是應該要這樣做的。</p>
<p>問﹕你在美國住了三十多年。你覺得你自己是一個中國人住在美國?還是已經是一個中國美國人?</p>
<p>
岑﹕我絕對是中國美國人啦。我們是已經入籍了嗎。對嗎?但是呢,對我們中國文化啦,不能夠否定我們受中國教育,對中國文化就比較了解一些,變了興趣方面也是屬於中國化。</p>
<p>問﹕依你來看,現在唐人街最大的問題是什麼?</p>
<p>岑﹕現在最大的問題,第一是交通,第二是清潔,第三,我們要經濟,因為沒有了車衣廠之後呢,我們的經濟受到來威脅,變了。女人啊,以前在衣廠做的,現在要轉型,做護理啊,也就是要慢慢的轉型。但是除了轉型之外呢,我們唐人街做生意,不能像以前那樣,只是有亞姆幫襯(女性長輩來購物),我們要轉型,做一些以旅遊,遊客為主,也要做一些貨物適合於美國市場的,同時要吸引有購買力的遊客,在這裡花錢。也就是將唐人街變成了一個文化旅遊中心。這樣對我們以後的經濟生存,和在形式上來講,就應該要BUILD UP(建立),用開揚(開放)形式來做。不能像以前那樣,覺得我們已經有足夠的生意去做,衣廠能賺得錢,老闆可以去大西洋城,幾萬元放在桌子的賭博。這些形式已經不可能存在。我們應該更加要SERIOUS(嚴肅)一些對我們的社區,要轉型和推動。所以我加入那個唐人街旅遊推廣協會呢--</p>
<p>問﹕REVIEW CHINATOWN,對嗎?</p>
<p>岑﹕YEAH,那個。</p>
<p>問﹕唐人街旅遊推廣協會,在9/11以前就已經成立了的,希望將唐人街所以的消息,全發放出去,之後讓傳媒替我們PROMOTE(推廣),讓他們認識我們唐人街,認識我們中國的文化。很得意的,有一次我們招待那些傳媒,<br>

NEW YORK(紐約) 的記者跟國務院有一個女人,是做推廣民族文化的那個首長,我忘記了名字,她來到,跟我們GRAND TOUR,帶他們一班人旅遊唐人街,在唐人街我們帶他們去吃點心,去喜萬年 (DIM SUM RESTAURANT),吃點心。她問,現在八點半,為什麼這麼多人在這裡吃早餐呢?是不是昨天沒吃晚飯?我說不是這樣的,我說中國人,一早起來,最重要的就是“飲茶”。“飲茶”是中國幾千年來的社會習慣。“飲茶”來講呢,你看那邊一個GROUP(一班人),那一班老人家一張報紙開出來,他們呢,今天有什麼的新聞會公開一起評論。有什麼政治性的,POLITICS 什麼問題,他們會在這裡評論。你見到另外的桌子,有兒童的,是FAMILY(家庭) 的,今天可能是誰的生日,大家在談關於FAMILY 的事。再過一桌呢,你見到一班也是做生意的,穿了衣服做生意的。有可能,一個人拖欠了誰得錢,叫他明天出來“飲茶”呢,那麼你就要記得要帶五百元要還給他。從生意是在這裡,FAMILY MEETING(家庭聚會), BUSINESS MEETING(商務聚會), 跟那些社區主席們談論社區事務也在這裡。所以我們中國人呢,不用給錢看那些PSYCHOLOGIST(心理學家),那些心理醫生。我們在這裡已經全醫好了。有什麼問題呢,出來找朋友呢就已經醫好你了。那個PSYCHOLOGY(心理學家)醫生又如何知道PERSONAL LIFE(私人生活)啊?但是你的朋友知道便可以解決你的問題啦。所以我覺得我們這些文化呢,西方是沒有的。你們這些人原來這麼利害﹗我們做生意的有什麼問題,約他出來,有什麼不合意的,在這裡便講到同意。為何要MEETING(聚會)呢?要MEETIING, 又要MEETING 什麼的。我們在這裡什麼也同意了。我們一路的吃,一路興奮地講東西,容易SMOOTH DOWN(氣氛融洽),就是沒有ARGUMENT(吵架),如果我在跟你講生意,有什麼不對,我們不會啪桌子鬧。你們老番呢,MEETING不對呢,就會啪桌子鬧,我們是不可以這樣的,因為我們旁邊有一桌,看到便不好啦。我們最多是小聲的鬧。所以,她說,啊你從來沒講過我聽這回事﹗我說,所以我現在講給你聽,如果你想寫一本書,一本小說-- 也就是說她學了我們中國傳統的文化,也就是價值觀。<br>

也就是說,很多人不習慣這種生活,但是你慢慢的,如果你是有感性的,能夠感受到這些呢,你是可以寫成小說的內容。</p>
<p>問﹕剛才我問你,你覺得唐人街最大的問題是什麼。我做這個PROJECT(計劃),也跟了很多街坊談,講來講去,也是講交通啦,清潔啦,房租啦,就是每個人也知道--住屋問題。</p>
<p>問﹕對。</p>
<p>岑﹕這幾樣東西是非常的重要啦。</p>
<p>問﹕但是每個也知道,問題是這些東西,但是為甚麼,十多﹑二十年來,還是沒有辦法解決呢?唐人街依然是這麼骯髒,也是這麼窄,也是這麼逼?</p>
<p>岑﹕但是我覺得,首先講住屋,我記得那時候,1970年代,起那個孔子大廈那時候,有很多單位,也要很久才能租出去,很多人不申請。慢慢地,逐漸地移民越來越多,在EAST SIDE (東城)那邊就有很多猶太人就搬了出去,同時在小意大利區那邊,那些意大利人又搬了出去逐漸地,也有些填補。但是現在就真的是爆滿了。所以現在在唐人街住屋是一個很大的問題。現在如果有地方,也會很貴,幾百元一呎地,也買回來興建房子。可以賣得到六,七百元一呎。人口密度高了,城市價值也高了,但是衛生方面-- 所以有這個華人清潔協會,自從BILL LAM(林建中) 和DANNY LEE(李奇峰)等,組織起來之後,我一路也在背後參與和盡心盡力地去幫他們,去拉MEMBER(會員) 和其他人捐錢啊,我就是很熱心地去做這些工作的。他們每個也知道的。YEAH。如果近十年,跟以前比較,那麼會相差很遠。現在的唐人街已經是清潔了很多,你不覺得嗎?但是不是理想到像--</p>
<p>問﹕MIDTOWN那樣。</p>
<p>
岑﹕對,像MIDTOWN(中城)和PARK AVENUE (柏大道)那樣。因為他們上面根本沒有我們這裡這麼多人,遊客和不同地方來的遊客來我們這裡。同時,TRAFFIC交通繁忙,沒有像我們那樣密度那麼大,好像是星期六,星期日那樣子,一,二萬人擁入來啊變了-- 人多了呢,就一定是骯髒了一點的。所以我們現在就儘量教導人們,叫他們不要隨地扔垃圾。最簡單,我有一次,在街上,見到一個女人就掉了紙袋在街上。她旁邊的朋友是認識我的,見到我,說人家清潔華埠,你還不快將這垃圾執拾起來,這個女人便知道要把垃圾袋挑回來才可。也就是說,我們要教導人們,怎樣去保持街道清潔是很緊要的。所以我們將來呢,我們會錄了一支歌唱,關於是如何清潔啊,是每一個人的責任,看有沒有辦法,叫成龍唱出來。在街上廣播,叫人們注意不要隨便在街上掉垃圾。這樣的話-- 我們也要打掃,請一些人,就每一天,請三,四人,換那些垃圾袋去打掃。唐人街比以前已經好得多了。以前,那些垃圾公司呢,是不理會的。我後來,發現了原來,唐人街之所以臭,是因為垃圾車,收了濕的垃圾,在垃圾壓榨的時候,水汁便會流出來地上,這樣便會臭。我便跟那些垃圾局局長啊,垃圾公司的老闆啊,跟他們講,如果你們收垃圾的時候,知道那裡有濕的垃圾,收在最後,這樣的話,垃圾汁變了不會滴下了全街,也是臭味也減少了五十個PERCENT(百分點)以上。我們注意如何去清潔,注意不清潔從那裡來。但是我們沒有辦法--因為這裡有很多人來往,而且MARKET(市場),那些FISH MARKET (魚市場)又在中心地帶,變了會有這些情況。我們儘量可以做到最好啦。但是沒有可能做到完全沒有。完全沒有也就是沒有人來,沒有人來就是更加慘的。</p>
<p>問﹕看上來,你不只在唐人街做生意,用很多時間做COMMUNITY SERVICE(社區服務)--</p>
<p>岑﹕YEAH。</p>
<p>
問﹕--那麼你的兒女啊,下一代,有沒有像你一樣的想法?</p>
<p>岑﹕他們讀書,現在我兒子,在TUFTS讀書,他已經在NORTHWESTERN(西北大學)讀了書出來,做工,做了兩年,後來攻讀碩士,又想讀博士,在TUFTS 那裡。因為他說是全部免費的,我便跟他說要趕快讀。他讀PHILOSOPHY,讀哲學--</p>
<p>問﹕那麼你--</p>
<p>岑﹕我不管了,第二代如果有這樣的興趣,那當然是他們自己的選擇啦。</p>
<p>問﹕--沒有給壓力他們,要繼續做你這個行業?</p>
<p>岑﹕沒有啊,絕對沒有。</p>
<p>問﹕那你的生意將來--?</p>
<p>岑﹕我的弟弟跟妹妹,每人一間。所以如果我不給他們,可以給我的弟妹做。絕對沒有這樣的。以前我爸爸是做麵包的,SUMMER TIME (暑期)的時候,他叫我到那裡,幫手做麵包,我們三百元買粉買糖,晚上我們可以收三千元,四千元的,是很好利錢賺的。做麵包嗎?我說,但是我沒有興趣。我還是喜歡那些手造的。</p>
<p>問﹕也就是說,你對下一代,也沒有給壓力--</p>
<p>岑﹕沒有</p>
<p>問﹕--做些什麼?</p>
<p>
岑﹕很得意的,我大女兒,畢了業,在Swarthmore畢業,喜歡藝術,她現在,在METROPOLITAN MUSEUM (大都會博物館)那裡的 EDUCATION DEPARTMENT(教育部) 做關於藝術的事。最小的那個,在HAVERFORD(哈佛福) 讀,在PENNSYLVANIA(賓州)LANCASTER(蘭卡斯打)那裡讀。她現在去了西班牙,那些STUDENT EXCHANGE,學生交換的東西,六月才回來。我問她,說他哥哥不來幫我,你姐姐就走到METROPOLITAN MUSEUM(大都會博物館)那裡做,你是我最後一個希望,你會出來幫FAMILY BUSINESS(家族生意)嗎?你猜她如何跟我講?她說,DADDY,你在講你自己的夢,YOU’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT MY DREAM。她說你在講你自己的夢,你不是講我的夢。所以我們大家的夢也不同,所以很難的。</p>
<p>問﹕9/11已經過了兩年多,你有沒有覺得已經回到9/11之前那樣LIVELY(蓬勃),和生意也差不多回復正常沒有?</p>
<p>岑﹕如果現在來講,唐人街的生意,依然是很靜的。不能說是活躍到像以前那個樣子。除了9/11影響之外,還有經濟,美國的經濟,CASHFLOW(現金流量), 給地產LOCK(鎖)了那些CASH(現金)。對全美國商業的影響也是很大的,你記得以前香港的地產,地產商炒地,將地產炒高,想將窮人全部推回鄉下,回中國,CHINA。香港就算全是經濟學家,但是他們這樣是錯誤的。如果在香港只有幾個有錢人,沒有人在市場消費,沒有人煮飯給你吃,那裡來餐館開?沒有煮咖啡,你根本也不會有咖啡喝。你生活根本是不正常的。一定要-- 一個社會環境生存呢-- 我也寫了一封信給LMDC 的首長,JOHN Whitehead。我說,NEW YORK 要生存,那些SMALL BUSINESS 一定要能夠生存,然後大的生意才可以生存。好像我們一個地球的環境,如果沒有草根層,吸了這些水啊,就會好像是沙漠那樣,大樹也不能生長的。一定要有很多草然後才有樹可以生。你再去看全世界的環境,如果沒有草的環境,那些樹也一定不能生長的。一定要草根層吸了那些水,你的大樹,才可以長得大。我說,不只是II WORLD TRADE CENTER等大公司的問題,<br>

你也要注意一下,TAKE CARE(照顧)那些小的生意。如果小的生意環境不好的時候,只有大樹,在沙漠只有一個大樹的時候,是一定沒有葉的。一定會枯死的,我說。經濟是這樣的。我知道原來NEW YORK的稅收,七十個PERCENT(百分點)來自SMALL BUSINESS(小生意)的,全部的稅收,大的生意只佔百分之三十。你可以叫他們做小商業調查。</p>
<p>問﹕好,我們今天也講了很多的事。你還有什麼想給我們知道?我沒有問的事?還有什麼YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH US(你想和我們分享)?</p>
<p>岑﹕我就沒有什麼 IDEA (點子)啊,但是最緊要呢,就是我們唐人街,能夠將我們中國的文化,PROMOTE (推廣)出去,讓美國每個地方,也有興趣來這個地方,吸收一下我們中國的文化,對於食物啦﹑GIFT啦﹑還有我們唐人街啦,JEWELRY MARKET,我們做珠寶這樣,在全世界沒有一個珠寶市場是可以跟我們比的。好像是四十七街那樣,他們只是賣美國的款式,但是我們這裡有中國款式的珠寶﹑也有歐洲的﹑和美國本地的,全世界的首飾,在我們唐人街市場也可以找得到。全世界沒有一個珠寶市場是比我們更強的,希望人們多一些來這裡買珠寶啦,讓我們有生意啦。</p>
<p>問﹕你有信心,將來的生意會再PICK-UP?會轉好。</p>
<p>岑﹕會的,如果那些利率一升,地產就會降溫,地產降溫的時候,CASHFLOW 就不會被LOCK死了,RETAIL (零售)是會好的。好像香港那時候炒地產,沒有生意啦,全部死了,每個人也拿錢去供MORTGAGE,銀行呢,就儲了很多錢,在香港儲錢,儲一百萬,你還要付款給銀行款項儲存費STORAGE。他不給利息你,還跟你要STORAGE 錢。銀行有太多的錢,<br>
他們炒地產嗎。好像是飛機那樣,如果你的重量側在一邊是很危險的,對經濟會有危險的。</p>
<p>問﹕OK,好,我們很多謝你今天給我們時間</p>
<p>岑﹕好。</p>
<p>問﹕--跟我們談天,希望你LOTS OF GOOD LUCK(幸福)。</p>
<p>岑﹕YEAH, 謝謝。</p>

Citation

“S.W. Sang,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed March 28, 2020, https://911digitalarchive.org/items/show/88956.