Archive for the 'Ain’t the Way it’s Supposed to Be' Category

10
Oct
08

Saying No to Casinos in Chinatown Part 2

Here’s some video that I was able to capture last night during one of the more vulnerable and emotional moments at the forum. This has certainly become a very volatile situation. There was no hearing last night, no dialogue. People were just very angry.

Whether these politicians and investors realize it or not building a casino at this location is institutional and environmental racism against the many minority populations in the Chinatown community. We can debate those terms but the point is that this cannot ultimately be good for the community. There may be economic gain but at what cost?

Read
Philadelphia Inquirer Article, Chinatown Residents Fear Lure of Gaming by Jennifer Lin
“Environmental Racism, Chinatown and the Gallery Casino” by Helen Gym
angryasianman.com picked up the news

I googled around looking for related things and found these links
• Great Asian American Resource page at the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

From an interview with Dr. Timothy Fong (whose name comes up in every search on this subject), Director of UCLA’s Gambling Studies Program. He said this in his findings,

What did the focus groups reveal?
Number one, gambling was a common thing that a lot of community members did. Number two, it was very socially acceptable. And number three, almost everyone knew one or two people that they knew had a gambling problem. It was a very common thread that they also didn’t know what to do about that person; where to send them, what to say to them, what to do about it.

What was also very interesting was that the casinos were very aggressive in marketing toward Asian communities. But they didn’t blame them for that. They didn’t say that that was a bad practice. This is just a reality. We learn about a lot of bus tours that were marketed for Asian communities. Fliers that were marketed toward that community.

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10
Oct
08

Saying No to Casinos in Chinatown

Tonight I attended a public forum as a representative of my church regarding a proposal to place casinos courtesy of Foxwoods at The Gallery in Philadelphia which is right at the entrance of Chinatown. This has gotten some press and after tonight’s meeting I’m sure it will get some more. There were some very angry people there. Typically you don’t find many Chinese folks speaking up about things much less political things but they were out in force tonight. In fact I’m very impressed with this gathering because it’s much more diverse than I had anticipated. There were many voices. Among them were educators, students, long time residents, church goers, business owners and community leaders. They weren’t just Chinese either. There were many non-Asians in the crowd.

Our church (CCCNC) officially took a stance of opposition against this proposal a couple of weeks ago and we’re trying to prayerfully handle this with much grace, wisdom and peace. We know we need to be a voice for the many aliens and poor in our community. We know first hand the effects of gambling among the Chinese as we counsel many compulsive gamblers and the families devastated by their habits. This is probably one of the most important things we’ve been involved in for our community.
Please pray for us.

Representatives from Mayor Michael Nutter’s office (Terry Gillen), Councilman DiCicco and State Representative O’Brien were receiving comments and arguments tonight at the Holy Redeemer School. It was not a good night to be in their shoes. If we want to build the next great American city, this is definitely not the way. The cost will be greater than any economic gain. This is institutional racism.

For More Info:
Asian Americans United for facts, petition, links and more.
Casino-Free Philadelphia, dedicated to say no to any casinos in the city of Philadelphia
Foxwoods Casino PA

Articles
PlanPhilly – City Set to See Foxwoods Design
PlanPhilly – City Sees Foxwoods Design

Other Resources
Gambling, Addiction and Asian Culture
Casinos Aggressively Market to Asian Americans, But Few Services Help Addicts
California Provides Glimpse Into Asian Gambling Culture
Resources from The Conference on Assessment & Treatment of Compulsive Gambling Among Asian American held on October 26, 2007 via AsianMentalHealth.org

“There’s this interest in gambling among the Chinese that transcends anything you see in any other socioeconomic or ethnic group” – Gary Loveman, Chief Executive at Harrah’s



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17
Sep
08

Last House Standing

Last House Standing

Last House Standing

Photo: David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images

This is an absolutely incredible picture. So many things can be said.
It makes me think of my faith against the storms of life.

A single house is left amidst the debris and destruction laid upon by Hurricane Ike on the village of Gilchrist along the Texas coast.

Updated
CNN: Their House Survived Ike, But It’s the Only One Left

21
May
08

Feeling Sichuan, One Week Later

Yesterday at 2:28PM (1428 (0628 GMT) in the first of three days of national mourning a week after the earthquake struck south western Sichuan Province, there was a three-minute observance of silence. A nation of 1.3 billion people paused. I wish I could be there to experience some of this. Air-raid sirens and the horns of cars and buses sounded in memory of the dead. During these three days, flags are to fly at half-staff and public entertainment is canceled — it’s the first time China has declared a national mourning since Mao and Deng Xiaoping. Some people have commented at how remarkable it is that the government is honoring average citizens and not some great leader. This is a much softer and compassionate image of China isn’t it?

Together they also rallied great cries of rebuilding China, “Long live China.” Even, “Let’s Go Team China!” in light of the olympics. This was real national pride and unity if we’ve ever seen any. Regardless of what position or class they were in the streets of Chinese cities they cried out in unison. Some have started calling May 12 their 9-11. This of course has stirred up a bit of criticism from some but in regards to a national response to a tragic event regardless of the cause you can’t deny the emotional similarities.

We can witness regular Chinese mourning traditions such as the pervasive use of black and avoidance of red. Newspapers will be doing this on the front pages. I wonder if it’s happening here with the Chinese newspapers. No celebration or entertainment for at least a month I think. So radio stations and music programs will be suspended. This is a very interesting time for China especially for their media.

As a church in Philadelphia’s Chinatown we responded over the weekend as many other organizations had as well. Every corner in Chinatown had some group raising relief support and awareness for the earthquake. Our Cantonese congregation got right out there and did an amazing job after Sunday service and in the rain.

Here’s an article from Benjamin Chan (Area Director of East Asia and India International Ministries, ABCUSA),

“We love China. Please help our fellow people.” Chinese-American Christians spoke a loud voice in the Philadelphia Chinatown last Saturday and Sunday.The Elim Fellowship of the Christian Church and Center in Philadelphia conducted a two-days fund-raising campaign in Philadelphia Chinatown for the earthquake relief in China. They raised more than US$12,000. The money will be sent to the Amity Foundation via American Baptist International Ministries/ World Relief Office to support the relief effort.

Dr. Eugene Young, Chair of the Elim Fellowship who initiated the campaign, praised Elim members of how they mobilized their families and friends in the fund-raising “You are a role model for them.” Daisy Wong, an Elim member, reflected on the experience, “My whole family is involved, and there is no greater joy than serving God and helping the people who are in such a desperate situation.”

Alice Hau, another key player in the campaign was touched by the overwhelming support of the donors of different ethnical backgrounds, and said, “We are thankful that God uses us. The love in the donor’s heart shines across to the other side of the planet.” Another two members of the church who sent the first check shared their thought, “Sometimes we take everything for granted, especially our good health and all the blessing in our life while staying in our comfort zone but still complaining most of the time. Pray that we all treasure what we are given and give to help the needy with a heart of thanksgiving.”

Dr. Michelle Sun, another Elim member, shares a poem “Sky Howls” to tell the terrible situation of the earthquake affect areas, and yet shows the light when we extend help and love to the victims. (See the English of the poem below)

Rev. Leslie Leung, pastor of the Cantonese speaking congregation of the church supported the campaign, and encouraged the church members to continue the effort. “The need is great, and we welcome every dollar to bring hope to the earthquake victims.”

View pictures of the fund-raising campaign here.

Relief updates are posted in
1. Amity Foundation homepage (Chinese and English versions): www.amityfoundation.org.
2. International Ministries East Asia and India homepage: www.eacinet.org.
3. Judy Sutterlin (American Baptist personnel in Nanjing) homepage: http://www.sutterlinmpt.org/.
4. International Ministries homepage: www.internationalministries.org.

Sky Howls
Michelle Sun

Sky howls from the quake
Sichuan bleeds still
Scenic Sichuan bleeds still

Sichuan at shock bleeds still

Cuehe* has its waterway barred
Wenchuan* faces all collapsed homes

A town mourns with no next generation
School children with red scarves buried alive
Schools, villages, cities
All buried, fallen, sieged and dead
No more hate and strife

Look, dear ones breathed their last, still holding hands

Fingers interlocking tight at the loss of hope
Gripping tight, didn’t let go
Clutching tight, didn’t let go
Grayish black, ice-cold palms
Wouldn’t let go

Rubble mountain-high, in valleys and up the peaks
Yet a twilight of life’s there
Lost children in lonely tents wait for Mom and Dad
Amidst the chills the sun comes and cares
Devouring earth sends kindred love
Arms of strangers show up from afar, from all paths
Descend from the sky, come with winds, dart over
God of providence grabs you tight
From the arms of Death
Pulls you to Him

Chinatown CCCNC (Elim Fellowship) Earthquake Relief Fundraiser

16
May
08

Feeling Beichuan, Day 5

Sichuan Earthquake
Photo: Andy Wong/Associated Press

The relief effort has entered the most desperate phase now. Trapped survivors can only hold on so long. Beichuan is utterly gone being so close to the epicenter. There is no more Beichuan just mountains of rubble in what was once one of the world’s most beautiful valleys. The death toll is quickly climbing towards 50,000. The good news today is that the government has allowed international relief teams to enter into the disaster. [As Time Runs Out, Survivors Pulled From Quake Rubble, NYTimes]

What’s interesting is the government investigation on why so many schools were leveled by the quake. Neighboring buildings fared much better. It appears that those who built the schools used cheap materials. Go figure. China has long allowed short cuts like this for things going out but we can see that they’re paying the price for doing it within as well. What I find interesting is that even though there’s been mass destruction and loss of life they will probably execute those builders.

Whole graduating classes gone.

Members from our community/congregations are crying out for our church to do something. We feel responsible to take the lead in Chinatown to respond to the relief work. This is our moment to be a community leader. Pray that we will respond well.

Myanmar Survivors
Official Toll in Myanmar Reaches Nearly 78,000. Things haven’t gotten better in Burma. Many say the conditions have worsened. British officials saying the total dead and missing could be more than 200,000. [BBC News]

13
May
08

Feeling Sichuan, Day2

Warning: Graphic Image

I feel the need to post this one picture, not for sensationalism but so that we may mourn with those who mourn. That our hearts may break. That we may try to pray. That we may turn to God in our powerlessness.
Sometimes I just need to know if my heart still works.

Sichuan Earthquake
Rescuers carry the body of students found in the debris of a collapsed school building in Dujiangyan. Credit: Reuters

The Austrailian has a gallery of very graphic pictures showing the aftermath of the earthquake in China.

Links
Regularly Updated News: Shanghaiist
In the U.S., anxious Chinese immigrants follow news of quake

12
May
08

Feeling Sichuan

Sichuan Earthquake

Over 8,500 feared dead. 10,000 injured.

The world has witnessed a lot of destruction and loss of life in the past few weeks on the other side of the world but unlike the response in Myanmar, China has been quick to provide leadership to the devastation. It appears that the army has a good record of mobilizing and getting people to safety. This has been declared a level 2 emergency [out of 4]. But hey no Olympic venues were damaged by the earthquake…

In reading the reports first thing this morning I guess my heart quickly responded to the news regarding the children buried under collapsed schools. There were pictures on some sites and that really disturbed me. Children are precious in any culture. Perhaps slightly different from the West however, Chinese culture may closely resonate with what we see in Scripture regarding children representing hope, income and reputation for a family. So for a family to lose a child as devastating as it is anywhere, in Eastern culture especially with a one-child policy economy the loss carries deep and wide results. Yesterday we celebrated mothers as a nation. May our hearts take shape and pour forth accordingly.

Sichuan Earthquake

Links
Thousands dead in Chinese quake [BBC]
US Geological Survey
Quake kills thousands, traps hundreds [CNN]

Here’s a first hand account from a student in Sichuan University

Associated Press




abcpastor
[american born chinese pastor]
seeks to be that third place for those who are american born chinese [abc] in ministry.
[i]
here we may explore issues unique to the chinese church and doing ministry in that context
[ii]
expand the intersection of asian american culture and christian faith
[iii]
or simply expose what goes on in the mind of this abcpastor

this may be a bit ambitious or even naiive but i do hope that through the posts we can bring together different faith communities, passions for the advancement of the Gospel and the equipping of the body of Christ.

if you are an abc pastor or have any suggestions or would like to contribute to make this space evolve, just comment.

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