So these images that you’re seeing are a collage of what’s in my heart.
They’re photos of Chinatown and my family.
My parents are from HK and I grew up here in Canada.
My 阿婆 / ah poh / grandmother used to take me down here every weekend to play mahjong, buy fresh ginger and choi at the markets, listen to what I describe as the squawking sounds of Cantonese opera, and my also do my favourite, eat 白糖糕 / bak tong goh / white sugar cake at New Town Bakery.
I never liked going to Chinese school (I think it was actually the first protest I ever organized with all my cousins) so a lot of my cultural upbringing was in Chinatown and in many ways this unique neighbourhood has been my cultural temple especially since my grandmother and second aunt who passed away, I’ve come back here to find my sense of home. …
I’ve learned that chinatown is actually one of our best examples in this city of human-based design. Just as background, it is a majority low-income neighbourhood home to many Chinese seniors who find friendship and connection here.
In terms of human-based design, it reflects the needs of its users incredibly, historically it’s been really affordable, it’s walkable, colourful, it’s a working hub for low-income folks who live in this neighbourhood, it’s a food production machine that retails some of the freshest local choi grown by local farmers (I actually just found that out myself a few years ago), AND there are red threads of connection that weave the tapestry of belonging and community. …
How might we redefine sustainability in terms of human-based design so that we can build resiliency for a fight in the long-run and what are some of the examples hiding in the dark that we can learn from, these cultural temples like Chinatown?