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Friday, January 11, 2013

Wikipedia: Detroit Chinatown Wiki http://Chinatown Wikipedia Detroit's Chinatown was originally located at Third Avenue, Porter St and Bagley St, now the permanent site of the MGM Grand Casino. In the 1960s, urban renewal efforts, as well as the opportunity for the Chinese business community to purchase property led to a relocation centered at Cass Avenue and Peterboro. However, Detroit's urban decline and escalating street violence, primarily the killing of restauranteur Tommie Lee, led to the new location's demise, with the last remaining Chinese food restaurant in Chinatown finally shut its doors in the early 2000s. Although there is still a road marker indicating "Chinatown" and a mural commemorating the struggle for justice in the Vincent Chin case, only one Chinese American establishment still operates within the borders of the City of Detroit. The Association of Chinese Americans Detroit Outreach Center, a small community center, serves a handful of new Chinese immigrants who still reside in the Cass Corridor. Madison Heights Just north of Detroit in Madison Heights, there is a small but present strip of East Asian commercial outlets along John R. Road, which include restaurants and retail managed by individuals of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Filipino descent. Also located in Madison Heights is the Association of Chinese Americans' Chinese Community Center. Although the Chinese American population of Southeast Michigan is comparatively smaller than other American cities, the Detroit chapter of the ACA is the only branch of the Organization of Chinese Americans to have a fully operational community center, as well as two satellite service centers. Lion Dance Video:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Y/A! Response Travel>China>Hong Kong

 Yahoo Answers Response:
Asked By CharCharr

What is it like to live and work in Hong Kong?

I live in the UK and have an identity card to live and work in Hong Kong. I really like it there and am considering of moving to live there in a few years when I have more qualifications and such. The thing I'd like to ask is, what is it like to live and work there? I heard the work ethic is really hard? Or does this only apply to certain areas of work or...
If anyone can give me insight to work life and just life in Hong Kong, preferably from your own experiences, it'd be much appreciated. Also any other information that would be good to know to help me make the decision. Thanks!

My Response:
In the actual Hong Kong island is rich and prosperous, except the other parts of Hong Kong aren't so swell. Kowloon is a wonderful city, but don't let the tall skyscrapers and tourist-friendly signs fool you. Deep within Kowloon runs many slums (a lot more than expected). These slums aren't any old welfare or government subsidized property as in the US; these are crap homes built for elders 80+ who work their butts off to afford a box no larger than the front seat of a car. These boxes are made of chicken wire and cost more per square footage than the average luxury home in neighboring HK Island. The elderly usually dwell these areas, and you'll usually find them playing mahjong or cards and speaking not the usual Cantonese, but a hillbilly version called toisan (they won't understand English either).

On the actual Hong Kong Island, everyone would speak basic to moderate English. Knowledge of basic Cantonese is still essential if you want to be successful in your job performance. Living on Hong Kong Island is also very expensive unless your company covers the expenses. One thing I might add however is that in Kowloon, food is very inexpensive, I'm talking in the pennies. Whether in the day or at night, there is always a street food monger. The venders at night usually are selling small bite sized things called siu yeh. The hours to find these in Kowloon generally are 9pm - 4am. Dim sum occurs from 6am-2pm. And then street food for the late afternoon.

If you would like to read a newspaper and aren't able to read traditional Chinese print, The South China Morning Post I would say is the best for foreigners (if you're white, the gweilo :D). Financial papers are also very common and sometimes free and printed in English. Chinese television is hard to understand so I would avoid the Cantonese TVB station as even I can't understand them (although the children shows can be a great resource in learning Cantonese such as After School ICU). For English news ATV World is currently the most popular. TVB Pearl is becoming more and more popular and it is the best English language news for Hong Kong and southern China. To catch up on news from the UK, you can hook up a special connection plan to watch BBC1. One big thing in Hong Kong is that people don't like mainland China there. To many Hong Kongers, China is perceived as a bully because of their disputes with Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

I do warn you, DO NOT DRIVE! Hong Kong Island is the only part of Hong Kong that it is safe to drive, except that is where the traffic is. Take the MTR for long distance travel if you have to. OH SAY GOODBYE TO SNOW! It never snows in Hong Kong. The major weather and climate reports usually are about Typhoons and rainy seasons. Pollution is also a major issue in Hong Kong and in most weather reports, you would see a pollution forecast (weird). Don't be surprised if you see a brothel here and there. These are all illegal establishments, usually run by a triad smuggling people into Hong Kong from the mainland. They can be commonly found in the redlight district of Hong Kong Island, catering to Asian tourists. The Wan Chai red light district has regular missing people due to criminal activity involving organized crime, so the back allies should generally be avoided.

The Hong Kong police are terrific at their job I must add. There are many of them and have 10x the manpower as New York City. This will give you a piece of mind when it comes to crime. The Hospital care is also great. Most of the medical staff are graduates of Hong Kong University if not trained in the US, Canada, UK, or AU. They fixed me up pretty well when I broke my leg. Fire is an issue in Hong Kong due to their high rises and tight enclosed spaces with limited exits. Plus the cheaply made tenements with poor wiring. This can be avoided as long as you don't choose to live in a slum.

Language wise, you should learn Cantonese as soon as possible. Many of the elderly people only speak either Cantonese or Toisan. They do not speak Mandarin, or English. Many of the children can speak basic Mandarin and English, but it isn't that great. If you would like to meet somebody with great lingual skills in English, university students are the key people.

That is all I can think of or remember for now. Goodluck with your job!


I used to live in Kowloon as an expat and still make frequent visits there from the United States.

Mahjong: a game of 3 dragons

Whether it be in one's own home for sport, or being played secretively with hard cash, mahjong has always been a key component of Chinese culture. Mahjong is a game that has been played for centuries if not millenniums. The game is played with small tiles with special markings; with many of the tiles having a piece of Chinese culture on them. Many of the tiles are $20s worth of plastic that you can pickup at the local dollar store, while others are engraved with fine artwork, representing the tile's culture and heritage. Each variation of Mahjong comes with its own history, but they all play a role in the social bonding and piece of mind of the players. Hong Kong Mahjong style, which is the variation I have played, can be found in local Chinatowns. These games are late at night and typically played by the older generations with high stakes but still considered social gaming. Every loss is still accepted by the old folks and they continue to play nearly everyday until the early hours of morning. Sometimes these games are considered illegal to many American state governments (see here if you apply). Even in the states where social gaming is prohibited, many Chinese immigrants disregard these laws and continue to play anyway. Some court cases had instances where defendants were able to evade the gaming laws claiming that mahjong wagers are not forms of gambling as gambling is defined as wagers on games of chance. These defendants were able to prove that mahjong is almost entirely based on skill (which is controversial in my opinion). In Macau, it is very common for international tournaments to be held. Many professional players inhibit bets similar to poker. The only difference between these bets and inhome mahjong games is that in tournaments, the only money wagered is a high buy in fee--the winnings being a fixed amount. In regular mahjong, the payout is determined by the consistency of the winning hand. Ironically, in Hong Kong, Chinese authorities are very strict with gaming, with gaming fees rather high compared to the United States and Canada. Only licensed parlors referred to as "schools" are allowed to host mahjong games involving cash. Even then, stakes must be kept low, otherwise the school's license gets revoked (see South China Morning Post for articles regarding gambling raids).

Where can I play it?
Mahjong Time offers numerous tournaments with chips (games for fun), coins (tournament buy-ins), and cash which is the transaction method. It is safe and I have paid for all myself using paypal. I'm unsure about credit transactions though. The cash games are using REAL CASH and you must be 18+ to submit transactions. Under law they are not defined as an online casino as they have argued with district courts in southern California that mahjong is purely based on skill. Their headquarters is based in San Diego, California. 

On Facebook's search app bar, there is a decent version called Mahjong Hong Kong. Just type that in and you will be led to a logo with a mahjong tile surrounded by a blue and yellow back round. It is pretty good if you run out of chips on Mahjong Time and serves its purpose. I recommend it for practice as you can take your time on this version.

Special Thanks to Google, Bing, Dmoz, and Free Web Submission for search engine and advertisement work!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Next Topic
Mahjong's impact in Chinese society + social gaming

Best English Language Chinese Newspaper

South China Morning Post
A great buy, and is obvious once you read the articles its site provides. It has a wide coverage of the Mahjong gambling den raids done by the Hong Kong Police Force which are the topics that I'm interested in. It seems to say the news as is compared to most of Hong Kong newspapers which take political sides (democratic or pro-Beijing). One thing I'm not used to that most newspapers in China do not include are some components of the weather reports. They include pollution levels and predictions for whether the levels would increase. Very peculiar. A great buy, and don't be a cheap shot trying to get the articles free online. They place cookies on your computer so that your page will time out after a few articles without subscribing.

World War III will be in the Far East not the Middle East

Notice how far south China extends their territories.
Image provided by
Americans, take a look at this when you think the US is being tough on mainland China or suggesting that China is peaceful and harmless; think again. There is a extravagant reason why Asia pacific is a good candidate for World War III, and it is an obvious one too just by looking at the picture. There are similar disputes China has with Japan and Taiwan. The big fight is not about the water, but the thousands of islands located within those zones, which potentially have high amounts of minerals. This picture actually depicts China squeezing countries out of their personal bubble, but this is what is actually happening in real life. As we speak, China is developing military installments within these zones, thus weakening their foreign relations. No wonder wonder why Philippine SWAT "Sorry.We.Aren't.Trained" reacted the way they did during the Manila hostage crisis; they obviously didn't care if there were any Chinese casualties. Little did they know that those tourists were actually from Hong Kong and had little controlling power over the Chinese government.

No rice, just soup and ticks!

Laogai prisoners line up on routine for the captain's speech.

Most people resented the Holocaust, but something very similar still abodes. Since the peak in popularity of Maoism, the Chinese government has been unfairly forcing their citizens into hard labor. The system of penal labor proposed by the pro-Beijing communist party, and influenced by a now defunct soviet system, has over its half decade existence defined the true barrier of a cruel and unusual punishment. In Maoist society, all who express their personal freedom would be considered criminals under treason. They are deemed unsafe for society and would be sent to be indoctrinated. Harsh is an understatement when referring to the prisoners in a Laogai camp. Conditions are rough; imagine your world without toilet paper, a sink, or a shower, and how your life would be. According to a memoir written by Harry Wu, a former resident at a Laogai camp, prisoners are to wake up a 5am, and work from 5:30am to 6pm. He stated that water and food are limited in the camps with some laborers eating field mice, and sometimes the lice that infest their clothes during sleep. The typical meal for 364 days of the year is a loaf of cornbread, about half the size of a typical slice of Wonderbread and the occasional flower gruel or cabbage water. These meals usually occur twice a day, but sometimes one if your productivity doesn't meet the designated quota. Compare this to a typical American prison ration which consists of things most people in poverty would die to get their hands on. Illness and disease are also very common, due to the lack of nutrition, poor hygiene, and transmitted diseases from the parasites. Despite their illnesses, prisoners are still forced to work their full shift.

This type of punishment should be designed for the more violent crimes. In China, these crimes usually result in capital punishment but a simple insulting remark to the government can lead you to Hell. In America, mass murderers are allowed to take in the luxury doing nothing, but reading and eating. American prisoners are basically permitted to live for free while Chinese prisoners are executed immediately without question. Laogai does generate a boatload of revenue for the Chinese government however it comes with the cost of famine, disease, and death. Mass murderers, child sex offenders, and terrorists are useless to society, yet the US Government still forces the taxpayers to house them? This makes little logical sense. The death penalty is a fine way to overcome problems like these, however it sparks more problems such as conflicting with the eighth amendment, as well as the extent of reasonable doubt (could the condemned be innocent?). Until a logically sufficient solution is found to capital punishment, Laogai is a killer idea for the US penal system.

For multiple decades, Laogai has been hiding under the covers, invisible to the public. This is highly due to the lack of immigrants from the mainland to tell the story. This all changed during the late 80s and early 90s, when former Laogai resident Harry Wu was offered a student visa to walk on US soil. Wu, with little money, ended up working odd jobs until finally writing his first memoir regarding Laogai. This was done using the resources listed at Stanford's East Asian Studies department. This novel was one of the first memoirs of Laogai documented in the English language. His book gave recognition to many American politicians, some even contacting Wu for further details. Meanwhile, Wu also started the Laogai Research Foundation which focused on gathering evidence of the Chinese gulag. Due to his work, the US has created sanctions against goods manufactured in China by penal labor.

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Are cages for humans? Apparently!

An elderly Hong Kong resident in sits in his tightly quartered home.
Hong Kong is thought of as the city for the rich and prosperous with sky high financial towers, and endless numbers of rich and wealthy citizens. Many parts of it however, are anything but that. Many of the older generation Hong Kongers came from the mainland without families, and after losing their jobs in the dying manufacturing industry, were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs. These folks, usually elderly men generally still take part in the work force. Their occupations comprise of the odd and unwanted jobs, most consist of wages under a dollar a day. Despite this, their housing expenses still exceed those of wealthy families per square footage. Within these homes, no larger than a front car seat, lives people aspiring for food, as many of them eat a full meal in a day. Many of these folks result to suicide to ease their grief due to their misfortunes. It is a sick world out there. This is something for the pro capitalist people to consider.

Despite the ongoing actions of humanitarian societies across the globe, and the recent exposure and recognition to the public, these contraptions the government considers 'housing' are still in use, and the conditions have been utterly unchanged. Coverage done by CNN has proved that the living conditions of Hong Kong's lowest form of housing has only slightly improved. The only difference between CNN's findings in the 2000s compared to those of Journyman Pictures in the early 90s were the structure of the beds; the more modern ones are constructed from wood rather than chicken wire. This does not however mean that the old beds have been ceased from use. Despite the beds, every other aspect of the homes have remained unchanged: the bugs, the fire hazards, the lack of proper plumbing, and the overwhelming heat factor.

Picture from