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国外文化:美国唐人街缓慢衰落

时间:2022-6-12 作者:外教网

The BBC visits New York’s Chinatown for the new year celebrations to see how the community is changing

为进一步知道美国华人群体的变化,英国广播公司探访了纽约唐人街的新年庆祝活动。

Chinatowns are a feature of many US cities, but some of the best known are succumbing to gentrification, campaigners say. Even one of the largest and most vibrant, in Manhattan, is slowly being invaded by luxury shops and apartment buildings.

唐人街是海量美国城市的一个特征,但社会活动家称,一些最有名的唐人街正不能不适应社区高端化(即贵族化)趋势的进步。甚至其中最大和最有活力的曼哈顿唐人街也正在渐渐被豪华商店和公寓楼所侵蚀。

It’s late afternoon and Mei Rong Song is serving a few last customers in Lao San Snack on East Broadway. Giant metal pots steam behind a counter stacked with metal trays of pig’s blood, heart and intestines. Mei has run her restaurant for a decade, catering to a wave of immigrants who began arriving in the 1980s from Fuzhou in south-eastern China.

傍晚,在东百老汇的“老三小吃”,梅荣松(音译)正在为最后几名用餐的客户服务。柜台上堆放着盛着猪血、猪心、猪肠的金属托盘,后面巨大的金属蒸笼正煮着(食物)。梅的餐厅已经开了十年,用餐客户主如果20世纪80年代开始移民过来的一波来自中国东南部福州区域的移民。

唐人街.jpg

But high rents have been pushing Chinese immigrants out of the area, their place taken by wealthier white tenants.

但高昂的租金使得中国移民渐渐退出该区域,富裕的白人接手这类地方取而代之。

"My shop has Fuzhou speciality foods, and as Fuzhounese people sTOP living in this neighbourhood there’s less and less demand for what I sell," she says. " I don’t know that I can stay for more than a year or two."

“我的店提供福州特点食品,但伴随这一街区的福州人渐渐搬迁,我店里的客户也愈加少。”她说道,“我不了解我还能在这待一年多还是两年。”

Rapid immigration led to the formation of US Chinatowns in the late 19th Century, though a long period of exclusion and discrimination for the Chinese began around the same time. The next large wave of arrivals followed the 1965 Immigration Act, but in recent decades older Chinatowns have shrunk.

19世纪后期,频繁的中国移民使美国形成了唐人街,尽管华人从刚开始就遭受了长期的排挤和歧视。伴随1965年移民法案的颁布,一大波的中国移民接踵而来。但近几十年来旧的唐人街却在缩短。

"Chinatowns are turning into a sanitised ethnic playground for the rich to satisfy their exotic appetite for a dim sum and fortune cookie fix," says Andrew Leong, one of the authors of a recent report that charted gentrification in New York, Boston and Philadelphia’s Chinatowns.

“唐人街正在变成一个供富人为满足异域胃口而猎奇中国点心和签饼(美国的中国饭店特有些折叠形小饼,内藏有预测运气话语的纸条)的清洗改造过的异域情调场合。”Andrew Leong如是说。后者最近参与写作了一份描述了纽约、波士顿、费城等地唐人街所在地区高端化(贵族化)现象的报告。

Washington DC’s version is little more than a collection of Chinese restaurants, gift shops and an ornate arch.

(这一高端化现象在)华盛顿区域所呈现出来的版本(使该区域唐人街看起来就)是一个中国饭店、礼品商店和华丽拱门的集合体。

This is partly a result of the success of Chinese immigrant families. Many of those from Manhattan’s Chinatown have moved to younger Chinese neighbourhoods in Flushing, Queens and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park.

(之所以出现这种现象)有部分缘由是中国移民家庭(在美国)获得了成功。他们中的很多人已经从自曼哈顿唐人街搬到了法拉盛、皇后区和布鲁克林区日落公园的年青华人街区。

But up to now, new arrivals in New York have always taken their place.

但直到目前,纽约的新华人移民一直在接替他们(已搬走的华人)的地方。

Thousands of working-class families still live in Chinatown’s humble tenement buildings, protected by the city’s rent-control laws. English is seldom used for business. On an icy winter’s day, shoppers sTOP at stalls selling Chinese delicacies, and cluster in a ba百度竞价推广ent fish and vegetable market.

成千上万的工薪族家庭仍然居住在唐人街简陋的公寓楼里,由城市租金控制法保护着。(在这里)做业务极少用到英语。在寒冷冬天的一天,客户们停留在供应中国食品的摊位前,并聚集在一个地下的菜市场。

"It’s remained a very dynamic immigrant centre for 100 years because it’s retained its ability to be an immigrant gateway – a place where new immigrants come in and are able to find housing and job networks," says Ken Guest, an anthropologist at New York’s Baruch College. "East Broadway is the first sTOP as people try to figure out how to make their way in the US economy."

“一百年来,这里一直是一个很有活力的移民中心,由于它保留了它作为一个移民门户的职能,——在这里,新移民进去之后可以找到住房和工作(关系)网。”Ken Guest,纽约巴鲁克学院的人类学家,“在新移民们盘算怎么样在美国经济体制下获得成功的时候,东百老汇就是第一站。”

Services on offer there include immigration agencies, Chinese doctors, herbal shops, lawyers, phone card companies, banks and wire transfer firms.

在那里提供的服务包含移民加盟,中国大夫,凉茶店,律师,电话卡公司,银行和电汇公司。

Employment bureaus send people out to jobs in restaurants on Chinese-run bus routes that stretch as far as the Rockies. An estimated 50,000 people are passing through this network at any one time, says Guest.

(唐人街的)就业机构把(前来求职的)人分配到绵延落基山脉的华人经营的巴士沿线上的中式快餐馆去工作。任何时候都有估计50,000人通过这个关系网(找工作),Guest说。

It’s this community that has preserved Chinatown’s special character. The shop signs, the language, the groceries, the aroma of the restaurants are unlike those of any other Manhattan neighborhood. Visitors to Chinatown have entered a subculture.

正是如此一个群体维持了唐人街独一无二的特点。门店招牌、语言、杂货店、饭店的风味都与任何其他曼哈顿街区有所不同。游客来到唐人街意味着进入了一个亚群体文化环境。

Yet things are changing.

然而事情正在发生改变。

The report on gentrification, published by the Asian American Legal Defense Fund, finds that from 2000-2010 the share of the Asian population has fallen from 48%-45% in New York’s Chinatown, 57%-46% in Boston’s, and 49%-30% in Philadephia’s, and that the share of the white population rose in all three cities.

亚美法律援助基金发布的关于(唐人街)高端化趋势的报告发现,从2000年到2010年,亚裔人数(在各地唐人街总人口中的)比重有所降低,纽约唐人街从48%降低到45%,曼哈顿唐人街从57%降低到46%,费城唐人街从49%降低到30%,同时,白人比重在这三城中有所上升。

As local government encourages commercial development, low-income families and small businesses have been displaced, the report says.

报告称,因为当地政府鼓励商业进步,低收入家庭和小商户已经被移走了。

The process is less advanced in New York, says Andrew Leong. But even there high-end stores, non-Asian restaurants and luxury apartment buildings have been spreading.

在纽约,这一进步进程还没那样快,Andrew Leong说。但即便在那里,高档商店、非亚裔的饭店和奢华公寓也呈蔓延趋势。

Former garment factories have been converted into expensive lofts and landlords have illegally evicted low-income residents, the study says.

研究表明,(这一区域)过去的成衣工厂已经变成了昂贵的公寓,并且房东们非法驱逐了那些低收入的人群。

This story is echoed by Zheng Zhiqin, a campaigner who has noticed growing pressure on low-income tenants, many of them Chinese, over the past 10 years.

《中国合伙人》这个故事由郑zhiqin讲述而成。这名老兵见证了过去十年里低收入租户们愈加重的生活重压,这其中很多都是华人。

"They’re encouraging people to leave all the time. Sometimes by not providing hot water, or adequate heat, and raising the rents as high as they can," she says. "I see this happening all over Chinatown with my neighbours and friends, and in other buildings in the area."

“他们一直挖空心思促进大家离开这里,有时停止提供热水或暖气,或者极尽所能的提升租金,”她说,“我发现居住在唐人街的邻居和朋友们常见遇见过这样的情况,这个区域的其他一些公寓也一样。”

Zheng says big celebrations for Chinese festivals allow immigrants to feel "very much at home" in Chinatown. But this year her landlord, keen to keep the building tidy, asked her for the first time not to hang a traditional bright red scroll from her front door for Chinese New Year.

郑说,大型的新年庆祝活动让唐人街的移民们感到如在家般的温暖。但今年她的房东极力需要维持公寓的整洁,首次需要她不要在前门贴春联。

Increasing numbers of immigrants live outside Chinatown and come in for business during the day, or a weekend shopping trip.

愈加多的中国移民不再住在唐人街了,只不过在白天来做业务,或者周末来购物。

Cynthia Koo, a 26-year-old start-up employee who went to elementary school in Chinatown, says that all but one of her childhood friends have left the neighbourhood. Her mother used to work in the garment industry before its rapid decline in the 1990s and her father manages a Chinatown restaurant that she says now serves non-Chinese communities.

26岁的初级雇员Cynthia Koo曾在唐人街读过小学,她说她所有儿时的伙伴中仅剩一人还留在这一街区。她的母亲过去在一家成衣制造厂工作,她的父亲经营了一家唐人街饭店,20世纪90年代(唐人街)开始飞速衰落,现在饭店里的客户不再是中国移民了。

"I think it’s a little sad," she says. "It definitely from my experience feels a lot less lively."

“我感觉这有点难过,”她说,“我深切感觉到(这里)少了很多活力。”

But some argue that Chinatown has to adapt in order to survive. Wellington Chen, who runs a community network formed to help the neighbourhood recover after the 9/11 attacks, thinks the focus on gentrification is misplaced.

但一些看法倡导唐人街应该适应环境以存活下去。陈Wellington 经营着一家专门用于帮助911袭击后社区恢复的社区网站。他觉得只关注高端化问题是一种认知错位。

"At the end of the day the narrow splitting of us versus them – the class differentiation, the gender, the race thing – that’s nonsense," he says. "The best communities, just like the best inpiduals, are the ones that can adapt to changes very flexibly, nimbly, quickly."

“最后大家之间细小的分化也会使大家之间产生阶级分化、性别、种族之类的东西,这类毫无意义,”他说,“最棒的群体,就像最棒的个体一样,可以灵活的机敏的飞速的适应各种改变。”

Chen supports Chinatown’s Business Improvement District (BID) scheme, which uses levies from local business owners to pay for projects to spruce up the area. Keen to make the area more welcoming to outsiders, Chen would like to see waiters speaking better English and has expressed support for the construction of an eye-catching Chinatown arch.

陈支持华埠商业进步区(BID)计划,该计划用当地商户的税金支付当地区环境改变的成本。陈极力倡导使这一地区更好的接纳别的人,他期望员工说着更流利的英文,还有显眼的唐人街牌楼建设可以得到专门的支持。

It’s ideas like this that feed Andrew Leong’s fears of an "exotic playground" for wealthy visitors.

正是这种倡导使Andrew Leong产生关于迎合富裕游客的“异国情调场合”的忧虑。

Some recent research suggests that gentrification can actually benefit an area’s original residents. Though vulnerable tenants can be pushed out, those who stay may benefit from improving services and better credit ratings.

近期的一些研究提出,真的能从高端化进程中获益的是该区域的原住居民。虽然弱势租户会被迫离开,那些留下的可能可能受益于改变的服务和更好的信用评级。

But Peter Kwong, a professor at New York’s Hunter College, says that while this may apply to struggling communities in areas suffering from industrial decline, it doesn’t apply to Chinatown.

但纽约亨特学院的教授Peter Kwong却觉得,虽然这可能适用于一些因工业衰退的艰苦努力的社区,然而它并不适用于唐人街。

That explains local resistance to the BID and to "rezoning" laws that allow for future property development, he says.

他说,这也讲解了为何当地阻挠BID计划和“改划分区”法律,这条法律允许有将来财产的进步。

"Manhattan is practically all gentrified – this is one of the last areas," he says. "There is a lot of money targeting this area, that would like to see this place [become] a destination for tourism – a quaint place, kind of a hip place for rich people with an ethnic flavour."

“曼哈顿几乎全部高端化了,华埠是最后的几块街区之一,”他说道,“有不少热钱看准这一区域,就是想看看这里变成旅游目的地,一个离奇有趣的地方,那种让有异域民族偏好的富人趋之若鹜的地方。

Bonnie Tsui, author of the book American Chinatown, says that when Chinese communities decline "there is this larger sense of loss of that everyday vibrancy that a neighbourhood like Chinatown has".

《美国唐人街》的作者Bonnie Tsui说过,当华人群体衰落,“对于一个像唐人街那样天天充满活力的街区,就是这种巨大的失落感”。

Visitors "like that concentration, they like that richness of experience, they like that people are speaking in a different language because it feels foreign yet familiar," she argues. "They don’t really see that in many neighbourhoods any more."

参观者“那样的专心,他们喜欢那样丰富的历程,他们喜欢大家讲着不一样的语言,由于这感觉像在外国而又似曾相识,”她讲解说,“他们根本没办法在海量其他街区看到(像在这里看到的)那样。

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