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Tirades sound like xenophobic nonsense


I take exception to the letter from Mr. Fishbrook in the Aug. 14-15 edition and his statement that the entire Chinese population in Richmond is racist against the rest of the population. The generalization is inflammatory, stereotypical and without justification.

I have many Caucasian friends from West Vancouver and Surrey who love to come to shop and eat in Chinese restaurants in Richmond. While there are a lot of unfriendly and perhaps ignorant shopkeepers that mistreat customers, they certainly are not restricted in any way to just Chinese.

I found it rather amusing that Mr. Fishbrook thought that derogatory remarks were made against him without knowing exactly what was muttered. I have my share of negative experiences of inappropriate behaviour from non-Chinese shops and restaurants, but I certainly do not go around screaming discrimination.

As for the American tourist's complaint of not being able to get change for an American $100 bill, he should have noticed that many shops and restaurants (non-Chinese) in Richmond have signs at the cash registers clearly stating that they will not accept Canadian $100 bills for payment of purchases. I doubt very much that any of them would make change for an American $100 bill without a purchase.

Mr. Fishbrook did the right thing by not patronizing establishments that he does not like, but his "us against them" tirades sound like xenophobic nonsense to me. Last time I looked, there was no mention in The Richmond Review of any race riot or cross burning ceremony in Richmond. Mr. Fishbrook should try to speak to someone of Chinese origin and hopefully get a better understanding of the culture.

By the way Mr. Quest, despite what you claimed, victims and suspects in most of the gang shooting in Richmond do not have Chinese sounding names; and neither does the person accused of beating up on the good Samaritan recently. What's next? Chinese in Richmond are to blame for all the forest fires in B.C.?

S.P. Cheng

Look who's racist now


Consistent with my enormously lazy self, I initially wanted to ignore the question of this "Asian rudeness" and let the issue pass. It didn't. Instead, we get a flood of letters filled with anti-Asian sentiment as well as cute stories of individual encounters with rude Asians, including one about Asians driving the farms and cows out of the city.

We all know that this isn't really the case. We don't hate Asians; we hate the Chinese. One correspondent even had it in her to mention that (although this specification was, unfortunately, out of her own dislike of the Chinese in particular).

The cause of such hate is obvious. The Chinese are loud, rude, and filthy rich. Very annoying combination. Of the three, I have to disagree with rude. Richmond is a city of immigrants, and what is one thing they can't do properly? Speak English. The cause of tactlessness is often a limited vocabulary, however to other people, this comes across as being rude.

Not that Asians aren't rude, just not especially rude. The point is that rudeness has no racial borders; we're all rude sometimes, and we have our own ways of being such.

Asians mutter profanities under their breath in a different language, and Caucasians either hide their spite neatly in sarcastic remarks, or perfect their exasperated look.

Loudness is merely a cultural characteristic of the Chinese, the same way Italians converse inches from each other. Again, this isn't anything worth hating someone over.

Tolerance has always been high on our priority list, something that Canadians are proud of. This is not the time to get caught up in another anti-Asian frenzy or some other emotional garbage that is blinding people to the racism in all this. I must add that this issue has brought out a very, very disturbing side to a great deal of people, correspondents and readers alike.

Richmond's dirty secret isn't Asian rudeness; it's racism.

Martin Chow

There's a bad grape in every bunch


In response to the Aug. 7 article regarding the Atlanta, Georgia couple and their experience with a local Chinese restaurant, along with the letters published in the August 14-15 Richmond Review supporting them, I'm torn over whether I should laugh or mention how ridiculously immature they've shown to be. I choose the latter, and then I will laugh.

Firstly, it is in no one's right to accuse an entire ethnic group for the fault of a few. To Kelly Fishbrook of Richmond, you mentioned how it's difficult to pay someone who's calling you names to your face in a language you can't understand-do you not find your own statement contradictory? Do you have absolute proof that they are, in fact, insulting you if you can not even understand what they are saying? You need to be careful of how you accuse people if you can't even produce a solid statement.

And people can move to Ladner for all anyone cares. I've lived there for 12 of my 17 years and there's always going to be ethnic diversity wherever you may end up.

I'm Chinese, but I was born and raised Canadian and I've been brought up surrounded by people of many racial backgrounds. I can tell you, and this should not surprise you folks, that there's a bad grape in every bunch and more people need to grow up and stop whining. You are not always singled-out because of your skin colour, okay?

Sometimes it's just in someone's nature to be rude to everyone. You can't change what you don't know.

I'm not denying that some retail and food services don't carry the rudest staff, but if that's the case, stop helping their business and find someplace else to go. It's really that simple.

Businesses everywhere have their quirks, regardless of ethnicity. I've received poor services from every corner of the Lower Mainland, but I will not pinpoint and accuse an entire ethnic group differing from mine or not just because it may seem like I am being discriminated against by a few of their people. It's narrow-minded and childish.

Furthermore, if you've been angry, like L. Quest of Richmond, for 39 years, why did it take you so long to decide on moving out? And it isn't a victory for the Asians. You're just being ignorant in thinking that Asians want you out and it isn't for you to say in the first place how they feel. I'm sure anywhere will welcome anyone with open arms if you have the open mind to greet it with.

However, I do agree that store signs of another language should have an English title to go along with it. It is then more widely recognized and everyone will be able to identify it in the case of an emergency and whatnot, as brought up by other readers.

Terri Kwong

We are all in the same boat together


I fail to understand what useful purpose is served by your continued publication of correspondence stemming from a complaint by a couple of tourists alleging rudeness they encountered while in Richmond.

The original article puzzled me; their stay in out city was hardly long enough for them to have come to such a sweeping condemnation ofone segment of our population.

Thecontent of some of the letters leads me to question your purpose in publishing them. Can it be to promote good relations in the community? Or are you introducing a touch ofhumour?

One writer complained of having someone "calling me names right to my face in a language I can't understand"; another claims "I'm not a bigot" but has reached "saturation point" and decided to leave and "move out to the valley." I must confess I had a chuckle at those two but, seriously, I despair when I read such stuff.

After spending about 25 years of my life in Scotland, 28 in eastern Canada (Quebec and Ontario) and more than 20 in B.C., Ihaveconcluded that rude people exist everywhere; never, however, in such numbers as to make me react with the bitternessI have read in your pages. We are all in this boat together and we'd better get used to the idea and to each other.

Mark me down as one Caucasian who is quite happy with the mix we have in Richmond.

Robin Burnside


My wife and I are deeply saddened at the number of letters lumping Chinese people as racist and hearing stories of people who are moving away after living most of their lives in Richmond.

I'm a Chinese-Canadian and have lived in B.C. for more than 30 years, over half of which were in Richmond. In fact, my brother was the first of my family to be Canadian born in Richmond General Hospital 29 years ago. English is my first language, but I do speak Cantonese and Mandarin.

Guess what? My wife and I also get rude service from particular stores and we don't appreciate it either. I also would not know what a business does if their sign was written entirely in Chinese as I don't know how to read Chinese.

With all the bad service I just do what consumers should do-just don't shop there. These stores definitely cater to a certain customer base and when they started that was their target market.

It is unfortunate that one bad experience has to bring down the entire Chinese community. It's also sad for the Chinese merchants that are trying hard to cater to everyone in the city. Remember though that not everyone in the Chinese community is rude and that bad service affects everyone regardless of race.

Jack Yee

Oval bribery?


Further to Richmond's bid for the Olympic Oval: It was with a sense of outrage that I read in a Vancouver newspaper that Coun. Bill McNulty had stated that "we were the only municipality in the Lower Mainland to give half a million dollars for the bid just to get the Games and we've proven we're offering more than lip service". What utter gallin my opinion just about as clear an admission of bribery as could be found.

After hearing that Richmond that had contributed more to the bid than either Vancouver or Whistler it crossed my mind that this could be the payback. Now Coun. McNulty has just about admitted it with no shame whatsoever. All this with no consultation with the public and surrounding the whole matter with secrecy.

Shame on all the Council for going along with this idea with no regard whatsoever to the people who are going to be paying for this for years to come.

One more additional thing are they coming up with an alternative site for the Richmond RV Park which has been serving the tourist industry for the past 18 years and bringing in up to $8 milliion a year to the local economy.

Unfortunately, the people from all over the country, the United States and overseas who have been using this facility will be unaware that the park will be no longer available to those thousands who have used it since Expo 86.

Patricia Gannon

Richmond racists


After reading about the tourists who were treated badly by the Asian storekeepers and Asian restaurant staff (The Richmond Review Aug. 7), I felt compelled to write in.

My wife and I have been living in Richmond for 15 years and no, we are not Asian, but the lowly Caucasian.

We also get discriminated against whenever we shop in the downtown core of Richmond.

After repeatedly being treated absolutely horribly by several of the local Chinese restaurants we vowed never to enter one again.

Now don't get me wrong, you notice I specifically mentioned Chinese, I didn't say Asian.

We have had excellent service at the local Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai restaurants.

I've even changed my cellular carrier after repeatedly being ignored whenever I went to the local Bell store and had their Chinese staff pick up their phones and call friends as I approached for some assistance.

How about asking a storekeeper in the Aberdeen Mall about one of their products and receiving a blood-curdling glare while muttering obvious derogatory remarks about in me Chinese.

This racismthat's right, the Chinese here in Richmond are racist against probably everyone elsehas gotten even worse in recent years to the point of driving business away.

I know I find it difficult to hand my hard-earned money to someone that's calling me names right to my face in a language I can't understand. Believe me, the message is still coming across.

Garlen and Wendy, you were treated like that because the Chinese here thought you were too Caucasian, you acted too white for them. We local Caucasians get treated like that everyday, in the Chinese places anyway.

I'm not alone with these experiences; almost everyone I've asked has had similar experiences.

No wonder real estate sales in Ladner are booming.

Kelly Fishbrook

Unfair criticism


I found the article (Tourists complain about Richmond visit) printed in your Aug. 7-8 edition very unfair to all of the hard-working businesses here in Richmond.

Your article took a single incident and made it appear to be a common occurence in our community.

What about all of the very happy tourists that visit Richmond and are excited by many different businesses offering a peek into all the various cultures represented in Richmond?

You did not report on those businesses. In the future I would suggest that you get the whole story before you make such broad statements about our community.

Charles Chao

English-only a disservice


I am writing in response to the article Language police not needed, say councillors (The Richmond Review Aug. 7-8, 2004).

Councillors (Derek) Dang and (Rob) Howard may be right in saying that restaurants who don't have English signs outside their place of business are "shooting themselves in the foot because they are limiting their audience."

However, by not setting up proper bylaws to handle the problem, we are doing the City of Richmond a disservice.

Richmond accommodates visitors from all over the world and to have business signs only in a language other than English is most unwelcoming, disrespectful and ignorant.

As past Chair of the Intercultural Advisory Committee, I suggest the bylaw be revisited and re-managed.

With the 2010 Olympics headed our way we cannot afford to be blind sighted.

We should have business signs reflecting the fact that we live in a multicultural but largely English-speaking country and welcome all patrons openly and equally.

Mahmood Awan

Leaving Richmond


I was astounded when I read the editorial and two stories in last weekend's paper (The Richmond Review Aug. 7-8, 2004) "Tourists complain about Richmond visit," and "Language police not needed, say councillors," not at the content, but at the fact you actually printed them.

You see, I've always thought Richmond's rude Asians were our dirty little secret.

I've lived 39 of my 41 years in Richmond. My dad was a pilot, and we needed to live close to the airport.

Later, I started working for a major airline myself, and so I stayed.

I remember when Richmond had more cows than people, and more fields than condos. I remember when Lansdowne was a racetrack, and how exciting it was when they tore the old barns down and started building the mall.

I remember the zebras in the backyard of a house near the north end of No. 3 Road where one of the Asian malls is now.

I remember sliding on a burlap sack down the "giant slide" next to the old Dairy Queen, near where Richmond Savings' (Coast Capital Savings) main branch is now.

I remember the "Asian invasion" of Richmond starting in the 1980s, and when all their malls began appearing everywhere.

I've seen the Asian malls and strip malls take over, and I'm appalled at how many signs there are on storefronts where English has a smaller font than the Chinese characters, if there's an English word at all.

I've listened to the message on a local bank's phone speaking at length in Chinese first, then finally in English, telling me to push "two" for English.

I've watched in horror, the news stories of yet another gang shooting and murder in Richmond.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not a bigot.

Most of my business and work dealings with Asians are pleasant and friendly.

But the bad ones are so unbelievably rude, it never ceases to amaze me.

I've lived in Richmond virtually all my life, but I've reached my saturation point.

Richmond is no longer the nice little community it used to, so I've decided to leave.

I have no doubt that there are some Asians reading this now, smirking, pleased that they've managed to force one more Caucasian out of Richmond, increasing their majority.

I think I'll move out to the valley, where there are more cows than people, and more fields than condos...

L. Quest

Signs of a problem


Congratulations to the tourists from Atlanta who actually took the time to tell of their experiences in Richmond. This attitude is what most of us experience daily in Richmond.

As for the signs in Chinese only on Granville St., they are all over Richmond.

Why does council have their heads buried in the sand over this issue? All this does is promote racism, which incidentally is coming from the 59 per cent minority, not the long time Richmondites, the signage is proof positive. They absolutely do not want business other than their own. But unfortunately we would like theirs and their signage makes for an unfair playing field in the business world.

A quick question for council. On Friday I was driving in the center lane on the Knight Street bridge and a five ton truck driving in the left lane nearly hit me and cut me off as well as the vehicle on the right so that he could make the exit. I immediately looked at the truck to find the name so that I could phone the company and report his driving practices. This was impossible because the entire truck has Chinese writing (another unfair advantage). Now will council please tell me how I should have dealt with that situation, especially had I been hit?

The ramifications of Chinese only go a lot deeper, if there was an emergency in front of this Granville Street restaurant, what is one to do? Call 911 and say: Oh, it's in front of the restaurant with all the Chinese writing.

The poor emergency teams would be driving in circles in Richmond.

This is a situation that needs the attention of council for many, many reasons.

Tanya Johl

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