Photo taken from Bamboo Plaza parking garage facing S. Hill Ave. – Jonathan Ng
“Take a look around you and tell me what you see” — Henry Spencer (“TV Series “Psych”)’
The quote, as scripted, is one where I can relate. Having binged on summer TV series and episodes, I tend to have picked up a few quotes here and there from “Psych”, a series that I have binged over summer but in this instance, I ponder the words from Henry Spencer’s mouth (fictional character). I listen and think about what those words really mean. Are we oblivious to the outside world by being immersed in our “smart” culture using iPhones and automated searches or do we experience the art and beauty by analyzing the buildings and architecture around us? Point is, we are living in a society that is constantly changing cultures and lifestyles.
I recently visited the part of Chinatown where I grew up and the sense of feeling is uneasy because today’s Chinatown is extremely different from the past. I’m used to car horns blaring, Asian ladies screaming, near accidents between cars and pedestrians, and the most of all, the inability to get from one block to another without being harassed to “move” or “get out of the way”, all spoken in Chinese of course.
Today, the streets are clear rather than the jam packed alley that we call Broadway Avenue. Rather than Chinese people being in Chinatown, there are many tourist roaming the street, most of which have no Asian descent whatsoever. It is sad that there is hardly any culture left in the town where I grew up. With renovations to store foreclosures, it saddens me that what was once a booming little town turned into a historical landmark to a culture that was once there.
Our life is different today than how it was a decade ago and it will be different again ten years from today. However today, I believe that we have become oblivious to our surroundings and fail to realize the simple things in life; the details that matter the most. I reminisce the times where I had to beg my aunt to buy lychee jelly snacks for me at the Chinese markets but my begging, unfortunately, never worked. Further, I remember I used to hold my breath when my grandma dragged me along with her to buy chicken from the poultry market for dinner that following evening.
Between our family and our friends, we inevitably changed lifestyles. We grew up. Instead of disliking the taste of ginsing from when I was younger, having it now brings back memories of the time that was once lived. Memories of the past are simple and beautiful. Our likes, dislikes, to our experiences, whether good or bad shape who we are today. It’s the simple memories that tie us down to our roots and sometimes, we forget the simple things. The most simple details can be ascertained by rekindling our experiences that we have endured in the past. Our past is not complicated, it is simple. It is beautiful. The beauty of it all is that no matter where we stand on our cultural belief’s, we can always reflect on the simple things that make us who we are today.