Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chinese Calgarians enraged at report urging no "Asian" malls


Members of Calgary's Chinese community are enraged after a consultant's report commissioned by the city said Calgary should avoid the development of "Asian" malls that serve only one ethnic group.

The report raises the debate over whether cities should be encouraging ethnic enclaves, or whether those enclaves only isolate certain communities from the larger population.

Chinese residents are angry at being singled out by the consulting company -- whose president is Chinese -- in a report on how the city should deal with future commercial and retail development.

Calgary should "avoid the development of 'Asian' malls that cater only to a specific ethnic group," says the report, posted on the city's website.

"An effort must be made to avoid 'exclusive' cultural-specific retail developments, as they lead to marginalized ethnic enclaves which can diminish overall community cohesiveness."

There were about 67,000 people of Chinese descent living in the Calgary area in 2006, according to Statistics Canada.

Booooo. Nothing worse than a Chinese-Canadian wannabe who walks around dissing FOBs all day and wanting to outlaw Chinese malls! Nice report buddy.

Related Stories:

Like variety, ethnic malls add spice to life
The notorious report urging that Asian malls be discouraged has been cleansed but the result still looks and reads a lot like the idiotic original


Anh Khoi Do said...

I also have some reservations about the creation of "Chinese" malls.

First of all, why should these malls in question serve only one ethnic group while sending the message that people of other heritage are not welcomed in these malls (if a certain product catch their attention)?

Secondly, from what I see in Montreal, the creation of ethnic enclaves shouldn't be encouraged. For instance, I don't understand why "Asian" groceries (or other commerces) put a "We're hiring" sign in a given Asian language. Honestly, I've personally got no problem with free enterprise as long as any commerce is willing to offer a job to any people regardless of their colour, religion or ethnicity (based on their knowledge of - let's say - Asian cooking to that matter). Of course, my remark applies to every ethnic groups.

Degenerasian said...

I think the fact you put "Chinese" in quotation proves that there is no such thing. I go to Asian supermarkets every week and there are always black, white, spanish people there buying stuff. You go to an Chinese mall and there are non-chinese people there.

You do make a good point about "We're hiring" signs in chinese. I've never seen that here in Calgary. Most of these places are family run businesses that don't have the money, don't want to spend the money, or don't have to spend any money to hire anyone. They just make nephew #7 work 15 hours a day and feed him. I often complain about the service in these place cause it's nephew #7 bringing me my food who really doesn't give a damn.

Anh Khoi Do said...

Of course, there are things that I forgot to mention. Well, hopefully, there are people of many heritage going to "Asian" groceries (let's just hope that you can hope to be served in English/French).

I'll just focus on my second point. Allowing the creation of ethnic commerce is a "double-edged" sword, so to speak. In some case, it can be a hell of a benefit to a city. However, in Montreal, there are some groceries and restaurants (and shops to a lesser extent), which can afford to put a "We're hiring" sign, that leave a bitter taste in you because it's in a given Asian language. For instance, in downtown Montreal, I once saw a sign on a restaurant's (and a very good one, by the way) window saying in Vietnamese: "Cooks needed. Apply within."

Obviously, why should the manager of that restaurant assume that only (and only) people of Vietnamese heritage know how to cook Vietnamese meals? If someone named Jane Doe has a prestigious certificate (with a speciality in Vietnamese cuisine), why should she be neglected? I'm a person of Vietnamese heritage and yet, it doesn't mean that I know how to cook every single meals in the handbook of Vietnamese cuisine. The same remark can apply to other type of commerce.

Anh Khoi Do said...

Oh I also forgot to ask: does the nephew #7 in question lack so much professionalism when it comes to serving customers? I asked you this because I know very few Asian restaurants in Montreal that are "family-run" as you imply it.

Degenerasian said...

Most of the Vietnamese places I know of in Calgary are family run. I do share your views on the "We're hiring sign" although I've never seen it here in Calgary. As mentioned, they don't need a sign of any kind to hire anyone. They just hire through relatives or word of mouth.

As for why a manager wouldn't hire a white guy who could cook Vietnamese food? I don't know. I would assume it to be wages. Why hire a cook for competitive wages when they could get one for free almost.

As for nephew #7. It's not that he's not qualified but he may be the only on there waiting on 10 tables at once so service is extremely slow. Also, sometimes he's the only one who speaks English well enough to serve everyone.

Your points are much better than the article itself. They don't bring up hiring practices at all. They just state that "Asian" malls don't cater to others which I find ludicrous. You walk in a PHO place or a supermarket and you might see more white people than Asian people in there these days!

And we don't have language laws :)