AN ORIENTAL ORIENTATION OF SORTS IN SAN FRANCISCO (11/14/11)
It is great to see the many odd balls jump on the bandwagon to win favors and act as if they supported Mayor Ed Lee from the inception; but those of us that observe and discern really know who has the best interest of San Francisco.
The Chinese of yester years called San Francisco the Gold Mountain and today paradoxically China has made a comeback to allow many businesses and those who can work the "oriental way" to make inroads and favor our great City known as Baghdad by the Bay. The opportunistic we have many the humanistic few and the in between you have those one must watch out for.
The Chinese are a patient people and look long before they trust anyone. No relationship worth the salt is taken for granted. If you are trusted then you make taste of the honey; but if you are not you will be told harshly you are on the crap list of sorts.
In recent years, the many American Chinese Supervisors; some of which ascended and became Assembly persons in Sacramento and one a Senator have taken the Chinese community to a high level. Notice I did not say, highest. The recent ascension by a Chinese woman in Oakland becoming its first Mayor and now Ed Lee who I have known for many years - becoming a Mayor of San Francisco - have made history. How is jade fashioned? Who has the feng shui?
China has favored San Francisco permitting us to be the only City in the United States to run the Olympic torch when the Olympics were held in Beijing, China. The Chinese Premier and other top officials have always looked to San Francisco and San Franciscans as trusted friends. All that is good as long as we point out with a firm voice that as Americans we treasure - "human rights".
It is all good; if Ed Lee wants to embrace South Africa and may I add East Africa and Kenya the land famous for Safaris and marathon runners. The land of my birth! If Ed Lee favors Brazil the land of opportunity where the Olympics will be held but also the country that has discovered one of the largest "off shore oil fields" that will bring it tremendous hope and wealth. Lambada!
My connection with the Chinese people has been a long one and one of admiration and tenacity. Most folks would not believe that I have a connection with the "Tongs" of China Town and have a sound relationship with my good friend Pious Lee. I have stood by the American Chinese constituents of the Bay Area when most people in years gone by shied away from the American Chinese here in San Francisco. My Chinese constituency may not be rich but they are decent and honorable.
I favor the most recent Chinese immigrants and love working for them and serving the causes that need no kudos. Most of them humanitarian in nature. The most rewarding aspect is when they rejoice and to witness the tears of joy.
Ed Lee must look inside and bring solace to the thousands in China Town and do it with class. He must invite those Big Developers who are always taking and never giving to step forward and prove that they have the best interest of all San Franciscans. China Town is that gem that has suffered for too long. Many living in cramped small units and in damp places that are stuffy; sharing one bathroom, one kitchen, and hanging clothes on string to dry.
I have taken many a young Chinese student under my wing and shared the experience of climbing that mountain and seeing the joy of success. There is no doubt in my mind - Chinese students will work very hard to succeed and get a sound education.
China Town is our pride today but it was not looked with that mirror not too long ago. Many do not know that there is a long admired friendship between African Americans and China Town and with the Chinese. I treasure my friendship most with a man called Calvin Louie. We are good friends, say little, but treasure the spirit of living and sharing.
Once there was a height requirement for all San Francisco Police personnel. The people of the Bayview Hunters Point stood up and lowered the height limit; offering an opportunity for Chief Fred Lau to succeed and become San Francisco's first Chinese Police Chief.
And then we had Police Chief Heather Fong, my very good friend, and she was Chinese and proud to be a San Franciscan and share more light and brightness as a woman. She was tough with Chief Greg Suhr but the better man won and I have been a good friend of Chief Greg Suhr through thick and thin. That is how things work; if you have hope you are a better man and may I add with the Chinese connection in San Francisco.
I do not want to throw out names of my Chinese friends but I know I have the right connections in the right places to make anything good happen. I shun politicians because most of them love to say things that you want to hear; and then conveniently do as they please.
There will be an oriental orientation of sorts in the months and a different way of doing things at City Hall. The dinner and lunch will have many courses six, eight, may fifteen with lots of hot tea and lots of sweating ˆ according to circumstance.
There will be laughter but do not take that as a sign that the deal is sealed. It does not work like that - gifts are in order and the more green that is shoveled your side the better. That is just the oriental way. Recently, we saw it at the Department of Energy once you are loved - there is much good but ancient habits die hard and you may find yourself in the cesspool - if that slope has been greased and is slippery.
It is fun to watch David Chiu stressing no applauding in the Board Chambers, depriving one of three minutes at Public Comment. Had he been in the gold rush days - he would be clobbered and shanghaied. Carmen Chu with her gavel - she has been seen in recent months shadowing Ed Lee positioning herself for some post that has to do with the Budget; perhaps aiming to be the next Controller a control freak that she is.
The mild Eric Mar has been mellowed by the sweet breeze from Hawaii and will not be a stickerler as the above two. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.
I have a Latino friend; a good friend of Ed Lee who stood by him and will today. He also happens to be my good friend. In San Francisco we really do not take sides for the worst, we are open to change and progress, and forgiving even after a good fight. That is how is must be.
However, good leaders know the way, show the way, and go the way. Corruption and nepotism is not called for on any level playing ground. To bring progress to San Francisco, you must be decent and abide by the law. Unfortunately, that is not the oriental way, always - deep rooted in culture can curtail the laws of the White Man and that which is old is as good as Gold and Gold Mountain beckons - provided those who think can resist.
The Jesuits found the Chinese interesting especially in the fifteen and sixteen centuries. That was when most of Europe was not truly civilized and had no clue of dynamite - and Marco Polo stole the secret of making noodles. My kin travelled far and wide to Macao and to Japan and beyond to Mongolia and brought back tons of wisdom. Today, the world is changing more with the Spring Uprising in the Middle East, financial turmoil in Europe, and our financial situation in a doldrums in the United States of America.
San Francisco is poised to control the Pacific Rim and Ed Lee can play a role but he must have the right partners to make fang shui stick.
This land all of it belongs to the Ohlone. Ed Lee may not know it but there is a deep relationship between the Native American and the Chinese. Perhaps, this is that moment where someone who is Chinese can bring the First People to the banquet much as the First People first shared corn, wild turkey, and berries with the Pilgrims and share with them the goodness of a people.
I take my laundry to Mrs. Ho on San Bruno Avenue and was wearing this T-Shirt with some Native American Leaders proclaiming they were our Founding Fathers. She liked it and said these are my people - "yes Francisco they were from China". I thought of the Bering Straits and then I thought of San Francisco and thanked silently for Mrs. Ho - thought.