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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Iron Chink

Iaman reports from Vancouver B.C.:
This surprised me. My land lady, a Canadian born Chinese woman whose father was a Canadian WW2 hero has introduced me to a rich multi-ethnic community. She lent me a book of poems by Jim Wong Chu - Chinatown Ghosts. [Here's one Iaman recorded:]

In this book of poems I saw a picture of an "Iron Chink", a old heavy iron mechanical contraption.
Iron Chink
I thought "wow,  that's bold, someone's not worried about being called a racist". Deciding to check myself I googled "definition Chink"  google returned
"a narrow opening or crack, typically one that admits light."
What?
And then another definition, "A slight, metallic sound, as of coins rattling in a pocket."
Then saving my sanity Wikipedia returned details of what I thought of as a ethnic slur,  which led to an article about Salmon canneries:
"Afterwards, many workers were replaced or reallocated with the invention of the iron chink, a butchering machine said to replace up to 30 Chinese workers" 
Iron Chink
1000s of pictures of  Iron Chink's 
I've been around enough to know it is best to judge a person on their own merits.   But being raised in white communities,  then as a 16 year old entering the nascent world of integrated military  I have seen my share of overt racism, and see how easy it is for the unthinking to rely on racism for a quick ego boost..
Now having inserted myself into the Chinese dominated culture of Burnaby  I wonder about living in a society that is overwhelmed by another culture.
Canada and China are of equal size yet China has 36 times the people, 1,300 Million vs  Canadas 36 Million.*
I experience a bit of this influx at the pools here, many times a lap lane will have 5 swimmers,  often all Chinese.  I do get a ego boost when swimming with the typically smaller chinese doing a breast stroke with their short arms,  No matter how quick and fit they are , I often lap them with my 10% longer reach doing a crawl.  Of course I am not swimming with >6'5" Olympic caliber Chinese swimmers.
*I thought two instances of 36 might be an error, so I checked. Turns out 36 squared is 1296, which is almost 1300.

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