Unfortunately, I was not feeling well and missed Deland's Tuesday presentation regarding a brief history of planning as a profession. :-( This week was also a short one as there was only one session with the 4th of July holiday falling on a Thursday. As a result, I will share more insight into one of our experiences we shared during the previous third week. An event that I genuinely enjoyed was having a sit down conversation with Mrs. Lee, a board member of PYRIA. Here, we listened to her life story through a translator. Although we heard her stories through a translator, her lively expressions and passion for her work transcended language barriers. Her story captivated me beginning to finish and I wish that I had more quickly thought of questions to ask her. Something that stuck out to me during her story was that she told us she was aware that people talked/talk behind her back in English as she is a very outspoken and driven individual, but that this did not sway her because she knows what she's doing is right for residents. I feel honestly quite privileged to hear from this older generation of community activists that we read about, are taught about, but rarely get a chance to meet in such an intimate and genuine setting. As we were dispersing, I just had to ask Mrs. Lee if she knew my late paternal grandmother as they lived in the same Ping Yuen complex around the same time. I showed Mrs. Lee pictures of my grandmother and at first I thought she did not recognize her and was a bit crestfallen, but after telling her my grandmother's name -- she knew her! Mrs. Lee said she knew everybody and it's not hard to believe as she told us she walked the complexes handing out flyers to every resident during her active organizing period. As shared before, a reason that I wanted to participate in the UI program was to become closer to my familial roots in Chinatown. Every link that I can feel closer to my grandmother, no matter how small, is so very important and special to me and I hold them near and dear to my heart. Below: Pictured here is my grandmother, Betty Ng, and her five children. She raised all of her children as single mother in the North Ping Yuen housing complex from the late 50s to late 70s/early 80s. My father is the youngest of his siblings and the shortest child pictured. I estimate the year of this photograph to be around 1970.
- Megan Mah