Written at 7/11/2011 9:25PM
Today was Monday and we were supposed to be prepared for tomorrow's tour of Chinatown Alleyways. My fellow ninterns and I watched KRON 4 News point of view of Japantown. The lady news reporter went to interview places like Soko Hardware, Benkyodo, JCCCNC, and so on. I gained some knowledge of those locations and I really want to try Benkyodo's manju and mochi. Well, since we will visit the I-Hotel (International Hotel) tomorrow, our group decided to watch The Fall of I-Hotel. The International Hotel was built around 1907 right after the earthquake in 1906, around the existing Manilatown back then. The documentary's way of depicting the story had made me cried a little, linking my emotions to the Filipino and Chinese senior citizens that actually lived at the I-Hotel back then. I understood the way the tenants were trapped to live there due to low cost of rent around $50 per month. But then I can't believe how The Four Season Corporation made no acknowledgement toward the seniors that lived there, instead they used all sorts of ways to evict them. The brutal police that used violence to drag off the senior tenants and their use of baton had scared many protesters that defended against this unjust treatment. Eventually the hotel got demolished and it became a empty lot for many years. Well the good part was that Chinatown Community Development Center brought the air rights to the land and decided to construct a low-cost residential place that contained 105 apartments and 8000 application submissions to apply for made me realize how important low-cost housing for the seniors were. Later our team interview Pete about his times during his stay at the I-Hotel. Pete told his story and eventually he cried a little too, I tried to hold my tears as well, knowing that this horrible event wounded the seniors that lived there and the protesters that struggled for the seniors. Pete mentioned his best friends that taught him where to get the best groceries and life supplies, which made this a unforgettable moment for him. We should learn how to treasure the times we have now and fight for any inhumane activities around our lifetimes. I will personally like to thank Pete for his time sharing his memories with us and your continues support for us. Thank you.
- Luis Diego Lin-Xiao (NJAHS Nintern)