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Tuesday, 16th April 2024

Irish Born Chinese

Should Dublin have a Chinatown? Part II

Created Friday, 27th January 2012, 21:17 by Whykay
I’ve been asked to extend my thoughts on the article about the debate about setting up a Chinatown in Dublin. If this was discussed over 20 years ago, a similar idea was discussed by the way (my dad was involved in it but it didn’t work out), it may have ghettoised the area, do we want that now? It’s nice to have Asian shops and local restaurants dotted around town, some even grew organically on a street or two (Parnell and Capel Street). People are already calling it our unofficial Chinatown

When I was young, I wanted somewhere like London Chinatown. It was the closest source to news from Hong Kong, food that’s authentic and delicious. Seeing all that roast duck, geese, char siu hanging up made my mouth water. That one shop on the main street of Chinatown with all its cute stationary, stickers, photos of Hong Kong Canto stars, the list goes on. For me, my brothers and my cousins that grew up in Limerick, there wasn’t even a Chinese school like the “lucky” ones in Dublin. I would be envious of my cousins who lived near London who would attend Chinese school in Chinatown every weekend, and they would endlessly complain about it. I realised that those who attended Chinese schools in other countries had the same feelings also. But still, you can read and write Chinese, it’s a great skill to have, all those Chinese novels you can read, and menus you can read unassisted when you visit Hong Kong.

Since the introduction of TVB’s Chinese Channel satellite television, we have live news from Hong Kong, entertainment (although it’s crap, but entertaining at times) at a premium, and for those who crave that little bit of comfort of being that little bit closer to Hong Kong.

The debate of a Chinatown for Dublin has just started, but I’m worried that they will end up paying lots of money for a Chinese-looking gate that makes the whole thing a bit twee just to attract tourists and also bring the ire of the locals as Ireland itself is not in great shape, and I would be happy if the would-be funds be spent on something like our healthcare or education system. If the government are going Chinese-crazy, why not include Mandarin as part of the school curriculum, their reason was they haven’t got any funds, so does putting money desperately needed in other areas for a Chinatown a good idea? What about the other minor ethnic communities, is it really necessary building a dedicated area for one ethnic group? A multicultural area/quarter would be much nicer, we have so many ethnic groups in Ireland than back in the early 60s when Chinese were one of the earliest Asian immigrants to Ireland. But then, that’s my opinion.