Written by Katie
18 Aug 2016

Aging and Alone in Manhattan’s Chinatown

I had been hoarding this video/article in my tabs for exactly a month now and only this week was I able to finally watch it. After watching it, I asked myself a few questions, why did I keep it here for so long? Shouldn’t I have just watched it and either a) posted about it or b) moved on from it? The other option that also seems pretty likely is c) that I was scared of it. All I knew about it was the title and a screenshot of an elderly Asian woman walking through Chinatown – actually that same one above.

Growing up, my family and I went to Chinatown nearly every weekend in Seattle. To be politically correct, we call it the “International District” because it’s not just targeted towards Chinese people – it’s all Asian cultures. I remember when walking around wondering where their families were – where were their sons and daughters and grandchildren the way that my grandparents had me? Where did they live and did they have family gatherings the way we did? Today, I only have one Grandma left. I was recently told by someone at a funeral that I needed to get married soon so that she could be present at my wedding. Talk about the pressure! Well, if my Grandmother didn’t live 15 minutes away from my childhood home, could this woman in the video easily be her? Yes, probably. And it’s not the life that I would hope for her, but this is the reality for so many elderly people in International Districts all over the country. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone because the woman’s story profiled in the video is worth watching. What I love about this video is that it gives me a sliver of the answers that I was always looking for, but I’m curious to know more. I want to dig deeper into the stories of those living in Chinatown and hustling every day like this woman. Maybe someday, we’ll be able to do that…

Just a warning, the video doesn’t have a happy ending, but DoobyBrain informed their readers that actually the woman is alive and still in Chinatown so hopefully that puts you at ease.

The video profile was created by Mantai Chow and you can watch it here.

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