Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home

Posts tagged ‘Chinatown’

Street musicians, Chinatown, San Francisco, California, United States,

Fotoeins Friday: RTW10, start

10 years ago, I began an around-the-world (RTW) journey lasting 389 consecutive days, from 24 December 2011 to 15 January 2013 inclusive.

31 Dec 2011.

What I like about this image of street musicians in San Francisco’s Chinatown is a kind of “musical chairs”, and how the number of faces inside and outside seem to look in different directions, but share the common feature of looking to satisfy a singular moment or a question in curiosity.

I made the photo above on 31 Dec 2011 with a Canon EOS450D (Rebel XSi) and these settings: 1/100-sec, f/5, ISO800, and 50mm focal length (80mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as

Chinatown, International District, Seattle, WA, USA,

Fotoeins Friday: King and Maynard (Seattle CID)

I’ve been fascinated by the origins and appearance of words and characters since I learned how to write in both Chinese and English languages. Thanks to a variety of websites (particularly one about Berlin), my eye has recently been tuned to typography.

In front of the Fortune Garden restaurant in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District (CID) are bilingual street signs which have been widespread throughout the area since 2013. North of Jackson Street, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Japanese-English; east of I-5 and 10th Avenue, street signs switch from Chinese-English to Vietnamese-English.

In the picture, the combination of Chinese characters have little meaning. But where transliteration to Cantonese is concerned, each Chinese character is an individual “vocalization” representing a syllable in English. South King Street becomes “南景街” which is pronounced “naam4 ging2 gaai1” and in literal terms is “south – view/situation – street”. Maynard Avenue South becomes “南美拿大道” which is pronounced “naam4 mei5 naa4 daai6 dou6” and in literal terms is “south – good/pretty – take/use/capture – big – road”. (See the note below* for more.)

I made the picture above on 11 May 2016 with the Canon 6D, 24-105 glass, and the following settings: 1/800-sec, f/11, ISO1000, and 47mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

* Arriving primarily from Guangdong province in southern China, people began building Chinatown settlements in North America in the 19th-century; most of the new immigrants spoke Cantonese. With my own intermediate proficiency in Cantonese, I’ve used CantoDict for the transliterations above. The numbers associated with Anglicized pronunciation of Chinese words correspond to six tones in the Cantonese dialect. A summary of the six Cantonese tones is provided in this video.

Singapore Chinatown, Singapore, Chinatown, Pagoda Street, myRTW,

Fotoeins Friday: Pagoda Street, Singapore Chinatown

4 July 2012.

I’m interested in finding out what Singapore’s Chinatown is like. Riding the MTR, I exit the transport system at “Chinatown” station, and I walk down a flight of stairs to street level. I’m always curious to see (1) what people think how Chinatown should appear, (2) what the resident Chinese feel about the incarnation, and (3) how a gentrified form of Chinatown appears similarly around the world. Apart from electronics stores and dollar stores with cheap souvenirs, there’s a lot more to Chinatown farther afoot. There is a Chinatown heritage centre down this street, and historical heritage buildings are scattered around the area.

Singapore, Chinatown, MRT North East line,

Chinatown station (NE4), MRT North East line.

During my year-long RTW, I made this photo on 4 July 2012 with the Canon 450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/160-sec, f/8, ISO200, and 32mm focal length (51mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie on as

Chinese New Year parade, Propaganda, Chinatown, Vancouver, BC, Canada,

Fotoeins Friday: “Everything is going to be all right”

During the final stages of the Chinese New Year parade through Vancouver’s Chinatown, I’m in front of the window to a café called Propaganda1. I remember there used to be a Chinese butcher shop here …

There’s been a lot of debate in Chinatown about gentrification, the loss of Chinese businesses, new Western-style businesses, the question of an appropriate mix of free-market and social-housing, and what the future will hold, and how it’ll appear for this historical neighbourhood.

I have mixed feelings about what I’ve seen since returning to the hometown. The symbolism of the large letters and the reflection of sunlit faces and national flags for Canada and China make out as crucial elements in a present-day picture of Chinatown and their respective roles in defining the present and staking the future.

I made this photo on 22 February 2015 with the Canon 6D, EF 24-105 L zoom-lens, with the following settings: 1/80s, f/16, ISO400, and 32mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

1“Propaganda” is the name of a committee, founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV, of cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church responsible for foreign missions. The word’s origin is Italian, from modern Latin congregatio de propaganda fide, for “congregation for propagation of the faith.”
"Solter(r)a", Keefer Block, Vancouver Chinatown, BC, Canada,

Fotoeins Friday: Vancouver’s “Solter(r)a” in Chinatown

For a few minutes, I kept a watchful eye to see who would pass underneath the scaffolding and the sign. I fired off a flurry of shots, and I’m fortunate to have captured the woman in mid-stride between the two red cones and framed by the metal poles. “Solterra” is a Spanish compound word consisting of “sol” (sun) and “terra” (earth or ground). “Soltera” is the Spanish noun for a single unmarried woman.

The Solterra Group is responsible for the construction of the Keefer Block, here at the northwest corner of Keefer Street and Main Street in Vancouver, Canada. There is concern and consternation about the construction of condominiums. There are questions about how the future of Chinatown will proceed. Redevelopment? Gentrification? Sell land to the highest bidder? Maintain an equitable fraction of social housing, particularly to elderly members of the Chinese-Canadian community who built and resided in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the city? Is there any respect? Does it matter? Does anyone care?

I made the photo above on 23 August 2014 with the Canon 6D, the EF 50 f/1.4 USM prime-lens, and the following settings: 1/250s, f/16, and ISO400. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

Chinatown Memorial Plaza, Chinatown Memorial Square, Chinatown Memorial Monument, Chinatown, Vancouver, BC, Canada,

My Vancouver: Chinatown Memorial Square

Above/featured: Chinatown Memorial Square, Vancouver, Canada – 15 Mar 2019 (X70).

Living in and between two societies can often mean a fractured existence; unclear and ambiguous it might be at times between cultural identity at birth with the country of birth.

But my truth is and always has been very simple.

I am Canadian. I am Chinese. I am Chinese-Canadian. I am Canadian-Chinese.

I am all of these, and all of these make up who I am.

I believe my parents would not have emigrated to Canada, that my sister and I would not have been born and raised here in this country, had it not been for the perseverance and hard work by early-generations of Chinese Canadians.

Memorial to Chinese Canadians

The history of the city of Vancouver and of the province of British Columbia includes the history of Chinese people in Canada. These histories are inseparable.

What is significant and well-documented are: the impact by Chinese on the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the completion of which delivered in 1871 the “promise” of British Columbia joining Canadian confederation; the 19th-century “gold rush”; fighting racism and state-sponsored repression; volunteering to fight for a country who didn’t want or recognize them; and their subsequent rightful claims of their right to become Canadian citizens and the right to vote.

Standing at the northeast corner of Keefer Street and Columbia Street in Vancouver’s Chinatown is a memorial to early Chinese-Canadians. The stylized “中” character is surrounded by two sculptures representing important times in Canadian history: a Chinese-Canadian working on the national railway, and a Chinese-Canadian soldier serving in World War Two. In the context of the memorial, the character “中” also represents harmony in spirit, and a declaration and recognition of the past and present, and hopes for the future.

Inscriptions at the memorial are as follows:

This Chinatown Memorial Monument is the creation of sculptor Mr. Arthur Shu-Ren Cheng. The bronze statues of the railway worker and the World War II veteran represent the sacrifices made by Chinese Canadians in building a united and prosperous Canada. The main column is a stylized form of the Chinese character “centre” (“中”) which symbolizes Chinese culture. The Chinese couplet inscribed on the front and back of the column reads:

(Front/Left) “Rich legacies of Chinese pioneers shining bright as the sun and moon.”

(Back/Right) “Great deeds of noble forbears zeal entrenched as mountains and rivers.”

In commemoration of the significant contributions of Chinese Canadians to the growth, vitality and prosperity of Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada.

The Chinatown Memorial Monument is funded by the City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, and Government of Canada under the Vancouver agreement.

Unveiled on the 2nd November 2003


Chinatown Memorial Square can be reached by TransLink with the SkyTrain to Stadium-Chinatown Station, or with any of bus routes 3, 4, 7, 8, 14, 16, 19, 20, 22, 50, or C23.


•   Chinese building the CPR: “Nitro”, video by Historica Canada.
•   Chinese Canadians in military service Chinese Canadian Military Museum.
•   Remembering Gim Wong

This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as Initial photos for the 2013 post have been removed, and a 2019 photo has been inserted in a 2021 edit.

San Francisco, California, United States,

San Francisco on the last day of 2011

Above/featured: BART station El Cerrito Plaza, at sunrise.

Dropping off my friend at 830am at SFO Airport on their way to México was a great opportunity to have a look at the airport itself. Even better was catching some visuals within the city on a relatively quiet day …

( Click here for more )

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