I live in the New York boro of Queens in the suburb of Flushing, It is home to a large Korean and Chinese and Russian community and I live with My Russian born spouse Ella in the Russian Jewish community.
One thing that historically was true of all three of these communities is that they care for their family, it just a decade ago was almost impossible to see a homeless person of these ethnicities or the elderly collecting tin cans or going through garbage. Unfortunately it seems as the younger generation, has become more Americanized they have thrown the baby out with the bath water. As they fulfill their parents dreams by attaining the American dream and becoming doctors and lawyers and architects and professors, they also have lost the respect in many cases for their elderly which was one of if not the most admirable of their traditional values.
On almost a daily basis there are Chinese women begging, Korean elderly going through garbage for soda cans and Russian grandmas sitting solitarily in a park from daylight to dawn because they are thrown out of home in the morning to care for themselves.
The once clean and safe neighborhood of flushing, now has become in many areas as dangerous and unclean and uncared for as many of the historically “ghetto areas” that became famous in 20th century new york of the Bronx and upper Manhattan.
Every park bench in the area at night becomes a bed for the homeless, and more and more the front yard of family homes are looking like Sanford and sons or step toe if you’re English as the young mercilessly send their elders out to scrounge for tin, lead and copper wire and soda cans to supplement the household income.
If all that isn’t bad enough, today is the day of the week we go and visit poppa and help with his bills and paper work and help him out financially if he needs it. Ella went on her own today because I am still recovering from a 12 mile training session in my chair yesterday, she wasn’t gone ten minutes when she called me to tell me that a seriously unconscious man was lying on the stoop(front steps) Of a neighboring apartment building out cold with his clothes so badly torn he was naked from the waist down. She called the ambulance and the police and waited ten minutes but noone showed,the super (janitor) of the building told her he called them an hour ago and they never came so she called again and still no show. The man eventually awoke, well sort of he groggily staggered off more out of it than perhaps drunk or high and was incoherent and didn’t answer anyone.
In the short time Ella was there dozens if not hundreds of my neighbors, many going to church or coming from it (next door to where he collapsed is a residential church where Mormon elders live) and many of these Asian neighbors are nurses and doctors but not only didn’t they stop they made disparaging comments and deliberately stepped over or around him.
Noone stopped, noone even stood back and inquired on his condition. Many of these god fearing bible thumpers went next door to the church of the secret underwear osmond loving church and told stories of how they “love thy neighbor” they just left out stepping over theirs to get there?
Back in Seoul or bejing or Tokyo or Moscow or Kiev or Odessa they wouldn’t have dare let their father mother brother uncle or grand parents sink physically and socially to such a level, so what happened?
Did the American education teach them what we call in Australia the “ bugger you jack as long as I’m okay” mentality” or more it seems the “fuck you and the horse you rode in on it’s every man woman and grandparent for themselves”?
Ella being the woman I love and have loved for 15 years, can’t walk past a stranger without caring and even now as a married woman still pays for and cares for her elderly father and is the problem solver for her not real confident sister and the best friend to her nephews. It’s not that she is that different, she was just brought up in the old tradition that family is everything.
Where was the family of the naked hurt man two doors down? What happened to the three churches, and yes as a life long buddhist I’m embarrassed to say 2 Buddhist temples in the area whose members all walked past? What happened to their book of fables teachings that say” he who refuses but one of mine refuses me” or “suffer unto me the little children”?
If this is the way this generation is growing? then unfortunately the great American dream may have become the sad American nightmare. At this rate lady liberty will get PTSD from the nightmare she sees playing out in the lives of those she gave shelter to. This isn’t about racism or picking on anyone because their different, I am commenting because they’re wrong I just happen to write about the ones in my every day life.
You can exchange the ethnicity for any of the over 300 that call the big apple home, because the apple has a moral and social worm in it and if we don’t soon start caring again the worm might spoil every part of the apple.