Old Wong could not find a job, so with the little bit of savings he had, he opened a laundromat in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It was a modest establishment with only an iron, a table and a few water buckets. Old Wong worked very hard and charged very little money. Soon, his business attracted more and more clients. But he kept on encountering challenges as he was running his business.
In 1907, a mob of almost 8,000 Whites stormed into Chinatown, vandalizing many of its businesses – among them was Old Wong’s laundry, which had it’s windows and doors smashed, his iron, his buckets and his table were all broken.
Old Wong: “Why is this happening to us? We are all law-abiding people!”
Old Chow: “Apparently it’s because of the economy. Many Whites have lost their jobs and they’re blaming it on us.”
Old Wong: “But we’re working really hard to make just enough money to survive”
Old Chow: “Yeah! I have worked tirelessly for so long, yet I still haven’t saved enough to bring my wife and children to Canada while they (white Canadians) have their wives and children with them … and that makes them a hundredfold better off than us”
Old Wong: “Do you think it’s true that the government is going to compensate us?”
Old Chow: “Compensation? Don’t you remember that in 1892, after the riots in the Calgary Chinatown, the government had only given a symbolic compensation which didn’t help much?”
Old Wong: “If we had the Canadian citizenship, we would not be regarded as outsiders, and we would not be bullied in this way…”