gall and gumption

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Mysterious West: Revenge of Mr. Chin

Some years ago, on a visit to Jamaica, I was waiting at the airport in Kingston for my two younger brothers, who were coming from the U.S. to join my father and me. At that time (I don't know how it is now) travelers would exit customs and travel down a long, wide, windowless corridor that ended out on the sidewalk. If you were waiting for someone you waited at the exit from this corridor, doing a little sort of sparrow hop to peer into the depths of it for your first glimpse of whoever you were waiting for. I call it a sparrow dance because it's like the way sparrows sort of come in closer until some thing happens to make them hop away a few feet till they decide it's safe to come close again. With sparrows, maybe you shook out your newspaper or crossed your legs or stood up; at the airport exit gate what made you hop back was the police who would sort of shoo you away. Among those doing the sparrow hop at the gate was a group of Asians--Koreans was my guess and, based on not much more than the way they were dressed, I supposed they were missionaries. They were waiting for some more of their brethren and chatting away, taking turns peeping down the corridor from which, at long last, passengers had begun to appear. Uniformed redcaps pushed handtrucks with enormous stacks of luggage. One petite missionary lady found herself with a towering redcap with an equally towering stack of luggage almost bearing down on her. "Watch out, there, Mr. Chin" said the redcap.

Because among some Jamaicans, if you look Asian your name is Mr. Chin. Mr. Chin is Chinese, speaks Jamaican patois with a Cantonese accent (the effect beggars all description and can only be heard on the stage anymore and it's rarely done well even there), and runs a little grocery shop in a small country town. Even if you are a four-year-old boy from Japan, a 92-year-old Mongolian grandmother, or a pair of newlyweds from the Phillipines, your name is Mr. Chin.

Mr. Chin usually has a bit part on stage, he's not at the center of the action but his little shop with the soft drinks and the tins of sardines is over to one side. Somewhere about the middle of the action he will make an appearance there. The last time I saw Mr. Chin on stage, which was here in DC late last year, he was played by a Black actor whose makeup gave him a sort of greyish, putty color. He had applied some sort of tape to make his eyes look like they had that fold; it was not convincing, and neither was his hair. But in the middle of the action when it looks like the hero will never solve his troubles he has a confab with Mr. Chin who always has some long convoluted piece of Oriental wisdom, delivered in the Cantonese-Jamaican patois, and whenever I encounter him I pray he gets through his little scene without mentioning that "Confucious say..."

I'll tell you what makes me think of Mr. Chin. I was in the dollar store and I came across the happy Rasta with his giant spliff:

It was among the less spectacular Jesus things, the smaller virgins who aren't attached to gilt rococo clocks or Cinderella carriages or small waterfalls. And there was this, too: the happy Rasta couple getting it on in a hammock suspended over an ashtray that says "Legalize."

I believe Mr. Chin has got his own back now.


At 9:28 AM, Blogger Joe Coelecanth said...

A black actor appearing on stage in, er, yellowface? There's a dissertation just waiting to be written.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, true religion, coach outlet, gucci handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, christian louboutin outlet, michael kors outlet, prada handbags, nike outlet, polo ralph lauren, ray ban outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet store, louis vuitton handbags, louis vuitton, cheap oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, chanel handbags, tiffany and co jewelry, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, oakley vault, prada outlet, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, coach outlet store online, oakley sunglasses, burberry outlet online, nike air max, michael kors handbags, longchamp outlet online, kate spade outlet online, burberry outlet online, longchamp handbags, kate spade outlet, jordan shoes, red bottom shoes, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet online, coach outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, coach purses, tiffany jewelry

At 9:36 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, vans pas cher, lululemon, lacoste pas cher, nike air max, air max, abercrombie and fitch, timberland, nike free pas cher, sac michael kors, louis vuitton uk, north face, new balance pas cher, barbour, north face pas cher, tn pas cher, nike roshe run, burberry pas cher, hollister, ray ban pas cher, nike air force, true religion outlet, ralph lauren, mulberry, nike air max, oakley pas cher, nike free, longchamp, chaussure louboutin, nike roshe, michael kors canada, air max pas cher, true religion jeans, sac louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, hollister, michael kors uk, converse pas cher, air jordan, louis vuitton, scarpe hogan, ray ban uk, nike blazer pas cher, guess pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, hermes pas cher

At 9:39 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

mont blanc pens, canada goose, uggs outlet, p90x workout, reebok shoes, chi flat iron, babyliss, soccer jerseys, valentino shoes, instyler ionic styler, insanity workout, bottega veneta, north face jackets, ugg soldes, canada goose outlet, beats headphones, hollister, uggs outlet, soccer shoes, new balance outlet, asics shoes, abercrombie and fitch, mcm handbags, wedding dresses, ugg boots, canada goose outlet, lululemon outlet, ugg outlet, celine handbags, birkin bag, replica watches, nike roshe, nfl jerseys, north face jackets, vans outlet, nike trainers, ugg, ghd, ferragamo shoes, canada goose outlet, mac cosmetics, ugg boots, longchamp, giuseppe zanotti, herve leger, nike huarache, uggs on sale, jimmy choo shoes, marc jacobs outlet

At 9:42 PM, Blogger oakleyses said...

links of london uk, swarovski jewelry, moncler, pandora uk, canada goose, supra shoes, ray ban, timberland shoes, hollister, juicy couture outlet, moncler outlet, thomas sabo uk, coach outlet, vans, gucci, hollister canada, parajumpers outlet, oakley, canada goose, moncler, swarovski uk, montre femme, louis vuitton canada, moncler, wedding dress, uggs canada, converse shoes, air max, lancel, toms outlet, juicy couture outlet, hollister clothing, moncler, baseball bats, pandora charms, louboutin, ralph lauren, replica watches, converse, ugg, moncler outlet, canada goose, karen millen, iphone 6 case, moncler, nike air max, pandora jewelry, canada goose pas cher

At 3:59 AM, Blogger Lin Shijun said...

shijun 7.21
adidas outlet
jordan 6 retro
cheap ray bans
cheap chi straighteners
ray ban glasses
coach factory outlet
true religion outlet
michael kors outlet online
abercrombie & fitch
hollister outlet
ray ban uk store
ray ban sunglasses
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors
ray ban wayfarer
louis vuitton outlet
jordan pas cher femme
mont blanc pen
chanel outlet
michael kors outlet online
coach outlet store online
jordan pas cher
jordan 3 infrared
reb christian louboutin
michael kors
chanel no 5
ray ban wayfarer
jordan 11 snakeskin
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors outlet
abercrombie store
toms wedges
coach outlet online
gucci bags
coach outlet
new jordans
michael kors
kobe 8

At 11:20 PM, Blogger Junda Xu said...

20151020 junda
Coach Factory Handbags Outlet Store
nfl jerseys
coach canada
Michael Kors Outlet Deals Online
Abercrombie and Fitch Outlet Sale
louis vuitton outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Real Handbags Online
Jordan 6 Rings Powder Blue
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton handbags
cheap uggs
cheap toms shoes
coach factory outlet
Louis Vuitton Outlet USA
ralph lauren uk
ugg boots
Discount Ray Ban Polarized Sunglasses
Ugg Boots,Ugg Boots Outlet,Ugg Outlet,Cheap Uggs,Uggs On Sale,Ugg Boots Clearance,Uggs For Women
ugg boots
air max 95,nike golf,nike janoski,air max 1,nike canada,nike plus,nike shox,nike factory store
coach outlet
ugg boots clearance
coach outlet online
Michael Kors Outlet Handbags Factory Price
Louis Vuitton Handbags Factory Store
Michael Kors Outlet Sale Clearance
coach factory outlet
ugg boots australia
canada goose jackets
louis vuitton outlet

At 8:09 PM, Blogger John said...

timberland boots
nike air max
michael kors handbags
ugg boots
abercrombie outlet
hollister uk
michael kors outlet online
polo ralph lauren outlet
ugg boots
louis vuitton outlet
coach factory outlet
michael kors uk
coach outlet
abercrombie & fitch
coach outlet store online
coach factory outlet
ugg boots on sale
oakley sunglasses
michael kors
michael kors outlet
jordan concords
jordan retro
the north face outlet
adidas superstar
celine handbags
ugg boots for men
nike air force 1
coach outlet
oakley sunglasses

At 12:03 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

mcm backpack
ralph lauren outlet
mulberry handbags sale
ugg boots
lululemon outlet online
the north face jacket
coach outlet clearance
canada goose outlet
new balance shoes
coach outlet online

At 3:09 AM, Blogger Gege Dai said...

oakley sunglasses wholesale
canada goose outlet
louis vuitton handbags
swarovski jewelry
ralph lauren shirts
adidas trainers
football shirts
ugg boots
tiffany and co
tory burch outlet

At 8:50 PM, Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

cheap uggs
pandora jewelry
ray ban sunglasses outlet
fitflops sale
salomon boots
hermes belts
ugg outlet
san antonio spurs
cheap oakley sunglasses

At 9:24 PM, Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

ray ban sunglasses
oakley sunglasses
polo outlet
packers jerseys
nike blazer pas cher
ugg boots
fitflops sale
christian louboutin
cheap nike shoes
cleveland cavaliers jersey

At 4:58 AM, Blogger happy 123 said...

yeezy shoes
kyrie 3
burberry scarf
dior glasses
nike roshe one
cheap basketball shoes
longchamp handbags
adidas ultra boost uncaged
vibram fivefingers
adidas nmd

At 11:07 PM, Blogger te52 said...

nike tn pas cher
yeezy boost 350
nfl jerseys
adidas yeezy
canada goose jackets
rayban sunglasses
nike air max 95
michael kors outlet
pandora jewelry outlet
cleveland cavaliers
adidas nmd runner
kate spade sale
longchamp outlet


Post a Comment

<< Home