From Year of Rooster to the Dog

By Rev. Norman Fong

January 5, 2018

They say that the “Dog is our Best Friend” and truly “Loyal”. I can’t wait for the Year of the Dog to begin because in the Year of the Rooster, it began with a loud “Cock-a-doodle-do” with a very noisy & loud President of the United States. In the world of “politics”, politicians want to make noise and to be seen on TV, Twitter & in the newspapers all the time.

The year ended, sadly, with the loss of a dear friend – Mayor Ed Lee who was the opposite of “Noise” and drawing attention to himself. He was more like a loyal friend to Chinatown & the Chinese community… and even beyond – he loved San Francisco. He didn’t need to “Cock-a-doodle-do” all the time. He just quietly & with great humility wanted to get things done. Would you agree that overall – he did a great job?

Think about all we’ve accomplished in 2017 as a community & with Mayor Ed Lee. I know it’s been a bit noisy with all the construction & people have a right to get angry but in the long run, it’s going to be good for Chinatown. For the community, we are rebuilding the Ping Yuen housing projects which is great family housing we need to keep Chinatown going. At Chinatown CDC it’s been one of the “noisiest” and hardest housing projects we have ever done, but we all should be happy that the Pings will be affordable housing forever right in Chinatown. We know that the Central Subway will be really great for Chinatown but it is so hard for business now until they complete it. (I hope they can do it faster not slower).

We just completed renovations of West Ping Yuen (895 Pacific) in 2017 plus completed renovations of the senior housing at 990 Pacific Ave and the seniors there love it. I get calls all the time from people who want to get on the waiting list. (At this time, the former tenants are returning to their home and the wait list is not open.) St. Mary’s Square park was expanded for the community and it took all of us years to get that space & there’s master planning going on to rebuild Portsmouth Square plus fixing up the Broadway corridor. Yes, 2017 there’s been a lot noise from construction to politics. It’s been painful but I hope the “Year of the Dog” will be more peaceful and a time to appreciate our loyal friends in life who really care for the community.

ping yuen
View from the West Ping Yuen rooftop

st marys
St. Mary's Square

porthsmouth square
Portsmouth Square

Last Sunday, my home church, the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown held our first Worship Service back in our 925 Stockton building. We had a small fire but the water from the sprinklers damaged our walls & floors. On top of that, our church is right next door to the new Central Subway Station. I know a lot of Stockton St. merchants have been complaining about the loss of business because of the construction, but imagine – being right next door to the subway construction. Luckily my church is so humble & patient because they believe the subway will be good for the community in the future.

With these changing times and transition into a brand new year, I think we should all try to appreciate more our friends & people who are loyal to the community. Look for people in the year of the dog who are loyal to the community and not just roosters who make a lot of noise to get attention. Mayor Ed Lee and others like former Secretary of State March Fong Eu broke the glass ceiling for Asian Americans to serve in public office, but look for people who will be loyal friends to community over personal interests and ambitions.

Happy New Year everybody. Appreciate your friends & family but also look for good & faithful leadership for our community & city in the New Year of the Dog.

Originally published in Sing Tao Daily on December 31, 2017

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