"Sweet & Sour" and the Chinese Laundry

"Sweet & Sour" and the Chinese Laundry

DVD - 2015
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"The early Chinese Americans belonged to the low-income class. They struggled to make a living and to gain a foothold, often in hostile environments. Many Chinese went into the labor-intensive laundry business whose growth aroused resentment from the whites. Such resentment led to the California government enacting many measures and law targeting Chinese laundries. So many turned to running Chinese restaurants. Their life, like the popular dish that is a staple in all Chinese restaurants, was "sweet and sour""--Container.
Publisher: Wheeling, IL : Film Ideas, c2015
Branch Call Number: DVD 973.0495 SWEET 1DISC
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (approximately 50 minutes each) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Additional Contributors: Film Ideas (Firm)

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j
jimg2000
Oct 17, 2015

Jung on "Sam Lee"

One of the most prevalent names for Chinese laundries has been “Sam Lee Laundry.” On a personal note, I grew up in one in Macon, Georgia, and I was surprised to later discover similarly named Chinese laundries all across North America. “Sam Lee” was not usually the name of the proprietor of such laundries, even though in U. S. Census records you can find a few “Sam Lees” listed as the operator of a Chinese laundry. Actually “Sam Lee” is the transliteration of the Chinese for “triple profits,” an example of wishful thinking on the part of the laundryman who chose such a name. But many customers, as well as some census enumerators, just assumed that the owner’s name was indeed, “Sam Lee.”
Note: “Sam Lee” is not a person’s name but a concept that translates to mean “three (triple) profits,”

Note: In Cantonese, Sam Lee pronounced as 三利 or could it also meant 生利, both wished for growing dividend; and why triple and not ten thousand profit at in 萬利?

j
jimg2000
Oct 17, 2015

Man: They worked 18 hour days and no time to improve their English. ... But no Chinese laundryman would have used the phrase, “No tickee, no washee,” or its other forms, “No tickee, no laundee”, or “No tickee, no shirtee” to make this point. The phrase is just one example of the way whites often fabricated pidgin English terms to make fun of the difficulty Chinese had in pronouncing English.

j
jimg2000
Oct 17, 2015

Valarie Mah on Chinese laundry in Toronto:
http://heritagetoronto.org/east-to-west-chinese-heritage-in-toronto/
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Books by John Jung including Sweet and Sour:
http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Sour-Chinese-Family-Restaurants/dp/061534545X
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The Milwaukee Toy's restaurant built in 1913:
http://www.jsonline.com/features/food/chinese-food-has-long-history-in-milwaukee-b99440047z1-292236441.html
===
China Camp with Frank Quan:
http://www.friendsofchinacamp.org/history.html

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j
jimg2000
Oct 17, 2015

Documentary on the pioneers of Chinese restaurants and laundries with some rare old photos from scholar author John Jung and interviews with a few surviving old timers on the history of their businesses. The perspectives were primarily from Jung, Valarie Mah of Toronto, decendants from Charlie Toy's Milwaukee restaurant, and Frank Quan, last of the Chinese family still lives at China Camp, an old shrimp fishing village near San Francisco. *See links of articles in quotes."

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