Oral histories are intimate conversations between and among people who have generously agreed to share these recordings with BHS’s archives and researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. BHS abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.
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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Wong Lai Chow
Oral history interview conducted by Ka Kam Chui
December 01, 1993
Call number: 1994.007.09
0:07 - 开场白：介绍受访者、地址、日期、及采访人 Introduction of narrator and interviewer’s names, interview location, and date
24:34 - 个人经历，移民美国，在香港、大陆教书,文革，中美教育比较 Her experience; Teaching: Hong Kong, mainland China; Cultural Revolution; Education: China vs. U.S.
74:03 - 为什么选择日落公园，居住环境和邻居，女儿的牙医诊所 Choosing Sunset Park; home environment and neighborhood; daughter's dentist office
95:28 - 现在居住的老人公寓，生活、娱乐，老人活动中心 Living in a hospital apartment: lifestyle and entertainment, Senior Activities Center
Oral History Interview with Wong Lai Chow
Wong Lai Chow was born in 1920 in Guangzhou of mainland China. Although her parents moved to America when Chow was a very young girl, Chow remained in China. As an adult, she married, had three children, joined the National People's Party (KMT) and received a degree in education from Zhong Shan University. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Chow's mother attempted to rescue her from China; for this, Chow suffered years of public humiliation and three years of hard labor. After her mother successfully sponsored her visa application in 1980, Chow brought her family to America. At the time of the 1993 interview, Chow was an active retiree in a senior hospital apartment in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
In this interview, Wong Lai Chow describes her life's history; which spans the Japanese invasion of China, World War II, the Korean War, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and her immigration to America in 1980. She recalls her career as an educator during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, being charged with "illicit relations with a foreign country," and re-education at a hard labor camp. Chow also speaks from her perspective of an active retiree in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. She discusses neighborhood crime, the Chinese mafia, and unlicensed dentists of Sunset Park. Chow also observes the challenges faced by her children, who came to America without command of English or many marketable skills. Interview conducted in Cantonese by Ka-Kam Chui.
Brooklyn Historical Society collaborated with the Chinatown History Museum (now the Museum of Chinese in America) in order to conduct a series of oral histories with residents of the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The Cantonese, Mandarin, and English language interviews focused on what was then a new presence of Chinese and Asian immigrants concentrated along Eighth Avenue. Among the topics that are explored in the interviews are tensions between different groups of Chinese immigrants, crime and safety in the neighborhood, Sunset Park's relationship to Manhattan's Chinatown, and how long-term residents of Sunset Park had adjusted to the area's "newcomers."
CitationChow, Wong Lai, Oral history interview conducted by Ka Kam Chui, December 01, 1993, New Neighbors: Sunset Park's Chinese Community records, 1994.007.09; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Chow, Wong Lai
- Mak, Paul
- Zhongguo guo min dang
- Chinese Americans
- Emigration and immigration
- Labor camps
- Old age homes
- Older people
- Quacks and quackery
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Chinatown (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- Chinatown (New York, N.Y.)
- Guangzhou (China)
- Hong Kong (China)
- Sunset Park (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidNew Neighbors: Sunset Park's Chinese Community records