Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Chinese Proverb

Over the holiday, I took the family to dim sum in Chicago's Chinatown. My father and I were discussing financials and our family's history. As we got into it, he began spatting out all this and that and the other regarding Chinese traditions. He was adamantly trying to explain to my sister and I what my grandmother had instilled in him. It didn't quite makes sense, the old man can ramble, but then I found this...

Money could make demons turn grind stones

It means two things from what I have gathered. First it means that if you have money than you have power. You have the ability to have others carry out your will without consequence. The second, which I believe my father was eluding to, is used in our culture when one commits crimes for money. It is meant as a more haunting version of "money is the root of all evil."

My family has a rather vague past. I have been told my grandfather immigrated through Ellis Island in a backwards way. His sole purpose was to leave China's communist regime for his own financial benefit, the business he was in would not have been possible under the new regime. He stayed in New York for a bit, made friends and changed his immigration name back to his real name. The story is foggy from there. Not in my memory of how it was told, but what happened in between, eventually my grandfather relocated to Washington D.C. and made his way in Chinatown.

This proverb relates to my the second interpretation or so my father says. Not to say my grandfather was an immoral man, but in his time and under certain circumstances he had to make difficult choices. Chinese culture states those choices effect his kin for generations to come and according to my father unless we right our family's (particularly my grandfathers) "debts" in this lifetime, the same will go for mine.

That is why this is my Chinese proverb.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

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