WBEZ | Chinese http://www.wbez.org/tags/chinese Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Nail salon workers to get access to Asian language licensing exams http://www.wbez.org/news/nail-salon-workers-get-access-asian-language-licensing-exams-109099 <p><p>It&rsquo;s no surprise to walk into a nail salon and find mostly Asian staff. But despite a concentration of Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese professionals in the cosmetology and nail technology industries, Illinois has never offered the licensing exams in Asian languages. Now the state is looking to change that.</p><p>&ldquo;You know why I opened a cosmetology school in Chinatown?&rdquo; said Mora Zheng, owner of the Elle International Beauty Academy in Chinatown. &ldquo;Because I just want to let more Chinese people work legally, have good benefits, have a good salary.&rdquo;</p><p>As a small group of students sat huddled around a table in a nearby room, applying fake nail tips to plastic mannequin hands, Zheng explained that jobs in the beauty industry are popular with Asian immigrants because the schooling only takes a few months. She said that allows them to start earning money quickly. According to the <a href="http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes395092.htm" target="_blank">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>, average yearly income for manicurists and pedicurists in Illinois is $26,720.</p><p>But Zheng said she&rsquo;s noticed a disturbing trend: lots of students finish school, but don&rsquo;t get licensed to practice.</p><p>&ldquo;Some people, they (are) scared (of the) English written examination,&rdquo; said Zheng, referring to the licensing exam administered by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re scared to fail.&rdquo;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.idfpr.com/profs/info/NailTech.asp" target="_blank">IDFPR</a> offers the cosmetology and nail technician licensing exams in English and Spanish. Zheng said it&rsquo;s time to add Chinese, because otherwise, qualified professionals end up working illegally in nail salons, and they are not paid fair wages.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Nail%20tech%20exam%203.JPG" style="height: 201px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Most of the students at the Botanic School of Nail Technology on Chicago’s North Side are native speakers of Vietnamese, Korean, or Chinese. School owner Rosemary Hyunh has crafted a bilingual curriculum to help them pass the written licensing exam in English. (WBEZ/Jian Chung Lee)" />&ldquo;We shouldn&rsquo;t have to work harder if there&rsquo;s no rational basis for the exams to only be in English,&rdquo; said Anne Shaw, a lawyer and advocate for Chicago&rsquo;s Chinese-American community. Zheng enlisted Shaw&rsquo;s support when she started to cast around for allies to bring the issue to the state&rsquo;s attention. Shaw said the fact that the exam is already offered in Spanish shows that the state does not deem English to be an essential skill for the profession.</p><p>Shaw believes expanding language access to the licensing exams will have far-ranging, positive effects. She argued that not only would it make it easier for immigrants to earn an honest living, but that the overall state economy would benefit by easing the way for small business owners.</p><p>Still, Shaw was surprised to learn from Zheng that the licensing exams weren&rsquo;t already offered in Asian languages.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I really don&rsquo;t believe there was any intent to discriminate,&rdquo; Shaw said. &ldquo;This is one of the downsides of not having someone that&rsquo;s elected that has an Asian-American background. We have zero state legislators that are Asian-American.&rdquo;</p><p>But Shaw and Zheng found an ally in the office Governor Pat Quinn with his appointment of Theresa Mah. Mah is a longtime activist and organizer in Chicago who serves as Gov. Quinn&rsquo;s chief liaison to the Asian-American community. The IDFPR will soon offer the cosmetology licensing exam in Chinese, and plans to offer translations of the nail technician licensing exam in Korean and Vietnamese. According to <a href="http://files.nailsmag.com/Market-Research/NAILSbb12-13stats.pdf" target="_blank">Nails Magazine</a>, Illinois is among the ten states with the largest number of Vietnamese nail technicians.</p><p>But some argue that translating the licensing exams could harm the industry.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Nail%20tech%20exam%202.JPG" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Mora Zheng, owner of the Elle International Beauty Academy in Chinatown, says many educated nail technicians work without licenses because they fear they will fail the English written exam. She is pushing to have the exam translated into Chinese. (WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" />&ldquo;I really think it shouldn&rsquo;t be translated,&rdquo; said Rosemary Hyunh, owner of the Botanic School of Nail Technology on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just going to be too many nail salons,&rdquo; she explained. Hyunh, a Vietnamese-American raised in Chicago&rsquo;s Argyle Street neighborhood, said her views are shaped by her family&rsquo;s experience in the nail industry.</p><p>Hyunh said some of her relatives immigrated two decades ago to California, where they had successful nail shops. But she said their fortunes changed once California began offering its written manicurist exam in Vietnamese in 1996.</p><p>&ldquo;It got exploded so big over there that the prices started dropping,&rdquo; said Hyunh. &ldquo;So they had to find new states to start this whole new nail industry again.&rdquo; Hyunh said her aunts and uncles fled California to start new businesses in Chicago, a relatively unsaturated market.</p><p>Could something similar happen here? Chicago <a href="http://docs.chicityclerk.com/journal/2009/may13_2009/may13_2009_Zoning.pdf" target="_blank">zoning laws</a> prohibit personal service establishments, including nail salons, to locate within 1000 feet of each other. But Mora Zheng says even if competition heats up, that&rsquo;s no reason not to translate the tests. She tells her students if they do their best, they&rsquo;ll be fine.</p><p>&ldquo;Prepare yourself well, (and) you don&rsquo;t need to worry about others,&rdquo; Zheng declared. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why I tell my students, &lsquo;in your heart, always sunshine.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Hyunh said even though most of her students don&rsquo;t speak English as a native language, she&rsquo;s crafted a bilingual curriculum that helps them pass the licensing exams in English. She understands that translating the tests could help some immigrants get on their feet faster, but Hyunh said she won&rsquo;t be changing her teaching methods.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud" target="_blank">@WBEZOutLoud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 17:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/nail-salon-workers-get-access-asian-language-licensing-exams-109099 Chinese Roots of Mah Jongg http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/chinese-roots-mah-jongg-107392 <p><div>In this discussion, the Chicago Chinese community shares its history and rich connection with Mah Jongg, the game they warmly refer to as &ldquo;M. J.&rdquo; We also talk about differences in methods of play, and the game&rsquo;s important role in both the Jewish and the Chinese American communities.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This program was created in collaboration with the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago and generously supported by The Covenant Foundation.</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CHM-webstory_14.jpg" title="" /></div><div>Recorded live on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at the Chicago History Museum.</div></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 14:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/chinese-roots-mah-jongg-107392 Top 5 Chinese restaurants in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/top-5-chinese-restaurants-chicago <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/tofu-chinese.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 488px; height: 303px;" alt="" title="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-02/tofu.JPG" /></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>photo of mapo tofu from Lao Sze Chuan by Joseph Storch</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">The Year of the Rabbit is here, and while <a href="http://www.stevedolinsky.com/site/epage/53597_693.htm">I have a thing </a>about consuming the actual animal (<em>you</em> try to digest 10 courses on Iron Chef), I have no problem sharing some of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Chicago. Each one offers something unique, and more importantly, delicious. <em>Gung hay fat choy!</em></p><p>1. <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=lao+szechuan+chicago&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=lao+szechuan&amp;hnear=Chicago,+IL&amp;cid=9844276538813714152">Lao Sze Chuan</a><br />For spicy, piquant, crunchy and aromatic dishes that don&rsquo;t hold back the heat levels for amateurs. Also a great assortment of rarely-found Chinese vegetable preparations and hot pot for a group.</p><p>2. <a href="http://www.sunwahbbq.com/">Sun Wah BBQ</a><br />For the incomparable Peking duck, sold by the truckload and deftly sliced as a first-course with puffy <em>gua bao</em>, then wok-fried with vegetables for a hearty second course and boiled into a rich stock for a bracing third round.</p><p>3.<a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=en&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;q=Shui+Wah+chicago&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=Shui+Wah&amp;hnear=Chicago,+IL&amp;cid=14174573783806619508"> Shui Wah</a><br />For homemade dim sum made to order, that is, you fill out the tidy card and they bring you the steamed or fried mini-treats as soon as they&rsquo;re ready. Try the crispy calamari &ldquo;fries&rdquo; dusted with chili powder.</p><p>4. <a href="http://www.chicagotastycity.com/">Tasty City</a><br />Where my trusted colleague Kevin Pang gets his Hong Kong café groove on, and the poached, hacked chicken will make you realize what you&rsquo;ve been missing all these years; the beguiling dipping sauce is pure bliss. Who knew the Chinese could make a sweet tea as good as down South?</p><p>5. <a href="http://www.minghincuisine.com/">MingHin</a><br />Part of the new regime of higher-end, creature comfort-driven Chinese restaurants that are ditching the fluorescent lights and egg rolls, and instead, are bringing with them the 21st century dishes from Hong Kong and Shanghai.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="411" width="500" alt="" title="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-02/hot pot.JPG" /></p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>photo of hot pot at Lao Sze Chuan by Joseph Storch</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Feb 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/top-5-chinese-restaurants-chicago Something You Should Eat: Liquid custard bao from Triple Crown http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/something-you-should-eat-liquid-custard-bao-triple-crown <p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe height="350" frameborder="0" width="500" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/19289331?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;color=c40215"></iframe></p> <p>With the Year of the Rabbit upon us this Thursday night, I figured many of you will be making the trek down to Chinatown, so here's another dessert option, which absolutely beats the industrially-made fortune cookie. First, let me just say&nbsp;I consider myself a huge fan of any kind of <em>bao</em> or Chinese bun. Initially, the love affair was limited to the ubiquitous red-tinged, steamed BBQ pork buns called <em>char siu bao</em>, but it's moved way beyond that savory snack package. Recently, I had a sweet dessert bun at <a href="http://www.triplecrownchicago.com/">Triple Crown</a> in Chinatown, called<em> lao sa bao</em>, which translates to &quot;flowing sand bun.&quot; &nbsp;There are egg yolks - and plenty of sugar involved - but I love the gritty, sweet lava that oozes from these warm buns, especially after plowing off a few steamer trays full of <em>har gao</em> and <em>chow fun</em>. &nbsp;Incidentally, I had another excellent version of the <em>lao sa bao</em> about a week ago at the new <a href="http://www.minghincuisine.com/">MingHin Cuisine</a> in the Chinatown Square Mall. Totally different exterior (more flaky than squishy) and I think it actually edges out the Triple Crown version. You'll have to decide for yourself. Happy New Year!</p></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/something-you-should-eat-liquid-custard-bao-triple-crown Chinatown closer to new field house, library http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/chinatown-closer-new-field-house-library <p><p>Chinatown residents are inching closer to winning some city resources that they&rsquo;ve lobbied for during the last several years.&nbsp;Chicago&rsquo;s City Council <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/news.detail/object_id/00c4ff41-589f-47dd-93df-17a5e68a8219.cfm">allocated funding</a> in September for a new field house to replace one that was torn down nearly 50 years ago. More recently, the <a href="http://www.chipublib.org/">Chicago Public Library</a> and city officials identified a site for a new library branch and have started moving to acquire the property.&nbsp;The progress comes just as Chinese-Americans observe their 100-year anniversary in Chicago&rsquo;s South Side Chinatown.</p><p>The field house has been a particular sore point for young and elderly Chinatown residents alike. &ldquo;When I started fighting for this thing I had children,&rdquo; said Leonard Louie, President of the Ping Tom Memorial Park Advisory Council. &ldquo;And I think today my grandchildren are old enough to be able to use it. That's how long it's been.&rdquo;</p> <div>Louie himself used to play basketball at the old field house at Hardin Park, before the state tore it down in 1962 to expand the Dan Ryan Expressway. At the time, said Louie, Chinatown residents were promised that they&rsquo;d soon get another field house. Instead, Louie and other residents say children now often play volleyball over sidewalk fences, because there&rsquo;s no proper facility or community center. &ldquo;It's definitely a problem because you just have kids hanging out on the street and looking for things to do,&rdquo; said Louie. &ldquo;You're in a situation where you're just asking for trouble.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Chicago City Council approved a $10 million allocation from the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/tif/narratives/T_037_RiverSouthFA.pdf">River South TIF District</a> to finally build the facility near the southern end of <a href="http://pingtompark.org/Welcome%20to%20Ping%20Tom%20Park.html">Ping Tom Memorial Park</a>.&nbsp;At that price, park leaders will likely have to pare back their original vision for the facility.&nbsp;&ldquo;The original plans for the field house were to include a natatorium, which is an indoor swimming pool,&rdquo; said Louie.&nbsp;But park district officials estimate that could cost anywhere from $15 million to $18 million. More recent field houses, like the <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.results.cfm">Taylor-Lauridsen Playground Park</a> and <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/cc227392-429c-42df-adec-bdb4023e94de.cfm">Jesse Owens Park</a>, did not include swimming pools, and ran just below $10 million. Still, Louie hopes whatever the city builds could be expanded to include a swimming pool later. He and other park leaders are also exploring the possibility of raising additional money to fund the natatorium.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Calls for a new library have also reached the right ears. Though the current Chinatown library is far from large, it has among the highest circulation rates in the city. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very literate community,&rdquo; said Chicago Public Library spokesman Ruth Lednicer.&nbsp;For a long time, movement toward building a larger and newer facility was stymied by an inability to find a proper site. But now Chinatown and city officials agree that a privately-owned lot on the southwest corner of Wentworth Ave and Archer Ave holds enough space.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Right now, the parcel holds a parking lot and a small grocery store, both owned by the same person. The city&rsquo;s development committee recently approved a preliminary move to acquire the property through eminent domain.&nbsp;That matter is expected to come before the City Council at its meeting on February 9.&nbsp;But officials will also continue to negotiate with the property owner, who expressed an interest in jointly developing the land with the city to include a library.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.dannysolis.org/">Alderman Daniel Solis</a> (25th Ward) said he&rsquo;s working on getting a TIF district approved to fund the construction of the library.&nbsp;&ldquo;Specifically how much, it&rsquo;s too early to tell,&rdquo; said Solis. &ldquo;But the TIF would also look at opening up opportunities for other developments in the area.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>These developments are perhaps some of the early fruits of a recent political awakening in Chicago&rsquo;s Chinatown.&nbsp;C.W. Chan, a founder of the <a href="http://www.caslservice.org/">Chinese American Service League</a>, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/chinatown-looks-centennial-aims-political-clout">told WBEZ</a> in May that as the Chinese-American population in Chinatown and its surrounding areas grew quickly during the last twenty years, the community&rsquo;s needs grew, too. &ldquo;Recently the community has really been working very hard together to really take an inventory of our community needs,&rdquo; said Chan, &ldquo;and to see whether we can really have a much better working relationship with our elected officials to present our needs and to secure the kind of resources that we need in the community.&rdquo; &nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 21 Jan 2011 21:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/25th-ward/chinatown-closer-new-field-house-library Children of prison inmates face discrimination in China http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/children-prison-inmates-face-discrimination-china <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/parents-in-prison-sun-village-china_306x199.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Reports from the United Nations suggest there&rsquo;s widespread abuse going on in Chinese prisons. The children of inmates are also often mistreated. <br />They&rsquo;re shunned by society and they fall through the cracks of China&rsquo;s welfare system. Most of the children are left to fend for themselves. But there&rsquo;s an organization working to change that. The World Vision Report&rsquo;s Elise Potaka brings us the story from Beijing.</p><p><em>This story originally aired on the </em><a href="http://www.worldvisionreport.org/">World Vision Report</a><em>. We got it from the</em> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.prx.org/pieces/37412-truck-decorator">Public Radio Exchange</a>.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 12 Jan 2011 17:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/children-prison-inmates-face-discrimination-china Chinese Presidential visit may lead to improved relations between the U.S. and China http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/chinese-presidential-visit-may-lead-improved-relations-between-us-and-china <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/93105704.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chinese President Hu Jintao is set to travel to the U.S. next week for the first state visit by a Chinese president since 1997. It&rsquo;s been called by some the most important visit by a Chinese official in the past 30 years.</p><p>Earlier this week in China, President Hu met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to discuss military relations. If successful, Hu&rsquo;s visit to Washington could set an agenda for U.S.-China relations for years to come.</p><p><a href="http://carnegieendowment.org/publications/index.cfm?fa=view&amp;id=42219">Douglas Paal</a> is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He served as director of Asian affairs on the National Security Council under President Reagan. Paal likes the idea of a U.S.-China summit because he says it&rsquo;s an &ldquo;action forcing event.&rdquo; <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 12 Jan 2011 17:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/chinese-presidential-visit-may-lead-improved-relations-between-us-and-china