Video: Activist Sid Chow Tan and historian Henry Yu discuss seniors housing in Chinatown

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      Former COPE council candidate Sid Chow Tan has been one of Vancouver's foremost advocates for seniors of Chinese descent.

      He's fought for them to receive compensation for head-tax payments made by their families. And he's often condemned the lack of housing for Chinese seniors in Chinatown, where they can have better access to Chinese food and services in Cantonese.

      So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Tan highlights this issue from time to time on his community-access TV show.

      In the interview above, Tan asks UBC historian Henry Yu what can be done to promote more seniors housing in Vancouver's Chinatown.

      "I think what needs to make it happen is for people to come together and make the argument in a way that everybody does agree," Yu responds. "We need to step forward and create the tools. It's the toolkit that has been missing."

      Yu cochairs the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council. It was created after the B.C. government issued an apology last year to Chinese Canadians for historical wrongs. 

      At one point in the interview, Yu tells Tan that the Chinatown Foundation commissioned a UBC researcher to examine housing requirements for seniors from various ethnic backgrounds.

      "The needs for Chinese Canadian seniors, especially in terms of income-assisted care, was much higher than the rest: 3,300 spaces needed over the next decade," Yu says. "So we really need to address this issue."

      Yu's interest in Chinatown isn't merely academic. He tells Tan that his grandfather used to take him to Chinatown in the 1970s and show him off because many of the other Chinese seniors didn't have grandchildren. That was a legacy of racist legislation preventing Chinese people from immigrating to Canada from 1923 to 1947.

      "He never told me the stories of what his life was like," Yu says.

      Yu's research has, in part, helped him learn more about his grandfather's generation.

      Along the way, he's made some astonishing discoveries, including finding a head-tax registration certificate for former governor general Adrienne Clarkson and her family.



      Sid Tan

      Jan 18, 2015 at 10:31pm

      Go to link and sign petition. Protect Chinatown’s character, heritage, and cultural assets! Immediately place a moratorium on all market development projects!

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