Saturday, December 11, 2004

Q 1 If it is called "Táng rén jiē" ( "The street of the Tang people") in Mandarin, what is it called in English ?

The answer is : "Chinatown" (Mandarin) . In other Chinese languages, the words are slightly different. "Tang" refers to the Tang dynasty - under whom the Cantonese (who a comprise fair share of the immigrants) first came under imperial control.

Background trivia: One thing I have always wondered about is: why are there "China Town"s and "Little Italy"s, but hardly any representative communities of other countries? My guess was that Chinese and Italian immigration happened in "spikes". And hence these strangers in a strange land flocked together, creating communities.

However, a better guess seems that initially Chinatowns were formed because of strict land ownership laws, which forbade the Chinese to own urban and upscale property.

Additional trivia: The cheapest form of transport between NYC and Boston is the "China Town bus" connecting the vibrant China Town communities of both cities! A $20 round trip.

Open Question: In India, are there any China Towns beside Tangra, in Kolkata? If so, where?

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