Excerpt from 2012 RTHK (Hong Kong) documentary on Chinese laundries. After showing some media examples depicting extremely hostile attitudes toward Chinese laundrymen, I make a visit to the Sam Sing laundry in West Los Angeles, one of the few remaining full service Chinese laundries still remaining to interview retired owner Jon Wong. Sam Sing Laundry was also featured in a CBC (Canadian) radio documentary on Chinese laundries in 2011.
Around the end of the 19th century, graphic images of physical violence toward Chinese were common. Using laundrymen to represent all Chinese, there were numerous newspaper and magazine drawings depicting physical attacks on them. I describe and show several of these images and read a short children’s song mocking the laundryman. Such images both reflected and generated such harmful acts. A 2012 RTHK documentary used computer animation to dramatically illustrate these actions against laundrymen.
The end of this excerpt of the hour long documentary on Chinese laundries and restaurants shows a visit to the Sam Sing Laundry where retired owner Jon Wong talks about the operation of this business in Los Angeles started by his father a generation earlier and now continued into a third generation by his son Albert.