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PIA Press Release
2008/02/29

Commentary: Chinatown in Dagupan?

by Behn Fer. Hortaleza, Jr.

Dagupan City (29 February) -- SO FAR, it's just a plan, alright?

But surely, creating a novel Chinatown in Dagupan sounds romantic enough, considering that the Chinese entrepreneurs of the city have been here for as long as those now in their late fifties can remember.

The Chinese-owned stores in Dagupan have come as huge and imposing as the CSI and Magic mall chains and as modest and sturdy as the Botica China and Kwong Tay and Sanitary bakeries downtown. Their managements have been passed on from one generation to the next and while the heirs have imbibed the native Dagupenos' culture and street ways, they basically adhere to the cool efficiency of the mostly Mandarin community.

They even have, for good measure, their own firefighting unit, the Panda whose young firemen have earned the public's admiration for their quick-and-sure response and modern fire retardants during conflagrations.

Dagupan will only be paying proper tribute to our Chinese brothers when and if such a Chinatown is created in these parts. Only problem (?) though is, what would stop the Indians from clamoring for such an honor too? They've also been more or less permanent fixtures of Dagupan business all these many years. Ask Ashok VashandaniOh, and never mind the Muslim groups; they've had their own 'flourishing' community in these parts long time ago. Ask Michael Bagul.

* * * *

Pangasinan, this beautiful province, is now sadly caught in a maelstrom of political conflict the likes of which we may have never seen before. Like a sticky spider's web, it has brought some of our great leaders in the province into some confrontations they would ordinarily have avoided and preferred to settle among themselves in private powwows.

You may already know by now how the current Joe de Venecia-Bebot Villar set-to is being fanned by media reports. Knowing both as gentlemen of the first order however, we hope that this will come to pass soon.

Already, it is hurting not just the families of both Pangasinan leaders but also their acquaintances, close, and not-too-close, as each one consciously shows where his trust and beliefs lie between the two, thereby straining once tight camaraderies and relationships.

Truly, the NBN-ZTE bribery scandal has far-reaching implications to many players in the national and local scenes that one is tempted to think a malevolent spell has been cast upon us as a nation to make brothers fight against brothers, sons against sons and friends against friends.

Would that this whole imbroglio now find closure and the wounds heal to make Pangasinan whole and united again as in that time not too long ago when the battlecry "Natan la, Pangasinan" rang clear and true some years back. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]

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