The death of a family, and an American dream

brooklyn murder

 

 

One of the United States’ rarest tragedies took place today, precisely in Brooklyn, New York City.

A wife, a child, and three little toddlers: their lives, far before their real success was achieved, ended up abruptly under their mentally unstable cousin’s brutal cleavage-knife attacks. The whole family, one among thousand others hailing from towns, villages, and other settlements surrounding Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, China, which have contributed to new waves of immigration throughout the country in search of the very essence of the American dream, perished, leaving the only surviving member, the husband, and also the father of four, in a deep state of limbo.

Two special reports from The New York Times provide detailed coverage about the family, the murder, and the dismal state of many among the Chinese migrants toiling hard throughout the country, all for the sake of the dream themselves.

First article (The Death of a Family, and an American Dream)

Excerpt:

Mr. Zhuo, 41, was one such worker. His cousin, Mindong Chen, 25, was another. Their divergent paths — one on the way up, the other now charged with murder — lay bare the reality of life in this Chinese community: crushing burdens and relentless poverty, permanent for all but a few.

Mr. Chen’s troubles were there for all to see in his postings on Qzone, a Chinese social media service. “Why is the pressure now so great?” he wrote. “The path has been so difficult.”

Little has been told beyond the Chinese press about the people who died and about Mr. Zhuo, the father left behind, and Mr. Chen, the cousin. He is awaiting a hearing on whether he is mentally competent to stand trial for murder. 

Second article (Before Carnage, Frantic Warnings of Relative’s Odd Behavior)

Excerpt:

The killings tore through the family like a fire: sudden and complete. The five murders in the three-room home on 57th Street, where the children and their parents enjoyed a seemingly ordinary life, the police said, stood out for their brutality and magnitude.

It was “not something that has been seen before in recent memory,” said John J. McCarthy, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.

Chief Banks said the scene was one that was seared into memory. He called the crime an “unspeakable act” visited upon a “normal family.” 

Before the Columbus

zhenghe

 

 

Far before Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, a Ming-era Chinese naval commander had led a fleet of full-fledged armada, stretching from Southeast Asia, India, Middle-East, and further into the long-stretching coasts of Africa, and unexpectedly, created a whole new Afro-Chinese tribe in an isolated island in Kenya. This was the story of Zheng He.

Released in June 1999, this long-form article was written by one of the world’s best journalists: the New York Times’ award-winning Nicholas D. Kristof.  Read the full story here.

 

Excerpt:

 

Pate is off in its own world, without electricity or roads or vehicles. Mostly jungle, it has been shielded from the 20th century largely because it is accessible from the Kenyan mainland only by taking a boat through a narrow tidal channel that is passable only at high tide. Initially I was disappointed by what I found there. In the first villages I visited, I saw people who were light-skinned and had hair that was not tightly curled, but they could have been part Arab or European rather than part Chinese. The remote villages of Chundwa and Faza were more promising, for there I found people whose eyes, hair and complexion hinted at Asian ancestry, though their background was ambiguous.

And then on a still and sweltering afternoon I strolled through the coconut palms into the village of Siyu, where I met a fisherman in his 40’s named Abdullah Mohammed Badui. I stopped and stared at the man in astonishment, for he had light skin and narrow eyes. Fortunately, he was as rude as I was, and we stared at each other in mutual surprise before venturing a word. Eventually I asked him about his background and appearance.

”I am in the Famao clan,” he said. ”There are 50 or 100 of us Famao left here. Legend has it that we are descended from Chinese and others.

”A Chinese ship was coming along and it hit rocks and wrecked,” Badui continued. ”The sailors swam ashore to the village that we now call Shanga, and they married the local women, and that is why we Famao look so different.”

Sincere chef presents: socialist lobsters

SignsExterminateCapitalism

 

 

Bonus: such Chinglish mangling-fail was so apparently encountered in Shanghai during the 2010 World Expo that the municipal government had to assign more than 600 staff with high English fluency to fix signs, placards, and posters with such Google-translate English. The New York Times still had the article here online, though.

Google-translate English even became more proverbial when the newspaper also asked readers to submit pictures relating to mistranslated signs and posters. Though dating back to 2010, the slide show is still back here in the website.

Thank you for the picture, Language Log!