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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/11/18

Obscured American: Chang the Owner of Jenny's Place and Dollar City

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"My white friends call me nigga all the time, Chang! There is a difference between 'nigga' and 'n-word.'" On CNN in 2013, Trayvon Martin's girlfriend, Rachel Jeantel, explained exactly that to Piers Morgan.

Though Chang's dollar store/Asian food market at the back was completely untended, there was a bell at the bar to alert him should someone walk in, and a monitor to show when a customer was ready to pay. A convenient door between the bar and store allowed Chang to quickly run back and forth. In any case, it didn't look like the sea of made-in-China junk had many takers. Jenny's Place pays his bills.

Five-eight and fat-free, Chang had a scowl even when he smiled. Always ready to spring, he was like coiled lightweight. Although his English vocabulary was adequate, Chang's accent was still thick, and he often chopped the s from the end of words.

There are many bars here. Larry, Bojo, Railroad Tavern, Old Oar, this place. There are five, but there used to be ten!

I own this place 16 years. I been in Millville 21 years. Half my life! I'm 48.

I start out in New York, then I move to north Jersey, then central Jersey, and now I'm here, in south Jersey. I had a store and a restaurant in Wildwood. Chinese food. I work for other people, making Chinese, Italian, French, American food. Making food is hard. I'm sick of it. The health inspector. It's too much trouble. That's why I don't make food here.

When I open this bar, the people here didn't like it. They say, "Hey, you Chinese and you own this bar?" They gave me problems the first five years, but you have to be strong. I beat up a tough guy. Once you do that, then they scare. If you beat up the meanest, toughest guy, then the average, the little guy, he think, I better not mess with that man!

Millville used to make glass, but the factories are gone. Two went to China. One to Mexico.

I have two son, one daughter. My son, they study at Drexel. Mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. My daughter study dermatology. She want to be a, ah, aesthetician. She has two kids. Her husband has a good job. She's OK.

My wife help me out here. Sometime, I hire a local for a day.

I been here 31 years. If you want me to go to another country and fight, I won't go. Why?! If somebody invade this country, then I fight, because this is my country. Yes, I'll fight to defend it.

Ming Dynasty. Zheng He, he went everywhere, went to Africa, but did China take anything, beat you up, make you a slave? No! China help you. You don't have this plant? Here is some seed. China don't steal anything. China help you.

If China is big, and you are small, China can be your big brother, help you out, not like the US. The US used to be good, but no more. The US used to help people, but no more. Now, it bomb, cause trouble, beat people up.

Look at Spain. It's this big, but it took over half the world. China is not like that.

I've been to nine country. Only in Asia. I don't travel much. I have no time.

I don't like people from Japan. When I play a tournament in Las Vegas, the Japanese guy want to shake my hand, but I turn away, like this. Ha, ha!

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Linh Dinh's Postcards from the End of America has just been published by Seven Stories Press. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.


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