臺大外語教學暨資源中心英語學習報第 375 期 發行日期 2019-12-2

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Asian Americans Outnumber Whites in Los Angeles Bedroom Community


When billboards in Chinese start appearing, along with Korean and Japanese grocery stores and restaurants that span tastes from almost all of Asia, they are signs that you have entered California's San Gabriel Valley.

       當寫著中文的大型廣告牌(billboard)以及各種韓日雜貨店與餐廳開始映入眼簾,就知道已經進入美國加州(California)聖蓋博谷(San Gabriel Valley)了。在這裡,饕客可以品嘗到幾乎遍及(span,註 1)全亞洲的美食。


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Asian Americans Outnumber Whites in Los Angeles Bedroom Community
November 7, 2019 08:26 AM Elizabeth Lee

Asian Americans Outnumber Whites in Los Angeles Bedroom Community


November 7, 2019 08:26 AM

Elizabeth Lee


When billboards in Chinese start appearing, along with Korean and Japanese grocery stores and restaurants that span tastes from almost all of Asia, they are signs that you have entered California's San Gabriel Valley.

For some people, it is a bedroom community of Los Angeles. For others, the Asian enclave is a home away from home.

Known to the locals as the "SGV," San Gabriel Valley spans 36 kilometers east of downtown Los Angeles, with close to half a million Asians living there. Nine cities in the area are majority-Asian.

They include the city of Walnut, where Mike Chou's family settled in 1989 when they immigrated from Taiwan. Walnut already had an established Chinese community.

"My parents, they didn't speak English at the time, so it's made it easier for them to kind of get around," said Chou, who was 5 when his family arrived in the United States. "It's so close to all the shopping. It's so close to the (Chinese) grocery stores. It made fitting in there a lot easier." 

Chinese arrived in 1970s

According to the 2019 San Gabriel Valley Economic Forecast and Regional Overview Report, the SGV has a large ethnic Chinese population that started in the 1970s, with a flood of immigrants from Taiwan.

Chou is now a real estate agent with an 80% Asian clientele — half of them Chinese. Speaking fluent Mandarin and English, Chou has been so successful in real estate that he now leads a multilingual team of agents, including Roxane Sheng, who immigrated to the United States from China in 2005 for graduate school and stayed.

"Most of my clients are Mandarin-speaking Chinese," Sheng said. "But they're either living here and work here, or study here. Or they come to United States just to reinvest, to buy investment property. But they still go back to China and live there." 

In the past 10 to 15 years, Chou said people from mainland China have become the new immigrants to the SGV.

Mild climate, lots of land

Sheng said the area's mild climate and the relatively close distance to China make Southern California attractive to Chinese homebuyers. A common language is another attraction.

"Everyone speaks Mandarin." Sheng said. "They can walk into a bank, post office, grocery stores — they can do everything without speaking English." 

For immigrants who largely lived in expensive high-rise apartments in China, the San Gabriel Valley offers an additional perk.

"We have plenty of single-family homes," Sheng explained. "They just find a house. They get the land. They get the yard, and they have no neighbors up or down below them. And home prices are still cheaper if they move from Beijing or Shanghai." 

Beyond Chinese

Immigrants from other Southeast Asian countries also live in the region.

Annie Xu, another agent on Chou's real estate team, was raised in the Philippines of ethnic Chinese parents. She speaks Tagalog, Hokkien, Mandarin and English.

"I've been doing real estate for three years, because I used to be a stay-at-home mom," said Xu, who came to the U.S. with her husband. "And then when my youngest turned 2, I decided that I want to do something. Real estate is a business that you don't need a lot of startup costs." 

As a real estate agent, she has worked with immigrants from China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

One of her clients is Shabana Khan, a half-Pakistani Indian immigrant seeking a house with a yard. Khan moved to the San Gabriel Valley from New York.

"New York has the vibe of the energy and stuff, but you can get it here, too," Khan said. "But as soon as you have kids, I think California is the best place to settle down. San Gabriel Valley is amazing. You have so many different cultures within Asia." 

Many immigrants, some undocumented

South Asians are among the fastest-growing Asian American groups in the SGV, according to a 2018 report by the civil rights group Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles.

Using numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, Advancing Justice also found that more than 67% of Asian Americans in the SGV are immigrants, including an estimated 58,000 people who are undocumented. Close to a third in the region are low income, according to the report.

"Some of them just immigrated here, and they haven't found a stable job. Or their English is not good enough that they have to compromise for a job that's not ideal for them," Sheng said.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, the report found that San Gabriel Valley's Asian population continues to grow.

"You have a lot of restaurants and grocery stores that are in Chinese. And some of the workers, they only speak Chinese, so they don't speak English. It makes it easy if you're an immigrant to come here and just kind of feel very much at home," Chou said.

當寫著中文的大型廣告牌(billboard)以及各種韓日雜貨店與餐廳開始映入眼簾,就知道已經進入美國加州(California)聖蓋博谷(San Gabriel Valley)了。在這裡,饕客可以品嘗到幾乎遍及(span,註 1)全亞洲的美食。

對某些人而言,聖蓋博谷是洛杉磯(Los Angeles)的衛星市鎮(bedroom community)。但對其他人來說,當地亞裔群居之處(enclave,註 2)象徵著在家鄉外的另一個家。

聖蓋博谷在洛杉磯市中心以東綿延 36 公里,當地人(local,註 3)稱之為「SGV」(編按:由 "San Gabriel Valley" 各字的首字母縮寫而成),目前近 50 萬民亞洲人居住在這裡。該區 9 個城市的人口以亞裔為主。

這些城市包含了核桃市(City of Walnut,也譯作「沃爾納特市」),該市是麥克.周(Mike Chou)和家人於 1989 年臺灣移民(immigrate from . . .)到美國時的定居(settle)之處。核桃市當時已有華人社區。

「我爸媽當時不會講英語,在這裡生活對他們來說比較容易些,可以四處走走、逛逛(get around)。」周先生描述著。他 5 歲時跟著家人來到美國。「這裡距離買東西的地方很近,附近還有華人開的雜貨店。比起適應其他地方,融入(fit in,註 4)這裡的生活要來得容易多了。」

華人於 1970 年代湧入

2019 年聖蓋博谷經濟預測與區域綜觀報告(the 2019 San Gabriel Valley Economic Forecast and Regional Overview Report,註 5)的結果顯示,從 1970 年代開始,該區具有中華民族(ethnic,註 6)背景的人口大量增加,其中包含了大批(flood,註 7)來自臺灣的移民(immigrant,註 8)

周先生目前是名房地產經紀人(real estate agent),他的顧客群(clientele,註 9) 80% 是亞裔,其中一半是華人。他能說一口流利的中文(Mandarin)和英語,經營房地產業相當成功,目前更帶領一組能說多國語言的(multilingual,註 10)仲介團隊,其中包括羅克珊.盛(Roxane Sheng)。盛小姐於 2005 年從中國來到美國攻讀研究所並且留下來工作。

「我的客戶大部分都是會說中文的華人。」盛小姐提到。「不過他們有的在這居住、工作,有的在這讀書,有的只是來這再次投資(reinvest)或買房產(property,註 11)當作投資罷了,後來還是會回到中國定居。」

周先生表示,過去 10 到 15 年間(編按:約自 2004 年開始)許多人從中國大陸(Mainland China)移入聖蓋博谷,成為當地的新移民。


盛小姐指出,南加州(Southern California)氣候溫和(mild,註 12),距離中國也較近,因此對中國的購屋者(homebuyer)相當具有吸引力。而共通的語言則是另一吸引人之處。


對大多數住在高樓層(high-rise,註 13)大廈的中國移民來說,聖蓋博谷提供了額外的好處(perk,註 14)

「這裡有很多獨門獨戶的房子(single-family home)。」盛小姐進一步解釋。「客戶只要找到房子,就可以擁有土地和庭院,且沒有鄰居住在樓上或樓下。他們如果是從北京(Beijing)或上海(Shanghai)搬過來,這裡的房價還是比較便宜。」



安妮.徐(Annie Xu)是周先生房地產團隊的另一名仲介。她來自菲律賓(Philippines)的華人家庭,會說他加祿語(Tagalog)、閩南語(Hokkien)、中文及英語。

「我到現在從事房地產已經 3 年了,以前是個留在家中照顧小孩的(stay-at-home)媽媽。」徐小姐述說著。她之前隨著丈夫來到美國。「我在最小的孩子滿 2 歲時,就決定要做點事。而房地產這個產業不需要投入大量成本就可開始進行。」


具有一半巴基斯坦血統的莎班娜.可汗(Shabana Khan)來自印度,也是徐小姐的客戶之一。她從紐約(New York)搬到聖蓋博谷,目前正在尋找(seek)有庭院的房子。

「紐約的氛圍(vibe)充實有活力,但這裡也很有活力。」可汗形容。「不過我認為,一旦有了小孩,加州是最適合安頓下來(settle down,註 15)好好過生活的地方。聖蓋博谷實在很棒!這裡匯集了亞洲各種不同的文化。」


根據民權團體亞裔美國人平等權益促進協會洛杉磯分會(Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles)去年(編按:2018 年)的調查報告結果,聖蓋博谷的亞裔族群中,南亞人數成長最為迅速。

透過美國普查局(U.S. Census Bureau)的統計數據,平等權益促進協會也發現聖蓋博谷地區超過 67% 的亞裔美國人是移民,其中估計約有 5 萬 8000 人不具備合法身分證明文件(undocumented)。此外,調查報告顯示,該地區近三分之一的居民為低收入戶。

「他們有的才剛移民過來,還沒有找到穩定的(stable,註 16)工作。或是他們的英語能力不夠好,必須和現實妥協(compromise,註 17),先找份不是那麼理想的工作。」盛小姐指出。

這份研究報告發現,不論居民的社會經濟地位(socioeconomic status,註 18)如何,聖蓋博谷的亞裔人口都在持續成長著。


Language Notes

註 1: span 於本文為動詞,指「遍及」或「綿延;橫跨」;本字亦可作名詞,常指「一段時間」或 「長度;寬度;跨度」

註 2: enclave 於本文指「(在其他人群中聚居的)族群,群體」;本字也可指「(被包圍在另一個國家境內的)飛地」

註 3: local 於本文作名詞,指「當地人,本地人」;本字也常作形容詞,意即「當地的,本地的」或「局部的,部分的」

註 4: fit in 為動詞片語,於本文指「融入;適應環境」;本字亦有「適合;相合」之意

註 5: overview 由字首 "over-"「在 . . . . . . 之上;超過」與名詞 "view"「觀點;見解」組成,於本文指「綜觀」,原意為「概述;概觀」

註 6: ethnic 於本文指「民族的;種族的」;本字也可指「異族的;具民族特色的」

註 7: flood 於本文指「大批;大量」;本字另常見意思為「洪水;水災」;亦可作動詞,意即「大量湧入;蜂擁而至」或「(使)氾濫;(使)淹沒」

註 8: immigrant 源於動詞 "immigrate"「遷移;遷入;(自外國)移民」;本字的反義詞為 "emigrant"「(移居他國的)移民」

註 9: clientele 於本文指「顧客群」,原意為「(總稱)客戶,顧客」;注意重音在第 3 音節

註 10: multilingual 由字首 "multi-"「多個,許多」與形容詞 "lingual"「舌的;語言的」組成;注意重音在第 3 音節

註 11: property 於本文指「房產;房地產」;本字另有「財產,資產;所有物」與「特性,屬性」等意思

註 12: mild 於本文指「(氣候)溫和的」;本字亦可指「和緩的;輕微的」或「(食物味道)淡的,不濃烈的」

註 13: high-rise 於本文為形容詞,意指「高樓層的」;本字也可作名詞,意即「高樓建築」

註 14: perk 於本文指「好處;有利條件」;本字另一常見意思為「(工作提供的)津貼,補貼」

註 15: settle down 為動詞片語,指「定居,安定下來」;本字也有「習慣新環境;安頓下來」、「平靜下來;坐穩,坐定」等意

註 16: stable 於本文指「穩定的;穩固的」;本字亦可指「精神狀態穩定的」或「(物質的化學狀態或原子狀態)穩定的」

註 17: compromise 於本文作動詞,意指「妥協;讓步」,後常接介系詞片語 "for / on . . .",意即「為 . . . . . . 折衷、讓步」;本字另可指「放棄;背離,違背」;也可作名詞,即「妥協;和解;折衷辦法」

註 18: socioeconomic 由字首 "socio-"「社會的;群居的」和形容詞 "economic"「經濟的;經濟上的」組成;另一拼法為 "socio-economic";注意重音在第 6 音節


Check your comprehension!

Choose the BEST answer to each of the questions below. After you finish, highlight the parentheses to reveal the hidden answers.

1. ( C ) According to the article, why is it easier for Chinese immigrants to fit in the life in the San Gabriel Valley?
            (A) The local government provides the immigrants with comprehensive social welfare support.     
            (B) People in the San Gabriel Valley are friendly and open-minded toward immigrants from all over the world.    
            (C) Most of the residents there speak Mandarin, and such circumstances make it easier for the immigrants to get around.   
            (D) The community center offers timely consultation services to the immigrants whenever they encounter problems.  
2. ( D ) Which of the following is the factor to account for Ms. Annie Xu's decision to begin a real estate career?
            (A) As an extrovert, the career provides her with tremendous opportunities to meet people from different cultural backgrounds.     
            (B) As a working mom, the career offers her a flexible schedule to maintain balance between work and family life.    
            (C) As a Chinese descendant, the career helps her build up a strong social network with people sharing the same culture.   
            (D) As a person who used to be a stay-at-home mom, the career only requires her to invest some money to start up.  
3. ( A ) What can be inferred about Ms. Shabana Khan's attitude toward moving to the San Gabriel Valley from New York?
            (A) She has the confidence to obtain what she wants in the San Gabriel Valley and believes that the place is suitable for raising children.   
            (B) She has been thinking of moving back to New York because she has realized that the San Gabriel Valley is not as ideal as she expects.    
            (C) She thinks both New York and the San Gabriel Valley can be the right place when it comes to settling down. 
            (D) She has been glad that she made a sensible decision to relocate to the San Gabriel Valley as the home prices are more affordable.  

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