Back in the day

The net is a wonderful invention. It is one nation, fragmented only by the connection you have with it. No one person nor company or government entity controls it. They can only restrict access to it. The net is filled with no definite amount of information and only limited to what people put up there. The net is a perfect anarchy. It has no governing laws. It has no rhythm. It has no base. It only has a framework which could be filled and expanded limitless.

Before the internet, there were bulletin board systems or BBS. I was a System Operator or SysOp for short. I ran my own BBS using Iniquity. It had its own dedicated line which my dad normally used as the fax line. It was interesting. It was fun. It was unique. However, only one person could connect at one time. One line equals one node. You could connect more lines to it, thus allowing multiple connections, but it’s not like the net where the only thing you have to worry about is a consistent connection, the speed and power of your host and the laws that restrict access to it.

I was on Facebook earlier and saw a post by Richmond News that Sears will be closing its doors February 2015 at Richmond Centre. Sears has been there since Richmond Square opened in 1968, 11 years before I was born. It was there since Richmond Centre came around. Though I rarely shopped there, my mom, brother and I used to go in there every now and then when we were kids. It’s sad to see a Richmond icon disappear. It means times are changing and the area no longer has a place for these businesses.

When I was younger, when Hudson’s Bay started losing its grip on the market around Canada, I was saddened by this. For those who don’t know our Canadian history, the Hudson’s Bay Company is old. In 2003, when it was sold to an American company, it was 333 years old. It had a powerful influence in Canadian politics and trade. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson’s_Bay_Company

The Richmond News’ Facebook post lead me to look up pictures of Richmond Centre, then Richmond Square, then British Columbia, then Canada. This is why the internet can be so wonderful. For those who love to explore, the net is a perfect place to go to if exploring the great outdoors is not readily available. The Google search lead me to a series web sites, images and stories. Then one picture loaded up…

LastSpike_Craigellachie_BC_Canada

Every Canadian Social Studies 10 textbook has this picture. Unfortunately, it doesn’t represent it enough. I’m not going to get into the reasons why here, but for those interested, check out “Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America“. Laura lent me this book whose uncle (David Wong) is the author.

Anyway, looking through all these pictures and reading the stories made me think back on the days of Social Studies. I didn’t realize it then because I hated the school, but thinking back on it now, I really loved Social Studies. I love parsing through the textbook and looking at the different images about Canada’s history. Everything from the fur trading forts, to the First Nations, to the geography of Canada. If I could just go back in time and redo my Social Studies classes, I would, but then I could not help but think “What if that changes my present time?” You know, what if I never met my wife, never had all those experiences… Well this is a totally different subject, so I’m not going to get into that.

I just love history, especially Canadian history. I wish I was more passionate about it and I wish I could muster some willpower and keep studying it. I wish…

/thinking back/

It was my first time going to the theaters without my family and with a new friend in grade 7 high school. It was a cloudy day, just outside Richmond Square. The old theater was horrid looking. It had a brown slanted roof and large glass windows out front. I think it also had milk chocolate brown drapes behind them as well. Hla (pronounced Law) and I stood at the line, waiting to head in. We picked Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country. This was 1991. I had parted hair right down the middle. It was exciting.

Fast forward 22 years and I’m here typing this post out. I reminiscent on those days long gone. I hope that the land in the Garden City, Westminster Highway, Alderbridge Way and #4 Road block will stay as nature intended or at the most, turned into a park or for agricultural usage. I don’t want Richmond to keep adding commercial buildings, high rises, more residential areas. Enough is enough. Richmond doesn’t need to mass intake immigrants. We can’t afford it! Stop it! The government isn’t taking care of us. It’s fucking us over! Richmond is my home and has been since 1981. Before that, I lived in Vancouver. I was born in Vancouver and lived there for less than 2 years. Richmond has always been my home. Now it’s so full of people, traffic and noise.

So looking up old photos is a nice way to look back. I bet a lot of people thought of people like my parents as nuisances, who immigrated over from Hong Kong in the 1960’s and 1970’s, but the difference is that immigration trickled in, where as these days, they’re pouring in. Culture meshing isn’t going so well these days.

I am developing a headache.

Here’s a neat little note: The Fraser River is 2,657 kilometres long. The city of Richmond is right at the mouth of the river, splitting it into two arms out into the Georgia Strait, which leads into the Pacific Ocean. The city was once called Lulu Island. It had an airport, a horse race course and most of it was farmland.

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