华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦


华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦

左宗棠鸡——可能是美国人最喜欢的中餐菜肴之一,也是文中陈老板店中的招牌菜。(Photo courtesy of Alpha | Flickr)


一位来自中国福建的新移民,他的美国梦正在逐一实现,但他还有更大美国梦……


中餐馆,华人移民的代表力量


“美国华人的移民奋斗史充满艰辛,苦难。华人在商界和科学界中取得的成功,华人的勤俭努力,遵纪守法,使我们被广泛赞誉为模范民族,这其中也包含了众多餐馆业服务人员的默默努力与汗水。


中餐馆在过去的一百年来一直是支撑华人移民的最重要的经济支柱,为美国的经济发展及丰富美国人民的饮食生活做出了重大贡献。餐馆工作人员是最勤奋的一群华人,然而却鲜有话语权。他们没有时间与精力参与到公共事物中。“华人维权联盟美国历史写作组”准备推出一系列介绍中餐行业的文章,目的是引起社会关注这一行业及群体“。这是我写的一段广告,目的是让陈爱国广发给他的餐饮业群友,为我们写作项目集资。写好之后微信点击送给爱国,已是半夜。


美国华人维权联盟组织遇到的最大挑战是资金短缺。大大小小的花销全都来自联盟董事会成员的捐款。几次外界募捐尝试无果,这次又把重担扔给了爱国。


第二天一早,爱国就回答了。还是爱国的风格,不打字只送语音。”集资,我——”他说着好似喉咙被卡住了。“找朋友要钱,不好意思讲啊——。” 福建普通话,语速慢,结尾拉得特别长。声音消失,眼前立刻浮现出他那忠厚友善的表情。我心里受到了很大的触动。可以想像,他那个“啊”拖得有多长,为难之情就有多么重。


爱国其人


爱国是福建长乐市潭头人,来美国已经20多年了。前十年一直居住在纽约,2003年开始他和弟弟爱明先后到明州双城地区经营中餐生意。自己当老板,开个店叫香港餐馆 (Hong Kong Restaurant)。生意兴隆,以外卖为主。最受欢迎的菜是左宗鸡,蒙古牛,cream cheese wonton,等等。通常是每天工作十个小时,一周七天。因为菜肴色香味俱全,服务周到、诚实守信、仗义疏财吸引了大批食客。和爱国通个话总要被电话订餐的铃声打断数次。


华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦

香港饭店位于 231 13th Ave south, South St Paul, MN 55075


华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦

饭店装修精致,布置典雅,整洁干净


工作之余,爱国的爱好可从他隔三差五更新的微信中了解到:有时在荒原里,穿着打猎的衣服,表情庄重。有时乘船游荡在一望无际的湖水中。还有就是认认真真的一圈圈摆放开所有钓到的鱼,像树的年轮。他站在最中心,冬日积雪未散,大地是一片耀眼的雪白。


华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦

爱国喜爱户外运动


就连爱国的微信头像,也是肩扛船浆的英俊潇洒。风萧萧易水寒的站在河中皮乏艇上。日落余晖,所谓阳刚之美,应该是他照片里那个样子吧。爱国爱玩,网络那头的他常常不知飘流在明州哪一个角落。


发起“陈案”维权


2017年2月7日,福建籍华人陈建生被小区保安枪杀的新闻震惊了华人社区。仅过几个小时,我发现我已经进入爱国和远方所建的陈伯维权群,也就是现在的华人维权联盟前身。这群不是源于清晨三言两语的评论,而是事件触动了他们善良、正直、柔软的心。几日之内,数百人加入,冬日的明州,因为这两个年轻人的古道热肠,洋溢着人间温情。


陈案维权这件事充分体现了爱国和远方对同胞强烈的仁慈和同情之心。当时就想,如果有一天什么事情发生在我们任何一个人身上,爱国和远方也会这样挺身而出。感谢他和远方的带领,我成为千百个华人中的一个,付诸行动加入维权的行列中。大家和陈伯素不相识,愿意主动去帮助,这是一种接近于理想和完美的责任:友爱、仗义,慷慨,只为正义而不受利益驱使,心甘情愿地去花时间为同胞出力,捍卫真理、正义和清白。


初见面时已是艰辛维权而小有成就后的一个月。爱国是那样潇洒帅气,灿烂的笑容从未从那年轻英俊的脸庞上消失过。他比网络中显得腼腆。微笑,倾听,言语不多而直中要害,恰到好处。


爱国和弟弟爱明水中救人事迹广为传颂


爱国的仁慈和仗义似乎与生俱来。他曾经和弟弟爱明在密西西比河河段进行漂流时,救起了一名在河中被困多时、身体十分虚弱的男子。兄弟俩这段见义勇为的经历,在明州远近闻名,广为流传。爱国对这事不以为然却不失自豪,“能够救人一命感到非常开心和快乐,很难用言语来表达。是一件非常幸运的事情。”


华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦


作为美国华人维权组织的领军人物,爱国被选为联盟组织的执行长。爱国最大的 “亮点”还在于他以大局为重无条件地吸收人才。组建初期,联盟对人才求贤若渴,我曾经试图弹劾他,用这个执行长的位置吸引其他候选人。爱国非常爽快让位,又在没人担当时挑起重担。我深感愧疚,苦于没有机会道歉。不想几日后又尝到爱国亲自钓到的鲤鱼,道歉和感激都借此文表达了!


爱国是个自强不息、勤奋努力、热爱生活和公益活动的好人,同时也是一位好丈夫、好父亲。他对自己的过去鲜少提起。如果不是为青少年口述移民史写作服务,还真没机会听爱国讲述他的移民经历及对美国梦的渴望。釆访中,爱国也提到了他第一次从上空鸟瞰下面纽约城万家灯火时的震撼。我突然记起不久前,我们还在讨论采访地点,爱国兴奋地告诉我,他刚刚买到新房子,huar建议我们去他家采访。我想在那个时刻,飞机降落盘旋之际,他一定憧憬着未来,想像着某一天,某盏灯是属于一个来自中国福建的移民。梦想在来美后逐一实现。爱国拥有了自己的餐馆和房子,以及美满幸福的人生!


迫不及待地读了Austin的釆访后,感觉就像回忆一段梦境,奇妙、恍惚、朦胧而真实。爱国的人生故事因此得以部分完整。



Austin Wu的采访报告


Interview Report


Austin Wu


This first interview was a valuable and enlightening experience. I was a little nervous, but also excited. This was my first opportunity to write the history of Chinese immigration, to be a part of the history of our people. When I first arrived at Aiguo’s restaurant, I was struck by what this little place meant. Here was an example of the American Dream, someone who had created his own business, found success in his career, and carved out his little place in this country. This was the backbone of our nation, these entrepreneurs, who worked day in and day out for their little corner of America.


Aiguo grew up in the mountainous Fujian province in China. However, when Aiguo was about to enter high school, his family moved to Chinatown in New York. As his plane touched down in the Big Apple, Aiguo was surprised by how brightly the city shone. Yet home was never far away. Many of the people who lived in his village had also immigrated, and he was in a place full of familiar faces. His childhood friends remained part of his life. Even at school, he continued to speak Fujianese, not English. This smoothed his transition greatly.  After high school, Aiguo moved west to Minnesota, trying to open his own restaurant in an area with less competition. Through a decade of hard work, he now has a successful business, two kids, and the ability to support himself without many worries. The advent of the internet, and more specifically, the messaging app Wechat, has allowed him to reconnect with many of his old friends from New York, and he takes a vacation with some of them every year.


After living in America for some time, Aiguo has many interesting observations about the country. When asked why he came to the states, Aiguo said “Everyone in my village wanted to come to the US. I’d say about 90% of the village lives in America now,” commenting on the allure of America to many who live abroad. When asked about one of the common themes of moving to America, having a better life for his children, Aiguo replied that he simply wants them to “be able to provide for themselves.” As long as they have a good life, Aiguo says, he’ll be happy. He called China “more free” than the US, referring to the bureaucratic red tape that is required for many things in America. “The police in America will be there right away if you call them,” He comments wryly, “on the other hand, the police in China don’t care.”


Aiguo also had some comments on what it was like to be an immigrant today. He also briefly touched on the fear that accompanied our new presidency, saying that he had heard many stories of illegal immigrants from the area who had been deported recently. He said that there was a lot of fear surrounding these new changes. “The Americans I knew were very friendly before the whole election business, but now it seems like everyone is more hostile.” Despite all of this, Aiguo is glad he came to America. Even though he misses China, he said that, given the choice, he’d like to stay where he is now.


Aiguo brought to light a new perspective on America, one that I had definitely never thought of before. He brought a whole new world into my view, gave me a whole new understanding of what it meant to be American. His story, like those of countless others, represents the heart of America – the hardworking, entrepreneurial spirit that defines this nation of immigrants. Without Aiguo and those like him, America would not be as great as it is today.


美国华人维权联盟是今年四月在明州及IRS注册的非盈利组织 (The Association of Chinese Americans For Social Justice) 。目标是捍卫华人权益,促进华人团结。致力于以下三方面的工作:1. 推进华人族群的合法权益,2. 传递中华传统文化,团结华人族群,3. 促进中美文化、教育、经济等领域的交流。我们推广华人党理念,唤醒血肉相连的同胞意识。我们要的不是共和党不是民主党,而是华人党。在华人社区里捍卫华人族群权益的重要性应当超越党派政治分歧。历史写作是我们的重点项目。目标是回顾历史、教育同胞、警醒后人、思考未来。美国华人维权联盟是项目发起人,我们也在寻找不同领域的机构合作成为这个项目的共同发起人。青少年写作是历史写作的相关项目。青少年作者将深入了解并记载不同职业华人的移民心路历程。关注美国华人维权联盟,请扫描二维码。


华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦



华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦


作者:欣欣然 Austin Wu

本文首发于“美国华人”公众号(ID: ChineseAmericans)


华人餐馆业主陈爱国的美国梦
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