Sid Tan’s letter to the Editor of The Province about Pidgin Picket

This letter was written to the editors of The Province newspaper but not published. We are publishing it here as a record of community responses to mass-media.  – Editors.

Art by Karen Ward
Art by Karen Ward

Dear Editor.

Your editorial “perpetuates misery” as you say, much more than the protesters at Pidgin restaurant.

A fine dictum of journalism is to follow the money trail. Here it points to the enormous profits for developers and real estate speculators who are catered to by Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association. In all their years of civic government, why has a social impact study never been done about the gentrification and displacement of low-income people and their needs, assets and tenure in the Downtown Eastside?

The talk-demolish, talk-evict and talk-renovate DTES Local Area Planning Process has successfully, as expected, demobilized many social justice and housing activists. Is it any wonder Pidgin and other “zones of exclusion” would bear the brunt of the anger and frustration of good citizens in direct action?

You write implying the protesters are useless, mistaken and non-strategic. But they are using direct action, the only course available in such circumstances. They are giving voice to their concerns and voting with action, aka feet on the ground. They have no financial gain here, as do the cafe owner, police or politicians.

They are within the law as developers, real estate speculators and such clever mercenary and pecuniary individuals and enterprises are. However, laws are made by judges appointed by politicians who are funded by developers, real estate speculators and the same mercenary, pecuniary types. Your editorial is a value judgment with your values clear but useless, mistaken and non-strategic.

Most of the evil we have continues because of what good people will not do. It’s good to see citizens speaking out and standing up for what they believe in. The protesters are the citizens of the year!

Sid Chow Tan

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