Flushing is a special place for me.
This is the first stop for many Chinese immigrants to set foot in New York, and it is also a circle that many Chinese living in the United States cannot escape. Here, people can live freely on American soil without using English. The authentic Chinese-style restaurants and shops, the Chinese signs that can be seen everywhere on the street, often make me think that I am back in China——but China 20 years ago.
People living here have a variety of life experiences; many of them came to this country as labor immigrants with little professional skills and language skills. But they come to a land thousands of miles away from home with longing and courage in pursuit of a better life. Flushing is their safe haven in a strange land, but it has also become a “prison” that isolates them from mainstream American society.
This is a prose about Flushing.
The immigration issue is a major global issue in our world. In China, labor migration is providing vulnerable groups of immigrants. Many Chinese have the impression that overseas migration means wealth and a better life. However, the life of Chinese labor immigrants overseas is not as glamorous as people think. Language barriers, illegal residency status, distrust of foreign country and the lack of effective protection put them in a very dangerous situation. Labor exploitation and substandard low-cost hourly wages are not new issues. The dilemmas immigrants face may also be the threat of personal safety and forced involvement in the illegal industry. Immigrants have paid a great price. They left their loved ones and friends, left everything they are familiar with, and went to a country where they can’t even understand the language, in order to seek a better life. When they set foot on the new land with high expectations, all kinds of unexpected and unpredictable risks emerge, in the way of opportunity. Is the dream still as good as they imagined, or is it just a phantom, fragile bubble?
Directed by Sihan Cui (USA)