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5 Reasons To Live In Binondo

This writer recalls the vibrant and bustling Chinatown of her youth

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Original Article: Veronica C. Uy Photography: Kat Palasi Pictorial Direction: Gwyn Guanzon

Manila Chinatown is not quite the big, important district people surmise it to be. Chinatown is really just Ongpin Street and all the alleys radiating from it. North of this commercial hub is a cluster of schools separated by streets and esteros where I spent four years of high school, wearing a uniform common to many schools in the area which is a plain white blouse paired with a blue pleated skirt. The boys wore white polo shirts and khaki pants. My xie xiao was the bastion of Chinese style education. Parents sent their kids there for the Mandarin language classes taught in rote and for the discipline—to paraphrase Mao Zedong's power principle—that emanates from the swoosh of a stick. I wonder: In this new millennium, is the emperor's tongue still taught in that ineffective way? Does corporal punishment still work?

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