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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Playwright Portait, Alvin Eng, Excerpt from The Last Emperor of Flushing

The Playwright Alvin Eng, 2006pswb©2012

The Last Emperor of Flushing

The Last Emperor:
“O.K., I wasn’t really an Emperor. But like China’s legendary ‘Last Emperor,’ Aisin Gioro Pu Yi, I am the last of my line and kind here in Flushing. Like Pu Yu, I spent the first half of my life being the Guardian and figurehead of a lifestyle that no longer existed by the time I finally left this childhood palace. Although Flushing is now New York City’s second Chinatown, aka “The People’s Republic of Floo-Shing,” when I was a young Emperor, we were one of a fistful of Chinese families here. The Flushing of my youth was still basking in the afterglow of the post World War II suburban baby boom. That boom was celebrated at the 1965 World’s Fair, held right here in Flushing Meadows Park. This World’s Fair was the zenith of “The American Century” when anything was possible. In this euphoric mood, Flushing immigrants were the last wave who would give up everything. They would forsake their customs, their language—many would have changed their appearance if they could––just to get a whiff of ‘The American Dream.’”

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