SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Senior citizens are making their own moves against Asian hate crimes with a new rap that’s mostly in Cantonese.
Together, they chant, “Beware, beware of the guy mo so.”
In English, that’s “beware the chicken feather duster,” a household tool some of the ladies remember from their childhood.
“Using the guy mo so — this chicken feather duster. It had a hard base so, when you are naughty and getting out of line, the parents would go after you with that,” explained dancer Emily Chin.
The rap was written by Clara Hsu, director of the Clarion Performing Arts Center where the ladies practice in the heart of San Francisco Chinatown.
Their message is direct: “We are the authority. Don’t mess with us,” Hsu said.
Hsu is rehearsing with members of the Grant Avenue Follies, an 18-year senior citizen group that recalls the city’s golden nightclub era.
The dancers have toured in Las Vegas, China, and Cuba.
Mostly, the Follies perform locally for the elderly and fundraising galas, raising millions of dollars for senior citizen groups.
But, this time, dancer Pat Nishimoto says they’re raising awareness about the crimes that spark fear.
“With all these violent attacks, I’m just really careful,” Nishimoto said. “I don’t think I’ll be walking Stow Lake [in Golden Gate Park] by myself now.”
Hsu added, “Seniors are not just old people on the street, you know? We are powerful and we want to show that and to show it in an entertaining way.”
Follies co-founder Cynthia Yee says they feel empowered to act.
“With this rap, I want to show the people ‘Don’t be mean to grandma. If it weren’t for grandma, you wouldn’t be here,'” Yee explained.
The dozen members of the Follies are enlisting a choreographer to develop a routine and then post the production online.
They also hope to perform it at rallies to stop Asian hate.
These grandmothers say their weapon is their voices: loud, clear and united.
The Grant Avenue Follies are raising money to pay for a professional videographer to record their performance and post it online.
In the original broadcast of this story, KPIX 5 mistakenly identified Clara Hsu as Pat Nishimoto. We apologize for this error.