CUNY Thomas Tam Scholarship

2017 Recipient

Peter Lee (Brooklyn College) 
Riding the Bus and Selling Credit: An Ethnography of Necessity
and Aging Amongst Chinese New Yorkers

Mr. Peter Lee is an undergraduate student majoring in Anthropology at Brooklyn College/CUNY. As part of a year-long anthropological research project starting in Fall 2017, Mr. Lee will curate and complete an ethnographic photo collection that documents the practice of Chinese seniors who travel to long distances to casinos to redeem vouchers as a way of living. The project will critically examine the larger issues of poverty, aging, and the well-being within the Chinese community.

The Riding the Bus and Selling Credit photo collection endeavors to answer:

  • Why have casino bus trips emerged as a social phenomenon?

  • What does the necessity for a subsistence strategy reveal about the aging process (and about well-being) for Chinese Asians in New York City?

  • How does engagement with the informal economy reflect upon the community at-large in terms of structured support, care and concerns for Chinese seniors from a low socioeconomic stratum?

Since poverty and aging are two issues that are neither spoken about openly nor acknowledged publicly, Mr. Lee's photo collection seeks to address this silence by showcasing photographic accounts of Chinese seniors and their stories in a manner that both engages discourse and incites dialogue. By viscerally capturing, detailing, and displaying the daily struggles that these seniors must endure, navigate, and negotiate, this ethnographic photo collection aims to re-humanize and re-politicize the lived reality of an otherwise marginalized and neglected population.








2017 | 2016 | 2015 |
2014 | 2013 | 2012 |
2011 | 2010 | 2009 |

Scholarship Committee
Russell Leong
Joyce Moy
Pearl Tam

William Tam


Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2018

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
Fax: 212-869-0181 | E-mail: