Originally, I had conceived The Phoenix on the Dragon Chair as an entry into the Anthology, but I thought nope, it's too complex and not many people will get the gangland references or chinese idioms I am introducing, let alone the concept of customs. The idea was shelved for Which Do You Want To Die.
I know most readers see my writing as cerebral and deep, which it is and I usually go into that direction. However, I do have other interests, including Chinese triad crime fiction. I think it has something to do with the romantic nature of the Chinese portrayal of gangsters. The "virtuous gangster" has been in existence in my culture for over 500 years, representing the rebellious attribute of the peasantry and scholars, who dislike the non-virtuous nature of the ruling group.
Well, I thought I would not get back to that story, but as you guys have heard from the last two days of my status updates, I had the itch to write it. So in 2 days time, I created a 5700 word story into the Universe of the Chinese Triads with a gay leader.
It's an audacious effort and the underlying contrast that I am drawing with them is probably even more disturbing as I am using an idea that came to my mind about finance. What if you can create another market of financing that is large enough to and diverse enough to help the common man without the problem of Corporate structure, but still remain enforceable?
After 2008, almost all the major community based banks or "retail" banks, also known legally as "Thrifts", had been taken over by larger corporate Banks, i.e. JP Morgan Chase took over Washington Mutual with $1.88 billion dollars for $300 billion dollars in assets. Many people are struggling to pay mortgages, loans, and credit card bills that they cannot keep at interest rates that make loan shark feel like they were being copied. The US federal government and other world government are doing nothing to help the common man with their problems. So I imagined that a low rate lender with strong community ties and a need to spread out would need to take over the missing spot that retail or local banks held. (The figure in the story is real, at its peak in 2006 according to the US OTS department, there was about $2 trillion dollars worth of assets in this industry, so there is definitely a real need and market).
Make no mistake, what I am discussing in the story is money laundering, but it is a positive form of money laundering. I bet this is going to happen, if not already happening. As long as capital is slow to unwind, liquid asset holders will have the strongest influence, and I can't imagine a stronger liquid asset group than organized crime.
Anyway, between the Chinese history of romantic gangster and my idea on a new shadow financial system forming, I am pretty tired from writing this story.
Well, I will be reading the rest of the anthologies now.