With COVID-19, A New Wave of Racism

Date: July 22, 2010

Mr. Martinez, University of California Riverside Professor in Sociology 

He had said during one our very last lecture in class, “We are not all different races; we all belong to the human race.” The quote really touched me. I had never thought of it like that. With the lack of the right education from our childhood, we’re not taught that we’re all the same. We learn in history about World Wars and Civil Wars separating peoples and confining them to their races, but nothing teaches us about the takeaway. What was it all for? Every little fire started from xenophobia. Why haven’t we been properly educated to understand that despite the wars that have created racism, we are all part of the human race and if you truly trace back our roots, we’re just all from the same place

Date: March 26, 2020

A decade later, a world pandemic spreads from Wuhan, China where the Coronavirus outbreak started and it seems a new wave of  racism towards Asians have emerged. With research concluding that this was a result of natural evolution, it seems the rest of the world is looking to blame the Chinese, further exacerbated by Trump calling it the ‘Chinese Virus.’ Unfortunately, it resulted in not just scapegoating the Chinese, but other Asians alike: Japanese, Vietnamese, Koreans etc…

As the coronavirus upends American life, Chinese-Americans face a double threat. Not only are they grappling like everyone else with how to avoid the virus itself, they are also contending with growing racism in the form of verbal and physical attacks. Other Asian-Americans — with families from Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar and other places — are facing threats, too, lumped together with Chinese-Americans by a bigotry that does not know the difference.

In interviews over the past week, nearly two dozen Asian-Americans across the country said they were afraid — to go grocery shopping, to travel alone on subways or buses, to let their children go outside. Many described being yelled at in public — a sudden spasm of hate that is reminiscent of the kind faced by American Muslims, Arabs and South Asians in the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But unlike in 2001, when President George W. Bush urged tolerance of American Muslims, this time President Trump is using language that Asian-Americans say is inciting racist attacks.

-NY Times

I woke up to this article and immediately started messaging my family, reminding them to not travel alone anywhere during this time. Reminding friends to tell their beloved to brace themselves for this new hate wave. I’ve noticed when I go out once every few days to pick up groceries, there’s a larger gap between myself and others waiting in line than other queues without anyone of Asian descent. I’m actually thankful nothing worse has happened to me or anyone else i know.

I’m realizing how very real and terrifying this disease has taken form from something that gives us daily hypochondria to fear that we can’t even walk outside alone or in the dark. It’s scared everyone else away from Asians even in the time when we all need to move away from racism and fight this disease for all human kind.

It seems we’ve forgotten:

that all men are created equal.

I’m deeply terrified for the younger kids who have to go back to school and face bullying. I’m painfully afraid of my parents who are much older now to defend themselves when they decide to take a stroll outside.
I’m disappointed that despite all the fake news we’re aware exists in the interwebs, there’s a stain and fingers pointed because it’s easier to have someone to blame than accept something else. Something the media hasn’t been broadcasting. Something media should educate people on but don’t.

The novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, last year and has since caused a large scale COVID-19 epidemic and spread to more than 70 other countries is the product of natural evolution, according to findings published today in the journal Nature Medicine.

-Science Daily

My 5 Year Plan

So imagine grabbing a latte with an old acquaintance. Almost always, this is how the conversation starts out:

What have you been up to?

How is your relationship going?

How’s work?

These common 3 “small-talk” ice breakers are everything I dread about going out to see a friend I haven’t connected with in a few months.

The next question I absolutely resent people for even bringing up is, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

The younger me (okay so last year) would have mouthed off something to my interrogator and stood up on a soap box preaching the futility behind this inquiry. Partially for the below reasons:

  1. There’s science behind those who talk too much about their goals and never achieving it. So it’s better to keep tightlipped until the deed has been done. What’s the awesome term for this? Oh yes, hubris.
  2. Most people use this to evaluate what my priorities are. If I’m on a date for example, and I say I’d like to become director in the next 5 years, the other person would assume I’m too career focused. If I say, marriage, they probably would have bolted for their car on our first date.
  3. A real goal feels too intimate to share with anyone. I rather not have my secret hopes and dreams passed on, then having them tell their cohorts, thus creating our entire social circle focusing on my foreseeable future at tea time.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

So here’s my 5 year plan. The goals I hope to achieve that aren’t wasted on defining who I am by who I will be bound to, or what desk I’ll be chained to, or which professional title to brand me for the new few years. My goals in life transcend beyond the mundane.

Year 1: Fill my brain with beautiful stories – as many books as I can possibly read

Year 2: Master flexibility outside the physical entity of my being

Year 3: Understand the value of success is more than the digits in my bank account

Year 4: Observe and indulge in other cultures. Distance away from the routine provides fresh perspective

Year 5: Persevere through all things that pass through my way and continue spreading positivity

This is what I want to discover in the next 5 years. Career or love life… they’re just small percentages of our daily life and yet we attribute way too much in both. There’s more to our existence than how we make our fun coupons and who we choose to spend it with.

Shanghai was my First Love

September 2017, a major milestone happened to me. I flipped my nationality and placed my right hand over my chest and recited the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America.

This change granted me a new privilege. The US passport now opens the gates to allow my freedom to travel more countries than China could. Yet my dad questioned: Of all places you can now fly to, why are you still going back to Shanghai?

My cliched answer at the time was: because our family is there.

But as I sat in the airport bus back to my mother’s flat in Putuo District in Puxi, Shanghai, I marveled at my city and realized she means so much more to me than just family.

She was my first love.

She is a beauty deeply rooted in Chinese history but far more advanced in technology than one acknowledges. Her magnificence is a blend between contemporary succession and old fashioned heritage. She is a time traveler sharing her past with monumental buildings from European influence with paved streets donning juggernaut monitors displaying new age art.

She was my first love.

She is New York, Los Angeles & Vegas combined.

Shanghai’s skyline dazzles and dizzies as you peer out across the Bund. The Statue of Liberty is pretty. She may be tall & green but we have the Pearl Tower that glistens with dancing lights.

Shanghai’s palette is sophisticatedly crafted. Los Angeles is the heart for foodies with street eats to high end dining, but Shanghai takes international to a whole new level with fine dining at every corner as an art form rather than providing a meal to its patrons.

The Strip owns debauchery, we all know this. Yet Shanghai has her own secrets. Her mysterious speakeasies and classy nightclubs provide an avenue for fun without the overdone fraternity children prancing around acting stupid. Shanghai has an elevated way of drinking and partying. She can have her fun and be regal too.

I can provide an infinite list of things to do and ways to get around. Sure she’s got a few little imperfections but she is my love and I will always come home.

Because not only does she hold my family together, she holds my heart.


You should get rid of your family & friends

So the title is a bit jarring. I totally get it. If I had seen an article that tells me in order to be more successful or improve myself, I need to trim out the closest network in my life, I’d probably think the writer’s f-king crazy and move on to the next post.

But the reality is, when I overheard this in a TEDtalk VOD, I couldn’t resist listening till the end.

Menon goes on to share what strong ties are: family & friends, and how we need to grow our weak ties (people we’ve just met) to create a wider network. That’s because our strong ties are redundant and familiar. The weak ties opens up this much larger canvas of possibilities. This goes on to a larger lecture I heard on “getting out of our comfort zone.” We all have this safe bubble that feels nice and warm, but is it doing us more harm than good? We all have aspirations to be more successful, be more adventurous, do more excitement. So I decided to put this new philosophy to work.

I went to graduation celebration just last night. There were the usual suspects I knew from the party. Of course, I targeted the ones who invited me and stuck myself to their hips for the first hour of the party. But I knew I never reached beyond that comfort zone. Then a girl that I’ve always known through the same mutual friends but rarely bonded with was within eyeshot. I really made the effort to say hello and we started connecting. I found out about a new job she’s adoring, her newfound singleness etc..

By the end of the night, we’ve made plans to hang out 1:1.

She and I might have nothing in common now, but we could find that helpful in creating this new social universe and cross pollinate with our own social circles to make this much larger world to tap into. To be totally honest, I dug a little deeper and knew that I was always a bit intimidated by her. She was this gorgeous thin LA stereotyped girl. Not in a bad way, but this Venice-style resident always seemed like she’d never be interested in me. But did I even try? She was so welcoming last night but I never would’ve know about a new friendship had I not trekked outside this safe bubble I blanketed myself in.

I’ve only taken a first step but the reward has been more than generous. I caved to my fears before but now I’ve thrown that heavy weight off and made a new acquaintance. My first chapter into discovering more weak ties & shedding off this comfort zone.

My Home Alone | A Christmas Story

I’ve lived so long lost in stories that promised happy endings. Stories that gave me a picture perfect family. Characters that showed valor and true faith in each other. Fairytales that willed me into believing my life had to fit this flawless mold.

But real people don’t get these fairytales. They get curveballs thrown at them everyday. They get dysfunctional families that tear each other part and love stories that end in anger and disappointment. But that’s okay.

Our stories are deep rooted in shaping who we are and grounded in to making us stronger as we survive every chapter of our lives.

Every single family is as dysfunctional as the next. I remember questioning why I was thrown in the worst of them yet, but after hearing people’s stories of their own troubles, I’ve come to realize we’re all the same. We go through these rite of passages that make us human and make us invincible to bullshit. Maladies hit, heartbreak wear us down, and yet each of us still wake up the next morning hoping for a better day. If it doesn’t, we just keep tricking our minds until we believe it to be true. Mind over matter each and every day until we get through it all.

  1. So what if your alone on holiday? Grab a book and dive into an adventure with Adelina in The Young Elites book series.
  2. Feeling under the weather from a nasty flu? Take the time to channel your inner strength and thank your body for the resilience it’s provided you time and time again. Our bodies are crazy wolverines. We get a cut and our skin only needs a few days to heal the wound.
  3. Missing someone in your life? Write about your feelings. If that person is still in  your life, write a note dedicated to them so they can read it when you’re reunited. They’ll feel special you’ve thought of them and you’ll know you’ve made someone’s day brighter. If this person is no longer in your life, write them a letter anyways. Read it over and realize what that person meant to you in that moment. It’s a great start to self discovery.

It’s Christmas. The first of many I’m sure that I might be spending alone as my family has started to drift apart and go their separate ways with their new families. But I’m using that time to find my independence. I’m cherishing the new found hours to write more and make peace with this tranquility.

I wish you all a happy holidays and not let fake fairytales ruin the magic of Christmas. You are what you make of it. Today? I’m enjoying an oreo milkshake in California while I remember the things I’m grateful for. I’m finally getting back into writing my book and I hope Santa visits each and every one of you granting you your deepest holiday wishes.