During the height of the COVID-19 crisis in China, youth groups spontaneously mobilised to provide emergency assistance. They responded to medical supplies and sanitary product shortages, helped increase access to online education, and much more. In some instances youth groups were able to respond much faster or more effectively than larger organisational programmes.

Under my capacity as a co-research of the Resilient Realities research project, I have conducted a series of interviews with leaders of youth-led COVID19 response initiatives in China (including those operated with support with overseas Chinese networks). I discovered the key to youth groups spontaneity and impactfulness…

Learn to first empty your cup

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Most people live — whether physically, intellectually or morally — in a very restricted circle of their potential being. We all have reservoirs of life to draw upon of which we do not dream.

-Philosopher William James

In recent months, I found myself trapped and surrounded in a cloud of negativity that sucked away my passions to create and write. I believed in the overarching mission of my full-time work, but borderline despised the day-to-day activities for its lack of creativity and critical thinking, and the amount of busywork that kept my mind too filled and worn out to make…

Examining our addiction to productivity under a global pandemic

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If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either:

1.) a new skill

2.) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business

3.) more knowledge

You didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline

You might have come across this blurb on social media sometime this month and either agreed with it or shook your head with disapproval.

This popular blurb, first posted by a personal branding expert on Twitter, has been trending on social media and it has received just as much backlash as it has received support. Although it advocates for making the most…

But an economic and systematic one as well

Photo by Sarthak Kwatra on Unsplash

There are two types of people in the world, the people from somewhere and the people from anywhere, or so it goes…

British author David Goodhart coined the terms “Somewheres” and “Anywheres” to explain the divisions of British society that brought on Brexit and the rise in populist politics.

According to Goodhart, the Somewheres are people who are more locally rooted and conservative as opposed to the Anywheres, who are globalists that are well adapted to change. The Somewheres attribute a large part of their identities to their place of origin or local communities and are less likely to move…

Stop with the US-China blame game

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In the recent political tic-for-tat blame game, both the US and China have tried to shift responsibility for the spread of the coronavirus by downplaying their failings in virus response while escalating accusations of blame aimed at each other. Trump and other Republicans have labelled COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” and a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson had accused the US army of bringing the epidemic to Wuhan when the city hosted the Military World Games last October.

The news-media industry had also taken a hit in the show-down of political narrative-shaping and muscle-flexing, as a series of journalist expulsions on both…

Michelle Kwan excelled at a time when Asian-American media representation were few and skewed

Photo by 𝓴𝓘𝓡𝓚 𝕝𝔸𝕀 on Unsplash

You know one of those moments where you meet a household name you’ve grown up with, and you do a double-take on just how normal — not “normal” like average Joe normal, but “normal” as in down to earth and surprisingly easy to relate to — they are in real life? I had one of those moments.

Michelle Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist and one of the biggest names in figure skating history, did an Asia tour a while back and I’ve had the honor to share a meal with her alongside a few other lucky ladies.

I cannot pinpoint…

Writing guidelines and all that good stuff

Illustrations from Vecteezy

Welcome to Asian Voices Matter (AVM)! A place where Asian voices are amplified and Asia-related issues are brought forward to the public conscious!

The Idea!

AVM was originally created out of frustration to speak out against the rise of racism faced by Asians around the globe over coronavirus fears. You can read about it in my post — ‘Why Asian Voices Matter in the Fight Against Coronavirus Racism.’ In it, I wrote:

Asians have long been negatively stereotyped in the West for being soft-spoken, passive, and often unwilling to engage in confrontation or cause trouble…

A personal account of life in China during COVID-19 and how we’ve reached the new normal

Photo: kiszon pascal/Getty Images

Over a few short months, COVID-19 has evolved from an obscure virus to a full-blown global pandemic that has now spread to every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Citizens around the world are falling into panic mode as governments sound alarms to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, in China, the epidemic is coming to a close with the rate of new cases steadily dropping from the thousands to just 27 new cases today.

Life has all but reached a new normal here — masks remain on everyone’s faces but the fear associated with the virus has died down…

#IAmNotAVirus #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus #我不是病毒

Photo: Richard Milnes/REX/Shutterstock

In the months following the COVID-19 outbreak, fear and racism spread faster around the globe than the virus itself.

This month, Jonathon Mok, a Singaporean student who had been assaulted on the streets of London in a coronavirus related racist attack, posted about his experience on Facebook. In the post that has gone viral with over 66k likes and 41k shares, he said:

“Racism is not stupidity — racism is hate. Racists constantly find excuses to expound their hatred — and in this current backdrop of the coronavirus, they’ve found yet another excuse.”

In the rise of xenophobia amidst fear…

“In China today, Bill Gates is Britney Spears. In America today, Britney Spears is Britney Spears...”

Photo by yu wei on Unsplash

“The curriculum is too focused on rote learning and kills creativity.”

“It’s all work and no play.”

“The competition is too fierce and stressful for quality education at top schools.”

These are just raindrops in the ocean of complaints that target the rigid Chinese education system, which values memorization and determines merit almost completely based on standardized test-taking abilities. It, like the education systems of other East Asian countries, values conformity rather than individuality.

To escape such a system, many Chinese youths (with families that can afford it) look to the West for alternative education opportunities. America is the top…

Ting Zhang

Researcher, writer, globetrotter. Writes about China, culture, travel, social issues, and quarter-life reflections | tingbetweenworlds.com

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