COVID-19, Asian-Australian Racism And Media: What This Pandemic Says About Us

With COVID-19 racing across the world, it’s become a different reality overnight.

Some of us feel fear hearing COVID-19 cases rise in other countries. Feel uncertainty as toilet paper disappears from the shelves at the grocery store around the corner.

For some of us Asian-Australians, we feel the slap of racism once again amidst this pandemic.

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Being an Asian-Australian who once aspired to be a journalist in Australia, it’s disappointing seeing recent anti-Asian sentiments in the media and racist incidents on the streets. It’s undoubtedly disappointing seeing certain cultural groups get accused of spreading coronavirus.

As COVID-19 spiked in Australia, women of Asian ethnicity were mocked by a coughing man at Brisbane airport. Ethnically Chinese women were attacked and told to ‘go back to your country’ in Melbourne’s CBD. Parents at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital refused to let doctors of ‘Asian appearance’ treat their children.

Racist media representations

It seems Australian media encourages racist micro-aggressions during this COVID-19 crisis through framing techniques. Framing constructs narratives, including and excluding facts.

Newspaper headlines such as ‘Chinese Virus Pandamonium’ and ‘China Kids Stay Home’ frames Chineseness as the yellow peril. Phrases ‘Deadly new Chinese coronavirus’ and ‘China’s killer coronavirus’ sensationalise the stereotype that to be Chinese is a danger to others.

Who knows if the coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China. After all, viruses can remain dormant before mutating, becoming active and taking flight centuries later.

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Through juxtaposition, the media paints the racist rhetoric that being Chinese is second-rate. Italy is portrayed in a sympathetic light: honoring Italy’s front-line medical heroes in portraits and the country singing outside their balconies in lockdown. In contrast when China built a coronavirus hospital in ten days, media outlets questioned its secretive system (which is a valid point).

The blaming of Chinese is nothing new. Writer Carrianne Leung’s paper on the impact of SARS highlighted a history of ‘xenophobic panic’ with Asian immigrants called ‘dirty and diseased’. Academic researchers Dorothy Nelkin and Sander Gilman mention blaming is a means to ‘(make) devastating diseases comprehensible and therefore possibly controllable’.

Too often the media is biased towards those with fairer skin. Too often the media worships the western world as classy and sees people of colour as not classy enough, not enough to be cared for.

The news also frames Australians as undeserving pandemic victims because of their privilege. Australian travellers quarantined in five-star hotels were reported as complaining for getting free microwaved meals. There are reports the JobKeeper subsidy isn’t enough to support those who lost their jobs. One can say many living in a predominantly white Australia and spending-driven economy don’t have backup plans. Yet they want a five-star lifestyle handed on a silver platter when the world actually turns upside down.

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It’s evident western voices dominate as white saviours with few diverse voices on the pandemic frontline. For instance, in Australia’s mainstream media we hear Anglo-Saxon political groups enforcing gathering restrictions and leading coronavirus modelling. In contrast while it’s encouraging to hear COVID-19 messages translated into various languages, ethnic groups and Indigenous Australians are shown as struggling to keep up with these messages.

As Professor Lilie Chouliaraki argues, commonly news coverage utilises ‘improper distance’, practices of communication that ‘privilege the voices of the West over the voices of the suffering’. Western voices are deemed more credible than a person of colour’s even if the latter has something important to say.

Other notable patterns within Australia’s COVID-19 reporting:

  • Plenty of graphs and charts tracking cases.
  • Emphasising increase in infections as opposed to recoveries.
  • Live ‘breaking’ coverage with recycled ‘churnalism’ news.
  • The race to find a vaccine to brag about.

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What COVID-19 coverage says about us

The news informs, educates and shapes how we think. How news stories are written depends on newsworthy factors, one factor being proximity: shared cultural values and national traits. Often people want to relate to the news. So what we usually see in the news is a reflection of society.

Hearing about racist attacks and headlines in the news, it speaks of a racist Australia. Seems quite a few of us are stuck in the traditional mindset of ‘West vs East’, ‘Us vs Them’.

When Australia’s news privileges western voices, white supremacy reigns supreme and other groups are marginalised here.

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In times of crisis many of us instinctively retreat into our own cultural bubble for comfort and control. We are quick to believe logic-driven science to make sense of crisis, such as looking at graphs tracking COVID-19 cases (but there’s probably an under-reporting of cases because not everyone can get tested).

Times of crisis also bring out the worse in us. Being racist, panic-buying toilet paper and hoarding food is not helpful. Right now we’re seeing a world where we’re ignorant and self-entitled within our own cultural bubble – someone else has to be the weakest link. Many of us think ourselves and our family are the most important when in reality, others are equally important.

Just because you’re lucky enough to hoard toilet paper doesn’t mean you should blame others. Just because you have family and biological children doesn’t mean you’re better than someone else.

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Moving forward

It’s interesting to see Australian media outlets get away with racist content. It’s a reason why I decided not to be a journalist in this country.

Racist and sensationalist news usually generates fear. Maybe this fear scared Australians to stay home, and that’s why we’re flattening the coronavirus curve. If that’s the case, can’t argue with that.

It’s encouraging to see parts of Australian media condemning anti-Chinese behaviour in these difficult times. Political philosopher Tim Soutphommasane recently suggested trusting our leaders and trusting each other is needed to stamp out racism and rebuild. True, as with trust we can have more open conversations.

However, we can’t expect everyone to trust each other. Not all of us get along. We each have our own likes and dislikes and personal attributes. To minimise racism, the least we can do is try to understand where someone is coming from, and let each other be.

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As a pessimist, I reckon there won’t be a 100% fool-proof vaccine to eradicate COVID-19. I also reckon it’s a new mutable virus the world was not prepared for and hence all this fear, uncertainty and panic. If the news reported the flu (for which there’s a vaccine) as scare-mongering as COVID-19, maybe there’ll be panic of the same kind.

Aside from fear, uncertainty and panic, there’s also anger right now: anger at how leaders are making decisions or lack thereof. Anger at hoarding. Anger at why we have to stay home. Anger at others for not staying home.

Admittedly this post sounds angry. I’m angry at the racism going on now. I’m angry at Asian Australians getting picked on yet again, knowing I can’t do much about this.

Most of us are staying home and isolating, be it by ourselves, with roommates or families. If we use this solitary time to reflect on our place in the world, we might accept our differences. Maybe we’d be angry at others a little less.

On keeping our distance, the more appropriate term is physical distancing instead of social distancing. As fellow Australian blogger Gary Lum at Yummy Lummy wrote, standing apart from someone is physical distancing. When physically apart, you can still social through social media or texting.

Many seem bothered staying indoors and self-isolating. Really goes to show this extroverted world can’t handle being introverted. That’s a story for another day.

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Things haven’t changed much in my household. As an introvert, I’ve been enjoying this home time, working from home and being unproductive too. I’m not bothered by cancelled catch-ups and having no idea when our next dinner out is. I’m not angry anymore at being turned away again and again as a journalist in Australia. I’m one of the lucky ones in the grander scheme of things.

Every person matters, from tireless healthcare workers to domestic violence victims to those left jobless recently. Freedom is not a choice for some. So for us lucky ones, we should do our part, be greatful and stay home.

Moving forward, we need to accept things won’t always go our way post-COVID-19. Moving forward, slow down. Think twice about traveling. Think twice about going out if you’re sick. Less spending. Less catch-ups even. More backup plans. Be more appreciative of those who are there for you.

Moving forward, we should accept a new normal and be more respectful towards each other.

How are you today?

241 thoughts on “COVID-19, Asian-Australian Racism And Media: What This Pandemic Says About Us

  1. Hi Mabel. This is such a heartfelt post. I hear you. You make so many valid points and your anger is palpable. I found it heartbreaking when Chinese tourists /expats faced racism in Korea during the early days. It takes a virus to expose the true nature of our prejudice. We seem to be headed two steps behind. Thank you for yet another wonderful post. Take care and stay safe!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Cheryl. That is terrible to hear Chinese tourists and expats faced racism early on. Hopefully that’s not the case anymore. It’s lovely to see South Korea flattening the curve and life seems to be getting back to normal there. May this virus be a lesson to everyone and the world, and we start living with more kind and thoughtful intentions moving forward. Hope you are staying safe over there 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I think in the United Sates, Asian-Americans have been seen as the model minority, or “the smart ones,” or “the good ones.” Chinese-Americans like my husband have always known that white supremacists can and will target ANYONE non-white, but many Americans are shocked by the virulent hatred that has poured out of evangelical America–even at Asian-American healthcare workers who are braving death to keep the mega-church-going covidiots alive.

    My fellow white women clutch their pearls and keen, “This isn’t who we are!” But it is. Trump has just made it acceptable to be overtly racist again.

    China makes a handy scapegoat for white people, never mind that Dr. Li Wenliang suffered the wrath of his own government by getting the news of the virus out on social media. Racists will never mention Professor Zhang Yongzhen’s team in Shanghai, who shared the coronavirus genome with the world when they saw their government wouldn’t. I think their lab is still shut down. They are heroes, giving the rest of the world time to prepare tests and manufacture protective equipment.

    Trump and our racist Republican Party squandered that time. And they should take responsibility for all the deaths that have followed.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I think it’s a bit different in Australia. With Asian-Australians, we’re seen as the model-minority but not exactly the good ones. It’s shocking to see how there are anti-lockdown protests in some parts of the States – so you are right in that some people will stand up just for themselves and target anyone who disagrees. I wonder if those people had thought about what happens if they actually get the virus, and they have to go to hospital.

      Certainly not all white people are anti-Asian or anti-people of colour, and sounds like some of your white fellow women are genuine about that. Recently I’ve had some westerners apolgise to me for the racism going on right now. It’s thoughtful of them but I also find it a bit funny they are apologising as they themselves are not in the wrong.

      It’s great to hear there are people in China wanting and trying to do what’s best for the world. A very good effort and sometimes you can only do so much. This all will probably drag on, and it will make for a very interesting election in a few months.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Mabel….so much of what is going on due to this virus is just so unsettling…so upsetting. Thanks for putting your thoughts out.
        We have to believe that our energy will make the shift that is needed!!
        Much love…stay well

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Mabel,
    I was just thinking of you the other day since I hadn’t seen a post from you in so long. I am sorry to hear that your dream of becoming a journalist hasn’t come true yet. You have such a strong voice for justice. I hope you keep speaking out.
    I don’t know if you have followed the recent events in the U.S. but Trump is one of those who called this “The Chinese Virus” He is the opposite of what we need as a leader.
    I stand in the hope that this pandemic will shift the thinking toward compassionate action, seeking to understand each other and seeing the value in all human life.
    Take good care.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Ali. So lovely to hear from you. I think in hindsight it was a good thing I gave up the journalist dream – learnt so much about different industries and the way the world works. Thank you for your nice words. You are very kind.

      I’ve seen bits and pieces of news from the U.S. Seems like Trump is holding conferences every day with a lot of fanfare – like a circus. It’s also disheartening to see anti-isolation protests over there. But for most part, coming back on here it seems most are reasonable and have the best of intentions.

      I have got a lot of catching up to do here. Your blog is on my to-visit list and hope to see some poetry from you soon. Hope you are doing well and stay safe 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mabel,
        The Presidential leadership here is disheartening but we have many amazing governors who doing all they can to help keep us safe.
        I would love to have feedback on any of my poems. Let me know what speaks to your heart.
        It makes me feel hopeful to connect with you across the seas.
        Take good care.

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        • That’s great there are governors doing what they can do keep others safe. Sounds like they have the best interest of their state. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the U.S. election later this year.

          Hoping to come visit your blog soon. You write with such intent, and I am sure I won’t be disappointed. You take care too, Ali 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Mabel. I’m sorry that you’re angry right now. Totally understandable.

    Negative news, as you know, gets pushed and promoted, but there’s also a lot of positive news of people coming together and helping each other out.

    This isn’t to say that we should ignore racism or fearmongering, but for me, I have to take in all in perspective so that my world view isn’t warped. I’ve had to constantly remind myself to hold a balanced outlook, to not get intro extreme thinking.

    It seems to me, as an outsider, that many white Australians have been fearful of Asians ‘taking over’ their country. The US harbors a similar fear with Latinos. I get it, but obviously it’s not okay! COVID-19 feels like an extension of that fear and since the news feeds on fear…

    As far as China goes, the CCP should be held accountable, and they are already feeling the repercussions as many nations realize how deep the CCP’s control and corruption go.

    Many folks around the world have a tendency to lump a govt and their people together. Those of us who are more cognizant make the distinction.

    The news that does come out of China should not be trusted. For example, all scientific papers on COVID need to be vetted by the CCP. Beyond heartbreaking when were racing against the clock and sharing all our information.

    As a very Chinese looking person, I’m fearful too, but then I’m giving in to a fear that may never effect me. I’m used to being treated differently and discriminated in Asia, but that doesn’t stop me from living life and appreciating that the vast majority of my interactions with others is fine.

    Glad you’re enjoying the introverted life 😉 I heard it called Total Cat Day which I thought was clever. Take care dear.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘I get it [even if] it’s not okay!’

      Good on you! I hope this ‘crisis’ helps us all to be more empathetic towards each other. (: (And I’m not just talking about racial distinctions.)

      Also agree with the distinction between a government and its people (especially in countries where people have little or no say in how the government is formed).

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, negative news always gets the front, front and center. When this virus thing gradually fades away, we’ll probably see more compassionate and positive stories about recovery and rebuilding to round it all off. For now, it is what it is.

      It’s great you have a balanced outlook, see different side and *hopefully* not get riled up by what’s going on. I think white Australians have always been fearful of Asians dominating the country and taking opportunities away. I remember when I first moved back to Melbourne someone yelled at me to go back to my country. These days things like these are still normal here.

      What is going on in the U.S. at the moment is…interesting to say the least. It’s like watching a not-very-good circus show and will be interesting to see how the end of the year pans out. China is China and it’s no question censorship is a part of life there. Maybe one day that will change. Or maybe it won’t at all.

      Good on you for living your life as you do on your own terms. High five to being introverts. Many more Total Cat Days to come 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s actually a lot of positive COVID news stories happening right now . Have a look!

        I also get the impression, based on the Aussies I know that Australians are more intense than Americans so I’m very sorry that’s happening.

        And as far as having a balanced outlook, I have to or I’d go insane. I remember when the military took over here in Thailand, friends were contacting me concerned, and I had to explain that I was fine. The news, on the other hand, made it look like Thailand was on fire.

        OH, the US is ridiculous. Americans pride themselves on independence which is wonderful but in times like these, not so great. I think the last time Americans truly came together was WWII.

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        • From what I’m seeing in the news, there is talk about getting back to normal in some countries. There probably will be a second wave of the coronavirus at some point.

          The way America is going now, it looks like anything ridiculous can happen, will happen over there 🤷

          Liked by 1 person

    • Mate, those kinds of comments aren’t really helpful. You might disagree with something (and others may even agree with you on it) but slinging insults does no-one any good.

      I’ve found Mabel’s posts to generally be a place where people can discuss things and offer their views in a polite and constructive manner. Perhaps you’d like to contribute to the discussion by explaining why you feel so strongly about something?

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  5. Hello Mabel.

    It is good to hear from you again – maybe we just have different perspectives, but I feel this is perhaps a little less balanced a view-point than I am accustomed to reading from you. I’ve said before that I don’t experience racism to the level you describe, and I remember very early on in the contagion that some people in Australia were spreading FUD against Chinese people here but it soon became clear to any rational person that this virus is not race-specific. Indeed, when the Italians had their outbreak, I know people were quickly becoming wary of the Italian neighbourhoods in Australia so the antipathy is not restricted to Asians. The same for when Iranians had their outbreak.

    Of the reports that the virus originated in China – I don’t see this as racist, isn’t it a fair representation that the current strains of the virus were first discovered in Wuhan? We may be able to track it back further but we may not. As I understand it, it’s a variation of the SARS virus that also previously originated in China. The *way* reports are phrasing this may not be helpful, but I’d be cautious of ascribing derogatory intent where there may not be any. The gracious assumption is helpful here – assume good intentions unless there’s clear evidence to the contrary.

    It’s not as though Chinese doctors and health workers haven’t been well regarded in China as well as overseas. I understand the WHO is coming under criticism for overly lauding the CCP’s response to the epidemic when it was still primarily within China. And Chinese medical professionals who attempted to ring the alarm bell early were silenced by the CCP. Surely that can’t be considered constructive. Some people, at least when talking about the coronavirus situation may use the terms CCP and China/Chinese people interchangeably. I try to be more clear at which one I’m talking about when I speak/write.

    Reactions to the virus are certainly varied, and I certainly wouldn’t think those variations be on the basis of race. I heard, but didn’t see directly, the reports of those in Australian hotel quarantine as ‘complainers’. On one level, I’d agree, being safely restored to Australian soil with free hotel service is something to be grateful for. On the other hand, having your liberty taken away isn’t fun either, even if it is for the safety of everyone around you, including yourself. As I said, the gracious assumption is helpful. People in all situations need empathy, even if those in privilege might need a little help in taking a ‘reality check’.

    I haven’t been following the coronavirus news as closely as some have. But I don’t see the ‘western voices dominating as white saviours’ as you seem to. Instead, I’ve seen people banding together on-line to try to help researchers in coronavirus modelling. The Folding@home distributed computing project now has so many volunteers (huge influx from people wanting to help with COVID-19) that it surpasses several of the top supercomputers in the world *combined* (last I saw, it was top 17 but surely it is a lot more than that by now). The times I am in the supermarket for food is usually quite late, to avoid busy times, but I still see a fair few people. Most people – Asians and non-Asians – are courteous in trying to maintain distance from me and vice versa. Some even offer me a smile of thanks when I give way for them. There are a few, however, who don’t seem to care about this courtesy. It may well just be coincidence but I’m sorry to say those people have been primarily Asians, and I’ve mentioned to you before that this kind of behaviour make it easy for some to make racist generalisations.

    So my point is that it’s the individual that’s at play here, not what race they’re from. Again, the gracious assumption applies – treat people as individuals, not on the basis of what their race is.

    Indigenous Aussies indeed have it tough and even more so when it comes to responding to the quarantine rules. Many families are itinerant by nature and simply haven’t heard of what’s going on. Others may not care, or are naturally distrustful of what the government tells them (and with good reason too, given mainstream Australia’s poor treatment of them collectively). For those that I know in the Pilbara it’s an interesting time, elders and white-fellas working together to try to spread the word about being careful. And many Indigenous Aussies are communal by nature, in sharp contrast with individualistic Western culture, so ‘self-isolation’ doesn’t come easily for them.

    The case count is perhaps the easiest figure to manage, and I’ve been watching the new daily cases figure to see how much we are slowing the spread in Australia. But the recoveries are being reported too. Indeed, I also see an ‘active case’ count as well as ‘total case’ count in the reports.

    On a broader level, I’d agree with you on the tendency for people to withdraw into self and the familiar as a response in this quarantine time. People were willing to jump up and be ‘courageous’ when it came to the recent bushfires (and I’m not discounting the truly heroic efforts many played during that time). However, when the perceived personal risk is much greater, such as with the coronavirus it seems Aussies (and people generally are less inclined to be generous towards others – certainly the hoarding speaks to a substantial volume of people fearing for their own comfort, or worse, profiting off the current climate of fear. What I feel uncomfortable about is how you’ve taken all this to be about race (maybe there’s some truth to that in what you’ve been reading/seeing but as I said, I haven’t seen it – and maybe you think I’m ‘part of the problem’). I don’t want us to become like the US where it becomes all about racial lines and discrimination on and against all ‘sides’.

    Recently I had a colleague use a phrase to me that I didn’t consider helpful in an Australian English context. I asked him to avoid using it in the interests of clarity of communication. He chose to take it as an attack on his race instead and made a complaint against me. So now I have to take offence at the expectation that I am supposed to know his culture’s communication idiosyncrasies – typical political-correctness at its worst, using perceived offence to inflict offence. All this could have been avoided with the gracious assumption.

    Agree the ‘social distancing’ term is a gross mis-nomer. My brother calls it ‘spatial distancing’ which is basically a more technical way of saying ‘physical distancing’. I’ve preferred to call it quarantining, but it seems the label ‘social distancing’ stuck because it’s new and so people know it’s specific to this coronavirus issue.

    At its root, part of this ‘crisis’ is a wake up call to people all around the world that we’re not as ‘good’ as we like to think we are. You might see these divisions being on racial lines. I see this as a reminder of the collective division between us and God, and the resulting divisions against each other that causes – on national lines, on racial lines, on cultural lines, whatever. Even on personal lines (I need that toilet paper more than you do! ~snatch!~). When you know the one who has the very time and date of when he’s going to call you, there’s no need to fear – certainly not this virus thing. And so that frees us to love and care for those around us rather than worry and be anxious about the self. I think you know what I’m trying to say politely, but if not I’m more than happy to discuss privately.

    So I’m pretty relaxed about the coronavirus quarantine. Like you, on the introverted end, I’m pretty comfortable with working at home. I have to remind myself to be grateful that I still have a job and be able to support myself and others in need. So I wish you well for this time and hope that you might be able to offer that gracious assumption to others. Even when they don’t deserve it. Even when it hurts. Or makes you angry. God knows it pains me to be gracious towards others at times. (Actually, a lot of the time, if I’m honest.) But I’ve always found things to be better when I do.

    I hope also that you can enjoy next weekend too, however special (or not) you choose to make it. 😉

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    • I think we all have different perspectives on racism, and also this COVID-19 situation at large. Yeah, I do think you and I have different perspectives to some extent on what’s going on, and that’s alright. Maybe this article is a bit less balanced, or maybe it isn’t. The post was initially much longer as I had so much more to say. The virus isn’t race-specific and can affect everyone. It’s funny how the media chooses to report on racist incidents and racist sentiments towards the Asian community as opposed to the Italian communities. Also if the virus originated in Australia, you probably wouldn’t hear the media or people on the streets calling it the ‘Australian virus’.

      The way the media reports on current affairs more often than not is deliberate, and pinning the blame on someone is a way to attract eyeballs. The virus could have indeed originated in China. But calling it along the lines of ‘Deadly Chinese virus’ is not acceptable – it implies a particular ethnicity or group of people is a danger to everyone else.

      I do wonder what goes on behind the doors of the WHO, and its funding. Some people in some places can only do so much. It is what it is for now.

      I am sure those thousands of travellers are lucky to be back in Australia. Personally I feel most travellers should have had the foresight to come back earlier before these lockdown rules, but many of us prefer to enjoy ourselves. Many people with privilege have for years turned a blind eye towards reality and lacked empathy. Reality is there are always people living in poverty and starvation. Reality is a lot of privilege people will live their lives frivilously and be oblivious to these issues and putting themselves first. With the exception of life and death situations, someone always has it worse than you.

      Hopefully things are alright there in the Pilbara. With all this happening I guess you won’t be able to visit and help out this year. Seems we haven’t been hearing too much about what’s going on in remote Indigenous communities in the news lately, and I take that no news is good news.

      It is great that you are able to go to the grocery store and get your groceries when there are less people out late at night. I hope you’ve always managed to get the goods you wanted. Lovely to hear that people are gracious to you – and certainly not everyone is racist or has ill-intentions.

      I do think a lot of the hatred going on has to do with race. Over the last couple of months or so I’ve heard too many stories of my Asian friends and colleagues being confronted or picked on in public at the shops. I’ve heard them get weird stares when they are out in public. I had people meander out of my way when I’m out. I chose to leave these personal anecdotes out as the focus of the post was media reporting, media analysis and I’m moving away from personal stories here – and I’ve been trying to work towards brevity. It’s harder than you think lol.

      It’s hard to believe racism and speak about it unless you’ve experienced it first hand. Honestly, I think everyone is part of the problem to an extent: me, you, everyone. On one hand you’ve got those biased against their own races and interests and won’t listen, and on the other hand you have anti-racist advocates who are trying to convince the world their opinion is the right one.

      I am sorry to hear that recent incident with your colleague. Sounds like a big miscommunication. It happens between different people, and it can be tricky navigating each other’s communication styles and nuances. Hope you and he sorted it out amicably without further incident.

      Agree that there is individual, personal selfishness going around that has got nothing to do with race – and I tried to allude to that in this post. Some people might choose to believe in a higher being or power or spirituality to get through these hard situations, and if it gives them a sense of purpose, then so be it.

      I also wish you well for the times ahead. Take care, Simon.

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      • Maybe you’re right. Maybe our different life experiences have coloured how we each see things. I just don’t see the hostility that you seem to, I honestly don’t. Maybe I tend to see the best in people, unless they’re clearly and obviously doing something wrong or unpleasant.
        Perhaps it would be called the ‘Australian virus’, or perhaps not – without one we may never know. Australia is seen in a unique way in the Anglosphere, a Western country in the East, a ‘land down under’. So perhaps such a thing might be called Australian simply by virtue of that characteristic. After all, Terra Australis means southern land anyway.

        I tend to think that labelling COVID-19 as ‘deadly Chinese virus’ is typical news sensationalism. Honestly, I’ve only seen it labelled as coronavirus, (initially) nCoV, later COVID-19, and in really technical articles, SARS-CoV-2. Such names are neutral and don’t have the stigma of labelling it as ‘Chinese’. I should think any reputable news or reporting source would stick to this naming. Sensationalism is tacky and unhelpful.

        On the other hand, there may be some precedence for this kind of naming. The 1918 influenza pandemic was commonly known as the ‘Spanish flu’ even though its origin appears to be disputed. Similarly the 1968 pandemic was also called the ‘Hong Kong flu’ by virtue of its first recorded appearance in Hong Kong. So there may not necessarily always be the racial connotations that you ascribe.

        At least the WHO coronavirus ‘myth busting’ page was useful for clarifying things with some of my older overseas relatives who fell for misinformation campaigns surrounding the virus (another case of social media mis-use). But it does appear there may be deeper problems within the organisation.

        It might not be that simple for all Aussies overseas. I have a couple of friends in Central America at the moment, stuck in the middle of their year-long trip. I asked if they were planning to come back and it appears they don’t have a home to come back to anyway (I assume this means they had rented it out for their time away). But yes, it would be foolish for travellers in most cases to ignore the warning signs and not come home when it was first possible, when restrictions weren’t yet in place.

        No, no plans to go to the Pilbara this year, but nothing to do with the quarantine situation, however. We do have plans to return in 2021, though. If there’s any group that’s mis-represented in the media, it’s Indigenous Aussies – good news often isn’t nearly as interesting a selling point as bad news, sadly.

        My grocery shopping is pretty basic, I’m not a great or even good cook. When the quarantine really started to kick in I was dismayed at the lack of sliced bread. The following weekend I noticed meat was in short supply. Since then it’s been up and down all over the place (but never as dire here as some people might think), which led me to think it’s a matter of luck and timing as to whether or not you get what you want/need. I haven’t bought any toilet paper since before the panic buying and I haven’t seen any on the shelf since (not that I would hoard anyway).

        I really wonder what it is that makes your experience so different to mine. Perhaps I should ask my two cousins in Melbourne what their experience over the past year and a bit has been – they moved from overseas at the beginning of 2019. Surely it can’t be a case of Melbournians as a whole being more inclined to racism than Sydney-siders – after all, I see the racially-motivated Cronulla riots often cited as a low point in modern Australian history.

        I don’t doubt brevity is difficult. Just look at my replies to you, seems like essay after unintentional essay. XD

        Sadly, the case with my colleague was not really resolved, I never got a reply to my apology and clarification. Thankfully I don’t have to deal with him much – I hope it’s just a coincidence that he’s in Melbourne. But it highlights the problem I have when people (not necessarily you) call things racism even when it isn’t necessarily the case. Playing the ‘race card’ instead of focusing on the issue at hand just makes things worse for everyone. Such is the environment that political-correctness has created that I have a friend who often feels discriminated against just because he is white, male, or a Christian. Actually, maybe because he’s all three! Being part of a group that’s seen to be privileged (whether justified or not) can also be a source of discrimination too, which is why I wish we (collectively) just drop that line of argument and simply try to get along (again, I go back to the gracious assumption for this).

        I think you misunderstand me, I don’t believe in a ‘higher power’ to get through hard situations (or as some crassly put it ‘rely on as a crutch’), but knowing what lies ahead gives me the ability to face times like this virus situation with confidence – not in my own strength, but in one who has control over this life and the life to come. I’d agree that we are all ‘part of the problem’ insofar as we have all tried to reject this – me included! But I know this doesn’t hold any hope or comfort for you, at least right now, so I won’t press the point.

        Truly, I hope you have a more harmonious experience with your fellow Aussies in the future – both those of an Asian background as well as non-Asian.

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        • Australia is a very unique country in terms of geographic location. We’re close to Asia and also not that close to Asia. It’s funny how the Asian Cup (soccer) chooses to include Australia as one of the teams – under the umbrella of the ‘Asia-Pacific Region’. On the topic of COVID-19, Australia is seen as one of the western nations as opposed to one of the Asian countries (maybe we talked about this at some point previously). It’s good that you see the best in others. It’s always easier to build rapport when you genuinely want to hear and see what someone has to say, rather than trying to talk about yourself or trying to assert your thoughts over them.

          There are indeed so many terms used to described this virus thing, all used interchangeably. You’re right. Most of the terms are neutral names and I guess people in different fields and demographics will align to one name over the other. I do think people are mostly referring to it as COVID-19 as SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t seem to roll of the tongue as seamlessly and it’s the longest label.

          The naming of the 1918 influenza is interesting. There have been studies mentioning labeling it as the ‘Spanish flu’ is also xenophobic in some ways. I do think it’s funny how when a virus is first discovered in one place, it gets ascribed a name like ‘Hong Kong flu’ or ‘Wuhan virus’. For all anyone knows, the first strains could have been undetected, undiscovered in another continent during another time and no one simply knew.

          That sounds very inconvenient for your friends to be stuck in Central America. They must have been having a great time before all this happened. I hope they get to come back to Australia at some point. Travelling is a great experience but also a time of many risks. The last thing anyone wants is to be holidaying in another country, get sick and get stuck there.

          That’s great you have plans to return and help out in the Pilbara at some point. Travel is so uncertain right now. I think when the world returns to somewhat normalcy, airline prices will skyrocket in a bid to uncoup what they lost because of the pandemic.

          Hopefully your grocery shopping becomes easier soon. Coles and Woolies are already lifting item number restrictions, and hopefully no more panic-buying.

          Everyone will have different experiences wherever they are. Maybe your cousins might not have experienced racism like you haven’t. Also everyone has a different opinion on what’s racist and not. – and that’s probably why your colleague disagreed with you and there hasn’t been a resolution. I have heard of people playing the race card to get an advantage or upper hand in the absence of taking account of merit. When the race card is used solely for that purpose, you can definitely argue it’s not fair.

          To be honest, for me I have no problem not knowing what lies ahead. Yes, I do see uncertainty in these times is scary because things could get even worse, and I like plans. But generally I am seeing it as not knowing means more possibility, and gives me more purpose to live today as how I want to live it.

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          • I don’t know too much about football in Australia, since it seems to be less popular here than in other countries, but I remember the situation of the Socceroos being a strange one. Generally speaking they seem to be far too strong for the Oceania region (likely because our relative wealth allows for better training, equipment, hires, etc), but being placed in Asia puts them in a more suitable position in terms of competition and relative skill levels. As you say, we are generally seen as part of the West instead of Asia, perhaps because of the British legacy.

            The advantage of assuming the best in people (at least in the first instance) is that one is less likely to burn energy being unnecessarily angry with people. Doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, far from it, but perhaps less so than if I was to assume ill intent when sometimes there isn’t any.

            Yeah, people will generally go for the easier term, especially in mass media. Just as ‘social distancing’ seems to have stuck despite its inaccuracy as a label, sometimes people collectively apply a name like ‘Spanish flu’ even when it’s not suitable – whether xenophobic thinking applies or not. I generally despise political-correctness for its ill intent, but in this instance I do think the more accurate terminology is the scientific designation of COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 as opposed to something like ‘Wuhan virus’ (so I wouldn’t consider that PC).

            I think my friends are managing okay. They are in a good spot in Central America but obviously have to be cautious. Even if they wanted to return to Australia the country they are in has closed borders (albeit being one of the last in the region to do so).

            We will manage, even should costs be much greater. Costs of travel to the Pilbara was expensive even before the quarantine because we didn’t go to popular tourist destinations – basically the majority of the people on flights are miners. It’s about the same price to fly to the UK as it is to fly to where we go, basically via Perth and then corporate flights. (One airport we’ve used is actually owned by Rio Tinto, they just permit some use by commercial airlines – Qantas and Virgin.)

            Grocery shopping has been generally okay for me, just some minor inconveniences. I saw toilet paper on the shelves for the first time in months when I went shopping last night! Ironically I didn’t need any right now because my parents gave me some.

            That’s definitely where I dislike PC – playing the race card in absence of other merit. I don’t think my situation was a case of that, but I’ve definitely seen it in places (and to speak up about such things would cause you to be labelled ‘racist’ thus shutting down any polite, rational discussion).

            Many people are fearful and anxious because they do not know what lies ahead and are unaccustomed to not feeling in control (I say feeling in control because, really, when are we ever in control?). I suppose it’s good that you are also taking a relaxed approach to the current situation. (:

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            • It seems that many people assume the worst in others, and I think that’s why there’s a fair bit of racism and hatred going on right now. Wonder where this comes from. Perhaps some of us are narcissistic and like seeing others not on the same level but on a level below them. Getting angry at others is a bit different, I think. When you get angry at someone, normally you get angry at them for something they did.

              I also feel this is where the race card comes in. Some people play the race card as an excuse to get above and get to the top. And yes, if you speak up in these situations you’d be labelled racist, when in reality you are being rational.

              I wonder who came up with the phrase ‘social distancing’, and how it was picked up to describe distancing we all should be doing right now. Names like ‘Spanish flu’ and ‘Wuhan virus’ are probably more easier to say compared to COVID-19 for some everyday people – the former terms are associated with real life places as opposed to a hard-to-comprehend scientific name. Sometimes people just want things to be as simple as possible.

              That is good to hear your friends are managing okay. Wonder when countries will start reopening their borders to international travel again. I’m guessing later this year, and some countries perhaps next year. It will be interesting to see how the travel industry responds to post-COVID-19. I’ve seen some reports there might be no more middle seats or seat/face shields on planes. I’m doubtful this will happen. At my local Woolies they have these shields at the self-serve checkouts – and it makes the self-checkout quite claustrophobic for me and I almost bumped into one the other day.

              The world is probably never in control, and probably not many have realised it yet and are living their worst nightmare right now. This will all pass in due time. In the meantime, best we all reflect.

              There’s been a bit of talk about opening up domestic travel in Australia. So maybe you might indeed find yourself back at the Pilbara next year. It does sound like quite a bit to where you go. Given it’s a remote location, more resources and hence funding is a necessity to get there.

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              • It’s pretty clear to me that this sentiment comes from our innate desire to put ourselves on top of everyone else rather than putting others first. In some sense racism is just another symptom, not the cause, of our problems.

                Anger can be caused by many things. Sometimes it can be righteous anger, when one observes injustice inflicted upon others. All too often it’s *self*-righteous anger, when that injustice is inflicted upon yourself. Doesn’t mean one should be passive and just let injustice roll over them, but I try to remember that often I am just as guilty of inflicting injustice, if not more so, when receiving it.

                Labels are often used to shut down rational discussion. It happened with the SSM debate a few years ago (and before and since) and it happens in many other PC areas, such as racial concerns.

                My workplace in Sydney is following the current state business advice and is planning to resume (gradually) office operations from the beginning of July. I understand NSW is actually the most conservative state in terms of making official advice on when to resume normal operations, Queensland and Victoria are permitting return-to-work much earlier.

                I don’t think I will be able to travel overseas this year – even if it does become ‘normal’ again this year, I think it will be too late before winter sets in the northern hemisphere. But travel is a privilege, not a right, so I am content to wait. I doubt non-consecutive seating will be enforced on airliners unless it’s mandated by a government – airliners make their money by packing in the most paying passengers as possible. I hadn’t heard of shielding in place at supermarkets. The ones I’ve been to have just made every second one unavailable (but then, I tend to got at off-peak times, so I don’t know how that works during the day when it’s busier).

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                • I have to agree to a degree that racism stems from the problems of society. The world we live in is competitive and many of us choose to lean on those who are more similar to us because of human instinct. However I also think racism is also a problem in itself – some people just seem to racially discriminate against others for no good reason.

                  As a victim of racism many times over, I often wonder why some racists are so angry and what leads them to that anger and them lashing out xenophobically. It could stem from something going on in their lives, lack of education, or simply ignorance. Usually when faced in these situations, I am always angry.

                  That is great workplaces in NSW and yours are planning to gradually resume operations by July. It sounds like we are over the worst of it. Then again, winter is upon us so maybe Australia should be cautious moving forwards. I haven’t heard too much about Victoria’s businesses reopening as per normal (maybe I’m missing something), except for easing gathering restrictions. It will be interesting to see if gathering restrictions will be a norm moving forwards.

                  Travel is indeed a privilege as not everyone can afford it. If you are a fan of winter, you can travel northwards if international travel picks up again 😛 If non-consecutive seating is enforced, then pretty sure each airplane seat will be most costly. Also maybe wearing masks will be mandatory on flights.

                  The shielding at my local Woolies is quite a sight. It’s like everyone has their own partition to check out, but it really makes me feel claustrophobic and I’ve rarely had issues with claustrophobia. I do understand why their in place but would much rather prefer having every second self-serve available like my local Coles.

                  Hope you are doing well, Simon 🙂

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                  • I think you misunderstand me. Both problems you describe come from the selfishness within each and everyone of us. Me included.

                    My employer is apparently following respective state Public Health Orders, so have set WFH only until 11 May for Victoria. NSW is still listed as being until 29 June (unless revoked earlier).

                    I prefer mild weather so spring is perhaps my favourite season. I was last in northern hemisphere winter around Christmas 2001, not long after S11. When I’ve travelled for myself I’ve tried to travel around northern hemisphere spring time (which is right now).

                    Funny that we were talking about the self-service check-out shields, as when I went shopping last night I noticed them there. There really are quite big but I didn’t mind them.

                    I am okay, hope you are still too.

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                    • Looks like restrictions in Australia are set to ease over the coming month or so. Quite a bit of talk about that now in the news. This week out I went out to get groceries and noticed some clothes shops have already opened up in a mostly dark shopping centre. People will be so eager to come out again.

                      Winter will be here soon enough. Then spring comes along so not really long to your favourite season here.

                      Ah, so the self-serve checkout shields have been rolled out to your local Woolies. I do think they have a purpose, and while they make me claustrophobic, I don’t mind. Also I noticed when I’ve entered Woolies, there’s always an attendant wiping the basket handles and handing the baskets out : D

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                    • Strange – I saw in the news that restrictions are not being lifted any time soon in NSW. But I haven’t been following it that closely. I only saw the daily new case count in Victoria has contributed most of the new cases recently for Australia…

                      Happy shopping!

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                    • Looks like NSW and other states are lifting restrictions. I heard that travel to some areas in WA including the Pilbara will be allowed soon. Although most of the cases are now in Victoria, it seems the state will also be reopening soon. Hopefully will be well.

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                    • Yeah, I heard about some restrictions being eased back slowly starting this coming Friday, although we will have many restrictions remain in place for the coming weeks. I also read about the cases in Victoria being in a specific location so while concerning, it seems it is not a general resurgence.

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                    • Looks like restrictions easing all over the country. The rise in cases in Victoria is still concerning though. Probably might be a second wave at some point, and maybe we should all be playing it safe.

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  6. Australia is at the rear end of global map, that is, if we look at it in flat two dimensions world. Of course, that has nothing to do with panic buying of toilet papers. In a multilateral world, Australian politicians merely follow American boss without thinking. Very sad for a country that pride itself intellectually. This is what happens when politicising over a disease.; the morals fall with the shit.
    You have written well, but extensive. Good to know you still have such energy.

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    • You might be right there. Australia has a lot of potential in terms of resources and skill. But when it comes to its leaders leading the country, not sure if they lead with a welcoming, inclusive approach. I remember you from a while back. Thank you. This article was initial much longer, much more extensive.

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  7. Hi Mabel,
    Thanks for the mention.
    I’ve felt the eyes on me as I cough and sneeze. Allergies are not good in this environment.
    I also feel annoyed by the racism I see, hear about, and read about.
    I haven’t seen anyone of Italian or American origin sneered at, yet the situation in those countries, as well as the United Kingdom, are on a par or worse than what happened in Hubei, China.

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    • No worries, Gaz. Sorry to hear you’ve had eyes on you when you’re out and about. It’s unacceptable, and we can’t do anything about it. That’s a good point, lack of people of Italian and American background being sneered at or facing racism.

      Hopefully things get better soon. Take care of yourself with good food, Gaz.

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    • A few days ago I was walking down my street and a bloke across the road was sneezing, really, really loudly. Even in a non-quarantine situation I’d be concerned about the poor bloke’s health. My concern was on the basis of his sneezing not because of his race (which, incidentally, was not Asian).

      Perhaps the eyes on you could simply be from concern about your sneezing? Even in early April I was still coughing a bit from a cold in late February. If I was next to me, I’d be concerned about my health too!

      Hope you’re feeling better, either way.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Mabel, good to read you again, a very thought provoking and emotional post. I’ll be honest I tend to steer away from the politics and the fear mongering news in general. Anger serves no one, neither does blame. Wishing you well in these strange unsettled times. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Miriam. Agree with you that anger serves no one, and sometimes what’s in the news incites anger among all of us. There is no need for that. Hopefully the world learns that it’s much better to be kind to each other. Stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It you take studies from Stanford University one from California and one from Germany who has done
    antibody test then it shows the infection fatality rate is about 0.3 – 0.7%
    when you take into account the numbers of infected people and the number of the population.
    This shows or indicate that the new virus is similar to influenza.
    When it comes to Italy and Iran and China, they have been test bed for 5G network. In China there is also pollution and in Italy there is a large part of the population who is older people, which 99% had underlying illness.
    When healthy people have gotten it they are some testimonies that it is as a cold, which is mild for most people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing. This virus going around does seem similar to the flu or influenza in terms of symptoms and how it spreads. Places with an older popular don’t seem to fare well right now with the virus, and also places with a dense populations such as cities.

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  10. Hi Mabel, I’m so pleased you chose to share your thoughts in this post. I appreciate the opportunity of reading and learning from your perspective. Hopefully, we will all grow in appreciation for and understanding of each other as we pull through this situation together. Continue to care for yourself and others by physical, but not social, distancing. Best wishes.

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  11. Hello Mabel,
    There are so many wonderful comments here – as you can see your post resonates with many people. Let me just say thank you so much for sharing this.
    Please do continue to try and take good care.

    All best,
    Takami

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    • Hello Takami. It’s good to see you. You are very kind, and thank you for your kind words. I am sure the others appreciate your presence. Hope you continue taking more amazing photos and sharing them with us. Hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy to see your words here, Mabel. First of all, like someone you mentioned, I also apologize for the treatment you and other Chinese people (and Asians in general here in the US) have had to tolerate. While I am not personally responsible for that kind of ignorant treatment, I see it in my fellow citizens, and it is abhorrent, so I am sorry as a human in general.

    Your early comment that “what we usually see in the news is a reflection of society” is so true. People can’t wait to look at their own news sources (or God forbid, facebook or twitter) to find a juicy story of acrimony or conflict or hate or stupidity, so they can then feel some outrage. We are all guilty of this on occasion; it’s almost like we need to get some ire up at what is going on, and this transcends party lines. Maybe, as you suggest, it allows people to feel some control over the narrative.

    Speaking of control, I’ve had to make a pact with myself: No more anger over things I cannot control. When I see hordes of people, including parents with children, congregating in the parks, I take a deep breath and tell myself I don’t have to go there. (I’ve lost all my good running routes! 😦 ) When my governor decides to let spas and gyms and salons and movie theaters reopen, all I can do is not go to them. It’s very easy to get mad at all the idiots who break rules or make stupid decisions, but it’s not going to change things to be angry, so my best bet is to keep myself mentally and physically healthy and hope for the best.

    Our 2020 was supposed to be a year full of family milestones and events, and the only one that is going to actually happen is the birth of our first grandchild next week, who will wait for no virus to disappear! Otherwise, we will have many disappointments, but letting them go with as little anger as possible has helped me to cope.

    Thinking of you and wishing you continued health and as much happiness as you can muster!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment did disappear into the Trash. I guess the Trash folder was hungry. I have rescued both comments and put up one. Thank you for taking the time to type it all over again. Much appreciated 😊

      It is sad to hear there is unjust treatment towards each other in your part of the world. It seems to be all over the new too. Abhorrent behaviour indeed, and hopefully we can all learn from this.

      It’s so funny to see people wanting to read a juicy, dramatic story and stories that show someone is in the ‘wrong’. It’s probably with wanting to feel in control, and also to feel like they have somewhat got their lives together. In reality, anything can happen to us any day.

      Good on you for trying to dwell on anger a lot less. And yes, you don’t have to go join the crowd when you don’t want to. With the virus thing going on, it makes you think twice what everyone is passing on to each other when we’re all so crowded together – something small can spread so fast, and anyone can go down so fast if you get sick. Sorry to hear you have lost your good running routes. I’d suggest a treadmill at home or someplace quiet but I think that would be too boring for you. Nothing as challenging or scenic as one of your long hikes or runs 😂

      So exciting you have a grandchild soon. Congrats and all the best to you and your family. Disappoints only lasts a while if we let it. Good on you for looking ahead and moving forward. Take care and stay safe, Lexi. I’m sure you’ll find a nice running track at some point 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey, Mabel. I’m happy to see your post. And as always you bring out topics that most bloggers choose to stay away. I’m sorry to hear about the wrong treatment. That is something bad about us humans. We have had something similar here in India too. The people from North-Eastern states bordering China doesn’t look like typical Indians. Rather they can be mistaken for being Chinese. A large number of these people work in metro cities were targeted by people. They were mistaken for being Chinese. I hope people will act more mature in your country. I’m curious to know why your dream for journalism didn’t come true.

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    • Thanks, Arv. So many of us seem to be going through a hard time now. That’s disheartening to hear some Indians are being mistaken for being Chinese and have been picked upon, and it’s racism against one’s own race. That is not acceptable.

      There are quite a few stories about my journalism days. Maybe I can write about it in a post. Hope you are doing okay over there in Jaipur, Arv.

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  14. Hi Mabel. I’m glad to know you’re safe and adapting to the new world. And I’m sorry that you’ve experienced so much racism. It’s something I can’t really speak to. I see it here too and don’t like it. I long for a world where we celebrate both our differences and our similarities. Take good care of yourself.

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  15. I always appreciate your no frills honesty. I wish you were writing these journalism pieces.
    I am saddened by the us/them rather than working as a collective to gather all the facts and help the vulnerable. What a world that would be!
    I Iearn more from fellow bloggers and how things (really) are then by looking at the news.
    Stay well and keep being true to yourself and your skill.

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    • So very kind of you to say, Moonie (I saw you called yourself that, so I’m calling you that and hope it’s okay 🤷 ). I do wonder where I’d be if I kept chasing the journalism route. That could be an imaginative post for one day.

      Yes, the world working as collective would be such a wonderful thing. So many of us would live a much more content life. So wonderful.

      You stay well too, and take care.

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  16. Hi Mabel, nice to see you back. It seems certain issues can’t be ignored and you had to share your emotional outburst. Racism is a global problem and has been around for ages and there are all kinds of opinions. As far as possible, let’s keep ourselves positive, as anger has never ever changed anything. Be safe. This too shall pass dear friend but virus of racism would lurk around for ages.

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    • Thanks, Balroop. Back for a short while, but hoping to be back again at some point. This virus can’t be ignored, and also racism shouldn’t be ignored at all during this time as well. Yes, racism will still lurk around for a long time to come. Moving forward hopefully we blame each other less and definitely stay positive. Hope you are well and take care my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Wonderfully written, Mabel. Couldn’t have put it better. I’m Asian-American, and the situation you describe of racism in Australia is also happening here in the US (after all, the president has declared it the “Chinese virus.” I am worried that, even when the pandemic is over, the Chinese will continue to face racism and discrimination in the years to come; it’s especially worrisome for travel, as I believe that we’ll be treated undesirably should we choose to go overseas for vacation, or even the next state over. This pandemic has made the world unsafe not only health-wise, but also societal as we’re heading towards intolerance due to this chaos. We’ll have to see how everything pans out in the next couple of years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Rebecca. It is disheartening to see a lot of racism coming out of the U.S these days. The U.S president does seem very outspoken and sometimes you really wonder why he says what he says. I think you are right the Chinese will still face racism after this pandemic, and people will be more wary of each other. It probably will be about two years before the world can put this pandemic behind – assuming there isn’t a second wave of it but there probably will. I do wonder if there will be tighter travel and migration restrictions after the pandemic too, which has shown how a virus can spread so fast and health systems can’t cope overnight. Hope you are doing well and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Mabel! It’s good to see you here but I’m sad that it’s under such terrible circumstances and that you are experiencing racism. I volunteer (or used to before the restrictions) at a place that provides English instruction to new Canadian residents. A majority are Chinese. When the news started coming out of China, but long before people were social distancing here, many of them weren’t coming to class. I spoke to some who said that it was because they felt uncomfortable, that they were being judged. I’ve never had to deal with racism myself, but I can imagine how hard this must be.Wishing better times for you and all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is good to see you too, Caroline. Not the best time in the world right now but better to connect than never. It is lovely that you used to volunteer teaching English, and the Chinese participants must have been having a hard time. I’ve heard Canada is a very welcoming place, and rarely have I heard anyone experiencing racism there. When things are better hopefully they will come back and learn. Wishing you well and take care. Got to catch up on your blog soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • In general, Canada is a very welcoming place and I feel fortunate to live here. While racism may not be as big or obvious of an issue as in other countries, it certainly does exist. I think these difficult times are bringing out the best, and unfortunately also the worst in people.

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        • There really has been too many racist incidents and stories going on of late. I am sure Canada and most of its people are lovely and approachable, and yes, these strange times bring the worst out in people. Hopefully this all passes soon.

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  19. Hi Mabel *virtual hug*
    You have every right to be angry. I have completely lost faith in our mainstream media (print and TV), although i didn’t have much faith to lose.
    I too am angry at the finger pointing and the racial slurs. I was born in the UK, however I am Australian and I apologise for the way our newspapers and some of our fellow Australians are so narrow-minded and racist.

    I have a friend (Vietnamese), who owns a take-away cafe and they too have experienced this unwanted attention and racism. It is disheartening to say the least, when we should all be supporting each other as much as possible.
    Please know that the majority of us are aware that this is occurring and in no way condone the actions of this ignorant (hopefully) minority.
    You and your family stay safe and healthy Mabel. You have my support.

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    • It really is shocking to see people picking on and beating up each other because of racism in the news. The worse part is probably a lot of Asian Australians suffer in silence – racism happens to them and they just keep quiet to protect themselves.

      Sorry to hear about your friend and their take-away business. Hopefully they don’t receive anymore unwanted attention. No one expects racism so it’s usually always a shock when it happens.

      You stay safe too, Andy.

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  20. I am offended by anyone referring to COVID-19 as the Chinese Virus. In my country, it is not just some in the media spewing such hatred; it also comes from those government officials who try to distract from their failures with race-bating.

    I wish you would reconsider your decision not be to be a journalist in Australia. Your voice matters, now more than ever. Thank you for this piece. Keep them coming.

    PS – did you and I visit Melbourne Central together?

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    • It really is not acceptable to ascribe a race to a virus. It happened with the ‘Spanish flu’ in the 1918 flu pandemic, and here we are again. Sometimes you do wonder if leaders are saying and most importantly, doing the right thing.

      You are very kind, Lisa. Thank you. A piece like this will never get published in Australia’s mainstream media. Too angry and opinionated 😂

      I think we did visit Melbourne Central very briefly. Not sure actually. But we did visit Bourke Street! Stay safe.

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  21. A big hi to you, Mabel, as it feels nice to hear from you after a long while. Ideally, a pandemic ought to unite people in solidarity against a common enemy. Regrettably, we are on a contrarian setting of having to scream at a gross world bristling with racist attitudes and ‘churnalistic’ sensationalism.

    That said, a dispassionate assessment of current state of affairs would prompt taking ongoing crisis as a pressing reminder to reset our lives by steering it away from mindless consumption of any and every variety of meat. Besides reckless destruction of fauna, it paves the way for zoonosis. SARS, Ebola, HIV, MERS, CHIKV, DENV, ZIKV, JEV, WNV, H1N1, H5N1, Nipah and now Covid-19 are all zoonotic diseases, pointing to critical need to embrace vegetarianism as the healthiest option for humans and the environment.

    There may not be early easing of restrictions due to risk of resurgence of the illness. Instead, the compulsion may be to shift towards new ways of living for the foreseeable future as the virus is going to be around till someone formulates a tested cure or vaccine, both around 18 months away at an optimistic estimate, with the worst case scenario of no medical breakthrough emerging at all. Thus the outcome may well be a world sans haptics, where physical distancing, face masking, hygienic practices and ‘namaste’ or ‘salaam’ or ‘hi’ greetings become unavoidable aspects of social and working life.

    Human beings have crossed all limits. We have to now pay for our actions. As you sow, so you reap. Every pandemic comes with a purpose, of restoring balance and equilibrium. Looking back at our mammalian roots, rodents appear to be the only mammal that survived the meteor 65 million years ago. They survived because of their small size and ability to live deep underground, venturing out only at night.

    Coincidentally, 2020 is the (Chinese) year of the Rat, probably working in tandem with the pandemic to drive humans deep into their burrows, prohibiting social interactions and permitting movements outside only for necessities and emergencies. The year is practically a write-off for governments, businesses and most individuals. The imperative, perhaps, is to create a minimum working plan for bare essentials: agriculture, basic industry and its attendant distribution and supply chain facilities. And being prepared for sudden lockdowns when up against flaring hot spots, and getting used to a life of glorified captivity within domestic walls.

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    • And a big hi and warm welcome back to you, Raj. It is also nice to hear from you after a while. Glad to see you here, and seems others are also glad to see you here. Yes, you’d think pandemic times like these would unite all of us. It seems to be quite the opposite unfortunately.

      I think you’re one of the few if not first people to use the word ‘zoonosis’ to describe the spread of this virus. In many ways it is a time for reset, and our current ways of living aren’t serving us well anymore.

      Agree with you there should be a way of shifting to new ways of living for the forseeable future. Already some countries like New Zealand and here in Australia there are talk of easing restrictions, and same with some places in Europe. If we ease restrictions too much chances are there will be a second wave of this pandemic. A vaccine would be helpful in stopping the spread of the virus to an extent, and we also need to work on treatment for the virus as inevitably some will still get it.

      That is great philosophical thinking there on the Year of the Rat and the pandemic, and so agree on that. Having a roof over our heads and food supply is what all of us need to ensure now. It will be a while before employment conditions will be stable for many of us, and right now we have think about essentials – and also for the future. Maybe things will improve for the Year of the Ox next year.

      Stay safe and take care over there, Raj. Best wishes.

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  22. I’m sorry to say that I have very little respect for journalism these days, Mabel. And it is a career that I once might have aspired to. Obviously I can’t vouch for your press but in the UK it thrives on sensationalism and half truths. And yes, a lot of people believe the lies they’re fed. It takes effort to find truth and in this swift gratification world that’s too big an ask for many. I understand your sensitivity, as an Australian with Chinese heritage. Setting Covid-19 aside, China is not blameless in the condition our world finds itself, but a little more truth would hurt no-one other than those with a vested interest in the lies. I’m happy that you stay safe.

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  23. Mabel!!!!(big smile when saying your name) I was wonder about you. If you and your family been doing okay with these COVID-19, but also the forest fire that happened over there. It disappointment that during tragic events where it life and death, the worst comes out of human. What worst is the media amplify all this negativity for ratings or just adding to the fear. It great to read another of your post and that you doing well. Take care:)

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    • Haha Michael! Glad to make you smile : D We are doing okay. Luckily haven’t been affected by the bushfires and are staying home right now. The media can be terrible at times. After all of this will come rebuilding and hopefully the best in people will come out. Hope you are doing alright and take care of yourself and your family 🙂

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  24. I am so sorry this is happening in Australia. I assume it’s happening here in the US too judging from what I’ve read. I, personally, don’t understand the people who are making this epidemic one of race. I have members of my own family getting in this mode, which is embarrassing, disappointing, and, truthfully, appalling to me.

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    • It does seem racism is happening prominently all over the world right now. I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed by some family members as a result of this. Maybe they will realise trying to understand one another is the way to go. Hope you are well, take care and catch up with your blog soon, Glynis.

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  25. Racism has completely spiked during the epidemic. In January/February, ethnic Asians living in Spain (well and in other countries) were reporting nasty comments and people avoiding them on the streets. I saw some comments online saying that people didn’t know if those Asians had just come back from China or had any contact from there, so they were just protecting themselves. Interestingly, that was exactly the same excuse used by Chinese people in China after some places started discriminating against foreigners “because they might have the virus”. A Finnish woman I know was rejected service in a salon (and denounced it to the government). There have been reports of Africans in Guangzhou being kicked from their apartments and denied entry to stores and restaurants.

    Is this racism still going on in Australia now that most of the infections are in Europe and the US? If so, they cannot use the “trying to protect myself” excuse anymore!

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    • It seems like racism has been building up even more all over the world since the beginning of the year. Interesting to hear in China there is quite a bit more discrimination against foreigners because of the virus. I hope something like this does not go on, but I guess it will as the virus will probably be around for a while.

      The racism is still going on in Australia – random people who look Asian getting attacked on the streets. The main reason behind such racism here is that Asians are to be blamed for starting the virus – like if people of Asian background didn’t exist, this wouldn’t have happened. It’s a very backwards and ignorant way of thinking as a virus can originate anywhere and could have been around for years already all over the world – which you touched upon on your blog.

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  26. Hi Mabel, so nice to see you back at your blog. This is an extremely important post. First, I’m sorry you’ve been seeing an increase in ignorant racist behaviors and comments. It needs to change. I think the anger is related to the origins of the virus. From what I understand, it has to do with animal to human interaction that came from a Chinese ‘wet market’. What people are forgetting though, is that there is human/animal interaction world wide that has caused previous viruses (i.e. Bird Flu).

    Here in Canada we have a Chinese doctor as our national advisor and she addresses the nation daily. She is amazing. She was the target of a racist comment. Disgusting. Giving this voice(s) media attention only exacerbates the racist problem. Maybe if we could mute them they would stop and realize that they are in the minority and no one is listening to them.

    You’re so right when you say that we have become entitled. Going, doing and buying what we want when we want. So few of us are able to embrace introvert’s life because we are afraid to be alone. Your last few sentences really summarize the situation.

    Travel is another thing we’ve come to expect. We feel the need to keep up with everyone and buy, buy, buy—travel, travel, travel. Going into debt to live this way. Many are going to have a hard time recovering financially. As you say more back up plan!
    Thanks for sharing your voice on this issue. Stay well, my friend.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Lisa. It’s always a pleasure seeing you around. Yes, things so need to change. Just too much racism and unnecessary hatred going on right now – and probably will sadly continue after this. That is terrible Canada’s national advisor has gotten racist attacks as she was doing her job. The virus did supposedly start in a wet market in Wuhan. However who knows if it’s been floating around quietly the world for a while, and it only gained traction overnight. Yes, there was Bird Flu some time ago and it supposedly start and spread in a similar way. That time brought on many racist attacks, and sadly the world doesn’t seem to have learnt from it.

      So agree with you when you say ‘Travel is another thing we’ve come to expect’. We’ve become so accustomed to thinking we can travel at the drop of a hat so long as we have saved. But there’s so many other things to think about too – retirement, health bills, emergency funds, current and future mortgage and so much more. You do sound like you have a very level-headed take on what’s going on. I hope you take care too, and stay safe.

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  27. I love how you end this post, ‘and how are you?’ Haha 😉 I undestand your anger, Mabel, I do. It’s the same in the states, even in HI, which has a huge Asian population. How anyone can blame a race of people for anything could fill a book I will never write. But I have long been vexed by this downside of human behavior. Really, people? We would want to live in a world with no diversity? One might think so, given the extinction of many wondrous species, here on this amazing planet. One might think so, given our proclivity to bash entire races of people with the slightest provocation (or with none at all).

    What is this illness we collectively possess? Chris and I have long lived in multicultural communities. And it’s not just caucasians, we have noted. Though since ‘we’ are seemingly at the top of the food chain, perhaps it’s more inexcusable coming from our considerable numbers. Hate and exclusion, from my considerable historical readings, has threaded itself down through human history from its beginnings. But can we choose differently? Is this part of what COVID-19 is here to teach us? That we can run, but we can’t hide … that we can sequester ourselves, but in doing so, we discover we really do need one another … that ‘something in the air’ might be lurking, ready to end our lives. What does that mean? Does it shuffle our priorities? Is being forced to sit with ourselves, some for the first time, ever – a great opportunity for self reflection, to rout out our baser insincts and fears – and in so doing, what an opportunity to decide to make different choices!

    It is my hope that the different choices we make are for unity and love versus the competition and hatred that seem so easy to conjure and project. We are moving into the unknown, as has always been, despite ‘predictions.’ We have the opportunity to craft a sustainable word, an inclusive world. Are we up to the challenge? I dearly hope so.

    Love to you, Mabel. ❤

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    • Haha Bela. I really didn’t know how to end such a heavy post. So I thought ‘How are you’ would be a great approachable prompt at the end 😂 It is so disheartening to hear there is discontent and hatred in the States as well, and in the news I’ve been seeing people over there protesting against staying home and keeping all of us safe. Sometimes I wonder how many of us have common sense.

      It is amazing to hear you and Chris have lived in multicultural communities. It is true that western societies are at the top of the food chain – and good that you acknowledge that. Some places will always be better at others at certain things (like accessible healthcare, education). I think hate and exclusion might have been encouraged through competition, and the desire to protect ourselves – and that’s a double-edged sword. It’s scary to think there is ‘something in the air’ that could potentially wipe all of us out. There will always be ‘something in the air’ – a new strain of influenza, and always another potential pandemic on the horizon.

      Agree with you this is a time where it’s perfect to reflect and think about different choices for the future. I also agree we are up for this challenge, to make different choices together, move forward together and prepare for what lies ahead together. Take care, Bela.

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      • Yes. And as I say, I have never understood hating someone because they are different. It is the height of ignorance, in my opinion. Being a depth Psychologist by education, this is ‘shadow stuff’ for those who are not conscious that they are projecting their own inner demons onto others. It doesn’t help to know this, if you’re one of the dispossessed. Being a woman has been challenging enough, growing up in the 1960’s. But I realized early on, I couldn’t complain much, as my black <3and Asian friends had it far worse than I, male OR female. One day maybe humanity will grow up? Here's hoping.

        Love to you, dear one. Take good care! ❤

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        • So much ignorance going on right now, and people are so quick to jump to assumptions and conclusions. It’s a wonder why some like to bring others down. It’s true women have it harder. However, interesting to note it’s been mentioned female leaders have been more competent than others during this pandemic, and I have to agree. So maybe, just maybe, this world is starting to grow up and have some common sense. Stay well ❤

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          • That is my hope, Mabel. My own country is in its adolescence (now finally apparent to all the world), so it has yet to learn Some lessons that older countries have already experienced and learned from (or not, seems the whole world has gone mad). I think it’s amusing how far from grace we have fallen, as I have long seen outrageous injustices and inequalities.

            Still and now, behold Iceland and New Zealand! We can only aspire to such leadership. We do have some emergent voices of female reason, although Elizabeth Warren was shot down pretty damn quick in favor of another old white man. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez is one to watch. So we shall see, eh?

            Take good care! 💜and thanks for the conversation.

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            • Some countries and their leaders do seem a bit more wayward than others. Nevertheless, I think most of us everyday folk like you and many people on here really want the best for others and have the best intentions – and that is great in fighting inequalities.

              There are so many level-headed and outspoken women these days, and New Zealand Jacinda Ardern is a great example of that. Let’s hope more of us can act and react in a more level-headed level moving forwards..

              Always love the conversation, Bela. Take care yourself ❤

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              • I love our communications as well! And yes, we can only hope for more tolerance and level-headedness, along with acting when so moved. For introverts, that is not generally taking to the streets(!) But we can write. And network. Sending love your way, Mabel! ❤

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  28. Thank you for this important post, Mabel. The US is no different with our horrible, racist, idiot president and his followers. It’s sad to think that 40% of Americans think this is okay. When in fact, it’s cruel, fear-based nonsense that has such a profound negative impact on so many lives. I just don’t get it. Sometimes I think there’s no hope for the human race, but then I see people being creative and kind, educating, speaking out, and making a positive difference with their words and actions. Thanks for being one of them. ❤ Be well.

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    • Thanks, Diana. The U.S seems to be in an interesting place right now, with some people over there agreeing to do their part staying home and others, well, arguing for their freedom rights – with a rather outspoken president. Like you, I also don’t get why this is happening. It’s like sometimes the world has no common sense. You are right, there are people being kind and making a positive difference. And thank you for being one of them too. Stay safe ❤

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  29. I’m so sad to hear about this. If ever there was a time to be One, this would be it. That virus doesn’t differentiate or discriminate. I am embarrassed and upset for my fellow world citizens that their world view is so small, like looking through a straw. I know my children (I’m white) have suffered the same sort of racism in Japan and South Korea and whites certainly suffer it in South Africa. We can’t move forward until skin color becomes a non-issue. I just don’t get it.

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    • Really sad to hear some people look at the world like looking through a straw. So sorry to hear your children have suffered racism in Japan and South Korea. I’ve heard locals over there are discriminating foreigners and those who don’t look Asian for bringing the virus around. It makes no sense at all when any of us can get the virus. Hopefully the world learns from all of this.

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  30. Hi Mabel. Excellent post as always, covering lots. It seems racism is alive and blatantly well in many places. I’m sad for that. Some people need someone to blame. Easy to say China because said origins were from Wuhan. Easy to blame also for those who accept no responsibilities. Racism is an age old ailment. Maybe when this world finishes its purge, people will have learned many lessons and goodness would come into the new world order. ❤

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  31. Welcome back, Mabel. I am very sorry about the “slap of racism.” I had hoped the human race had progressed. I also hope that most people are kind, inclusive and smart and we are hearing about the exceptions. This is a great, fair article, Mabel. It would be worth sharing to the media, possibly letters to the editor. You have something important to say. Great article!

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    • Thanks, Erica. It’s nice to be back. I think the human race has a lot of potential. These strange times are a great way for all of us to reflect and learn together. You are very kind with your words. Not sure if any one would republish this article, but always worth a shot. Take care!

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  32. I am so sorry that the ugly face of racism has raised it’s head again and hit you personally. With a name like de Ortega, I doubt I would have been popular during the Spanish Flu… In America the virus is affecting African Americans disproportionately badly – for an unknown reason as yet. Poor people are also food hungry in the richest nation in the world. Sometimes a crisis brings out both the good and the terrible in people. There is no excuse but some people are just ignorant bigots. Some of them are even Presidents. Sending love to you, keep safe. K x

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    • Ah, in another lifetime you might have been a popular target for all the wrong reasons. In each lifetime it seems someone will be the target. I think you’re right in saying a crisis brings out both the good and terrible in people. In these times we learn who might be more compassionate and giving. In these times not only do we see racism but also how some people like to hog the spotlight. A pandemic and such behaviour surrounding the pandemic will have repercussions for years to come. It’s up to all of us to come together and get through this together. You stay safe too, Kerry.

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  33. Hey Mabel, glad to read your blog posts again.

    It’s exhausting and interesting to read about the way our leaders are handling the pandemic. I can only speak for the place where I am. It was recently announced that some sectors are allowed to resume full operations to stimulate or maintain the country’s growth, but then the state leaders are having different ideas due to the severity of regional Covid-19 cases.

    Hope that you’re taking care and keeping safe too.

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    • Thanks, Ciana. Lovely to see you again. It’s a tricky time we’re all in. Workplaces and business will gradually reopen. Then again, who knows if there will be a second wave. It will be a while before the whole world reopens and travel resumes.

      I’m doing alright here. Hope you are doing well and taking care of yourself.

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      • It’ll also take time for the businesses here to regain its former economic strength, considering that we were forced to take time off work for almost 6 weeks. I’m hoping that there won’t be a second or subsequent waves of the virus. At least the leaders would be able to pick up the pieces and lead their countries to regain some sort of normalcy.

        I’ve been doing okay, just trying to cope with the mixture of backdated and incoming work.

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        • It would be great if the virus peters out. However I do think it will drag on and there could be a second wave – but not as big since many places have ramped up their response to COVID-19.

          That’s good you’re doing okay. Good luck with catching up with work and hope you’re not too stressed.

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  34. It’s awful what is happening. Early into the outbreak, I heard about Chinese and other East Asian people getting verbally and physically attacked. It’s very upsetting to know Chinese people are getting targeted but that bigots are also going after anyone they assume looks Chinese. I have never had much of an opinion either way about U.S. president Trump but I am extremely disappointed in his tactless remark in which he called the disease the “Chinese virus”. He defended his stance saying he used the term to push back against China’s claim that the American military is responsible for the coronavirus. However, that is no excuse for using a racist term on live television that people worldwide heard him say. He’s a public figure and him saying that is almost like he is mistakenly giving bigots permission to continue being racist towards Asians. As an American, I am disgusted by his refusal to stand down from his labeling of the virus and how much harm his language is and will continue to do.

    And now Wuhan will be forever associated with “bat soup” because of that video of a Chinese vlogger tasting bat soup (which, by the way, was not filmed in Wuhan and the girl had been visiting Micronesia in 2016 where she tried a local delicacy). Apparently what happened was her video became viral around the outbreak because some kind of spam account got it and posted it on social media to feed into the frenzy of panic about the virus’s origins. I wouldn’t know if people in Wuhan eat bat soup, but it can also be said that rather than condemn people for their eating habits, we should try to understand the cultural reasons why they eat what they eat even if the reasons they’re eating it go against our own belief system.

    I also think as consumers of news we should be careful. The “face” of a lot of news articles I read about the coronavirus as it was spreading used photos of Asians in facial masks. For us westerners, in a way we’ve been conditioned to associate mask wearing in professions that require one, like dentistry or in a hospital. But if we see a regular person wearing one, the general assumption is the person is sick. From what I understand, it’s normal in parts of Asia to wear one for non-medical reasons like if you have allergies or want to keep warm in winter. That puts things into perspective (but didn’t make it any less worse) when there was that incident in the NYC subway where an Asian woman was specifically attacked because she was wearing a mask.

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    • It really is an awful time for the world. Anyone who looks Asian is a target for abuse, silent, verbal or physical altercations are so much more common now. As you mentioned, U.S president Trump has made a number of controversial remarks, and sadly I don’t think he is the only one calling this the ‘Chinese virus’. But he certainly has been very vocal about this term and the virus’ supposed origins. It’s great to hear Asian Americans like you for having an opinion on what’s going on in the States, and thank you for speaking out about it. On the other hand, it’s funny to see how there have been anti-isolation protests in some parts of the States. Sadly today there was one kind of these protests here in Australia.

      Yeah, it does seem Wuhan and China will be associated for a breeding ground for viruses and ‘bat soup’. There are many kinds of delicacies served in China that aren’t served around the world. Then again, different countries have their own cuisines – some of which will seem weirder to others. After this all dies down, I think the world will also look at wet markets and street side food stalls differently.

      Exactly. Westerners tend to perceive a regular person wearing a face mask as sick, while on the other hand wearing a mask is common in Asia and also a fashion accessory. I think what many people in the West don’t get is that wearing a mask, while it doesn’t entirely protect against getting sick, the less likely you are to directly touch your nose and mouth.

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  35. I love this post Mabel! Thank you for sharing your passionate perspective on the racism Asians have encountered in relation to this pandemic. I’m glad you’re being forthright about your anger, because racism is so hurtful and angering, and I feel like Asians are often expected to be submissive and/or quiet about these things. So I appreciate you using your platform to share some important truths as well as general perspectives on the racism that’s proliferated, because I feel like naming that racism is one of the first steps in dismantling it.

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    • Thanks, Thomas. I felt this was such an important topic, and I had to put it out there. It’s so common for everyone to assume Asians are submissive, and even submissive to racism and accepting that it angers us. That’s unacceptable. Don’t think racism will go away anytime soon especially with what’s going on. All the more for all of us affected to speak out about it. Hope you are doing well.

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  36. A powerful post dear Mabel… And yes lots of misinformation and chaotic conflict of views, And the finger pointing for now is pointing in one direction, but I feel when more research is done the pointing finger will suddenly be pointing in another direction… And led to yet more confusion of this worlds leaders and whose agenda’s are being fulfilled…

    I feel for you dear Mabel, who has to endure such critic … The media are the worst… And boy they so need an overhaul in their morals and tactics as fear-mongering sensationalists.

    The Toilet paper issue, just about summed up what it says about us… Those who could only think of grabbing as much as they could… speaks of a world that is really going down the pan… so to speak…

    While there will always be those who are out for themselves… Thankfully not all are the same..
    Within my own community I am witnessing caring, sharing and consideration…

    I share veggies with some elderly neighbours, and books… In return people are giving me magazines, we are shopping for each other asking each other if they need anything while we are out and visa versa…

    People are stopping to speak ( at safe permitted distances while exercising )… And within my own reality I am seeing warmth and kindness spreading like never before..

    I feel this whole experience is helping shape people and redefine them… We are seeing those who
    will not change.. The service to Self ones, the I am Alright Jack ones who only care for themselves.. And I am seeing people waking up more who have suddenly woke up to what is important in life…

    And its not THINGS, or their jobs.. but its their health, their family and its nature… Never have I seen so many walking in nature…
    I have been reminded over and over the song The Big Yellow Taxi Lyrics.. You should look them up.. I am sure you know the song
    “They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel, a boutique
    And a swinging hot spot
    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot ”

    And its not until its taken away you appreciate what we have got… And people will wonder what hit them when suddenly they see certain freedoms taken even further away .. Sigh….

    Thank you dear Mabel for sharing what is in your heart..
    Sending love and well wishes your way..
    Take care dear friend… Much love your way . ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • Hello Sue. It’s so lovely of you to stop by. I think you are right. Fingers will always be pointed and there is nothing good to come out of all this. The media definitely are not helping much. The media do report on very real and very true stories in this strange time, but sensationalism is not the way to go – and that usually leads towards rumours and fake news.

      Totally get what you mean there. Yes, rushing for toilet paper speaks volumes…that people only look down the pan and not up and around and working with each others to find solutions. It is great you are seeing kindness within your own community. Hope everyone is giving each other a helping hand and being there for each other when they need it. Here in Australia while there is fear between each other, there are also some of us who are more attentive and looking out for each other.

      I love the song Big Yellow Taxi. Actually I grew up listening to it and the many different versions of it, from the original by Joni Mitchell to the one by Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton. The lyrics are so apt to what’s going on right now. We’ve always had freedoms…and we still have our freedoms right now. We all need to learn to adapt.

      Hope you are doing well Sue and take care. Hugs across the many miles ❤

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  37. Well Mabel, as usual you’ve generated quite an interesting set of responses! Good on you as you Aussies say! IMHO there will always be good people everywhere who typically do not make the news although at least there are now many stories published about them in addition to those featuring protesters and anti-vaccers. I agree that here in the US there is much less anti-Asian emotion. It’s more liberals vs conservatives. As an independent I see good and bad on both sides and the issue is really the extremists who lump blame on one side vs the other. Sadly I don’t see that ever changing. People feel the need to “blame” as I suppose it makes them feel better. If nothing else this crisis has put a spotlight on some of the cooperation that is happening across organizations and countries and a focus on those working to help the less fortunate. We can be angry about injustices or we can focus on the positives. I think there are more of the latter and try to limit my exposure to the media who must look for the former to attract attention. There will unfortunately always be genuinely bad people, but in my heart of hearts I believe the are by far in the minority despite their prevalence in the news

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    • Thanks, Tina. And thanks for chiming in too. What we see happening in the U.S from here in Australia, it seems so unusual – unusual as to why there is such hype over protests and freedom of speech and how some accuse each others so openly. I agree with you in the I don’t see this changing anything soon. Funny how blaming makes us feel better – we feel the need to validate ourselves by comparing ourselves to others. You wonder how did we all get to this stage. But I also agree when you mention that the kind ones are the ones that rarely make stories in the media. They are the ones quietly going on about their day and being there for others, and don’t ask for anything in return. Let’s all focus on what we can be together moving forward. Stay safe, Tina.

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  38. Good post, Mabel. There’s a lot for people to reflect on covered in your thoughts here (which I’m sure have continued to broaden as the pandemic continues) Going through the outbreak (and reopening) in China has been a very different experience than what my family and friends are currently going through stateside and has me reflecting on a lot of things.

    Onr question I’ve been debating is this – which media is worse, the state controlled Chinese media or the current version the western media? The Chinese media is an in your face lie, censors opposition, suppresses unacceptable ideas, molds public opinion, is a tool serving the CCP and much more. We all know this. But what about our media? One that actively seeks to divide us to get attention, is driven by the economics of the new media age to over-hype everything, every article has a false click bait title, almost all of the outlets are completely partisan, it provides a megaphone to the fringes of our societies and fuels hatred, racism and xenophobia and is radicalizing more members of our societies by pretending that a majority of the population believes horrible things – which is not true. They do this for money. They sell their souls for money. Almost all of the foundational principles of media are currently compromised and they act like they are not. The only unbaised part of the news left is the sports section.
    It’s an interesting question. The west’s coverage of the pandemic when it was mostly just in China was SO bad. Days behind what was happening on the ground, so much incorrect information, very very politically motivated. Shockingly bad.

    I’ll also say this – being in China (in a place where 99% of the population is one ethnic group), I saw and experienced a lot of xenophobia (still am). By that I mean fear, real fear, of the diseased/dangerous outsider. I don’t think people are giving that very real human emotion enough credit for nasty things many people are doing. That fear is overriding logic (but sometimes it really is just racism). Right before lockdown, many large grocery stores wouldn’t allow anyone who wasn’t from Shandong province into the store. Me, other Chinese people who weren’t locals -not allow in to go shopping. Imagine that in Melbourne – no one from Sydney allowed in to go shopping. There was a car with Hubei plates parked outside of my complex, the community I lived in tracked that person down to get their travel history. Many other things as well. Now China’s borders are basically closed to keep outsiders out. Since reopening, I’ve had at least a half a dozen incidents where I’ve been targeted, questioned or denied entry to places – above and beyond the regular monitoring we’re all going through. I’ve been here long enough to not take it personal and remember some of the other crazy things life in China brings to help laugh it off but it is annoying.

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    • Thanks, Zhou. There is indeed a lot of think about on here and really more so what’s being said and done in the world out there. It seems the world now is focused on finding a cure and sadly, while places are reopening, fingers are still being pointed.

      Thank you for sharing your insights about what’s going on in China, and you articulated your thoughts well. It is a very good question, which media is better. It is such a hard question to answer Western media is in big part manipulated by media monopolies and as you mentioned, outlets are completely partisan. Media ownership plays such a big part on what headline gets out there and the way each story is published. Traditionally journalism was about educating and informing, but these days entertaining and shaping public opinion a certain way takes precedence in a capitalist world. Now that the pandemic has peaked in Australia, it seems Australian media is yet again pointing fingers at China, this time about a trade war.

      “The only unbiased part of the news left is the sports section.” I agree with you on this in that reporting of sports scores is probably the most unbiased part of the media these days. I do think certain media outlets take sides when it comes to sport teams though.

      I am sorry to hear you have and are still experiencing racism in China as an outsider. It really sounds like straight up racism if people are turning away from you thinking you are diseased based on how you look. It would be ridiculous in Melbourne if they didn’t let a Sydneysider into a Melbourne shop. It must be annoying to be tracked all the time but I guess it’s something you’ve gotten used to over there. It will be interesting to see how this all goes when China reopens its borders to international travel. Hope you’ve been well and take care.

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  39. Hello Mabel.

    I only will say few words in Finland. We do not have such kind of racism, but senior citizens are treated badly. I belong to this group. We are allowed to go shopping and pharmacy and to make short walks in the nearby forests – no more. Restrictions have been loosened for others, not us. When staying inside our homes, I feel that I belong to the second-class people. This is my opinion and something like that has been said in public. There are so much filters, that our voice is like the buzz of flies.

    Have a good day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry to hear senior citizens are treated badly over there in Finland right now. Hopefully the restrictions ease for you soon, and may you be able to go out and enjoy your time outdoors. Take care and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Really good to see you here again, Mabel. This time of fear and uncertainty has really brought out the best in some people and sad to say the worst in others. Those who stir up racial hatred at any time, but especially now when we all need to be united in a common effort to beat this pandemic, have much to answer for. The blame game is so destructive and certainly serves no useful purpose. Like you, I’m just hunkering down in my home with occasional visits to the store to see if they have stocked up again on essentials. No hoarding for me. Just buying what we need when we need it. The news can be so depressing, so we never watch TV in the daytime and mostly spend our time reading, working around the house and also playing piano. I’m teaching hubby to play and after four months, he’s making good progress. 👏🏻 Keep safe and well and thanks for sharing your thoughts as always. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank, Sylvia. It is great to see you in the blogging world again too. Agreed. We all need to be united more than ever and not be blaming one another – and focus on the positives. That is great you are staying in as much as possible and no hoarding. Now that your hubby has learnt some piano, maybe make him perform a song for you 😀 Hope you are doing okay ad take care 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Clearly something stewing around that needed to be expressed.

    Yup got some problems in the big Canadian cities with some Asian-Canadians reporting some incidents.
    Good to see you writing again.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Mabel, I did not know you were back – but very much appreciate your post on covid19 and human behaviour.

    In Sweden we are OK, but so much is said about our way of dealing with the virus that is not true or sadly misunderstood. I totally support our chosen way, because it means more freedom through following directions without police or military actions. We are a fairly law abiding people who trust our leaders. The sad thing is, that the virus has come to our special homes for elderly and fragile people. Our law makes us unable to lock people up in their rooms, it is forbidden to lock people in, so the elderly suffering from dementia go out in the common areas even if they are infected. We are looking into the possibility of changing a law – which is a long process in a democratic country. This is one of the main reasons for so many people dying here – more than 4000. I know in Italy, for example, the virus sneaked in to the homes for elderly too, and into hospitals.

    Every day I think about this, the horrible numbers of dead. And, we have restrictions just like any other country. Social distancing and washing hands, no concerts, no football, no theatre. Our restaurants have now opened, but have to see to it that nobody gets close and no serving at the bar desk. All restaurants in the cities are being checked by the authorities, closed down or fined if they do not follow the restrictions. And it works.

    Another thing is people being discriminated. The only thing that I know of here, is that tourist buses returning from Austria and Italy (in February/ March) had stones thrown at them and people yelling. The virus in Sweden started with tourists returning from skiing in Austria. People 70+ are supposed to be extra careful and stay away from shops, children and grandchildren. Keep the distance, but you can still talk, walk, play boule or golf, go to the forest, have some coffee at a distance. Many 70+ feel they are discriminated on – but I get angry with them – the limitations is for their own good! There is still so much they can do! They can meet their grandchildren from a distance, talk to them, smile at them! The hugs and cuddles must wait. Scientists know that elderly people are more at risk for getting badly affected. A scientific truth – no matter how healthy you are.

    And I do hate some people – a must not say…isn’t it…But some regimes are taking the opportunity to get more power, to destroy nature, to buy companies that break down…it is all about money and power. Still. And we will never learn, will we.

    Mabel – thank you for being out there. A very sane person in all this insanity.

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    • Yes, I am back for now, Ann-Christine. Back and then off again for a while. But maybe back again soon enough too.

      I was wondering about how things were in Sweden, and thought of you and wondered if you are okay. Sweden seems to have adopted its own measures dealing with the virus – each country to their own. It’s sad to hear the elderly over there have been affected and that is many deaths. Every lives matters and it sounds like most people care for each other over there. Being locked up doesn’t guarantee you can’t get the virus, just as going out for a walk and staying fit doesn’t mean you can’t get the virus. The virus is something that is invisible to the eye, and when something is invisible you really don’t know it’s there until you get it – and that is so scary.

      That’s good public places such as restaurants are being checked by authorities. Life can’t remain shut forever. However moving forward we probably will have to live with this virus and more viruses to come, so we may need to change the way we live life outdoors.

      That is sad people have been discriminated in Sweden, very sad that tourist buses over there have been targeted. People have a right to be afraid, but no one deserves to be attacked for something they didn’t cause. It is a scientific proof that the older you are, the more susceptible we are to viruses and getting sick – and it’s common sense to know that we get more tired and frail as we get older. Hugs and cuddles are great, but in these kinds of situations they have to wait. The greatest gift and kind of love you can give anyone is their health, safety and life. For me, so long as I know the ones I love are alive and well elsewhere, that makes me happy.

      You are very kind, Ann-Christine. I feel I just covered a tiny bit of what’s going on. Already there have been so many things coming up since I posted this post… The world is certainly in disarray right now. Hope you are staying safe, and please take care 💕

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      • Thank you for your thoughts, Mabel, always interesting. Well…so much has happened, and still does…I am grateful for how we handle it an how we live in Sweden. I just wish we could help the elderly people even more – as you say, every life matters. And the very old with underlying illnesses always have that higher risk of dieing when the yearly flu comes. This year, so far, 1000 people more than normal years have died. That is OK and expected.
        I agree with you – as long as I know my near and dear ones are doing well, I am happy! Take care and stay well. ♥

        Liked by 1 person

  43. So lovely to hear from you. And what a treat to read your blog. I loved the sentence ‘Really goes to show this extroverted world can’t handle being introverted.’ such a valuable insight and I resonate.

    I feel like we definitely need all voices to move through this, every culture is hopefully welcome to share their views and their solutions.

    We are having some small riots in London this week outside Downing St. The huge protest against racism started off for sure very peaceful and I think the majority of people went home safely. Equality begins (i feel anyway) in our hearts xxxxxx

    I send you all my good wishes to you and your family and friends. It’s great to be in contact with you. Your blog is full of amazing content as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a weird time to be in, but I think this is a great time for listening and learning. Agree it would be great if all cultures are welcomed to share their views and solutions.

      Hopefully everyone out in London got home safe after the protest. This week there have been thousands of people protesting in Australia. I agree we should all stand up for each other’s rights, but at the same time I don’t think we should be protesting gathered in large numbers during a pandemic. Hopefully we all come out of this okay.

      Thank you for the kind words, Lita. It’s great to be in contact with you, and I always enjoy hearing your perspective as a creative and seeing your art. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. Thank you for sharing from your heart Mabel. My oldest daughter is living in New Zealand and has found a fellow down there. Absolutely amazing, wonderful fellow who treats her so kindly. I am so excited to recently hear of their engagement. I could not be more happy.
    The gentleman (Ryland) is of Chinese descent. He has had a lot of racist remarks, comments and insinuations towards himself. Even before the lockdown in New Zealand, his business took a major hit. People would no longer support it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading, Carl. Congrats to your daughter on her engagement and sounds like an exciting time for her and Ryland. Sorry to hear his business has taken a hit and he had been facing racism. Hope he is doing alright. No one deserves racism and I think the world is slowly starting to realise that. Wishing you and your family well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are very welcome Mabel. And thank you. The wedding was supposed to be this coming January. With the continued uncertainty of travel, it has been postponed until January 2022. Ryland is doing okay. I think what is going to come out of all that is happening in the world will be a step forward in the fight against racism. I am hoping anyways! 🙂

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