Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui is pensive as he visits New York City for the first time. Rather than the romanticised versions of the city he had read about, the New York he encounters in Flushing, Queens is gritty and a whole other reality. But he reflects that as societies and cultures continue to evolve, fighting for dominance in a state of chaos, the side they show to the world will sometimes be different but always real.
A metaphor used by playwright Kuo Pao Kun and recently mentioned by Finance Minister Lawrence Wong says that different cultural communities are trees in the forest, each separated at the trunk, but nourished by the same soil and cross-pollinating high in the sky at the leaves and branches. Low Sze Wee, CEO of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, extends the metaphor, noting that Chinese Singaporeans have developed distinct cultural identities from Chinese elsewhere. Their way of life is a combination of what they brought with them, their interactions with others, and the policies they live under with their fellow citizens.
Wu Guo, a US academic and first-generation immigrant finds that second- and third-generation immigrants, whether Asian Americans or otherwise, are more keen to trace their roots the more their parents and grandparents try to shield them from certain memories. Maybe more oral history projects and open discussion of the past will build stronger American identities?
Qiao Xinsheng points out that one should not have any expectations about the globalisation of the job market. In the internet economy era, even though internet platform companies facilitate capital’s global search for talent, this has not improved labour’s freedom of movement in search of better job opportunities. Cheap labour will continue to be exploited through the long arms of overseas capital. Not only that, with these companies' technology-enabled capabilities to collect massive amounts of data, national security will be a concern.
It is clear that the Beijing government wants to have more say in the governance of Hong Kong, not least with the recent passing of the bill to change Hong Kong’s electoral system allowing more new migrants from mainland China to be part of the Election Committee. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing charts the rise of these “new migrants” in Hong Kong and the political force they are becoming. How will their increasing assertiveness affect the dynamics between the new and old migrants, as well as the locals?
Even with a new US president in place, US-China relations look set to remain uncertain as poor communication between them continues, like chickens and ducks trying to have a conversation. Except they’re not talking to each other at the moment — not on the phone at least.
Chinese cuisine is far from the sweet and sour pork or fortune cookies found in the Chinatowns of the West. From the familiar flavours of Cantonese cuisine to the spicy notes in Sichuan fare and the clean flavours of Jiangsu cuisine, every taste has a place in the rich tapestry of China’s food heritage. Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao traces how the Chinese and their food — complete with an entire culture — travelled in history beyond Asia into the wider world.
Following the anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong in 2019 and the passing of the national security law last year, Hong Kongers are migrating abroad or thinking of migrating in record numbers. One major destination is Taiwan, with its banner of freedom and democracy. But for these migrants pushed out of their home city by circumstance, is Taiwan a temporary haven, or a permanent home? Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong speaks to Hong Kongers in Taiwan.
Intellectual elites in the US have traditionally played a key role in the way the country conducts international relations, and have guided the US government in shaping is foreign policy. However, the US's words and actions about China-US relations and the coronavirus seem to suggest that it has fallen prey to anti-intellectualism, with rationality and long-term vision thrown away. Japan-based academic Zhang Yun examines the issue and finds out if there is indeed cause for concern.