With a strong push by the pro-establishment camp, the Hong Kong government has made a breakthrough in legislative efforts against discrimination against mainlanders. But negative feelings did not happen overnight. With increasing mainland arrivals over the years, Hong Kongers have been feeling that their space, rights and even property are being encroached upon. Without solving the underlying issues, will legislation improve the situation much?
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.
Stereotypically, Chinese Americans and Indian Americans are often compared in terms of their cultural traits with some drawing the conclusion that these traits have led the Chinese to fall behind in the business and political fields. Are the Chinese Americans really at a disadvantage in these areas? What are their strengths then?
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?
Associate Professor Wu Guo analyses reactions from the Chinese American community to the recent spike in anti-Asian hate crime. He sees a clear distinction between those who see these acts as racially motivated, and those who feel that they should be taken as crimes against public safety and leave it to the police. Interestingly, the debates show that the Chinese themselves may hold certain prejudices against other ethnic groups in the US. Amid the increasing complexity of ethnic relations in the US, what steps can the Asian community take to protect their rights?
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.