Taiwan’s efforts in preventing the spread of Covid-19 has been recognised by the international community. However, the prolonged border restriction is beginning to impact its economy and its people. Is the island ready to move on to its next stage of recovery?
Hong Kong is facing its toughest Covid-19 test yet with Covid-19 variants proving tricky and daily cases going into the thousands. Some panicked Hong Kongers have taken flight to the mainland to avoid catching the disease. Others are questioning the “dynamic zero-Covid” policy, asking why Hong Kong can’t “live with the virus” as countries like Singapore are doing.
Chuang Hui Liang warns that an egg shortage in Taiwan is indicative of rising inflation in Taiwan, which is currently held in check by the DPP government freezing price hikes on oil and electricity. But the huge losses due to this policy are only building up and one cannot say how long it can last. Harder times may be ahead for the Taiwanese who are tightening their belts and turning to property as a hedge against inflation.
Hein Khaing rues the fate of the Chinese in Myanmar, who have always been treated as “third-class citizens” and were put in a bind again this Chinese New Year, which falls on the anniversary of last year’s coup. Forced to keep their shops open yet called upon to unite against the junta, many of them faced a “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” situation. What will it take for the plight of the Chinese in Myanmar to change?
As Chinese around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year, it is almost taken for granted that the round is auspicious and preferred. What is this fascination with the perfect circle, and how does it present itself in the dining traditions and dishes of the season? For ThinkChina's Charlene Chow, the circular jogs the memory of the beautiful things in life.
With strict pandemic measures in place, young Chinese have the perfect excuse not to return to their hometowns during the Spring Festival. If they did make the trip home, they would have faced a barrage of questions about their lives and burned a large hole in their pockets trying to show that they’ve made it. As it gets harder to make a living in their adopted cities, shoring up their finances and getting a head start in the working world is what matters most.
Former journalist Jessie Tan now based in Beijing observes that compared to Singapore’s Chinatown din, nianwei (the Chinese New Year atmosphere) in Beijing seems rather low-key. Like many people living away from home, her identity becomes clearer the further she’s away. She goes in search of some nianwei Singapore-style, even if she wasn’t much of a Chinese New Year fan back home. Perhaps it’s what they say about only missing something when they’re gone?
Musing that it will be a muted Chinese New Year celebration this year for migrant workers and those struggling to make ends meet, Lorna Wei asserts that Covid-19 has changed the lives of the people forever and in the World War III being fought, future generations must remember that it was the full cooperation and obedience of ordinary folk that won the war.
Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai recalls that it was hard to remember when Chinese New Year was when he lived in the US. In contrast, even though Hong Kong has modernised and appears to have lost many vestiges of past traditions, at the very least, it would be hard to miss the raucous festivities.