Mulan, it’s time to battle! But Jas… I’m more concerned about NCDs!
Thanks for doing this, Al Jazeera. When the ‘THEY’ becomes ‘US’, people in Asia will start to stand up and speak out. For decades, ask any, many Asian immigrants to first world countries, our relatives, our friends, our parents if they have quietly accepted abuse, threats at work or lesser pay? Knowingly, they did, we have, I have. They stood their ground and just kept on building character. A strong family network kept them going, and these inner circles of Asian immigrants from London to New York City, Sydney to Berlin, they flourished, they were too busy working three jobs, paying their mortgages, while raising children with values that hard work would never break anyone’s back. Let’s just say, I know this first hand. But handling issues like racial profiling is tricky. In a homogenous country it may be slightly easier, but most nations are now richly multicultural and at great advantage. Sadly some use polarisation of communities against its own citizens. Creating fear as poison, once ingested, it’ll infect with hatred, distrust and camp division. Hey guys, forget we’re all batting for the same team? It’s called Team Humanity? Let’s battle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and chronic kidney diseases instead shall we? WHO says NCDs kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
What this pandemic year has taught me is this — that Asian Americans and persons of Asian heritage for that matter, have been on the receiving end of discrimination so systemic, so culturally imbued that I worry if I’m in a lift and my rubbish stank. I can’t fathom why anyone would tag any form of equal rights campaign for my Asian brothers and sisters #yellowperil when campaigning is meant to empower and support, not remind and enforce vilification. Were the yellow Simpsons family crazy, rich and fashionably of Asian heritage? No. History is testament to the Manila-Acapulco crossings that went on for centuries. Systemic it was from then, when Asian & African slaves were brought to the Americas in the 1500s-1600s on Spanish galleons. It was how the country was built, on labour that was cheap or enslaved.
This may explain why NFL’s Colin Kaepernick would wear a shirt with Kunta Kinte emblazoned across it. Or why Kim’s Convenience and Avengers star, Simu Liu spoke up against casting calls that specified ‘no monolids’ by responding, “Proudly monolidded Asian”. Kudos to them both for making their stand.
Mulan and I share long manes and a boyish yearn to fight battles with the boys. I know I can only choose one war this 21st century and my war is against a different kind of systemic lurk — one that triggers three square times per day. It’s in our meals. My cohort, armed only with research findings, actual case studies, a willingness to unlearn and learn, are slowly piecing together this puzzle about the rise of NCDs in a sea of high fructose corn syrup. And my research is startling. I’m straddled in the middle with the carnivores on my left and the vegans on my right.
Battling diseases starts at home with my own mother, and with the support from family we reversed her diabetes last year. But her cravings for processed carbohydrates never ceased. It fuelled her and completed her. Joy was secret stashes of potato chips, 25% fruit juice and biscuits under her bed. She loved her jam and toast. Harmless, no? Picture 20 years of that, which has led to 24% kidney function which ironically resulted from 15-years of ingesting 500mg Metformins twice a day. She is my reason, my mother. And me. I’m pre-diabetic and I cannot afford to be ill. I digress.
May I ask this of you?
I was recently SO inspired by an old buddy. We co-organised a series of Rock for the Environment fundraiser concerts back in the day. Science teacher Kenny Peavy’s vlog of Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’ describes that distant space, where all of us with our differences are a mere speck in the grand scheme of things. When we are so small, we are equal. Zoomed in, we see all of our imperfections.
As you go about in your lives today, greet and be the first to say hello to an Asian person. It’s that guy that stacks supermarket shelves. That smiley lady who cleans your apartment. She’s your mum’s physician. Or your girlfriend’s father. You’ll see the appreciation in their eyes.
Thank you for letting us have our voice by turning comments ON, AJ. Great doco!
Finally, on the vilification of people of Chinese appearance. I have to make my stand. Stop vilifying the people! It’s the Coronavirus flu. Not the Spanish Flu or the Yellow Fever. Not the Kung Flu nor the plandemic. It’s a flu, and it’s affecting us more than before because we are predisposed to disease more than ever in history. That greater battle is realising that the extinction of humanity may well be of our own folly — our modern diet.
All Together Now Australia has released this Social Commentary, Racism & COVID-19 media report: click here.