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  • Writer's pictureU-Ma Studios

Covid Update


After experiencing a mixture of fear, panic and other emotions this first weekend of "shelter in place" in San Francisco, I realized something thanks to conversations and reminders from dear friends who inspire courage within me.

Courage comes in many forms -- emotional, physical, spiritual, to name a few. I remember being so moved when I first learned of the sacrifice and suffering of covid-19's original whistleblower, the Dr. Li Wenliang, and his courage to do the right thing in the face of arrest and trauma for his entire family.

I realize I can easily cower at home, panicked and afraid of the endless ways covid can upend my life. Or I can choose to lean into the fear and take action on various fronts in my life. Believe me, I shake with fear as I write this.

But if I don't take action, who will? It takes individual action to make greater change happen. And that's what we need now.

My first answer this weekend was to dive into my creative work, telling more stories to help close the gaping rift of misunderstanding growing ever wider between the US and Chinese governments and societies. In case you haven't been following, Trump's calling the virus "Chinese" has stirred up attacks on Asian Americans akin to many previous yellow peril eras in early American history. He has justified himself by saying he is counterattacking the Chinese fake news that the US military seeded the virus in China in the first place. The "US military virus" story has similarly riled up a lot of anti-American sentiment within China. Doesn't this sound like a schoolyard game of tit-for-tat? If so, we all know that doesn't lead anywhere.

As someone who works between and understands both country's flaws, I know I have a role to play to heal this festering wound that will only worsen with time if left unaddressed.

As a small step, beyond simply sharing links, I'm going to support my friend Claire 'Yanjing' Du's She is helping to ship masks from China to places in the US in dire need. I'm also forwarding quarantine diaries from my China based friends to help US friends understand what to expect the next 8 weeks in terms of mental health under quarantine. I know these are really small things, but I will push myself to take on larger challenges, while I continue my regular film work.

I want to encourage all my US-China oriented as well as peace-loving friends in my networks to do the same, step up in your own way, whether you're a creative, techie, work in government, finance, medicine or whathaveyou, the actions we take now will make a tremendous positive difference for the future.

I think covid heightens our emotions and our existing fears. These next 2 weeks will be really hard for many people hit financially, health-wise and emotionally, if the quarantine experiences of my Chinese friends are anything to go by. I send everyone in my network a digital embrace.

Please help stop the hate, engender empathy and understanding:

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