For Lunar New Year, we take a look back at the past year. From the Olympics to the Oscars, Asians prevailed across the world. We also experienced government neglect, regressions in policy, and violent protests. From Iran to Taiwan, we witnessed disasters and grief, but also saw resistance, inspiration, and coming together. This past year was polarizing. While Anna May Wong became the first Asian American face featured on the US quarter, South Korea elected a president whose campaign was rooted in anti-feminism. We stepped forward, we stepped backwards. Villages were wiped out, stampedes killed thousands. We experienced solidarity, we felt angry, and we demanded accountability. We learned how the COVID lockdown affected Shanghai and why the Sri Lankan president ran away. We learned a lot about what’s happening in Asia, in the diaspora, and most importantly – to Asians across the world. Here’s a recap of the year’s most notable stories.
From Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan to Indian movie RRR, Asians had a lot to celebrate at this year’s Golden Globes. Michelle dedicated her award to her support system and “those who came before and look like her”. The movie RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt) is the first Indian movie to win best original song, beating heavyweights like Rihanna and Taylor Swift. Ke Huy Quan won Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, which is only the second time an Asian actress has won this award. Now we hope Michelle will also win the Oscar for Best Actress, which will be another first in history for Asian women.
Religious conservatism in Indonesia has led to a new criminal code that will persecute millions, especially the LGBTQIA community. The Muslim-majority country has just banned sex outside of marriage, and remember they don't even recognize same-sex marriage. But, these new laws don’t apply to tourists, because that wouldn’t be good for the economy. Indonesia is imposing jail time to those who protest or insult the government, and criminalizing all sex between unmarried, hetero couples. And to make matters worse, victims of sexual violence may be criminalized instead of protected. These laws will impact millions of Indonesians, and were passed with just over half of parliament voting.
‘Moshari’, meaning mosquito nets, is the first Bangladeshi film to qualify for an Oscar. Nuhash Humayun’s latest horror movie, a post-apocalyptic vampire tale, is about climate change. Two sisters, played by Sunerah Binte Kamal and Nairah Onora Saif, survive climate change–something that is less fiction than reality for South Asia countries in recent years. Nuhash Humayun, a self-taught filmmaker, wrote, directed, produced and edited the film. Jordan Peele and Riz Ahmed are signing on as executive producers. Peele has previously won an Oscar for ‘Get Out’ and Ahmed for his film ‘The Long Goodbye’. Have you watched ‘Moshari’ yet?
Asian teams have beat out some of the best European and Latin countries in the World Cup, with Japan and South Korea securing unlikely spots in the next round. While Japanese fans erupt in the streets and online to celebrate, others are debating whether Japan’s winning goal should be allowed. Team Japan made history after beating 2010 world champion Spain in a shocking upset. Germany has been eliminated as a result. South Korea also knocked out Portugal and, as a domino effect, Uruguay was eliminated. Do you think the ball crossed the goal line in time?
On Thursday, an apartment fire in China’s Xinjiang Province is reported to have killed nearly a dozen people. The tragedy was the last straw for the region’s residents who had been in lockdown for over 100 days, prompting widespread protests against China’s strict covid measures. City officials have explained that fire trucks were blocked by cars and a narrow gate–something that had been a safety issue for years. The fire, which spread from electric outlets on the 15th floor, took almost 4 hours to extinguish and left at least 10 people dead and 9 injured. After Chinese citizens at home and abroad began protesting the Zero COVID Policy, government officials have announced they will lift policies in phases. Is it too late?