Project created during quarantine helps Asian diaspora through trying times

A story-telling project is bringing lightness and connecting Asians around the world to express themselves during this dark and uncertain time.

Coronavirus has sparked an anti-Asian sentiment in Europe and North America.

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that is terrorizing the world. People are fearful of the disease. It has unfortunately subjected many Asians to accounts of verbal and physical abuse.

Asians are being called “diseased”, “coronavirus” and other racist terms. This kind of racial discrimination has resulted in many Asians being fearful of going outdoors, wearing masks, or walking alone.

The anti-Asian sentiment is spreading in western countries

Created during the time when the UK went into lockdown, the Stay Home Diary is a project launched by the independent publishing press–Bitter Melon.

This project posts submission of all kinds created by the Asian Diaspora community around the world. Since its launch, the project has brought people all across the globe together through art.

The editor of Bitter Melon, Nina Mingya Powles, encourages people to be as creative as possible. As a result, people have submitted powerpoints, recipes, journals, and love letters. 

Melanie Xu created a Powerpoint to demonstrate how to make tomato egg noodles. (Image from Melanie Xu)

Nina’s personal favorite was a submission of a recipe for tomato and egg noodles, in PowerPoint form. The creator, Melanie Xu, had just switched to working from home and was inspired to make the piece because she was constantly doing meetings with PowerPoints via Zoom.

Stay Home Diary is not only a place for people to express themselves freely but a project that keeps followers inspired and uplifted. 

“I didn’t know if people would read it or if it would have any effect. But it had some really nice feedback. People were saying it’s really comforting.” Nina said.

The posts on Stay Home Diary page and its twitter account often come with colorful pictures and eyecatching videos. People are inspired to read more and post more. It drew in thousands of people, making many followers less isolated and more hopeful.

Many authors are submitting childhood recipes to the account as a way of connecting with families far away and reminiscing the good old days.

“And it’s helping people to feel a little bit connected with people on the other side of the world, which is really amazing. And that’s like the most that I could have hoped for. I wanted to create a place of connection and comfort.”

Creating a sense of community and voice is extremely important, especially for the Asian diaspora community. 

“So we know we’re not alone, but maybe to read those experiences in real-time has that effect of feeling less isolated emotionally. It’s been like that for me reading them as well.”

During these trying times, the internet and projects like this, are using creativity to relieve the pain and bring people closer to one another.

Interactive Map

Click the human figure icons to find out stories behind the poetry and explore a variety of work created by other Asian artists around the world.

The Stay Home Diary project has recently concluded.