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Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Dear Asian Youth,

A new year: a time for new beginnings, hopes, and change

A time for resolutions, improvements, and gains.

But changing to be a better you?

For what? For who? Why? How? What must ensue?

After a year like this year, I question the reason:

Why the new year must be the season

For change, improvement, and a new fixation?

Let’s scroll back a year, and take a moment to reflect,

On how change itself sometimes isn't direct.

We started the year on fire; climate change was to blame.

As lands grew dryer and dryer, animals' homes were in flames.

An election tore our nation apart:

Spread a message to divide and hate; it's my side versus yours.

A virus swept the world, closing down nations.

Yet countries in the west decided it was better to name-call and debate.

China-Virus and Kung-Flu, they said, while their people died in the thousands,

While graphs showed the death toll climbing like a mountain.

We saw our cities lit aflame as police pillaged, murdered, and killed,

With titles like “peace officer” and “peacekeeper” written on guns and truck grills.

The irony is how our society turned a blind eye,

To decades of collusion and corruption, while black people died.

Decades of violence, fearmongering, division, and hate,

Decades of foreign meddling, endless wars, and divisive debate.

Those in power squabble and fight,

The poor, the sick, the needy die left and right.

In a dark year, with little light,

Some glimmers of hope brought us life.

When thousands marched in the streets over centuries of racism and oppression,

When thousands of people masked up and helped out their community members,

When people came together to talk, discuss, and learn,

People came to organize and discern.

While a new year may be a time for a new beginning and change,

So was last Tuesday and Friday in May.

2020 showed that change is rarely steady.

It shocks us in most unexpected ways.

While a new year may be an occasion for change,

Know that you are growing, learning, and changing each day.

Change begins with a start,

But how we continue it everyday will affect how our world looks,

In each and every way.

Notes: The new year, a time for new beginnings. Out with the old, in with the new. A new year, a new me. There are countless cliches written for the new year. And yet, after a year like 2020, I find myself wary of these words. 2020 has been a hard year for many. And after such a tumultuous and incredibly challenging year for everyone, the significance and meaning of a new year have changed.

- Chris Fong Chew

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