Smile and Say Hello by King Yaw Soon
Smile and Say Hello – Director’s Statement
I was taking the trash out the other day in my pajamas. A kid from a few houses down waved at me and called out a cheerful hello.
I was startled.
Somehow I was completely dumbfounded by the warmth and geniality shown by a young stranger. I looked at her and didn’t know how to respond. Was it because she had a skin color different than mine? Since when did I start feeling this alienated towards others and myself?
My social media has been flooded with news about xenophobia in the midst of the rapid spread of COVID-19. My dad forwarded a disturbing video to me of an Asian man getting punched in the face with the reminder to “be careful”. As I tried to comprehend the hate as a man of Chinese descent, I couldn’t help but feel even more isolated during these times. I started to become more self-conscious about my Asian features whenever I was outside at the store or for a run. I was never shy of eye contact with strangers, but now I tried to avoid it as much as possible.
I first heard the airport story from Michelle when she shared it over a group zoom call. She was in the airport TSA line when a mother and daughter ran away from her, yelling that they had to wash their hands as soon as possible. All she did was smile and say hello to them. She shared her short journal on the incident and I was moved by how she responded to the discrimination. She felt hurt for a while, but after much self-contemplation came the spirit of love and forgiveness. She understood the mother and daughter were reacting out of fear and it’s okay – as human beings we’re all scared in the face of the deadly virus. We’re all in this together.
Michelle is an Asian American pharmacist. She shared how it’s a weird tension to be an Asian American while working in health care in these current times. There’s a difference in treatment when she has her white coat on versus when it’s off. I wanted to make a film to document her story. The film is not a jab against racism, but rather a gentle reminder that we’re all human and we still can be good during these uncertain times. Let’s celebrate our best intentions rather than focus on others’ reactions towards them. After a few seconds that felt like an eternity, I waved back at the kid and shouted back.
“Hi, what are you up to?”.
“Not much…” The kid then hopped on her scooter and glided down the road.
It was the nicest thing a stranger has done for me since the lockdown and I was reminded once again that love can drive out fear. We should fight the virus of fear as strongly as we fight the virus of COVID19 by showing love to the people around us.
Just start with a smile and say hello! #iamnotavirus #wereinthistogether
The Above video is one of the entries from “In Time of COVID19 Video & Essay Contest”
We believe that the pandemic has generated a treasure trove of interesting stories, valuable and relevant contents about humanity in all its spectrums. Stories about generosity, heroism, kindness and outstanding services to fellow human beings on the other.
Ding Ding TV (Silicon Valley Innovation Channel and Voice of Asian Americans) , CLUSA together with 16 partners presented “In Time of COVID19 Video & Essay Contest” bringing these stories to our community and simultaneously acknowledge and honor their creators.
The contestant should read and follow the Contest Rulers published on May 10th 2020 from following link:
The contestant acknowledge Rule 5, 6
5) If background music and other visual, verbal and sound (reference) material are used from internet, the contestant must possess copyrights or have explicit permission to use such material(s).
6) By entering this contest, the contestants will have given DingDingTV and Contest Partners explicit permission to distribute the video widely on media channels, the internet and social media sites such as Youtube, Facebook, WhatApp, WeChat, twitter….etc.
This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story Michelle.