Postcard from Guangzhou

Team Leader Byron Yee shares discoveries from China

Briefly introduce yourself and your team. 

Byron Yee is a 5th generation American Born Chinese (ABC) who is currently living and working in China with the goals of learning Chinese and finding his roots. He graduated from Western Washington University with a double major in Theatre Arts and Business Administration. In his spare time he enjoys running, dancing, and playing various instruments.

Lyrica Yin was born in the Jiangxi province of China and is currently living in Guangzhou and pursuing her BA in English Education. In the future, Lyrica hope to further pursue her dream of becoming a dancer.

How did your team approach the topic of overpopulation?

This is obviously a very serious issue in China which can be observed on several levels. In daily life, the major cities are extremely crowded; taking public transportation involves a lot of pushing and being pushed due to huge crowds. Housing is also affected, both in terms of cost of housing and also size/space. The 1 Child Policy is still in effect, although slowly being relaxed recently. This law greatly affects family planning and further inflates the high favoritism towards having male babies (vs. females).

What other themes or topics are you wrestling with?

Food Security is a huge topic in China right now. Not only is there a shortage of vital resources, such as drinking water, but contamination/disease is also a very serious problem throughout the country. And to some extent, some food contamination is unavoidable  While it is a problem in all countries (even in the USA), the situation is very serious in China.

How did your environment or location influence your work?

As China's economy continues to grow at around 8% GDP growth per year, this has drastic side effects on the environment. The government recently revised its "growth and development at all costs" philosophy because they're finally seeing the awful effects of such rapid industrialization and development. Issues such as air quality, water, pollution, etc. are so overwhelming, it's sometimes just better to accept or ignore it, rather than try to solve such a complex problem.

Share some of the discoveries you've made along the way. Has anything surprised you in the process?

Throughout our process, the focus has always been on telling a truthful, clear, and honest story. It's proven to be very challenging to share/present such complex issues and problems in a simple and clear way. We also have struggled with generalizing all of China into our story (i.e. "all of China is this way" "China is very polluted and ugly"). So our goal was to present the story about Lyrica and Byron in China, and the struggles and decisions that many young couple in China are experiencing.