Maryam Khan

The fetishization and harassment BI-POC women face:

Following the recent events of the Atlanta shooting resulting in the murders of six East-Asian women, the topic of harassment and violence against women of colour has come into the spotlight. Time and time again, women of colour are reduced to their stereotypes and treated as less than others and are seen as objects or animals rather than humans.

The shooting in Atlanta was a prime example of this. On March 16, a man went on a series of mass shootings, mainly targeting women of east Asian descent, to try and get rid of any ‘temptation’ to use them for their sex work. The suspect was later identified as Robert Aaron Long, a 21-year-old white man who had recently been released from an evangelical treatment facility located near the first spa he had attacked. He was being treated for what he described as a “sex addiction” and according to his roommate at the facility, had relapsed many times and had gone to massage parlours to visit sex workers. According to the police, Long had described his actions as the result of a sex addiction that conflicted with his religious beliefs. Long stated that he saw the parlours as ‘places of temptation’ and when questioned further about it, admitted that originally, he had wanted to kill himself but later decided that he wanted to target the businesses as a way to “help” others dealing with sex addiction and “eliminate the temptation”. Although Long had stated race did not play a factor in the shootings, multiple experts have said the race could not be ruled out as a motive due to the fetishization of Asian women in the United States.

Asian Hate Crime on the rise- has Covid19 given racists a supposed legitimacy? – By Sabina Budac

Is the UK labelling the US as the problem? Have we neglected to observe ourselves in the mirror?

Following the devastating attacks on people of East and South-East Asian origin in Atlanta, many have pointed their fingers towards the US for having a race problem. The UK however is not innocent.

Attackers targeting Asians, such as 'Jonathan Mok' and 'Peng Wang,' have brought the UK's racist issues to light. Despite the fact that it is arguably hidden, the UK may be on the wrong track if this issue is not addressed.


According to IPSOS MORI, 14 percent of Britons stated that they would avoid interacting with ‘people of Chinese origin or appearance,' while 10 percent said they would ‘avoid eating in Asian restaurants.

Misconceptions that Asians carry the virus have heavily fuelled the prejudice and attacks against them, witnessed by the majority of the UK. In a survey on Asian racism in the UK, 96.45 percent of respondents agreed that the country is xenophobic towards Asians. The majority reported having witnessed discrimination, which was usually subtle in form of microaggressions such as stares or name calling such as ‘corona’. If this subtlety is not addressed, risks of more violent attacks like the ones we have seen in previous weeks is likely to occur.

The media has a significant impact on people’s attitudes and beliefs on certain topics/subjects. Trump’s characterisation or description of the virus as a ‘Chinese virus’ led to the labelling of those with an east or south east Asian racial appearance. As a result, there was a spike of attacks towards people of Asian descent not only in the USA, but also across the world. If the media portrays a specific race as infected, the general public would soon mirror these beliefs.

Based on a survey we conducted, 96.4 percent of respondents believed that the UK media does a poor job of covering violent attacks against Asians. When those surveyed were asked if they were aware of any incidents relating to Asian hate crime covered by UK media, many responded ‘no’ or ‘I don’t remember’. The few who remembered certain incidents, mentioned the cases of ‘Jonathan Mok’ and ‘Peng wang’; no one however knew the victims’ names, so they were referred to as ‘student who had to have facial surgery or ‘professor who was attacked’. It is important to note that even though the attacks were not as violent or severe as in the US, it is assumed that attacks will escalate if ignored or unreported.

Wang, 65, was assaulted by a sixteen-year-old, who shattered his arm requiring surgery; this had a severe effect on Wang, who is now permanently disabled due to post-traumatic stress disorder. When asked about the attack, Wang expressed his dissatisfaction with the policies in place when he first reported the attack. Wang states that he had reported verbal abuse by the attacker numerous times, even giving statements as well as bringing witnesses. The police however only requested CCTV footage.

Wangs’ case uncovers how verbal abuse could eventually prompt physical maltreatment. It is probable that violent attacks against the Asian minority may increase if the media fails to cover hate crimes directed towards the Asian population.  Given the survey’s findings that the majority of respondents have witnessed verbal hatred directed towards Asians, it is startling to accept that a number of those verbal attacks may have turned physical, especially when the attackers of Jonathan Mok, Peng Wang and ‘Wang’ were underage.

The lack of media coverage of Asian-hate crimes may have prompted some Britons to claim that the UK is not racist and to blame the US. Even though racism is "subtle in the UK," when interviewing student "ruby Nguyen" she stated that she would encounter stares or people would avoid coming close to her on public transportation. This statement is supported by our survey in which the majority of respondents indicated that they had witnessed microaggressions towards Asians on public transportation. When asked about media coverage of Asian hate crime, Nguyen said she was aware of incidents but only because she ‘searched these topics in order to understand how threatened her community was’. She states, ‘there is media coverage but not enough’.

So, how will the problem of Asian-hate crime be resolved or at least reduced? The government (e.g., schools, police) and the media should address the underlying cause of the problem: Why is Asian hate crime on the rise? Is COVID-19 genetically encoded in Asian individuals? Acknowledging the issue and addressing it—for example, police taking verbal abuse more seriously—so that it does not turn into violent incidents like Wang's.


Ipsos MORI. (n.d.). COVID-19 – One in seven people would avoid people of Chinese origin or appearance. [online] Available at: (n.d.). This Is What Anti-Asian Hate Looks Like in the UK. [online] Available at:


Traces of Micro-plastics have been found in Antarctica’s ice sea as well as in ice cores in Hobart Tasmania. In 2009 these micro plastics were located by a team of scientists who were doing their research on this problem and its effects on the natural environment. They had found 96 pieces of plastics Micro-plastics in the ice core that was drilled. They concluded that a lot more micro plastics were found than expected and that the krill's that feed off algae are being exposed to these Micro-plastics. This was claimed to be the first time any scientist discovered plastic in Antarctica.



Plastic Micro-fibres from Antarctic sea ice seen under a microscope. Photograph: Anna Kelly/Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

According to the New Scientist 11.6 billion Micro-plastics are in a single tea bag. Krill and other fishes survive on their habitats and oceans for their food. However, plastics have been dropped into oceans. Around 8 million pieces of micro and big plastics make their way in our oceans. Resulting in fishes being stuck and dying because they have either been exposed to a lot of plastics or they have stuck within the plastic causing them to die. This highlights the problems climate change and plastic reaching places that affects marine life and devastated habitats because plastics has less time to break down into small fibres if there is a large quantity of it. It also has huge impacts on the food chains as krill's dying will affect fishes higher on the food chain list.


Micro-plastics and recycling in general are not given the due diligence they deserve because these small problems will soon lead to bigger and more serious problems such as fish extinction or constant damaging and destroying of land that will constantly have an effect on our wellbeing and environment. A recent survey showed that the 57.14% were familiar with Micro-plastics. This raises concerns of the lack of knowledge we have about small things like Micro-plastics because they can lead to bigger problems.



Godwin a student at Monoux college in east London highlights “people do not recycle properly which causes harm to the environment” this goes to support the point of “people not willing to recycle because they do not like it.” He mentioned “essentially there is a lot of plastic everywhere and that people should step up and care more about the environment.”


National Geographic have also concluded that Micro-plastics and plastics are very harmful for the environment as they are everywhere and even in our bodies. They are small and cannot be seen easily through the human eyes and have found their way into soils sands and our foods which we consume without a second thought. This raises concerns over the safety of our foods and what should be done about it. There are possible health damages that Micro-plastics can cause to humans are stomach problems.


There are no clear health problems that Micro-plastics cause certain health problems that this may cause are very severe as certain types of plastics have a higher toxicity level when ingested. This leads to problems affecting the guts balance. Some sea foods are a Micro-plastic breeding ground if they are not cleaned properly or have excessive amounts of toxic Micro-plastics it will cause health problems like an upset stomach. There is ongoing research into whether Micro-plastics have a hand in air pollution and or in harmful construction materials.


Chris a teacher in Monoux College in east London “I have not learnt enough about plastics in the oceans and the seriousness of this issue. Chris “would like to learn more about and see improvements on fishes getting stuck in plastics and dying. Problems starts with people not recycling or not being aware of knowing how to recycle effectively which illustrates the importance of having this knowledge.


Signs like these can lead to harsher long-term effects in the future. Therefore, recycling and making sure plastic has been used is not thrown away incorrectly or how toxic it can be. Governments all around the world are being encouraged to take small issues like these into consideration because these have negative impacts on our health and the natural habitats fishes rely on to get their food.

The long-term issues must be researched into as Micro-plastics are giving the world signs that it will cause problems later.

It is vastly growing and reaching areas that should remain untouched merely exposing bodies in power of their response to this serious problem. Mariah a student in Monoux college in east London says “Climate change is inevitable” and that “public transport” should be taken because it has shown to be a more environmentally friendly.  Small efforts like this will pave the way for others to get into recycling. It “is a start” Mariah mentions.


There have been promising developments in ways of tackling this problem. A team of scientists have found ways in removing Micro-plastics using bacteria. The bacteria can successfully be used to capture microplastics in water and make them sink to the bottom of the water. The bacteria trap’s the Micro-plastics and then bulk up in the bottom which can be collected to be recycled. This way we can effectively make sure the removal of these Micro-plastics is done safely so that it does not cause harm to vulnerable people who are easily affected by small things like these.

Micro-plastics Problem in Antarctica’s ice sea – By Mubashar Khan

TIP of The Iceberg –Marina’s story. By Yana Trifonova


‘You cannot expect me to put my mask on when I enter the building and then put your bare hand in my cup.’  -the words of a retired worker within the hospitality business. Marina, in her fifties, is a professional bartender. She started exploring the wonders of the world when she was in her early 20’s, with her son under one arm and her daughter under the other.

Marina always loved this profession -‘That is one of the most beautiful and humane professions.’ she says.

Her career kicked off in the 90’s in Spain, where with no Spanish, she secured a job in one of the most prestigious hotels that still, to this day hold that title. She was doubted by staff, but never by the owner of the business. He, more than anyone, believed in her. She won a scholarship, studied, and was trained by the finest professionals, becoming one of the best in the industry for her time.

Life unfortunately span its wheel of events and she had to leave everything behind and move back to where she started from –Bulgaria. There, with her successful image and career, she was able to continue sharing her love for people and flowers with one’s hot coffee in the mornings.

Not long after, she began noticing the lack of care and passion people had for something she dedicated 15 years of her life to. ‘I was shocked.’ she says.

The noun ‘Shock’ was a word I heard often in this interview. It reminded me of a saying this elderly once told me -‘Love is not a noun, it’s a verb.’ Love is what Marina had for the short coffees in the morning and the cocktails in the afternoon. The satisfied customers, the letters she would receive because of how she made people feel. The endless hours standing in comfortable shoes that did not feel like that at all after endless hours standing on her feet during her shifts. But she loved it. All of it.

‘Why?’ -I asked her. ‘What is it about this profession that makes you love it to this extent?’ ‘The people, Yana. Making them feel at home with a simple ‘Hello’ and the smell of warm coffee. They make it all worth it.

’Have you already questioned why everything I said was written in past tense? ‘Had’ ; ‘Loved’. It’s not because she retired, no. -‘My passion for it never will retire.

’Past tense because she was lied to. Past tense because she was disappointed. Past tense because you did not find the joy in the ‘trivial’ things, like she did. You pushed the flower aside. You did not pay attention to the way she folded the tissue or which side she served you from.

You did not because you do not know the protocol, right? Understandable. This article is not about the protocol. At least not the one hospitality workers must know. It is not about whether you know where the fork should be placed, how the wine should be held when being poured. This article is about the lack of respect. The lack of caress. Most importantly-the lack of passion.

When interviewing Marina, I could not help but notice the tears in her eyes when talking about what she loved most -‘Making people smile’ -she said proudly.

When life once again tapped Marina on the shoulder, she moved to yet another country –England. Here is where her career as a bartender ended. She was in shock at the quality of service in hotels such as Hilton and utterly disturbed due to the wage she was offered when looking for a job in many international restaurants. Wages not satisfactory enough for all the hours spent working with people.

Marina argues ‘Professionalism is expected in any venue, not just 5-star hotels. A waiter, especially in such a place, is expected to know the protocol. Something that was very evidently missing when I saw them working.’-A statement that one can hardly disagree with.

Who is to blame? Do low wages discourage workers?

Marina, just like many would, believed that it was the ‘manager’s/associations fault’ for allowing such service. ‘They do not expect skills and quality. A big mistake that will cost them their clientele.’ When asked about her opinions on tipping and whether it should be required here, like it is in some countries around the world, Marina shared ‘I was paid by my employer. The tips I received are money I also worked for. Tipping is not compulsory. It is a result of my work. When a client is happy with my work and me, they leave a tip. It depends on what people’s value system and morals are. What they are used to. Tipping is compulsory in some countries, rude in others or nice and expected. Hopefully. When it comes to owners of hotel chains, they rely on the fact that people leave their staff tips, meaning that they save money by not paying them as much as they should be. Here in England, the payment staff get being in this industry is atrocious.’

Before, this job required skills, today in some places of the world, associations rely on the fact that the next one will come after the other person leaves due to lack of satisfaction with their job.

Whether it is for the sole purpose of survival, fear, profit, one cannot help but wonder what changed over the years and when the Iceberg will actually tip.


  • Maryam Khan - The fetishization and harassment BI-POC women face


The opening line is really strong. Utilising the topical news hook to reel in the readers is an informative and effective opener. The opening sentences at the start of each paragraph in Maryam’s news article are punchy and emotive. I came away from reading the article feeling both informed and angry to learn about the racial stereotyping and harassment faced by BI-POC women in the workplace and beyond. An informative, statistic-led and impassioned news article.  



  • Yana Trifonova – Tip of the Iceberg – Mariana’s Story 


I really like the emotive quote from the article subject as the opening line. The vivid characterisation of your subject is very effective in keeping the reader engaged and invested throughout. The varying paragraph lengths are further efficient in ensuring the reader remains invested in Mariana’s story. A fantastic subject for the article with great quotes. I want to hear more about Mariana’s career! 



  • Sabina Budac – Asian Hate Crime on the Rise – Has Covid 19 Given Racists a Supposed Legitimacy? 


I really like the way Sabina has interwoven questions for her audience into both the title and again in her final paragraph for a punchy and thought-provoking outro. News articles that tackle sensitive subjects and present challenging questions for its audience often work to inspire action and help shape the public conversation. Twinned with the shocking statistics and emotive images, this news article is challenging and provocative. 


  • Mubashar Khan – Micro-Plastics Problem in Antarctica’s Ice Sea 


The subject of environmental issues and the effects of man-made materials on our natural world is a timely and important topic (further popularised by David Attenborough’s recent Netflix series). I like the focus on statistics and scientific study, and the article is elevated by short, punchy quotes from a range of interviewees. I also like how Mubashar has related traces of micro-plastics found in Antarctica and Tasmania to environmental issues here in the UK and East London – having a news article that is both topical and relatable is fantastic for driving home the importance of the subject matter and ensuring that readers stay engaged.