“Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” aka EEAAO. This is not a review of the Academy Awards’ Best Motion Picture for 2023. EEAAO’s sweep of awards seems to signify a growing recognition of Asian contributions to the film industry, but comes off as a knee-jerk reaction by Hollywood to claim it’s not really racist. In other words, I’m not sure why there was such a sweep of awards for EEAAO.

I don’t claim to understand the movie. After watching it twice, I have a slight grasp of the story — but is that even the point of the film? The title alone reaches far beyond the story of an immigrant Chinese woman in a “multiverse” world. At best, I appreciate the concept EEAAO because it best describes the world we are living in today. So I will try to make sense of our current world, which is everything, everywhere, all at once.

Everything on the U.S. homefront seems to be in a nose dive. The writing is on the wall that we have seen our better days … and they will likely not be returning. Bank failures.  Gun violence now the leading cause of death for children in the U.S. Fentanyl epidemics. 1,153,816 U.S. COVID-19 deaths (still the highest in the world) — over 1.64 times higher than Brazil, who is next in line. Even more shocking, U.S. COVID deaths are over 218 times higher than China’s (5,272) — even though its origins have been traced back to Wuhan.

Our country has the highest number of police killings and highest rate of incarceration for a developed country. We are way ahead of Russia, Brazil, and Mexico for homeless populations. And out of 11 industrialized nations, the U.S. is at the bottom of the heap for healthcare, even though “the U.S. spends more on health care per person than other major industrialized nations.” (What is wrong with that picture?!)

If you voted for Biden in the last election, feeling confident that he would set things back in order that Trump messed up — think again. If you thought that Biden was going to protect you from anti-Asian hate, think again. And if you thought that Trump brought on anti-Asian hate, did you think that Biden would be adding fuel to the fire? It took Biden two months before coming out to visit Monterey Park after the Lunar New Year’s Eve shooting.

Everywhere is in flux and a new world order is in the making. U.S. “allies” who are tired of being bullied by U.S. dictates on how they can run their governments are now being presented with alternative options. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the formation of BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — are quickly becoming the new players on the world stage. The BRI, “sometimes referred to as the New Silk Road, is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever conceived. Launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping, the vast collection of development and investment initiatives was originally devised to link East Asia and Europe through physical infrastructure. In the decade since, the project has expanded to Africa, Oceania, and Latin America, significantly broadening China’s economic and political influence.”

The original BRIC had its first summit in 2009, and became BRICS over a year later with South Africa joining. India’s national magazine Frontline had this to say: “In 2014, with $50 billion in seed money, the BRICS nations launched the New Development Bank as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“These offers were not only attractive to the BRICS nations themselves, but also to many other developing and emerging economies that had had painful experiences with the IMF’s structural adjustment programs and austerity measures. . . .

“In 2021, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Bangladesh took up shares [of the New Development Bank].

“Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, the BRICS countries have only distanced themselves further from the so-called West. Neither India, Brazil, South Africa nor China is taking part in sanctions against Russia. This is increasingly clear with near-historic levels of trade between India and Russia, or in Brazil’s dependence on Russian fertilizer.”

As the U.S. dominance of global finances is seeing cracks in its foundation, Biden is feverishly trying to rescue U.S. superpower status by seeking regime change in Russia through its proxy war by way of Ukraine AND preparing for a similar proxy war with China over Taiwan. The “threat of China” is being pumped over American airwaves with increasing momentum. Chinese spy balloons being shot down, cries of Chinese military flights over Taiwan after Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island, and most recently the big brouhaha over TikTok. 

Well, our tax money is at work at Biden’s behest. $113 billion appropriated by Congress in 2022 for the war in Ukraine — $113 billion for primarily killing people and razing Ukraine to the ground. One MarketWatch headline mocked the response to three more balloons shot down within days of the “yet-to-be-proven with evidence” Chinese spy balloon — “Did the a $400,000 missile to shoot down a balloon costing as little as $12?” (Feb. 17, 2023); The Wall Street Journal’s headline: “Pentagon Spent at Least $1.5 million on Missiles to Shoot Down Three High-Altitude Objects” (Feb. 20, 2023). 

Amanda Yee has an article, “TikTok on Trial: The latest front in the U.S. tech war on China”:

“Make no mistake: the TikTok hearings had nothing to do with the baseless threat of Chinese surveillance and everything to do with maintaining the dominance of U.S. capitalism. TikTok is the most popular and most frequently downloaded social media app worldwide, boasting 150 million users in the United States alone. The overall time users spend on TikTok now far exceeds some of its U.S. competitors, and it has been rapidly pulling digital advertising away from these same companies.

“The hearings were just the latest in the U.S. tech war against China — a key front in the new Cold War — and Silicon Valley has found as its ally rising anti-Chinese sentiment and, through the arm of the capitalist state, is weaponizing such Red Scare tactics to ensure tech dominance. This explains why the U.S. government is trying to force the sale of TikTok to a U.S. company, or ban it entirely, which would drive its users to U.S. competitors like Meta, Instagram Reels (owned by Meta), Snapchat, or YouTube Shorts.

“Either way, Silicon Valley stands to benefit. And even if the U.S. government doesn’t go through with a TikTok ban, the spectacle of the hearings and fear-mongering over Chinese surveillance was enough to drive up stocks for Meta and Snapchat.”

All at Once

Does it seem like this is all happening all at once? I just watched a YouTube video titled “What Happens When China Becomes Number One?” featuring a talk by Kishore Mahbubani. He mentions this observation whenever he comes to the U.S. — that the U.S. is so out of touch with the rest of the world. And this observation comes directly from the U.S. mainstream media. (   

I mention this because BRICS and BRI have been in the works since 2009 and 2013, respectively. But how many of us average Joes and Janes on the street, or even college-level students at UCLA, know what BRI or BRICS is? And once you do find out about it, wow, the new world order is already in the making. And if we continue to keep our heads in the sand on what is happening in the world, then you won’t know what hit you ALL AT ONCE, when the sh*t hits the fan. 

American culture has already fragmented us into our individual universes, but we are still living on one planet. Didn’t the pandemic try to teach us that we really are “all for one, and one for all”? I don’t claim to know much more than you about world events, but I have found a universe of information on YouTube for everything everywhere all at once.

Eastwind Books in Berkeley will be closing its doors soon.

The world as we knew it is changing before our eyes, and some of our favorite mom-and-pop businesses are falling by the wayside because they just can’t continue with the current downslide of the U.S. economy. One such business is EastWind Books of Berkeley, which I have written about in the past. Owners Bea and Harvey Dong are converting their bookstore to an online store, ending their 41-year presence just blocks from the UC Berkeley campus on University Avenue. Arguably one of the best collections of Asian and Asian American titles, I hope you will visit them at To read more about EastWind Books history and their owners, go to:

Welcome to spring and hopefully some warmer weather — and “don’t let the pissants get you down!” Or like we used to say back in the ’70s, “going through changes!”


Mary Uyematsu Kao is a retired publications coordinator of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. She published her photography book “Rockin’ the Boat:  Flashbacks of the 1970s Asian Movement” in June 2020. Comments and feedback are welcome at

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  1. The PRC does not update its COVID-19 numbers so those who were infected and those who died are wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy more than what is revealed.