Expats express solidarity towards Shanghai's fight against COVID-19
Expats in a precautionary zone take a walk outside in East China's Shanghai, April 12. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/chinadaily.com.cn]
Shanghai is one of the most attractive cities in China for expats, and as a result the number of expats in Shanghai is among the highest in China. Local media outlet eastday.com interviewed three EY executives in Shanghai about their living situations during the epidemic. According to the report, the lives of these expats in Shanghai remain stable without much disruption and they expressed solidarity towards the city's anti-epidemic efforts.
Life is still in order during the epidemic
"My day starts with ordering ingredients. I get up early to order food on my mobile phone, and then go to pick it up," said Shinichi Takahashi, an EY Greater China Japanese Business Center Managing Partner.
The other two EY executives, Bertrand Michel Regnier, an EY Greater China French Business Center Managing Partner and recipient of the 2021 Shanghai Magnolia Silver Award, and Titus Freiherr von dem Bongart, an EY Greater China German Business Center Managing Partner, are both fitness enthusiasts and now work out at home. They spend more time with their families. Bongart said he also took on more housework.
Regnier said during his spare time he likes playing games, exercising, watching movies and cooking. He also gave his team care and support during regular online meetings. Together with the French Consul in Shanghai, he called on French foreign trade consultant partners in Shanghai to cooperate with the work of the Shanghai government.
On April 7, the EY Shanghai management team arranged packs containing vegetables and meat for all employees in Shanghai, which made Bongart feel very grateful. He said he felt even happier when he cooked with the food from the company.
In addition to family life, the three EY executives also want to be actively involved in their society and the community. "Since the community has been in lockdown, I have shared food with my neighbors and we've supported each other to get through this difficult time together," Takahashi said.
As vice president of the German Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, Bongart is also working hard to help members overcome the epidemic in the best possible way.
Regnier said he is willing to become a community volunteer and provide advice and suggestions to the Shanghai government.
Although the epidemic continues, their lives are still orderly. Takahashi said in his community, food distribution, nucleic acid testing and disinfection have been properly arranged, and he is very grateful for the Shanghai government, security, neighbors, and friends for their support.
Fighting the epidemic together with the city
To help employees relax themselves and stay positive, EY launched a series of online activities like practicing yoga at home and spring concerts to help them maintain a healthier lifestyle and mood during the epidemic.
Since March, the epidemic prevention and control situation has become more severe. In order to ensure the health and safety of employees, EY has implemented flexible working or working from home measures since early March.
In addition, EY is currently actively donating materials and providing volunteer services to help with the anti-epidemic activities as part of its corporate social responsibility.
According to Regnier, they have raised supplies that are in short supply for front-line anti-epidemic personnel, and sent supplies including protective clothing, protective gloves, milk, fruit and other materials to volunteers in Xuhui district and Lujiazui area in Shanghai to express thanks to volunteers for protecting Shanghai with love, and they hope to join hands with more enterprises to contribute to the fight against the epidemic.
Bongart said many EY employees became anti-epidemic volunteers and contribute to the prevention and control of the epidemic. The power of an enterprise (or institution) may be small, but dripping water becomes a river. He believes that if everyone takes action, a majestic force can be formed to defend Shanghai against the epidemic.
For Takahashi, who chose to stay in Shanghai when the epidemic broke out in 2020, sticking to the city is his original intention. In his view, the epidemic prevention and control measures implemented in China today are very advanced. "You can check the nucleic acid test results and vaccination status online without having to carry a printed copy of the test report on paper, which is very convenient. In Japan, we don't have this function yet," Takahashi said.
The three EY executives have their own attachment to Shanghai. For Bongart, Shanghai is home, and a city where he would like to live and work until he retires. Regnier's two daughters were born in Shanghai in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Takahashi was married to his Shanghainese wife. Although they are from different countries, their wishes and goals are currently the same. They hope to do their part for the city they love, and they also hope that the city can return to normal as soon as possible.