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Designing a sense of cheer

13 May, 2022   /   Shanghai, China

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Besides doing volunteer work, Chen Mengying and her housemate Stacey Klinge from the United States have been making posters to lighten the mood amid the current outbreak in their community in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Housemates make posters to lighten the mood amid the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Posters featuring a character that resembles the Disney robot Baymax have been making rounds on the internet and drawing praise from netizens for lightening the mood amid the epidemic.

Made by Chen Mengying, 32, and her American housemate Stacey Klinge, 33, the posters also feature humorous phrases related to lockdown life. The duo, who live in Difang Tianyuan housing community in the city's Putuo district, say they came up with the poster after realizing how tense the mood in their community had become as it faced lockdown challenges. According to Chen and Klinge, their community, which has been under closed-loop management since April 1, has had problems procuring daily essentials, and this sparked several disagreements between residents and the compound management.

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Besides doing volunteer work, Chen Mengying and her housemate Stacey Klinge from the United States have been making posters to lighten the mood amid the current outbreak in their community in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Eager to help lighten the mood, the two sought to spread some cheer using their artistic skills.

Klinge says she was initially confused with her housemate's suggestion to create a character based on dabai, a Chinese reference to pandemic workers in white protective suits. Chen says she was thinking about Baymax from the animated film Big Hero 6. Seeing how Baymax and the workers both play the role of protectors in their respective worlds, the duo decided to use the character for their posters. Their posters, which contain multilingual updates about the latest pandemic measures and announcements for residents, have helped infuse their compound's WeChat group with a sense of optimism.

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Besides doing volunteer work, Chen Mengying and her housemate Stacey Klinge from the United States have been making posters to lighten the mood amid the current outbreak in their community in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The posters have also drawn the attention of several local media outlets, which have interviewed the two.

Besides creating the posters, Chen and Klinge have also been volunteering in the community since April 16. Their main tasks include delivering supplies to residents in the 29-floor block, translating Chinese notices for foreign residents, and helping organize daily nucleic acid tests. When not volunteering or making new posters, the duo are busy running their own businesses from home.

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Besides doing volunteer work, Chen Mengying and her housemate Stacey Klinge from the United States have been making posters to lighten the mood amid the current outbreak in their community in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

For Klinge, who runs a platform providing global work opportunities in the education field, her work today is mainly focused on planning how the business would restart following the end of the lockdown. Chen, who runs a beverage brand, is doing the same. While the current pandemic is challenging for their work, they have decided to focus on positive things, such as the friendships with their neighbors at this difficult time.

"I was seriously considering a return to the United States. But I've changed my mind after my fantastic volunteer experience in the community," says Klinge.

Designing a sense of cheer 5.jpeg

Besides doing volunteer work, Chen Mengying and her housemate Stacey Klinge from the United States have been making posters to lighten the mood amid the current outbreak in their community in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]


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