I have heard many stories from people coming to Shanghai, about how hard it is to get used to the place or to the culture, and it is indeed challenging for some. But then one day I was wondering, how hard can it be to stand out from the crowd, how does it feel to be a minority in a pool of minorities in China, how do we define the notion of minorities in a place where seemingly every expat is more or less a minority. Turns out, religious minorities do have a hard time to adjust to this new environment in China, where not everything is being accepted, or where there are constant barriers to carry out your spirituality or religious practices.
I interviewed a muslim woman who is an expat in China and who came here 3 years ago, given a job offer and new future prospects. The interview experience was interesting, having the interview someone you barely know, or being offered the privilege of them opening up to you is quiet a difficult task, it definitely took a while and a few takes until we switched from topics like food, and the feeling of being new to China, to how it actually feels to be a Muslim in China and carry out your religious practices, and how challenging and hard it can be sometimes to switch from a whole different environment you have at home, to a place with new rules and new ways of doing things or practicing your religious beliefs.
I guess it was a lot easier to have someone open-minded to interview, and who is actually willing to share their experience with you, and I rather let her speak her mind and tell me her story while developing on what she has previously said than trying to constantly interrupt and ask questions.
While editing the piece I also decided to add as background the prayer I previously recorded in a Mosque in Shanghai, as I think the two pieces matched perfectly given that she was talking about how she feels about practicing her religious beliefs in China, combined with an actual prayer being carried out here.