I remember when I was young, I loved having new beginnings. It made me feel so refreshed and the excitement of it all just gave me the energy I needed.
There is a Chinese saying, "The new toilet will be fragrant for three days." that means things always look good in the beginning but then one will lose interest in it eventually. It kinda describes how I am in most things I do in life, I guess. To cope with it, I started setting small goals and deadlines for things I do so I can cheat myself thinking or feeling that it is a new beginning after every small goal and get that surge of adrenaline to get me through the next stage until things get done finally.
2017 started in a way not everyone would welcome that new beginning. Not even me - who wants that new president of the United States of America who has managed to turn the clock backwards on human rights so quick shy of five days into his term? And there will be more new beginnings in terms of the change of leadership of a country this year: Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, France, Germany, Hungary, etc. Not to mention many parlimentary and legislative elections as well. With new governemnts, new beginnings shape the world into a big unknown and tell a different kind of story. As playbackers, are we actively listening to these stories and responding in the most appropriate form?
Jo Salas's first book about Playback Theatre is titled "Improvising Real Life" and it has always been my own motto when doing Playback Theatre training or sharing. So often when I tell people about Playback, I ask them to think of how they live. Most of the time we do not plan our live. It just happens. Therefore to get in touch with our spontaneity through improvisational training would be of utmost importance. For me, this is even more true as we face the challenges we face today.
For us here in Hong Kong, we get to have two new beginnings this time of the year. We first have January 1st. Then we have "Nin Chor Yat" which means the first day of the Chinese New Year. This year, it lied on January 28th. (Yup, it's different each year as we have our own Chinese lunar calendar.) And I would like to believe that would make my new beginnings' resolutions and wishes double in strength.
Let's listen to the essence of the stories of our time, especially to those news stories that are disheartening or disgusting. Listen to what is it that those people involved are actually telling us. Listen to those who vote for tyranny. Listen to those who commit terrorist acts. Listen to those who are different. Listen. Then with compassion and empathy, we express and reflect. We act. We resist. We demonstrate. We educate. We improvise - knowing it won't be perfect but we dare ourselves to speak the truth and keep our integrity no matter what. No matter what. We will live our lives by example. We will be the change we want to see. And we will start a new beginning that belongs to the people by exercising our skills in listening that we learn through doing Playback Theatre.
For 2017, I wish you being heard. I wish every voice gets their chances to be heard. I wish you Happy New Ears.