During the life model workshop with Matt, we listed down key life events and talked about how they influenced us personally. Looking at my personal model, it reminded me something too familiar that I ignored in my life.
When I was a teenager, I was a young cynic and blind nationalism. It was 2008, several big events happened in China, Beijing hosted Olympic games, around 70 thousands people died during the Sichuan Earthquake, the relationship between Japan and China was intensive due to Diaoyudao Island issue, both disasters and glories brought all Chinese together. At school, history and political teachers kept repeating the historical humiliations to remind us to study for a rising China.After class I didn’t have any entertainment but reading political newspapers and watching CCTV news. My brain was washed by all medias with single value.
The key turning point was my first time going abroad to North Cyprus as a cultural volunteer at the age of 19, I have never heard about this country before, when I searched it online, all the media reports were talking about the conflicts between South and North Cyprus, between Greece and Turkey, I was so scared to be a volunteer in such a dangerous place, maybe I will die in the conflict and hatred. However, I had my happiest two months in North Cyprus, it was my first time to realize that people could be so friendly and peaceful, actually, I didn’t know anything about the world.
Since then, I no longer believe in media, and started to explore the world as much as I can, the best way to understand the country and their people is to go there and experience by myself.
In Indonesia, I lived in 7 homes and had 7 new families. But before going there, my impression on Indonesia was still on the 1998 tragedy when 1200 Chinese were killed and more than 400 Chinese women were raped in Indonesia. My Mom was worried about my safety, but now she told her friends “Indonesian are very friendly, they treated my daughter as their daughter. ”
In Cameroon, I was living with volunteers from different countries. One night I woke up and realised that we had an African Girl, Dutch Girl, and Chinese girl sleeping on the same bed now. But before coming to Africa, I was scared of black people. I never thought that one day the black, the white and the yellow would sleep on one bed and live in harmony, actually, my African friends took care of me and protected me all the time.
At one international conference, I met 2 best friends, one from Japan and one from Taiwan. We did everything together and shared a lot about each other’s culture and experience. I felt so comfortable staying with them, they respected you and understood you. Before when we talked about Japan, Taiwan and Mainland of China, it was about politics, but now it’s about friendship.
In Iran and Afghanistan, I can’t remember how much love and happiness I got there. Before going there, I thought I’d go to the most dangerous region, but after living with locals for more than one year, I called Iran and Afghanistan my home.
So many things are separating people in the name of UNITY, politics, money, power, race, religion, language, but what brought us together, is humanity. No matter you are Israel or Iranian, Rich or Poor, Black or Yellow, Fat or slim, Muslin or Christian, we will be happy when in love, we will be sad when someone leave, we will laugh when being with friends, we will feel relaxed at the beach……
What else could bring us together ?
No matter if it is painting, sculpture. architecture, music, fashion, film, dance, litereture, or any other medias, forms, styles. As the universal language, art overcomes cultural, ethnical, national, religion differences but bring people together.
In a world full of conflicts, separation, war, hatred, profits, how can art and humanities play their roles to bring all the humans together ?
Royal College of Art, London