= Reflection 感想 =

Empty yourself. Let the sound enter you, palpably. Your body is a container.

At the artist workshop in Hong Kong, we spent half of the time relaxing our bodies and learning how to listen wholeheartedly. Through the practice of continuous listening and note taking, I realized in amazement how many messages had actually been missed whilst one was listening. Unlike our eyes, our ears comprise a system that can neither be shutted down nor turned off: when you are tired or do not wish to read on, you can simply close your eyes; but what about your ears? In fact, it all comes down to the choices constantly made by our concentration. Staying concentrated, we can decide whether to listen to a particular sound or soak up all sounds in an uproarious environment—like how our mind functions. Nonetheless, once the level of concentration runs low, or too many judgments are already formed during the process of listening, or when one is too eager to express one’s feelings, the listening is bound to be stopped. Only when you attempt to empty yourself and let the sound palpably enter you will your body turn into a container.

Create a world we want to listen to.

The field trip to Manila, as compared to the listening practices on the streets in Hong Kong, is an experience based on a completely different order. The most unforgettable part goes to the listening practice along the pedestrian pathway built between the seaside and the main road. Confronted by the blaring traffic noise and the rhythmic sound of the waves, my body made the most honest response by tensing up immediately. Perhaps I was a ruler that was used to measure the crack of the impoverished and polluted Manila, yelling that the crack was too narrow, and that it was too packed to occasionally squeeze in the clip-clop of those horse-drawn carriages that carried tourists around. Gazing at the barefoot children coming towards me, I could not help but wonder: how could we possibly squeeze happiness into this crack too?

Derek, a co-walker and artist who performed with me in Manila, managed to answer my question by a guided tour in the community. Wandering around the area where he worked and lived and dodging in and out of the busy traffic during peak hours, I somehow started to master some of the navigation skills and my nervous body, much stiffened over the past few days, also began to relax itself. Derek and I looked at each other and chuckled. Well, isn’t such folk wisdom developed in between crevices exactly the kind of happiness that could be squeezed into a crack?

This provided the inspiration for our improvised sound performance. Despite all the limitations of the surroundings, as long as we strive to create with all our heart, happiness is still able to be squeezed in. And it is probably for the sake of creating a world we want to listen to that we have to learn how to listen to the present.