My creative team and I are building a maze that audiences will enter in pairs, wearing headphones. Inside each room of the maze, there are objects for the audience to play with, to touch, to explore, as they navigate their way down dreamlike corridors. Newspaper clippings of the May Riots folded into elegant origami pieces; a forest of green foliage to comfort you as you listen to at times devastating detail about the violence; and a warm cup of tea to share with Fanny, our resident actor, who will greet you when you emerge from the maze.
Chinese Whispers takes a particular view of the riots, which occurred in Jakarta, Solo, Surabaya and other cities across Indonesia from May. Chinese-Indonesian owned property was destroyed, Chinese-Indonesian women were sexually assaulted and raped , and hundreds of urban poor were killed in fires set alight in shopping malls at the height of the rioting. I did not intend to create this work.
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In , when the seeds of Chinese Whispers began to grow, I thought that I was on the way to making a fairly conventional theatrical play. I began running theatre workshops with Chinese-Indonesian women with the intention to tell the story of our identity and our migration to Australia. I wanted to steer clear of any real delving into the May Riots. This reluctance to look at these violent events came from the fact that the perpetrators of violence and the masterminds of the riots continue to enjoy full impunity to this day. During some of my interviews, women who spoke at a normal volume when we were discussing their daily lives, their church communities here in Australia and so on, would suddenly drop their voices when we spoke about the May Riots.
They would not notice that they had done so until I drew attention to it. What is behind that sudden whispering? What do they fear? The Age of Openness. Hong Kong University Press. Collins Chinese Language and Culture. Everlasting Flower. Keith Pratt. Kai-cheung Dung. The Quest for Gentility in China. Daria Berg. Madeleine O'Dea. The Chinese Community in Toronto. Arlene Chan. Calligraphy and Power in Contemporary Chinese Society. Yuehping Yen. Was Mao Really a Monster?
Gregor Benton. Hong Kong.
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