Hong Kong, 2019 Report

Hello My Friends,

‘Yet  E  Yat  Chai  Lay’ means 1 2 Lets All Play in Cantonese, the major Chinese language in South China.

Thanks to REMO’s support, I have been coming to Hong Kong on a regular bases since before the official British hand over of the territory of Hong Kong to China. In 1997, during the Hand Over Ceremonies, I facilitated a large community drum circle in Kowloon Park.

Kumi Masunaga and I have been working together since her first Hawaii Playshop in 2001. She was my first choice to be our Hong Kong VMC-Global Trainer. But when I asked her a few years ago to join our VMC training family, as a single mother with a pre-teen, she wasn’t sure if she could take on that extra responsibility. Now with her daughter, Aya, fully developed into teen-hood, Kumi is ready to add being a VMC-Global Trainer to her vast resume as a veteran recreational drumming community builder on the rhythm evangelist mission.

My second trip back to China this year was the perfect opportunity to stop in Hong Kong for a TTT (Train the Trainer) program for Kumi. She will join the certification program with Jim Boneau and I in Prescott Arizona in February. You will also see her at the DCFG Conference immediately following our certification program in AZ.

For over 18 years Kumi has facilitated a monthly community drum circle at one of the worlds most iconic locations, Victoria Harbor. It looks across the harbor to the amazing Hong Kong Skyline.

This is a picture of Kumi and I co-facilitating that circle a few years back. We are on the Kowloon side of the bay with the Hong Kong skyline in the background.

That’s the kind of open outdoor free-flow circle that helped train her to be the masterful facilitator that she is today. She has also maintained an amazing, special and vibrant gathering in downtown Hong Kong, that brings many aspects of cutting edge cultural expression to China. It is held at the appropriately named “Fringe Club.”

When I participated in the Fringe Club event a few years ago, it felt like being in downtown Soho in NYC in the 80s. This special DC has been going on for14 years and is still going strong. Kumi was the first Asian facilitator that REMO signed as endorsee. That happened right after she came to her first Hawaii Playshop in 2001. Since then she has been representing REMO and doing special recreational drum circles for the various music industry events throughout China and Japan.

Kumi brought together 46 people for this 3-Day TTT Playshop. All of them were first time beginning beginners. The advantage of that was since Kumi and I were the only “Challenge” people, we could insert the Challenge exercises into the training curriculum any where we wanted to. That gave us more “Flexibility” in our program design. She also had lunch catered on both full days, giving extra play time and hangout/networking time (see demographics below).

The Hong Kong protest movement, that has been happening in the city, was an ongoing fluid factor that we dealt with by holding our training on the South Side of the Hong Kong island. Far away from the protest areas. To get to the South Side, you have to literally drive through the mountain, that makes up the Hong Kong island.

Our Training Venue was on the other side of the Hong Kong Island Mountain in this picture. A tunnel goes right through it.

Our Playshop venue was the Leo Lee Arts center that is connected to the Canadian International’s School. We had a large good sounding room to play in and a beautiful view outside on our balcony deck, as seen in this photo below…

Because of scheduling around some of the protest activities, we had only 2 hours on the first day to deliver the “Trojan Horse Anatomy Maps” and the first two exercises including the Half Group Sculpt with Call and Response. We accomplished our goal by eliminating the “Looking Thing” and the “Challenge” exercises.

For the American and International Train-The-Trainers (TTTers) who might be reading this, don’t freak out. The basic important elements that are usually delivered in the ‘Looking Thing’ and the ‘Challenge’ exercises were successfully delivered throughout the second day. Remember the word “Flexibility” is in your VMC Playshop Training manual over 20 times.

Even though it was out of the way, Kumi’s recreational drumming community showed up to our closing community drum circle. We had a population of 90 moms, dads and kids participating. Our Playshop students did great facilitation. While keeping the volume down and playing dynamics interestingly, they paid attention to each others facilitation sequences and followed the energy. There was a lot of love and spirit being shared there, in a city full of turmoil and strife. We made the world a little better place, one beat at a time.

Kumi and I had so much fun running this Playshop together, that at the end, there was no longer a teacher and a Train-The-Trainer student. We were both each others teachers and at the same time each others students.

On to Hangzhou in mainland China… Life IS a dance.


6 School Teachers

12 Music Teachers

6 Drum Teachers

7 Music Therapist

7 Elderly related Professionals

1 Adults At Risk Professionals

13 Kids at Risk Professionals

17 Special Needs Professionals

3 Corporate Facilitators

2 Psychotherapist

16 Infant- Toddler Facilitators

3 Medical related, Doctors, Nurses and Health care Professionals

10 School Rhythm Event Facilitators

1 Community Drum Circles Facilitators

1 Drum Makers

8 Professional Musicians

All  Recreational Drummers

11 Culturally specific drummers

12 People Connected to nonprofit organizations

Share your Spirit   Arthur