Xiamen China Report – NOV 2019

Hello My Friends,

The island of Xiamen received its present name from the Xiamen Castle erected to meet the needs of coastal defense in 1387 during the Ming dynasty. The city is actually comprised of a number of islands just off the southern coast of China. One of the islands is Dadeng, which is the one we are on. It is so close to the large island of Taiwan, that on a clear day we can see it from our coastal hotel resort, where all of the Playshop participants are staying. Also a large coastal city on the Taiwan side lights up the sky at night.

During one of our mini-Drum Calls, one of our participants led the whole circle in a local love song to the people on the island of Taiwan. Everyone knew the words and melody. It was a song sung by the people on the mainland of the People’s Republic of China, to the people of Taiwan, hoping that they will be reunited soon. The song is over 70 years old.

This Playshop is our first one in Xiamen. But this area is not too far from Guangzhou where we have done four Playshops over the last eight years. So it was not a surprise to find eleven Level-2 Graduates in our population of almost 90 participants.

I found out that we were going to do a late night drum circle in the evening of the first day in the resort courtyard surrounded by Palm trees, exotic flowers and ponds. Concerned about the noise factor so close to the hotel, I pointed to the hotel rooms surrounding us and I asked, “what about the hotel guests?” The answer was, “the 90 person Playshop population IS the hotel guests. OK, Problum solved. We did two late night sessions at this Playshop. But in China we mix late night with freeform jump time, so everyone got a lot of practice in.

Chocolate, Fox, Jessica, and Hiping (pronounced High-Ping), were our Level-3 Graduates. They were major movers and supporters of the training process. With “Training processes” radars these four people were a big reason why this massive Playshop Training was such a success.

Once again, as in all my China programs, Tonny Wen, from KHS Music, was my main logistic supporter. Without the large variety of REMO Drums he provides for all the China Playshops, we couldn’t create such beautiful songs.

Our coastal resort venue was so far out of the city that hardly anyone showed up for our closing Community drum circle. So we just pretended that it was a family-friendly event. On the good side of that situation, although we had planned for a one-hour DC event, since no one was going home we just “ran the map” for over two hours until we were done.

Peter, and Chris first met at last year’s Guangzhou Playshop when their mothers brought them along to the training. Even though they were only eight years old, they both were excited by the drumming and participated in the exercises. Their mothers both attended this year’s Xiamen Playshop as Level 2s, and once again brought their sons along. Now this year, at nine years old, Peter, and Chris were fully engaged in the training process and they competed with each other for opportunities to fearlessly jump into the full circle. It was a privilege and a pleasure to watch these two kids develop into pre-teen facilitators. I hope that I get to watch them grow up into adulthood in time-lapse photography. Just like I have had the privilege of watching Rhonwyn Hagedorn mature, from her first Playshop at nine years old, into the VMC Global Trainer she is about to become. Come meet this 25-year-old bright light at the Prescott DCFG conference.

At some point during all three China Playshops on this tour (Hong Kong, Hangzhou & Xiamen) someone got into the center of the circle and facilitated the Babatunde Olatunji song, “Afanga Alafia.” His spirit lives on, even in China. And I am still standing on his shoulders.

I am heading home in time for Thanksgiving. At my age, still being able to do what I love and still loving what I do, is a privilege, a blessing and a lot to be thankful for. I wish the same blessing on all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Life is a dance when you're sharing your spirit… Uncle Arthur