Pet Sounds: Leo Lau

Pet Sounds: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a piece of music or song. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

Roadside Picnic.png

Coldplay’s “Paradise”

‘Where is your paradise?’

At the age of seven, during a Chinese lesson, I was asked to write about ‘My Dream’. With no regard for the limitations of reality, my classmates and I used to dream freely, even about things considered ‘unrealistic’ in our everyday circumstances.

‘I want to be a superman! I want to bring about a just world!’

‘I want to be a magician! I want to create great things for mankind!’

‘I want to be a billionaire! I will give half of what I have to poor countries.’

When we became adults, everything has changed adversely. We perceive ‘thinking of paradise’ to be a childish act. Even if we have our very own paradise deep inside our heart, we don’t seem to take pride in it—we are ashamed of having what others consider to be ‘childlike’. Paradise has become obsolete for us.

‘How old do you think you are?’

‘What a childish pathetic prick. When will you ever grow up?’

‘Stop dreaming unrealistically. You are a mature adult.’

In a nutshell, perhaps the meaning of maturity merely depends on the money you make. The more money you make (and save), the more mature you are.

There is no one, but the cruel materialistic society where we live, to be blamed for limiting our imagination. We all are so ‘fortunate’ to live in the city that tops the world rankings for cost of renting. With skyrocketing inflation, the cost of daily necessities rises on a yearly basis. Dreaming of paradise has become a luxury—how can we afford to even think about it without settling our daunting bills?

‘Where is your paradise?’

A place where dreaming of paradises is celebrated, where no dreamers are considered obsolete.

You may say I am just a dreamer, but I am definitely not the only one.

P.S. This year in summer, I was invited to take part in Brave Kids festival, an international art festival that brought together kids from around the world to put on a show in Poland. As a ‘Brave Youth’ serving the role as an assistant artistic instructor, I had the pleasure of working with talented kids from 17 countries, as well as other great volunteers and artistic leaders. Having been inspired by the song, I randomly walked around the place where we were working with sheets of paper, and asked the kids, their leaders and the volunteers to write about their paradise. You might like to take a look at the compiled result.


LeoA self-proclaimed ‘ethnic minority activist, Leo Lau is completing a BA in English & BEd ELT. [Read all entries by Leo here.]

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