By Hans Ebert

Goodness knows that wherever in the world we are, we’re in short supply of good news, so it was uplifting to hear that in his new movie popular Chinese actor Donny Wen, below, will play the role of a teacher trying to teach a group of socially challenged youths and ethnic minority misfits with no sense of belonging about Hong Kong’s “Can Do” spirit.

Many in the city will be quick to tell you that this “Can Do” spirit has got up and walked away- a typical response these days from many- too many- drinking from that half empty glass and only seeing what’s wrong instead of what’s right. They’re not wrong. Let’s not sugarcoat it: Hong Kong today is hardly a hit song by Pharrell Williams. We’re not happy, but we don’t know why we’re unhappy. We’re just not happy like house without a roof.

The other night a singer friend asked me if I felt that there was no point in doing anything these days. How she wouldn’t even know what to do. How it was even hard work to actually get out of bed and do something. I empathised. Often, I replied. Often, there’s a determined effort to get ready to go out, one gets dressed, then thinks about what’s really out there and how few people are out there who one can really engage in interesting conversation without having to numb yourself with alcohol in order to have a good night out. But this is living a faked out life. It’s not even living. It’s just surviving.

The more my friend and I talked, what became clear is that we’re in very short supply of inspiration. And inspiration comes from those who, sure, have the power to inspire, but also from music, movies, a poem, art, a single line from somewhere. Whatever touches us. And we’re all different.

One of the problems is that accentuating the positive has taken a backseat to bombarding the senses with so much clutter that’s almost always focusing on the negative.

Whether we realise it or not we’re either allowing ourselves, or else have already allowed ourselves to leave that sunny side of the street and enter a murky and far more grey area.

It’s going from the magic and uncertainty and interesting gobbledygook of Strawberry Fields, perhaps Penny Lane and definitely Itchycoo Park to being comfortably numb on the dark side of the moon.

It’s forgetting the creativity and edutainment and colour-free world that Jim Henson gave the world on Sesame Street and the world of the Muppets. Bring it all back. Please.

Think about the last time you really laughed out loud or even smiled to yourself. Remember just how much we laughed watching “Seinfeld”, or “Friends” or “Cheers”? Where do we “go” to today for this laughter? There’s so much of everything out there, but who and where are the laughter makers?

Who are those today who can give us the well crafted insanity and mad humour and escapism in all those Pink Panther movies starring the genius of Peter Sellers and what made the team of Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor so special?

Who’s there to give us the political incorrectness that didn’t come with a hashtag of anger that director Mel Brooks would unleash in “Young Frankenstein”, “High Anxiety” and “The Producers”? Gawd knows we need us some Gene Wilder these days.

It saddens me terribly to see Sri Lanka, the country where I was born, being rocked once again by politics, religious conflicts and violence.

I’ve been visiting the “motherland” regularly recently and was starting to see a glimmer of hope- more and more foreign investment, new five star hotels, young local entrepreneurs daring to dream big. And now come riots, curfews. It’s taking two steps backwards to end up taking ten steps backwards.

In Hong Kong, there’s a great deal of anger. It’s as if everyone is clutching at straws to blame someone else for everything when we should be looking for solutions. One can’t help thinking to those lines by Dylan about how nobody’s right when everybody’s wrong.

What the hell are we so angry about? Maybe technology has given us everything at our fingertips that we have too much time on our hands? And you know what they say about idle hands, especially in this unsocial social media driven world. It’s an outlet to rage against the machine by so many hiding behind anonymity that’s so easy to track down today. It’s all become so petty and goofy. It’s such misspent energy.

The world needs healing. The world is crying, and it’s up to each of us to do our part, no matter how small, to bring positivity into our lives and which we can share with others and hope it ignites a chain reaction of inspiration.

Actor Donny Yen is doing his part in Hong Kong. Others are doing the best they can with whatever they can- music, art, poetry, working with those who need help. There’s never enough to do.

The genie of hate must be replaced by angels of everything joyous. It’s about one religion bringing together Hope and Inspiration and Laughter and Caring in the real world. It’s leapfrogging into Kermit’s Rainbow Connection.

#DonnyYen #Hope #Inspiration #HongKong #Happiness #GeneWilder #MelBrooks #RichardPryor #WakeUpCall #JimHensen #Muppets #SesameStreet