Obsessed with plastic

A scene in Plastic City. Photo courtesy: Plasticity Theatre Troupe

KUALA LUMPUR (Sin Chew Daily) -- Having watched the Plastic City shadow play performance by Plasticity Theatre Troupe in late May, I was contemplating my relationship with plastic products on my way home.

Since when did such a relationship begin? Was it the feeding bottle when I was an infant? Or the plastic toy I received as birthday gift when I turned one?

Frankly I couldn't recall when it actually happened. But one thing that deeply impressed me was the joy of flying plastic kites during my childhood years.

When I was bored to death, I would pick up one of the many plastic bags at home, poked a thread through it at one end and tied a knot. And when the wind blew, it sent my self-made toy high up to the sky.

It used to be my faithful playmate, its thin and light material making rustling noise when the wind pat on it.

I used to think the sound was teeming with vitality, but I never thought its vitality could be this tough, that it would take almost a thousand years to be completely decomposed by the elements.

Love-hate relationship

The word "plastic" made a debut in dictionaries in 1911, and the Americans began to replace metals with it during the second world war, signaling the start of the Plastic Age.

In just a short few decades, this thing has become mankind's inseparable companion: how it has changed our lives, and later become an insurmountable burden to Mother Earth.

The purpose of Plasticity Theatre Troupe putting up the show is to relate the story of how plastic is gradually endangering our planet and marine lives through the interplay of traditional shadow play and the incorporation of light and sound.

Walking to the back stage at the end of the show, I discovered that most of the props used were improvised from discarded plastic. Thanks to its versatility, this unwanted garbage has been once again turned into lively "actors" that not only enrich the visual experience of the audience but also shoulder a momentous mission of promoting the carbon reduction cause.

Plastic City presents the harms plastic products have done to marine lives as well as the impact of capitalist industrial development on Mother Nature, a presentation that ought to be brought to all primary schools across the country.

It invites us to rethink the nature of plastic and how it has left a mark on our lives.

What Plastic City can do in a world inundated with plastic is more than just depicting the harms it has done to our planet, but also inducing us to re-examine our love-hate relationship with this ubiquitous human creation.


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