Going Solo: Student’s Play Explores Pressures on Young People

Video by Martha Spiess

Earlier in the semester, when theater student Phui Yi Kong ’15 was considering what project she wanted to work on for her independent assignment, her imagination and ambition traveled far beyond the limits of the stage, and far beyond Bowdoin’s campus.

Kong, who is from Malaysia, decided she wanted to work on a play she could perform for Malaysian teenagers —one that grappled with issues familiar to young people in her country. Malaysian students who show promise are under pressure to succeed at school, at college and in their careers. The ones who earn scholarships tend to follow fairly predictable routes to success by becoming, say, lawyers, doctors or engineers. This social expectation to conform can stifle individuality and artistic aspirations, Kong says, and ultimately dampen a young person’s potential. Read the full story.

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