How was EastEnd Notes born?
Being a Buddhist with Bangladeshi ethnicity, I was deeply disturbed by the violence that was occuring on the border of Muslim Bangladesh and Buddhist Myanmar (Burma). I felt I needed to do something that could show the world that men of all religions (who frequently get a bad press) really can work together in harmony. A community choir seemed the perfect idea to forge bonds, have fun and create something wonderful together.
What/ who challenges you?
I have battled with one particularly challenging person for a very long time. He has been horrendous to me, using any excuse to criticise me publicly, badmouth me to others, put obstacles in my way, sabotage my projects and basically try to destroy anything I do: the worst bully I've ever known. Of course, this bully is myself. This is where the advice of Daisaku Ikeda has helped, in order to overcome my own negativity and realise my full potential no matter what the circumstances. Only I can hold myself back, and lately I've been doing my best to be my own best friend and believe in my capability.
What can opera do for young people? And what can young people do for opera?
Opera is a social activity because it brings people together. It takes so many different people with a huge diversity of interests, skills, backgrounds, and ideas, and it puts them all in a room with hundreds if not thousands of other people, where they try to create something new and inspiring. Young people love socialising, and given the right way to access this opportunity, they can contribute to making it even more amazing, profound, beautiful, funny, exciting and relevant. It's a win-win situation.