Can you get through life in 60 minutes without breaking a leg or losing an eye?
Jockey Club Life Journey Centre provides an innovative and interactive experience where you can walk through every phase of life in one hour.
Cheuk Man-tat, a teacher from HKSKH Bishop Hall Secondary School, introduced the experience to his health management and social care class. Earlier this year, he took his Form Four students to the centre.
Situated in Senior Citizen Home Safety Association (SCHSA) in Ho Man Tin, the centre, which welcomes student groups, is divided into four zones.
To start with, Cheuk’s students collect their boarding passes. A timestamp on the pass indicates the time they were born.
“Holding the boarding pass, you immediately know you are going to a place, starting a new journey,” says Clifton Leung, who worked on the centre’s interior design.
After a simple questionnaire on “my dream life”, the students are led to an open zone. They are told they have 20 minutes to make choices about things like their career, love, and wealth. They can increase their score for the respective areas by doing different activities.
There is no guidance in the zone; you have to figure out what you want and how you can get it by yourself. In Cheuk’s group of nine students, some seem well aware of their priorities and go straight to certain activities to get points in that area, while others need to stop to think about it.
They think they have plenty of time left, until a staff member interrupts them after just 10 minutes.
Fate is interrupting. Just like in real life, you might think you have plenty of time to try everything, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Once the group gathers, they are assigned different fates. The lucky ones get to carry on with the games like nothing had happened. Others are not so lucky.
Kelvin Li Chi-ho’s fate is “burdened”, and the designers made it literal. For the rest of his journey, he has to carry weights. “I get so tired,” he says. To move on with his life, he pairs up with a classmate who fate has dictated will be blind. “We help each other with games we can’t accomplish on our own,” he said.
After everyone moves on with the games, there is one boy left in the middle of the room, mumbling, “What am I going to do now?”
He is destined to be disabled, and has to sit in a wheelchair, waiting for someone to push him.
But he’s lucky compared to Momo Chan Yi-ting. His fate is “sudden death”. His journey ends right then and there. He is led away through a tunnel. Much like life itself, the tunnel is one-way, there is no going back.
The rest in peace zone waits at the end of the tunnel; a private space for students to reflect.
It’s the second time Momo has taken part in the experience, and it’s also the second time fate has dealt him the sudden death card. “I wasn’t expecting it at all,” says Momo. “For me, it’s more than a game, it’s a life experience and a lesson. There are different situations in life, and just like in real life, they can happen to anyone.”
“Participants who experience ‘sudden death’ normally have more reflections after the experience, especially among younger groups,” says Irene Leung, CEO of SCHSA. “Lots of young people see it as, you’re running out of time when you’re old, I’m still young and have plenty of time ahead of me. But life doesn’t discriminate, you don’t know when your final moment will be. They get a real shock when they get the sudden death card.”
Leung says the message is: “There are ups and downs in life; how will you handle the ‘downs’? How will you handle your friends’ ‘downs’?”
Cheuk says his students took the experience seriously. “It’s better than using textbooks. It gives them a chance to really think about the subjects,” he says. The centre allows the students to focus for a short period of time, to stay away from their phones and the outside world, to experience and to think, he added.
Kelvin agrees. He thought it would just be another boring “listen-to-your-heart” experience, but it turned out to be an inspiring game. “We learned about every stage of life and we got to think about how we can make the most of our future,” he says.
The life journey experience is now available in both English and Cantonese.