Pick-A-Hero ambassador Andrew Marko shares his own experience with bullying
1. Growing up, what was life in school like? School is the time where we make friends. What was your memory of making friends in school?
Life in school was quite isolated when I was a kid. I was always quite an odd ball. I used to tell people that I had superpowers and that I could control the weather. I don’t think I would’ve wanted to be my friend either...Hahaha. I was picked on a lot because of my size. I’ve been overweight since time and space began and other kids enjoyed reminding me about it as often as they could, bless them. I cared very little for connecting with other human beings. I turned most of my attention to the world of television. It was the only friend I needed. This is where my fascination with accents and storytelling started developing. My days were spent tolerating the torment of school to run home to a little TV box set that would never call me names or hurt me. It helped serve as an escape for me. But it also taught me a lot about human beings and their curious capacity to be capable of such brutal hatred and loving kindness all in one. I loved watching nature and history documentaries. I let very few people into my life and even when I did, I’d eventually just turn back inwards to be friends with my books, my music, and my television.
2. Thank you for sharing, why did you agree to become the Pick-A-Hero ambassador?
You’re most welcome! I feel like this is something that really resonates with me and I think it’s an important subject to talk about because it’s such a real and vicious thing. I’d want to be able to help anyone who is currently struggling with a bully in their life.
3. How do you think theatre can help address social issues such as cyberbullying?
I think theatre has the immense power to allow an audience to sit with their humanity. Through storytelling, it picks apart anything and everything about human life and by expressing this spectrum through dance, music, text, puppetry, etc., a good piece of theatre takes you through an introspective journey that brings you closer to the heart of your humanity. Social issues ride the wings of theatre very well because of the storytelling aspect that allows specific issues to be magnified on stage and serve as a mirror for the audience who will leave with questions and comments. This is how a discussion opens up. This is how issues are addressed. This is how changes are made.
4. Do you have any advice for young people who are victims of bullying?
You are not alone. You will never be alone. There will always be people who care for you and love you. Most people who bully don’t do it because they’re inherently evil. Neither are they bad people. They are the same as any one of us. Everyone has a struggle that they’re going through whether they choose to let you see it or not. Be quick to forgive not necessarily because they deserve your forgiveness, but because you deserve your peace.
5. Knowing what you went through when you were younger, what advice do you have for 8-year old Andrew?
Don’t you worry about a thing. Everyone is on their own unique path of life. You’re just on yours. All the negativity you receive is only teaching you how to be a source of positivity and light and one day you will heal yourself and you will want to heal everyone around you too. Even the ones who hurt you. Be the love you want to receive.
ABOUT PICK A HERO
The Pick-A-Hero project is a production and campaign by Singapore Repertory Theatre to combat cyberbullying in our society. Done in collaboration with 5 local educational institutions-Commonwealth Secondary School, Hwa Chong Institution, Anglo-Chinese Junior College, Tampines Meridian Junior College and Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) with Beyond Social Services. This project is proudly sponsored by The Rotary Club of Singapore and in association with Touch Cyber Wellness.