Storytellers Xin Hui Tan, 29, and Sian Hiu Tay, 36, who go by Val and Tay, respectively, have traveled the world fueled on the idea that people’s dreams have the power to inspire other dreams.
“My dream is to tell inspiring stories,” Tay says, matter-of-factly.
“Right now, at this current moment, my dream is to have a full house at the Central Library,” says Val, laughing.
The duo is currently preparing for #DreamsUnlimited, a free 90-minute interactive multicultural multimedia performance at Seattle’s Central Library on Sunday, October 19 at 1:30 p.m. The event is designed to share people’s hopes and dreams through films, photos, live-music, spoken word, and traditional oral storytelling—all presented by local and regional artists.
Performers include Swil Kanim, Monica & Hodan, Troy Osaki, and De Cajon, among others. Val and Tay will also be sharing stories from their journey that spans 12 countries, 200 public events, and almost 4,000 dreams.
Originally from Singapore, the duo began their careers as television producers searching for something more.
The story goes, without giving too much away, that Val and Tay, while on vacation in Taiwan six years ago, were serendipitously led by a typhoon, a train, and a husky dog to a place that would change their lives forever.
They found themselves at a hidden bed-n-breakfast made up of train cars. It was run by a man called Luo Papa.
“We had spent a lot of time talking to him,” Tay says. “So he had converted two whole lines of trains right outside of his house into a b&b and a restaurant. … And remember, this was in the middle of nowhere. We had to follow these strange and tawdry instructions to get there. This was a really out of place anomaly. And so, being the storytellers that we are, we just had to ask him, ‘Why are you here?’ and ‘Why is this here?’ He looked at us like we asked a really silly question. And he says, ‘Well, it’s my dream.’ And he walked off.”
Tay and Val says they were stunned by the simple admission.
“We were bawling our eyes out,” Val says. “It was the first time ever in our lives that someone had so audaciously claimed something as his dream. Before that, the concept of [actually fulfilling your] dreams was very foreign. It was like, okay you need to earn enough money, retire, make sure your family is good, and then you can maybe do a few travels. And then you call it good. … He showed us through the way he lived his life, his life story basically, that everytime he had a passion that he would just follow his heart and he would just do it and make it work. He showed us the possibility that we, too, could do the same. And that is how we started this dream.”
Tay and Val’s journeys would continue from Luo Papa’s b&b and, thanks to good fortune and travels throughout the world, and would lead them to discover other people’s dreams. The pair has developed a knack for reaching through to strangers, to hosts, and to students by sharing their stories and by listening in order to help people have the courage to declare their own dreams.
In their multimedia storytelling events, Tay and Val actively work with local performers and organizers to create a community event.
“Something we’re very proud of in this event is we’ve collaborated with local artists and regional artists to bring their stories, their dreams on stage,” Tay says. “So all these performing artists who are being featured are young emerging artists … The whole point is for them to tell their stories through their craft, their passion, and for it to be a mirror for all artists to see them.”
For more information on #DreamsUnlimited, visit www.mydream.is/seattle.