On the Couch with Kim Ho

Kim Ho AAR On the CouchWho is Kim Ho?
I’m a writer, performer and dramaturg based in Naarm. I love stories; I think they’re both useless and profoundly important. I’m constantly struggling with my identity as a diasporic writer. I’m a capybara enthusiast. My head is full of pop culture knowledge. I could talk for hours about the politics of Star Wars. My vibe is best described as Muji Poster Boy.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Be more in tune with my body. Right now I treat is like a vehicle to get my brain places.

Who inspires you and why?
I care so much what everyone thinks of me, all the time. It’s exhausting. So, I really admire people who have a strong sense of who they are, what they will and won’t tolerate from others, and whose opinions they’ll listen to. As an artist, it can often feel like you’re making art instead of doing something meaningful – social advocacy, activism, ecological conservation, NGO work, legal aid etc. So, within the artistic community, I admire people who can strike a balance between their work and their activism/volunteering, and keep their art in perspective and in context.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Don’t attack me like that! My art’s making a difference, right? I want to plant more trees. I want to make more time to talk to people experiencing homelessness, and volunteer at shelters. I want to earn more money so I can donate to the ASRC, to bushfire appeals. I want to use zero waste and get a better relationship with nature.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Visiting Cambodia was one of the most formative experiences of my life. It’s a sensory overload. It’s so easy to get around and so humbling to walk around ancient temples. Plus, dragonfruit is so cheap there!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The best tourist thing I’ve ever done in Naarm is a guided walk along the Yarra River called Walking Country, Walking Birrarung. The guide describes peeling back the concrete and imagining what Birrarung looked like before colonisation. I’m recommending it to any newcomers. I also think the huge attraction of the city is exploring the laneways and the hidden bars, the indie music and theatre venues, the arthouse cinemas etc. I think we’re so lucky to have the Arts scene that we do here.

What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Australianama by Samia Khatun. It’s a history of South Asians in Australia, including the camel drivers who “opened up” the inland and built mosques of tin and clay.

What are you currently listening to?
Ghosteen by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. What a gut punch.

Happiness is?
Dynamic, not a set state you can reach – and that’s fine. For me, it’s snuggling with my partner, drinking rooibos and consuming Star Wars content – sometimes but rarely at the same time.

What does the future hold for you?
I want to keep trying out more forms and styles and genres. I want to get more into screen. My dad keeps telling me, “You know, you should write for Netflix. Have you considered that?” I guess I want to write for Netflix. Maybe one day I’ll write a Star Wars.

Kim is the playwright of The Great Australian Play – which will be presented by Montague Basement at Theatre Works: 19 – 29 February 2020. For more information, visit: www.theatreworks.org.au for details.

Image: Kim Ho (supplied)