Event has become a must-attend experience
Audience inspired, energized by ordinary people who became extraordinary pursuing what they believe in to be right
TO say that last Saturday’s TEDxKL was a success is probably an understatement. It was a roaring experience that lifted the spirits of all those fortunate enough to have attended, and earned the organizers and speakers (pic) a standing ovation.
This is already one of the very few events where Malaysians will not wait till the last minute to book their seats. In fact, you can’t even wait for the last two weeks as seats were sold out with around 10 days to go. Not even a Justin Bieber or dangdut concert can claim that here.
I was going to write a commentary on it but really an experience (it was not an event) such as TEDxKL must be told through the eyes of those who stayed throughout the riveting experience. I only managed to catch the first two and final talks. Fortunately for me, among the talks I caught were the ones by the incomparable Jo Kukathas who was allowed to go where very few TEDx or even TED speakers have gone – to speak beyond 18 minutes. Jo hit the magical 22-minute mark!
And, there was Jamal Raslan -- upon learning that he was a poet, my first uncensored and honest thoughts were, “What! What’s Daniel Cerventus (TEDxKL curator) doing inviting a boring poet?”
Shame on me because the power of Jamal’s prose and his intense delivery had me awed. I went up to him later and shared that his command of the English language was a gift and cannot be bought. And, that I felt six inches tall in the presence of his prose!
But let’s read about the experience of TEDxKL, through the feelings of two members of the audience and one volunteer. In some instances I have paraphrased for brevity and clarity.
As one participant, Vishal J Singh shared: “TEDxKL, quite simply, lifted my spirits. To witness so many brilliant local and overseas speakers shining on stage, passionate and enthusiastic in their respective industries, was truly a powerful affair. These wonderful people spoke about matters close to their hearts, sharing their concerns and feelings with members of the audience, enthralling us with personal ideas and observations that opened our eyes in ways we had not even realized.”
It is safe to say that Vishal’s feelings were shared by almost all who attended. Naturally with 800 people, one cannot satisfy all. Tintoy Chuo, a designer attending his first TED event enjoyed himself immensely and was pleasantly surprised by the speakers from the arts and music world. However the lessons from the stand-up comedian were lost on him. “I felt it was not suitable for an event such as this.”
He is hoping for more speakers from the technology industry next year and has marked this down as a must-attend event for personal enrichment and motivation.
The great thing about TEDxKL is that it has many facets of personal enrichment. For one volunteer Regina Goh, a long-time fan of TED (which stands for technology, entertainment and design) talks, it was like going from being a groupie to a stagehand for a favorite rock band’s performance (well, almost).
“What makes volunteering for TEDx different is knowing that in our not-so-small way, we are contributing and working towards a bigger part of a global change and opening minds to new knowledge in our own community. And, that, it's a concerted effort happening simultaneously with other TEDx groups around the world.”
The enrichment of working with a great bunch of like-minded people, feeding off the positive energy that they each generate and derive from other drives them all to do more. “And of course, there's the chance to learn, to share and feel (refer to Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor) with the speakers while being inspired at the same time,” is immense she says. She notes that this kind of heartfelt experience sharing is certainly worth more than any 18-minute TEDx talk.
The speakers that stood out more than anyone else, in Vishal’s eyes anyway, were Jo Kukathas, Kevin Mark Low and Jamal Raslan. “They mesmerized the audience with their insightful observations, sharp rhetoric and poetic wit, and made us contemplate so much about our identities and our landscapes, that, in our hearts, we found ourselves close to tears with what they had to say.”
“Jo and Jamal in particular had us completely hooked with their thoughts on how the integrity of our national traditions and cultures and indeed, the very soul of the nation itself, was being diluted, compromised and even dismissed at an alarming rate and somehow, something must be done to save and propagate the very essence of who we are for the sake of our future, our country and even for our children.”
Ends Vishal, “It truly was a remarkable day, and its one that I’ll cherish for a long, long time. On to the next one.”
TEDxKL set to rock attendees