TEDxKL to me

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment


A panel of motivational speakers waiting to inspire, over 800 audiences waiting to be inspired and an abundant amount of delicious vegetarian Indian food waiting to be eaten.

It started off with an overcrowded hall, people using their name tags to fan the heat away. Once we were settled, everyone had a pen and paper, like a child in a classroom, ready to get educated. But unlike that, everyone was an adult, either Malaysian or not, with different cultures and race, who came together in one room to learn.

“Are we cultural interdependent?” , ask Jo Kukathas, artistic director and founder of CHAI (Instant Cafe House of Arts & Ideas). She dressed up as her alter ego, Mina, and gave a hilarious talk to “Mr Ted”.

Yes we are. In this nation where we once thrived in differences and understood the multifaceted needs of each other, we lean on our neighbor’s shoulder.

But do we embrace it?

“We do not have our hands around anyone’s throat. We only have on them on our own throat”, she continued. “What is the point of material interdependence if we turn our backs on culture and heritage? Emphasizing on how Malaysia is trying to connect with the world by having more Starbucks and Macdonalds but not connecting the dots with our own culture.

Paul ponnodurai, the late fabulous Malaysian guitarist and a great friend of Jo, was not allowed to perform on a local national stage because he is Christian. While the rest of the world rejoice in his talent, the government failed to honour.

Controlled, fearful of change, insecure of the unknown future, setting platforms to limit our knowledge, culture and heritage. We were open and respectful now we spray tear gas at each other after parading like bananas around downtown, making a bad banana split affair.

Kevin Mark Low, an eloquent architect and founder of smallproject, spoke about finding balance between form and content. After an intense research of different cities that had same form of sky scrappers and glass cleaners, yes glass cleaners, he realised there is no “global shortage of form”, as it is all merely, “commercialization”. Similar forms of architectures around the world, driven by the same architects, designs, and structures but different somehow with their local signboards, languages and people.

Same same but different.

Personally recalled a moment where I stood in the middle of Paris and thought “this is so KL”. Of course, all that faded after I ate a whole baguette and drank some good espresso looking over the river.

There were a lot more speakers but here are just a few to highlight  my favourites. Certainly is thought provocative and emotionally encouraging. A halt or restart button to life. Questioning the heart what should be done to be more proactive with the community. I somehow perceive change as an innate to one’s wellbeing. Looking into our hearts, seek truth, create movement for change and depict what is best, not for ourselves but for everyone as one.

Look inward for thoughts. Look outwards for actions. Be present at moments that call for attention. That connects everyone of us to be what we are today. For what we do from day to day is a figment of other people’s desire. Broken into many pieces to be one. True happiness is shared. But to find inner peace, be ready to face flaws, tainted, satisfaction ungarenteed, goals unfulfilled. When one is ready to come clean and be honest, with the mirror, take the leap and don’t look back. Live, laugh with unfaded smiles and share.

As Jo or rather Mina, said, it is not the questions we ask, but maybe ask ourselves what are the questions worth asking?”

So here I ask, where is the everlasting light?

For yourself, your family, your nation, and humanity.


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