OVER the past three years, the people behind TEDxKL have been giving young Malaysians the chance to organise their own annual TEDx event, and the results have been spectacular – TEDxYouth@KL is now so popular, tickets for its third edition on Nov 22 have already sold out.
The team has once again attracted a line-up of popular personalities to speak at the event, which will happen at the Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur.
“What we do here at TEDxYouth@KL is give the volunteers a platform to experience new things,” said Teoh Chon Giap, 22, who is a co-curator of the event.
“This could help them broaden their vision, and maybe even give them entrepreneurial ideas that could help them in the future.
“All of us do it for passion: The passion to spread great ideas, especially within the technology, entertainment and design industries (hence TED).”
This year’s theme, “Worlds imagined: No fears, no boundaries”, has a personal resonance with many in the 100-strong team that works tirelessly to ensure the event meets – and even exceeds – the high standards of the TED brand.
TED is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting “ideas worth spreading”. Its TED Talks mini-conference series has proven particularly successful, and are now organised indepedently around the world using the “TEDx” prefix.
“Through TEDxYouth@KL, I’ve learnt to push my boundaries,” said Lakshmishree Menon, 22, the design lead for this year’s committee. “I’ve gone from shying away from difficult situations to taking on these challenges.”
Chew Jern Ken, 20, a fellow co-curator, has also personally achieved growth while working on TEDxYouth@KL. “In the past two years, I’ve learnt that even though it might take longer to achieve goals through a collective effort, the results are usually more comprehensive,” said Chew.
But like anything else on such a large scale, there have been challenges along the way. “Getting the right speaker is, of course, difficult,” admitted Chew.
“We work on a voluntary basis, so sometimes it’s hard to explain to a potential speaker that they won’t be paid. But this also means the speakers we do get are really passionate and willing to share for the sake of inspiring others.”
“Trying to harness the energy of about 100 young people (in the organising team) is also a challenge,” said Carolyn Cheong, 23. “They are extremely expressive and hyperactive!”
Benefits all round
Attendees of TEDxYouth@KL this year can expect to see speakers with amazing experience, like MMA fighter Ann Osman, YouTube sensation Elizabeth Tan and beatboxer/radio announcer Cody Foo.
However, the team isn’t merely looking to present talks.
“If that is all we have to offer, the effects might not last. At TEDxYouth@KL, we want young people to network among themselves and with the speakers,” said Chew.
This year, the organisers will be throwing a gaming element into the mix. Attendees can perform tasks in exchange for stamps, which could earn them prizes.
But it’s not just the attendees who have fun and get inspired at TEDxYouth@KL – the volunteers take away a lot from working together behind scenes too!
Though they’re all from different backgrounds, they all have something in common – they are higly-motivated young people who want to make a difference in the community.
Some of them have gone on to collaborate on projects outside of TEDxYouh@KL.
Lakshmishree, for example, is one of the founders of of Faces of KL, a photography project modelled after Faces of New York. She and the other founders met while working on TEDxYouth@KL.
The TEDxKL team, which guides the volunteers, also helps create the right environment for developing ideas and collaborations.
“We are always highly encouraged to experiment and make mistakes,” said Cheong, adding that in her capacity as speaker management lead, she has had to step out of her comfort zone to interact with and advise CEOs, singers, and other accomplished individuals.
“Sometimes you mess up, but the team will always pitch in to fix any mistakes, and we all learn from it. The experience you get from this kind of freedom is invaluable!”
R.AGE is the official print partner of TEDxYouth@KL. For more info, go to rage.com.my/tedxyouth2014.