We seem to always plan ahead especially when it’s early in the year and a list is made for the annual resolutions but, have you ever reached the end of the path, holding onto your completed task and somehow not know what to do afterwards? Where do I go from here? The theme of this year’s TEDxYouthKL is ‘What Now?’ and it focuses on the very question that young people worry that is who we are and where do we want to be at this moment which seems to be in the minds of the many participants who gathered at EX 8 Auditorium from as early as 9 in the morning as they wait for the doors to open. Some of them were waiting with a cup of warm coffee, reading the small booklet which was made as a tag for them to wear (also a genius idea!) and joining some of the games prepared in order to get to know other partakers. They were there to be enlightened by the eleven speakers who were scheduled to talk that day and their background, achievement and qualification is so unique and distinctive that the hours later was filled with informative and new ideas for the participants to start with.


Takahara Suiko opened TEDxYouthKL with a soulful yet technical musical composition of coins, a pillow and her ukulele together with her mellowed vocals and it’s a performance that needs to be seen and experienced. She gave an insight on how she creates her music which led to her attending the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy and dealing with the enemy of time; procrastination. The audience were delighted by her sense of humour as well as how they could relate to her since the majority of the viewers are students fronting similar problems of not having enough time to finish their burdening assignments and homework and deadly datelines.

The face behind True Complexion is Rozella Marie who came to speak about her struggles with bullying and depression and how music saved her. She’d opened the audience’s eyes to acceptance and how disruptive it is to hound anyone on their appearances.


Ian Yee, editor and executive producer of R.A.G.E gave some tips for emerging journalists and talked about how social media changed how writers approach the press. He’d also provided a clip of R.A.G.E’s new documentary on the alarming issue of undocumented deaths in a small village of the Orang Asli and how the authorities have begun to lend a hand on the matter.

The audience were laughing uncontrollably as artist, Hannan Azlan, performed songs infused with comedic elements which are both shocking and humorous and uplifted the audience’s moods for the hours to come. The slides were filled with statistics and long named theses when Aaron Shunk came on stage and introduced us on being an empirical sceptic. As a climate change researcher, Aaron had gone through many studies and reports in order to find more ways to understand what makes the globe warmer and the methods to help stall it. He’d ended his talk with advising the audience to be more doubtful as this will aid in the learning and researching experience.

Both John Payne, a conservationist and Sasibai Kimis, an ethical fashion activist have delivered interesting topics on the hidden wonders and issues in Malaysia mainly protecting wildlife such as the Sumatran rhinos and the tradition of our irreplaceable hand-made crafts. It was a tearful moment when Leonard Chua gave an inspiring speech on never giving up because, “When there is life, there is hope” even after surviving a fatal accident causing him to be a wheelchair user. He’d garnered a standing ovation after touching the hearts of the spectators who now realised that when life puts you down, you can always take small steps to get up.


A burst of colours and visuals amazed and amused the audience as Ernest Zacharevic humbly showed his street murals in Malaysia like the two children on a bicycle in an alley in Penang and a family of Orang Utans in a wheelbarrow in Kuching. He’d also presented us to his brainchild, Splash and Burn to generate the funding for a self-curated art campaign in association with The Sumatran Orangutan Society. On the other hand, Professor Cheong Sok Ching made us aware of her work dedicated to researching cancer and Wan Hazmer delighted the viewers on his involvement as the head of Final Fantasy XV’s ‘Culture’ team which produced a town in the game inspired by the Malaysian Mamak stalls.

The speakers brought a light on the beginnings of their work hence, the audience themselves can imagine the starting line for them so they can properly kick off the sand before their own marathon. When the stage was crowded with the presenters standing in one line, they seem to be no different than one another though at the same time, very distinctive in terms of their own roads which led them to that day and it was almost reflective of what the spectators imagined for themselves. It was crystal that at the end of TEDxYouthKL, the audience did not expect a never-ending train of motivation as a stimulus for their own projects and goals as they head out for a new adventure for the rest of 2017.


Featured image and pictures courtesy of Wai Liang, Keat Yee, David Wong, Brandon Lee, Thein Htut and Siong Seong.


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