Summary of TEDxSingapore 2013: Our Future We Will Make #tedxsingapore


Yesterday was TEDxSingapore and the theme was: “Our Future We Will Make”. The questions the event aimed to answer were: What shall we strive for? …as a country, as a community, as a family, as individuals. What Singapore would we be proud to build for the generations who will come after us? What deeply matters to you? Who do you want to be? Who are we? Where are we going? What are our possibilities?

It was the biggest TEDxSingapore so far with 500+ people — kudos to Dave & his team for organizing it.

Here are some key takeaways from the event.

Parag Khanna

– Singapore ranks among first cities in the world. But is bigger necessarily better?
– Singapore is the most successful post-colonial country in the world
– Singapore will be a country of 21st century villages

Zakaria Zainal

– Zakaria has published a monograph about The Gurkhas. They’ve been here before Singapore’s independence. They are what he calls the “visibly invisible”

William Wan

– Singapore is the only country to have a graciousness index where kindness, consideration, courtesy and reciprocity are measured
– If you don’t do kind things yourself, how do you expect to receive kindness back?
– Singaporeans are kind but somehow they are not acting kindly
– It is easy to blame everybody: the foreigners, the government etc. But it is time to stop
– Singapore says it wants to be kind, have a bigger heart. It is time to stop the blame game. What are we doing about it?
– Don’t let external circumstances write your own story. It is up to you.
– Kindness brings kindness, graciousness brings more graciousness. Choose to write a new story

Bhavani Prakash

– Climate change: We are collectively allowing our planet to get warmer and warmer.
– We and the planet are not separate. We are deeply, deeply connected. Everything we do, we buy, the way we behave has an impact on the plane
– Nature is a great teacher; it energizes and inspires. Our kids are too attached to digital devices now.
– Buy less, it is liberating! Acquiring less is an attitude of gratitude
– Sustain”Apple” Happiness: Acquire less, Push away synthetic chemicals, Pay it forward, Learn from nature, Exercise your body and mind

Jeff Cheong

– “Singaporean of the Day” wants to showcase Singaporeans who are happy and hopeful about the future
– We shouldn’t equate our measure of success against societal status
– His project is here

Moh Hong Meng

-“Do not depend on the enemy not coming, but on your own readiness to meet them” – Sun Tzu
– Is Singapore an inventive country? We have inventive individuals but we don’t have an inventive culture.
– Singapore needs to create its own companies, its own products and sell them to the world
– How can Singapore become more innovative? Practice creating, wasting, asking
– We can’t really practice failing but we can practice some wasting.
– Ask for a promotion, difficult project, a date with someone out of your league. Nothing comes without a bit of risk.
– If you are shy about asking, you are not going very far. Scare yourself. People around you want to help you.

Thaddeus Lawrence

– Leaders push you out of your comfort zone, beyond your own perceived limits to surpass yourself
– Leadership is not about being in a position of importance but about lifting someone to a position of importance
– Leadership is not about being a hero but making a hero out of people.

Claire Leow

– 3 H: habitat, history, and heritage
– Wealth and status are quickly lost in transient.
– Death and change are the only certainties in life
– Bukit Brown is the mother of all cemeteries in Singapore. That’s where all the other cemeteries come and die
– Can Bukit Brown become a UNESCO heritage site?

Sunny Singh

– Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world.
– Motivation has to come from within. Doctors cannot prescribe it. You cannot buy it at a pharmacy
– Telerehabilitation: an amazing use of technology to solve real world problems
– He developed TARA (app for kinect to assess range of motion of rehab patients) to help his dad post-stroke

Teng Yen Lin

– Express yourself in public. Be courageous. Take ownership of the places around you
– You can watch how she made a bus ride a happier place with her ukele on YouTube

Tong Yee

– Tong realized that students who repeated a year in school had very little support
– When a child is growing up in education, it’s not from the school but at home
– Mastering the art of listening is key. We spend very little time trying to learn how to listen
– Listening is the art of possibility
– Today we live in a world of unprecedented possibilities with the help of technology, networks, globalization
– Only when we recognize a possibility of an idea have we really mastered the art of listening

Laurence Lien

– We need to invest more in recognition and praise for our students: when we put the joy and ability of learning in our students, they can achieve
– For us to progress as a nation, we have to empower people
– Citizens can do far more good. We need to give everyone a sense of ownership
– Leadership is for all of us to take to help our community: they are no born leaders. Everyone can be a leader.
– We need moral courage to effect change

Bob Lee

– Bob teaches photography to visually empaired people
– Don’t take anything for granted. We have the ability to learn anything
– Do not underestimate your own skills. You have the ability to change someone’s life

Veronica Gamez

– There are 220 million migrant workers in the world
– She talked about the pains of women domestic workers: for example, Josephine who didn’t have a day off in 14 years, didn’t have enough food

Kumaran Rasappan

– Reflect on our unseen failures in our perceived successes
– Everyone has their own Mount Everest to climb. How do YOU measure YOUR own success?
– Regardless of the outcome, failure and success is your own perception

Great performances from Elaine Lam (singer), Kevin Lester (rap) Deborah Emmanuel (amazing poetry, we all loved it! And you know I love your hair!).

You can read more about the bios from the speakers on the TED website here.

Thanks again for the team who made this event possible! What makes us successful is the theme of the next TEDxSingapore. It will be between August & October 2013. Can’t wait already!

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