TedX Youth Singapore 2012 (Reflection): I wasn’t expecting this. Honestly, I was dreading it since the event falls on a weekend before a major presentation on Monday and I have my sleep sacrificed for this. However, after hearing speakers having shared their stories, it wasn’t what I expected at all, which was just having to tweet my takeaway from the speeches for a graded assignment and everything is over once the event has ended. Instead, after the event, it set me thinking: What’s my dream? Can I achieve it? Do I have the courage to achieve it? Do I have what it takes to achieve my dream? I go on, doubting myself because of the hard, cold real world I am living in today.

And today, I am more than privileged to be at the TedX Youth Singapore 2012, held at SMU on a Saturday morning. The theme this year: Dream big, then do it! It didn’t make any impact on me at all when the theme was introduced. Then as I sat through each and every speeches, I felt like an imbecile. I had under estimated this, thinking that the speeches would be some form of unrealistic stories, propagating us not to be conservative as I tell myself every time, “be realistic”.

Here are some of the speakers whom I felt to have impacted me the most today

1. The first speaker, Jon Lee, who is mature and confident but with a voice and build of a 13-year-old. Jon Lee is a national Go-Kart racer from the Kartmaster Drakar Racing Team and won various national Go-Kart races. What was I doing when I was 13? This young teenager’s speech has taught me how we should make good use of our time, and “it’s never too young to dream”.

2. The word ‘Weird’ is a negative adjective to many. But for Josiah Ng, he sees weird as the new normal. He has turned his weirdness as his superpower and being weird means you have a unique feature which others do not possess. I have learnt optimism and flexibility from this young man who was diagnosed with Dyslexia. 

3. From today onwards, I will be ashamed to hash tag ‘food art’ on a photo of my plate of chicken rice because Janice Wong has taught me the true meaning to ‘food art’. We are always seeking for perfections in life but we are never satisfied for there is nothing perfect in this world. We tend to neglect perfect in imperfections, which Janice Wong firmly believes in, “Beauty in the broken”. Constantly challenge yourself and be inspired by anything and everything. Very often, we would spend time complaining and harping on about the unfairness and flaws in our lives, and neglect the beauty and other gifts we possess. Imagine myself losing my sight temporarily, I would be feeling so insecure, hopeless and helpless. I would think of all the negative thoughts, how life is so unfair, what did I do to deserve this…etc. But, for Janice Wong, she felt powerful when she lost her sight temporarily, because she was strong willed and relied on her other senses to move on. This is really one good wake up call for me indeed.

4. I kept my ears peeled to this speaker throughout because it seemed to me that she is me in five years’ time. Like Joanne Kwok, I pictured myself to be in an advertising agency. But after hearing her speech, I’m beginning to take a huge step back, it’s a competitive industry, am I really as good as what I think? It’s not as easy as I thought it would be. Her movement, “I Still Have A Dream” has allowed me to realize, between realistic dream and dream that belongs to the real you, which choice would I take? And will I succeed in the dream I choose? Very often, I feel that I may have made the wrong choice to enroll into DMC, I might not be mature enough two years ago to make this decision for myself and future rice bowl. I ask myself, how do i see myself five to ten years down the road? Someone dressed in smart casual, going to work at a marcomm agency or advertising agency, working on clients’ briefs? Am I going to be happy with it? Is that what I want?

5. This is probably the most groundbreaking speech to me. He is always beaming whenever I see him in school, but I never knew he had more tears to shed before what he has achieved today. Talk about being an average student, who isn’t? I have always been an average student right from the first day I started school. I could also relate when Kan Lume recalls being caned by his parents when he did not do well in school. That fear of not being good enough, for not living up to everyone’s expectations, for being useless. I totally understand. It hurts to hear from Kan Lume that he had lacked the support from his parents in pursuit for his passion, but glad that he has overcome against all odds and now he has lived his dream and passion to be a prolific local filmmaker and continues to share his joy in his passion with aspiring filmmaking students. Also, I am more than happy for him that he has gained acceptance from his father in pursuing a passion rather than a realistic job. Through him, I have learnt that pursuing a passion, one has to face hurdles that can come from any where and every where, it can even come from a job you really love. Therefore, pursue your dream wholeheartedly, dedication, believe in the possibilities and success is when you find enjoyment in your dream.

Once again, I appreciate the opportunity to be at this event today. TedX Youth SG 2012 was indeed a wake up call for myself. It has made me realize that the society we are living in today is too realistic, everything is about practicality, gratification in quantifiable terms such as money (salary, income) such that it has taken our dreams away. We dream all the time, dream of driving my dream car, dream of doing well in school, dream of bringing happiness to the people around me, etc but are those big enough? If given enough time to dream big, what would it be?

What is your dream?