Reimagining an optimistic future to overcome a bleak reality with TEDxUKM 2022
Writer: Sudais Mohd Perhard
Editor: Nurul Asyiqin Abdul Rashid
BANGI, 28 May - Topics as diverse as rights to education for Rohingyan refugees, curing diseases through gene editing and the potential of cloud computing were presented centre-stage at TEDxUKM 2022, held at Dewan Canselori Tunku Abdul Rahman (DECTAR) in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) this past Saturday.
TEDxUKM is an independent event organised by the TEDxUKM Club and has been held annually since the club's establishment in 2015. This was the first physical TEDxUKM since two years of the pandemic.
This year's theme was Re:Imagine, which is a call for audiences to take initiative in reimagining a better future for the nation. There were also four sub-themes which include: Reboot, Reframe, Rediscover and Reimagine.
According to Programme Director, Zi Jie, “The theme Re:Imagine was inspired by the backdrop of Malaysia's current socio-economic climate. The people were promised a bright future in the 1990s through the 2020 Vision manifesto but it was never delivered.
“Things got worse when COVID-19 landed. Businesses collapsed and white flags were raised in households just to fight for their daily survival. We didn’t even have hope for how things would turn out for the better.
“TEDxUKM 2022 is inspired by these events to instil courage and creativity to bring back the "Malaysia Boleh" attitude in us. Hence, the theme Re: Imagine."
The lineup consisted of ten speakers and three performers, who spoke at length about issues we face as a nation, and how these issues can be tackled as individuals and as a community.
The lineup included notable figures such as social anthropologist, Distinguished Prof. Datuk Dr. Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, who spoke about Malaysia’s unique approach to achieving national unity. Also included was music therapist, Dr. Indra V. Selvarajah, who spoke about the use of music therapy for refugees in the Russia-Ukraine war.
“We are very selective in choosing the speakers we feature. In nominating the speakers, we seek for ideas that are truly genuine, novel, and inspirational. These speakers are not here to seek fame. Rather, they have a selfless nature to contribute to the nation,” noted Zi Jie.
In addition, the TEDxUKM Salon Series was held in between each main session which was panelled by both speakers as well as sponsors such as VIVO. These smaller-scale discussions focused on topics such as moving forward from COVID-19, sustainable development, as well as integrating humanities and technology.
When asked about the success of TEDxUKM 2022, Zi Jie said, “Community rapport is the only thing that motivates us to move further. In TEDxUKM 2022, we are truly honoured to have a community that sees value in us. They came from every corner of Malaysia just to celebrate ideas worth sharing.
“TEDxUKM 2022 was also developed, organised and executed entirely by youths from different backgrounds, faculties and ethnicities. It is indeed refreshing to see an organisation which isn’t dominated by a single race or religion. This is something we wouldn't concede for anything.”
Regarding the future of TEDxUKM, Zi Jie said, “TEDxUKM is going to take some time to reconsider the mode of organising a TEDxUKM event. Sustainability is a huge part of decision-making for future events. We also seek to survey internal support from the university. After all, TEDxUKM bears the name of UKM.”
Follow TEDxUKM on Instagram (@tedxukm) for updates and listen to the TEDxUKM Discovery Series podcast on Spotify.