So a friend of mine introduced me to this wonderful world, and somewhat his pas-obsess-ion, called TED, where ideas run freely and (almost) anything goes. I’ve always been a late bloomer and I have come to terms with that, but it may take a little longer to let go the fact that I’ve been missing out on this (what do you even call it) smorgasbord of ideas movement thing-a-magic with all those times I’ve spent scouring the net. I’ve been blown away by videos, graphics, articles websites of some of the people that have graced the sites and the talks throughout the years, but TED.com will definitely make the hunt so much faster and simpler.
Yesterday, I had the chance to go to TEDx Jakarta – Somethink Different and a sneak peak of what’s going on behind the curtain during the team’s preparation the day before. Oh the energy, the excitement and the passion! The TED, with no x, events held in US and UK are supposedly invitation only that costs up to ten thousands dollar per invites. Charge your invites, that’s a concept I need to get a hold of. The TEDx, with the x, events are free. Purely run by volunteers who got paid absolutely nothing and spend so much and more in terms of stolen working hours, endless cups of coffee and plates of food and such, and most importantly their brain power. Brain takes some energy to fire up. And it ain’t cheap. What started with 80 attendees a year and a half ago, TEDx Jakarta had managed to fill 500 seats and reject 200 plus more this time around. Amazing, no? What’s more amazing is, they’ve got an exclusive partnership with DDB, this trend, marketing, brand consulting agency (Still not sure how to describe it in one sentence), to sponsor them.
So that was all mush talk.
Now, on to the event itself. Save for some specific date-nights during my adolescent years, not too long ago obviously, and the few ocean-swimming trips, this was simply the fastest four hours of my life. It went by like a blip. The first session of the guy who did the Museum Fatahillah projection, and the guy who did the batik game and the first video was all awesome. The icing of the cake for the first session for me was the guy who did the infographics charts. He managed to present data in such an interesting way that you just can’t help it to sit at the edge of your seat and pay very close attention to them. I actually had seen one of his works before and had plastered it as my laptop background for some good months. It’s the one with the liberal vs conservative graphical information. Shown below.
The chart says it was made by David McCandles so I suppose he was the one talking in the video. (Wasn’t exactly taking notes of who was doing what) To most people who saw the chart on my laptop, I was just this American-crazed kid. To me, it suited my obsession with charts and graphs and artistic side of things, oh and I never could tell which party is the liberal and whatnot, I was clueless like that. And just like what the speaker said in his video, how he wanted to be so much of the left side but then when he thinks about it, he actually holds some of the values of the right side too. Which is exactly what I have written when I sat down and for the first time took a careful look at the chart months back. Could anyone really be just liberal or just conservative? I mean, so what if you’re fifty-fifty, or eighty-twenty even? Unlike what some people wish oh ever so badly, we are still living in a full spectrum world, all shades, not just black and white. And so I was over joyous that I had a connection with that guy, no matter how delusional it really sounds.
Now the second session.
Simply explosive. If the first session was ‘Ooh.. Nice… Oooh Awesome’, the second one was “OH MY FREAKING GOODNESS I can’t believe what I’m hearing and seeing”. Started with the Sanggar Roda performance. Traditional music, angklung, gendang, rebana then there’s the electric gitar, krecekan, and what strong and powerful voices. The little girl was belting it out like Ariel, the mermaid not the peterpon, on her last song before Ursula took away her voice chord, (pita suara? Oui? Non?) I felt like wrapping them up and carrying them wherever I go. Such explosive energy and enthusiasm. Oh how I wish they get to travel the world and spread the spirit. Yay for Ibu Irma Winda Lubis, Sanggar Roda’s very own Bunda, with her big heart and passion for the kids! I can’t get enough how I’m hearing more and more stories on supermom who raise their kids, do their awesome social work and sometimes work or do their own business as well. Inspirational, no?
Followed by Ibu Betti Alisjahbana who was obviously charismatic and had such an impact in Indonesia’s education with her ITB scholarships. Next come the highlights, Anies Baswedan with his Indonesia Mengajar and Rene with his passion talk. I am familiar with Indonesia Mengajar as one of the Unilever kids was one of the fifty one that got selected out of the thousand something people who applied. What’s so cool is the fact that the first time I heard about Indonesia Mengajar, I sent a quick email to Domus Cordis mailing list commenting on the program, then Lia whacked out a comprehensive note on her blog & Facebook notes (can be found here) in response to my chirpy but short email. Oh how ideas spread. Seriously. Well Anies is an inspirational figure, to say the least. Now Rene Suhardono. I have never actually read his book nor heard his name, but the girl who I went with was mad about him. He is such an excellent public speaker. Fluid jokes in between the main points. Every single little thing he said had a purpose. He looked comfortable talking upfront, and you can so clearly tell how he enjoyed every second of it. He talked about passion, and purpose in life, and living a life with values. It reminded me so much to DC’s very own Riko that I just thought this is it. I should be in the business of passion. Let’s forget for a minute that I am still on my search for one, but why not? Why not be passionate about passion? And the pursuit of it? This could still be the after-effects talking though. You can’t help listening to fiery talks without at least keeping a bit of a flame deep inside. And fired up I was.
The last video shown was a bit of a roller coaster ride. The scientist had such a short attention span that you could clearly tell, without gravity, he’d be one of those wild cards that knock everything on its way, creating a series of events that would change the world. It was a pleasure to be invited into a mind of a genius though. And to prove a point that people with such short attention time span could actually hold it long enough to create something great. Not quite sure what ‘great’ thing he did, but I’m sure he did something if he made it to the TED talk in Oxford. It was yet again a compilation of disparate ideas that had no silver lining. They were just bouncing off of him. Like he couldn’t wait to shake them off his bones and spread them to the world. Again, such energy! Though it was quite a chore just to keep up with his rambunctious trains of thoughts, he did manage to close the talk with a profound message that he read from the back of a bell that he climbed to due to some riot. Randomness.
All in all, I loved, loved, loved, loved my Sunday afternoon. Thanks to the wonderful (and friendly) team that slaved their time away to make this happen. If I am not bound for a 16 month filled with books and coffee, I’d definitely try to get myself in the make-it-happen boat for future TEDx Jakarta events.