A story of five talks

Our speakers and support team take the TEDx tradition of ‘ideas worth spreading’ very seriously, what you see on stage is the product of hundreds of hours of preparation. Here’s the story of the five TEDxTinHau Countdown talks…

On Saturday October 17th the TEDxTinHau Countdown speakers presented five talks, sharing their ideas on how to build a better, greener, healthier Hong Kong.

The talks were insightful, inspiring and thought-provoking. They were also the result of hundreds of  hours of work by the speakers and the TEDxTinHau coaches, buddies and curation team.

It was back in August when our speakers were selected for TEDxTinHau Countdown and the preparations began. Each speaker had a team that worked with them to bring shape and structure to their ideas and present them in ways that would resonate with the audience. “There was so many things that I wanted to share and so many things I wanted to talk about,” recalled sustainable food systems chef-consultant Peggy Chan at one rehearsal, “and the coaches really helped guide us in the right direction so that the audience can absorb it better.”

Peggy Chan rehearses with her coach Karen Koh (far left) and speaker buddy Marina Huynh. Photo by Alex Macro.

Historical and marine ecologist Jonathan Cybulski added, When I was nominated, I was pitched as a scientist, which I am, but working through my ideas with the team, I was really happy to have a chance to bring this alternative angle, the fitness angle. This talk allowed me to hone into who I am and it makes it feel really personal in what I am able to contribute to climate solutions, which I think is what everyone wants to do – contribute in their own way.”

“I’ve done public speaking in the past, but I’ve never had a team supporting me telling me what parts of my scripts suck and what parts are great. It’s an eye-opening experience,” said writer, content-creator and artist Tanja Wessels, “Here is a really well-crafted, well thought-out procedure, and consequently, as a speaker, it’s very exciting.”

Tanja Wessels rehearses with her speaker buddy, Megan Leckie. Photo by Alex Macro.
Tanja Wessel’s Why I dress like an apple. Illustration by Inkagrm.

A new part of the support team this year was Chan Wai, aka Inkagrm, whose illustrations were projected on screen after each of the talks providing a powerful reminder of the key points that the speakers have made.  

“My illustrations are graphic recordings. I am always aware that what I do is not about art but about visual communication, memory retention and a good start to discussions and dialogue,” said Inkagrm.

“This was my first time working with a TEDx event while the speeches were being developed and it was super interesting. Not only because the speakers talked about so many things that I was not aware of –  like microplastics, electric planes, and an 11-year old climate activist in Hong Kong –  but particularly because I had the privilege to watch the voice and body coaches go through the talks with the speakers. I learned so much and it was so good to see behind the scenes – it was an awesome experience!”

“It really does take a village,” said Ollie Haas, designer and engineer, “at every step of the process people have been there helping the speakers perfect our talks and get them to a point where they really are ideas worth spreading. The amazing illustrations from Inkagrm are fabulous reminders of our ideas and will encourage people to share the TEDxTinHau Countdown ideas even further.”

Ollie Haas’s Flying on magic fuels. Illustration by Inkagrm.
Jonathan Cybulski’s How to build you climate fitness. Illustration by Inkagrm.

“There is a magic that happens in this process every time we do it,” says Treena Nairne, Head of Curation for TEDxTinHau Countdown, “We start in a certain place, when we first meet, and everyone comes with their idea. The final speeches may not be what the speakers envisaged; they might not have had any idea where it would end up. And none of the support team ever does either. But we trust the process. It is magic. And I love it every year.”

Treena Nairne, Head of Curation for TEDxTinHau Countdown checks in with the speakers during preparation for the live event. Photo by Alex Macro.

Ultimately, everyone at TEDxTinHau Countdown hopes that you enjoyed the talks and are inspired to #JoinTheCountdown and take climate action.

“What is different about this TEDx is the focus on action,” said community environmental advocate, Keilem Ng, “I would like to see more action from this community beyond the day of the event.” Youth climate activist Lance Lau agrees, “We need more action in general and we need to keep spreading the message. I hope that we have planted the seed of climate action in people’s minds and that they water it.”

Bobsy Gaia leads a meditation at MANA! before TEDxTinHau Countdown talks. Photo by TEDxTinHauWomen.
Keilem Ng & Lance Lau’s The story we’ll tell in 2050. Illustration by Inkagrm.

So, what are you waiting for?  #JoinTheCountdown by making a pledge on the Count Us In website.

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