By TEDxTinHauWomen Co-Founders, Jen Flowers & Daniella Lopez
Hong Kong is home to us (Jen – she grew up here! and Daniella) for some years now. We love the energy and innovation that a city of such diversity delivers. Our famously cosmopolitan home is where east meets west, old meets new, and where people of all nationalities connect with each other.
The city’s natural diversity sometimes surprises people – the shimmering high-rise superstructures of the Hong Kong skyline sit in a region that is actually 70% green spaces; and our mountains, valleys, islands and seas are home to a huge diversity of plants and wildlife and offer spectacular views when hiking.
There was no question that we wanted to bring Countdown and the pressing issue of climate change to Hong Kong. And we are thrilled to be your hosts for our city.
Countdown is a TED global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. Communities around the world are coming together to build a better future and a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone.
Through TEDxTinHauWomen we’ve had an amazing platform to showcase some of the most passionate speakers and inspiring ideas. This year we are doing things a bit differently. Our annual women’s event will be postponed to 2021. Instead, Jen Flowers and Victoria Gilbert will lead a new event – TEDxTinHau Countdown – which will focus on the most pressing issue of our time, climate change.
Hong Kongers love to be outdoors, and this access to nature perhaps underlies recent survey results that revealed that 84% of Hong Kongers believe the impact of climate change would be big to their children and grandchildren. And while this statistic is encouraging, it shows that we should be doing more now.
The way that humans have been using the planet’s resources to live and work is causing unprecedented rises in temperature of the Earth’s surface and oceans. This climate change has wide-ranging effects on the planet’s ice, oceans, ecosystems, and biodiversity – basically, it impacts everything for humans and other beings that call the Earth home.
“We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.”
This quote, cited by Barack Obama and resonating with people around the world, demonstrates why Countdown is so important, so needed and so urgent. It is a motivating catalyst to the amazing team of volunteers who are planning TEDxTinHau Countdown.
To make the difference the world needs, everyone needs to be involved. We invite you to be a part of change with us this year.
TEDxTinHau Countdown will take place in Hong Kong on Saturday, October 17th 2020. It will be a day of community activities, practical workshops and inspiring speakers with powerful messages about climate change. More details on tickets and viewing to come later.
Thank you to everyone that attended the 2019 annual TEDxTinHauWomen Bold & Brilliant event on December 6th. We always hope to find Hong Kong-based speakers covering a range of topics so that everyone that attends feels as though they connected with at least some of the stories and messages. And this year we think we got it right!
We hope you left the annual event feeling inspired by this community of Hong Kongers that worked closely with professional coaches and buddies over months leading up their own moment on stage to share their very own TEDx talk with you.
We’ve selected a few soundbites from each of the talks. Enjoy!
Chi Chi Cheng – How I question my identity with a fortune cookie
“This tiny little cookie, shook me to my core. It made me ask some of the most fundamental questions in life: who am I? Where do I come from? What is my identity? What does it mean to be Chinese? Or a Hong Konger?”
“What are the key ingredients that construct an identity?”
Jesamine Dyus – The poet in all of us – reimagining the classic fairy tale(special performance)
“Be seen, not heard, Now is not time to play. Just smile with your eyes, You can you be the prize, Look the part, Chocolate hearts, Hershey’s kiss,Be a Little Miss Prim- always proper, Keep your baggage in your locker,Jezzy D, who is she?Chatter boxer, someone stop her.”
“I feel the pain, I know it’s hard, I know you’re hurt. I’ve been there, done that,Got the shirt. So I smashed the glass slipper, So I smashed the glass slipper, Turned everything to glitter, Flipped a new chapter, Wrote my own ever after.”
Wow! Three years of TEDxTinHauWomen in Hong Kong. What an adventure it has been. We were sad to see one of our founding members Stef Myers take a step back this year, but we are happy she has stayed involved with coaching our amazing speakers. We’re also thankful to have a bigger leadership team this year, growing from 3 to 6.
So what should you expect today? An afternoon filled with brilliance demonstrating diverse ways of being bold – and nobody apologising for it.
For 7.5 months our 70- strong committee have been working tirelessly to create today’s experience. Look out for them in the brightly coloured scarves! From Monday night meetings, to mountains of content creation, to securing talented coaches and stylists, to designing the space we are in, and creating a community of partners and advocates, everything you experience here today is testament to the team’s hard work, putting in the hours to create a like-minded community that has ideas worth spreading! For those who have been involved before – we thank you and welcome you back. For those who are newcomers today – welcome to the family. TEDxTinHauWomen is here to stay and we could not do it without all of you!
A few things to note – besides this recycled paper booklet, we are aiming to be as sustainable as possible. Make sure you check your email for the fantastice-vouchers and visit all the incredible booths and experiences – drinks, food, fun and laughter all await. Today is about you – believe in your strength and ability to make change. As a thank you to the #BoldAndBrilliant team and the incredible lineup of speakers and performers, keep spreading ideas, inspiring others and tell us how we did with a follow up survey too!
All the love – your crazy co-chairs Jen & Daniella
sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck at the ICC is conveniently located in the heart of Hong Kong, right above Kowloon Station (Address: 100/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
By MTR: get off at Kowloon Station from Tung Chung (yellow) or Airport Express lines. Take Exit C to reach sky100.
By car: A taxi ride from Central only spans 14mins.
Your Pelago Ticket
Please arrive with your digital QR ticket on hand (no need to print it!). If you can’t find your tickets through your email, the easiest way to retrieve your ticket is to download Pelago app and sign up with the same email address used for registration. Your ticket will be waiting for you under My Tickets in the app.
Summary: “Get out of your own way!” Such an easy thing to say; so much harder to do. Overcoming debilitating self-doubt is a struggle for many people, especially women. One of our (amazing) committee member’s talks through their personal mantras for success.
“Get out of your own way!” Such an easy thing to say; so much harder to do. Overcoming debilitating self-doubt is a struggle for many people, especially women. Recognising where this undeserving negativity comes from is a unique individual battle. Many competent women with whom I have had the pleasure of working or calling friends have experienced that little voice of self-doubt, spanning both professional and personal circumstances.
Overcoming barriers in your personal life, career, family, fitness journey, or any health and mental wellness challenges you are facing often means looking within and bringing about some change to reframe and gain a new perspective. For example, the challenge of not recognising the praise you deserve or letting others take the glory by not speaking up for yourself can lead to feeding the notion of not being “good enough”. Think of the times you or other women have taken a step back and hidden from praise (“Oh no, it’s nothing, it’s fine, it didn’t take me long.”) or when women don’t speak up to take the recognition for something you know they played a huge part in — letting someone else, often a male counterpart, bask in the glory of that success.
Holding ourselves to the idea of having and doing it all makes being “good enough” impossible. In whose eyes are we seeking acceptance? Who are the ones holding these expectations? The truth is, we are the ones measuring ourselves against such high standards — career women, caretakers, mothers, partners, leaders, and sisters. There are not enough hours in the day for everyone else, let alone yourself! So how can you overcome these mental barriers and start paying attention and looking after yourself?
Surround yourself with people who support YOU! Brené Brown speaks to this support in her book The Gifts of Imperfection:
“Who has earned the right to hear my story? If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”
Like many people, I feel FEAR — fear of being true to myself; fear of understanding what it is that makes me truly happy; fear of letting people down; fear of failure; fear of not being good enough. I have felt that being a nice person, who wears their heart on their sleeve, had failed me a little, not put me further ahead in my career; that being ‘too kind’ had turned into a negative reflection on my abilities. This notion still baffles me, but I’m learning to stop apologising for it. I am an emotional person. That’s me. That’s what you get!
Another barrier we all face is finding the courage to leap from our comfort zones. If you are continuously overwhelmed with the “what next?” question, to a point of not making decisions and moving forward (because who knows where that might take you?), then ask yourself: What good are you doing staying stuck?
“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” – Erin Hanson
Making a decision is ultimately always better than not, be it career decisions, family decisions, or finally making a conscious effort to cut that negative person out of your life, because, well… they just don’t do you justice. We often find huge relief when we do make a decision and just ride with it into the unknown. We made a move to change something, and that is a positive step.
Feeling like you are overcoming these small hurdles to get where you think you might want to go mounts up into big wins. Each hurdle surmounted becomes a moment to feel proud to be where you are. The days you tell a little part of your HUGE story and someone really listens and reacts with “WOW! That is amazing.” The moments where you think, “I did myself proud!”
So back to the voice, sitting on your shoulder, in your ear, in moments you’d rather forget. Use this voice as your cheerleader! Use this voice as your hero! This should be the voice of kindness and forgiveness.
Being a part of the TEDxTin HauWomen committee has certainly helped me overcome some of the barriers I put up for myself in the past. This blog is a thank you to those who believe in others, who encourage the idea of being brave, and who are genuinely accepting of people for what they bring to the table.
You are ultimately in control of your life. No one else’s, just yours. That voice inside your head saying you are not this, you are not that, you are not good enough — here’s the thing: most people have that voice, but there are many that choose to ignore it.
The people you look at and think “Wow, they are impressive! They are incredible!” You know what? Someone is thinking the exact same thing of you. So believe in your talents, believe in your positive influence, embrace your differences, and be kind. Surround yourself with people who support, nurture and believe in you and surround yourself with those you can learn from. You’ll find it’s a much more beneficial place to be.
In a world of positive affirmations (which are fun, powerful, and reassuring — try them!), here are some positive moves to help you hero yourself and those around you:
1. Bask in your own glory! If you have genuinely tried your best, done it from the heart, put in as much effort as you could afford at the time… then accept it as a job well done. Be proud, and move ahead.
2. Hero others. If you know your friend or colleague or family member is not so great at telling people how great they are, do it for them! A positive reputation spreads, and people will always remember how you make them feel.
3. You are deserving of praise. For those in need of a little boost of self-confidence, write down the things in your life you are proud of. Reflect on what you have, where you are, who surrounds you, and how you got there. Cliché as it sounds, you are meant to be exactly where you are. Even if that’s challenging right now, you will learn from it and come out bolder. It’s taken me years to realise that many of my “shortcomings” are perhaps my most powerful gifts, and should be celebrated. Some days I still hear that voice, but I’m slowly drowning her out and telling her to pipe down — way more often than I used to.
4. Have a person. Having someone you can talk to, who gets you, can be very helpful. Sharing your thoughts with a partner, family member, good friend or even a professional who carries no judgment, puts your thinking back on track and may even reverse some of your fears by making you realise most of the concerns you have are not valid outside of your own thinking.
5. Deciding enough is enough. Do something about shifting your thoughts. Find a coach to help the process! Life coaches are readily available in HK and often have free workshops! Enrolling in something that suits you might be the best present you ever buy yourself. Believe in your own worth and invest the time to discover your truths.
Who is anyone to tell you whether or not you are worthy as a person, or of achieving or reaching out for what you want? Or just taking the time to “figure it out”, whatever “it” might be. Someone once said to me, “Get out of your own way.” Never have truer words been spoken. Even our speakers worked with a talented team of coaches!
So in conclusion — and yes, it is the theme of our event this year — always remember you are “Bold & Brilliant!”So don’t apologise, even to yourself.
International Commerce Centre (ICC), 1 Austin Rd W, West Kowloon
There are 4 zones that you will be traversing through at the event – Move, Empower, Protect and Dream.
Move Zone *without apologies — brought to you by J.P. Morgan
Join a movement toward sustainable growth and thriving communities, with a conscious focus on making a difference. Learn immediate steps we all can take to create positive change for our planet and its people. We’ll do this in the community with ImpactHK; one sustainable product at a time with Green Ladies; and within a business setting taking responsibility across the board — grab a coffee cup and let’s start a movement!
“The future depends on what you do today.” Mahatma Gandhi.
Empower Zone *without apologies — brought to you by Allen and Overy
Engage with remarkable women from across Hong Kong to empower yourself and the people around you. Look through a mirror of self- reflection then share your stories over a great cup of tea or coffee! As a consumer, take an honest look at how and what you buy with Retykle and be ready to transform your wardrobe, do your bit to tackle textile waste, and be empowered to make lasting changes for you and your family.
“When we empower women, society benefits, grows, and thrives” Paul Polman.
Protect Zone *without apologies — brought to you by Bank of America
How can we ensure safe communities and healthy environments for future generations? Take some time out in the meditation area and take a moment or two for yourself. Learn how to protect your body with Barre2Barre. Support girls’ education and children’s literacy with Room to Read; understand sustainable swimwear for change-makers of the future with Cosmo Crew; enjoy a dedicated area focused on protecting yourself and your family, no apologies here.
“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.” Buddha.
*without apologies — brought to you by TEDxTinHauWomen
Find out what makes TEDxTinHauWomen Bold and Brilliant! This is a space to come and create and learn. See highlights from our last three years. Chat with the committee, have a coffee and a chocolate with some of our past speakers, and discover what it takes to create the event each year. See our amazing artist in action live, and watch as your dreams come to life in real time. Take a mindful moment to watch a previous talk and be inspired alongside a glass of wine by Montrose. We can’t wait to meet you!
“Dream, struggle, create, prevail. Be daring. Be brave. Be loving. Be compassionate. Be strong. Be brilliant. Be beautiful.” Caterina Fake
Don’t miss the chance to be inspired by our wonderful speakers!
Behind the scenes our speakers have been busy writing, re-writing, practicing and repeating their upcoming talks. But they aren’t doing that alone. They are supported by our seriously awesome set of coaches! Coaches play a big role. They conduct regular meetings with speakers to help them in:
Writing, timing & tweaking a talk that flows
Capturing the audience even in the first few words of
Zen-style’n the visuals
Providing tips and tricks for memorizing the words
Training the speaker to own the stage confidently –
even when the speakers heart pumps with adrenaline
We would like to give special thanks to our amazing coaches,
who generously volunteered their time to prepare our speakers for such a huge
event. They have been invaluable to
TEDxTinHauWomen and our speakers.
Summary: TEDxTinHauWomen conducted an internal survey around common struggles that women face. By sharing our personal experiences alongside these results we hope to shed some light on these otherwise private struggles – and suggest what we can do to change it.
talk about the elephants in the room. Yes, you read that correctly – elephants, plural. As women, we share
common struggles that are rarely spoken about openly due to fear, shame, and/or
embarrassment. TEDxTinHauWomen conducted
a survey with their internal planning committee to shed some light on these
otherwise private struggles. Results
from an internal survey the TEDxTinHauWomen committee completed showed:
Nearly 72%* of women have experienced being called bossy or bitchy by a male for simply being assertive (i.e. speaking up).
50%*of women are concerned about re-entering the workforce after having a family or career break
Nearly 79%* of women were asked to do something simply because they are female such as being asked to be in front of men to ‘lure’ them in or close deals.
experiences are inline with these struggles. My very first part-time job was at a fast food chain. It was an incredible way to
learn about the efficiencies of this successful brand and the operations behind
it. I was asked to be a cashier simply because I was female. But I wanted to
work in the back kitchen because I loved to work quickly. It was like a game to
me, to push out correct orders as fast and efficient as possible. I was told
no, “girls should be at the front because they are more attractive to people.”
I was 14 years old at the time, and shocked to hear this reasoning.
according to research
conducted by The
Women’s Foundation, the gender pay gap in
Hong Kong is 22% which is worse than
it was 10 years ago. We often think that if we work hard enough, the hard work
will pay off in remuneration. Unfortunately Hong Kong pay gap data suggests
this is not always the case.
can we eliminate these struggles? One step is to discuss these issues more
openly. Don’t have the right people around to discuss it? Surround yourself
with others. Join a community, such as TEDxTinHauWomen.
We are aiming to cultivate both women and men to create a stronger and more
inclusive community, where we can share our stories and inspire others
Summary: TEDxTInHauWomen have curated six incredible speakers (plus a special performance) for the Dec 6, 2019 Bold & Brilliant event. Read on for details.
An Inheritance Worth Sharing – Ritu Hemnani
What is your true inheritance? Pearls and rubies sitting in a bank vault? A promised apartment? Those dashing dimples in your cheek from mum? Storyteller Ritu Hemnani takes us on her journey in search of her migrant family’s long buried history. Digging deep into our family narratives can help us understand ourselves and give our children the seeds of resilience, courage and hope. Our true inheritance grows when it is shared widely and generously.
Ritu is an author, journalist, teacher and voice actor who promotes inclusiveness and diversity through her writing. Her articles and stories have been published in the SCMP, Asian Literary Review and Reader’s Digest. Ritu is the Director of Heritage Publishing Ltd and her children’s book, Gope and Meera – A Migration Story, seeks to foster awareness and empathy for migrants in our communities.
In search of Life on Mars – Dr. Angélica Anglés
As a child, Angélica and her grandfather would look at the night sky together, looking for bright stars and planets. Her love for space led her to pursue a global career in Planetary Exploration. In this talk, Angélica will share what can be learned from planetary exploration and why she is committed to searching for extraterrestrial life on Mars.
Angélica is a planetary scientist, astrobiologist, astrophysicist (and pianist) whose research is centred around the search for extraterrestrial life on Mars. By travelling to and studying places here on Earth which are similar to Mars – such as the world’s highest desert in Tibet, the Pilbara in Australia or the hot springs of New Zealand – she has uncovered important clues. Due to her research she was part of the landing site selection team for the next NASA mission Mars 2020.
A Billion dollar dowry, 10,000 suitors and a love that cannot be celebrated – Gigi Chao
Marriage is the ultimate public demonstration of two people’s commitment to each other. Despite recent recognition around the world, marriage equality lags behind in Hong Kong. In this talk, Gigi will talk about her experience with marriage and how individuals, and Hong Kong, can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for same sex couples — allowing them their rite of passage.
Gigi is an accomplished architect who was thrust into the spotlight in 2012 when she turned down her father’s dowry offer of 500 million HKD – later doubled to 1 billion – to any man who could walk her down the aisle. The complication? She’s a lesbian already in a long-term relationship. Since then Gigi co-founded Hong Kong Marriage Equality, an NGO that aims to eliminate discrimination and bring equality to LGBTI in Hong Kong.
How I Found The Meaning of Fortune Through Art – Chi Chi Cheng
Growing up in Hong Kong where fortunate meanings are hidden everywhere, Chi Chi often questions the meaning of “fortune”. How can we appreciate our ancestors while also questioning their traditions in order to evolve? Chi Chi will help us discover how art can reconnect us to our authentic selves by reflecting on our roots and heritage and recalling our own moments of fortune.
Chi Chi is a multi-disciplinary artist questioning “discipline”. She has commissioned artwork for SCMP, performed for Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and the Arts and is working on Hacking Capitalism – Socially Engaged Art Through Alternative Art Economies and Entrepreneurship with artist Kingsley Ng. Formerly a hotelier working across four continents, her art reflects a culmination of years of internal negotiations on identity, cultural ambiguity and human connections.
Embracing Unconditional Love – Valentina Tudose
Some say the most beautiful human emotion is unconditional love, yet most love stories come with conditions. ‘I’ll love you if you love me back, if you only choose me and me alone’. We all seek that deep connection that makes us feel special and unique, safe and totally accepted. But beyond this premise of exclusivity, is it possible in real life that we can choose to love unconditionally? In this talk, Valentina will challenge you to rethink how you approach relationships and love without expectations.
Valentina’s fascination with the mystery of love led her to become a relationship coach to help people redefine their romantic expectations and experience a different level of intimacy. With unconditional love and freedom as the foundation, her coaching evolved from working with people searching for a soul mate, to people who’d already found a partner.
Old & Bold- An Alternative Journey Through Life – Brenda Scofield
Society expects women to conform to labels throughout their lives. But what does it mean to embrace yourself, regardless of labels and no matter your age? In this talk, Brenda will share insights from her personal reconciliation with ageing, and encourage the audience to be bold at any age.
Since arriving in Hong Kong in 1977, Brenda has had many professional experiences. She is a former Head of Drama, the one time owner of Hong Kong’s most famous sex shop Fetish Fashion, minority sexuality activist, a certified counsellor and a promoter of opera and chamber music through a family foundation. She edits and contributes to magazines and is a board member of a suicide prevention NGO.
The poet in all of us – reimagining the classic fairy tale – Jesamine Dyus (special performance)
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White: imprisoned princesses rescued by their Prince Charming. In this spoken word performance, Jesamine uses her own unique voices to break free from the crystal coffin, slay fiery dragons, and smash the glass slipper. She re-imagines femininity as exuberant and unrestrained, so we can all write our own happily ever after – without apologies.
As a performing artist, Jesamine brings her experiences as a spoken word poet, dance teacher, and hip hop enthusiast to stage. Self-proclaimed “single since the dawn of time,” she happily swims forth through “the currents of scorn and unsolicited advice monologues” that others offer on her relationship status. When not poeticizing with Peel Street Poetry and Spill Stories, she works in hospitality and was previously an English teacher and dance coach.
Summary: People often wonder why the name TEDxTinHauWomen? Learn about the history of Tin Hau (the “Empress of Heaven”) and what it means to our committee.
People often wonder why the name TEDxTinHauWomen? Where does it come from?
Selecting the name TEDxTinHauWomen pays homage to the Chinese Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau. According to legend, a young, kindhearted, and brave Chinese woman named Lin Mo Niang possessed special gifts, including the abilities to forecast weather and heal people. She lived with her family of fisherman in Fujian during the Song Dynasty. When she was a teenager, her brothers and father were at sea during a particularly treacherous typhoon that she knew they would not survive. In some folklore, Lin Mo Niang prayed and fell into a trance during the typhoon to save them, while in other folklore they say she swam out to sea during the typhoon to find her family members. In either case, those who survived the storm returned to the village to share their miraculous tale.
After Lin Mo Niang’s death, people believed she rose to heaven as a goddess because of her many courageous and benevolent acts during her life. Sailors and seafarers reported seeing her spirit guide them from shipwreck to safety on several occasions, and eventually, seaside villages in Southern China and Southeast Asia began recognizing her as a deity, who protects sailors and fisherman from the perils of the sea, bestowing on her the name Tin Hau, or “Empress of Heaven”.
Because Hong Kong was historically a fishing village, Tin Hau is highly revered. More than 100 Tin Hau temples line its historical coastline. For her worshippers, Tin Hau uniquely embodies compassion and bravery simultaneously. So, what’s in a name? As an organization of 60+ women, TEDxTinHauWomen aims to live up to what Tin Hau means to people in Hong Kong and by doing so, inspire others to act with compassion and bravery for what they care about and believe in most. Like Tin Hau, TEDxTinHauWomen will become a symbol of what women can do.