Top thinkers show power of an adventurous spirit

Top thinkers show power of an adventurous spirit

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Left Gio Ambrocio and Sonia Vashi
Left Gio Ambrocio and Sonia Vashi
TED is a non profit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading which started in California 25 years ago. The annual conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes.

TEDxPearlRiver is an independently self-organised TED event. In October, it was held in Hong Kong and two of our Junior Reporters were given the privilege to attend and learnt from inspiring speakers from around the globe.

Gio Ambrocio

Being able to go to the TEDxPearlRiver has been a life changing experience, one that will be always in my thoughts. Listening to the different stories and experiences of the speakers has changed the way I look at life. One standout performance for me was the presentation by John Hardy. Born with dyslexia, he struggled throughout his childhood. He had to rely on his parents for support, but he took matters into his own hands and ran away from his hometown and country.

He was able to successfully run a jewellery company with his wife, but in 2007 he sold it to fund a new project. His goal was to build the first environmentally friendly school in Bali, Indonesia. The school was made out of natural material such as bamboo and rubber, while electricity and modern machinery were shunned as students were taught to adapt to the environmental conditions. Throughout his speech, there were bits of humour and sometimes pauses as he tried to think about his words because of his dyslexia. However, the passion and resolve he demonstrated throughout his talk moved audiences all around.

The event was one of the most though provoking experiences of my life. It questioned and challenged me on how can I make a difference in this world. I was lucky enough to attend this event, and afterwards left with an urge to make a difference. In conclusion, I want to leave you with this final piece of advice given by one of the speakers,“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Set yourself a high goal and put all your energy into it and only then you can say you earned your own self respect.”

Sonia Vashi

TedxPearlRiver 2010 was my first ever TED talk, which in one word would definitely have to be described as Inspiring! The first sharing was by Annabelle Bond, a Singapore born partially Hong Kong raised endurance runner and mountain climber, whom before becoming all that, turned down her director post at real estate to pursue her passion inspired by her grandma. Her Grandma, in the 1920s trekked through the extreme high altitudes of Nepal, and was one of the first western women to do so. Annabelle was inspired to break the record of mountain trekking, which she went on to do despite great fear of heights, and made it to be the fourth British woman to climb Mount Everest, and the fastest woman climber in the world, climbing all 7 summits within 365 days!

I’ve learnt about exploration and perseverance from Annabelle and as she said it’s truly the journey till the peak that’ll ever matter, all that you discover and experience during will stay with you forever.

Another moving talk was by Jill Robinson, founder of firstly, “Dr.Dog” in 1991, and then after a life changing visit to a bear farm in China in 1993, a long effortful struggle to the founding of Animals Asia Foundation in 1998. Personally, animals have never really been of any concern or interest to me, but once brought into focus of all the torture they are going through, it’s hard to really not bother. Jill shared with us how Asiatic black bears are literally been used till their very last breaths for the extraction of bile, which may already be contaminated with the cancers and various other diseases multiplying in the bears due to the excessive drugs being fed to them for the sake of keeping them breathing to enable extracting the maximum amount of bile.

It’s depressing the scene Jill witnessed back then, but since, with her idea to release these 10,000 something caged bears in China, she managed to reach agreements to release 500 bears in worst conditions to take them for medical treatment and proper habitat residing. And what really is this bear bile demanded for except traditional Chinese medication? Toothpaste, Tea, and such non bile requiring products! Jill has been awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of her services to animal welfare in Asia.

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