TEDx Pickering Street 2018 — THRIVE

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TEDx Pickering Street 2018 — THRIVE (04/Aug/2018)

This reflection on the TEDx Pickering Street 2018 is mostly for me to revisit the ideas shared and interrogate the speeches that resonated with me. I truly appreciate all the speakers that took the time and the courage, to share their ideas. And to the TEDx organising team (in which my girlfriend has been a part of) for their diligence in bringing this amazing event together.

Thrive — when this concept was introduced on stage, it made me start to consider what thriving meant to me. Some words came to mind such as flourishing, resilience and abundance. But looking at it from a wider perspective, it brings to mind a picture of a healthy system with all its various components complementing each other, building towards a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. And I do agree on the importance of exploring this idea of thriving, for as a 21st century society we have been too engulfed in our quest for progress and convenience, that we have missed the essence of what makes us flourish together. As American poet Maya Angelou best sums it up:

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style”

Ethan Seow — Our needs and how they drive us

  • Need vs wants — What makes people get actualised
  • Scarcity mindset — when we are not able to generate the ownership of our needs
  • Physiological needs that we talk about today is just satisfiers. When we talk about food as a need, the need is really about a nutrition for our bodies.
  • The rich pursue social status and in proving themselves. There is an obsession in them to run away through the pursuit of money, activities and to travel the world — What they are actually looking for is intimacy and just wanting to connect with people sincerely. And yet they are trapped in this vicious cycle
  • Focus on Biological Needs — nutrition, health, intimacy (engaged and loved)
  • Focus on Ownership Needs — you have proven that your skillsets can satisfy your biological needs

Yes I agree with Ethan’s assessment that we as a society confuse our needs with what he terms as satisfiers (which from what I understand are our wants). What was eye opening was that in this tiny difference, it is leading our society towards a never ending race of consumption that is insatiable. And there is a strong sense of mankinds foolishness in this irony, as we blaze into the modern age of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, we leave behind our ability to interrogate ourselves and what truly matters to us. What are our needs for a fulfilling life and how can we thrive together as a society? As Ethan’s says in his conclusion, maybe it is time for us as a society, to find out what are our actual needs are and not be satisfied with the distractions given to us in life.

Joan Leong — Grieving through Remembering

  • Began volunteering as a photographer for parents going through miscarriages, as a way of processing their grieving
  • You find the greatest triumphs of parents through these tragedies, they bring with them such grace and strength
  • To develop support and awareness of grief for these parents. Through these photographs, they serve as a tangible reminder in such a confusing time
  • Through grieving it gives families a more grounded peace and a way to move forward
  • Would you like to talk about your loved one? Give them the space to talk about who they have loss

Joan’s speech on “The power of Grieving” was a powerful one for me. In our obsession over our everyday problems and worries, her words took me and the audience into the lives of such loss and love. It gave me a moment of pause, to find time to share empathy with the ones facing the tragedy of a miscarriage. And to me it was beautiful how she was able to bring healing to these relationships, through her time and her camera. What I took away from this the most is in our modern society, we truly lack a space for vulnerability and care for one another. How can we share more experiences with those in need, and how can we spread empathy and compassion to the strangers that we share our everyday journey with.

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Jelle Therry — Second Nature Beyond the Green and the Blue — Atelier Dreidsel

  • We need to understand the context of the city. How does the entire ecosystem work with architecture rather than being separated
  • The green of today is only aesthetic, how can it be part of the system that is linked from the earth all the way to the top of buildings. To be part of a living ecosysten
  • Kampung Admiralty — all public services and transport along with the green spaces of nature are linked and planned for
  • Punggol Digital District — multiple clients are collaborating to develop how nature weaves these elements together. Bring life from the buildings to the outside, and bring green into the building

Swaine Chen — DNA and genomics will transform our lives

  • How can we detect outbreaks before they surge to scale. Can we use markers in genomics of the outbreak to trace the source of outbreaks
  • Genomics can also start monitoring and recording waiting for unexpected events
  • Singapore is well placed to being the pioneer in developing a system of genomics development through its smart city initiative
  • To develop progress, we need to develop an ecosystem that brings in government, society and corporations that invest in the future

I found a common thread between Jelle’s and Swaine’s speeches, even though one was the role of Landscape Architecture and the other was on the potentials of Genomics. I found that both their speeches were exploring the perspective of an ecosystem. Jelle was questioning us to expand the relationship between the built environment and nature, and how can we integrate them into a complementary entity. Through my architecture lens, I saw the magnitude of his proposal in bringing together the perspectives of the urban planners, the architects, the developers and the landscape architects to work together for a thriving ecosystem. Swaine was shedding light on the potential of Singapore to become the pioneers in genomics and the need for a development of the system to support this opportunity. I think they both have brought up amazing avenues for growth, however with complex systems, how can we get a buy in from all sides on the quest of better solutions.

Teodora Pavkovic — Emodiversity: Add to Dictionary

  • The mutual agreement that we have to be brave to each other and appear to be strong, even when you are breaking inside
  • You must not burden another person with your emotional experience
  • That our personal needs and our desires are not important, what can we do for others?
  • It is difficult for us as parents to allow our children to experience difficult emotions, we end up distracting them or distancing ourselves. But this closes up our range of emotions in dealing with the world
  • Allows us to be able to recognise, lable and describe our emotions — can we make intentional decisions of how can we feel?
  • Developing distinctions help us understand — are we stressed about our competencies? Are our parents undermining our integrity by asking us to get married
  • Suppressing our negative emotions leaves us to feel worst in the long run. Our brains survival instinct is wired to negative feedback bias
  • * Don’t run from the emotion, don’t replace the negative emotions, but be curious about how long this anger will stick around

Dalai Lama — “… in order for us to find a calm mind, we need a map of our emotions”

Teodora’s topic on Emodiversity resonated with me as well, especially coming from an Asian heritage, I can relate to the idea that “we must not burden another person with our emotional experience”. I am grateful for her quest to shed light on the need for embracing our negative emotions. There is a strong aversion in me against our modern obsession with optimism, also explored quite thoroughly by The School of Life in this article. And the advise shared in her talk has given me a new way exploring these emotions through curiosity and a better understanding of distinctions. In the end, I think it will be the next quest for mankind to mend our intrapersonal relationships, before we can work on the interpersonal ones.

Andrew Huang — IP in China in the Internet Age

  • Western style of innovation is celebrating the one iconic guy for his idea
  • Evolving idea of innovation from the hero, into a faceless network of innovation — China is factory culture meeting the internet
  • In China factories are cheap, designers work with factories and it becomes an ecosystem
  • * In an inventory based society your thought process is controlled by what is available. In Shenzhen, with a capability based system, you can get exactly what you need to invent stuff
  • The ecosystem in China is from internet memes into actual physical phone memes. Virality drives discovery in China, it creates an agile and robust system for innovation
  • It can develop into a system of improvement to innovate rapidly. What is copied and then improved and in return you can copy and improve it as well

Andrew’s speech on the IP landscape of China was an exciting one for me. Somehow I am always intrigued in comparing the parallels and differences between ideologies of the East and West and how that materialises in our world. Andrew managed to break down the emerging trends in the innovation landscape of China. The first thing that surprised me was how ingrained I was to the western ideology of the iconic inventor, that we as a society celebrate, and the flaws within this system. In contrast China embraces a network model of innovation which is much more resilient and adapts at a faster pace. Even the idea of how an inventory based system limits how we are able to innovate has given me the vocabulary to question, what other systems are there that is governed by these invisible rules that are limiting our ability to thrive? I appreciated his presentation in widening my horizons of technology and to give me some wisdom in questioning what rules and norms do we take for granted, and should we change for the future.

In the end TEDx Pickering Street 2018 gave me a wide spectrum of ideas that sought to help the world thrive. I think the concept of thriving together should be the next quest of humanity to overcome the scale of what we face in the 21st century. We all have our parts to play in this quest, we just need to find the courage and humility to start our pursuit on this journey ahead.

Originally published at qpskpii.wordpress.com on August 9, 2018.

Written by

Programme Manager @ Padang & Co | Architectural Designer | Startups, Participatory Design and Social Enterprise sectors https://www.linkedin.com/in/llqingping/

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