Inspiring the Anxious Generation

By Olga Amato on 07:13 pm Apr 27, 2013
Category Count Me In

(Photo courtesy of TEDxJakarta)

(Photo courtesy of TEDxJakarta)

Great minds think alike — or do they? Find out at today’s TEDx event in South Jakarta, as great minds are brought together under one roof to discuss some of the most enigmatic and challenging issues facing the world’s thinkers.

TEDx events are held the world over, and Jakarta has been part of the trend since 2009. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, while the “x” indicates that it is an independently organized event. The Salihara cultural center in Pasar Minggu is hosting the latest session of 18-minute talks by experts from various fields.

“This year’s TEDx focus will be ‘anxiety’,” says Kartika Anindya, cofounder and curator of TEDxJakarta.

“To be specific, the anxious generation. Anxiety is that uneasy feeling we get from looking at an uncertain future. We see this as a huge source of energy. Anxiety can be tied to feeling excited or frustrated.”

As strange as it may sound, Kartika is hoping that attendees will walk away still holding a sense of anxiety.

“Anxiety can be an asset,” she says. “All that excitement or frustration, if channeled correctly, can be a positive source of social change.”

Today’s event will be different to those held in previous years, offering a more intimate setting.

“This time we have decided to go smaller,” she says.

“We have fewer speakers, a shorter duration, smaller venue and only around 300 attendants. In past years we have gone from small to medium to big, to terrifyingly big. We realized that the key to a great event is audience engagement, not size. There’s a reason why TED Talks are only 18 minutes. Less can definitely be more.”

At the same time, the volunteer turnout is as big as ever. Organizers are surprised every year by the fact that volunteer places are filled within days by people with no agenda other than to be inspired.

Florentina Niradewi has been involved with TEDxJakarta as a volunteer since November 2010.

“I came to the TEDxJakarta event in July 2010 and it made me feel something different,” says Florentina, who works at a creative agency in Jakarta. “That moment I realized that it’s not about what others or the world can give me, but it’s mostly about how I can contribute to the community. Part of my contribution to others is through volunteering at TEDxJakarta.”

The event, held today from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., will engage speakers from very different backgrounds.

Teen singer Kyla Christie, artist and poetry performer Khairani Barokka, entrepreneur environmentalist Roni Pramaditia and renowned physicist Yohanes Surya are some of the names on the bill this time around.

“I am very honored to be a TEDx speaker,” says Khairani.

“And though I can’t give too much away, let’s just say there will be audience participation in my segment, as well as a bit of performing myself. We’ll take a look at what this thing we call anxiety is from a personal perspective, and how important it is to share stories and art for activism.”

Well-known as an event strongly tied to volunteerism, TEDx Jakarta also supports the Drive Books, Not Cars initiative, which aims to raise funds from selling donated secondhand books and is sponsored by the Jakarta Globe.

The proceeds go to Sahabat Anak, an organization that provides education to street kids, and Taman Bacaan Pelangi, a remote reading program with 26 established libraries in Eastern Indonesia.

The DBNC team this year will bring two drop-boxes to TEDx where attendees can donate used English novels for the next big sale, or Indonesian children books that go directly to Taman Bacaan Pelangi.

Today DNBC will also be trying its hand at selling coffee for charity. Greenfields has generously donated the milk, while Morph Coffee has provided the beans.

“We are always on the lookout to give back to the community,” says Andrew Tang from Morph Coffee. “I hope that the people at TEDx will have generous pockets for this charity.”

For just Rp 20,000 ($2.10), TEDx attendees can enjoy quality coffee from Sipangan Bolon, North Sumatra. All proceeds will go to DBNC.

So what is the message TEDx would like to send by involving social causes such as DBNC?

“It’s all about sharing, connections, supporting each other and giving back to the community,” says Santi Alaysius, one of the TEDx organizers. “We hope that this will trigger something for the greater good.”

TEDx enthusiast and founding partner of DBNC Scott Hanna is looking forward to infecting the crowd with coffee fever this afternoon.

“The only thing better than bright minds, like those that gather at TEDx, is bright minds jacked up on lots of caffeine,” Hanna says.

“Drive Books, Not Cars, with all the proceeds going to support educational causes, helps underprivileged young Indonesians blossom into the next generation of TEDx-ers,” he adds.

“We’ll also be auctioning off the naming rights for our beverages. The winning bidder might not be able to turn water into wine, but she or he can turn a latte into Clint Eastwood.”

TEDxJakarta
Sunday, April 27, 2013, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Teater Salihara
Jl. Salihara No. 16
Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta

[Updated on April 30, at 2:15 p.m.]