October 29th, 2016
For those who know me, you may already know that I’m a big fan of TED. If I’m ever watching something it’s either Japanese Anime, NBA basketball, or TED talks. I even have a little dream to give my own TED talk one day, so being able to attend a TEDx event in person was a true thrill and really inspiring for me. I feel like I’ve gotten one step closer to that little dream of mine.
TEDx is the independently organized version of the actual TED event, it’s not the big shebang where people get exclusively invited to listen to the higher profile achievers I guess you can say. But even as a TEDx event every speaker was extremely impressive and left me inspired. The theme for TEDx WanChai 2016 was Crossroads, as they aimed to bring together Hong Kong’s people and their varied interests to celebrate the past and future. There were speakers exploring topics of education, empathy, arts, culture, tech, and design, a real diverse set as usual for TED. There were four sessions, each with 3 speakers and an additional performance by the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.
I can easily talk about every speaker, but for your sake I’ll just go through one of my faves. The guy from New York haha. He was titled as Prison Fitness Entrepreneur. Yeah, let me leave you to think about that for a sec……………. His name is Coss Marte and he is an ex-convict turned fitness entrepreneur, he turned his own workout routine into a prison-style fitness camp. It’s quite genius if you ask me. One of the first things he mentioned in his speech was “Before going to prison in 2009, I was a drug dealer working under one of the biggest cocaine operations making $2 million a year”. Everyone immediately applauded after hearing 2 million haha, that’s pretty impressive if you ask me. In prison he was faced with grim prognosis, and developed a workout routine to get his body in shape. Within six months he lost 70 pounds and replicated this formula of bodyweight exercises with 20 other inmates. Upon release from prison it was difficult for him to get hired and find any type of work, so he launched ConBody. It’s his prison style boot camp that hires incarcerated individuals who were in similar positions upon release to teach fitness classes. He’s already gained over 7,000 + clients and has been featured in hundreds of media outlets. We even got a chance to talk to him after the event; he’s a real cool dude.
I’ll just sum up some more of the others speaker’s insight I’ve gotten. Daisy Tam she is a food security researcher based in Hong Kong. She taught us about Hong Kong’s food system not being secure, and the persistence of waste and hunger. George Mathew is a conductor and cultural entrepreneur; he had the whole audience stand and conducted us to hum as if we were in an orchestra. There was also poetry performed enlightening the Black Lives Matter movement, and an aerial dance performance.
As you can probably tell, this was a fantastical experience.