TEDxHKU 2017: Be Enlightened

April 26, 2017 / by / 0 Comment

“Be Enlightened” was the theme of TEDxHKU 2017, held at the University of Hong Kong Global Lounge on 24th April, 2017. Attracting a crowd of students, the event featured social entrepreneurs that shared their experiences with young leaders in the audience.

The talks began with a sharing from co-founder of Green Monday David Yeung, whose social enterprise promotes green, sustainable living.

Yeung expressed his thoughts on the state of the environment, asking the audiences of their thoughts on the causes of global warming.

“Cow farts!” one of the audience members shouted

“Definitely true.” Yeung replied, as he began talking about the rising temperatures and centralizing focus on energy, livestock and transport industries as causes.

He then moved onto the power of plant innovation in reducing carbon emissions, bringing up the example of the recent soy-based Beyond Burger launch in Hong Kong, which aims to satisfy meaty pleasures while reducing carbon emissions.

“Did you know a cow gives out seven times more carbon than a car?” he said

Yeung encouraged youngsters to enjoying more vegetarian meals to contribute to the environment.


The mic was then handed over to Christopher See, a University of Hong Kong PhD researcher, who shared his insights in the use of data to overcome biological problems.

See focused his talk on romance, speaking of how inputting data into his “Wife Maintenance File” helped him overcome the difficulty of being spontaneous and creative as a romance partner.

“I told my wife I was texting a friend called Garry. (But I actually inputted data at the time.)” he said

See explained how he constructed pattern cycles that included gifts in different categories such as cultural gifts, home-made gifts. And every time his wife made a useful comment, he inputted data into one of these categories, so he’d never run out of ideas.


“You’re not creative. You’ve not special. You’re greedy, and you’re forgetful.” He told the audience members

“But you don’t have to be special, because you can drive the world to make it special.” He added

Director of Pipelines Initiatives at the Women’s Foundation Jo Hayes spoke of feminism and what it takes to be a feminist in modern day and age.

Hayes began by explaining the prevalence of gender bias, and added everyone unconsciously was biased at some point. However, she emphasized that despite advocating strong women under feminism, there still needed to be equality between the two genders.

Hayes brought up the example of Kong girls and boys in Hong Kong, where girls were deemed selfish and materialistic while bots were shallow and indecisive. “Equality means being the same on both sides.” she said

She then touched on the issues women face and encouraged members of the audience to speak up and tell their stories to embrace feminism in the modern day and age.

“The World Economic Forum said we will not achieve true gender equality till 2186. But I still encourage you all here to stand up and share your story.” She said


The talks were split by a performance by Bart Wong, keyboardist of the band “SYNAPSE”. He performed the “Beauty and the Beast” theme on the piano.

Next, serial entrepreneur Quinn Lai shared his insights on what is means to be entrepreneurial and how one can lead an entrepreneurial life.

Lai began his talk by bringing up two concepts; land optimization and global optimum. He spoke of the differences between ordinary people and entrepreneurs.

“A normal personal considers land optimization, looking at the doors near him/her. Briefing and well-researched about the chances they have, they open and close doors and they make decisions.” He said

“On the other hand, global optimum is the ultimate goal and innovative thinkers usually create their own doors to open and become successful.” Lai added

Lai brought out his definition of being entrepreneurial as creatively fulfilling needs, while understanding the needs of people. Yet he acknowledged it’s not always easy.

“5 percent success rate? That’s a real thing!” he joked


The talks concluded with an inspiring sharing from journalist-turned-social-entrepreneur Doris Leung, founder and CEO of Diamond Cab.

Leung began exploring her good old days growing up with a hardworking mum. As her mum got old, she was diagnosed with cancer and put on a wheelchair. “The doctor said she only had few years left.” She softly said

“I was dedicated to making the most out of her mum’s last days, and took her around Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tokyo.” She added

During her travels, she felt Hong Kong wasn’t very wheelchair-friendly to its older generations. Describing a local transport company providing wheelchair services as “Wheels for Chickens”, she was dedicated to providing high-quality services for wheelchair users and began working with rich cab owners to import wheelchair-friendly cars in Hong Kong.

Her Diamond Cab business was launched in 2011, introducing five wheelchair-friendly taxis to the streets of Hong Kong.  The vehicles can host up to two wheelchair users at a time. “Can you imagine grandma and grandpa going on a date?” she chuckled

Leung recalled her mother passed away after their last trip to Seoul, but remained firm about helping other moms in the city. Just recently, she brought about the idea of Diamond Leisure, where Diamond Cabs would drive elders out to the city for fun activities in the evenings. Activities included trips to the Central Observation Deck and Lan Kwai Fong.

“44 percent of elderly do not leave their nursing homes for leisure activities.” She made a bold statement

Leung hopes to introduce more wheelchair-friendly services in the tourism industry someday. “Wheelchair- accessible tours will someday become a breakthrough in the travel industry.” She boldly said


The organisers of TEDxHKU put a lot of work into planning the event.

Fun fact. The “x” in TEDx actually stands for “Individually organized event”. The main organizers of TEDxHKU: Carmen, Ryan, and Vincent, began envisioning it a long time ago.

“Vincent and I, we’ve had this idea since high school. We always wanted to host a Tedx event, and this year we finally got the chance to.” Said Ryan, an HKU alumni who graduated from Economic & Finance Faculty last summer.

The actual planning of the event began as early as last December, when the organizers submitted their first online application to the TEDx headquarters. From the line-up of speakers to the handling of sponsors, there was criteria for all of them.” he added

After three different applications, various drafts of proposals, and a skype interview, the event became possible, and the organisers were very happy with turnout.

“The reception that night was very good. Global lounge was packed with almost 200 students who came to do what they do best – to learn.” said Ryan

According to the team, not only the students, the organizers also took away some valuable lessons from this experience as well. They are very hopeful towards other students hosting TEDx in HKU again next year, we asked them what they most important advice would be:

“Well”, pondered Ryan, “We thought we started early this year, but in fact we should’ve started even earlier.”

For more information about future TEDxHKU events, visit their Facebook page.



Born and raised in Hong Kong. Passionate about journalism and public speaking. Loves travel, dance and talk shows!