Seven local speakers address TEDxFutian audience

Updated: 2017-06-09 07:42

(HK Edition)

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What can be achieved in 18 minutes? Seven Shenzhen speakers from various backgrounds each took 18 minutes to share their observations and thoughts about technology, arts, education, architecture, philanthropy and sailing at a TEDxFutian talk on April 16.

Themed "Reconnect", the organizing committee of the annual event, TEDxFutian, aimed to inspire the Shenzhen audience with innovative perspectives to help them to think outside the box.

Philanthropy was one of the topics and according to the city's civil affairs department, an increasing number of social organizations and charity groups have been established in Shenzhen in recent years.

People tend to think that charity is giving money to show love and sympathy. But Cao Jun, a father of a mentally handicapped teenager, shared his story of solving charity funding problems with his commercial insight.

In his talk, Cao said that, like many parents of mentally handicapped children, he suffered great pain when told that his son would never be able to live independently like other children.

Cao started his talk by sharing his fear that his son would be alone and helpless when Cao and his wife pass away.

"I did not want to drink much water before going to bed during that time for the fear of waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about my son," Cao said.

After years of thinking, Cao eventually decided to create a center where mentally handicapped children could live and help each other, but the center needed a source of income to maintain itself. Having worked in the commercial sector for many years, Cao thought of creating a business to solve the funding problem.

He established a carwash in Shenzhen in 2015 where all of the staff were mentally handicapped teenagers or adults. By washing cars, the staff earned their income and respect from customers.

"No one will give you money out of sympathy forever, so you need to earn your own dignity by working," said Cao.

Another speaker was Zhu Jingxiang, a famous architect in China and an associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Zhu's speech brought the audience's attention to several design projects aimed at building light, easy, flat and inclusive structures in special places such as mountainous areas, slums, disaster zones and wetlands.

In particular, Zhu shared a classroom that they had built for leftover children in impoverished areas in China. "We wanted to build a classroom that would naturally attract the students to study because they feel comfortable and can have fun in the room, rather than the same desperate feelings they have in their empty homes," said Zhu.

The classroom was built so that the walls and floors were filled with squares where the kids could squat, sit and play.

"In such an unexpected way, space can be used totally differently from the way people normally think. Allowing the space to function to reconnect people with their real lives," said Zhu.

The annual event was organized by a group of volunteers from all walks of life in Shenzhen. TEDxFutian was the first Shenzhen TEDx group to be authorized by the HED headquarters, an international media organization which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan "ideas worth spreading".

Shenzhen Daily provided the story.

Seven local speakers address TEDxFutian audience

(HK Edition 06/09/2017 page1)