The room brimmed with somber silence as Taiye Selasi’s TED talk was projected on the television screen. Some individuals in the pool of participants burst out in intervals of applause while others furrowed their eyebrows, listening intently to the words.
Selasi was selected to open for the TEDxJISSalon, a small event held in anticipation for TEDxJIS, at Jakarta Intercultural School’s (JIS) Fine Arts Foyer on August 27th, 2016. Her presentation revolved around the topic of origin, namely cultural confusion and the roots of identity.
Phone cameras were clicking. Attendees leaned forward and nodded, listening intently to Selasi’s words. As she ended her talks, the attendees roared with applause.
This year’s TEDxJISSalon theme was Checkpoints, attended by JIS alumni who enjoyed the opportunity to hold a discussion with — for some — their long time friends.
“I was happy to see and collaborate with my friends,” Charles Schuster, former JIS faculty, said.
The dimmed screen switched to a PowerPoint slide with ‘PRITHIKA MADHAVAN’ printed on it. Fluorescent light draped on the walls of the Fine Arts Foyer as the former JIS alumnus adjusted her petite frame on the signature TED red carpet. She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and began the discussion about being a third culture kid. Opened with the possibility of being multi-local, Madhavan sparked engaging chatter and active participation amongst the attendees.
“[This talk] struck me the most because my daughters and several of my best friends are in that group,” Schuster continued.
When Prithika Madhavan stepped off the carpet, Charles Schuster took her place. He showcased his passion for the arts and sciences to the Salon attendees.
“I have a keen interest in the topics of art & science and fond memories of my time at JIS,” Schuster said. “Giving this talk is a dream come true, having admired many interesting TED talks in the past.”
After the lunch break, Amit Khanna, former JIS alumnus who currently teaches Biology, and his wife Lane Graciano, also a former JIS alumnus and a current English teacher at JIS led the discussion. It revolved around the idea of procrastination and perfection; the discussion reflected upon how both polar opposites were not terrible things.
“[Procrastination and perfection] are two different ways of approaching life,” Khanna said. “We have to know how everybody works and work with that.”
Khanna and Graciano concluded their discussion as the drumming raindrops pitter-pattered on the Fine Arts Theater’s rooftop.
“The event was a success,” Beata Mirecka-Jakubowska, TEDxJIS adviser, said. “It was a great learning experience for both the audience and the organizing team.”
See photos from TEDxJISSalon: Checkpoints here.
This article was originally written by Natasha Sondakh and has been edited by Jaewon Sim.