By Heather Allen
One of my favorite things in Chiang Mai is the abundance of
creativity; from art to music to the very exciting upcoming TEDx talks that
are scheduled to be held in September. I had never been a TED follower; in
fact I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to YouTube and other such sites.
I certainly use the internet, emails and social media but frankly, my
internet connection had not always been the best so the idea of waiting for
a video to load on YouTube was not necessarily one of my priorities.
However, my internet has improved and so have my horizons. A friend
introduced me to the TED talks on the TED channel and on YouTube last year
as she often used them in her classes as teaching tools and I must say, the
variety of topics and people is astounding. Who knew there were so many
people who had something to say? Of course I watched the eloquent and
greatly missed Mo Tejani’s TEDx talk here in Chiang Mai two years ago and
greatly enjoyed them. He was a funny, lively, intelligent and interesting
man. His talk on global nomads struck a chord with me as a person who left
my home and family to start a new chapter in life, as he puts it.
So, I slowly started acquainting myself with Ted talks. Or perhaps I should
say TED talks, from the young woman who talked about the painful reality of
being overweight and the cruel things people feel free to say to anyone they
deem overweight. It broke my heart to hear of this lovely girl who wanted to
buy a prom dress in the United States and was told that they “did not carry
them in her size” to the talk on storm chasing including some amazing
photos. A career that frankly never crossed my mind. The Saudi woman who
dared to drive to world famous actors such as Jane Fonda, documentarians and
The TEDx talks in Chiang Mai will bring out our own inspirational and
interesting people, local Thais and foreigners and, from what I understand,
even students. The TED talks give people a voice when they may not have
otherwise had an opportunity to speak. Something that the recent events in
Chiang Mai and around the world show is increasingly important to people.
So, other than interesting speakers on TED and TEDx, what else does Chiang
Mai have on offer for the bored expat? So much! Documentary Arts Asia is a
great place to start with their documentary screenings and it’s good to see
organizations such as Burmese Friends Library and Art Relief International
organizing shows, films and other interesting events. I always wonder
however, how much am I missing because my Thai is so poor? I speak and can
get around but the subtleties and nuances of the language escape me and how
I would love to see some of the shows and events that the locals go to and
learn from. In fact, it would be good to even know where to start looking
for such things!