TEDxUTP 2017: The Moonshot
I was invited by TEDxUTP to speak their conference this year! It was themed 'The Moonshot' held on 9th September 2017 in Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP), all the way up in Bandar Seri Iskandar in Perak. There was a range of inspiring speakers from entrepreneurs and teachers to poets and social activists.
I had a wonderful time on stage talking about "How to Unleash Youth Power". View my talk with the speech text below:
“Next Generation Leadership – Perspectives on Unity from the Younger Generation”
My speech was delivered at ASLI's National Unity Forum on 4th September 2014:
Do I have all the answers to the question of unity in Malaysia? No.
Am I going to present a dissertation on fostering national unity? No. Well, I hope not.
Am I even going to touch on government policy? I am afraid not.
Then, what am I going to do? I can only present my perspective. I’m going to tell you a story or two.
Can I tell you a story? Yes? No?
Okay here goes…
Malaysia is Where the Heart is
This was my first ice-breaker speech for Toastmasters International, delivered at Bangsar Toastmasters on 21st May 2013.
As a well-known proverb goes, “Home is where the heart is”, it means your true home is the person or the place you love the most. For me, my nation is my home. For me, Malaysia is where the heart is. Before you prejudge me as a patriot or a nationalist, a part of what defines me as Zaim Mohzani is being a Malaysian. I will speak on 4 points about myself and how being a Malaysian defines me as a person.
The first point – I am a product of the Malaysian dream. I have a mixed racial background. On my father’s side, my grandmother is a Hokkien-speaking Chinese whose grandfather migrated from southern China to Penang. On my mother’s side, my grandfather was an Indian from Madras who immigrated to Malaya in hopes of a better life. Both my paternal Chinese grandmother and maternal Indian grandfather married Malays. So what does that make me? I’m a Malay, I’m a Chinese, I’m an Indian – I’m a Malaysian. It leads me to my second point.
Being of multiracial background, I am colour blind when it comes to people’s ethnicity or race. I was a raised in a family where racism was unacceptable. If I wanted to insult a Malaysian based on his or her race, I’ll be insulting myself. Yes, that even applies to Sabah and Sarawak because my girlfriend is from Sarawak! However, Malaysians are still divided along racial lines. We have a tendency to identify and judge each other based on our colour. However, we selectively are colour blind when it comes to a few things – public holidays, food and on the road when we see the traffic light! Being in Malaysia, we tend to forget how diverse our country is from its languages to its much-loved food. We take this uniqueness for granted. I took it for granted until I went to Australia, which goes to my third point.
As some of you might know, I’ve only recently returned from Australia for good after over 5 years in Melbourne. At 23 years old this year, I spent a fifth of my life in Australia – completing my college and graduating from university. Melbourne is one of the most liveable cities in the world and Australia has one of the highest standards of living. But the point is you will appreciate your homeland more when you are away. I had the choice of staying there or to return to Malaysia. While many of my peers went for the former, I chose the latter. Despite her flaws – the traffic jams, widespread crime, low salary – Malaysia is still home. Speaking of Malaysia’s problems, it will leads to my final point.
Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot despair of humanity, since we are ourselves are human beings.” Complaining of our problems will be easier than finding solutions to them. Malaysia has many challenges. Many will perceive it as problems. I see it as opportunity. This is an opportunity for us stand up and be nation-builders. In contributing to the community, I’m part of a student representative council for Malaysian students and an active member of a NGO empowering young Malaysian across the nation. We can make a commitment to make Malaysia a better place and it starts with ourselves.
Everyone will have a special home in their heart, be it a thing, a place or a person. For me, it is my country Malaysia. I was born here, I was raised here, I can say lah here; this is my home. Malaysia is where the heart is.
Back to you, Mr Toastmaster!