By Diyanah Kamarudin | Image by TEDx Pickering Street
On 28 May 2016, Daryl Yang (Class of 2018) shared his experiences as a student diversity activist to a live audience at TEDx Pickering Street.
The locally organised event invites speakers to present important ideas from all disciplines and how they connect and shape our world.
Daryl, a rising third-year student pursuing a double degree in Liberal Arts and Law, gave a speech titled ‘Chasing the Rainbow’.
“[I wanted to] convey my thoughts on the idea of the rainbow as the symbol of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) movement both as a representation of hope and of diversity,” he explained.
During his speech, Daryl touched on how his experiences as Coordinator of The G Spot, a gender and sexuality alliance on campus, have provided him insights on how Singapore’s society can be more inclusive in its definition of diversity.
For example, he reflected on how his role in organising and participating in a closed-door dialogue with Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee helped him realise the importance of engaging with parties who hold different views.
Daryl also shared two other experiences organising a ‘human library’ session that loans real people to readers with Ms June Chua, a transgender activist, to allow people to know more about these issues through engagement, as well as a panel on gender identity held at the College this year.
He strongly believes that the local community would benefit from building bridges and forming connections in spite of opposing or contradicting views, and credits the meaningful and heartfelt conversations with his diverse peers at Yale-NUS for this belief.
“[Through those conversations], I realised that change comes not when you stand on your side of the fence shouting down at others with what you believe, but when you create a connection…in a common humanity despite your differences,” he asserted.
Although he had attended a few rehearsals for TEDx Pickering where he had to speak in front of a mock audience prior to the actual event, Daryl admitted that speaking on the actual day was still a nerve-wracking experience as he was “changing [his] script up to the last hour”.
Stage jitters aside, Daryl’s speech clearly left a profound impact on the audience.
One audience member came up to him after the event and shared a personal story about how two friends of hers were no longer talking after one of them came out of the closet.
“I think it’s stories like that that really remind me of the need for reconciliation through understanding and empathy,” Daryl reflected. “I was very touched when she shared that with me because it resonated very strongly with my personal experiences too.”
Given his current academic training as a law student, Daryl is highly interested in researching the interactions between law and activism in Singapore in the near future. He also hopes to explore how different types of injustices intersect and how he can play a role in addressing them.
Ultimately, Daryl hopes that his speech helped convey his key message of the importance of engaging in patient dialogue with one another.
“People need to start listening to each other and understand different perspectives and experiences rather than being rooted and indignant in their own beliefs and experiences,” he concluded.
Find out more about TEDx Pickering Street at www.tedxpickeringstreet.com