Meet our TEDxAberdeen 2022 speaker: Lyly Fong

Speaker: Lyly Fong

Talk Title: Beyond the Chinese takeaway

The countdown to TEDxAberdeen 2022 is officially on! With only a couple of months to go until our ten incredible speakers take to the stage to share their inspirational stories relating to this year’s theme of ‘movement’, we wanted to delve deeper into the minds and topics of our speakers. 

We caught up with one of our TEDxAberdeen 2022 speakers, Lyly Fong, who will be presenting her story; Beyond the Chinese Takeaway. Focusing on giving visibility to the Scottish Chinese community, Lyly shares with us the importance of her topic, the highlights of her TEDx journey so far and what drew her to apply…

What was the inspiration behind your TEDx talk?

“I chose the title ‘Beyond the Chinese Takeaway’ because when people think of the Chinese community in Scotland, their first thought or the first thing they associate with the community tends to be Chinese takeaways. The purpose behind my talk is to give more visibility to the Scottish Chinese community so that people get to know more about us as active members of society. 

“I want to use experiences from my friends, my family and the people around me to show just how integrated we are already in the local and wider community. But to also encourage more social integration and understanding at the same time.” 


What has made you so passionate about your topic? 

I grew up in a Chinese community and spent a lot of my childhood working and surrounded by my family’s local business which was a Chinese takeaway restaurant. For many BBCs (British-Born Chinese) living in Scotland, this can be considered the norm and is the way that many of us were brought up.

“I’m so passionate about this topic because my parents’ generation is slowly disappearing. I see this talk as an opportunity to give voice to their stories and their experiences, helping people to appreciate what they’ve done for future generations and local communities.

“I have spent time observing what my parents and friends have gone through alongside talking to them about their experiences throughout the years. I want to be able to give more visibility and pay homage to my parent’s generation.” 


Why is it so important for you to share this topic with a wider audience?

“Throughout the media, we’ve seen other communities get a lot of visibility such as the black community. Similarly, throughout the 1990s and 2000s, there was a large focus on Asian communities such as those from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It’s only now that the Chinese community is starting to gain more visibility.

“Being able to bring people’s attention to the younger generation throughout our community, as well as our families, makes me feel that my story and experiences are definitely worth sharing. I want to be able to portray just how diverse Scotland really is.”


What do you think people will gain from listening to your talk?

“I hope that people will be able to gain a wider perspective and understanding of the Scottish Chinese community. I want people to be able to identify that by using Chinese people as an example, they can all play an active role in integrating other minorities into the community. Everyone can help work together to create social cohesion – from an action as simple as saying hello or even offering to babysit.” 


What drew you to apply for TEDxAberdeen 2022 and how did it feel finding out you made the shortlist?

“I came across the application randomly and I was drawn to apply because it was in Aberdeen. Despite currently being based in France, I do try to stay as active as I can with the creative community in Scotland. When I saw the TEDx application pop up, I was so excited to see our local region being represented. I think if it was another TEDx location I wouldn’t have applied. 

“When Derrick called to tell me I had successfully made the shortlist, I felt very shocked and happy, purely because I almost didn’t apply. I was just so nervous about my topic and although it’s deeply important to me, I honestly didn’t expect that it would get picked. 

“Being a person of colour and being able to join the stage alongside other local Aberdonians and people of the North East is such a special feeling. It demonstrated that TEDxAberdeen is really looking for wide and diverse stories to be told around this year’s theme.”


How has your TEDx journey been so far and what are you most looking forward to?

“I’m just so honoured and privileged to be part of this process. Despite living in Paris, everyone – particularly Derrick and Bob – has been very considerate and accommodating of my situation. 

I’m looking forward to seeing how my story will develop and shape over time because it’s certainly not easy trying to fit everything into 12 minutes and I’m aware that we have to be quite strict with what we include so we don’t run over time. 

“I’m also really excited for the final performance, as I know that some of my friends, family and people that have been supportive of my creative work will be in the audience. I can’t wait to connect with everyone as I’m up on stage.” 


What does being part of TEDxAberdeen 2022 mean to you?

“I think part of the meaning of TEDxAberdeen to me has come from the theme of movement, in the sense that I am being given the opportunity to shift people’s mindsets and perspectives on the important issues of race and social cohesion. It means so much to me that I have been given a platform to use my voice and increase visibility of people like me. It really is a gift” 


To experience the magic of this incredible event and be one of our 100 live audience members, visit our sign-up page to register your interest in becoming a TEDxAberdeen 2022 attendee.

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.