Press release

Join Iris Koh and Singers Club-All Girls in a reflective performance about women and their shoes next Wednesday evening 8th Dec 2010. The performance will be part of the TEDx Women conference here in Singapore organzied by TEDx Singapore. We talk to Iris Koh, the founder of Singers Club- All Girls, Director of Athenarts Pte Ltd about their upcoming performance.

What is your inspiration behind this performance?
I wanted to create something that would feature women from all walks of life and their stories and while thinking about it and brain-storming with a friend, I thought why not use something that is common and special to most women: SHOES! It’s amazing the stories that shoes can tell about where we have walked, how we have walked the journey in our lives. So what I did was to invite the performers to bring their favourite pair of shoes with a story to share with the group. And so the creation of the project started from there. I really wanted to have something that would make people think deeper about the people around them, that sometimes people are really not what they seem and it’s hard to know what someone is experiencing or how they feel, unless they can walk a mile in other people’s shoes.

Who are the people who are part of this performance?
We literally have women from all walks of life. From a mother, to my youngest two 12 year old girls to an environmental activist, entrepreneur, teachers, researchers, actress, students, etc. It is a colorful mix. They have so generously come together to share something quite precious and intimate about their lives, their relationships with the people around them. I was very surprised that the two 12 year olds have very touching stories to share about their shoes. One of them have a pair of shoes that was the last gift from her uncle who passed away this year. I think through the process of sharing our stories, everyone grew and learnt many things about each other. Many of us started as strangers and now we are friends.

How and why did you come to be part of the TEDx Women’s Showcase?
My husband, Raymond is the one who introduced me to TED talks. Most weekends, he will spend a lot of time watching the videos. One day, he told me that TED has an office in Singapore and looking for performers. So I went in and submited my port-folio and really I have forgotten about it and one day I got an email from TED saying that they are interested to find out if I would like to put up a performance item. Of course I said Yes. I like the mission of TED to spread ideas and to encourage learning, discovery and thinking across multiple disciplines. I have watched many inspiring TED talks, my favourite being Jose Abreu on kids transformed by music. When I first heard it, I felt teardrops in my eyes. This man has such a strong sense of purpose and has done so much for disadvantaged youths in Venuzuala to have a chance to belong to an orchestra.

What is the message that you would like to share with the world through your performance at TEDx Women next Wed?
My message is simple: If you could walk a mile in my shoes, you will see the world as I do. Through the course of the rehearsal, I have one person share with me this. ” Last week, I said, you can always start running to keep fit. Anybody can do it. After listening to everyone’s stories, I realized that some people because of their physical condition simply can’t run. And they can’t do the things I have always taken for granted that I can just do.” Yes, I really think the world will be a better place if we could walk a mile in other people’s shoes… Perhaps there will be less war, misunderstandings, arguments. To quote Janice Yeo, who is one of the participants in this showcase. “Sometimes we don’t understand why people behave in certain ways and we expect them to be or not to be in a certain way. In short, everyone of us are not the same. We gotta love them the way they are.”