My Recent Speech at theStar Education Fair

UPDATE: If, for some reason you’re interested in me speaking in the first place, I’m speaking at Youth 08 on the 19th January, about prototyping your ideas and the internet. It will be very different from this speech.


The session had already started when I arrived.


Racecar driver Alex Yoong was already on stage, sharing some interesting ideas about alternative, possibly higher paying, more fulfilling career options involving your “being good with your hands”.

NTV7 Breakfast Show host, Jessica Teng spoke next about broadcast journalism and her lifestyle.

Then, it was my turn.


Before I tell you about what really happened to me, there is a background story to why I was invited in the first place.

imageIt was theStar Education Fair 2008.

It happens every year, and its a whopper of sorts, attracting thousands of eager parents and children, shopping for their destiny.

They had career talks and such throughout the day, and the 3 of us were invited to speak on “University and working: Personal experiences”.

I was not entirely sure why I was invited, but I’m guess it was because theStar had written about me a couple of times, and they knew how much I loved infecting young minds with some crazy ideas on a Saturday morning πŸ˜‰

Okay so maybe they didn’t know that. But it’s true. I love working with young-ish peeps like moi.

Anyhoo – my audience today were maybe a hundred over high school students, some college kids, and their parents.

We were in an overly formal setting, which tamed my usual animated character, but that didn’t stop me from being a beast.

I was swift… but reminded myself not to talk too fast…


After my 10 minutes of anarchy, the deed was done. I know 90% of the crowd must have disagreed with some of my points, but I have always looked out for the misfits who were going YES YES YES.

Misfits aside, I was approached by students and parents, many of them had good questions. Such as this young lad the name of Aaron who may grow up to be doctor.


What did I talk about?

Here is the full script…

Khailee’s Speech At TheStar Education Fair 2008

University Life – My Personal 5 Point Strategy

What’s up guys, I’ve got like, 10 – 15 minutes to help you choose a strategy for balancing out your university life.

So I won’t spend ANY time talking about who I am and what I do.

Let’s just assume I’m a race car driver, and my name is Khailee. We can talk about the details later.

For the next 10 minutes of your life, I’m going to dive into the exact strategy I have used to navigate my university life.

Why my strategy?

Well, my strategy has helped me achieve a couple of things.

  • Get kicked out of the Malaysian Student’s Club in Sydney
  • Have lecturers refuse to teach me
  • Almost drop out of college
  • Have a University recommend me into a mental clinic

I admit, this strategy is kinda risky and strange.

Dear parents, I’m not even sure if you want me to share this with your children.

But to be fair, my strategy also helped me achieve a few things before I graduated…

  • Co-founded, – a popular, influential socio-political youth magazine.
  • Graduated Top student in business, and invited into a PhD
  • Nabbed a couple of awards in art , photography, drama…
  • More importantly, it enabled me to wake up everyday, paid good money to do what I love.

What am I doing now?

We can talk about that later. Like I said, let’s talk strategy first.

What’s Your Strategy?

How many of you have a strategy, for their uni life… like….

  • “Try and pass all my subjects, try and get some working experience”
  • “I’ll go with the flow / see how it goes”
  • “Some other strategy”

Yes? No? Maybe? Cool.

Admittedly, I had no choice…

Honestly, between you and me… I didn’t know what to think – gawd – was 16 years old shopping around theStar’s career fair… when I got home, with a bag full of flyers, my dad asked me what I wanted to do… I told him I didn’t know.


I really had to get out there – stop doing normal boring stuff I’ve been doing all my life.

This was my only strategy. Do whatever it takes to know everything.

And this led me to do 5 main things.

I’m going to share these 5 things I did – which you may, or may not agree with.

1. AVOID TYPICAL PEOPLE (Especially Malaysians!)

I arrived in Sydney to discover the Malaysian student committee actively re-creating the comfort zone they were missing oh-so-badly. They organizes activities for Malaysians, mixing around with Malaysians etc… scary!

If you’re overseas – don’t waste it with Malaysians. You’ve been doing that for 10+ years and can do that the rest of your life. Invest your time wisely – learning about other cultures, and other sorts of unconventional people!


Unless you have to fry char kwoay teow to send your sister to add math tuition – respect.

But for those of you who have parents paying for your education – my argument is that it costs more per hour keeping you overseas than you can earn being a waiter.

Think about how else that time can be used to enhance your learning – reading things online, learning a new skills, developing relationships with interesting people, and doing CRAZY things… especially…


Personally I was active in over 6 societies Drama, Film, Business, Malaysian Students Association, Outdoor, Debating, International Students Council… and through that I’ve met amazing people – had a loads of fun and good memories.

Every weekend I was doing something different with different people!

My advice is – whatever you are curious about, whether it’s something you like or don’t know anything about.. go out there to meet like minds… and throw yourself into leadership positions even!

Experiment while you can afford to πŸ˜‰


I joined up to 8 classes at a start of a semester- and then I quit those I didn’t like. I would sit in on my friend’s classes to see what it’s like so I can take it next semester.

This is one way to really find the best teachers, and take the subjects you will really get into. In any school, there is always “the good teachers” – go find them. Follow your curiosity, excitement, whenever you can. It’ll make studying a joy, and getting great grades way easier.


Have you ever looked back and “forgotten” everything you’ve studied? Well that happened to the subjects I scored “OK” in. But for most subjects where I scored top grades in – I realize it’s still in my head – part of my mental toolbox. Some people may argue that getting good grades doesn’t really matter – but I personally advise getting the BEST grades – try it once and you’ll feel the difference!


  1. Avoid Typical people – especially Malaysians
  2. Don’t get a part time job
  3. Joins many clubs and societies
  4. Test out subjects and teachers
  5. Get the best results!

For those of you who don’t see this working for you, or if you have already decided on a lot of things, forget everything I said and do it your way!

BUT – If you’re not ready to decide – Do everything you can to EXPLORE and LEARN.

You know, it’s your choice – you can believe your tertiary education is really just a piece of paper.

Or, it can be a chance to flex your brain. To grow as a person. And ultimately, find your place in this world πŸ™‚

12 comments on “My Recent Speech at theStar Education Fair

  1. laydeh January 13, 2008 4:41 pm

    polished pretty well i must say πŸ˜€

    will hear ur next one out

  2. John January 14, 2008 5:21 am

    Very nice! Extremely concise, and exactly what I did in school myself.

    I agree especially with the avoiding comfort zones piece.

    Rock on!

  3. Aaron January 14, 2008 12:41 pm

    NICE 1 bro πŸ˜€
    kinda bad pic of me hahaha but u look good πŸ˜€
    keep it on..fantastic talk by YOU

  4. Tiara January 14, 2008 5:17 pm

    Haha, I wouldn’t say “avoid Malaysians”, just don’t hang out with someone only because they’re Malaysian.

    I would disagree on the part-time job point. It’s a great way to gain actual experience and learn about your host culture far better than uni will ever teach you. However, this does depend a lot on what sort of job you get. I would also recommend volunteering for damn near everything that sounds the least bit interesting – that’s how I got my Brisbane buzz πŸ™‚

    be careful about the overloading – schedules can get crazy. I enrolled in the normal number this semester and already two subjects clash. -_-;;

  5. khailee January 15, 2008 2:29 am

    of course, not ALL malaysians, or ALL part time jobs… in all cases there are plenty of exceptions -! i intentionally scripted the whole thing without disclaimers just to paint an extreme picture to get a point across if u know what i mean πŸ˜‰

    also, everyone should feel free to disagree, after all, i’m not advising people on the best strategy… im only qualified to talk about MY strategy ;p

  6. SmallsWong January 16, 2008 4:05 am

    I disagree with the part time job bit as well. I fully regretted not taking on a part time job when i was in Australia, whether it was as a simple waitresss or as a bookkeeper in a small accounting firm. After being for countless interviews in Australia, I realise that ANY form of work experience is looked onto favourably.

  7. khailee January 16, 2008 5:30 am

    Hey smalls i would get a part time job IF i could not find a better use of the time πŸ™‚

  8. Friedbeef January 17, 2008 10:17 am

    Good strategy man – i love your style

  9. saran January 18, 2008 4:17 am

    that’s really good stuff khailee! πŸ˜€

    ahahaa i get you about the hanging out with malaysians – when i first arrived i hung out with 80% non-malaysians! well, now it’s 70%. hahaa!

    and eh, people living in uk can die man no moolah. how how how! πŸ™

    sadly, i can’t test subjects and teachers +_+

    +_+ and im part of the committee of the malaysian society in manchester in the publicity side. it’s quite good la, because everyone still does their own thing, we only come together when doing events.

    p.s: even though law ain’t my main love, but i can see how it’s helping me grow in a lot of other areas besides intellectually.

    πŸ™‚ go khailee! yay!

    p.s: i didn’t know crissy replied in that old post!

  10. Blog Marketing January 18, 2008 6:23 am

    Hey Khai Lee,

    Congratulates to you, another well done public speaking.

    Have different point of view will make a different you.

    I agree with you, not all will agree what you say but the most important is that made what you are today.

    Keep it up and be unique. There is no 2 persons look identical even the twins.

    Steven Wong

  11. kennethlee January 18, 2008 8:27 am

    dear Khailee,
    You never fail to be your perky self.
    I’m pretty sure you nailed it again this time.
    Your strategy’s crazy man! lol

  12. N January 28, 2008 3:01 pm

    Khai Lee rocks! (head banging…) hehe…

    but don’t just follow people (including Khai Lee!).. πŸ˜‰

    be a rebel, and do what you think would be good for you. that’s it, just THINK! don’t just do it… (anti-nike eh?)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>