My Tribute to Kethan | From TEDxWeldQuay to TEDxTrastevere

Sitting aboard Thai Airways on my flight from Malasyia to Rome, I am looking both ahead and behind me. On Saturday, my TEDx world tour reached its official start as I took the stage of TEDxWeldQuay. The Artistry Within of this event capturing every aspect of my time in Penang itself.


I was greeted by Mee Quin Ooi from their TEDx committee at the airport on Friday and was then whisked off to a wonderful lunch in the Georgetown area. Not only did I properly learn how to use chopsticks, but I discovered a plethora of amazing tastes. Malaysians love their food, and I now understand why. Either they love their food because it is so good or it is so good because they love their food. Either way, this lunch was a spectacular gift.

On Saturday, I awoke with great anticipation. Although I am deeply grateful for the chance to take the stage of each of the three TEDx events at which I will speak, this one in Penang was special. I was in Malaysia, where Kethan’s story started. Although he was born in Austin, his family is Malaysian. This is who he was, where he began and where his Appu and Appachi; his Appu and Amamma still live.

These words from “The Road Home” printed in the front of a book of prayers after his passing seem deeply appropriate in expressing how I felt entering the Whiteaways Arcade:

When I come to the end of the road
and the sun has set for me,
I want no tears in a gloomy room,
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little — but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that we once shared.

Miss me but let me go…

For this is a journey that we must all make
And each must go alone,
It’s all part of the Master’s plan.
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to friends we know and bury your sorrow
In doing good deeds.

Miss me but let me go…

Others will have to decide if my deeds are good ones, but I know that as I shared Kethan’s Story in my talk, “The Internet’s New Palette: Changing the Art of Cancer,” I was sharing the story of a special boy with friends. As I cross the shores of Italy on our flight’s journey into Rome, I miss you Kethan. I will let you go, but I will never stop loving you. I now prepare for the next step in my tribute to you, TEDxTrastevere.