How many requests does it take until a Toastmaster agrees to do a frightening role?
It took our persevering past Vice President of Education, Jordan Yau, CL, numerous attempts to persuade TM Ada Lim Rani to host our weekly meetings. But, after just one try from our current Vice President of Education, TM Gerald Goh, TM Ada strutted courageously as our first-time Toastmaster of the Evening!
Table Topics Master: Amran Jamaluddin, CC
Table Topics Evaluator: TM Gerald Goh
Grammarian: Pranika Lama, ACB, ALB
Ah Counter and ‘Who Said What?’: Hilman Omar, CC
Timer and Tip: TM Dalton Lim
General Evaluator: Liyana Sidek, CC, CL
Thought of the Day: “Once you feel that you can, let go of your fear, and just do it.”
In her ‘Thought of the Day’, TM Ada reflected on how long it took her to feel ready, but it mattered not as the wait was worthwhile. Throughout the evening, she impressed both members and guests with her humourous honesty and utmost dedication to perform her role well. Surely, the roars of laughter and booming claps were testament to a job well done!
Word of the Day: Ecstatic (adj.) feeling of overwhelming happiness.
Grammar Rule of the Day: Adjective. Words used to describe, clarify or compare nouns.
Ecstatic was our audience to hear, deliver and learn from the evening’s speeches. After supplying speakers with Timer tips and a choice of Grammarian ‘tricks’, our Toastmaster of the Evening called upon the first speaker.
Tip of the Day: “Don’t speak to fill the air. Be succinct.”
“I quit!” After a trekking and camping expedition of horror, who would not be tempted to?
For her ‘CC4: How To Say It‘ Project, TM Mei Ann recalled an awful outdoor experience. 5 days of hiking in rain so heavy that water seeped through what was rainproof clothing, and 4 nights of camping without civilised toilets, were enough to put her on edge. The final push was finding a tick biting her leg! Her mind obsessed over the possible ailments she could contract from the atrocious parasite. As that was added to her already long list of frustrations, she exclaimed, “I quit!”
9 years later, she found herself in a completely different environment: indoors, working on her PhD thesis. Yet, being over time for the submission deadline built up a similar frustration. Once again, she surrendered.
Both stories, however, had happy endings.
In both circumstances, she had friends who comforted her (with hot chocolate!), reasoned with kindness, and firmly supported her. With the help of those who knew her well, she was able to overcome her helplessness and complete the task she almost gave up on. Her experience taught her the importance of having kindred spirits in your life to cheer you on when things get tough. How thankful she was to have people around her who made sure that she never walks alone.
From the Evaluator: Worried about long sentences? TM Mei Ann wrote her speech as a series of numbered sentences, and made sure that each never goes over a line. Altogether, her 6-minute speech was made up of 61 sentences! – Jordan Yau, CL.
Following the moving message of ‘never walk alone’, TM Tieng Chwei Peng attempted to persuade us otherwise. Without hesitation, she began her ‘CC9: Persuade with Power’ speech with a statistic. According to a popular holiday accommodation booking site, 61% of female users were planning solo travels. She made a case for solo travel as the better way to travel, as well as a means for skill development and exercising freedom.
Without another person to depend on, you would be entered into a crash course on independence. Planning a holiday on your own, relying on mainly yourself throughout, and successfully returning home alive, would give you a feeling of empowerment. Who does not want that?
Also, without mismatched interests to compromise plans with, you would be free to go to any events or attractions of your liking, and spend as long or as little as you wanted there. You need not worry about discussing budgets, and could experience a new place at your own pace. This would lead to a low stress and more ‘freedom’-filled holiday. Is that not the kind of holiday we all yearn for?
If you are now on the turn, but are still a bit scared, TM Peng advised to start somewhere near and familiar. Start small and short-term, and before you know it, your 3-day solo holiday will turn to 3 weeks and even 3 months, in lands where language barriers exist but do not intimidate you. How can it when solo travel has made you a more empowered, stress-free and highly confident traveller!
From the evaluator: Looking to make your speeches more impactful and memorable? TM Peng ended each of her main points with a ‘tagline’ that summarises her message:
- Be empowered. Go solo.
- Be free. Go solo.
- Be confident. Go solo.
These grabbed the audience’s attention, in addition to making her speech more entertaining and humourous! – Rano Iskandar, CC, CL.
This week, we continued our practice towards becoming a more confident impromptu speaker with a Table Topic session on ‘Festivities’.
“What is a must for you and your family during the festive season?”
Though many may revere it as the time for Open Houses, scrumptious food and delicious money, ‘Hari Raya’ is a family bonding affair for TM Nabil and his family. He confessed to sometimes feeling annoyed by this. There had been many occassions when he would lock himself in his room with plentiful work and his mom will call him to come down for food. He would find out later that food was nowhere near ready, and he was tricked into helping out with the table.
“If there are no more green/red packets, what gifts would you like to exchange them with?”
Back in Brunei for the Summer holidays, TM Derby confessed to missing her family, friends and acquaintances. To her, time spent with her loved ones is the most precious gift. She would not trade it for all the green packets in the world!
“Bring back the memory: what did you miss from past celebrations?”
“Why do we have an enormous picture of Queen Elizabeth in the living room?” TM Haryati recalled a family ‘tradition’ of mocking her grandparents’ odd tastes in interior decorating every first Raya visit. She could never understand why they chose to hang what she considered an irrelevant figure in the house. They were neither family, nor will the Queen return the favour by having a picture of their family in her castle! Her grandparents never did have a reason for the picture on the wall. The tradition, however, stopped when her grandparents passed away just a few months ago. Following this, TM Haryati and family decided to take the subject of their taunting and hang it on the wall of their living room. This time, if any family member asked why it was there, they would answer, “it’s a painting that our grandparents love. We’re keeping it there to remember them by.”
“Persuade the host to give you green packets.”
Our first-time guest, Farman, was away from Brunei for 7 years and missed Hari Raya open houses dearly. If he were to be in one, he would never ask for a green packet directly. Instead, he would opt to notify hosts that he was about to leave, while ‘signaling’ with gestures the question of whether he would be getting a green packet any time soon.
“What was the weirdest question you’ve been asked during festivities?”
Shawn, DTM, told an old tale from old times, when he would be questioned for his fashion choice. Chinese costume for Deepavali? Malay costume for Chinese New Year? Indian costume for Hari Raya? Why wear clothes that make him look different to everybody else? Well, Shawn, DTM, believe that life is about being different. Also, you should never be judged by what you wear on your body, but by what you wear on your heart. He cares about people around him, and he cares about being cool all around!
The audience began to reclaim their cool as General Evaluator, Liyana Sidek, CC, CL, took over the floor to begin the Evaluation Session. Last meeting, we saw yet more impeccable evaluations of speeches, grammar, and misuse of clutch and repetitive words. Liyana, CC, CL was pleased with the quality and offered one suggestion: be more explicit with comments.
If you are praising a speaker for a technique, explain further why or how the technique helped the speaker to achieve his or her purpose. The same applies if an evaluator feels a technique is not appropriate. Evaluators should aim to make their evaluation as clear and helpful to the speakers.
General Evaluator comments: When giving evaluations, be more explicit on why you think something specific is effective, or not effective, towards achieving the aim of a speech.
There was no shred of doubt who our Best Table Topic and Best Evaluator were going to be. Well done to TM Haryati and Hilman, CC, CL on your wins!
TM Haryati and Hilman, CC, CL were not the only two to receive ribbons and recognition. Last evening was also the night TM Gerald received his CL title and pin!
TM Derby who came to surprise us with her appearance, similarly received a ‘surprise’ of her own: a certificate of appreciation and a pin for her contributions to the Public Relations Team!
Last, but not least, Rahul Breh, CC, was pinned ‘Outstanding Member’! Of course, we need not for a pin or certificate to know that he is an outstanding member and human being.
And with that, our meeting filled with outstanding new guests, returning guest (just the one) and members ended. Our new guests mentioned the warmth and hospitality of our members during their comments sessions, and TM Derby pinpointed growth in individual members and the club as a whole. We definitely did grow and whatever growth that we see, we owe it to each other. As our President mentioned in his closing remarks: In Toastmasters, we never walk alone.
Let us keep walking together towards our goals!
President’s remark: In Toastmasters, we never walk alone.
Written By: TM Rahmat Tarsat
Photography By: Gerald Goh, CL