Fresh Beginnings

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We run, and run to run faster! We swim, and swim to swim faster! We get up on stage, speak, and refine our oratory skills. The Brunei Speakers’ Club is our haven as lifelong learners. Possessed with all the charm in the world, Rahmat blew us all away with her explosive introduction as our ever-jubilant Toastmaster of the Evening. “Even when our words do not make sense, our hearts will make sense of them. We must always stay true to our hearts.” With those words, our Toastmaster of the evening set the mood for our meeting.

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‘Excuses’ and ‘alternate selves’ was the theme set by our Table Topics Master, Mardi. With this theme in mind, our Table Topics Evaluator, Gerald shared that we can approach our Table Topics speeches as one-way conversations with the audience. Despite it being his first time, Jidun did not let that stultify (word of the day!) his efforts as our Grammarian.

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Stultify – To cripple, hinder, or impede.

Our rhetorical device for the evening is one we can effortlessly use every day yet be so effective. Epizeuxis simply means to consecutively repeat our words or phrases to emphasize our words. “No uhms! No uhms! No uhms! An Ah Counter would say. “Mind those crutch words! Mind those crutch words! Mind those crutch words! The Ah Counter would also say. That’s epizeuxis at work, folks! Faiz was eager to perform as our Ah Counter & Who Said What.

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“If you ask me to speak for two minutes, I will need three weeks to prepare for it. If you ask me to speak for an hour, I’m ready now.” Thanks for sharing Sir Winston Churchill’s quote with us, Timer Peng! It’s food for thought for us as Toastmasters. Last but not least, our jovial, and funny engineer Rahul was ready to meticulously carry us through our learning during the evening as our General Evaluator.

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We know he speaks well, we know he teaches at school, and sometimes he comes and goes in our club. He felt it was time to start anew. Kelvin embarked on a new self-discovery journey with his Competent Communication 1 speech. Despite having done his Competent Communication 7 speech, he still feared judgement on stage. He thought he could stultify that fear with clever words and clever content in his speeches. Yet that judgement fear engulfed his burning desire to learn and it became too much to overcome. True desire though cannot be suppressed and eventually will spark inspiration. Down but not beaten, he saw a new path to take; one without hiding behind clever words and clever content, but one stemming from honesty, sincerity, and staying true to his heart. Inspiration sparked and he took those new steps in a heartfelt Competent Communication 1 speech. We all can’t wait to see him continue and blossom. Standing ovation to Kelvin!

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He has always been our cheeky Treasurer, he has always been playful with his club meeting roles, and he has always made us laugh with his speeches. Aziman took a momentous step in doing his Competent Communication 10 speech. He exemplified what we can achieve in our Toasmasters journey through showing us a different, more serious, and reflective side of himself. He shared what it means to give a little, and actually be giving a lot. Donating rice, eggs, and cooking oil to an old man abandoned by his family and living in a broken down old wooden shack opened his eyes. He learned what it meant to give a little, and to give a lot. We can give a lot to thousands in Brunei like this old man when we give just a little to help. Besides giving locally, we could also make a world of a difference globally. A dollar from each of us collectively can help war refugees rebuild their lives. We were all touched with his stories of giving, and we are all inspired to give what we can to help those in need so much. Congratulations, Competent Communicator! Standing ovation to Aziman too!

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‘Excuses’ and ‘alternate selves’ It was a short and fun Table Topics session. “Why is there mud on your shirt?” our Table Topics Master asked Dalton. Hmm.. it took a lot to own up to his mud-covered state but all that drama can’t be avoided when one is running for dear life away from a toxic ex-girlfriend. Good luck, Dalton! An alternate self for our charming guest Zul would be one where he wakes up early for work, and when he’s free to leave the office as he pleases! (Subject to finishing his work of course.) Our other easygoing guest Safwan enchanted us with his story of, “Who is Molly, and why is she tattooed on my chest?” He met her in England as a tour guide, and it was fate to meet her again in a shopping mall years later. Though in the end love didn’t flourish, Safwan’s tattoo is a sweet reminder of his brief but ever-memorable romance with Molly. All our Table Topics speakers charmed us and with his Table Topics speech entitled, “The Perfect Day”, Zul certainly had a perfect day to visit our club for the first time and take home our Best Table Topics award!

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All our roleplayers shared valuable feedback for us to learn from. Thanks, Pooja, Chris, Gerald, Jidun, Faiz, and Peng! You all reminded us to use our voices with purpose, choose our words wisely, and efficiently use our allocated speech times. Thank you, Rahmat, Mardi, and Rahul too for leading our sessions enthusiastically as our Toastmaster of the Evening, Table Topics Master, and General Evaluator!

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Written By: Hazwan Kamarulzaman, ACB, ALB

Photography By: Rano Iskandar, CC, CL