The meeting had attracted an unprecedented number of fifteen guests and at least forty members from all four Toastmasters clubs in Brunei.
Our Timer, Toastmaster Pooja, entreated us to respect time with a few lines from Henry Austin Dobson’s poem, The Paradox of Time.
Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go[…]
Taking his cue after Pooja’s words, our Toastmaster of the Evening, Toastmaster Rano Iskandar, invited us to appreciate and take control of time. He also shared his learning experience during the Division K Annual Conference that was held in Labuan during the weekend of 28th – 29th March 2015. Alluding to the principles of being a Toastmaster as defined by the wise Division K7 Area Governor during the annual conference; Rano described how living each day driven by purpose, duty and ambition resonated with him.
Our Grammarian, Toastmaster Terence Han, a visiting member from the OTTERS club, introduced our Word of the Day: empower. It is a word of great relevance to all of us, as Toastmasters, for it is featured in the mission of our Brunei Speakers’ Club, where members, and guests, are empowered to be better communicators and leaders.
Toastmaster Gerald Goh enrolled us on a crash course on scuba diving as he attempted his fifth speech project for the Competent Communication manual, entitled “Scuba Diving 101”. While beseeching us to treat all sea creatures with kindness, Gerald impressed upon us the importance of visual communication between divers and the thorough acquisition of essential diving skills, for the underwater world could pose many dangers to its human patrons. TM Gerald also effectively demonstrated a variety of delightful hand gestures that are useful in indicating the presence of particular sea creatures. Well done, Gerald.
With a touch of humour, Toastmaster Tan Ser Heang also attempted his fifth speech project for the Competent Communication manual, entitled “You’ve Got A Friend in Me”. He deduced his apparent social popularity from his having over a hundred friends above the average number, which, according to the Pew Research Centre, a person has on Facebook. Using natural body movements and hand gestures, Ser Heang delivered a moving speech that caused members of the audience to bashfully wipe tears away. He expressed his gratitude for the friendship of Brunei Toastmasters offered to him when he moved to Brunei for work several months ago. Many memories of his time in Brunei had been made with the Brunei Toastmasters, and with the impending end to his work in Brunei; he fervently hoped that, as much as how we all had a friend in him, he would have a friend in all of us too.
Unintentionally, we have allowed ourselves to live in a society where much of our actions, emotions and preferences had been shaped by a commonly accepted standard of physical beauty. In her tenth and final speech project for the Competent Communication manual, entitled “Are You Comfortable?” Toastmaster Chang Seng Yee urged us to disregard our desire for physical perfection, for this is an essentially superficial ambition as perfection will soon degenerate to imperfection over time. Referring closely to the Jubilee Project’s video where fifty people had been asked about the one thing which they would change about their body; Seng Yee persuasively implored us to be more confident about ourselves. There is no logical reason against why we could not return to the innocent days of our childhood where we were all happier with our bodies, and ultimately, ourselves. At the end of her speech, Seng Yee compellingly drew a strong link between confidence and acceptance, where we all embraced our flaws.
Our Table Topics Master, TM Rahul Breh, based his questions on subject matters that would encourage us to explore our moral values. Our first speaker, Toastmaster Shafiq, a visiting member from the UBD Toastmasters, happily admitted that he could never be a lawyer, for he would not be capable of defending a man who was guilty of theft. Vui Ting, a guest, braved an attempt at an impromptu speech where she spoke glowingly of Malala Yousafzai, who had deservedly won a Nobel Peace prize for her campaign for children’s right to education. Toastmaster Julius Hong spoke tenderly of how our sense of sight might not be important, as we could feel, listen to, and hold the people we love close to us.
Many congratulations to TM Tan Ser Heang and TM Gerald Goh for reaching the halfway mark in their journey towards completing all speech projects in the Competent Communication manual. Great compliments should also be given to TM Chang Seng Yee, who had completed all her speech projects in the aforementioned manual and had now earned the title of Competent Communicator.
The club ended with speeches from our Acting President, Chang Seng Yee, Competent Communicator, our Toastmaster of the Evening, Toastmaster Rano Iskandar, and our Vice President of Education, Allen Ang, Advanced communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze. They presented Toastmaster Tan Ser Heang with words and tokens of their appreciation for his contribution to the club, and friendship to all members and guests.
Upon receiving a warm invitation, Reuben Chin, Advanced communicator Silver, Advanced Leader Bronze, spoke of how he appreciated the support he had from the Brunei Toastmasters during the Division K International Speech and Table Topics competition in Labuan, where he emerged as first runner-up in both categories. He drew great cheer from the audience of the meeting when he declared his ambition to achieve a better outcome in the next round of competitions.
Writer’s Remark: Everyone, be it a Toastmaster, role player, guest, or member of the audience, contributes to the success of each meeting. We hope that every meeting will be as lively as this one. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this meeting.
TM Sharon Ong
Reuben Chin, ACS, ALB