The Sergeant-at-Arms, TM Macalister Mak, started the evening by graciously welcoming our members and guest, and the Toastmaster of the Evening, TM Jidun Dollah, introduced the office bearers. He also informed the audience that the evening would be a tad more unique than usual, serving a double whammy of a Brunei Educational Speaker for Toastmasters (B.E.S.T) session and a Table Topics session!
Coming to the rescue at the eleventh hour were Amran Jamaludin, CC, as the Table Topics Master and Farhan Jafar Ali, CC, CL, as Table Topics Evaluator. Taking on his first office bearer role this meeting was TM Futoshi Tono, who was in charge of the Ah Counter and Who Said What. The Grammarian of the day, TM Aziman Nasir, informed the audience that he would be observing the usage of metaphors for example – ‘[Person’s Name] is the apple of my eye’. He also introduced the audience to the word of the day, ‘penchant’, which is a noun to describe a strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something.
As usual, the office bearers were generous with tips in evening’s meeting. The Timer and Tip of the evening, TM Supatra Lee, reminded the crowd that ‘time waits for no one’. Therefore if there is anything we want to do or say, we should do or say it now. The General Evaluator of the evening, Rueben Chin, ACS, ALB in explaining the purpose of his role, quoted that ‘feedback is the breakfast of champions’. The tip given by the Toastmaster of the Evening was for all of us to treat mistakes as learning lessons and new beginnings.
The one and only speaker stealing the show at the prepared speech session was TM Pooja Shivanand. Self-explanatory from her CC9 project title ‘Why you should do a PhD?’, Pooja came up with a convincing case on why one should pursue this level of postgraduate education. When she was 24, she enrolled in a PhD programme and discovered that the ladder success & PhD education turned into a greasy pole. However, she shared some compelling reasons as to why we should do a PhD. These include being given the ability to change the world in some way, to bring in knowledge that was never known to humanity ever before, in the world, and to have the time and formula for novelty. It allows one to make a dent into the world’s circle of knowledge. The qualified her reasoning with examples of Miuccia Prada and Brian May of Queen Band & Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal, the NBA sensation… who all did their PhD. Furthermore, the environment in Brunei is conducive for pursuing a PhD because there is an abundance of time, tranquility and peace of mind in this nation. Pooja advised that no matter your age, if you have a curious mind and have the chance to do a PhD, go for it and support your family or friends to get on this path of higher learning as well.
The next speaker cracking up the room was the B.E.S.T speaker, founder of Bruhaha Comedy, Zainal Bostaman, ACG, ALS who taught the audience ‘How to be Funny 107’. The audience was first entertained by the story of naggings from his relentless mother and grandmother about his unmarried status, and the comebacks he came up with. He then provided some tips and advice on being humorous. First, he informed that one needs to acknowledge that being funny is a skill that we innately have – if we have ever laughed at a joke, we have a sense of humour and the capacity to make jokes. Secondly, he told the audience that we cannot be funny all the time, therefore there is a need to write a lot of jokes and discard some. He also said that being funny is a social skill and that jokes have to be tested out with different people. After sharing these tips, he delved into the structure of a joke, saying that it basically consists of a setup and a punchline. For the setup, one needs to come up with a topic and write about why something is hard, stupid, scary and weird. For the punchline, people can use reversal, jarring comparisons and the power of three. Jokes or humorous stories can also be more effective with the use of characterization (acting out a person’s mannerisms), callbacks and truth-telling.
After the break, the Table Topics Master, CC Amran Jamaludin served some table topics that were true to their name. The first to attempt table topics was TM Heidi Rahman, who was asked whether she would prefer an experienced or educated person if she were a manager. On this topic, she acknowledged that both had their advantages but ultimately expressed preference for an educated person. She believes that an educated person can build up experience but it may not be as easy for an experienced person to attain education as easily. Next on stage was TM Gerald Goh, who was asked ‘Learn from mistakes – Is it still relevant?’. Gerald believed that it was still relevant because if you never fall, you never learn to get up. He related to his experience of getting involved in a car accident. He finally said that he doesn’t encourage people to make mistakes but if they do, learn from it. The final table topics speaker was Area Contest Table Topics Champion, TM Julius Hong, who answered the prompt ‘Knife is dangerous. Why do we still need it?’. Julius explained that a lot of things in life are dangerous or we may not be good at using or doing them. However, that does not mean that we should not do it. He connected this to a person’s anxious first experience at Toastmasters and how with time the person will get better.
Brunei Speakers Club is full of winners but tonight, the crowd was wooed by TM Julius Hong who won the best Table Topics speaker of the night. The crown for best evaluator of the night went to Farhan Jafar Ali, CC, CL. Congratulations to both!
As the meeting came to an end, the President of the Brunei Speaker’s Club, Chris Woo, CC took the floor and among other things, imparted about the nature of mirroring in social context. He shared about speakers’ abilities to influence the audience’s mood since the audience tends to mirror the speaker’s energy. The Vice President of Education, Jordan Yau, CL then announced that next week’s Toastmaster of the Evening will be TM Tieng Chwei Peng.
Before wrapping up, TM Sandy Tan informed the meeting that Pranika Lama, ACB, ALB, and TM Julius Hong will be representing Brunei in the Division K Level contest at Sandakan on 10th April 2016. She encouraged people to support them in their endeavours and to speak to her if they wish to register their name to support them in Sandakan.
TM Tieng Chwei Peng
Photography and Caption by;
TM Gerald Goh