7th February 2017 – It Starts With One

It was a blast from the past as we conducted our meeting in the CIC room last week! The room was filled with members and guests alike, all supportive of and anticipating speeches from our new members, Safarul and Izzah. They were found sat focused on their seats, perhaps equally eager to share their stories with the crowd.


List of office bearers

  • The Toastmaster of the Evening – Aziman Nasir, CC, ALB

Thought of the Day: “When things go wrong, you have a choice. Choose to be happy, oblivious and thick-skinned.”


  • Table Topics Master – Jordan Yau, CL.
  • Table Topics Evaluator – Rahmat Tarsat, CC.

  • Grammarian – Gerald Goh, CL.
    • Word of the Day: Vital (adjective), absolutely necessary or important.
  • Ah Counter & ‘Who Said What?’ – TM Syatrah Roslan
  • Timer & Tip – TM Dalton Lim

Tip of the Day: Focus on one thing at a time.

  • General Evaluator – Stuart Lee, ACS, ALB.


Prepared Speech Session


CC1 The Ice Breaker Speech – Work-In-Progress by TM Izzah Salam


Izzah’s involvement in the online world started long, long time ago, in the ages of mIRC (the grandfather of WhatsApp). She had always been fascinated with the limitless possibilities of creating online personalities. Thus on Twitter, she was ChaRiley – ‘Cha’ because she loves tea, and ‘Riley’ because that was her favourite fictional character. At 16 years old, she made her first Facebook profile. When asked then by the website to describe herself, she thought about it, then wrote ‘indecisive’. Who was Izzah? After years of studying in university and much travelling and self-reflection, she is still trying to figure it out. Coming back home to Brunei, she experienced reverse culture shock, and many things then, from slow internet connection to slow pedestrian was frustrating to her. But, with time, she learned to cope and is currently happy with her work and is happily in a relationship. She implored all to make most of the present and to be okay with the fact that we are all a work in progress.


CC1 The Ice Breaker Speech – What Will Your Verse Be by TM Safarul Izwan


“If you may contribute a verse, what will your verse be?” Safarul opened with a line from the ‘Dead Poets Society’, a movie about students inspired by their teacher to carve their own path and know their potential. It was a story that resonated with Safarul. He shared his unique family: a father who was adopted, who then adopted him (and a brief mention of a cat he adopted).  Being the only son and the youngest made him the golden child. An advantage at first, but that also made it difficult for him to convince his family to allow him to stay and work in Australia after completing his degree there. His family wanted him to apply for work in Brunei, however, he was aware of low job prospects for Australian graduates then. So he stuck to his guns, and eventually managed to secure a job in Australia, despite the struggles. And now, his experience working abroad has rendered him more employable. Safarul therefore advised us to trust our instincts and to make decisions based on what we know best.

CC6 Vocal Variety – The Best Things in Life are Unexpected  by TM Jidun Dollah


As a student, Jidun hated speaking in front of people. He recalled a time in primary school when his English teacher would ask him to read a passage out loud from the text book. He struggled internally when first asked, but when he finally gave in, stood up and read the passage to the class, he realised something. He could read. He never once thought that he would have the courage to do so in front of more than 30 people. And successfully doing it once gave him encouragement to do it again, and to do better. That night itself, he practised his reading and volunteered to read the next day. With increasing practise, he gained self confidence in speaking publicly. Jidun encouraged all to overcome their fears by proving to themselves that they can do the things they are afraid of.


Table Topic Session


“Action speaks louder than words.” – what people do shows more about them than what they just say.

Who has never heard of ‘ranoadidas’? Rano Iskandar, CC, CL, is a well-known blogger and prominent figure in social media in Brunei. He believed that his success is owed to the reputation he has built over the years, which showed him to be the trustworthy and reliable person that he is.


“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Something that takes a long time to finish begins with one step.

TM Kelvin Lai did not feel that he was a very dedicated and responsible teacher when he started. However,  with the help of his colleagues and mentor, who helped me tremendously to make the first step towards positive change, he has definitely progressed far.


“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” – What is beautiful is different for each person.

“That is what I tell my wife,” Rahul Breh, CC, confessed. He shared many funny anecdotes that won the audience’s hearts, and him, the Best Table Topics ribbon! He reminded all women that they are beautiful, regardless of what people say or write. He is definitely a man with a most beautiful heart!


“Beggars can’t be choosers.” – a needy person should accept what is offered without  complaining.

Peng, CC, confessed to complaining a lot about long work hours and heavy workload. However, she has learned to be grateful that she at least has a job that help pays the bill in a time where jobs are scarce.


“Once bitten, twice shy.” – from experience, we learn to avoid troubling situations.

“Sometimes, we don’t have to be bitten – just shy.” Pooja Shivanand, CC, ALB, shared how she had avoided challenging situations simply because she did not feel that she could do it. Challenges, however, were meant to be overcome for us to grow. Thus, she strives to be more daring and less hesitant in the future.


Award Recipients of the Evening


  • Best Table Topic Speaker: Rahul Breh, CC.
  • Best Evaluator: TM Syatrah Roslan.



Closing Remark


In Toastmasters, we aim to learn through doing speeches and roles. The President, Jordan Yau, CL, also pointed out that learning occurs when we listen to speeches and evaluations as well. He encouraged members to not miss out on these learning opportunities: “By learning, you can teach better. By teaching, you can learn better.”


Written by:

TM Rahmat Tarsat



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