Momentum of the human soul and mind

By Lai Ling Ling, CC

This week’s Toastmaster of the Evening was Gerald Goh, CC, ALB.

Coming on stage after Gerald was the lovely TM Syatrah Roslan as our Table Topics Master. Her theme for the night was 'persuasion', so that got everyone sitting up a little straighter.

Evaluating our Table Topics speakers was Tieng Chwei Peng, CC, who kept her introduction short and sweet with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

Next up was Sergeant at Arms TM Awfa Nawawi, doubling as the Grammarian of the night. Her 'Word of the Day' was EFFICACIOUS, meaning productive and/or efficient, and this word was very well-received by our members who used it liberally throughout the night.

After Awfa came TM Supatra Lee as the Ah Counter and 'Who Said What', who reminded us to be more aware of the things coming out of our mouths.

The penultimate introduction came from Timer and Tip, TM Edy Zurina, who manned the club traffic lights with form and finesse.

Finally came our General Evaluator, TM Suneeta Pathak, informing everyone that there are always things to learn from each other.

With everyone well-acquainted, it was time to get the show on the road!

By Hazwan Kamarulzaman, ACB, ALB


Our ever-bubby Sergeant At Arms, Awfa, kicked off our meeting with high spirits. Despite leading everyone with a deliberate and resolute club mission, she hyped up our crowd! She must be high on her cupcakes.

Gerald, our Toastmaster of the Evening, hosts with such tall presence! Figuratively… and literally.

“Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind,” Gerald shared. Awfa’s cupcakes also gave this energy and force.

As host, Gerald stated how our members practice speaking in prepared speeches and Table Topics sessions, and that we start learning in our evaluations session… We learn in all meeting sessions, bro.

Sergeant At Arms-cum-Grammarian, Awfa, efficaciously delivered her grammarian report despite her hiccups (literally).

“I love these *hic* vivid words!
I suggest *hic* we be mindful of our grammar.
My cupcakes gave me *hic* hiccups.”

Word of the day was 'efficacious' i.e. successful in producing a desired or intended result. Example of use: “I look efficacious with my work when boss is in.”

Ah Counter and 'Who Said What', the savvy Supatra, focused on transition words we can use in our speeches. “In addition too” and “relating to that” are just some phrase examples. “Oh yeah” is an awkward transition. When used, it can feel more like a mere mention of a point in passing. For example, “That fellow Toastmaster... is how you safely place wires in your home. Oh yeah, your house will explode.”

Table Topics Evaluator Peng highlighted in her introduction two key skills we ought to learn. One, avoid giggling too much to speak with conviction. Barack Obama can’t charm in his speeches if he giggled like a Justin Beiber fangirl. Two, if you don’t know the answer… deflect!

“Tell us about this quote by Martin Luther King.”
“Fantastic quote! Let me tell you about my skiing holiday!”

Our meeting ran like clockwork with Timer Edy diligently doing her job. She shared a practical tip to keep us going. “Always reach out and seek help."  When we reach out, someone may just do our jobs for us!

Champion speech evaluators, Pooja and Stuart, showed their chops in motivating speakers. Pooja underlined that speeches can flow seamlessly when delivered chronologically. We can’t all tell stories like the 'Memento' film. Stuart elaborated on using contrasting emotions in storytelling. If you are calm and calculated like Batman, you can be anarchic and spontaneous too like Joker. Congratulations on winning Best Evaluator, Stuart!

Remember all feedback, fellow Toastmasters! General Evaluator Suneeta emphasized on key lessons from good feedback. Good feedback will stick with us, like an octopus on the face.

"Vision Possible"

Kicking off our trio of speeches was TM Sophiana Chua with her Innovative Planning Pathways Level 1 Icebreaker, entitled “Vision Possible”. She talked about how her life had been a series of visions. From planning her marriage (even when she was yet to secure a boyfriend!) to entering motherhood, to juggling family life and furthering her own education, her life has always been marked by achieving one milestone after another. Although Sophiana entered the world on borrowed time, being almost aborted by her mother, she was determined to live life to the fullest, cumulating in Vision #28 – becoming the best wedding planner for her son! Her delightful speech was heartwarming and wholesome. Everyone loved it so much. It was voted the Best Speech of the night!

In her “Vision Possible” speech, Sophiana taught us that envisioning goals make them a reality. Visualize that evil scheme, and the world is your oyster. After graduating with a computer science degree, she was set to conquer the world. After all, if you can program, you can program the world to do your bidding. As conquering the world felt easy, why not do a PhD too? To add the cherry on top of that challenge, Sophiana raised toddlers at the same time. No better thrill than writing your thesis alongside hyperactive children running around screaming. "Vision Possible" indeed, and now we call her Dr Sophiana! Now it’s time for Dr Sophiana to be a wedding planner to her son (not up to him to decide) and her vision now is to be an ever-loving grandma to an army of grandchildren (again, not up to son to decide). An army of grandchildren could come in handy in her quest for world domination.


Next was Rahul Breh, CC, who was also doing his Icebreaker for Pathways (Presentation Mastery). His speech title was “ABC”! His story was about the vital values he learnt from the people most important to him. 'A’ in “ABC” stood for 'Ability' – the value imparted to him by his grandmother, who taught him the significance of being versatile in skills to better suit changing times and needs of others around him. 'B’ is for 'Break Away' – conveyed by his father, who taught him the value of being bold; to strike out on his own, to carve paths for others and to find his own way. 'C’ for 'Courage' – exemplified by his mother, who taught him how to be strong in the face of adversity, for himself and for the sake of others. All these ABCs, these meaningful life lessons, were shared by Rahul with the rest of Brunei Speakers Club!

Rahul shared fascinating life lessons from 3 family members. His grandmother taught him life is not always honky dory. She didn’t enjoy a rich luxurious life but she used what she had. We seize our opportunities when we can. When life just gives us lemons, ask others for tasty recipes! His father taught Rahul to take breaks. Despite his rigorous responsibilities, he found the time to educate himself, make a professional career for himself and care for his family. Amongst our hectic daily responsibilities, we can always take breaks, learn, and better ourselves. While you enjoy those Kit Kats, go read, write, and pursue your passion! Lastly, Rahul's mother taught him courage. Courage is being able to continue life when it feels arduous. Sometimes loved ones are there, sometimes they are not, like snacks at home. Regardless, we soldier on with life and always look ahead positively.

"My Cheapskate Days"

Ending the prepared speeches on a more lighthearted note was Rano Iskandar, ACB, ALB, with his speech, “My Cheapskate Days”. Would you believe our beloved Vice President of Education was, at one point in his life, guarded with his generosity? We couldn’t either, until he told us of the time his allowance was cut by 70% and he faced a dreaded recession. He made do with tactics – using big $100 notes to pay for bills so others would be forced to relinquish extra change; purposefully forgetting his wallet so others would treat him; complimenting others extravagantly to gain favour. His escapades were cut short when someone tried to pay with a $500 note and he realized how selfish he was being all along, so he vowed to be more considerate and open with his purse. And that’s how he became the Rano we all know and adore!

In his naïve younger days, money was no concern for Rano. He was ballin’ enjoying life as a high roller.

“Spend money here, spend money there. Nothing to spend on? I’ll spend anyway!”

Rano has it made! Until his mummy cut him off. Money stopped flowing, his economy went into a down cycle, and he felt his own personal financial crisis. When push comes to shove, one has to be creatively thrifty. “Forget” your wallet, friends will fork up for you. “Compliment” them, friends will pay for you. “Fight” for the bill, friends will snatch it back.

“I’ll get this bill, I INSIST."
"You’re sure you’ll get it? You’re absolutely sure?"
"Okay, just this one time!”

“Just this one time” and again and again!

Though after realizing his baller lifestyle needs hard sincere work, Rano is now truly appreciative of money’s value. Now when Rano “forgets” his wallet, he’s just genuinely forgetful!

Table Topics

After the wonderful speeches, all the Toastmasters gathered together to feast on Awfa’s delicious offerings. The next SAA would have so much to live up to after the whole club has been spoiled silly by her decadent treats. We could’ve enjoyed the break forever but Gerald had inserted a timer countdown into the PowerPoint agenda so we were all well-aware of how much time we had left. Very handy!

We returned in good order, well-sated but still hungry for more Toastmaster-ing. And good thing too because our Table Topics Master, TM Syatrah Roslan, was ready to oblige!

Table Topics Master Syatrah inspired fun Table Topics with a cornucopia of role play! Speakers had to convince us in the scenes they enacted.

100% conviction in delivery was necessary.

Now our speakers need to choose to be Batman or Joker. Nothing in between, say a confused lovechild of Batman and Joker.

First up to the floor was TM Jidun Dollah, who had to convince his doctor he was mentally sound to be released into society. He gave a very tongue-in-cheek performance as he made sure we all knew his sanity was in order, and that red was red and that blue was blue and one plus one is two.

Jidun attempted to convince us he was “mentally fit for society.” He was dressed handsomely, and was able to do mental arithmetic. He emphatically claimed he’s single and not dangerous. Would someone mentally fit indeed urge us that he is not dangerous? Good attempt, Jidun!

Next was Aziman Nasir, ACB, ALB, who had to give his underpaid and overworked employees a motivational speech – which he did by channeling his inner Jordan Yau, CL, and by using the word “supervisory” a lot.

Aziman convinced his underpaid staff to keep working for him. He is a master of words… a master con artist, that is! “I’m giving you the opportunity to enhance your skills to boost your future salaries!” His technique? Give them [false] hope for the future, and you are off the hook!

After Aziman came TM Phillip Mooi, who had to convince himself he was going to do great in life. Phillip subverted the question by informing everyone that he was doing pretty good already by gathering up the courage to speak in meetings. Well done!

Philip likened public speaking to torture. A good kind of torture though! You suffer and gain experience for a better future. Philip can’t wait to learn to be like the other Toastmasters. Keep practicing and you will soon be! You too will always get nervous and just learn to hide them well...

TM Dalton Lim stepped up later, having to convince the police that being in a car chase had always been in his bucket list after being arrested for being over the speed limit. With his signature deadpanned delivery, Dalton stated that he is a very law-abiding citizen so he would just pay his dues and apologise for breaking the rules.

Fast and furious Dalton had 'speeding' on his bucket list. To each his own, I guess. Ironically despite his desire to break the law, he is a firm believer of abiding by the law – he’d foot the fines. Is this his sense of a fair society!? His sense for the common good!? Nah, fines are just too expensive!

Following Dalton was TM Lim Mei Ann who had to convince her boyfriend that he is not fat and she kept us entertained by tactfully referring to him as her “teddy bear”.

White lies excusing your loved ones was what we learn from Mei Ann.

Loved one not going out to socialize? The world is dangerous.
Loved one not going to the gym? Lifting weights is hazardous.
Your loved one being fat? He is healthier, happier, and being a teddy bear is adorable!

Last came me as I had to convince a shopkeeper to give me a discount on a $5 flip flop. I’d like to think I succeeded because I won the 'Best Table Topics' ribbon in the deal too!

But, enough about me.

Ling Ling taught us to swindle hard working market sellers.

“Do I look rich to afford that?!” *Pretend sad face.*
“I only earn a meager allowance from mommy!” *Maintain pretend sad face.*
“With a discount, I promise my friends will buy too!” *No, they won’t, but use Aziman’s false hope technique.*

Convincing role plays, Table Topics speakers!

Congratulations, Ling Ling on being Best Table Topics Speaker. Shame on you for swindling market sellers, but well done for Table Topics!

Concluding Remarks

Overall, we truly had the most efficacious meeting. Toastmaster has always stressed the importance of peer-to-peer learning, but it was never truer than that night. May we never stop learning and growing and living!

Until next time!

Keep up your enthusiasm in our meetings, fellow members! “Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.” Our minds will continue gaining momentum with skills and knowledge, and we’ll enjoy more cupcakes along our journey!

Evaluations and additional notes on 24 Oct 2017's meeting by Ling Ling

Our President, Pooja Shivanand, CC, ALB, to give her insights on Sophiana’s speech. True to her title of District Champion 2016, she delivered a perceptive evaluation about presence – dressing well for a striking image on stage, purpose – moving with elegance and intention, and power – the strength of using impactful words to capture the audience attention. She imparted to Sophiana the wisdom to break free from her serious disposition as well as encouraged Sophiana to empower her speech with facial expressions and bodily gestures to further strengthen her speech.

Next was Hazwan Kamarulzaman, ACB, ALB, to evaluate Rahul and he stepped up to the plate, oozing charm and charisma. He started off by saying that a smile costs nothing but means everything, and he commended Rahul for the relatedness of his topic as well as his open palm gestures with brought everyone in. As for his suggestions, he advised Rahul to be strategic – to pay attention to the set pieces he chose to showcase in his speech as there is only so much stage time we are given, and to be consistent both in delivery and in thought as he caught Rahul disjointedly smiling during some of the more serious moments in his speech. Oops! Nonetheless, these are recommendations that everyone in the club can really take away and use their own future speeches.

Finishing off the prepared speech evaluations was Stuart Lee, ACS, ALB. He highlighted how Rano delivered his speech with a plethora of emotions, demonstrating how he was able to convey the duality of being shy yet arrogant, conniving yet bashful. He also praised the chronological structure of the speech as the good organization and moral was artfully done. As a point for improvement, he proposed that Rano maximize his content by dramatizing his stories with more dialogue and a running commentary of his thoughts. Rano shines best as an entertaining speaker and I’m sure with Stuart’s guidance, he could definitely elevate his speech to the next level!

Giving everyone a good fight was Peng with her Table Topics evaluations! She delivered a very compact speech, managing to draw up in a one sentence a recap of every speech, one sentence on every speaker’s strength, and one sentence to suggest on how to improve, as well as, a joke to keep everyone regaled.

The Grammarian came next and Awfa did not disappoint either with her meticulous and quantitative account. She obviously kept a close watch on the English during the length of the evening!

Supatra, too, was listening attentively throughout the evening and presented a thorough Ah Counter report. A great tip she shared was to use transitional phrases such as “so in all” or “by the by” when going in between sentences, so we wouldn’t feel the urge to fall back onto crutch words.

Finally came Suneeta with her General Evaluator comments. She paid attention to everyone’s technique, approach and form – commenting on their individuality and style, and really brought to the front how we can learn a little something from everyone. How true that statement is!

With the meeting over, our president Pooja took the stage again and lead a fruitful AOB session.

  • Our TM Safarul Hassan was revealed as the next Toastmaster of the Evening and everyone was encourage to contact him for roles.
  • Peng came up to talk about her experience as the organizing chair of the OTTERS club contest. It was heartening to hear her share about how much she has grown as a person and how she appreciated the support Toastmaster members have given her.
  • Aziman raised a question of when exactly was the Toastmaster of the Evening supposed to divulge the 'Thought of the Day', and the club consensus was that it is left to the discretion of the Toastmaster.
  • Rano informed the club of the changes made to the timings and that lights for speeches will start coming up at the second minute instead of the third minute, so speakers can be more aware of when to wrap up their speech.
  • Then, Hazwan encouraged the club to say a few supportive words to Stuart for the latter’s participation in the upcoming District Humorous and Evaluation Contests.

Writers: Lai Ling Ling, CC & Hazwan Kamarulzaman, ACB, ALB

Proofreader: TM Lim Mei Ann