To ignite is to start. Maybe it’s a lifelong dream. Maybe it’s a passing thought - a rather scary one - of finally trying out that intimidating thing that you’ve been avoiding, yet can’t not want.
Why do it?
Why expend energy and time to it?
Would it be a tad over-dramatic to say that 'ignite' [as a theme] chose me? The moment it was decided that I would be the Toastmaster of the Evening, the intention to host the meeting without my usual over-preparation was lit. Once I managed to convince myself to challenge this personal fear, I thought of how wonderful it would be to do so with my Toastmasters peers.
So, I wrote my script and left it at home. As I received apologies from club members for not being able to attend the meeting, I thought, "Tonight is a good night to take up this challenge." But what I imagined to be a small crowd of members was doubled with a wave of first-time guests! My heart pounded a few beats faster with each new face that walked in. As my fear level rose, I told the curled-in-a-fetal-position scared side of me what I would always advise my students: You can fear and still do what you fear well.
The meeting started with the usual guest and role-player introductions. I was blessed to have a supportive team who inspired me to follow their footsteps in explaining their roles in a calm and confident manner.
- Table Topics Masters: TM Sumardi Hedus
- Table Topics Evaluator: Gerald Goh, CC, ALB
- Grammarian: Aziman Nasir, ACB, ALB
- Ah Counter & 'Who Said What': Geneviève Lai, DTM
- Timer: TM Suneeta Pathak
- General Evaluator: TM Heidi Rahman
I shared my thought of the day: When was the last time you said 'yes!' to your heart?
And with that done, gone were the bulk of my role and the heebie-jeebies (Word of the Day) I felt throughout. I was glad to finally be able to sit down and enjoy a prepared speech by Rahul Breh, CC.
That Unlucky Flight (Pathways Level 1, Project 2)
Rahul shared a story of a flight that ignited and rekindled the togetherness in his family. The furrowing of his brows, and the low-pitched softness of his tone as Rahul spoke of his parents being his real-life superheroes, filled my heart with warmth. He drew comparisons between a plane crash that resulted from a pilot error and how unresolved family disputes could be that mistake which led to avoidable 'crashes'. As his heroes are important to Rahul, he would sooner choose compassion than end up in painful situations.
The impromptu speeches of the evening were similarly thought- and action-provoking.
When was the last time you tried anything new?
For Rano, it was when he scheduled his sleep earlier in the night and eliminated instant noodles from his diet [see his closing remarks here]. Such wise change was inspired by his goal to be more health-conscious, so he could enjoy the most of his life ahead.
Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
To choose a hedonic life is a no-brainer for [guest] Jeff! "What is the point of living if you are constantly worried?" After being in a state of non-joy for a month, he took it upon himself to proactively go out and do things that he enjoys.
What would you not give up for 1 million dollars in cash?
There is a time in your life when you feel that it is important to be rich. But, [guest] John is at that point where he appreciates the importance of relationships – family and friends – that he would not give up for any amount of money in the world.
Who is your superhero?
Philip is not one to worship anyone, nor is he a fan of movies that glamourises one person. However, he does admire the courage and eloquence of his fellow impromptu speakers. Then, he realised he was too, and perhaps, he is his own superhero!
When did you last feel happy?
When you managed to do something that makes you happy, when you support those you love, when you see your loved ones happy – these are moments where [guest] Alisha finds herself happiest.
How do you define success?
Success meant different things for Theresa at different stages of her life. It was passing her 'A' Levels, then it was getting a good job. Though they differ, they share one thing in common – they are things that could make her parents proud. And if she could do that, then she would have succeeded in life.
What do you love most about yourself?
"Everything!", exclaimed Pooja without missing a beat. She proceeded to tell us about her grandma who was never bored making the same food every morning. When prompted, she stated that she loved her job. It was then that Pooja realised that you only need to be content with what you do and who you are to be happy.
The evening’s speeches left me empty for words and full of thoughts. They triggered me to reflect on important relationships, with myself and with loved ones, and what actions to take to preserve and improve on them. The one thing I hoped to achieve at the end of the meeting was to ignite in others the will to take action towards what is important to them. And I would like to think the meeting successfully inspired the audience, through stories shared by our speakers, and encouraging feedback by our evaluators.
To the next start.
Written by Toastmaster of the Evening, Rahmat Tarsat, CC, ALB
Proofread by TM Lim Mei Ann