Room for Improvement

I felt I wasn’t putting in enough efforts in Toastmasters after attending the last session because I have not been doing speeches regularly and not taking on table topic speaking as well.  It changed this session – not only did I deliver a speech but I made a table topic speech as well.  A pat on the back.  But, that’s not good enough.

I lost the momentum after not making any speeches since October and I became nervous when I delivered my project 3 at the latest session.  Though I managed to calm down in the second half of the speech, I think it did not help as I was too fast in my delivery earlier.  Neither did I display the vocal variety and emphasis that I had planned.

When I was preparing for this project, which took me about two weeks – one for researching and drafting the script, and one for practising, I found this past-time too time-consuming and decided that instead of the original plan of doing a project every month, I shall just deliver a prepared speech every two months.  Unlike in the past when I was schooling when I would just want to get things done by the deadline, I am determined to make the most out of Toastmaster and do it at my own pace.

However, after today’s session, I realised that doing a project every two months might cause me to lose my momentum and groove.  Let’s see how it goes.

As for table topic speech, I drew the topic of telling fellow Toastmasters something about me that will surprise them.  I remember the speaker Conor Neill, whose speeches on public speaking I find very useful, gave a tip on the structure for table topics: What, Now What, So What.  But I totally forgot this when I did the table topic speech. Apparently I don’t have sufficient practice in this area, perhaps I should take part in table topic speeches every session.

Evaluation of today’s prepared speech:

  • nervous
  • lost momentum
  • body language was stiff (thanks to evaluator Kiran’s observation)

Evaluation of table topic speech:

  • no structure
  • did not do any planning

I had at least four pause-fillers in my prepared and table topic speeches: one “actually”; one “I guess” and two “so”s.

Here is the script I used for my project 3 entitled “Let’s protect the young”.


{Beep}I’ve got a message, it reads Where do we go after we meet? Let’s look for a place where no one would go to, somewhere all lovers would go,and then we can talk in the car.”

Good afternoon, the President, Toastmaster of the Day, fellow Toastmasters and guests.

Please don’t misunderstand that the  message that I read out earlier was from my boyfriend.  The contents of the message were reproduced from those sent by a 36 year-old married man to a 12 year-old school girl turning 13.

Those were his messages.

What is my message for today’s speech?

To remind you that we have to protect the unsuspecting young from falling prey to sex predators [■ˈpred.ə.tər/]who trawled the digital space and use it as a hunting ground.

The virtual world is a double-edged sword.  It has brought significant benefits to us, but let’s not forget that there are also great dangers lurking in the cyberspace.

The married man befriended the girl via a smartphone app and asked her the very day if she would mind having a boyfriend much older than her.  He texted the girl asking her out for sex just two days after they became friends. He texted the girl many sexually explicit messages, which I am too embarrassed to reproduce them here.

But this isn’t an isolated case, the courts have heard many more.

People are lulled into a sense of complacency because we are safe on our streets, but they don’t realise that the criminals use this sense of safety to target preys online.  People think conversing online should be safe, but it’s very easy for the perpetrators to hide their true intentions behind technology.

Generally, adults are discerning but the same can’t be said of naive, inexperienced and impressionable kids.

While the law can help to protect the young and punish the bad, to me, it’s  passive.

Adults should do something about it, here’re the proactive measures I’ve identified that could be used and might protect the kids.

1. Love
Shower them with love, show them concern, so that they will share tidbits of their life with you, be they activities online or offline.

Encourage discussions between you and your kids on what they enjoy and what they don’t online.

Keeping that line of communication open, opens up the door to their virtual world.

It helps to strengthen the bond even if your kid isn’t vulnerable to predators.

2. Education
Advise them not to befriend strangers indiscriminately  – this maxim has been handed down from generation to generation.

Warn them of dangers – do not let others, females or males touch them, especially their private parts .

Teach them to protect their privacy
While they won’t fully understand the consequences of revealing personal information online, you should still make sure your kids know:
* never give their name, e-mail address, password, name of school, address or photographs.

Teach them never to meet an online friend offline unless you are with them.

Although this sounds like common sense,  unfortunately kids don’t really understand this concept. Kids are very trusting, It is up to you to let them know there are people in this world who will harm them.  If there is one rule you remember, remember this one; kids should never, I repeat NEVER meet with someone in person they have met online unless accompanied by a parent, not another older friend, A PARENT!

3. Monitor
This is a controversial [■ˌkɒn.trəˈvɜː.ʃəl] solution.  Some argue that children’s privacy should be respected even though they are young.  “So many people say ‘Well we want to give our kids their freedom and everything’.

Some countered that That’s all well and good,” “But you still have to be a parent. You can’t always be a friend.”

a parent is a parent is a parent is a parent.

feel that parents should monitor what’s going on. Not to be nosy or intrusive, but to protect naive children from falling prey to adults who get at kids they know are unprotected. It’s the same in the teen years as it is in the infant years. You would stop your toddler from running into the street because you want to protect them. So we stop our teens from using apps and visiting web sites that are geared for mature adults but lure innocent and naive kids. A parent’s ultimate job is to guide and protect so our kids make it successfully into adulthood.

To monitor or not to monitor,  is the question.

In closing

To reiterate,  we must protect the young from the bane of technology and the suggested measures are to shower them with love, educate them and/monitor their online activities.

The girl’s parents cried on the stand when testifying in court over their daughter having been taken advantage of.  Crying over spilled milk, is the last thing you as a parent would want to do, wouldn’t you?



Thought-provoking Speeches

28 February 2016

Garry in opening address reminded us why we joined the Toastmasters’ club. He said the club has about 120 members but there would only be about 20 attendees every session.

It was a timely reminder – at least to me – because the thought of quitting fleeted across my mind when I was preparing my present project. I found this time- consuming. It took me roughly two weeks to draft and practise a speech.  I am impressed by Taichi who has consistently been delivering a prepared speech every month and his projects were not short of research for the subject.

Newcomer Sheila did her maiden speech and kudos to her, her performance was good and she was calm. Her speech titled “Searching for my place in the sun” has a lesson for me as well. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was once. Currently I am lost and stuck in a rut, in dire need to find “my place in the sun”.

Taichi reflected on his relationship with his parents and how it improved after he learned to appreciate kinship while living in India for four years. As usual, this speaker was methodical/scientific, he estimated he would have a total of only 25 days in the next decade with his elderly father. I reckon that he will probably go back to Japan soon to spend more time with his parents. We’ll miss this Toastmaster.

Angela was table topics master and the topics that surfaced in this session included your most memorable experience, something about you that surprises others and your dream job.

These reminded me of oral exam questions and among the topics, “dream job” was the one that I think I could tickle a funny bone or two. I would say playing Santa Claus would be my dream job. It’s simple and it works only one day in a year and it is a popular personality.

I was glad Angela “picked” me – she was looking at me when inviting speakers for the table topics.  I wanted to buck up after reflecting on my performance at the Toastmasters in recent months and had felt that I had not been speaking enough.  I talked about my flat feet as something that would surprise others.  Perhaps it wasn’t surprising as none of the fellow Toastmasters looked amazed.  I did not come up with a structure before I spoke.   There should be an opening, body and closing.  I need improvement in impromptu speaking and lots of practice to achieve thinking and speaking on the feet.

Besides speeches that caused one to do some introspection, a speech by visiting Toastmaster from Buona Vista, was greatly entertaining and his delivery was almost perfect.  Joyce was as entertaining as Tushar in her evaluation of his speech and she was clever in the play of words, eg both dead fish and dead-end job stink but he’s the largest catch in the tank. Excellent!




Visual Illusion


We met on the eve of Valentine’s Day but none of the prepared speeches touched on this festival for lovers.

Taichi talked about what we see might not be the truth or the complete picture.  He illustrated the message with some compelling examples and I was very impressed.

Taichi spoke about apnoea for his last project and I found his topics intriguing. Perhaps his interests in scientific contents could explain his dislike for horror movies.  He couldn’t understand why moviegoers would want to watch a show that they are scared of.  He perhaps needs scientific explanation for this before he is able to accept that people go for the thrills,  just like why people take rollercoaster rides.

Edwin presented a sobering picture of gambling.  Gamblers paid a price for this vice – some even lost their lives.

Zhe Wei’s moral of his speech is the lessons to be learned from monkeys.  What an apt topic, given that we have just stepped into the year of the Monkey.  This made me ashamed because I have not progressed to the next project as I have not been able to find a suitable topic.  I should learn from Zhe Wei in drawing ideas from everyday life.

Zhe Wei reminded us to let go of worldly possessions when necessary through an anecdote of a monkey falling prey to trap and could have been able to extricate itself if it was willing  to let go of the bait.  He then used Journey to the West’s fictional character Monkey King to remind us to be versatile and adaptable as the Monkey King. This is appropriate in times of changes.

Garry entertained us with his jokes on husband and wife given that the following day being Valentine’s Day. His jokes weren’t conventional yet very entertaining. His wife must feel amused having such a humorous partner always lightening up her day.

It has been quite some time since I last spoke on a table topic yet I avoided making eye contact with Jun when he asked for volunteers. Aint I being Toastmaster to improve my public speaking skills but why I did not take up the opportunity to speak? Perhaps I’m getting comfortable being the timer or ah-counter. I must not waste such opportunities or my time attending but not making good use of the meeting.


We were privileged to have Joyce point out to us the grammatical errors, wrong usage and pronunciation mistakes we made during our speeches at the 30th January meeting.

Joyce is a lecturer with a private educational institution and teaches English as a profession.  Here are what she shared that day:


Like vs As:

  • Like I said; As what I have said


Pronunciation (stress)

  • susPECT (v) vs SUSpect (n)
  • proJECT (v) vs PROject (n)



  • reply to her; not reply her
  • presenting the topic; not presenting on the topic
  • secret of happiness; not secret to happiness
  • listening to music [activity]; not listen to music
  • reading/speaking [activity];
  • I’ll take you through what chakral is; not I’ll take you through what is chakral






Toastmaster of the day

I was assigned to be the Toastmaster of the Day for the first meeting of 2016 on 9th January.  I enjoyed the experience and did not experience much stage fright that day.  Below is the script I used for my maiden session as Toastmaster of the Day.


Good afternoon, everyone.

Let’s stand up and kick off today’s meeting with reciting Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club mission.

Please be seated, thank you.

Fellow Toastmasters, visiting Toastmasters and guests.

Happy new year and welcome to the first meeting of 2016.  This is our 207th chapter meeting.

Michelle, our Vice President Education has been sending us whatsapp messages in the past week, updating us on the speakers and appointment holders.

Because I haven’t written out the script for my speech and seeing that the positions for timer and ah counter had yet been taken up, I offered to help keep track of the time or to take note of the pause-fillers.

But Michelle suggested instead that I be the Toastmaster of the Day.

“I can’t be ah counter or timer forever, can I?”, I asked Michelle.

Though I feel I am too green for the appointment, I decided to give it a shot.

I googled Toastmaster of the Day and a post said one should be a TMD only after having served as a Table Topics master.

Jamie, Table Topics master for today, you may consider taking up the role of TMD for the next meeting.

I wanted to decline Michelle’s invitation after reading the post but changed my mind.

I thought I shouldn’t be restricted by convention or practice. So here I am,  taking on a new endeavour as a TMD.

What about you, what new beginnings have you got for the new year?

But first let’s hear from Michelle in her opening address on today’s theme “new year new beginning” .


We have got 6 Toastmasters delivering prepared speeches.  Each has 5-7 minutes to speak.


Today’s timer Steven would flash at the 5th minute flash the green card, 6th minute the yellow card, the 7th minute the red card followed by a buzz at 7.5 minutes.

■Ah counter

Joyce is our Ah counter [Explain the duty of ah counter]

I would like to introduce our first speaker,  Edwin.  Edwin stayed and worked in HK for 5 years and he’s comparing Pearl of the Orient and the Lion City in HK vs Singapore for project 2 speech.