Vocal Variety…or lack thereof

I wasted an interesting subject for my Project 6 (Vocal Variety) with an indiscernible tone for two of the characters in my speech entitled “This is DHL”.

Evaluator Pradeep thought that I was monotonous in my pitch and did not step out of my comfort zone to give the two scammers in my story a different voice.  Furthermore, I was soft when I was giving the speech.

Months ago when the DHL phone scam was prevalent, I decided I would find out more about the modus operandi to get the offenders apprehended and as a subject for my Project 6 on vocal variety.

I would say it was an interesting and suitable material for vocal variety, as you would read my script here at the bottom.

However, I had wasted the story with not enough vocal variety injected into it.  On the point of monotony, I need to read up on what exactly pitch is about.  I have to confess that I have not read the supplement to this project which I have downloaded.  Was I being complacent, lazy and put off by the pretty wordy supplement?  Yeah.

I think the lack of practice with movements had affected my delivery.  Being busy shouldn’t be an excuse because I was scheduled to speak two weeks ago but the evaluator last minute couldn’t turn up and I was still jetlagged, my project was postponed to today.

But I think fatigue did play a part in my poor performance.  I was very sleepy and had skipped breakfast. So when I spoke, at past 2pm, I had not had my first meal of the day.  I was not soft, usually.  Therefore, I was pretty surprised when Pradeep commented that I was soft.

Besides these, I think to handle two speeches – opening address and prepared speech – did take a toll on me, coupled with the last-minute script for the opening address.

Lastly, I should not have made this mistake.  While I knew I wasn’t well practised, I should just deliver without having my tablet on the lectern as a psychological crutch. I thought the tablet would make it easier for me to refer to my script if I had momentary memory lapse, it ended up impeding my performance. My insufficient practice had caused my confidence to suffer, this in turn had led me to be insecure psychologically, relying unnecessarily on the tablet.

In summary, I:

  1. shouldn’t rely on my tablet as a psychological crutch;
  2. should practise well;
  3. should read up on the supplement diligently; and
  4. go study on pitch


This is DHL, you have a parcel not picked up, to find out more, please press 9, the recorded message instructed.

If you now get a call like this, what would you do?

Afternoon, Toastmasters.

Some of you would have read about the DHL phone scam, on the pretext of catching you sending through DHL illegal materials overseas and then demanding a sum of money from you to help settle the offence.

Or you might have received such calls.

How does one be vigilant to such phone scam, given that phone scams are so prevalent nowadays? Let me share my recent experience with you.

I received a call purportedly from DHL some time ago.

I did not cut the line off, I followed the instruction and pressed 9 instead.

What do you want? The man on the other end of the line asked in Mandarin with a mainland Chinese accent.

Oh, I’ve been told I have a parcel.

What’s your name, he asked.

Huh? You called me but you don’t know my name?

This is DHL Singapore Changi South Street 2 warehouse, he said, and that i must have had a parcel sent through this.

I plucked a name out of the air and said “Tong Sharon” .

He “checked” the system using this name and said I had sent a parcel to Shanghai and the customs there had discovered that the parcel contained illicit materials, to be specific, there were 28 credit cards.

28 cards? I’m not a bank, why would I have so many cards? You must have made a mistake.

He checked with me if I had sent a parcel on 27 June and when I vehemently denied, he provided me with some background information so that I could make a police report.

He “kindly” offered to put me through to Shanghai international police.

My colleague had been listening to my conversation with the scammer.

I winked at her, trying to show her I was going to outwit the scammer, and get him and his accomplices arrested.

I googled for the number to text the Singapore police about the scam. I sms the police, saying “I received a scam call from “DHL”, and I am still talking to the scammer on landline xxxxxxxx, can you trace the call?

Trying to prolong the call, I asked the fraudster seemingly valid questions.

“Must I pay for the long distance call?”, I asked, “I don’t want to incur any charges.”

While he was putting me through to the Shanghai bogus police, reply from the real police came through sms “kindly provide us with your name, location and nature of emergency so that we can respond to you”.

Despite texting the police several messages, all I got was the same automated message reply.

Meanwhile, I was chatting with the Shanghai bogus police officer. He asked me for my particulars. I just gave him a fictional profile and when asked for occupation, I lied that I was jobless, he said “you’re in between jobs”.

“Economy is not doing well, huh?

“It’s okay, when god closed a door, he opens a window for you”.

I was indignant. This scammer had the cheek to preach when he’s trying to scam me of my hard-earned money, as he’s done to others.

I cupped the phone, while whispering to my colleague, “Selina, would you please call the police? Tell them I’m on the phone with the “DHL” scammer.

In the meantime, I continued to engage the scammer. “How do I address you? Mr Chen.”

He rattled off some information but as I was waiting for my colleague who was talking to the Singapore police, I told the bogus police officer, Mr Chen, “I’m feeling very nervous now for being accused of a serious international crime, could you slow down a bit?”

While I knew it was just a charade that I was putting up, my hands couldn’t help feeling cold.

My colleague, meanwhile, had talked to the police. She whispered, “they said they can’t trace the call without prearrangement with the telco, they advised you to hang up and not to waste your time.”

Having heard this and having spent 30 minutes on the phone with the scammer during lunch time, I decided that’s it.

Mr Chen was still going on with his spiel, totally oblivious to what I was up to.

“Mr Chen,” my tone changed from nervous to a cold one but he kept talking on and on without giving me an opportunity to interject. “Mr Chen, Mr Chen, Mr Chen, this is the Supreme Court, stop calling, stop scamming people, if you still have a conscience. ”

I hanged up.

The next time I receive a call purportedly from DHL, I’m going to reply I’m from FedEx.

Thank you.


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