Lessons learnt

Afternoon, toastmasters and guests.

How to not win when one is clearly the best?  When rule’s been breached, yet one proceeds to take part in the contest.

We had the humorous and evaluation contests last Saturday for the area level. It’s not only managing one’s nerves and scripting a winning speech that I learned, but also other lessons.

When I saw the position of the timing device, I told the division director it’s hard for contestants to take note of the timing device located at the extreme end of the speaking space.

He said that judges were not supposed to take into account the timing in their  evaluation so the timing device had to be out of sight of the judges.

Jun aired his concern when contest chair mentioned at the beginning of the contest position of the timing device.

Pradeep had an issue with the position of the timing device as well.

Despite these, the contest carried on without the timing device repositioned.

Pradeep clearly was the best contestant in speech evaluation but he was disqualified as a result of busting the time limit.

I read the rulebook after that and it is stated “The signalling device must be in full view of each contestant”  and timing signals shall be clearly visible to the speakers but not obvious to the audience.

Apparently, the organising committee breached this rule. But because we did not take further action despite taking issue with the position of the timing device and Pradeep went on to take part, we were at fault as well.

What are the lessons learned here?

1. Don’t compromise if you have a legitimate issue, even if it means you give up the opportunity. As president of this club, I would support and respect your decision.

2. Familiarise yourself with the rules and refer to the rulebook when in doubt.  I should have done this when I brought up the issue before the contest started but I trusted others instead.

Michael Phelps said nobody is happy to lose but he was very gracious when he lost to Joseph Schooling.

To me, taking part in contests, the means to the end is that matters.

It might be easy for me to say this because I wasn’t a contestant. But i  think the ultimate question is, have you done your best. If the answer is “yes”, you are a winner no matter what.


Resigned to Resignations

I am barely three months into my term as President of Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club but I have received resignations from Vice President Education and VP Public Relations.

Sheila requested to quit as VPE before  the term started because she found the load overwhelming but I persuaded her to try out.  She did give it a shot but she resigned last month.

Though Jean has replaced her, Jean said she was promised someone to hold the post together with her. There was until Chen Kuang quit as well.

Currently, we have earmarked Taichi as the second VPE but he needs time to settle in at his new job. I would be VPE in the meantime while waiting for him to take over.

Last night, Michelle resigned from the post of VPPR. It’s already not easy to replace one post – VPE, there’s another now to be filled,  where do I find suitable candidates who are committed?

Commitment is a responsibility that must not be taken lightly. Work should take priority and I agree but when one takes up a post, one shouldn’t give up easily. Could they get help or find alternative to manage?




100% results vs 50% commitment

Hesperus shared with us on how he has a body of a 17-year-old when he’s in fact 30 years old. The tip is exercising and for him, it means hitting the gym. He admitted that there were days when he didn’t feel like going to the gym but he JUST DO IT.  He also said, “How can you have 100% results when you only have 50% commitment.”

Well said. It doesn’t only apply to exercising but everything we do. My eight-year-old niece, as she was then, when asked by me as I was doing my master’s, if  I should stay at home (where I tended to take long naps) or go to the library for revision, her reply was as pithy as Nike’s slogan – do the right thing.

We all understand but it seems that we are simply not doing it. As what Hesperus said, it is all about your mental will.

Seeing only over 10 toastmasters turn up for these past two sessions – we’ve over 40 members – I rode on Hesperus’ speech and reminded attendees that while absence makes the heart grow fonder, their absence has been greatly felt.  And they must put in the commitment to see fruitful results.

But I am guilty of not putting in 100% effort lately. I almost forgot about the opening address to be delivered and didn’t practise enough. As a result, I had to refer to the script though it was a brief speech and I had omitted mentioning Edwin for his help in Taichi’s job-search.

But I singled him out in my closing speech to give him the recognition he deserves.

Lesson learned: don’t be lazy or complacent. Practice makes perfect and you would never be wrong for over practising.

Besides referring to script and omitted to credit Edwin, I also didn’t sound convincing in the opening address.

Neither did I exude confidence or sophistication in my closing speech.  Though my speech to wrap up the meeting drew on what Hesperus had said – encourage members to attend meetings regularly and stay fully committed, my delivery wasn’t smooth.  There’s huge room for improvement.

I need to improve my evaluation as well. While I had never done it, it’s not an excuse to put up an unsatisfactory performance. My evaluation did not have a proper structure and I didn’t summarise the contents in closing. I need to do more table topics to train my reflex responses.







You never walk alone

In my speech when I was installed as president, I asked a few of you why you joined Toastmasters.

Today I’m going to ask why you joined Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club.  What do you hope to get out of it and what have you got out of here?

Mission of Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club is to help you and I develop and hone our public speaking and leadership skills.

A recent incident tells me that you’ve made this club beyond its mission.

Taichi had been hunting for a job for some time and he finally got one – through fellow toastmaster Steven who helped to set up an interview.

But did you know, a few other Toastmasters, for example, Edwin, had also helped to ask around and looked for ways to help Taichi stay so that he could continue to look for a job.

When Taichi’s visa to stay was expiring and there was no job in sight yet, we arranged to have dinner with him after chapter meeting.

Several Toastmasters who couldn’t make it for the chapter meeting, however, tried to make time for the dinner.

It was a relief when we heard Taichi got a job at the eleventh hour.

It’s heartwarming, wasn’t it?

A friend in need is a friend indeed, especially to foreigners living in a foreign land without family support.  Isn’t it great to know that you’re not alone and there are people who support you in one way or another?

There is a Chinese saying, you depend on your parents when you’re home, you rely on your friends when you are out.

Jun suggested that we add value to Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club.  I think you have added value to the club with your friendship. I would not ask for anything else. Here, at this club, you never walk alone.


You never  walk alone at Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club.