Octopus

29th April 2017

I could feel myself buckling under the demands of work and Toastmasters. I have been so forgetful that I suspect I might just forget myself one day.

Past week has been busy, with the hours as usually long, and I could feel myself falling sick. Luckily I was to stand in for a colleague in high court on Thursday, providing me a much needed breather from the hectic state courts.

Despite resting on Friday as I took leave to take advantage of the long weekend to have a better and well deserved break, my mind was apparently not well rested.

I forgot to bring Toastmaster manual in spite of reminding my members to do so, and I also left home without Jeremy’s script with annotations on it for evaluation.

It was no better at the meeting. It’s hard to juggle a few appointment roles at the same time. I was the Word of the Day, evaluator of Jeremy’s speech and timer all rolled into one.

Did I say I was the photographer too?

We were stretched, only 11 of us excluding the three guests turned up and some of us took on more than one role.

I didn’t play any role well as a result. Except Kate, Lynn and Jean, no one else used the Word of the Day – spring – in their speeches.

Neither did I excel in evaluating Jeremy’s speech. There was no structure nor conclusion. The fact that I forgot to bring his script made it harder for me.

I was also struggling with tracking the time in between taking photographs using the same handphone.

The chapter meeting started with Toastmaster of the Day, Lynn, testing our memory in the icebreaker. What a game when my memory is apparently failing. But I wasn’t the one who lost the game.

We had five speakers doing their projects with Kate being the new kid on the block talking about herself as an avid traveller and a coffee lover. Jeremy who won the best speaker title for his Ice Breaker project clinched it again with his project speech on Tibetan Dream Yoga. Let’s see if he would have a hat trick. It was a tie with Edwin who researched on Time Travel and talked about paradox when one travelled to the past and it would affect one’s fate in the future as a result of meddling with one’s past. He’s composed. Like Ajoy said, Edwin had a conversational tone.

Steven shed light on High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT in short, and this form of exercise is convenient because it doesn’t require equipment, takes up only 30 minutes per session and it can be done anywhere. Except that this isn’t for those who are not fitness buffs…like me.

Ajoy talked about Agile system in his technical presentation. It was not technical for non-IT practitioners like us and I think he had succeeded in this except that he busted the time limit. After hearing him speak, I noticed that Ajoy has a strong command of English and he was a few rare ones who pronounced the word “overarching” correctly by being silent on “h” and ending with “king” instead of “ching”.

We would meet on 13th May but already a few Toastmasters have told us they would be absent. Taichi would be running for a charity event, Steven would be burying himself in books for a financial exam while Venetia is attending her brother-in-law’s wedding.

 

 

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Be My Valentine

There were not many times when Table Topics would evoke love and smiles.  But Table Topics master Joyce did a lovely job at the meeting on 11 February 2017.  She got every one of us draw a chocolate from a jar and those who drew one with a number hidden inside will get to…speak on Table Topics.

With the theme of Be My Valentine, there are no prizes for guessing what the Table Topics were about – LOVE, of course.  Unconditional love, justified love, endless love, love has got to do with it, love takes time…

As fate would have it – that’s the subject Chen Kuang talked about coincidently (known as Amor Fati – love of fate), Edwin drew a chocolate with a number and it’s not just any number.  It was significant that the number was “1” – it aptly signified his maiden attempt at Table Topics and him emerging the best/number one Table Topics speaker.  Hopefully, it won’t be his one and only Table Topic speech ever.

This episode led me to think that Edwin is one who wants to keep a low profile about his strengths, and of course, he doesn’t want to put in too much effort either.  That’s why he has never done a project evaluation as it is somewhat an impromptu speech as well.

Edwin talked about four lovers one would likely to have, namely first love, the one he/she loves more than the person loves him/her, the person loves him/her more, and the person one is married to.  He sounded like a love guru.

I don’t know which is better – you love the person more than he/she loves you or the other way round. Never been in a romantic relationship, not qualified to give my two-cents’ worth.  But I think love should be unconditional.  If I love a person, I would hope the best for him, even if my love is unrequited.

Jean’s Table Topic was “the Greatest Love of All”, and she said that would be her family.  But she didn’t limit her family to only her family members but extended that to us as well. I was touched. She once told me that she had probably put in too much feelings into the club.

Pradeep commended Taichi on the ice-breaker as it had helped attendees to warm up.  Indeed, ice-breaker is useful in livening up the atmosphere and helped members to ease into the meeting on a Saturday afternoon.  Taichi asked us five questions and we would write the most-likely popular answer on a piece of paper.  Each of us would then reveal our answer and participants whose answer was the most popular would score a point for that answer.  Jamie and Edwin scored the highest points, and they were rewarded with a chocolate by Taichi.

Taichi shared that Japan chocolatiers make half of their annual revenue on Valentine’s Day.  Wow! That’s amazing.  And the ladies would present a gift to the men they like on Valentine’s Day, and be reciprocated a month later if the love is requited.

Shanmugam talked about himself, including the joy when he first saw his two-month old baby boy after he returned from his work overseas to his hometown in India.  He was beaming with joy when he spoke and I could feel his fatherly love for his boy.

It’s been quite some time since Chen Kuang attended meeting.  He did his project three and he waxed lyrical about love of fate or Amor Fati in Latin.  He clinched the best speaker title for it.  Well done!

Lu Bin’s speech “Bet or Not” was timely, given that there was a lottery just the day before, and four winning tickets split the prize winnings of a whopping $12m. Bet or not bet, that’s the question.  Lu Bin had made a correct observation that many punters are elderly.  Indeed, I have seen not an insignificant number of grey-haired in the snaking queue at a betting centre.  One of them was holding a $50 note.  Joyce who evaluated Lu Bin’s speech cleverly married his topic with the theme of the meeting – love’s a gamble.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Both Edwin and Jean had a number hidden in their chocolates.

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Joyce did a lovely job as a Table Topics Master. She gave us a brief history of Valentine’s Day and used billboard hits as topic titles.

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Amor Fati won Chen Kuang the Best Speaker award, keep it up!

New Blood

Here’s my opening speech to tie in with the induction.

Good afternoon.

We’re conducting the induction for Suhas and Titus today.

Most of us joined Toastmasters for similar reasons. Let’s hear from Suhas and Titus their reasons. This is so that they would be clear why they are here, and refresh our memories as well as to why we are here.

Philosopher Lao Tzu had this famous saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Suhas and Titus, congratulations on embarking on this journey, and welcome on board.

We’re delighted to be your partners in your Toastmasters learning journey, and you as ours as well.

At Toastmasters, we learn by doing, giving speeches and fulfilling leadership roles. We learn through peer evaluation.  We learn under the mentorship of experienced members who encourage, guide and support us.

While we offer support and companionship in your journey, ultimately you’re the one to decide how this journey would turn out.

Public speaking isn’t limited to twice a month of toastmasters chapter meetings or confined to this room.

Therefore, I would encourage you to read books on crafting speeches and public speaking, watch YouTube, and attend workshops and contests to hone your skill and enrich your experience.

As in all endeavours, the important ingredients are hard work and right attitude.

Now I’d like to touch on the values of Toastmasters.

Pradeep, since you mentioned it at one of the meetings, they’ve been etched on my mind.

The values of Toastmasters are aptly encapsulated in the acronym RISE – Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence.

Of these, I’d like to highlight Service. What’s service?

How do you think our meetings come about?

We are all busy but members take turns to take up appointments so that meetings are run successfully to enable us to practise public speaking.

Last evening, Steven said he had been busy at work and hadn’t drafted the script for his role as Toastmaster of the Day. But he would do it after work. Like him, executive committee members and appointment holders put in the time and effort for the meetings.

Every one of us, as a stakeholder in this journey, has a part to play.

So, I hope you would jump at the opportunity to serve at the next meeting and every meeting. Volunteer yourselves.

Thank you.

 

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.

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You never  walk alone at Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club.

 

 

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.

★Introduction

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” .

★Speeches

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

■Timer

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.