Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Meeting #261: The Final Countdown (Written by Yeap, Wei Leeng; Editted by Timothy Nakayama)

1.00:00 lunch 

and counting down



7:00:00 the sensational 261st Mid Valley Toastmasters Club meeting officially begun with a bang! 

This was the best possible way to start off what was the last meeting of the 2014/2015 term. Members and guests were greeted by the Sergeant-at-Arms (SAA) of the night, Quah. After his “gentle” reminder to make sure our electronic devices were switched to silent mode, Quah then passed control of the stage to the Prince Charming of Mid Valley Toastmasters Club, our President Shim Chee Loon. As the timing for the meeting was tight due to the number of speakers we had for the night, our dashing President was supposed to facilitate a short and sweet introductory breaking-the-ice session with members and guests alike, but the large number of guests at the meeting made this especially challenging!

Despite the tight schedule, our experienced Toastmaster of the Evening (TME) Ian Lai managed to give a succinct and informative introduction of Toastmasters International to our guests. He did it by introducing the following sequence of numbers: 91-2-313
91 – 2015 marked Toastmaster International’s  91st anniversary
2 – This number represents the two educational tracks in Toastmasters:  Communication & Leadership
313 – The total number of Toastmasters Club around the world numbers 313,000.
Ian also proved that “Malaysia Boleh” by citing the fact that Malaysia has the fastest growing Toastmasters membership compared to the rest of the world. That’s certainly something to be proud of!

Next came my personal favorite session of every Toastmaster meeting – the Prepared Speeches session. Each speaker prepares their speech in advance, and they then deliver it at the meeting, with each speech having a specific set of objectives as stated in the Competent Communication Manual. If you’ve been wondering about how these speeches go, you’re more than welcome to visit us to get a better understanding of the whole thing.

Past President Ang Chee Yong started the ball rolling by delivering the “Selecting Your Topic” module from the Better Speaker Series. He shared tips and suggestions on how to go about selecting a proper topic for your speech, no matter the type of speech you are going to be delivering to the audience. According to Chee Yong, an excellent speech topic is a combination of personal experience PLUS knowledge and research in regards to the speech topic PLUS getting to know your audience’s needs beforehand – all three are equally important. I’m guessing Chee Yong knew that he was going to have a very large audience, that’s why he chose this topic!

Personal stories always connect with people. “A Lesson Learned” from Becky Benjamin saw her sharing the ups and downs of her life since she moved to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 17. Despite the many challenges and obstacles that have stood, and perhaps will stand, in her way, this gutsy young lady vowed to fight all the way in order to reach her dream of one day being a successful entrepreneur. Becky’s simple and short content, vocal variety, and animated facial expressions earned the audience’s adulation and respect – and also the Best Speaker Award later at the end of the meeting. Congratulations to Becky Benjamin! You go, girl!

The adventuress, Christy Chang, completed her Competent Communication Manual by delivering the final speech in the manual, Project Speech #10. Her speech title was the enigmatic “Ichi Go, Ichi E”. Yes, a Japanese speech title! This Japanese saying states that we should treasure every moment of our lives, and everyone who has walked into our lives, as those things only come along once a lifetime. In her speech, Christy shared a harrowing experience of losing a very close friend. She ended with a reminder: that we cherish and appreciate every moment, as well as the presence of friends and family in our lives. Before she left the stage, she also reminded us that Father’s Day was just around the corner.

Another speaker who was completing her Project Speech #10 that night was Vivien Lim. Her speech title was “Make It Happen”, which was humorous in an ironic way due to the fact that she had to postpone her speech for a couple of months now due to her insane working schedule. Her speech called upon the audience to step out of their comfort zones, just as she did when she recently resigned from a job that she no longer liked. Vivien advised us that change is constant, and that we will all need to change in order to move forward.  It was a splendid showcase on the importance of good communication skills and how having those skills can enthrall the audience. To find out more about enhancing your communication skills, join us at Mid Valley Toastmasters Club!
Finally, and sadly, we came to the final Project Speaker of the night. Past President and experienced speaker Ang Chee Yong was up on the stage again, this time to deliver an Advanced Speech, “Delivering Bad News”. As you can probably guess from the title, it was a speech about how to deliver bad news. Yet somehow, the audience enjoyed Chee Yong’s speech and chuckled the whole way through! Full of bravado, Chee Yong later went on to claim that this is the difference between an experienced speaker and a novice, that only an experienced speaker could deliver bad news that made everyone laugh! However, the bad news in this case, the departure of two of our senior members, Timothy Nakayama and Wong Mi Shan, who are heading to the States, definitely struck a sad note. Chee Yong had certainly picked his bad news adroitly.

Then came another highlight of the night, the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). Guests were invited to enjoy the refreshments while members stayed on in the hall. After the current term’s EXCO presented their individual reports, the EXCO members for the next term (2015/2016) were elected.

Ever had a craving for cake? Another benefit of attending our meetings is that we always have a nice delicious birthday cake on the second meeting of the month, as a gesture of appreciation to our members celebrating their birthdays on that particular month. This meeting, we drove those Monday blues away with a delicious vegetarian cheese cake from Beyond Veggie.

The night continued with the Evaluation session, led by the General Evaluator, Sharm Siva, a familiar face at our club who hails from KL Advanced Toastmasters Club. Each speech evaluator presented his/her feedback to their assigned speaker. The speech evaluators for the night, in order, were: Mak Kum Shi, Chong Chee Siong, Timothy Nakayama, and lastly, Wong Woon Pen.

The feedback generally ran along the lines of all the speakers having good openings and solid points, doing well in verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Their conclusions, however, could have been a little stronger. Some of the speakers could have related their story and conclusion to the audience’s needs, thus allowing for more connection with their audience. I believe that this immediate feedback from the speech evaluators is of help to everyone in the room, not just the speakers but to the audience as well.

After the evaluations for the project speakers were done and dusted, we came to the technical evaluations. Grammarian Ken Jee, Timekeeper Christopher Chooi, and Ah-Counter William all gave their short and sweet reports.

Before the meeting came to a close, the Organizing Chair for the Blog Rejuvenation Campaign and Contest, Siew Lai Yee, announced the winner for the Second Round of Blogging. So not only do we help you improve your communication and leadership skills, but we help with writing skills as well! Congratulations to Ryan Ting and Daniel Lim, double winners! How were their blog posts? Have a search here and you’ll find out!

10 pm came around, and so our meeting came to an end. Mid Valley Toastmasters club, a place where fun and education come together every 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month!

Meeting #260: Smell the Roses (Written by Chong, Chee Siong; Editted by Timothy Nakayama)

8th June 2015 was another fine day for a great meeting with my fellow Toastmasters. The theme for the night’s meeting was “Smell the Roses”. I googled “Smell the Roses” and found that it means “to enjoy or appreciate what is often ignored”.


We started our meeting on time. The first rose among roses, TM Evelyn Chong, who was playing the role of Sergeant-at-Arms for the night, took to the stage with grace and confidence, welcoming all members and guests who were with us that night.

The audience comprised many of our new members as well as a handful of external Toastmasters. The Toastmasters that were visiting our club were CC Ricky Soo, from M.A.D (Make A Difference) Toastmasters Club, and CC CL May Ong from OUM (Open University Malaysia) Toastmasters Club. We were definitely very happy they had decided to join us for the night!

Even our President, TM Shim Chee Loon, was surprised with the good turnout. Such was the size of the audience that there were times during his introduction and ice-breaking session that he lost count of just who were the members and who the guests! He praised the club’s EXCO team, especially our Vice-President of Membership, CC Wong Mi Shan, for a job well done; his praise also extended to the club members, for creating a fun and energetic environment where everyone could learn and grow.

TM Daniel Lim then stepped onto the stage for his maiden attempt at being the Toastmaster of the Evening (TME), essentially the all-important host for the night’s meeting. He gave a brief introduction of himself and quickly ran us through the history behind Toastmasters International.

Up next was the Table Topics session, hosted by Table Topic Master TM Siew Lai Yee. Three brave volunteers stepped up to the plate to try their hand at Lai Yee’s Table Topics – TM Hamza, TM Quah, and our guest, Dorris. They took the opportunity to test their skills in impromptu speaking. The end result was an exciting trail of off-the-cuff stories that delighted the audience for a whole two minutes each.  

What followed next was the prepared speeches session, where we had four speakers in total. We had two speakers delivering CC#9 and CC#10 respectively, and another two speakers delivering their Advanced speeches. One of these advanced speakers would also go on to deliver a presentation from one of the Better Speaker Series’ modules.  

TM Christy Chang was the first speaker, presenting us with “Passive or Active?”. Although she had a somewhat nervous start, she came through in the end and presented us with a call-to-action: each of us has the power to decide whether we take an active approach to life, or a passive one.

Our President, CC Shim Chee Loon, definitely earned his standing ovation for the night. Not only did he complete his Competent Communication manual by delivering CC#10 (which deserves a standing ovation in itself), but he was all suave, charm, and persuasion as he delivered his final CC speech, “Never Give Up”. He encouraged everyone to start writing down their goals and desire, and to start planning our strategy to achieve those goals and desires, and to do it all with passion and a never-give-up attitude.

Past President, ACB ALB Ang Chee Yong, was up next, with his Advanced Speech from the Speeches by Management Advanced Communication Manual, titled “Communicating Change”. He played the role of the CEO of Toastmasters International. As CEO, he shared with us (the employees) the company’s performance, and then followed up by using his powerful persuasive skills to implore us to take the necessary steps required to implement his new vision for the company.

Our outgoing Vice-President of Education, ACG ALB Timothy Nakayama, completed his Public Relations Advanced Communication Manual by delivering his final speech, for both manual and our club. It was irreverently titled “The Kung Fu Chicken (KFC) Fiasco”. Tim played the role of CEO of Kung Fu Chicken (KFC), and delivered a press release in front of the press members (played by the audience), apologizing for the recent “incident” which involved an employee of Kung-Fu Chicken insulting a customer and then engaging the same customer in a bout of fisticuffs. Tim delivered the press release with a properly sombre and business-like mien. However, the seriousness in the room quickly unravelled when the press (us, the audience) started playing the part of journalists and proceeded to hit Tim with a lot of “challenging” questions. Tim was unable to contain his laughter as questions were posed to him by club members posing as journalists from “Kung Pow Press” (acted by Chong Chee Siong), “The Mahathir Daily” (acted by Ang Chee Yong), and “The Rocket” (acted by Wong Woon Pen).  Despite the ridiculous questions and names, Tim kept his cool and answered all questions suitably well.

 Right after that, Ang Chee Yong stepped up onto the stage again, this time to deliver his presentation from the Impromptu Speaking module, just one of the many interesting modules from the Better Speaker Series. He shared some tips and suggestions on how we could improve in our Impromptu Speaking skills.

After the break, our General Evaluator, May Ong, took control of the meeting’s Evaluation session. She kick-started the session by welcoming Table Topic Evaluator TM Yeap Wei Leeng up onto the stage to deliver his evaluation for the 3 Table Topic speakers. Wei Leeng gave our trio of Table Topic speakers a brief run-down of their strong speaking traits, as well as several points of improvements they could take on in order to become better at impromptu speaking.

Up next was our first Speech Evaluator, TM Mak Kum Shi, who provided feedback for TM Christy Chang’s “Passive or Active?” speech. This was Mak’s first time giving a speech evaluation after his long hiatus from Toastmasters. He delivered an insightful evaluation, highlighting key points based on the objectives outlined for CC#9 within the Competent Communication Manual.

Our guest from M.A.D Toastmasters club, CC Ricky Soo, then stepped onto the stage to evaluate our President Shim Chee Loon’s “Never Give Up” speech. He gave four spot-on suggestions to Chee Loon, suggesting that our President make use of acronyms, mention specific role models during the telling of his anecdotes, improve eye-contact, and try using the flip chart more effectively.

The Speech Evaluator for Ang Chee Yong was none other than our experienced evaluator Timothy Nakayama. He praised Chee Yong’s choice of words, which were both simple and easy to understand. He suggested a few ways Chee Yong could improve on speech content – by sharing in specific detail on the steps necessary to implement his new vision for the company, rather than just pointing out the improvements in a broad, general, and ambiguous sense. In this way, Chee Yong could perhaps get better buy-in from the employees (us, the audience).

Then we had ACB CL Wong Woon Pen, another experienced evaluator. Mr. Wong tickled our funny bones with the mischievous expressions and witty one-liners peppered throughout his evaluation of Timothy Nakayama’s “The Kung-Fu Chicken (KFC) Fiasco”. He pointed out (rightly) that Tim was unprepared to handle the strange questions thrown at him by the even stranger “journalists”. Mr. Wong suggested that Tim could have added more gravitas to his speech by offering a public apology with more emotional punch to it, which could have given a better impression to the public.

After the evaluations for each of the prepared speeches, our Grammarian for the evening, TM Christopher Chooi, shared with us the good sentences, grammar, and words he had noted down throughout the meeting, as well as offering alternatives to the few grammatical mistakes that had been made.

Up next was our Timekeeper, TM William Cheong. He shared with us the timing on each of the meeting’s sessions, as well as the time taken by each of the speakers, evaluators, and role-players. We found out that we were slightly behind time – it came as a surprise to us, as we usually end very much on time!

Our General Evaluator, May Ong, was up next, with her General Evaluator report. She detailed the small little ways the club could take to improve our meetings, and she also gave feedback on the performance of both the TME, Daniel Lim, and the Table Topic Master, Siew Lai Yee. May ended her report by saying that she enjoyed the meeting immensely, and that she is looking forward to coming back to Mid Valley Toastmasters Club for another visit in the near future!

The final technical evaluator, Ah Counter TM Chong Chee Siong, gave his report, detailing the number of speech crutches all of us made throughout the meeting.

Finally, we arrived at the award presentation session! The Best Table Topic Speaker went to Dorris, who was actually attending her first-ever Toastmasters meeting. Congratulations to Dorris! Not yet a Toastmaster but so courageous in coming up onto the stage – a splendid attempt!

The Best Project Speaker Award went to Timothy Nakayama. Congratulations to Tim, who triumphed over all... to win this award again!
The Best Evaluator Award went to Wong Woon Pen. His evaluation for Tim was top-notch – it was a great evaluation for sure and an example of how exciting, informative, and humorous an evaluation can be. Definitely a lesson for us all.

Overall, the meeting went smoothly. It was certainly a memorable night for everyone. The laughter, good cheer, and camaraderie flowed through the air like a warm, silky breeze – this was yet another you-can’t-miss-this-event by Mid Valley Toastmasters Club. To tell you the truth, I am already looking forward to the next meeting!

Written by,
Chee Siong
21 June 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Meeting #259: Outside Your Comfort Zone – Where The Magic Happens (Written by William Cheong; Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

This is the season to witness the magic. Come out from your comfort zone and be part of the Mid Valley Toastmaster Club fun!

The theme for our 259th meeting was “Outside Your Comfort Zone – Where The Magic Happens”. The inspiration behind the theme came from that famous quote by the American author, Neale Donald Walsch ~ “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” 

What magic was waiting for us that night?

Well, firstly, we had a couple of advanced speakers delivering their advanced speeches.
We had visitors from outside the Klang Valley – all the way from China, India, Australia, and Egypt! What an international meeting!
“Aspire” was the word of the day, which our Acting President Chong Carmen made everyone use once in her introduction. Sneaky!

When the Table Topics session came around, the international flavor burst out again as most of the speakers were our foreign guests.
First up we had the representative from Malaysia, our very own Kow Chee Khon. “If you are able to morph into an animal, which animal would that be?” Kow aspired to be a flying squirrel!

Next up was Sri, our guest from India, who spoke about a major change in his life that made him a better person.

Pete, a visiting Toastmaster from Australia, shared with us on just how motivated he was to make changes in his life.

Ronan, from China, gave a vivid account of what she would like to change in her past. “I would be happier today if I had known of Toastmasters earlier in my life!”
Next, came the Project Speakers.

I’m a fan of the table top card game “Magic the Gathering”, and just like the card game, where different elite magic-wielding warriors gather from different planes and dimensions to do arcane battle, I felt the four speakers that night were pretty much like that as well, different speakers from different backgrounds, all coming together to delight the audience with their wondrous and magical speeches.

Christy Chang once again shared with us an exciting experience from her travels, with “Bungy Jump”. She brought us to the edge of a cliff, where we fought her fears together, and in the end, we jumped with her, on her first wet bungy jump.

Right after that courageous jump down into cold icy waters, we had another speaker who invited us to soar into the skies. Sky Siew’s “Are You a Duck or an Eagle” tells the story of how a shift in our perspectives helps us move from a state of constant complaining (like the quacking of a duck), to a life where we can achieve more by soaring without limits (like an eagle!).

Seasoned speaker Ang Chee Yong brought us back to earth with the realities of “Appraise with Praise”. He regaled us with Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s many achievements and the magic of consistently having around 30 active members throughout all our years of existence as a Toastmasters Club.

Timothy came on next, with “Women’s Beauty: The Price Of”. He started off by warning us that while praise and compliments are good, we should avoid constantly complimenting women on their looks, as if that was the only thing of importance in the fairer sex. He created the hostility and challenged the audience with his opposing idea (as part of the project requirement). At the end, he slowed down and begun empathizing with the audience, pacifying the roaring crowd with his convincing points.

With all four speeches delivered, we took a refreshment break to celebrate!

 The Magical Cake holding us spellbound!  Mass Birthday Celebration!
Right out of tea break and our short-lived social moment, we then moved on to the Evaluation session, which gave us a recap of all the project speeches. Later, we sat through the technical reports from the Ah-Counter, Timekeeper, and Grammarian, as well as our Special Guest of the Day, our General Evaluator all the way from Money & You TMC, Tan Yong Jue.

The Award Winners for Mid Valley Toastmasters’ 259th Meeting!
A hearty congratulations to all the winners!

(From the left)
Best Table Topic Speaker: Pete
Best Project Speaker & Best Evaluator: Timothy
Token of Appreciation to General Evaluator: Tan Yong Jue

Here at Mid Valley Toastmasters Club, the magic never ends. But unfortunately, the evening had to. We look forward to your presence at our next meeting! A hearty appreciation goes out to everyone who gave their time to be with us for our 259th meeting. May the mythical force be with the club and bring us many more members and entertaining meetings in the very near future.

-- William Cheong, WeeLau. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Meeting #258: "Till the End of the Line" (Written By Ang Chee Yong; Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

This was an evening that was packed with ENERGY, thanks to the theme selected by our Vice-President of Education (VPE) Timothy Nakayama. I truly believe that our VPE wanted to remind us that Mid Valley TMC members are here to support all DCP Point Chasers, Till the End of the Line, before the end of the term, 30 June 2015. I have a strong sense of belief that, with the strong leadership displayed by the current EXCO team, we will surely end this term on a high note by receiving yet another Distinguished Toastmasters Club award for the club.

To begin the meeting, our club president Shim Chee Loon delivered his presidential speech with energy and excitement. He razzled and dazzled us with his boyish good looks, beaming smile, and wise words. We had a total of 14 guests at our meeting, therefore, such passion and excitement is a good way to inspire guests to join as members! The introduction session led by Chee Loon gave us all an opportunity to get to know each other, members and guests alike.
As the charming Toastmaster of the Evening, Chong Chee Siong kept us entertained and focused throughout the meeting. His sonorous voice, quips, one-liners and the ability to laugh at himself put everyone at ease. Well done!
Kow Chee Khon was our Grammarian for the evening and he introduced us to the Word of the Day – Zealous. A seemingly difficult word to use throughout the evening, but we managed to use it a couple of times due to Kow giving us great examples on how to use the word.

In keeping with our theme, our Table Topics Master, Christopher Chooi, prepared a few topics that were all about “Till the End of the Line”. The Table Topics session turned out to be a memorable one as all our Table Topic Speakers were also our guests, and it was even more memorable when you consider that, for many of them, this was the first time they had attended a Toastmasters meeting! There was one thing that they all had in common: they all wanted to improve their public communication skills!

We had 2 guests who received very similar Table Topic questions: “Your experience with someone/something till the end of the line.” Ms. Shima regaled us with a personal story, about her mother, and took the opportunity to wish her mother a Happy Mother’s Day. Mr. Lai, on the other hand, shared with us the fact that he had 2 different characters inside of him: the Good Lai, and the Bad Lai. Throughout his life, he has always been trying to improve himself by fighting the Bad Lai so that the Good Lai can oversee his quest to be a better man.  It was a pretty motivational Table Topic from Lai!

Our last Table Topic Speaker was Ms. Jankie, who received the Table Topic: “Name one person you can commit to until the end of the line.” Even though she was just a guest, she delivered her Table Topics with the flair and skill of an experienced Toastmaster. She told us about the bad experiences in her previous relationship, how she overcame them and eventually transformed into the person she is now – one who is patient and waiting for a future husband to whom she can fully commit the rest of her life to.  It was an inspiring Table Topic speech which saw Jankie bagging the Best Table Topic Speaker Award at the end of the meeting.

Tonight we had to truly keep track of our timing as we had a total of 5 Project Speakers. Well done to our Timekeeper Phang Chen De for ensuring everything ran smoothly, time-wise.

We had 2 speakers attempting their CC#9. The first was Sky Siew, who delivered an informative speech, titled “Financial Advisor”, based on his work experience. He gave us great reasons for going to a Financial Advisor, in order to plan our financial matters better, in the hopes that one day, we can avail ourselves of financial freedom.

The second CC#9 speaker was our President Shim Chee Loon himself! Entitled “Safety”, Chee Loon’s speech revolved around the many accidents that can happen in extreme activities like paintball and cliff-diving, and the things we can do to ensure our utmost safety when engaging in said activities. He even gave us a couple of road safety suggestions. What a class act, is our Shim Chee Loon!

We then came to the Advanced Speeches. First of the Advanced Speakers was Wong Mi Shan, who was delivering a speech from the Special Occasions Advanced Manual, titled “The Academy Awards.” It was short, sweet and memorable as she announced and presented the Best Actress “award” to another member of ours, Chong Carmen (who is known as The Drama Queen in Mid Valley Toastmasters Club!) This speech was the very last Advanced Speech Mi Shan needed to complete in order to earn her Advanced Communicator Bronze award. Kudos to Mi Shan!

Our second Advanced Speaker was Past President Ang Chee Yong. His speech was from the Speeches by Management Advanced Manual, titled “Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s Monthly Meeting”. His speech was effusive praise for the role Toastmasters can play in our journeys to be a better communicator, speaker, and leader. After his main speech, he also conducted a short Q & A session, which was especially well-received by new members and guests alike.

Lastly, but never least, we had the one and only “some very sick and boring old guy”, Timothy Nakayama, who took up the challenge of the Public Relations Advanced Manual, delivering his speech titled “How to Flush Your Toilet”. Although his speech was about a rather mundane everyday invention (the toilet), Timothy presented it in a very humorous way that thoroughly entertained the audience. It also served the very real purpose of teaching the audience how to flush their toilets using the correct method. His speech really got us laughing but yet thinking about changing our lives – by flushing the correct way!

Once all five speeches were delivered, we had a short refreshment break then came back again for the insightful Evaluation session, where seasoned Toastmasters Shim Chee Loon evaluated Table Topics and Vivien Lim, Timothy Nakayama, Chong Carmen, Wong Mi Shan and Ang Chee Yong evaluated one speech each. All evaluators demonstrated excellent usage of the “Sandwich method”, setting a great example to all those who have yet to step up to the plate to evaluate others.

Then came the Technical Evaluations, where we had Kow Chee Khon giving us his Grammarian report, Ah-Counter William Cheong telling us how we did with our speech crutches, Phang giving us his Timekeeper’s report and Ivan Guan making sure things ran smoothly in his role as the Sergeant-at-Arms. They all played their roles well – so well that we actually ended early! A big thank you to them!

As mentioned previously, Ms. Jankie won the Best Table Topic Speaker Award while “Some very sick and boring old guy” Timothy Nakayama won both the Best Project Speaker Award and the Best Evaluator Award.

Our General Evaluator, Kenny L Eds from MEF TMC, Penang, gave our club invaluable feedback on how we could make small little changes to make our meetings better. His encouragement earned him a hearty round of applause and the meeting ended on a positive and uplifting note.

We had 14 guests at this meeting: Wong, Tommy, Lai, Alena, Alicia, Elvin Chin, Rena, Aaron, Noorain Shima, Jenkie, etc. When it came to the very last item on the agenda, the Guests’ Feedback session, all the guests gave us positive feedback on the meeting and mentioned that they will surely return again, as second time guests… maybe even as members!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Meeting #257: Dream Big! (Written By Ivan Guan; Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

There is a quote by the great man A.P.J Abdul Kalam: “You have to dream before your dreams can come true.” I agree with that. I personally believe that everyone should have a dream they can strive toward. Without a dream for the future, life is meaningless.

“Dream Big” was the theme for Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s 257th meeting. If your dream is to become a professional public speaker, or if you’re someone who just wants to have a great set of public speaking skills (which always comes in handy in this great adventure we call life!), please, do come and join us every 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month @ 7pm, 5th floor, Mid Valley Cititel Hotel. We will be more than delighted to meet you in person!

The meeting started at 7pm whereupon our Sergeant-At-Arms (SAA) for the meeting, Phang Chen De, called the meeting to order and greeted all members and guests warmly. Phang is a new member of the club and there he was, playing his first role ever. Way to go, Phang!

SAA Phang Chen De

Our Prince Charming Club President, Shim Chee Loon, then took over the stage, delivering his humorous Presidential Speech. He was there to ensure that all guests were warmly greeted, enthusiastically welcomed and cheerfully introduced to other guests and members, before finally passing control of the stage back to The Master of Funny, Wong Woon Pen, who served as the Toastmaster of the Evening (TME). As the TME, Wong started things off with a bang by recalling his boyhood dream: to become a Fighter Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. He then made us laugh by sharing jokes about Peugeot 405 & 406 (if you missed the meeting, it’s time you asked him about it!). He followed this with a brief introduction on Toastmasters International before giving a quick roundup of how the meeting was going to be structured.

Our President Shim Chee Loon

Funny Master Wong Woon Pen

That was that. And then the fun really got started. Yes, you guessed right – the Table Topics session! This session focuses on building up your impromptu speaking skills as you will be given a topic by a Table Topic Master, followed by speaking on that topic for up to 2 minutes. Thus, you’ll need to think on your feet! The charismatic Daniel Lim was the Table Topic Master (TTM) for the night – and he had prepared a cunning “trap” for everyone by asking a question before the Table Topic session had even begun. The question he put forth was: “What is the gap between dream and reality?”

Our Table Topic Master, Daniel Lim

One of the guests, a brave guy by the name of Evan, replied correctly. “Action” he offered. “Guess what? You’re the first Table Topic speaker!” Daniel Lim replied. The “trap” had been set and, true to his word, Evan took that first step to being a proficient speaker by going up on stage and gamely requesting for his Table Topic. He received the following: “If you won the lottery in your dreams, how would you spend that money, also in your dreams?” Evan took up the challenge: he told us that despite it all being a dream, he would do the practical thing by putting most of that money into various investments (to make even more money, of course!). Some of the money he would donate to the needy and a good chunk of it he would use to travel around the world as seeing more of the world has always been part of his dream.

The second Table Topic speaker, Kelvin, received the question: “What would you do when you wake up and everyone else is a zombie?” The first thing that came to his mind was a set of actions that he could take to help him survive as long as he could. His survival instincts kicked in and he would go looking for resources and communication devices in order to find out if anyone else had survived the Zombie Apocalypse, especially his loved ones.

The third Table Topic speaker was Aaron, and the topic he received was: “One day, if you dreamt that you changed gender, what would you do?” Aaron’s reply was pretty straightforward: he would go shopping for some new clothes (you know it, girlfriend!) and then head on down to the Malaysian government department in charge of such things to make his new gender identity legal – you know, to avoid any uncomfortable situations that might arise.

Then it was the turn of our last Table Topic speaker, our Past President, Ang Chee Yong, who accepted the Table Topic Master’s challenge of taking up the hardest Table Topic: “If, in your dream, you are Malaysia’s Prime Minister, what would you do to improve the country?” Chee Yong immediately said that he would continue with the implementation of the GST in order to increase the country’s revenue, and also to use that GST revenue to build more infrastructure to entice more foreign direct investment. Chee Yong was very persuasive, managing to win the audience over to his cause. If he is participating in the next General Election, I think I will vote for him – because I’m impressed!
The next session was the Prepared Project Speech session and tonight we had a total of 4 Big Guns delivering their speeches.

The first prepared speaker to come on stage was Sky Siew. He delivered his CC#8, “Time Value of Money.” Sky started off his speech by engaging the audience with a humorous Jack & Jill story that illustrated the power of compounding interest (the 8th wonder of the world!). He ended his speech with a call-to-action to the audience: start saving money from today, and make more investments in order to enjoy a nice life after retirement.

Next up was our Club President again, Shim Chee Loon. Like Sky, he delivered his CC#8. His speech was all about “The Mask I Wear for Living”. He shared an experience at his previous job, where he had to put on a mask (figuratively, of course!) in order to fit in with the company culture and to assist him in pleasing everyone in that company. His advice was: life is too short and we should be honest with ourselves and to our loved ones. “Do not hide behind the social mask and do not bury our personal truths,” he said. “Be proud of who you are!” I would say that Chee Loon delivered a speech that required a great deal of bravery and courage to pull off. Kudos to him!

The third speaker was our club’s Vice-President of Membership, Wong Mi Shan, who delivered her The Roast from her Special Occasion ACM, titled “A President’s Retirement”. She delivered her speech in a humorous and yet respectful way to honor our President Shim for his contributions to the club over the past years. (he’s not really retiring, of course!). After listening to her speech, I got to know more about our President Shim, something that I, as a newbie member of the club, am grateful for. It seems that our President has this gift from God to give advice and solutions to the people who are suffering from stress in their personal relationships. How cool is that? I am going to get some advice in the next meeting, that’s for sure!

Last speaker for the night was our Past President again, Ang Chee Yong, delivering Addressing the Opposition from the Persuasive Speaking ACM, titled “K.W.S.P”.  Chee Yong gave an outstanding performance, successfully persuading the audience to allow KWSP to hold on to their EPF savings for an additional 5 years before they fully withdraw it from their accounts (this being in the news lately, as a proposal by the incumbent government) His facts and figures were clear and easily understood, as were the benefits those additional 5 years would bring to their eventual recipients. Many of us had initially disagreed with the government’s proposal, but Ang Chee Yong managed to sway us with his focus and clarity! At one point, we were wondering whether he is secretly a super-agent from Barisan Nasional (the incumbent government).

After a short refreshment break, we were onto the Evaluation session. This informative session involves the panel of speech evaluators offering their feedback to both Table Topic and prepared speaker alike. This immediate feedback is something that is unique to Toastmasters and allows all speakers to improve in their speaking and leadership skills.

Chong Chee Siong, giving feedback to each Table Topic Speaker

Timothy Nakayama, ACG, ALB giving feedback to Sky Siew and President Shim Chee Loon on their CC#8 project speeches.

Past President, Ang Chee Yong, giving feedback to VPM,Wong Mi Shan on her roast of Shim Chee Loon.

VPM, Wong Mi Shan, giving feedback to Past President, Ang Chee Yong on his persuasive K.W.S.P speech

This was followed by the Technical reports from our panel of technical evaluators: Kow Chee Khon as Grammarian; Quah Shee Jiun as Timekeeper; Siew Lai Yee as Time-Keeper; and last but never least, Fong Kok Loon, all the way from DTM Toastmasters Club, as our meeting’s General Evaluator!

Grammarian, Kow Chee Khon

Timekeeper, Quah Shee Jun

General Evaluator, Fong Kok Loon, ACB (DTM TMC)

Ah-Counter, Siew Lai Yee

After the reports, it was time for Award Presentations:
Past President Ang Chee Yong scored a brace, sweeping the Best Table Topic Speaker and Best Project Speaker awards. Our Vice-President of Education, Timothy Nakayama, won the Best Evaluator award. Congratulations! You guys are amazing!

Finally, we would like to say a big Thank You to the General Evaluator, Fong Kok Loon, from DTM Toastmasters Club. We are so grateful for the time and effort you took to share your thoughts and experiences with us. We will always remember the advice you gave our club and use it to improve further. We hope to see you again soon!

President Shim presenting the Certificate of Appreciation to our General Evaluator Fong Kok Loon (DTM TMC).

Before calling the meeting to an end, we had CAKE to celebrate the Birthday of all our April Babies.
Thank you everyone, for your presence at the meeting. This meeting was an astounding success only because of your efforts and participation. Thank you very much! Till we meet again in the next meeting!

By Guan Chin Kuan (Ivan)