Sunday, July 29, 2012

23rd July Meeting - Stop Blaming, Start Forgiving

The 23rd of July meeting was our 199th meeting - so that's one more to the big 200! For a pre-biggie meeting, this one did not disappoint. In fact, it felt like it was the big one itself! Even before the meeting proper started, there was a palpable buzz in the air, as if the few hours that followed would be an electrifying experience.

Well, it was. And the main reason for that, the big reason behind that addictive buss and the feeling of excitement in the room - were the people at the meeting themselves! 44 people turned up to bring good cheer and passionate enthusiasm to a meeting that well and truly rocked. 44 people ~ 18 of them our own Mid Valley members and the other 26 our guests, from other Toastmasters clubs and non-Toastmasters guests alike, who honored us with their presence and involvement. Just a quick roll-call when it comes to the various clubs that were in attendance: Sunway University, Indrahana, Money & You, HELP University, Friendship, Faith, Scope, MIA, Ipoh TMC and Taylor's University.

To quote our previous Area Governor, the ever charming Victor Ong ~ "What an evening!"

And what better way to start off our second meeting of the 2012/2013 term than by restoring one of the traditions that was due for a Karate-Kid-like comeback - New Member Induction?

The tradition fell along the wayside during the past term, but it was brought back in style by having a massive one: by inducting SIX members at once. It would have been more except some were late and others could not make it to the meeting. It should be noted that all these members had joined much earlier than July, but we were going for inducting EVERY member who has never been inducted officially.

Here's the picture for the six-member induction (photo courtesy of Shin Li);

President Travis Lai inducting 6 members.
From Left to Right: Ted Saraki, Lisa Khoo, Vivien Lim, Mr. Wong, Winson Tan, Timothy Nakayama

And then, our Elect-Toastmaster-of-the-Evening, Immediate Past President Ang Chee Yong, took over, adding some pep and zest to get that buzz flowing to each and every person in the room. He got us all in the right mood by introducing the Table Topic Master of the day, the young and affable Lee Jun Han from Money & You Toastmasters Club.

Jun Han brought us a new take on Table Topics by doing it Charades-style. Two people come up ~ one person will Mime, while the other will Speak. The Mime gets to read a short story from a piece of paper, and then, they have to mime the actions in the story for the Speaker. The Speaker has to guess what the silent actor is trying to tell them.

As you would expect, the results were fun, entertaining, and yes, we can admit it - hilarious (photos courtesy of Victor Ong):

Sharif and Ashwinni from Sunway University TMC
Shariff makes the rookie mistake of assuming a girl is pregnant because of her body gestures.

Bryan (from HELP Uni TMC) and Cris (from Taylor's Uni TMC)
What's the time, morning glory?

Mr. Ninja and Ms. Satomi:
Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream.

It should be noted that Victor Ong and Keith Ho (a Mid Valley TMC member!) also took part, and their story was that of lovers... one who is outraged that the other had an affair.... Somehow, all incriminating evidence has disappeared, for we have no photos of the couple acting out their tearful story...

It is at this point that the Toastmaster of the Evening arrived - the bubblelicious Sheryl Chieng. And her arrival was greeted by cheers of approval, for our Vice President of Education has always been a crowd favorite, especially when she starts the session off with her favourite quote: "Speeches should be like skirts. Low enough to cover the vitals. Short enough to keep things interesting". Victor Ong replied with a crowd-favorite as well: "Your skirt?" Zing!!!

(Photo below courtesy of Winson Tan):

An unusually fierce Sheryl Chieng

And then we got to the main showcase of any Toastmasters meeting: Prepare Speeches. And as you've come to expect from a Mid Valley Toastmasters meeting, we had 5 brave souls stepping up to deliver their prepared speeches (photos courtesy of Victor Ong):

Winson Tan educating us (humorously) on the cultural differences between India and Malaysia

Ong Koh Him telling us a story about a train and what happened on one fateful day...

Ted Saraki showing us just how big an Ox can get in his first Advanced Speech

Travis Lai tries to sell RM90 eyedrops to an unsuspecting Ang Chee Yong.

Timothy Nakayama ~ a 58-year old politician speaking to the masses in 2050. 'Nuff said.

After the speeches, it was time for our eating-and-chit-chatting session and as usual, we did that in style, swerving and dancing around like ballet dancers as we try to update each other on the latest news going on at each others' clubs ~ Networking like a boss.

And, after the break, it was time for first-time General Evaluator to play her role. And, as always the case with How Yee, from Money & You Toastmasters Club (just down the road at 3rd Mile Square, on Old Klang Road), she does everything with stylish pizazz and chutzpah (Photo courtesy of Victor Ong):

Poised, Elegant, our General Evaluator, How Yee

And then we come to everyone's favourite session: Evaluation time! As the Humor Speech and Evaluation season comes closer and closer, this was the perfect time for everyone to learn how to do great evaluations, and boy, did we have a group of experienced evaluators at the meeting:

Yeow Honn, having the unenviable task of evaluating the Charades-like Table Topic Session...

... which was not bad, considering that his initial reaction went something like this.

Ian Tai (from Friendship TMC) giving some points of improvement for Winson Tan

Immediate Past President Ang Chee Yong evaluating Ong Koh Him's train story.

Our Area Governor, Chan Siew Peng, letting us know whether funny-man Ted Saraki succeeded!

Bryan Cheong (from HELP Uni TMC) sharing his opinion on Travis' Advanced Speech.

Victor Ong sharing some insights into how Timothy Nakayama's speech fared with the audience.

The evaluations were top-notch and the meeting flowed smoothly to the next phase, where How Yee called upon her team of evaluators to deliver their reports. She called upon Jee Aik (Grammarian), Priscilla (Ah Counter) and Lisa Khoo (Timekeeper) before delivering her short and sweet General Evaluator Report (Photo courtesy of Winson Tan):

Priscilla Parissa (Faith TMC) giving her Ah Counter report while Lisa Khoo looks on

And then President Travis Lai returned to the stage to give his President Closing Address and present the Awards to the winners.

The Awards for this meeting were given out to (photos courtesy of Winson Tan):

Estranged Couple Victor Ong and Keith Ho - Best Table Topic Pair

Timothy Nakayama - Best Project Speech Speaker

Victor Ong - Best Evaluator

And of course, Mid Valley Toastmasters Club gives a certificate of appreciation to our awesome General Evaluator, Ms. How Yee. It may be her first time, but this lady has got verve and moxie. (Photo courtesy of Winson Tan):

How Yee - first time General Evaluator - but oh so good!

Of course, here at Mid Valley Toastmasters, just because the meeting is over doesn't mean we can't take more pictures (Photo courtesy of Shin Li):

Our frequent guest, Shin Li (Ipoh TMC) with the ever affable Victor Ong

With such an epic meeting, it is only proper for one last photo ~ The Group Shot! (Photo courtesy of Winson Tan):

Everyone do the Asian Cheesy Group Shot thing!

It was a meeting where records were broken, blues were banished, hungry stomachs were filled-up, spirits lifted to the skies, and where the passion for Toastmasters was as clear as a cloudless summer sky.

The 200th meeting beckons.

Our Humorous Speech & Evaluation Contest will take place on 13th August.
Our next meeting, the 200th meeting, will be on 27th August. It will be a BIG one. So come ~ you can't afford not to!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Clubbing: Friendship Toastmasters Club's Masquerade-themed Installation Night

With the start of the 2012/2013 term already upon us, Toastmasters Clubs everywhere are getting into gear with the supple and steady hands of their Exco members. With the help of these Club Officers, who knows what the 2012/2013 term will hold in store for all of us.

And with that, all Toastmasters Clubs will honor the Toastmasters International's tradition of having the Officer Installation Ceremony. This ceremony offers members of the club the opportunity to thank the outgoing Club Officers for their efforts and for doing a good job AND welcome the new Exco members to their roles and responsibilities.

And as part of Mid Valley Toastmasters Club's July 2012 Clubbing Schedule, we attended Friendship Toastmasters Club's Masquerade-themed Installation Night, held at their usual meeting place, at Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club.

It was an event where Friendship welcomed their new Club Officers in style and aplomb.

Three Mid Valley Toastmasters made an appearance at the event:
- Timothy Nakayama
- Penny Choo
- Moses Wong

Timothy Nakayama played the part of co-host for the event, his partner being Friendship's angelic Vice-President of Education, Daphne Au. During the entire event, Timothy stepped into the role of "The Phantom", though, by appearance and behavior, certainly not Gaston LeRoux's classic "Phantom of the Opera".

(All photos courtesy of Friendship Toastmasters Club's volunteer photographers)

Co-Hosts Timothy Nakayama & Daphne Au

There were many games to be played that night. One of the games was to blow up a huge pile of balloons and try to hold them together with tape - the team with the highest free-standing "balloon tower" wins.

Penny Choo and Timothy Nakayama were on the same team. However, one of them was much more skilled in this game than the other. Look at the picture below:

Green-Eyed Jealousy!

Penny taking a breather, while Timothy can only look on in dismay 

Moses and his team did pretty well as you can see from the picture below:

The Tower of Balloon

Penny Choo and Timothy Nakayama took part in Talk & Mime, an interesting and fun variation of the normal Table Topics. How it goes: one person comes up with an impromptu story from words flashing across the screen, while a second person acts it out.

This was definitely a very enjoyable session as you can see from these photos below:

Penny acting a story filled with betrayal, fire and... M&Ms. Yes.

Don't worry - that's Timothy's mime counterpart, David Lai. A story about Jedis!

And there was an extra bit of spice thrown in for the Mid Valley members. Both Timothy Nakayama and Moses Wong got selected as Top 3 Best Dressed in the Men's Category. Both of them had to do an impromptu catwalk:

Moses and his Super Saiyan-style hair rocks the crowd.

Timothy Nakayama evidently not getting what a catwalk is supposed to be.

All in all, even good things must come to and. But as you can see from the photo below, this was a night enjoyed by all:

Masquerade ~ Paper faces on parade ~ Masquerade ~ sing along now!

Thank you to our three intrepid Mid Valley Toasties who made the time and effort to visit Friendship Toastmasters Club's Installation Night, and even playing important roles as well. This is the way Toastmasters clubbing should be! Bravo!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

9th July Meeting - Break Free, Be Who You Really Are

The 9th of July meeting started off on a somewhat serious note - a little somber and serious than usual. Perhaps it was because there had been a long traffic jam to Mid Valley and the heavy downpour outside meant that the long lines of cars were even longer than usual? Couple that with that nasty flu virus going around, and claiming the health and sanity of two of our members (who actually   came to the meeting regardless), and General Monday Blues, and it's no surprise that it might have seemed like the meeting was going to be drawn-out affair.

But one thing that we're very good at doing here at Mid-Valley is turning the meeting around. If the start did come across as a little serious, our stalwart Immediate Past President Ang Chee Yong turned the game around by putting the meeting right in its place - on the Fun & Exciting drive, and with the Full Throttle switch on.

That's Chee Yong for you - he knows how to control the meeting to achieve the best possible result given the mood and atmosphere in the room - which is why he made for a great and attentive Toastmasters of the Evening (photo courtesy of Shin Li):

Chee Yong adding the Toast in Toastmasters!

Because this was our first meeting of the 2012/2013 term, our new President, Travis Lai took to the stage for the first time, letting the audience catch a glimpse of what was in store for the whole year with a well thought-out Presidential Opening Speech (photo courtesy of Victor Ong):

Travis Lai, giving his Presidential Address

Timothy Nakayama, victim of the flu virus, started off the meeting proper with an Invocation Session revolving around finding your true self, likening the journey to an explorer sailing across an ocean (photo courtesy of Shin Li):

Don't play with fire, kids.

The stage then welcomed the second flu victim, Penny Choo, who despite being in a world of pain and hurt, gave us a charming Humor Session (photo courtesy of Victor Ong):

You better laugh... or else!

Our Table Topic was a little late (no doubt due to the pesky traffic!) so Chee Yong steered the meeting in the right direction, by going straight to the Prepared Speeches.

And as you expect from a meeting at Mid Valley Toastmasters, we always have a healthy number of speakers, with this meeting seeing no less than 5 Prepared Speeches being showcased onstage.

The speakers are, in this order (Photos courtesy of Shin Li and Victor Ong):

Jun Han telling us about those Monday Blues... and how to get rid of them!

Sheryl Chieng and her cute brioche Turtle! She shows us why it's Toastmasters and not "Tossmasters".

Dominic telling us a story on how to breathe life into a seed...or not.

Keith - telling us how Toastmasters can make our lives a little better, a little more productive.

Moses - regaling us with the wisdom of Solomon.

And then, our Table Topic Master, Roslyn Fam (from Indrahana Toastmasters Club), who had already arrived by then, gave us a very, very challenging Table Topic Session. A smorgasbord of speakers tried their hands at this tricky, tricky session (photos courtesy of Victor Ong and Shin Li):

"Heh, heh, heh. Now to unleash my Table Topics on them." - Or that's what we think Roslyn is saying...




Jee Aik

19-year-old Pei Lim

After the Table Topics, we had a short break where we managed to lay our hands on some much-needed grub and a little chit-chat here and there - and then were headed back to one of the most important sessions there is in a Toastmasters Meeting - Evaluation Session!

Our GE, big brother Hong took over the show from Ang Chee Yong (photo courtesy of Shin Li):

Showing 'em how it's done!

And then we came to the Evaluators themselves (photos courtesy of Victor Ong and Shin Li):

Victor Ong - a precise and insightful evaluation on all our intrepid Table Topic speakers.

Travis Lai evaluating Jun Han's "Monday Blues"
Keith Ho evaluating Sheryl and giving her some tips for improvement.

Timothy Nakayama, giving his evaluation for Dominic's Story-Telling Speech in the form of a story.

Victor Ong takes the stage again to offer his insights to Keith's Advanced Speech.

Shin Li evaluated Moses -we don't have a photo of her because she happened to be the ones busy snapping the photos this night. Thank you, Shin Li - all the way from Ipoh Toastmasters Club!

After the great evaluations from our experienced Toastmasters, we came to the close of the meeting with the GE (Hong) and his team giving their invaluable feedback. Big thanks goes out to Winson Tan (Grammarian), Lisa Khoo (Ah Counter) Vivien Lim (Timer)

The Awards for this meeting were given out to (photos courtesy of Travis Lai and Winson Tan):

Pei-Lim - Best Table Topic Speaker

Dominic Teoh - Best Project Speech Speaker

Timothy Nakayama - Best Evaluator

It was a meeting that showed us that we don't need to stick to the current mood or environment, that with the right attitude and positive energy, we can turn around a meeting to make it the BEST meeting it can be. All it takes is the willpower to make that change.

See you all for the next meeting on 23rd July!