Monday, December 22, 2014

Meeting #251: Let It Go (Written by Chee Khon, Kow; Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

Walking into the meeting late, with my spirit all beaten up by the horrendous traffic congestion and heavy evening rain, my feelings was not all too great initiallyBut it turned out to be a pleasant surprise seeing a room filled with enthusiastic members and guests.  When our Toastmaster of the Evening (TME), Cheky, delivered his opening speech in cheeky humor, it gave my beaten spirit a ‘shot in the arm’. He reminded us that we have indeed chosen to spend the ‘Winter Solstice’ festival with the Toastmaster family above anything else 

Bravo to all of you who made it for this meeting! 

Besides that, what else made this meeting worth attendingWas it worth the sacrifice of spending once a year’s ‘Winter Solstice Day’ at home sweet home with your beloved family?    

The traditional eating of sweet dumplings or ‘Tangyuan during the winter solstice symbolizes reunion and that we are soon to grow a year older (wiser – perhaps this is a better choice of word!). 

The #251 meeting was insightful and meaningful for at least one of the two brave souls who conquered their fears in their Ice Breaker Speeches. We walked out the room with a metaphorical mouthful of dumplings, a symbol that we gleaned some points of wisdom from the speeches.

The meeting’s theme “Let it Go!”  might not have been heeded by many. There were so many good thoughts and lessons to take home with us. Our memories might not be able to ‘bite off more than it can chew’, hence this written blog post may serve as the naturally preserved food (of thought), fresh for later consumption, at your own convenience. Certainly for those who missed this meeting, I’ve left some sweet ‘Tangyuan’, complimentary from MV Toastmaster Club, here on this blog for you to savour :)

Helping to put the house in order was our SAA Evelyn Chong. The opening speech was delivered by our President Shim Chee Loon and this was followed by a round of self-introduction by our guests. The TME Cheky followed up with his round of introducing the Role Players for the night.  A big kudos to the self-sacrificing noble volunteers, for without them our meeting would not be as successful! They are none other than Jonnathan Moh, ACB, CL (Grammarian), Timekeeper (Siew Wan Pin), Chironjit Das, CC, ALB (General Evaluator), Shim Chee Loon (Ah-Counter).

The meeting went into upswing mode when our Table Topics Master, Timothy Nakayama ACG, ALB claimed the stage and offered his “Rice Bucket” challenge. After explaining his Table Topic rules (which did not require pouring the rice over your head…), the first volunteer, me (Kow) took up the challenge. The season’s holiday mood did help. Many of the guests took up the challenge as well. Among them, a commendable brother and sister combo, Koe Shern and Koe Yee courageously took up the challenge and performed their table topics with poise and impressed us with their sincerity.

Chen Choon of Elite TMC came in with his ACB skill and delivered his Table Topic, laid out with some inspiring never-let-your-dreams-go messages to the new and wannabe Toastmasters.

The last Table Topic speaker was our lady guest, Vivian. Yielding to the insistence from our charming President Chee Loon that we encourage lady volunteers for our Table Topics (and of course supported by many as well), Vivian from Melbourne took up the last Table Topic, ending the Table Topic session with a well-deserved round of applause. At the end of the meeting, the Best Table Topic Speaker award went to Koe Shern.

On to the project speeches, we had two Toastmasters and also working colleagues, Daniel Lim and Yeap Wei Leeng, delivering their maiden Ice Breaker Speech. Daniel, an Area Sales Manager of Optometrist Lenses and a fan of hunky starlet Daniel Wu, delivered his speech with the title ‘Miracle.’ Daniel shared his up-and-down days growing up in his family, first job and first car among others. While Yeap, a Professional Optometrist spoke on the topic ‘Far Far Away’, started off with the story of his grandpa travelling here from ‘a land far away’, China, how he graduated as a professional optometrist from a local university and is now working toward  the noble-cause of assisting people with vision impairment in achieving 20/20 vision (eye-sight). Well done, Daniel and Yeap! You deserved the standing ovation from all of us to celebrate your courage.

The third speaker, Chong Chee Siong, a Sapura-Kenchana Oil & Gas Engineer, delivered his CC#7 speech slickly, on the subject of ‘Oil’. Chee Siong put in extra effort by bringing along with him a sample of Crude Oil for the benefit of members and guests. He brought us back to memory lane, in the year of 1859, when Colonel Edwin first discovered Crude Oil. Then he taught us how crude oil is formed. Without his speech we might not be aware that the Barrel Crude Oil Standard measurement is indeed 159 litres. He talked about the economic aspect of how the supply and demand equation impacts crude oil pricing. We all learnt a lot from you, Chee Siong!

The last project speech was delivered by our VP of Membership, Wong Mi Shan CC, who attempted her ACM Oratorical Speech titled ‘Women’s Rights Are Human Rights’. It was all written on her face, that this was indeed her most passionate subject. She walked to the rostrum and took to the stage with gusto. She mimicked Hillary Clinton’s speech of women’s right at the UN Conference in Beijing. The virtuous speech of championing women’s right worldwide, reminded us that there are many young girls around the world being denied basic education, and condemned to child marriages while mothers are deprived of the equal career opportunities due to providing for their children at home. Mi Shan’s posture during the speech brought elements of Mother Teresa’s grace and Hillary’s charisma into her speech. As a result, Mi Shan won the Best Project Speaker award.

After the solemn speech by Mi Shan, the meeting went into a lighter mode as we then held the cake cutting in celebration of the December babies among guests and members alike. Then we took 15 minutes for a refreshment break.

Upon returning from the break, General Evaluator Chironjit Das brought us into the Evaluation round, with Wong Woon Pen, ACB CL kick starting proceedings with  his feedback for  the Table Topics session. Woon Pen, a celebrated and seasoned speaker, gave us his much valuable feedback. One of them was that we should have taken the most of the time given to us on stage. Most of us (me included) rushed to complete our Table Topic before or once the timekeeper’s light turned amber. Guilty of this myself, his feedback was very much appreciated.

Christy Chang’s evaluation provided good feedback for Daniel. She commended his straight forward speaking traits. Vivien Lim in turn also provided great thoughts to Yeap and some words of encouragement. Well done to Christy and Vivien.

Jonathan Moh, ACB, CL offered Chee Siong (and many of us) some valuable advice of ‘Poker Game’ strategy in crafting speeches. We should not disclose the main message (i.e. the Royal Flush) too early or too late in the speech. Delivering it right in the middle of the speech is ideal according to him. A very good piece of advice, Jonathan!

Lee Chen Choon, ACB (Elite TMC) in his evaluation on Mi Shan, provided us with some prized lesson as well. Chen Choon, in his evaluation spoke of the power of the pause and pace when emphasizing one’s points during a speech. This is great advice for all of us. Thank you Chen Choon!

Chironjit Das, CC, ALB in his General Evaluator’s report, encouraged us to seize the opportunity of this club’s great facility which is enviable in comparison with many of the clubs that he had been to. We were reminded that we were lucky and should make an effort to attend meetings as often as we could.

He also advised the members of MV TMC to generate more energy during the meetings as this would help liven things up for those attending. We thank you for all your sound advice, Chironjit!  

After Awards presentation and the guests’ feedbacks, the MV Toastmaster’s No. 251 meeting finally ended. What is worth noting though is that it was our last meeting for the year 2014. We were still spending our time busy basking in the ‘Tangyuan’ effect from the meeting, the delicious food that made us all grow a year ‘wiser’ in our journey to be a better speaker and leader.  

Finally, since we are just 3 days shy from the Season’s Holiday, I am sending my warmest wishes to every MV Toastmasters Members and Reader of this Blog. Have a joy-filled Season’s Holiday!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!    

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Usual Weekend with the Unusual Group – Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s Christmas Party 2014 (Written By President Chee Loon, Shim; Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

I mean it - the unusual group, further clarification will be provided as you continue reading. Last Saturday (20/12/14), it was my pleasure to join Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s (MV TMC) Christmas party, organized by the Secretary of MV TMC – Christy Chang.

The unusual attendees of the party were as below:
1.      Wong Mi Shan
2.   Timothy Nakayama
3.      Christy Chang
4.      Shim Chee Loon
5.      Cheky Ng
6.      Vivien Lim
7.      Chong Carmen
8.      Becky
9.      Sam (Becky’s friend, just friend)
10.  Wan Pin
11.  Wayne Poon
12.  Ang Chee Yong
13.  Mrs. Ang (Ang Chee Yong’s wife)
14.  Little Ang (Ang Chee Yong’s daughter)
15.  Ryan Ting
16.  Jonathan Moh
17.  Eve
18.  Daniel Lim

 *For illustrative purposes only

We started the party at around 7.30 pm and kicked-off  the Christmas celebrations with a wonderful food & drinks extravaganza!

·         Carmen’s Spanish fruit platter

·         Jonathan’s healthy homemade ice cream (no preservatives)
·         Tim & Mi Shan’s mushroom, feta & leek tart + pumpkin & potato gratin (full of love)
·         Christy’s Nando’s flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken (bought under the rain – full of affection and some sweat)
·         Wan Pin’s KFC chicken bucket & potato wedges (all the way from Seputeh)
·         Ang Family’s home-cooked fried mee hoon (cater for vegetarian as well) + pandan cake
·         Cheky & Vivien’s priceless cake (three days booking required)
·         Chee Loon’s special cocktails (group contribution from Daniel, Eve, Wayne & Ryan as well)

We were excited about the food and almost finished every single piece of it, simply because we were unusually hungry and the food was yummy too. The variety and portion of food were just nice, not too much yet sufficient. Credit goes to the F & B Manager – Timothy Nakayama.

We then proceeded to the unusual Table Topics session conducted by Wong Mi Shan. Why do I say unusual? The Table Topics Master decided to do it differently by allowing all of us (a total of 16, excluding Little Ang and the Table Topics Master herself) the opportunity to participate! And all the Table Topics were unusually CHALLENGING! Just to name a few:

  •  My first time.
  • Tell us one secret about yourself that no one knows about.
  • Tell us an instance when you embarrassed yourself.
  • Are you generous or cheap with yourself?
  • Tell us how and where you meet your current significant other.

The questions were indeedchallenging. Our shining speaker,also known as the most dramatic queen, Chong Carmen, was stunned for seconds when she was given one of the questions above. At the end of the session, the Table Topic Master was forced by the crowd (a total of 17 participations) to do Table Topics, with the question being posed by the crowd. That ended  our Table Topics session! We follow the motto of – ‘what stays there ends there’, an agreement we have made with Ryan Ting before he delivered his Table Topic.

The party continued with some fun games. There were two parts. Part One was led by Becky, a game called Truth or Dare, which everyone was already familiar with. As usual, ‘expected’ questions were being asked to whom the spinning bottle pointed to. The climax of the game was – the provocative & sensuous pole/pillar-dance performed by Jonathan Moh It was way better than all the shows located along the Walking Street, Pattaya.

Part Two was then led  by Chong Carmen. We were separated into two groups. The game was about singing and numbering; the losing  group would have to perform whatever the winning  group requests. Toastmasters are always creative; we had dance, role-play and scene act. We burst out laughing during the role-play where  Becky played the part of a casualty in a car accident and Wayne being the kind-hearted pedestrian, stopped and offered help. Suddenly, Sam,  Becky’s acting husband, saw the moment where Wayne was performing CPR. He was pissed off and they started to… (Ask the blog writer for the rest of the story)

The event continued with the Best Dressed & the Lousiest Dressed.The dress code of the day was White, Silver and Gold. Everyone was given a minute to show  the crowd whether they fulfilled the dress-code requirements. And then we voted! . The Best Dressed went to Chee Loon (male representative) and Christy Chang (female representative) while the Lousiest Dressed went to, none other than Jonathan Moh. The Organizing Chair, Christy, decided to reinforce punishment to the Lousiest Dressed. Poor Jonathan was asked to take 4 cutest selfies.

The night ended with cake-cutting. Little Ang, assisted by Ang Chee Yong and Mrs. Ang, chaired the session. We then did some housekeeping in order to ensure that the venue was neat and clean; credit goes to Chong Chee Siong who  willingly  and selflessly lent us the use of this great venue.

I enjoyed myself, indeed. I see teamwork, joy and friendship. Sometimes, we just need to pull off the usual mask at the right time, act freely and be the unusual you.

 Tim introducing his dish.

Becky giving game instructions.

Little Ang’s show time.

 Chee Loon being humiliated by the crowd.

Jonathan Moh’s classic selfie.

 We are the fun loving Mid Valley Toastmaster Club members!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meeting #250: Holly Jolly Christmas! (Written By Wan Pin, Siew; Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

By Wan Pin, Siew

The theme for the 250th Mid Valley Toastmasters Club meeting was Holly Jolly Christmas and would prove a most jubilant night for all who attended. In light of the fact that the club had reached its 250th meetinga great milestone for any club, there were some tweaks here and there in respect to the meeting agenda  what better way to spice up a meeting than by adding some twists and turns to the normal proceedings? 

Firstly, all participants were encouraged to dress according to the Holly Jolly Christmas dress code  gold, black and green! Most complied.  

Secondly, while we have always begun the meeting with the Toastmaster of the Evening (TME) introducing guests and new members alike to the wonders of Toastmasters International , things went a little different this time. The TME, Woo Li Ping, delivered the introduction in quiz-form, where she would quiz the members and guests alike on Toastmasters Internationals historyIf you failed to get the answer right, you would be sent up the stage to do a bit of a dance, to a Christmas song no less! Li Ping gleefully went about picking on the unfortunate victims for her quiz, but alas, most of the members and guests alike were well-versed in Toastmasters history  so, I have to say, that I, as the writer of this post, was pretty disappointed with that!  Oh, and well, yeah, just an FYI  I failed to answer one of Li Pings questions, so I had to dance in front of everyone. Haha. Go ahead. Laugh. 

Even the Table Topics session enjoyed a revamp. Instead of providing a topic for the courageous volunteer to speak extemporaneously on, the whole session took the form of a chain story, whereby the very first speaker begun telling the first part of the story, in any way he/she likes, and then the next speaker has to continue on with the story, and then you keep on passing the story on to the next and next speaker until one speaker concludes the story. So its like a giant make-your-story-up-as-you-go-along game plan, with each speaker getting an entire minute to stamp his or her creativity upon the story. 

As the Table Topic Master, Chong Carmen got things going by hand-picking our President Shim as the first speaker  and he was given the very first two words to begin the telling of the story: Christmas Gift 
Lets just say that the story became OMG Crazy after that. I cant remember much of this rather hilariously-told story, but the basic premise is: 
A young man wanted to present a Christmas gift (perfume!) to his girlfriend, in her house. However, he got knocked out by his girlfriends father (ouch!) and, after regaining consciousness, police barged into the house and then subsequently chased the young man out. As the plot thickens, our unlikely hero bumps into his ex-girlfriend on the streets, and attempts to court her, despite knowing full-well that he already has a girlfriend. 
What happened next? Well, like I said, I cant quite remember! My excuse? Too absorbed in the story itself that I forgot to take down any notes! 

The night continued and we reached the Prepared Speeches session. 3 speakers were delivering their speeches that night.  

Becky Benjamin spoke on Stress, whereby she defined stress and then spoke on how we could manage it. If youre the type who has a lot of stress but were not present at our 250th meeting, I would suggest you contact Becky in order to learn how to manage stress!  

The second speech of the night was Hair Care, by Ivy Liew. To be honest, I wasnt aware that there were 8 types of hair-care products that we could make use of in our everyday lives. Well, that was a very informative session from Ivy. Kudos to her! 

And lastly, we had The Story of an Ethiopian Girl by Mi Shan. The speech was a story, about the life of an Ethiopian girl who suffered from fistula. Although Im not a lady, but I believe that living in a less-developed country, where  52% of the women give birth without a trained maternal health professional present, can be an extremely difficult situation for any woman.  I think we should cherish the fact that we live in a decent developing country , where we have up-to-date medical technology and where most people can afford the treatment required to cure similar afflictions.  

During the refreshment break, we celebrated the 250th meeting by consuming a very yummy raspberry cheese-cake (no eggs).  

(From Left to Right: Best Table Topic Speaker [Timothy]; Best Prepared Speech Speaker [Mi Shan]; Best Evaluator [Carmen])

It was a great night, to be honest, especially the Table Topic session and Introductory Quiz. All of the role players did a very good job in making this an awesomely spectacular meeting. If you are reading this but are not yet a Toastmaster, come JOIN US NOW! Not later, but now! You dont even need to think about it  just come! I guarantee, that once you come, you will be thinking why you never made time to discover the goodness that is Toastmasters much earlier! 

Say Cheese session: 
Happy 250th Meeting for Mid Valley Toastmasters Club!