Tuesday, March 24, 2015

09032015 MVTMC International Speech and Table Topic Contest (Written by Lai Yee, Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

9th March 2015, KUALA LUMPUR: Mid Valley Toastmasters Club organized the most anticipated contest of the year – the International Speech and Table Topics Contest 2015. This was the night where the contestants were there to take to the stage and shine, as well as to inspire the audience and mesmerize the judges. Organizing Chair, Sky Siew pulled off the event brilliantly, with full support from his hardworking team of role players.

Before the contest began, there were a few things all going on simultaneously: contestant registration, dinner and refreshments, chit-chatting and making new friends, contestants silently rehearsing their speeches and then going on to draw lots. Mid Valley Cititel, 5th Floor was awash with new and familiar faces, all happy, all smiling.

The contest began sharp at 7.30 pm, starting first with the International Speech Contest. Becky Benjamin, Contest Chair for the International Speech Contest, called upon the contestants one by one and welcomed them onto the stage to deliver their rousing 5-7 minute speeches. All the speeches were inspiring and informative, and I believe that the audience would have benefited from hearing all 7 speakers deliver their best.  

The contestants’ names and speech titles were as follows:
1) Wong Woon Pen - A Perfect Match
2) Chong Chee Siong – Too Early
3)    Ivy Liew – Small Roles Makes us Great
4)    Ang Chee Yong – Power of Dream
5)    Ian Lai – I believe I can …
6)    Cheky Ng – The Journey
7)    Timothy Nakayama – Say Yes

~ The Power of Dream can only be realized if You Believe You Can achieve it and consistently Say Yes to open up opportunities; it will not be Too Early to start achieving your dreams by doing Small Roles which Make Us Great and don’t forget to enjoy The Journey with your Perfect Match! ~
After a refreshment break, we moved on and began the Table Topics Contest. This contest is very exciting as the speakers do not know what the Table Topic will be beforehand – upon being called to the stage and being presented with it, they have to immediately deliver an impromptu speech within 1-2 minutes. There were 5 brave souls (Wong Woon Pen, Chong Chee Siong, Chong Carmen, Timothy Nakayama & Ian Lai) who took up the challenge, and each of them had to face Contest Chair Yeap Wei Leeng’s interesting Table Topic : If you had a Super Power to change the world, what would you change?” There were different types of super powers that night: from the ability to change the world with just a single cute move like Sailormoon to the ability read people’s minds. The Table Topic Contest and the interviewing of the contestants that followed brought howls of laughter from the audience.
Finally, it’s result time! Drum Roll please~
Table Topic Contest Winner goes to:
Champion: Ian Lai
1st Runner Up: Chong Carmen
2nd Runner Up: Chong Chee Siong

International Speech Contest Winner goes to:
Champion: Timothy Nakayama
1st Runner Up: Ian Lai
2nd Runner Up: Wong Woon Pen

Congratulations to all the winners. For those who did not win, do enjoy your journey and learning from the contests. You still have 1 year’s time to improve your speaking skills and remember to “Say Yes” when we ask you to participate in the contest again. See you next year!

Also, bravo to the role players, as without them, the event would not have taken place! Thank you! Organising Chair - Sky Siew - International Speech Contest Chair - Becky – Table Topic Contest Chair – Yeap Wei Leeng – Timer – Chee Loon & Mi Shan – Ballot Counter – Eve Chong & Ivan – SAA – Daniel Lim & Lai Yee – Chief Judge – NJ Singam

Sunday, March 8, 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT OF BLOG CONTEST WINNERS FOR YEAR 2014, ROUND 1 (OCT-DECEMBER’14) (Written by Lai Yee, Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

Dear blog reader, have you realized that Mid Valley Toastmasters Club has the most updated blog content of all? This is because we are having an in-house BLOG CONTEST, where our enthusiastic members actively participate in writing a blog post for each of our cheerful and interesting meetings! This contest currently runs from October 2014 to June 2015, divided into 3 rounds (3 months/round).

In meeting #252, we finally announced the winner of the 1st Ever Blog Contest in Mid Valley Toastmasters Club. In Round 1 (October – December 2014), there were 3 contestants who all scored the same number of points, even after several rounds of judging, therefore, the judges have decided that all 3 of them are equally Top of the Top!

They are none other than (all equally ranked!):
  • ·         Wong Mi Shan (Meeting #249: Zombies)
  • ·         Chong Carmen (Meeting #246: Relight Your Fire!)
  • ·         Kow Chee Khon (Meeting #251: Let It Go)

To the other Blog contestants, Sky Siew, Wan Pin and Wayne Poon, thank you for your participation and we hope you guys can continue to challenge yourselves in the next rounds of the blog contest!

Last but not least, let us not forget the panel of judges, Shim Chee Loon and Timothy Nakayama, as the contest would not be complete without them.

For those interested to blog about our meetings, you are more than welcome to be one of the contestants of Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s Blog Contest. Round 2 has just started!

You! Yes, You! Might be the Next Winner!

Meeting #254: Year of the Goat: Charge Ahead! (Written by Christy Chang; Edited By Timothy Nakayama)

Every 2nd & 4th Monday @ Cititel MidValley Level 5, 7pm, no matter rain or shine, we will be there for you.

Mid Valley Toastmasters Club (MV TMC) – We don’t just care about the improvement of your public speaking skills; we care for your stomachs as well! It’s our pleasure to help fill your stomach up before the meeting starts. There will be some refreshments, e.g. fried rice, fried bee hoon, coffee, tea, water, etc. 

Mid Valley Toastmasters Club is known to be a fun, energetic, diverse and international club. Tonight, we have a few guests: Sandra from Jakarta, Ravi from India, and two handsome guys from Malaysia (sorry, I didn’t get your names as both of you arrived after the introductions!)

SAA of the evening: our member, Sara Abbasi from Iran.
This is her first time taking up the role of SAA (Sergeant-At-Arms). She mentioned that she was nervous as she had to speak in front of so many people. But she did well for her first time and I
didn’t see any nervousness at all. Well done, Sara!

Our MV TMC Prince Charming President cum Juice Prince: Shim Chee Loon
(Always likes to act cool!)

TME (Toastmaster of the Evening): Oil & Gas Prince, Chong Chee Siong
TME Chee Siong did a good job in bringing the energy of the meeting up, up, up! He invited all the members and guests to shout in unison “The Year of the Goat, Huat ah!” (huat = prosperous)

Table Topic Master – Kow Chee Khon (first timer as well)
Kow Chee Khon stepped out of his comfort zone to take on the Table Topic Master (TTM) role – it was his very first time as TTM!

Grammarian & Speech Evaluator – Timothy Nakayama
While everybody enjoyed their CNY time with friends and family, Timothy worked hard on preparing the meeting agenda and getting members to take up the roles for the meeting. (true or not?)
By hook or by crook, he will come to every meeting. Even though he had a high fever and sore throat, he still came to the meeting. And played two roles! (Maybe he received too many Ang Pows during Chinese New Year. As the Chinese saying goes – “if one has a lot of money, one will tend to get sick” )
Salute to your hard work and commitment to MV TMC!

Timekeeper – Ivan Guan
We had another newbie volunteering himself with a role, this time as the Rolex Timekeeper. It was
also his first time! By taking the role of Timekeeper, he took the first step in the journey of completing his Competent Leadership (CL) Manual.

Table Topic Evaluator – Chong Carmen
You can call her Emcee CaCa or Carmen. She likes Car and Men and this is why her name is Car-Men.

General Evaluator from TARC TMC – Pang Chee Liang, CC, CL
Ah Counter – Christy Chang (me)
(I forgot to take a picture of myself during the evening, as I was busy taking pictures of everybody else and observing the whole meeting in order to write this blog post!)

This is how the meeting environment looks like at one of MV TMC’s meeting.

Although it may look serious or boring, don’t worry. We are all a bunch of crazy yet friendly and passionate people who gather together to improve our public speaking and leadership skills. You will find the truth of this statement if you come and join the meeting!

We had 4 Table Topic speakers who volunteered to take up the challenge.The Table Topic Master, Kow Chee Khon, had prepared a few Ang Pow packets. No, they did not contain money. In each Ang Pow, was the Table Topic question itself, but rather than the standard-type questions, these were all toasts:  creative situations that required the Table Topic Speaker to make a toast to someone or something. Time given per toast would be similar to the time given for your standard-type Table Topics: 1-2 minutes.

1st Table Topic Speaker – Timothy Nakayama
Situation: to make a toast for a relatives who has dropped out of university and is now in the market looking for job opportunities.
Timothy made full use of the stage and turned our Mr. President, Shim Chee Loon, one of his long lost cousins who, as stated, dropped out of university. In Timothy’s interpretation, Chee Loon dropped out of university due to a tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend and various health issues. Timothy went on to praise this long lost cousin, stating how Chee Loon had gone on to forge his dreams of having his own juice business despite all the challenges and obstacles he had faced.

2nd Table Topic Speaker – Chong Chee Siong
Situation: propose a toast for his brother and sister who are going overseas soon.
Chee Siong also used the same “technique” as Timothy – involving a member of the audience as one of the characters in his toast. This time, it was Ravi (the guest from India) who became Chee Siong’s imaginary brother, while Sandra (the guest from Jakarta) became his sister. He made a rousing toast to wish them well on their leaving to get an overseas education and hoped that both of them would come back with first class honors.

3rd Table Topic Speaker – Pang Chee Liang
Situation: she had to propose a toast to herself, for getting a promotion that required her to work overseas for 2 years, but where her parents were reluctant to let her go.
Chee Liang started off by letting us know the reason why her parents were reluctant about her going overseas – they were worried that she would be all alone and that she would be apart from them for 2 whole years (she is their only daughter). She convinced her parents that she had all it took to take good care of herself and that her friend Sandra (our guest from Jakarta) would be going along with her as well.

4th Table Topic Speaker – Wayne Poon
Situation: he had to propose a toast during a family dinner where he, as the eldest sibling, once again did not bring home a partner, whereas his brothers and sisters were all partnered up
Wayne decided to share with us his experience of being asked such question by nosy relatives during festive occasions (like Chinese New Year). He did not take too long to complete his Table Topic!

Prepared Speaker – Shim Chee Loon
CC#7: Why Juices For You
Chee Loon started out by sharing facts and statistics, mainly on why most people don’t take enough fruits and vegetables. He then proceeded informing us on just how veggie and fruit juices can benefit everyone in terms of good health. In the end, he convinced us that juices were both yummy and healthy for us.

We have a different theme every meeting. Tonight’s theme is the Year of the Goat: Charge Ahead!

We had a “Lou Sang” session during the break time. It’s a Chinese New Year special edition celebration!

Refreshment time & Chit-chatting time!

The second half of the meeting is the time for feedback and continuous improvement. Evalutions are the breakfast of champions. All Table Topic and Prepared Speakers were evaluated on their Table Topics/speeches. The evaluators gave honest, encouraging and constructive feedback – they all offered suggestions and tips for improvement.

The Best Table Topic speaker goes to Timothy Nakayama!

Presenting Certificate of Appreciation to the General Evaluator!

International Speech & Table Topic (ISTT) Contest announcement by Sky Siew (Organizing Chair for the ISTT).

Group photo 

Meeting #253: Cherish (Written by Becky Benjamin; Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

I had enjoyed a great start to the week and I got even more excited come evening as I was headed to Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s meeting after work. It was the first meeting for the month of February 2015, and upon arrival, I was happy to see familiar friends and new guests enjoying the light refreshment served by Cititel Mid Valley Hotel. We always enjoy this period of chit-chat and food, as it allows us to fill our stomachs before the meeting!

As I was the Sergeant-At-Arms (SAA) for the night, I started the meeting at 7pm sharp after calling all members and guests into the meeting room. I welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the word of the day, “Cherish”. The word has multiple meanings such as: 
(i)                 to hold or treat as dear;
(ii)               feel love for, to care tenderly;
(iii)              nurture or to cling fondly or inveterate to;
As part of the club’s meeting culture, we encourage members and guests to use the word of the day as often as possible during the meetings.

Our President, Shim Chee Loon, had some personal matters to attend to, so our club’s Sergeant-At-Arm Chong Chee Siong, was Acting President for the meeting. He used his humorous personality to good effect, engaging the crowd with an Ice Breaking session that saw both members and guests introducing themselves, often in a funny manner!

The meeting proceeded with the Love Edition of Table Topic, whereby volunteers would receive a random topic and speak about it extemporaneously. Many guests volunteered to brave their first ever attempt at public speaking. And bravo! They did a good job! 

The meeting then proceeded to the Prepared Speeches session.

Our first speaker of the evening was Yeap Wei Leeng with his speech “Cash”. The premise of his speech was on how we should all spend our cash wisely. Wei Leeng gave examples of his own experience in doing so, like the time where he had decided to buy a new pair of glasses for himself.

The title of his speech “Cash” was presented as an acronym – C.A.S.H. The C stood for Comfort, whereby he suggested that, like the pair of glasses he purchased, we should buy things built for quality and comfort. The A stands for appearance, whereby we should purchase only those items that look good on us, which will in turn make us even more confident in ourselves. The S stands for security, in which we should look for purchases that offer consistency and durability, and those which can last for the long-term. Lastly came the H, which stood for health – purchases should keep us in good health, or at the very least, not be harmful to us. Wei Leeng then tied all four letters back into his experience of buying quality glasses for himself, which he did in order to ensure that his eye vision stayed healthy.

The meeting took an even more interesting turn when Wong Mi Shan delivered a speech about Peter Singer. As an audience member, I had to admit, I was curious as to who this Peter Singer was. The setting for Mi Shan’s speech was at the 2015 Animal Rights Conference, where she was delivering a speech praising Peter Singer’s good work on animal rights and how it has inspired her and others to do more for animal rights.

One scene that was described especially well was Singer’s Eureka moment: it was Singer’s friend and colleague at the University of Oxford, Richard Cancion, who had piqued Singer’s curiosity when he ordered a meatless salad. When Singer quizzed Cancion on his choice of food, Cancion’s answers on the cruelty dealt upon animals made Singer realize that that cruelty was similar to the oppression of women by men and the cruelty that was inflicted upon the Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Sitting there as an audience member, I too felt her passion for the topic and I dare say I felt inspired too. Good speech, Mi Shan!

The last speaker for the night was Timothy Nakayama, with his speech “The Desire and the Will”. He lured us in at the start of his speech by revealing that he had a secret to share with us, which certainly caught our attention. When he then went on to reveal the big secret that he was an introvert, nobody really believed him as many of us had already witnessed him delivering great speeches during speech contests. Timothy went on to state that his profession as a writer allowed him precious little opportunities for face-to-face contact with others, and that early on in his career, he had pondered on the possibility that he might have to do a book reading one day, which also meant that it would be in his best interest to brush up on his communication skills. Which is how he found out about Toastmasters, or Mid Valley Toastmasters Club in particular!

After joining Toastmasters, Timothy began to observe, learn and practice his public speaking skills. He then gave the audience 3 fundamental tips on becoming a better speaker, based on what he had observed from proficient speakers. These are:

  1. Say something that you very much want to say.
  2. Speak with enthusiasm.
  3. Love your audience.
Timothy concluded his speech by mentioning that age is never a limit when it came to learning anything, including public speaking skills. He implored members to recall the reason why they had joined Toastmasters as well as to make the most out of their journey in the realm of public speaking – nothing is unachievable in this world.

Brave to all the speakers! As an audience member, I felt that the topics today were very inspiring. The second half of the meeting was focused on giving feedback to all the speakers, for the speech evaluators to let the speakers know how they had done on their speeches and what they could do to improve further. It was an enlightening session for speakers and audience alike!

Well, I am certainly looking forward to the next meeting! See you all soon!

20150112 1st Mid Valley Toastmasters Tall Tales Contest (Written By Chee Siong, Edited by Timothy Nakayama)

1st Mid Valley Toastmasters Tall Tales Contest (The Biggest Liar Contest)

Mid Valley Toastmasters Club organised our maiden Tall Tales Contest on 12th January 2015. Under the leadership of Organizing Chairperson (OC) and past President Ang Chee Yong as well as Contest Chair Wong Mi Shan, it was decided that this contest would uncover the club’s “Biggest Liar”!

With a tagline like that, is it any wonder that guests and members were showing up in numbers? Tall tales already come in the form of stories with unbelievable elements presented as if they were true and factual – but throw in finding out who the “Biggest Liar” in the club is? The one who came up on top would certainly get bragging rights in a club like ours!

Crafting a winning speech is never easy but 10 brave contestants took up the challenge.
The contestants’  names and speech titles were:
1)       Carmen Chong (“The Black Man”)
2)       Chris Chooi (“Second Chance”)
3)       Chee Siong (“The Secret Agent”)
4)       Daniel Lim (“Know the Door”)
5)       Kow Chee Khon (“KL Time Machine”)
6)       Wayne Poon (“The Chinese Vampire”)
7)       Shim Chee Loon (“The Orange Farmer”)
8)       Yeap Wei Leeng (“Far Far Away”)
9)       Wong Woon Pen (“One Day When I Meet The President”)
10)   Timothy Nakayama (“Project Firestone”)
Our usual meeting venue was all ready to go – chairs were arranged facing the front, the “stage boundary” was marked with tape to identify the contest area, etc. OC Ang Chee Yong’s preparations were top-notch.

And of course, let’s not forget the overwhelming support and love from fellow members, external Toastmasters and honoured guests – despite the heavy traffic, everyone came early to show their support. There was the usual networking and social chatter as everyone enjoyed the refreshments prepared by Mid Valley Cititel Hotel.

Of course, during all the light banter and refreshments, Contest Chair Wong Mi Shan briefed the contestants on the rules and regulations while Chief Judge Lucky, DTM, was seen briefing his fellow judges and contest role-players about the same things from a judge’s point of view.

The Tall Tales contest started on time, with our Contest Chair introducing the contestants and explaining the rules to fellow Toastmasters and guests. The contest started under the watchful eye of our Chief Judge, Lucky, with his fellow judges seated all around the hall. Our twin Rolex Time-keeper,s Christy Chang and Eve Chong were ready to keep a watchful eye on the duration of the contestants’ speeches, making sure that they were all within the allocated 3-5 minutes each. Vivien Lim and Rebekah Benjamin (aka Becky) were the Sergeants-At-Arms (SAAs) for the night, ready to assist the speakers and to ensure the crowd moved in and out of the contest hall at the appropriate times.

The contest started with a spooky yet funny story by Wayne Poon, as he regaled us with the tale of “The Chinese Vampire”. He shared with us the differences between “Chinese” and “European” vampires and even had a volunteer play the part of the hopping “Chinese” vampire, which needless to say, made everyone laugh out loud!

Chris Chooi delivered “Second Chance”, a poignant reminder that we should not waste second chances because we never known when (or if) we might be getting a third. He shared a personal story about an experience that changed him. It touched our hearts. Thanks, Chris, for sharing with us.

Kow Chee Khon took us back through time with “KL Time Machine”. He brought us back to the establishment of Kuala Lumpur by the first Chinese settlers back in the early days. Kow claims he was the “4th Godfather”(四爷) of a Chinese clan, who went on to establish many buildings and places around Kuala Lumpur which have now become notable landmarks in the Kuala Lumpur of today. His stories of the origins of famous places like Kuala Lumpur (from muddy ground) and Brickfields (from the construction of brick buildings) were beautifully crafted, such that it all sounded real and plausible.

The beautiful (and only) flower among the thorns, Carmen Chong, presented “The Black Man”. The club’s so-called drama queen, Carmen made good use of her expressive body language and vocal variety to create an atmosphere of suspense – which was the exact thing her tale needed! It was a story about how she met the most handsome man she had ever seen during one of her nights out about town. As she went deeper into the tale, she kept the tempo high and created wave after wave of dramatic expressions which kept us all at the edge of our seats – we had to know who this “lucky” man was. It turned out to be... well, let’s just say you can ask her all about it the next time you see her!
Top Left to Right: Chee Loon, Wayne Poon, Kow Chee Khon
Middle Left to Right : Chee Siong, Wei Leeng & Daniel Lim
Bottom Left to Right: Carmen Chong, Chris Chooi and Timothy Nakayama

Daniel Lim shared with us his spooky encounter with a lonely ghost in “Know the Door”. He started off with the story of how he met this ghost in a toilet of some less-crowded hotel and how he then made it through the night despite having to answer the call of nature several times. Daniel tickled our funny bones with his funny facial expressions and smartly selected the right words to describe his actions. As an ending, he reminded us to try and follow the Chinese custom of knocking at the door before entering a room. “You never know what you might see!” he said, laughing.

Yeap Wei Leeng took us back through time and memory with his tale, “Far Far Away”. He started off by telling us about his grandfather, who once had Shrek for a neighbour. Wei Leeng gave numerous examples of the superheroic things one can do in Far, Far Away Land, where the sky is the limit. With his smiles and confidence, Wei Leeng made it easy for us to understand the world in his tale. It was an exciting journey, and we were left wondering “Can we move to Far, Far Away Land?”

Chee Siong’s “The Secret Agent” brought us the story of the legendary JJ, a super agent in the employ of the “Mid Valley Secret Service”, a man who was renowned for his strength, bravery and sharpshooting abilities. All these traits made JJ the perfect agent to foil both an assassination on our club President Shim Chee Loon and the follow-up plan to steal President Shim’s super-secret Juiceee Juice formula. Chee Siong role-played different characters and presented his speech in a humorous way and from an every-day man perspective, which made for a very interesting tall tale.

Next was a man who is a bit of a legend unto himself – our President, Shim Chee Loon. In Chee Loon’s “The Orange Farmer”, oranges and farmers were once great friends but their relationship eventually turned sour, which in turn caused oranges the world over to turn sour. Our President used his unique sense of humor to twist and sway our conventional thinking, presenting us with new concepts – like the idea of square oranges. I don’t know whether there are indeed square oranges out there in the world, but I do know that there are square watermelons. Chee Loon, let’s venture together in square orange farming!

Our “youngest” member, Wong Woon Pen, delivered “One Day When I Met the President”. With his great acting skills and ability to change his voice, Woon Pen portrayed himself in a handful of different roles, from journeyman to Feng Shui Master to finally, the President of the United States of America – President Obama. His performance was akin to an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. A stellar performance indeed!

Timothy Nakayama, aka Timothy Nakapapa, stepped onto the stage with “Project Firestone”. He regaled us on how he and his brother joined the titular scientific experiment and subsequently gained super abilities. Timothy spoke of the super ability he gained and on how both he and his brother were parted by an explosion. Years later, he found his long lost brother – who now went by the name of “Shim Chee Loon” but whose real name was Sebastian Nakayama. Timothy’s ability to control the stage with ease and his natural story-telling abilities made us a little in awe of his performance.
After all ten contestants were done, the judges took several minutes to fill in the Judge’s Score Sheet. Then, ballot counters Sky Siew and Siew Lai Yee went to another room to tabulate the judges’ score. Meanwhile, certificates of appreciation were given to all role players, judges and contestants.

Top Left to Right: Ang Chee Yong, Lucky, Mi Shan & Sky Siew
Middle Left to Right : Christy Chang, Eve Chong & Siew Lai Yee
Bottom Left to Right: Becky Benjamin, Christy Chang & Eve Chong & Vivien Lim

Finally, the moment we were all waiting for came, and the award of the “Biggest Liars” went to... *cue drumroll!:

The winners were:
Champion             : Timothy Nakayama (our Super Agent)
1st Runner up        : Wong Woon Pen (our Master Sifu)
2nd Runner up       : Kow Chee Khon (our 4th God Father)

Timothy Nakayama took home the title “The Biggest Liar”, which suits him very well as he bragged his way to the top of Mid Valley Toastmasters Club’s 1st Tall Tales Contest.

Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you to all the contestants, role players and our Chief Judge and his group of judges (who until today, remain anonymous)! Thank you to our fellow Toastmasters and guests for the support and love you gave to us here at Mid Valley Toastmasters Club! Lastly, a big round of applause to OC Ang Chee Yong and Contest Chair Wong Mi Shan for organising the contest team and for making our first ever Tall Tales Contest a resounding success!