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)