But if I to add another phenomenon to the equation, a one which is less likely to abuse our lungs or breed superstitions, it would be the intense enthusiasm that our club members and guests expressed as they took upon their roles and responsibilities throughout the evening.
The meeting was smoothly called to order on 7pm by SAA, TM Ng Chu Yee. Afterwards, our club’s president, TM Carmen Chong, took over the podium and began delivering the opening speech. Carmen warmly welcomed the guests and deeply thanked everyone for hassling through traffic and haze to attend our humble club. As part of the club’s tradition, Carmen continued with a request from the guests to abandon their comfort zones for a minute and introduce themselves to everyone.
After the guests enlightened us with their names and brief bio, Carmen surrendered the podium to our Toastmaster of the Evening, TM Phang Chen De, who started briefing the guests (and refreshing the memories of members) about the Toastmaster’s history and the reason behind the existence of such organization, which is to improve members’ communication and leadership skills.
Following the briefing routine, the most interesting (and nerve-breaking) part of the evening has began, Table Topic sessions! Table Topic Master Quah Shee Jiun, took to the stage and thoroughly explained how table topics work, in which three or four (sometimes five) members or guests are invited to stage and asked random questions, of which they are to speak about for two minutes.
The first table topic volunteer was Kenith Wong, a member of Bangsar Toastmasters Club. Kenith was asked, “If you are the CEO of your favorite moon cake company, how will you market it?” The question didn’t seem too hard for Kenith who managed to relate it to the nature of his business which requires extensive marketing to grow and prosper.
TM Chee Loon, our club’s ex-president, was the next volunteer for the 2nd Table Topic session. “The moon is shining in the dark, who is the light in your life?” was the question presented to Chee Loon. After digesting the question for few seconds, Chee Loon spoke briefly about the “light in his life” which happened to be his ex-girlfriend who left a great influence in him. He mention how she helped in reshaping his attitude towards life and how he learn many lessons from her including proper financial management.
The third, and last, Table Topic speaker was Ahmed, the president of Bangsar Toastmasters Club, who was asked the bizarre question, “What do you think will happen if one day doesn’t have a moon?” By relating to the moon eclipse, Ahmed stressed out on how much dependent we are on several things including the moon itself. He argued that no matter what, we shouldn’t be relying on anything, whether it’s a moon, sun, star or even a loved one, because at some point in our life, they might not be there for us.
TME Phang Chen De took over the stage following the Table Topic session to announce the next phase of the meeting, which was the Project Speech sessions that was reserved for the club members. The project speakers of the evening were Yi Zhe (CC#1), William Cheong (CC#2), Syimah (CC#2) and Chris Chooi (CC#3).
The first speaker, Yi Zhe, began his toastmaster journey by bravely stepping up to the stage and delivering his speech “I, Me and Myself”. Yi Zhe divided his speech into two parts. In the first part, he talked about his hometown Taiping and mentioned the beautiful attractions it harnesses including the Lake Garden, Taiping Zoo and Night Safari. In the second part, he spoke about his role as an organiser for an event, and about the opportunities as well as difficulties he faced as he carried out his responsibilities.
William Cheong, one of the most active members in the club, was the next project speaker delivering his CC#2 with an intriguing title of “The Lost Art of Keyboard”. With a smiley face, William started by jokingly remarking the adjacency of the letters ‘U’ and ‘I’ on the keyboard (a good material for a pickup line), although the two letters are far from each other alphabetically.
He continued the speech by asking audience whether they’ve noticed the slight bumps found on the letters “F” and “J” on the physical keyboard. He explained the purpose behind such feature which is to aid in touch typing (the lost art). William stressed out on the importance of learning to use all fingers in typing, a habit that will significantly increases the typing speed and reduces the writing time. He concluded the speech by suggesting ways of improving typing via online software and tools.
The next project speaker was Syimah who delivered her CC#3 “Simple Ways to Happy Life”. As the title suggested, Syimah shared with us ways to achieve happiness without compromising the happiness of others. She mentioned an ‘old school’ habit of her which is writing down important dates, including the birthday of her mother. This way, she argued, has helped to not miss on important moments in her life to rejoice and celebrate with loved ones. She concluded her speech with a hard to forget combination of words, “Smile and never forget to laugh”.
Chris Chooi, was the following speaker who claimed the stage with his CC#3, “Prefect without a Title” His speech revolved around his son whom he found sad because he wasn’t picked by the school to be a prefect for his class.
Chris explained how he lifted his son’s spirit not by telling him that he doesn’t need such title or that he can try his luck the next year, but by telling him that he can become whatever he wants the moment he decide it. That he can be a prefect by acting like one in taking responsibilities, and treating his younger sister and family as if they were his classmates.
Following Chris’s inspiring story was a 7-minute humorous speech by our Carmen who was preparing for the upcoming regional Humorous Speech Contest on 4th October. Just as in the previous club held contest, Carmen didn’t fail to stun the audience with her erratic yet outstanding performance. However, since the speech was just a practice, she was overwhelmed with honest feedback from the club members in the following 12-minute evaluation session.
The refreshment break came after Carmen’s speech, during which guest and club members had the chance to interact and get to know each other.
Following the break, the meeting was again called to order at 8:34 by Ng Chu Yee. After the club members and guest returned to their seats, the General Evaluator, TM Jack Ying took control of the podium and begin explaining the goal of the speech evaluations.
The first evaluation session was the Table Topic Evaluation by TM Chee Siong. Project speech evaluations came next. The first speech evaluator was TM Ang Chee Yong who delivered his evaluation for Ye Zhe. Ang Chee Yong praised how Ye Zhe managed to stick to the time slot given. He also complimented the speaker’s natural voice tone.
Among the points of improvement Ang Chee Yong suggested was for speaker to be comfortable with the stage before delivering the speech, this way he will remain confident throughout the speech. The most important point Ang Chee Yong stressed on was to break the speech into points rather than memorizing and reciting everything.
Ahmed’s evaluation for William came next. Among the good points mentioned by Ahmed were the interesting choice of topic, as well as the use of notes written on his hand. The points of improvement given included not to overwhelm the audience with too much information about the topic, especially when some of them knew little about it. Ahmed also advised William not to stand too close to the audience at the front, as his position, based on the seating arrangement of the club members, will isolate some of the audience behind him.
The last speech evaluator was Chee Loon who shared his thought about Syimah’s speech “Simple Ways to Happy Life”. Chee Loon complimented her honesty and optimism with which she initiated the speech by throwing the question “Are you happy?” He continued by noting how personalised her speech turned to be as she started mentioning things she liked the most, including cats. Chee Loon summarised his evaluation by advising her to structure her speech better and provide clearer examples for each of the speech objectives.
The last speech evaluator was Woon Wong Pen, who delivered the evaluation for Chris’s speech. Woon Pen noted the speaker’s good personality and posture. He also complimented the way Chris explained how he convinced his son without eating up half or more of the speech time slot. Higher voice tone upon concluding was among points of improvements given. Woon Pen’s summed up his evaluation by complimenting Chris’s obstinacy of using the word ‘Sorry’, a pitfall many speakers keep plunging in.
After a constructive evaluation by Woon Pen, it was time for the Technical Report team to share their reports. The Grammarian Report was delivered by Mak Kum Shi, followed by the Timekeeper’s report given by Ng Chu Yin. The General Evaluator Report was presented by Jack Ying, came next then the Ah-Counter Report by Ivan Guan.
TME, Phang Chen De, took over the stage following the Technical Report, to thank the speakers, role-players and everyone else for making the meeting enjoyable. Chen De proceeded by announcing the winners for the Table Topics, Project Speeches as well as Speech Evaluations. However, before the award was distributed to the speaker’s, a Certificate of Appreciation was given to Jack Ying for his constructive feedback for the overall club performance.
Ahmed claimed the Best Table Topic Award with his intriguing answer for the peculiar question regarding the moon’s disappearance.
The inspiring story with his son taught us to be what we want NOW, and not wait for it to happen. It also helped Chris win for the award for Best Project Speaker.
The winner for the best Project Speech Evaluator Award was the evaluator for Chris, Wong Woon Pen, with his constructive feedback that gave us ‘food for thought’ of how to impress the audience with our personality.
Before the meeting came to and, Carmen took over the stage and invited the guests to share their thoughts and suggestions regarding the club, a request that bred valuable feedbacks from the new-comers.
It was 10 o’clock when the meeting was called to an end. 3 table topic evaluators, 4 project speakers and 4 speech evaluators have done an incredible job to entertain the audience with lessons and personal accounts of their life. Another yet remarkable aspect of the meeting was the reoccurring use of Word of The Day “rekindle”, which not only adopted by speaker but also used by guest as they introduced themselves and share their feedback.
I hope that the enthusiasm and the energy displayed be rekindled across the upcoming meetings!