Saturday, August 11, 2007

Club Meeting - Monday 23 July 2007

Dear fellow Toastmasters,

I am Pushpa Menon TM, your VPPR for the term 2007-2008. Our club had its latest meeting on 23rd July 2007 at our usual venue and was well attended by members. After our Assistant Sargeant at Arms Leo Koo TM called the meeting to order and the National Anthem was sung, the members present introduced themselves.

This meeting was particularly interesting because we had a member of a different club, a young lady called Lilia Edlina Azmi from the Price WaterHouse Coopers Toastmasters Club, who had requested our President Robert Hue permission to make her 10th speech from the C & L Manual before our club members, which our President graciously obliged.

The theme for this meeting was the word TRANSFORMERS, inspired by the movie of the same name.

After the Presidential address by Robert Hue, where he urged us to complete our assignments and transform ourselves into better public speakers, the Toastmaster of the Evening Hor Kam Peng ATMS CL briefed the members on the background of the Toastmasters International Club and invited me, the Language Evaluator for the evening, to introduce the word of the day, “EVOLVE”. The idea was for everyone to make liberal use of the word of the day.

This was followed by the “Do Your Thing” segment where our Immediate Past President, Gwendolyn Gwee CTM CL tested our brain power by asking us to make words of not less than 4 letters each from the word “TRANSFORMERS”, within a space of about 2 minutes. This had some of us like me, literally, stumped for words. Mok Soo Pon ATMB came up tops with an amazing 18 words, closely followed by Kam Peng and Simon (definitely not Simple) Soh ACS. This segment was shared by T. Loghandran DTM who, with his characteristic ease, did his thing, with three anecdotes that took us from the Magna Carta, to Shakespeare, Hitler and the Bible and then back home, homourously linking all of it to our Club banner.

The next segment, Table Topics, was innovatively conducted by the vibrant Loretta Chin TM, the Table Topic master for the evening. She chose topics which centered on the theme and ruled that if there were no volunteers within 3 seconds, the last speaker would “volunteer” the next speaker. The first table topic speaker was Alfred Koh ACB who got a difficult topic about transforming oneself without conforming to the opinion of others. Alfred however did magnificently well. He said that to transform means that we do not blindly follow what others think or say but we must conduct our own enquiry to test the veracity of the same and only in doing so will we effectively transform ourselves. The other table topic speakers were Leo Koo TM, Koh Teck Lee ATMB CL, Lee Mun Wai TM, Simon Soh and Ong Siew Chien DTM.

Leo Koo’s topic was “More Than Meets The Eye”. He said that most of the time, in our inter personal dealings, we do not reveal our true self to the other person, but hide behind a mask. He suggested that perhaps we should not hide behind a fa├žade but instead be true to what we are and let the world see us as who we really are. His speech was food for thought. Perhaps we should.

Simon Soh’s topic was “What If I Have A Car Which Is A Robot?” He gave us such a fantastic picture of what he would make his robot car transform into that I think James Bond would have given up his Aston Martin and his women for a blueprint of this fabulous piece of machinery.

Lee Mun Wai’s topic was “If There Is One Thing I Would Like To Transform About Myself What Would It Be?” He very honestly said that there is no one thing which he would like to transform about himself as he was contented with the way he had done things so far. However he conceded that there are some small things that he may like to change about himself. He also said that we must not view whatever experiences we have had as good or bad experiences but view each experience as an instruction from which we learn something. That came from the heart and was well received by the members. His speech also earned him the table topics prize for the evening.

Ong Siew Chien’s table topic was “What Would You Like to Transform” and she said that in the light of the current fact that one needs at least about RM2 million in savings to retire comfortably, she would like to be transformed to be able to save at least RM2 million to enable her to retire comfortably. Same with us, I am sure.

The meeting then proceeded to the prepared assignments. The speakers were Lee Mun Wai, Lilia Edlina Azmi, Alfred Koh and Mok Soo Pon.

Lee Mun Wai’s speech was assignment no. 3 from the C & L Manual, which he called “Why Bother to Retire”? His point was as we need about RM2 Million to retire comfortably (taking the cue from Siew Chien) and as our current living expenses defy the law of gravity, we might as well keep on working. That kept us thinking for a while.

Lilia’s speech was her assignment no. 10 from the C & L Manual which was called “Everything is Within Your Reach”. She spoke about how the most difficult person to show love to is the one you love best and personalised her speech by recalling her experience with her dying grandmother and how she struggled with not being able to show the affection she so deeply felt for her and the lesson she learnt from it which is that the capacity to show love is within the reach of all of us. We just need to summon it.

The next speaker was Alfred Koh, our member who travels from Gua Musang for our meetings. His assignment was Story Telling and his story was titled “Folktale”. His tale told of the reason why the cat and the mouse are now bitter enemies. It was all over some butter.

The last speaker was Mok Soo Pon, who delivered her Humorously Speaking assignment from the Advanced Level, “Motion, Motion, Motion”. She started by asking us what the modern device is which we can use for only 20 sen. It transpired to be the ultra modern self cleaning public toilet in Bukit Bintang. She humorously described her experience in that public toilet, which apparently locks and unlocks its doors automatically after a fixed time and shuts down completely at 11 pm. So, woe to anyone who takes more than fifteen minutes to use that toilet and anyone who goes into it at 10.46 pm.

The next item on the Agenda was the delivery of the reports from the evaluators of the prepared speeches and Simon Soh, the General Evaluator called for the same. Mun Wai’s speech was evaluated by Alfred Koh, Lilia’s by Lim Hin Chong ATMS, Alfred Koh’s by Koh Teck Lee and Soo Pon’s by Loghandran. The evaluators congratulated the speakers on areas where they did well and gently pointed out the areas where they could improve. Loghandran gave us all a very important tip. He informed us that when doing a humourous speech, one must exaggerate the characters or things which are being spoken about.

Next, I presented my report on the usage of the English language in the meeting, followed by reports by the AH Counter, Ismail Fahmy CTM and the Time Keeper, Yu Foong Sin, TM.

The control was then handed over to Kam Peng, our lady Toastmaster of the Evening, for the presentation of the prizes, as follows:

The table topics prize went to Lee Mun Wai.

The prize for the best assignment speaker went to Alfred Koh, for his vivid, lively and entertaining story telling.

The prize for the best assignment evaluator went to T. Loghandran.

Kam Peng then wrapped up the evening’s activities, followed by the closing address by Robert.

The meeting was yet another entertaining and informative Speakers Dream evening.

Thank you.

Pushpa Menon TM

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