Saturday, 22 September 2007

15th of September Meeting

“It is time to wake up, time to embrace another waking day with thankfulness that you’re still alive, and time to seize the day in yet another heart-stopping toastmasters meeting!” hummed my sub-conscious mind as I tried to clear my foggy thoughts after a good night’s dream. Once again it was the moment to attend another exciting toastmasters meeting on the 15th of September, and the members of the club that today’s meeting will be just as productive if not better than the previous meetings.

Members and guests alike started arriving slowly but surely at 9:00, and by 9:30, Chee Hoong, the Sergeant At Arms of the morning, called the meeting to order after he was satisfied with the healthy amount of toastmasters there who were eager to learn the fine arts of speaking and the secret of inspiring people that might be found from the meeting. Cheerfully, Chee Hoong began the club’s meeting by chairing the ice breaking session in which guests and members of the club are supposed to give a brief introduction about themselves. Chee Hoong then handed the stage to the club’s president, Loo Shu Wei, to express her sincere welcome to participants of today’s meeting. As radiant as always, Shu Wei delivered a sincere welcome from the bottom of her heart to thank the guests who were present for their unending support for the club and at the same time show her gratitude to her members that were present.

With a warm smile, Shu Wei passed the stage to the toastmaster of the morning, Ashrel Goh, who is well known for his witty charms and entertaining ‘slips-of-the-tongue’ in his speech.. Experienced and seasoned in the duty of a toastmaster of the morning, Ashrel warmed up the audience by purposely being nervous and at the same time entertaining by pulling a few one-liners and unintentionally calling the toastmaster of the morning (himself) to give his speech, which was then accompanied by laughter. He then requested the word of the day from the language evaluator, John Lee, who introduced the word ‘morbid’ to the audience.

Without wasting time, Ashrel later handed the stage to the table topics master, Tai Tse Han. With a smirk, Tse Han surprised the audience by introducing a new form of table topics that will be conducted in which participants are required to construct a speech based on several words written on flashcards. Each of the participants will be shown 5 flashcards and will have only 15 seconds to think of a sentence for that flashcards, the 5 flashcards actually describe a time period, a person, a place, an item, and an emotion respectively. After explaining the mechanics of the revised table topics session, he asked for a volunteer to be the very first table topics speaker of the morning, a challenge in which jasmine stood up bravely to embrace.

The flashcards flashed at Jasmine were :midnight, Ernest, Klang, Nose ring, and joy.

Surprisingly, Jasmine was able to construct a completely perfect speech with funny moments of Ernest wearing a nose ring in the middle of the night, the audience was amazed by her spontaneity.

Next up was Ernest Wong who was presented with afternoon, Nini Yeoh, Paris, Rose, and sad. Ernest was able conjure up a gourmet adventure that started off with his lunch followed by him praising Nini Yeoh for being so vibrant, comparing his lunch to his wish of eating ratatouille in Paris, comparing Nini Yeoh to a rose, and finally ending with a tinge of sadness that he still has a long way to go to Paris to taste the ratatouille.

Ernest’s descriptive speech was later challenged by John Lee, who was shown the flascards dawn, Jasmine, HELP University College, piano, and regret. Emotionally, John began his speech with him awakening from his sleep only to find himself heading to HELP University College, the same old place he heads to every weekday, and missing the sweet face of Jasmine. He soon compares the missing face of Jasmine to the importance of having art and culture in our lives due to the fact that if there was no art and culture, human beings would be empty inside. John Lee ended his speech with a quote from the dead poets society.

After a strong and convincing speech from John, Jason was up next to try to set the already-high table topics bar higher. The words flashed are : sleepless nights, Fan Chen Keat, London, kitchen blender and enjoyable. Hesitating upon seeing the ‘sleepless nights’ flashcard, Jason decided to begin his speech in a sombre manner about his weird dreams that caused him sleepless nights. Things turned from sombre to hilarious when Jason misread the flashcard’ Fan Chen Keat’ as a ‘fan of Chen Keat’ and thus related his dream with a mysterious character who was an avid fan of Chen Keat. That fan, according to Jason, showed him a vision of the London clock tower crumbling before his very eyes and would later transfer Jason into a dark room where a kitchen blender was blending something crimson ; something out of this world. Finally Jason ended his speech by commenting that his weird dreams were enjoyable although they were weird.

Silently sitting amongst the crowd, Gajendran suddenly rose up to accept the challenge to be the fifth and final table topics speaker of the day, the cards shown to him were : evening, Fong Wen, Bangsar, iPod, and painful. Gajendran was like a diamond in the rough when he astonished the audience with his exceptional ability to weave out a story so smoothly and convincingly; who would have thought that the normal-looking Gajendran is actually in fact a storyteller of superior skills. Gajendran’s speech talked about his football experience one fine evening when he decided to play football at Bangsar, during his football match he was able to score four goals in the first half but was sent out of the field by the referee, Fong Wen. Gajendran did not dare disobey the orders of the referee as she was holding an iPod which could ruin his football career if she were to fling the ipod at him. As he was walking back home after feeling proud that he was the deciding factor for his team’s victory, he was cornered by a group of mysterious people near his house. To his utter shock, he found out that the mysterious people who were fans of the opposition his team beat in that tournament, what happened after that was a painful experience that taught him not be arrogant anymore.

After a fun-filled session of table topics, Ashrel proceeded to hand the stage over to the first speaker of the day, Chee Hoong, with his third competent communicator speech entitled ‘to buy or not to buy’. In his speech Chee Hoong conveyed his concern about the decisions people make when they buy something as he feels that sometimes people buy what they desire without thinking. He further made a move to enlighten the audience by showing them the several steps one needs to follow before actually deciding to buy an item. Chee Hoong also illustrated his speech effectively by providing examples of rash decisions he made in his personal life. Although Chee Hoong was slightly overtime, he was able to inform the audience on the need to might wise and logical decisions as consumers so that they do not waste their money on unnecessary things.

Soon after Chee Hoong’s educational speech, Ashrel introduced the second speaker of the day, John Lee, who is striving to complete his sixth competent communicator speech entitled ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.’ Starting his speech with a serious and somewhat sarcastic tone, John conveyed a very emotional speech by relating his speech title with gossip. According to John, gossip might seem to be a harmless way to fill in a conversation at times, but it actually hides a great amount of ill intention in its words as people usually gossip because they are jealous of what others have that they don’t. John also pointed out that extreme gossip could sometimes lead to death or a permanent memory scar if a victim cannot handle a gossip properly.

Moving on, Ashrel requested for a 20 minutes break in which the meeting was later re-commenced at 11:00 AM. Once the break was over, Ashrel continued the meeting by introducing the third speaker of the day, Nini Yeoh, with her eight competent communicator speech entitled ‘tales from long ago.’ In this speech, Nini emphasized on the good old days she had long long ago, hence the name of the title. She brought the audience through a journey of her past, which was drizzled with both sweet and bitter memories delivered with the enthusiasm and empathy of a storyteller describing the characters of his or her story.

After listening to a heart-warming reminiscent of the past magnificently done by Nini Yeoh, Ashrel handed the stage to the fourth and final speaker, Kan Fong Wen, who will be presenting her eight competent communicator speech entitled ‘child prostitution.’

Calm and composed, Fong Wen presented her speech in a serious manner, opening the eyes of the audience to the harsh reality of children being abused without sufficient law enforcers to bring justice upon the abusers. Fang Wen further informed the audience about the rising trends of children being forced into prostitution as the years pass by. Such an alarming fact clearly brought the audience to their senses to be aware of the injustice towards children in the world today; a true eye-opening experience.

Finally, as the meeting was coming close to an end, Ashrel called upon the general evaluator, Fan Chen Keat, to convey his thoughts about the meeting. Fan then commented in a jovial manner that the meeting was yet another great success for the toastmasters and at the same time gave a few suggestions that might further enhance the quality of the meeting. Once Fan was done speaking his mind, he passed the stage to Shu Wei, who again passionately expressed her thanks to the audience that were present. Later, she also called out the new members for a brief induction to the club and hoped that the new members will feel at home once they are formally part of the toastmasters family. All in all, it was another glorious meeting without any morbid moments at all for meetings at HELP toasmasters club can only get better and better! Till next time for another exciting meeting at HELP toastmasters club!

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