Wednesday, 5 March 2008

February has arrived!

Twas Saturday, the 23rd of February. A time for people to rest, a time for people to let down their hair, for it is a weekend for relaxation in order to face the upcoming weekdays of work. However, the end of the weekdays means the beginning of yet another enthralling HELP Toastmasters meeting!

The meeting was begun by the SAA of the morning, Chee Hong, with a warm smile as he conducted a brief ice-breaking session to get everybody acquainted with one another. As soon as everybody had a rough idea of who is to their left and right, Chee Hong passed the stage to Ernest, the president of the club.

President Ernest

Ernest, as jovial as ever, welcomed the crowd with open arms, charming the crowd with his spontaneous jokes, but yet sending a clear message to the audience of HELP Toastmasters aim for the year.

Once Ernest had completed his presidential address, he passed the stage over to Kian Yoong, a visitor from DU Advance toastmasters club who is going to play the role as Table Topic Master, to conduct the table topics session of the morning.

Kian Yoong, Table Topics Master

Kian Yoong rose to the occasion with a calm composure. However, as soon as he took control of the stage, Kian Yoong started to display his love for table topics by telling people what table topics meant, and why one must participate in it with a level of passion that few speakers have. In no time, he called upon his first volunteer, Faris, who had promised him earlier to volunteer for the table topics session, to step up to the stage to face the challenge.

Faris timidly came up to the stage, took a brief glance at the audience, and then concentrated his eyes at Kian Yoong. He was presented with the topic entitled ‘failure is better than success.’ Faris tried his best to relate closely to his topic. With all his might, Faris managed to construct a pretty neat two-minute speech, thus overcoming his fear of speaking in front of a crowd for a split second. Faris breathed a sigh of relief once he was done with his speech.

Next up, before anyone raised their hand when Kian Yoong asked for a second volunteer, Chen Kiat immediately raised his hand to accept the second table topic challenge. He was presented with the title ‘is beginning harder than the end?’ Enthusiastically, Chen Kiat, related his two-minute table topic speech with confidence, agreeing that the beginning of something, be it an act of joining a competition, or beginning to exercise after a long break, is indeed harder than the end.

The third table topics speaker slot was given to Qinmei, who volunteered to go next after a great done by Chen Kiat. She was presented with the topic ‘what is success?’ Without hesitation, Qinmei started her speech immediately after hearing it from Kian Yoong, startling everyone by her amazing level of spontaneity. Although Qinmei started her speech immediately without thinking for a split second, she was actually able to come out with surprisingly good speech!

Soon, it was time for the fourth table topic speaker volunteer, which was filled in by a visitor by the name of Edward. Coolly walking forward, Edward faced the audience with a calm face filled with confidence, which again surprised the crowd as not many newcomers display such calmness. Edward still did not display any anxiety when he was presented with his topic entitle ‘0do little things matter?’ by Kian Yoong. With a smile, he started off his speech with such an amazing opening statement that it immediately captured the audience’s attention. The room remained silent for a good 2 minutes as the audience was listening intently to what Edward had to say. As soon as Edward finished his speech, the room was roaring with claps from the audience who were amazed by this newcomer’s speaking ability.

Finally, after four table topic speeches, Micheal felt the need to speak up, thus volunteering himself as the fifth table topic speaker. Micheal, who is the club’s table topic table topic runner-up, knew very well that he musn’t show fear or anxiety while tackling a table topic speech. Hence, Micheal remained calm and composed as he was presented his table topic speech entitled ‘is losing better than winning?’ Taking merely 10 seconds to think, Micheal began his speech with an authoritative voice, which somehow ordered the audience to hear what he has to say. Micheal expertly drew a clear picture of his speech and convinced his audience that losing might not be the end of one’s life but an opportunity for one to learn from his or her mistake.

Soon, it was John Lee, the table topics evaluator of the week, to give his thoughts on the table topic session.

John Lee, Table Topics Evaluator

John was pretty receptive in picking out the strengths and points of improvements of every table topic speaker. With words of kindness and encouragement, John urged the table topic speakers to participate more often as he can actually see the hidden potential in some of the speakers that needs to be cultivated.

After a fabulous table topic session, it was time for the assignment speeches session to take flight. This session was started with a speech done by Qinmei entitled ‘the colours of my life.’ With a smile, Qinmei began to weave a very interesting story of her life as she stepped through the many colourful stages of her life as a girl scout, a prefect, and a taekwondo student. Qinmei brought the audience to a virtual memory of herself with her vivid words. Her style of speaking breathed life to her description; it was like a magic incantation that brought the audience back in time to specially share her life experiences. Such a marvelous speech was immediately greeted with a round of continuous applause as Qinmei bowed slightly to mark the end of her speech.

Then, it was time for Micheal to show the audience what he’s made of by presenting his first assignment speech entitled ‘the many interesting things about me.’ Being the confident person that he is, Micheal swept the audience of their feet by starting off with a bang of an opening statement. Micheal soon went on to elaborate his hobbies and ideology, awing the audience with his amount of general knowledge and wittiness. By the end of his speech, Micheal received a strong round of applause from the audience; a clear sign that they liked his speech.

After an interesting assignment speech session, it was time for the evaluation session. This time round, it was Claudia’s turn to act as the general evaluator.

She and her panel of role players did a marvelous job in giving their evaluations on the strengths and the improvements that can be done as well as their report about the meeting. In the blink of an eye, it was once again time to say good bye and to look forward for yet another stimulating toastmasters meeting! See you my friends~!

Carpe diem,
Jason Moi

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