Sunday, November 27, 2005

CL9: Risk your life by living it

Background:

This is speech no 9 in the Competent and Leadership manual. I am using the old manual and this assignment is about inspiring the audience. A powerful speech which allowed me to use all the skills I learned in the previous assignments. Pulled it off very well. Won speech of the day. Best compliment I received was from David Ingram who commented it was my best speech to date.

Actual Speech:

There are many reasons why people fail but research has proven time and time again the number one reason that consistently stops people from succeeding is the fact they do not take enough risks.

Good evening TME, fellow TMs and honored guests.

Everyone has goals. Everyone here has that special dream. But do you know that those beautiful dreams in your minds would never come true unless you are ready to risk it all. Giving up the mediocre to attain excellence.

Achieving dreams are tough. Often we have to make huge risks to achieve them. We have to take risks, which seem to be bigger than life. There was a long period of holidays after my high school finished. It was about 4 months. Many of my friends during this time took up jobs. Earned their own money but I did not follow this trend. Not because I don’t need money… Who doesn’t need money??? I did not work because I was scared of working. I was scared of meeting people… 4 months passed by and I accomplished nothing. I was depressed and I hated it but I could not break away from it because I was scared to risk life. I had too much to lose or so I thought.

Risking life to achieve your dreams is tough ladies and gentlemen. It means embracing change. Taking a leap to the unknown. Grabbing half chances. But let me tell you this, the rewards of risking it all is immense. It literally opens up new worlds. In 1492 Christopher Columbus had to risk it all. An entire world of enlightened scholars were telling him the world is a square block where people would fall off the edge. But despite facing opposition from every side, he risked life and limb to sail through the horizon and literally molded a square-boring universe into an interesting circle. The risk he took changed the world.

In 2001, I had a wonderful life changing experience as well. It molded my universe into a different shape. My higher diploma year just ended and I was faced with another long period of holidays again. 3 of my previous holidays were spent in depressive fashions. But not this time. I decided enough was enough and it was about time I risked it all. I looked for a job. But not just any job. I wanted the scariest job ever. And during that time, the scariest job I could think of was teaching. Public Speaking! The only activity that makes you feel like you ran a 100 miles without moving an inch…

The fear I felt before my first class was indescribable but when I got up there, it was not scary at all. I taught and my class listened. During that period of time, a lot of changes happened to me. I became bolder. I took more risk. The quiet nerdy guy who always sits at the back of the class was no more. In his place was a young brave man who finally realized that life is about taking risks. The scarier they are, the better.

There are a lot of half chances in life. They pass you by everyday but you do not take them because they are risks that could change your life, as you know it. It’s understandable why we are so fearful. But can you imagine what life would be like if you did not take risks? We would not be allowed to travel by sea. The horizon would be our limit. I would not be here risking embarrassment to present you a speech.

Recently I risked it again. I jumped jobs. For the first time in a long time, I am in an environment where nothing is familiar. I am not sure how this is gonna turn out but I am excited again. Everyday I wake up with renewed passion. True enough I have start all over again. I have to learn a lot of new things again. But it helps me grow. My personal horizon constantly gets pushed further and further away. I know most of you here want to grow as well. Well, if you are like me, and you want to expand your horizon as well. If you want to be a better speaker. If you want to give up the mediocrity for excellence???? I have two words for you- RISK IT!

By, Vijay Balasegaram

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Evaluating the evaluators

It was the 25th of August. The current year was 2005. Life was good. Nothing unusual except for the pending task of being the evaluation chair of our annual contest. Considering the fact I have never done this before, it was quite daunting. My closest task to chairing anything of worth in DUTM has been a measly toastmasters meeting sometime last year and the installation night recently. The bi-weekly toastmasters meeting were never so formal and the installation night was easy due to partnering a gorgeous MC who took away most of the spotlight.

This time around I was alone. Well, that is not exactly true. I did have our infamous DUTM godfather (Lee Wei Seong) looking out for me. Also, there were two beautiful ladies (Ooi Li Ann and VP Joanne) covering my back.

Despite having such a talented crew, it was still hard to put everything together on the day of the contest. This point was firmly underlined by the fact we had at least four major roles vacant up to the point of the contest starting!

But, in true DUTM fashion, helpful members leapt in fast and thick to take part saving me from breaking myself up into several small parts. I like take a side step from the main story here to thank Pralash, Maria, Goh Hock Aun and Yip for picking up the roles at the very last minute.

The resource problem was due to the fact that all the regular members were taking part up in the contest. The result of which was a high quality contest but a contest which was difficult to man. Fortunately, everything did come together when it mattered and it was an event worthy of a write up full of superlatives.

It was easy to make out the experienced contestants from the new comers. The experienced ones seem to have this air of confidence and nonchalance which showed strongly in their evaluations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you had beginners evaluating with an innocent outlook which I personally found quite endearing.

However, at the end I think the experienced triumphed simply due to the technical abilities they possessed. Evaluation is after all about logical cuts and clear points with well defined relationships between points. In this aspect, I think champion G.Sivalingam really was a class of his own. His points were spot on and were delivered with a cutting wit and style perfected during countless toastmasters meetings. He was clearly a master who was showing an appreciative audience on how to wield the blade of logic tampered with showmanship to present an evaluation which was motivational and useful to the speaker.

All in all, the contest went smoothly and successfully. A true hallmark to the spirit of DUTM and I must say that chairing it was an experience to savor and look back with pride. It was another milestone in DUTM’s illustrious history and one that I was fortunate to be part of. Viva DUTM!

By, Vijay Balasegaram (Contest Chair)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Executive Commitee Term 2005/2006

Executive Committee Members:

President: Allen T. L. Kam, ATMB CL

Vice President of Education: Joanne Tan

Vice President of Membership: Nancy Liew Paik Wan

Vice President of Public Relations: Jack Leong Yin Kooi, CTM

Secretary: Henry Fu, CTM

Treasurer: Noree Choo

Sergeant at Arms: Ooi Hun Beng, CTM

Bulletin Editor: Calvin Lim, CTM

Immediate Past President: Gan Teong Hock, CTM

Sub-Committee Members:

- Ooi Li Ann
- Simon Tan
- Tracy Quah