Friday, August 17, 2007

DCP: Membership Achieved!

I'm pleased to inform that we have achieved the 4+4 new members for the DCP (4 points), with the following new members;

- Karine Koh
- Joyce Chong
- Jason Chew
- Chloe Leong
- Asylynna Lee
- Joanne Tham
- Wong Wei Liang

I know it's only the beginning of the term but I must truly say,
"With proper planning, follow through, and teamwork... THIS IS THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOUR!"

Yours truly,
Johnson Yike ACB
Vice President of Membership
Term 07/08

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ACL1: Actor for a day…

Background:

This is speech no 1 from the "The Entertaining Speaker" manual. Its all about entertaining the audience. Was very well received and won speech of the day. Most people commented that it should be the base for humor contest but I did not pursue it for personal reasons...

Actual Speech:

[Salsa Step: N5] ! Ladies and Gentlemen, I know the art of moving my bons bons when I need to. I recently started leaning salsa. It is an awesome skill to learn. I get to meet many interesting people. And guys, not all of them wear tight mini skirts… Anyway, in my previous class, I got talent spotted by this guy who happens to work in a casting agency.

Being talent spotted is quite exciting. It is quite a compliment actually. Suddenly someone thinks that you are good looking enough to be on TV! What he doesn’t tell you is that in casting it is not about how good you look… It is more about how well you fit the role. The role I was cast for was as a computer nerd…

Good Evening L&G… For your listening pleasure, I expose the secret thoughts of an amateur actor.

The whole casting to shoot process took about 2 weeks. End to end. From the initial audition to the final take which just ended 2 days ago; it was a fast paced, jam packed, eye popping, comfort zone jumping experience. There were a lot of different stories I could tell you but I am going to tell you about the best one – The story of the actual shoot!

The studio itself was quite plain but big. It was big empty warehouse with a large green wall. Other than a red chair, there was nothing else in the room. These days, they use computer to fit in the scenery and background. The green background will be replaced with some computer graphics eventually. My role was to be a young ultra hip computer whiz kid who was creating a 3D car animation projected in front of the chair. Not too hard for someone who is actually works with computers.

The entire action was just this. You look down at the laptop, look up at your creation… move your head a bit. Look back at the laptop and finally look up as if there are screens all over.

First 5 times of doing the scene, I was doing great. The director asked me to smile a bit and I gave him my best smile. The one I only reserve for tight mini skirts. Initially, we kept on repeating the scene because there was many technical faults. Angle wasn’t good, the camera movement was not fast enough, the zoom not clear enough etc etc. Finally after 12 take, the technical shots started to get better.

However, this is when my acting started to deteriorate. How many times can you smile on cue anyway? After the 7 shot, I couldn’t bring myself to smile anymore. It was more like a snarl than a smile [Show snarl]. That was not bad enough. When I had to look up, I had to give an expression of wonder. The closest I got to it a mischievous smile. That got the director screaming from his chair. He said “No childish smile… No mischievous smile… Just give me a professional look”

So, there I was thinking about professionalism and telling my mind to stop smiling. So when the director said action! I went [Smile]… Immediately, he shouted “Cut! What the hell was that!”. Phew, talk about stress. By this time, it was already take no. 23 and I was sweating.

Can you imagine the studio was something like a camera studio whereby they had yellow lights all over streaming down on you? It was alright at first but after a while, it became blinding and exceedingly hot, stuffy and uncomfortable.

It was not working out. I couldn’t produce the good acting I did initially and the director and crew was getting worked up. You know you were in trouble when you see your director’s head in his hands going “Why Why Why”… :P

Initially when I sat down on the chair and the director was shouting action, I was thinking “Whoa! How cool is this man… An actual production set”. After the 30th time doing it, your heart starts beating wildly whenever he says “Action!” and it doesn’t stop. Last time I felt so stress was when I was doing my ice breaker. Its only when he says “Cut!”, you are able to breathe easy but only for an instance because before you know he is screaming “Action!” again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to say that after the 32nd time we did the scene, the director suddenly shouted “Alright! Good take… It’s a wrap…” which I gather was a good scene capture and I was free to go. I was just about to jump out of my seat and do a salsa dance when one of my make artists ushered me into the make up room to get a change of clothes. Guess what… We were going to go through the whole thing again with a different shirt. OMG!

Needless to say the second shoot went a whole lot smoother than the first time. This time around it only took another 15 takes before we nailed it. At the end of it, I couldn’t smile anymore even if I wanted to. Never ever have I felt so tired just seating in a chair typing. The best part was, my laptop which practically was my loyal co-star throughout the scene was not even ON!

Thank you L&G!

By, Vijay Balasegaram

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A rock named Fraser’s Hill

Fraser’s Hill August 2007

About two weeks ago I signed up for a special getaway organized by Bing and friends (read: Toastmasters). As usual, when it came down to our resident bird watcher, you can be assured of two things – One: It will be a nature trip and two: It will be fun!

Woke up that morning at about 6 AM due to last minute packing. Despite our best effort, my brother and me arrived at KDU (meeting point) at 7 AM plus. Everyone else was already there waiting for us. So, we quickly ditched our car and hopped into one of the other cars that were already prepped to go up the rock which renowned gambler, Louis James Fraser discovered about a hundred years back.

The weather was still cold up there. It was a real change from the sweltering heat of Kuala Lumpur. Suddenly you felt the sun on your skin but the sting was gone.

Large will be probably an inadequate word to describe our rooms. We could have fitted the entire team in one of the apartments. Another Bing trademark – cheap but quality accommodation.

Our first adventure was hiking through the woods. The plan was to traverse three trails but we only managed two. The first trail was the harder one with more leeches for us to marvel at. The second one was a pleasant trail which was more of a walk then a serious jungle hike. We finished off the hiking at a local favorite which served strawberry juice as one of its specialty items.

After the hikes, it was time for a short nap. The more adventurous went down to the lake.

Evening came up and we headed to the main hotel dining for a barbeque. In the cold, there was nothing more welcomed than the succulent taste of fried meat. No local birds were harmed in the preparation though.

After dinner, we headed off to our Vice President of Public Relations Johnson’s room for some games. From the games we played, I learned that Comoros was a small country somewhere in Africa, Waitangi is the closest thing you get to Independence Day in New Zealand and Toastmaster Joanne makes an excellent undercover detective.

The next day started off with a light breakfast at the hotel and off we went to the waterfalls. The waterfall’s Feng Shui seem to be disturbed by construction but it did have a happy gurgling sound about it.

Lunch was a Malaysian favorite – Ramli Burgers and fried corn. We impatiently waited for tea as the promise of fine scones loomed. We then headed off to the famous Smokehouse. It was serene cottage converted to a hotel and restaurant. Each set of scones which comprised of 2 scones and a cup of tea cost a whooping RM 20. However, after tasting such fine English cuisine, I will encourage anyone who has not tried it before to experience it at least once. After tea, it was a quick drive back to Kuala Lumpur. Exhausted, I cannot remember much of the drive except that Toastmaster Gan’s MyVi had a surprisingly comfortable backseat.
Overall, the trip was wonderful. It reminded me on what we were missing out in Kuala Lumpur. Peaceful environment, starry skies and green hills. Fraser’s Hill is an amazing getaway for the weary souls of the modern life.

By, Vijay Balasegaram

P.S Some additional photos take by our resident photographer Johnson Yike

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Phases in Life

Yesterday's meeting in my personal opinion was another successful meeting. We had an attendance of 37 people and 12 of them were guests. The theme of the night was 'Phases In Life' and last night we have seen the beginning of some and the progression of some.

First up I would like to thank my on the spot every ready to help ASA1, Lim Siew Ling. your pleasant and friendly smile was truly a welcoming sight to both members and guests alike.

My ASA2 was Paulynn Yu who made a switch with her brother Peter Yu (who became the Table Topic Evaluator) was given the honour of starting the meeting. Both played the respective roles for the first time and in my personal book were conducted well with enthusiasm and zeal.

We also have first time role players by our then 'to-be-accepted' members, Jason Chew (as Table Topic Masters) and Joyce Chong (as Ah Counter). Jason's topics allowed us to reflect upon our past and the different phases in our lives - very well done. Our lovely Ah Counter, very attentive and this was the first time that I witness the Ah Counter was able to count HER OWN pause fillers while giving her report. Very well done you two, and am looking forward to the both of you giving your Ice Breaker speeches in the coming meeting.

Ryan Loh my invocation speaker spoke to us about 'passion' and gave his personal example to achieve it by being a photographer at weddings, so ladies and gents, you know who to look for! Ahhh¡K. Our very own VPPR Angelene Chong who played the role of 'Humour Master' and a true master she was by energizing us not only with words of humour but with action.

The three assignment speakers; Christopher Leong, Teoh Chun Ming and Lim Bing Wee were truly amazing. We receive insides into LEADERSHIP, inspired by PATRIOTISM, and entertained by a motherly delivered story. We had the pleasure of listening to our team of COMPETENT evaluators Vijay B, Jessy Chahal and Eugene Ng, smooth, cool and well to the points.

Last but not least our great PresidentS, yes with a 's' because we have once again an inspiring opening speech by our current President Jack Leong, and I had the pleasure of our Immediate Past President Nancy Liew who was my General Evaluator. Thank you both for your support and words of encouragement.

With the meeting proper concluding ON TIME (I might add). We moved on the New Members Acceptance and Induction. This was the first time I conducted the ceremony (and I guarantee it won't be the last!) for our new members Jason Chew, Joyce Chong and Karine Koh. The ceremony was not only important to the new members but also to our experience and senior members. It reminds us that membership is a PRIVILEGE!, our personal commitments and obligations to the club, and of the clubs commitment to us personally.

WE ARE TOASTMASTERS!

A group of dynamic individuals who have come together for the common good to improve ourselves and each other. To support one another in an environment I dare say is not widely available in the outside world. I became a Toastmasters coming to two years this September, it has its ups and downs moment but as a Toastmaster, I choose to look towards to GOOD, learn from the not so good, and to instil in myself to change FOR THE BETTER.

To the next phase, and may we make it a GOOD ONE!

By, Johnson Yike ACB