Thursday, December 19, 2002

CL1: Who I am


This is speech no 1 in the Competent and Leadership manual. My maiden speech. Looking back, it brings back a lot of emotions. The fear and trepidation before the speech... The immense relief after the speech. One things for certain, this was where the journey started. I would not have been the speaker I am today if it was not for this speech...

Actual Speech:

Good Evening ladies and gentlemen. I found this speech especially hard to prepare for because when I looked up the toastmasters’ manual, it advised to talk about my interest, hobby and my background. Based on that I came up with this. But when I went through it, I started asking what would you talk about when you don’t have much interest, very few hobbies and a background that is anything but dramatic….. Well, 1st of all – you get rid of this. [crush paper]

Ladies and Gentlemen. My name is Vijay and I am very pleased to have met your acquaintances.

Rather than giving you a boring autobiography, I would instead provide you with glimpses of my life from which I hope you can make out who that is I am.

May 1980. I was born in the year of the pop revoulution. In this period of change, George Michael was becoming a heartthrob and Michael Jackson was still very much black. My earliest memories involved a lot of screaming, glass breaking and running. Imagine for a moment, a kid about this height kicking playing football in his house breaking every vase in sight…. And then imagine a lady who works very hard to keep her house clean and one day comes home to find her living room wrecked. Naturally, she starts screaming. The Kid takes one look at her and start running .. images of looong stick called rotan going through his mind …. That was my earliest memories.

January 1987. I entered Standard primary school. As one who is blessed with looks, I was an instant favorite with the ladies back then much to the displeasure of this rather large kid who was no less than 4 times my size. Retaliation came in the form of daily punches in the belly.

However, my plight gained the sympathy of other boys who endured similar treatment for various other reasons. It was then I decided enough was enough and formed my first mafia. In numbers, our courage swelled and one day we cornered this bully. There was only one small problem. Just when we had him with his tails behind his legs…. no one wanted to deal the killer punch. A full 15 minutes passed before the big lub realized that we were not gonna do anything and started inching away with many threats. But it was not a total loss. He never raised his hands against us again. And we begin to lord over the school from then on.

January 1993. MJ started turning fairer and boy bands started popping up. High school was upon me. Can’t say my high school was a blast because I became a model student and left my mafia aspirations in the past… High school went by pretty quick. One minute I was going into form 1 and next thing I know I was sitting for SPM and the year was 1999. September 1999 to be exact.

September 1999. MJ at this point was unusually white. Backstreet boys dominated the airways. I graduated from high school and picked up computing in APITT. 3 years in college changed everything. I learned a lot. I questioned a lot. The more I learned, the more I questioned. 3 years in college and I finally grew up.

Early 2002 to present day. MJ’s complexion would have put Snow White to shame. Boy bands are nowhere to be seen. Life is indeed good. After taking a long break, I rejoined APIIT not as a student but as an employee. I was an R&D engineer. I tend to do a lot of programming. Sometimes, people ask me what are my future plans. And I answer them that I do not know. I do not know what my future holds. Worst, I do not have any dreams. But it is not as bad as it sounds Ladies and Gentlemen. What you are seeing now - is me standing at the beginning of the rest of my life. I may not know what tomorrow might bring but for now I do know this…. I do know that my name is Vijay and I am very pleased to have met your acquaintances.

By, Vijay Balasegaram

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