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)