District 51 18th semi-annual convention was held from 29th-31st October 2010 at the Legends Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
Immediate Past Area B4 Governor and Past President, Calvin Lim, ACS was there at the convention, also serving on the Organizing Committee for one of the events that took place at the convention.
"Ever since last term 2009/2010, District 51 Peninsula Malaysia has separated with Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Indonesia – to form another District 87, I could not imagine how the Toastmasters convention would be without them. No matter, the semi-annual Kuala Lumpur Toastmasters convention was to proceed and we had it at the Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur from 29th October to 31st October 2010.
Due to work commitment on Friday itself, I had excused myself from the District Council meeting – perhaps it was the least of my concerns. However, I attended their Welcome Night Dinner on the first night and some members were in the mood to dress-up in their favourite costumes; in line with the theme “The Night of the Superheroes”. Some members did invest reasonably well (in time, effort, and money) to mimic their die-hard characters as closely as possible. For instance, I could see Superman, Superwoman, X-men characters, ancient Chinese empress, Zorro, Roman soldiers, and the list goes on!
Meeting up with old and new friends was indeed refreshing, meeting so many members from different Clubs, both local and from other states have drawn us closer as a “1Toastmasters family”. The first night was still young but I headed home to get sufficient rest. The next day early in the morning, the Opening Ceremony committee team and I had an important role to perform – under the leadership of Sue Ding.
And so before the sun rose, the Opening Ceremony committee team and I were already present at the Grand Ballroom (approximately 7.00am) to finalize the details and ensure that we had not overlooked anything. I was in charge of ensuring the volunteers such as flag bearers and ushers were briefed on what they needed to do and we had a quick trial run – so that everyone knew their positions and responsibilities.
It was first experience for everyone (including myself) and it was not surprising that confusion, anxiety, and frustration arose. Nevertheless, we behaved professionally and understood that everyone were trying to put the best show – for the audience and also to give a good impression for our invited VIP, YB Senator Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Despite the fact that we started 10-15 minutes later than planned for the commencement of the opening ceremony, we did put the best show and most members were impressed on how the ushers and flag bearers, especially, carried themselves with dignity and pride. After the opening ceremony, there was a feeling of huge relief that our job was “finally over”. Furthermore it was simply marvelous and unexpected that we performed tremendously well and I salute these people (opening ceremony committee team and volunteers) for their dedicated service to Toastmasters – willingly and unconditionally.
Thereafter on the same day, we continued with our itinerary of attending workshops conducted by invited speakers from personal grooming to creative thinking, self-development and so on. The lessons were thought provoking, interesting to know, and most importantly, we learnt something from these workshops – to be used in our work and personal life.
The Gala Night was held the following night and most members were in their best dress or suit – to glitter and to grab attention; like any superstars. Though the food was not up to my expectation, the company among friends and strangers made up for the “loss and disappointment”. The dinner was in a light-hearted atmosphere among friends and I enjoyed conversations and laughter with these people. As if the dinner at the gala night was not enough, some members adjourned to party and drink at the hotel’s “Monkey’s Bar” and I have never partied so hard and “drank so responsibly” for such a long time; since my school days – believe it or not!
On the next day, Sunday, it was the event highlight that everyone had been waiting for. The Humorous and Evaluation Speech Contest began with unexpected twist, smiles, laughter, and surprises. There were ten (10) contestants for the Humorous Speech and the champion is Ooi Ing Chyuan, with his speech title, “Dealing with Fluctuation”. Whereas for Evaluation Speech contest, the test speaker was Stephen Fernando with the speech title, “One More Day” and the champion for Evaluation speech is Muthukumaran Kodiappen. Both of the champions are from Penang and they have taken the crown and glory – fair and square!
As they say, all good things must come to an end with everyone heading for home with a heavy heart. Nonetheless, we knew that we would meet again at the Annual Penang Toastmasters Convention to be held from 29th April 2011 to 1st May 2011! I am quite sure that it will be another great event and I cannot wait for it!"
Click here for the special District 51 newsletter on the 18th semi-annual convention
Click here to view more photos of the convention (photos courtesy of Lim Lay Kun, Jamila Khan, Yeoh Cheng Lim and Yoges)