Monday, May 23, 2011

President's Report on Regular Meeting 19th May 2011

Dear fellow Toastmasters,

I had a thrilling and exciting journey to our regular club meeting on 19th May 2011. It was hot and sunny at Klang, the weather turned to cooler at Subang and suddenly became so violent at Petaling Jaya. Rain was pouring heavily from the sky and all the cars have no choice but to slow down. The road towards KDU College was badly congested.

Despite a bad weather and traffic, I felt so warm when I reached Room 1.08 and greeted by the ASAs, Levin and Henry. Personally, this warm welcome helped me to get into the mood for public speaking. True enough I get similar feedback from some members that support my opinion. The meeting was attended by more than 30 members and guests.

We were lucky to have a dedicated member who is also our current treasurer, Bell Xun, to be our Toastmasters of the Evening (TME). He brought us a meeting with the theme "dreaming" and indeed it was a wise selection in tandem with the weather and mode.

20110519 D'Utama Toastmasters: TME's Theme

20110519 D'Utama Toastmasters: Teh Tarik for the Soul

The table topic session was so interesting that it managed to get up to 6 speakers. Well done David on your role as Table Topic Master and making the topic based on the theme of the meeting. According to the cause and effect theory, the more speakers for table topic translated to more challenging job for the Table Topic Evaluator. Jonathan did well in his evaluation and managed to cover all the speakers within the allocated time.

Next up, Jonathan was also the Humor Master and he shared something personal yet controversial about women. Men will love his humor but the women may wish to strangle him to death. Curious to know why, do come to the club when he is up on the stage again.

20110519 D'Utama Toastmasters: Humour Session

After the refreshment break, we had a new toastmaster added to our club membership list. This new member is Marilyn and our IPP cum Area B4 Governor Chun Ming will be her mentor.

When come to the evaluation session led by Bing Yee, she had 2 light-weight evaluators and 2 heavy-weight evaluators. There were Yu Sing and Nicholas to evaluate Patrick and Shi Wei, respectively. Both speeches were from Project 3 of the basic manual. Then there were the heavy-weight evaluators Teong Hock and Fong Wai to evaluate Sheen Yee and Johnson, respectively. To complete Bing Yee's evaluation team, there were Nancy as Time Keeper, Chun Ming as Language Evaluator and Ginger as Ah Counter.

20110519 D'Utama Toastmasters: Speaker #2

20110519 D'Utama Toastmasters: Speaker #4

Lastly, thank you to all role players and speakers for your participation to live up the meeting. For those who have missed all the fun in this meeting, join us in the next meeting and be part of the exciting team.

20110519 D'Utama Toastmasters: President's Closing and Guests' Feedback

Yours sincerely,
Marcus Loi
President 2010/2011
D'Utama Toastmasters Club
"Maintain The Passion"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Great Debate

Jonathan Moh, CC was recently a contestant on the Great Debate and lived to tell the tale!

Date: April 27th 2011
Location: Klang Bilingual Toastmasters Club
Event: 5th Anniversary Celebration

The stage’s been set. Preparations have been made to the best of their ability. The combatants laugh and joke with each other while sizing up their opponents up. The crowd was cheering at the prospect of a good fight. The fighters took their seats and waited for the signal. Silence covered the room. There were no ritual insults in this battle of gentlemen. Finally, the first contestant walks to the center of the stage. It’s game time. The Klang Bilingual Debate Tournament commences.

The motion of the day was “Leaders are made, not born.” I was on the side which opposed the motion. We crossed swords repeatedly throughout the entre one hour. Each contestant gave his or her argument to support his or case which lasted for about 3-5 minutes. I was at first apprehensive about giving my part as it was my first Toastmasters debate. However, I as the clock ticked on, I got more comfortable with my role, holding my own as the crowd egged me on. It was but the appetizer of the match as the main course was yet to come.

As soon as all of the speakers had given their arguments, there was a lull in the battle for a few moments. Then, the Cross-Examination Session began. Bullets began to fly with even more intensity as the debaters called on each other with difficult questions, hoping to catch their opponents with their pants down. I fought alongside Dennis Wee who opposed motion against a formidable lineup led by Johnson Yike from my own club. We showed no mercy and sniped our foes without holding back for 10 long minutes. As intense as it had been, the Chair finally called an end to the hail of bullets flying back and forth. The Wrap had begun.

A speaker from each side was chosen to summarize our arguments and attempt to give a final coup de grace to our already wounded opponents. We were both smarting from our bruises but nonetheless we fought valiantly to the end. When this was done, the adjudicators convened to decide on the final verdict.

After minutes of waiting, they decided that Johnson’s side were better men (and woman) that evening. Although we were disappointed, my side knew we could walk out of this fight with our heads held high as we had given our all and gave our opponents a run for their money. That is why I stay with the Toastmasters Club as there is always something new to learn even from defeat, coming across great people who inspire you not just with their words but also with their actions and of course, there is always a chance for a good fight. The greatest fighter is not the one who is able to beat his or her opponents down in every match but they are the ones who can win a battle without throwing a single punch and this lesson from my kickboxing instructor rang true on that day.

The Debaters with the Organizing Chair

The Proposing Team and the Winners

The Opposing Team

Photos courtesy of Johnson Yike of the D’Utama Toastmasters Club

Members' Achievement

Patrick Khoo has achieved Competent Communicator (CC)! This achievement counts towards the 10 DCP goals that the club aims for every term!

Teoh Chun Ming is now Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB)!

Congratulations, Patrick and Chun Ming!


It has oft been pointed out how D'Utama Toastmasters consistently produce leaders from within its midst ... and next term will be no different! Meet Gan Teong Hock, ACS, CL and Nancy Liew, ACS, ALB who will assume their respective roles of Area B4 Governor and Area B5 Governor! Congratulations to both of them!

Gan Teong, ACS, CL is the Incoming Area B4 Governor for the term 2011/2012. He has been one of the most dedicated members of D'Utama Toastmasters Club since 1988 and is a Past President of the club.
First of all, I would like to thank IPP cum AG-B4 Teoh Chun Ming for his encouragement for me to take up the AG-B4 position for the term 2011/2012.

It's certainly a big challenge to be an AG. At the same time, it is a privilege and honour for me to be your next AG and to serve you, members of D’Utama as well as members from the other B4 Clubs, namely: Lafarge, Shah Alam, Pidato, and KNM. I thank the B4 Council for giving me this opportunity.

I am certain it will be a wonderful and worthwhile journey for me to walk the path of AG-B4 with everyone in D’Utama. I am indeed very blessed as I have so many ex-AGs in D’Utama to be my mentor/sifu in my AG journey.

I am sure I can count on D’Utama Exco and members for your support in my journey; and in return, I will serve the Area, the clubs and all the members in B4, to the best of my ability. I look forward to a wonderful and worthwhile journey and may we learn and grow together in our quest for excellence in communication and leadership skills.

Lastly but not least, I also wish to congratulate our beloved ever-charming Past President Nancy Liew, ACS, ALS, for being elected as AG-B5 and wish her all the best.

Nancy Liew, ACS ALB, is set to become the Area B5 Governor for the term 2011/2012. Here she talks about her accomplishments and her plans as one of the new area governor.

"What makes a good Area Governor (AG)? Frankly speaking, I have not thought about it because the emphasis is neither about good nor bad. But one thing for sure is that, I want to become an AG because I wish to serve the district.

As a member of D'Utama & D'Utama Advanced Toastmaster Club for nearly 7 years, having served a term of club Committee Member, 3 terms of Secretary, a term of Vice President-Membership and 2 terms of club President (in both clubs), the time factor does not deter me from moving further in my Toastmasters journey.

Likewise, I believe no matter what position is held in a club, or in an area/division level, it is never a claim of individual glory. However encouragement is essential. To me, it's essential part of learning every new experience over the periods to become a better person through the learned skills of public speaking and leadership!

Serving in the district is an opportunity for me to learn more in different circles and areas of Toastmasters. I anticipate that I will make new discoveries. I will avoid making comparison with others. Looking at the positive side, all of us here is to learn to share, and share to learn to become a better person. But, I cannot do it alone. I need a big family of Toastmasters to make it a complete exercise, just like a speech is always followed up with an evaluation.

To introduce a new position is a great start of another level of self-discovery and self-challenge! In other words, in my coming AG term, there is a plan to work with toastmasters to help themselves by helping others and wish the clubs grow with positive learners! It's all about friends helping friends to succeed!

Besides, I would also like to urge members of D'Utama, do take up any club officer role for next term. With the learning willingness and persistency, you will discover your potential and achieve your personal goal at any phase of your life. You won't regret for what you have decided today!

Life is a voyage of discovery, let us move on together!

Note : Gan Teong Hock, ACS, CL and Nancy Liew, ACS, ALB will officially resume their duties as Area Governors from 1 July 2011-30 June 2012.

To locate clubs within Area B4 : click here
To locate clubs within Area B5 : click here

Friday, May 6, 2011

Join Us At The Next Meeting!

What Happened on 5 May 2011

Here's a snapshot of what happened at the meeting on 5 May 2011!

Division B Governor, Irene Lee, ACB, ALB, dropped by our club. Past Presidents were also inh attendance, from DTM G.Subramaniam, Gan Teong Hock, ACS, CL, Nancy Liew, ACS, ALB, Teoh Chun Ming, CC, ALB, and DTM G. Sivalingam.

Area B4 Governor and Immediate Past President Teoh Chun Ming, CC, ALB receives a token from Division B Governor, Irene Lee, ACB, ALB for achieving Advanced Leader Bronze.

DTM G. Subramaniam receives award for Best Table Topic Speaker from Club President, Marcus Loi, CC, CL

DTM G. Sivalingam, as the Toastmaster of the Evening, gets a token of appreciation from Club President Marcus Loi, CC, CL for all his hard work.

Teoh Chun Ming, CC, ALB receives his Advanced Leader Bronze ribbon from President Macus Loi, CC, CL. His efforts have also contributed 1 point towards the 10 Distinguished Club Program that the club aims for every term!

20110505 D'Utama Toastmasters: President's Opening

20110505 D'Utama Toastmasters: TME's Theme

20110505 D'Utama Toastmasters: Humour Session

20110505 D'Utama Toastmasters: Speaker #1

20110505 D'Utama Toastmasters: Appreciation Session

20110505 D'Utama Toastmasters: President's Closing & Guests' Feedback

All about mentoring

It has always been a deeply ingrained culture in D'Utama Toastmasters Club to assign mentors to all new members to ensure that they receive guidance along their Toastmasters journey.

As evident from the videos below, mentoring can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience for both the mentor and mentee.

The following are videos which were taken during the Mentor-Mentee Workshop on 25 November 2010.

Lee Wei Seong, ACG shares his views about mentoring:

Chai Wen Lee, CC talks about her experience of being a mentee:

Johnson Yike, DTM talks about his experience of being a mentor and how rewarding it can be:

N.B. Videos have been provided courtesy of Johnson Yike.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Joint Meeting with Taylor's University Toastmasters Club

On 12 March 2011, D'Utama Toastmasters Club and Taylor's University Toastmasters Club held a joint meeting at Taylor's Lakeside Campus. Members from both clubs attended the meeting, creating a fun and vibrant synergistic atmosphere for public speaking.

Members from both clubs pose for a group picture here

Jonathan Moh of D'Utama Toastmasters Club receives rubbon for Best Evaluator from Taylor's University Toastmasters Club President, Stephanie Teoh

Isabell Zubinsha of Taylor's University Toastmasters Club receives ribbon for Best Table Topic Speaker from Club President, Stephanie Teoh

27th Annual General Meeting

Dear fellow toastmasters,

Our club, D'Utama Toastmasters Club, is going to have its Annual General Meeting to report the performance of term 2010/2011 and most importantly to select the future leadership for our club for the term 2011/2012.

Please block your calendar and make yourself available to attend this important event. Details of the event is as follows :

27th Annual General Meeting
Date: 28 May 2011 (Saturday)
Time: 8-10 pm (Complimentary dinner will be served from 6-8 pm)
Venue: The Club @ Bukit Utama (near to Kota Damansara)
Ticket: Complimentary to all members in good standing (members who have paid their membership dues)


The map to the Club is appended below:


Marcus Loi
President 2010/2011
D'Utama Toastmasters Club
"Maintain The Passion"

Fellowship Trip to Gopeng & Ipoh - by G. Levin

On 16 & 17 April, some of us from D’Utama Toastmasters Club and friends took a trip to Ipoh with a stop at Gopeng first for white water rafting. Below hereafter are the first hand stories of the amazing weekend that the rest of you missed!!

16 April 2011
7am - 9 am : Breakfast at Famous Wan Tan Mee in Bidor

"The Wan Tan Mee was delicious and Siew Pau also tasted good." ~ Grace Sim

“The texture and size difference brings back memories of good old bon app├ętit wanton mee moments when I was a kid”. ~ Jin Lim

9.30am - 2pm : White Water rafting at Sg Kampar (Gopeng)

“The journey through the rural roads on a lorry gave me a good experience of what it feels like to be transported as "labor workers" in a third world country :-) Apparently the rest was having fun with the adventure view, wind rush and dodging tree branches. At least I have a "laborer princess" to talk to throughout the transportation journey.” Jin Lim {The ride from our base camp to the departure point of the rafts}

"What an adrenalin-pumping adventure on the river, especially when we bellied-up and I was swept away! Yahoo! High Five everyone!" ~ Lim Bing Yee, ATMB

"Never thought that I was easily thrown out from the boat during "Bum-Bum". The split second under the white water of Kampar river made me felt so helpless." ~ Marcus Loi. Bum- bum means that everyone in the raft hits the ducks down the raft when the guide gives the command.

"The feeling of bubbling in the water was an unforgetable moment. Thanks to the boat captain for throwing me into the river and coming home with bruises as souvenir." ~ Grace Sim

"So glad I hang on tight to the rope, else I will sure get thrown out of the boat. Thanks Ginger!" ~ Siew Ling

5pm : Having tea at Ipoh famous Coffee and Roti at Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong

"Thank God for making it on time and be the last customer for the day. Although there is no more jumbo hotdog and short of eggs, the roti and white coffee were worth the rush." ~ Marcus Loi & Grace Sim

Ipoh Railway Train System which we visited after tea.

7pm : Shopping for Biscuits ,Having Ipoh Chicken Rice and Beansprout, Walk around Ipoh town

The resturant where we had dinner on Saturday.

 11pm : Play Mafia game

"What? Me-the mafia? No way! Innocent until proven guilty! Hats off to Ginger for introducing the game to us. Enjoyed it" ~ Siew Ling

"Ps...It was also not nice of the Mafia to put me on their hit-list all the time. I'm a nice person!!!!!!" ~ Bruised Bing

17 April 2011

9.30 am : Visit to Gunung Lang

"Never thought that Ipoh has such a beautiful and peaceful place." Grace Sim

It was a bright sunny day – the perfect Sunday morning for our trip to Gunung Lang Park. The weather seemed to be on our side again! How cool!

After filling up our tummy with an enjoyable breakfast at the hotel, we hit it off with Marcus and Bing in the driver’s seat. As it was relatively near to the city (just a 10min - 15min drive), I was not expecting a majestic view of a mountain. However, lo and behold! I was caught by surprise by the amazing view Gunung Lang offers.

As we reach the entrance, we were welcome by the lush greenery and beautiful man-made lake, the surroundings so peaceful, so serene. The heroine, the gentle Gunung Lang looms at one side of the lake, waiting to be stroked with tender loving care .....

We did not have to wait long before we were whisked into a ferry. Yes! Ever thought of being ferried to a park? Well, you have certainly missed something! Though it was just a short ride, the friendly ferry-driver gave us some interesting information to take home – the hill is actually a limestone hill just like many in Ipoh, and it has the features of a human! A head, a body and a tail! Well, didn’t I say ‘she’ is just waiting to be stroked with our love?

Just across the lake was a landscaped park. There was a watch tower, a playground, a garden as well as a mini zoo that housed birds such as ostrich, peacock ... if you want more details on the birds, check it out with Bing JWe continued strolling, enjoying the morning sun and the comfort of friends until it was clear we needed to feed our ever hungry tummy again with what else but dim sum, yum yum! So off we went back to our hotel, leaving the park with fond memories" ~ Siew Ling

"Got a short introduction course on birds from our famous bird lover Bing Yee. Now, I know that Malaysia has every tree for the beautiful and free little creature." ~ Marcus Loi

Group shot in Gunung Lang

Group photograph outside Gunung Lang

12 PM : Lunch - Dim Sum at Ming Court, Ipoh

“We kind of lost the place due to technical problem with GPS. Anyway, we were still able to reach there safely. As we all were very hungry, we were taking almost everything offered by the waiters. Luckily, Ben stopped the waiters from doing so. The size of the dim sum is mini sized and tasted reasonably good and we finished all the food we ordered. For me it was a satisfying lunch. Yum! Yum!" ~ Kooi Ching

Dim Sum at Ming Court, Ipoh
1 PM - 2pm : Visit to Kek Lok Tong and Sam Poh Tong (Caves)

To sum things up we had a terrific weekend here in Gopeng and Ipoh. It was memorable weekend spend with friends from D’Utama and others. On behalf of everyone that came for this trip we would extend our appreciation to Vice President of Membership Ginger Koh for spending her time and effort to organize this trip.

Sze Ling does Cambodia!

Vice-President Public Relations, Hoo Sze Ling, ACB, who is ever the avid traveller (and also avid Toastmaster!), embarked on a solo trip to Cambodia in April, during what is reputed to be the hottest month of the year.

"This trip was going to be different from the ones I normally undertook. I had taken it upon myself to dabble in some charity work while in Siem Reap. Through the introduction of a friend, I came to meet Mavis Ching of Touch A Life, an international humanitarian organization which is permanently based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It serves healthy, meat-free lunches to 70 people 3 days a week and on Saturday, distributes food to up to 300 people located in villages all over Siem Reap.

I spent 3 days out of my trip assisting in the preparation and serving of food to the less privileged. These were children and adults who lived on very limited means, even with the jobs they held down, and were no strangers to hunger when the meager income they earned was insufficient to buy them a hot meal. What I found touching was the sincere gratitude and genuine smiles that greeted me in return for the little effort I had expanded in serving them lunch for the day. The experience of volunteering, albeit briefly, at Touch A Life enabled me to gain insight into the real side of Cambodia, where poverty and the absence of a social welfare system can mean misery and destitution, if not for organizations like Touch a Life and people like Mavis Ching.

Sze Ling posing with the founder of Touch A Life, Mavis Ching (third from left) and other volunteers serving up lunch

The children who came to have their lunch at Touch A Life. Oft times, this may be the only meal they have for the day.

The best part of the fun was riding a motorcycle with 2 other full-grown adults! It was definitely a first for me. And other helmets were required either! Yes, possible only in Cambodia! And the most awesome thing was it was nowhere near as hot as I had initially feared. It rained nearly everyday, keeping the weather nice and cool.

Of course I went on to see Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon, where I was struck with awe and wonderment at these monuments. I even continued my journey to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where I visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. This provided a sobering exploration of Cambodia’s most bloody time in history.

Angkor Wat and its reflection in a nearby lake

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the place used by the Khmer Rouge as a torture and detention centre. Some rooms depict photographs of deceased prisoners who have been tortured and brutalised. Before the reign of the regime, this place was once a school.

Cambodia was a most transformational learning experience indeed. I returned to Malaysia with a sense of renewed gratitude for family, friends and all that I have been blessed with, especially FOOD! What I learnt most profoundly is that sometimes when you have been blessed with much, this is when you need to go on to bless others. And of course, a return trip is in the cards!"

Thinking of dropping by Touch A Life to give a helping hand on your next trip to Siem Reap? Please drop me line at and I will pass you the contact details of Mavis Ching. Cheers!

Toastmasters District 51 18th Annual Convention in Penang

Nancy Liew, ACS, ALB was at the Toastmasters District 51 18th annual convention in Penang! She reports on what took place:

"The 4-hour land-travel from Petaling Jaya to District 51 18th Annual Convention Penang (ACP) 2011 was undoubtedly worthy of visit!

I breathed a sigh of relief as I stepped into the lobby of Bayview Beach Resort, Penang; it was 5 minutes to 9 in the morning.  Outside the ballroom, there was a long queue of VIPs ready to be ushered into the ballroom.  I quickly greeted one of our Past District 51 governors, DTM Joseph Gomez who was in the queue, my high heel shoes did not deter me from rushing into the ball room.

This round, District 51 had the honour of our 1st Toastmaster International Vice President, Dr John Lau, DTM launching the opening ceremony in the morning of 30th April 2011, Friday. For the uninformed, Dr John Lau is the first Malaysian soon to be Toastmasters International President for 2011/2012! The ACP Oganizing Chairman Ng SK made the day for all to meet Dr Lau in person!

Dr John Lau, DTM, is a distinguished world leader who has earned 20 rounds of DTM award and spoke with deep-seated manifestation of Toastmasters.  He shared with us his family and friends' stories, deciphered the beauty of "Inclusion"; the core of his keynote address inspired leaders who vowed to keep his words!

Our Past Toastmaster International President 2003/2004, Ted Corcoran, DTM who hails from Ireland, is also the author of "The Leadership Bus" and enriched leaders with the 10 things on "I Wish My Boss Would Do..".   Those things include the 'big picture', 'support', 'my work', 'direction', 'team leader', 'opinion', 'show me', 'walk the talk', feedback' and 'appreciate effort'.   All of us had a wonderful reciprocity during the session. 
The morning session continued. Our Past District 51 Governor, Sivanganam Rajaretnam, DTM led the forum by inviting the forum panelists:  Toastmaster International President Elect Dr John Lau, DTM; Past Toastmasters International President Ted Corcoran, DTM;  Past Regional Advisor-Marketing, Goseph Gomez, DTM and current District 51 Governor Thannimalai, DTM.  The forum homed in on "The Future of Toastmasters". 

There were a few topics which had been brought up, such as 'New launch of policy',  'Re-branding of Toastmasters', 'Regional Advisor's role', 'Current Toastmasters' progress from the DG's perspective', 'International Convention to be conducted outside US' and 'Quantity vs Quality'. Other questions had also posted from the floor. The session went exceedingly well. It certainly provided great insight into the future of Toastmasters.

Last but not least, the most important thing I must say is a million thanks to the organizing team for having executed the vigorous event! I discovered, I gained and I learned more than before from each segment of the session!  I would like to urge Toastmasters who have not attended convention, go for it!!!"


 "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

                                          ~ Confucius

Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) is the highest award bestowed upon a Toastmaster. Yet it is one which very few have achieved, let alone set out to work towards when joining a Toastmasters Club. Here, two of our DTMs share how their own journey has been.

DTM Soh Fong Wai is a Distinguished Toastmaster and served as Division W Governor during the term 2009/2010.

Hoo Sze Ling : When were you awarded the DTM title?
Soh Fong Wai : 2008. Myself, Siva and G.Jayam recieved the award at the same. I remember D'Utama gained 3 DTMs all in the same year.

HSL : When you first started as a Toastmaster, did you think you would become DTM?
SFW : In 2003, I just wanted to improve my language. My target was merely to complete CTM (the old title equivalent to today's CC). DTM was too far a goal for me.

HSL : Was there anyone who encouraged, motivated or inspired you to gon on this journey?
SFW : Yes, my first mentor, Alex Tan was very active when I joined Toastmasters, I was inspired by his ability to deliver quality speeches. Then Wei Seong always encouraged me to progress through the advanced speeches. I am also lucky to have met other 'gurus' like LeAnn Tang, Ramdas, Dr Arul, Dunstan Chan who arose my interest in advanced speeches and I decided to progress through one level ever year, i.e. complete ACB, ACS and ACG in 3 years.

HSL : Did you face any obstacles while working towards DTM and how did you resolve them?
SFW : Yes I found it challenging when I initially attempted the advanced speeches. I was not satisfied with the evaluations and feedback given at club level; I always felt that I could learn more. Then the formation of ACM (Advanced Communicator Meetings) came about where I could get 20 minutes feedback for 1 advanced speech. That was where the fun began.

HSL : Do you have any memorable moments to share with us?
SFW: Yes I was involved in the formation of the first bilingual club in Malaysia (Klang Bilingual Toastmasters Club). KBTC give members the opportunity to deliver speeches in English and Mandarin by paying only 1 club membership. Before the formation of KBTC,members needed to join English clubs to deliver speeches in English and Mandarin clubs to deliver speeches in Mandarin, which means you need to pay 2 club subscriptions if you want to speak in both languages. I have a lot of satisfaction seeing the growth of bilingual clubs … from 1 bilingual club to a multiple bilingual clubs in our district…

Another memorable moment is the formation of ACM…my 4 year-journey with Advanced Communicator Meeting(ACM), I have witnessed so many advanced speeches delivered (no other place to witness such a “pool” of advanced speeches). Members from over 120 clubs in Div B, C, G, P, W take turns to deliver their advanced speeches every month. I always appreciate the learning opportunities provided by ACM.

Memorable moments in terms of leadership, serving as Area Governor and Division Governor gave me plenty of opportunities to visit clubs, organized Toastmasters activities and friendships from club to Area to Division… and even District Level. There are many great leaders in Toastmasters from whom we can learn and work with . Amongst them are LeAnn Tang, DTM, DR Arul, DTM, Ho Fong Ming, DTM, Sivaganam, DTM, Ramdas Nayar, DTM, Dominic Joseph, DTM and many more who are always ready to help Junior Toastmasters. I also gained many friends as I visited clubs in Division B, C, G, P and W.

HSL : How have you benefitted from pursuing this award?
SFW: In short, PERSONAL GROWTH and Friendship. Toastmasters provides a “friends helping friends” environment, growth, sharing of experiences, where we can help others to achieve personal growth and we gain good friend. Of course I also gained confidence in public speaking,  evaluation skills and leadership ability (Thanks to the opportunity to lead Division W Term 2009/10 , the largest Division with close to 1000 members)

HSL : What advice would you given someone who is thinking about pursuing the DTM award?
SFW :  Believe that the program is a step-by-step program to help individuals to achieve personal growth. Actively participate in the program. Serve the club when you are called upon to be serve as club Exco officers, serve the Area (take up the role as Area Governor) after club president. The experience you gain is valuable and the journey is fun and rewarding. Most importantly, practise the 4 core values of Toastmasters:

1. Dedication to excellence
2. Integrity
3. Respect to the individual
4. Service to members

Siva is a very keen and committed Toastmaster who has been actively involved in Toastmastery for close to 10 years. 

He talks about how he ended up a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) because he certainly never thought he would set out to be one!

The Accidental DTM

It’s nice to be addressed as DTM Siva, and I am proud to be a DTM, but the truth is that I’m really an accidental DTM.  I never really planned to be a DTM, which is why the journey took me 10 over years, but as I look back a few things strike me, which I’d like to share with you.

Firstly, most, if not all the benefits of being a DTM, come from my journey of becoming a DTM.  For example, one of the requirements to be a DTM is that I had to serve one full year as a District Officer.  It gave me the extra push to volunteer to become a District Secretary when the opportunity presented itself; otherwise I might just have said to myself – ‘some other time, there’ll always be another chance’.  The other thing is that it helped me to grow by stretching me, for example when I realized that the only thing left to achieve my DTM was the High Performance Leadership(HPL)programme, I had an incentive to go and look for a project.  Very briefly, since the HPL required me to carry out a project where I had to work for a team, I chose to run a two step project, where the first step was fundraiser to get funds(around RM1000 if I recall), and the second step was to use the funds raised in organizing the club’s installation dinner, by subsidizing the ticket prices for club members.  I learnt something important in the project, that is when two major projects are carried out in a volunteer organization like Toastmasters, you need to give plenty of time in between, because I found that my helpers, and me, were drained by the fundraiser, and to a certain extent, did not do the best possible job in organizing the dinner itself, which was after all the ultimate purpose.

Secondly, you don’t do the DTM journey alone.  A lot of people gave me a helping hand along the way, but I’d like to single out Nancy Liew in particular.  Nancy was the one who gave me the final push to complete my DTM, by pointing out that all I required to complete my DTM was my ATM Gold award and my HPL.  I had honestly forgotten this as I completed the requirements gradually over the years.  The other thing she did was to prod me to complete it, and this final push was what me complete me ATMG and the HPL, and achieve my DTM.

Finally, although I think 10 years is a little long to complete my DTM, yet I wouldn’t encourage other Toastmasters to rush to complete their own DTMs.  The reason is that some requirements such as forming a new club as either a sponsor or mentor, can be extremely taxing.  For example, when I was the mentor for CPA Toastmasters(which has another name now), attended all their meetings for one year, as well as D’Utama’s meetings, meaning I was attending at least 4 Toastmaster meetings a month.  It may not necessarily be this strenuous, as certain circumstances for my situation were a little unusual.  Having said that many of the leadership requirements for the DTM can consume a lot of time and energy, so my suggestion would be deal with the requirements one at a time, unless you personally are comfortable with what you need to contribute.

In closing, I’d like to note that I have no regrets whatsoever with my journey to DTM, as I have received so many benefits.  One of the most valuable is the friendships I have made, among them friends in the CPA Toastmasters club, some of whom have been good friends for over 10 years now, right from the formation of the club. 

I wish all of you the very best in your own DTM journey, and trust that it will be as fulfilling as my own.