Monday, November 28, 2011

17th November 2011: It Was A Night!

“It was a night. Oo-oo what a night it really was; such a night!” and so goes the lyrics of an oldie by the late King of Rock-n-Roll, Elvis “the Pelvis” Presley. A song that is probably familiar with Toastmasters from the Baby Boomers generation!

The lyrics aptly describe the electrifying ambience of our Club’s regular meeting on Thursday night of 17th November 2011.

When I arrived at KDU in pretty good time well before 19:30 hours, the first question I was asked by the VPE was “Did you bring the program for the meeting tonight?”

“Huh?” The other Toastmasters Club (MBTC) where I hail from, the member who sources for the role players (invariably that person is the VPE - 95% of the time!) is also responsible for preparing and printing out the meeting program.

So, my spontaneous reply was “There’s no printout program!” Blame it on the Murphy’s Law (Oops, nearly mixed up with the title of another oldie). Even though at every Club meeting, as far as I know, there is that ubiquitous paper program, this time there was none i.e. zilch!

“Damage control” was triggered and instantaneous recovery procedures were set into motion. Johnson Yike promptly wrote the short version of the meeting program on the whiteboard so that everyone could stay on track on what was and would be happening. Thanks Johnson!

The meeting got off on the dot at 7.30 p.m. with ASA 2, Andrew Chieng, leading the singing of the “Negara Ku “ and then welcoming everybody especially the guests. President Steven Lai took over control and addressed the audience with his opening speech and soon after invited dear me – the one who blundered earlier! – to emcee the meeting as the TME.

President and TME Opening Address

What followed then on was on auto-pilot – every role player knew his/her routine, when to step forward to the stage and when to exit with the TME and subsequently the GE orchestrating the various acts like clockwork!

It was awesome even though without the paper program to guide us religiously, the hand-written short version displayed on the whiteboard was good enough. Kudos to every role player and speaker for knowing your cue exceptionally well!

There were temporary moments of derailment by the TME and the GE when the usual routines went slightly awry and not adhered to stringently. “Getting a bit rusty” quipped the GE and so was the TME.

Highlights of the meeting were as follows :-
  1. A couple of table topics given by TTM, Stephanie Look, were very challenging and wracked the brains of a number of speakers. One of them was stumped and dumbfounded but eventually managed to say something sensible. Hi Stephanie, be a bit more kind the next time. We do not have yet Toastmasters or guests the likes of Socrates, Confucius or Einstein in our midst!

    Table Topics Session

  2. Invocation Master, Nick Tozer, shared with us management and inspiring tips extracted from the classic book "Who Moved My Cheese?" It was appreciated by all. Fair dinkum, mate and thanks a lot!

    Teh Tark for the Soul

  3. Humour Master, the ornithologist extraordinaire, Bing, rattled off her entertaining anecdote about her recent vacation to the exotic island of Seychelles, a former French colony off the coast of Tanzania/Kenya – one of the favourite haunts of the rich and famous and Hollywood celebrities.
    “Bonjour Mademoiselle! Bonjour Monsieur!” and with that welcome greeting, she was showered with copious pecks on her cheeks and smooches. There were giggles and subdued laughter in response to the humorous incident as told by the ever ebullient and scintillating Bing. Well-Done!

    Humor Session

  4. All the prepared speech speakers, Jack, Nicolas, Nancy and Teoh delivered their assignments with gusto and sincerity. They were promptly evaluated by their respective evaluators i.e. Johnson, Jonathan, Calvin and Gan objectively.

    Take Charge By Saving
    Competent Communicator #9: Persuade Your Audience
    Speech Objective: refer here
    Evaluation Session: view here

  5. Jack, a first-timer delivered his maiden speech. From revealing to us a brief insight into his life-history and achievements to-date, we gathered that he is imbued with wanderlust and is another globetrotter like Bing. Thanks for the tip on which island in the Hawaiian archipelago to go to for one’s honeymoon or anniversary celebration!

    The Story Of Me
    Competent Communicator #1: Ice Breaker
    Speech Objective: refer here
    Evaluation Session: view here

  6. While delivering her speech from Project #3 in "The Entertaining Speaker Manual", Nancy had an unexpected bout of amnesia. She grimaced while attempting very hard to recollect that forgotten but apparently essential point in her text. She nearly threw her tantrums, was visibly upset and about to utter one of the expletives! However, her sense of propriety and decorum prevailed. She regained her composure after peeking into her written notes.
    Nancy – keep and stay cool always, yeah. It’s not a matter of life or death nor is it worth the ulcer to get uptight and fidgety over a relatively trivial matter!

    As The Night Begins
    Advanced Communicator, The Entertaining Speaker #3: Make Them Laugh
    Speech Objective: refer here
    Evaluation Session: view here

  7. The charismatic and charming, Jessy Chahal, executed the role of GE like a duck to water except for a minor slip-up. Who would have forgotten when she sounded “cheang, cheang, cheang” akin to sounds created when one strikes the Chinese gongs, during her evaluation. It was an allusion and a subtle reminder to the TME that next time please, please make sure that the meeting program is printed out and distributed to everybody attending the meeting. I hear you Jessy – loud and clear!

    General Evaluation

  8. Jessy’s team players executed their roles punctiliously without a hitch – speech evaluators, Ah-Counter (Joseph Tham) and Time-Keeper (Levin). Regarding the language evaluation, one of the words that were wrongly used was “beautifulness”. Ahem! The correct word should be “beauty!” as pointed out by Jessy.

  9. Oops, I almost forgot to mention the theme chosen by me for the meeting that night – “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” words borrowed from the back cover of the last issue of the “Whole Earth Catalog” published in 1974 and immortalized by the King of Tech aka (the late) Steve Jobs in his Commencement Speech delivered at Stanford University, Calif., USA in June 2005.

  10. Do you all realized that both Steve Jobs and the late Ralph C. Smedley started their business/organization from very humble and obscure beginnings? One was in his father’s garage in Cupertino, Calif. and the other in the basement of YMCA in Santa Ana, also in Calif. These two exemplary and admirable icons were the shakers and movers in their respective fields and areas of specialization. I have immense respect for them for they have transformed the lives and lifestyles of many people in the world today through their vision, creativity and imagination!
Overall, I enjoyed playing the role of TME that night. It refreshed my learning curve and skills as an emcee which have slackened somewhat. There is always room for improvement!

And to all the role players, thank you for carrying out your roles so gallantly and responsibly despite the “cheang, cheang, cheang” from the GE. With or without the printed meeting program, as far as our Club is concerned, the show must go on!

Last but not the least, heaps of thanks also go to the audience – toastmasters and guests especially to Ivy Fung, DPRO District 87 who has recently relocated to KL from Sabah - for being supportive, encouraging and lending your ears!

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Written By
Henry Fu
21st Nov 2011