Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good bye Bazari

Tall, dark, handsome, eloquent. I first met lawyer Ahmed Bazari at the Butterworth Toastmasters Club. Bazari said that he wished he had discovered Toastmasters earlier. Both Bazari and his wife Bashira became active Toastmasters. They brought their children to Toastmasters meetings and events. Bazari won many speech contests, became Butterworth Club President, Area N1 Governor and Division N Governor. Both of us flew to Medan to help charter the Medan First Toastmasters Club and Bazari was one of the club sponsors. During the term 1997-98, Distinguished Toastmaster Ahmed Bazari was awarded the District 51 Toastmaster of the Year.

Good bye my friend Bazari. We will always remember you fondly and lovingly. Rest In Peace.

Happy Thaipusam - January 30, 2010

Wishing all Hindu Toastmasters, "Happy Thaipusam".

Thaipuisam is a public holiday and major Hindu festival in Penang Island. Today, I visited the Penang Waterfalls Garden to witness this colorful 3 days event where fulfilment of vows of piercing or carrying a kavadi or offering of metal containers of milk with music in the air, dancing in the street, Indian families out in their best and gawking of Western tourists and photo enthusiasts. Like a Toastmasters meeting or Toastmasters speech contest or Toastmasters convention, you have to be there to experience it. The "TM" is not Toastmasters but Telekoms Malaysia. Enjoy the photo clips.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Speech Contest in 2010

Tonight was the first speech contest that I had attended for Year 2010. It was Butterworth Toastmasters Club International Speech and Table Topics Contest. Time: 7:30 pm. Date: Wednesday January 27, 2010. Place: Fire Room, 10th Floor, Suntech. Next to Bayan Baru Sunshine Square.

The total number of contestants was 4 but the high quality of the speeches made up for the low number. I was not a contest judge - just a member of the audience enjoying the performances.

In the International Speech Contest rules, every contestant has to sign the eligibility form that their speech is substantially original. Any material borrowed or any story used from another source must quoted and quoted material must not predominate the speech otherwise it is no longer original anyway.

Glad to say that all the speeches that I heard were based on personal experiences and very original - topics varied from there is no such definition as a failure, avoiding doing things last minute and be wary of your speech and action as the walls have ears and the ceiling has eyes.

For the topic given in Tables Topics, if it is gender biased or if the topic is not clearly constructed, complicated or grammatically incorrect or is not read out clearly, it can be unfair or the contestants may struggle to speak on the topic and hence not bring out their best performances.

But glad to said that the topic given tonight did not had any of these pitfalls. I do not remember the original wordings but that topic given was something along "If you can go back to any age for a week which age would you choose and why?"

The double champion of both contests was WP Lee. Congratulations! All contestants, as they say, are winners too.

It was a celebration for all as WP gave us a treat at postcontest supper at nearby Old Towne. A car load of MEF Toastmasters from Seberang Perai who came for the contest also joined in the fellowship.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"A Tale to Two Clubs" - Bayan Baru and Butterworth Toastmasters Clubs

I was semi-active if there is such a word in Toastmasters last year in 2009. In 2010, I began the year 2010 with some newfound wonder and enthusiasm. I attended my club meeting on Thursday night on the first week of January and visited my former club on Wednesday night on the second week of January. Now that is 100% attendance.

It was a tale of two clubs. One a larger club and the other a smaller club.

Bayan Baru had about 30 members and guests in attendance while Butterworth had 10 members and guests. Both are clubs uphold their tradition of excellence. Both Club Presidents announced during the meeting their incoming annual club level international speech and table topic speech contests. Bayan Baru is 14 years old and Butterworth is 30 years old.

I found the meeting program formats are similar except with these minor differences:
1) Bayan Baru has the table topics session in the first half of the meeting before break and the project speakers in the second half. Butterworth has it in the reverse - project speeches first then table topics.

2) At Butterworth, the General Evaluator calls all the ah counter, timer, grammarian reports and table topics evaluator and project evaluator. At Bayan Baru, the Toastmaster of the meeting calls all the evaluators.

Bayan Baru has great food during break. This meeting was no exception with options of fried noodles or rice (vegatarian) and pizzas. There were 4 project speakers and an invited guest speaker - a doctor who talked on prevention of stomach and colon cancer. Photographs of every meeting are taken throughout the meeting and shared online.

Butterworth is small and cozy and thus allows all members, role players and guests to take part in the table topics sessions with challenging topics like "Man cannot see his reflection on running water but on still water". The meeting room is impressive - the state of the art at the 10th floor of Suntec @Cyber City. Any member who uttered a total of 5 ahs or more throughout the meeting pays a small fine.

Both club meetings are value for time spent and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, laughed a lot and learned from fellow Toastmasters. Well done to Bayan Baru Club President Jessica Teo and Butterworth Club President Ooi Wei Nien and their exco comittee and members. Keep your club banners flying high.

"A picture paints a thousand words"

Happy New Year 2010 - Year of the Tiger to all fellow Toastmasters in Malaysia and around the world.

I received a set of humorous photos by email - the source is anonymous. The photos are very Malaysian and have a poignant message to be told. Don't you agree they will be great for Table Topics - show and tell. Thanks to the photographers for sharing.