Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Meeting on 13 Nov 2007

When I write this report after each meeting, I do really wonder what the readers would really want to see. Do they want to see pictures or words and I believe most of them would like to see pictures but if there is no picture what would people like to read? I guess, each person looks for different thing and honestly, I just do not know how to satisfy most of the readers. With this in mind I would try and vary my style and hopefully, I can cater for a larger group of people and primarily the members of my club.

Our VPE has named the meeting "Let's Advance" perhaps due to the two Advanced Speakers for the night and the word of the day was Regroup, meaning make a fresh start. I guess again, he wants us to reinvent ourselves, relook at ourselves and progress. This is hard to do for most people as we always look at ourselves differently than what we project. How do we reconcile with this issue? Any debaters?

The VPE took on the President role for the early part of the meeting as we expect the President to be slightly late due to her work schedule. Don't worry Madam President, our VPE is sincere in wanting to help you out. We started almost puctually only 240 seconds late. I believe it is acceptable even at MII.

Our TME Joyce who has been away, busy with her travelling commitment, made a grand come back. I must say that she fully prepared herself for the job and as the GE Ramdas Nayar DTM, commended her for her efforts. It is heartening to see someone prepares for her task or role inspite of her heavy work commitment. Well done Joyce

Anna took on the stage to handle the Invocation and she indirectly whack our VPE for slotting the role at the last moment. Well, not to blame our VPE as he has to juggle the roles to get every member coming for the meeting to participate. To Anna I must also commend her for shortening her her stay overseas and pay extra money to return early so that she can attend our meeting.

Our Past Area Governor James from Friendship came to handle the TTE but was reschedule to take on the Evaluator for Mohamad's Speech. Instead Anna was given the task and she did a fine job by doing a general evaluation of the speakers. Our VPE handles the TT Session with a great topic like Durex Survey which state that Malaysian Men had 9 partners and Malaysian Women had 2 partners. Most speakers did not agree with this but the response from the speakers seemed to reflect their wisdom and knowledge on how to avoid touching on sensitive points when handling delicate issues.

Levine tries her hand at delivering a Humour Session and I know she tried but the audience were not supportive and that includes me. Anyway, don't worry Lovingly, (Levine Lee)you tried. Volunteer further and one day you will get it right.

Dinner we had vegetraian mutton curry and I saw our GE happily going for a few rounds at it. He seemed truly enjoys our food.

We were supposed to have four Assignment Speakers but two of them make way for Adam and Mohamad to deliver their loooooong speeches. Mohamad delivers his ACL "Speech by Management" Manual #1 entitled the Briefing, talks about setting up a Wish Committee in his company to fulfill his team members wishes. Adam talks about Negotiation skills and tried to convince our President to move the meeting to his Condo where there are plenty of foreign young girls students. Due to time the negotiation was called off and we may form a small group (for guys only) to work on Adam's project.

Two Past Area Governors James and Masdiana handled the Speech Evaluation and both seemed to be politically correct by giving the Speaker a white-wash. Grammarian for the day is our Foo Chow President from France Monsiuer Tilaka, our Ahcountant is Lovingly Levine Lee and our Tag Heuer (Ho yeh) Man is FC Ho.

Our lovely President Sherine Lim gave away the prizes for the Best Role Player and Table topics Speaker to our General Evaluator Ramdas Nayar and Most Friendly person for the night went to our Humour Master cum Treasurer Lovingly Levine Lee. After that she announced that our next COTS will be on 1 Dec at a time and place to be announced and we will be celbrating our 16th Anniversay on 27 Nov 2007 at our meeting venue. Guest Speaker has been invited and members ought to bring their friends and family members to join us.

The Closding Ode was carried out by Mohamad and he said, "Everytime we meet everything has been laid out for you, the roles has been organised, the room well alid out and the food properly arranged - let's thank the people who has done this behind the scene and never got a word of thanks." This message was primarily to our President Sherine, our VPE Leong and our Treasurer Levine. Oh yes, he also gave a quotation for all before parting, "We don't work for each other, we work with each other." "Good attitude amongst members of the club do not guarantee a success but bad attitudes guarantee its failure." Just ponder over this and let me have your feedback, whoever you are.

Before I sign off let us thank Masdiana for bringing her colleague at Yayasan Sin Chew Miss Ho and Joyce her colleague from Schneider elctric Mr Lim Ah Hwai. What about the rest? Identify your guest NOW for the next meeting which is our Anniversary Meeting.

Your Blogmaster

Monday, November 12, 2007

Division W Humourous and Evaluation Speech Contests

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon 27 October 2007 when i was supposed to be relaxing at home with my children, I took time off to go to the Women's Institute of Management to lend support to my dear friend and member of MII Toastmasters Club competing at the Evlatuation Speech contest at the Division level. I felt my time was wasted as the quality of the Speakers and Judges were beyond my expectation.

This review I must state is my personal observation and has nothing to do with the club and if there is anything that I have said that cause some parties to be angry I plead forgiveness in advance as I hold on to the concept that Toastmasters is about expressing yourself and what better way then to express your true self; minus the hippocrity and white washing stuff.

In my almost 3 decades involvement in Toastmasters what I see is the standard of our judging a contest has been steam rolled down. I just wonder where the real judges are? To me it is a shame for someone at Division Level to be judged by people who has not even contested at any level or gone through a Judges' Workshop. I know some of the people may say that this is Toastmasters and standards are not required but I wish to defer.

We are all in Toastmasters to improve our standard and when we are good and selected by our club to represent at Area Level we expect a higher degree of judging and organisation but I don't see this happening. Judges are hidden from all of us and we are not transparent about who they are. Why is this so? Can we get strangers to be our judges or someone who just join us for a day to be a judge? I am sure the experienced Chief Judge would not succumb to such a level when we have abundance of qualified and experienced person. Yet, who knows?

I think we should demand more transparency here and publicise who the judges are and what their qualifications to judge at such level. If this does not happen I am afraid that Toastmasters will never improve their standards and we cannot hold ourselves as Toastmasters. The good speakers and Evaluators may shy away from competing and we get mediocres to represent our area and the rest I need not say.

I am sure if there is a panel of Judges at different levels, we will be able to give some dignity to our contest otherwise, all these contests are a mere waste of time. Judges must be prequalified before they are chosen by the Chief Judge. One of the main criteria for a member to be a Judge must be he or she must have a CTM or CC and CL. On top of this he or she must have taken part in Speech contests before at Area level for him or her to judge at Area level. This conditions should also prevail at higher level meaning for Division Level he or she must have contested at Division level and for district he or she must have contested at district level.

After establishing our District for over 10 years now I am sure we do have more than 10 Contestents at District Level to be given the honour to judge at district level. I don't think we don't have the numbers, it is how we give dignity to the judges.

Going back to the Division Contest, it is my personal opinion that the Humourous Speakers were only stand-up comedians. In fact the test speaker was more humourous. On the Evaluation contest, I may be bias in this as my club member is participating but by any standard I thought she should be placed first runner up if not the Champion considering her confidence and also the quality of her evaluation and delivery. Anyway, I may branded as bias but I know those who knows enough and were present at the contest would understand.

In conclusion, I appeal to the leaders in the District to do something about this state of affairs before the whole system goes down the drain. In business we are now competing with the best in the world,trying to reinvent ourselves in the process of corporate governance and market liberalisation but here it looks totally opposite. We are in Toastmasters to improve ourselves and let us do it properly.

Mohamad Abdullah

Meeting on 23 October 2007

The theme for the meeting is REJOICE and the word of the day is also Rejoice. As the Grammarian had stated in the example of the word, "We should all rejoice in our country's 50 years of independence".

The TME was Mohamad Abdullah and he promised that the meeting starts on time and will end on time. He kept his word and the best Speaker was Mike Teng who got 20 Minutes to deliver his Speech but takes only 8 minutes to finish.

Since the meeting was more than three weeks ago, I hate to apolgogise to our President that I could not keep my promise of reporting this promptly, hence the information I had has been erased from my memory bank.

I like to make this blog interesting but somehow, I find my creativity skill seemed to disappear. Hope there are friends out there who could help me out and whatever you are recommending would not take too much time as year end is just around the corner and for me a poor insurance broker, this is our busiest time of the year.