The meeting started a little late, though 10 minutes but the club is not tolerant to lateness, eventhough the traffic is notorious. The meeting went a little out of the ordinary to create a little creativity and also to accommodate practical situations.
We have the President introducing a speaker and the speaker introducing the TME - to accommodate the Speaker's assignment as an emcee. The speaker is Thilo and the TME is Leong; both a past president of the club.
Everything went well especially with the Table Topics Session. Ho a right brainer came out with creative topics going against the culture, norm and tradition that startled our table topics volunteers. Philip, Garry, Masdiana, Willy and Wei Lyn got the chance to participate and I reckon the audience like Wei Lyn response and gave her the Award of BTT Speaker.
Since the new member did not turn up for the meeting, I guess it must be due to the trafic we had to skip this session and go straight up for our dinner.
Dinner was always good and for this meeting it was slightly better as we celebrate the Tiger year starting with Yee Sang a Malaysian favourite during the Chinese New Year.
After dinner we had the normal speech making and again the Assignment Speaker Thilo takes over to introduce the various speakers. He specially took extra time to introduce Mohamad who will be doing his Area Contest Speech entitled KILL KILL KILL.
After that the General Evaluator Dr Gan Eng Meng was called to conduct the Open Evaluation. Whilst PP Anna and PP Philip was assigned to do the evaluation but by the number of hands raised it looks like everyone wants to express themselves.
Anna's opinion is that the title is too negative and should be changed. She recommended that the story be expanded. On the Rumour side she suggested to bring the Tan Sri Lim's story to give more impact.
Philip commented that Mohamad did not give enough punch. He suggested more drama and should capitalise on May 13.
Next came Thilo who supported Philip's suggestion by giving more vocal variety, facial expression and also show the wound to add credibility. At the same time he said that audience may not be happy to ban the media as they need to receive information from the media.
After the three PP spoke, a rookie Jerene Yap states that Mohamad had too many glitches and too casual in his delivery. She suggeted to use a few more power words to add impact.
Surprisingly we also had a guess who volunteered to stand and state his views. I can't remember his name but by the end of the meeting he had already signed up as a member. Shame on me for not remembering his name. Anyway, he rightly commented that Mohamad must make a stand as to what he believes in. He must state his argument with pros and cons and give the example of the controversy in the use of the term ALLAH.
Our General Evaluator too could not hold herself and wanted to express her comments. She concurs with Anna that the title be changed and Mohamad should not whack the word 'whack' as it is mentioned too often. She also observed that Mohamad also looks down a little and should give more eye contact.
Our IPP then stood up and suggested that the title should be "The Biggest Loser" and Mohamad should focus on hatemails.
Finally, Mohamad's wife could not stand it anymore as she too likes to take this opportunity to whack her husband in public and yet would be praised for it. She counter suggested that the title be "For the sake of...." She also suggested that Mohamad talk less about his experience and May 13, just give a little info on his personal experience and move on. At the same time she felt that his transition was not smooth.
Everyone thought it was over but S Ho insisted on taking the floor and spoke like he never spoke before. He gave one of his best speech I ever heard. He spoke with conviction, vocal variety and facial expression. He said, "I know Mohamad has given better speeches before with all the ingredients of facial expression, vocal variety, drama, etc." He then said, on Mohamad comments on his wife remarks to him, 'to whack the Chinese back' he felt that it was hanging and not very clear.
Finally, Mohamad stands up and thank all for giving their feedback and have agreed to improve his speech taking all their recommendations. However, to change the title to The Biggest Loser does not seemed right to him as the Contest Chair will introduce him like this, "Mohamad Abdullah, The Biggest Loser; The Biggest Loser, Mohamad Abdullah". Instead he may consider changing it to "For the sake of ...Mohamad Abdullah".
The meeting ends with Best Role Player to Lim Ah Whai for his Time Keeping and Adam as Most Friendly. Attendance at the meeting was 17 members 4 guests and 1 visitng TM.
A special interview with Mohamad after the meeting:
Editor: What do you think about the Evaluation given by the members of your club?
Mohamad: I have always appreciated the confidence of others in evaluating me as a blessing. An evaluation is a positive feedback and it is a gift. Only when people have faith and trust in you that they will give the 'gift' or feedback. Many would have just lock it in their hearts for fear of a reprisal.
Editor: Why do you allow people to tear you down in public?
Mohamad: I don't consider it as a 'tear me down'. I consider this as a family gathering where we express ourselves for the sake of improving each other with no malice or evil intention. We want each other to be better and at the end of it our family/club can be better and well respected by other families or clubs.
Editor: You have been a Toastmasters for 30 years and most of them are less than 3 years.
Mohamad: It is not the number of years in Toastmasters that makes you a better and a know all. The longer you are in Toastmasters, the more you will learn that you know less and less. In fact, the new members will give you better feedback as they are the audience who will be doing the listening and they will share with you what they perceive your speech to be and how it impacted them. They do not have any preconceive ideas about you or the speech.
Editor: A member of another club who said that he has been an Area Governor and involved in judging said that your speech is political and racial in nature. What do you say about this?
Mohamad: This subject has been covered many times. Toastmasters International have also responded to us on this and that is there is nothing that we cannot say in a speech contest. As Toastmasters we should be responsible enough to speak without malice to any one person, race or beliefs. If the judges deemed my speech as political then I consider them as incompetent.
Editor: Are you happy with the response from the members?
Mohamad: I am grateful to the members and I know sincerely in my hearts that they want me to be better and that is a great gift you can receive from your family members.