Monday, October 12, 2009

Advanced Communicator Bronze

Today, at the KL Advanced Toastmasters Club meeting, I concluded my twentieth speech from the time I joined Toastmasters last year. And this is also assignment # 4 “Read Out Loud” from the Specialty Speeches manual. I chose an excerpt from the book "Ripples and Other Stories" – an anthology of Malaysian short stories, all written by Shih-Li Kow. I picked a simple tale titled “A Woman’s Work”. I did this reading in 11 minutes and 41 seconds – 19 seconds too short! When I was rehearsing this piece earlier in the day - 4 times to be exact - I did it from between 12 to13 minutes. I guess I must have started a wee bit too fast at the beginning; some additional pauses could have helped me stretch my time.
Anyway, Philip Wong, who evaluated me, thought I did well and he was particularly impressed with my conversational style of reading. Overall, I was judged to have demonstrated “excellent vocal variety and facial expressions” – but he thought my decision to sit while reading somewhat “limited (my) body movements”.
So now that I have completed the 10 speeches from two Advanced manuals, I have earned the accolade, Advanced Communicator Bronze. This whole process took me exactly 3 months and 3 days – a splendid achievement, if I may say so myself.

Even in the weird and wonderful world of the fashion mannequin, discrimination is frighteningly present. "Black mannequins don't sell," said Marc Lacroix, a manager at one of the world's leading producers, Paris-based Cofrad which also owns Los Angeles firm Patina-V, a maker of ethnically diverse fashion mannequins.
"Black and Asian models have been doing fine for a long time in the US, and we have customers in Britain. But in France, Germany and Austria, forget it!" he said. "The Anglo-Saxon world it seems is more open-minded than the old continent."

"Asian customers," Lacroix added, "which often represent big global labels, prefer European-looking mannequins as they have a more universal appeal."

Mannequins come in all shapes, colors and sizes but always come apart – just like jointed artists' models made of a head, body, legs and arms. "We only sell headless limbless bodies to Saudi customers," he said. "Couture clients too often like them headless as they want potential buyers to focus first on the clothes."
"Mannequins are very important," said Helene Lafourcade, who heads visual merchandising for French department store giant Galeries Lafayette. "They're not just objects you stand up in the store. They're static salespeople," added Lafourcade, who reckons mannequins multiply sales fourfold.

This October 04, 2009 story was taken from webpage And why should we be surprised about this discrimination? After all, mannequins are modeled after us humans, right?

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