Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stupendous Role-Play

Today, we received RM16 for our HELP for Haiti Fund, and the total amount collected so far stands at RM8,036. We are extending this campaign to April 15, 2010.

At the D’Utama Advanced Toastmasters Club meeting this evening, I took on the role of Table Topics Master. My topics revolved around the ‘Word of the Day’, which was ”stupendous”. E.g. My stupendous appetite, my stupendous love, my stupendous adventure. What was most gratifying was to see all five Table Topics speakers coming from the willing ranks of non-Toastmasters – they were first-time guests from Western Digital.

I also assisted Foong Weng Tuck in his assignment speech from the advanced manual “Interpersonal Communication”, by acting as a complaining tenant. The purpose of this project was for the speaker (i.e. Foong) to role play with another member (i.e. me) responding to, determining the cause of, and diffusing verbal criticism. Interesting.

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Two Blackhawk helicopters airlifted Thai government ministers yesterday after protesting Red Shirts stormed into Parliament in a dramatic escalation of their bid to topple the Abhisit government. So far, Thailand’ security apparatus has refrained from using force to disperse the tens of thousands of protestors, who have swarmed the capital, disrupting traffic and causing major shopping centers to shut (The Sun, April 08, 2010, p 10).

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In fact, the authorities had mounted a heavy security presence, deploying 50,000 personnel at one point to try to contain the dissent, which drew as many as 100,000 people, according to some news reports. BBC News informed that this current bout of red-shirt rallies began on March 12 – so it is already 4 days short of a month that Bangkok was submerged under a red tsunami of raucous demonstrations! Yet the authorities displayed remarkable restraint!

The army, an important participant in Thai politics, has surprised many by appearing to want no part in suppressing the protests. "We can't [use force] since it will cause losses," the Bangkok Post newspaper quoted army chief General Anupong Paojinda as saying on Tuesday. "They all are Thais" (Webpage

Imagine that! In Malaysia, you can be sure that we would very easily overreact. On Day One itself, the FRU troops will form into unyielding phalanxes of stern resoluteness and then advance to quickly snuff out any protests. We can surely learn something from our neighbors. They can teach us the virtue of tolerance. That’s why we should emulate Thailand – truly a vibrant democracy!

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