Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Morbid Speeches

Last evening’s Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting was going to feature three speakers – and I had decided not to speak – so when I was preparing the agenda the day before, I purposely excluded myself. That would have been a refreshing change because my fellow Indrahanians might have found it tiresome to listen to me speak almost every fortnightly. But alas, one speaker made a last-minute withdrawal yesterday and I was again obliged to come forth and deliver a speech from the CC Manual – this time, speech # 6: Vocal Variety, a grim and mournful narrative titled “Mama!” It was really off the cuff and off the hip, unplanned and unrehearsed, impromptu and extemporaneous. I think my last few speeches have been somewhat melodramatic, even yesterday’s speech was emotive and poignant! I am becoming soppy! Help! I am transforming into a metrosexual! Urgh-gh-gh-gh!

It kinda freaked me out when Durai served us his CC speech # 4 when he also spoke about death. How morbid! Fortunately, Thian Seng, as the third and last speaker lightened up the atmosphere with his advanced speech from the Humorously Speaking manual, speech # 3: Keep Them Laughing. Phew! Although it wasn't the hysterically hilarious type of speech, it did put a smile on everybody's faces! He was talking about the members' trip to FRIM on Saturday.

Anyway, this evening saw me winning two ribbons for being the Best Table Topics Speaker and the Best Project Speaker. A good meeting as usual.

Also yesterday, in Parliament, the debate on Budget 2011 became heated when Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan claimed that Najib’s speech at the UMNO General Assembly had frightened her. She was referring to Najib’s call on UMNO members to defend Putrajaya, the seat of government, at all costs. She even read out an excerpt of the speech, and said the Prime Minister should be there to explain his utterances.

Sri Gading MP Mohamad Aziz tried many times to interject Fong even as she refused to give way. The UMNO fella persisted, saying: “I wish to clarify to you... all those were proverbial phrases meant to lift the spirit. You (Fong) don’t understand Malay proverbs... No need for explanation on the speech.” Whatever he may say, the fact remains that the speech was provocative. Whether we take it to mean literally or figuratively, Najib must know that every Malaysian will interpret it in his or her own way, so he cannot blame the citizenry if they were bemused. Of course, many of us were alarmed at the fiery words and phrases – I was too! Still Mohamad insisted that “Our Prime Minister is a responsible man” and yes, I laughed like a drain.

I read in Singapore’s Straits Times yesterday that BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley had accused politicians and the media on Monday of being too quick on the trigger to pin all the blame on his company for the Gulf of Mexico spill. And that was his first major public speech since taking the top job.

“We were certainly not perfect in our response, but we have tried to do the right thing,” Dudley had said. Before assuming office on October 1, he was in charge of BP's spill response efforts in the Gulf. And he even went so far as to claim that the US needs a company with BP's resources to meet its vast energy needs. Okay, we hear you loud and clear, Dudley. He is blunt and direct and why not? He is an American after all!

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