Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Whipping for Gig Organizers

Image: @Enrique Iglesias on Instagram
Sri Lanka's president Maithripala Sirisena was reported to be convulsing with anger when he learned about the frenetic frenzy that was whipped up during an Enrique Iglesias concert in Colombo on December 20, 2015. It was part of the Latin singer's ‘Sex and Love’ world tour.
It is said that female fans became so excited that they felt compelled to remove their bras and panties and even started throwing them at 40-year old Iglesias, besides running to the stage to hug and kiss him.  

Sirisena described their actions as the "most uncivilized behavior that goes against our culture" but then  he turned his attention to the gig organizers and said they should be "whipped with toxic stingray tails", referring to a medieval method of punishment used on hardened criminals.
[Note: In conservative Sri Lankan society, public displays of affection, even among married couples, are frowned upon. Police are known to have arrested courting couples for kissing in public parks or seafront promenades].
My mind turned to Toastmasters. I reckon it is because my mind is Toastmasters-wired. And I recollected that some Toastmasters too had gone overboard. 

At Division J’s Humorous Speech contest on November 08, 2015, one female contestant fished out an underwear and a male contestant flaunted a bra. Another contestant made full-mouthed farting sounds. Their acts were unquestionably in poor taste.
It is sad that these Toastmasters didn’t trust themselves enough; that they didn’t want to rely on language to impress and entertain; that they must hide behind crass comedy and called it ‘humorous speech’.
It is important to know that we are Toastmasters, not stand-up comedians. 

Maybe, I am old school but if we cannot express our thoughts, articulate our ideas, verbalize our feelings and then put everything into words – then I don’t believe we should call ourselves Toastmasters.   
This photo shows only one box full of trophies I had won over the years. They are all from Toastmasters contests, whether Humorous Speech, Speech Evaluation, Table Topics and International Speech – at Club, Area and/or Division levels and I am getting rid of them.
I call it my ritual of cleaning out letdowns and grief and for the small achievements. But yet, it fills me with a measure of sadness because it is like I am throwing away a part of myself.
And then I sobered up. I had recalled what Haruki Murakami (“Kafka on the Shore”) had said: Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”

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