Sunday, October 31, 2010

Torn Between Toastmasters & SUN-U

On Friday, I went to The Legend, KL for the Toastmasters International – District 51: 18th Semi Annual Convention – having arrived just in time for the District Council meeting. At least, I was glad that punctuality was adhered to, and so the meeting actually commenced at 2:00 PM on the dot. To be sure, I participated actively in the proceedings. I stood up no less than 5 times to express my views on some specific matters discussed. I certainly don’t believe in being passive.

But that was my only “convention activity” because I had to excuse myself from the Welcome Night Dinner. Instead, I went to another dinner – the Sun-U Staff Party at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Center. Between Toastmasters and my employer – obviously, I will choose the latter! The theme was “Jungle Rumble”, and yes, I had a great time! And to make it materially worthwhile for me, I even won two RM50 Gift Vouchers from Harvey Norman in Lucky Draw 4!

Yesterday, the convention program in Day 2 was mainly filled with plenary sessions. The only interesting ones involved K Loghandran (above left) and Paisal Sae Lor (above right), two experienced Toastmasters – the rest were just pedestrian, plodding and platitudinous. Personally, I was disappointed. To me, it is a Toastmasters convention – therefore, plenary speakers should focus on topics related to Toastmastering, either in the areas of public speaking and/or leadership. And if we have in-house talents, why should we invite outsiders? What's more, the opening ceremony was graced by Koh Tsu Koon and his presence speared my own political sensibilities because in the government today, he is a real jackass of a “minister” whom I cannot respect! Sure, I could understand if he graced the Pan-SEA Convention way back in May 1996 – then, he was the Chief Minister of Penang after all.

Again, I did not attend the Gala Nite because I had another dinner, this time at Sunway University College itself – an event organized by the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Management, where I partook Korean and Japanese cuisine in a fine dining setting. It was a 5-course meal, deliciously described as Five Layers of Sinfulness! And I must confess, I enjoyed it very much!

Today, the last day of the Toastmasters convention saw the finals of the Humorous speech and Evaluation competitions. The champion for the former was Ooi Ing Chyuan and for the latter, the winner was Muthukumaran. Personally, I would vote for Bernard Louis but regrettably he came in second place. And the organizers use Stephen Fernando as their test speaker – which made it very challenging for those who know him personally! But it is good to remember that there is no perfect speech – and I am sure even Stephen will acknowledge this.

After having been to Miri and now Kuala Lumpur, I have yet to find a Toastmasters Convention that meets my expectations. Hopefully, Penang can deliver in April 2011.

Oh yes, special thanks to Mike Cheang and Suresh for providing transport on Friday, Arun on Saturday and Mike again on Sunday!

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