The 3 things we most often forget in our life, fireworks, plastic bags and posters
In today’s meeting, there was a common thread I found within all the prepared speeches, which is the things that occasionally slip our minds during the busy schedules of our everyday life. Listing them in no particular order, they are our friends, family and the willingness to step out of our comfort zone.
Carolyn who was doing her Project 1: The Ice Breaker, gave an insightful account of her not too typical holiday in Daocheng/Yading, which she described as one of the most challenging encounters of her life. She had to cope with snow and hailstorms, physical exertions while at the same time getting use to the altitude sickness due to it being 4411m above sea level. To put this in perspective, she gave the example of Singapore’s highest point, Bukit Timah Hill, as being a mere 163m above sea level. What made this trip meaningful to her though, was her encounter with her tour guide, an elderly uncle with a horse that brought her around during her stay there. His sunny disposition, despite being located in such a harsh impoverished area, gave her strength to appreciate the journey and that the most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful sceneries, showing photographs of the amazing natural vistas. Ending off with a meaningful quote, “a ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship is built for”, joining NUS Toastmasters to her is another step in being out of her comfort zone and I am sure this is a start of another meaningful journey.
Another Project 1 speaker, Sammel, had a similar theme as well. Starting off by giving a frank account of how a school presentation gone wrong (finishing his 50mins speech in 5mins) led to him being given the nickname “The Flash”, he chose to react positively to it by joining NUS toastmasters. He set a goal for himself to speak weekly as he believes that only through practice, can one develop the skills and confidence necessary to face such an encounter again. His sincerity can be seen in him volunteering for the table topics beforehand despite having his speech after and reflects his determination to become a better speaker and if this continues, perhaps his nickname would be a reflection of how he is super-hero like in the future, being able to think on his feet.
On the topic of family was Wang Jun where he explained the origin of the Mid-Autumn festival and the mooncake being a symbol of family togetherness. When he was young, he was mostly concerned with whether there was that tasty yolk in the center of the mooncake for him to enjoy and the sipping of tea while admiring the moon was lost to him. However when he grew older, he understood the real meaning of the festival, of spending time together and growing family bonds. This is reflected with everyone sharing a slice from the same mooncake, and it was an enlightening thought which I had not considered beforehand.
Last but not least was Ardina’s Project 9 on the importance of friends after going through high school/jc life. During her junior college years, she felt she was overly focused on achievements and did not take time to expand her social circle. This was felt keenly during her birthday and when she was sick, where she felt almost invisible with no one showing concern. Mindful of this, she begun to be more friendly and active in university and to her surprise, she easily found people who were of the same course and had shared interests with her. She thus exhorts us to step out of the small circle of our comfort zone to the large circle of the wider world, “where the magic happens” and hopes we would not make the similar mistake of thinking that achievements are everything.
Concluding, the lesson I took away from today was that sometimes it takes a mistake or negative experience to realize what we need to improve on and through NUS Toastmasters, we can hear from people who already made them and reflect on whether we are in the process of committing a similar one. The effort and sincerity of the speeches shone through and that’s what makes me come down for every chapter meeting.
To end off, I take Tse Wei’s half sung one-liner from Katy Perry, “do you ever feel, like a plastic bag?”. NUS Toastmasters is the place to step out of your comfort zone where everyone is welcome and together we aim to express ourselves better and be like fireworks in the sky. Happy recess week everyone!
(P.S: When you next meet Perry, our member and not the famous singer, commend the NUSTM poster for its stunning aesthetics as he designed it)
Contributed by: Ng Jian Yao (PR Subcom)