The first chapter of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich says it all. Thoughts are things. An ideology, a concept or a simple hope could spark at any given moment and it takes a great visionary, a hopeful dreamer, a transformational leader to take that of which merely exists in the mind and materialize it.
And who would have known that what started in a small basement in Santa Ana, California on the 22nd of October 1924 would end up flourishing on the 3rd floor of MCA PJ Selatan on the 23rd of January 2018.
As a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so did the journey to Money-Mastery KL Toastmasters’ (MMKL) 400th meeting. An ordinary meeting with an extraordinary history behind it.
Themed “A Flourished 400th”, the meeting was set to go despite the heavy rain. Even the sky was crying with joy for our 400th. Our respectable Immediate Past President, Ron Yeap, Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB), Competent Leader (CL) called the meeting to order and we got into mode. Something about reading the 2nd half of our Toastmasters’ promise that night that made us recollect why we were all here as Toastmasters.
The beautiful President, Wendy Sim, Competent Communicator (CC) who sponsored golden 400 shaped balloons for the occasion came on stage to give her admirable address of our 400th meeting. She welcomed the guests, speaking of which, it was nothing but a pure privilege to have with us for the special night a VIP as our General Evaluator (GE). We were blessed with the presence of District 102 Director, Azizah Abu Hassan, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) as our GE for our 400th meeting. Alongside we were visited by Division C Director, Danny Bong, ACS, CL.
The first time Grammarian and our newest member, Xavier Gomez introduced the word of the day “Vigour” with much vigour indeed and following on all the members and guests spoke on their feet during the introduction about the theme whilst applying the word of the day.
Oh, we had past presidents still full of vigour take us on a nostalgic ride as they spoke of their first memories at MMKL. It was surreal today’s introduction as even I recollected the moment I first set foot into the door of MMKL as a guest. It’s not just the doors that are open here but the arms of the members that extend straight to their hearts as well. You wouldn’t find camaraderie and friendship elsewhere like how you find it in MMKL. Which is why I vividly remember my sentence as a guest 1.5 years ago before I even signed up as a member “I think… I’ve fallen in love with this club”.
We then had one of our pioneer members, Hj. Hashim Adnan, DTM, the jolly golfer who’s always having a cheery smile on his face to deliver us an impactful invocation speech. It was melancholy but uplifting, it was simple but thought provoking, it was full of variety but with a steady purpose as well. Friendship. Revolving around the motto of our club “Friends Helping Friends Succeed”, Hj. Hashim delivered like a true Toastmaster and left us with some food for thought.
The impromptu, fun-filled Table Topics ™ session thus followed, with our Table Topics ™ Master of the evening, Crystal Chen, ACB, Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB). Crystal played this role in the club for the first time but managed to string an array of topics that were absolutely apt to the occasion. Members from the floor Nini, KL Loh, Advanced Toastmaster Gold (ATMG), Hj. Hashim, DTM and Danny attempted at them and tested their abilities.
Alas, we moved on to the Project Speech Session with our first speaker, myself, Chitirra, who carried out my CC7: Research Your Topic with a speech entitled “Insomnia”. Something I tend to struggle with as I type this blog out at 4.15am when clearly I could be sleeping. I spoke of its symptoms, causes and some simple self-help remedies that could suppress the condition.
Next we had 3 Pathway Project speeches, all of which were from the Path “Presentation Mastery”.
The second speaker was K T Chok, with his Ice Breaker, “The Rising Sun”. He spoke of his origins from Tawau, Sabah and his passion for compounding figures as an investment banker. From Borneo Boy to Banker Boy, indeed KT himself is a rising sun.
Next we had, Dato Dr. Mary de Silva deliver her Project 2: Evaluation & Feedback speech entitled “Yes”. Dato Dr. Mary may be a new member but she speaks like a true professional and “Yes” her speeches contain so much valuable lessons all the time. This time she summarised Jim Carrey’s movie ‘Yes Man’ and shared with us on how a ‘Yes’ to take up a simple task, can take us a long way in life.
Last but not least, we had Olivia Chen also do her Project 2: Evaluation & Feedback speech. Whilst Mary’s was full of vigour, Olivia’s was full of peace. It was serene but captivating as she brought us into Zen mode to understand the art and science behind the eastern culture of flower arrangement. With her speech entitled “Ikebana” she even demonstrated with real flowers the Japanese flower arranging concept and what it actually symbolises. It was truly a treat for the eyes.
Today, we also made time to induct our newest member, Xavier Gomez and led him to his guiding light in Toastmasters, his mentor, Manish Jha, CC. Our VPM, Yap Ooi Yee carried out the protocol and with a round of Hi-5s flying in the air to welcome our newest guest, we set his spirit high with vigour and wished him all the growth and happiness in his Toastmasters journey as he set his first step in his thousand mile journey.
A short 10 minute break was in order as our MMKL members truly indulge in our tantalizing favourite, Nasi Lemak and can really go bananas with the bananas we serve.
Having filled our tummies, it was time again for another round of breakfast. The breakfast for champions as we call it here in Toastmasters, we continued with the very vital evaluation session. To conduct the session, our GE, District 102 Director, Azizah Abu Hassan, DTM took control of the stage.
The Table Topics ™ Evaluator, Manish Jha, CC gave a very detailed and distinctive evaluation on each of the speakers. Then the panel evaluators each came on stage to deliver their project speech evaluations, each with a style of their own. K L Loh, ATMG evaluated Chitirra in his unfastened but honest manner. Foo Fung Jiun, CC gave his first ever evaluation to KT. He truly observed the speech and displayed a smooth evaluation even remembering to encourage the speaker to return for more speeches. He understood and applied the sandwich method despite being a first time evaluator. Hj. Hashim, DTM, danced and pranced in his movement and toned down and toned up in his volume and gave an intricate evaluation on Dato’ Dr. Mary’s speech, which is why he never fails to bag a prize at any given Evaluation Contest. Finally, we had Ken Chan, DTM evaluate Olivia in his technical manner of evaluation. Known for his abbreviations and mastery techniques, this time Ken Chan, DTM was on a roll with his evaluation.
Honest and genuine open evaluations were given at random to all the project speakers and we finally moved on to the technical reports. We had a precise Grammarian report from Xavier Gomez, a well observed Ah-Counter report from EK Yeo, CC, CL and a timely report from the Timekeeper, Yap Ooi Yee, CC. Following, we had the general summary of what was pleasant and what could have been more pleasant about the meeting from our poised and professional GE, Azizah Abu Hassan, DTM.
On this special occasion of our 400th meeting, having had also the fortune of the District Director’s presence, we set aside some air time for her special address and it was nothing but pure words of wisdom. Azizah Abu Hassan, DTM drilled into our minds that we can be more than what we already are and that the possibilities are endless. Having been a President’s Distinguished Club since 2003, she reminded MMKL that more can be done if we choose to raise the bar, that even a fine club can always be fine-tuned, that a little difference can make a big difference, that a “Yes” as mentioned by Mary in her speech can go a long way. I was pumped, I was boosted, I was driven by her encouragement and truly it was a gain to have heard her express her views and ideologies.
It was time again for our President Wendy Sim, CC to take the floor with the awards and announcements for the evening. Upon presenting a token of appreciation to our GE, we once again called upon Azizah Abu Hassan, DTM, to give away the Smedley Award Ribbon we gained to our President. We then invited Division C Director, Danny Bong, ACS, CL, to give away some education award ribbons that we gained for the term. It is important that members are recognized for their achievements and efforts, for a little motivation can do wonders in retaining the spirit and drive in a club.
Finally, the long awaited moment to award the best speakers arrived. Drumrolls drummed in our ear drums as the Best Table Topics award went to Hj. Hashim, DTM, the Best Speech Evaluator was bagged by Ken Chan, DTM and last but not least the Best Project Speech was rewarded to Olivia Chen. Truly deserving were they.
With joy in the air and inspiration in our hearts, the meeting was adjourned and we got together to snap a fantabulous 400th meeting picture. We had props and the balloons to complement the occasion and add a burst of fun into the picture that will go down in history henceforth.
Come to think of it though, it’s not about celebrating how long we’ve been around. 100th, 200th, 300th or 400th, they are but numbers. Tonight, what we really celebrated was the vision of a great man who saw this day coming and the spirit of millions who made it happen. Nevertheless, it’ll be cool if I’d stick around to celebrate our 500th wouldn’t it? Goodbye… just for now!
Blog Writer: Chitirra