(Project 5: Your Body Speaks, presented in Evaluation and Contest Judging Workshop at Sunway College as test speaker)
One of my great teachers taught me a good tip on how to stay enthusiastic and energetic throughout the day – always say good morning at all times in a day so you feel as fresh as you are in the morning. Therefore, Mr. Chairman and fellow Toastmasters, good morning!
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have very little experience with dogs. But among these little experiences, there are three most significant ones that I think I can never forget for the rest of my life. One is when I nearly fell of my bike when a cute and cuddly, white poodle came chasing at me from behind. First thing I remember I was singing happily while riding on my bike. Next thing I realized it’s next to my bike trying to grab my foot.
My second experience is when I was walking around in a neighborhood in Taman Universiti, Skudai. A big, black dog chased me until a Chinese aunty came out of her house and saved my life.
The third one is the one I’m going to share with all of you today because this incident has taught me a very valuable lesson.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This incident happened some when in 2003. At that time I was in form 5, studying in a boarding school. Back then, my roommate was my best friend. Her name is Aini. Aini as in ‘wo ai ni’. In Arabic, Aini means eyes. One afternoon, Aini and I with three of our friends were walking to our class for preparation study. It was around three o’clock. We were late, so there was no one left at our dormitory.
My school was built in 1980. So, there were a few old dormitory buildings that are not used anymore. At that time, there was a stray dog just giving birth to her puppies. There were a few cases where students were chased by the dog. I remember one of my classmates telling me, “I suspect the dog was suffering from post natal disorder”. I don’t know, though, whether dogs can suffer from post natal disorder just like human.
As my friends and I were walking, we talked quite loudly. I remember my three friends were walking in front while Aini and I followed from behind. Suddenly, there was “Gong gong gong!!!” a very loud barking sound echoing from the old dormitories area. After a few seconds, we can see the dog running towards us. Two of my friends in front had started running. But one of them grabbed their hands and said, “Don’t run. It’ll chase.” So they stop running. 50 meters! 40 30 20 10 2 meters! It stopped, but the barking didn’t stop.
What did I do? What did I do? Exactly nothing! My feet was glued to the ground and I was like “Is that a dog? Oh yeah! I’m pretty sure that is a dog. Why didn’t I run? Oh, am I supposed to?” I was too panicked. But Aini didn’t panic at all. You know what she did? She raised her bag like this, walked towards the dog and yelled out, “Aaaah! Hah!” Surprisingly, the fierce dog ducked down and made the “hmm hmm” sound, clearly scared. Aini took a few more steps towards the dog, yelled again, “Huh huh huh!!!” and thumped her feet like that. This time, the dog was terrified and ran back to where it came from. All the time that happened, the rest of us just look at Aini like this.
After all that panic, we resumed our walk very quickly, afraid that in case the dog might turn back. Meanwhile I said to Aini, “God, I didn’t know you are that brave. Where did that courage coming from?” She simply smiled and winked at me.
Ladies and gentlemen,
That day this incident happened, Aini might not notice, but she had taught me a very important lesson, that is; do not assume, check the facts. You know why? It’s because later that day she told me, “Alah! We assume the dog was angry and fierce but in fact, we don’t understand dog’s language. She probably was just trying to say, ‘Please talk quietly. My puppies were sleeping and you are waking them up.’ Ha kan kan?” Remember! Don’t assume. Check the facts. Back to you, Mr. Chairman.