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Johor Jaya Toastmasters Club
International Speech Contest 2016/2017
22 February 2017

“She covers her whole body; she must be oppressed by her husband.”

“She wears all black; she must be a religious bigot.”

“She covers her head; she must be close-minded.”

Contestmaster and my fellow Toastmasters,

I can understand that you are amused that I just changed in front of you. And you feel that the extreme examples I just gave are funny. But let’s acknowledge one important thing right here – judgment exists. Despite the fact that the world has become borderless and internet is a global phenomenon, judgment persists. In fact, it has evolved into different kinds – internet bullying, visual manipulation and propaganda.

My mother taught me that “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” Once, many years ago, I received a feedback from a Toastmaster. She said, “Afzan, you should stop wearing baju kurung. You look outdated and closed-minded. You should flaunt your figures and baju kurung does little help with that. Even the name means locked cloth.” The first thing that came to my mind was, “Hold up right there, lady! I didn’t ask for your opinion. And why are you judging my character based on what I wear?” But I remembered my mother saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” But this lady persisted with her advice until one day when I found the right moment and words to say it, thanks to the evaluation skills I learned from Toastmasters. I simply said, “I feel beautiful in my hand-tailored baju kurung” and walked away. I would tell her why I like baju kurung so much, had she just asked.

My mother is the wisest person I had known for my whole life, until I know Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi. This sufi who is wiser than my mother once said, “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?” Instead of just being nice and keep quiet, Rumi taught me that if it is true, necessary and kind, say it. I have a wise friend named Didi. Even though she is not wiser than Rumi and my mother, she once taught me something through a Facebook post. She put a quote as advice regarding teamwork. That time, we were together in a team for an event. I was taken aback and angry. So I just left Facebook. But later that same day, another teammate named Diana came into the picture. She commented on the post, “You should tell this to us face to face. You should be frank. You do this like a passive aggressor.” I was guilty of enjoying those for a little bit until I read Didi’s comment at the bottom. She wrote, “I am involved in a few organizations. I met hundreds of people every week. I am shocked that you have made this status about you and I, when in fact you could have just ask me directly.” That bullet went straight through my heart – wham! She was being true. She said what was necessary. She said it kindly – you could have just asked.

Asking is hard, because we have to step aside from our ego. A friend uploaded a sad status on Facebook, instead of thinking she is trying to get attention, we can ask, “Hey, Jenn. Are you okay? Do you need to talk?” Somebody told you that someone has been saying bad things about you, instead of trashing him back, we can ask, “Hey, QJ. Are you angry at me? I can’t help but feel like you do.” A teammate keeping a distance from the club, instead of judging her for lack of commitment, we can ask, “Hey, Diana. I noticed you have been missing from the club lately. How have you been?” And we will be surprised how much we can learn. A person who is so cheerful has a six-digit debt on her shoulder. An enemy who hates you has the feedback that you need to improve yourself. The missing teammate might teach you a real life lesson on how to juggle between jobs, family and a sick parent. But you must first, ask.

We can never put our feet in somebody else’s shoes. I was born Malay, I can never change to Chinese. I can never trade the 30 years of life I experienced with Ayen’s. A man can never know how hurtful giving birth feels like. Putting your feet into others’ shoes is rhetorical. The only real way out is to ask. And then listen.

My fellow Toastmasters,

The world will be a much better place if we talk to each other more than we talk about each other. Ask more. Ask now. Just ask.

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Contest Speeches · Speech Collection · Toastmasters

Call Me A Rider 2

Area A4 District 51 Toastmasters

Humorous Speech Contest 2013/2014

“I modified my club level contest speech by incorporating some parts of my Advanced Project speech where I tested which parts audience laughed the most.”

I have a secret. Many people thought I wear high heels because I feel elegant or they elevate my self confidence. But actually, I started wearing high heels because when I have to stop at traffic lights on my motorbike, only with high heels on, both my feet can properly touch the ground.

Fellow Toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen.

How do we motorists answer calls on motorbike? Telilin telilin! Telilin telilin! With right hand still on the handle, this is what we do. It is almost like using a headset, just slightly bigger. This is what usually happens when friends call. “Ah hello hello! Can speak now.” “Ajan, why is it so noisy?” my friend asks. “Oh, I’m on motorbike.” “On bike? Can speak now?” “1. You’re already speaking to me. 2. Don’t yell! I can hear you fine.”

I’ve been asked some funny questions when people know a girl like me ride motorbike. My personal favorite is “Are you not afraid?” Asking a rider whether he/she is afraid of riding is like asking a fireman whether he is afraid of fire, or asking a skydiver whether he is afraid of height, or asking a Toastmasters club president whether she’s afraid of speaking in front. Of course I am afraid. I just found some ways to make it manageable and maintain my level of confidence.

There is a flyover at Danga Bay, near Dataran Bandaraya that I like. Fact #1: The flyover goes high up facing Singapore with sharp corner to the right before it goes down. Fact #2: Motorcycle seat is higher than car seats. With the strong gushing wind, those settings are perfect to make you feel like flying. Every time I take that flyover, this is what I do, “Superman! Wuhuu…!” Sometimes I purposely choose that road to do that.

One of the things that I like to do on bike is singing. My karaoke talent comes from hours of practicing while riding. I can’t help it. When you wear helmet with full visor like this, it gives the stereo effect. It’s a strong temptation.

The genre of the songs I sing usually depends on the traffic or weather. When it rains, it gives the mood of Hindustan video clips and I start singing Hindustan song. “Ladkhi badhi anjanihe.” When I’m doing 120kmph, fast beat and high notes songs usually comes to mind, like “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” When the weather is hot, I sing rock song “I wanna heal, I wanna feel, what I thought was never real.” Ok, that doesn’t sound like a rock song.

One fine day, the weather was clear, I was in a good mood and I was happily singing while riding. I saw a massive traffic jam about half kilometer ahead of me. But I’m still happy because I can weave in and out of traffic. My good day was spoiled when, suddenly, a car came from behind me, went past just slightly next to me with high speed, nearly knocking me over, only to get in line and join the other cars in the traffic. I didn’t understand what happened. I mean, what’s the point of going so fast when you already see a traffic jam ahead? But I suspect he wanted to show off his turbo engine. I was so mad I feel like stopping next to the driver’s seat, make him roll down the window and sing Shania Twain’s song, “That don’t impress me much. Ah! Ah ah ah!” But of course I don’t have the courage to do that! What did I do in reality? I purposely changed lane to be next to his car and do this. ‘Huh! I’m going to reach my destination faster than you. Bye.’

I feel weird when people tell me that they are afraid of riding. I feel more weird when they proceeded telling me about their trauma because they had once seen blood and pieces of human body in a road accident. Doing that is like telling people about your diarrhea specifically, when the other people are about to eat something on a dining table. Or like telling me “Afzan, I foresee that you’ll be involved in a road accident. There are blood everywhere. Pieces of human body. Head rolling on the ground. Believe me.”

Fellow Toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen,

I don’t have a car yet. I’m in the lowest income segment among Malaysians. And sometimes, I worry about getting wet in the rain. But life is about being grateful of what we have and enjoying the moment to the fullest. Why worry about rain when you can fly like a Superman? “Superman! Wuhuu!”

Contest Speeches · Speech Collection · Toastmasters

Call Me A Rider

Johor Jaya Toastmasters Club

Humorous Speech Contest 2013/2014

2nd Place

When people loosely term all motorcyclists as mat rempit or minah rempit, I feel enrage.

My fellow Toastmasters,

Allow me to make it clear. Mat Rempit is the local term for illegal bike racers. They consist of probably 5% of the whole motorcyclists population in Malaysia. The rest, the 95% consist of those who either; 1. Those who have given up on Malaysia public transportation. 2. Those who are confident of their riding skills and want to save time on road in this congested city, or 3. Those who are in the lowest income segment among Malaysian population. I’m all three in the 95%. Never have I been or even interested in joining the 5% illegal racers. I’ve never even seen a live illegal racing in my whole life.

I’ve been asked some funny questions when people know a girl like me ride motorbike. “How many kmph do you usually push?” “What happen when it rains?” “Are you not afraid?” To the question “How many kmph do you usually push?”, I feel like answering “Mr, you question is invalid.” The second question, “What happen when it rains?” I feel like answering, ‘Madam, have you ever heard of an ancient human invention that is called rain coat?” The final question, “Are you not afraid?” Phewh!

Asking a rider whether he/she is afraid of riding is like asking a fireman whether he is afraid of fire, or asking a skydiver whether he is afraid of height, or asking a Toastmasters club president whether she’s afraid of speaking in front. Of course I am afraid. I just found some ways to make it manageable and maintain my level of confidence in riding. Just so you know, the number one death factor in Malaysia is heart attack and road accident does not reach even half percent of it.

Motorcycle logic and 4-tyre vehicle logic are different. Let me give you an example. When you drive on a sharp corner ramp, you push the brake pedal, right? We, riders, we don’t do that. We decrease the angle between our knee and the road surface in conjunction with the direction of the corner. We turn left like this. We turn right like this. It is very hard for me to explain this to drivers who don’t ride.

I was enraged when, once, there is this guy who shall not be named who proposed to the parliament to not allow motorcycles in major cities. When I saw this in newspaper, I told myself, “Calm down. Calm down. Aal iz well.” Hello, Mr. Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named! Some people take 9-year loan to buy the cheapest car in Malaysia. Public transportations are unreliable. The petrol price increased. And now, you’re suggesting this. I thank God they ignored that suggestion.

I feel weird when some people who just knew that I ride motorcycle start telling me why they are afraid of riding one. I feel annoyed when they proceeded telling me about their trauma because they had once seen blood, pieces of human body in a road accident. Doing that is like telling people about your diarrhea specifically, when the other people are about to eat something on a dining table. Or like telling me “Afzan, I foresee that you’ll be involved in a road accident. There are blood everywhere. Pieces of human body… and so on.” Stop doing that, human! You’re hurting my brain!

Fellow Toastmasters,

It is natural as human beings we are able to do what others don’t. And others are able to do some things that we are not. Motorcyclists are human being. Next time you want to argue about the danger, show me some concrete data. Or you’ll realize you are just being mathematically irrational. In my case, right now, transport is a need, but car is a convenience. To the ministers, I have three hopes – decrease car price, decrease petrol price, or at least, make public transportation efficient.

Contest Speeches

Call Me A Rider

Johor Jaya Toastmasters Club
Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests
September 11, 2013
1st Runner-Up

My Boyfriend
My Boyfriend

 

When people loosely term all motorcyclists as mat rempit or minah rempit, I feel enrage.

My fellow Toastmasters,

Allow me to make it clear. Mat Rempit is the local term for illegal bike racers. They consist of probably 5% of the whole motorcyclists population in Malaysia. The rest, the 95% consist of those who either; 1. Those who have given up on Malaysia public transportation. 2. Those who are confident of their riding skills and want to save time on road in this congested city, or 3. Those who are in the lowest income segment among Malaysian population. I’m all three in the 95%. Never have I been or even interested in joining the 5% illegal racers. I’ve never even seen a live illegal racing in my whole life.

I’ve been asked some funny questions when people know a girl like me ride motorbike. “How many kmph do you usually push?” “What happen when it rains?” “Are you not afraid?” To the question “How many kmph do you usually push?”, I feel like answering “Mr, you question is invalid.” The second question, “What happen when it rains?” I feel like answering, ‘Madam, have you ever heard of an ancient human invention that is called rain coat?” The final question, “Are you not afraid?” Phewh!

Asking a rider whether he/she is afraid of riding is like asking a fireman whether he is afraid of fire, or asking a skydiver whether he is afraid of height, or asking a Toastmasters club president whether she’s afraid of speaking in front. Of course I am afraid. I just found some ways to make it manageable and maintain my level of confidence in riding. Just so you know, the number one death factor in Malaysia is heart attack and road accident does not reach even half percent of it.

Motorcycle logic and 4-tyre vehicle logic are different. Let me give you an example. When you drive on a sharp corner ramp, you push the brake pedal, right? We, riders, we don’t do that. We decrease the angle between our knee and the road surface in conjunction with the direction of the corner. We turn left like this. We turn right like this. It is very hard for me to explain this to drivers who don’t ride.

I was enraged when, once, there is this guy who shall not be named who proposed to the parliament to not allow motorcycles in major cities. When I saw this in newspaper, I told myself, “Calm down. Calm down. Aal iz well.” Hello, Mr. Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named! Some people take 9-year loan to buy the cheapest car in Malaysia. Public transportations are unreliable. The petrol price increased. And now, you’re suggesting this. I thank God they ignored that suggestion.

I feel weird when some people who just knew that I ride motorcycle start telling me why they are afraid of riding one. I feel annoyed when they proceeded telling me about their trauma because they had once seen blood, pieces of human body in a road accident. Doing that is like telling people about your diarrhea specifically, when the other people are about to eat something on a dining table. Or like telling me “Afzan, I foresee that you’ll be involved in a road accident. There are blood everywhere. Pieces of human body… and so on.” Stop doing that, human! You’re hurting my brain!

Fellow Toastmasters,

It is natural as human beings we are able to do what others don’t. And others are able to do some things that we are not. Motorcyclists are human being. I understand that these people care for me and were just showing their concern. But, in my case right now, transport is a need, but car is a convenience. To the ministers, I have three hopes – decrease car price, decrease petrol price, or at least, make public transportation efficient.

Contest Speeches · Speech Collection · Toastmasters

Toastmaster: Before and After

Years ago when I was in school, one day, I was walking from the dormitory to class with my roommate. Suddenly, a dog came running and barking at us. I was about to run when my friend grabbed my shoulder and said, “Don’t run. It’ll chase.” She took a few steps toward the dog and yelled, “Argh! Hah! Hah!”

Contest chair, fellow toastmasters, beautiful people,

That day, my friend taught me a lesson on miscommunication. She said, “Since we don’t understand dog language, we only heard it barking. It was probably just saying, ‘Please walk and talk slowly. My puppies are sleeping.’ ”

In toastmasters, we learnt that it is good to give vivid and precise description to avoid miscommunication. I found that it is also useful when it comes to giving direction to people. Before I am a toastmaster, when I gave direction, I used to do it like this. To describe short distance, I would say “You go straight”. To describe long distance, I would say “You go straaaaaaaaight”. But now, I describe it vividly, “You go straight until you see a building” or “You go straight for about five minutes”. Vast improvement!

Public speaking has always been associated with nervousness. I can still remember my first table topics where I started with greetings, followed by a quote and two other sentences, and … until I saw the green light was on and I say “I think that’s all. Thank you”. Nervousness can never go away. But as you do it over and over again, you simply find ways to hide it or fake it. Now, if I am ever lost for words, I do this. I look to the audience on my left, shift my gaze to the right and finally look in front and say, “Fellow toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen” so that it looks like a deliberate pause, when the real thing that’s going on in my mind is ‘Oh, my God! I forgot my script’, ‘What’s the keyword? What’s the keyword?’, ‘Oh, I remember now! Here it comes’, “Fellow toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen”.

Toastmasters’ environment taught me to always say positive things even when we are highlighting people’s weaknesses. This is what we learn when we do evaluations. My brother doesn’t like to be told what to do, especially by me. I guess this is true for most guys. Most means all. Before I join toastmasters, when I don’t like what he was wearing, I would say, “That shirt doesn’t go with the sneakers. I think you better change.” He wouldn’t change and I thought he simply didn’t care about fashion sense, until I cared to put it this way to him, “I like it when my brother looks nice when he goes out with me. And you look nice when you do your hair like that time.” He changed the hairstyle immediately. “Now, nice?’

I am known among my friends as an honest person. I understand that when they said honest, they meant blunt. Problem is I always see things as black and white, yes or no, success or fail, when I gave opinion. Evaluations taught me to consider both sides thoroughly and balance it. You’ve got to highlight strengths and give recommendations for weaknesses. Years ago when a friend asked me during shopping, “What do you think of this shawl?”, I would look one time and say “Ugly. Don’t buy”. Full stop. But now, I would give it one good, long look and consider my thoughts and come out with something like this, “That’s pretty. The one you are wearing is also pretty. The one in your closet that I remember is also pretty. Considering that, you already have too many. I suggest you keep your money. Not that it makes the shawl less pretty.”

Fellow toastmasters,

I believe all of us are a changed person after we became Toastmaster. In these seemly tiny little small changes, we found that we have been a bigger person, set out to make great changes to the world.

‘How do you eat a big, fat elephant?’ ‘One bite at a time’

Johor Jaya Toastmasters Club
Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest
Contest Speeches · Speech Collection · Toastmasters

The Rain

(My sixth project – Vocal Variety)

Greetings

I remember when I was little, my brother, my sister and I used to play in the rain a lot. When it was school holiday, my parents used to leave us at home because my mom’s workplace was very near to our home. Occasionally, when it was pouring, we took the golden chance to play in the rain. What we did was we built a play boat using leaves, put a little toothpaste at the boat rear, released it in drain which was full of water and pretending we were boat racing. We would chase it around the house until the finishing line. I remember once we were grounded because we wet the living room carpet after hours of playing in the rain. Even now at this age, I would occasionally play in the rain with excuses like cleaning the drain, gardening or washing my motorbike. I would say to my mom, “Mak, I’m saving water. I don’t have to splash another round of water after cleaning because the rain will wash it for me.”

I live in the part of Johor where you can see the fog up till 8.00 in the morning. Sometimes, when it rains the night before, the fog might stays until 9 o’clock. The view is breath-taking. The smell of the rain is also different at my hometown than here in JB because my town is surrounded by oil palm plantation. Here, the rain smelled of smoke and chemicals. Back there where I came from, the rain smelled of grass and rotten woods. It’s so refreshing. Maybe this is why I’ve always love the rain ever since I was a little kid.

Since I like the rain so much, I don’t understand why some people are making a fuss when it rains. I have a friend who, most of the time, act like the rain is ruining her whole day. If it rains in the morning, she’d start complaining, “How am I supposed to go to work? I don’t have car. Nobody can come pick me up.” One day, I said to her, “What’s wrong with going to work by bike even if it’s raining? You can always wear a rain coat. If you are not comfortable with wet stockings, then bring another pair to work. If you are afraid of falling sick, then go to your doctor and ask for an Influenza injection. Your last option is buy a car. But since you don’t have the money, stop complaining and face the reality. Then, go back to my suggestion number one.” Yes, I was a little bit harsh but life isn’t supposed to be that hard, is it? She still complains now, but I manage to master the art of switching my ears to silent mode.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The best thing I learned about rain is that rain emits a very strong alpha wave. What is alpha wave? Alpha energies are the most powerful frequencies that our brain can emit. Alpha wave enhances our brain’s ability in creative problem solving, accelerated learning, mood elevation and stress reduction. Other than that, alpha wave also opens up our unconscious mind. According to the study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, this alpha state programs our visualizations into our unconscious mind and makes things happen. I think this is why in some beliefs or religions; one of the best times to pray or make a wish is during rainfall. I love to think that the rain is a special gift from God, especially in Malaysia where it rains the whole year round. It is as like Jaya Jusco organizing JCard Day every week.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I believe that when we are grateful of something, we will get something back in return, sometimes in an unexpected form. Therefore, I would like to give you a suggestion. After this when it rains, instead of thinking it will ruin your day, you might want to enjoy the slight cold and the alpha frequency it emits. Stand by the window, close your eyes and simply enjoy the smell and the sound of rain hurling down your rooftop.

Back to you, Toastmaster of the Evening.

Contest Speeches · Speech Collection · Toastmasters

As Kids See It

(My winning speech in Division A, District 51 Humorous Speech Contest – September 2010)

When I was very young, I used to believe that if we eat the centre of fruit, the seeds will grow into plants in our stomach. I even asked my father, “Abah, what if the plant grow so big, it comes out of our mouth? How are we supposed to eat, drink and speak?”

Contest Chair, Fellow Toastmasters, ladies and gentlemen,

The worst part is I actually believed that was true until I was 10, that is Year 4 in primary school which is quite not too young.

I think kids look very adorable when they are concentrating on something. But once in a while, you might want to check on what they are concentrating at. Once, when my sister was in kindergarten, one day, she was staring at our mom’s cookie container. She was staring very hard that it lured me to ask, “Adik, what are you looking at?” She ignored me. But a few seconds later, suddenly, with the joy like Archimedes discovering Eureka, she yelled out, “Boot-er cho-ock-ee-us!” My response was, “Huh?” She repeated the phrase a few times “Boot-er cho-ock-ee-us! Boot-er cho-ock-ee-us!” until at last, I only understood it after she pointed out the cookie container to me. She was actually trying to spell ‘butter cookies’, but got ‘boot-er cho-ock-ee-us’ instead.

Kids’ logic is always a mystery to adults. That’s why, when speaking to them, extreme patience and advanced listening skills are required. I’ve experienced this when I was six. My brother was two at that time. Compared to kids at his age, my brother’s vocabulary was growing so rapidly, he talked like a four-year-old. One evening, we were playing what he liked to call jumping-jumping on mommy’s cushions. While we were happily jumping, he slipped and fell face first onto the floor. He touched his mouth, found blood and two teeth missing. He cried out loud non-stop for two hours. My mom asked him, “Abang, why are still you crying? Does it still hurt?” “No”, he said. “Then why?” “I have no front teeth. My face is ugly. And how am I supposed to eat guava after this?” which was his favorite at that time. And then he said, “Mak, let’s go to supermarket and buy me new teeth.” My mom’s answer was, “It’s already past ten. All supermarkets are now closed.” “Then pull out your teeth, and then glue them into mine.” My mother was patiently entertaining him while he kept babbling till he was tired and fell asleep. The permanent teeth only grew out ten years later when he was 12. Thank God my brother is handsome now, or else I’d feel guilty for the rest of my life for making him jumping too excitedly.

Last year, I was tutoring primary school kids at a tuition centre. I remember one boy aged eleven in my class. His name was Ayub. One day I noticed his nails were full of dirt. So, I asked him to come with me to the toilet to wash his hands. I said, “Ayub, why are you not cleaning your fingers?” He answered enthusiastically, “Teacher, I’m conducting an experiment.” ‘Wow, this boy is very investigative!’ I thought. ‘Perhaps, a future scientist.’ He continued, “My science teacher said germs and bacteria grow very fast. She also said dirt contains germs and bacteria. But after waiting for days, I wonder why the germs and bacteria in my nails do not spread out to my whole hands. I thought they are supposed to breed very fast.” Good investigation, but wrong hypothesis.

There was another boy aged seven in my other class. He’s the kind of kid who I like very much – chubby cheeks, wide-eyed, dimples. But he seemed to have problems in arithmetic. When I asked the class, “What is six plus two?” He answered confidently, “Four, teacher.” I wondered why. So I asked him to show me his calculation. He took out his chubby fingers and started demonstrating, “Six (index finger plus thumb) plus two (middle finger and ring finger). The answer is four (he counted the thumb as one).” This boy was certainly giving me headache. Well, he’s now eight years old. I hope he managed to master his arithmetic by now.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dealing with kids might make us lose our patience sometimes. That’s why, Bill Cosby, once the host of the TV show, Kids Say the Darndest Thing, gave a good advice to parents. He said, “Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.” For example, try differentiating between ‘Anne’ and ‘Anna’. Hear the huge difference? Despite that, we must bear in mind! Kids are something that we borrow from our future. Therefore, we must take good care of them before we give them back. Thank you and back to Contest Chair.