Toastmasters Division E International Speech and Table Topics Contests were held at Open University Malaysia, K.L. on Sunday last, the 19th of April from 12 noon until 6 pm.
The event was hugely popular and drew in crowds of Toastmasters, well-wishers, die-hard supporters and guests from near and far. They came in droves to witness, admire and relish the experience of this public speaking and table topics Championships. The participants comprised the 'best of the best', the 'cream of the crop' and the 'creme de la creme' if you will, in public speaking.
The venue's lobby was packed to capacity, almost bursting at the seams, streaming and swarming with people and activity. The sweltering afternoon heat and the foreboding forecast of impending wet weather later on did little to dampen the spirits of the over zealous attendees from enjoying the show. So, the place was a hive of activity with the club officials feverishly helping out with the registration process, guiding and directing the assembly to the welcome spread of food and light refreshments served for Lunch so that the Contests can start in earnest. Imagine the Division Governor herself and her coterie of Area Governors stepping out from their lofty positions to lend a hand to the diligent Role players as a show of passionate and unflagging support. That was indeed true toastmastership. It was a heartening sight to see such steadfast commitment and almost fanatical dedication and devotion to their cause. Next the exuberant contestants and role players were given the standard pep briefing by the Chief Judge along with both the contests' and Organising Chair persons in tow.
The Sargeant-At-Arms (SAA) emphatically and energetically struck the gavel sharp on the dot, calling the Contest to order. House rules were interpreted succinctly and to the point by the sprightly and spirited Kevin Teh, CC, for the audience to abide by. A hush descended over the crowd in the opulent hall where everyone was seated comfortably cozy in eager anticipation for the enthralling events to unfold.
First off, the elegant and enchanting Toastmaster of the Day, Shafida, ACB, ALB took to the podium to extend a gracious welcome to the expectant audience with her mellifluous voice, setting the stage for an exhilarating evening of fun, fusion and fanfare!
The Organizing Chair, the pleasant and pleasing toned Rama, CC. CL, laid out the Welcome Mat, so to speak, to the approving smiles and support of the audience.
Moving on, the Contest Chair, the bright and bubbly personality Sharon Wong, TM, was fluent with her brief introduction of the International Speech rules, paving the way for the contestants to take the stage by storm and belt it out.
There were 5 Speakers namely Ahmad Tabeh, Vincent Hoy, S.T. Ang, Alex Lu and the lone and lovely rose among the thorns, Dilaasha. The subjects ranged from Toying with emotions, Rings, Lemons, Nostalgia and Happiness. The fan favorite, Vincent Hoy took the pole position followed by Ahmad Tabeh and Alex Lu clinching 2nd and 3rd places respectively. The audience were thrilled to bits, witnessing such power packed performances by the Speakers.
The intermission was more of a 'Break & Bond' Session where everyone was seen boisterously exchanging notes, pleasantries and delightfully mixing and mingling with carefree abandon while savoring some light meals. That was indeed a welcome sight to behold.
The SAA once again promptly called the Contest to order. Group Photo Session ensued with veteran in house 'photographers' 'calling the shots'.
The talented Toastmaster of the Day Shafida graced the floor to pump in more vibrant energy into the proceedings by her 'Energizer' talk-piece. The Table Topics Contest Chair, the charming and communicative Indra Renganathan, ACB, CL, then took control to specify the Rules governing this part of the Contest with crisp-clear clarity. Having received the 'Topics' from the Chief Judge, the fashionably flamboyant Tuan Haji Hashim, ACB, ALS, the Contest Chair proceeded to conduct the Session.
The 7 Table Topic Speakers namely Sashi, Eddy Pun, Kunavathy, Anita Wong, Lee Meng Tze, Anand and Jessynder, sure impressed the listeners with riveting performances. It was a hard choice for the Judges. Anita Wong the star speaker, without a flicker of a doubt was gloriously crowned champion with runner-ups being Lee Meng Tze and Eddy Pun. All in all the Contests portrayed a tapestry of colorful Speakers who wowed the audience endlessly.
The wonderful and warmhearted DTM Sue Ding, Lieutenant Governor, Education and Training, gave a short and sweet address in dulcet tones to inspire us to reach greater heights of excellence in our Toastmasters' speaking and leadership journey and we thank her from the bottom of our hearts for it.
Presentation of certificates to all participants plus glittering Trophies to the Champions by the Division Governor and the Contest Chairs ensued with great fiesta and fanfare to thundering applause and acclamation from the floor.
Our Division E Governor, the Iconic Toastmaster personality, the charming and charismatic S.K.L. Mama Walia, DTM, stole the limelight of the evening's showtime. A warm and hearty smile flickering across her face said it all while heaping lavish praises and plaudits on her fabulous Team for their tireless and relentless efforts and showing gratitude to the Participants, Members and Role players for the overall success of the Contest. She singled out our very own Area Governor, the bright and brilliant Meera Shanmughanathan, ACS, ALB, for her immense and immeasurable contributions in chartering, nurturing and mentoring numerous new Clubs and ensuring IEM TM achieves and stays President's Distinguished Club for 2015. Kudos to our beloved leaders! We in IEM are mighty proud and pleased to have our in our midst 3 Champions. Bravo to them!
As all good things must come to an end, so too the curtains for this memorable event came down in much style and status at approximately 6 pm.
Until we meet the next time, Au Revoir !
(This blog post was written by Anthony Kolandai, ACB)