About 50 PETRONAS staff including members of PESONA Toastmasters Club and other clubs across Klang Valley gathered on the evening of 12 September 2017, for one purpose – to laugh out loud.
The occasion, the annual PESONA Toastmasters Humorous Speech and Evaluation contest, was held at Level 40, Tower 1 of the PETRONAS Twin Towers.
The contest combines two of five annual speech contests in the Toastmasters International, during which members compete to complete their journey as a Toastmaster. In February 2017, PESONA Toastmasters Club, together with MISC Toastmasters, held an International Speech and Table Topics contest. Another tradition of Toastmasters International is the Tall Tales contest.
The Humorous Speech contest requires each contestant to present a funny speech, thematic in nature (with an opening, a body and closing) and must not be a series of one-liners. Whereas, the Evaluation contest requires the contestant to observe a test speech and subsequently deliver a two- to three-minute evaluation of that speech.
Four PESONA Toastmasters Club members competed against each other each vying for the Club Champion title for each contest. Former club president, Nazaruddin Abdullah, was the first to take the stage in the Humorous Speech contest. Naza shared an amusing story about his experience learning about love and romance when he was just a young boy.
In Asian culture, talking about love and romance out in the open is frowned upon and rarely discussed. Naza told the audience that because love and romance was such a discreet topic where he grew up, he could not find anyone he can talk to about it. So, to understand what it was like to be in love, Naza would watch movies like Romeo and Juliet, Titanic and myriads of Bollywood romantic films. However, the only lesson Naza gleaned from these movies, was that “one of the lovers would end up dead.”
Lim Wei Wen, the second Humorous Speech contestant, induced giggles when she told the audience about how she had confidently walked into a students’ hostel only to see puzzled faces staring back at her as she sat down comfortably to rest. It took her awhile to realise that she had walked into the wrong hostel unit. She told the audience that she had only her directional senses, or lack thereof, to thank for that bizarre experience.
It was Siti Nadiah Halmi, the newly-elected club president, who won the hearts of the judges with her story about colour blindness. Nadiah and her siblings grew up with a colour-blind father, who kept his condition a secret. They did not know about it until one day her father had gotten her sister to help him look for a brown bag. Her sister had frantically searched high and low around their house for a brown bag and found none. Later, her father found the bag and showed it to the family – it was green, not brown!
It was then that they realised he could not distinguish between green and brown because of his condition. Nadiah told this and other funny stories in such an engaging way that she got the audience roaring with laughter at the end of her speech.
Naza and Wei Wen also competed in the Evaluation contest, along with seasoned Toastmaster Heng Jing Yi. Speaker Sharon Teo Bee Yeen got the contest underway by giving a test speech on her passion for marathons. It was Jing Yi, who emerged as the winner of the Evaluation Contest when she wowed the judges with her thorough and eloquent evaluation. Jing Yi gave a structured feedback on Sharon’s speech, with straightforward and on-point comments of how the test speaker could improve her speeches.
Sharon Teo Bee Yeen giving a test speech on her passion for marathons.
Toastmaster Heng Jing Yi (left) won the Evaluation contest.
The Chief Judge of the event was Distinguished Toastmaster Ramdas Nayar, who is also the Toastmaster Pathways Chief Ambassador for District 102 and the former District 51 Toastmasters Governor.
Winners of the Club’s Humorous Speech and Evaluation contests have the opportunity to advance to the next level at the Area P6 Toastmasters competition, and subsequently to the Division (state) and District (Malaysia) levels. Unfortunately, Nadiah was unable to participate in the Area P6’s Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest on 28 September 2017, and was represented by Naza, who emerged as a winner in the Area P6 Toastmasters’ Humorous Speech Contest. Congratulations, Naza!
About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, United States of America, the organisation's membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries that make up its global network of meeting locations.