The Highlights & The Delights (25-May-2013)

The Highlights  &  The Delights

25th May 2013 Saturday



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Neil Sarno, our VPPR, the meeting Sergeant at Arms highlighted the late Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. We were then requested to give our take on the habit to make one successful.


Toastmaster of the Day

Richard Sng, a past club president and the incumbent club secretary announced the only change in the meeting programme. 


Opening Address by Club President

Soh Siew Wee narrated the OVOP One Village One People, about the Japanese Government in 1979, and the motto:  ‘Think globally, act locally’.

In Tiarel, we are to act locally and shine globally.


Prepared Speeches

Neil Sarno, in his AP1 The Entertaining Speech “This is My Operation”, shared his fear of going under the knife.  He had surgery for haemorrhoids  (piles).

“Embrace Yourself & Embrace Your Vulnerabilities” was Karinna Boey’s P10 Inspire Your Audience presentation.  She shared what she had learnt from “The Gift of Imperfections” authored by a professor.

Li Hairong’s P9 “Persuade with Power” was a timely wake-up call to those addicted to Coke, Sprite, 7-Up, Pepsi . . . “Stay Away from Soft Drinks”.

“Good to Do Regular Exercise” was Lian Junxing’s P3 Get to the Point speech.

Rajkumar Murugan presented another P3 speech “Why Blood is a Key to Healthy Life”.  It was very informative.

P2 Organise Your Speech “Will Power” was Karen Moke’s invigorating speech.


Speech Evaluations

Evaluator:                            Speech presented by:

Kenny Lim                             Neil Sarno                

David Kow                            Karinna Boey

Susiwati Ta                           Li Hairong                

Karinna Boey                        Lian Jinxing

Tey Yun Ling                        Rajkumar Murugan                                   

David Kow                            Karen Moke


Evaluate the Evaluators

Kevin Tan offered his opinions on the feedback given by the speech evaluators.

Our able, capable and efficient home-grown evaluators commented on the strong points and offered useful recommendations for the speakers’ consideration.                      


Birthday Celebration

Kevin Tan rolled out the cake for Rajkumar.  Our other birthday boy, Albert could not attend.


Language Evaluation

Unfortunately this important segment was excluded from the programme.


Fun with Table Topics

Susiwati Ta requested all present to continue the story she started.  Each had 30 seconds of speaking time.

Rajkumar, David Kow, Karen Moke, Kenny Lim, Neil Sarno, Soh Siew Wee, Karinna Boey, Richard Sng, Teh Yun Ling, Li Hairong took turns to speak.



Soh Siew Wee was the time executioner.


Ah Counter

Li Hairong had to double up to exercise her listening skill.


Awards                                              Presented to:

Best Speech                                      Karen Moke

Best Evaluation                                David Kow

Best Table Topic                              (no voting)


Refreshment Break

Mee goreng, roast chicken, ginseng drink and grapes were provided.

Thank you, Siew Wee for taking care of the refreshments.

Neil Sarno, Soh Siew Wee, Kevin Tan, Karinna Boey, Li Hairong, David Kow and Ta Susiwati had to take on more than one role. 



Contributed by:  Richard Sng, Club Secretary

P9: Stay Away From Soft Drinks

Look at this soft drink. It looks colourful, tastes zesty, and appears glamorous. Many of us fall in love with it. I say, we fall victim to it, because it is a money-robbing tool to our wallet; it is an enchantment to our mind; and it is an enemy to our health. And if you want to stay safe and sound, hale and hearty, stay away from soft drinks.

Soft drink is a money-robbing tool to our wallet for businessmen to rob our money easily and quietly. Do you know how much a can of coca-cola actually costs? According to this article at Newsweek, “Belching Out the Devil” by Mark Thomas,  the syrup to make a single cup of Coca-Cola costs $0.0052. How much do we pay for it? 80 cents? $1.5?  $2.5? Well, the price depends on where we buy it. The price we pay is usually a few hundred times the cost of the goods sold. What do we get on earth? Sugar, colourings, preservatives, calories! How much does a proper meal cost in a hawker centre? 3 dollars or 4 dollars? That means, one soft drink actually costs one third, sometimes even more, the price of a proper meal. We are not happy about the chicken rice uncles raising the price of a plate of chicken rice by fifty cents, but we are never reluctant to pay a few dollars for a soft drink that is actually worth only a few cents. More ironically, many people can afford to drive a posh car, can afford to drink plenty of fancy, savoury, fizzy soft drinks but assiduously complain about the one-dollar or two-dollar ERP. Furthermore, how many people bother to offer a one-dollar coin or a two-dollar note to a disabled person in the street?  We complain about the inflation of chicken rice; we hate ERP; we ignore the physically challenged poor people around us; but we never hesitate to pass our hard earned money to soft drinks businessmen who are commanding a huge profit margin quietly!  What a big irony!

Soft drink is also an enchantment to our mind. Do you know how much sugar a can of coca-Cola contains? Let me read out the number for you. The nutrition fact on the can says per 100ml the sugar amount is 10.6 gram. So a can containing 330ml like this contains 30 plus gram of sugar. If we put sugar, artificial sweeteners or flavours or colourings or preservatives separately on a plate, how many of us will eat them voluntarily and happily? I bet nobody. Many of us are actively reducing the intake of sugar or avoiding colourings and preservatives in our diet. Excessive intake will cause health problems. We all know that too well. Can we differentiate sugar and a can of soft drink? Certainly. Can we tell the sugar inside a can of soft drink? We can but more often than not, we lose the awareness when it is camouflaged inside a soft drink.  Isn’t it clear that soft drinks contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavours, colourings, and preservatives? Then why do we still voluntarily and happily pay for soft drinks and pour them into our mouth? The answer is simple – in front of a small enchantment like soft drink, we lose our mind to temptation.

More dangerously, soft drink is an insidious enemy to our health. As early as in 1998, the centre for science in the public interest published a research paper titled Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans’ Health. The research paper reported scientific evidence between soft drinks and health problems such as obesity, bone loss, tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease, and many others. Imagine, after drinking soft drinks for a period of time, you suddenly find your face bigger, body rounder; you doctor tells you that you are unfortunately going through something called degeneration of bone mass and you are at the high risk of fracture; or your dentist suggests you pay a bigger bill to do something to your teeth because your teeth enamel is being eroded away; or you have to inject insulin on your tummy because you are suffering from diabetes …How will you feel? Do you want a bigger face and a rounder body? Do you want to suffer bone loss? Do you want to experience toothache? Do you want to get connected with diabetes or heart disease? When you shake your head in disbelief and denial, do you know that the culprit for the series of mishaps may be soft drinks?

I am not the only one lobbying against soft drinks. According to Wikipedia, in Jan 2013, a British lobby group called for the price of sugary fizzy drinks to be increased; in March 2013, New York City‘s mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed to ban the sale of non-diet soft drinks larger than 16 ounces.

Ladies and gentlemen, next time when you want to buy soft drinks, think twice and think why. Is it because of the flavour, color, or glamour associated with soft drinks? Is flavour, color and glamour more important than money, mind, and health? Do you want a bigger face and a rounder body? Do you want to get bone loss and toothache? Do you want to contract diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and stroke? If your answer is no to any of the questions, stay away from soft drinks. It is your choice and for your own good!

P2: Good Employees Make Mistakes. Great Leaders Allow Them To

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”  – Meg Cabot


We all make mistakes. Every one of us. Don’t we?

If we are not making mistakes, then likely we are not trying enough new things outside our comfort zone, and that itself is a mistake. That process is the best way to learn and grow as a person. 

Mistakes are the pathway to great ideas and innovation. Mistakes are the stepping stones to moving outside the comfort zone to the growing zone where new discoveries are made and great lessons are learned. Mistakes are not failures, they are simply the process of eliminating ways that won’t work in order to come closer to the ways that will.

As a business leader, I found that one of the scariest things to do was to give your people the freedom to make mistakes. While mistakes allow individuals to learn and grow, they can also be very costly to any company. Scared as I was, I knew that truly great leaders found ways to allow their people to take these risks, and I genuinely wanted to be a great leader. I wanted to help my employees to grow. So I set out to discover how to accomplish this without placing my company in jeopardy.


I quickly discovered that the first step was to determine the areas of the business where a mistake could take place without causing too much damage. I took careful attention to make sure that any areas where we would damage our clients and the trust they had placed in us were off limits for significant risk without serious executive involvement and oversight. I identified other areas where I could feel more comfortable allowing people the freedom to experiment on new and better ways of doing things.

The second step was to communicate to the employees that we were setting an official company policy:  Making any mistake once was OK, so long as it was an honest mistake made while attempting to do what they felt was the right thing. Making any mistake once was OK, but repeating that same mistake a second time was NOT OK. The hard, fast rule was that if you made any mistake for the first time the entire team would have your back in fixing that mistake if anything went wrong. However, if you ever repeated the mistake a second time, then you were 100 percent on your own to face the consequences.  This rule applied for every first-time occurrence of each new mistake you made.

Great leaders allow their people the freedom to make mistakes. But good employees are those who when mistakes are made 1. Learn from them, 2. Own them, 3. Fix them, and 4. Put safeguards in place to ensure the same mistake will never be repeated again.

1.       Learn from them:  Good employees recognize that they have, in fact, made an honest mistake.  They do not get defensive about it, rather they are willing to look objectively at their mistake, recognize what they did wrong, and understand why their choice or actions were the wrong thing to do.

2.       Own them:  Good employees take accountability for their mistakes. They admit them readily.  They don’t make excuses for their mistake, rather they acknowledge that yes, they made a mistake and they express openly what lesson they have learned from that mistake. They go on to express steps 3 and 4 below.

3.       Fix them: Good employees do what it takes to rectify their wrongs. They are willing to do whatever they can to fix the problem and make it right. Certainly there are times when the damage is done and recompense cannot be made, but good employees do their very best to repair whatever damage has been done to the best of their ability. They always establish a timeline with follow up for when the problem will be fixed and make sure that progress is communicated throughout the process so everyone feels the urgency and care with which they are correcting the problem.

4.       Put safeguards in place to ensure the same mistake will never be repeated again: This is the most critical step in the learning process. When a mistake has clearly been made, the most important thing anyone can do is figure out what safety nets and roadblocks can be carefully established to ensure that this same mistake will never take place again. Document this step so the lessons learned and the safeguards setup can always go beyond you. Do everything in your power to help others learn from your mistake so they don’t have to experience them on their own to gain the lesson you’ve learned.

The steps to correcting mistakes apply to any area of life. Whether it’s business life or home life or personal life, the principles of apologizing remain the same. Good employees make a lot of mistakes, and truly great employees are those have mastered the art of apologizing for those mistakes:

Great People Practice The Six A’s of a Proper Apology:

  • Admit
  • Apologize
  • Acknowledge
  • Attest – I plan to do the following to fix the mistake on this specific timeline.
  • Assure
  • Abstain

People who implement the Six A’s will find that the level of trust and respect others have for them will grow tenfold. People who implement the Six A’s will find that others will be quicker to forgive them and more likely to extend a second chance. It’s not the making of a mistake that is generally the problem; it’s what you do with it afterward that really counts.


So fellow toastmasters, we all make mistakes. Every one of us. If we are not making mistakes, then likely we are not trying enough new things outside our comfort zone, and that itself is a mistake.


The Highlights & The Delights (11-May-2013)

The Highlights  &  The Delights

11th May 2013 Saturday



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Lisa Ooi, a past club president requested everyone to share their feelings for the day, followed by “What would you like others to say at your funeral? It was rather morbid, but meaningful and food-for-thought.  Mine was “You deserve better.”


Toastmaster of the Day

Teh Yun Ling, another past club president was called up at the eleventh hour to replace Darren Lim.  Although a little rusty, she confidently cruised us through the meeting.  Kudos to you Yun Ling ……. to have you regularly at our meetings.


Opening Address by Club President

Soh Siew Wee presented a rose to all the mothers in the room – Karinna Boey, Ho Eng Lye and mother-to-be Li Hairong, …….  how thoughtful!  She related the anecdote of a Toastmaster with macular dystrophy who proved the doctor wrong. “Think positively!” was the take-away.


Prepared Speeches


Kevin Tan, in his AP5 Accepting an Award “A Decade”, shared his ten years in the education service, the lessons, the humility, the learning and the journey.


“Lifestyle Disease, Lifestyle Choice” was Karinna Boey’s P9 Persuade with Power presentation.  She revealed to us her own ‘bad’ and ‘sinful’ lifestyle.  “Make a change” was her timely message.


P8 “Get Comfortable with Visual Aids” was Li Hairong’s colourful and informative tour of her hometown, “Hubei, My Hometown”.


“Introducing Myself” was Alison Chan’s maiden P1 Ice Breaker speech. We got to know more of her family and her lifestyle business. She revealed that she visited YMCA and SIM II Toastmasters Clubs before picking Tiarel!  Hurray!


Speech Evaluations

Evaluator:                            Speech presented by:

Richard Sng                          Kevin Tan                 

Kevin Tan                              Karinna Boey                       

Karinna Boey                        Li Hairong                            

Krishnan Venugopal           Alison Chan 


All our capable in-house evaluators offered relevant commendations and suggestions for speakers’ consideration.                     


Special Talk:

David Kow gave useful tips on “Topics & Ideas for Project Speech”.


Just 4 (For) Laughs ©

Our club special made a comeback!  Teh Yun Ling regaled us with four anecdotes: the dentist, warden, the boy and his father.  What was shared?  What transpired?  Come back to our meetings!  Attend more regularly!  What have you missed?


Division S Contest Speech:

Krishnan Venugopal practised his contest speech before the big day on 12th May at the Old Parliament House.  The title: “The Most Beautiful Garden”


Language Evaluation

Ho Eng Lye, another past club president encouraged us to use alliterations, rhymes and the power of three, citing examples from a catalogue.  Areas for improvement and pronunciation issues were touched on.


Fun with Table Topics

Sadly, this segment was taken out owing to time factor.



Soh Siew Wee stood in for Yani Goh who had to be excused.


Ah Counter

Lian Jinxing had the opportunity to test his listening skill.


Awards                                              Presented to:

Best Speech                                      Alison Chan

Best Evaluation                                Richard Sng

Best Table Topic                              – – – – – – – – –


Refreshment Break

Fried beehoon, mango chicken, bananas and grapes were the order of the day.

Thank you Siew Wee, for the time and effort you put in to look after us.

Again, some members had to take on dual roles.  Members, the club needs your presence and attendance.  Give your club the support!

Five past club presidents, Lisa Ooi, Teh Yun Ling, David Kow, Ho Eng Lye and Richard Sng graced the meeting.  Hurray!  Thanks a million for your support!



Contributed by:  Richard Sng, Club Secretary