12 Sept 2015 Chapter Meeting

12 Sept 2015 Chocolate MilkShake Meeting




During the introductions, the SAA Tan Hao Qin asked “What type of chocolate do you like?” Some of us like dark chocolate, like Richard and Susi. Others love white chocolate, including Sowmya. Still, there was one person who did not like chocolate at all. Our president Raja!


Our wise and trusted mentor, Richard encouraged word play as the language evaluator. Examples of word play are:
Do we eat to live or live to eat? Love the person you marry or marry the person you love?
Ask not what the country can do for you, but ask what you can do for the country.


Raja spoke about a man with four wives. This man loved his fourth, third and second wives but neglected his first wife. One day, the man was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was due to breathe his last within a few days. All he wanted was for his beloved wives to accompany him past the grave. Hearing his request, the fourth and third wives turned and went away. The second wife promised to stay, but only until he passed on. He was devastated. “I will come with you” a soft voice promised. There stood his first wife, promising to stay with him in death. Regret filled his heart, for all the times he ignored her, even though it was obvious she loved him more than anybody. Raja explained that we are all that man, and we have four wives: our soul, our family and friends, our wealth and our body. When we die, our body and wealth leaves us. Our family and friends can only stay with us when we are still alive. It is only our soul that will always be there. So when we still have the time, do remember to feed our souls and care for it.


Richard also brought us a crash course on how to present table topics effectively.
There are 2 kinds of table topics presentations: at a club meeting or at a contest.
The time is 1 to 2.5 mins and a speaker usually takes 3 seconds to think before starting.
It is a mini-speech, so there must be structure. Capture and captivate the audience in the introduction. Develop your opinions in the body. Then summarise in a memorable conclusion.
We also need to address the topic given. Define keywords and bring an opinion about the topic. This is especially crucial for long topics or topics which are vague. Defining the keywords will help to structure your thoughts and form an opinion about the topic. If you can make the audience laugh, that is an added bonus.


Sowmya presented her advanced project 4 from the storytelling manual. Titled “Leaving is Love”, Sowmya told us about Peter and Jane, a couple very much in love. Jane promised to love Peter till death do them part. One fateful day however, Jane cut all ties with Peter to further her studies in Paris. Peter was devastated, sinking into a slump. A few years later, Peter had slowly climbed out of that valley and became an accomplished businessman. He chanced upon Jane’s parents on the road and followed them into a cemetery curiously. To his grief, he discovered that Jane was diagnosed with cancer and had already left the land of the living. She never did go to Paris. Sowmya told us how Jane loved Peter so much that she chose to leave him to spare him the heartbreak. Sometimes, leaving is love.


Veron also presented her advanced project 4 from the interpersonal communication series. Titled “What, Why and How”, Veron shared how she communicates with her subordinates. As a manager, she needs to ask “what is the problem”, “why is there a problem” and “how can we solve the problem”. Veron also enacted a scene with a poorly-performing employee (played by Susi) and they started to distill the what, why and how of Susi’s poor performance.


Belinda brought us an informative and fascinating talk about chocolate theory. She and Veron prepared many boxes of chocolates to pass around and Belinda gave out more chocolates for answering questions! We learnt that the four main ingredients of chocolate are: sugar, milk, cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Generally, chocolate is separated into milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. Each type will have a different proportion of the main ingredients. For example, dark chocolate contains less milk than milk chocolate.


Did you know that white chocolate is so white because it does not contain cocoa powder? We were all a bit shocked. It appears that it is still chocolate because it goes through the same chocolate-formation process.


Chocolate is often seen as junk food, but it in fact contains many nutrients like magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and antioxidants. An average chocolate bar contains 220 calories, which is low enough to be part of a healthy diet.


Susi, as Sowmya’s evaluator, praised Sowmya for being able to evoke sympathy in the audience. Her recommendations were to spend more time to develop Peter as a character we can sympathise with, as well as relay Jane’s selflessness and unconditional love in the conclusion to flow with the story.


Richard acted as Veron’s evaluator and he praised Veron for being able to reach a compromise with her employee as well as her friendly, non-threatening manner. He pointed that the “what, why and how” can be explained even more clearly for the audience to understand the what, why and how fully. Also, he suggested Veron to decrease the instances of frivolous laughter to convey the significance of the conversation.  


Siew Wee prepared a mixture of opinions and quotations for the table topics segment. Topics included “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”, as well as “You do not like chocolate but you are offered a job as a chocolate promoter. Would you take up the job?” Many new members and guests attempted the table topics, including Dharshana, Belinda, Hao Qin, Neil and Kian Chee. Hai Rong also attempted a table topic with her son after a long hiatus from Tiarel!


During the table topics evaluation by Richard, he shared that winners of table topics contests are those who have conviction and intensity. You do not need to share too much, but you have to be credible and convincing.


Richard also reminded us of the importance of speaking correctly as the language evaluator. He praised the use of doubles and power-of-three’s during the meeting.


Can you repeat again? (Since repeat means again, we can remove again)


If you die… The word die may be taboo in formal situations, we can use euphemisms such as ‘breathe our last’, ‘passed on’, ‘expire’ or ‘gone to the happy hunting ground’ for native americans.


The phrase ‘doing his project’ may sound a little juvenile, we can use ‘present his project’ instead.


In general, the word ‘good’ is overused. We can use ‘splendid afternoon’, ‘fantastic afternoon’ in place of ‘good afternoon’. For example, ‘intimate friend’, ‘bosom friend’ or ‘soul mate’ instead of ‘good friend’.


The gavel is used to open the meeting, and it is also used to open court or auction.


Cliches such as ‘last but not least’, ‘a round of applause’ are overused. Let us think of more creative figures of speech.


Venkat stepped into the role of the general evaluator. He thought there were 4 things that made the meeting special.


  1. The Chocolate milkshake theme and presentation
  2. The many guests
  3. The table topics workshop and evaluation
  4. As well as the first general evaluation attempt by Venkat


He praised many of the speakers and evaluators, and especially the guest presenter Belinda for her engaging and informative talk on chocolate theory. Venkat pointed out some mistakes on the agenda, such as inconsistent spacing behind the speaker’s name and title.


In conclusion, the meeting was definitely fun and lively with Tiarel members. The Division S contest will be on 10 Oct 2015, with Richard representing Area S2 for the evaluation contest. Stay tuned for more!