P1: My Past, My Present, My Future

14 Jan 2012

Has anyone here been to Vietnam?

That is where I am from. Fellow toastmasters and guests, today I want to share with you something about me, how I struggle with English language and that’s one of the reasons why I join toastmaster.


I was born in a small town in Vietnam, about 300km from the capital city.

That is a poor area of the country. We were not very poor but certainly not rich – at the time, only rich people in Vietnam were government officials. Since both of my parents are teachers, they truly believe education would help me and my sisters have a better future so we focus a lot on study when we were younger. And to have a better education, I went to a boarding school before I turned 14 and only came home once in every month or two. I had a tough time away from home at such a young age. But I survived the school and for better or worse, those years helped me to grow up and learned how to survive in life. I guess it is like what you guys here go to national service but just a few year younger.



After high school, I had a chance to study overseas when I started university and I chose to go to Australia. That’s when I started learning English – it would be hard to believe, but my first English lesson was only after I finished high school. I spent a year to learn English. But because the objective was to get admitted to University, the focus was actually more on the exam than to learn the language itself. I was pretty good at exam, so I passed my English exam even though my command of English was pretty poor. I still don’t understand how I could survive in an Australian university with that level of English but I guess I did a degree in Computer Science that basically involved in computer programing, mathematics and engineering in general so you did not have to talk much.

My poor communication skill continues to my work life where I started working in banks here in Singapore. I then went back to Australia after working for 4 years in Singapore and it was more challenging to work in Australia with my level of English even though I did improve along the way. I had to read books and learned more English by myself but then luckily, I rarely gave any presentation at those jobs.

Then I joined my current company – where I require to do some presentations; meeting clients so I know that I need to improve my presentation skills, and my friend recommended me to join a Toastmaster club but I kept delaying until now. But this time, I determine to get over my fear, throw away excuses and work on English speaking.

So here I am – and what a better way than to start a new year, first meeting of 2012 with my first project speech. I know it is not something I can complete overnight, not even in a year but rather it is a long journey. That’s what I believe in life – know what you want; take one step at a time; and if I am on the right track, I will get there one day.


Evaluation by Albert Anto, CC


A fabulous afternoon fellow toastmasters, visiting toastmasters, guests and to you Tri! Congratulations for defeating the fear and stepping forward to join the toastmasters and delivering you are maiden speech, “My past, My present and My English”. You have such a wonderful command of language, I could hardly spot any errors in your English!

Your speech followed

  1. An interesting and involved opening, where you described your background.
  2. A strong body, describing your struggle with the English, how you overcame the challenges you faced, the put offs and excuses and the inspiration you got from your kid’s Kindergarten concert.


Strong points of your speech are

  1. You have a sweet and melodious voice that attracts the attention of the audience. The delivery was very smooth, without any show of nervousness, if you had any.
  2. You used a question to open the speech, which is a good technique to get the audience involved.
  3. You did not use any notes, a brave effort!
  4. Your English was almost flawless, except for minor pronunciation errors, which I am sure could be fine-tuned over this toastmasters ‘s journey.


Overall, a very interesting and informative speech, well done!

I look forward to your next speech!

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