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 (02-Feb-2013)

The Highlights &  The Delights

2nd February 2013 Saturday



Ta Susiwati, called the meeting to order with “What will you be doing during the Lunar New Year?”


Toastmaster of the Day

It was the energetic and enthusiastic Tri Nguyen’s maiden TMD role who adlibbed after each speaker.


Opening Address by Club President

“What are your wishes for 2013?” Soh Siew Wee narrated the story of Susan, a humble housewife who received a US$1 billion reward. She financed a school where the money was used wisely and carefully. The girls were orphans, from low-income families or with single parents. Susan was Warren Buffett’s daughter. “We, in Toastmasters, are provided with useful suggestions and feedback. Be a giver, encourage others and we will be more cheerful people.”

Prepared Speeches

Kevin Tan, in AP4 Presenting an Award (Special Occasion Speeches), presented “The Pride of Hwa Chong”, The Hwa Chong Student of the Year Award.


“The Language Flowers Speak” was Ta Susiwati’s AP1 The Speech to Inform (Speaking to Inform) presentation on the meaning of each flower and its colour.


Karinna Boey in her P6 Vocal Variety of “The Awakening Sabai Sabai” shared her all-girls Chiengmai sojourn about the lizard.


Music to the Ear” was Darren Lim’s P3 Get to the Point speech on the genres of music, and that silence can be a form of music.


Speech Evaluations

Evaluator:                            Speech presented by:

Richard Sng                          Kevin Tan

Kevin Tan                              Ta Susiwati

Zainab Ibrahim                    Karinna Boey

Ta Susiwati                            Darren Lim                    


The evaluators were alert, observant and encouraging in their feedback.


Just 4 (for) Laughs ©

Albert Anto regaled us with the incident of the dumb blonde who proved that she could fly a single-seater plane without any training, nor her instructor. At 3000 feet, it crashed because she felt cold and switched off the ‘fan’!


Birthday Celebration

The birthday of four members falls in the month of February but only Zainab Ibrahim was the birthday girl present to cut the cheese cake.


Induction Ceremony for New Members

Our newest member, Alison Chan was the only one present to be inducted.


Fun with Table Topics

Soh Siew Wee dished out eleven topics and all who took the challenge, spoke within time.


Table Topics Evaluation

Richard Sng offered pointers and tips to the speakers, in preparation for the Table Topics contest on 23rd February!


Language Evaluation

Renown” was chosen as the Word of the Day by the Immediate Past President Albert Anto, who highlighted the alliterations, metaphors, triads and improper usage of the language. He had the book “Wriggle, Wrestle Wrangle with Words” as his source of reference.



Soh Siew Wee, had to handle the timing device in the absence of Joshua New.


Ah Counter

Tan Siok Gim made a return to the club and handled the role in effective listening.


Awards                                              Presented to:

Best Prepared Speech                    Karinna Boey & Darren Lim*

Best Speech Evaluation                  Kevin Tan

Best Table Topic:                             Karinna Boey & Richard Sng


*disqualified (timing)


Refreshment Break

We cleaned up the mee goreng, fried chicken, nectarines and bananas.



Kenny, an NS man made his second visit.


Kevin Tan, Albert Anto, Ta Susiwati and Richard Sng  had to take more than one role.



Contributed by:  Richard Sng, Club Secretary

The Highlights & The Delights (26-Jan-2013)

The Highlights &  The Delights

26th January 2013 Saturday

David Kow, a Past President brought down the gavel to begin the meeting.


Toastmaster of the Day

Richard Sng, our Past President took control of the proceedings, highlighting the changes to the programme, and introduced the appointment holders.


Opening Address by Club President

“Who is the Speaker of Parliament?  Do we show concern for others?” probed club president, Soh Siew Wee. “We are fortunate in Toastmasters and to members who offered us their knowledge.”

Prepared Speeches

Ta Susiwati, presented her AP1 Warm Up the Audience (Humorously Speaking), “Family. What does it mean?”


“A Difficult Decision” was Kenny Lim’s AP2 Let’s Get Personal (Storytelling) presentation.


Kelvin Tan narrated his AP2 Speaking in Praise of “The Discipline Master, My English Teacher”.


Speech Evaluations

Evaluator:                            Speech presented by:

David Kow                            Ta Susiwati

Chia Choon Kiat                   Kenny Lim

Ang Wee Yong                     Kevin Tan                     


The speakers certainly benefited from the useful and encouraging feedback.


Successful Club Series

Albert Anto presented a timely reminder and refresher talk, “Closing the Sale”.


Special Talk

It was an enriching and enlightening interactive session, “Tackling Table Topics” by Lau Kwong Fook, (NUS Alumni Toastmasters club).


Fun with Table Topics

Soh Siew Wee had no short of short of speakers.  Nine took the challenge!


Table Topics Evaluation

Lau Kwong Fook offered his take to each of the speakers, useful and helpful.


Language Evaluation

“Unique” was introduced as the Word of the Day by the VPE NTU Alumni TMC Flex Tio, being only his second language evaluation, a commendable effort.



Rampur, had a challenging role, listening to the splendid speeches and presentations, and handling the timing device.


Ah Counter

Ta Susiwati, took upon an extra appointment, a role in effective listening.


Awards                                              Presented to:

Best Prepared Speech                    Ta Susiwati

Best Speech Evaluation                  Ang Wee Yong

Best Table Topic:                             Ta Susiwati


Refreshment Break

Nyonya kuehs and bananas were the spread of the day.



Foo Kok Jin (NTU Alumni TMC), Davis Tan (Joo Chiat Culture TMC) and members of Changi Simei TMC were among our guests. Feedback from them included “a rich and structured meeting, a very meaningful and well-spent afternoon, have learnt a lot, appreciate the variety, very high standard, very vibrant, happy to spend an afternoon here, learnt a lot, never thought I would visit another TM club, everyone is so close”.

Contributed by:  Richard Sng, Club Secretary

15th Club Anniversary (13-Oct-2012)

15th Club Anniversary (13-Oct-2012)

The Highlights & The Delights

13th October 2012, Saturday

“15th Club Anniversary”

Folder Gallery Error: Unable to find the directory wp-content/uploads/images/stories/slideshow/15thClubAnniversary2012.


Our 15th Tiarel Toastmasters Club Anniversary was celebrated at the splendid auditorium at Pasir Ris East Community Building.

SAA Zainal Abidin enthusiastically welcomed everyone to our special day.

Guests present included District Officers, Toastmasters from other clubs, friends and community centre staff.  18 members showed up!  That’s a very healthy 62%!

Toastmaster of the Day

V. Krishnan took over the reins of the day, enjoying the limelight and spotlight.

Opening Address by Club President

Soh Siew Wee remarked that we were there with expectations and excitement. A balloon was taken out. “It is flat, when not blown. It can be kept in the pocket or used as a bookmark.  When blown, it is noticeable. That‘s what the life of Man should be. Otherwise, our ideas will be kept in the pocket or deep in our heart.” What an analogy!  Very inspirational and meaningful!

District Officers’ Address

Immediate Past District 80 Governor Michael Rodrigues, DTM asked, “What are we celebrating today?  A proud achievement . . . 15 years is a long time that a club has been around . . . a strong and steady club . . . the love, tenacity and care for one another . . . managing the club and members . . . establishing its bonds.”

His wish for Tiarel: “Keep serving and loving your members . . . learn to serve one another, not to be served . . . as simple as that.  The past presidents are the pillars of the club and the beacons for others.”

Division S Governor K Raj, ACS, CL presented a bottle of wine to the club.  He exhorted the slogan “Enjoy the journey and forget the stress.”   He related his childhood experience and the desire of wanting to be on the stage to speak.

Area S2 Governor Faruk Mohammad, CC commended the great effort of a great team and the great energy level in Tiarel. “This is the place to be!  This Toastmasters platform will get you to the next level.”

Video Clip: A montage of Celebrations, Gatherings, Contests, Meetings

As the photos of past events were unfolded on the screen, fond and beautiful memories of yesteryears brought a tinge of emotion to our hearts. It was a nostalgic journey and the reminiscences of the past years in Tiarel. Thank you, Zainal for the tremendous and tireless effort, and time that you have put in.

Past Presidents’ Reminiscences

Richard Sng, Tiarel’s 3rd Club President (1999-2000) shared with the audience the challenging developments which took place then . . . how he wanted to step aside graciously for another member to be the President again.  He was thankful and named his team members for performing their roles exemplarily.

Ho Eng Lye, the 5th President gave the analogy of the table with four legs and the fifth being on the top.  She used the acronym FIVE to reminisce the Family/Fun, Information/Illumination, Value, Enjoyment/Enthusiasm during her journey of joy.

David Kow described seeing the TRL banner and attending our meeting as a guest. Rena Teow at the registration desk greeted him and offered help. Eng Lye was his mentor. His progress in speaking, overcoming obstacles and disagreements were shared.

Tay Juet Hui, the 7th President did not wish to glorify the past but to honour our members. He was overwhelmed by the incumbent’s enthusiasm, commitment and dedication. The language evaluators hurt his ego but his language skills improved.  (Medicine has to be bitter if it is to be effective! J)

Teh Yun Ling was a nervous, shy and blushing lass ten years ago.  Now, she will speak up when necessary, no longer docile nor submissive. Was she manipulated to be a Club President?

Lee Fung Fung was saddened by the huge change in our meeting venue, from the beautiful, cosy and prestigious room at Tampines Regional Library to a classroom at Tampines North Community Club.  The change was unthinkable but inevitable.  She acknowleged the foresight of our senior members, to source for an alternative venue.  She enlightened the audience how the name ‘Tiarel’ (which is pronounced as TRL) came about, to preserve the legacy of TRL (Tampines Regional Library TMC), the good name and reputation, and that no change is considered ‘unthinkable’.

Lisa Ooi was emotional, saying, “The video clip made my eyes moisten.” It brought afresh the memories listing the past presidents.  “Tiarel has achieved the Toastmasters mission very well.”  She was a speechcraft participant.

Albert Anto, the Immediate Past President found shortcomings in his career and had inadequate social skills. He was attracted to the banner outside our community club. He acknowledged the past presidents, being the pillars, and for their advice and support.

Prepared Speeches

There were so many aspects of the personal cheque that most of us were unaware of. Li Hairong presented “Embrace the Personal Cheque” for Project 3 Get to the Point.  An acronym REST was used . . .  Record Evidence Security Timing . . . to make us remember her very informative speech and the advice.

Kevin Tan in AP3 Make Them Laugh was in a dilemma when he had to give a lesson on “Let’s Talk about Sex” in his school.  After attending a course on “Sexuality Issues”, he was more comfortable to teach ‘menstruation’.

In “The Angry Woman” AP3 The Moral of the Story, Kenny Lim narrated the anecdote of a bad-tempered woman whose friends and family wanted to have nothing to do with her.  She went to see a monk who told her to stand outside her house to offer water from her jug to passers-by. A big burly man snatched the jug, drank the water and threw it away.  He was later arrested, suspected for multiple murders and robberies.  Moral of the story: Life is unpredictable, learn to accept our imperfections, flaws and weaknesses.

Speech Evaluations

Evaluator:                            Speech presented by:

Richard Sng                          Li Hairong

Michael Rodrigues              Kevin Tan

Krishna Raj                           Kenny Lim

The feedback was balanced, encouraging and focused.

Birthday Celebration (Month of October)

Special birthday cakes (long ones, like log cakes) from Medan were rolled out by VP Membership Kevin Tan onto the stage. District Officers, past presidents, birthday boy Dr Ta King Ho, birthday girl Teh Yun Ling, and others in the audience whose birthday falls in the month of October were invited to the stage.  It was a Happy 15th Birthday to Tiarel Toastmasters and the birthday babes. J

Fun with Table Topics

The audience did not know what they were in for. By popular demand, we had a debate again, helmed by Richard Sng. After the audience in the auditorium was evenly and fairly distributed, the rules were spelt out. A speaker was nominated immediately after the previous, to refute and rebut the issues and points raised. The topic: ‘Money can Buy Love.’  Michael Rodrigues, Faruk, Tay Juet Hui, David Kow, Karinna Boey, Li Hairong, K. Raj, Ta King Ho, Teh Yun Ling and Lisa Ooi were the debaters.  Fun and laughter, often boisterous, filled the house.

Listening Master

This regular feature in our club was handled by David Kow.  From the fast and furious answers to the questions thrown to the audience, we knew many listened well. The lively atmosphere, rowdy at times, engaged everyone.


Neil Sarno was busy with the stopwatch and the timing cards, trying to attract the speakers on stage to keep to their timing.

Ah Counter

To remind us of the ah’s, erhm’s, er’s, so’s, and’s, okay’s . . . was Karinna Boey.

Awards                                              Presented to:

Best Speech:                                     Kevin Tan

Best Evaluation:                               Richard Sng

20 sets of tokens were generously donated by a past president, Jamil Suleiman who was unable to attend due to work commitments, and presented to the 19 names on the programme. Ironically, I did not receive one. L Who received two?

Refreshment Break

Lontong, satay, cakes and what else did we have?  Everything taken in and passed out has been long forgotten.

The three-and-a-half hour function on a Saturday afternoon, held in a classy auditorium has been a memorable and unforgettable occasion . . .  successful and well-organised.  Thanks to the members who worked behind the scene.

Contributed by:  Richard Sng, Club Secretary

Christmas Chapter Meeting – 2012

Christmas Chapter Meeting on 22-Dec-2012

« 1 of 2 »



The Highlights & The Delights (08-Sep-2012)

The Highlights & The Delights (08-Sep-2012)

8th September 2012 Meeting

“Hari Raya Celebrations”

Folder Gallery Error: Unable to find the directory wp-content/uploads/images/stories/slideshow/Hariraya2012.

The meeting was promptly called to order by Zainal Abidin, the SAA, all dressed up in the Malay garb.  He explained that Hari Raya Aidilfitri is not a new year for the muslims but a celebration after the fasting month of Ramadan.

Guests present included Zainal’s spouse and daughter, Lay Yong (NTU InSpire) Joshua and Ting Ren .  Many members showed up to spice up the festive mood.


Toastmaster of the Day

Kenny Lim, dressed up with a sarong and songkok assumed the role, and made a couple of nifty Malay dance moves, as he performed his tasks.


Opening Address by Club President

Soh Siew Wee, dressed in a baju kurong, narrated a folk tale of happy cats in a village and thousands of mirrors, travelling over hills and valleys, meeting thousands of angry, snarling cats. The mirror images reflect us. Are we cheerful and optimistic?  Wherever we go, we find encouraging and supportive people.  Make Tiarel a dynamic club!


Prepared Speeches

Kevin Tan in his AP4 The Touching Story ‘Light’ dramatized the story of the girl in slippers, cold and hungry, with a bundle of matches on a snowy day.  Finally, she saw her grandmother, and was safe in her arms, in a better place.

‘Taking Advantage’ AP2 Leave Them with a Smile, was about an incident in the train when it went through a tunnel.  A kiss was heard. Someone was slapped. There were a lady with her granddaughter, an army lieutenant and his boss.  Everyone was stone-faced when the train emerged from the tunnel.  Who was the one taking advantage of the situation?  Ask Albert Anto, the speaker!

Krishnan Venugopal presented his AP4 Presenting a Technical Paper ‘Know Your Diet’.  What do Bill Clinton and Martina Navratilova have in common?  They are vegetarians.   It was a very useful and helpful speech with a rich source of information.  He cautioned us on the steps to take if we wish to convert to vegetarianism.

P2 Organise Your Speech was Karinna Boey’s ‘Breakfast’ speech. It is not about eating anything (Choice) for breakfast.  Forty is the number of times we need to (Chew) every mouthful of food, for the nutrients to be absorbed, together with the saliva.  We need to make the (Change) to our eating habits.


Speech Evaluations

Evaluator                Speech presented by
Ho Eng Lye               Kevin Tan
Richard Sng              Albert Anto
David Kow                Krishnan Venugopal
Teh Yun Ling             Karinna Boey

The evaluators are all Past Presidents of the club.  Whoa!


Hari Raya Celebration ~ Cultural Talk

Balkis Md Yahya Patel enlightened us on the common Hari Raya greeting, that Hari Raya Puasa is not a new year for the muslims, but to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, the Haj, Hari Raya Haji, and the five pillars of Islam.  What an educational and passionate presentation!  She could have gone on …


Birthday Celebration (Month of September)

Our VP Membership, Kevin brought forth the birthday cake and invited our birthday girl Li Hairong, dressed in green, to bask in the limelight and spotlight.  Her birthday was the day before.  Our other birthday girl, Janelle Cua could not attend our meeting.  Happy Birthday, Hairong!  Cheers! J


Just 4 (For) Laughs©

Teh Yun Ling regaled us about clapping for the mosquitoes, the vet, the hamster, (cat) scan, lab test, the phone call.  Missing members, you missed the laughter! J


Fun with Table Topics

It was a first-time role for our birthday girl, Li Hairong.

David, Joshua, Ting Ren, Lay Yong and Zahora gamely stepped forward to say their piece on a range of topics, wise sayings and quotations.


Language Evaluation

We decided to leave this segment out for the meeting.  But still, watch your words!


Traditional Malay Games

Zainal Abidin engaged and encouraged the audience to participate. Albert, Richard, Kenny, Joshua, Ting Ren, David and Hairong gamely stepped up and tried their hand (one leg standing actually) at ‘capteh’.  Karinna, Yun Ling, Balkis, Eng Lye and Siew Wee preferred to have both their legs firmly on the floor.  They played with “Five Stones’.  Bravo to the sporting guys and girls!  Hurray!



Our President, Soh Siew Wee took over the role from Janelle Cua.


Ah Counter

Our birthday girl, Li Hairong (Thank you!) had to take over from Darren Lim.

Awards                                              Presented to

Best Speech:                                Kevin Tan

Best Evaluation:                           Richard Sng

Best Table Topic Speech:               David Kow

Refreshment Break

Lontong and other festive goodies were the order of the day!  Makan!  Makan!

It was another exhilarating and enlightening afternoon among wonderful friends.


Contributed by:  Richard Sng, Club Secretary

The Highlights & The Delights (28-Jul-2012)


28th July 2012 Meeting


Neil Sarno, the Sergeant at Arms, called the meeting to order punctually.

Guests present included ex-member Choon Lee, Grace, Glen, Apoorv, Runbin and a visiting Toastmaster from Hong Kong, Teresa Tong.  Thirteen members turned up to show their support.

Toastmaster of the Day

Kevin Tan performed splendidly, controlling and keeping the flow of the programme almost to the dot.

Opening Address by Club President

Soh Siew Wee inspired us with the story of a frustrated young lady. From the carrot (hard when raw, but soft and weak when boiled), the egg (soft inside, but hard when boiled) and coffee powder (changes when in hot water), we learnt lessons on difficulties, hardships and adversities.

VPM’s Plan for the Term

It was very ambitious, but commendable of Kevin to lay out what he had in store for us: retaining current members, recalling absent members, recruiting more members, biannual surveys, mentor/mentee, new member kit, monthly birthday celebrations, bonding activities, more awards, . . .  Wow!

Mock Speech Evaluation Contest

Soh Siew Wee handled the briefing and David shared the guidelines of the contest.  Test speaker Zainal Abidin gallantly bared his heart, sharing the heart ‘valve’ condition he has been living with, in “Matters of the Heart”. He faced the dilemma of making a choice of having a plastic, metal or keeping his original heart.  Kevin Tan, Kenny Lim, Krishnan and Neil Sarno gallantly stepped up to have a practice round before the club’s contest on 11thAugust.  Krishnan emerged the winner, albeit one time disqualification.  David rounded it up, offering his feedback for the contestants.

Prepared Speeches

Kenny Lim narrated “The Blue Rose” in AP1 The Folk Tale. The princess was in a dilemma of having to choose a man to marry . . . the one who offered a dyed blue rose, a blue sapphire shaped like a rose or a white rose appearing blue when sunlight shone on it through a blue-stained glass?  Who did she marry?

Darren Lim presented his Ice Breaker speech “The First Step” without script.

In her Ice Breaker speech “Dreams”, Karinna sang Doris Day’s Que Sera Sera and fooled us with her first and longest love, coffee.  Cheh!  Her other love is baking.

Fun with Table Topics

Neil Sarno was obsessed with our MRT trains and based his topics on the theme.

It was “No eating or drinking” for Glen, “Make it right for a better ride” for Jamil, “One child and one adult” for Janelle, “Suspect it?, Report it” for Krishnan, “Clean and Comfortable” for Runbin, “Reserved sitting” for Apoorv and “Please move to the rear” for Grace.

Speech Evaluations

Our guest, Teresa Tong, ATMB, CL, a member of four clubs in Hong Kong, was carried away and exceeded the time, evaluating Karinna’s speech. Krishnan had another go, practising before the contest, offering feedback for Kenny’s story. It was Zainal’s maiden speech evaluation for Darren’s virgin speech. Kudos to him!

Language Evaluation

Another creative tagline was coined to evaluate the use of the spoken English language, the “3 Bs”, “Butter, Bitter & Better”.

Richard Sng highlighted the beautiful and wonderful words and language used to ‘Butter’ the speakers.

On areas for improvement, he touched on the ‘Bitter’ . . . redundancy, tenses, agreement, overworked words, word usage and the ungrammatical use of language.

On what can be ‘Better’, he pointed out the numerous words being mispronounced.

He concluded his language evaluation with his quotation “The ability to communicate correctly, clearly and confidently is critical and crucial.”


It was an experience for first timer Li Hairong, manipulating the timing device, guided by Soh Siew Wee.

Ah Counter

Testing her listening skill, Janelle Cua was splendid for a first timer.


Best Speech:                                     Darren Lim               (Clap! Clap!)

Best Evaluation:                               Krishnan                    (Cheer! Cheer!)

Best Table Topic Speech:               Yew Runbin              (Hurray!)

Refreshment Break

Yum, Yum.  Bananas, carrots, mee rebus, banana and chempedak fritters, milo, coffee, tea, cereal drinks . . . what a variety!

It was another wonderful and fruitful session, filled with fellowship, fun and food.

Contributed by:  Richard Sng ,   Club Secretary



The Highlights & The Delights (13-Jul-2012)

14th July 2012 Meeting


Our first meeting of the 2012-2013 term commenced punctually at 2.15 pm,  a hallmark and trademark of our club.

Guests present included ex-member Past President Ho Siew Eng, Area S2 Governor Faruk Muhammed, Yew Runbin, Jacqueline Ng, Nah Wenbin, Alex, Vivien and Nutt.


A Video Clip of 2011-2012 events was screened: club meetings, outdoor meeting, joint meetings, club contests, Language Evaluation workshop. A commendable effort compiled by Zainal Abidin. Very nostalgic.


Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the outgoing executive committee members by Past President Ho Eng Lye.


Awards, Accolades and Achievements:

Performing the honours was the outgoing Club President Albert Anto.



CC   –  Zainal Abidin, Kenny Lim, Gordon Lu
ACB –  Ta Susiwati, Krishnan Venugopal
CL   –  Ta Susiwati, Albert Anto


Awards & Accolades:

Most Members Recruited – Richard Sng
Most Appointments Held (15) – Richard Sng
Most Valuable Member (Highest Nominations Received) – Richard Sng


Address by Area S2 Governor:  Faruk Muhammed

Compliments were accorded to the outgoing ex-co’s “spectacular contributions”.

Reference was made to Kevin Tan’s “Life is a choice” by making our presence at the meeting, and Richard Sng’s “Leaving a Legacy” contest speech.

“Procrastination” was touched on. “I am excited to be with Tiarel.”


Installation of Club Officers 2012-2013:

After an absence of nearly two years, Past President Lee Fung Fung (now a proud mother of twins) graced the occasion as the Installation Officer.  It was conducted with dignity and grace.  All the club officers (except Krishnan, who was out of town) were present.


Club President’s Address:

Soh Siew Wee brought us back four years ago when she first stepped into Tiarel. She reflected on Lee Fung Fung’s speech that day about the frogs being comfortable.  She re-emphasised the message of not to “Never give up”.

Exciting forthcoming events were highlighted.  (Very ambitious, hor!)


“Elaboration on Evaluation” (Educational Presentation):

Past President Richard Sng shared his observations at the numerous Toastmasters clubs he was invited to.  He cautioned on the DOs and the DONTs, the Roles, Duties and Responsibilities of evaluators.  “Focus on the objectives, requirements and guidelines of the project speech in your oral evaluation, and nothing else!”


Prepared Speeches:

Kevin Tan in “The President”, his AP3 ‘The Roast’ roasted Albert Anto.

Tri Nguyen stirred us with his P6 ‘Vocal Variety’ “Do you have to Cheat to Win?” Janelle Cua used to complain about her childhood, her life and her job.  Without script, confident and steadfast, she endeared us with “Positivity is Possible”.


Birthday Celebration:

The club decided to kick-start this term by incorporating this, to celebrate members’ birthday.  Our birthday boy and girl for July are Kenny and Susiwati.


Refreshment Break:

Zainal’s wife brought us dry mee siam, murtabak and chengterng.  Alice contributed mini apples and Indonesian cakes.  Have I missed out anything?


Speech Evaluations:

Intimidated after the educational segment, Tay Juet Hui and Tan Siok Gim were fazed and frazzled, and exceeded time.  Only Ho Eng Lye was disciplined.


Evaluate the Evaluators:

Immediately after, Richard Sng evaluated the feedback of the evaluators. Choice of words, striking a balance and specific suggestions were offered.


Induction Ceremony:

Our VP Membership inducted Darren, Adib, Janelle, Li Hairong and Karinna. Our five newbies made solemn and serious pledges as proud members.


Fun with Table Topics:

The theme, English Proverbs was led by Albert Anto.

Kudos and Bravos to Darren, Karinna, Alex, Adib, Runbin and Fung Fung who either volunteered or were roped in.


Listening Master:

Fun and laughter were in the air as Susiwati tested our listening skill.  Goodies were thrown to the winners with the correct answers.



Best Speech – Kevin Tan
Best Evaluation – Ho Eng Lye (by default)
Best Table Topic Speech – Darren



AGS2 Faruk complimented that it was an almost perfect meeting. Obviously, there is no such thing as perfection!  “Tiarel will excel further.”

Nah Wenbin remarked that it was a terrific meeting.  “Very, very good!”

Vivien (Susiwati’s classmate) announced it was her first time at a Toastmasters meeting.  “Very encouraging”

Yew Runbin (Kevin Tan’s wife) confessed that it was an energizing and encouraging meeting.

Lisa Ooi said that coming back brought fond memories.  “Fun”

It was a 3.1/2-hour meeting.   It was fun, fruitful and fulfilling.


Contributed by:  Richard Sng ,  Club Secretary



AP5: Of Snails and Purple Dye

25 Feb 2012

“Do you smell something burning?”

This question sounded in an empty chemistry lab 150 years ago in 1856.

2 English chemists were trying to find the cure for malaria, one of the world’s most widespread diseases at that time. Hoffman, the older of the 2, was leading the research while his student William Perkin helped out.




William was a chemistry prodigy; he entered university at 15, much earlier than the most of us! Now, he is part of Hoffman’s prestigious team of university researchers, on a breakthrough study that can save the world!


[low-pitched, gruff voice] “When something’s burning, it usually means the experiment had FAILED. Clean up while I find out what went wrong.” Hoffman commanded. William thought: “oh man, another test-tube to clean!”

That day’s experiment was a particularly bad failure. As he looked down into the test tube, he saw a disgusting black gooey substance, like mucus from a smoker’s lung, coloured black with tar.

He started rinsing with water, it did not budge. He tried scrubbing but it still did not move! It was as stubborn as super glue!

At last, William gave up and used his teacher’s expensive alcohol. “I really hope this works!” I want to invent the medicine for malaria and save the world, not be stuck here washing test-tubes!

At last, the black thing got smaller when it was washed with alcohol! William was elated as he looked at the alcohol flowing down the drain, it was as bright and brilliantly purple as the freshest violets, and most importantly took some of the black sludge away with it. “Good riddance!”

Hoffman, his teacher came back rubbing his hands “William! finished washing? GOOD!” The 2 of them continued their next experiment, after all Hoffman always says “If you try and fail, try again!”

(move to stage left)

At home that night, William was telling Thomas, his younger brother about the black sludge and purple dye it caused. Thomas immediately piped up [high voice] “I’ve never seen purple so close. Only the King can afford to wear it.” (pause) “William do you think, just think, that we can dye purple cloth from it? Imagine, purple cloth!”

Purple dyes were collected from the mucus of snails at that time, and each snail only had so much mucus. So, only the incredibly rich, like the King, can afford to wear it. Thomas was excited!

To think of all the purple cloth they can make! They can wrap their entire house in purple, not even the King does that! But William said “No, I am finding the cure for malaria, not some sort of colouring! I’m a chemist! I must help the world!” [in Thomas’s high-pitched voice] “But since you already have it, can you please try, please please? It is an opportunity too, why don’t we grab it?”

(pause, freezing in Thomas’s action of hands outstretched)

(move to stage right)

The next day, William went to Mr. Hoffman, telling him about the possibility of making a dye, from the black sludge of yesterday. “No, we are here to cure malaria, I have too much to do to help you. if you want to be silly, do it yourself. But you would have to leave my research team. Choose yours own path.”

(move to stage center)

What should William do? Should he continue with the prestigious research team at the university? Or should he take his chances with the unknown purple substance?


3 years and many experiments later, William and Thomas are the proud owners of a dye factory in Scotland, using mauvine to produce purple clothes for the whole of England. Everyone could now wear purple and the poor snails were no longer needed.

When he discovered mauvine, which is the purple dye made from the black sludge, William Henry Perkin was just 18. He went to become an established chemist, but he never discovered the cure for malaria. Instead, he found other dyes, like Britannia Violet and Perkin’s Green. William Perkin directly contributed all the coloured clothes we are wearing today. Because of him, we can have many colourful fabrics, whether cotton or silk, to wear any colour whenever we want. Can you imagine if we still had to use snail mucus and leaves to colour our clothes?

William’s teacher, wanted to leave his impact on the world by persevering on one thing. And he did, although he never discovered the cure for malaria, he is well known for many breakthroughs in his field of research.

William had decisively jumped at something he thought was an opportunity and succeeded in bettering the life of others through chemistry. Hoffman had also led the way in chemistry research.

One of them succeeded with persistence, one with flexibility. Do we want to be William or Mr. Hoffman? But the most important thing is, they both tried and tried. Some people think that ‘fail and try again’ is the secret to success, but trying, failing and trying to make use of that failure may also lead to victory.

In any case, try and fail but don’t fail to try!

Toastmaster of the day.


This is a AP5 speech from the Storytelling Manual, Bringing History to Life.


Evaluation by Michael Chang

8 min 27 secs

There were two morals of the story,


  1. Can try and fail but do not fail to try
  2. We can succeed through persistence like Hoffman or flexibility like William
William was well developed as a character, with a background (chemistry prodigy) but Hoffman could be better characterized.
Effective use of description and dialogue in the story. Vocal variety observed during the dialogues and gestures were natural and appropriate.
A commendable speech. Keep up the good efforts and well done!