Saturday, November 17, 2007

Toastmasters International District 80 Semi-Annual Convention 2007

With laser lights and musical fountain by the beach at Songs of the Sea, Toastmasters' District 80 Semi-Annual Convention started unofficially with oohs and ahhs as delegates from Hong Mong, Macau, Singapore and Thailand were mesmerized by the beauty of Sentosa at night. Dinner by the seaside also brought our moods to the highest.

The next day with a loud bang, the open ceremony commenced with its guest-of-honour Mr Tharman Shamugaratnam and keynote speaker, Michael Podolinsky. The premium that morning was the keynote speaker, speaking on 6 disciplines and 6 barriers. If you did not feel inspired and motivated in that hour or so, then I don't know what will.

After a buffet-style lunch, fellow Toastmasters adjourned to their respective venues for three concurrent workshops. With another dose of Podolinsky and hearing from speakers like Ezzy Wang & Stuart Tan, as drained as I was, the many lessons to be learnt and applied made it up for the tiredness.

The highlight for the 2nd night was the Gala Dinner with its theme of "Simply a Superstar Night". Besides good food, good performances, Toastmasters also rewarded various leaders, divisions and clubs for their hardwork in the previous term. What can be more apt than calling it the 'Hall of Fame'? With great educational workshops, talks, dinner and camadarie, I went home, looking forward to another day of yet great fun.

The third and final day commenced at 8.30am with the humourous speech and evaluation contests. It was a fierce fight between the contestants. Surprise surprise, we even had Ramesh Muthusamy as the test speaker. Difficult to evaluate? You bet. Then the convention came to a close with the closing ceremony and a farewell lunch outdoors.

To sum it up, conventions can easily make up for a few years of chapter meetings. The inspiration and motivation within Toastmasters, within me, were further enhanced with the convention. Each convention is a unique experience. This is my 2nd convention, with the 3rd to come next year. Join me, fellow Toastmasters, it's truly an eye-opener.