Monday, July 17, 2017

My Toastmaster Journey

Of late, I joined SWEPA Toastmaster (STMC), and I can say that so far I've benefited so much from that club. 

So what is a toastmaster? 
A toastmaster is basically someone who speaks publicly at an event.

Hence a toastmaster club, or my club STMC, which is under Toastmaster International, is a nonprofit educational organization which helps members improve their communication, public speaking, and leadership skills.

I've heard of this club since secondary school, and I knew it's about public speaking. 
However it's a lot more than that. The whole thing is an incredible learning experience, if you like learning new things like me, surely you'll fall in love with toastmaster club. 

Our STMC meeting is held on every first and third Wednesday night at Wisma Wanita. 
They have strict protocols to follow when carrying out the meeting. We usually have dinner together until 7.30pm so that the role players can be ready while others have dinner and fellowship. I'll talk about role players later.

So what do you do in a toastmaster club? 

The meeting consists mainly of two session. The first one is the table topic and the second one is manual speeches. During the table topic, the table topic master will prepared a range of topics from current issues to fantasy for the members to answer it within 2 minutes time. I've tried once, 2 minutes can be quite long if you ran out of idea. Members can either be selected or volunteer to take the topic. As for the manual speeches, each week, 3 members are chosen ahead to prepare their speech. I've done my second speech last two weeks ago in my first baju kurung. 

Oh speaking of baju kurung, each week there's a different theme, so since it was raya season, everyone dressed in colourful Malay attire.   

So back to our role players, what do they do?

There's toastmaster of the evening who's responsible for the flow of agenda of the evening.
The "Ah" Counter counts how many "ahs" "ums" "well" we blurted out during the whole meeting.
There's a Timer to keep track of time, making sure the meeting starts and ends on time.
The Grammarian jots down every grammar mistakes we made, beautiful sentences and the usage of word of the day. By the way, every week, the grammarian will introduce the word of the day. Every time someone uses it, the members will knock the table. It was oddly fun to do it.
There are also a few evaluators assigned to evaluate the speakers and other role players.
Not forgetting the Humour Master, he or she tickles your funny bones.  

These people take their roles seriously, they don't do perfunctory presentation.

So yeah, you will not only learn about public speaking, but also gain a wide range of knowledge from the topics, cultivate leadership skills and responsibility by taking up these roles, meet a lot of experienced wonderful people who have been in the toastmasters club before I was born, and most importantly you build up your self-esteem and boost your confidence.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

My SWEPA Journey Commenced.

Earlier this year, I was invited by SWEPA's president, Wynnie, to join SWEPA - Sabah Women Entrepreneur and Professionals Association.

If you're born in my generation, the social media generation, there's a huge chance you've never heard of it. That's because we seldom read local newspapers.

Joining SWEPA is a huge eye-opener for me. Never have I seen and been with so many successful business women and professionals in the same setting.

My first activity with them was back in March, a talk delivered by Dr. Oh Ei Sun, a former political secretary at Malaysia Prime Minister Office on the topic "Belt and Road Initiative".
It was an insightful talk full of information about China and Sabah's trading and cultural exchange activities. 

On the 3rd June, there was a Biznet Training held for the members at Shangrila Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa. The whole day training was another educational and fun experience. This is why I love learning. Cause sometimes you'll get mind-blown by never-heard-before insights from the experts. Attending Biznet definitely helped me to step up my business game.

Four business experts giving their best tips on how to improve our business.
Datuk CK Tan, one of Malaysians successful business conglomerate, was the one who brought KFC into Sabah. 

Wefie with one of the talented speaker, Nadira (yellow shawl), who taught us the importance of using social media as a platform to attract more customers.

The following week, I attended Sabah's exclusive announcement of the Platinum Business Award 2017 at Hilton Hotel Kota Kinabalu. SWEPA was the co-organizer as well as supporting partner. Those who attended the event were high net worth individuals, all dressed in business suits. Among those who were present at the event are our KK town mayor Datuk Yeo, Datuk Yong Teck Lee, Professor Yong of SIA, and the organizing chairman Dato Sri Ricky Yaw.

SWEPA members with the co-organizer JTL Empire.

For those who don't know what is Platinum Business Award, it is an award to recognize outstanding SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Malaysia. If you think you're one of them, you may apply online via by 15th July 2017.

Last but not least, my latest event of SWEPA, the Annual General Meeting, held at Palace Hotel last week on the 17th of June. At the meeting, I've seen first hand how does a club carry out their exco members election. Through their annual report, SWEPA has proven to be an award-winning association by helping the community in need. One of their project - Barefoot Solar Project led by past president Datin Jeannette Tambakau is one of the greatest initiatives to help rural people get electricity.

President Wynnie has shown extraordinary leadership skills in helping the association to become stronger and empowering. She passed the baton to Datuk Aminah, our next SWEPA president. We hope that Datuk Aminah and the exco will strive harder to bring the association to reach greater heights in the next coming term.

I met Madam Jennifer from my dancing school at the event, she was the photographer of the day, she was really good at making sure everyone poised and looked stunning in every picture.

New and old exco.

SWEPA June babies.

Thank you, madam president for giving me the opportunity to bake for SWEPA event.
I could have done better on the icing.

We had a whale of time eating scrumptious Ramadan buffet. Sitting second from right is Shan Tao former principal as well as a published author. I had a lot to learn from her.

Madam President with the new members, me, Anna and Melanie.

Induction of new members.

Our story was published in Daily Express. Reported by Mary Chin. 

In a nutshell, I've learned so much from SWEPA, these amazing women had inspired me to become better in every aspect, including self-image. Once again, thank God for this wonderful opportunity to let me grow and learn. Hope to attend more educational events like this and learn from the business pundits in the future.

By the way, those heels are killing me.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Today is Museum Day - Sabah State Museum

Last Saturday, my mother and I decided to take our relatives to Sabah state museum. I haven't been to the museum since secondary school. So it's a good time to refresh my memories.

My cousin's wife, who is my nephew and niece's mother, came all the way from KL to pay a visit, so what's more interesting and informative about Sabah than to take her and her children to the museum?

Entrance Fee:
13 and above: RM2
Children 12 and below and senior citizens who reach 55 are FOC.
Isn't it cheap?!

As soon as we entered the main door, we were greeted by this huge whale skeleton.

Tunku Abdul Rahman signing the declaration to form Malaya.

You may not want to put these traditional musical instruments in your mouth.

Bright and colourful chinese wedding ceremony displays.

The local ethnic - Kadazan costumes.

The animal kingdom.

Europian ceramics.

Can you spot a smaller jar inside? 

The exhibition was a few divided into few categories, there were old artifacts, traditional costumes, history, and the founding of Malaya and Malaysia. Then on the upstairs, there were preserved animals displays and ceramics on the other side. It was a good place for learning and taking pictures.

 Fun for the whole family. Outside, there were old trains and classic automobiles. 
So next time if you have someone from far away coming to Sabah, bring them to the museum. 
It is cheap and educational.

After a hot tiring day, we had Sabah's famous local food, Sang Nyuk Mian for lunch.
It was another wonderful fellowship with my relatives.

Ballroom Dancing Performance

Saturday night was a blast!

It's been a while since I perform on stage. Going back on stage awakened my hibernating performing nerves. 

On the 10th June, my dancing school, Imperial Dance Studio was celebrating its 18th anniversary. 
Can't believe this school existed since I was 5. We had a wonderful performing night at JKKN, Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara, next to Penampang library.

My group, which is an adult group, gave our best shot. We all danced our soul out.
It was pure hard work and discipline. We practiced every week for half a year.
Of course, without the help of our brilliant teachers, Patricia, Teacher Lucy and Jia Qi, we wouldn't have done it so well. Our first dance is romantic Rumba, followed by energetic cha cha cha.

Everyone dressed to the tens. Their outfits were covered with lots of blings, ruffles, and fringes. I'll let the pictures do the talking. 

Young teenagers performing.

I've never seen most of these students. The Beaufort Branch joined us too. 
Seeing these bunch of talented students performance made my jaws dropped, it was definitely an eye opener for me. I've seen many dances on youtube, but it was a difference experience when it was live in front of your very eyes.

Before the performance began, the event started with examination certificate presentation.

My best friend Teh and her sister Naomi came to support me.
Thanks guys for coming!

One of the cute performance by the juniors.

I told Teh that, these are just appetizers, the main courses are at the back.
They told me the appetizers were very delicious! 

"Main course" of the night.

Imperial Champions, this couple blew my mind.

Synchronized dancing.

Final Dance by a group of juniors.

There were a lot of pictures of other performance including my teacher Patricia, unfortunately, my outdated camera couldn't capture the essence, hence only these few were uploaded. Considering to invest in a better one in the near future.

Me and lovely Patricia.

The Dancing Family.

Makeup was done by me, hair done at a saloon.

I look forward to next year anniversary performance.
The video is on my Facebook.

Monday, June 5, 2017

1 day trip - Kiulu and Tuaran Sabah

It was another beautiful holiday in April, so we were on a road trip again!

Early morning, my mother, my brother and I hit the road with spirited enthusiasm. 
Roadtrip has always been exciting for me.
We first went to the famous Kiulu River. It was about an hour drive from Kota Kinabalu.
As we reach there, the place was already crowded. 

You can see people having a whale of a time in the crystal clear river. Some people were barbecuing. 
We saw a tent which has a banner says"Family Day". 
Then we found out it was organized by my dad's company. 

I've never been to this place before. It was breathtaking.
The azure blue sky, coruscant white water and a vast green field beside it, it was just like my computer's wallpaper. 

Ignore the fat model.

Mum talking to one of dad's company's worker.

The campsite is spacious. This place is called Pusat Kokurikulum Sabah, Kem Malangang Kiulu Tuaran. If you're thinking of organizing a group activity, this is the perfect place.

After feasting our eyes with mountains and rivers, we moved on to our next destination, Sabandar Tuaran, a Sabah's trending hotspot. 

Just like many other roundabouts at other places, there is an iconic statue representing the local famous item. Before you enter Sabandar Cowboy town, Tuaran, you'll see this magnificent view of 3 horses statues in the middle of the roundabout.

As soon as you step into the compound, you'll be welcomed by a wild wild west theme building.
Don't you feel like whipping a rodeo right now?

Say hi to the town sheriff.

Each horse has its own unique name and is kept in its own stable. 

Standing right beside this huge creature intimidated me, had to take pictures from the back.
Never have I ever seen such a healthy good looking horse before.

If you love horse riding, you can try for RM15 for 5 minutes (2 rounds). 
I didn't go though, the queue was too long.
No entrance fee, no parking fee, only RM0.50 toilet fee.
So hurry up and visit this amazing place before the management starts imposing any fees.

Here's a tip, if you wanna get up close to a real horse and feed it without paying a cent, go to the nearby beach, Sabandar Beach. There are horses roaming around freely.

You can feed them with wild grass too!

Having a picnic by the beach.
This was taken last year, I tell ya, the beach was absolutely stunning. 
Another perfect place for gathering. 

After hanging out with the horses, we were sweltering and craving for Tuaran's famous coconut pudding.

This silky smooth coconut goodness is the perfect thirst quencher on a hot sunny day. 

Barbecued seashell or locally known as Lokan Panggang is also a must have around this area.

That's all for my report on promoting Sabah's tourist attraction.
Hope you'll put these amazing places in your next holiday destination checklist.