World Emoji Day on 17 July 2018

What a sizzling emoji meeting! We set the highest level of camaraderie, good content, harmony, and just unequalled quality of everything going on the programme. This is the kind of meeting to dream up and create.

We all went home on Cloud Effervescence. I had never experienced anything like it, and couldn’t get to sleep.

Humour levels went through the mercury; the walls shook with booming male laughter, while the ladies raised the roof with their own reaction to the hilarity. Our Word of the Night was “interesting”, and so it was.

Our visitors were many; eight as I recall, and for those who had never been to a Toastmasters’ meeting they were wooed to think about joining, on the first night. Everyone contributed; no-one sat as a wallflower. The upbeat nature of the pace and programme just swept everyone into an “all -in- common” basket of riotous colour.

The Toast for World Emoji Day

Christopher Tso delivered a Toast for World Emoji Day.

Remember when the Internet was invented? We used to have a dialup modem. A modem speaks data over a channel that’s designed to carry the human voice. The whistling sound you hear in the modem is actually the modem asking the modem on the side, “can you hear me?” And the other replies, “I heard you.” Back and forth until they’ve found a frequency range that is able to transmit data. It wasn’t surprising that the Internet was slow. It was the early days of the Internet.

In fact, phone companies in those days would attempt to ban the use of modems on their network. They said, “why do you need to transmit voice using a modem? We already have a voice network.” And later, “why do you need to transmit video? We already have TV.”

Bill Gates, who was an early proponent for the Internet, was once ridiculed on an TV interview for believing that the Internet would change the world.

And yet, here we are today, in a very different world, because of the Internet. A world that no one expected would change so fast and become so different.

The Internet is still evolving. We now have Bitcoin and other crypto assets which are changing the world. We don’t see it yet, because we already have electronic banking, full-time corporate jobs, access to credit and other benefits in a developed society.

We don’t see why it could be any better, until it becomes better and we’re forced to adapt or fall behind the curve.

What does this have anything to do with World Emoji Day? The world doesn’t change when new technology is invented. The world changes when people use their creativity and make the technology do things that not even the inventors anticipated.

We invented emojis as a way to express our emotions over text communication. It serves as a reminder that innovation requires people to use the technology in creative ways. Without the users, there’s no value in the technology.

Table Topics

Vicky Mina hosted Table Topics, which covered everything from puppies to cats, to the role of CEO of Telstra, defending their recent embroilment in the papers, and a brand-new member spoke as Head of Optus, handling it with aplomb.

We were thrown, like a rollercoaster, onto the fast track of speaking on our feet, and being tossed the curly one. How does one handle that question! Everyone carried their role in style. One of the guests even used his ripped shoe to illustrate his dread of dogs! All good theatre.

Here’s three of the questions. Try answering them on the spot!

“You are a Telstra representative, explaining to the public about why Internet connection speeds are slow. You’re instructed not to blame the gamers as they comprise a large percentage of Telstra’s customers.”

“You are a representative for an energy company that’s under scrutiny for charging high prices to increase its profit margins. You need to justify the actions of your company to the public.”

“You’re a teacher. One of your students think they did very well in their exam, but actually didn’t. How would you explain to the student?”

Johnny Manolelis answered the last question. He came up with very humorous responses off the cuff. I wonder why he’s not a highly paid comedian (or maybe he is, but he doesn’t want us to know). Here’s two excepts of his answer that were memorable:

“I’ve sent letters to your mum and dad, and not getting responses. Do they even read English?”

“I’m going to be very kind to you. I am going to give you a mark of one for attendance.”

The Break and Into The Masterful Speeches

At the break, after some of our guests dipped into a wildly decorated cake that dazzled, with its chocolate “statement”, they began to get the feel of what makes the members of this fun-filled club tick.

Then, it was time to experience the second half. Each speech serendipitously harmonised with each other. Serious topics were handled with sensitivity and depth. The audience was touched and impressed by what each person had to say, from their deepest convictions, journeys and unique perspectives. You could hear a pin drop in that room, that night.

The One Thing

Ben-Burt Smit explained the one thing that changes everything. It can destroy governments and relationships. It can create prosperity in many dimensions. What is it?


Trust us the foundation of leadership. Trust is like a currency. You make good decisions, you get currency. You make bad decision, you lose some currency.

He continued to explain how we can build trust.

We Are Equals

We invited Kageni Njeru to speak at our club, and Charlie Starrett to do an evaluation.

Kageni’s speech inspired us with a powerful message. Be proud of who we are, and to treat each other as equals. If you believe someone is treating you as inferior, then don’t. It’s only when you allow yourself be treated inferior that you become inferior.

Her message was delivered through a very personal story, where she experienced multiple forms of discrimination. Although she delivered in a calm manner, it got people in the audience very emotional, with some even wanting to cry.


It is now Thursday, and I have not been able to stop thinking about that night, how it made me feel, and what magic dust must have been sprinkled on the shoulders of everyone in the room.

Can we recreate it again? Recapture the essence that was there? Yes, by jingo, we can!

Co-authored by Rowlanda Orchiston and Christopher Tso

Life Changes

A Life of Independence

“Independence” was the theme of our club meeting on 3rd July. We celebrate national independence. But what about individual independence? As individuals, are you truly independent? Do you have the freedom to pursue a life on your own terms? Are you free to do what matters to you the most? Or are your actions being dictated by some external pressure? The pressure of appearing successful. The pressure of money. The pressure of keeping the status quo.

Life’s Analogy

Jason Xu shared his story about his life, and how its evolved over the years. What’s a good analogy of your life? The cup is your life, or your time. Inside the cup, there are things that fill up your life. The disc is yourself. The balls are your family and friends. The stones, which are small but many, are your jobs. This is a good analogy, because if you’ve used up all your space for your jobs, you won’t have space for family and friends, or even yourself. You will always have space for a job, and jobs are easily replaced. It’s difficult to replace yourself and those you love.

The Catalyst for Change

It was 3 years ago, in Beijing, when Jason realised that he needed to change his life.

“I was not happy with my life. I was fully occupied with my work, which left no space or time for my family.”

“In the past 30 years, China’s economy grew so quickly that everyone, including me, worked hard to chase success. I was a senior leader in a hi-tech company, with a work schedule that went 9am to 9pm, 6 days per week.”

“Every evening, when I returned home, I was so tired… I couldn’t even speak one word with my wife… and my kids were already asleep.”

“Sunday was the only day I was with my family. But even though physically I was with my family, mentally I was absorbed with my work and couldn’t enjoy family time. I just kept working. I was not happy with my life. I didn’t know why, or what I really wanted.”

“Finally, on a Sunday morning in July 2015, I had enough. We had to change. We made one of the biggest decisions in our life. My wife, my children and I flew from Beijing to Melbourne and started our new life.”

Starting a New Life

The new environment wasn’t without challenges.

“As a result of our decision, I lost my job. It was the first time we were without income. We met crisis in our marriage as well. I remember sending out my resumes without a single response. I remember walking back and forth between ALDI and Coles just so we could buy cheaper items. I still remember those sleepness nights, when we kept arguing whether it was the right decision to give up everything and start from scratch again.”

If you remember the anology in the beginning, when one door closes, another opens. That is exactly the time to change yourself.

“I began to take a rest and seek the answer. I kept knocking on doors, and eventually the right door opened. I got a new job, and became busier with my work. But this time, I was happy. I understood that the most important thing in life was the people around me.”

Sharing our Life Journey

Jason’s life journey resembles the journey that we all experience. There are many things that you can do with your life. And we realise that we can’t do everything we want. We’ve all had to make difficult decisions and big sacrifices.

One day we’re happy, and the next day we wake up, depressed, thinking, “The future isn’t as bright as it used to be. What should I be doing with my life that will make me happy?” Then when we make a big decision that changes our life, we question whether we made the right decision.

Life is complex, and no one except you can tell you what you should do with your life.

Jason had an inspiring story and a well-crafted presentation that capitivated the audience. If you’d like more life-changing stories, or want to share your own story with a live audience and change your own life, you’re welcome to attend our Toastmasters meetings as a visitor.

p.s. here’s a photo of Jason demonstrating the analogy with his cup and container of stones and balls. You can also see how we’ve set up the stage at Beecroft Uniting Church, which was a special venue we hired for two meetings.

President’s Distinguished – 10/10 Goals

WPH Toastmasters once again achieved the highest recognition for success. We achieved 10 of 10 DCP goals, earning us President’s Distinguished status.

We thank the current executive for making 2017/18 year a success.

President – Mark Paton
VP of Education – Christopher Tso
VP of Membership & VP of Public Relations – Mel Colgar
Secretary – Jussine Tan
Treasurer – Hannah Le
Sergeant at Arms – Rowlanda Orchiston
Immediate Past President – Rowan Kunz
Club Mentor – Shirley Childs

Also, we thank all our members for creating such an enjoyable learning environment, and inspiring others with their rapid personal growth during the year.

We’re positive that the new executive will build on this year’s foundation and 2018/19 will be a truly transformational year for our club.