Club Meeting on 19-May-2020

Tonight we had our fifth virtual meeting via Zoom. The chairman, Shirley, announced the theme as ‘Leadership’, which has a unique definition for every individual. We had an attendance of 15 people, and we are so grateful for the ongoing dedication and adaptable nature of our members!


Jonathan gave a heart-warming toast to the notion of ‘normality’, celebrating Australia’s steady improvement, in regard to the COVID-19 situation.

Word of the Night

William picked the simple word “wait”, enlightening us with the fact that sometimes, the meanings of the most commonly used words are often not considered.


Shirley led the election with flair and experience, allowing outgoing executive members to share the duties within their roles first. Congratulations to our incoming executive for 2020-21!

  • President – Christopher Tso
  • Vice President of Education – Johnny Manolelis
  • Vice President of Membership – Clare Fraga
  • Vice President of Public Relations – Jonathan Lau
  • Secretary – Mark Paton
  • Treasurer – Andre van Woerkom
  • Sergeant at Arms – Raj Wadnere

It was lovely to see members nominate each other, in the spirit of mutual growth and taking what opportunities come your way.


Clare made us all laugh, as we imagined Johnny having an awkward conversation at the Soccer World Cup!

Prepared Speeches

For the 2nd half of the night, we heard from 3 speakers – Jonathan, Johnny and Christopher.

Sleep Jonathan conducted research on this topic and confirmed that sleep is critical to optimal functioning and should be prioritised more. Sleep deprivation has poor impacts on our concentration and immune system and, even gives false blood test results! He advised to try writing a to do list for the next day to avoid overthinking in bed and avoid taking sleeping pills.

Icebreaker Johnny gave a heart-warming and inspirational speech, as he began his new ‘Visionary Leadership’ Course. He shared some key highlights from his childhood that led him to be the person he is today, and why Toastmasters makes him “the best man he can be”. We are privileged to be a part of your journey Johnny!

Dream Team” – Christopher graciously took us through his thought process when deciding which company to work for. His impressive excel spreadsheet included factors, such as mentoring, time management, mindset, job security, skills transferability and business impact.


Thank you to all our evaluators throughout the evening, as feedback is crucial to each of our journeys. To conclude – John reinforced the value of outgoing President’s wisdom during and after handover, while Raj warmly thanked members for a rewarding evening. Indeed, leadership is a multi-faceted and ever-growing concept that our members were thrilled to discuss – an inspiring evening!

Club Meeting on 5-May-2020

Tonight, we had the fourth virtual meeting via Zoom with the theme being “National Youth Week”. We had wonderful night on discussion on Youth Week, and many stories to share about between 11 of us. 


Jonathan opened the night with toast about Youth Week. He talked about the meaning of Youth Week, which is an opportunity for youths to share their ideas, passions, and concerns affecting their lives. Due to Covid 19, all the events had been modified. He also led us to think positive side is to be able to improve new skills and ideas.

Word of the night

Vicky taught us the word “culinary”, which uses in the good kitchen, also gave some examples of this word.


William shared a real story about his mum when she got lost in Auckland. Since she did not know the English language, she could only describe what she could see – the “super moon” – which only happened once over last 18 years. 

Table Topics

Clare was the Table Topics master of the night. All the questions put is into deep-thought and imagination, as we gave advice as if we were still young. The chosen members all did wonderful speeches within 1:30 minutes.

Questions like:

  • Why do you think it’s important for youth to speak up?
  • Do you think the youth of today have it easy?
  • If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 16 year old self? 

Prepared Speeches

In the second half of the meeting, we had three speakers from various levels in Pathways. 

How I created a volunteer organization”. Johnny talked about his leadership experience by sharing his story on starting a volunteer organization. He also shared 6 aspects that he applied and become a great leader.

“Office work and Spinal Health”. Mel did a very interesting and knowledgeable speech about how we could injure ourselves by incorrect sitting posture and how to correct it. Mel played the role of health consultant, and Clare was the client.

Do you laugh?” William’s speech had a great sense of humor. He shared how he used positive thinking to resolve problems in his personal life. He reminded us to laugh whenever we face a hard time – “Laughter is medicine for our life. We should turn our problems into humour. Then our sadness to laughter. Then we will all live longer and happier.”


Everyone enjoyed tonight, and we are all getting used to the virtual meeting. Looking forward seeing each other again in two weeks’ time. 

Club Meeting on 21-Apr-2020

Tonight we had our third virtual meeting via Zoom, with the theme of the night being ‘World Earth Day.’ We had an attendance of 18 people, including our long-time member Shirley Childs and area director Ashwani Mangla.


Helena gave a toast regarding the theme of Earth day, and explained the importance of being mindful and cherishing our natural environment. It was an emotional and touching toast.

Word of the night

Raj introduced us to the word ‘macrocosm’, which was defined as the whole of a complex structure.


Aanchal shared a humourous anecdote about the times her name was mispronounced. She has been called an angel, an uncle and achee! (sorry I sneezed while typing this)

Table Topics

Jonathan was the table topics master for the night, and he centred his questions around the theme.

Some of his questions included:

  • What is something easy you could do tomorrow to start helping the environment?
  • Would you rather live without a car or without paper for the rest of your life?
  • Do you think it is your responsibility to care about the environment?

The members who were chosen answered these questions very creatively and it got everyone thinking about their role in helping save the earth!

Prepared Speeches

For the 2nd half of the night, there were 3 speakers for the prepared speeches portion.

My 3 tests during self isolation – Helena’s speech was a candid and humourous insight into the struggles a mother can experience during self isolation. Helena’s soft but expressive style of speaking kept us engaged and we all were able to identify with aspects of her tests.

Know yourself – Clare’s speech topic was about her explanation of enneagrams, and her objective was to be able to respond effectively to disruptive audience members during her speech.  There were several different distractions, including audience member’s interrupting and even a rogue screen-share, but nothing phased Clare and she completed her objective smoothly.

Habit change/life change – Alicia explained to us about the process of building habits and the impact’s it can have on one’s life. She spoke about her own personal weight-loss journey that ended up not only transforming her weight but also transforming into a 2nd career. Alicia then spoke about how the pandemic had improved her habits of cooking and childcare.


All in all, it was a very enjoyable meeting with great interjections from Shirley during the course of the night, advising us on Earth Day and reminding us to do our part for the environment!

Club Meeting on 7-Apr-2020

Tonight, we had the second virtual meeting via Zoom with a contemporary theme – World Health Day. We had an amazing attendance of 17 people, including one visitor brought by our new member, Jonathan.


At the beginning of the meeting, Molly made a very touching and uplifting toast to health. During this incredibly difficult time, everyone seems to realise and cherish many things that we take as granted before the pandemic, for instance, health. We paid our respect to our frontline health professionals who are selflessly committed to confront the pandemic, fight the virus and save lives.

Table Topics

At the table topic section, Helena asked members to use their imagination and picture their normal but wonderful life post-Covid-19.

Questions like:

  • what holiday destination would you go after the lockdown,
  • what career choice you would like to make after the lockdown,
  • who would be your first guest to have dinner with after the lockdown.

It’s interesting but not surprising that a common element was brought among answers from various members – outdoors. Let’s embrace nature and meet our loved ones as soon as the whole virus thing is over!

Prepared Speeches

In the second half of the meeting, we enjoyed three great speeches: two icebreakers and one level 1 speech.

Our first speaker, Aanchal made her first speech “twenty-four years in six minutes” in which she talked about her childhood, her high school years, her college life and finally, her passion on public speaking.

Our second icebreaker was presented by Jonathan with the title “to what degree should a government be able to improve its will upon its citizen?!” A very controversial and deep question to ask during this pandemic era. In his speech, Jonathan discussed the differences between authoritarian vs libertarian governments. He inspired the audience to discuss which one might be a better system for pandemic control.

Andre was our last speaker of the night. In his speech, he showed everyone some beautiful photos and shared four tips on photography, namely: tools, light, direction and pose or not pose.

Happy Easter!

The night ended with warm greeting among members to each other – stay well, Happy Easter & we will “meet” in two weeks time!

Club Meeting on 10-Mar-2020

“Awesome” was the theme of tonight’s meeting. Indeed we had an awesome gathering with four visitors and our regular members.

Alicia, who was just inducted as a member, delivered her first Toast about “awesome”.

Ross taught us a very special Word of the Night “wabi sabi”, which means imperfection in Japanese.

Table Topics

During the Table Topics session, every participant was given a statement, and asked talk about why they agree with the statement in the first half of their statement, and why they disagree in the second half of their speech. Our six speakers all did interesting and inspiring short speeches within 1:30 minutes. Here were some of the questions:

  • Happiness comes from within
  • It’s better to be born as a man
  • You can achieve anything you want if you put your mind to it

Prepared Speeches

In the second half of the meeting, we had three speakers from various levels in Pathways.

“Don’t talk. Just do it”. William, the speaker, represented the club in the area contest and won the first place of humorous speech few weeks ago. He practised his speech in the meeting and gathered valuable feedback from his peers and visitors which hopefully would help him make further improvement in the next round of the contest.

“Risk, Reward and Regret”. Chris, the speaker, did a spontaneous speech, but full of wisdom and humour. At the end of the speech, we all self-tested our maths levels and learnt valuable lessons on stock investment.

“Covid-19”. Mark talked about a contemporary issue, and once again, he did a wonderful job in researching, preparing and delivering his speech. We all learnt the virus “inside out” after his speech.

At the end of the meeting, our four guests made valuable comments and we sincerely hope they will come back and visit us again!

Club Meeting on 11-Feb-2020

We all gathered with anticipation for our 7:15pm start. The meeting theme was “Don’t cry over split milk”. There were many stories told on the night where people were able to look at the light side of some challenging situations.

Cherylin conducted the Table Topics Master role. Her questions focused on what you would do to deal with an unfortunate event.

Prepared Speeches

We had 2 great speeches from Chris and William.

William practiced his speech for the upcoming Area 2 International Speech Contest “How much time would you need to live peacefully. He gave an inspirational speech where the character Joyce found out from the doctor her family member had been diagnosed with cancer. William received a round robin evaluation which was facilitated by the Toastmaster Johnny. We wish William all the best in the Contest on Sunday 23rd Feb 2019 at Dundas.

Chris treated us with an ice breaker for the second prepared speech of the evening. He talked about what has happened in his life during the last 2 years since he did his last ice breaker. It’s been an eventful time for Chris getting married, changing careers and really developing as a person.

John Inglis did an education on how mind mapping can help generate ideas and structure for your speeches. We all choose a topic and wrote down the top 3 things we would discuss for the body. John then randomly picked up one out of the pile and did a 2 minute table topic on it. It was a brilliant idea and a nice change to the normal meeting agenda.


We continued our strong start to the year and another fun meeting. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next meeting on Tues 25th Feb.

Christmas Party on 17th December 2019

We finished the year with a Christmas party. We inducted two new members, Andre and Molly. The third new member was Manisha who will be inducted next year. And a fourth member, Alicia, will be joining us next year. It’s inspiring to see people joining Toastmasters and we will be looking forward to seeing their personal transformation in the new year!

Secret Santa

During Table Topics, Ross lived up to his legend as Santa Clause. He also kept retrieving the gift from the bag that was donated by the Table Topics speaker… lucky Ross! Of course, the speaker would ask Ross to choose another gift that’s not their own.

John Inglis, Cherylin Liu and a couple of other members had full Christmas attire.


The Christmas dinner was all-you-can-eat salad, pasta, dumplings, biscuits and other savoury and meaty dishes.

Prepared Speeches

Molly delivered her Icebreaker speech. She told us her story about her life in China, how she came to Sydney, and how she met her husband through Toastmasters.

Andre delivered his Icebreaker speech as well. He talked about his family, career and hobbies, and how they’ve shaped his perspective on life.

Juergen, a verteren Toastmasters member, talked about an event last week that nearly changed his life. Fortunately, his daughter survived the incident with the fallen tree and is expected to fully recover. This was a very touching story and we were reminded how all the little choices we make can have a big impact on our lives.

International Speech and Evaluation Contest on 19-November

Tonight’s meeting was packed and we needed extra chairs to accomodate visitors. It’s held every year. We had a prepared speech contest where the winner can eventually compete internationally, and an evaluation contest where we have a guest speaker and all the contestants evaluate that speaker.

In the Evaluation Contest, our guest speaker who was announced on the night, was Gustaf. He delivered an inspiring speech on Generation Greta. He revealed how many big brand grocery products that are packed and sold in Australia are actually made and imported from overseas. And he encouraged us to buy local as opposed to foreign products. He also had a bigger vision. He explained how the younger generation are actually hard working and passionate people, despite many criticisms that they are lazy.

After his speech, the contestants were escorted outside to individually prepare for their evaluations. Then each contestant returned to the stage to deliver an evaluation of Gustaf’s speech.

For the Evaluation Contest, the winners are:

  • 1st: Ross Richard
  • 2nd: Simon West
  • 3rd: Veronica Bowden

For the International Speech, the winners are:

  • 1st: William Leong
  • 2nd: Ross Richard
  • 3rd: Clare Fraga

William shared a touching story about a wife and a husband, and what happened when the wife discovered that she only had three months to live.

Ross’s speech was about The Lazy Brain.

Clare’s message for the audience was to “Be Bold”, and she used the story of a stuttering child to inspire the audience.

Chris’s message was that Truth is Personal, and that common wisdom and statistics can be beaten by the choices we make.

Club Meeting on 24 Sep 2019

Tonight was “Hat” night. It meant that all meeting roles were randomly drawn out of a hat, with the exception of prepared speeches. We didn’t know who was chairman, or who was the toastmaster hosting the speeches, or who were the evaluators. Some of the new members were thrust into a role they never did before, and it was a good way to try something new without the pressure of being perfect.

We gave a Toast to “Just Do It”. That was just what we needed to hear from Ross Richard.

The Word of the Night was “Bravo”, presented by Johnny Manolelis. The word has origins in the Greek vocabulary as well, and it means “well done”. He encouraged all the members to use the word during the meeting.

The Laughmaster by Ross Richard included an “Irish Lobsters” joke. When Ross gave us the punch line with the constable delivering the great news about the missing wife, we were laughing intensely.

The Table Topics session challenged us with thought-provoking questions about life.

  • When was the last time you tried something new?
  • What do you love and what are you doing about it?
  • What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
  • Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  • What gets you most excited about life?

“Collecting Brilliant Ideas” was a facilitated discussion based on research done by Cherilyn Liu for her university.

“A Toastmaster’s Experience” by Johnny Manolelis was another facilitated discussion about how Toastmasters can help you achieve your goals in life.

Club Executive Changeover Dinner on 18th June 2019

Tonight, we celebrated the current year and inducted the new executive for 2019-20.

Shirley Childs conducted the induction of the new executive, and asked each club officer to commit to fulfilling their responsibilities to the best of their ability.

2018-19 Year in Review

Christopher Tso was the outgoing President and delivered a speech to review the 2018-19 year. He thanked all the members for creating such a friendly, fun and engaging environment that has continually attracted visitors to come back for more. He also thanked the outgoing executive for their hard work and members who stepped up into the new executive for 2019-20.

2019-20 Club Plan

Clare Fraga was the incoming President and delivered her 2019-20 club plan. It was an uplifting and comprehensive plan. She detailed why we come to Toastmasters – because it’s a place where we can find our voice and grow as a leader and as a person, and also a place where we have fun and make friends. She plans to build on the great work of the existing leadership and maintain our status as a Distinguished Toastmasters Club where members reach their goals and enjoy the supportive and fun culture of the club.

Prepared Speeches

It was not all about business though. We had three speeches delivered by experienced members.

“Prepare for a Job Interview” – Christopher Tso performed a role play where he was a candidate being interviewed by an employer. The exact questions were not known in advance, but the interviewer had a list of questions to choose from to and come up with her own. Christopher answered all the questions without hesitation.

“Wedding Speech” – William Leong also did a role play with the audience where he delivered a speech at his sister-in-law’s wedding. He shared his childhood memories of her sister, and used lots of humour especially on how the husband of his sister-in-law can deal with her loving personality.

“How to become a Distinguished Club” – Johnny Manololis delivered a presentation to educate the members on what is a Distinguished Club and how to become one. It was very timely especially with the new executive now planning for another successful year for our club.