Saturday, July 28, 2018

335th Meeting: Black & White -- Beyond Spectrum

The highly anticipated joint meeting between Filcom International and RCS Debaters TMC finally happened! TM Nadim Bitar as the Sergeant-At-Arms, commenced the meeting with a story on his recent cultural trip to the French Coast. Then, TM Leo Ortega and DTM Nirmala Raghuraman, presidents of the host clubs, formally opened the meeting and addressed the 50+ attendees, including dignitaries from various Toastmasters Clubs in the District and guests alike. It was shortly followed by the engaging production performance by TMOD Arjay Diego, singing “One Day” by Matisyahu, introducing the meeting’s theme “Black and White: Beyond The Spectrum” which revolved around diversity and its many facets.

Diversity of Lives
TM Arjay opened the prepared speech segment with a black and white photo of a tunnel, signifying hope for those who dream. It may be a dark (black) path, but at the end is a bright (white) light. Surely, this was vividly conveyed by TM Vidal Bagas in his ice breaker speech for the Dynamic Leadership path, entitled Life Struggle. He looked back on his growing up years when he started to build dreams, and how he conquered various challenges on his way to success.

Diversity of Paradigms
On the screen was shown a photo of a man jumping off a cliff, signifying the courage to take a step to conquer his fear. This was certainly what happened in the second segment of the meeting where TM Anamika Singh as Table Topics Master, challenged the participants to speak up their views and opinions on certain situations. Guest Sharif, TM Prataph and Guest Anya, were the three courageous speakers who shared their equally striking perspectives on diversity.

Black and White: The Contrast
The action-packed segment was introduced by TM Arjay with a photo of black and white sparks, symbolizing the differences of ideas and opinions yet producing logic and valid positions. The debate motion was, Resolved: "That all societies in the world should allow couples to live together before getting married." TM Leo Ortega served as the debate moderator, with DTM Kit Barrit and TM CJ Rojas of Filcom International as affirmative speakers, whilst TM Bhavyata Bendre and TM Anupama Kasibhatia of RCS Debaters as negative speakers. The heat inside Tafawook Hall undeniably built up with each speaker’s constructive speeches, grilling cross examinations and rebuttals. The 45-minute debate session concluded with each team’s refutations and summary.
After the socials where everyone mingled and connected, the evaluation segment began headed by DTM Surya Narayanan as the General Evaluator. TM Pradip Pandurang Sadiye evaluated his target speaker, Vidal, while the table topics was evaluated by TM Sunny C Iype. For the debate, TM Karthik Jebamony served as the Affirmative Team Evaluator. On the other hand, TM Joseph Amande evaluated the Negative Team. DTM Surya then called upon the role players for their reports; TM Diana Tangente as the Grammarian, TM Jessie Botero as Ah-Counter, and TM Yoosuf Ameen as Timer.

The Beauty in the Spectrum

Arjay recapitulated the happenings of the evening and emphasized that in spite of the many differences amongst us, it is the mutual respect and kindness for one another that truly connect us. At this point, he urged the audience to go around and greet anyone who is of different nationality as themselves. The room was suddenly filled by warm exchanges of smiles, hand shakes and embraces, before it erupted to a heartwarming chorus of the song “Heal The World” by Michael Jackson. 

TM Leo and DTM Nirmala proceeded with the awarding of winners; Guest Anya as Best Table Topics Speaker, TM Joseph Amande as Best Evaluator, and TM Vidal as Best Speaker. DTM Rajeshwar Sundaresan, District 116-P Director, and DTM Surya Narayanan joined the club presidents in announcing the debate winner, the Negative Team. It was then followed by the respective announcements for the clubs, and remarks from the guests, before the meeting was officially adjourned.

The joint meeting was indeed a very special concoction of fantastic differences: languages, religious beliefs, skin color, culture. In the end, everyone went home with a feeling that it is not so much of our differences that matter, but that our similarities, as human beings with the capacity to love, give, and nurture, are what make the world a better place.

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me
(Excerpt from Michael Jackson's Heal The World)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

334th Meeting: To Travel Is To Live

The 334th meeting brought everyone to different heights! Sgt. At Arms Ganesh officially opened the terminal to the promising adventure of the night. Captain TMOD Joseph piloted the multi-city trip, bringing the passengers to various destinations around the globe, allowing everyone to experience how travel is an ultimate connector.

Travel connects us with people.

The first leg of the trip, the prepared speeches, enabled the audience to connect with people. Three adventuresome souls bridged everyone to different seasons of their lives. Anamika's speech made everyone ponder on being judgmental or opinionated while Diana spoke about her voyage from being uncertain to surprising herself, and CJ moved everyone with his research topic on depression.

Travel connects us with culture.

Afajal steered the wheel for the second leg of the trip, which is the Table Topics session. Six brave travellers, DTM Rajesh VC, Rashed, Guest Biju, Guest Laith, Dr. Farooq, TM Sivakumar, and DTM Surya, offered entertaining and amusing cross-cultural stories in answering the table topics questions.

Travel connects with nature.

The natural inclination of people to help others grow by giving valuable Evaluation was the third leg of the trip, and was led by Fouad. DTM Luis, Nadim, and Leo, connected to their corresponding target speakers with their noteworthy feedbacks and suggestions. DTM Kit gave a comical review of the Table Topics which gave everyone a hearty laugh, and TM Fouad delivered his General Evaluation of the meeting.

At the end of Filcom's odyssey for the night, the role players, Arjay as Grammrian, Rechell as Ah-Counter, and Jessie as Timer, rendered their reports. The outstanding travellers were also recognized: CJ on Prepared Speech, Rashed on Table Topics, and Leo on Evaluation.

The night certainly did inspire everyone to plan their next adventure as they relate to TMOD Joseph's favorite travel quote by Hans Christian Anderson.

To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,