Meeting report

17 October 2016

John Hicks

One of the pleasures of attending Toastmasters regularly is to see the progress of the newer members as they work through the assignments in their manuals. Especially rewarding is the obvious pleasure they derive from their improving communication skills and confidence. Both last night's speakers exemplified this point. Lillian Feng's speech gave us an insight into the differences between the Chinese and NZ education systems. This was a well-prepared, thoughtful, lively and interesting speech and Lillian's enthusiasm for her topic was infectious. She certainly spawned some lively discussion at the end of the session.

Lisa Todd: "Single forever - Is Marriage an Outdated Concept?" was a humorous affirmative of the proposition in her title. She is quite happy with her bed and her kitten thank you very much! (Is that what Donald Trump was getting at?) This writer remains unconvinced; fully aware that his wife of 43 years sometimes proof-reads his reports.

I was scribbling frantically all through Buck Buchanan's Table Topics, quietly thankful that the GE is not usually selected to perform. However, several unfortunates, beguiled by his warm Scottish tones, were made to parade their hesitant TT selves - usually to good effect. Doreen Bestmann was also scribbling away as TTE. Her efforts bore fruit when she gave a masterful evaluation for each of them. If you want more details ask Doreen to read you her copious notes - though since, like me, she confesses to being unable to decipher her own writing, you might have some difficulty with that idea.

I am always impressed by our members for whom English is a second language. Vita Tasman, (Timer) is a child of the Soviet era, brought up under the threatening symbolism (to Westerners) of the hammer and sickle. The meeting would have come to a thunderous end had she pounded the table with her "hammer". A tap of the gavel is far less dramatic. I took a risk correcting her minor faux-pas, but as she correctly riposted, "In English there are so many words for the same thing". I was only thankful that she didn't have a sickle to hand.

Helen Peate rounded the evening off with an account of the Division Conference and Contests held last Saturday in Papanui. She achieved a creditable third in the TT competition.

Sadly, no-one from Shoreline attended. Our collective apologies, Helen.