Saturday, September 27, 2008

Toastmaster Project 3 - Get to the Point

Having just witnessed the practice session of the Formula One night racing last night, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone. I will blog about the experience and also use it as a topic for the next toastmaster project.

The speech topic is "I was Part of the Formula One History". The general purpose is to inform. Specific purpose is to provide a glimpse of what it is like to watch the Formula One race life. From the viewpoint of the audience, "After hearing this speech, the audience will be able to know the general significance of the Formula One event, the clueless ushers and the thrills of watching the race life."

Objectives :
1. Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purposes.
2. Organize the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes.
3. Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes.
4. Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel.
5. Strive not to use notes.

Time : 5 to 7 minutes

I was Part of the Formula One History - Oct 2008

Good afternoon Club President, District Officers, fellow toastmasters, friends and guests.

“Vroom… Vroom….” The roar of the engine was thunderous, almost deafening. I could not believe that on 26 Sep 08, my brother and I joined 50,000 people who thronged Marina Bay Street Circuit to be a part of history – to witness the first Formula One, night racing in Singapore.

A fan of Formula One, I am not. In fact, I am not even a car lover. To me, a car is just a form of transportation. But with two free single-day tickets that were hawking for $400 over the Internet, dangling in front of me and the lure of being able to witness history in the making, the offer was too good to reject.

What’s so great about Formula One? For one, it has put Singapore in the International Front for its known efficiency. Work began in 2007, a year after Singapore clinched the deal to host the Formula One race for five years. Three months before the race proper, that was in June this year, we have completed all major preparation for the SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. This included the completion of the $40 mil Pit Building for housing the Formula One team garages, media centre and Paddock Club, and a new road. The new road was roughly parallel to the Republic Boulevard, and was required for the Start/Finish stretch. Another must-see factor was that this was the first time in history that we have car racing at night. To this end, we have installed the state-of-the-art lighting system, to simulate day-time. This involved about 1,500 projectors shinning 4 times brighter than a typical soccer stadium and was believed to cost $10.4 mil. Added it to the 40 mil to construct the Pit Building, the structural costs totalled more than $50 mil – a whopping sum! And I got to see it all for free.

So did I enjoy the show? Yes, but it were not all bouquets, there were also some brickbats. For one, it was a breeze to get to Marina Bay Street Circuit even via public transport. My brother and I took the MRT (Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit Train) to City Hall Station and were able to get to the event venue in a cinch. The security was with minimal fuss. However, once we were in the thick of action in the event venue, there was strangely a lack of signboards to direct us to our designated stand, where we were supposed to be seated. We asked the ushers who absolutely clueless and just pointed a direction where everyone was heading towards. There was a point where I feared that there could be a stampede. There were hundreds of people squeezed like sardines and we were in a deadlock. What made matters worse was that there were also some people trying to move in the opposite direction. Then someone said “Just let them go, or else we cannot move.” That was a life-saver sentence. Though it was barely audible to the rest of the crowd, everyone was very graciously and did exactly that. And yes, my brother and I escaped unscathed.

But we did not manage to find our designated seat. Being none the wiser, we followed the ushers’ direction and came back to square one. We exited unknowingly from the event venue. We then made our way back to Gate 7 again and saw the same usher. Deju vu. She then who gave us the same instruction again. This was how clueless the ushers were.

Smartened from our previous experience, we decided to trust ourselves. So, did we manage to find our seat? Unfortunately, no. But we did manage to find a spot to catch the race. From then on, it was action time. There was something that the television could never do justice to the race. We felt the adrenaline rush of being in the heart of the event. The deafening noise was loud, was scary. But we loved it. These cars generated noise comparable to a jet plane. Even as the cars zipped past, their engines continued to howl. We tried to capture these ultra-fast cars with our cameras. But the cars were too fast for our hand. After we clicked our camera on these flying machines, what that was captured was an empty track. It was then that I really appreciated the phrase “In a blink of an eye”. After some trial and error, we quickly mastered the art of snapping a picture of these cars – by clicking the camera in advance. It was not difficult to know when the car was approaching. The giveaway was the faint whirring sound in the distance. But as the cars were moving in such high speed, what we have captured was some blurry machine. Then, we decided to just sit back and enjoy the show. Against the spectacular backdrop of the Central Business District, it was indeed a rare treat.

By and large, I must say that I felt really privileged to have the opportunity to witness the first Formula One night racing in Singapore. This event has put Singapore in the International front for its efficiency. While there were some kinks, it did not dull the excitement a bit. There were so much intensity of men and machines battling it out. After the cars had left, their engines still continued to howl. Hrmmm… Hrmmm…

Toastmaster of the Day.

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