Thursday, May 28, 2009

Relaxation Techniques

I just came back from a one day course on stress management. I must say I learn a lot. And LEARN is the acronymn of the knowledge I have just acquired.


Especially, nutrition. How many of us view food as an enjoyment? Do you know that food can also be an evil? 4S which I picked up on food.

1. S-ustenance. We eat food to live not the other round.

2. S-uitability. Just like one man's meat is another's poison. Food that works wonder for one's body may not be so for another. So we need take cue from our body.

3. S-ustainability. I learn that celery is good but I do not like the taste. While I can drink it once in a blue moon, this cannot be part of my lifestyle. For a change to be sustained, I need to do something about the taste. For example, celery with green apple juice tastes better to me.

4.System. Food is just one of the many things that can help us relieve stress. I learn about deep breathing, the right posture and exercise. Together, I can be healthy and happier.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Much Ado About Location

Yesterday, our car was at the workshop and our family had to use the public transport.

The first stop was to my boys' tuition centre which was within walking distance from our place. Their lesson started at 9 am and we took bus number "11" - walk there. It was quite good exercise for our family. As the examination was over, my husband and I decided to give our two children a movie treat. When their enrichment lessons ended at 10.30 am, we made our way home before heading to a nearby town to catch the movie "Monsters versus Aliens" at 11.15 am. Initially, I thought it would be quite a mad rush. I was proven wrong. Surprisingly, we arrived there in good time.

When the movie ended, we went for lunch via MRT to a nearby Botok Jones chain. At around 2 pm, the workshop called to inform us that our car was ready for collection. This was when we flagged a taxi and finally, our car was back :)

I learnt to love my current abode more for its strategic location. That is one important reason why I am able to go to work, send my boys to enrichment lessons, to their schools, student-care centre, without a car. My husband takes the car as he needs to travel in his line of work. I know of friends who have 2 cars as otherwise they will have to spend many precious time waiting for the public transport.

Not me. Though my place is not at the town centre, there are many buses - not the feeder type which has very long off-peck waiting time - that pass by my block. And the most beautiful thing is that the bus stop is directly next to my block. As my unit is tucked at the other corner, I get to enjoy the convenience without the noise. And if I fancy a little walk, though not exactly within a stone throw, I could walk home from a nearby MRT station in the cool night breeze. Ahh... I love my place.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Toastmaster Project 10: Inspire Your Audience

Toastmaster Project 10: Inspirational Speech

An inspirational speech motivates an audience to improve personally, emotionally, professionally or spiritually and relies heavily on emotional appeal. It brings the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desire, builds the audience's enthusiasm, then proposes a change or plan and appeals to the audience to adopt this change or plan.

1. To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement.
2. Appeal to the audience's and emotions, using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama
3. Avoid using notes
Time: Eight to 10 minutes

Project 10: What a Journey

Good afternoon Toastmaster of the day, president, district officers, friends and guests, especially to our guests,

In Apr 2008, the opportunity of personal growth came knocking on my door but I did not answer. I then was a guest at Kowloon-Singapore Toastmaster Club. I was too scared to take it up. After all, didn’t Edward make me a guest then, stand and do an impromptu speech – that’s table topics. Even though I appeared pretty normal, I was trembling all inside me.

But I found myself itching to come back again to give the club the second chance. I supposed it must be the ribbon that Edward bestowed to me as a “first-timer” to speak in the club. The ribbon certainly looked expensive. So this time round, I did not let the opportunity slip by.

For each and every one here is once a guest of some toastmaster club. We join the toastmaster club to improve our public speaking not just for our toastmaster journey, but for the world outside toast masters.

Having been a toastmaster for about a year, I have garnered 3 Cs in communication. Comfortable. In the past, I would avoid eye contact and speak at ultra-fast speed, often tripping over my words. Not so often now as I managed to control my nerve better now. Second C - Creative. I have learnt to use many different methods of speech delivery – as in the sound effect of the “opportunity came knocking”, the use of visual aids – first-timer blue ribbon. Competent – XXX, do you think I am a competent speaker? I shall stop at 3C as otherwise, I would become cocky.

Besides giving me 3Cs, the toastmaster journey is also an expressway for me to improve myself. This expressway is called PIE. Not Pan-island expressway. PIE stands for Profession, Individual, Emotion.

I am an analyst and in my line of job, I do need to make presentation about market trends and analysis. In the past, I always have butterflies fluttering in my stomach and I would have many sleepless nights before the presentation. Not anymore. Yes, the butterflies are still there. In fact, they are right here in my stomach – flying in beautiful formation.

Also as we need to draft speeches for our toastmaster projects, besides speaking skills, I am also improving on my writing skills.
The toastmaster journey has helped me not only conquer my fear of public speaking but also improve my writing skills, hence improving myself professionally.

I particularly like the feedback from our fellow toastmasters on our speeches. They can be our speech evaluators who will give us feedback so that we can improve on our public speaking, or our language evaluator. When I was doing my project 5 on body language, my speech evaluator asked me whether I was an introvert or extrovert. I was stunned. I used to think that I was an introvert. But not anymore. After joining the club, I have taken on a number of other assignments such as addressing to a 400-plus audience on stage, acting – cross-dress to be a man, flexing my muscle, as well. The toastmaster experience has made me a more open to new experiences.

I remembered a visiting toastmaster who was our language evaluator then. She commented that I reminded her of a friend who never failed to brighten up her day. Her friend would be every so cheerful and she would go “Hi, how are you?” even in the hot scorching sun. That stirred up my memory about 10 years ago that a stallholder made the same comment to me too.

A sports lover myself, I could add in my dictionary people like Cliff Young, a farmer who broke the record for the Syndey-Melboure ultra-marathon race at the age of 60 in 1983, team Hoyt – a father-and-son team, where the son is physically challenged but together they are team invincible in triathlons. Thanks to the speeches by Antony.

So you see, through the toastmaster journey, I am re-learning and improving myself as an individual. That’s the I in PIE.

Now what about E? E here stands for emotion. Emotionally, I have made a lot of good friends in the toastmaster club. I know that help is only an email away or a phone call away. When I first joined the club, Edward assigned Yetti to be my mentor. Her job was to help me start my first project, the Ice Breaker. She was also my first speech evaluator.

My fellow toastmasters are my inspiration not just in my toastmaster journey but also in the way I lead my life. I remembered Raymond who picked up opera singing at the age of 70? And went on to take part in speech contest and was conferred second-runner up. I was impressed by his courage but he told me it was nothing, he just “dare to try”.
We also have get-together session once a year. Last year, we had one at Mak’s place. We did our prepared speeches, followed by barbecue session. There was much fun and camaraderie in our club. It fulfils my emotional needs for friendship.
As what Mrs Ganesan wrote in our public speaking blog

“Being a toastmaster is a life-changing experience, it not only broadens your opportunities but gives you purpose in your life... Deep down in everyone lies a talent that can only be discovered when we stretch out in the dark. I encourage everyone to discover their passion and live their destiny by joining the toastmaster club.”

How true this is! Everyone here, do you think that Kowloon-Singapore Toastmaster Club is a Great club? I can’t hear you.

Sleep is Man, no Woman's Best Medicine

I was and still am under the attack of a virulent flu virus. To nurse myself back to health, I have been sleeping voluminously since last Saturday.

It was amazing how my body simply could not get enough of the tranquilizing effects from the deep slumber. After two long days and nights of continuous sleep, I can feel my body slowly recovering from the debilitating effects of the malignant flu attack. Since I have not been to Mexico and Singapore has been declared clear from the influzena A H1N1 virus, I am pretty sure that this is just one of the common cold variant. But hey, flu virus these days just got more and more fiendish. It sapped virtually all my strength and my body literally had to sleep and sleep to replenish the lost energy.

Initially wanted to spend the time to coach my elder son as his mid-term examination is round the corner, my well-intent plans turned awry. Making matters more challenging was that my second boy was also down with the same flu strain. At least, my elder boy is still in the pink of health. And my husband was already on the road to recovery when my younger boy and I were down. And finally, on the third day - that's today - we could now eat solid foods and could muster enough energy to enjoy life simple joys - like writing this blogpost.

Even though I was down, I was not out. On Sunday, I had to haul my second boy crossing over the intimidating overhead bridge to see the doctor. The sudden heavy downpour was a blessing-in-disguise as my husband drove over to pick us up at the nearby bus-stop after seeing the doctor.

I gently reminded him that over the last few days when he was sick, he could sleep for all he care. This is a rare luxury for me. Like clockwork, I continue to prepare and put dishes on the table, rain or shine, in health or in sickness. And no matter how much resistance my body has, I would be up and going down to fetch my boys when the school day comes to a close - in fact travelling by public transport to fetch both of them in different locations.

By all accounts, I love my man. But as the saying goes, no one is perfect. At least, this time round, my feedback on Mother's Day did not go unheed. He did our grocery shopping at the friendly neighbourhood store!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Flu Flight, Flu from Fatigue

New evidence emerges to show that the current influzena A H1N1 though contagious is not life-threatening. Hence, MOH has scaled down the alert status one notch down - from orange to yellow.

The past few days of ramping up of measures to keep the potential carriers of H1N1 has caused some inconvenience to us. However, my heart goes to all those involved in putting the measures in place - healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses, airport officers and those working to ensure the quarantine centres are up and running in the shortest possible time and many, many others.

Though the flu scare has now taken flight fortunately, many of these gungho workers who braved the dangers amid the unknowns surrounding H1N1 to keep us safe, could now be suffering be from flu due to fatigue. It's time for them to take a good break. After all, they have to stay healthy to take care of all fellow Singaporeans.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Women are more superior than men

Very often, I am the de-facto head of household because my husband is a very busy man. It is not to say that I have it easier but I just need to better manage my time.

I can empathise with many full-time mothers of their endless chores at home as I too used to be a stay-at-home mother. Being a mother is a 24/7 job - extremely challenging but also rewarding. Add a full-time job into the equation, we just have to be more efficient and with more practice, we have evolved into a super being.

At the same time, while we, women know that though we may be equal in smarts to our men, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Hence, we gladly let men shine in their careers. But at times, we also need to give ourselves a pat on our back and hence this blogpost of mine :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Orange Alert for Influzena A H1N1

On May Day, Singapore moved up one notch to orange in the alert system that measures the risk of a flu pandemic. Measured on a five-colored code from green to yellow, orange, red and black, with black being the most serious, Singapore gears up in her battle to fight against the threat of the influzena A H1 N1.

I watched in awe at how swiftly the Government get everything up and running. Smartened from the previous SARS episode, the Government has galvanised the infrastructure and put together systems and processes for a possible flu pandemic. There is a clear designated area to hold people who are suspected of being infected with the H1N1 virus - at the Aloha holiday chalets. Guests at Aloha holiday chalets are quickly turned away.

It is not just hardware but also software aspect. NEA has upped the ante against the potential threat of the influzena A by reintroducing the Singapore OK campaign. More cleaning at food centres are also in store in a bid to stave off the new flu strain. Some companies are also re-activating the working arrangement last used under the SARS period. Even the youngsters are doing their part - school children including my boy were taught to measure their temperature on a regular basis.

With all the ammunitions rolled out, I hope that together we could keep H1N1 at bay. However, we do not need to be overtly panaroid at this point in time. What we need to do is to practise greater civil consciousness - rest at home when one is sick, cover one's mouth when sneezing.