Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jan. 20th 2015 Theme: Traditions Around The World

Tradition is the illusion of permanence. ~~Woody Allen

Welcome to this 2015 Blog. Today, we were revisited by a returning guest. Pauline was our toastmaster. She described various wedding traditions that occur in China, Japan, Germany, Korea, Pakistan and India (e.g. Henna [Mehndi] Designs on the hands and feet of the bridal party).

The GATE team was: Jim as Grammarian (resilient), Amritha as "Ah" Counter, Grace as Timer and Lynne as General Evaluator. 
Linda was our first (only) speaker today. She completed the first project from the advanced Humorously Speaking Manual in 7 minutes. Her speech title was "Talking About Humor". In her speech, Linda talked about ineffective humor in both linguistic (What do you call a deer with no eyes? No idea.) and cultural (British Tweet: “In LA, digging up Marilyn Monroe”) contexts. 

In North America, 46% of humor are sexual jokes compared with 23% in Singapore. On the other hand, 64% Singaporeans enjoyed violent humor.

Her call to action for those speaking in front of a multicultural audience with varying degrees of English comprehension skills, is to research and know your audience before speaking to them.

She offered an excellent handout of Asian signs translated into English (e.g. Slip and fall down carefully! and Poisonous & Evil Rubbish.)

Barb was her evaluator. Each was best in their respective categories. She liked the organization of her speech on cultural humor:
• What doesn’t work 
• Why it doesn’t work and
• Suggestions for improvement

 In keeping with today’s theme, Naser, the Table Topics Master, provided examples of CQ (Cultural Intelligence) where volunteers were asked how they would handle foreign customs and traditions. 

Examples included: Eating from a communal plate without utensils, disliking your mother-in-law, deciding how to choose outsourced candidates in India when their custom is to be quiet and agreeable. Examples of cultural faux-pas were also explored. Jim received the best table topics speaker award for strenuously avoiding his mother-in-law.

Lynne was our General Evaluator for this meeting. She particularly was impressed with the vivid table topics situations that volunteers were able to talk about improvisationally. She also noticed the unity of the toastmaster theme with the speech and with the table topic CQ (Cultural Quotient). 

Her positive suggestion for all of us was when we come up to the lectern, we should shake hands with the person already there before they walk off. She also suggested waiting until all conversations were complete before starting to speak.

Our humorist for today was Dave. He told two well-chosen stories about Albert Einstein and his Chauffeur and an errant mis-delivered E-mail message. They were uproarious.

Dave also received an icebreaker certificate for completing his first speech last week, accomplishing his first objective to reach his goal of becoming a Competent Communicator.


Attendees were: Linda, Lynne, Jean, Jim, Robert, Barb, Alice, Pauline, Jung, Grace, Amritha, Kathy, Dave, Naser along with our returning guest Yen Z. Our membership total remains at 20.

~~~~~ Respectfully Submitted by Robert, the Secretary [Let me know if I’ve said something wrong.] ~~~~~


  1. It was an interesting and fun meeting...Robert did a wonderful job of recapturing the highlights.

  2. What a great picture of our president and speaker for the day, Linda! I was quite impressed with Nasser because he came up with table topic questions on the spot. This was only the second time Pauline presided as Toastmaster of the meeting. She did a fine job.

  3. I'm really enjoying the international flavor of our meeting. It's so interesting to hear about experiences in China, S. Korea, Taiwan, India, and Canada.

  4. Thank you for the minutes