Saturday, November 20, 2010

Breakfree & Breakaway Program in Malacca

Report by Freddie Yap, Past President

13-14 Nov 2010 (reported by PP Freddie Yap)

On the morning of Nov 13, 2010 a luxury coach waited patiently by the side of Suria KLCC. It was there to ferry the group of Friendship Toastmasters Club (FTMC) members to the historical city of Malacca. The mission – to “breakfree & breakaway” from the normal club setting and more importantly, TO HAVE FUN. Lots and lots of fun, great fellowship and to meet members of the Malacca Toastmasters Club (MTC)

We started our journey at 10.45am and reached the quaint town shortly after 1pm. The age old charming facade of Hotel Puri simply belies it vast compound inside. You would never imagine what looked like nothing more than a refurbished intermediate shoplot could turn out to be a sanctuary of sorts inside. “Heaven on Earth” ... that was how PP KC Lim described it.

After checking in, we could hear our empty stomach howling for attention. Yes, it was just the right time for a sumptuous Chicken Rice Balls treat. But hold it, you have to join a long long queue and it was a big challenge under the hot sun. Those who refused to succumb to the torturing wait opted for hotel fare instead. We had char-kway-teow and fried rice in the cooling courtyard nestled among some refreshing foliage inside the hotel compound. It was such a nice feeling indeed.

Once our stomachs were tamed, we headed for our first activity of the day- the guided boat ride. This boat ride initially appeared to be no different from any other. But lo and behold, our tour guide turned out to a be a macho man in his fifties who knows the place like the back of his hand. With a well-toned physique and a weather-beaten face, they simply tell you that he is a man who has seen-it-all. To the ladies, it was his manly voice and his unique brand of humour that kept them glued to him. To the men, it was his storytelling abilities and his uncanny ability to translate the word Goodbye in almost all the languages in the world, that left us in awe. To me, he was simply world-class!

After the tour, we found ourselves more endeared to this amazing historical city than ever before. It was actually a history lesson to many of us. With clearly satisfied faces, we strolled back to our cozy hotel rooms for refreshment. When the clock ticked 6pm, most of us were already at the Puri Restaurant busy preparing for a fun-filled nite. By 6.30 we were seen mingling with our guests from MTC. As in our usual FTMC spirit, there were no strangers among us. We had a superlicious buffet dinner Peranakan- styled and of course, we had the must-have ayam-poteng.

With members of MTC still streaming in, we then heard our TME cum CEO (Chief Everything Officer) Grace Tan taking to the floor. After our President’s welcome speech, the TME got everyone singing to the FTMC song “The Eagles”. Table Topics Master PP Teresa Choong got everyone on their toes with ten adrenalin-pumping Table Topics. There were a total of eleven Toastmasters from MTC so there was no problem getting volunteers for Table Topics this time round. The best Table Topic speaker award was won by Ahmad of MTC. Congrats Ahmad, you certainly spoke well on the given topic.

For the record, members present were:
IPP Joshua
President Melvin
VPE Sharon
VPPR Clarence
VPM – Lena
PP Jennifer
PP Guat Mui
Azizah (also DIV A Governor)

President Zaiton
PP Tan Lay Theng
PP KC Lim & his family and friends
PP James & Co
PP Freddie Yap
PP Teresa Choong
PP Tony Lim
VPPR Alexandra Lau & sister Kate Lau
Grace Tan

For the Toastmasters Got Talent session, the following members gave their best-ever performance which could have given Simon Cowell a run for his money. It was anytime better than Britain’s Got Talent!

PP James the crooner sang his hearts out with his soulful redition of ‘Le Bisikile De Belsize’
PP KC Lim demonstrated his martial art prowess learned from his Shaolin sojourn
PP Lay Theng shared with us deep thoughts about her journey as a Toastmaster
PP Tony Lim brought the house down with his well- executed punchlines
PP James and family dazzled us with their captivating Indian dance
CEO Grace Tan played Susan Boyle with an equally mesmerizing rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream”

At the end, it was James & Co (his wife Regina & son Jayraj) who won the Toastmasters Got Talent contest. Congratulations PP James!

The meeting concluded with everyone singing to the ever-touching albeit a newer version of “We are the World”. It was certainly a memorable nite for all.

The second day saw all of us gallivanting the nook and corner of Jonker Street. The objective – to exploit our tastebuds to the fullest and fill our bottomless stomach with everything famous ranging from Baba Cendol, Laksa Mee, Assam Laksa, Assam Fish, Chicken Rice Ball to Pineapple Tarts! Oh, also not forgetting all the cute little collectibles bargained from the flea market.

With weary legs and bag-loads of takeaways, everyone hurried back to their hotel rooms to check out and later bade adieu to this famously charming city of everything old. By late afternoon, we were back to our own abodes in KL.

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