Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Just about a couple of weeks ago, as Abang crossed the link bridge between Ghim Moh Gardens and Ghim Moh Link area, Abang saw a small banner hung up in a discreet corner, promoting a particular toastmasters club, aptly named as Ulu Pandan Toastmaster Club. Now, the intention of joining a toastmasters club is not new. Abang have always wanted to check them out since 2012, but they seem a little exclusive, and at that time, Abang didn’t know if Abang had the necessary pre-qualification to be in the club. It has been 11 years since the initial intention, and so, Abang decided to gather some courage and messaged the number that was listed on the banner to ask if Abang could join the club. Fast forward to a couple of week later, Abang is now part of the Ulu Pandan Toastmasters Club and am now preparing Abang’s very first speech. Abang am just going to put the speech up here to read it again, and evaluate if the speech is even going to make sense. The objective of this first speech is to introduce Abang’s self to the club for a duration of five to six minutes.


My Confession

Ice-Breaker Speech by Adi Jamaludin


Shakespeare once wrote “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, implying that a person’s core character is therefore more important than the names that they are called. A name is secondary. What defines you is your behaviours, or how you are as a person. Now, with a show of hands, fellow toastmaster, how many of you agree to this?


Interesting. You see, I grew up from a family that believes otherwise. Names are everything to us. In fact, my parents believe that names are so important that they consulted religious leaders 3 times before deciding on a name for me. They decided to name me after a leader that was mentioned in the Muslims’ religious scriptures.


Now, here is the thing, fellow toastmasters. I have a confession. 


I used to hate my name. 


I used to blame it on my parents, partly because they did not take it into consideration that I will be growing up in a country where Malay or Arabic is not the native tongue. So I grew up having people, either praying for me to be the prime minister in Malaysia or cursing me to die.


They will keep calling me "Mahathir", which was good back then, and not so good now, given the political narratives there. But still better than being cursed every day. There have been so many instances where people will say… "Mati, Mati, can you help me with this?" Mati? Mati? (Pause, sigh) In Malay, my fellow toastmasters, mati means die! 


So, I thought, you know what… I shall therefore shorten my name to two syllables—A-Di. And guess what? There are people who would still mess up my name. They called me Aidil, Adib, Ardi… And so many other versions. 


I told my friend about this.  Her response was—"Bro. It is not your name. If people can pronounce Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nicole Scherzinger without any problem, surely they can pronounce your name. By the way, why would worry about people not being able to pronounce your name? Just do what you do, cos your name doesn’t define you". 


And then she quoted Shakespeare – “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”


And I was like…Wooooh! That was the first time ever, someone actually used a Shakespeare quote in a conversation with me. And that was my light bulb moment, because from that day onward, I just focus on getting myself better. I started going for toastmaster sessions, volunteering myself to give speeches on various occasions.

And who knows, maybe one day, I’d be as famous as Arnold Schwarzenegger and maybe by then, people would be able to pronounce my full name properly – Adi Jamaludin.