Monday, July 17, 2017

My First Toastmaster's Speech

To become a toastmaster, you have to complete a series of assignment before you can earn the title.
As a new toastmaster, I'm doing the Competent Communicator manual, there are 10 speeches/assignments. My first assignment is called The Ice Breaker which is to introduce myself, as simple as that. Nevertheless, as simple as it may sound, it was not easy for me. I had panic attack before going to the meeting. Thank God I managed to finish the whole thing after a whole afternoon of practise.  So here it is. 

Competent Communicator 1 (CC1) The Ice Breaker : Me and Myself  

Good evening fellow toastmasters, hi my name is Winnee Raplin. I am a sino kadazan, I speak mandarin but not kadazan. (Audience laughed) I am 23 years old.

I am a little home baker who just started to venture into the world of business making this year. I love baking, baking makes me feel at ease plus my whole kitchen would smell like butter. (Audience laughed) For me, butter is the most fragrant smell in the entire world. I bake cheese tarts, savoury puffs and pies and cakes.

Baking is science, except that it is better, because you’ll get to eat the results! Without the right measurements and temperature, your baked goods won’t turn out the way it should be. Hence, baking is all about experimenting until you get the right taste and texture.

During my leisure time, I enjoy ballroom dancing. I started taking ballroom dancing lesson last year and I cherish every moment of it. Prancing around the dance floor with the flow of the Latino music makes me feel energized instantly.

Apart from baking, I would like to become a motivational speaker one day. To be frank, I am struggling with depression and anxiety. For the past 6 years, I’ve been living in the shadows of fear and worry. I was leading a furtive(word of the evening, everyone knocks the table) life. However, this year, I told myself I need a breakthrough. I need to step out of my comfort zone and do things which terrified me, which is attending social events like this. Since I had my illness, I was afraid to talk to strangers, I find it gruesome when I’m around with unfamiliar faces.

Therefore, joining SWEPA and SWEPA toastmaster would be the perfect platform for me to build up my confidence and self-esteem apart from meeting all the amazing women and men (audience laughed). These people had inspired me to become stronger and improve myself in various aspects.

My source of inspiration comes from Nick Vuhicic, an Australian motivational speaker born without arms and legs. Despite not having any limbs, Nick has found tremendous success by touching millions of lives with his incredible life journey. Hence, I wanted to emulate him and use my own story to inspire others as well as creating awareness about mental health issues.

Some of you might not be aware of this, according to the statistics of Malaysian Health Ministry, 1 in every 3 Malaysians is suffering from mental illness at some point of their lives and this number is increasing at an alarming state. So, I urge all of you to care more for each other and shower people around you with your love and blessings. A simple how are you or how is your day might change someone’s life. Aspire to inspire, that is one of my mission.

There is one crucial lesson that I have learnt from my sickness. “If you’re depressed, you are living in the past. If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future. If you’re at peace, you are living in the present.” I was always devastated because I dwell too much on my painful past experiences. At the same time, my excessive worrying made me stuck at the same situation over and over again, it was a never-ending exhausting cycle.

It was until I met my psychologist, then I learnt how to live in the present. She taught me about mindfulness and to accept things the way they are. Let’s keep this invaluable quote deeply ingrained in our hearts, “Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called present.”

Dear toastmasters and guest, 

Let’s appreciate what we have right now and let bygones be bygones. It is still never too late to start a new day with fresh hopes and dreams. Let’s remind ourselves that tomorrow is going to be just fine. 

Thank you.


Although I've memorized y speech so well, my nervousness caused me to forget some parts and I had to refer back my notes.


The theme is Go Green, hence the Pandan leaves. 
Thank God there was only about 20 people on that night, sometimes it can go up to 50 people on special occasion like the last meeting of the term.


Me receiving my first badge from Immediate Past President (IPP) Dora Voon, standing beside her is Vice President of Education (VPE) Dr. Amelia, who is a speech specialist.


My Evaluator was Tiffany, a guest from China's toastmaster's club. Sometimes we have guest around.
She said that I'm very brave for sharing my experience. VPE Amelia commented that my speech needed to be more organized which I had done so in my second speech. IPP Dora said I have good command in English. Since I'm a first timer, so they gave mostly good feedbacks. 
Anyhow there's a lot more improvement can be made. Thanks for all the wonderful feedback.

So yeah, all in all it was a good first speech experience. 
 Stay tuned for my second speech. 

If you wanna know more about toastmaster, click HERE to read it on my second blog.

Friday, June 30, 2017

I'm Officially a Driver! Part 2

Let's continue with my journey to get my driving license.

If you haven't read Part 1, you may click HERE.

The remaining driving lessons went out well, I'll just jump straight ahead to the driving final exam aka JPJ test in Malaysia.

Prior to the exam, I've been practicing using my mum's proton for a few weeks. I also practiced hard on the RPK and RSM. RPK is Rutin Pemeriksaan Kereta whereas RSM is Rutin Sebelum Memandu. I even went to the extent of recording my tutor when he's showing me the procedure of RPK, then I also searched online about the procedures and wrote out everything on paper. I practiced it with my mum in a remote area where no one sees us. You see how much effort I've put in? I never joke about exams, I take them seriously, like really serious, cause I don't wanna redo the whole thing over again, plus wasting money and time.

Taking a driving license was way different than back then. Back in 2011 when I first took my driving lessons, (yes, this was my second attempt) there's no such thing as RPK I mean there was, but we didn't have to memorize and show it to the JPJ examiner. We only had a short few hours workshop (bengkel) which the tutor demonstrate it to us and that's it. 

Ok, with full confidence on the RPK and RSM thing but not the driving part, cause I was still shaky when it comes to changing lane and going into roundabouts, I arrived at the driving institute very early.

The place was already thronged with drivers wannabe. I sat beside a lady. She broke the ice by asking me if this was my first time. I said yes. She replied this was her second try. According to her first experience, there were 40 plus students who failed in their first attempt. I was immediately taken aback. Man, this is tough! About 9 am, the JPJ examiners arrived, all looking pretty smart with their navy blue uniform. Most of them were wearing dark reflective glasses. It was totally Man In Black mode. 

The lady revealed to me that, some of them are lenient, some of them are strict, especially the lady officer. There was only one lady officer at sight. With my fingers crossed, I pleaded God not to give me the lady officer. 

The head JPJ officer started to assign students with the JPJ examiners. 
And guess what, I was assigned to that one and only lady Officer.
Thanks a lot, God.

With my heart pumpin' like a racing horse, I walked slowly towards my automatic Axia. 
The lady officer was quite big and tall, with a ponytail tied up nicely behind, her eyes were hidden behind those black glasses, I was intimidated by her whole look. After checking my details, with a stern voice, she told me to start. 

I put my handbag on top of the dusty car and started my well-memorized Rutin Pemeriksaan Kereta. I was so nervous that I dropped my handbag halfway during the routine. After I've done everything I could remember, then I told her I've finished. 

Her: Sudah check semua?
Me: Yea.

She wrote something on the paper. 

Her: Saya tolak 5 markah.  

Wait WHAT?! I looked at her astonishingly. What did I miss?

Her: Kamu lupa check ni hos air dan cara kamu check bateri salah, siapa suruh kamu buka tu bateri?
     
I was already getting tensed up.

Her: Ni, wiper....apa maksud ok?
Me : Dalam keadaan baik.
Her : Apa dalam  keadaan baik?
Me: Getah dia?
Her: Apa tu getah dia? Macam mana tau getah dia keadaan baik?
Me: Tidak tau......(tears started falling like water fall)
Her: Kenapa tidak tau?
Me: Tidak kena ajar. (sobbing like a baby)
Her: Kenapa kau nangis?
Me: Sebab kau garang.
Her: Ish, malas saya mau layan budak budak kecil macam kau.

Her non-stop questioning pushed me to my limits. I broke down instantly in front of everyone.
Can you imagine, every pair of eyes was set on you? I took my handbag and rushed towards the toilets in an instant.

I really didn't know how to answer her questions, I did everything as I was taught. Apparently what was taught by my tutor was different than she expected. I touch the rubber of the wiper, I said it was fine. I didn't expect more than that. That's why I cried.


My mood was totally ruined. I was trying really hard to calm myself down for the next test, the ramp. I sat there sullenly at the pondok while watching other students started their bukit test, tears won't stop dropping. I really wanna call my mother and go home at that moment. This was just too much for me. People with anxiety should have a specialyl assigned officer or something.

About half an hour later, my tear ducts had finally dry itself up and my name was called for the first test. For your information, manual car students don't have to do the ramp. Thank God I was given enough time to regain my composure. I took a deep breath and walked anxiously towards the ramp. Before we start our test, we need to do RSM, Rutin Sebelum Memandu, where you have to make sure everything is well adjusted and working including the seats, mirror, and lights. The lady officer was there too, I was still prayin' hard to God not to assign me to this fierce lady.

Thank God, I was assigned to a guy examiner. I did my RSM, then off I went with my first test in the circuit (litar). This guy officer was so much friendlier. Now, why can't that lady be more like him?

My ramp was fine, then followed by going up the hill (bukit). My front tyres were stopped directly on the yellow line. The third test was the side parking which was also perfectly done. The fourth one was "Z", continued by "tiga penjuru", and lastly "S". I passed every test smoothly with flying colours.

By the way, the "Z" and "S" didn't exist the last time I learned.

My mood turned so much better after knowing that I passed all the circuit test.

After that, it was the test on the route, real roads with real cars and real ass hole drivers! I got another guy examiner, Thank God he picked the easier route for me, Putatan route, where I didn't have to change on busy lanes and big busy roundabout like the one in Donggongon route.

I did my RSM, then started my journey with fingers crossed. Along the way, I drove at only 40km/h. Slow and steady like a turtle was my game. In this route, there was only 1 challenging part, the one at Putatan Matahari junction where I have to change lane to the main busy road. I did it pretty well.

The next thing I know, I was back at the driving institute, safe and sound. The guy examiner wrote something on the paper and passed it to me without saying much. With only one crucial question in my head, I passed the paper to the admin of the driving institute. The guy checked and calculate everything.

Me: Pass kah?
Him: Pass bah.
Me: YAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I was jumpin and prancin like I just won the 4D grand prize.)
Me: Saya ingat saya fail sudah tu masa RPK tadi sebab kena tolak banyak markah, turus saya nangis.
Another guy: Oh kau kah tu yang nangis, kau pigi tandas kan tadi.
Me: Yea.
Him: Kenapa kau nangis?
Me: Sebab saya tidak pandai jawab.
Him: Siapa tutor kau?
Me: Si XX. Tidak kena ajar yang ni dan tu.
Him: Oh bah, nanti kau tumbuk dia. (All of us giggles)

Nonetheless, the huge boulder on my shoulder was finally let go. It was a huge relieve, 15.5 hours plus additional at home practice definitely paid off.

I took my papers, went to the office and settled everything.
Little did I know that my mum was there all the time to watch me!
She even followed me secretly on the route. How cunning and lovely!

She told me that I was so much better than many other students, even the boys!
Hey, I'm better in driving than the boys?! That sounded unbelievable!
Now looking back, I was so proud of myself, I didn't quit, I didn't call my mama, I braved myself towards all the bumps both literally and figuratively that I've met along the journey to getting my driving license.

I know these might sound childish, immature, or just plain stupid to you, but for a person with depression and anxiety like me, overcoming these obstacles is a huge step for me. To you it might be just a small bump, but to me, it's Mount Kinabalu. I've always wanted to finish this task, 6 years ago I gave up because of my fear and I still regret it till now, I didn't go to the final JPJ test last time, I could have done it, but I was too afraid. RM666 and all those time and efforts were a pure waste.

Dear drivers wannabe out there, here's a tip, if you're not planning to drive a manual in the future, please consider signing up the automatic D, it may cost you about RM300 more, but it will definitely save you a lot of time, energy and money. I saw many students failed at bukit just because they can't balance their clutch and oil. They were given 3 attempts and still failed. Now they have to retake, pay more money and spend another excruciating day waiting. I'm so glad I took automatic cause I didn't have to wait that long for my turn, I heard some of the students wait until 4 pm till their turns. It was a long tiring wait, especially if you're doing it during bulan puasa. Imagine if it's a Friday, you'll have to wait for the Muslims to finish their prayer before they can continue their exam sessions.

Another tip, if possible, ask your tutor to arrange your JPJ test on a school holiday. Less car.
Thank God mine was on a school holiday.

Now that I'm an official driver, I can say hi to new found mobility and constant nagging in the car!

Also, give a pat to yourself for finishing this long post.
I just had to spit out everything =)


Thursday, June 29, 2017

I'm officially a driver! Part 1

After 15.5 hours of practice, few times of panic attacks, and a bucket of tears, finally I passed my driving test!

Driving was never my thing, I can cook, I can write, I can sing, but not handling heavy machinery. Oh and also numbers related tasks like maths and accounts, they are equally a pain in the ass.

Only my mother and God knew how much trouble I went through before the final test.
Every time before I went to the driving institute, I'll have panic attacks. The thought of having to drive a huge machine on dangerous roads scared the shit out of me, plus I'll have a total stranger sitting beside me in an enclosed space. The first and second time turned out not that bad because the tutor was quite friendly, let's call him tutor A. However, there's something not good about him too, will tell you more about that later.

It was until my third class, the manager of the institute decided to change my tutor. Let's name him tutor B. Tutor B was a short man, always looking smart wearing long sleeves button shirt even though he had to work under the hot sun. His signature was his red Boonie hat, you could easily spot him from far by just looking at that particular hat. 

Having to go through the entire "Oh-no-a-new-fierce-looking-stranger-in-my-car" thing again was not cool. Tutor B was not the friendly type, in the car, he was very quiet, also most likely assuming I knew everything. 

This is where my first tutor, tutor A's story came in.

Turned out, tutor A didn't teach me a lot of stuff! In fact, things that he taught me were all wrong and inadequate! He didn't make sure that I need to pull handbrake at certain places, he didn't remind me I need to use signals, even in the circuit(litar), he didn't tell me I need to horn every time I start and finish a task. He didn't teach me about the ramp, oh forgot to tell ya, if you learn automatic, you'll have an extra thing you need to do called the ramp. The whole point of the ramp is not to hit the pole while you go up and reverse from the front. That's it.

This website provides detailed explanation on driving lessons.

Tutor A was a really lousy tutor, I could have failed if I continue my remaining lessons with him, but thank God I didn't.

Back to tutor B, I didn't like him the moment he sat in my Axia. While I was doing my ramp, he assumed that I knew the procedure, which I didn't, he sounded kind of pissed. I got so tensed up, pressured and panicked that I mixed up the brake and oil, instead of the brake, I stepped on the accelerator. So guess what, I ran over the pole, right through it, it ended up right under the poor Axia. A loud "bang" was heard, I quickly became the center of attention in the circuit, many eyes were staring at me.

I got out of the car, completely dumbfounded, and broke down instantly.

At that particular juncture, all I wanna do was to leave, go home and never have to face him or the humiliation again.

Tutor B, who probably got shocked by the loud bang and my tears told me to cool down.
About 5 minutes later, after seeing me gaining my composure, he taught me the whole procedure of the ramp again, except that this time, with a slower and softer voice.  

I got back in the car, still sobbing and startled by the incident earlier, braved my second attempt on the ramp. This time I did it wonderfully.

And that's the story of how Winnee didn't quit for the first time. 

I gotta say, I'm so proud of myself that this time I didn't give up easily.
One of the reason was that I knew that if I quit again, I'll regret it for the rest of my life, plus RM1300 would be gone.

Stay tuned for Part 2, spoiler alert, it involved tears as well =)

Monday, June 12, 2017

A very late Mother's day Post.

I know it's June now, however, it's still not too late to dedicate a post to my own mother right?

We had our Mother's day dinner at Gaya Street Tian Tian Fan Dian Restaurant.
The food was not bad, but the service was a bit slow.

Sesame Chicken

Seafood Toufu

Deep Fried Prawns

Fish with garlic and spring onions

Yam Ring

Sea cucumber soup


Enough with the food pictures. Let's get straight to the dedication part.

All I can say about my mother is 2 words: Wonder Woman.
In chinese we have a saying, 白手起家 which meant that a person builds something out of nothing.

My mother did everything by herself ever since she finished form 5.
Found a decent job, helped with her family back then when she is still single, among her 5 siblings, I can say that she's the most capable one. In popo's house, all the furniture, tv, refrigerator, household product. Yes, she bought all of it with her own hard earn menial salary at that time. She even helped my gong gong and popo to jaga gerai at the pasar. My mother is a very independent woman.

Then she met my dad, got married, bought a car, bought a house, then bought another car.
She did all these by herself. She's the decision maker of the house. She's the only one among her 5 siblings who can afford to 摆酒 in a fancy restaurant during her wedding.

She's been through a lot, only us and God know.
She was sick a few years ago, then popo got sick and passed away, at the same time also taking care of me. It was a roller coaster.

She may complaints every now and then, but she chooses not to dwell in life's bitterness and moved on. If there's one thing I could learn from her is her resilience towards life.

She might not be highly educated, her English may not be as good as mine, but she's a very brilliant woman. She manages everything, pays the bills, buys groceries, cooks every meal, sends us to schools. She did all by herself as if she's a single mother.

She's a driver/chef/butler/teacher/house-maid/care-taker/breadwinner/provider.

She's a woman of steel.

Dealing with my sickness is another whole new challenging chapter for her. My unstable emotions have caused much trouble. But that didn't make her give up on me even when I wanted to give up on myself. It wasn't easy for both of us. We have come a long way to this day. She has seen how much I've improved since 6 years ago.

All I wanted to say to her is Thank you mum for always supporting me no matter what decision I have made, whether it's right or wrong. Sometimes the wrong ones taught me a lesson like never ever trust those scammers who hide behind the name of so-called coaches. Once they accepted the money, they won't even bother to answer your questions. Because you have to pay extra bucks for it.

Thank you mum for always putting up with me, there are things I still haven't learned to fully control like my emotions. I pray that God will bless you with healthy body and mind, peace, joy and wisdom to continue to take care of this family.


Did I mention she's a left-hander? 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The 3 Unwritten Rules to Singing Karaoke With Your Friends.

In my previous post, I mentioned that I had a terrible karaoke experience.
Hence, I came up with some basic common rules to follow when singing karaoke with friends.

The 3 Unwritten Rules to Singing Karaoke With Your Friends.

1. Never EVER, and I repeat EVER skip or stop your friend's favorite jam

Just don't, especially when they are in the middle of the song. It's rude, it's unethical, it's the most basic courtesy. You got your jam, they got theirs too. They let you finish yours, you let them finish theirs. Simple as that, it is also known as mutual respect.

2. Be considerate and picked songs which everyone can sing and enjoy.

I know some of you love foreign language song, especially with the recent Kpop craze. But please, 1 or 2 is enough. Other people don't necessarily know the song, even if they do, they couldn't read the lyrics. So please be a kind lamb, choose something everyone understands. If you really want to sing Kpop song so much, next time, go with  Kpop lovers only.

3. Please don't let group karaoke turned into your solo performance.

I know that particular song may have a very deep sentimental impact on you, but at least pick something famous and people familiar with. When everyone says they do not know the song, please have the courtesy to skip it. Or else it will become your solo session. You're not the only who paid for the songs. This is a shared room with only two microphones and limited time. Your consideration towards others' feelings is very much appreciated.

All these rules are very subtle and we don't spell out loud. So if you're a karaoke frequent and reading this, I hope you understands the circumstances and apply it in your next karaoke session.

Bitter karaoke

I've had so many karaoke sessions with my friends, never have I ever gone through any unpleasant experience until today. It was one of the worst encounters of my life.

So here's my story.
I was having a karaoke session with 2 friends. At first, it was lovely and exciting. Then it slowly turned into a boring solo session and song skipping frenzy. There's this friend, let's call her A. Apparently A is a huge karaoke enthusiast. She first sat down at the computer screen and picked her songs. Then we started singing.

Then her jam came. Her favorite Korean songs. Another friend and I couldn't understand a single Korean word. So we just sat there quietly and listened, enjoying the Korean vibe.
She finished her jam one after another. Full song. I was starting to get annoyed. I mean, there are 2 microphones, but only one can sing. It's kind of a waste given that we have a time limit.

Because of the time constraint, they started skipping songs. Most of it were sang halfway.
My picked songs were very far behind. I was waiting patiently for my songs to come.

And then when my favorite jam came, I quickly grab the mike and sang with all my soul out, hey, I haven't been to a karaoke since last year August. So I got really exhilarated.
Just when the mood was just building up, guess what just happened?
A just freaking skipped my favorite song without asking my permission.
Yes, you heard me, she skipped my freaking favorite jam.
I was like WTH?!

That's my song! I picked that song, I'm the one who gets to say when to skip.
I didn't skip your Korean song? So you're the boss now? You control everything?!
Hey, I paid RM32 for my favorite jam too.
You just crossed the line.

And there goes, every song was done halfway. Where's the fun of that?
It's like listening to a sentence halfway. You can't imagine how pissed I am that time.
No one knows I was boiling inside.

Here are a few useful tips when you decide to go karaoke.

1. Choose the right singing buddies.
Another friend, let's call her B. We were both singing a song, I sang the original key and she sang in a whole different key, the entire song! Unaffected by my voice! On the contrary, I was affected by her! And even more amazing, she was completely unaware of it!  I don't know if I should be amazed at B. While B was singing out of tune and tempo, I have A singing like a mating goat beside me. I couldn't enjoy one single moment of any of the song. It was pure 3-hour torture.

2. Choose a package with no time limit.
This is a very self-explanatory. Less time, less song, less chance to sing. That's it. And you might get skipped too. Even if there's time limit, choose at least 5 hours, and with more people, add more hours.

3. Be quick!
This is a bit on the selfish side. As soon as you enter the karaoke door, go straight to the song selection computer and start picking your favorite jams just like A did. Don't get too excited to sing first! Or else you'll end up like me, most of my songs were at the very back of the pages and I didn't get to sing it. It was such a shame.

I think that's all. Oh and here's an extra bonus tip.
DON'T GO IMAGO KARAOKE!
IT DOESN'T HAVE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. PERIOD. 
Apart from not up to date song list, the song selection screen lags and hangs too.

So, yeah, this will be my first and last time to Imago Karaoke.
Also a note to self, never sing with A and B anymore.
RM32 for 3 hours is definitely way expensive and not worth it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Follow me

Dear faithful reader, no matter how many that is, I have great news for you, I have decided to start a new blog.

https://winneesjourney.blogspot.my/

This blog is going to be more on events of my life. So you are certainly most welcomed to read my wonderful journey.

Come, follow my footsteps......

Hope you like it =)