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Strictly public speaking

Public speaking. Well, speaking publicly in front of ten unfamiliar faces who are thought leaders in their respective industries and professions. These much older people have years of experience and I have to convince them that whatever I said was intelligent.

An alien spacecraft must have abducted me during my sleep and performed a brain transplant when I agreed to moderate the event last Tuesday. How hard could it possibly be, right? I just had to smile, nod, smile some more, direct questions to people and smile non-stop. Right.

See, the thing is I never thought I would have anything important to say that people would listen. Attentively, I have to add. Mostly, as many of you can attest to this, I get tongue-tied around crowds. My face would turn red, I would get all nervous and my eyes start wandering around, trying to a safe spot to bury myself under. I get literally hot under the collar and I start mumbling gibberish. Now this even happens when someone – yes, ONE person – looks at me attentively. I have never learned to deal with the intense spotlight. Until now.

I wanted to memorise some notes, along with a little speech about the topic we were going to discuss. But yeah, doing work after 7pm has never appealed to me so I thought I would just wing it. Along with a long impromptu praying session on the cab to the venue the next morning. Obviously.

Five minutes into the event, I was trying to match faces to the names, hoping I won’t mix any of them up when I had to address them later. But even looking awesome in a suit can only get me so far without making a fool of myself. That’s right. If you haven’t noticed it by now from my blog posts, the simple truth is I can never be cool.

My first faux pas was forgetting to invite these guests to start eating as we started the dialogue so everyone was politely waiting for someone to say they could start eating. The AWKWARD moment was as thick as the high-density volcanic ash cloud that settled after Mount Eyjafjallajökull erupted. The white hungry elephant in that room is mocking me still. So yes, remember to get people started on the food and drinks next time, I shamefully wrote in my mental diary.

Since this was a breakfast event, we had to eat and talk, sometimes all at the same time. Tricky. It’s a skill that was never taught in school. If it was, I must have been playing truant or sleeping in class. And I didn’t have time to Google for help. So I had to wait till someone was speaking, so I could shove chunks of food in while they talk, just in case I had to carry on where they left off. I didn’t want to be caught with ten faces turning to me simultaneously while my fork was midway into my mouth already cramped with food. So yeah, I am not going to tell you how many times that happened. Bite me.

Oh and I found myself smiling, nodding and listening intently at whoever was speaking for two and half hours straight. It helps encourage people to continue adding onto the discussion. But of course, I mainly did that because it keeps me awake. Hey, you try talking about serious issues about retaining and motivating employees at 8.25am, let’s see how you’d like it.

And then there were some who enjoyed listening to their voices way too much. They rambled on and on and on until I could see my entire future flashing out in front of me. In fact, my future said I was this close to ensuring the extinction of their lineage. After all, the rest were equally more interested in fiddling with the cloth napkin in front of them. No one would notice! Instead, I politely reined the talkative ones in while passing the baton to someone who hadn’t had a chance to speak yet. It’s finding a balance, making sure everyone gets an almost equal share of airtime. All with my mouth still FULL of food.

Even though the conversation was pulled to different directions at times, and there I was thinking “Ahhhhh, would this be relevant to them? Should I eat that last piece of fruit on my plate? When can I interrupt that lady who seriously needs to stay on topic? How can I get another cup of coffee?”

Turns out these people enjoyed it when someone, especially if it’s themselves, came up with something creative or a new idea that somehow relate to the challenges they are facing at work. Plus, asking everyone to summarise what they are taking away from the discussion at the end gave everyone a feel-good moment because they got to reflect on the intellectual things that were said.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first roundtable very much and I can’t wait to do the next one! I thought I would be nervous and fumble when I speak in public. But you see, I am one of those who like rising up to the [occasional] challenge.

What pleases me the most though was how everyone came up to me at the end of it and said things like, “Hey thank you, I really enjoy the discussion.”, “I didn’t know what to expect and this was a great insight sharing session.”, “At first I thought this was going to be a sales pitch, but this was better.”, “When can I look forward to the next event.”

But really, the compliments I got the most kick out of were when some of them told me how they love my outfit and they have never seen someone as well-dressed like me. Or they love my red Dr Martens. Yes, Internet, I am shallow like that.

Maybe they were just being kind but it really is a huge confidence booster for my next public event. So this is a big step up for me. I am really getting a feel for my new role now.

Heh.

Yeah baby, I aced it alright.

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Rainbows, babies and laughter

Well kids, “May the sixth be with you” might not be as easy on the ear or as mildly amusing as “May the fourth be with you” but it sure had a force of its own alright.

How do two people meet and fall into each other’s arms or even in love? Perhaps it’s by a series of fortunate accidents.

Say it started from an innocuous text and without knowing, that text led to long conversations and they found that they really hit it off somehow. They continued the long conversations where they talk about everything and nothing in the world. They talked about themselves, their pasts, their present, the future and even the things they like to eat or was on TV.

Say they finally meet up and for some inexplicable reason, seeing each other for the first time wasn’t as weird as one would have thought. It could have ended early on a pleasant note but seeing each other face-to-face became an natural extension of the long conversations they had online. They had dinner, followed by desserts, followed by long walks. Each step was filled with little snippets of their lives, their likes and dislikes. Ever so frequently, sentences would be punctuated with laughter and followed by thoughtful pauses and the conversation would continue flowing gently. Whenever they caught each other’s eyes, they would grin and shyly look away. They didn’t want the night to end. But when it did, it was with a smile.

The second time, they went out shopping for groceries. It was domesticated and yet charmingly comfortable somehow. They walked home in unison. One was carrying the groceries in an awkward manner but it didn’t matter because there was so much to talk about. It didn’t stop there. The conversation picked up later in the night and they found a TV show they both enjoy watching together. The sense of comfort they had with each other was again something hard to put a finger to. Perhaps you have experienced it yourself at some point.

They went out a couple more times for dinner and drinks, desserts and long walks home. They talked about what makes them happy, what they were looking for in life, in love, their values, their opinions. They talked about the type of people they like to be with, the dreams they wake up to, their favourite songs of the moment, even their private journal entries.  Often, their outlooks on so many things in life are so similar it felt like the stars had aligned their thoughts long before they even knew each other.

Then one day, she caught herself thinking about the cards she received while updating her diary. The first line in that entry that day was I T E T T H A T E A S O E. She decided to reveal that tiny revelation while they were chatting. Lying in bed, it took someone one hour to decipher that code. When the code was cracked, they might not have been able to see each other’s faces but it felt as though both were grinning at the same time.

They would spend loads of time talking to each other, even during work hours and into the wee hours of the night. She would spend too much thinking about that long hair, the interesting things they talk about that would make her grin stupidly [and sometimes even laugh out loud] in public, the nice thoughtful gestures and the way she would read her mind whenever they look at each other. All that made her realise “She makes me happy”.

Were two people to fall in love, would it be over something heart jolting or would it simply be because two people accidentally found someone who make them laugh, tuck them in bed and keep them warm, enjoy sharing a meal or snacks with them and are comfortable spending time together?

Is this chemistry?

I do feel we have a great connection together. We both understand happiness should never be dependent on someone else and you can’t expect someone to “complete” you because you’re the only one who can determine your happiness. It takes two emotionally, intellectually happy people to form a happy relationship and be happier and happier together.

I hope she feels she can be exactly who she is with me because I think I can. There is this sense of peace and right now, I’m just living in the moment – enjoying the experience of being together and of course, appreciating this person whom I think the world of.

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Could you be the one for me?

Oh Internet, last Friday night was awesome. That’s despite the warm sweltering weather we were subjected to, the long wait for the band’s arrival and the even longer queues just to get some hot dog buns and beers. In the end, it was worth it all.

Watching Stereophonics live and spending the night out with some of my best mates. A spontaneous Friday has never been better. The best part is I know there are even more awesome Fridays to come along.

We originally planned for dinner and a fun [but somewhat unusual] activity or karaoke the night before. Ever heard of the joke “How to make God laugh? Tell him your plans”? That’s right, all plans were shot to shreds as the next day came and went faster like a speeding bullet. Well, technically my day was slow, even tedious at times with the backlogged of piling emails to clear up. But the nerves of coordinating everyone’s schedules were giving me plenty of butterflies. I can be a perfectionist at times, I admit, so it took a while to tell myself to take a deep breath and just go with the flow.

Which I am fucking glad I did because the universe just has its way of making spontaneity feel like the best thing since sliced bread with nutella and bananas.

I don’t know where to start really. We had such a nice time out, goofing around, having plenty of laughs, interesting conversations in between but mostly over loud music and probably the same amount of whiskey dry/sodas to go with the fun we had. Right, describing the entire night’s events is going to hurt my back but I am going to try.

I was in military chic [at least I like to think so] gear with my camouflage green jacket, plain white tee, skinny black pants and red kickass Dr Mart boots while C was in her vest and various shades of black getup. But my mate Spud outshone us all with her bright red nylon trackpants which could be spotted from half a hill away in the pitch dark night and that’s saying a lot. But the evening truly began when she came in a bright blue dress and some fancy shoes that I couldn’t resist asking her if they were pricey and if she would be upset if they get scuffed. She said yes. I should have told her she looked stunning instead.

“On a scale of one to 10, how spontaneous would you say you are?”

“It depends.”

Internet, you’re probably thinking uh-oh and yes, so did my heart. I was praying frantically that the trek we had to make uphill had no soft mud to ruin anyone’s fancy shoes, the weather would be somewhat cool and the crowds would disperse like the Red Sea when we walk through. See, sometimes I worry too much. I know. But really, she was as spontaneous as I could have hoped for.

Some highlights of the night:

Discussing the amount of beers we are going to get while queueing in the world’s longest queue that really should be in the Guinness World Record because we want to make it worth the long wait! The verdict was everyone had to get a minimum of two drinks.

There was a couple in front of us and the guy was using his girlfriend’s head, shoulder and arm for a tripod while videotaping the concert. She allowed me to use her head as a tripod and the picture came out rather sharp. Heh, she asked if it made my day. It did!

We discussed how sticky our arms were from the humid air and I was trying so hard not to accidentally brush my arms against anyone, namely her, because I felt I would have to run home and take a cold shower out of embarrassment.

We started doing moves near the end of the concert. Following the beat and moving our arms from right to left and repeat. You just have to be there to see us. You would have hurt your sides laughing.

S m o _ _ _ s = Her impromptu hangman game which had me jumped once in excitement when I got it right. Nearly fell off the slope though.

Having three rounds of whiskey dry/sodas at the Irish bar and goofing around with French fries. Wiping ourselves with wet wipes and it felt so refreshing! Raising our voices over the live band to hear each other. I don’t exactly remember what we talked about but I do remember smiling a lot. The impromptu dance on the empty dance floor but failing quite miserably. I will never be those suave charmers who will twirl the lady around in a sexy sort of way. The great seduction FAIL. Sadface.

Watching live performances of Mandopop songs from the nineties and seeing scores of people singing along emotionally [drunk and complete with clenched fists in the air] to the singers was quite a sight. The best bit was seeing someone so mesmerised. Someone was definitely swaying along to the songs and it wasn’t me. Oh yeah, another two more rounds of whiskey.

The piping hot apple pies from McDonald’s. Squeezing the apple filling out of the pies.

Sitting at the supper place and staring at each other with sleepy eyes.

After ordering, “My eyes are closing. I want to sleep.”

“Me too.”

“Shall we just go home to sleep?”

“But we have already ordered. So mean.”

When the food arrived, “I am really very sleepy.”

Bill please!

We walked home, changed into polo tees and boxers, settled in bed. But I couldn’t sleep yet because someone, not naming names, needed a bedtime story. And with that, I shall leave the rest to your imagination because it’s late and my back’s hurting. Just know that it was one helluva awesome night.

And it doesn’t hurt to gaze your eyes on such a hot lead vocalist Kelly Jones. I am so into him and his whiskey voice right now. Him looking oh-so-delectable in tight skinny jeans and a leather jacket with tousled hair is definitely one of the highlights of the video below.

And it’s not just the whiskey talking. I really am falling in love with you.