26th March 2013 – Art in Nature

For the next few months, I will be inviting other members of our club to post on this blog in my stead. This will be a good training opportunity for them to learn about what a VPPR does, and hopefully my dear readers will enjoy hearing a fresh perspective on our meetings 🙂

Today’s post is brought to you by a fellow member of our Toastmasters’ club, Natalie Lim!

 

That's me!

That’s me!

The theme for today’s toastmasters meeting was “The Art in Nature” and for the invocation, a quote by Edgar Allan Poe was used. It went “Were I called on to define very briefly, the term art I should call it the reproduction of what the senses perceive in nature through the veil of the mist.” I don’t believe that Poe was specifically talking about nature as limited to the environment but also to an observation of humanity as well, to the people around us, to their nature, to our own nature. I strongly believe this is part of the nature we perceive and some of the most beautiful pieces are precisely about the nature of humanity. Although the Project Speeches are usually unconnected to the theme, I found that today’s two project speeches were in a very subtle way.

The first speech was done by TM Dr. Fatimah and her topic was about the brain. Her clear, coherent and gentle style was very effective in engaging the audience as she conveyed facts on the brain. I thought she really inspired a sense of gratefulness in the audience as she talked about how it is so vital in everything we do, whether it is simply smiling or eating or moving or breathing. She spoke about how it is the source of our creativity and how without it life would be almost meaningless. Interestingly, she went on to tell us how we can protect our brain in three short and concise points which are, firstly, having a good diet and doing exercises, secondly, having a good network of people, and lastly, prayer and meditation. She elaborated on each of these points wonderfully. It was her second project speech and I believe that everyone in the room took home something from her very informative and well developed speech. I think this observation of the human brain can be a form of art as well, as I felt her speech was like an appreciation or tribute to the amazing intricacies and wonderful complexities of the human brain.

The second project speech was done by TM Carynn and I will admit that it was one of the most engaging speeches I have ever heard. She talked about the day she received her SPM results. Her effective use of adjectives and words that provoked visual imagery made us see things through her eyes. It was as if I could feel everything she felt, see everything she saw and hear everything she heard. I felt my soul stir within me as she emptied the contents of her soul in simple but yet deeply meaningful words. I could connect with her so well, I was almost going to tear up. Although she exceeded the time limit, by a minute and a half, I could tell that everyone was just wishing she would go on anyway. I thought her speech was a display of art as she displayed the depths of her soul, I felt my heart beat for humanity all over again, it was indeed a display of art in nature.

Besides that, I would say another highlight of today’s meeting would be the food! – and the fellowship as well of course. We had three types of pizza and because today quite a number of people couldn’t make it, we each had a good fill of pizza P: Something else that was very memorable about today’s meeting is the Table Topics. One particular topic that was used a couple of times was about what it would be like if we put ourselves in the shoes of an endangered species. Amanda was a manatee and Mohvindh was a Lynx. I thought they were brilliant in their roles, in that they really made us feel of them as they told us about the family members they had lost, their struggles with pollution caused by humans, I think it really made the audience get a clearer picture of the extent of our non eco-friendly actions.

Overall, I believe everyone enjoyed themselves very much (as usual) and took home with them a greater reverence for the art in nature whether consciously or unconsciously (: It was a great meeting!

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