I am "Bạc Hà"

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" – Eleanor Roosevelt

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Toastmaster Speech #1: Icebreaker

I just presented my first speech in Toastmaster Club this Monday. The experience is wonderful, and I am longing for coming ones. Hey Communication Competent certificate, here I goooooooo

Turning Points

Monday,  June 25th, 2012
Historical Club, Seal Beach 

Good evening Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmaster, and honored guest. My name is Minh Le, Minh ends with an ‘h’, and Le only has one ‘e’. I was born, and grown up in Saigon. It’s a beautiful city after which the Little Saigon is named today.

I used to be a geek who spent nine years of my life learning to become a programmer. I won a lot of regional and national awards from programming contests since middle school. At my graduation, when my professors told me that I was going to be a successful programmer and make a lot of money, I decided that it’s time to stop talking the machinery language and make a turning point.

I applied at the high school, in which I had studied, as a teacher. In that first and only year of teaching, I was paid $100/month salary for 9 months of school year. I had about 500 students in 11 classes to take care of who taught me how to enjoy the life which I had sacrificed for the computer for so many years.I learned to make boring computer classes become fun with games and jokes. I discussed with the kids about school life. I hung around with them a lot afterschool. We ate at street vendors and sang karaoke.

For I looked younger than my age and often joined with the students, people mistook me quite frequently. I was scolded by the school’s supervisor or other teachers for not wearing uniform countless times. I always remember how funny they look when they realized who I really am.

Once in a while, I thought my life would be “happily ever after”. But one day, my mom called me home and said: “Boy, it’s time to pack your stuffs. We gonna move to America”. “Why? I don’t want to”, I yelled out loud like a little baby. But she just ignored me like she always did. 3 months later, I found myself in Orange County.

My life turned to another new page again. The English I had learned is actually the British English from early ‘80s which sounds weird here. Neither I could understand other people, nor could they get what I said. I went to ESL class, and then took a communication class in Golden West College, but all I can get is a handful of Vietnamese friends who could not speak English as well.

One day, while I was killing my time by watching clips on youtube. I found a Vietnamese in America’s got talent show. He performed a one-man comedy. Though he was out, he did get good comments from judges. And that guy really woke me up. I never thought that a person who only started speaking English since adulthood can get the sense of humor, which is the key in building relationships.

After that moment, I believed that there must be some way to solve my problem, I just haven’t found it yet. I started doing some research and asking everybody for one. Eventually, I found our club. After joining for a couple days, I know that my life’s third turning point is happening.

Now, I believe that with our wonderful program, my broken English can be polished to become a crystal sphere someday.  I believe that I can become a distinguish toastmaster in the next five years.

Madam Toastmaster, fellow Toastmaster, I beg for all your essential support to help my dream come true.

Thank you.

And here are the comments that I got from other people:

Mike: Great speech! Please watch the timing clock – you had good vocal variation and eye contact. Your teaching experience really helped. [Time: 6’53”, unqualified for overtime :'( ]

Debi: Absolutely excellent! Your “turning points” title was a great choice. And through the speech you built momentum and ended with passion. Only thing to improve is the ESL sentence structure! Great job!

Bruce: Great 1st speech. Great show of confidence and pose. Great story. Awesome job!

Wilma: I could understand everything you said. Your English is good. I believe you will become a DTM. Organization was good.

Willand: You look so comfortable speaking. good pace, volume and pitch. we got to know you. you are an interesting person. you are well on your was as a good speaker. I understand your speech.

Fred: A very interesting speech, well done. You seemed very confident as you spoke. You illustrated your topic also very well.

No name: That was great!!! I really enjoyed the description of your turning points –> You have great speech.

No name: Minh – wonderful speech. you were fantastic!!!


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