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People’s Square Toastmasters Club

Last night I emailed a couple fellow Toastmasters from the Daktronics corporate club. They thought hearing my new club was interesting, so I’m going to share it with everyone.
Two weeks ago I gave my first speech from an advanced manual and was inducted into my new club at the same meeting. :-) Last week was their “Toastie” awards, which is a big members-only banquet and every dressed up like movie stars and pretended it was the Grammy’s, acceptance speeches and all. It was pretty fun!! The photos below are from that night.
This week, Wendy Wang, the new President, asked me if I’d be the club Treasurer, as the girl who was elected was unable to do it. I told her I would, but I was a bit concerned about paying bills that were all in Chinese! Pretty much all that I need to do is pay the room rental fee and collect the entrance fee money from the greeters each meeting. I also wondered if maybe there should be an election. Wendy basically told me that they still were used to appointed officals so it was no problem, and that elections were usually just to appear democratic! Only in China.
Tonight, Lucy Liu, the out-going club President and new Area Governor, asked me to be the Area VP of Education. (The Area is a larger region and fairly important.) Training is Sunday morning at 8:30 to noon. (once again, only in a Communist country!)
So, TM has been very interesting so far! Everyone thinks I am just so advanced, which is a bit embarassing. But it will make me work harder to live up to those expectations! My first few times in front of the new group, I was very nervous about speaking too quickly or using words they didn’t understand. I think I was too focused on that, so didn’t really appear confident while speaking. I think I am pretty much over that now. They have good English skills, so I just try to speak clearly (which everyone should do anyway.)
One misconception that people had was that USA clubs don’t need a grammarian, since English is our first language. Here, one role is Gender Confusion/Ah Counter. The “gender confusion” role really threw me at first. It is counting how many times people use HE instead of SHE or HIM instead of HER. It’s a common mistake to make when speaking in English as a second language.
We originally met at an old YMCA, with cracked walls, a window air conditioner and a green chalkboard. The new venue is a bit nicer, with better air conditioning and we have been upgraded to a white board! It would be so great to have a projector. It’s a bit different from Dak, where we had a new meeting room built for us, meals catered in, perfect climate control, and a computer and projector permantently installed. :-) All of the members are very enthusiastic though. When giving a speech or evaluation, all eyes in the room are on you. They nod in agreement or answer back out loud. If the speaker asks a question, he or she always gets many answers shouted out.
Any visitors are welcome to come on a Tuesday night to the People’s Square TMC! http://shanghai585.freetoasthost.info
Most of the club members. Many people come as guests for a long time before joining. Two of my co-workers have come to meetings, and they are concerned that their English skills are not up to par. I think that they’d be fine though! No one bashes anyone if they use a word incorrectly or anything. The grammarian will list off phrases used incorrectly but not say the person’s name who made the mistake.

Top row: Delphy, Mary, Michelle, Wendy, Cleo, Sissi, Rita, me, Amy and Cher. Bottom: Lucy, Amy (up), Xiao Xiao, Helen and Jenny. Wow, that’s pretty good that I remembered everyone!

Emma, me, Jenny, Wendy, Mary, Eric (the former Area Governor) Amy, Rita, Helen, Cleo and Amy.

Here is a link to the club’s blog. http://tmc585.blog.sohu.com Just scroll down to see more photos.

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