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Posts Tagged ‘Shawn’


3 more days

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


RA travels to Jakarta 


The Good, The So-So and The Bad. Ah, Jakarta.. It has been more than 10 years since my last visit to the city. I remember my last trip was with regards to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf trip, meeting potential franchisors in the region. I didn’t have much sentimental value back then but that changed over the course of the weekend during our toastmasters trip to attend the Jakarta Conference 2016.

I’m already feeling the pressure as I have volunteered myself to be responsible in running the Brunei Conference 2016 coming October. Then again, I have a reliable set of team in Brunei and it will also test my leadership skills in managing the event and striking the right chords with my team too.


Kashish Ajit Harjani (3rd from left) won the the Table Topics District Contest in Jakarta last weekend

Denish Vaswani (3rd from left)

Reuben Chin interviewing Pranika Lama

The contestants from the tables topic contest

With Allen, Fen and Pamela during Welcoming Dinner

So the Good… Well, I like the setting of the toastmasters conference. The venue was spot on for the toastmasters delegate and spacious as well (to a certain extent.. explain later). I can learn some pointers for the banner/backdrop that was used during the conference. The hotel we stayed at Santika Hayam Wuruk was pretty cool though the rooms were slightly small and it was about BND 650 for five nights.

The best part of the conference was the re-connecting with old faces and breaking the ice with new ones. Despite the minor friction from different divisions in our District, I made acquaintance with a few toastmasters members from Medan, Jakarta and Kuching. I learnt that I am able to get out of the comfort zone (as in being with my team members) and meet other members outside the Brunei contingent. That’s one way of expanding your horizons instead of imploding. This I have to take note for future conferences.

My final say of the juicy part of the conference was the actual speech contest, notably the International Speech category. Of course, we were all in Jakarta to support our Division champion Pranika Lama, a UBD Toastmasters member, and it was her first time reaching this level. I had faith in her speech because of her pure dedication and commitment to bring the best out of her.

To my surprise, the other contestants were equally good or better. They have just raised the bar for District 87 and sometimes it does pay when you have experience under your belt in this level. Dinesh Vaswani and Rebecca were no strangers and they had a 1-2 finish respectively and well-deserved too. As for Pranika, I truly grateful to witness you just being on stage and delivered a masterful delivery and many would be inspired to be a better speaker like you.


Now the so-so. It was cool know the fact that even a turnover of Chairmanship happened three times, things doesn’t necessarily will run smoothly. It means more transference and hand-over deals that could have been avoided before the actual conference. The Annual Conference is the second biggest after the World Conference and we could see teething problems along the way which I hope the organizing committee will bring it up during their post mortem.

Our rooms weren’t handled to a delicate manner and there were a few miscommunication with the logistic person and the front office of the hotel. It took me an hour to settle my room situation upon arrival.

Another teething problem was the actual contest. Yes, I did praise about the good quality speeches but behind the scenes, it was a total mess. There were no specific Organizing Chair for the contest. Nico from Medan was their standby emcee. Even the organizing chairperson asked me halfway during the contest if I could interview the contestants (But we all know that’s the task of the Contest Chair who happened to be Reuben and Pamela).

Among all these setbacks during the contest, I have to applaud Reuben Chin for lifting the energy of the audience when there was an unexpected delay before the prize presentation due to contestants’ protests on some matters. He was purely magical and charismatic in carrying the flow for at least 20 minutes to buy time for the Chief Judge to decide.

Like I said, just some teething problems that could have been avoided with proper communications. Something that we can’t take for granted.


Peter Voon from Bintulu and Gerald Goh



Yay, our area got awarded from Toastmasters International

Area K6, one of the strongest group in Division K, District 87

Now the Bad. Honestly, as a member of our toastmasters District 87, I was hoping for a better leadership from the District. The “Reaching Up, Reaching Out” but it didn’t reach the heights that was quite ambitious by our District Director. Perhaps the lowest point was when the District Director avoided a legit question by our Area K6 Director Allen Ang who raised concerns on the financial aspect of the District 87. A similar question was raised back in October 2015 in Bali but it was brushed off. This time, the District Director and the Finance Manager were put in the spotlight for a few minutes but their replies were fruitless and inconclusive. I felt embarrassed as a member that our leaders are not capable to answer a straight forward question and just be accountable for their actions. I hope the next term will turn things around with the newly elect Ivy Lau as the Division Director 2016-2017.

Another note, I wasn’t impressed with the Gala Dinner. We started quite early and we always know how draggy the Gala Dinner will be because of the award session. This is the time where toastmaster members and clubs will be recognized for their achievements and milestones. This is the time where delegates will sacrifice their personal time and fly to Jakarta at their own expense to receive their award.

However, it didn’t go as planned. The entertainment took bulk of the session over dinner where the awards should have given much importance. In the end, the award ceremony only started after 10pm which is pretty late and the overall experience seemed so rushed. It was probably the fastest award ceremony I’ve experienced as a delegate and it felt it was given less importance. Something for the organizers to look back and analyze on this event. The entertainment was already great on the Welcoming Dinner but to have on both nights, you will need to strike a balance on the Gala Dinner.



Brunei Speakers’ Club were awarded with two accolades


One of the energetic speakers at the Jakarta Conference. Cheeky too.


Our District leaders for Brunei, Indonesia, KK, Kuching and Labuan

During the District Council Meeting last Friday

Allen Ang raised a few valid points that still remains unanswered from District

The panels of District 87 leaders

The flag bearers for the opening ceremony

Some night activities during Welcome Dinner

There are many others that I want to highlight but I shall leave that offline. Overall, I had a splendid time because of the people around that I connected and reconnected with. Thank you, once again, to the organizers but don’t take my feedback personally but as a learning lesson.

Having said all these, it might backfire since I am the next organizing chair. I’m not raising any expectations for my conference either but at least, we as a team want to make everything run as smooth and make the delegates especially the international ones feel like home. That time will come and we will be ready to host all of you.


With the beautiful Pranika


Dinesh one of the most experienced public speaker. He will fly to Washington to compete in the World Conference this August. Good luck 😀

One of the table topics speaker

I was pitching for the delegates to come over to Brunie

Team KK are well ahead as they have secured 100 paying registrants for their convention next year




Making a difference

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Conference in Bali 

I had a great time last week with my fellow toastmasters. The bond is different from before and it’s stronger. I may not look enthusiastic in this photo because I deliberately looked sad. I’m sandwiched by two dedicated toastmasters from UBD.

The organizing chairperson Shawn Cassidy Narcis and deputy organizing chair Liana Kwan for the District 87 Semi-Annual Conference. They and the team pulled off a great show. It was such a pity that not many locals turned up from the Indonesia division.

The conference is over. The goodbyes were tough but we as toastmasters know that it’s a never ending journey with conferences in different cities every now and then. I realised that it’s a pretty hefty investment if I were to calculate the number of conferences I attend (such as in Sabah, Labuan and cities of Indonesia) like the current one in Bali. Luckily for me, I never questioned it because I know the values that I can get out of toastmasters – priceless – and I’m pleased to officially announced that Brunei Darussalam will be hosting a big toastmasters conference slated for November 2016 and the planning has begun.

This is also one reason why I haven’t been active updating my blog. I still have tons of articles pending from my previous coverages in Brunei and also my recent Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2015 adventure. I shall be updating that pretty soon as I have so much ample now in Bali before my next workshop in Ubud, Bali in a few days’ time. For now, I’m gonna do some reviews of the recent Bali in Paradise conference 2015.

What a wunderbar experience!! The venue was ideal as we had both the convention and the accommodation at the same hotel (Harris Hotel & Residence on Sunset Road). I shared a suite room with four musketeers – Superman Amran, the computer geek Dalton, go-with-the-flow Jack and the actual Superman Nur Iskandar. If I were to travel again, I don’t mind tagging along with them or vice-versa. Just have to make sure that you don’t use the kitchen sink because Dalton will use his luggage to cover it *lol*

We had seven educational speakers and I enjoyed all of them except for one. I was amazed how thorough Dinesh’s speech on how to deliver a winning speech and it was analytical and clear. I have learnt that I lacked clarity in delivering my points in my speech and even getting the message across. Another speaker was Miranda (from Bali) who reminded me the power of listening and I’m still practicing that skill and breaking the bad habit. The International Director Patrick Oei showed me the courage to take leap of faith and don’t be the “Elephant being tied to a stick” because that one little step can make a difference.

Golden voice Ariff stole the show of the supposedly absent Guest of Honour and he shared the different types of personalities in us – I found out that I’m an extrovert with feelings and intuition *lol* I’m not sure that’s a suitable trait to guide me as the organizing chair for next year’s convention but it can be fruitful indeed because we already have an amazing team.

We are so honoured to have two finalists in World Public Speaking Championship and one of them is Mohammed Qahtani the current World Champion of Public Speaking 2015 (thank you, Lorraine for hooking him up with Shawn). He started with a slight sign of nervousness but he picked up the tempo and lifted the crowd with his enthusiastic energy. What was missing is the Qahtani (rubber) band that I wanted to have, to remind me should I have negative thoughts in my head. My room mate Amran was lucky to be given one. Well, the idea of the rubber band is to sport it on your wrist, and whenever you say something negative or have negative thoughts, then you snap the rubber band. This can be a good habit especially when you are about to give a negative comment and you snap the band and from there you start giving positive comments. Hopefully one day it will make me give automated positive statements.

Lastly, the speaker that I was looking forward to was Kwong Yue Yang who now resides and working in Australia. His “Fortune Cookie” speech is my most viewed contest speech because it’s originality, humour and the message he delivered. I highly recommend you watch that speech which I thought should have won that year in 2011. He had two sessions during the Bali conference and I learnt a thing or two on how to inject humour into your script and yes, humour is a skill. Let’s not forget that. It was good to see his girlfriend tagging along and apparently she is his mentor. Keep up the great synergy and I do hope you make again to the finals next year. He is a true inspiration for all toastmasters and such a humble guy in person. What more can you ask for?


World Champion of Public Speaking 2015 Mohammed Qahtani delivering his talk and he had the biggest cheer of the day

I admire Kwong Yue Yang, another competent speaker who believes that humour is a skill, not just talent. Very useful tips he shared with us.

I kinda enjoyed Dinesh Viswani’s deconstruction of a humourous speech. Very detailed, clear and leaves a lasting impression.

I was happy to introduce our speaker Miranda Suryadjaja from Bali and she shared her tips on listening (everyone’s weakness)

Kwan, Hazwan, Laurence and Amran chilling after a long Gala dinner but we all had fun behind the scenes. Thank you, Kwan and Laurence for helping out last weekend.

The contest.

Of course, we were rooting for our Division K representatives Kamaliah (humourous) and Aaron (evaluation). It was also the first time that I attended a District level convention for these particular categories. Both speakers were drawn to deliver first in their respective categories (Man, what are the chances?) and I would have to say that they set the standard for the rest of the competition. For those in toastmasters, District Level and Division Level are a different ball game. In order to get to District, you must win Division level first.

In the evaluation speech contest, our first international delegate Alicia Curtis for next year’s convention in Brunei, was the test speaker and she shared her journey with Abby, her dog. My prediction was spot on for the podium finish. Aaron did his very best and squeezed in 2nd runner up while Ricky from Medan had an awesome delivery but perhaps lacking in content and ended up 1st runner-up. The District Champion for evaluation belonged to Rebecca Chieng of Kuching and she deserved it with her crisp, clear-cut analysis on Alicia’s speech.

During the contest, I could see my neighbour Laurence Dumling who kept jotting down points on her phone as she herself was once a finalist in District but missed out this year as she came second in Division Level. She would have given a good run for the money should she had competed last weekend because I know she’s very capable when I first saw her evaluation last year and wow, I finally found my role model to learn more on delivery and be more discipline in training myself to be a great evaluator.

As for the main event (humourous contest), it left me wondering if I was actually witnessing an Area level contest or a District Contest. The finalists failed to live the expectations and I felt embarrassed that our invited guest Kwong had to  endure the agony of listening to all the low quality of speeches with a few exceptions. Of course, for me the top two speakers Rebecca Chieng and winner Kamalia were awesome when on stage. The rest of the contestants weren’t up to District Level and it’s just maybe …. just maybe one of those years that the other divisions struggled to bring the best out of their toastmasters journey.

Kamalia kicked off the show and it was a never-ending episodes of entertainment and laughters. She was the only one that had clapping ovations and in the end, she was rewarded with a standing moments from section of the audience. It was already an amazing beginning to the contest and I was already worried if the rest could maintained it. It was not to be and not meant to be either.

The second speaker literally killed my enthusiasm when he showed deliberate signs of stereotyping and it was simply too offensive to my liking. This is something the his Division should address to the matter. I could go on and on for the rest of the contestants but I shall not humiliate further (Ok, I just snap the rubber band on my wrist).


Seng Yee preparing for the Gala dinner. A big appreciation for her for helping with the registration from Brunei and all the way to Bali and also willing to help with the minor things to make the event go smoothly. A good team player.

Our champions in Division K and they excelled in District Level. Kamalia won in Humourous Contest while Aaron came 2nd runner up in Speech Evaluation. Rebecca Chieng from Kuching was the best performer for winning the Speech Evaluation and coming 2nd in Humourous.

Once again, our club managed to achieve President’s Distinguished Club for 2014-2015. Posing behind is our Immediate Past President Hazwan Kamarulzaman.

Shawn can really rock the crowd as he showed during the welcoming dinner at Harris Hotel’s garden area

The choo-choo train…

Shawn again…

and yes… Shawn again…

Kwong Yue Yang documenting the welcoming dinner

The Strongest Division.

So what I have learnt from this contest is that our Division K (Brunei, Sabah and Labuan) is pretty, pretty strong and I am proud of it because it’s also a testament on how Division K work so hard collectively as a unit from time to time. Reuben Chin has a been a great ambassador as our Division K Director and he has been flying in and out to visit different clubs in Sabah and maintain that strong bond within the Division.

New friends, newer bonds.

I believe that’s the intention – to foster and empower individuals and that can made possible through having special bonds between one another. I created new bonds with friends from Indonesia, Sabah and even from down under (Australia & New Zealand). These small gestures made a huge difference for a successful conference and not just attending educational sessions or witnessing the contests. It’s deeper than that and the reward will be much more fulfilling.

I’ve never received many business cards until last weekend. Well, I was pitching and encouraging toastmasters from different parts of the world to visit Brunei and be part of next’s convention in November 2016 which means I had to carry out a bit of homework and laying the foundation first. The responses have been quite encouraging and I truly hope that the event next year will be a blast because I believe the team can turn it into a memorable and magical moment.


Pranika never looked happier *inside joke*

An interesting welcoming dinner concept

All eyes on the World Champion of Public Speaking 2015

Sandy taking a photo pop with the Mohammed Qahtani

I’m impressed with Stuart Lee being the contest chair for the Humourous Contest and he’s also one of the sponsors for the event.

I had a great connection with my role model whom is an awesome speech evaluator. I will definitely see you and the gang when I visit Sabah next time.

It’s good to see Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club receiving an award

Before the big Gala dinner, we all had Burger King. I forgot to pay you Hazwan or are you “belanja-ing” us? 😀

The theme for the Gala dinner was Red and Black. This is the powerpoint and media table for the slides and music. It may looked easy but it wasn’t. You really have to focus and be alert. Well done, Nina and Seng Yee.

Pranika was one of the most popular toastmaster because she was always being picked on *lol* Then again, she had the best seat in the educational session where she given the opportunity to see right in front of Mohammed Qahtani. Pranika also made an impact as many spoke highly of her during the convention. Definitely an asset to our Area K6 and also to the organizing committee for next year’s convention

My appreciations.

Before I end, I would like to give a big shout out to Shawn Narcis and his wing-person Ruey Narcis on the amazing job in making our journey to Bali possible and also taking care of us despite your busy schedules. To me, Shawn has been a great ambassador for toastmasters in our Division and also to the District. If I were to choose, he will be our Toastmaster of the Year. A shoutout also to Rozana Yunos who pulled off a great Gala Dinner and we even had impromptu emcees to ease Hawzan’s role during the award ceremony. A job well done also to Shawn’s co-organising chair Liana Kwan in making the convention in Bali a success.

Most of all, I would like to appreciate the Brunei toastmasters for making it this far to Bali. It does mean a lot when you travel all the way from Brunei to attend a conference. It’s the small things that matter and you all have make a difference. Hence, the tagline for my convention in Brunei is “Making a Difference”. I look forward for next year’s conference in Sandakan hopefully if my travel plans permit.

Thank you once again for a memorable and magical convention. If you be in those moment, you will truly enjoy and I did. Peace out 😀

Quote from Shawn for the Brunei toastmaster group: “I miss all of you. Now only since I am back in Brunei, thinking of how great the event went, without each and everyone of you, the success would never have happened. I would like to apologize if I did anything wrong to hurt any of you. If I did, I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“The experience, the journey and the learning are only because we all are toastmasters from one District. That is why what we do, what we say, helped the members in our District. We will surely be stronger (as members of toastmasters). We all have wanted to learn what is toastmasters and now you know what toastmasters have given you. They have given you a new family who is willing to support your growth. So again, from the bottom of my heart , I love you, my toastmaster family.”


Dalton was the young hero of the weekend. A little gesture but it means a lot to Datin and she treats Dalton as her grandson. Awwwww.. Good job, Dalton.

Nur Iskandar and Allen trying to hold their laughs during the humourous speech contest.

My photo opportunity with Kwong. Let’s hope your fortune is brighter in the next competition.

International Director Patrick Oei with the toastmasters delegates

Truly had a good time with the committee. Truly proud of what we achieved even though it was in a foreign land.

One of the toughest job and that is finance. Allen Ang is in charge and it’s never an easy task to carry out.



Sochi bound?

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Get Connected through ICONIA




BIBD’s latest promotion

Top up tia. Click image to enter website.



ICON Design Store 

Click image to enter ICON Design Store website


Test drive or buy a Citroën!! 

Click image to enter Citroën Brunei 



Free labour charge on repairs for Peugeot



Big Cheesy Box 

Click image to enter


KFC monthly winners 

KFC had its monthly draw last Sunday at KFC drive-thru Sengkurong which saw 10 winners walking away with prizes worth $300 each. Yes, each!! The KFC drive-thru anniversary lucky draw started from 19th September and lasts until 31st dec 2014 where 10 winners will be chosen each month to win $300 worth of prizes each.

There is also a grand draw taking place on 11th jan 2015 where 5 lucky winners will win the following:

5th prize-movie tickets worth $700

4th prize-petrol purchase rebate worth $1,000

3rd prize-supermarket/department store shopping vouchers worth B$1,500

2nd prize-furniture/electronics purchase vouchers worth B$3,000

1st prize-return tickets for 2 pax to Melbourne with tour and accommodation included worth B$5,000

With more than $20,000 worth of prizes in total to be won, members of the public, who are interested in participating in the lucky draw, need only to make a purchase at any KFC outlets in Brunei, attach their receipt to a form and fill it in and drop it into the lucky draw boxes provided from now until 31st dec 2014.

In addition, customers with the KFC Drive-Thru car sticker making purchases at their drive-thru in Sengkurong during the promotion period will drive away with awesome KFC freebies, which will end on December 31.


Azmi the Branch Manager of KFC Gadong Central with the 10 lucky draw winners walking away with $300 worth of goods and services!!

Below are the winners of the second monthly draw.

1) David Leygei Tinggi – Samsonite Luggage Bag

2) Saadiah Hj Said – Paloma Home Fashion Store Voucher

3) Hjh Siti Hairani – The Empire Hotel Cash Voucher

4) Kipli B. Hj Othman – Diamond & Platinum Voucher

5) Noorhayati Binti Zaini – Chan Ein Hong Voucher

6) Pg Mohd Khairol Ahmadani – SocialDeal Shopping Voucher

7) Mohd Afindi Bin Mustata – Toys ‘R’ Us Voucher

8) Muhammad Noramin Hakeem – The FaceShop Voucher

9) Noraines Hj Rosli – Hua Ho Shopping Voucher

10) Dr M. Kamil Shiekh – Philips Air Fryer



Happy 40th RB 

Happy 40th birthday Royal Brunei Airlines #RB40 #Royalbruneiair


Late post: Birthday celebrants 

Shawn celebrated his birthday a few weeks ago at Radisson Hotel after the Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club meeting


I believe he is slightly older than Royal Brunei 😀

A surprise plan that failed for Seng Yee’s birthday few weeks ago

We had a great dinner gathering at iLotus

It was a hat theme night and it was weird to see Hazwan, Shawn and Ruey wearing a cap 😀


Azeemah raised £643 

Azeemah Zaki trekked to the summit of Mt. Snowdon (highest mountain in Wales) and it was part of her fundraiser to donate to the Human Relief Foundation for the children of Syria affected by the war.

The trek was organised by University of Sheffield’s Islamic Circle and she managed to raise £643 for her cause as she needed at least £150 to trek the mountain. The University of Sheffield’s Islamic Circle raised a total of £8,279 in the end. Awesome!! Below are the pictures shared by Azeemah during their trekking journey at Mt. Snowdon.






Volkswagen Customer Day

Yesterday, Maju Motors, the authorised dealer for Volkswagen (VW), held a customer’s day. Lots of Volkswagen customers showed up with their car and posed for the camera. There was also free BBQ food being provided and music for entertainment. This was one way of appreciating Volkswagen customers from Maju Motors for their continuous support. You can view more photos here from their Facebook Page.
























The Sh’Mo’ Down 

Zul-Fadly (Happy Birthday bro)  with the Jae of Chaps & Rebels

Movember Brunei this year will feature, for the first time ever in Brunei, a ‘Mustache’ competition called The Sh’Mo’ Down. The competition is divided into three categories; the Thickest Mo. the Hippest Mo and the Innovative Mo.

Currently there are a handful of ‘MoBros’ who have registered and it will be very interesting to see the quality of mustaches being ‘groomed’ seriously in Brunei. It’s a growing trend here as the men are slowly becoming more aware of how they present themselves in the public. Registration is still open and all you have to do is email your name and contact number to our email, movemberbrunei@gmail.com

This year we have the support of Chaps & Rebels, a local barber shop owned and run by our own local guys who have paved the way for those seeking the ‘gentleman’ look. An online entrepreneur who sells beard oils on instagram and goes by the ig account, @DreamBeardBWN. Armtirx enterprise who has agreed to print the limited edition MovemberBrunei Tees. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Brunei for agreeing to become our official venue for the Sh’Mo’ Down.

Movember Brunei also has amazing support from the social media like Facebook and Instagram. The hashtag #movemberbn is getting new feeds everyday. Huge thanks to everyone and anyone on the social media platform who has repost, retweeted and shared all things related to Movember Brunei, Thank you very much!

Growing a mo in Movember is not just a fashion statement but the true message and responsibilty that comes with it. The ‘Mo’ represents the awareness. If someone asks why go through all the trouble of growing a Mo in November? One can say because we care! Its not a trait of a Man to share that they are ill/sick. However, the number of men affected by cancer is as many if not more than women. Movember does not just highlight testicular cancer or prostate cancer, it covers depression as well and men’s health in general. Do it for the grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, sons, nephews and grandsons who have been fortunately survived or sadly, unfortunately, did not make it through.

If you believe that prevention is better than cure, then go get checked! Grow that mo because you care! We grow it because we want the future generation of men to be confident and be able to remove the stigma that men do not get or rarely get sick. Press release and images courtesy of Zul Fadly.








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