1 January 2021
Dear Fellow Members of District 80
Happy 2021! I wish you a successful and healthy new year, full of joy and laughter.
2020 has been a challenging year. The COVID-19 virus is very contagious and there were many deaths resulted from the pandemic all over the world. I personally know of a Toastmaster in USA who visited my club a few years ago, died because of complications from COVID-19. To minimise the number of infections, movements and gatherings have been restricted. Economies, including Singapore, have been negatively affected. This has resulted in retrenchments. Some of our members or/and their family members have been victims to the pandemic.
However, the pandemic has also sped up many positive changes. For example, the rate of adoption of online video conferencing technology has increased significantly during these times, even though they have been around for many years. Companies and restaurants offering food delivery services and online shopping have also witnessed an increase in sales. More people will probably continue to pay more attention to personal hygiene.
We are fortunate that the Singapore government has done a great job in limiting the spread of the virus and administering treatment for COVID-19 patients. Community cases are minimal and our mortality rate is among the lowest in the world. As vaccines become available, coupled with the start of Phase 3 in Singapore, I am optimistic that our quality of life will get back on track soon.
A few Toastmasters Clubs in Singapore have already started in-person meetings. My home club, the Toastmasters Club of Singapore, has held a couple of in-person meetings at the Sheraton Towers Hotel in the past two months.
Hopefully, the People’s Association will allow in-person club meetings at the various community clubs soon. Corporate clubs should resume meeting in-person as soon as possible, as the experience of in-person meetings is more rewarding than online ones.
In my letter to you two months ago, I urge you to put in MAJOR (Members Actively Jio Other Residents) efforts for clubs meeting at Community Centres/Clubs and MINOR (Members Invite Newly Orientated Recruits) efforts for corporate clubs, to invite guests to participate in our Toastmasters events. Thank you for your help so far; I am sure such efforts will produce results in recruitment. Let’s keep this up. Let’s continue to reach out to more non-members to participate in our activities.
I have noticed the low turnout rate at some online workshops organized by the various Divisions within the District, including those conducted by World Champions of Public Speaking. These workshops are excellent opportunities for us to learn from the best speakers in the world. Everyone, members and non-members, can benefit from these workshops.
One of the reasons for the low attendance rate is due to the lack of awareness of these events – The flyers failed to reach all the members. It is a pity as such free online learning opportunities are not only rare before the pandemic, we can also make use of these workshops to reach out to potential members. To stay in touch, I encourage members to “follow” and “like” the District 80 Facebook Group page. Organisers of these events can post their events, workshops and speech contests, to the District 80 Facebook Group page so interested members will know about them and participate.
Membership in District 80 is currently more than 15% lower compared to the same day a year ago. Although we are ranked 18th in terms of membership payment growth amongst the 124 Districts in the world, recruitment should remain to be our continuous priority. Let’s continue to introduce the Toastmasters training program to the people around us. In terms of Club Growth, we rank 12th amongst 124 Districts across the world. I encourage each of you to leave a lasting legacy by chartering a new club in the organization you work at or social and/or professional organisations that you are active in.
Bad times will not last forever. Let us adapt ourselves to the inconveniences caused by the pandemic. Let us be responsible in taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Let us emerge even stronger when this is over.
I look forward to meeting you in person soon.
Ng Cher Khim, DTM
District Director 2020-2021