Apart from matchmaking, public speaking is one of other passions. This is the speech that helped me win the Toastmasters Area Level International Speech Contest.
Have a wonderful weekend, my dearest readers! 🙂
“Aiyoh, you can’t do it one-la! You might look like him, sound like him, hair also thinning like him, but my friend, you are no Li Ka-Shing, you know! Stop dreaming-la!”
“Girl ah girl, you know mummy love you right? Mummy wants you to succeed, but you know, for people like us, we must be contented with what we have. This is the best you will ever be.”
Contest Chair, distinguished judges, ladies and gentlemen,
When was the last time someone poured cold water on your dreams?
When the last time someone close to you, despite well-intentioned and well-meaning ask you to stop dreaming?
Nick Vujicic was borne with a rare disease – a devastating disease where he was borne without all four limbs – yes, no arms and no legs. He was bullied mercilessly because he is different. They taunted him, they gawked at him, they laughed at him. At 10, he almost drowned himself. After he read a newspaper article about a man despite being severely disabled who went on to live triumphantly, he decided, “I will not kill myself. I will lead a full life. I will make my life matter.” Without hands, he learnt to write with his mouth. Without fingers, he learnt to type with his toes. Without arms and legs, he learned how to surf. And last month, he even did something even our Singapore government has failed to get many of its young citizens to do, he got married.
If anybody had an excuse to be depressed, Nick does.
If anybody had an excuse to stop trying to make his life matter, Nick does.
Yet, Nick has travelled around the world, gave speeches and motivated and inspired three million people.
If Nick can make his life matter, what is our excuse?
When I was 14 years old, I was told by someone whose opinion I should trust, something that I would remember for the rest of my life. This someone is none other than the headmistress of my secondary school. I can still remember that fateful day, where she stood in front of the entire class, stared long and hard at me and told me, “You are good for nothing!” My cheeks started to burn red and hot tears formed in my eyes. I bite my tongue as I knew better than to retort the headmistress.
10 years later, I quit my banking job to start a dating company with my husband. I was scared, I was worried, and do I have what it takes to make it? We worked very hard, and now our business spans across three countries. With God’s grace, we have touched thousands of lives and created hundreds of happy marriages. We have been featured on Bloomberg, Forbes, CNBC Asia and many others.
Fortunately for me, I never believed her .
Someone might have put us down, step all over our dignity and pride. There’s no excuse. We still can make our life matter.
I recently caught a movie and something the main character said struck a deep chord with me.
She said, “I will never be one of those women, who stay silent and pretty on the arm of her husband. Or remote and alone in the kitchen doing the washing up for that matter. One’s life must matter, Denis, beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children. One’s life must mean more than that.”
This was said by Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female UK Prime Minister. In those days, it is remarkable for a woman for a woman to become a Member of Parliament. She herself never thought she would see a female Prime Minister in her life time.
The odds were against her. People laughed at her screechy voice. Her opponents were conspiring for her to fail.
When the time came to prove her mettle, when her country needed her, she stepped up and made her life matter.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Whatever we do, wherever we are in our life journey, we can make our life matter.
If you want to start your own business, just do it. It does not matter that you have to start out small. It does not matter that your friends think you are crazy. In fact, I have learnt that the crazier they think you are, the better it is!
If you have chosen to be a homemaker, then ace it. Go all out and be the best homemaker you can be. Cook up a storm for your family so they can’t wait to come home for dinner every night. Bring up not just well-educated children, but also children that are compassionate and well-mannered, children that will make a difference to society.
You can do it. Start dreaming again. Make your life matter.