My Story: Lessons in Life from a Young Distinguished Toastmaster

By Dinesh Jayabalan

Sassy and smart-mouthed, Dinesh Jayabalan is a unique force of nature who doesn’t just mouth off; he makes it a point to walk the talk. Recently, he achieved the status of Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest level a toastmaster can achieve – at the tender age of 21. He’s among the few toastmasters in Malaysia to achieve this feat at this age.

This is his story…

“I started my Toastmasters journey almost three years ago in university. Being a high school debater who loved arguing with everyone, I did not have a hard time getting my message across to the audience. But, I faced severe difficulties in the field of storytelling and public speaking, which were the main reasons why I joined Toastmasters.

“As a young Toastmaster, there were instances when I felt my age would stand against me. I discovered that people generally tended to place emphasis on experience and probably that is why one’s experience is said to be something precious. At instances when I disagreed with ‘traditions’ and ‘norms’ set by others that did not comply with the club mission of Toastmasters International, I made my point by researching and learning more -and referring to relevant manuals and guidebooks.

“Being a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) was never the ultimate goal. (Maybe being the International President of Toastmasters International could be considered as one:) ). The learning experience that Toastmasters offers goes beyond mere titles and achievements. This is why there are members who still remain in this organisation after so many years.

One of the challenges I experienced was noticing that many members took certain things for granted – from simple matters like understanding the role of a meeting’s presiding officer to speech contests rules. No one double checked the rules and regulations, or questioned the culture. As a result, there was a continuous pass down of misleading information because no one updated themselves with the current changes in the organisation.

“On these matters, I’ve always taken this approach: ‘Don’t tell me, show me where it is written. Always have rational and substantive evidence to back your claims because opinions alone cannot do much. One’s opinion may be another’s taboo practice’.

“Moving forward, I would like to practise and hone my leadership skills by taking up leadership roles that offer me first-hand experience in handling myriad situations. The skills and competencies that the education system of Toastmasters International offers is indeed very appropriate and pertinent to those who want to learn and equip themselves with knowledge and experience.

“I will forever be thankful for the platforms and learning opportunities this organisation has offered me. From learning how to organise events and handle people from different backgrounds who may have conflicting opinions, I have familiarised myself with priceless skills that I know will help me one day in the future.”

Would you like another inspiring read? Check out our president Benedict Leong’s story…This Champion Shares How Toastmasters Can Turn YOU Into a Champion!

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Here Are 6 REASONS Why You Should Attend THIS Judging Workshop!

As a member of Toastmasters Club, you’ll be exposed to many different workshops – from leadership, to speech improvement to judging! Of all the different Toastmasters-endorsed workshops, the judging workshop is one of the most specialised and most often begs these questions: “Why would I want to attend a judging workshop? How can I benefit from this?” Here are SIX crucial reasons why…

1. Contestants expect and deserve a high calibre judge so you’ll need to learn what’s expected of a good judge.

By high calibre, we mean someone who’s fair and impartial. Aside from these qualities, a good judge is also expected to be trustworthy, accurate, knowledgeable and a good listener.

Because there are high expectations of a judge, and even higher expectations of a Toastmasters judge, it is indeed crucial for all aspiring judges to attend a judging workshop so he or she will learn the requirements and commitments needed of a judge as well as valuable information on how to meet those requirements.

2. You’ve already been to a judging workshop, so why do you need to attend another one?

Here’s food for thought: not all judging workshops are the same. Requirements and rules will change. In order not to be left behind or even worse, left out, existing and aspiring judges should attend a judging workshop featuring experienced and knowledgeable judges (like the upcoming Sunway Toastmasters Club judging workshop featuring Ramdas and Dinesh Jayabalan…pssst!) so they’ll effectively be updated on the latest judging rule books.

3. The BEST WAY to learn is to get hands-on practical experience…

There are no two ways around it – when it comes to learning, the quickest way to learn the ropes is to Just Do It – as the immortal Nike tagline goes.

The judge’s training module crafted by Ramdas and Dinesh Jayabalan is packed with real-life judging scenarios designed to encourage thought, debate and learning as you go along. This is a judging module that encourages hands-on learning, so you won’t just be reading about situations and learning them by rote, but actually experiencing and discovering things about yourself as you immerse yourself in the training programme.

4. You’ll get to learn Judging Methods according to the International Toastmasters Judges’ Training Guide

Learning through the Judges’ Training Guide is the most legit way to learn the ropes. The Toastmasters judging method is based on fairness, integrity and dignity and is the benchmark which all Toastmasters judges are measured against. These steps and methods have been formulated to be consistently fair and effective. And as not everything in your judging journey will be plain sailing, our seasoned judges cum speakers will be able to help you identify the problems ahead of time and troubleshoot them.

5. This workshop will STILL benefit you even if you aren’t keen on judging

Even if you aren’t setting your heart on being a Toastmasters Judge, this workshop will still be helpful because it’ll give you valuable insights into the judges’ thought process and requirements. By knowing how judges judge and what they’re looking for in speeches, you’ll be able to craft your speech so it fits well with the judging criteria.

6. So You’ll Know the Difference between An Evaluator and a Judge

While judging and evaluating may have similarities, they aren’t the same. The judge’s role in a competition is simply to judge. While at evaluations, the speaker’s pros, cons and points of improvement would be highlighted at the session. It is important to know the difference between these roles so both these roles are well represented and carried out.

So there you have it, SIX good reasons why you should attend Sunway Toastmasters Club’s So You Think You Can Judge Workshop! The unique perspectives and contrasting delivery styles of both our speakers, Ramdas and Dinesh J. will ensure a workshop session that’s filled with learning points, entertainment and laughter. If learning through practical knowledge is most effective, learning through laughter and entertainment would be most enjoyable. 🙂

* Sunway Toastmaster’s Club’s So You Think You Can Judge Workshop is taking place on the 18th August 2018 at Menara Sunway from 9am -3pm. If you’re excited by this exciting workshop and can’t wait to sign up😜, click here to join RIGHT NOW!

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Meeting #02: THIS GUY just shut down the pineapple pizza debate. PERIOD!

By Christine Choong Ing Xin

 “What do you do when you have a combination of unicorns (on TME Aster Lim’s jumper), out-of-the-box meeting ideas (kudos Table Topics Master Tan Chee Yoong with his Pineapple Pizza and Male vs Female debates / Table Topics Sessions and sporting participants like Dinesh Jayabalan, Yeam Kah Mun, Christine Choong and Jason Teo. Answer: A super PANAS (hot) meeting enjoyed by all with high participation from members and guests!” – Christine Choong

So with all the condiments above making for a meeting to beat all meetings, the following were the ingredients that made our second meeting of the term a yummilicious one despite talk of fools 😜 (the theme of the evening was: Arguing With a Fool Proves That There Are Two)…


Aaron Koh, the invocation speaker that evening, defined the meaning of a fool and set the tone for the rest of the evening in his speech. “A fool is like a naive child who argues for the sake of arguing; without purpose. As we grow older, we come to realise the importance of choosing our arguments and not getting stuck in a dead end where there is no way out/solution,” he said,

Table Topics

As Table Topics Master, Tan Chee Yoong was on fire!! He spiced up his session by having two table topics speakers colliding head on in a heated debate on some foolish yet funny topics. Dinesh Jayabalan sizzled in the pineapple on pizza debate and convincingly shut down opponent Yeam Kah Mun in a drama-filled showdown! In an unexpected plot twist, table topics speaker Jason Teo actually sided with his opponent Christine Choong in the age-old debate: Men vs Women, who makes a better parent?

Humor session

Darryn Chiew told us a motivating story about being fooled by his brother to join a marathon and how he finally finished his run when he stopped comparing himself with others, and focused instead, on moving forward, one step at a time.

Project Speech Session

Anupama Ravella talked about the disadvantages of being a lefty (left-handed) in a world dominated by righties and how certain famous lefties had managed to rise above their difficulties and succeed in life.

And Carmen Yoon talked about rediscovering the passion of loving what you do so that work will no longer feel like a chore.

Meanwhile, Ronny gave a demonstration of how he would educate and inspire new unit trust consultants so they could go out and sell convincingly to the general public.


Sharon Foo , the general evaluator of the night spearheaded the evaluation session with assistance from the technical team and speech evaluators. With their spot-on evaluations, all participants, members and guests had a smooth and learning-filled meeting.

Last but not least, the signature Sunway Toastmaster Club wefie group photo to complete the meeting!🤗

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