Monday, November 12, 2018


Three Kinds of Problems You Can Solve, Big Problems, Small Problems and No problems. The Goat Story Reminds Me Good Things Are Good - The bad things Could Be Worse

There are three kinds of problems: Big problems, small problems and no problems.
Big problems - nothing could be worse. Wrong.
Things could be worse. You could have small problems.

Three Troubled Men
Imagine that once, long ago, a wise man had three visitors.
The first man had big problems. He was suicidal.
The second man had small problems. He was stressed.
The third man had no problem. He was aimless and bored.

The wise man asked the bored man to listen from the room next door to the solution to the other two men's problems.

No problems
One day, long ago, a wise man had two visitors.
In the morning, the first man called. He was a widow who was so fed up because he had lost his job. He had no wife, no children, no home and no work.
The wise man said: I can suggest three solutions to your problem.
First Find somebody to marry.

Three types of spouse. You could find somebody worse off, very poor. Help her. You only need a basic job. Offer her food, shelter and companionship.
The story of Job in the bible, called the bible by Christians, and the Old Testament by Christians.

Alternatively, find somebody who can help you. Look for a rich, clever woman. Tell you how much you admire her and would appreciate her help and companionship. Make yourself indispensable.

Third option, avoid the rich and the poor. Find somebody like yourself, who wants a companion. Marry them and make the best of life together.

This problem is dealt with in the story of Job in the Hebrew bible, renamed by Christians as the Old Testament.

The wise man said, Get a job, and that will take your mind off your other problems.
When you get paid, pay for some shelter.
When you have a job and a home you will find a wife.
When you find a wife you will have children.

What I have
Some things are bad. I could do with more money. I am worried about things which have not yet happened and might I have food. I have shelter. I have a toilet. I have company.
Yesterday's problems are over. Today's problems will be over tomorrow.
never happen.
As Benjamin Franklin said, Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.Things Could

Be Worse
The Goat Story

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Sunday, November 04, 2018


How To Use Props in Table Topics

Why should you listen to me? What are my credentials?

My Qualifications
I am an ACG, which means I have delivered at least 40 speeches.

I am an ALB, Advanced Leader Bronze, which includes mentoring others, evaluating and doing many roles.

My Experience
In Singapore I go to a meeting every day except Sunday, an average of 7 meetings a week, because I often attend two on Saturday or one midweek and occasionally a meeting Saturday or Sunday night.

Most meetings include three prepared speeches. (When the speaker is insufficiently prepared, you are getting an impromptu speech!)

My ribbons
I have won numerous ribbons. I have more than 50 in frames in London. In Singapore I have several for table topics and others for evaluating, which is itself a mini-speech, unprepared.

My Clubs
I belong to two Toastmasters club in London, England, Harrovians and HOD. In Singapore I belong to Braddell Heights Advanced and Tampines Changkat Advanced.

The person who introduced me to Toastmasters was Indra Sikdar who I met at Harrow Writers Circle. He took me to Harrovian Toastmasters Club. He was my mentor. When I did my Icebreaker, he told me to use props.

Hats and Books
I had a cowgirl hat for my time in the USA, a coolie hat for my time in Asia, and my book Wedding Speeches and Toasts about my writing career.

The Cheque Prop
Mike described a cheque for money he was paid. He was advised to use a prop. The cheque. Second time he gave the speech, he showed a cheque he was paid. Too small. You don't expect me to create an outside cheuqe like a poster. Yes. He did it, a huge cheque. Very effective. He won at next level.

The Michelin Man prop

Darren Tay and the underpants
International Winner 2017 (?)

The Coffee Cup
Gideon gave a speech about coffee. Where was the coffee cup?  Are coffee cups too small to see. Then print one.  Easy to find one, In any magazine advertisement. No printer. Cut one of the outside of a pack of coffee.

The Flower
My friend drove to collect me. I thought, I don't have a prop. My garden was full of daffodils. Just a minute I said. We're late.
I'm not going back insdie. Just picking a flower.
st that for, to decorate the venue.
Er - yes.
When I got there we did not have a vase. I put the flower in my pocket.
The topic was, In spring a young man's fancy turns to love, what does spring men to you.
I pulled out my flower. Yellow daffodils. As Wordsworth said,
I wandered lonely as a cloud ...
Afterwards I thought everybody must have said the same thing, None of them did.

And I was the only one with a prop. My friend asked me, 'How did you happen to have a prop in your pocket?'

The Manual As A Book
I wanted a book. I asked somebody if they had a book or a notebook. No, only the toastmasters Manual they said.
'May I borrow it?

My topic was:
What book would you take with you to read on a desert island?.\
The TM manual! Never mind how long the rescuers took. I would have time to practise all my speeches. And when they rescued me I could give a thank you speech.

Topic: Tell Children To Take Precautions Without The Words Sex or Naming Any Body Part
John Cyriac was the winner. He said: Imagine you had just bought a new car or motorbike. You would want to protect it, wouldn't you. You would cover it up with a plastic cover to be sure it didn't get damaged. That's what you should do with your own precious body. Look after it. Protect it.

Angela Lansbury ACG ALB

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Monday, July 30, 2018


Best TableTopic on 'My Terrible Itch'

Harrovians July 30 2018, I won the ribbon for best table topic.

I was hoping to be picked but had been ignored for the first two topics. However, I was glad not to be picked when I heard the topic.

President Jesus Parada was also the Table Topics master for the evening.

Question: Describe the time you had a terrible itch.

That's a difficult topic, I thought. First my mind was blank. Sneezing, tickling, that's not an itch. Mosquito bites? Allergies? Pimples and crabs and head lice? I don't want to be embarrassed or disgusting.

As I heard the question and walked to the lectern on stage, I thought: Chicken Pox.

When I go to the lectern, I thought of a label on the back of a dress scratching. I said:

The worst itch I had was the label of a dress scratching the back of my neck, when I was sitting in a meeting. I wriggled around. (I demonstrated wriggling).

I looked like I was doing yoga or practising a dance movement, or an aqua class. (More wriggling of both shoulders and frowning.) I couldn't reach it!

When I stood up, it didn't go away. It just got worse!.

I was still hunching one shoulder, and wriggling about like a was trying to salsa and had forgotten the moves. It looked like I was a loony. I edged towards the door to get away from people. People must have been wondering if I was about to have a fit or run out of the room.

When I got home, I found the dress label was the problem. I couldn't understand why the label was so scratchy - until I went onto a website about using my sewing machine to make a dress label. The instruction suggested cutting a ribbon, embroidering your name, then sealing the frayed edge of the ribbon with a glue gun, which heated up and sealed the glue.

No wonder I itched!
It was rough and sharp, and scratching me. (Wriggle and frown.)

 The label didn't have a soft edge, sewn with thread.

I cut off the label.

I used to wonder why people cut labels off clothes? I remembered we used to have an au pair girl from Yugoslavia who cut labels off clothes. She said that when the country was Communist she was not allowed to bring back clothes from the West, so she concealed their origin by cutting off the label. She never suffered from the itching of scratchy labels!

The dress I'm wearing now doesn't have a scratchy label. It doesn't have any label - because it's a reversible dress. If you want to avoid the itch of a scratchy label, either cut it off, or wear a reversible dress. Remember my terrible itchy moment. (Wriggle shoulders.)

Two hecklers from the audience. Indra calls: "What's a reversible dress?"

A reversible dress is what I'm wearing now. (I lift up my skirt to show the different pattern on the lining / underside.)

(Indra from the audience) "Are you going too take it off and show us?"

I did take it off when I was giving a talk to a Women's Institute about travelling light with reversible dresses. But no point taking it off for you, because it doesn't have a label!

Besides I'm out of time. Anyway, next time you look at a label, think of my terrible itch.

I looked at the meeting agenda and saw nobody listed as the table topics evaluator. So I wrote notes on the other speakers.
After the other speech evaluators, somebody, probably Indra, queried, do we have a topics evaluator?

Somebody said no.
I called out, I can do it, or we call all do it.
Seema, the most senior person in the room, Division PR director, decided, 'Yes, we'll all do it'.

The Toastmaster of the evening agreed, "Yes, we'll all do it."
He beckoned to me, "Come up, Angela.:

Somebody said, "I thought we were all doing it."
He replied, "Yes, and Angela can organize it."

When it came to evaluating myself, I asked what was good about my answer.
Indra said, "You were able to answer a challenging subject. You told a personal story."

I was also able to demonstrate the itch by amusingly dancing around and making faces.
Copyright Angela Lansbury

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Saturday, May 12, 2018


List and topics of my prize winning table topics (impromptu speeches) planned speeches and evaluations

Saturday evening at SCTA in the Hindu temple, 2018, May 12, evening before Mother's Day.

Best table topic speaker.
Subject Spare the rod
(Quotation from Pearl Buck, American prize-winning author who wrote: The Good Earth; and Peony.)

Spare the rod and spoil the child is thought to come from the bible but it's hard to find the exact saying in the bible, rather a longer verse which has been summarised in this way.
Nowadays in the UK, and some other countries, a mother is not legally allowed to use corporal punishment and nor are schools.
Instead, you have to use other methods of instructing, reminding and controlling children. This was demonstrated on TV by a Supernanny. She had a naughty step and lists of actions which would win gold stars, which would cumulate to win a prize such as an outing. You can give pocket money or stars for tasks, or allocate them on a rota. In Japan, the schoolchildren cook and serve lunch, clean up the kitchen, classrooms and common areas and this increases a feeling of responsibility. In think rewards are better than rods - this is how a modern mother wins love and respect and helps her children achieve.

I also won the ribbon for best evaluator. I evaluated an excellent story telling speech. The speaker had an important message, how a mother can be a good mother to her own child and other children, with or without the help of a husband.
I commended the way she gave a very visual speech, painting pictures of herself, a small Indian girl, walking hand-in-hand with her new classmate and friend, a Chinese boy.

A second picture was how his mother waved and smiled at both children.

The third picture was how the boy's mother gave a gift of a food box to the girl on the boy's mother's birthday.

Finally, the visual picture of the boy's mother celebrating not one but many occasions with the other family's children.

My suggestions for improvement:
Make the title clearer: bonding is the key - a great metaphor, a key is for a door, what kind of a door.
Start with the message or summary of the speech so we know where it is going and what to remember and look out for.

 End with the message, an emphatic sentence, and emphatic word. End with a call to action - should we copy that mother, how, by doing what?

Author and speaker
Angela Lansbury ALB ACG

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Friday, May 04, 2018


Become Invisible! A humorous impromptu speech

Impromptu Speech Topic - Become invisible

I was asked to speak on this topic at Francophone, the French group in Singapore.

This is what I said, in English (French below later):

Become invisible - what a dreadful idea! You might hear people talking about you and saying rude things which you would not want to hear. I would feel insulted, outraged. How could they say such dreadful things about me? I'm a nice person, a sweetie.

Things could not get any worse - yes, they could. They don't know I'm here - and they are taking their clothes off! Please don't do that. They can't see me.

Oh, my God! I'm not looking!

I'll go next door. Oh, look, a lovely buffet, so I'll join the queue. But nobody has noticed me. They haven't given me any food.

I'm really going off this being invisible lark. Nobody's talking to me.

I shall just have to sing to myself. Oops, I'm signing, sharp, or is it flat? Luckily nobody knows it's me. Maybe there are some advantages to being invisible.

Devinir invisible!

Quel horreur. Vous pouvey entendre ce que les gens disent á votre subjet, votre charactère. Alors. C'est affreux. Ce n'est-ce pas vrais. Je suis une personne adorable.

Ce n'est pas possible que cela sera pire. Oui. C'est possible. Ils ramene leures vêtement, enlève leurs vêtments. Arretez vous!
Mais on ne me vois pas. Ils sont nus.
Et maintenant - oh! Je ne regarde pas!

Ils faut d'aller d'ailleurs. Au buffet. Je dois joindre les autres. Mais ils ont recu toutes les fruits. Il n'ya rien pour mois. Ils ne peux pas voir que je suis ici. J'ai faim.

Rien á faire. Je vai chanter toute seule. Hélas, je chante faux. Tant pis. Personne peux entendre, ce n'est pas moi. Peutêtre devenir invisible peux être bons.

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Monday, July 17, 2017


My Mentor and My Musical Props

My first mentor was Indra who taught me to use props. 
My first speech described how I was an author. He asked, "Have you any props, books?" I had several books but the most relevant to a n audience of speakers was my book on Wedding Speeches and Toasts.

 I mentioned living in the USA. He asked me, "Do you have a flag or hat or piece of clothing?" I had a cowgirl hat. 

Then I went on to take about Singapore. He asked, "Do you have any prop, flag, map, clothing, or hat?" I had a Chinese Coolie hat.

I am obsessive about props. They have proved valuable when performing on You tube and doing stand up comedy and humorous speeches. I have dozens of hats, musical instruments such as miniature pianos which play Happy Birthday To You. 

I ought to bring one to a meeting every time somebody has a birthday. Statistics say that with 31 members and a meeting every month or fortnight, we must have a birthday nearly every meeting.
Being a mentor or mentee can start or cement a friendship and status. My mentee Warren Sheng used to mention at meetings how I had helped him with his speeches. I still frequently mention my first mentor Indra.

Angela Lansbury, Advanced Communicator Gold, Competent Leader. Secretary of HOD, mentor co-ordinator at Harrovians. Member of Braddell Heights Advanced Toastmasters in Singapore.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Dangers of Teasing, Dares, Bad Behaviour

A boy was killed by an allergic reaction to cheese at a school in England. Police are investigating whether another pupil deliberately flicked cheese at him or even pushed it into his mouth and down his throat.

This would not have happened if pupils had all been taught not to tease or disrupt others.

First consider:
1 It is a sign of ill will.
2 An attempt to get attention.
3 A distraction from group school work and friendly activities and friendship.
4 Ignorance of the possible severity of consequences.
5 It destroys friendship.
6 it takes up the time of parents, school staff and police investigating incidents.
7 It damages the reputation of the attacker.
8 It stresses the victim and the witnesses, both pupils and parents, school staff and prospective pupils and prospective pupils' parents and prospective teaching staff and administrators.
9 If schools don't already they should have a list of school rules and reasons to include:

Possible Rules For Schools and/or Pupil's Own Perusal or Family Conduct
I do not tease.
I do not mock.
I do not bully.
I do not touch another person's property.
I do not take school property.
I do not respond to bets nor dares.
I do not deface nor take signs.
I report accidental damage and apologise.

I might endanger another person.
I might distress another person, their family, school staff.
I could waste the time of pupils, parents and staff.
A joke could be very expensive if anybody has to buy another item.
I could damage the reputation of myself, my family, the staff, my school.
I could cause others to take revenge.
I could be denied a place in my favourite class, sports activity or school.

Long term results of gaining a reputation for being a nuisance:
You might not be taken on a school trip or holiday.
Teachers might refuse to take a school trip or holiday.
The school might close because pupils are removed by parents.
Interfering with food could cause somebody else to die.
Interfering with fire alarms could cause people to ignore them in a real emergency and die.
If you do naughty things at school and get away with it you are likely to be copied by others and to continue to do so at college.
Your bad reputation might stop teachers from giving you a good reference for your first choice college or your first job application.
Your bad reputation at college could stop other parents investing money in your parents' business.

1 When our son was at school his elderly and frail grandmother bought him a new laptop for his birthday. Other boy or boys took out part of it so he could not use it. As a result he was distressed. I as a parent was distressed. His grandmother was distressed.

Later, computers went missing. The boys who took parts of others' laptops were suspected. ((The culprit turned out to be the boarding school caretaker. This was found out when somebody went back and the item had gone missing when all the boys were out. A member of staff went around the whole building and found the missing laptop in the basement to which only the caretaker had access.

However, the point is that those who took small items were later suspected of bigger thefts.

The caretaker was not suspected. Why? Because the frequent minor thefts by school boys led staff to think the thief must be one of the boys trying out small thefts to see if he could get away with it.

Years on I feel hostile to his former schoolfriends, staff, and the school, and decline to give the money to any appeals by or for old boys or the school because I feel they did not set rules and could not be trusted. Even if I were to decide that I am being unreasonable, I would still have a gut feeling, an instinct to keep away and not get involved.

2 When our son was at university another pupil set off a fire alarm for a joke on a regular basis. Eventually our son discovered who it was. He did not tell me the name of the person because I threatened to write to the college. Besides, neither he nor I could not prove who it was.

After our son had left college, I was asked if I wanted to invest money in a business connected with one of his friends.

I asked, "Was that pupil was one who set off the fire alarm? I do not want to be involved, if it was him and his family."

If I was not told categorically that he was not the person involved, or I was told that nobody could be sure who it was, I would simply not trust anybody my son knows from that era.

3 I have read numerous stories of people taking selfies and doing dangerous things. One boy in Singapore died jumping over a barrier onto what looked like a marble ledge. It was merely painted. It was not strong enough to bear the weight of a person although it conformed to architectural legislation. The friend who was going to take his photo was also going to do the same thing next. Even if it had taken the weight of the first person, it might not have withstood the weight of two.
Romanian sign warning of drunk on road. Photo by Angela Lansbury. Copyright.

4 At a party somebody sat on a table. A table does not take weights designed by chairs which support people. The table was strong enough for one person. However, when he pulled me onto his lap, the table broke. This cost us money in offering pay. The host had to live without the item which could not be replaced. We paid for a gift. The gift was probably not as much as the cost of buying not one table but a next of two or three tables. I am forever uncomfortable. Maybe the host was not comfortable with us.

5 A woman in Wales left her child in a parked car on a slipway. (Reported in an online newspaper 20 March 2018.) When the mother came out of the building, the car was gone. She thought the car had been stolen with the child inside. That's one possible bad outcome. Another is that the animal or child interferes with the handbrake. the sad outcome was that the car was found under water.

The morals are:
1 School pupils should not touch other people's property.
2 You do not bully.
3 You do not dare others to take risks nor take risks yourself.
4 You only stand on surfaces designed for people to stand on them. You don't take risks. You only sit on chairs designed for people to sit on them.
5 Do not leave children or animals in parked cars.

Schools should have lists of actions pupils should take, and actions pupils should not take.

Useful Warning Websites

Angela Lansbury, author, parent, tutor, teacher. Please share links to your favourite posts.

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