Thursday, May 18, 2017


Humorous Speech on Singapore, Shoes and Shell

The first time I gave this speech at Harrovians Toastmasters on Monday May 15, 2017, I just clomped around pretending to be in men's shoes. The part of the speech people most enjoyed was my climbing about wearing imaginary men's shoes.

When I gave the speech the following Thursday, I thought, 'I should have brought with me a pair of men's shoes. Too late.'

On the other hand, there were men in the room wearing men's shoes. Several were unsuitable, white trainers, not what actually happened. I had been given a pair of men's large black rigid office shoes.

So I went up to the Toastmasters of the Evening in the middle of the speech and asked him, 'Can I wear your shoes?'

One person in the audience suggested on the feedback form the 'Evaluation Slip' that it would be better for me to have brought the shoes with me.

I thought that actually asking a man who was reluctant to help to take off his shoes and give them to me, would be more like the real situation. It was more realistic. More absurd. And funny.

The video doesn't show the positive reaction of the audience. Afterwards, the Table Topics master told me, "People were crying with laughter!"

Angela Lansbury, CL, ACG.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Speech How To Catch A Taxi in England, America, Singapore, Japan and Cambodia - a humorous speech by Angela Lansbury

I'm going to tell you
how to hail a taxi in Japan and Singapore.
How to talk to a taxi driver in Singapore.
How to find a taxi in Cambodia.

I could sum it up:
1 I could say, you hail a taxi in Japan and Singapore like this:
2 I could say be positive, that you tell a taxi driver how much you admire Lee Kwan Yew, who is dead.
3 I could tell you just let your hotel order you a taxi in Cambodia.
But that would not be entertaining. So I'm going to tell you three, personal, entertaining stories.

In England you stop a car by standing in the road and raising your hand like this. Don't do that in Japan. they don't stop for pedestrians.

In Britain and the USA you beckon, with the back of your hand towards the approaching vehicle or person.

Not in Japan or in Singapore. You make a motion as if patting a dog.


The best taxi I had was at the airport in Cambodia. The taxi driver met us at the airport and insisted carrying both my wheeled bags across the car park, across a second car park, across a third car park and out into the street. I thought, he's going to hail a taxi. Or walk all the way because the taxi has broken down.

I demanded, "where's the taxi?"

He pointed down the road. "Here it is?" We walked towards a stretch limousine. I thought, I hope it's not that. It'll cost a fortune. We were met by one at Heathrow returning from our honeymoon. We thought it was a treat. It was a mistake. We spent weeks trying to prove we had not ordered a huge and hugely expensive car.

Behind it was past a big Mercedes. I thought, maybe.

Then a small rusting car with a missing wheel. No, it won't go.

Finally he stopped beside a motorbike pulling a cart; a rickety rickshaw big enough for two large midgets. It had a flapping canopy and open sides you could fall out of if you didn't cling on when it swerved around a corner, overtook at an angle, or did a quick U-turn across six lanes of traffic..

The tuk-tuk is old and traditional. It looks romantic from a distance of half a mile. Close up you can see that the paint has peeled off.

"My tuk-tuk," he said proudly.
(Show picture.)

He hoists four suitcases up onto the back ledge, unsecured. I now have to climb in. It's a bit like mounting a horse. A kind of running board like we had on cars in the nineteen fifties. A ledge you have to jump over. A narrow seat. A post to hang onto. No seat belt.

Inside, you can see that the interior of the roof it is romantically covered with advertisements for restaurants and tours in much smarter vehicles, such as air conditioned buses, a funeral carriage, and the airline to fly us back to where we came from.
He puts on his helmet. It's good to know he will be protected, if he falls off. Although we won't be.

We rev off. We have lift off. That's to say, my hat has lift off. I can either hold onto the pole, or hold onto the hat. I have to put the hat in my bag.

My husband's baseball cap from Italy rolls away under a nearby bus. after the bus passes the hat must have disappeared and done a runner, or a roll into a nearby ditch, because it is never seen again. My empty water bottle, goes the same way, adding to the litter left behind by tourists in Cambodia.

I thought this is a joke. It's about four miles. Towed along behind a motor bike. he is a very good driver. He manages to overtake two lanes of traffic and pull in second before we were about to be hit by an upcoming coaches going in both directions in the fast lane. He avoids other tuk-tuks doing you turns, women crossing the six lane highway with water buckets on their heads, groups of primary school children in pairs holding hands, a crawling baby, who mother is towing two more toddlers, and a posse of teenage goats zigging across the road, giggling, playing dare.

The roads signs are all in Cambodian. We have no idea whether we are going to out hotel or being kidnapped because when we call to him he can't hear. He can't hear because of the hooting traffic, music from the restaurants we pass, the braying animals, the creaking of the tuk-tuk, the helmet. In any case he doesn't speak much English.

By the way, I spell tok tuts T U K T U K. Spell checker keeps turning it into T U T  T UTS.

There are hundreds of tuk-tuks in Cambodia. In Siem Reap there are no public buses. We presume that is to preserve the jobs of the tuk-tuk drivers. If you want to be a taxi driver, go to Cambodia. You do not need the knowledge. You can probably find a tok-tuk on its side in a ditch. All it needs is a couple of wheel, buy yourself a helmet and you are in business.

You might think I would be glad to lose my tuk-tuk driver. We told out driver we wanted to meet him at the Ankor Wat temple gate where he left us.

He said he wasn't allowed to wait an hour. The police would move him on and sending him to a car park. He points to a car park. We exchange phone numbers. But our phone won't connect to the local phone network.He tell us we an ask any other tok-tuk driver to phone his number because tok-tuks are always losing their passengers. It happens several times a day.

The first time we came back, he was not in the car park. Even if he was, when we left him there were about twenty tuk-tuks. We could have walked along the line. When we came back an hour later, there were about two hundred tuk-tuks. They weren't even still. They kept moving around. Our driver, about five foot with a moustache and a black tee shirt. two hundred other drives with about five foot with a moustache, many with black tee shirts, disappointing, not hours, and others with different colour tee shirts, discouraging, can't be ours, unless he has changed clothing.

The next time I lose a driver is near a Buddha. I say that I'll meet him near the Buddha. I go into entrance A. But it is a one way system. I come out of entrance B. Where is the Buddha. Round th road to the right. After tone minutes of running I read the buddha. No a tok tok to be seen. It is a different Buddha.  I ask if there is another Buddha. Yes, they enthuse, many Buddhas.

If you can sell a tracking service for a tuk-tuk, you'll be in business.
Tracking already exists for saloon car taxis in Singapore. In Singapore there's an ap. When you call an uber driver, the ap shows you the progress of your taxi along the nearby streets on its way to collect you.

The morals are:
1 Keep track of your taxi.
2 Photograph the vehicle and driver.
3 Establish the time when you will meet and the name of your meeting place.

Angela Lansbury, member of Harrovians and HOD in London, England and Braddell Heights Advanced in Singapore.

Another Taxi speech
How to plan the perfect taxi trip to the airport.
Allow extra time for potential delays
Taxi / Airport Transfer Disasters
    On the way to Heathrow airport we were stuck behind a funeral procession, the hearse and two more stretch black limousines, all doing under 20 miles an hour. In front was a marching band, a brass band, the Salvation Army. Their headquarters was just around the corner.

Taxi Success
   Luckily our driver was able to turn right into a handy slip road and zoom up parallel, then cut back into the road ahead of them.
   I imagined trying to explain why we had missed our flight, "We were stuck behind a hearse!" No need.

Some countries' airports have fixed rate shuttles and taxis where you pay in advance and get a ticket. Look for these in Singapore and KL.

London - Heathrow and step free
What is the alternative to an expensive taxi?
From London Heathrow there are underground trains but you need luggage you can pull along the walk to the station, along corridors and up and down steps. London also has some all night buses but limited routes. If you plan on using these, either definitely or only in case of emergency or delay, find a hotel on the route.

Money change for taxis at Heathrow is expensive. It may be cheaper to get money from a machine or from your bank, but you may need to order money from your bank a week in advance.

In Singapore when drivers change over (twice a day) the new driver often has no change.

You do not tip drivers in Singapore nor in China. In fact it is frowned upon. Locals think you are queue jumping or bribing, being condescending, or in China they might lose their jobs for taking bribes. Australia also has a no tipping culture. People are paid a proper wage and do no expect tips.

You don't tip a bus driver or bus ticket collector in London.

In some countries drivers will be pleased to have American dollars. Some taxis take credit cards.

Could you be an uber driver? If you think it's not worth the money, the hassle, the stress, you might appreciate your taxi more.

Sorry, I have to go, my taxi's waiting.

To sum up, plan routes, payment, cash, tips and alternatives. Have a great taxi, or non-taxi trip.

Angela Lansbury B A Hons is a travel writer, photojournalist.

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Saturday, March 04, 2017


My Winning Table Topic (Impromptu Speech) on Following Rules versus Fun

Problem Darren Tay gave a session at Thomson Toastmasters club. When you are in a contest most speakers will opt for the conventional approach. If you can say the opposite you will stand out as different and original. (Plus memorable! Have been a judge many times, I know how important the memorable speech is when you go to pick the first place speaker. I shall write another post on judging competitions.) When I heard the table topic - fun or following rules, I remembered a recent death reported in the Singapore newspaper ('Today')I had an instant reaction of almost outrage. A little voice inside me was shouting, "NO, NO, NO!" I had been shy about pushing myself forward to speak. An official had tried to make me sit in the back row. I took that as a message that I should allow the club members, officials, and guests who were relatives and supporters of speakers to speak and be seen. But I had spoken to Darren in the interval, was wearing my red dress (to encourage myself more than be noticed.) To my surprise others opted for the choice of one of 28 numbers on the screen. I knew I wanted to answer the topic. My answer was: No - this is a recipe for disaster, Rules are there for a reason. How many of you read this week about the boy who died jumping over the barrier? (Hands went up.) I am a mother. How many of you are mothers? How many of you are fathers? (Don't you feel for the parents of the boy who died?) You are all potential mothers and fathers or grandparents and know how your parents would feel if you died. This accident would not have happened if the people involved had said: We should obey written and understood rules. Just ask yourself, would my parents do this? Would my teacher or had teacher do this. Would anybody in charge, an responsible person do this. If not, don't do it. There are many ways to have fun. You can play monopoly, play cards, do things which are fun but not dangerous. Live to have fun another day, have fun today, tomorrow, and your whole life. (Be safe, safety first.) Follow that rule. Tip To see Darren Tay's prize winning speech go to: Angela Lansbury, author and speaker. Member of Harrovian Speakers, HOD Speakers, Braddell Heights Advanced Speakers. Author of: Quick Quotations Who Said What When



Should you give positive or negative messages?

Problem I struggle with my natural caution to give upbeat messages. How do you turn a negative story into a positive one, such as a story about your deceased grandparent or parent? The same question arises for an uncle, child, friend, acquaintance, or stranger you read about in a newspaper. They are all strangers to the audience. But the speaker can depress himself or herself, as well as the audience. Stories 1 My Story I have come out of Toastmasters meetings and for at least five years after the deaths of my mother, uncle, and father, which happened in overwhelming succession, I found that even an apparently positive speech mentioning them revived painful memories. 2 An Icebreaker Speech Where The Man Telling His Life Story Cried I went to a Toastmasters International meeting at an in-house club in Singapore. We had only one speech. The speaker spoke about his parent who had encouraged him to travel overseas and saved to help him. That relative had died. He started crying in the middle of the speech. He sat down. After much encouragement to tell the rest of his speech, after a senior member said we would allow him a minute to recover, we momentarily moved on to another announcement by a senior member, then he got up and finished his speech. That's another challenge - what do the organisers do? Looking back on the event, I would say that a new speaker at a new club needs a mentor. Ideally first write the speech, then record it. Then read it three times. By this time, the speaker should have revealed if any part of the speech is too troubling. The vocabulary can be changed to more positive words. Or cut out the parts and only imply the death. For example, instead of saying: "Then my mother died. After that ..." Start a sentence positively. For example: "I still remember her last encouraging words to me ... :" The speaker telling their life story can contains events which upset the audience. Darren Tay's Take On Positivity I went to a training session run by Singapore' champion speaker, Darren Tay, who won the world Championship of public speakers in 2016, above 30,000 members of Toastmasters International worldwide. He had won his club contest, then the area contest, then the division contest, then the district contest, the semi-finals, and finally the Finals. He said at one point, "Many of you probably known this already, but my message will reinforce it." He told me that you end or focus on the positive message from the person who has passed away. (Passed away is a British phrase - American say passed on or simply passed - as if they have passed a gatepost or finishing line and are still on the other side.) Author Angela Lansbury, B A Hons, member of Harrovian Speakers in London, England, HOD Speakers in London, England, and Braddell Heights Advanced Speakers in Singapore. Author of: Quick Quotations for Successful Speeches. (Quotations by subject matter.) Who Said What, Where, When (Quotations by day of the year; plus birth and death dates and brief biography summary of people who on that day were born, died, married, or featured in a notable event.) See my books on and

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Fulfilling Objectives

Problem Somebody on linkedIn asked what other clubs would do about a member who completed the ten basic speeches without fulfilling objectives. Answers You could have a once a year meeting in which objectives are described for each member. The opening speech at each meeting could explain objectives. (For example, toastmaster of the evening could explain how the evaluator will introduce the objectives first, then the speech will be evaluated. You could devise a system of points, like a the judging criteria, which gives objectives. Then give a table topics session in which people demonstrate speeches fulfilling or not fulfilling objectives. Alternatively, each time you open a meeting, give a pep talk on meeting objectives, and ask evaluators to say whether the speech met objectives (as part of recommendations - still ending on a positive and encouraging note. Or ask the General Evaluator to speak at the beginning about fulfilling objectives. Or hold a session about objectives and how the club can improve. Ask the 'failing' member for their opinion. Once you know the reason, you can bring that up as an objection to following objectives, and get all the members to suggest ways - even to promise to try to fulfil objectives. Does the member actually have a manual (maybe they have lost it - or they are preparing speeches at the last minute - or they are preparing speeches for work which don't fit the manual. I think a sample of speeches fulfilling the objectives would be good. I might do this for my next table topics session. Angela Lansbury, author and speaker.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


My next speech on How To Get Rid of Insects In Your House

PROPS Large insect spray. Picture of a cockroach. Angela Lansbury Travel writer and photographer

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Quotations Speech By Angela Lansbury To Oddfellows

I returned to Oddfellows to repeat my session on Quotations. It was easier to give the speech a second time. I already had the props.

Quiz on Quotations
I had the quiz on quotations from the previous occasion. I reckoned that a year later, if anybody had done the quiz previously, they might have the satisfaction of getting more of the answers right. However, I suspected that most people would have forgotten the questions, so the quiz would still strike them as new.

I was right. Even I had forgotten the questions - and the answers! This time, not having the answers to hand, I was not sure of a couple of the answers and had to check on the internet.

Angela Lansbury, CL, ACG.


Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

I gave this speech previously and because of some malfunction of my interaction with the HOD club website on Easy Speak the previous speech title remained on the programme for the latest meeting. it was listed as Project 6 Competent Communication Manual Project 6, learn, practise and demonstrate vocal variety. Although the speech would have been more suited to Project 9, persuade with power, or Project 10, Inspire your audience, it was evaluated as a speech with vocal variety.

When I did the competent communicator manual for the first time, I tried to match the subject to the project. However, when you re-do the manual, if you have learned all ten lessons, in theory you should be demonstrating how you have learned all ten lessons.

I did not win the ribbon for Best Speech that night (Jun 17 2016). It went to Steffy, who was bright and cheerful, dressed in a saree, started with a poem, and had a positive, upbeat message, as well as being a novelty newcomer giving a first speech.

Club President, Peter Jacques, won a Best Evaluator ribbon for evaluating my speech. (I was jointly awarded a best evaluator ribbon for evaluating table topics (see next post).

Angela Lansbury, CL, ACG.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Singapore Clubs: Birthday Cakes and Certificates

I gave a speech about Singapore Toastmasters Clubs to Harrovians Speakers Club on Monday May 9th 2016.

Toastmaster of the evening, Jayanthiny, had as her running theme, asking each speaker what they had learned in Toastmasters that they used outside Toastmasters.

I said: Earlier this year I went to a wedding in Singapore. I had prepared a speech in case one was needed. In the event, the bride and groom did not need a speech. They needed somebody to conduct the ceremony while it was still daylight, so they could be photographed in the gardens. I ended up performing a mock ceremony. Afterwards somebody asked, "How were you able to do that, unplanned, in front of a hundred people?" You know the answer to that: Toastmasters.

What do we do differently - and perhaps better - in England? We start by telling everybody to switch their phones to silent. This is done in some Singapore clubs but not all.

Then we tell them where to find the fire exit. This probably comes from the American influence. We also tell people where to find the toilets (which can be used in the break). In Singapore if somebody needs a toilet they mostly just wander out during the meeting and look for the signs. While you are speaking, they also wander up to the food table and help themselves to pizza or cake. And chat to other Toastmasters at the club, or on the phone.

Birthday Cake
Speaking of food, once club I went to served a birthday cake at every meeting. By the law of averages, of you have 24 members and 12 meetings a year, you are likely to have one or two birthdays at every meeting.

The meeting I attended had two birthday boys whose dates the organisers knew about. Just before the refreshment break, the Toastmaster of the Evening asked the birthday boys to stand on the stage.

The Toastmaster asked, "Does anybody else have a birthday? I put up my hand. I was invited on the stage with two birthday boys.  A cake was carried in with three candles . The lights were flashed on and off to show the candle and the audience sang Happy Birthday to you.

During the interval, we birthday boys and girls were the first to get a piece of the cake. Afterwards, the cake was shared by everybody.

Singaporean Certificates
Finally, if you go to a Singapore club to be a language evaluator (called Grammarian in London, England)or General Evaluator, you are likely to be given a certificate of appreciation. That's another idea we could copy.

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