Friday, July 14, 2006

Done And Over With!

I've done it! I finally got it over with! It was a feeling of mixed sensation when I actually stepped down the podium ending my speech abruptly with a "Thank You" at the second ring of the bell, indicating that my 6 minutes was up. I was more keen on getting it done than doing it properly towards the end of the speech. It was one of the most excruciating moments of my life, believe me! Having to wait a week till the day finally comes was nothing but unfathomable stress!

You bet, I was shivering like a git when I was put on hold right before my turn. Almost pissed in my pants when I had to pull the card to see who goes first! I hesitated when the timekeeper opened his palms in front of my face and told me pick a little piece of scrunched up paper. I stared at his opened palms, scathingly, hessitated and pulled one out. I was lucky number three! Cold sweat was breaking out of my forehead after that, as I sat there with my notes, with no means of pulling out. Staring into the crowd of 265 restless students was downright depressing. Although, they weren't really a bunch who pays alot of attention to what the participants were saying in their speeches. Still, it gave me all the reasons to be on pins and needles. Not to mention the fear of being ridiculed was oddly strong that day! It was amazingly hard to surpress my feelings and act confident!

The whole day of school was like a total blur. I couldn't possibly pay any attention in any of the classes. I kept myself busy most of the time, repeating my speech over and over again till I felt nauseous to go at it another one more time. I was already lack of practice. Poor thing, my classmates were the ones who had to put up with the same speech, that was crammed into my brains two days ago, being repeated by me with common errors and the occasional blatant laughs and disconnected pauses. It was somehow unbearable if you ask me.

The previous night also, mom, dad, akak and Edmund was my audience as I practiced my unpolished speech at them! It was really bad at first. I kept stopping in the middle of the speech to look back into my paper to get going. My hand gestures were of total discomfort and plain weird and I was so fidgety, as I faced the family in the living room with the television behind me and them sitted nicely on the couch. Before this also, I've done alot of practices with akak. She doesn't exactly know what I'm saying but she could be a great audience. She even stopped me from doing embarassing hand gestures during one of our training sessions. It's basically me, blabbering away while she carries on with washing dishes or ironing the clothes, ignoring me most of the time. As I said, I've repeated the speech so many times that I almost puked when I practiced it for the last time during recess.

My anxiousness escalated to some extent as the competition grew nearer. Trust me, I almost backed off the competition after hearing the announcement to gather all the Fourth Formers in the hall. I wasn't on the verge of breaking into tears when I heard the announcement over the PA sytem in the school. I swear, if it wasn't for Aiman - a really good classmate of mine who's actually patient enough to bear with my atrocious malay - who was grabbing my hand tightly, tugging me hard to get me into the hall, I'd break into a run! He was the one listening to my speech being repeated for the day and was the one who gave me most of the moral support I needed at that time!

Which reminds me of my first and the last public speaking was when I was 11. That was almost as agonising as this! I didn't do well either that time. I practically forgot the whole speech up there and stutter my way through. Thankfully, it wasn't THAT bad this time. I mean, there was obviously the episodic long pauses, stammer and bumble, but I managed to pull through it. Well, not until the 6th minute bell rang and I have to cut off half of my conclusion, leaving the audience gaping in awe and confusion. I knew they were in confusion as a few of them approached me and asked me which side am I actually supporting after I came down the stage to be with the crowd of unquiet students, waiting for the last bell of the day to go!

I wouldn't know how well I did up there, but I'm proud that I got it over and done with, scoring the 1st runner-up. Neither did I feel defeated nor undefeated. I gotta admit, Faizal's (the winner) speech was astonishingly good! He was so comfortable on stage! He grabbed the microphone, went to the middle of the stage with no signs of a tremble, and started off his speech with such level of comfortness. He was really good! He could really speak with such ease and confidence. At least, he didn't need tiny little cut-up notes to help him and it definitely didn't sounded like he recorded the speech into is head and hit it on the play button while on stage! There was also something unusual (in a good sense) in his tone. He had a certain slang for sure!

Tiny little cut-up notes like mine...

I went to school today with a little more pride (not that I had any before) in myself and a little feeling of self-satisfaction that I've actually achieved something. It wasn't fame I was looking for but to have a number of people seeing me in hallways telling me that I had a good speech the day before was beyond my expectations. Pleasant, I'd say. I've actually proved to myself and everyone else that had what it takes to do something like this. It certainly made it into my short little list of accomplishments!

PS: See it from Edward's point of view about the whole elocution.

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