McDonald's Did Not Sponsor Us


McDonald's did not sponsor us, but have you ever try ordering a teriyaki burger or a scramble egg burger at McDonald's? If that's news to you, then you haven't dropped by your local McDonald's Japan or Hong Kong, that is! Sure, you can still get your Big Mac and fries, but McDonald's have also adopted the the local preferences. What does that have to do with Toastmasters?

The answer is obvious to anyone who has taken advantage of the past couple of years of pandemic to attend meetings at clubs around the world. Just like the Big M's international franchise, Toastmasters is also "international". And each club you attend, there are the core of prepared speeches, evaluations and table topics. But just as we know each club has their own culture and personality, you may find clubs around the world to have even more variations. If you have read my previous post, you'd know I've joined an English-Cantonese bilingual club in District 89, which includes Hong Kong, Macau and parts of southern China. My club is based in Hong Kong. This has given me opportunity to participate in speech contests on the other side of the world, in the International, Table Topics (which our District 96 did not run last year), and even tried out in the Mandarin speech contest. While personally I did not do as well as I had hoped, it was an interesting experience, considering the Mandarin speech contest which I expect to do the worse ended up going the furthest, reaching the District level. But I have to admit, there were actually no other competitor for that contest at my club's area and division level, so I only have to speak to the time! But hey, you take what you can get!

But what I didn't expect is this year, I ended up being the president of that club! That just opens up a whole new avenue of seeing how a club, area, division and district on the other side of the world run things. It gives me opportunities to share what I have learn here to take to that club as well as learning from that club and district new ideas I can bring home! And some things, it is just different, as a Big Mac from a scramble egg burger! For example, take communication. Here, we often get emails and that is usually our quickest digital route. At the other side of the world, it is predominately through WhatsApp, a popular phone app that works like your text, but does more and over any network. And in China, they use WeChat (because WhatsApp is not fully sanctioned there). If you never heard of these, do a search on the internet. For my home club in D96, at Community Impact Speakers, we have started adopting using WhatsApp, and I find myself also starting to use it more to conduct my club business (as I am also president of my D96 home club)! Another interesting discovery in how they handle finances. It appears there are even more hoops for them to jump through to set up a club account such that most just run it through personal accounts. Clearly, I can see how a lot of the materials we have been learning are very North American, may be more specifically US -centric. Things that we take for granted is just not the same around the world, but as a resourceful bunch, we come up with ways to make Toastmasters work and fulfill it's mission.

With all the differences, there are also the same issues. When I as assigned president, first thing I discovered were Pathways levels submitted by not approved, or not submitted to Toastmasters! The same issue I encountered in one of my other clubs when I took over as VPE and found the previous VPE did not submit a single education level to Toastmasters! Well, I guess we just have a head start on our DCP in the education goals for this year!

Vincent Li, DTM

Vincent has been a member of Toastmasters for nearly 30 years and is currently a member of Community Impact Speakers, Parakeets Toastmasters, Burnaby Toasters and Shatin Evangel Toastmasters.