Happy Lunar new year to all! Last chapter meeting was the Chinese new year themed meeting for SIM 1 Toastmasters club. Apart from prepared speeches, we also have games and Lou Hei to bring in the prosperous goat year! Did you enjoy your Chinese new year holidays?
President’s Opening Address
Gong Xi Fatt Choy! This means “Congratulations (in advance), for the prosperity that awaits you in the year ahead!”
Wan shi ru yi ! – “May everything go your way”!
Tonight the title of my speech is “Traditions Need Rethinking” because I want us to think about parts of our Chinese traditions that need recalibration. I will talk about values in our traditions vs values that are truly important and valuable to us.
Since Chinese New Year, I have been pondering over the tradition of tossing the prosperity salad. I love to eat this salad not because I enjoy the tossing but I just love the healthy & delicious ingredients.
If you evaluate the ingredients in the prosperity salad, you will notice that every item signifies wealth, prosperity and abundance in some form. Let’s go through some of the most significant ingredients eg fish, pepper & cinnamon, oil and crackers.
Firstly, the fish symbolises abundance throughout the year so much so that there is excess.
Secondly, pepper & cinnamon dashed over the ingredients represents the hope of even more money and valuables.
Thirdly, oil is poured out in a circling motion to signify the desire for profits to increase 10,000 fold and for money to flow in from all directions.
Lastly, the crispy crackers in the shape of golden pillows are added to wish that everyone’s floor will be littered with gold.
The salad is tossed with chopsticks and with an action is called loh hei. This means “to rise”, a reference to thriving businesses, thus its popularity with businessmen during the new year.
The higher the toss, the better !
Does tossing the salad with all these ingredients really mean what it says and has it ever come true for you? Or is this just a commercial gimmick that preys on our insatiable desire for wealth? Is this desire founded on an unspoken fear of lack or greed? This question is especially relevant for those of us who already have everything we need.
Personally, I think it is the fear of lack. Because everything points to self interest and prosperity. Such fear signifies insecurity. We all think money can buy us security. But that is not true. People with lots of money are still not secure nor content. Money also cannot buy true love or real relationships that last forever.
Therefore, we need to calibrate our thinking around what is truly important and valuable. Love, peace, joy and unity in all relationships, especially the restoration of relationships in families and marriages are important values. Chinese New Year should be celebrated with these values in mind because, after all, it is a season of reunion and bonding.
Tonight when we toss the salad, I want to encourage you to do a re-think. Consider what is important to you – is it wealth, abundance and profits OR is it love, joy, peace, unity and restoration of relationships in your family that you want to celebrate and treasure ?
For our club, we want to celebrate is faithfulness and unity. When we are faithful and united, we will enjoy peace and love. These values are important and will help us improve and progress in our Toastmaster’s journey. Our journey is about helping and motivating each other move forward in our communication and leadership skills.
Remember, the vision this year is to leave a legacy of faithfulness and unity. We must anchor on this in order to progress and improve year on year. These values including peace, love and joy, will help move us all forward in life. When all these forces are in place, wealth will flow in naturally.
In conclusion, let’s all re-think parts of our Chinese traditions and recalibrate our thinking, around what is truly important and valuable in our lives.
Best table topics speaker: Nil.
Best speaker: Patricia Lim.
Best evaluator: Chong Tian Choy.