Saturday, September 20, 2008

When You Believe, Nothing is Impossible!

When You Believe, Nothing is Impossible!
By Edwin D. Vinas
Silver & White Toastmasters Club
Triathlon Contest 2008
August 27, 2008

Note: This is my entry for the Entertaining Speech category. But, unfortunately I didn't win the prepared speech & Singing Contest but I did win the Impromptu Speech category wherein the topic was "The ability to change is the single ability that we have."

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[Paragraph 1]
[Topic Sentence] Yes, ladies & gentlemen “when you believe… nothing is impossible!” As I look back to my past, I realize that I have been through a lot of challenges -- Challenges in education… Challenges in poverty… and Challenges in sexuality.
[Sub-topic] But, do you know what truly matters? It’s our belief in our dreams, in our purpose, and in our ambitions in life that truly matters most!
[Supporting Details]For no matter how poor you are, no matter how different you are, and no matter how ugly you are; when you believe… nothing is impossible! I myself only came from a very poor family but through my strong belief in myself and God , I was able to overcome a lot of challenges and I was able to attain everything that I want to achieve.

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[Topic Sentence] So, here I am in front of you, telling the stories about the three most interesting challenges in my life and how I was able to overcome them.
[Sub-topic -- Challenges in Education] The very first challenge I have encountered is going to college…
[Supporting Story 1] After graduating Valedictorian in a provincial high school in Bicol, I remember praying to God that if I can’t go to college, I would just enter the seminary and become a priest. Since God doesn’t want someone like me to enter the sacred church, He sent the very first scholarship program in our school! Maybe, the church was in danger of contamination and God doesn’t want that to happen.
[Supporting Story 2] As we enter the La Salle University, my mother almost got a heart attack when we saw the very high tuition fee! And so, I ended up finishing Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the “The University of the Philippines – TUP”! Honestly, I graduated only from “Technological University of the Philippines” but since “technological” is just an adjective, we might as well drop that word so in effect I also graduated from UP!
[Supporting Story 3] After graduation as an engineer, the government has stopped giving me scholarship allowance. I tried to find a job as quickly as possible so I ended up working as a teacher! The funny thing when I was interviewed about why I want to teach, I said “teaching is the best profession while reviewing for the board exam”, but what they didn’t realize is that I will just use their library in reviewing for the board exam! Luckily, I became a licensed electronics & communications engineer! To simplify my life, I joined Toastmasters, anyway this club also deals with communications so this is an exact application of my course!
[Sub-topic – Challenges in Poverty] The second challenge that I encountered was raising myself from poverty… Having graduated as cum laude and a scholar is not a sure shot to success! After two years, I gave up my teaching job and transferred to a government company not only to apply my engineering knowledge but also to serve the people who helped me finish my studies through their taxes. But, after four years, I transferred to Accenture with a purpose of helping my brother go to college & to further alleviate my family from poverty…
[Supporting Story 1] With my necktie, a laptop and a good aura, I was interviewed by one of the Senior Managers in Accenture! At the interview room, the interviewer had shown me what Accenture security is really so strict. As I open my laptop which I used to trick that I am a professional and “techie” applicant, he was alarmed for I may transmit confidential information so I ended up quarantined in the interview room for one week & have my devices checked before we proceeded for an interview. And luckily, I was hired as a Senior Programmer! I’m so happy because I can now jump from poverty level to a slightly middle class citizen.
[Supporting Story 2] I remember when I was in elementary where I was able to study here in Manila for just my grade 5 level, I can’t forget the story which challenged me to really elevate myself from poverty. One time, while I was watching Shaider which is my favorite TV show way back 15 years ago, while on the part that Shaider was doing the metamorphosis, the TV was turned off! And then, the owner of the house told me to go home as I was only watching from my neighbor’s house. “When I grew up, I will also be able to buy a TV!”, saying to myself silently.
[Supporting Story 3] And just a month ago, I was able to fulfill one of my wishes in life as I was now able to buy a car! Yes, my fellow toastmasters, I thought having a car is impossible for me since I was just a programmer and I only came from a province. But the funny is that I don’t know how to drive yet so I wasn’t able to drive the car in one month. But, through faith in God and a thousand prayers, I was able drive bravely from home to office. As every new drivers experience, I stalled the car several times in EDSA but who cares? Who would bump a new car with insurance!? To test my bravery, I even drove from Manila to Laguna two weeks ago together with my proud parents and brothers experience riding our own car is such a fulfilling experience.
[Sub-topic – Challenges in Sexuality] The third most interesting challenge I have encountered is confusions in sexuality….
[Supporting Story 1] As I grow up, I realized that one of the natural powers we have is the ability to adapt to the environment. If you notice me with a different tone of voice and different gestures, don’t be alarmed as I was just adapting to the environment. When I was in grade 6, one of my classmates which is a girl used to tease me that I was gay. So, to show the world that I wasn’t gay, I grabbed the girl and embraced her tight in front of my classmates to show that I am also a boy who likes a girl. But, it didn’t help me that much! But who cares? I have now accepted who I am and I am enjoying my monosexual life! I can do better than normal people anyway!
[Supporting Story 2] Still confused about my sexuality, I traced on my past why I was infected with the incurable disease of imbalanced hormone syndrome. Yes, when I was a child, my cousins used to tease me that I have nice legs like a girl. And during that time, the gay people started to show themselves in our community as they dance with their intermission numbers during our school programs. I can remember their graceful dances of “Material girl” and “Papa Don’t Preach!”. Well, right now, I consider myself as part of the non-reproducing-sector of society which I think is very important since we are now overpopulated. Imagine if all men are real men, our world population would quadruple!
[Supporting Story 3] For the first time, I started going to the gym a few weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go the gym to spot on nice muscular guys but to challenge myself again. I would like to see myself having a manly body even if I’m like this. I guess, that would eliminate wrong impressions from other people about me. But one thing I realized, going to the gym really needs discipline. The first day I worked out, I can’t almost drive my car home! Every part of my body is aching and I can hardly walk the next day! But as I always say to myself, this is just a challenge! Who knows I can be like Piolo Pascual in the years to come!

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[Topic Sentence] With all the stories I shared to you, you might ask, what’s the point of all these? The point is that the biggest challenge that all of us are facing is the challenge to make a difference in our lives. While we are still living, we should not forget that life is not just about eating, being happy, or making friends or having all the riches in this world. Life is about doing the unthinkable. Life is about making a difference. Most of all, life is a challenge for all of us to show to God, partially to the world, that we can do even the impossible so we can make this world a better place to live in. As we commemorate Ninoy Aquino’s 25th year of assassination, we should realize that the death of Ninoy have paved the way towards restoring democracy of our country by sacrificing his blood and stopping the 20 years of Marcos’ dictatorship. I am sure, Ninoy would agree with me that “when we believe in ourselves and in the power of God, nothing is really impossible.”

Sunday, April 20, 2008

CC#10 - Inspire the Audience - "From Nothing to Something"

[Toastmaster of the Evening: Our prepared speaker, Edwin Vinas "From Nothing to Something"... "From Nothing to Something", Edwin Vinas...]

[After introduced, I am walking confidently going to the front shaking hands with the TM of the evening...]

If this is the last day of your life, what will you do? Miss Toastmaster of the evening, fellow toastmasters and guests, if this is last day of my life, the only thing that I would do is to tell everybody the greatest story of my life...

Thirty years ago, I was born in a very far away province with no electricity, no jeepneys, no television, no money and no hope. My family used to go to the mountains to plant root crops in order to survive. Everyday, our breakfast is "kamote", our lunch is rice and shrimps from the river, our merienda is fried banana and our dinner is rice with "tinapa" or smoked fish. We usually sleep at 6pm and wake up at 7am. I used to walk 1 kilometer just to reach a stream in order to fetch a gallon of drinking water and take a bath! That's how primitive and poor our life is... Yes, it is really a very poor life! I really have nothing!

On the very first day that I will enter Grade 1, I was so excited! With my improvised bag made of rice sack sewn by my mother, my "baon" wrapped in a banana leaf, and a pair of thin slippers under my feet, I am now so excited to see the school for the first time! As part of our tradition, my mother was holding a glass of water with wild grass leaves in it. She said, "drink this as this will help you get good grades in school!". Without asking, I drank the potion! Everyday, I used to walk 3 kilometers from home to school. During the flag ceremonies, I used to lead in singing the "Lupang Hinirang" and recite the "Panatang Makabayan". This is one of the things that motivated me to go to school everyday. As I gather awards as one of the top students in class, I have learned to read, write, and be recognized! As I continue to fill my brain with wonderful knowledge I gained from school and from books I read everyday, I graduated 1st Honorable Mention. I am so happy because I now have something!

But, as I enter high school, many people have been noticing that something is different about me. I know I am different because I am poor compared to my classmates. But not only that, I know I am different because I speak softly and walk softly too! I don't know why I am like this since I never wished to behave like this. One time, when I was in elementary, my classmates used to tease me and insult me because I behave like a girl. So, what I did is I grabbed my girl classmate who teases me and hugged her tight just to show that I am also a boy who likes a girl. And what happened? Nothing, it didn’t help me actually! But one thing I learned from this experience is that, if I can't change my personality, I can change my future by defeating everyone in the school. And so, I was able to stop the people from looking at my abnormality and amazed them by my intelligence as I defeated everyone in class and graduated Valedictorian! I am so happy, now I have a golden medal added to the display of ribbons and medals in our cabinet! But, I was sad when I realized I can't sell my ribbons and medals so I can go to the city and continue my college! I am still nothing! At this stage of my life, I learned to depend on God by going to the church every Sunday and believing on the power of supernatural beings to help me. Did you know that I was actually planning to be a priest if ever I can’t go to college after my high school? Through God’s help, I was granted a 5-year scholarship by the Department of Science and Technology, which allowed me to continue my college in Manila. I am so happy because I now have the ticket to success!

During college, have experienced the worst challenges in my life but I have never quit in studying no matter how difficult life is. I remember whenever there was a heavy rain, I am always on the lookout to watch for flood water which may overflow in my room again. I've been used to floods during that time. But one day, a very bad weather came. I never expected that it will get worse. The flood have almost reached the a very alarming level. I was so worried about my books! I need to get them before it's too late, before it gets washed away! Books are so important to me for they are my only hope, my only friends, my only tools to success! And so, despite of the bad smelling flood water almost as high as my shoulder, I rushed and managed to rescue my books out of my flooded room. And that doesn't end there, my suffering was further intensified by the fact that water doesn't drain out by itself so I would have to remove them manually. Sometimes, I would return from school with my flooded room like a fish pond! Instead of resting, I would still remove the dirty flood water in my room and this really almost makes me cry for five years! Whenever I remember this story, I learned that if you really want to get something, you should never give up and instead try to strive further. And so five years of floods have resulted to a Cum Laude graduate of Engineering. Yes, the guy from the mountain who has nothing in life now became the very first electronics and communications engineer from our town!

After graduation, I thought being a Cum Laude graduate and a scholar will easily give me a good job! I am still nothing because when I graduated I have no more scholarship and no more allowance. And so, since I really need a job, I accepted a teaching position in one of AMA IT colleges. One funny thing about this is that when the school director interviewed me and asked me why I want to teach, I said teaching is a good job while reviewing for the board exam! And they seem to realize that I will just be using the school library for my hidden purpose. And so my working life has started as a teacher, something I dreamed of when I was still young. After a year, I transferred to Advanced Science Technology Institute in UP Diliman as a Science Research Specialist where most of my unforgettable experiences have happened and where I learned the technology revolution. And it’s also where I learned the skills which helped me find the job in the corporate Accenture!

As of this moment, I realized that life is really full of challenges and hardships but through your perseverance, you can turn your life from nothing to something if you will just truly set your heart and mind to whatever you want to do with your life! Yes, it's true! It's possible to turn nothing to something if you believe in God's plan for you. As Proverbs 3:5,6 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths". [Mister Toastmaster of the evening!]

Sunday, November 25, 2007

CTM Speech Project# 10 - Inspire the Audience : "Godish Technologies"

Silver and White Toastmasters Club - Philippines
Competent Communicator (CC) Graduation Speech
"Godish Technologies"
By Edwin D. Vinas / November 28, 2007

We are now living in a very different world -- a world being run by corporations and capitalism that if you will not cope up w/ competition you will not survive. Well, as a proof, all of us here survive because we are employed by a corporation. But, survival is not enough or not proper if we are just surviving for the present time or if we don’t care on how we survive. How about the survival of the next generations to come?

On my very first speech here in Toastmasters Club, I said that one of my goals in life is to be able to clarify the mysteries in this world. Well, all I can say is that this world is so complex but as I continue to observe and explore this world, one thing that fascinates me is man’s successful adaptation to a technological world to provide it’s needs to survive. We can no longer live in this world happily without the use of technologies. We can no longer live without money. We can no longer live without working. We can no longer live without sacrificing our families just to find jobs abroad. And we can’t deny the fact that together with six (6) billions of people, we are now on a very saturated world. We really need to re-evaluate what’s happening in this modern times and change the way we live.

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Have you ever wondered what's happening in the world that concerns everyone? It’s too much industrialization and global climate change but despite of the current growth of knowledge, we are still living so miserable in a way that the way we live is full of suffering young and old, rich and poor, managers and workers, students and teachers, mothers and fathers – we all can’t deny our sufferings.

Why is it that we continuously work everyday? Because this planet which was once a paradise is now no more than just a cruel world continuing to revolve through history. We are now in a world governed by money -- it's all you need to survive -- the simple planet before which is a simple as a growing seed is now as complex as the helix of a DNA. All of us would realize at this moment that life is all about adapting to the current environment and being able to experience life no matter what it takes.

As man progresses through history and time, we can see that our basic motive is to experience living in the world but this desire gets overly corrupted to such an extent that we continuously degraded and changed the natural faces of nature into an artificial world. In these modern times, the desire of humans is all about enjoyment, survival and discovery. But as we move forward, we create wars against nations or divide ourselves based on races and beliefs. Right now, all of us have very shallow and useless reason on why we continue to survive -- most of us spend the whole life working for common goals such as job security, financial stability, and self-enjoyment.

But, despite of all these, we are lucky – or precisely, I am lucky to being able to speak to you tonight to deliver my graduation speech as one of the creations of God. Truly, God and man has a very interesting relationship... Trillion years ago, God created this Universe... God's greatest creation is man... Man has continued to exist in at least the 2000 years of human civilization... But, man has also continuously corrupted the universe... Developing products that would kill himself just like the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 or the local explosion of unexplained origin in Glorietta 2 this year... It's because of the lack of understanding of his Creator and his environment... It's because of the greediness... It's because of growing number of evils and the bad way of living by some other people... The current world is both a worsening world and it’s like we are all here trapped in a loop where we have no other choices but to go with the flow and live as what life brings. But despite of this worsening state of the world, there are people who are so concerned about how to live righteously or how to live simple so as to give way to other people.

But do you know the greatest challenge that we have right now? It’s the challenge on how to make this place a better place to live in even in these modern times where natural resources is gradually depleting due to very high population and wrong way of living. When I went to Orlando’s Disney Science Park called Epcot in Florida, USA, four years ago. I was enlightened by the “Spaceship Earth” attraction, which showcases life’s history from primitive period up to these modern times. But the most important stage of history shown in that place that amazed me is the modern period of technological revolutions, which lead to a different life that we have right now. As I recall my childhood life, I was once living in a place with no television, no jeepneys nor trains, not even electricity or cellphones. I was lucky to be born where there are still free things on Earth – picking up ripe guava or wild berries in my natural playground or going to swimming in fresh rivers and lakes. I was so lucky to be born in a middle age where I was able to witness how this planet has changed from primitive to industrialized planet. But, as I marvel with the greatest scientific developments and new lifestyle, I can’t deny the fact that the current world is not moving on the right track. Because of too much sufferings due to daily problems on survival, some people just believed in religion and believing in God’s mercy or from fairies to spell their magic wands to change this planet to its original state – fresh air, low population, abundant food, and natural living. But, our greedy ancestors were to blame with this. In these modern times, more and more people are losing hope – and they are turning to religion as the last resort. But, can religion save us from this kind of life in this planet? In 1929, many people are wondering whether the greatest scientist of all time believe in God or not. He said “science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind ... a legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist." In short, we have not much hope if we just depend on religion. What we must also depend on is technology advancement. But, not just technology developments but a responsible way of developing technological inventions. And the only way to develop non-destructive and natural technologies by patterning it from God's creations -- hence, we will call it Godish technology.

What is Godish Technology? Godish technology is any technology that is based on God’s creations – a natural technology that doesn’t cause bad effects to the environment and people. From the word “God”, Godish technology is something that humans must understand and follow in order to co-exist with the whole universe.

What problems that are now coming out due to incorrect development of technologies? Global warming… Pollution… Shortened Lifespan…. Nuclear wars… Electronic waste… I was fortunate enough to be born on an age where nature is on its fading stage and the coming of the modern times. Maybe, that was the purpose of my Creator to be able to extend to you my thoughts as someone being able to experience the different stages of history from primitive life to modern life. One of the greatest examples of how the natural world becomes an artificial modern world is this -- before, I can still drink from streams/rivers near our house, but now we are buying purified waters just to drink. I will not be shocked if in the future even the air we breathe will also be sold in cans or bottles for the blue sky that we have right now will soon be turned into black sky where no one can survive without buying air masks to breathe in. We must start to develop Godish technologies for it’s the only solution to our problems

What examples of Godish technologies are being introduced? As of now, Godish technologies can’t be seen yet being used widely but more and more companies are being aware of the problems that’s why they are starting to focus their attention in this area. Intel’s Core Duo… Kodak’s two-lens camera… Ford’s Hybrid Car… among others. Intel’s Core Duo reminds us of the structure of our brains, a left and right hemisphere! Kodak’s twin-lens camera is similar to how our two eyes work. So you see, a Godsih technology is any technology that is based on God’s natural creations. It is a technology that is natural and producing no dangerous waste & poses no side effects to our natural environment.

What Godish technologies do you think we need to develop? Basically anything that is similar to what can be found in our natural environment. A nose-like peripheral for computers so we can smell things from far away. A humanoid robot which can serve as domestic helpers so we can avoid sending Filipina maids for they’re more needed by their children in their own families. A computer that doesn’t have a keyboard or mouse but a brainwave interface to send/receive inputs directly and wirelessly from our brains. A flying car fueled by natural air so that we can travel like birds in the sky.

What are the hindrances in developing Godish technologies and products? The level of knowledge of humans are far more inferior than what God is using. So, it would take a lot of effort to study this kind of technology and the products we can develop from it. But if we will continue to “Think God and Act like God!” we can surely develop these natural Godish technologies. I’m just sad about what is happening right now because we are now living in an artificial world where everything we consume are a product of laboratories and factories. We no longer find natural foods except those we scarcely find in the expensive markets or the oceans or lands in some last frontier places such as Palawan.

What happens when we start developing Godish technologies and products? No more oil crisis! Less poverty! Less pollution! A better quality life in the next generations to come! A longer lifespan for the human civilization and the whole planet Earth!

How do we start developing Godish technologies? Our education system should include this field of study in all our schools’ curriculums so students are aware of it and we must do it starting right now. The government must help develop specialized field and professions who will focus on this area. Imagine a world where every product is labeled and marked as “Godish Certified”.

In my previous speech, I’ve talked about the most important fact that we humans are born to be creators! Thus, as creators, it is our duty and responsibility to develop technologies that not only satisfies the consumers or generates more profits but also technologies that blends well with the environment and the only way to do this is to adapt and develop based on Godish Technologies & Principles.

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