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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[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.”