This is an extended version of a Project 2 speech I delivered on April 14, 2016 at Malang Toastmasters Club. Originally titled Durians and Southeast Asians, I decided to rename this post The Metaphorical Durians so as not to confuse with my older piece in January, which by the way is what influenced me to discuss about a similar topic, this time delivered as a speech before fellow Southeast Asians.
This is a Toastmasters Project 1 speech I delivered on April 7, 2016, at Malang Toastmasters Club. Project 1 is the first speech project of new Toastmasters members, where they are tasked to introduce themselves to fellow club members.
Esteemed guests, fellow Toastmasters (finally), good evening.
A week ago, Thea told me that introducing one’s self shouldn’t be difficult. You know what? I totally disagree. And tonight I’m going to share to you why
Fear of the letter I
My name is Mick Basa, and over the years, my profession has always been to report the news. As a journalist, my task is to tell the truth without fear . But if there is one thing that journalists are scared of: it is the fear of the letter I.
On the very first day I entered the realm of journalism, my editors made it clear: avoid putting one’s self into your stories. To write in the first person is a mortal sin, almost equivalent to bribery and plagiarism.
So that’s an explanation for those of you who wonder why news reports are never written in the first person. There’s no I, but only he, she, them, and they.
Apart from that, we are told not to disclose our personal views, our political alignment, and religious beliefs. It’s not that they do not matter, but in the spirit of impartiality, these are rules that we ought to abide.
How we introduce ourselves
So here’s how we usually introduce ourselves. We say our our name, and the news organisation we represent. You can say your nationality, but never the presidential candidate you’re voting for.
For nearly 10 years of keeping my personal life from public scrutiny, here’s a journalist trying to do a Project 1 speech — which is breaking the Ice — with the use of the letter I.
But I would like to take this opportunity to get myself used to the letter I.
Indonesia and I
I left the Philippines to take a short break from work in the hope that I could spend time searching for myself.
And what better way to do that by moving to a country with a name that begins with the letter I? Indonesia, a country that’s imagined by many bules as a place for soul searching.
However, instead searching my self, I found myself listening to the stories of the locals. Sometimes, I would take pictures of them. Wherever I go, whatever I do, no matter how far I go, journalism is that mystical ghost that keeps on haunting me.
So, who am I?
Ladies and gentlemen, my dear friends, if you ask me the question who are you over and over again, I don’t think I have an answer apart from this: my sense of self will always be tied to being a journalist.
And here I am standing before you, attempting to do a Project 1 speech — while actually evading the very task of sharing details about my life.
But since I joined Malang Toasters Club, I have not felt the need to refrain myself from sharing you my personal stories. And I thank all of you for sharing your warmth. In fact, I have made friends with some of you here in just a short span of time. Perhaps, without Malang Toastmasters, journalists like me would have no way of bracing the phobia of the letter I.
My dear friends, fellow toastmasters, we all have reasons of joining this club.
Fatur said, it’s for his child.
For Lita: this is her passion.
For Adi, it is to excel in public speaking.
And for me, it is to embrace my fear of the letter I.
So tonight, let me do that by formally introducing myself, using the letter I.
I am Mick Basa, and I am very glad to be a part of this club.
Back to you.