18th Dec 2013
As a Personal Trainer, the task of arranging a public speaking event was a BIG ASK. There were many serious questions racing around in my head; Could I manage this project successfully? How would people respond to an event about Motivation, and to the key speaker being an athlete with disability? Would people bother to participate in an event which was held on a week night?
SBR @Mid Valley
Was it going to be worthwhile, expending so much effort, to stage such an unusual & off-beat event? Would the KL audience APPRECIATE the story-telling of our speaker, Singapore Blade Runner (Shariff Abdullah). There were way too many questions in my mind & there were only a very few acceptable answers!
Not Available in Singapore
The thing about embarking on personal projects like this is that I believe passionately on what I want to do, and often, I become almost too idealistic in my approach. Or equally bad, I would set my standards So High until achieving them becomes unrealistic. However, the reality of my situation soon sinks-in when after many initial rejections & disappointments, I started to realise that not everybody shared my VISION or will support my event. Even though, I was disappointed with the initial response to my event invitations, it made me more determined to try HARDER to make the event a reality. I told myself, I did not care how many participants would come eventually, but what was important is that I put on a FANTASTIC “show” for the crowd no matter what. In other words, I was no longer worrying about who would come or not, but instead, I became more focused on staging the BEST possible event that I could muster & be proud of later.
Host, Speaker & MC
Having no previous experience in event management, and so what I had lacked in experience, I tried to make-up for it with my enthusiasm & determination. Alone,I was fighting a losing battle. The big TURNING-point came when a few friends jumped on-board, and offered to help-out. With the SOLID backing of my friends, I started working diligently on going full steam ahead to ensure that all the necessary preparations were completed in time. Sometimes, my tasks at hand felt overwhelming; there were so many people to meet & to call before the event, as well as, important deadlines to meet. However, when the situation got anxious & stressful, I would remind myself how I had PROMISED my good friend, Singapore Blade Runner (SBR), that I would pull this event off, and the thought of letting him down was UNTHINKABLE, and consequently, I was soon snapped back into action.
The WEIRDEST MOMENT was when I received phone-calls from several different KENYANS who had thought that my event was a running event in which they wanted to participate!! I had a good chuckle after I put the phone down. These misunderstandings made me realise that when you’re organising any event involving the Public, YOU CAN NEVER TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED because people do the DARNEST THINGS!!
Lisa won a signed copy
As soon as all of the important arrangements were made, just a couple of days before the event, I finally, allowed myself to RELAX & ENJOY the build-up to the event. After all, the event was supposed to be up-beat & positive, and having an over stressed event host in-charge was certainly a situation which needed to be avoided at all cost. Thankfully, the arrival of Shariff & Nabil (Shariff’s Fitness Coach) from Singapore provided me with much needed CALMNESS & confidence. After checking them in their hotel in Subang Jaya, I took Shariff & Nabil to my favorite local “makan” (food) stall where we exchanged news and updated one another on the latest trends in Malaysia & Singapore. After having polished-off our plates, we headed to the event venue, Mid Valley Shopping Mall, early, to avoid the predictable KL traffic jams.
Nabil (excited): Oh, look! It’s Krispy Donut!
Me (confused): Okay?!
Nabil (happy): Did you know that in Singapore, Krispy Donuts costs 3- times more?! I got to get me one or THREE of these babies. You guys want any?
(Shariff & I looked at each other, and we knew exactly what each other was thinking – “At our age, the sugary donut is out-of-bounds!”)
Me (amused): No, thanks. You go ahead.
Shariff was looking good, and he was his usual positive self. He only requested 2 things from me before the event: A cuppa coffee & a packet of chewing gum (the green or yellow packing ones). All three of us spent time in Coffee Bean, going through Shariff’s presentation slides as Nabil munched on his BARGAIN donuts. I reassured Shariff & Nabil that every effort has been made to ensure that the proceedings would pan-out smoothly.
6:30pm: Our event partners started arriving to the wonderful Plug&Play venue to set-up their drink station, to pass to me their sponsored gifts, to set-up their video camera equipment, and to show their support for Singapore Blade Runner. In the end, I could not have asked for more from all our GENEROUS partners. Even the children of our event caterer, Sharron, dropped-by just to meet their idol Singapore Blade Runner & give him a box of cookies which they had baked themselves. Having three children of his own, Shariff was obviously delighted to meet & personally thank these three adorable children for their surprise gift. This HEARTFELT moment was to set a warm tone for the rest of the evenings proceedings.
7:45pm: As the participants arrived, they were greeted at the door by Maryati, our Event Adminstrator, and they were each given some packed food to taste. In the next 30 minutes, the crowd were happily DRINKING, EATING and MINGLING in the lounge area. The participants consisted of people from different backgrounds & age groups. There were mothers and daughters, as well as, fathers and sons. It was an accurate reflection of our multi-racial and kind society.
David, Romala & Adam
8:15pm: All the participants were ushered to their seats in the exhibition hall. Our MC, Madam Hawa, welcomed the guests & introduced to them, our key speaker, Singapore Blade Runner. Normally, Shariff would wear his prosthetic leg when he is not running. But on that day, he had worn his running blade because he wanted to show it to the audience. Over the next 60 minutes, the audience were riveted to their seats as they listened intently to Shariff’s narration of the significant moments of his colourful life. Shariff’s DRAMATIC personal story was motivating, uplifting, and at certain points, saddening and touching. A video and a dozen slides were shown on the overhead projector to clarify and stress certain key points. Shariff’s easy-going, friendly, INTERACTIVE & personal presentation style won the hearts & minds of the audience.
9:15pm: We gave away some lucky draw items. The finale was a group photo to mark this special occasion. At the end of the day, everyone left the venue feeling like a WINNER!
After the event was over, there were many friends who congratulated me for a successful event. Given some forgivable minor hiccups, I was proud of the great work and effort given by Singapore Blade Runner and by all those involved in making this event a HIT!
NEXT MORNING, SBR, Nabil & I went for a leisurely 5km run in my neighbourhood park, Taman Subang Ria, what else! We chatted with my neighbour, Mr. Wong, who jogs there every morning to stay trim. We, also, met-up with Jo who was new to the local running scene. It was a PERFECT WAY to cap-off our meeting. I had such a great time with my Singaporean visitors, and I was sad to see them go back to their lives in the Lion City. We vowed to meet-up with each other again in the near future.
WHAT NEXT? Singapore Blade Runner will continue running marathons and inspiring people. He is looking forward to going back to Boston Marathon in April 2014. Nabil will be introducing Fitness programs to corporates & schools. As for me, there is no time to rest, and I will immediately start work on my personal pet project of helping to feed the homeless – CLICK HERE
to find-out more.
Making new friends
ANYMORE SINGAPORE BLADE RUNNER EVENTS? We are looking for any Malaysian companies, institutions, associations, and groups who are interested to conduct similar motivational presentation for their members or staff. For further enquiries, please contact Gus Ghani at 012-2981381 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Dato’ Peter Tan, Singapore Blade Runner, Maryati, Nabil, Nuraizah, Hawa, Nurdiana, Orange Man, Akmal, Kelvin (The Marathon Shop), Arfian, Revathi, Sharron, and all you wonderful participants.