Excuse me, are you a Creative?

This excerpt was from the first Toastmasters Speech I'd ever written. It was presented at the Sheraton Hotel in 2018, at a Toastmasters Club of Singapore Meeting.


Sandra: Mummy?

Mum: Yes sweetheart?

Sandra: You know that big paper you keep behind the door? Can I have it?

Mum: Sure sweetheart, what do you need it for? 

Sandra: Well… you and Daddy are always talking about how expensive cars are! COE, ERP… and even when you drive, you go PPP (mimics a horn)! If I can fold a really big plane, you and Daddy could sit on it. You could go anywhere!!! 

Good evening Mr President, Toastmaster of the evening, fellow Toastmasters, and dear guests. My name is Sandra and it’s such a pleasure to be meeting all of you.  


May I just have a show of hands, how many of you have a son or a daughter? 

(Looks at the hands raised) 


Aww, that’s a good deal. And when they were young, weren’t they always telling us the most adorable things? Even without us telling them to be more innovative and creative, they already seem to have it in them. With so much more to spare!


So how strange is it that although we all started as children as well, most of us wouldn’t even consider ourselves creative. The truth is, all of us have a creative side in us, we just haven’t discovered it yet!

When I was in school, “Creative” was also the last word I would ever use to describe myself. I often looked at my classmates’ drawings in awe and envy. How I wished I could draw like they did! Me doing my very best got me a C. C for consistency. (Pause) That was what I got every single time. The only time I got an A was because I got smart, and outsourced. (Pause and smile) I got my dad’s help.


When I first started school, I faced a very serious problem. I wasn’t very good at memorising and got easily bored. Most of the time, information came at me like a giant elephant. Big, heavy, dry and very slow. Have you ever experienced classes like that? Every single time my teacher spoke, it would be like someone changed the channel to a foreign language. And the worst thing was, there wasn’t even any subtitles!

I was in trouble man! How do you survive in school at that rate? I’ve got exams! This is the end of the world! So I did what every smart kid would do, I went to the wisest people on earth. My parents! They may not always know everything, but like every parent’s love for their child, they gave me the very best they could.


In an attempt to help me, my dad often had to use patterns and stories to help me memorise things. For example, the Chinese word “拿”, which means take. (Begins to write the word “拿” on the presentation board)


He taught me that “拿” was a combination of a loud man with funky hair, a unibrow and a big hand. (Mimics loud man) “I take it! It’s MINE.”


That did the trick. I was in primary school when he taught me that. And that stayed with me even until today. And since then, I have been using my similar visual tricks and ideas on how to memorize things. Other times, I would use stories, jingles or even songs.


My mum also shared with me the power of visualization. That helps when we need to focus and pay attention, even if the other person, is somewhat of a bully. I used to have a really sarcastic teacher and he picked on me so very often. I used to really get upset and affected about it. Yet after I learnt that I could imagine him as anything I wanted with the power of my mind, (mimics little feelers on the head) he didn’t seem that scary after that. After various attempts and realising that he could shake me no longer, that teacher eventually gave up his bullying ways. 

In the end, my greatest problem became my greatest gift. I may not have retained half the formulas I learnt in school, but those techniques I learnt ended up being some of the best tools I have today.


God surely had a sense of humour, because now I have been working in the creative industry for almost 7 to 8 years. Today, I am part of a creative media team of 9. Although I’m often looked upon as the creative specialist and problem solver, I find my greatest success is in helping others discover their own creative potential.


Creativity is like a muscle. It’s just like playing the piano, or learning a sport. The more we practice, the better we get at it. It isn’t an exclusive thing. We all have the power to create and we shouldn’t be afraid to use it. 


So if today, if someone would come up to you and ask, “Excuse me, are you a creative?” 

What would you say?


Thank you, Toastmaster of the evening. 

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Sandrayzy is a multidisciplinary designer with a passion for creating heart-centric and engaging content. She is a storyteller by nature, and loves to inspire and be inspired. She founded YzyCollective in 2020, curating a collection of personalised content and experiences.