By Samavath Mallawarachchi

We do not always have Gavel meetings where the “word of the day” itself is suitable to explain the nature of the meeting, but 270th meeting was such an instance. The “word of the day” was ‘flabbergast’, and the meeting was flabbergasting indeed, as we witnessed marvelous speeches from both seasoned and fresh Gaveliers. Although the ENTC seminar room was not overcrowded like in 269th meeting, there was a considerable participation of freshers in this meeting also- evidence for their enthusiasm towards public speaking. Since there were many freshers present, our president Vibhanu Arachchige gave a brief description about the Gavel Club and what a person can gain from joining the Gavel club, saying that Gavel Club is not only about developing communication and leadership skills but also about making friends and having fun.

Next, the control was handed over to Sachini Perera, who was the Toastmaster for the day. After giving a chance to the newcomers to introduce themselves and introducing the role players for the day, it was time for round robin session. Today’s round robin topic was “If you get the chance to go anywhere you like, where would you go?” It was an interesting session with different opinions. Some said that they would like to visit the Pyramids of Giza; some said they would like to go home and our president said that he would like to go to a monastery and meditate.

The next session was the table topics session, chaired by Yasiru Malshan. During recent times it has become a tradition that Vibhanu always makes the first speech, and today also he adhered to that tradition. His topic was ‘Be like….’. He spoke about the recent Facebook trend of ‘Be like Bill’ and ‘Be like Siripala’, and said that these trends would fade away with time, but if we can do something to benefit the world it will not be forgotten for a long time. He spoke of the Arpico chairperson who raised a large amount of money through his patents, and told that we can be like anyone we want, but we have to remember that sometimes a very small thing is enough to change the world.

The next speaker was Sandaru, who said that most problems in the world arise because people do not act like they are supposed to be. His opinion was that we should not try to be someone else, but we have to be what we are supposed to be. Then came Samavath, who told of his personal experiences and said that our best potential is uncovered when we are unable to procrastinate. “Act like there is not tomorrow” said he, “because we may not live to see another day”. He was followed by Jazz, who spoke on what he felt about the Gavel Club. He said that the happiest moment in his university life was the moment he stepped into the Gavel Club, and we were really exhilarated to hear such words from a fresher.

The next speaker was Nadith, who spoke on ‘Social Media Violence’. He said that social media violence occurs because people take things too seriously in social media, and we have to use social media to enjoy life instead of taking things in social media too seriously. Thilina Madumal, commonly known as Raba, was the next speaker, and his topic was ‘Importance of Higher Education’. His opinion was that the problem with higher education in Sri Lanka is that people do not do what they are passionate about. He suggested that we should follow our passions in education instead of blindly following trends. Next came Insaf, who recounted his early days in the Gavel Club. He explained how he felt lonely during his first days in the Gavel Club because he was too afraid to reach out, and how he waited for a long time to make a speech because he was feeling afraid. He said that we should overcome our fear and do things when we have to, ‘because sometimes “later” becomes “never”’.

Praveen, Arshad and Chathuranga were the next three speakers. Praveen spoke of his experiences during his second effort in Advanced Level exam, and told that we should do things to satisfy ourselves and not to satisfy others. Arshad’s speech was rather philosophic, stating that ‘Happiness is like a star and the most important thing is not the happiness itself but the pursuit of happiness’. Chathuranga recounted how the seminar room was filled with freshers during the last meeting and how he didn’t get a chance to speak because the newcomers were so enthusiastic to make speeches. He stated that life is also like that and we have to make maximum out of the opportunities we get because we may not get another opportunity.

Rochelle spoke on the topic ‘If I am going to die’, recounting how she was felt afraid when she was found to be suffering from iron deficiency. Her message was that taking life too seriously makes it difficult to be happy and we have to be happy while we are living because some day all of us will die. Kasun, one of our senior speakers, spoke next, saying that we are using social media in the wrong way. He said that we can use Facebook for many good purposes like exchanging lecture notes and informing Gavel club members about Gavel meetings, but most people use social media for wrong ends like spreading hatred or blaming others. The last speaker for the day was Rahubaddha, who said that he chose to come to the Gavel meeting even though he had an exam tomorrow because he enjoyed coming to Gavel meetings. His message was that we should not take life too seriously and try to enjoy every moment because one day all of us are going to die.

At the end of the table topics session, the Timer and Ah Counter gave their reports, and thorough and useful evaluations were given by Vibhanu and Thilina. Then the control was given back to the Toastmaster who called for the Grammarian and General Evaluator for their reports before handing the control to the President to adjourn the meeting. It was another one of the numerous fabulous evenings spent with the Gavel family.

Role players

Toastmaster – Sachini Perera

Table Topics Master – Yasiru Malshan

Timer – Chathuranga Amunugama

Ah counter – Bathiya Wickramage

Grammarian – Hasara De Silva

General Evaluator – Rochelle Silva

Table Topics Evaluators – Vibhanu Arachchige, Thilina Madumal

CL Evaluator– Vibhanu Arachchige

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