Toastmasters Times。演講協會時報
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專訪2006國語幽默演講冠軍許秀華/Spotlight on Grace Hsu

A mark in the life



Bob Hope said: “’Middle Age’ is when your age starts to show your middle.” For my middle age, I have to face several titles that were added to me one by one. Some titles make me proud while some give me a lot of thoughts. After being a mother-in-law for four years, I became a grandma. That really touches me – who still thinks myself is young – and gives me a lot of thoughts about my life. Therefore I decide to make every touching moment into a speech about the mark in my life. I didn’t intend to participate in any competition. The victory won by Angelina’s grandma and the praises from fellow members were unexpected. I surprisingly found that I have the quality of humor under a quiet and serious appearance. They were very unexpected added-values. According to Chairman Tsai, some distinguished senior members were encouraged by my speech and want to join or create new Chinese speech clubs. Also, Angelina’s father (my son), who is a shy person, also joined a speech club in Manhattan after watching my speech about him and his daughter on YouTube. These unexpected surprises are enough to become another speech.  


I always think that a good speech has to have TVIS – Topic, Value, Innovation and Skill. The topic must be attractive while the content should have the value, innovation and skills. The first two belong to ‘speak’ and the last two belong to ‘act’.

After winning championships in the 2006 national Chinese speech contest and the Asian Cup Chinese humor speech, I was often asked what is the key of Angelina’s Grandma’s victory. My serious and direct answer is: “Luck”. I happened to experience the stage of life, and such a topic is quite new in the contest. (I was able to win the contest because other contestants are too young or unwilling to disclose the identity of themselves?) It won a lot of praises because it turns sentiments into happiness in a humorous and unwilling way. (During the break in the contest in Macau , the other seven contestants and many friends came to congratulate me. A young and pregnant mother told me that she had tears in hear eyes while listening to my speech.) I think the speech is valuable because it really moves listeners to tears and talks with their souls. Also, the speech is noteworthy because the speaker uses innovative tools – I got extra scores with a scarf that has mysterious meanings. Moreover, the choice of clothes is a thoughtful arrangement. I wore a dress that I got ten years ago to make myself look younger and won the agreement about my mindset from the audience. They are what I was thinking in making preparation for the speech. I won’t show off my knowledge about the speech’s structure, paragraphs and stops here.  



It is undeniable that most people get their sense of humor through inheritance. I luckily got it from my father. However, the source of humor in the speech could also come from observing your family members and friends. During the preparation for the national contest, I also got valuable suggestions from fellow members and other senior members. (Sorry that I won’t name each of them here.) I want to think fellow members Joy Tsai and Ruth Liu (they flew to Macau to accompany me and Jones Sun in the contest), District Governor Jack Tsai and D80’s Governor Poh Kim Sioung who made the Asian Cup a reality despite many doubts. All participants learned a lot during the exchange in the contest. Finally, I want to thank all friends who called me “Grandma” at the end of my speech in the national contest and in Macau . Thank all of you!   

包勃霍伯說 「所謂中年就是開始展現腰圍的年紀。」對個人而言,步入中年以後卻是得面對接踵而至的各種新頭銜。這些頭銜有的令人驕傲,但有些卻難免讓人有所感觸。當了「婆婆」以及四年後當了「奶奶」,的確讓「自認為還很年輕」的個人對自己這一生的看法有了極大的感觸與感動,在這樣的心情下,乃決定將每一個感動寫成一篇演講作為生命中的印記,當時並不志在參加比賽。至於「安潔莉娜的奶奶」會得獎,並獲得會友們推崇,並驚訝的發現--在我嚴肅而文靜的外表,居然深具幽默的內涵,這些都純屬意外的附加價值。據蔡總會長告知,D67有些資深的傑出會友因受到鼓舞,而打算加入或甚至創立新的中文演講會;此外,羞澀而內向的安潔莉娜的爸爸(我兒子)在看了我在YOUTUBE 上面拿他和他女兒來沽名釣譽,居然也加入紐約曼哈頓當地的演講會,這些都是始料未及「意外的驚喜」,這份驚喜足夠再寫出另一篇演講稿  


個人一向認為:任何好的演講,本質上應具備TVIS的條件 — Topic, Value, Innovation and Skill。題材必須吸引人,內容具有價值,創新以及運用技巧。前兩項屬於「講」,而後兩項則為「演」的部份。  

2006年全國中文幽默演講比賽及亞洲盃華語幽默演講邀請賽中得到冠軍之後,常有人問我「安潔莉娜的奶奶」這篇演講致勝的關鍵在哪裡?我很認真,但絕不矯情的回答「是機運」--剛好自身經歷了生命當中這個過程,而這樣的題材在比賽中似乎蠻新鮮的 (是以往的參賽者太年輕,抑或不願洩漏身分,而讓我捷足先登?),將個人生命中面對的感觸轉化為愉悅,用無奈、詼諧又幽默的方式表達出來,的確得到許多知音的迴響。(在澳門比賽宣佈名次之前中場休息時,另外7位參賽者及好多朋友紛紛過來致意,尤其一位懷孕的年輕媽媽紅著眼眶告訴我,她是邊聽邊掉眼淚的!)幽默演講可以讓聽者感動到哭,與聽眾的心靈對話 (talk with their soul),這是我認為此篇演講具價值的地方。此外,此篇演講較具特色的地方是道具的創新 來自忽然間的靈感,我使用那條暗藏玄機的圍巾,的確也加分不少。最後,「服裝的選擇」也是相當費心的安排 故意穿上10年前的小洋裝以突顯自己的年輕,騙取觀眾對我心態的的認同。以上都是個人在準備這篇演講時所思考的方向,願意提供給各位參考,至於演講的結構安排轉折停頓等技巧則不在此班門弄斧。  

不可否認的,「幽默感」大多與生俱來,個人幸運的得到家父的部份該項特質,然而留心周遭家人、朋友的言行,也都是演講中幽默的來源。在決定參加全國比賽的過程中,當然得到許多本會及其他資深會員的寶貴意見(請容我銘記於心,而不在此一一指名),特別要感謝的人有:會友蔡嬌燕(Joy Tsai)及劉恬萍(Ruth Liu)特地請假自費陪我與孫旭群(Jones Sun)到澳門參賽;總會長 Jack Tsai D80總會長 Poh Kim Siong力排眾議,大力促成亞洲盃的邀請賽,所有與會者在彼此的交流中深感受益良多。最後,要感謝在全國及澳門比賽時,所有在我演講結束時呼叫我「奶奶」的朋友們,委屈大家了!謝謝