Singaporean lawyer is talk of the town in speaking

Mr Darren Tay became the first Singaporean to win the World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington, DC, on August 20.
Mr Darren Tay became the first Singaporean to win the World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington, DC, on August 20. PHOTO: DARREN TAY WEN JIE/FACEBOOK

A 27-year-old lawyer became the first Singaporean to win the World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington, DC, on Saturday.

Mr Darren Tay, a regular member of the Punggol Park Community Centre Toastmasters Club, beat nine other speakers to take the top spot at the annual public speaking competition.

According to Toastmasters International District 80, which manages clubs in Singapore, Mr Tay is the second Singaporean representative to have made it to the competition's final round.

Last year, Mr Manoj Vasudevan clinched third place.

The World Championship of Public Speaking has been held by Toastmasters International since 1938, with a two-year break during World War II.

Originally an offshoot of the Young Men's Christian Association, Toastmasters International is a global network of clubs that promotes public speaking, and has more than 345,000 members across 142 countries.

In order to qualify for the World Championship of Public Speaking, club representatives must first compete and win at the local level.

The semi-finals were held on Thursday last week in the capital city of the United States to determine the 10 finalists.

The finalists were then required to deliver speeches of between five and seven minutes in front of a panel of judges.

Toastmasters International District 80, in a Facebook post, wrote: "Thank you Darren and the team of District 80, for flying the red and white flag of Singapore high, and with distinction.

"May your victory inspire the lives of many aspiring District 80 speakers in the future and beyond."

Mr Tay, a graduate of the National University of Singapore law faculty, has been involved in public-speaking contests since he was a teenager, and also works as a public-speaking coach.

He is scheduled to arrive in Singapore tomorrow morning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'S'porean lawyer is talk of the town in speaking'. Print Edition | Subscribe