Darren Tay, a 27-year-old Singaporean lawyer, emerged as Toastmasters International’s World Champion of Public Speaking for 2016, beating nine other orators at the event held in Washington, DC on Saturday.
Tay is the first to win the title from his country, and the second representative to make it to the finals following last year’s Manoj Vasudevan who bagged third place.
According to The Straits Times, Tay has competed in public speaking contests since he was a teenager. He is a graduate of the National University of Singapore.
Toastmasters International is a network of clubs that promotes public speaking. Its global presence has garnered it more than 345,000 members across 142 countries.
Toastmasters International District 80, responsible for clubs in Singapore, wrote over Facebook:
“Let us congratulate Darren and celebrate this achievement! 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.”
Tay’s victory means he survived several rounds of the competition that lasted for six months, Business Insider said. Over 30,000 competitors participated.
Titled “Outsmart; Outlast,” Tay’s winning piece kicked off with a hilarious opening when he wore underwear atop his tailored suit. He instantly caught the audience’s attention and developed his message.
Tay lifted his message from personal experience when he was bullied as a highschooler. Interestingly, he shared the experience of meeting the bully as a redeemed adult who happened to advise him that we are our own worst bullies.
“He said the best way to deal with inner bullies is not to run or hide. You cannot run away from the bully here [points at his heart]. The best way to deal with it is to stand firm, face it and acknowledge its presence.
“When you do so you are no longer identifying with it. You are stepping out and observing it. It’s like, instead of being out there in the storm, you are now in the house, watching the storm.”