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May 05

CHIO

Speaker: Clement Chio

Good evening Club President, District Officers, Fellow Toastmasters & Guests.

I’ve been blessed with a good name. Clement, essentially means ‘to be merciful’. And I believe I have stayed true to my name so far. Well at least, to date, I don’t think I’ve killed anyone as yet.

But it’s not my First Name that has gotten me the most attention in the past few decades of my life. And as you might have guessed, most people I meet are more intrigued by my Surname – “Chio”.

I was from an all-Boys secondary school. And it was at that time, amidst an atmosphere of raging maturing male hormones, did I come to realise what Chio really meant.

At first, I shunned it. In fact, I went to the extent of attempting a revolution to change its spelling from C-H-I-O to C-H-E-O.
Especially online, then, through mIRC, if you guys still remember what mIRC was.

But of course, the attempt was futile. And since then I’ve learnt to embrace being Chio, to great success, I must say.

I ran for Students’ Council in JC under the name Chio instead of Clement and the name seemed to stick very well among the student population. I got voted in.

In army, my name on my uniform stuck out like a shiny bayonet and I had my fair share of ‘arrows’ flying in my way. Fortunately, I handled tasks well without being too ‘wayang’  and thus easily gained the trust from not only from my peers & commanders. I got into OCS.

While I could go on and on about numerous examples about how being Chio gave me the initial boost to recognition subsequently in University and now at work, I believe the question the non-dialect speaking ones in the audience would be asking is

“What exactly does ‘Chio’ mean?”

‘Chio’, in the hokkien dialect, means beautiful. In the local context, its commonly used to describe girls who are visually appealing.

For example, a lot of people will agree that the ‘chioest’ ladies on this planet reside in the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway and Finland.
While I can’t disagree, I always have a soft spot for girls in Taiwan. The cuteness in the way they talk almost never fail to melt my heart and score high on my personal Chio index.

But there’s nothing stopping you from describing other deserving beauties as ‘chio’ too.

Where do you think is the most ‘Chio’ place in the world?
For me, it’s constantly changing.

When i scaled the peak of Jungfraujoch in Interlaken, Switzerland, it felt like that most beautiful place on earth! In fact, standing on the snow capped mountains peering at thick fluffy clouds way beneath my feet, it felt like heaven more than Earth.

The next year, Greece stole the title of the Chioest place in my heart. From the very capital of Athens where Greek mythologies come alive, to the island of Santorini, home of the famous blue-capped roofs & the most beautiful sunset in the world, to the warmth & natural helpfulness of the Greeks, made Greece a country that not only one I will never forget, but one I will definitely go again.

That was until 2 years ago, when my friends and I, while on our Californian road trip, drove down the iconic Pacific Coast Highway. We just couldn’t help stopping again and again. The view was just too breathtaking! How often does one get to see the majesty of ocean waves crashing against rocky cliffs right within reach? How many colours can one take in within a single view – when wild flowers of a myriad of colours bloom in a background of white fluffy clouds, rich blue sky and deep turquoise ocean?
Only one word describes it all – Chio.

Oh I seem to have digressed? Or have I?

Well, this is exactly and precisely what I want to introduce about myself – I love to travel.

Every country I go to is a new level of excitement.
Every tourist attraction I snap a shot at is a trophy in my photo collection.
Every single friend I travel with forms a new bond and a special memory in my heart.

And I look forward to new travels every single year.

To end off, let’s get back to how I introduced myself – What really is my surname ‘Chio’? What is it in Chinese?

That, my friends, I’d leave it to you for guesses.

Once again, my name is Clement Chio.
And in the future, if I ever have a daughter, I’m seriously considering naming her Ivory – Ivory Chio.

Thank you.

Leave some love below! <3

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