Photo by Gino Virgilio Tibajia
1300 participants
52 days of preparation
21 meetings
5 band rehearsals
2 site visits
1 day of fame

8 March 2019 was a special day for me because it was my very first live stage performance in front of the largest audience I have ever seen in one glance at Singapore Expo, the largest convention venue in Singapore. And I was the Emcee too! (“Emcee” means to host the Town Hall meeting). So many things that could possibly go wrong and I felt that I didn’t practice enough for both roles.

What if I forget the lyrics or Emcee script? What if the audience doesn’t get my joke? What if I talk too long? What if I run out of things to say? What if the audience doesn’t participate in my Kahoot games? All these questions and more plagued me as I counted down the days to the Town Hall meeting of Continental Automotive Singapore!

It didn’t help that I was still very new to Continental because I just joined the company on 1 November 2018. I didn’t know the culture of the company nor experienced the past Town Hall meetings. There were moments when I regretted volunteering (yes, I did that, crazy right?!) for these two roles – I somehow thought that it would be fun and challenging; that I could pull it off and use the opportunity to get to know more colleagues.

At about 9.30 am the hall was almost filled, and it was my turn to sing. Many colleagues were eager to see my performance and urged me forward. I took one deep breath, went on stage and started singing. My heart was pounding super fast. I realized I was slightly off key after the first few verses but my band was very professional and somehow covered up my mistake and helped me to get back on track! I was greatly encouraged when Angie, our HR director, cheered for me and gave me the needed courage to just let the music flow out of me naturally!

I guess I did quite ok as many colleagues congratulated me when I got off stage. I was really thankful for their graciousness which gave me the necessary motivation for my next big challenge of hosting the day-long event.

When the lights were turned off at 10 am sharp, I collected myself. The signal for me to run on stage would come soon.

The hall was filled with Taryn Southern’s enigmatic song “Break Free”. When the song was over, the lights were switched on, and I ran from the back of the hall to the stage. As an experienced Emcee for several diverse events (weddings, start-up events, signing ceremonies etc.), I knew the first few minutes were critical to set the tone for the rest of the day. I have practiced my script perfectly to memorize and deliver it eloquently. I knew I succeeded because I could hear silent gasps when I revealed that the opening song was 100% composed by AI (Artificial Intelligence) – the audience was with me and remained so till the end of the day!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr ST Cheng, Chairman of the Town Hall organizing committee, who took the risk of entrusting the all-important Emcee role to a noob like me. He was open to my crazy ideas and gave me much valuable advice. And not forgetting the rest of the committee who are the unsung heroes of the event, they were the first to arrive and last to leave. They arranged everything to ensure the complicated logistics were executed like clockwork! And to my fellow Continental Band members, a very BIG thanks for the many hours of rehearsal during lunchtime and for a fantastic performance! Thanks for enabling me to break free from my comfort zone to push myself to explore new vistas!

This whole experience somehow imbued me with a surreal sense of being innovative, inclusive and future-ready which was the official theme of this year’s Town Hall meeting. I know that deep in my heart, we can achieve beyond our individual limits in the face of an uncertain and dynamic future when we work together as one team, one family, one Continental!

David Woon

David Woon

Director by day, Family man by night, Paddler by Friday, Catechist by weekend, and Superhero 24 by 7… I am managing innovation activities and forging partnerships with academia in my role as Director, Academic Liaison, in Continental Automotive Singapore since 1 November 2018. Before that, I was with Airbus Singapore, running research operations for the Hangar of the Future project, which innovatively adapts state-of-the-art technologies and methods aimed at increasing operational efficiency for aircraft maintenance. In 2004, I graduated with a Ph.D. in Computer Engineering (specializing in data analytics) from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). In 2011, I completed a self-study of Business Administration using the "The Personal MBA" book. I believe in changing the world with my first love: Journalism. Hence, I actually have a Diploma in Freelance Journalism since 1996. Outside of work, I am active in St Anne’s Church, leading the Sengkang Zone NCC (Neighbourhood Christian Community) as well as the Primary 6 Catechetical Team. I am married with one teenage son and enjoy table-tennis and vlogging. Check out my portfolio at www.davidwoon.com

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