Public speaking skills can be acquired. All of us have the potential to live, relate and connect with each other better through public communication and leadership. Speaking life shares the experiences of a toastmaster who reached the finals of the District 80 Table-Topics contest in May 2007. Everyday is a day that we can become better communicators.

Advanced Project 3:The Demonstration Talk (Speak to Inform manual)

I prepared the following speech for my AP3 at the Rivervale Punggol Toastmasters Club meeting on 11 July 2007 (Third Wednesday of the month) at Hougang Community Club, 35 Hougang Ave 3, Classroom #02-12, S(538840) at 7.30 pm. The actual speech delivered is about 70% close to what I prepared as usually I use the script as the starting point but am flexible to drop certain parts if I run out of time or if I forget the script! :-)

Advanced Project 3:The Demonstration Talk
Speaking to Inform
Timing: 5 to 7 Minutes

[Objective: Prepare a demonstration speech to clearly explain a process, product, or activity. Conduct the demonstration as part of a speech delivered without notes.]


  • Have you ever wondered what it feels like to wield the power of death in your hands?
  • Have you ever held something that weighed only 3.9kg fully loaded and could reach out and kill someone flying at a speed of 975 m/s at an effective range of about 550 metres?
  • Have you ever taken aim at a target and imagined if it were a real human being before pulling the trigger?


The Singapore Armed Forces celebrates 40 years of National Service this year and almost half of all Singapore citizens go through National Service, with many doing their service in the army. Your spouse, brother, male colleague or even relative could be someone who has gone through his national service in the army.

Any Singaporean male who has served his National Service in the army after going through basic military training (BMT) would have had the privilege of learning, using and mastering the skill of handling the M16 infantry rifle. The M16 is a basic weapon for a soldier. It is one of the most recognisable weapons in the world besides the imfamous Kalishnikov AK-47.

M16 handing over ceremony
The M16 rifle is something that every recruit will get to receive during the rifle handing over ceremony. This is where the Platoon Commander or the Company Commander will officially hand out to each recruit his weapon or colloquially known as his "wife" during BMT. Each soldier is to take care of his weapon as he would his spouse, keep the rifle clean and learn how to use it effectively to engage targets.
[Demonstrate the handing over ceremony with M16.]

What it feels to have and to hold the M16
The first thing I realised about the weapon was that it was heavy! Although compared to other rifles (e.g. the SAR21), the M16 is relatively light, to a boy fresh from Junior College and first time in the armed forces, it felt heavy to me! Learning about parts of the rifle, how to field strip or disassemble the rifle and assembling it back was easy enough. The tough part was the shooting and hitting your target consistently.

How it sounds to fire an M16

The second thing that struck me was how loud the sound was of a shot fired from the M16. It went "PANG PANG" and if you did not wear ear-plugs when the rifle was firing, it was pretty noisy. I was initially scared of the rifle's firing sound. It took me some time before I got used to it and then focussed on the aiming, the breathing, the squeeze of the trigger and the firm hold over the rifle as the force from the recoil from the firing of the bullet was transmitted to the hollow in your shoulder

[Demonstrate the PANG PANG sound, and how the recoil hits the shoulder.]

How the recoil hits your shoulder

I can still recall the minor bruises I usually received after firing the weapon at the range as my delicate shoulder was not used to the pounding from the supposedly "recoiless" weapon. :-)

My first M16 firing experience
Once you have gone through the realities of weapons handling. You realise it is not easy to shoot accurately and consistently and good shooters are those who not only have a good aim but are able to breath correctly, hold their weapon correctly and pull the trigger with the sustained pressure that results in the discharge of a 5.56 round that spins towards the target before embedding itself with a "thud".

Unlike what you see in the movies with people shooting from the hip “Rambo” style, the accurate way of shooting requires you to: [Demonstrate the shooting fundamentals]

A) Hold the rifle properly

B) Aim accurately

C) Hold your breath- half breath

D) Squeeze the trigger firmly

E) Hold the rifle securely for the recoil

Before you can fire your rifle accurately, you must “Zero” it or align the sights properly so that you will hit at what you aim. This is done by firing at a bull! Not a real world, but a target we affectionately call, “the Canadian Bull”.

My toy M16
Having completed my 10 years of reservist liability and transferred into Mindef Reserve, I find myself nostalgic when I see the M16 rifle and even bought a toy replica with a reddish plastic bit for the barrel to differentiate it from the real weapon. You can buy it from OG for only S$27 (approx. US$17). I play with it whenever I want to play pretend soldiers or let off some steam but pretending to shoot people that irritate me to no end! :-)


I have shared how it feels to hold and handle the M16.

I have shared how it sounds and moves when fired.

I have shared what it takes to fire the M16 rifle.

I hope my sharing has allowed you to better appreciate some of the things Singaporean men go through in their National Service.

Back to you TME.