Monday, March 27, 2006

Round no 2....boing!

This is my second speech I made at toastmasters..... 

8 March 2006 ,7:00 Toastmasters PTA East, C&L 2 , 5 -7 min

The Song of the Dancing Sun

Mr ToastMaster .....Ladies........and Gentlemen

You've taken all your vitamins, You've had enough sleep, 8 hours, Your not tired. You've gulped down 6 glasses of water evenly spread throughout my day. You've had a healthy amount of bowel movements, And you are quite clean, cleansed and scrubbed, even moisturized .But still...still. You don't feel fully healthy, You're lying on my bed, staring at the sealing, and you don't feel like doing anything, you're in a bad mood!How can You feel better?

Well now...let me tell you... try taking these 3 nutrients for the soul.Listen to some music, find some sunlight, and move your body! Just as we were born with the capacity to process language, we were born with the ability to apprehend music. Our brain is a wonderful mass of gross grey stuff. It can unconsciously take sound energy and translate it into basic musical components of melody, harmony and rhythm.Just like the spoken language, music is a sound based form of communication with just a few basic rules that can be combined in an infinite number of ways. Infants can even at the age of four months, show a musical preference. We were born to enjoy music and it also has always been part of our natural environment. Whales and birds produce songs that are remarkably similar to our own. Whales have a remarkable vocal range of seven octaves and the ability to even use repeating refrains in a ballade. Scientists then can actually identify the year and ocean of a specific whale song by comparing it to a recorded collection.Studies have shown that music is highly effective in undoing a bad mood, raising energy levels and reducing tension. Music acts as a repetitive mental stimulus, that can evoke emotion, recall memories and basically, makes you feel good.

Just as we were born with the ears to hear, we were born with eyes to see, so...Let there be light.... Have you noticed that you feel more upbeat and energetic on a bright sunny day, than on a dull grey one !? It is because natural light energizes and sustains us, and it has been for thousands of years.Unfortunately, with the advent of modern technology, we get little exposure to natural sunlight because we spent our days working or living indoors. Studies have shown that on the average, no matter where people live, they only obtain one hour of sunlight per day. The amount of natural light you get exposed to everyday definitely affects you mood, and makes you feel depressed. This occurs especially in the fall and winter months and has been identified as seasonal affective disorder, SAD, you feel sad. This has led to extensive testing of the effectiveness of what is called bright light therapy. This is were patients undergo daily treatment with exposure to bright light of 10 000 lux, which is basically equivalent to 10 000 candles or one morning sunrise. And there is now a scientific consensus that this Bright Light Therapy is effective for SAD. So it can make you happy J why ? you know why! So if you maybe feel depressed go outside, get some sunlight, please don't look at the sun you'll hurt yourself, but just absorb some sunlight, and you may feel yourself feeling better.

Consider also while your outside in the sun, to move a bit. We are biologically designed for movement. And until recently hard labour was still a necessity of daily life as we learned to plant, sow, harvest crops, sailed on ships and trekked with ossewa's J Living so close to nature was hard work but it is part of our genetic makeup. That is why physical inactivity is physiologically and psychologically unhealthful. We live in a time where some kind of electronic or otherwise mechanized equipment has taken over our physical work.   Computers, automobiles, televisions that are suppose to make life easier make us fat and depressed. Obesity today is almost an epidemic, and much more than a physical problem. It disrupts our psychological functioning by depleting our energy and by lowering our self-esteem. And it doesn't just help to decrease your calorie intake, you have to move dat body.  Physical activity has a tranquilizing effect that reduces stress and anxiety more effectively than any medications designed so far, it is the single best method for getting out of a bad mood. So you're lying on your bed, feeling depressed. You decide to turn on the radio, you get RSG and quickly change to Highveld J and you hear the old classic song of Billy Joel, Don't worry, be happy. You remember the time at an aventura resort in the summer were you were sitting by the pool, having a ice cream, taking a break from playing Frisbee. You remember how good you felt..... Suddenly you get an idea, the window. As soon as you feel the ray of sunlight hits you, you feel more energized, more awake. Suddenly there are popping ideas into your head. You decide to take the dog for a walk.You start feeling better, now you know why....These free nutrients are free, easy accessible, with no major side effects. To be taken 3-4 times weekly, or as necessary.

Mr ToastMaster

Posted by Hein van der Merwe at 19:40:05 |

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A word from Shakespeareshakespear

When I gave my first farewell speech during my first course, I was overwhelmed with a carnival of emotions, so I used the words of another. I came across this extract when I researched electronic anti-stuttering devices a few years ago. This is what uncle William had to say about stuttering........

"Speak the speech I pray thee as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest and as I may say the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness ..."       Hamlet, Act 3, Scene II William Shakespeare circa 16th Century

It is all about reprogramming our subconscious. And it's not about perfection, but about progress.

Meanings of certain words in the extract that I did not know ......  

Mouth - to speak.                                                                                                                   

Lief - do it happily, gladly.                                                                                                   

Torrent - Strong and fast moving liquid                                                                            

Tempest - a violent windy storm, great anger or excitement.                                                

Passion - strong and barely controllable emotion.                                                                   

Beget - give rise to, bring about.                                                                                    

Temperance - moderation or self- restrained.                                                                           

Circa - Approximately

50 days will be counted before my  departure .........                

Anyone in SA interested in buying my car !? Admire it in my Albums, contact me, we can negotiate...

Posted by Hein van der Merwe at 14:57:11 |

Monday, March 20, 2006

Toasting at toastmasters..

Here is my toast I did at Toastmasters .....

Toastmasters Meeting, 8 February 2006, Toast of Own Choice

I've kept with the theme tonight and asked myself the question :

"What is a real friend?" and "What is friendship ?" which are quite deep questions.

But the New Oxford American Dictionary States that a "friend"  is "a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection ..... A person who acts as a supporter of a cause or organization by giving help, financially or otherwise."

 Well, we all have certain information each other so we do know each other, and this club bonds us with the mutual feeling that we like to become better communicators, and we like to communicate effectively. By being here we all support this cause, and the Toastmaster organization, financially and otherwise. 

So "your honor" it is proven beyond a reason of doubt that according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, we all are indeed true friends to each other, and to Toastmasters, and I would like to toast that by saying.

There are good ships, there are wood ships,

the ships that sail the sea

But the best ships are friendships,

and may they always be !

Cheers to friendship.

Posted by Hein van der Merwe at 18:33:54 |

Expand your comfort zones

To work on my speech capabilites and challenge myself, I joined Toastmasters.


Toastmasters is a social organization where people learn to do public speeches in a supportive environment. You do a series of speeches that teaches you all the good stuff on how to become a effective communicator. As in anything in life, you only get good at something if you practice, with toastmasters this practice is FUN! It's builds your confidence and leadership capabilities.

For more info visit

I have already made two speeches and one toast. Here's the first one, called The Icebreaker!

ICEBREAKER SPEECH (4 - 6min) - Toastmasters Pretoria East, 25 January 2006

Mr Toastmaster

Beginning (40 seconds)

Ladies and Gentleman .......


I am proud to give you what you are about to receive, to give it you without hesitation, to give it to you without thoughts like ‘ I'm going to be hit by tomatoes !' , to give it to you with controlled excitement, to give it to you  the best I can, having the peace of mind of knowing that, you have a choice to accept it or not, and thinking you will.

I you give to a short story of the ME, Hein van der Merwe

Middle(3 min 40 secs)

Birth, Alberton:

It all happened a wee while back in Alberton Johannesburg were I first saw light, 14 October 1981. My mother tells me that it snowed the day that I was born, or at least that it was very cold and strange for October, coincidence ....? Maybe. But interesting enough anyway. My first few years of life was then spend in (mostly sunny) Alberton. Being second to an older brother who had a 20 Month head start, we investigated life in all it's fullness. Trying to find answers to those nagging questions like " Can a pure black spaniel be turned white with enough washing power? " (Poor his soul) and " Will Dad find the car keys that we hid in the fish pond? " Soon enough answers did present themselves, mostly in the form of a wooden spoon operated by my mother, but with much love. [1min 10 sec]

Child, Farm, School Career  [1 min 20sec]

At the age of five we moved to our Family farm, inherited from the children of Abel Erasmus a little peace of earth called Krugerspost, near Lydenburg in nowadays called "Mpumalanga" the place where the sun rises. It was my father's birthplace, and place of upbringing. I went to primary school at Ohrigstad, which is one those towns you drive into, see the sign, hit the stopstreet and drive out again. But with a school motto like "Be Strong" my primary education was well grounded and taught me good values. My secondary education was completed at Highschool Lydenburg. By that time my stuttering was already well grounded and chronic, being introverted it kept me focused on my academics . Which I think was someone's plan to teach me self-discipline and appreciation, so it's ok.

University, Working young man    [1 min 10sec]

After my 12 years of monotonous school uniform, I was very excited to enter University and study for my degree in Electronic Engineering. I stayed in the Hostel (Olienhout) for 3 years while studying. I enjoyed that immensely with flirtatious activities like serenade and watching fast moving fists on the rugby fields I had a great time. In my third year I went on a outreach to Mozambique for two weeks, to live among the locals and help them build a church. The money for that I got from standing in the street with a sign "have food, have clothes, have cellphone, have mother, need donation for Mozambique outreach", 5 hours gave me R770 bucks. Thanks Pretoria, I had a life changing experience.

After three years and few too many failed subjects, I moved into a commune and focused to complete my last two years. Women and a small guy with a bow and arrow intervened a bit  and caused some distraction but luckily I started doing some karate as well which teaches to focus no matter what is happening to you, and that helped a bit.

So came the end of my life as a student and my journey started to gain experience in my career. Being able to by my own bread and butter, and have change left, I entered myself in a speaking program namely the McGuire Course for Stutters. It opened a once distant world to me with a new and different approach to speech control. Giving assurance that desired words can be spoken if enough effort and self-discipline is applied, quite possible with the right support and great new partly-bald friends.

End(40 seconds)

So it has been quite a journey to where I am standing tonight. A journey that was driven by the need to breath comfortably, by the need to find out what it life drives me to a exited state, and pulls me out of a slump. To be able to open my eyes and look in the mirror without hesitation and be proud, also humble , because the bigger part of the world still needs to be explored. There still many lessons to be learned, skills to be acquired, knowledge to be gained, and only by giving and accepting, like tonight.

[PAUSE, Step Back]

Mr Toastmaster.

Posted by Hein van der Merwe at 18:25:10

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mission Statement



I am Hein van der Merwe, a recovering stutterer.

For 17 years I have lived my life as I chronic stutterer. I've been blessed with wonderful parents, a brother and sister, who will love me no matter what I do, where I go, or how I speak. I've been able to go through life loved and cared for. I've been well educated and have been able to support myself entirely. I've had good relationships, still have, with friends and loved ones.

However, because I stutter I feel that I have always had to hold back, hold back thoughts, opinions and emotions. I feel that I have not fully developed certain skills that I desire to be better at, skills that I feel that I am supposed to have. I've constantly lived in a certain kind of fear, fear of getting stuck on or not being able to say certain words. This has led to humiliation and other negative hurtful emotions that are now associated with my verbal communication.

I recently became part of a speaking program for stutterers that have shown me the road to freedom. A technique that can give me total control if correctly applied and frequently practiced.

I have finally been able to translate my thoughts, Ideas and emotions FULLY to other people without fear or struggle for the first time in my life. It is called the McGuire Programme.

My progress has been TREMENDOUS since I've joined this program and I've had plenty of enjoyable speaking situations.

Unfortunately I still have situations where I hold back, where I avoid, where I stutter uncontrollably and experience the fear I hate. I not am willing to accept this anymore, I refuse to regress to the way I used to speak and have the same experiences. My current living status does not allow me enough speaking situations to improve myself as a speaker, therefore I declare the following.......

I hereby declare war on uncontrolled stuttering.

I declare that I am going to devote a certain amount of time (and money) in my life to improve my speaking skills. I am going to travel the world with the focus on improving my verbal communication skills.

I declare that I am going to do the following.......

  • - To let go of my current living status,
  • - To attend as many of the McGuire program courses and support groups as possible,
  • - To speak to as many people as possible and make friends worldwide,
  • - To always practice controlled eloquent speaking,
  • - To enter situations I have always feared, to deliberately use words that haunt me,
  • - To try and help other stutterers on their way to eloquent speaking,
  • - To learn as much from other people and experiences, using that to help and inspire.
  • - To improve my skills that I desire to be better at and become a better and eventually eloquent speaker
  • - To see the world, grow as person and enjoy my life journey.

I feel that this is an opportunity, necessity and life adventure that I now am able to do and should grab hold of. I believe that by doing this I will conquer my fear of speaking, my fear of people, fear of myself, because that fear will prohibit my survival ......and I WILL survive!

I pray that GOD will guide me on this mission, and I thank all the people in my life that support me and has inspired me to undertake this.  

Hein van der Merwe             18-03-2006            Brooklyn, Pretoria, South Africa

Posted by Hein van der Merwe at 08:24:21 |

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What is this McGuire Thing?

The McGuire Programme is a programme for stutterers run by recovering stutterers. It teaches you a certain breathing technique whereby you are then able to control you speech in an eloquent way.

It Is not a cure for stuttering! Believe me, but in my experience as a 24 year old stutterer whose had 13 years of speech therapy and tried other remedies, this is by far the best result I've ever had. I still very far from being fluent, but it has given me enough confidence in myself and my speech that I've decided to take this world tour ........ alone.......that says a lot!

The best part of the programme is the support that you get. With other recovering stutterers you can work hard on you speech and know that worldwide support is only a phone call away. I've made wonderful friends and have met amazing people, and I'm planning to meet many many more.

Visit the webpage at  or buy the book

Posted by Hein van der Merwe at 19:03:54

Monday, March 13, 2006

Who am I ?

Hi, My name is Hein van der Merwe. 

My story basically is that I'm a recovering stutterer aka McGuire Graduate who has been on the program for 7 months now. (More McGuire Information will follow soon.....

I am 24 years of age with a university degree. I have decided to devote a certain time of my life(6 months - 2years) to improve my speaking, interpersonal and social skills. I am going to achieve this by going on a world tour and attending as many McGuire Courses as possible. I wish to inspire other people to work hard on their speech recovery as It really gives you freedom, and also to work hard on my own speech.  Also now as a person who can control his stutter I finally have enough confidence to travel the world and see as much of it as possible. My tour starts 11 May in SA with the course in Bloemfontein, thereafter I want to attend the course in New  Zealand, Palmerston North and thereafter in Melbourne, Australia. Then I want to travel in Australia for a month and end my time there with the course in Brisbane 22 - 25 June. I then plan to go to Europe and do some courses there. During my travels I also want to attend Toastmasters to do my speeches until I'm a CTM (currently C&L2) and do odd jobs here and there to support myself, jobs where I have to speak a lot. I am going sell most of my possessions to pay for my tour. There is still quite some planning to be done but I am looking forward very much to my tour. It is going to be great to meet all of the McGuire people all over the world.

This site is still being built up, more information will follow soon, thanks for your support..... 

Posted by Hein van der Merwe at 19:35:13