Wednesday, December 17, 2014

3 Easy Ways to Die

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sure or not?
 
The Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship (December 12–20, 2014) in Cairo, Egypt has so far, gone well for Malaysians Nicol David and Low Wee Wern.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On Monday, David delivered a routine yet ruthless performance to down world No. 39 Egyptian Yathreb Adel 11-9, 11-6, 11-3. But  on the next day, David’s next challenger Emily Whitlock gave her a good workout before she prevailed 12-10, 11-9, 11-1 over the English player (above photo).
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Low Wee Wern had tough matches. Both times, she had to come from behind before she won over her opponents. She survived a five-game battle (9-11, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 11-2) against Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes. Then another five-game encounter (6-11, 11-3, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8) against India’s Joshana Chinappa (above photo).
 
For a long time, it’s been only David in the last eight – so it is great that now Low joins David in the quarter-finals! Go for it, girls!

The Islamic Doll

The ‘Deeni Doll’ (left) wearing a hijab and with no facial features has been launched in the UK. She has no eyes, nose or mouth whatsoever in order to be Syariah compliant – Islamic rules forbid the depiction of faces. This made-in-China doll costs £25 ($40).
 
Ridhwana B, a former teacher at a Lancashire Muslim school designed the figurine. She came up with the idea from scratch after speaking to parents who were concerned about dolls with facial features. She explained: “Some parents won’t leave the doll with their children at night because you are not allowed to have any eyes in the room”.
 
[Note: Islam teaches aniconism – the practice of avoiding creating images of living things. The most absolute prohibition is images of God, followed by Islamic prophets and then relatives of Muhammad. However this teaching is extended to humans in the hadith, which is open to interpretation].
 
Ridhwana added that some people might find the doll strange, but she has had a positive response from many parents. The doll, which comes in just one design, is called Romeisa and named after the female companion of the Prophet Muhammad.
 
You can never know but the Islamic doll may be UK’s most wanted toy next year! But that’s not the only good news for kids. There will be other Islamic toys coming into the market soon – you can bet on that.
 
I’m sure it’s a matter of time before we are introduced to the Islamic Barbie, which will be faceless and comes in packs of four with one Ken doll. And I’m looking forward to the beheading playset. Cool.
 
Last evening, I was in the company of Toastmasters – it was a joint meeting of the Adrian Yeo Toastmasters Club and the Metropolitan Bilingual Toastmasters Club. They met at the former’s place at No. 63B, Jalan SS25/2, Taman Bukit Emas in Petaling Jaya. You can’t miss it – it’s the orange-colored building that is directly opposite the Kelana Jaya Putra LRT station.

Anyway, I was an Invocation presenter as well as an Evaluator for an Ice Breaker speech. It was a good meeting and I enjoyed it! I am scoring this meeting an 8 over 10.


























Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Occupy UM

The Anwar Ibrahim talk at his alma mater on October 27, 2014 still makes the news.
 
On Tuesday, Universiti Malaya issued suspensions and fines to eight students for organizing the said talk without the university’s approval. This prompted UM students to demonstrate against the university’s punishment of the eight undergraduates (collectively known as UM8) and Occupy UM was initiated.
 
The protest site is located just outside Universiti Malaya’s gates. Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officers may have moved in to remove tents and banners throughout the week – but the protestors still stayed put.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“I treat this place like my home, I come here after class and I sleep here. It is quite tough living out here, but I am doing it because I believe in the cause we are fighting for,” said third-year Islamic studies student Ahmad Aqiel.
 
“Even though we have exams coming up, we will continue to stay here. We will just bring our books to study,” said the 22-year-old.
 
Aqiel said that there are around 20 students at the grounds during the day, and around a hundred supporters at night.
 
Protestor Siti Maryam Ajjalilah said that she has been at the site since Wednesday to lend her support. “I know that not all UM students agree with what we are doing here. They posted their views on Facebook and said that we are humiliating the university. But how can they say that if they do not come here and see what we are doing?"
 
The 23-year old Islamic studies student said: “They don’t understand what we do and why we are doing this. So I urge everyone to come and see what is going on here before you judge us”  
 
A representative from BON Associates, the legal team that has been advising the eight students involved, said it would be filing for a judicial review if charges against the remaining seven students were not dropped.
 
And in a statement on Friday, UM Student Council said it had declared its solidarity with the eight students – Abraham Au, Syamimi Munira, Khairul Anwar, Haw Yu Hong, Adam Fistival, Khairol Najib, Safwan Shamsuddin and Fahmi Zainol. (However, Abraham was cleared of all charges).
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yesterday, students moved their camps to the university’s student affairs department located next to the Perdanasiwa complex and ended up finally at the chancellery building.
 
Occupy UM also handed their memorandum to deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international) Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor, who said the university was open to hear what the students had to say.
 
And having put their point across to the university authorities, the band of students decided to desist with their protest. But not before they warned that they will take the matter to court if the outcome of a meeting with the university’s vice-chancellor is not in their favor.

Lima Climate Change Talks Reach Agreement

Finally. International negotiators at the Lima climate change talks managed to reach an agreement on Sunday. There will now be a plan to fight global warming that would for the first time commit all countries to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

 
Participating countries went through tough rounds of tumultuous negotiations – which overran by two days, by the way – but generally, they should be satisfied with the outcome. In other words, it fundamentally accomplished what the world supposedly hoped for.
 
While we rejoice – we must acknowledge that the countries had put off the most difficult decisions for later.
 
And with 2014 on course to be the hottest year on record, climate campaigners warned the plan was far too weak to limit warming to the internationally agreed limit of 2C above pre-industrial levels, or to protect poor countries from climate change.
 
Still, it is a good start. As sketched out in Lima, Peru, all countries, rising economies as well as rich economies would pledge action. Wealthy countries would help developing countries fight climate change, by investing in clean energy technology or offering climate aid.
 
Countries already threatened by climate change – the small island states which face being swallowed up by rising seas – were promised a “loss and damage” program of financial support.
 
The all-inclusive nature of the emissions cuts constitutes a break with one of the defining principles of the last 20 years of climate talks – that well-to-do nations should shoulder the burden of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
 
“I think for the first time ever the world can contemplate a global deal applicable to all and Lima has helped that process,” the UK’s energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, said.
 
But much remains to be done if the broad outlines agreed in Peru are to materialize into a full-fledged climate deal. For this planet's sake, we must remain optimistic.
 
Last evening, I was in KL’s 3rd Mile Square which is along Jalan Kelang Lama to deliver CC speech #9 (titled “I Can Dream”) at the Money & You Toastmasters Club meeting. I thought it was an interesting if not intriguing speech; anyway I was evaluated by CP Lau.
 












 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The 'Rape of Nanjing' Remembered



 
On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over his country's first state commemoration of the Nanjing massacre (or often referred to as the 'Rape of Nanjing').
 
China says 300,000 civilians were slaughtered over a period of six weeks when the city was occupied by Japanese troops in 1937, although Japan disputes these figures.
 
It was on this very day on December 13 that the first troops of Japan’s Central China Front Army, commanded by General Matsui Iwane, entered Nanjing. Chinese soldiers were summarily killed but civilians were not spared. Entire families were massacred, and even the elderly and infants were targeted for execution. And tens of thousands of women were raped. Bodies littered the streets for months after the attack. Determined to destroy the city, the Japanese looted and burned at least one-third of the city’s buildings.
 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo found at komalgupta.wordpress.com
 
Xi told survivors that to deny a crime was to repeat it but insisted the ceremony was to promote peace, not prolong hatred. The ceremony, which came on the 77th anniversary of the massacre, is part of three new public holidays intended to mark the conflict between the two countries.
 
Both China and Japan are periodically sparring over the latter’s brutal occupation of China during World War Two. Beijing says Tokyo has never properly apologized or atoned for its wartime past.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, December 08, 2014
 
20 cows, 4 workers and dilapidated buildings are what’s left at the abandoned 2,000ha National Feedlot Centre in Gemas, Negri Sembilan – a depressing picture of godforsaken desolation that once embraced the government’s ambitious goal to make it Malaysia's premier beef exporter. Not to mention a lawsuit hanging over its management for failing to repay a RM250 million government loan.
 
This is how the government spends taxpayers’ hard-earned money!

Syariah Law is Not Divine Law

Sisters in Islam have got a different take on Syariah law. SIS executive director Ratna Osman maintains that Syariah law is not divine law and should not be treated as such.
 
She said that there was a misunderstanding of the law and the Federal Constitution among some quarters, who were pushing for Syariah courts to be on the same level with the Federal Court.
 
Ratna said: “The understanding of this group, who are pushing for it, is because God is supreme. So, to them, how can the Constitution become higher than God’s law?”
 
She voiced the view that Syariah law was divine law was not necessarily correct. “Syariah law is actually human intervention of what God’s divine laws are. When there’s human intervention, it’s not 100% divine anymore,” she said.
 
She expressed the belief that there was a need for a change in the direction of the discourse on the country’s Syariah law. She could not accept the faction’s insistence that their version, their interpretation of Syariah, is from God.
 
“That is problematic, because once you have that kind of language, then you want everything (Syariah law) to be on top of everything else,” she said.
 
Ratna suggested that the discourse on whether Syariah law should be on par with civil law should take into account the Constitution.
 
Sunday’s EPL match between Liverpool and Manchester United was not something to look forward to. It didn’t come as a surprise at all that the Red Devils humiliated us 3-0. Wayne Rooney (12), Juan Mata (40) and Robin van Persie (71) were on target while we were content with shooting blanks.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
North of the border, Celtic secured their eighth league win on the bounce and a six-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a comfortable 4-1 win against St Mirren. The goals came from Scott Brown (4, 18); James Forrest (15); and Anthony Stokes (67). And the Buddies’ consolation goal came from Sean Kelly in the tenth minute.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Police Confiscate Hymn Books

On December 05, 2014, thirty-one hymn books (one original copy and thirty photocopies) titled "Mari Kita Memuji Allah Kita" (Praise be to God) used for the past 30 years meant for Kampung Tanah Gempur orang asal parishioners were seized from Father Cyril Mannayagam (left) in Tangkak, Johor.
 
Police clarified that they did not detain the Catholic priest, saying that they only recorded his statement before allowing him to leave. Police said the case has been classified under Section 298A of the Penal Code, for causing disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will on grounds of religion. Police also said they will let the Attorney-General's Chambers decide whether the texts should be returned.
 
[Yet, the police could not explain the classification since the priest was apparently only ministering to Christians. They also did not explain why the AG’s Chambers had to come into the picture since the priest, according to them, was not propagating Christianity to Muslims].
 
So, what's the problem? Don't the police have anything better to do? If Muslims were (and are) not targeted, why won't the authorities leave the Christians alone? 

Where is the freedom to worship in this country? It's an intolerant, illiberal world under BN.
 
On December 31, 2013, I had featured the Disney song, Frozen’s “Let It Go” (at this link http://helpvictor.blogspot.com/2013/12/my-2013-toastmastering-report-card.html).

And did you know that this year, according to UK’s Royal Mail, Frozen took the top spot on a list of the most wanted toys in children's letters to Santa Claus? Parents are hunting for the £34.99 Snow Glow Queen Elsa doll (left) – it’s a must-have this Christmas.