Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ukraine is on its own

The prospect of Europe going to war to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression "simply does not exist", Federica Mogherini, the European Union's head of foreign policy insisted.
So pro-West Ukraine is left to fight its own war that threatens its very existence. The country is out on a limb. Already, the Ukrainians are claiming that Russian forces are fighting alongside Ukrainian separatists.
And if that is not portentous enough, Vladimir Putin (left) has even boasted that his forces could sweep into Kiev in a fortnight if he wanted to. The Russian president allegedly made the threat to Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president during talks on the Ukraine crisis – Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper had reported.
I reckon it is possible for Ukraine to lose its eastern half in its unwise gamble to sever its Russian ties entirely and cozy up to the West and if the latter continues with its empty posturing doesn't NATO really mean No Action, Talk Only  Russia may just be emboldened to finish off the country after that.


Reuters pic
A 41-year-old man going by the name of Chibatman rides his 'Chibatpod' on the road in Chiba, Japan yesterday. The man, who dresses up as the comic book superhero Batman, rides around in his machine, designed from inspiration of the 'Batpod' from the movies The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, delivering smiles instead of fighting crime.
I think it’s a great idea – to give away smiles! This world needs more smiles than we are giving. I speak for myself too!

Monday, September 1, 2014

SUN-U's 007 Nite on September 25

Don't miss this Sunway University Toastmasters Club event: 

In case, you're wondering what is this group called Toastmasters all about, here's a light-hearted look at us! But seriously, just check us out at www.toastmasters.org.

Gerrard Mook, my student and fellow Sunway University Toastmaster was in the UK in August and he got me this see pic below:

Thank you so much! 

In a Scottish Premiership game on Sunday, Dundee’s James McPake put his team ahead inside 50 seconds at Dens Park when they played against Celtic. The latter were saved the blushes when Leigh Griffiths came off the bench to secure a draw in the fifty-fifth minute.

In an EPL match that Liverpool played on the same day, the Reds carved a comfortable 3-0 win against previously unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. Raheem Sterling (8) converted at the far post and then Steven Gerrard's penalty (49) and Alberto Moreno's precise finish (60) sealed the win.

MAS: Add Cash, Subtract Jobs

Losing money is what MAS is good at. In 1Q14, they posted a net loss of RM433 million ($140.08m) and in 2Q14, the net loss was RM307 million ($97.6m). The carrier will probably lose more than 1 billion ringgit in 2014 and continue to report losses through 2016, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Loss-making national carrier Malaysia Airlines are bleeding so profusely that the government has decided to bail it out to the tune of RM6 billion – Prime Minister Najib Razak calls it an investment! – and in return, six thousand jobs (about 30 percent of the workforce) are to be sacrificed.

Why has it come to this? Malaysians know the answer and it is not just mismanagement!

Nicol David has won the Hong Kong Open since 2006 and in 2005, she claimed her first world title when the event was held in Hong Kong. File pic

National squash queen and world number one Nicol David extended her unbeaten run in the Hong Kong Open squash tournament when she defeated Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb in three games: 11-4, 12-10 and 11-8 – in the women's final on Sunday.

On Friday, the 31-year-old Penangite beat Hong Kong’s Joey Chan 11-8, 11-4, 11-3 in 27 minutes to seal a place in the semi-finals. And the following day, she needed only 26 minutes to speed past 21-year-old American Amanda Sobhy 11-8, 11-4, 11-2.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Barack Obama is Clueless

As the murderous Islamic State spread their vicious venom in Iraq and Syria and a pitch-black shroud of gloomy hopelessness and foreboding doom engulfs the populace – the US of A seem paralyzed.
Still, they finally did manage to mount a response to the escalating violence when President Barack Obama (above pic) ordered limited airstrikes against IS targets and sent some humanitarian aid to communities under siege – I don't think they have achieved much though. American involvement is a mere show of tokenism. Obama is clueless and on Thursday, he said it as much!
At a press conference, Obama spoke a great deal about Iraq, Syria, and even the Islamic State but in the end, I only heard the six damning words – "We don't have a strategy yet."
Some are of the view that Obama is being frank – and that it is an unusual attribute in the Washington corridors of power. It is said that Obama's line is a textbook example of veteran journalist Michael Kinsley's definition of a political gaffe, which occurs when a politician tells an "obvious truth that he isn't supposed to say".
I think it is more a case of Obama being na├»ve! And the fact that he doesn’t have a foreign policy vision. He made that confession to tell us in so many words that he is stumped.
Maybe the severity of the IS savagery has not sunk in with Obama yet. Maybe he didn’t know that many innocents have been killed and are being killed. Maybe he hasn't seen the pictures of beheadings and crucifixions. Or read the reports of rapes and executions. Maybe he doesn’t care anymore?
Congressman Mike Rogers, chair of the House intelligence committee, said on CNN. "It was an odd press conference at the very best." Whether odd or not, the fact is that many more lives are in peril and only Obama can save those lives.
If ever there is a case for American intervention – THIS IS IT!
On Thursday, I was at Lot 7221, Jalan Merah Caga, Bandar Baru Sri Petaling in Kuala Lumpur to attend the Satu Hati Toastmasters meeting. I delivered an Advanced speech – I was voted Best Speaker – but there were two other speeches that were also pretty decent. I said “also” because I honestly didn’t think my speech was that good.
Only six Satu Hati members came that evening and it was heartening to see that their numbers were matched by an equal number of visiting Toastmasters who turned up to lend support to the meeting. I would give this meeting a 6 score over 10.


Merdeka 2014

Image credit: http://panduanpercuma.info/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/hari-merdeka.gif

Happy Merdeka, Malaysia!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Najib Razak Envious of Wan Azizah

Najib Razak who is UMNO president (and unfortunately, also the Prime Minister) is trying very hard to sully the good name of Wan Azizah (left). He has bandied the “nepotistic” label at her and Anwar Ibrahim. He has also accused the husband-and-wife of having ulterior motives to feather their own nests. This is mischievous, mean and malicious!
I suppose Najib is envious that Wan Azizah is a woman of substance. She is a somebody. She is an ophthalmologist by profession, party president, former opposition leader, state assemblyperson and MB-elect. Wan Azizah has certainly proved her mettle.
For those who have been following Malaysian news, we know that she is the reluctant politician. She comes to the forefront only when Anwar is boxed in because of his sodomy case.
On the other hand, Rosmah Mansor (Najib’s wife) has never been any of the above. And yet she is given de facto ministerial status by the government; the free use of the executive jets; the trips abroad to represent the country at the expense of taxpayers; and other expensive shenanigans that she is involved in.  And don't forget the ample publicity she regularly gets on our mainstream news that exaggerates her ‘humble’ status as the wife of the Prime Minister and making her even larger than life.
If Najib genuinely believes that his wife is no less capable, why doesn't he move to promote and push her to become the UMNO president? And after that, she can be Prime Minister. Who knows, she might just prove to be even better than him? It shouldn't be too difficult because he has not done anything significant.

Until then, the PM would do well to SHUT UP! Just focus on his job. That's the least we taxpayers and citizens expect from him.
On Wednesday evening, I was at No.2 Jalan Tun Sambanthan 3, Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur to attend the MIA Toastmasters meeting. Two Sunway University Toastmasters delivered their speeches and even in unfamiliar surroundings, I reckon they did well. One of them, Marilyn Lai was voted Best Speaker and even I was voted Best Evaluator.
Thanks to the club president, Johnny Yong for granting us the two speaking slots – it is much appreciated. At our club, speaking slots are hard to come by – there is a waiting list of 3 months! Coming back to this meeting, I would score it a 6.5 over 10.


Life Goes on at McDonald's

I had to go back to McDonald’s again, even if that meant I would be inviting ridicule from my friends because I was obliged to consume the muck that the company is selling under the pretext that it is “food” (see pic below):

In the McDonald’s outlets I visited, there were no protests and no untoward incidents. Things looked normal. I have no way of ascertaining if business is affected by the month-long boycott of McDonald’s (and other companies) – refer to my August 12 post at this link http://helpvictor.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-month-of-boycotts.html. Even when I asked the counter staff, they said business was okay. But for some reason I cannot explain, I do not quite believe them.

Anyway, from the photos below – at least at McDonald’s, life goes on:

McDonald’s Drive-Thru, Jalan 22/6, Seksyen 22, Shah Alam on August 24. 1:00-1.45 PM

McDonald’s at Main Place Mall, Jalan USJ 21/10, Subang Jaya on August 25. 9:06-9:46 PM

McDonald’s at eCurve Mall, Jalan PJU 7/3, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya on August 26. 12:45-1:30 PM

McDonald’s at Jalan PJS 8/2, Sunway Mentari on August 27. 3:25-4:10 PM

And I did not boycott Coca-Cola either. In fact, I had a Coke almost every day, Mondays to Fridays.