Thursday, October 27, 2016

China Demand for Bottled Air

Many companies are cashing on this near-absurd business of selling canned, bottled or even bagged air.
The notion – maybe best known for being a gag in the 1987 movie Spaceballs – is finding a market in China, a country with a crisis-level pollution problem and growing upper and middle classes willing to spend on the finer things in life.
More so, when winter is approaching. Thick hazardous smog has returned to Beijing and parts of northern China which still rely heavily on coal-fuelled heating systems. So far, there have been three periods of "hazardous" air quality since the start of autumn, and meteorological departments have warned the situation could only get worse in the coming months.
Bottled air. Photo credit: PNA/Xinhua
One of these companies sells bottled air collected exclusively from a primitive forest in Inner Mongolia, China.
Chen Zhiquan, Global Outlook Biotech’s managing director said of his Senlin Baobei canisters: "The cans contain air from the Greater Khingan Mountains".
Indeed, he has seen a sharp spike in his company’s sales. From fewer than 100 units in August and increasing to about 400 in September – his company has already sold more than 1,000 in the first 20 days of October.
Most purchases were made online by people in Beijing and cities in Shandong province, Chen had said. He also added that the canisters, which are priced at 58 yuan ($8.50) and come with a breathing mask, are designed to provide 30 minutes of "natural fresh air".
Feedback from customers has been mixed.  

A man who tried the product at a fair in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, described inhaling the contents of the canister as "fresh and comfortable", while others said they had no reaction. Ma Rutao, a college student in Beijing, said, "I'd rather spend more money on an air purifier than a temporary fix".

On Tuesday, Daniel Sturridge struck twice as Liverpool overcame Tottenham 2-1 to reach the EFL Cup quarter-finals. The Reds are 10 matches unbeaten in all competitions and have won eight games in that run.

One day later, Celtic hammered Ross County 4-0 in a Scottish Premiership game. Patrick Roberts put Celtic ahead after only three minutes. And then Stuart Armstrong coolly slotted home to double Celtic's lead on 83 minutes. Substitutes Scott Sinclair (90+1) and Moussa Dembele (90+3) added two more to the scoreline.

I am reminded of a student's gratitude. Today, she gifted me with Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts because I had spent time to tutor her as she studied for her resit. Of course, she passed the paper.

I am grateful.


Yesterday, I was in Bangsar South to attend the MIA Toastmasters meeting. The Malaysian Institute of Accountants has moved to a brand-new premise at Unit 33-01, Level 33 in Tower A @ The Vertical in KL’s Jalan Kerinchi.
My maiden visit to the venue. There, I took up dual roles, as a Toastmaster-of-the-Evening as well as an assignment speaker – my CC #7 speech titled “Crime Does Pay”.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Former 1MDB Spokesperson Queries on 1MDB

Former second finance minister Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah (left), who reportedly said handling 1MDB issues previously made him very ill, has turned around to question the fund's dealings in Parliament on Monday.
Tambun MP Ahmad Husni said he was compelled to highlight the 1MDB dealings because he was concerned allegations of financial improprieties linked to the state-owned investment fund, would negatively impact Malaysia’s global perception.
Therefore, he had urged the government to explain some of 1MDB's more substantial transactions, like the ones with Abu Dhabi state-owned fund, International Petroleum Investment Co., and the latter's subsidiary Aabar Investments PJS.
“I’m not raising these issues for political (mileage). I just feel that I have the right to know”, he insisted.
Ahmad Husni abruptly resigned from Najib Razak’s cabinet on June 27, 2016. He also quit from all his party posts in UMNO.
And the rest of the Cabinet ministers continue to maintain a prolonged and awkward silence. They belong to a cowering colony of invertebrates. Of cowards. Of chickenshit.
On Tuesday evening, I was in Bankers Club in the Amoda Building in Jalan Imbi, KL for the TMIKL Toastmasters meeting. 

I was the Toastmaster-of-the-Evening and I believe I brought copious amounts of energy into this meeting. And with a healthy dosage of hilarity too.

And as Lim Yi Kang put it: "It felt like it was a back-to-school meeting" with UniRazak students around!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

PAS Declare War on DAP


PAS are giving fair warning to DAP. They are readying themselves to go to war with DAP.
Hashim Jasin (right), the party's spiritual leader, has issued an outright dismissal of PAS joining a greater Opposition pact that includes their former Pakatan Harapan partners, particularly DAP and Amanah.
The Star Online reported this on Sunday and even quoted him as declaring that his party “do not care”. And he ominously notified to all and sundry: “We will contest where DAP (are) contesting".
If PAS want to self-destruct, so be it. It is their decision, after all.


On Saturday, I was at Inti International College Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Sultan Ismail. I was a contestant in the Division J Speech Evaluation Contest. And I came in second place. (Check out my trophy above)
Two days later, it was Division P’s turn to organize their Humorous Speech & Speech Evaluation Contests.


Three Liquid Gold members participated. Two of them went on to win the Speech Evaluation Contest. Ong Mei Lin was crowned champion and Lim Yi Kang took third place.
Regrettably, Benny wasn’t placed in the Top 3 for the Humorous Speech Contest. Maybe so, but personally speaking, I really liked his speech.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Deep Cuts in Tertiary Education

The Malaysian government appear to be less passionate about tertiary education.
Under Budget 2017 announced on Friday, fifteen of the 20 public universities in the country will have to make do with a lot less money.
Ten of them are expected to face massive cuts ranging from over 10 percent to over 31 percent. And five other universities in the list are expected to have their funding shaved of between RM93,500 (-0.06 percent) to RM10.56 million (-4.74 percent).
The remaining lucky five will have marginal increases in the operating budget of between RM3.83 million (1.88 percent) and RM13.61 million (8.85 percent).
Taken as a whole, the 2017 budget for twenty universities' combined operating expenditure will be RM6.12 billion, which is a deep slash of RM1.46 billion or 19.23 percent from the allocation of RM7.57 billion in 2016.
Malaysian education is already going downhill. Now we can expect it to nosedive, as quick as a bunny.
Is this an ominous sign that our Treasury is running out of money?
Only PM-cum-Finance Minister Najib Razak knows! Maybe he can be persuaded to make a donation to the national coffers?  
Rangers faced Glasgow rivals Celtic in the Scottish League Cup semi-final on Sunday. And the latter managed to win 1-0 to book their place in the final where they will meet Aberdeen on November 27.
Celtic had a mountain of chances. It was criminal to see a wastefulness in front of the goalmouth. And only in the eighty-seventh minute did Moussa Dembele's heel convert Leigh Griffiths' cross to give them the winning goal.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Borneo Betrayal

There is a growing clamor within Sarawak and Sabah to demand that the two states’ constitutional rights be restored.
In fact, Sarawak BN Backbenchers’ Club chairperson Abdullah Saidol had already warned the ruling coalition on June 10, 2016 that they risk losing voter support from their “fixed deposit” at the next national elections if the federal government do not expedite the return of the state's rights.
But blame shouldn’t be directed at the federal government only. Sarawak and Sabah MPs were amongst the 130 members of parliament who supported an amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution – and which had downgraded the status of Sarawak and Sabah. In other words, the two East Malaysian land masses were no longer equal partners to Malaya, but as states, on the same status as the eleven states in Malaya. This is the Borneo betrayal!
The said revision was among 48 amendments to the Federal Constitution under a Bill that the then Prime Minister Hussein Onn tabled on July 12, 1976. And it was passed one day later.
[Note: Two Sarawak MPs Leo Moggie Irok (Kanowit) and Tin Ling Kiew (Bintulu) were not recorded in the Hansard to have supported the amendment but there was also no record that they were against the amendment. The names of two Sabah MPs Mustapha Harun (Marudu) and Pengiran Tahir Pengarin Patera (Kimanis) were also absent from the record of that sitting].
Only four MPs had opposed it and they were all from the DAP: Lim Kit Siang, Dr Tan Chee Khoon, Farn Seong Than and Lee Lam Thye.
Malaysia as a nation was cobbled together as an outcome of the Cobbold Commission. It was basically a Commission of Enquiry set up to find out whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak agreed to create the Federation of Malaysia which comprises Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.
On August 01, 1962, the Commission released its report. And yet, this decision to embrace Malaysia wasn’t unanimous:
“About one-third of the population of each territory strongly favors early realization of Malaysia without too much concern about terms and conditions. Another third, many of them favorable to the Malaysia project, ask, with varying degrees of emphasis, for conditions and safeguards varying in nature and extent: the warmth of support among this category would be markedly influenced by a firm expression of opinion by Governments that the detailed arrangements eventually agreed upon are in the best interests of the territories. The remaining third is divided between those who insist on independence before Malaysia is considered and those who would strongly prefer to see British rule continue for some years to come. If the conditions and reservations which they have put forward could be substantially met, the second category referred to above would generally support the proposals. Moreover once a firm decision was taken quite a number of the third category would be likely to abandon their opposition and decide to make the best of a doubtful job. There will remain a hard core, vocal and politically active, which will oppose Malaysia on any terms unless it is preceded by independence and self-government: this hard core might amount to near 20 percent of the population of Sarawak and somewhat less in North Borneo”.
And Sarawak came up with an 18-point agreement and Sabah a 20-point agreement – these were drawn up by the two Borneo entities, proposing terms and conditions for their incorporation into Malaysia – during negotiations prior to the creation of the new federation in 1963. The agreements were meant to safeguard the autonomy and the special interests of the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah, protecting, among others, their rights on religion, language, education, administration, economy and culture.
Some of the said points were incorporated, to varying degrees, into what became the Constitution of Malaysia; others were merely accepted orally, thus not gaining legal status.
[Note: The agreements often serve as a focal point amongst those who argue that Sarawak and Sabah's rights within the Federation have been eroded over time].
I may not be a Sarawakian or Sabahan – but given BN’s political chicaneries over the years, I support the return of full autonomy to Sarawak and Sabah in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreements. It is time Sarawak and Sabah reclaim their full rights. Unconditionally.
Cease the colonization of Sarawak and Sabah!
Yesterday, Liverpool secured a deserved 2-1 victory over West Brom and now sit second in the EPL table.
Jurgen Klopp's team dominated at Anfield and took the lead as Sadio Mane steered in Roberto Firmino's dinked cross in the twentieth minute. And fifteen minutes later, Philippe Coutinho picked up the ball from Mane, cut inside Baggies defender Gareth McAuley and shot into the bottom corner.
A two-goal victory would have taken Liverpool top, but McAuley denied them first place when he smashed in a late goal in the eighty-first minute after Liverpool failed to clear a corner.
Nevertheless, the victory extended the Reds’ unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions – just behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference.
And did you know that since Jurgen Klopp's first game in charge, there have been more Premier League goals netted in games involving Liverpool than any other team (126 – 75 for, 51 against)?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jakim's Twisted Understanding of Hotdogs

I think Jakim people need to have their heads examined.

I don’t think they are merely stupid. They also have a screw loose somewhere.

[Note: If you don’t know what I am talking about, read my post yesterday].

The dissing continues. The ribbing persists. The derision prolongs. 


Celtic stumbled very badly in Europe. Two second-half mistakes from Kolo Toure gifted Borussia Monchengladbach a Champions League victory on Wednesday.

Celtic were out-played and out-fought. In fact, they were lucky to lose by only two goals. Why am I not surprised?

On Thursday, I went to Fraser Place Kuala Lumpur in KL’s busy Jalan Perak. I was there for the Fraser Kuala Lumpur Toastmasters meeting.

I was given the opportunity to present my CC #6 speech on Vocal Variety – titled “Scream, scream, scream”. 

And this represents my thirty-sixth round of the Competent Communication manual. (If you are confused, I don't blame you! I am doing 5 of these CC manuals concurrently, i.e. Rounds #36, #37, #38, #39 & #40).

I was also the Table Topics Evaluator. Overall, another good meeting!