Friday, October 24, 2014

UK's Smallest Home is Very Pricey


Credit: SWNS
Floating stairs lead from a worktop to a mezzanine sleeping area. Credit: SWNS
Malaysians complain about the high prices of properties and I don’t blame them. But really, real estate value in Malaysia still lags behind the rest of Asia.
And just to put things in perspective, read this story about Britain's smallest home – which is less than half the size of a train carriage.
The converted flower shop has just 188 sq ft of space and is a fifth of the size of the average new build. It features a bed on a mezzanine, a tiny bathroom and an open plan kitchen and living area.
Yet there was no shortage of interest, with more than 220,000 people viewing the adverts on property sites Rightmove and Zoopla. And after a flurry of enquiries and a number of offers, the house, in Islington, north London, was sold.
While real estate agency Winkworth would not confirm the agreed sale price or the buyers, the property had been put on the market for £275,000.
The typical properties they sell range between 1,400 sq ft and 2,200 sq ft – so the price is exorbitant for a house that size! It is said that the average value of a home in the UK is purportedly £275,000.
Nonetheless, Malaysians can be expected to continue complaining because we are Malaysians, after all!
Yesterday, I was at Angkasapuri – the headquarters for Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) – to attend a demo meeting of the proposed EOM Toastmasters Club. I took the opportunity to deliver CC speech #5 and my evaluator was Money Mastery's CP Lau. The speech was only just passable and this was because my focus strayed. Still, it was a good meeting even though we could have exercised better time management.






HK Protests Continue

Nearly one month later, pro-democracy protesters are still on Hong Kong's streets and they don’t look like they are giving up any time soon.

Reuters/Bobby Yip

Reuters/Carlos Barria

ST Photo: Kua Chee Siong

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Photo: AFP

Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Thursday, October 23, 2014

99.9% Confidence of Finding MH370

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left) on Wednesday said he was 99.9 percent sure of locating MH370.
That is great because the search for the Malaysian Airlines plane is still ongoing – it is already 229 days since it disappeared! As yet, there is no concrete evidence.
But this fool is overflowing with cockamamy optimism. Let’s face it – you can only be certain if you know where to look. So far, the authorities have been speculating and time and again, they have been proven wrong.
I am 99.9 percent sure that Hishammuddin is a load of bull!

In a Champions League game yesterday, Liverpool were put to the sword by Real Madrid. Their incompetent manager could only watch helplessly. What can you expect from a bellend? Nothing much, right?
I am not sure if Brendan Rodgers (left) can feel shame but his inane pre-match words about not being underdogs made him look massively idiotic! Even for someone as stupid as he is – it should have become obvious by now that Liverpool, without the departed Luis Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge, look a pale shadow of the side that almost claimed the Premier League last season, with the pace and pressing conspicuous by their absence. And BTW, that success should be rightfully attributed to both Suarez and Sturridge, period.
To have lost by three goals in the first half at Anfield is indecent and shocking. Still, I must accept that Real Madrid's domination had been altogether absolute. And the Reds were simply outclassed. I repeat sack Rodgers! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pendatang or not, we are all Malaysians

Gerakan Johor's Tan Lai Soon (left) was just being truthful when at his party’s national delegates conference in Selangor’s Setia Alam on Sunday, the Batu Pahat delegate had courageously claimed that the Malays should also be labeled “pendatang” (immigrants) – since they supposedly originate from Indonesia.
If we care to examine our past, indeed most of our forefathers came from near and far during different historical eras to make this place our home. So with the exception of the “orang asal” (the original people), we are all “pendatang”. Having said this, there are those who argue that Malaysia as we know it today was part of a larger Malay world Nusantara (or the Malay Archipelago). We have to remember that the borders that we know today are different from before.
In fact, I wonder if all of this is important.  What’s important, however, is that we must move on from this useless and divisive chatter. It really doesn’t matter who came here first. And let us not persist in squabbling over who among us are “pendatang” and in the process, squander the opportunity to work together and build a better future for ALL Malaysians.
That remark supposedly created a furore and Gerakan promptly suspended the member. The party would rather sacrifice their own just to please their political masters. I guess bullying a party member is simpler. Gerakan is a political eunuch, after all.
But why only act against an individual? Why not take action against everybody who had made the same type of remark? We all know who started it, don’t we?
On Tuesday, I was at Jaya One in Petaling Jaya to attend what was billed as only the second meeting of The School of Hard Knocks Toastmasters Club. When I received the meeting agenda – I knew something was not right. The exco list had only one name – the President’s. The rest of the positions were just blanks. The speeches and evaluations and nearly all of the meeting roles were taken up by 5 external Toastmasters. Two did not turn up and so the other three took up additional roles during the meeting. In fact, one Toastmaster took up 5 roles! She was Toastmaster, Table Topics Master, Speaker, Evaluator, and Grammarian.
I delivered a CC speech and I was evaluated by Satu Hati’s Victor Loh. In fact, I didn’t think it was a good speech – it was challenging to speak well in front of an audience of only six. One was the sole member of the said club – a newbie, two were Toastmasters from other clubs and three were non-Toastmaster guests who were persuaded to attend. Anyway, I am giving this meeting a half mark over 10.

This is the story I was told. The club was formerly known as Penang 7Es Toastmasters Club from Penang's Permatang Tinggi – a club that was supposed to go to its last resting place. Yet it was refused the last rites and instead it was given a new identity and then surreptitiously moved from Division N to Division C. Even if you give the club a second lease of life – how is it possible without any life support? Pray tell me, how do you sustain a club with one member?
Sigh! The things some people do in the name of Toastmasters.

Deepavali Greetings, 2014

Image credit:

Here’s wishing all Hindus everywhere, Happy Diwali! May millions of lamps illuminate your lives and bring joyful blessings to you and your families!

The organization Toastmasters International grew out of a single club, Smedley Chapter One Club. It was on this day, ninety years ago that Ralph C Smedley started it at the YMCA in Santa Ana, USA  and it would become the first Toastmasters club. 

Today, Toastmasters have spread their tentacles far and wide with a 313,000 membership in 14,650 clubs in 126 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.

On Monday, I was in KL Sentral to deliver my tenth CC speech. It had a simple title: "Re-boot". This represents my fourteenth round of the Competent Communication manual that I have completed since I joined Toastmasters.

The KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting drew a good crowd and I counted twenty of us who were present at Mercu UEM that rain-drenched evening. I am more than happy to score this meeting an 8 over 10.