Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Swiss Research Proves Drinking Enhances Sociability

Researchers from Switzerland have confirmed what most of us already know drinking a single glass of beer can make people more sociable.
The team from University Hospital in Basel tested 60 healthy people, with an equal number of men and women drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer. They took part in a range of tasks, including a face recognition test, empathy test and sexual arousal test.
The lead researcher said there had been little previous research in this area.
Prof Matthias Liechti explained: "Although many people drink beer and know its effects through personal experience there is surprisingly little scientific data on its effects on the processing of emotional social information".
The desire to be with others, in a happy, talkative and open environment increased in the group which drank the alcoholic beer and was more marked in women and those with higher initial inhibitions.
As well as enabling the participants to recognize happy faces more quickly, the beer also enhanced participants' emotional empathy, particularly in those with lower levels of initial empathy.
Commenting on the research, Prof Wim van den Brink, past chairperson of the ECNP scientific program committee, said: "This is an interesting study confirming conventional wisdom that alcohol is a social lubricant and that moderate use of alcohol makes people happier, more social and less inhibited when it comes to sexual engagement".
The study is being published in the journal Psychopharmacology and presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress Conference in Vienna.
On Sunday, Bournemouth completed one of the comebacks of the season by beating Liverpool in a sensational EPL game. In short, the Reds imploded spectacularly.
The Cherries battled back from 2-0 down at half-time and 3-1 behind with 15 minutes to go – when they slotted in two goals in quick succession (76, 78) and Nathan Ake's ninety-third minute winner sealing a famous win.
"We opened the door and they ran through", said Jurgen Klopp (left) after the game.

Monday, December 5, 2016

MPU3322 Professional Ethics

Photo of my students (not all of them are here though) from this semester – from my MPU3322 class – taken last Monday.
This September-December 2016 semester, I taught Professional Ethics.

And like all my classes – no matter what the subjects are and no matter where I teach – I will always give my best to my students!

I make it my mission to make my lectures/tutorials interesting, illuminating and even insightful.
Here’s a sample of comments I had received from my students.
Lim Chee Khong: “I can always learn something new when attending his class”.

Ivan Lau Hon Lim: “Mr. Victor has a flair for teaching and I really enjoyed his class… I wish more classes throughout my university life were similar to his class”. 
Chye Mei Yan: “I am very grateful and lucky to have Mr. Victor as my Professional Ethics lecturer because he is really one of a kind”.
Gabriel Krisnadi: “Personally, I think that a lecturer’s most important tasks are to inspire, to trigger the thirst of knowledge of the students and to satiate (that) thirst with relevant knowledge that might not be in the syllabus. And I could actually find (all) that the lecturer was able to do so”. 
Marco Raharjo: “I feel that this class is the best class ever… I think every lecturer need to follow this class so that students will not get (bored) during class and it (makes it) easier to understand when the lecturer delivers knowledge in (a) fun way”.
Michelle Lau Yin Kuen: “I am grateful to have been (taught) by someone who sees the world in a no-nonsense way”.
Grace Gaie: “Mr. Victor has been an inspiring lecturer”.
Vieniesha Maniarasu: “I’m really happy that Mr.Victor had taught me this subject because nobody else could have made me understand about ethics (as he had done). 
Chan Jia Ni: “My overall experience of this subject has been great. I really appreciate how the class has been interactive with (lots) of discussions and not the typical Malaysian classroom scenario whereby lecturers come in to read from PowerPoint slides and students just copy notes from the slides”.
I am really touched to receive these genuine expressions of praise from my students!  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Non-Malays Want Malay-Muslims to Live in Sin

Last Thursday, PM Najib Razak promised to take up PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill to upgrade Syariah punishments.
His party had previously extended all necessary support to Hadi – and that included elevating his motion above government matters and conducting a special briefing by the deputy prime minister for all Muslim MPs.
Two days later, at the same UMNO general assembly where Najib made the pledge, Mohd Iskandar Jaafar (left), the Setiu UMNO delegate voiced the outrageous claim that non-Muslims opposed the said Bill because they desired the Malay-Muslim community to continue “living in sin”.
And this will permit the non-Malays to take over the government. I am befuddled because I cannot even fathom how sin can lead to a takeover. It is pure nonsense.

But this is UMNO, so nothing surprises.  
Then, he explained: “If we let the Bill be passed, they [Malays] will revert to the true teaching of Islam”. Malay-Muslims need punitive penalties. He even gave an example – that there were 153,000 babies born out of wedlock to Muslim parents. 
Is he saying that social problems prevail because Malay-Muslims are serially seduced to sin? And only harsher laws will put a stop to sinning? That they won’t stop otherwise?
It doesn’t say much about Muslims – does it?
In a thrilling Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Motherwell on Saturday, the former won 4-3.
Louis Moult scored twice for Well – a first-time lob (3) and a close-range volley (35) – but Callum McGregor's strike (48) brought Celtic back into contention and Patrick Roberts headed them level in the seventieth minute. Lionel Ainsworth quickly volleyed Well ahead one minute later – but in just another minute, Stuart Armstrong fired home for Celtic before Tom Rogic's low drive settled it in the ninetieth minute.


Celtic ended the game still eight points clear at the top of the table – with three games in hand.

Also on the same day, I was in Petaling Jaya to participate in the Youth Leadership Program organized by Sai Masters Toastmasters Club for the Sai Baba children at the Jalan 18/2 and SS3 Taman Universiti centers.

I was the Timekeeper as well as a mentor and a Contest Chair. 'Twas no joke but I was fully engaged!.  

Still, it was heart-warming to work with young children and my group of eight was between 11 and 13 years of age.

A Timely Reminder for UMNO

I never imagined I would hear this kind of talk at an UMNO general assembly – but on Friday, I did!

Ayub Rahmat (left), the Kemelah assemblyperson and also a Johor delegate exhorted his party: “It is time UMNO stopped asking the Malays to pledge loyalty to the party”.

He is damn right! The party should feel indebted to the Malays for their existence and not the other way round.

“UMNO came into existence because of the Malays. UMNO owe (their) success to the Malays”, he clarified.

A timely reminder.

“In fact, it is time UMNO stopped reminiscing about what it has done for the Malays,” he had said in his speech while debating the presidential policy speech two days ago.

He added that that the biggest challenges facing the Malays were no longer about special rights and privileges or even about Malay supremacy – but the ability to compete and succeed.

He may be an UMNO man but at least, I know he is not stupid. Like the others.

To stay relevant, UMNO need a new narrative. And that is true for all the other BN parties too.

On Friday evening, I was at MidValley City for the Liquid Gold Advanced Toastmasters meeting. This time, I was not even on the speakers' list. But I was still a Speech Evaluator.

Another good meeting! As always!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Clare Rewcastle-Brown's Narrative on 1MDB

Kindly give a listen to Clare Rewcastle-Brown’s narrative on 1MDB.
In the talk on November 15, 2016, at the School of Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK the British investigative journalist gives the inside story, on how she wrote the explosive 1MDB scandal, which has shocked the world:

The Sarawak-born who is Malaysia's public enemy number one has been honored as Fortune Magazine’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders of 2016.
This is what Fortune wrote: “Through her website Sarawak Report, London-based journalist Brown has become an irritant in the corridors of power in Malaysia. Her exposés on state investment fund 1MDB publicizing the alleged siphoning of $700 million into the pockets of Prime Minister Najib Razak have made her a hero and a villain in the country, depending on whom you ask. The government have tried to arrest her for “activities detrimental to Parliamentary democracy” and have banned her website, a move that prompted advocacy group Reporters Without Borders to unblock access and help get her revelations out”.
Rewcastle-Brown founded the Sarawak Report and Radio Free Sarawak in 2010.
And her investigations into 1MDB have come at a heavy cost.
She is stalked and is wanted by the Malaysian authorities for exposing the greed and corruption of its leaders.
She may be a darling of the ordinary rakyat, but she is feared and villified by those in authority.
The truth is already out there! It can no longer stay hidden.
Look over your shoulder, Najib, for justice will surely catch up with you!
On Wednesday evening, I was at the Amoda Building in Jalan Imbi, KL to deliver a CC speech #2 at the ITC Bintang Toastmasters meeting. My speech title: "The Long and Winding Road".
I was voted Best Speaker and I received this:

Again, a poorly-attended meeting. Only 15 people were present when the meeting started and another three trooped in after the meeting had gone two-thirds of the way. Not only that, two speakers pulled out.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Allah's Chosen One

The UMNO General Assembly 2016 is here again – so do expect lots of rhetorical bombast that doesn’t even try to make any sense. But at least, we can learn to laugh at them and their juvenile antics.
For starters, the UMNO acting deputy president had exhorted party members to pledge their unwavering loyalty to Najib Razak because the latter was chosen by Allah!
“We have to remember we are in a time where Allah has put Najib as our president. It is fate that Allah wanted it that way,” Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (left) had said yesterday at the opening of the UMNO wings annual general assembly.
(Start guffawing here).
I don’t think God is cringing with embarrassment. I also think He has given up being angry.
I daresay He is so used to it by now – that pathetic humans are hell-bent on using His name in vain.
I suppose when one has lost all credibility, God’s name will have to be invoked. The last resort lah.
God, what say you? 
According to lawyer and activist Siti Kasim, forty-one orang asli had been arrested at Simpang Petir in Gua Musang, Kelantan on Tuesday where they had set up a blockade since September 26, 2016 to protest against logging activities in the Balah forest reserve –  according to her Facebook posting as at 7 PM.
Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim said they were taken to the Gua Musang police headquarters.
More arrests can be expected.
Siti Kasim said the orang asli are determined to take legal action over the arrest.
Earlier in the day, police and Forestry Department officers moved into the locality and dismantled the blockade set up by about 200 orang asli.
The PAS state government have demonstrated how uncaring they are. They are bullies! Islamic party, konon!
In the EFL Cup quarter-final game between Liverpool and Leeds United yesterday, the former struggled for long periods of time before they could finally muster a 2-0 win over the latter.
The Reds had 72% possession and yet, they still huffed and puffed before Divock Origi stole behind the Leeds defense to sweep in Trent Alexander-Arnold’s right-wing cross from close range – in the seventy-sixth minute.
And then Wales Under-19 international Ben Woodburn – aged 17 years and 45 days – fired in the second in the eighty-first minute and eclipsing Michael Owen as Liverpool’s youngest goalscorer.
Liverpool will find out who they play in the semi-finals when the draw is made after Wednesday’s matches.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Malaysian Police Release Maria Chin Abdullah

Lawyer and activist Ambiga Sreenevasan shared this photo with Maria Chin Abdullah, after the latter was released on Monday, on her official Twitter feed. 

Surprise, surprise! Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah was released at about 4.30 PM yesterday – her 11th day in the lock-up and a day before her habeas corpus hearing challenging her detention.

I don’t believe she is out of the woods yet – still, it gives her momentary relief. She is reunited with her family and that is comforting. 

Malaysians too can rejoice – for now at least. 

Supporters hold signs in support of Maria Chin Abdullah during a vigil at Dataran Merdeka, KL on November 28, 2016. Picture by Choo Choy May

On Sunday, in the Scottish League Cup final, Aberdeen were overawed and overrun, almost from the first whistle. And Celtic triumphed 3-0 – thanks to goals from Tom Rogic (16), James Forrest (37) and Moussa Dembele (64, penalty).

This was the sixteenth time the Glasgow team won and it was their 100th major trophy! An amazing feat!

Yesterday, I was at the Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam in Jalan Damansara, KL – and thanks to Nicole Leong and Rush Teh, I had a speaking slot. I presented CC speech #9 Persuade with Power titled “Kill Your Dreams”. I was also voted Best Speaker.

Additionally, I was an evaluator for an Advanced speech from The Professional Speaker manual as well as took up the last-minute role of a General Evaluator.

Christmas came early for Speakers Dream Toastmasters Club and I received this Wild Vines raspberry Zinfandel (Framboise) during the gift exchange – see photo!