Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rainy Days

Snapshots of the flash floods to hit Klang Valley on April 21, 2014. Image credit:

Torrential downpours. Flash floods. And residents of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur have to endure water rationing since last month; some areas since February. It doesn’t make sense but this is Malaysia and everything and anything is always possible!
I am really fed up with this “two-days-of-water-supply-followed-by-two-days-of-dry-taps”! I am sure everybody else feel the same way too. Think of the families with children. Think of the elderly. Think of those residing in multi-storey apartments.
Sure, the Federal Government must shoulder the blame but as a Pakatan state, surely, we can do something. Aren't Pakatan supposed to be smarter? And what did they do since 2008? Didn't they plan and strategize?
Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim should put on his PKR hat and dump his old UMNO hat into the bin. Permanently. After all, he is a Pakatan Rakyat MB and the “arid” situation that we are finding ourselves in urgently require reformasi-style thinking. Right now, Khalid is just taking the easy way out.
If he is incapable of finding a solution to end this "water" problem, then he should do the honorable thing and quit and let somebody else do the job. I think he is overrated anyway.
See the picture above. I am the speaker and I was promoting Coke! BTW, it was an interesting speech that I gave. Anyway, I love this picture that was posted by Philip Wong on Facebook yesterday – it looks like one of those sketches done by artists in a courtroom where photojournalists aren't allowed.
This is the KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting on April 21, 2014 and I also did blog about it yesterday – see my posting titled ‘Giant Selfie Installation”.

And I just snapped a selfie of me enjoying a Coke! God, it is my fave beverage.

A Mongolian Tribute to Karpal Singh

The death of Malaysian icon Karpal Singh has even reached the shores of Ulanbataar, Mongolia, where a two-page tribute was dedicated to him in a local daily on April 18, 2014.
The Mongolian-language Zuunii Medee or Century News carried two pages of an interview with Altantuya’s dad Setev Shaariibuu who poured out his personal feelings about Karpal in an article headlined ‘Malaysian opposition DAP leader Karpal Singh dies in car accident’.
Shaariibuu said he knew this “great man” who helped him in the murder trial of two former police officers suspected of having killed Altantuya with plastic explosives in October 2006. Karpal diligently kept a watching brief for Shaariibuu since the case commenced in 2007 and had been faithfully keeping him updated of the progress of the case in Malaysia.
Truly, Karpal Singh is one in a million!
Yesterday, I was at No. 7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg in KL’s TTDI to deliver my Ice Breaker (titled “My Hero”) at the WIM Toastmasters meeting. My dedicated evaluator was Dr Sharon Tong and this is Round 12 of my Project 15. I was voted Best Speaker and she was voted Best Evaluator. Wow! And I was also the General Evaluator.
Certainly, I enjoyed all three speeches (including mine) and evaluations. I would score this meeting an 8 over 10 because the meeting was good and better still, accompanied by much merriment (thanks to the GE). It must have created positive vibes because four guests decided to sign up!


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Giant Selfie Installation

AFP/Relaxnews pic, April 22, 2014 

A California-based artist has created a giant mirrored structure that comments on our increasing obsession with selfies.

"Screen Identity" is a seven-foot wooden sculpture of a smartphone that features a mirror as its screen. It is big enough to frame the entire body of those who approach it, reinforcing the idea that as a society, we are living more and more "inside our phones". 

"It is an attempt to comment on our generation's obsession with selfies and the fact that much of our lives are now lived inside a phone," explained artist and designer Gabe Ferreira in an email to Relaxnews

The artwork was displayed at California State University Long Beach in Long Beach, California, back in March, exhibited with a plaque prompting viewers to hashtag any photos, posts, or selfies related to (or taken with) the piece with "#ultimateselfie". 

According to Ferreira, the response confirmed suspicions that we are becoming obsessed with selfies, as "any mirror becomes an opportunity to share your face with the world".

I find selfies harmless because they are a by-product of technology-enabled self-exploration. In any case, Amy Leigh Mercree did say: “Celebrate who you are in your deepest heart. Love yourself and the world will love you.” And selfies fulfill that purpose, don't they? You have to love yourself in order to take a selfie.

"Screen Identity" will be displayed at locations in Southern California over the coming months. 

On Monday, I was at Level 8, Mercu UEM in KL Sentral for the KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting. I was fortunate to secure a speaking slot – thank you, Lucky – and I delivered CC#7 titled ‘Refreshing Coke” – my speech was about the benefits of drinking Coke! And I spoke persuasively so much so that I was thirsting for this beverage because Coke is it! I must have done a good job because I was voted Best Speaker. Additionally, I was the evaluator for Philip Wong’s Advanced speech which was equally enjoyable. A good meeting overall and I would give it a score of an 8 over 10. 

The Running Prime Minister

I was laughing so hard yesterday morning that tears raced down my cheeks. I had read in The Sun (p 05) that Gerakan, a mosquito party allied to UMNO had organized a 3-km ‘anti-corruption’ run on Sunday which was graced and kicked off by the prime minister himself.

Instead of focusing on issues of national importance, these clowns prefer to indulge in irrelevant activities that champion frivolous flippancy.

Does Najib Razak (left) really believe that sweating it out for 40 minutes can actually banish corruption from this country? If that is not preposterous, I don’t know what is. How ridiculous can he get?

But then, this is Najib who has regularly proven to be a remarkable prime minister. Remarkably asinine. He makes me believe in reincarnation because nobody can be as stupid as he is in one lifetime.

Or maybe he is only pretending to be stupid because it takes negligible effort. I consider him to be the lazy Malay. He is skilled at running away from the real tasks at hand. He is adept at running away from his prime ministerial responsibilities. He runs whenever there is a problem.

Coming back to the issue of corruption, there are no short-cuts. To combat corruption, you need political will and an anti-corruption agency (unlike the toothless MACC) that is answerable to parliament. We must also be determined to dismantle the culture of corruption that is prevailing. Sadly, Malaysians are still waiting for that to happen.

On Saturday, I was at the D-Villa Residence in 225, Jalan Ampang in KL for the MIMKL Toastmasters meeting. I was a speech evaluator for an Advanced speech from the Storytelling manual and which I enjoyed listening to.

Two Sunway University Toastmasters (i.e. Kent Phang and Castrine Tan) were at the meeting and they delivered their CC speeches. I wanted them to benefit from this experience of speaking outside their own club. Only then will they learn to speak with composure to an unfamiliar audience in an unaccustomed environment.

I did not stay until the end as I had to rush off to Taylor’s University for the Division B International Speech & Table Topics contests – where I was one of six contestants for Table Topics. I was the fourth speaker and it was very competitive. When my turn came, I did my best but that wasn’t good enough – and so I only managed second runner-up.

As for the International Speech contest, my friend Meyyappa won and I will be challenging him and others in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu on May 04, 2014. I aim to give all of them a tough fight.