Sunday, January 22, 2017

MCA Have Been Eyeing the Deputy PM Post

Former PM Mahathir Mohamad had first erroneously claimed that the DAP had wanted the post of deputy prime minister.
 
Of course, he later retracted it and then clarified yesterday it was the MCA who eyed the post. He pointed out that MCA deputy secretary-general Loke Yuen Yow, who was also deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, made the request in 2009.
 
In his posting, Mahathir also attached a report from the Information Department that had highlighted a request by Loke to Prime Minister Najib Razak. Loke gave two reasons: One, to realize the concept of power sharing, and two, to show that the government places importance on the role and contributions of the Chinese community towards the process of nation-building.
 
Malay Mail Online reported yesterday that MCA admitted to this – the MCA central committee member even defended his party's past request for a deputy prime minister post. This particular news report has now mysteriously “disappeared”.
 
Today, PM Najib Razak strenuously denied that MCA had ever made the said request as claimed by Mahathir.
 
The prime minister said throughout his tenure as the country’s No. 1 leader, never once did the BN component party asked to be given the number two post and the post of finance minister.
 
He continued: “I deny and I ask MCA to also deny. MCA has three ministerial posts and they are thankful”.
 
Three versions in two days. Who to believe?
 
It is interesting though that Najib reaffirmed that MCA are happy to receive crumbs (i.e. three ministerial posts) from UMNO.
 
Please understand that I am not blaming UMNO – why should they give more to MCA who are most undeserving in the first place?

In fact, the latter should be grateful UMNO are generous with the nibbles.
 
Many other mosquito parties are queuing just to get their itsy-bitsy share: MIC, myPPP, Gerakan, SUPP, PBRS, UPKO, and others. 
 
On Saturday, Liverpool lost to Swansea City 2-3. I don't even want to talk about it. And Jurgen Klopp must be damn angry.
 
The sore point is that the Reds had 74% possession. Enough said.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Keep Speeches Short and Straightforward

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (left) has ordered his ministers to keep their speeches short and straightforward.
 
It seems that most Indonesians are familiar with listening to long-winded and tedious speeches made by government officials – and trying so hard not to doze off and even getting scolded for being disrespectful.
 
And it would also seems that this policy has indeed make work “more challenging” for some of his Cabinet colleagues.
 
Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani said she understood the purpose of Jokowi’s order: To do away with Indonesian bureaucrats’ old tradition of making long speeches that are full of unnecessary formalities.
 
However, she said abiding by the policy was easier said than done. “It is challenging to make our speeches short and straight to the point without compromising the substance”, Puan said after attending a Cabinet meeting at the State Palace on Wednesday.
 
I suppose the President must have experienced it first-hand.
 
And so, he had the circular issued by the office of the Cabinet secretary instructing the ministers to limit their speeches to no more than seven minutes.
 
That’s the standard Toastmasters’ speech – 5 to 7 minutes. I am confident Toastmasters’ “training” can certainly help them to be less verbose.
 
Methinks Jokowi should gather his colleagues and start “The Indonesian Cabinet Toastmasters Club”.
 
According to Wikipedia, he has 34 Ministers and 3 Vice-Ministers – more than the required 20 members to charter a Toastmasters club!
 
What is Jokowi waiting for? 

Yesterday, I attended the LG Lite meeting at No.50 in Changkat Bukit Bintang in KL – a nice cozy Asian restaurant & Cocktail bar simply called ‘Opium’.
 
Again, I delivered a CC #2 titled "The Rooster".

China Slows Down

China, the world’s second-largest economy grew only 6.7% last year, according to the country’s statistics office, meeting Beijing’s target range of 6.5-7% but the slowest growth since 1990.

Already there are warnings that it risks losing further momentum in 2017 as Donald Trump’s presidency creates a new set of challenges for the trading superpower.

Forecasters see the outlook for global growth as particularly uncertain, with a change of administration in the US, key elections in the eurozone, Britain embarking on Brexit negotiations and US interest rate rises all having repercussions for indebted emerging market economies.

And with China still struggling to rebalance its economy away from a reliance on manufacturing and exports, any slowdown in global trade will be keenly felt in the country.

In the FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday, Lucas Leiva scored his first goal in seven years – he headed home Philippe Coutinho's corner in the eighteenth minute – to send Liverpool into the fourth round – at the expense of League Two Plymouth.

Liverpool's reward for victory is a home tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers on January 28.













The title drought continues to haunt Malaysian squash queen Nicol David in the PSA World Tour tournament. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions Squash Championship held in New York on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Penangite, who is the tournament sixth seed, lost to top seed and current world number one, Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini in a grueling five-set (5-11, 11-6, 6-11, 15-13, 8-11) match.

David gave a good fight! 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Medieval Terengganu Beckons

On Monday, Malay daily Sinar Harian reported that JHEAT (Terengganu Religious Affairs Department) nabbed 26 unmarried Muslim couples for riding motorcycles together under Ops Bonceng last week, over the offence of “immoral act in public”.
 
In a report by the Star, JHEAT commissioner Wan Mohd Wan Ibrahim had warned those riding pillion against putting their hands into the jacket pocket of their partner, hugging and leaning against each other, and sitting too closely on motorcycles.
 
According to him, such actions could lead to sex and subsequently pregnancies out of wedlock. And I didn't even know this!
 
JHEAT chief assistant commissioner (enforcement) Nik Zulhaiza Ismail told Malay Mail  Online's sister publication ProjekMMO on Wednesday that it was considering extending the enforcement against unmarried Muslim couples from motorcycle riders to those in cars, but admitted that religious officers would not be able to observe Muslims in cars.
 
I don’t even want to comment on this.
 
I am just glad I am not a Muslim, more so in medieval Terengganu. It looks like a section of the population wants to retreat into the Dark Ages.
 
Yesterday, I was on Level 57 in Tower 2 of the Petronas Twin Towers – to attend the Pesona Toastmasters meeting.
 
I was not only the General Evaluator but I also had the opportunity to speak. I presented my CC #7 titled “I Love My Body”.
 
In case we are not on the same page – let me educate you here. I enlightened my audience that the human body is edible.
 
In fact, I quoted mainly J Cole’s 2006 research paper "Prehistoric Cannibalism: An Act of Nutritional Necessity or a Result of Socio-Cultural Conditions?"
 
I even informed my audience that a thigh has 10,707 calories, a heart 722 calories, skin 8,294 calories, and so on. All told, if you eat a grown man, you'll consume 81,472 calories.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I don’t know why but suddenly, I am hungry!
 
And as far as my status on my speech progress – I have only one speech remaining.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Death Crawl

Watch this video – it really inspires!




From the 2006 movie “Facing the Giants” – this video clip shows a pivotal scene where Coach Taylor challenges a player named Brock to give his very best to galvanize his team.

In the scene, the latter had to go on all fours with another player on his back. 

Brock is blindfolded and his coach encourages and pushes him as he plods across the field. At the end, an exhausted Brock tears off his blindfold to see that he has crawled 100 yards – the length of the football field.
 
 
On Tuesday, I was at Wisma WIM at No. 7, Jalan Abang Haji Openg in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL. I was there for the Metropolitan Bilingual Toastmasters meeting and we celebrated the Lunar New Year. Early, if I may add.








 
 









I definitely didn't expect it but we even did the ‘Chicken Dance’ – after all, it is going to be the Year of the Rooster.












We had "yee sang" ('raw fish salad' or I like to call it the 'Prosperity Toss').













And we received a mandarin orange and an "ang pow" ('red packet').

 
 






Even Caishen (simplified Chinese: 财神; traditional Chinese: 財神; literally: "God of Wealth") made an appearance! Usually dressed in the style of a Chinese Mandarin official and in red, he holds symbols of wealth such as a gold ingot or the Ruyi, a sceptre stylised as a celestial fungus. 
 
 













I was there because Lawrence Fung was kind enough to let me have a speaking slot and I had gratefully accepted. I also agreed to take up the role of General Evaluator.
 
My speech was a CC #8 titled “The Color Red”. This was my Project Speech #518, CC Round #40.

I was voted Best Speaker.

Overall, it was a most enjoyable meeting!
 
And two more speeches before I successfully complete the Competent Communication manuals.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Barn Owl Project Part 2

In Subang Jaya, the barn owls are here to nest and breed, if Associate Professor Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor of Universiti Putra Malaysia and his collaborators have their way.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Another pair of barn owls was released on Thursday night – the third release in the pilot project by Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and SJ Echo.
 
The project to urbanize barn owls for controlling urban rat populations is the first of its kind in Malaysia and Asia.
 
Kindly read my earlier post on these barn owls at http://helpvictor.blogspot.my/2016/05/the-barn-owl-project.html
 
To-date, nine pairs of owls have been released. Last year, the owls were released in different locations, namely SS15, PJS9 and SS14.
 
I guess the barn owls had been effective.
 
 
This animation by the Wall Street Journal – published January 12, 2017 – shows how money allegedly misappropriated from PM Najib Razak’s pet project 1MDB moved through global wealth centers before being used to buy real estate, art, and other assets around the world, including in New York and Beverley Hills.
 
This 1MDB shame won’t go away any time soon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rodrigo Duterte Threatens Martial Law

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach to the drug scourge has been violently confrontational.
 
Already, nearly 6,000 people have been killed in six months under his anti-drugs crackdown. And about a million drug dealers and users have handed themselves in to police.
 
Duterte (left) says he is acting to prevent the country from becoming a narco-state.
 
On Saturday – in a speech he made to businesspeople in Davao – he inserted his ominous warning: “I have to protect the Filipino people. It is my duty. And I tell you now, if  I have to declare martial law, I will declare it".
 
He added: "No one will be able to stop me”.
 
Does this mean that the killings haven’t helped to produce the outcome Duterte had expected – so much so that he has now threatened to impose martial law?
 
[Note: The last time martial law was decreed in the Philippines in 1972 under dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who said it was necessary to combat crime and a communist insurgency. It was lifted in 1981].
 
On Sunday, Liverpool and Manchester United drew 1-1.
 
A handball from Paul Pogba in trying to challenge Dejan Lovren earned the Reds a penalty. James Milner's footwork had too much accuracy even as the Red Devil goalie David de Gea went the right way.
 
Liverpool’s twenty-seventh minute lead was cancelled when Zlatan Ibrahimovic's headed in the equalizer in the eighty-fourth minute.
 
I was disappointed. The Reds are now third in the EPL table, seven points behind leader Chelsea.
 
Yesterday, I was in Jalan Hose in KL to attend the NAWEM Toastmasters meeting.
 
I delivered a CC #9 titled “Get Serious”. This is my project speech #517, CC Round #40.
 
Only three speeches remaining.