Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nicol David Wins US Open Title 3X in a Row

On Saturday, Nicol David, the seven-time world champion and five-time British Open winner, defeated Nour El Sherbini to win the US Open. She was just too good for the Egyptian teenager as she strolled to an 11-5, 12-10, 12-10 win.
David is the only player – male or female – in the 60-year history of the tournament to win the title three times in a row. Her cap must be overflowing with feathers!
On the same day too, in a Scottish Premiership match, Celtic easily trounced Ross County 5-0. But it is not that amazing a feat because the Staggies are the league’s bottom club. Still, Anthony Stokes netted a double (29, 56), with John Guidetti (11), Callum McGregor (14) and Jason Denayer (35) also on target as the champions produced a slick performance. At least the scoreline restores my faith in Celtic because they are not goal-shy at all.
In today’s EPL match, Liverpool just managed to carve a 3-2 win over QPR. Three goals in injury time – four in the final nine minutes. And two of the goals attributed to the Reds are own goals. What a relief! Is this the team that finished second last season? I can barely recognize it!
And just to get you really pissed off with Brendan Rodgers – the fool who poached five players from Southampton – the Saints still did a magnificent job of demolishing the Black Cats 8-0 in yesterday’s EPL game.
The “Allah” debate refuses to go away. Kuwait's Muslim Brotherhood leader Dr Tareq Suwaidan said yesterday that prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word "Allah" is ridiculous. There is no law within the Islamic realm which prevents the use of the word by non-Muslims. He also noted that there were many instances in Islamic history where non-Muslims had been encouraged to use the Arabic word "Allah".
Already, Indonesia’s Dr Ulil Abshar Abdalla had labeled Malaysian Muslims confused. And now they are referred to as being ridiculous. I wonder if Perkasa and Isma will lodge police reports to charge both these learned scholars for sedition.
After all, making Malaysian Muslims look dumb and dumber is seditious! In this country, anything spoken or written that irks the government is considered seditious.

Islamic State Brings Back Sex Slavery

Image credit:

The Islamic State is enslaving non-Muslims and treating them as “spoils of war”. The Yazidi community – a Kurdish-speaking minority who follow an ancient faith rooted in Zoroastrianism – suffered this fate when IS militants overran the Sinjar region in north-western Iraq.
In an article in its English-language online magazine Dabiq, the group provides what it says is religious justification for the sexual enslavement of defeated "idolators". The age-old custom of taking women and children as “war booty” had fallen out of use because of deviation from true Islam, but now they signaled their intent to revive this bygone practice.
The article on slavery confirms practices documented by Human Rights Watch, which says Yazidi women and girls were “sold into marriage” to Islamic State fighters (after forcing them to convert to Islam) and others were shipped out in busloads from Iraq to Syria to be sold off as prizes.
Islamic militants in Iraq have created slave markets, trading and selling women and children of Christian and Yazidi groups, according to UN investigators. At least 2,500 women and children have been imprisoned, sexually abused and sold off.
The slave markets in the al-Quds area of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria have been used as a way of attracting new recruits to Islamic State, the UN said according to a Times report.
One Yazidi woman was given to 10 Islamic State men. “We were sold for $10 or $12. Who could accept that behavior? Can God accept that?” the woman told Euronews.
“It’s a shame to rape a woman, but when she is raped by 10 men… what is this? They are animals, they are not humans”.
Another victim – a seventeen-year old said: “We’ve asked our jailers to shoot us dead, to kill us, but we are too valuable for them. They keep telling us that we are unbelievers because we are non-Muslims and that we are their property, like war booty. They say we are like goats bought at a market.”
Islamic State abides by a harsh form of Sunni Islam and has declared its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the ruler of the entire Muslim world. Mainstream Sunni scholars around the world have denounced the group and its interpretation of Islam.
The murderous group has hounded ethnic and religious minorities in northern Iraq since seizing the city of Mosul in June 2014, slaughtering and displacing thousands of Christians, Shia Shabaks and Turkmen who lived for centuries in one of the most diverse parts of the Middle East.
These are exploitative acts of terror against vulnerable women and children. The Islamists are using religion to advance their evil agenda.
If you read Islamic State’s slick and glossy Dabiq, you will know it preaches violence. And it makes a call to arms against all non-Muslims. The Islamic State view of Muslims being the rightful dominators of the globe: “Soon, by Allah’s permission, a day will come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master, having honor, being revered, with his head raised high and his dignity preserved. Anyone who dares to offend him will be disciplined, and any hand that reaches out to harm him will be cut off.”
Humanity is threatened. It is only a matter of time before IS strikes terror in our cities. When this happens, Islam will be blamed.
On Thursday, I was an Evaluator for Kyle Lowe’s tenth CC speech. He is our fourth CC for this 2014-2015 term and todate, we have nurtured ten Competent Communicators. Not bad for a nearly two-and-a-half year old club.

The Sunway University Toastmasters meeting wasn’t as rousing as our previous meetings – so much so that the General Evaluator was moved to remark that members appeared to be quite solemn and subdued. He likened us to “driving without handbrakes on”.
The meeting saw a decent attendance with thirty members and guests. It is regrettable that we started the meeting late – by four minutes. Therefore, I am obliged to give this meeting a score of 3.5 over 10.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ebola Deaths Rise to 4,555

Image credit: Marcos DiPaola

Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images
A total of 9,216 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in the seven affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America) up to the end of October 14, 2014. There have been 4,555 deaths.
Yesterday, British Army medics arrived in Sierra Leone as part of the international response to tackle the spread of Ebola. A team of 91, including nurses, doctors and infectious disease consultants, will join 40 soldiers already in the west African country to work at a UK-supported treatment centre, which has 12 of its 92 beds set aside for healthcare workers who risk infection while treating others.
Their arrival came ahead of the departure today of Royal Navy ship RFA Argus, which is due to reach the epidemic area by the end of the month with a further 225 military personnel from a total planned deployment of 750.
Meanwhile, the US of A is building 17 Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) across Liberia, a task that should be completed by the end of the year according to Ben Hemingway, the team leader for aid agency USAID's Disaster Assistance Response in Liberia. Six such units are already up and running, he said.
Adding to the “Allah” debate, Indonesian scholar Dr Ulil Abshar Abdalla had adjudged that Muslims who believe the word is exclusive to Islam are “confused” and noted the Arabic term predates Islam. The “Allah” word was/is a general term to refer to God.
This only confirms that we have a confused government, a confused PM and a confused Muslim population in the country.

Brave Lawyers Protest Against Sedition Act


For the fourth time in its history, the brave Malaysian Bar on Thursday rallied, this time, against the Sedition Act 1948 demanding that Putrajaya repeal the colonial-era law, which had been lavishly used against opposition politicians and activists. Numbers ranged from six hundred to nearly a thousand.
Among the prominent personalities present are Bar Council president Christopher Leong, former Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan, Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S Arulchelvan and opposition parliamentarians Teo Nie Ching, Nga Kor Ming, and Gobind Singh Deo. As well as reps from the journalist’s group Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) are also present at the protest.
Spotted was one particularly good-humored placard that read: “Bloody hell it’s hot. Abolish the Sedition Act and let’s go for ice cream.”
Bar Council president Christopher Leong called for more open-mindedness among Malaysians.
"We believe in robust debate, diversity of opinion as well as freedom of speech and expression that will ultimately inculcate and maintain true and enduring peace, harmony, unity and mutual respect amongst Malaysians," he said.

Leong added that the use of the Act was counter-productive to these values. I agree. The Act undermines the aspirations of every right-thinking Malaysian. Except for the idiots who are for the Act and paid to create mayhem.

The government may be under mounting pressure to do away with this piece of legislation but UMNO fascists like Tanjong Karang MP Noh Omar had on Monday advocated that the government treat sedition suspects as guilty until proven innocent!
On Friday, squash queen Nicol David who is eyeing a record third successive title in the $115,000 US Open tournament demonstrated her superiority to defeat Egypt’s Raneem El Welily 11-3, 15-13, 6-11, 11-7.
Standing in David’s path will be yet another Egyptian – 18-year-old sensation Nour El Sherbini.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pigs Make the World Go Round

Christien Meindertsma, author of "Pig 05049" shares with us the astonishing afterlife of the ordinary pig, parts of which make their way into at least 187 non-pork products, from bullets to artificial hearts.

Thanks to Kevin Wu for sharing this TEDTalk video:
World No. 1 Nicol David saw off national No. 2 Low Wee Wern 11-6, 11-4, 11-9 in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Tuesday. The former’s semi-final opponent is Egyptian world No. 3 Raneem El Welily.
BTW, in the latest rankings released on October 01, 2014, Low jumped up two spots from No. 7 in the world following her excellent effort in winning the China Open last month, beating France’s world No. 6 Camille Serme in the final. She is only the second Malaysian woman to be in the world’s top five.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Malaysia's Pig Population

Ridhuan Tee Abdullah loves controversy. In his October 13, 2014 column in Sinar Harian, the madcap lecturer wrote about his infatuation with the swine population in the country. But he illustrated it with iridescences of irony. "I do not insult pigs because pigs are Allah's creatures. But I cannot accept pigs outnumbering cows, chickens, goats and ducks in an Islamic country”.
He is clearly unhappy that the country has a surplus of pigs and that many of the hogs are exported. Obviously, the fact that an Islamic country is sending porkers overseas is reprehensible, repulsive and repugnant to him. He is also alarmed that Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali might give approval to the RM100 million integrated pig farming project in Selangor.
Then he started to bellyache about his fellow Chinese. Calling on Muslims to open their eyes, Ridhuan said whatever he writes comes from his heart (“it is presumptuous of him to believe he actually has a heart”) and that he knows better about the "ultra kiasu", a term he uses to describe those who challenge the position of Malays and Islam – a loose reference to the Chinese community.
He clarified: "If they are good, adhere to the constitution, acknowledge the right of Islam, the Malay race and language, the bumiputera and Malay rulers, I will keep quiet”.
Furthermore: "But if they oppose, I will not remain silent because they are the enemy, they want to build a nation within a nation".
The way he babbles, you would think that just as New Zealand is overrun with sheep, in this country, we are besieged by pigs. Pigs, pigs and pigs everywhere!
Yesterday, I made the rain-soaked trip to Setia Avenue in Seksyen U13, Setia Alam, Selangor to attend the EcoWorld Toastmasters Club meeting. I was stirred by members' hospitality and swayed by their enthusiasm.

Not forgetting too, the food (I must have been impressed because Emily Bong and I took photos) and more importantly, the meeting itself was both energizing and enlightening. Sure, there’s a lot they can improve on but they have their hearts in the right places. That itself is a good harbinger of better things to come. Speeches were good and they had equally good evaluations from experienced Toastmasters. I am happy they started on time and I am giving this meeting a 7 over 10 score.