Monday, February 8, 2016

Lunar New Year Kolam

Photos from Wong May Ing, ADUN Kawasan Pantai Remis

Only in Malaysia will you find a Lunar New Year kolam!
This particular kolam is at Guan Gong Temple in Pantai Remis in Manjung, Perak. This artwork to usher in the Year of the Monkey was created by Rukumani.  

I came across this interesting Maxim article from October 13, 2015. According to the American Society of Human Genetics, drinking one to two alcoholic beverages a day isn't a bad thing, in fact it's a good thing.
University of Iowa researchers delved into some old data and found that DNA was better at finding out how much people drank than asking. 
From that conclusion, they used DNA to assess how old the person's biological age was (how many years their body reflected) as opposed to their chronological age. It was here that they found those who drank one or two drinks per day were in much better shape. Plain and simple, you'll just age better than if you didn't drink at all.
So as long as you imbibe moderately, your body is going to reap the health benefits. So don’t feel guilty about quaffing that Tiger/Calsberg/Heineken/Asahi/Hoegaarden/Guinness because your body deserves it. And if you aren't satiated, don't feel bad about having seconds.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Year of the Monkey

Photo of apes, acknowledgment to:

Wishing Chinese everywhere, A Happy & Prosperous Lunar New Year!
Of course, it being the Year of the Monkey, the animal takes center stage. Check it out at Berjaya Times Square in KL’s Jalan Imbi:
As Malaysians usher in the Lunar Year of the Monkey, conservationists are hoping that this will lead to more awareness on the need to protect the primates whose numbers are fast diminishing in Sabah's forests.
Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan also nurtured the wish that more people will learn about primates and do their bit to help in conservation efforts.
Apart from the better known and endangered orang utan and proboscis monkeys, at least eight other species of primates in the state need help too: the Bornean gibbon, the slow loris, Western tarsier, langurs (the silver langur, Hose's langur and maroon langur) and long and pig-tailed macaques.
Orang utan (Pongo)
Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus)
Bornean gibbon (Hylobates muelleri)
Slow loris (genus Nycticebus)
Western tarsier (Cephalopachus bancanus)
Silver langur (Trachypithecus cristatus)
Hose's langur (Presbytis hosei)
Maroon langur (Presbytis rubicunda)
Long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
Southern pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina)
Yesterday, Liverpool thought they had the upper hand when they scored two goals, thanks to Roberto Firmino (59) and Adam Lalllana (70) but Sunderland magnificently managed to stage a comeback (82, 89) to end the match with a 2-2 draw.
Lame Liverpool have yet to win at Anfield in the EPL in 2016.

PM Najib Razak Left Red Nosed

An outpouring of solidarity for dissident artist Fahmi Reza in the form of posters shared online. Fahmi Reza Twitter pic, February 5, 2016

Colorful images of Prime Minister Najib Razak dolled up in chalk-white makeup, with a bright red gash for a smile and neon green (or occasionally lush orange) hair, greet visitors to the Facebook community page called Grupa.
Grupa is "Grafik Rebel Untuk Protes & Aktivisme", or in English, "Rebel Graphics for Protests and Activism" – which brought together graphic designers and digital artists to design posters for last year's Bersih 4.0 demo in Kuala Lumpur.
Now, they have set their sights on a new project: flooding social media with pictures of a clown-faced Najib – sometimes grinning, sometimes sad, and sometimes with a rose dangling from between his lips – along with the hashtag #KitaSemuaPenghasut (we are all seditious).  

We already know of Malaysia's award-winning cartoonist, Zunar (left)  who was arrested for sedition and had his books banned in 2010  for the crime of drawing satirical comics on the prime minister and his wife.

A sample of Zunar's cartoons:

In the case of Grupa, their antics are more than just a colorful dig at Najib.  

They told The Malaysian Insider they were risking arrest to stand up for fellow graphic artist Fahmi Reza (left), who posted the first clown caricature of Najib on his own Twitter on January 31, 2016, and promptly attracted police attention.
In Fahmi's debut clown poster of Najib, he drew a fang-like smile on the prime minister's face and sinister-looking eyebrows, with the caption: "In 2015, the Sedition Act was used 91 times. Tapi dalam negara yang penuh dengan korupsi, kita semua penghasut (but in a country that is full of corruption, we are all seditious)".
It was in response to the attorney-general's decision to close investigations into the RM2.6 billion found in Najib's personal bank accounts.
Clearly unimpressed, the Twitter account for the police's Cyber Investigation Response Center (@OfficialPcirc) warned him that he was under their surveillance – perhaps hoping the errant behavior will cease.
But Fahmi was undeterred and he posted a statement on Facebook in Malay, which translates to, "In a country that uses laws to protect the corrupt and oppress those brave enough to speak out, it is time we abandon all niceties when fighting the corrupt rulers".
And he also posted another satirical artwork on Twitter, using the hashtag #BigBrotherIsWatchingYou, an ode to George Orwell's 1984.
The activist, who recalled his arrest 12 years ago for drawing a poster on police brutality, didn't expect the Internet's graphic artist community to rise up with him in solidarity this time around.
The #KitaSemuaPenghasut movement was a "new wave graphic rebellion against the Old Order", he said, and the response has been overwhelming.
"It was beyond my expectations. It proved to me that I was not alone. There were others who share my outrage. Grupa is a breath of fresh air," said Fahmi.
The country is saddled with oppressive laws and Grupa, as well as Fahmi, risk running afoul of the law, more specifically Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. A conviction could land the artists a fine of up to RM50,000, a year's jail, or both.
But the prospect of having the police cyber unit clamp down on them doesn't seem to perturb Grupa. They said they were frightened of just one thing: being trampled over should they not voice out.
For now, the group plans to continue sharing clown images of the prime minister as long as it believes citizens are being repressed and denied their right to free speech and freedom of expression.

Besides receiving Facebook likes and shares, they gained international publicity when BBC Trending picked up the story on Wednesday under the title “PM left red nosed by censorship protest” (Refer
Pic from BBC Trending on February 03, 2016. Also Lim Kit Siang for Malaysia blog on February 04, 2016

Fahmi is confident Malaysia's #KitaSemuaPenghasut movement will herald a change in society.
"When people are emboldened to defy and stand up against injustice, it chips away at the power structure that keeps people docile".
Keep up the good fight!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

France Investigates Najib Razak’s Role in Sub Deal


French prosecutors have launched a formal investigation into whether Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was paid bribes over a long contentious $1.2 billion Scorpene submarine deal when he was defense minister.
The Paris prosecutor's office said Bernard Baiocco, former president of French defense group Thales International Asia, had been placed under formal investigation on suspicion of "bribery of foreign public officials" and "complicity in misuse of corporate assets", according to the Financial Times on Thursday.
This comes after Agence France-Presse reported that Baiocco was indicted on December 15 last year for paying “commissions” to Abdul Razak Baginda, a close friend of Najib. Abdul Razak admitted that he was paid €30 million (RM137 million) to consult on the arms deal, lobby for it and oversee the eight years of its execution – but he maintained the money was never used to bribe officials.
Baiocco's lawyer Jean-Yves Le Borgne denied it was corruption – adding that prosecutors had no proof to show Najib received the payment. He said the prosecutors were attempting “judicial acrobatics” in trying to prove the cash found its way to Najib or any government official.
A lot of money for being a middleman. I can try very hard to consider accepting the argument if Abdul Razak is a specialist with vast knowledge in submarine engineering or maybe even, weapons engineering to be able to give expert advice to the Malaysian government – rather than being a mere political analyst.
French prosecutors declined to name the Malaysian officials suspected of being bribed, said the FT report. But three persons close to the investigation told the newspaper that judicial documents named Najib and Abdul Razak.
The FT quoted a Malaysian government spokesperson as dismissing the allegations against Najib as "baseless smears for political gain". Furthermore, the Malaysian PM had not benefited from any payments linked to the 2002 contract.
And with an air of finality, he added firmly: "There is absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing and there never will be".
I suppose Najib would like us to believe that he has arse luck – being dogged by endless controversies that are not of his doing. He is innocent, after all.
Did you remember my post about the Saudi royal who was alleged to have made that RM2.6billion donation to PM Najib Razak – at this link  kindly consider the fact below:

Lies, lies, lies!

Red-costumed Heroes

The above Honda City advert poses an interesting question: “Do you realize that costumed heroes are always in red?”
“Red” is auspicious (吉利) to the Chinese and more so during the Lunar New Year celebration, when the color takes on an even more meaningful significance – which explains why red is so visible.
And so, I decided to address this Honda question.

After all, I am into superheroes too. So here’s what I came up with insofar as red costumed comic book heroes (and villains) are concerned  all thirteen of them!


Iron Man

The Flash
Scarlet Witch



Red Skull
Aberdeen breathed new life into the Scottish Premiership title race on Wednesday with a deserved 2-1 win against league leaders Celtic.
After a dominant start from the latter, Aberdeen exploded into life when Jonny Hayes fired home an unstoppable drive from 25 yards in the thirty-first minute. And Simon Church marked his debut with a goal when he bundled home from close range to make it 2-0 six minutes later.
Leigh Griffiths pulled one back in injury time (90+3), but the Dons held on to cut the gap on Celtic to three points.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Atria's Wishing Notes

Image credit:

On January 14, 2016, Atria Shopping Gallery in PJ's Damansara Jaya launched a Lunar New Year campaign in which they invited shoppers to join in on some in-mall activities to stand a chance at winning prizes. One was “The Tree of Dreams” aka the “CNY Wishing Tree”. [Actually, there was no tree but never mind!]
To participate, shoppers are required to purchase RM50 and above in a single receipt from any store in the said mall and make a CNY (i.e. Chinese New Year) wish at the wishing “tree” located at the mall’s public concourse. Lucky participants would then stand a chance at winning RM28,888 worth of shopping vouchers and gift sets.
This promo was supposed to run until February 22, 2016 but midway through, they decided to take down not just the wishes but the entire “tree” altogether. All because they discovered some shoppers (Atria claimed “a few persons” only) had wished for PM Najib Razak to “leave office”!

The make-a-wish stand in Atria Shopping Gallery, before it was removed by the management. Pic: Curi-curi Wang Malaysia Facebook page

Image credit:

To poorly-informed Atria, these "misguided" persons had “penned politically sensitive and possibly, defamatory statements on the Wishing Cards”
In a posting on Facebook at 04:42 PM on February 02, the Atria management said that the content in the said “wishing cards” were “the personal opinions of the persons who penned the note(s)” and that the Atria Shopping Gallery and their Management did not “endorse nor encourage the posting of such statements”.
How stupid can Atria management be? How can asking a public elected official to step down be considered defamatory? Is democracy on holiday?
Naturally, photos of the “wishes” in question have since been posted elsewhere on Facebook.

I wonder from which crevice did the Atria management crawl out from. Obviously, they don’t seem able to fathom the true wishes of the majority of Malaysians. If, as they say, it was only the work of a few people, why worry? I wonder also why they could be so chickenshit and yet still had the balls to censor the public’s wish list.
Atria has shown they are very out of touch with the sentiments of the Malaysian public. For sure, Atria is definitely not on my list of malls to chill out.
In the pre-digital age, many photographers would use a Polaroid camera to take a test image before getting down to serious shooting. The casual, throwaway nature of the medium often produced images that feel more relaxed than the final print, it is said.
A collection of those photos by the Italian American photographer Sante d'Orazio featured among others, Kate Moss. Picture perfect!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

After Ebola, Now Zika

The world can heave a big sigh of relief now that the two-year Ebola epidemic is “officially” over because the three worst-hit countries had been given the all-clear by the World Health Organization: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were declared Ebola-free on November 07, 2015; December 29, 2015; and January 14, 2016 respectively.
The tropical virus not only killed more than 11,300 and triggered a global health alert, but it wrecked the economies and health systems of the three above-mentioned countries. At its peak, it devastated the West African countries, with bodies piling up in the streets and overwhelmed hospitals recording hundreds of new cases a week.
Rick Brennan, WHO’s chief of emergency risk management, however, cautioned that "the job is still not done" – the disease can still re-emerge because of persistence of the virus in a proportion of survivors. Part of the challenge in combating outbreaks stems from the fact that the Ebola virus rapidly evolves.
In fact, Libera was first declared free of the disease last May, but new cases emerged two times – forcing officials there to restart the clock. And Sierra Leone had two cases in January 2016, after the World Health Organisation declared an end to the Ebola epidemic – reinforcing WHO’s reminder that risks remain.
The ravages of disease are not going to be over any time soon. Already, the World Health Organization declared on February 01, 2016 that the Zika virus has reached the status of a global emergency.
By deciding to declare that the mosquito-borne virus is a "public health emergency of international concern," it allows more money, resources and scientific research to be dedicated to addressing the growing disease.
The current viral outbreak was first reported in May 2015 in Brazil when the first confirmed cases were disclosed. But the cases quickly multiplied and now government officials believe that more than 1 million people have been infected in that country. WHO officials said that one reason for the rapid spread is that both people and mosquitoes have no immunity to the virus that is new to the region.
Zika has now affected 25 countries but for now, the WHO “found no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to restrict the spread of the Zika virus.”
Margaret Chan, the director-general of the WHO said the connection between the Zika virus and other neurological disorders is “strongly suspected, though not yet scientifically proven” – referring to both the microcephaly birth defects and the rare cases of paralysis known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
On Tuesday, Jamie Vardy's stunning double strike gave EPL leaders Leicester City a 2-0 win over Liverpool to maintain their title charge. The Foxes fully deserved their victory and that speaks a lot about the Reds’ performance.
On the same day too, I was in Menara Allianz Sentral (Nu Tower 1) in KL’s Jalan Tun Sambanthan – where I was the General Evaluator as well as a speaker. I delivered an Advanced speech from the Storytelling manual titled “A Father’s Lies”.