Monday, June 26, 2017

Disney Villains: The Musical

I found this 2-and-a-half-minute musical featuring Disney female villains – and I loved it. Methinks, these malefactors were just sadly misunderstood!

The Wall Street Journal has been regularly reporting on the 1MDB saga. And this has caused much displeasure and distress amongst PM Najib Razak's toadies.

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So much so that UMNO information chief and Ketereh MP Annuar Musa (above pic) declared Friday that WSJ is peddling fake news about Malaysia.
He labelled it as an “Israeli propaganda paper”, targeting successive UMNO-led governments and showing blatant favoritism towards the opposition over the last 19 years.
He further accused it of wanting to impose its own liberal secularist extremist agenda on Malaysia and therefore, Malaysians should not believe a word the WSJ says!
On the same day too, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi advised Malaysians to not mortgage our sovereignty and independence to the foreign media to dictate national politics.
To me, fake Members of Parliament like Annuar are worse than fake news. Assuming of course, that Malaysians believe the 1MDB stories are nothing more than fiction.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Zeti Akhtar Aziz: Irresponsible, ineffectual and impotent

Bank Negara Malaysia was powerless – unable to take further action than just some fines to “relevant bodies and financial institutions” over breach of regulations in relation to the 1MDB case.
This was the admission by former Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz (left), who added that the handling of the 1MDB case was one of her (supposedly) toughest moments in office, Sin Chew Daily reported.
Still, she boasted that Bank Negara has the most comprehensive laws, including the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 2009 and Financial Services Act 2013 to preserve the integrity, stability and healthy functioning of the financial system.
“So, we could issue letters of administrative compound to relevant bodies and financial institutions breaching Bank Negara’s regulations in the 1MDB case. I would say the fines were probably the highest in history”, she told the Chinese vernacular daily, explaining how the whole matter was settled with the fine being paid.
In March last year, BNM had said it would initiate “appropriate action” against 1MDB for failing to produce evidence it had used the allocated $1.83 billion for debt management and restructuring exercises overseas. 1MDB had initially cited these two reasons when asked why the money had not been repatriated to Malaysian shores.
BNM then fined 1MDB on April 28, giving the state-owned investment fund a May 30 deadline to settle the fine. 1MDB paid the fine on May 25, and with that, new BNM governor Muhammad Ibrahim said the central bank’s investigations into 1MDB had concluded.
The fine was one of the last actions by Zeti before she retired on April 30 last year, with deputy governor Muhammad Ibrahim taking over the next day.
She added that the primary objective of BNM in dealing with the 1MDB case was to ensure the integrity of the country’s financial system. And yet, in the same breath, she uttered that flaccid excuse that she did not have the power to prosecute.
On a related note, prior to the 1MDB probe, the central bank had already acted against AmBank, issuing a fine of RM53.7 million for breaching anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism finance obligations in relation to “politically exposed persons” – and of course, we know these were linked to the 1MDB scandal.
As far as I am concerned, Zeti had failed to do her job. She was irresponsible, ineffectual and impotent.

The 600-km Journey

The plains zebra, also known as the common zebra or Burchell's zebra (Equus quagga). Image credit:

A news story coming out of Africa reported that hundreds to thousands of animals will begin their journey from the Sango Ranch in the Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe to the Zinave National Park in Mozambique – in what is said to be one of the largest mass-movement of animals in the continent to date.
These safari stalwarts will travel 600km (or 370 miles) in an effort to help replenish animal numbers that were devastated during Mozambique's bloody 15-year civil war.
All government approval has reportedly been passed, so the only part left now is the actual task of transferring the animals. The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe note that the first batch of animals to be involved include 50 elephants, 50 kudu, 100 giraffes, 200 zebras, 200 buffaloes, 300 wildebeests and 900 impala.
These aren’t the only animals being transferred; thousands more are expected to relocate within the next upcoming years.
PWMA spokesperson Simukai Nyasha said: “For us this relocation is the perfect example how conservation in Africa works”.
Zimbabwe wildlife parks have been relocating animals for years. Although it’s not always in an attempt to replenish an animal species in a given area, it’s sometimes to humanely rid the regions of over-populations of various animals.

The World Taekwondo Federation has changed its name to World Taekwondo after becoming uncomfortable with the “negative connotations” of its acronym, WTF.
The name World Taekwondo Federation had been with them since 1973, but they had contemplated a change since the slang abbreviation ‘WTF’ gained currency on social media.
“In the digital age, the acronym of our federation has developed negative connotations unrelated to our organization and so it was important that we rebranded to better engage with our fans,” World Taekwondo president Chungwon Choue said.
World Taekwondo. What the…

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Selamat Hari Raya Semua!

This Hari Raya greeting card was created by Chrristine Ngiam. Thank you!
Selamat Hari Raya semua!
Setahun hanya sekali, meraihkan hari yang mulia ini!
Wonder women: Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot. Photo credit: Charbonneau/REX/Shutterstock

Wonder Woman” surpassed the $600 million mark worldwide Wednesday. Actually, tickets sales added up to $601.6 million, consisting of $289.2 million domestic and $312.4 million overseas.
And the superhero epic set a new milestone on Friday when it became the highest-grossing live-action film to be directed by a woman.
This means that the adventure blockbuster had eclipsed the $609.8 million racked up by “Mamma Mia!” the Abba musical that was directed by Phyllida Lloyd.
Comic fans loved “Wonder Woman”, praising it as a breath of fresh air after a series of downbeat comic book films such as “Suicide Squad” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”.

“Wonder Woman is set to be one of 2017’s biggest hits, a huge profitable success beyond the studio's expectations, acclaimed by both critics and audiences, and the biggest Warner DC Universe film that doesn't include Batman!

And Wonder Woman 2 is already a virtual lock.

An Emergency in the Making

Mahathir Mohamad (left) warned that the BN government will declare emergency and suspend Parliament should it lose marginally at the coming polls, i.e. GE14.
“The government will refuse to admit defeat. The opposition would be accused of cheating. No evidence would be needed for the government to declare this. The bullies of the BN will be ready to create instability”, the PPBM chairperson and former prime minister had written in his blog on Thursday.
He said the measures would include the setting up of a National Operations Council, similar to the emergency-era “Mageran” council following the 1969 race riots.
“At that stage the BN may offer monetary incentives to opposition MPs to cross over. Once the BN gains a sufficient majority, the emergency would be lifted and the BN would form a majority government”, said Mahathir.
The next general election must be held by the middle of next year. Mahathir signaled “worse” abuses in the 14th general election will occur compared to the ones listed by electoral reforms group Bersih 2.0 in the 2013 national polls.
I am sure there will be the usual shenanigans from Najib and company. And don't discount new surprises too.
Outgoing Area B3 Director Vicente Banaag Jr and I
Incoming Area B1 Director Kingston Lee, Area B3 Director Francis Sales and I
Yesterday, I was at Level 2, Wisma LYL in Petaling Jaya for the Standard Chartered GBS (previously called Scope) Toastmasters Club’s installation of the 2017-2018 exco. 
I was one of only 2 external guests invited  the other was Dr Thilla from Money Mastery Toastmasters Club. 

Anyway, I am deeply honored.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bashful Berguen/Bravuogn

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A Swiss community has introduced a bylaw banning tourists from taking selfies, Instagram pics and photos in general in a brash marketing ploy that claims the ban is for everyone’s own good. This was announced on May 30, 2017 by the local tourist office.
The scenic village of Berguen/Bravuogn, which has a German/Romansh double name – is located about an hour away from St Moritz, the well-publicized alpine resort – visitors who dare to pull out their camera or smartphone to snap photos of the quaint alpine village, mountain peaks and verdant valley floor, face fines of CHF5 (RM22), for violating the new law.
It is common knowledge that social media can stir feelings of jealousy, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and depression among users, officials say, particularly when scrolling through photos of stunning travel destinations – much like their quaint Swiss village.
“The municipality of Berguen/Bravuogn is beautiful. We don’t want to make the people outside of the community seeing photos of our picturesque landscape divided over social media and be unhappy, and so we invite them to visit and experience Berguen themselves”, said Peter Nicolay, the No. 1 man in a statement.
In addition to scrubbing their own social media accounts of photos that shamelessly showcase the village in all its natural beauty, the local residents came together and made a plea to NASA on Facebook, asking the space agency to delete or blur satellite photos that inadvertently – and unavoidably – capture its pictorial charm.
“Dear NASA, we are a small municipality in Graubuenden, Switzerland”, Nicolay said in a video message.
“We have discovered that pictures of our beautiful village are being shared on social media making other people unhappy because they cannot be here.
That’s why we have officially forbidden photography here, because we want everyone to be happy”.
Berg√ľn/Bravuogn has some 700 inhabitants. The 67 kilometer Albula Railway which crosses the village has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jamal Yunos Too Has Jewelry Worth RM120 Million

Najib Razak’s court jester is at it again!
With the US Department of Justice having filed a civil lawsuit seeking to recover $540 million in assets believed to have been bought with stolen 1MDB money – Red shirt leader Jamal Yunos yesterday pulled off another stunt.
He called a press conference and proudly showed off a necklace and ring – and claiming the jewelry pieces were valued at RM120 million. He even expressed the hope of auctioning them soon.
Jamal told the media: “If the DoJ wants to look for me, then this gives me an opportunity to travel to the United States”.
He scolded the opposition for being so gullible as to easily believe the DoJ claim that 1MDB funds were used to buy a 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace, worth $27.3 million for the wife of “Malaysian Official 1”.
Jamal said the claims by DoJ were targeted at Prime Minister Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor.
In any case, the DoJ’s 251-page document did not name either Najib or Rosmah, or seek court approval to seize the jewelry. So, what gives?
If we are to believe Jamal and the other Najib apologists, then the Americans are merely trying to stir trouble for our dear PM and wife.
Malaysians shouldn’t tolerate this!
Let’s hope that MO1 will summon the US ambassador to protest the lies perpetuated by the DoJ or instruct the PMO to file a countersuit against the federal executive department of the US government.
Or better still, get the Red Shirts to organize a thousand-only rally with placards denouncing American meddling – and if the MO1 can be a wee bit more generous, the assembled demonstrators can even buy an American flag for them to trample on and afterwards, burn.