Sunday, January 3, 2010

Visa-free Status

I went to my first Toastmasters meeting of 2010 by attending the Shaklee Dynamic Family Toastmasters Club meeting in Subang Jaya. I was invited to evaluate CC Samuel Selvaraj who was doing his Advanced speech. And I was voted Best Evaluator. My reward? A book on “Liver Cleansing”! An interesting evening nevertheless – although I didn’t think the seating arrangements should be theater-style. I don’t know about the others but I didn’t feel engaged at all because save for the person on stage, we were all facing in one direction. I felt alienated, disconnected, passive.

It’s good to read that British High Commissioner, Boyd McCleary cleared the air regarding Malaysia’s visa-free status (Sunday Star, January 03, 2010, p N1). Revealing the good news, it seems that it is status quo on the visa issue because most Malaysians do not abuse their entry permits. Of course this contradicted Rustam Yahaya (Malaysian Deputy High Commissioner to Britain) who was earlier quoted as saying that the number of Malaysian overstayers had reached a “critical” level following a recent situation update by the UK Home Office, and that we are about to see our visa-free status being revoked. It is obvious from this that our Malaysian representative had jumped the gun. Sometimes it is good to keep our mouths shut until we have the full disclosure of facts from the right source – it doesn’t pay to conjecture. Besides, it is not Malaysia that will make that decision – so who are we to arrive at that conclusion? Embarrassing lah.

Rangers still topped the SPL table after a controversial backs-to-the-wall 1-1 draw against second-top city rivals Celtic. The latter scored first through Scott McDonald (79) but Lee McCulloch equalized for the Rangers (81). And Celtic were left angered when the referee disallowed a Marc-Antoine Fortune header from five yards – for a supposed foul on Rangers keeper Allan McGregor. I did think the goal should have been allowed though.

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