Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mid-year Review

Here's my so-called mid-year achievements. They are nothing to shout about but at least, I am making some progress.

Year 2011 Resolution List

1. Write my Ph D proposal and submit for admission into the program - Sigh, not yet!
2. Publish three academic papers - I am determined to start July.
3. Achieve Toastmasters' recognitions ALB & ALS - Achieved ALB in April 2011; 50% achieved.
4. Charter Sunway University Toastmasters Club - On hold.
5. Start my second Masters - Decided on Northumbria University but checking on fees, etc.
6. Write two short stories and get them published - Work in progress.
7. Yield 39,000 pageviews for my blog - I have already surpassed the target; as at June 30, 2011, I have 46,380 pageviews, having achieved a commendable 118.9%.

The next six months are important.

The Price of Democracy

Yesterday, Taman Indrahana Toastmasters had their Installation Dinner at the Overseas Restaurant, PJ. The outgoing club officers (that includes me – I am serving as the Vice President Education 2010-2011) were duly discharged and the incoming officers installed. And the other highlight of the evening was the recognition I received as the Toastmaster of the Year 2010-2011. Sumptuous dinner, warm fellowship, solemn observance – all in all, a great evening!

Today's Star again brought readers' attention to Ng Yen Yen's sweeping statement that the tourism industry could lose up to RM1 billion if the Bersih rally goes on as planned (p 12). To ignorant people like her, she has yet to learn that electoral reforms must happen before we can have true democracy. And the price of democracy is incalculable. For Malaysian voters to be at liberty to elect a government that will actually serve the interests of citizens is something worth fighting for.

As usual, the Tourism Minister is again shooting her mouth off because if there are fair and free elections tomorrow, MCA will be sent packing and she will certainly lose her job. Maybe that's a good thing because she doesn't have to hide the fact that she has Australian PR and she does not have to pretend to be a patriotic Malaysian! She is free to leave Malaysia. Then I will say, good riddance to her. Finally.

Yellow Fever is Dangerous


If you think Hishammuddin Hussein has gone bananas, wait till you hear what the Inspector-General of Police has decided. Ismail Omar is giving the order that the police will not only arrest those supporting Bersih T-shirts but may also take action against anyone using any medium to promote the illegal rally. Yesterday, he told reporters at the Bukit Aman police headquarters: "Not just T-shirts, but shoes, cars, buses. if these are the tools used to encourage people to gather (illegally), this amounts to sedition" (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/igp-says-cops-to-arrest-those-with-pro-bersih/shoes/cars/buses/, posted June 29, 2011).

Imagine if yellow is associated with Bersih - then those of you sporting anything yellow will be viewed with suspicion by the police as promoting Bersih. Malaysians, you have been forewarned that you risk arrest if you are flaunting yellow.

Don't contract "yellow fever" - it may be hazardous to your health!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bersih T-shirts Outlawed


Only in Malaysia! Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced today that the Bersih T-shirts have been outlawed. He told reporters: "The Bersih T-shirt is related to an illegal assembly, then whatever they are wearing is illegal". It is a bizarre situation. The Bersih movement is not outlawed. The Bersih word is not outlawed. The Bersih T-shirts are! Maybe the color "yellow" has got something to do with it? I dunno. Do you?

The Malaysian Insider carried this report yesterday that MCA members are forbidden from marching in the Bersih 2.0 rally and Chua Soi Lek threatened to take disciplinary action against those arrested at the rally. As he declared: "We cannot accept the objective of this illegal rally". Of course he cannot support fair and free elections lah! If there were fair and free elections, then we wouldn't need Bersih 2.0, right? Besides, it is not a question of whether the rally is legal or illegal, but whether it is right or wrong.

Another thought just crossed my mind. If MCA will not support Bersih, this can only mean that they are supporting Perkasa! It's simple really - you either subscribe to Bersih for fair and free elections or you endorse dirty politics! MCA members must choose.

The Real Hong Kong

We see Hong Kong through rose-tinted glasses. The Cantonese drama serials on telly and Astro give us insights into the lives of the people there, even though we know that these represent the celluloid version only. And because the city has an enviable reputation as an international financial center, we seem to be under the impression that Hong Kong is affluent and prosperous.

But there is also the gritty side of Hong Kong which is not often seen; some say carefully hidden. The following pictures of urbanites living in confined and cramped spaces present us with another look at the real Hong Kong:

Najib's PR Extravaganzas

Najib Razak is embarking on a massive public relations exercise to win Malaysian hearts and votes! Nothing new except that these events promoting him and his BN government are costing tax payers a lot of money, whether directly or indirectly.

Putrajaya spent a humongous RM27 million to mobilize one million youths (that is, if you believe the numbers that were generously being bandied about) for the three-day National Youth Day celebrations - eighteen times the initial RM1.5 million budget (Webpage http://themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/rm27m-spent-on-million-youths-meet/, posted June 13, 2011). Also to promote the Government Transformation Program (GTP) and Economic Transformation Program (ETP), Putrajaya's media spending was another sizeable RM7.2 million (Webpage http://themalaysianinsider.com/print/malaysia/government-spent-rm7.2m-to-promote-najibs-gtp-etp/, posted June 28, 2011.

Najib's intentions to buy popularity are not cheap at all. When will we stop bankrolling him for these extravaganzas?

Parti Sosialis Malaysia claims that the party is being made a scapegoat by the authorities to prevent the Bersih 2.0 street rally from taking place on July 09. Their secretary-general S Arutchelvan said the use of Section 122 of the Penal Code (for waging war against the King) against the thirty PSM members who were arrested in Penang on Saturday was an underhanded move by the police to justify this. He added that the arrest was planned to create a situation where police would have reason to carry out more arrests.

And communism became the bogeyman just because police found red T-shirts bearing past socialist leaders (i.e. Chin Peng, Abdullah CD, Rashid Maidin and Suraini Abdullah) on the group (Star, June 28, 2011, p 08). Preposterous, isn't it? Ibrahim Ali and Utusan can make all the seditious remarks they wish and still get away with it but it is treason if you wear the wrong T-shirt!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

King of Durians

Thirty-one others joined me at the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting this evening. Five speakers had lined up to impress us and although all delivered good speeches, I particularly liked the second speech because it introduced me to this fascinating country called Mongolia. The speaker, Undarmaa Gansukh – a student at Sunway University – even showed pictures of her home country and I vowed to visit the country one fine day. Alice Ong, her evaluator even remarked that Mongolian men are good-looking and my self-worth scurried away to hide. I also took on the role of evaluating Lim Thian Seng's speech but this time, I wasn't voted Best Evaluator. Instead, Chan Siew Peng deservedly received the said recognition and the ribbon. A great meeting was had by Toastmasters and non-Toastmasters alike and I know this meeting scored an 8 out of a ten. A superb evening.

I read about Tan Eow Chong’s durians which are of the Raja Kunyit variety (also referred to as “Mao San Wong”) that were adjudged the “Champion of Champions” in a durian competition held in conjunction with the Penang Fruits Festival 2011. According to Tan, the durian comes from a tree that is 20 years old. Each fruit costs RM70 (Star, June 27, 2011, p 24).

This type of durian is recognized by durian lovers as the best-of-the best in the durian line-up. This is a highly-priced fruit which has flesh that is a golden yellowish in color with a creamy texture and a bittersweet taste. All of a sudden, I feel like gorging durians. Anybody care to join me?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Christians Agitate

I drove to the Tropicana Golf & Country Resort Clubhouse to attend the Crystal Toastmasters Club meeting this evening. The last time I paid them a visit was in January 2010 and so, I reckoned it was about time I paid another visit. I took on the role of the grammarian and it was a pleasant surprise to see fellow Indrahanians, Ho Fong Ming and Dr Devi Menon there too. As always the meetings were educational and enjoyable, and this meeting was no exception. I would give this meeting an 8 out of a 10 and yes, I enjoyed myself very much!

On May 07, 2011, Utusan Malaysia front-paged the Christian plot to install a Christian Prime Minister and make Christianity the official religion. And today Utusan Malaysia had alleged (again) that Christian funds are financing the Bersih rally! Hmmm, let me see if I can understand the convoluted story so far. Christians are up to their evil mischief and they are seeking to overthrow the government through demands of fair and free elections! Wow! This malefic group is going all out to take over the country and they are abetted by a sinister rainbow coalition of activists (i.e. NGOs, e.g. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia, Lawyers for Liberty, Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia), Islamists (PAS), communists (PSM supposedly), lawyers (Ambiga and the Bar Council) and the opposition (the Pakatan Rakyat clique). If we are to believe Utusan, this will be a second attempt at Christianizing the country.

It does sound like a tall tale, does it not? In fact, the Malaysian Insider’s Jahabar Sadiq even suggested: “Can Putrajaya please cut subsidies for laughing gas? I can laugh without further state help”! At least, he could see the lighter side of things – but how many Malaysians have his intelligence? Or his sensibilities?

Whether it is a a laughing matter or not – the fact remains that Utusan has an aberrant fixation, even perverse obsession with Christians – the former seemingly painting the latter as maleficent villains, ever-ready to pounce on this unsuspecting country to proselytize the non-Christian population.

My concern is that Malaysians are generally not serious readers. Therefore, they will continue to turn to Utusan for their entertainment pleasure. I have to admit that these guys helming the newspaper are better than James Cameron – what is Avatar compared to Utusan?! Imagination runs riot at Utusan, a chimera of a place where the truth is stretched and manipulated until it becomes a falsehood that is then cleverly presented as a.believable fact.

I have no wish to see Christians being on the receiving end. But Iike it or not, they are Utusan's whipping boys. Surely, their readers are not so stupid as to swallow all the poppycock dished out by this racist and religious-bigoted newspaper? With all the trashy news that we are exposed to daily – whether they are from Utusan, New Straits Times, The Star and others – is it any wonder newspaper circulation in this country is declining? Are you surprised? Well, I'm not!

Bersih 2.0 Rally

Bersih 2.0 issued a statement last night: "As a movement, we have no interest whatsoever in the political momentum of any political party - our goal is to make the electoral system truly free and fair so that all political parties in Malaysia, bar none, can contest on a level playing field, where the rakyat can freely choose whoever they think is best to lead them".

Doesn't the above make sense? Every Malaysian should be united in wanting free and fair elections! In fact, the rally presents the best opportunity for Najib to show the progressive views he has espoused. "He can conclusively do so simply by allowing the July 09 rally to proceed unhindered and by directing all government agencies to cooperate fully with all involved to ensure that each and every Malaysian wishing to exercise their constitutional right may do so...".

Bersih added: "As the final authority in the government, any crackdown on civil society, refusal to guarantee the safety of Malaysians on July 09, or rhetoric that unfairly demonizes patriotic, peace-loving citizens will be a tragic reflection of the failure of the prime minister to live up to their promises and the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Malaysian people".


Image credit: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/6/27/nation/8979534&sec=nation

But, alas, this plea has fallen on deaf ears. The powers-that-be are in the strangling grip of Bersih hysteria! Police have already said they are not issuing any permit for the rally. They have started arresting people over the weekend. Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein even mentioned that the ISA was being considered. The general idea is to strike fear amongst Malaysians so that they will shy away from participating in the Bersih rally. Woe betide this country if we cannot even assemble peacefully!

Have the authorities not learnt anything at all? Recall that when police used high-handed tactics to subdue fifty thousand demonstrators in 2007, BN lost five states and the two-thirds majority in Parliament. if police persist in this same stunt - come GE13, who knows, it may be all over for BN. Stop being the tyrant. Listen to the people. For the country's sake!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lady Gaga in Japan


Lady Gaga gave an epic ten-minute performance at the MTV Video Music Aid Japan concert on Saturday to benefit the Japanese Red Cross and help the people suffering from the massive earthquake-tsunami that hit the country earlier this year. For the 30 million households on MTV Japan, MTV Korea, MTV SEA and MTV China that got to see the concert live on television, I am told it was a performance to remember. Lady Gaga has already donated more than $2.3 million, most of it out of her own pocket, to aid victims.

I came across this really cute "art piece" of Broccoli House by Brock Davis on webpage http://laughingsquid.com/broccoli-house/ughingsquid.com/broccoli-house/, posted June 25, 2011.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Retard Named Muhyiddin

I find this news report from The Malaysian Insider confusing (Webpagehttp://www.themalaysianinsider.com/print/malaysia/muhyiddin-insists-bersih-political-threat-to-security/, posted June 25, 2011) because it makes Muhyiddin Yassin look like a genuine retard! .

Muhyiddin has deemed the July 09 Bersih rally as politically-motivated and a threat to national security as well as the country’s reputation. Even if his remarks are idiotic, it is his personal opinion after all.

For the uninformed, Bersih or the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections was established in 2006 by opposition parties and civil society organizations to pursue clean and fair elections. However, the leadership decided to transform the coalition into a purely civil society movement, doing away with political involvement, renaming it Bersih 2.0.

I said I was confused because when UMNO Youth and right-wing group Perkasa wanted to carry out separate rallies to rival Bersih’s – Muhyiddin had the cheek to defend the counter rallies and said it was “normal” to have counter groups to any movement. I shouldn’t be surprised because the planned Bersih rally has already sent chills down BN’s spine – hence the many public pronouncements to condemn Bersih. Didn’t Muhyiddin himself made the statement accusing the opposition of hiding behind the Bersih 2.0 rally to topple the ruling BN government? (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/muhyiddin-says-opposition-using-bersih-rally-to-topple-bn/, posted June 18, 2011).

Is he really, really stupid or what?

I received this photo of my WOU’s CEMBA students taken on the last day of class (i.e. May 22, 2011). A nice bunch of people! Stay in touch, people!

The Man in the Video

The Star – referring to the sex tape case – bragged on their front page today that “It is Anwar”, making direct reference to the man in the video.

The government-obedient newspaper reported that the infamous Datuk T trio, Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, Shuaib Lazim and Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik were slapped with fines totaling RM5,500 by a magistrate court for their public screening of the said sex video at Bilik Seri Makmur, Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur, between 10 AM and noon, on March 21.

Based on the statement of facts that were presented in a magistrate's court yesterday, US 'experts' from Dartmouth College were quoted as saying that the video was authentic and that the man in the video was 99.99% likely to be Anwar Ibrahim. Of course, details are sketchy but it has already been claimed that these experts had established the facts and there should be no more doubt as to the identity of the man in the video.

All I can say at this stage is that coming from a country that can produce Avatar, anything is possible – so I still don’t buy the so-called expert opinion!

As DAP's Lim Kit Siang said: “What is the probative value and credibility of such expert evidence when they are not challenged or tested by other expert testimonies, reducing them to the status of one-sided accounts not much better than mere hearsay?"

This photo of the smiling Datuk T trio tells me that these smug conspirators seem to be acting out a scene from a well-rehearsed play about Malaysia’s Machiavellian politics.

Zombies Ahead

I presented a CC speech # 5: Your Body Speaks at the MIHRM Toastmasters meeting yesterday. It was titled 'The Day My Father Died". Although the verdict was that I had presented a good speech - I couldn't agree with the evaluation because I believed it was a below-average effort. It may have been an impromptu speech but this time, I was not very eloquent. Maybe because I was tired. Or I had been trapped in long meetings since 12:30 PM. Sure, my speech had organization, vocal variety and importantly, body language - but compared to my previous speeches, this one was admittedly, just not-good-enough! I know I could have done much better than this! A low-key meeting and I would confer it a 5 out of a 10.


Image credit: http://nky.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20110623/NEWS0103/30623004
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Zombies have invaded America - if you believe this electronic road sign that was spotted on Thursday on southbound Interstate 71/75 warning of "Zombies Ahead". The boingboing.net posting mentioned that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet thought it to be a practical joke! Police there did confirmed that there were no reports of zombies.


It is believed that hacking electronic highway signs with zombie warnings is apparently a popular pastime across the US of A. Hackers have been blamed for posting zombie alerts in at least six states. In March, hackers cautioned drivers at the North Carolina/South Carolina line of zombies ahead. Hackers posted the same message in Boulder, Colorado earlier that month. Zombie messages have also been posted in Indiana, Texas and Illinois.

But you can never be too sure about these things, can you? haven't you watched Resident Evil? So is anybody tracking if drivers are disappearing? Just because you don't come across any roaming zombies, doesn't mean there are no zombies in the vicinity, right?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Idris Talks Cock Again

Geoff Andrew invited me to the UCSI Alumni Toastmasters meeting yesterday, where I was the General Evaluator. I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be a delightful affair because four UCSI students volunteered to take up roles, three came forward to speak extemporaneously and another three did their maiden Ice-breaker speeches. As for the trio (Seren Ho, Jenny and Sri Ram) who took their first baby steps to public speaking, they really impressed me because they weren't nervous and better still, they didn't even rely on notes. And the first two speakers didn't hide behind the lectern at all. Even if the meeting started seventeen minutes late - I will still pronounce this meeting a success because enthusiasm flourished and commitment pledged. This meeting deserves an 8 out of a 10 on my scorecard. For a newbie club, this is an astonishing achievement and their members should rightfully be proud of what they did last evening.

Putrajaya' efficiency unit, PEMANDU believes the economy can weather inflation of up to five percent for up to three years - so said Idris Jala (The Malaysian Insider, June 23, 2011). Hey stupid! I am not as concerned about the economy as I am worried about ordinary Malaysians having to endure a spate of price hikes that keep on spiraling! And if government bureaucrats must know, purchasing power has declined significantly. Already Malaysians grow increasingly doubtful over official inflation figures and critical of the prices that they have to pay in relation to their incomes. As The Malaysian Insider has revealed on April 19, 2011, the 2010 Prices and Wages report by Swiss bank, UBS AG showed that residents in Kuala Lumpur have only 33.8 percent the purchasing power of their counterparts in New York, 42.0 percent that of London, 33.7 pecent that of Sydney, 32.6 percent that of Los Angeles and 31.6 percent that of Zurich.

As for the economy, it is really hard to say how we are faring because market distortions are a common feature of the Malaysian economy. There is a dire need for market reforms and most economists will tell you that this can be done if we dismantle entrenched monopolies and eradicate market inefficiencies. Simply put, markets have to be more competitive. As yet, I have not seen any inclination to push for change! Where has courage been hiding all this while?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Price Escalation

Have you noticed how prices are just shooting up? I am griping and grumbling and I am sure there are others out there who are feeling the pinch and also complaining loudly.

I read in The Malaysian Insider that the price increases reflect a 2.9 percent hike in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the first four months of 2011 but more since June when Putrajaya cut diesel subsidies for hauliers and trawlers, adding to the price of basic food items and other goods.

Skyrocketing prices will surely fuel anger. Putrajaya had said that the June 01 subsidy cuts would save RM659.30 million but we were kept in the dark as to where the savings went to. All we hear are wasteful web campaigns, jet-setting cabinet ministers and their groupies, over-priced buildings that nobody wants, rail systems that cost more and do less, suspect military hardware and the list goes on. So, PKR is right to target the working class votes because Malaysians’ disenchantment is growing by the day.

Alexander Munk's 'Magic Carpet" is really a clever and versatile piece of furniture that goes from sleepmat to lounger to cocoon with the assistance of straps threaded through the forks running down its edges. You may wish to check out webpage http://www.alexandermunk.com/index.php?/product/sasan--flexible-furniture/ - it's in German though.

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A VIsionary

Yesterday, I drove to Damansara Uptown where I was scheduled to deliver CC speech # 4 titled "Pain" at the Deloitte KassimChan Toastmasters meeting. Time-keeping was virtually non-existent for the meeting started late and even the special presentation by Daniel Teh exceeded the time given. I could only shook my head in disappointment. And worse, Daniel was predictably long-winded and boastful. Coming to my speech, it was only so-so and I knew even then that it was a challenge to produce my best because it was as if all of us were put under a spell of dreary detachment. Sure, the meeting wished for more enthusiasm and energy but discovered too late that we were actually the ones contributing to this torpid sense of listless ennui. I have to admit that I was one of them! I would give this meeting a score of 5 out of a 10 - the saving grace is that there were thirteen participants.

The Star newspaper on Tuesday featured Jeffrey Cheah (left), Sunway Group Chairman and highlighting the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation as his platform to improve and change the lives of bright Malaysian students (StarBiz, p 4). Here, I read that he was inspired by English clergyman, John Harvard who, upon his death in 1638, donated his entire library of books and half his wealth to an education institution which is today renowned as Harvard University. The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation aspires to be the "Harvard of the East" (line 90) - and this is similarly reflected in his personal motto: "I aspire to inspire before I expire". A fascinating visionary.

BMB3303 Projects

Today, I am putting up video clips of my BMB3303 students’ class presentations. Enjoy…


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

BMB2206 Projects

Since last week, my BMB2206 students have been presenting their Marketing Management projects. I am featuring four of the video clips that these students have produced:


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Cowardly Star

Nine Toastmasters attended the KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting yesterday. Although we were small in numbers, it was still a good meeting. I delivered CC speech # 3 titled “The Joy of Speaking” and my evaluator was a first-timer, UEM’s Rahayu Rais. In my books, this meeting has earned a score of 7 out of a 10.

This is interesting. A poll on the July 09 Bersih rally by the Star's online edition has disappeared after registering nearly one million responses. The question on the poll reads: "What is your view on the proposed Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9?" to which 99 percent of the respondents chose the answer “It should be allowed to go on”, as opposed to the remaining option, “It should be cancelled”. The result showed that 99% of respondents were in support of this rally.

According to Harakah Daily today, at press time (i.e. 5:25 PM), not only the question has been reverted to an earlier poll about Ron95 petrol purchase by foreign-registered cars, its result was also missing from its archives. Earlier, the result page for the poll showed a page with the message "Record not found".

I now know that the Star editors are just worth their weight in chickenshit seeing how cowardly they are! But then again, they take after the MCA. What do you expect?

The number of respondents is possibly the highest recorded by any online poll conducted by the online edition of the Star, which boasts of the highest number of visitors among other mainstream dailies with internet presence. The poll result clearly demonstrates how much Malaysians yearn for free and fair elections!

Double Standards

I read this on Malaysia Today. On June 17, 2011, the police had issued a permit for Perkasa to organize a rally. The permit was issued merely one day after Perkasa applied for it (i.e. June 16, 2011). Normally, one needs to apply for the permit 14 days before the planned rally. But for Perkasa, no problem lah. Talk about double standards!

Image credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hoIqOCz6fuU/Tf4JHAm2kyI/AAAAAAAAODM/Ze87IMkMWXs/s1600/perkasa-ambiga-fire.jpg

This particular assembly was to be held at the Kelab Sultan Sulaiman on June 19, 2011 (where Pakatan Rakyat once tried to organize a rally but was rejected on grounds of “security”) was expected to attract 2,000 participants – in truth, only about 500 of their supporters came. It was here that the demented Ibrahim Ali proclaimed himself a “war general” and declaring that he will not be held responsible for any untoward incidents which may occur if electoral reform coalition Bersih goes through with their July 09 rally. And to make things even more incendiary, this blockhead had the cheek to mouth: “Imagine if chaos erupts... If the Bersih rally is not cancelled... I believe the Chinese community will have to stock up on food”.

Image credit:http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hoIqOCz6fuU/Tf4JHAm2kyI/AAAAAAAAODM/Ze87IMkMWXs/s1600/perkasa-ambiga-fire.jpg

Ibrahim also proceeded to conjure his venomous malevolence, and direct his vile bombast at Bersih organizing chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan – described in a flyer as “a dangerous Hindu woman” – and stridently stating that she was working for foreign powers seeking an excuse to interfere in Malaysia’s internal affairs. He cited the former Bar Council president’s defence of Lina Joy’s right to convert from Islam and her involvement in the interfaith council as examples of her repeated “illegal actions”. The truth is, it is rabble-rousing Ibrahim who is the personification of everything that is prejudiced and racist; a demagogue who is revolting, repugnant and repulsive. And yes, dangerous too.

The first Bersih rally was in 2007 and it saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital's streets, before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannon. For this year’s Bersih rally, Perkasa and UMNO Youth have already sounded the battle cry that they will mobilize their supporters – also on July 09 – to counter the former. The Bersih organizers have been warned by the police that they will come down hard on demonstrators but Perkasa and UMNO Youth are spared of their kindly advice. Double standards again!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Quiet Support



The 4-hour MINES Cruise served as the setting for the D’Utama Advanced Toastmasters Club Celebration Dinner on Saturday. Nancy Liew, the club President and Organizing Chairperson fussed over every detail, and to be sure, it was indeed a classy event which everybody enjoyed. I was asked to be the invocator to kick-start the evening and I .talked about ‘reflections”. In fact, Dr. John Lau, First International Vice President – and a member of this club – talked on the same subject too. A coincidence, it is not – after all, great minds think alike! Duh!

I read in The Star (p 21) today that at least ten BN MPs have ‘quietly' joined the fight against the proposed rare earth processing plant in the Malaysian state of Pahang. PKR MP Fuziah Salleh alleged that these MPs had not done this blatantly for fear of being labeled supporters of the opposition because this protest action was initiated by her. She added that the MPs could have reservations about objecting to the Lynas plant openly after Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob accused MCA reps in the state for behaving like the Opposition over the project. These dissenters have no guts – they fear for their positions more than they care for the health and safety of their constituents. Shame on them!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Soi Lek's Flagrant Fatuity



I was one of four speakers today who delivered our final speeches from the Competent Communication manual. (There was a fifth speaker who did CC speech # 2 but because this was the last meeting for the 2010-2011 term, the four of us basked in the limelight). I had the honor of having Dr. Arthur Robinson as my evaluator and he was very articulate and eloquent when he spoke about my performance – a speech titled “Be Fearless”. I had actually prepared a draft of the speech for my evaluator’s attention – as per his request – but at the last minute, I changed it significantly, especially my introduction. I didn’t know why I did what I did – but I did it. Still it was a good speech and I was duly voted the Best Project Speaker. It became a double joy when affable Robinson too was voted the Best Evaluator

And guess what? Thannimalai, District 51 Governor flew in from Penang this morning to be our General Evaluator – so there was a deluge of excitement as you can imagine that swept through the meeting room. All in all, it was a great session of speeches and evaluations. I would score the meeting an 8 out of a 10. And I was made to understand that this club has now made it as a Great Club! Now, this is a great achievement!

Chua Soi Lek proved to be even stupider than many idiots I know when he waded into the controversy surrounding the RM1.8 million paid for six Facebook pages. His foolish remark about these pages operated by the Tourism Ministry being “complicated” and cost more to run than similar personal pages on Facebook made me cringe with despairing disbelief. And he plunged even deeper into the Stygian abyss of flagrant fatuity when he said that it was difficult to put a dollar figure to the creativity of the IT consultants used, which he suggested was the largest variable in the bill. So Malaysian taxpayers might as well issue a blank check to these technology priests who excel in dastardly deception. And if he cannot see what we see – which is a very pedestrian Facebook page – perhaps, his long-suffering wife should take him to the optometrist to have his eyes checked. I won’t prescribe anything for his lack of intelligence because he hasn’t any to begin with.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Asleep on the Job

Singapore's Straits Times reproduced this news story of a Singaporean (i.e. Eric) who told of his experience with unmanned checkpoint booths to citizen journalism website STOMP. Eric had claimed that a Malaysian checkpoint officer had "allowed" him to pass through without stamping his passport.

His story: "My wife and I had a similar encounter with an unmanned booth that showed the green light, with the barricade lifted up. Fortunately, we were on our way out of the country. When it was our turn, we stopped at the booth and looked inside. There was an immigration officer who sat in the background, arms folded and expressionless. The lights insider were not switched on. Thinking there was another booth up ahead, we drove on. To our horror, there was none and we were already out of Malaysia when we realized it. We felt compelled to drive on and it was only when we arrived at the Singapore side and narrated our encounter to the Singapore immigration officers that we were advised to return to the Malaysian side to have our passports stamped".

Eric continued: "We also understood from the conversation that our encounter was not unique. The incident had caused us much confusion and inconvenience. The Malaysian government must be responsible for such irresponsible conduct of (their) civil servants and not push the blame on innocent tourists".

I know it is not fair to stereotype, but as his job requires him to be at the front line and he is err... asleep on the job, it doesn't reflect well on Malaysia, does it? This lagard of an officer was obviously lethargic, languorous and lazy, but when the public chanced upon this Immigration officer in his comatose state, he would have unwittingly given the impression that his department is slack, slothful and slumberous. is it any wonder even Malaysians have few good words to say about our civil servants?

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, popularly known as 'Zunar' is suing the Government, Home Ministry and three others over the seizure of 66 "Cartoon-o-phobia" comic books and a painting(!) on September 24, 2010 (Star, June 16, 2011, p 24). Read my postings on September 26, 2010 for the background story.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Aussie Parliament Condemns Refugee Swap Deal

I did a quick Facebook check this morning and I can reveal that “Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia” has 34,871 “likes” (as at 10:35 AM) and “Curi-Curi Wang Malaysia” has 86, 761 “likes” (as at 10:40 AM). If at all, Ng Yen Yen can crawl out of her fetid fracture of self-denial, she will know that the online community is very upset that taxpayers’ money had been generously splurged on things that could have been done for free. And furthermore, the said Facebook page is nothing to shout about! That is why I am so pissed with Tourism Minister Ng!

According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s online edition yesterday, the Australian Parliament voted to condemn Canberra’s refugee swap deal with Malaysia, leaving Prime Minister Julia Gillard red-faced and the plan in jeopardy.

The lower house voted 70-68 in support of a motion by Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt calling on the government to abandon the proposal immediately. The Senate had previously passed the same motion.

According to the newspaper, it is the first time both houses of this Parliament have voted to condemn a government policy, and comes amid mounting pressure on the Labor government over their handling of border protection and asylum seekers.

The parliamentary condemnation came after revelations that the Australian federal government had to send a delegation to Geneva to try to win support for the Malaysia deal from the UNHCR.

It should also embarrass Najib Razak but knowing Najib, he will just play dumb. But seriously, Malaysia is a dumb choice for the simple reason that we do not respect refugees’ rights.

The ABC's Lateline program on June 02, 2011 revealed draft negotiation documents from Malaysia that the country was seeking to remove any reference to human rights from their refugee swap agreement with Australia and had demanded asylum seekers sent from Australia be treated under Malaysian law (Webpage http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/no-guarantees-on-malaysia-refugee-swap-deal-20110602-1fizv.html). In case, you don’t know, under Malaysian law, "illegal immigrants," which include asylum seekers, may be caned for immigration offences, a punishment that constitutes torture in violation of international law.

For background info, check out my May 29, 2011 posting titled "Swapping Refugees".

Bahrain GP is Off

Referring to the case of the two Singaporean women made to do nude squats – read my posting dated June 15, 2011 – it has been reported on Wednesday in the Star newspaper (p 16) that Immigration director-general Alias Ahmad had pronounced that their arrests at the Sultan Iskandar Immigration checkpoint in Johor Baru on June 09 was done according to the law. Alias said the claim by the two women that there was no supervising officers at the check-in counter to stamp their passports when they came into the country the same day was not true. Hmmm, if that was so – then how did they gained entry into Malaysia in the first place? Maybe they rowed and landed at Danga Bay. Or they swam across the Straits of Johor. Or they put on their invisibility cloaks. Or the immigration officer on duty was sleeping on the job. So many possibilities! If we were to believe our trustworthy civil servant Alias, then these women have been deceiving us with their concocted stories! Shameless Singaporeans!


On Thursday, Formula 1’s governing body the FIA has formally struck the Bahrain Grand Prix off the 2011 calendar, AFP reported. Good sense finally prevailed because if the decision had been a go-ahead, it would have gravely damaged Formula One's reputation and made a travesty of the citizens’ struggle for human rights in the country.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting Hooked to Protest Shark-finning





Photo credits: http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Gallery+Woman+protests+shark+slaughter+hanging+from+fish+hooks/4950275/story.html

British performance artist Alice Newstead has taken her protest against shark fishing to Hong Kong, again backed by Lush, the British cosmetics company. She explained that because Hong Kong serves as a key trend setting city among Asian communities, it’s only the people of Hong Kong who can lead the way to stopping this brutal luxury consumer practice of using shark fin soup as a display of wealth.

On June 14, 2011, Newstead allowed herself to be suspended by fish hooks pierced through the skin on her back. In fact, she performed this same stunt at the Lush cosmetics shop in London's Regent's Street in 2008. She took the drastic action in protest at the inhumane practice of finning – where sharks are impaled on hooks, before their fins are sliced off to harvest meat for shark fin soup. The sharks are then thrown back into the ocean still alive but unable to swim and sentenced to certain death. She had declared her opposition to the killing of 73 million sharks a year, threatening their extinction.

Photo credit: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/images/2008/10/411877.jpg

According to UK’s The Telegraph (September 03, 2008), Newstead, once worked as a Lush sales assistant, but now works full-time as an artist, performing with a group called Constant Elevation, whose members specialize in hanging from hooks pierced through their skin. Newstead explained this extreme form of art: "I have had my torso, legs, arms, stomach and knees pierced before so that I could hang from them, so this is no big deal".

She added: "Being hung from the chest is more painful than the back because it restricts your breathing, but as long as the piercer knows what they are doing then it is completely safe".