Thursday, June 30, 2011
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.
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.
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).
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
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
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!
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 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.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
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 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!
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.
Image credit: http://nky.cincinnati.com/article/AB/20110623/NEWS0103/306230041/
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.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
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.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
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".
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!
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!
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”.
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
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
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
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".
Friday, June 17, 2011
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.
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
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".