Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gone Awry in My 2011 Resolutions



Craig Bellamy scored twice for Liverpool and substitute Steven Gerrard netted another to cap a 3-1 comeback victory over Newcastle in the EPL on Friday.

But it was Newcastle who took the lead with a very lucky goal in the 25th, as Ryan Taylor's cross was headed toward goal by Yohan Cabaye and then deflected off Liverpool defender Daniel Agger to wrong-foot goalkeeper Pepe Reina. Still, Bellamy equalized five minutes later with a low shot into the bottom left corner after a poor clearance fell right at his feet, and added the second with a free kick in the 67th. And finally, Gerrard who came on as a substitute (replacing Charlie Adam) yielded the third goal after running onto a ball from Jordan Henderson and slotting it underneath Toon goalkeeper Tim Krul from a tight angle.

Since I will not be making any more postings until tomorrow, here’s my round-up of my 2011 achievements:

Year 2011 Resolution List

1. Write my Ph D proposal and submit for admission into the program – On hold.
2. Publish three academic/conference papers – Working on two papers but they’re still very much work in progress..
3. Achieve Toastmasters’ recognitions: ALB and ALS – I am already working on my ALS; should complete hopefully in calendar year 2012.
4. Charter Sunway University Toastmasters Club – On hold.
5. Start my second Masters – I finally enrolled with Heriot-Watt University on November 08.
6. Write two short stories and get them published – Work in progress but…
7. Yield 39,000 pageviews for my blog – My pageviews have hit 91,304. Dare I say that my blog is getting popular? I have reason to believe so because if I examine the pageviews I recorded in the last 4 months (September-December 2011), the average is a commendable 7,717.

Again, progress has been dreadfully slow. Perhaps, I have been too ambitious? I reckon that "achievements" are one thing but these resolutions also provide me with a necessary sense of purpose and direction. So although I may have not done that well, I did try and I am still hell-bent on achieving the above!

V Calling All Malaysians!

MCA Members Resign En Bloc

Anti-BN campaigners and supporters should be elated because about one thousand MCA members from Penang and Johor have resigned en bloc. It seems that their resignations are only the tip of the iceberg and it signals the beginning of the imploding of BN’s second largest component party.

If you still read the mainstream newspapers, especially MCA’s mouthpiece, The Star – you will realize soon enough that they will have downplayed the news – it is not something you want to share with the Malaysian public! A retired journalist, Jackson Ng cited one former member as saying: “Just watch how MCA implodes in the run-up to the 13th General Election. At least 30 percent of its members will eventually abandon the party by polling day” (Webpage http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/letterssurat/46191-mca-implodes-a-blow-to-bn
, published December 30, 2011).

I was just reminiscing about Kota Kinabalu because sometime last year – in December – I went there and I did enjoy myself immensely. Anyway, thinking about Sabah brings two news items to mind – they have been sitting quietly in a cobwebbed corner in my mind for quite awhile. The simmering issue that concerns the unique wooden Atkinson Clock Tower in Kota Kinabalu is pretty much dormant because there have been scant developments on this. [To understand this matter of contention, kindly check out my posting dated November 30, 2010 titled “The Clock Tower”].

Anyway, so far all I know is that two ordinary citizens, i.e. homemaker Lim Swee Geck and social activist Jeffery Chang gained wide support after they had filed a suit against the city’s authorities – the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (SHTDA) and City Hall or Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu (DBKK) – for allegedly approving the project. The case is on-going while the authorities say no decision has been made yet whether the project will be allowed to go ahead. Until today, nothing so far. If you must knoiw, Malaysian courts move at a snail’s pace.

The other on-going case plodding through the courts is a civil suit filed by former Sabah CM Harris Mohd Salleh against another former chief minister Yong Teck Lee for allegedly defaming him when he called for a re-investigation of the plane crash that took the lives of CM Fuad Stephens and 11 others some 35 years ago on June 6, 1976. The man who replaced Stephens was Harris, and this story took an intriguing twist when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah revealed last year that he was asked to disembark the flight by Harris just before the doomed craft was about to take off.

The issue is that Harris is claiming that Yong, a lawyer by training, and his party, SAPP, slandered him by calling for the re-opening of the crash files based on Razaleigh’s revelation as by doing so allegedly insinuates he was involved in the crash.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Bread War



The above has been enjoying widespread circulation in cyberspace! I find this plea to be racist although I have no qualms about boycotting products and companies if they really promote CSR, i.e. cronyism, sexism and racism. But I would be lying if I said that it will be easy to follow through with this entreaty. Who practices CSR if not BN? And we all know that the BN tentacles spread far and wide – which businesses out there are not affiliated in some way to the duplicitous BN? Nearly everything is, kan?

Still, I am amused to know that Gardenia put out a full-page advertorial to supposedly set the record straight. Check out The Sun today on page 12. I don’t know if this call for boycott by a person or persons unknown has hurt this bread company. But their official response was quirky. I mean the company talked about how “Gardenia is everything that a good Malaysian company should be. [They] employ highly professional and ethical people regardless of race or religion. [Their] employees respect each other and to further promote and foster fellowship, [they] have these posters all around our workplace”. Within seconds of reading this platitudinous verbiage, I found I had goose pimples!

One of these posters is shown below:


Image credit: http://notakosong.com/tag/gardenia/

And it is so clich├ęd and corny! Besides, I think Gardenia is over-reacting! After all, Massimo is also just introduced into the Malaysian market – so certainly, people are going to try this new brand. What’s more, at an introductory offer price of only RM2.50. Of course, existing brands will suffer in the immediate- to short-term and their sales can be expected to be cannibalized. A good marketer will counter this with localized promotions where Massimo is apparently making headway.


This online campaign urges bread consumers in Malaysia to stop supporting super-wealthy Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary (owner of 76.2% of rice monopoly Padiberas Nasional Berhad or Bernas which in turn owns 30% of Gardenia Bakeries) and start supporting another wealthy magnate, i.e. Robert Kuok (who controls PPB Group Berhad which in turn owns FFM Berhad and which owns 100% of The Italian Baker Sdn Bhd, the company that produces Massimo bread). Should anybody care one way or another?

Anyway, since I am on this subject, I am recommending that Malaysians buy bread from their local bakery instead! You cannot go wrong on this one because you will be supporting the local business in your neighborhood! Those two rich dudes don't need our money!

Ball Cutter

I found the story incredible when I first read it. But it has been reported in some newspapers and there were pictures too of the predator fish that preys on men by biting off their testicles! Ouch!!

Jeremy Wade, the host of ITV’s “River Monsters” went to remote Papua New Guinea after locals reported a mysterious aquatic beastie that was castrating young fishermen.

And he did finally found the Pacu fish – known locally as the "Ball Cutter" – and even caught one specimen weighing 40 lb. What is really creepy is that the said fish has human-like teeth – as if a dentist has conveniently left them behind!

The Pacu fish uses them to tear off the testicles of unwitting anglers, leaving them to bleed to death. UK’s The Sun which told this story on December 28, 2011 had mentioned that at least two fishermen have bled to death after being bitten by the beast, although Wade believes they were "pretty unlucky" as the fish is quite shy.

Pacu fish are usually found in the Amazon, where they need their teeth to crack into the tough cases of nuts and seeds. The previously vegetarian fish were introduced to Papua New Guinea 15 years ago and here, they used their special technique to chomp meat due to a lack of suitable vegetation in the waters.

This particular adventure will be screened on the River Monsters Series 3 on the UK channel ITV1 on January 03, 2012 at 7:30 PM. Just in case, you happen to be in the UK!



Political Symbols



I attended the IEM Toastmasters meeting last evening. Not unexpectedly, I was co-opted to take on a Speech Evaluator’s role – and, not surprisingly, I won the Best Evaluator Award. However, this meeting didn’t turn out well - it had carelessly allowed time to run amok and so the whole meeting agenda swiftly flew out of the window. I noticed that the Grammarian and the Timekeeper left even before the meeting ended – this does not speak well of their club members. But then again, this reinforces the importance of time management. Really, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the Toastmaster-of-the-Evening and the Timekeeper should take the blame for this runaway meeting. A President’s Distinguished Club shouldn’t have permitted this to happen in the first place! I have said my piece and I am awarding this meeting a lowly score of 3 out of a 10!

This was my last Toastmasters meeting for the 2011 year and meticulously checking my records, I found out that I have made 145 club visits – counting only the regular meetings – in 46 different Toastmasters clubs. The passion for Toastmastering burns brightly inside of me!

Elections have come to Egypt! Voting is under way in the first elections since Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February 2011. With democracy coming out into the sunshine, many people with political ambitions are offering themselves to the citizenry.

Every aspiring candidate has been assigned a symbol (or brand, if you must call it) by the election authorities – a crucial tool on polling day in a country where at least a third of voters are illiterate. The logo appears on their posters and it will be on the ballot paper too.


This is not unlike in Malaysia – except that in Egypt, they’re seeing a really long list of parties, each with its own logo – it can be a traffic light, a food blender, a vacuum cleaner, a ballistic missile, and many more.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Death of The Great Leader





The elaborate ceremony of mourning for Kim Jong-il, who died on December 17 at the age of 69, had been preceded by remarkable supernatural events, at least according to North Korea’s state media.

Earth tremors supposedly rocked the sacred Mount Paeku, alleged to have been Kim's birthplace. Weeping owls flew into the Kim family mausoleum in the centre of the capital, Pyongyang. Meanwhile, mysterious flashes of light were reportedly seen in the skies above the world's last totalitarian state.

UK’s The Sun had similarly reported that the state propaganda machine was very creative with their extraordinary stories. “A snowstorm blew up and ice covering the mountain's Lake Chon is said to have cracked so loudly that 'it seemed to shake the heavens and earth'. And in the north-eastern city of Hamhun a crane is reported to have circled a statue of Kim's father, President Kim il-Sung, before landing on a tree with its head bowed in sorrow” (Website http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4016818/North-Korean-propaganda-nature-weeps-for-Kim-Jong-ils-death.html, published December 23, 2011).

In keeping with the natural world's apparent grief over Kim's death, North Korea's showpiece capital was suitably wreathed in snow yesterday.

I am sure many world leaders are envious that Kim was given extra-special treatment by the gods!


Celtic leapfrogged Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League thanks to Joe Ledley's second-half header.

It was a disjointed first-half. Celtic's Fraser Foster made a wonderful save from an early Lee Wallace header and was relieved to see Carlos Bocangera shoot wide from close range. But when the second half came, Celtic dominated and Ledley crashed in a header from a Charlie Mulgrew corner on 52 minutes. Rangers offered little in response and Celtic, with this important 1-0 win, made it nine league wins in a row.

Train Stories

Travellers on London's Underground have been disrupted by a 24-hour strike staged by drivers on Boxing Day. The dispute is over the Aslef union's demand for extra pay for staff working on the said public holiday.

Public transportation is really not as dependable as we would like to believe. It’s not just in Britain – ask the Singaporeans.

Our super-efficient neighbors who pride themselves on being better than us Malaysians were left dumbfounded when train services were disrupted. Not once, not twice – but thrice!!! Poor Singaporeans!


The first train broke down on the morning of December 14, 2011, on the Circle Line and services restored only after a five-hour delay.

The second breakdown occurred the following evening during rush hour when the north-south line, which connects the north of the island to the city center and serves the main Orchard Road shopping belt, stopped suddenly, leaving an estimated 127,000 commuters stranded. It was reported that hundreds of commuters were trapped underground without light and ventilation – one photo contributed by a netizen to citizen journalism website Stomp showed a window smashed by passengers in an attempt to get some fresh air. This disruption also supposedly caused massive traffic jams as crowds spilled onto the streets to try to get home.

To make things worse, train operator SMRT sent an opportunist message to all of its taxi fleet to inform them of an ‘income opportunity’ during the breakdown. This sparked a massive public outrage on cyberspace, with many netizens slamming SMRT for its indecent insensitivity over the matter.


Image credit: http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20111215-316467.html

And on Saturday morning (December 17, 2011), Singapore was again hit by its third train breakdown in a week, frustrating the public and further dampening Christmas cheer.

Predictably, some smart alecks demanded the resignation of SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hwa and more than 1,400 people signed an online petition asking her to leave. Of course, Saw said she had no plans to quit – she is a Malaysian-born toughie after all!

Saw, who has been credited with trebling SMRT's net profit to S$161.1 million over the past eight years, had already been under fire for overcrowded trains and frequent breakdowns in the subway system.

The opposition Workers' Party – which controls six of 87 seats in parliament – asked if the increasing breakdowns along two subway lines were the result of insufficient investment in maintenance and upgrades.

"If so, were the lack of essential investments a result of pressure on the public-listed MRT operators to minimise costs and maximise profits for the benefit of their shareholders, at the expense of the 2.3 million commuters?"

SMRT is a subsidiary of Singapore state investor Temasek, whose CEO Ho Ching is the Singapore prime minister's wife.

Other commentators voiced concerns about Singapore's ability to cope with civil emergencies, given the inadequate response by SMRT to the breakdowns when they first occurred.

So Malaysian trains are not the only ones that are a distressing disappointment! Okay, our trains break down very often, they are habitually late, they are overcrowded – but once in a while, it is comforting to read news about other people’s misfortunes – not just Malaysia’s!

Besides, there’s hardly anything good that we can talk about Malaysia’s public transportation, is there?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Think and Act Anew

Judge Aly Fekry, head of the Cairo Administrative Court ordered the Egyptian army on Tuesday to end virginity tests on female detainees in military prisons. For background into on this story, read my blog posting dated June 09, 2011.

But the army is defiant. General Adel Morsi, head of military’s judicial authority, said there was no decision to conduct these tests, so the court ruling could not be implemented. He is just so disrespectful!

I must admit I have made fun of Sunway University’s “Think” slogan. But having said this, the SUBS Head of School spent a lot of time thinking! And some of those deep thoughts were generously shared with faculty members – one of which is so meaningful that I just have to share Associate Professor Foo Yin Fah’s email with everyone else. With just three days from the dawning of a brand-new year, I trust he doesn’t mind if I reproduce it here in my blog:

“What is the coming of a new year but merely the turning of another page in the Gregorian calendar. The page has turned 365 times over the past year, so why is the 366th time so special. Notwithstanding that next year we will be turning the pages 366 times, I guess welcoming the new year is about saying goodbye to the old one. And when an old year passes by, it will never come round again. So we want to look towards the new year with hope and anticipation of better things to come. Perhaps we want to forget the past or we just want to have a different tomorrow. This is a time to start afresh.

As we contemplate our resolutions for the new year, I wish to share a very compelling and appropriate quote for the season by Abraham Lincoln from a speech he delivered in 1863 when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation:

'The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country'.

Although our mission is not quite to save our country but building our School will be just as challenging. We must disenthrall ourselves of the dogmas of the past. We must THINK and ACT anew!”

Isn’t the above so weighty, so insightful, so profound? There's no need to be astonished! He is, after all, my head honcho at SUBS - somebody who is wise, informed and perspicacious!

Lucky Slum Dwellers

In Malaysia, we often spend money on big infrastructure projects that may or may not benefit citizens. I suppose the government will adamantly still go ahead because corrupt BN politicians and their cronies need to line their prodigious pockets and satisfy their gargantuan greed.

Okay, we all know corruption is massive in this country – but today, I am keen to talk about this colossal idea that has been made into a reality by the Colombian government that is a godsend to at least 12,000 residents of Medellin's rough Comuna 12 neighbourhood. These shanty town dwellers used to trek up and down steep slopes every day – which authorities say is the same as going up a 28-storey building.

Not any more because the government has installed a giant outdoor escalator! And hey, according to UK’s The Sun, it cost only £4 million – which is really cheap for a government project. Malaysians will surely marvel at this austere pricing because we are known to spend RM1.95 million for one thousand racks to hold tourism pamphlets or RM1,950 per rack (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/auditor-general-tourism-ministry-overpaid-rm270m-for-ads/
, published October 24, 2011).


Photo: AFP

Image credit: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/colombian-city-gets-giant-outdoor-escalator-1324953638-slideshow/

Images credit: http://www.emirates247.com/offbeat/colombia-gets-giant-outdoor-escalator-2011-12-27-1.434701

Officials say the inhabitants of the Colombian slum will now take only six minutes instead of the 35-minute hike on foot up the hillside. Cesar Hernandez, head of projects for Medellin, said the electric stairway is divided into six sections and has a length of 384 meters (1,260 feet).

Mayor Alonso Salazar described Comuna 13 as the city's district that has "suffered the greatest urban violence... but lately this has been receding and we hope this social package will help it move forward." Now if only Malaysia will learn from Colombia!

I was at the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting yesterday and the torrential downpour must have kept many members away because I only counted twenty of us that were present. Still, as always it was a good meeting with Karen Cheah and Michael Kum slowly but steadily showing us their increasing confidence as competent speakers. And they also have the benefit of good evaluations from Dr. Devi Menon and Chrristine Ngiam respectively. Even Chan Siew Peng has shown good improvement as a Toastmaster-of-the-Evening. It is always heartening to see a Toastmasters club that is determined to show progress at every meeting! As for me, I did not undertake any role and I was content to sit quietly and listen to the speeches and evaluations.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not a Bribe, says Awang Adek


David Chong and I just had a leisurely breakfast this morning - and this is possible only because I went through three continuous days of feverish exam-script marking and survived! There's other unfinished work, that's for sure, but the painful ordeal is nearly coming to an end. Oh, the joy of having even a simple breakfast of noodles! It is a great morning!

I am not sure why these photos were taken but y'know David - he's always wanting to capture moments like this for posterity.

Awang Adek, the Deputy Finance Minister (left) had refuted allegations by an anonymous blogger that he had received more than RM100,000 in “contributions” in stages from Yahya Abdul Jalil, a Johor UMNO division leader whose company won a Public Works Department contract.

Awang did however admit that he had received cash contributions via his personal account, as alleged by ‘Thewhistleblower711′, but he claimed the deposits were donations for social programmes in Bachok, Kelantan, where he served as its MP in 2004. Therefore, it cannot be considered a bribe because those who made contributions did so without expecting any favors. Obviously, this generosity was kept secret and only revealed now by the whistleblowing blogger – and he had, in fact, published purported copies of the cheques and cash deposit receipts involved in the transactions.

The MACC has confirmed that it is investigating the matter but don’t expect anything, okay?

Apart from Awang, the blogger had named two aides to the prime minister and deputy prime minister. Asked about this, Awang said he has no inkling as to why the duo have been named and said he has no links to them.

“My conscience is clear,” he added. Yeah, right, and cows can fly! Besides, people like him don't even know what shame is!

Both Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers earned a draw in this Monday match. It was the former’s Charlie Adam, who, when challenged by Mauro Formica, sliced into his own net (45) to give the latter a gift goal. But the Reds pulled level soon after the restart as Maxi Rodriguez nodded in a volleyed cross from Martin Skrtel (53). This is Liverpool’s sixth home draw of the season.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Muppets Bring Christmas Cheer

I did warn you yesterday, didn’t I? I can confirm that this is how I look now!


This evening, I am going to share with you another three songs:



I can always count on The Muppets to cheer me up!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Stay-at-Home Christmas

Yesterday, I spent something like seven hours marking exam scripts – even forgoing dinner! Today, it’s another six hours. And tomorrow, it will be more or less of the same – six or seven hours of mental drudgery and also mental anguish! This is how I looked yesterday, how I look now and how I will look tomorrow:



No kidding!

Anyway, it’s Christmas and I am playing this song right now to cheer me up!


There were criticisms hurled at Liverpool players for rallying round under-fire Luis Suarez. They had worn white t-shirts with an image of a celebrating Suarez on the front and the player’s name and number on the back as they warned up before their EPL match with Wigan last Wednesday. Even manager Kenny Dalglish had one of the said t-shirts as he conducted his pre-match television interview, and said it highlighted the strength of feeling the players and staff had for their colleague.


Image credit: http://sanford-soccer-net.blogspot.com

I am proud that the club is united in showing support for one of their own!

Celtic scored a 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock. The former produced their first goal when the latter conceded possession deep inside their own half, and Cha Du-Ri sent a high ball into the box from the right and Georgios Samaras's downward header found the net (45+2). Their second goal came when the striker netted again with a driven shot from the edge of the box (53). Killie only managed to pull one back when substitute Danny Racchi fired home a blistering shot from 28 yards (87).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas-y Songs

As the hands of the clock will strike twelve soon – I thought I will herald in Christmas 2011 with these three Christmas-y songs:




Christmas Greetings 2011


Khir Toyo Smiles


Look at the photo above and see former Selangor Mentri Besar Khir Toyo beaming broadly after he was found guilty of corruption and abuse of power by the High Court on Friday. Of course the mainstream press, e.g. The Star gave him the mild treatment – that he was charged with “knowingly purchasing two pieces of land and a bungalow in Section 7 [Shah Alam] at a much lower price than its original value from Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni in 2007" (December 24, 2011, p 01).

And according to the New Straits Times, Justice Mohtarudin Baki even concurred with the prosecution that Khir Toyo had committed a heinous crime and demanded that public interest be given priority (December 24, 2011, p 08) – yet Khir Toyo was sentenced to just twelve months’ jail.

Is the High Court judge serious about curbing corruption? Why the very lenient sentence? Khir Toyo should be slapped the maximum custodial sentence. What a crap!

I recall a mother stealing infant formula for her baby and she was jailed 18 months. I also read that somebody mentioned that in The Star in May 2011 there was a case of an unemployed man who was jailed for two years for shampoo theft.

Now I know why Khir Toyo can afford to smile – his illicit amassment of wealth incurred only token punishment. Already his lead counsel M Athimulan had promptly filed a notice of appeal after the judgment was delivered.

The other scandalous event also got into the news.

I suppose after all that heat on the NFC, the MACC was finally compelled to take some action. So on Friday, their officers raided the NFC office in plush Solaris Mont Kiara. They questioned staff and then carted away a desktop computer’s CPU and four documents in just under two hours.


The authorities have already detained a businessman, said to be a Datuk, for questioning in relation to the case as well as allegedly attempting to bribe senior CCID officers believed to be involved in the NFC probe. I wrote “authorities” because initial reports said it was the police who apprehended this guy but then later, the MACC also claimed to have rermanded this same person.

I am therefore, predictably confused because I am now not even sure where the guy is. It is possible that we may read one morning that if he is found dead in the lock-up – we can ascertain that the police had him; and if he is found dead in an open courtyard, the MACC had him; or is it that they did have him but they let him slipped! Pray, this is just a crazy conjecture on my part!

And of course, the other possibility is that Shahrizat will quit anytime soon and the NFC debacle will be explained away as just one big misunderstanding between the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, the Finance Ministry and Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd – the NFC owners. We can only hope that the authorities will investigate if there is a case of collusion in granting the project and/or the soft loan of RM250 million, besides the other obvious matters of criminal breach of trust and corruption. But I am not hopeful!

But then again we must remember that this is Malaysia. So Malaysia Boleh, kan?

Brussels and Chocolate


Yesterday – even with having to contend with a workload that is threatening to drown us in a tsunami of exam scripts – the six of us went out for lunch, taking the opportunity to celebrate Jessica Ho’s birthday on Wednesday. A short but well-deserved break at Sunway Pyramid.


For those who really, really hate eating their veggies – here’s an idea! Coat your vegetables in chocolate. That’s what Andy Simpson – he has a store at the Elsecar Heritage Centre, near Barnsley, South Yorks – did. He produced his new delicacy of Brussels covered in the finest Belgian chocolate and sure enough, they are selling like hot cakes at just 25p each (Webpage http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4016380/Chocolate-coated-Brussels-are-a-sprout-and-out-hit.html, posted December 22, 2011).

The chocolatier explains: "I know Brussels sprouts are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or loathe them. I like them, they are a nice chocolatey shape but I must admit they are an acquired taste."

Evra Accuses Suarez


According to tradition, the omens are good for 2012 after the sun shone on Stonehenge in England, during a dawn ceremony to mark the winter solstice. If this is true, I cannot wait for 2012!!

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra face-off during Premier League clash on October 15, 2011. Image credit: http://www.talksport.co.uk/radio/sports-breakfast/blog/2011-12-21/poll-eight-game-ban-too-harsh-suarez

MU’s left-back Patrice Evra who had accused Luis Suarez of racial abuse should be able to gloat now that the Liverpool forward has been found guilty of misconduct. On Tuesday, the latter has been slapped with an eight-match ban and fined £40,000 – this is merely based on what Patrice said he was called!

I understand that Suarez was charged for calling Evra "Negro", a term that across Hispanic-speaking countries in Latin America is frequently used. I also read that Evra called Suarez – in a very pejorative manner if I am to believe the news article published by UK’s Daily Telegraph – “a South American" and he still got away scot-free! I believe we have to look at this whole case in the correct context. I don't think it is fair to only consider what Suarez said and not look at the other’s remark(s)!

In the interest of justice, I would also like to know if the English FA’s Independent Disciplinary Commission can produce any evidence to show Suarez was indeed guilty? I am concerned that the verdict was reached based on one person’s accusation. Is there anybody who can corroborate Evra’s complaint?

Justice meted out must not only be fair but be seen to be fair.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Moody Blues

I actually loved that blue outfit that Lady Gaga wore – have you seen her photo that I posted early this morning? And it is the right color too as I am feeling blue right now – having to slave industriously over the mountain-high pile of exam scripts that is sitting forlornly in front of me!

I have made progress – I have completed marking all the Entrepreneurship papers and some of the Principles of Marketing papers – but I still have – let me count – I am eyeballing 116 answer booklets! And I swear the scripts are sniggering at me! Does this mean that I have to be house-bound this Christmas? Boohoo, life sucks!


The other blue thing is this village in southern Spain whose inhabitants happily voted to keep their habitats blue! Yes, Juzcar residents decided to keep the paint job to benefit from the tourist boom.

The Smurfs – just in case, you don’t know them! – are small fictional creatures created by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo, with blue skin, white trousers with a hole for their short tails, white hat in the style of a Phrygian cap, and sometimes some additional accessory that identifies a personality.

Anyway, Juzcar served as the film location for The Smurfs movie, and therefore, the pueblo was transformed into the set of Smurftown for Sony Picture’s movie by being painted blue – all 175 buildings!


Soon after, Juzcar learns how to cash in on their new-found celebrity status. Previously, just about 300 tourists would pass through Juzcar in a year. In the past six months, an estimated 80,000 followers of "Los Pitufos" (as the Smurfs are known in Spanish), have dropped into the “blue” village.

In fact, the villagers are enthusiastically embracing their new role – they have events such as a Smurf moonlight fun run, Smurf painting competitions and permanently running Smurf trade fairs. There are even Smurf-themed weddings to keep fans of the squeaky little blue folk coming.

Blue may not be my favorite color but do you know that it is the least "gender specific" color, having equal appeal to both men and women? And of course, blue is calming and during this stressful post-exam period – is it any wonder why I am snacking on blue M&Ms?

Lady Gaga in 2011

They say that Lady Gaga’s year really began in an egg. And that’s how she arrived at the Grammys in February, encased in a large, translucent pod carried by scantily-clad dancers. Yes, she “hatched” onstage, giving birth to Born This Way, and performing the eponymous lead single of her second studio album and anthem to self-acceptance. In 2011, the album would carry her around the world, where she rarely went unnoticed, as you can imagine! Check out these photos that I had specially selected from Lady Gaga’s wardrobe in 2011:


Images credit: http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/galleries/TMG8969899/Highlights-from-a-ear-in-Lady-Gagas-wardrobe.html, accessed December 23, 2011.

A year of globe-trotting and relentless advocacy of tolerance, Lady Gaga has been voted Entertainer of the Year by members of the Associated Press. This was no mean feat as she narrowly edged out the late Apple founder Steve Jobs by only three votes! (The Star, December 21, 2011, p 47).