Saturday, January 14, 2012

Two Years Later

I attended the MIHRM Toastmasters meeting last evening where I took up the role of General Evaluator. It was a small group (just the ten of us!) who graced this meeting but nonetheless, it was still a quality meeting – for the simple reason that there were good speeches and evaluations.

Like many Toastmasters meetings, it didn’t start on time and this is something that puzzles me always. It is already inexcusable if student clubs drag their feet insofar as timeliness is concerned, but for community clubs which are led by professionals and other working adults, this is a crime that calls for capital punishment! I would even suggest that clubs that do not begin their meetings on time should do away with the Timekeeper because if that role is permitted, it mocks this whole idea of time management! Starting late or not keeping to the time schedule means that the concerned club has scant respect for those members and guests who faithfully keep to time. If we cannot even get this right – it does not bode well for Toastmasters clubs in Malaysia. Rubber time must be banished once and for all!

Yee Sang made an early appearance at this MIHRM meeting. I am not sure if I have ever talked about this dish called yee sang but it is a tradition to have it during the Lunar New Year. It is literally translated as raw fish. Anyway, it is actually a Chinese-style raw fish salad with salmon as the main ingredient and mingled together with assorted shredded vegetables, pomelo, jellyfish and crackers and topped with sauce and spices. And Loh Sang is the act of tossing this salad. Chopsticks in hand, diners gather around the table to toss the salad as high as possible. It symbolizes the gathering of prosperity and when we toss, we offer auspicious wishes (e.g. good health, abundant wealth) to everyone.

HELP for Haiti was a fund-raising project initated by my HICT students when the earthquake devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010.

Last year – in my blog posting dated January 12, 2011 and very appropriately titled “One Year On” – I reported on the slow progress made to help the victims. You may wonder what is the progress now that two years have come to pass? Well, it seems that work to recover still continues although things are a little better!

About a million people have now left the camps which sprang up after the disaster, a new Haitian Government has been sworn into power, and nearly half of the 10 million cubic meters of debris has been cleared – the equivalent of 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools so far.

There are still close to half a million vulnerable people living under canvas, plagued by violence, rain, floods and the threat of eviction. Of those not living in camps, many still shelter in houses in need of repair or outright demolition. So there is a lot more to do.

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