Friday, August 31, 2012

A Merdeka Song

A Merdeka song:



There's good news from Kuantan. Five local residents made headway in their bid to stop Lynas Corp from firing up its controversial rare earth plant here after they got the High Court’s nod to challenge the science, technology and innovation minister’s decision to award a temporary operating licence (TOL) to the Australian miner. Thumbs up to Kuantan High Court judge Mariana Yahya for delivering the decision when their case was up for a judicial review last Tuesday.


Fellow Toastmaster Vince Tay texted me yesterday morning to request that I take up the Evaluator’s role at the MAICSA Toastmasters meeting. I agreed. The last time I was there was on March 15, 2012. Overall, it was a good meeting and I particularly enjoyed Leong Oi Wah’s superb attempt to deliver an Advanced speech in Malay. I would give this Thursday meeting at MidValley a score of a 6.5 over a 10.

Gabungan Janji @ Merdeka Square vicinity




Image credit: http://johnshenlee.com/blog/tag/gabungan-janji/

Last night, more than five thousand Bersih supporters under the Gabungan Janji banner gathered near Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Square to show their support for clean and fair elections and join other Malaysians to usher in Merdeka. PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and PKR lawmakers Tian Chua and Fuziah Salleh were there. And not forgeting national laureate Samad Said who recited "Janji Demokrasi" which was composed for this year's independence day celebrations. The poet, who is also co-chairman of Bersih, was seen wiping away his tears during the recital.

The organizers distributed song sheets mocking the song chosen by the BN government for this year's theme "Janji Ditepati" and the mainly yellow-clad protestors were chanting and blowing vivuzelas as well as distributing yellow flowers before joining others to shout "Merdeka" at the stroke of midnight. [Sadly, Merdeka Square itself was cordoned off and Malaysians were once again prevented from accessing it].


I am so thrilled that for the first time Celtic has qualified for the group phase of the UEFA Champions League competition since the 2008-2009 season. It’s been four years in waiting and I can tell you it’s a great feeling to know we have qualified!

Celtic already had one foot in the tournament proper after last week’s 2-0 win over Sweden’s Helsingborg and they finished the job in style on Wednesday, with another victory by the same scoreline completing a 4-0 aggregate success.

In the second leg opener, Celtic waited only half an hour for Georgios Samaras to present a mis-hit Scott Brown shot into the path of Gary Hooper, who had the most simple of tasks to tap home from close range. Then Victor Wanyama sealed victory when he headed in a Kris Commons cross in the 88th minute.

A Dispirited Merdeka 2012

Malaysians are dispirited this August 31st. This year’s slogan for the Merdeka celebration, “Janji ditepati” (i.e. Promises fulfilled) has shamed Malaysians because it corrupts the sanctity of a national celebration. It is nothing more than a stinky political slogan, a desperate election campaign battle cry, and a vulgar gimmick to promote Najib Razak and BN,. It’s cheap, it’s crude and it’s crass! Merdeka has lost its original spirit and Najib Razak is to be blamed.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Cookie Monster Batman



This week, a new semester is just starting and I spent most of my time meeting SUBS students to advise them on the subjects to take as well as to ‘counsel’ students who did not do well in the last semester – the latter is referred to as the APRC (i.e. Academic Progress Review Committee) interview. This proved to be stressful to the students summoned to meet me as well as the Program Chair for the BBS course who chaired these sessions. So to de-stress, I had been watching the video clip below! I am also thankful that I had Dr Choy Tuck Yun to help me in these two days.



For those who didn’t know, Cookie Monster (left) is the philosophical, googly-eyed character from Sesame Street. A muppet who is best known for his voracious appetite and his famous eating phrases: "Me want cookie!", "Me eat cookie!", and "Om nom nom nom" (said through a mouth full of food). So the YouTube video shows him “impersonating” the Batman.


And yesterday, I was at the Palace of the Golden Horses to attend a Toastmasters meeting – this was only the second meeting for the Elite Toastmasters Club. The speeches were well-delivered but even more importantly the English used in this meeting was exhilarating. The Elite Toastmasters Club has made a very promising start to showcase “a quality Toastmasters meeting” that dares to challenge itself, every time and all the time. At this meeting, all it took was just twelve Toastmasters who were prepared to push self-limiting boundaries and eclipse exacting expectations in order that they can consummate a first class Toastmasters meeting. For sure, it was a successful effort and I am happy to give it an 8 out of a 10.

Why Fear Hudud?

Once upon a time, The Star newspaper used to be respectable. Today, I will consider it to be no different from the thrashy tabloids that typically feature sensational stories (be it about sex, crime and/or similarly entertaining topics) just so to capture viewers’ attention. I cringed with dread, distaste and even disgust when I chanced upon this MCA porn star who seems to be making very regular appearances in the said newspaper! It looks like a Chua Soi Lek form of self-promotion and believe me when I say, it borders on abomination that is revolting, repulsive and repugnant. This pathetic politician is proving to be a real blabbermouth and worse than that, he is spewing poppycock!

One of his favourite issues that he keeps on harping is hudud implementation in Malaysia. He has insisted that the PAS’ brand of hudud and making religion part of the political agenda will never be accepted by his porn-promoting political party, the ineffectual MCA (Webpage http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/51135-mca-will-never-accept-pas-brand-of-hudud-says-chua, published August 16, 2012).

This Chua fella is crapping again. What exactly is the PAS’ brand of hudud? And what is UMNO’s brand of hudud? I didn’t know we can make distinctions. Hudud is hudud.

Maybe Chua is resigning himself to the fact that hudud is inevitable? After all, when the Kemelah ADUN from UMNO Johore, Ayob Rahmat raised the specter of hudud, the BN lapdogs yelped a deafening silence.

Actually, nobody cares if Chua accepts hudud or not. He is a nothing. A nonentity. A nought. But I am suggesting that Chua and company and even most of UMNO cannot accept hudud because they genuinely fear hudud. Those who fear hudud are those who have been cheating, stealing and robbing the country blind. I will not be surprised, if and when hudud is enforced, to see many of the present Ministers and even political chieftains showing up in public with prosthetic hands. This is because they will have missing limbs due to amputation. After all, hudud does not discriminate – it doesn’t matter if you were once a high-ranking government minister or not! If you commit a crime, you will have to pay! It’s as simple as that.


The media often leaves the public with the impression that under hudud, people are going to be punished based on limited or even flimsy evidence. This is not true. Islamic law requires a very high level of proof for the most serious crimes and punishments. When there is doubt about the guilt of a Hadd (‘felony’ type) crime, the judge must treat the crime as a lesser Tazir (‘misdemeanor’ type) crime. If there is no confession to a crime or not enough witnesses to the crime, Islamic law requires the Hadd crime to be punished as a Tazir crime.

If in the next election, we support a government that have been corrupt for so long, just because we are afraid of hudud laws that are not even there, then the Chinese are stupid. But in truth, they are not! Syariah is only applicable to Muslims – so to the non-Muslims, what is the issue? Why must we create a fuss?

Postscript: If you wish to know more, there is an excellent article at this link: http://muslimcanada.org/Islam_myths.htm.


On Tuesday, I was at the WIM Toastmasters meeting. I was glad to be able to hear good speeches from the new members and I can see that the few members who came were trying very hard. The fact remains that they have quite some way to go. Hopefully, Toastmasters from other clubs can drop by regularly to give support. As a meeting, I would give them a score of 3 over a 10.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Robot Chef

I came across this cute video of a “robot chef”. Cui Runguan, a Beijing inventor and restaurateur, has created a "robot chef" for slicing noodles: it's basically an automated dough-shaving knife encased in a charming retro-robot shell with superfluous blinking eye-lights. I find it rather cute – an Ultraman lookalike.


It was also mentioned that the diners featured in the news segment seem to treat the noodles as "hand-cut by a mechanical person" and not as "sliced by an industrial machine." It gives a different connotation, doesn’t it? The power of words!



On Monday, I was at KL’s Cititel MidValley to attend the two hundredth meeting of the MidValley Toastmasters Club. More than forty Toastmasters came to show support – they were from a good number of clubs such as Money & You, Friendship, HELP University, ITC, Taman Indrahana, Faith, YSP, Sunway University and MIMKL. I was the General Evaluator by the way. The meeting started on time but it dragged on until nearly eleven PM – one glaring shortcoming was that the meeting agenda didn’t give all the details. Still it was a great evening and I am giving it a score of a 7 out of a 10.