Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

Jerry Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker (right) who was adored by many (including me), and disdained by some – but, unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the twentieth century, died on Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91.
 
Lewis knew success in movies, on television, in nightclubs, on the Broadway stage and in the university lecture hall. Certainly, his career had its ups and downs, but when it was at its zenith there were few stars any bigger.
 
And he got there remarkably quickly. Barely out of his teens, Lewis shot to fame shortly after World War II with a nightclub act in which the rakish, imperturbable Dean Martin crooned and the skinny, hyperactive Lewis capered around the stage, a dangerously volatile id to Martin’s supremely relaxed ego.
 
After his break with Martin in 1956, Lewis went on to a successful solo career, eventually writing, producing and directing many of his own films.
 
As a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Lewis raised vast sums for charity; as a filmmaker of great personal force and technical skill, he made many contributions to the industry, including the invention in 1960 of a device – the video assist, which allowed directors to review their work immediately on the set – still in common use.
 
And Lewis was officially recognized as a “towering figure in cinema” at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
 
For those who don’t know him, this best describes Jerry Lewis: “A mercurial personality who could flip from naked neediness to towering rage, Mr. Lewis seemed to contain multitudes, and he explored all of them. His ultimate object of contemplation was his own contradictory self, and he turned his obsession with fragmentation, discontinuity and the limits of language into a spectacle that enchanted children, disturbed adults and fascinated postmodernist critics” (Dave Kehr, The New York Times).
 
Jerry Lewis, simplistically complicated. R.I.P.
 


Yesterday, I was at Menara ExxonMobil in Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur to attend the Tiger Toastmasters meeting. I was a Speech Evaluator.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And look what I received?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wonder Woman Breaches $800 Million Mark

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wonder Woman has breached the $800 million mark on Sunday. $800,100,714 worldwide to be precise. 
 
Wow, wow, wow!!!
 
On Monday, I attended the joint NAWEM-TMIKL Toastmasters meeting at Rumah Puspanita in Jalan Hose, KL – where I took up the role of Grammarian and Speech Evaluator.
 
And I was voted Best Evaluator.
 


Celtic completed an 8-4 aggregate win to reach the Champions League group stage despite yesterday’s scare in Astana.
 
Leading 5-0 from the first leg, Brendan Rodgers' side fell behind on the night when Dimitri Shomko's shot was diverted into the net by Kristoffer Ajer (26). And though Scott Sinclair produced a stylish equalizer (33) – FC Astana replied through Serikzhan Muzhikov (48) and Patrick Twumasi (49, 69) to put the hosts 4-1.
 
Celtic managed to reduce the deficit with goals from Olivier Ntcham (80) and Leigh Griffiths (90) and made the tie safe for the visitors.
 
The Scottish champions can now look forward to their tenth appearance in the group stage.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

LEGO Appeal

It is heart-warming to know that generosity still thrives in this unforgiving world.
 
The Ageop Ricerca association involved in research, funding and support for cancer patients and families at the oncology department of Sant’Orsola hospital in Bologna, Italy for 35 years had made an urgent appeal for toys on its Facebook community two Sundays ago. It had faced a critical shortage of toys for its young cancer patients.

“We have a LEGO emergency”, began the August 13 plea for help from the group director Francesca Testoni.

“At any age, building a car, robot or space shuttle is always a wonderful way to pass the time and allow the spirit to travel”, she wrote. “Can you help us?”
 
Testoni pointed out that the paediatric cancer hospital’s young patients could only play with new and unopened toys for hygienic reasons.
 
Within three days, the hospital received five hundred boxes of new LEGO building bricks, which she said was the most requested toy.
 
“There is a seven-year-old boy who has just entered the transplant unit. He is completely isolated and bored, but now he is building an entire city in his cocoon”, Testoni said.
 
The association also collects toys to give to children on their birthdays or as treats for getting through a particularly difficult treatment, she said.
 
But the annual December drive does not always yield enough toys for the clinic, which has six beds in the transplant unit, 16 in the hospital and treats about 30 young patients in the day hospital.
 
On Friday, Ageop Ricerca thanked supporters online: “Thank you, world”!
 
On Saturday, Liverpool had a very average EPL game at best and for a long time, they were staring at a goalless draw.
 
But thankfully, they woke up in the last twenty minutes and managed to break the deadlock to win the game against Crystal Palace by one goal to nil. That was when Sadio Mane produced a neat finish from eight yards after pouncing on a loose ball and shooting past goalie Wayne Hennessey in the seventy-second minute.
 
A precious 3 points were earned.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Defiant Umbrellas












Demonstrators, wearing prison uniforms, march in protest at the jailing of the Umbrella Movement student leaders in Hong Kong, August 20, 2017. Reuters pic
 
Yesterday, thousands of Hong Kong citizens braved the oppressive heat to stream from the eastern district of Wan Chai to the Court of Final Appeal in the heart of Hong Kong Island, protesting the jail terms of Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, leaders of the 2014 Umbrella Movement rallies.
 
They held signs including: “Give back hope to my children” and “One prisoner of conscience is one too many” as they gathered to show their distress and anger.
 
It had been reported that Wally Yeung, one of the three idiots masquerading as judges who handed down the jail terms, said in a written judgment there had been an “unhealthy trend” of people in Hong Kong breaking the law for the sake of their ideals and having what he described as “arrogant and self-righteous ideas”.

No wonder Hong Kong has lost its shine. 
 
Former colonial governor Chris Patten slammed the government's move to persecute the activists.
 
“The names of Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law will be remembered long after the names of those who have persecuted them have been forgotten and swept into the ashcan of history,” wrote Patten in a letter to the editor at the Financial Times on Saturday.
 
Wong, 20, is currently held in a high security prison for young male offenders. Law and Chow are at a maximum security holding center.
 
Shame on you, Hong Kong!
 
I need to exorcise this emptiness living inside me. A gnawing void. A blankness that eats you up. And so, I turn to music.



[Note: Not just the songs but the narratives are also meaningful].

Anyway, Hans Christian Andersen said it well. “Where words fail, music speaks”.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I'm Jealous

I shared a music video on the Lectern KL Toastmasters Club Facebook page – Ladies of Soul’s “That’s What Friends Are For”, a Dionne Warwick classic. I was basking in the afterglow of an enjoyable Toastmasters meeting on Friday, that’s why.
 
I was checking out the music videos on YouTube when I stumbled upon this video clip a moving rendition of Labrinth's "Jealous". And the way it was sung, tugged at my heartstrings too – which makes me want to share this on my blog.

Only because my mood had already taken a sudden 180-degree turn.



I feel what the singer feels. I recognize it all too well. And the pain of emptiness pierces my heart as he sings it.
 
Two lines pertinaciously pin themselves onto the inside walls of my throbbing head:
 
"It's hard for me to say, I'm jealous of the way
 You're happy without me".
 
And I become teary-eyed.

Of course, I didn't lose a best friend as Josh Daniel did.

I just lost me and I'm nothing more than an empty shell. I'm a dispirited soul cursed to wander this earth until the end of time.

Never mind, I am rambling. I guess I am in the doldrums today.

Some might say I am on emo overdrive.

Still, it doesn't hide the fact that I am feeling the blues. Correction. I feel I am dead inside.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Apandi Ali's Version of Justice

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad mocked Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali (left) for coming up with his own twisted version of justice – where a person accused of crimes can absolve himself by simply saying, “I did not do it”.
 
He was inferring that Apandi is a sly fox and how he had treated Najib Razak with kid gloves.
 
“All he did was ask Najib, ‘did you do anything wrong?’ Najib then replied ‘I did not do anything wrong’. And ‘judge’ Apandi tells the people, ‘Najib did not do any wrong’. It is as simple as that”.
 
And Mahathir continued: “So I told Anwar Ibrahim that he has a good chance of getting out of jail. Just answer ‘I am not guilty’ and you will be free. These are the new laws under Najib”. Mahathir was referring to the sodomy conviction that saw his former deputy jailed for five years from February 2015.
 
LOL! Malaysia is a laughing stock!
 
Today, Celtic clocked up another dominant performance and 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock thanks to strikes by James Forrest (40) and Callum McGregor (88).
 
Yesterday, I was at Meja Kitchen & Bar at Sunway Velocity Mall in Jalan Peel in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur for the Lectern KL Toastmasters meeting. There, I delivered my CC speech #8 titled "Fork and Knife".




 
 







I also evaluated an Advanced speech and I earned a Best Evaluator ribbon for that!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Prison Time for Umbrella Trio

 
 
 
 
 
 
 




AFP photo
 
Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow who had spearheaded Hong Kong’s huge Umbrella Movement protests were jailed Thursday for their role in the 2014 pro-democracy protests – and dealing a fresh blow to the campaign for political reform.
 
Wong, Law and Chow were given terms of six months, eight months and seven months respectively after the court upped their previous non-custodial sentences. The sentences handed down by the city’s Court of Appeal came as fears grow that Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city and that rule of law is being compromised.
 
The Umbrella trio were found guilty last year on unlawful assembly charges for storming a fenced-off government forecourt known as “Civic Square” as part of a protest calling for fully free leadership elections in September 2014.
 
Their arrests sparked wider rallies which exploded two days later when police fired tear gas on the crowds, triggering mass demonstrations that brought parts of Hong Kong to a standstill for more than two months in an unprecedented challenge to Beijing.
 
Wong and Law received community sentences and Chow a three-week suspended sentence at magistrates’ court last August over the Civic Square protest. But Hong Kong’s justice department had sought to enhance those terms, with prosecutors arguing they should receive harsher punishment. Indeed, their wish has come true.
 
Hong Kong enjoys much greater freedoms than on the mainland, with its liberties enshrined in the handover agreement made when the city was given back to China by Britain in 1997. But there is rising alarm that Beijing is trampling the deal.
 
Like it or not, Hong Kong will have to kowtow to China.

There is apparently this survey involving 1,000 Malaysians by BlackBox Research for Tourism New Zealand that our passion for food is a key focus even when we are holidaying overseas.
 
The study found that eight in 10 Malaysians ranked indulging in a country’s local delicacies as the activity they enjoyed doing most.

Duh! As if we don't already know that!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Najib Razak and the GE14 Poser

PKR’s Rafizi Ramli is confident Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) will not call for a general election this year!.
 
He based his assessment on an Invoke survey covering 3,783 registered voters nationwide. Of that number who took the survey, Malays made up 59%, Chinese 26%, Bumiputeras in Sabah and Sarawak 8% and Indians 7%.
 
And over 60% of voters voiced out that the country’s economy was on the wrong track, and that the country was worse off compared with four years ago.
 
The interactive interview phone survey, held for a month from June 10 to July 14, focused on the country’s economic environment, cost of living and the rising costs of goods.
 
The Pandan MP said Najib is battling very pessimistic sentiments against him, as many disgruntled voters are complaining that life is getting harder.
 
He also observed that there was a big disconnect between economic numbers and the true picture, and there were those who deny the correlation between difficulty to make ends meet and the rising prices of goods.
 
The general sentiment on Najib’s management of the economy was unfavorable, and he noted that at a time when economic issues determined which party would be chosen – the very negative sentiments will not favor Barisan Nasional.
 
Still, Rafizi conceded the Malay voter sentiment satisfied with the economic environment hovered between 40 and 45%, which is in line with the level of support of the Malay voters towards UMNO and the percentage of voters who still want Najib to remain prime minister. I suppose these are the Malays who are lacking in brains.

I agree with Rafizi. The economy is in deep shit.

So if Najib is to call for GE14 this year – it will be a catastrophic calamity! For him and Barisan Nasional.
 
I am hoping he will be foolhardy. Reckless. Daring.

Take a chance, Najib! Show us your balls!!
 
Celtic all but booked their Champions League group stage berth by thumping Kazakh champions Astana 5-0 in the play-off first leg on Wednesday.
 
Tom Rogic created the opener when he drove into the box and lifted a ball into the area that Evgeni Postnikov could only divert into his own net in the thirty-second minute. Ten minutes later, Scott Sinclair raced clear to add the second and doubled his tally in the sixtieth minute. James Forrest fired the fourth nineteen minutes after that and then in the eighty-eighth minute, Leigh Griffiths' shot deflected in off Igor Shitov for number five.
 
The two sides meet again on Tuesday for the second leg, which now looks a formality for the Scottish champions – only a miracle can help Astana! Btw, Celtic knocked Astana out of the competition in the third qualifying round last term.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yesterday, I attended the TC Segambut Toastmasters meeting. I served as the Grammarian. And with that done, I have completed my CL manual #17! I am bowled over!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Altantuya's Killer Files Appeal

There has yet to be a proper closure on Altantuya Shaariibuu's cold-blooded murder.

Who ordered her to be dispatched is still a mystery.

And one of her killers is in Australia.

The policeman had said he faced the “very real prospect” of execution if he were to be deported to Malaysia from Australia.

According to The Australian, Sirul Azhar Umar had applied for a visa to allow him to be released into the Australian community.

It reported that his lawyers made the appeal in response to a formal notice from the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection that it was poised to refuse their client’s application for a Complementary Protection Visa.
 
The reason for the possible rejection of the protection visa was that he had committed a “serious non-political crime” before entering Australia.  

Sirul (left) must not return to Malaysia – Australia should give him the space and safety to spill the beans on Altantuya. The whole country wants to know.
 
Liverpool will take a one-goal advantage back to Anfield for the second leg of their Champions League play-off tie with Hoffenheim after they won a hard-fought 2-1 victory in Germany on Tuesday. In spite of the latter having had 63% possession.
 
Rookie full-back Alexander-Arnold demonstrated a cutting edge lacking in some of his more experienced team-mates with an expertly taken set-piece that found the bottom corner of the home net in the thirty-fifth minute to give him his first goal for the club.
 
James Milner took advantage of acres of space on the left to find the top corner via a significant deflection from the chest of Hoffenheim midfielder Havard Nordtveit just 10 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute.
 
But the German side pulled one back when lax marking gave Mark Uth all the time he needed to score in the eighty-seventh minute.
 
The second leg is on next week Wednesday – and I am counting on the Reds to reach the group stage. For the first time since 2014.
 
I was at the Speecom Toastmasters meeting yesterday in Bandar Sri Damansara in Selangor. I delivered my CC #5 titled Blessings. And I was evaluated by the Vice President Education of the club.

Additionally, I evaluated an Advanced speech.

And I received two ribbons for my efforts:

 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#OpenYourWorld

An intelligent commercial – Heineken presents ‘Worlds Apart’ An Experiment.
 
A beer advertisement that shows two strangers with opposing views provide proof that there’s more that unites than divides us. #OpenYourWorld
 
I must urge you to watch this commercial!
 
 
I came up with these two promotional posters for District 51’s Semi-Annual Conference – the last one apparently – in Penang this November.
 
Doing my bit to help the Organizers:
 

 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Tasteless Ad that Features Nude Air Hostesses


Image credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4760904/Kazakhstan-s-Chocotravel-site-uses-naked-models-ad.html

A travel company's tasteless advertisement featuring nude air hostesses went down like a lead balloon with their customers.
 
Kazakhstan's Chocotravel had released a video promoting their budget flight services, which adds nothing to the price of a plane ticket.
 
But the offensive footage hasn't had the desired effect, with customers lambasting the company as sexist.
 
The advert starts with just a head shot of one hostess as she gasps in apparent ecstasy at the offer. Then a second stewardess blows a kiss to the camera.
 
But it is only when the camera pulls back that it is revealed that the seven stewardesses in the lineup are naked apart from their caps and neckerchiefs.
 
Only a strip running across the screen like a booking form hides their breasts from view.
 
Then as the camera pulls back even more, they whip off their caps to protect their modesty and hide their private parts from view.



The ad looks like a spoof that would not be out of place on a show with Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy Kazhak creation Borat.
 
Really, what were they thinking of?!?!?!
 
I was at the Speakers Dream Toastmasters meeting today. And I delivered an Ice-breaker – titled “Born to Speak”. This is my CC Round #44!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

1MDB Criminal Investigation

I am rejoicing to read that the US of A is conducting a criminal investigation into money stolen from 1MDB that allegedly was used to buy more than $1 billion in real estate and other assets – court filings by the Department of Justice on Thursday showed.
 
DoJ officials asked a Los Angeles, California judge to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho (also known as Jho Low), because pursuing these may have “an adverse effect” on its ability to conduct the criminal investigation.
 
In its civil cases, the US has alleged that from 2009 through 2015, more than $4.5 billion belonging to 1MDB had been unscrupulously diverted to the privileged pockets of a few. You know who you are!
 
In the Scottish Premiership game on Friday, defending champions Celtic earned a 1-0 win over Partick Thistle when Olivier Ntcham took his chance and scored from a deflection off captain Scott Brown in the twenty-fifth minute.
 
Yesterday, Watford held Liverpool to a 3-3 draw in the Reds’ opening game of the EPL season.
 
The former scored through Stefano Okaka's header in the eighth minute. Sadio Mane equalized for the Reds in the twenty-ninth minute – only for Abdoulaye Doucoure to restore the lead from close range within three minutes. Roberto Firmino's penalty in the fifty-fifth minute made it 2-2 before Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah thought he had won it with the third goal two minutes later – only for Miguel Britos to bundle in a controversial 93rd-minute equalizer for Watford.
 
Not exactly a good start for Liverpool!

For two days (August 10-11, 2017), I was at the EcoWorld Development Group Berhad office in Setia Alam in Selangor for a SpeechCraft workshop. Thanks to Kimberley Yeoh, president of Taman Indrahana Toastmasters Club for the invite.





































I presented on Vocal Variety and I was also a mentor for one of 4 groups. 'Twas a good session and I enjoyed it very much!
  
More Toastmasters stuff: I attended Division P’s COT 1 training on Saturday and also did a 6-minute presentation on D51’s Annual Conference 2018.