Monday, August 20, 2018

Repeal All Repressive Laws

FMT pic. Malaysian parliament post GE14.

A total of nine bills, most notably the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill 2018 and the Goods and Services Tax (Repeal) Bill 2018, were passed by the 14th Malaysian Parliament at its first sitting – which ended on Friday. 

That’s great – but what about the other laws which stifle, smother and suffocate our rights?

The Sedition Act 1948, the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA), the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA), the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) are the principal ones I'm referring to. 


In addition, the Pakatan Harapan federal government must introduce the Freedom of Information Act. 

To be sure, a loud cacophony of protestations can be expected if the above are being implemented. 

To the rightwingers who support these control tools of suppression – let me remind them that the PH government could easily have used SOSMA on Najib Razak. 

But they didn’t – instead, the former prime minister was charged in open court and free to appear in Parliament – which he did, and where he stood up to defend SOSMA! 

And today, he continues to raise great outcry over everything and anything. 

Najib (right) grunts the oinks of dissent and which are quickly followed by farts of fury – these bellyaching remonstrances are a sombre presage of pandemonium.

He aims for the country to be torn asunder. 

That’s the only way he knows how UMNO can return to power – and he hopes to ride on the crest of that illusionary victory. 

Empty vessels like him make the most noise. 

Perhaps that's why my ears are always red.

I’m fed up to my ears listening to this fellow, babbling baloney. His poppycock prattle pains my ears. And his damn dirges run amok around my brain, like a tone-deaf rat with a megaphone trapped inside my head. 

Najib Razak is an agitator. Period.

I wish he can teleport himself to Sungai Buloh. Now.

And if we put him in solitary confinement  we shall finally have peace at last. And only then can Malaysia move forward.

D51 AC2018 Diamonds & Denim

D51 AC2018’s Welcome Night on April 20, 2018 is a showcase of talents: 

This fifth video features Annie Tsen (Tawau Toastmasters Club, District 87), Assyl Boizhanova (Witty Birds Toastmasters Club, District U), Juliana Heng (KPMG Toastmasters Club, District 102), Mirosha Somasundram (KPMG Toastmasters Club, District 102), Wong Siew Fong (Dell Penang Toastmasters Club, District 51) and a surprise act, Fish & Friends (Farlim Toastmasters Club, District 51). As well as D’Lips, student dancers from ASWARA.

Latest updates from Toastmasters International:

Toastmasters International Media Center, August 15, 2018. Webpage: 

On Wednesday, Toastmasters International’s Media Center – the global organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development, announced that their membership has increased every year since 1994. 

The highlights include: 

1.4 percent membership increase 
1,481 new clubs formed 
More than 750 new corporate Toastmasters clubs chartered 
More than 74,000 educational achievement awards earned by members 
The organization's highest rate of growth was outside of North America.

"Our growth is the result of thousands of people benefiting from their membership in tangible ways – such as career promotions and increased confidence in social situations  and then telling others about the benefits they've gained", said Balraj Arunasalam (right), Toastmasters 2017-2018 International President. 

Thumbs-up for Toastmasters!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

She's Gone: Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

Aretha Louise Franklin (right), whose gospel-rooted singing and bluesy yet expansive delivery earned her the title "the Queen of Soul" died at her Detroit home Thursday. She was 76. 

Over the course of a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin's songs not only topped the charts but became part of the vernacular. 

Nicki Minaj called her "an icon of all icons".

The first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she had 88 Billboard chart hits during the rock era, tops among female vocalists. And at the peak of her career – from 1967 to 1975 – she had more than two dozen Top 40 hits. 

Rolling Stone magazine ranked her atop its list of The Greatest Singers of All Time. 

These are my favorites from her voluminous collection:

"Thank you" just doesn't cut it. It's sadly inadequate.

I don't know what else to say – but Rest In Peace. And Joy, Aretha. 

Celtic will not play in the Champions League group stage for the first time during Brendan Rodgers' tenure – thanks to AEK Athens winning 2-1 (aggregate 3-2) on Tuesday. 

Four days later, they put aside their disappointment when they beat Partick Thistle 3-1 in the Scottish Cup second round on Saturday.

D51 AC2018 Toastmasters in Communication

From the compilation of the D51 AC2018 EXPERT SPEAKERS' Session 4 on April 20, 2018.

This recording features Lim Seow Hoe (Farlim Toastmasters Club, District 51), Miranda Suryadjaja (Magical Bali Toastmasters Club, District 87) and Mark McKenzie (KL Advanced Toastmasters Club, District 51):

Also on Thursday, I was in Jalan Hang Tuah in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur  where EcoWorld had their Toastmasters meeting at their BBCC location. 

I was the General Evaluator – additionally, I did a 15-minute talk on “Building Confidence through Public Speaking”. 

I love this particular meeting because there was this palpable energy that permeated throughout. I was swept off my feet! 

Good job, Nadia Hong, Lee Chin Yee and Janice Low!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

100 Days Report Card

Yesterday, August 17, marked the 100th day since Pakatan Harapan came into power in Malaysia. 

They made history when they became the government of the day after winning GE14 on May 09 – finally dethroning Barisan Nasional’s overbearing reign of more than six long decades. 

Here’s the list of what the PH government had successfully implemented as pledged in their 100-day election manifesto: 

1. The Goods and Services Tax introduced by the previous BN government effective April 01, 2015 has been zero rated and will be replaced with the Sales and Services Tax effective September 1, 2018. 

2. The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) provided a respite for 433,000 borrowers blacklisted by the previous government for not settling their loans; also repayments for those earning RM4000 and below have been deferred. 

3. Fuel prices are no longer floated on weekly basis. The RON95 is set at a subsidized rate per liter and the RON97 is free floated based on world prices. 

4. Costly mega projects like the ECRL, MRT3 and HSR are on hold and under scrutiny. Already, MRT3’s price tag is reduced by almost half; ECRL and HSR are being renegotiated and their viability to be re-examined. 

As for election promises that have yet to be fulfilled or still being worked out by the PH government, they are: 

1. FELDA settlers have yet to see their debts reduced or written off as promised, but efforts are underway to write off certain portion of the debts. 

2. The Employment Provident Fund for housewives – as a social security net for women – is still a work in progress. 

3. Minimum wage cannot be given the nod for now – and will only be done gradually. 

4. Royal Commissions of Enquiry into scandal-ridden institutions (e.g. 1MDB, FELDA, MARA, Tabung Haji) – still waiting. 

5. Reverting Sabah and Sarawak's rights as stipulated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, including on the petroleum royalties due to both states. 

6. The healthcare scheme similar to Selangor’s Skim Peduli Sihat promised for the B40 group is yet to be initiated. 

It's simple arithmetic really. The PH government achieved 4 out of 10. That's a 40% pass.

You decide if that score is acceptable or not. 

But Pakatan Harapan would do well to remember that a promise is a promise.

D51 AC2018 Toastmasters in Leadership

The third insert pertains to the D51 AC2018 EXPERT SPEAKERS' Session 3 on April 20, 2018.

This video features Greg Ching (Waikiki Toastmasters Club, District 49), Mohd Syairoz (Berjaya UCH Toastmasters Club, District 51) and Srinivas KM (MAD Toastmasters Club, District 102):

On Thursday, I returned to Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur. 

The ServiceSource Toastmasters Club were very kind to give me a speaking slot and I gratefully accepted. As per request, I presented an Advanced speech A Fact-Finding Report from the Speaking to Inform manual – titled Communication Isn’t Optional. 

I’m gunning for my fifth ACS award – meaning I’m looking for speaking slots again. 

BTW, I was voted Best Assignment Speaker.

Friday, August 17, 2018

One Bullet in the Head

PM Mahathir Mohamad told 3,500 civil servants that if it was up to him, he’d like to emulate China.

There, the punishment for corruption is execution by shooting. One bullet in the head.

We know all too well, the country is known to bump off more people than all other countries in the world combined. 

The only obstacle he faces is that his “cabinet ministers do not agree to this” – drawing laughter from officers of the diplomatic and administrative services present at his first townhall meeting on Wednesday. 

In case there are Mahathir haters out there  don't get upset. He said it in jest lah.

He highlighted Japan too. He said, people there commit suicide due to shame. 

But in Malaysia, “when you say that you are a thief, they just smile”. 

Of course, Mahathir was making a reference to Najib Razak (left) because our #1 thief knows no shame. 

He cautioned his audience not to serve blindly or to blindly follow orders. 

"Granted, the government expects you to be loyal. But, if we ask you to do things against the law, you should reject. Don't do it”, he forewarned. 

"If I, as the Prime Minister, ask you to murder someone – will you do it?” Mahathir had asked.

And he received a resounding nay. 

Sure, we have discovered many rotten apples – but we must remember that not every apple is spoiled.

Not everybody is like Najib who has shown time and time again he doesn't give a damn. He has purged his conscience because he wants to live in sin. 

D51 AC2018 Toastmasters in Practice

A follow-up to yesterday’s post on District 51’s 25th Annual Conference 2018.

This is the D51 AC2018 EXPERT SPEAKERS' Session 2 on April 20, 2018.

This second video features Kimberley Yeoh (Taman Indrahana Toastmasters Club, District 102), Martin O’Connor (Inspiring Speakers Toastmasters Club, District 17) and Dr Ernest Chen (Toastmasters Club of Singapore, District 80):

On Tuesday, I attended the Siemens Malaysia Toastmasters Club meeting @ CP Tower in Seksyen 16, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 

I was given the General Evaluator role as well as the opportunity to deliver a CC #10 speech titled You Ain’t Heavy, You’re My Toastmaster! 

And I was voted Best Assignment Speaker – which is really cool! 

Overall, a very well-attended meeting. I have not seen so many non-Toastmasters in a Toastmasters meeting in a long, long time!