Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Courageous Crayfish

I have been mulling over this Swiss law about boiling lobsters alive – kindly read my post "Lobsters Sense Pain" published June 01, 2018 – and I am beginning to acknowledge it is a good law. 

The case of a crayfish (Phylum: Arthropoda; Subphylum: Crustacea; Class: Malacostraca) that decided it didn’t want to be somebody’s dinner supports my view.

The crustacean had crawled out of a steaming Chinese hotpot (火锅 huǒguō /hwor-gwor/ 'fire-pot') in a restaurant in China – as can be seen from the 11-second video posted by a user named Jiuke on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

Surely, it must have sensed pain for it to be determined enough to clamber out of a receptacle of piping hot spicy soup and in the process, amputated one of its claws – this dramatic escape has made the courageous crayfish an online hero.



The video has since gone viral. 

Many Weibo users had called for the never-say-die crayfish to be shown mercy. 

Not to worry because Jiuke had already decided to let the crustacean live. 

"I let him live, I already took him home and am raising him in an aquarium", he declared. 

And the escape artist will not have to live with only one claw for the rest of its life. Marine experts say crayfish are able to grow back limbs. 

In fact, UK’s The Mail reported in 2014 that a pregnant lobster which lost both claws and four legs had managed to grow all her limbs and even claws. 

In case you don't know, crayfish are freshwater cousins to the lobster, although smaller.










(Cooked) Crayfish in Tomato Sauce. Image credit: Webpage https://www.thespruceeats.com/spanish-crayfish-recipe-crayfish-in-tomato-sauce-3083697

Updates on the World Cup so far: 

On Thursday, in Group C, Denmark played to a 1-1 draw against Australia and France vanquished Peru 1-0. 

I was right not to consider Argentina as one of sixteen countries to progress to the next knockout stage – I reckon they are just not good enough, even with Lionel Messi in the team. I was right because they were squashed 0-3 by Croatia. 

On Friday, in Group E, Brazil managed to score two late goals against Costa Rica. 

(In fact, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and former Liverpool player Philippe Coutinho were instrumental in giving Brazil their first goal). 

In Group D, Nigeria whipped Iceland 2-0 and which of these two countries will join Croatia – already guaranteed a place in the last 16 after winning their first two games – will depend on the remaining two games. 

Nigeria qualify if they beat Argentina but a draw would be enough if Iceland do not beat Croatia. On the other hand, Iceland must beat Croatia and hope Nigeria don't beat Argentina. 

In Group E, Switzerland overcame Serbia 2-1. That victory is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. 

And on Saturday, in Group G, Tunisia were walloped 2-5 by Belgium. And in Group F, Mexico triumphed 2-1 over South Korea and Germany did the same to Sweden by the same margin.

Germany sure love to live dangerously. This is the ninth consecutive occasion that the country have followed a defeat at the World Cup with a victory.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

ACFE Award for 1MDB Fraud Reporting













Clare Rewcastle Brown wins international award for fraud reporting. Image credit: TheStarTV.com

1MDB investigations may still be under way – but the Sarawak Report editor whose whistleblower site had exposed the excesses of the sovereign wealth fund – was in Las Vegas, USA on Tuesday.

Clare Rewcastle-Brown was at the 2018 Global Fraud Conference where she was presented with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners' Guardian Award for vigilance in fraud reporting.

In her keynote address, Rewcastle-Brown said if Jho Low, the Penang financier known to be former prime minister Najib Razak's confidant and business adviser and the accused mastermind of the 1MDB scandal, had not been so indulgent in Las Vegas – the 1MDB story might not have been revealed to the world.

OMG, he sure knows how to party! He is said to have thrown some of the most extravagant parties that Las Vegas has ever seen.















Jho Low parties with the Hilton sisters, Paris and Nicky. Finews.com, July 13, 2017 
















Image credit: Webpage https://www.worldofbuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/party-boy-jho-low-gambles-away-millions-world-of-buzz-5.jpg 













Pictured on a boat in Paris with Paris Hilton in 2010 

















Pictured with Alicia Keys in 2014

It was reported that when he celebrated his thirtieth birthday in 2012, more than three hundred guests were invited. A veritable roll call of celebrities – that included the likes of Jamie Foxx, Paris Hilton, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Robert De Niro and Benicio Del Toro.

The party itself was held on a 217,800 square foot lot along the famed Las Vegas Strip, complete with an indoor Ferris wheel and a 7-meter bar carved out of ice.

Las Vegas seems to be one of his fave hangout cities because the US Department of Justice had said Low gambled away millions of dollars allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB at the city’s casinos.

Rewcastle-Brown said: "I find it sobering to reflect that probably none of this would have come out, and Najib would probably still be robbing the poor of his nation, if his young proxy had not been so ostentatious in the city of Las Vegas”.

And I can imagine she had a mile-wide smirk on her face when she said: "Thank you for inviting me here to see it with my own eyes at last"!

She had shared about Low's exploits, as well as those of his "super close pal" Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson (right), who "equally could not explain his own secretive wealth".

She talked about how the two kept spending money – and she kept getting tip-offs, for example, their super yachts, their Beverly Hills mansions, New York penthouses, their extraordinary purchases in the art market, their gambling and clubbing, and fleets of customized sports cars.

She even said the pair made the characters in The Wolf of Wall Street – a film produced by Red Granite Pictures, which was co-founded by Riza – look like amateur spenders.

People on the movie set had told her that Low would pay the film's main star, Leonardo DiCaprio (right), $500,000 (RM2 million) each time to fly with him on a private jet to Las Vegas to play the tables.

She also related that after DoJ publihed their 1MDB findings, DiCaprio found himself 'shamed' and felt obliged to return to Low a Picasso and a stolen Oscar that belonged to the late actor Marlon Brando.

And I didn't know that Paris Hilton (left) could be hired for a reported $1 million to hang on to Low's arm at parties.

There were other Hollywood hangers-on too – including singer Alicia Keys and actor Foxx, who were "regular party-goers and receivers of gifts and donations".

And Rewcastle-Brown had also mentioned about supermodel Miranda Kerr (right) who returned $8 million worth of diamond jewellery that was presented to her by Low as a Valentine's Day gift on the inaugral cruise abroad his new super yacht Equanimity in 2014. 

"Thanks to the election results and the judgment of the Malaysian people, I think the game is pretty much over at 1MDB”.

On Thursday, Charandeep Kaur had invited me to her Service Source Toastmasters meeting in KL. I was a speech evaluator as well as the General Evaluator.

It is unlikely that one can find a speech marathon during a lunch meeting – but at this club, I had the rare pleasure to listen to seven speakers just two afternoons ago. Awesome!




















Is it any wonder that Service Source Toastmasters Club had received recognition as a President’s Distinguished Club – under the Distinguished Club Program for 2017-2018?

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Implausible Confessions of Najib I-Don’t-Know-Don’t-Blame-Me Razak















Reuters pics

Former disgraced prime minister Najib Razak showed Malaysians why he deserved an Oscar. 

On Tuesday, he showcased marvellous acting skills that held the rakyat spellbound. 

He shouldn’t have become a politician – he would have been very successful as an actor. 

Anyway, a portion of an interview on June 19, 2018 that he gave in a luxurious sea-facing private villa at the five-star St. Regis hotel in Langkawi is shown here:




The salient points are highlighted here – pay special attention to how Najib can say all these things with a straight face!

Malaysians have overlooked his remarkable talent.

I mean, talents. Not only is he an accomplished thief, a consummate liar but he is equally brilliant as an actor.

“I didn’t benefit from the 1MDB because I believe that the 1MDB was created to do something good for the country”. 

“I didn’t know what happened to 1MDB”. 

“I put the blame on the management and board of 1MDB for keeping everything a secret from me”. 

“If I knew there was going to be misappropriation of funds, if that was my knowledge – I would have acted”. 

“I know what’s right and what’s wrong”. 

“I shouldn’t be blamed for 1MDB”. 

On his association with Jho Low (right), Najib said his Penang buddy “was not working on my behalf”. 

And when asked who Low was acting for, Najib replied: “You have to ask him that”. 

On the Arab donation – the $681 million that was transferred into his personal bank account – he had maintained he was given assurances from the late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (right) that Saudi Arabia would be making a contribution. 

“All I knew, I accepted at face value that this is coming from the Saudis, from King Abdullah at his behest, at his instruction”, Najib explained. 

And except for this one donation for ‘Tabung Dedak Najib Razak’, he maintained he had no knowledge of any transactions involving his personal account. 

“I don’t manage the (bank) account”. 

“I am not privy to the bank records”.

Najib is a really funny guy. He denied knowing about the humongous sums of money that were pouring into his account – and yet, he knew chocolates had gone missing in his fridge!

 

On the seized handbags, jewellery and other luxury items – Najib indicated that Rosmah Mansor (right) would not take any questions. 

That's too bad  otherwise, I'm certain the FLOM could have regaled us with her colorful stories. That would have qualified her to win the Best Supporting Actress award.

Nonetheless, he answered on her behalf by declaring “that the vast number of handbags were really gifts” for his wife and daughter. 

Even Daniyar Nazarbayev (left), the nephew of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, had gifted many of the said handbags to Rosmah. 

Najib had clarified that his son-in-law gets Birkin from his source, five or six at one go – and that his daughter’s hubby has got some means, so it has nothing to do with 1MDB if it comes from Kazakhstan. 

Najib also referred to a jewellery set that supposedly included a 22-carat pink diamond pendant and necklace – he said it was meant to be a gift for his wife but she never received it, he said. 

As for the RM114 that was discovered – he insisted it all belonged to UMNO. 

And Najib even took the opportunity to complain that he isn’t treated right – he is a former prime minister and yet, he isn’t shown any decorum. 

Hmmn, I beg to differ. I thought he is being treated extremely well. Any other thief would have been thrown straightaway into the lock-up. 

I'm feeling sick. Therefore, I am going to terminate this post now because I need to retch, barf and throw up.

Postscript.  More of an advertisement, hehe.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

China Must Be Fair to Malaysia











Image credit: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/?p=115706

MCA were shameless in using Chinese President Xi Jinping’s image during the GE14 campaign period.

I don’t know if Xi or his Chinese envoy knew about it. If the latter did, I would have expected him to order the BN party to take the billboard(s) down. 

Since none was removed – I am assuming Bai Tian (right) didn’t know. Or didn’t want to know. 

Anyway, this blogpost shall remind him how his country’s paramount leader had been milked and used by overbold and unprincipled politicians here in Malaysia. 

MCA politicians like the eunuch Liow Tiong Lai are the scum of the earth. 

Every time I see this pic, it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. 

But as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said, the country wants good ties with Beijing and even welcomes investments from China – but we don’t like to be made fools of. 

Mahathir and others in Pakatan Harapan have railed against Chinese-backed mega projects in the country – and even accused Najib Razak’s government of “selling” Malaysia to China. 

And all for what – but to settle the huge 1MDB debts. 

It seems that Najib did such a good job of selling because he secured about $34.2 billion worth of deals from China.

Of course lah. When you negotiate lopsided deals where we get the money but we give everything else to China – sure easy wad! 

The whole idea of receiving foreign investments is that they facilitate job-creation and technology transfer as well as providing capital to enhance existing industries and/or finance new industries. Meaning, they help us reach our economic potential. 

In fact, Mahathir told the South China Morning Post that the 688-km East Coast Rail Link project is one example of a deal that did not actually benefit Malaysia. 

I must also mention that it was offered without tender to the China Communications Construction Company. 

Mahathir had criticized its RM55 billion price tag – believe me, that number is grossly understated! – and voiced alarm that the main contractor would source the bulk of its labour and material from China, as had been the case with many other Chinese-linked projects. 

“When it involves giving contracts to China, borrowing huge sums of money from China, and the contract goes to China, and China contractors prefer to use their own workers from China, use everything imported from China, even the payment is not made here, it’s made in China… that kind of contract is not something that I welcome”, he told SCMP bluntly.

Besides, Mahathir declared that there’s nothing to be afraid of with regard to China. He said, we have been neighbours for 2,000 years. And for good measure, he added, you haven’t conquered us yet! 

So there you have it. It is not wrong to say we are pro-China and we consider China as our good friend – but please, don’t take advantage of that friendship!

The World Cup are seeing some unexpected results and which can only make this football extravaganza more interesting and perhaps, more thrilling even.

On Monday, in Group F, Sweden beat South Korea 1-0 and in Group G, England beat Tunisia 2-1.

The day after, in Group A, Russia again won when they swept aside Egypt 3-1, and in Group H, Colombia surrendered 1-2 to Japan.

Yesterday, in a Group A match, Luis Suarez (right) marked his 100th international cap by sending Uruguay through to the last 16 with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia. 

And Suarez became the only Uruguayan in history to score at three World Cups! 

In Group B, Portugal ousted Morocco 1-0 and Spain disposed Iran by the same margin.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Jamal Yunos: A Wanted Man

According to Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng, a RM10,000 bounty has been offered through him to anyone who can provide information on the whereabouts of Jamal Yunos (New Straits Times, June 19, 2018)

Sungai Besar UMNO Division Chief. Leader of the Red Shirts. A Datuk Seri. A loudmouth. And a jester. 

He is none other than Jamal Yunos, bully and rabble-rouser. 

And who doesn’t know of his many outlandish political stunts. 

Here’s a highlight of some of his most bizarre antics that Malaysians didn’t find amusing and yet he still had the gall to inflict them upon us:


















Image credit: Webpage http://says.com/my/fun/jamal-yunos-meme-photoshop-battle

On December 21, 2016, Jamal showed up at the Selangor state secretariat building entrance to protest against water cuts. 

He was draped in towels and he was carrying toiletries and a water dipper – and he even demanded to shower at the Menteri Besar's Office.













Image credit: Yusof Mat Isa

On February 15, 2017, Jamal again showed up at the Selangor state secretariat building dressed as a gravedigger – in a white T-shirt and cargo pants with a white towel tied on his head – where he headed a 'cortege' consisting of 16 hearses and coffins. 

Together with his minions, he brought out a casket and told everyone present: “This is meant for Azmin”. 

Holding a hoe, he also demanded then Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali explain the alleged misappropriation of Selangor Child Heritage Foundation funds.











FMT pic, June 21, 2017

On June 21, 2017, Jamal brandished a “diamond necklace” and a ring – which he alleged were worth RM120 million – to the Press in an attempt to mock the opposition for believing in the United States DoJ’s claim that money stolen from 1MDB was used to buy jewellery worth millions of dollars for the wife of MO1. (Psst, it’s Najib Razak, in case you didn't know).












Image credit: https://forum.lowyat.net/topic/4366129/all

On July 21, 2017, Jamal brought cardboard cut-outs of PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail which he took for a ride on the newly launched MRT service from Kajang to Sungai Buloh. 

Sungai Buloh is the site of Malaysia’s largest prison complex, and also where PKR de facto leader and Wan Azizah’s hubby Anwar Ibrahim was then serving a five-year sentence. 

The printed message on the cut-out read: “Tq PM for providing this MRT service from Kajang to Sungai Buloh. It is now easier for Kak Wan (Wan Azizah) to visit her husband in Sungai Buloh”. 

Wan Azizah is the assemblywoman for Kajang. 

The gimmick followed a message in jest by Nurul Izzah thanking the PM for providing the MRT service to allow her to visit her father in the Sungai Buloh prison more easily.












Pic courtesy of NST

On October 05, 2017, Jamal came in a pickup truck, unloaded cartons of beer and then started smashing them with a sledgehammer, just outside the gates of the Selangor state secretariat building – in protest over the cancelled Better Beer Festival 2017. 

Of course, we all know by now that Jamal is running for UMNO Youth chief in the coming party elections! Besides that, he is also running from the law! 

Anyway, I wish to declare my support for Jamal Yunos. After all, he might do wonders for his beloved party. 

If UMNO are really in deep shit, they might be better off if they transform themselves from a political party into a circus. At least, with the likes of Jamal and the other fellow clowns – Bung Moktar Radin, Ahmad Maslan and Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz come instantly to mind – they can still enliven things and at the same time, entertain Malaysians. 

God knows with the stinking shit that Najib Razak kindly left us with – we all do need a laugh or two on a regular basis – in order that our sanity is intact. 

As of now, Jamal Yunos is still a wanted man. And still at large. 

I am ROTFLMAO-ing! I'm really sorry, I can't help it!

IGP Mohamad Fuzi (left) had said that police have an idea where Jamal could be hiding and they are doing everything possible to locate him (The Star, June 07, 2018).

Then this IGP claimed that fugitive Jamal had possibly escaped to Indonesia through illegal channels and the former had engaged with his counterpart in Indonesia to track him down (The Sun, June 07, 2018).

But we have UMNO Youth exco Armand Azhar maintaining that Jamal is in the country (The Malaysian Insight, June 18, 2018).

Who to believe? Who is lying? WHERE IS JAMAL YUNOS?

Are Malaysian police that hopeless, meh?

Sneakers that Marry Fashion with Sports


















A model presents a creation from the Dolce & Gabbana Autumn/Winter 2018 women collection during Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, February 25, 2018

Luxury fashion and sports are coming together. And it looks as if they have become inseparable. 

Strange bedfellows alright but it is the in-thing now. And yielding big profits for those involved in the business. Already, both luxury groups and sports companies are looking to cash in on a booming market. 

Premium sneakers can start at around $400 but can easily go up as high as $3,000 for a pair of Christian Louboutin’s leather, crystal-embellished sneakers. 

And limited editions can even sell for well over $10,000, including the Chanel X Pharrell Hu Race Trail or Nike’s Air Jordan 3 Retro DJ Khaled Grateful. 

































High-end brands such as Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga are increasingly looking to sneakers for growth, putting them in direct competition with sportswear giants like Nike, Puma and Adidas – and creating ever-more striking and swank designs. 

A Reuters report put global sales of sneakers – or trainers – to have expanded by 10 percent to 3.5 billion euros in 2017. 

For sure, sneakers are a big driver of the luxury shoe business – in fact, luxury sneakers represent the fashion industry’s fastest-growing segment. 

Bruce Pas, Men’s Fashion Director at US department store Neiman Marcus – a leading purveyor of the world's most unique luxury goods – trumpets: “It’s not really even a trend anymore – it’s become a category”. 

The rise of luxury sneakers is part of the growing influence of casual and streetwear in high-end fashion, where it is now acceptable to team sneakers with a tailored suit. 

Upmarket brands are tapping into street style to refresh their looks and young buyers are driving the shift. “Millennials” – born between the early 1980s and mid-90s – already represent a third of the luxury market, according to consultancy Bain & Co. 

It has been noted that even with intensifying competition, profits will remain very healthy. 

“There is (a) large space for prices moving up”, said Erwan Rambourg from HSBC. It seems that the ‘luxurization’ of sneakers can only impact margins positively. 

Designer footwear or luxury sneakers or couture sneakers or whatever we may wish to call them – they are a fast-growing market segment. 

Even for sportswear companies, like Adidas, fashion collaborations are not unusual. 

In fact, Adidas recognize that it is a way of expanding their company’s creative ecosystem and keeping consumers engaged and excited by the Adidas brand in a fast-moving market. “These days the pace has become so fast. People go to verticals, like H&M and Zara, and expect new products every month. Even with high fashion labels, it’s the cruise collection and pre-collections; every three months you get something new”, said Dirk Schönberger, creative director of Adidas’ sport style division. 

“We are a very commercial brand, so, of course, we have to deliver – at a minimum every week – something that excites the consumer. The verticals and the [speed of the] Internet have changed the way we do things”, he added. 

When a market opportunity presents itself, you can be sure marketing-driven companies will be in the thick of the action. It’s business, after all!