Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Another Pachyderm Murder

It would appear that Sabah seems incapable of protecting its small elephant population. 

Another pygmy elephant was found dead near Beluran in the Sandakan division on Saturday morning. 

State Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga said workers at Ladang Bimbingan 2 stumbled upon the carcass of the bull elephant, believed to be about 25 years old and weighing 2.5 tonnes, while searching for the source of a foul smell in the plantation. 

He said a team of veterinarians and forest rangers were deployed to the area and conducted a post mortem on the animal. 

"From what we know, the elephant was shot dead and had its two tusks removed", he alleged. Based on initial checks, the pachyderm could have died between three to five days, prior to its discovery. 

Yesterday, Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar (right) urged Sabah and Sarawak to amend their laws to increase punishments for wildlife crimes – in order to tackle poaching and smuggling. 

Already, Putrajaya is moving to amend the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

In a separate case, also on Saturday, six Cambodian nationals (above photo) were apprehended and their hunting tools seized in an integrated operation that saw the participation of the National Parks and Wildlife Department, General Operations Forces North Brigade and representatives from non-governmental organizations that was mounted in the Tembat forest reserve in Terengganu. 

Codenamed "Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah", this represented the sixth success todate. 

On September 10, two poachers from Thailand were caught in the Royal Belum State Park in Perak; on October 10, a local man was detained in Felcra Sungai Limau in Kuala Lipis, Pahang; and on October 11, a Thai national was arrested in Gerik, Perak. 

That same day, the authorities scored a big success with the arrest of 26 poachers of various nationalities at Felcra Sungai Temau in Kuala Lipis, Pahang. 

Then, on October 16, a Cambodian was caught in the Endau Rompin National Park, Johor.

Methinks, it’s time to enhance jail sentences and maybe even introduce whipping for poaching.

Toyota’s Eco-friendly Short Distance Mobility Option

As the automotive market adopts the commitment to develop environmentally friendly modes of transportation, vehicles are increasingly being designed for specific niches and their particular needs. 

Throughout 2019, a handful of extremely compact electric vehicles and concepts – Citroen’s Ami One, Seat’s Minimo, Nissan’s IMk, and Honda’s Urban EV – have been announced with the nearly-exclusive purpose of being used in strictly urban environments. 

On Thursday, Toyota, too, revealed their own rendition of the teeny-weeny city vehicle: The Ultra-compact BEV (right). 

And it is already one up on the other cars in this particular segment – this EV is not a concept; it’s production ready and truth be told, it is expected to launch in Japan in 2020. 

I read that the two-seater has a single-charge range of about 100 km and a top speed of 60km/h (or 37mph). 

This car is not designed for performance – instead, Toyota intend for it to be used by customers who make short-distance trips like “the elderly, newly licensed drivers, or business-people visiting local customers”. 

Though the technical specs of the model have not been released, Toyota’s Head of Development Akihiro Yanaka states that this model will provide customers with “greater autonomy”. 

The Ultra-compact BEV will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show (October 24 to November 04) at the Future Expo. 

Yesterday, I was at the MIDA premise in KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur to attend the KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting. I was both an assignment speaker as well as a speech evaluator. 

My speech was from the Humorously Speaking manual, project #2 Leave Them With a Smile and it was titled The Day My Best Friend Died 

‘Twas a speech that contained dark humor – and it was about Bernard. 

BTW, I was voted Best Evaluator for my feedback for an Ice-breaker speech:

Photos from the said meeting:

Monday, October 21, 2019

Bringing Chinese Words to Life

Shanghai-based illustrator Frankie Huang (right) is bringing Chinese words to life. Literally. 

Her Putong Animals series, re-imagines animals according to what they're called in Mandarin Chinese – or Putonghua – China’s official language. 

Huang says she came up with the idea for the series after seeing people on Twitter discussing how some animals had "really funny names when you translate them literally".

She recalls: "The turkey – or fire chicken – was the first one I drew. It was just a bunch of chickens on fire and a guy in a hazmat suit feeding them".

One of Huang's favourite illustrations is the "dragon prawn" – or lobster. "I wanted to make it look really majestic and godlike", she says. "Someone commented that it's a celestial crustacean, I thought that was such a nice name for it". 

Also, a snail cow. 

The tiny gecko has earned the imposing name of "Wall Tiger". 

The zebra is referred to literally as a "patterned horse" in Mandarin. 

The Giant salamander is ironically referred to as a "baby fish" in China. 

It takes Huang about three hours to produce one illustration, from conceptualization to sketching it out and eventually coloring it in. 

On Sunday, Liverpool struggled with their EPL game against mediocre Manchester United – in fact, they were lucky to have drawn 1-1 and therefore, earned a point. 

A crappy game from the Reds. Displeasing. Disappointing. 

Our goalscorer, Adam Lallana was damn right when he told Sky Sports after the game: “We’re not going to need just 11, we’re going to need a squad”.

No End in Sight

Violence is now synonymous with Hong Kong:

Even the general populace, it would seem, is endorsing violence and supporting the rioters who peddle a "secessionist pipe dream". 

It makes you wonder who’s really behind the Hong Kong protests? Who's supplying provocation, money and supplies?

And I found this CGTN report:
Interesting, informative, insightful.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Nosing into Hong Kong's Politics

Just this month of October alone, the world is witnessing tumultuous protests in many troubled cities. Baghdad, Quito, Conarky, Paris, Barcelona, Beirut and Santiago.

If the Americans are genuinely concerned about human rights, then their country should intervene in Iraq, Ecuador, Guinea, France, Spain, Lebanon and Chile.

But only Hong Kong receives special attention and treatment from the USA.

On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives approved legislation to show support for Hong Kong protesters – that could pave the way for diplomatic action and economic sanctions against the Hong Kong government and thus, moving it a significant step closer to becoming law.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 would end the Chinese city's special trading status with the US unless the State Department certify annually that the authorities are respecting human rights and the rule of law.

A second measure, the Protect Hong Kong Act, would bar commercial exports of military and crowd-control items such as teargas.

The third is a non-binding resolution recognizing Hong Kong's relationship to the US, condemning Beijing's "interference" in its affairs, and supporting the right of the city's residents to protest.

The bill would strengthen the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, which the US government use to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify Washington changing its treatment of the city as a separate trading entity from the Chinese mainland.

It awaits a vote in the Senate, where it currently enjoys the bipartisan co-sponsorship of 25 senators, and is expected to pass.

A Hong Konger waves an American flag at a protest rally in Hong Kong on October 14, 2019 as demonstrators called on US lawmakers to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. Image credit: AFP 

I’m thinking that Hong Kong is singled out because of China. 

The US is doing everything possible to hold China back, to paint China in a bad light, to demonise China. 

The US is a big bully. Methinks, China must not capitulate, rather it must fight back to defend the country's honor.

Exam Security Measure: Cardboard Boxes

A bizarre set of images had gone viral showing students donning cardboard boxes on their heads. 

The photos were taken during a chemistry exam at Bhagat Pre-University College in Haveri in Karnataka state, India. They showed students wearing boxes, cut open on one side, to prevent them from being able to copy other people's work. 

College administrator MB Satish had since then apologized for the incident which he described as an anti-cheating experiment – after hearing of its supposed use in Mumbai. 

He also insisted it had been done with the students' consent – in fact they had brought in their own boxes. 

"There was no compulsion of any kind. You can see in the photograph that some students were not wearing it", he said. "Some who wore it removed it after 15 minutes, some after 20 minutes and we ourselves asked them to remove it after one hour". 

SC Peerjade, deputy director of the local pre-University Education Board, described the practice as "inhumane". The practice has since stopped. 

Yesterday, Celtic demolished Ross County 6-0. 

Forward Mohamed Elyounoussi fired the home side ahead from 16 yards in the fourth minute – and yet as his side pummelled their opponents for the rest of the half, they failed to add to their lead. 

Then came the avalanche of goals' i.e. four in just ten minutes at the start of the second half. Odsonne Edouard got his first of the afternoon in the forty-sixth minute after capitalising on a defensive mistake, before Callum McGregor waltzed through the heart of the Ross County defence to make it 3-0 three minutes later. Barely one minute after that, James Forrest sent a brilliant ball to the French striker, and it went in off Ross County defender Liam Fontaine. Five minutes later, Forrest put in his name on the scoresheet when he slammed Jeremie Frimpong's cutback into the net. 

And the sixth and final goal came in the seventy-second minute when Elyounoussi nudged his second over the line after Boli Bolingoli had fired across goal. 

The men from Dingwall were left devastated as champions Celtic returned to winning ways in the Scottish Premiership.