Wednesday, August 12, 2020

737 MAX Planes Hit with More Cancellations

Boeing on Tuesday reported another 43 cancelled orders for the troubled 737 MAX (left) in July and, with global aviation in a pandemic-imposed slump, the US aerospace giant failed to secure new orders for any aircraft last month. 

According to a monthly report, the aircraft manufacturer this year has been hit with 398 cancellations for the 737 MAX, which has been grounded since March 2019 following two deadly crashes. 

Boeing delivered just four aircraft in July, two 787 Dreamliners to Air France-KLM and Turkish Airlines, as well as two cargo planes, compared to 19 in the same month of 2019. The delivery rate is key since that is when the manufacturer receives most of the price of the plane. 

Boeing also warned last month that it will have to lay off even more workers than the 16,000 job cuts announced in April 2020. 

Celtic and Aberdeen have had their next two Scottish Premiership matches postponed after their players broke Covid-19 lockdown rules. 

Scotland's first minister had demanded the cancellation after Celtic's Belgian defender Boli Bolingoli flew to Spain, failed to quarantine, then played in a match. 

Nicola Sturgeon (left) said this was a "flagrant breach" of the guidelines, while Celtic manager Neil Lennon described himself as "livid" after the "incredibly selfish" player had gone "rogue". 

Police Scotland confirmed Bolingoli had been issued with a fixed penalty notice for breaching quarantine regulations. The previous weekend, eight Aberdeen players broke lockdown regulations by visiting a bar together. 

So, today’s game against St Mirren and Saturday’s game against Aberdeen are not on!

Latté Art

Warning: Your local hipster coffee joint’s about to feel super inadequate. 

Lee Kang Bin paints wonderful recreations of iconic paintings and illustrations from popular culture onto latté foam at the C Through, the coffee shop he owns in Seoul, South Korea. 

I guess you could say that this Korean barista can’t seem to decide whether he is operating a cafe or a “pop-up” art gallery. 

For his cups, he uses cold coffee, cream, chocolate sauce, espresso, and a palette of food colorings. It usually takes about 15 minutes to make his art.

I’m just not sure if anybody will pay good money to gaze awhile at colorful latté art and drink cold coffee that’s lavishly infused with food coloring after that. 

I may be wrong but I reckon it is likely to be a one-time love affair and likely to appeal to Instagrammers. Still one cannot deny that for a guy who never formally learned to draw, he is creating good artwork. 

In fact, Lee has been credited as an early pioneer of what is referred to as “creamart”.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Gaga Radio

If you can't get enough of the iconic Lady Gaga (left), you can tune into her new radio show Gaga Radio that premiered on Friday, 11 AM PST (Saturday, 2 AM Malaysian time) on Apple Music – and thereafter, new episodes every Friday this month. 

She says she is "super thrilled, excited to have this show and this opportunity to play an incredible mix of music every week".

Gaga aims to honor dance music by speaking with the DJs, divas, and producers who inspired her and helped bring her sixth studio album Chromatica to life. 

She explains: “The symbol for Chromatica has a sine wave in it, which is the mathematical symbol for sound, and it's from what all sound is made from, and, for me, sound is what healed me in my life period, and it healed me again making this record, and that is really what Chromatica is all about”. 

Here's my favorite song from her latest album – the deceptively upbeat “Fun Tonight” where she croons: 

Feeling something that I can't explain 

Think it's a wound I still entertain 

I'd do anything to numb the flame 

I guess I'm just on fire these days 

I can't see straight, I can't see me 

There's too much hurt caught in between 

Wish I could be what I know I am 

This moment’s hijacked my plans


A below-par Celtic produced a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s Scottish Premiership match against Kilmarnock. 

We actually scored first – in the eleventh minute – but couldn’t build on Ryan Christie's free-kick that flew by the Killies’ goalkeeper from 35 yards. The other side’s equalizer came via a penalty just thirteen minutes later. 

Sure, Celtic dominated possession but Kilmarnock were dangerous on the break – in the end, neither could add to the scoreline.

Donald Trump and Make America White Again

According to the latest polls, US President Donald Trump (left) continues to command the support of the majority of white and male voters in America. 

This, despite his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic and the death of more than 160,000 Americans. 

Despite the recession, the double-digit unemployment and the looming economic depression. 

Despite widespread social unrest and overwhelming national discontent. 

Despite his dismal foreign policy record, notably on China, North Korea, and Iran. 

Despite all of that and much more, a majority among white and male voters tell pollsters they will vote for Trump again. 

Based on the more conservative interpretations of the countless polls, Trump is leading presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 7 to 9 percentage points among white male voters. This is almost as many points as he is trailing Biden among all Americans nationally. 

But the mainstream media has been coy in highlighting or discussing the issue. Media outlets have focused on how there is change among, say, white women, white college graduates or white senior citizens, but have hardly tackled the issue of the persistent and consistent support for Trump among whites. 

Today white people in the US complain of bias, and even claim to be "under attack". 

This, despite the fact that they make up almost three-quarters of the US population, and the majority of both parties. 

Despite the fact that all US presidents were white men, except one. 

Despite the fact that white men have always been and remain by far the richer, more affluent and more powerful group in the US. 

Despite the fact that the majority of all lawmakers, governors, generals, CEOs, and millionaire and billionaires have always been white men. 

And despite white men historically acting as perpetrators of violence, discrimination, and harassment against women and minorities. 

An astounding 55 percent of white Americans believe white people experience racial discrimination. Some 84 percent of white Republicans reckon the country has already gone too far or far enough in giving Black people equal rights, even though structural racism remains rampant in the US. 

And while it seems these and other sentiments have been simmering under the surface, no one has exploited and deepened such sentiments of self-righteous white victimhood as insidiously as Trump. 

The above were generously lifted from an Al Jazeera piece written by Marwan Bishara and published on August 09, 2020. 

Certainly, I agree that America has, for a long, long time been white, conservative and evangelical. Whether Americans realize it or not, Barack Obama (left) had lulled everybody into believing America is progressive. 

To Trump's credit, he wilfully pressure-washed it all off to expose the real America. He made America white again!

Yes, despite the polls supposedly claiming Joe Biden (right) has the overall lead over Trump, don’t be surprised if Trump actually wins the 59th quadrennial presidential election on November 03. 

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

To be honest, it doesn't matter who wins. Whether whiter-than-white Trump or white-pretending-to-be-less-white Biden prevails in eighty-four days’ time, I daresay that ‘leadership’ in America has been dead for a long time now. 

Europe should just move on and become Eurocentric. And US colonies like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK should learn to survive on their own. 

I truly believe the world will be a much better place without the US.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Reviews are Gobsmacking Funny!

The self-proclaimed “World’s Best Artist”, Chicago’s Mitch O'Connell has been busy erecting billboards since 2016 depicting Donald Trump as one of the aliens in John Carpenter’s 1988 science fiction movie They Live. 

As he narrates: “It’s become the most popular image I’ve ever drawn. It was a lighthearted joke when I drew it, but real life began to seem more like the art with every week that passed. Folks started to pick up on that, and along with the strong reactions people have for Trump and the love every movie fan has for They Live, the image just took off”.

And whenever he posts an announcement to Facebook, angry Americans (probably white and male!) weigh in with their opinion, which O’Connell (left) happily uses to promote his Trump Art projects. 

I LOL every time I read them! 

I guess it’s more than just protest art – it’s also a self-promotion exercise!

BTW, his works have appeared in Entertainment Weekly, GQ, Newsweek, New Yorker, Playboy, Rolling Stone and Time among others.

20 Million Cases

Covid-19 has now infected 20 million people around the world. And killed 733,000. 

To give Malaysians a better perspective of the impact that this pandemic has inflicted on the world, let’s look at how we fare versus other countries. 

This is Malaysia’s situation as at August 10, 2020, 00:00 GMT:

I counted 84 countries which are worse off than us.  Just as a matter of interest, the eighty-four countries combined contribute 98.7% of the world coronavirus cases. 

It's good to know we ain't doing too badly.

And a look at some record-breaking countries. Brazil crossed 3 million cases and buried 100,000 on Saturday. Colombia and Chile surpassed 370,000 cases while Italy topped 250,000 cases.

Western media loves to talk up about New Zealand and its supposed success in combating Covid-19 – even though there are more than thirty other countries that have fared so much better than that country. Anyway, that's not my point.

News reports have been trumpeting the fact that the country has gone 100 days without community transmission. 

It is, therefore, stupid that on August 06, the US State Department issued a warning for US citizens considering traveling to New Zealand, because the country has 23 active cases of Covid-19! 

Compare that to the United States which is saddled with 2.3 million active cases!

Other governments should warn their citizens NOT to travel to the US of A!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The US Tech War Against China

David Ingles (left), a Hong Kong-based anchor for Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio  provides coverage of the major macroeconomic stories and trends that shape markets and affect businesses in the Asia Pacific region.

On June 11, 2020, he tweeted: “Most of the things you've seen in the news and will continue to see in the decades to come can be traced back to this one, single chart”:

It's a loaded statement but I daresay he's right. He has hit the nail on the head! 

We already know about the trade war that the US launched against China in 2018. Now, we are also seeing the US escalating the tech war it unleashed against the country; in fact, it is ramping up wave after wave of attacks. 

The ban on Chinese-manufactured drones. The Entity List which means Google are prohibited from working with Huawei on new device models or providing Google's apps for preload or download on these devices. The exclusion of Huawei from accessing US supply chains. 

And on Thursday, Donald Trump (left) issued executive orders that would ban social media apps TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US in 45 days if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies. 

The bully is hiding behind national security to justify its nefarious actions and using state power to shut China out of the information economy. It is simply an excuse to oppress China businesses. From DJI and Huawei to ByteDance and Tencent, the US is determined to cripple China.

The US can antagonize, provoke and become hostile to China – but it should know that it won’t be able to derail China’s march forward! The United States of America should realize it doesn’t have a monopoly on innovation and if I may add, it knows it is no match for China!

Milton Mueller (right), a Georgia Tech University professor and founder of the Internet Governance Project asserts: "The Trump administration think they can somehow stifle China's development as an economic and technological power. The idea that we can stop Chinese development by cutting them off is stupid, it's not going to happen". 

That aside, I wish China will stop rolling with the punches – and fight back!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

19.5 Million Cases

Covid-19 is a ‘fast and furious’ pandemic! 

The total number of people who have contracted Covid-19 has edged past 19.5 million as at yesterday. There were 19 million cases on Thursday. Not to mention that around the world, more than 700,000 people have died. 

Six countries again broke records on Friday. 

Peru and Mexico both exceeded 460,000 cases. And Colombia and Spain are not far behind as they swept past 360,000 cases. Bangladesh reached 250,000 cases while Australia topped 20,000 cases. And on the same day too, Mexico mourned 50,000 dead.


For Malaysians who are out and about and still unsure where face masks must be worn:

WSD 2021: 3 Cities

This week’s WSD 2021 posters – complete with dates and locations: 

I’m with Kelab Pidato Perdana, TTDI chapter – and yesterday, I attended my maiden meeting. 

In case you didn’t know, it is a Malay language public speaking club that is KL-based but has taken root in major cities in the country as well as gone abroad to Brunei, Singapore and Indonesia.  

Truly, I found the meeting educational and enlightening. What I like about it is that every member is expected to speak – and that pushes you out of your comfort zone. You have no choice but to learn, improve and grow. 

And that’s what I aim to do – working diligently on my Malay language proficiency.