Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MCA Abets Perkasa

A follow-up to Sunday's posting "White Ang Pows from Perkasa". Khoo Kay Peng’s blog Straight Talk today reveals that it is MCA Seputeh division committee member Collin Tiew (left), who had arranged for more than 50 (?) people to attend the Perkasa CNY open house. And in Khoo’s posting, Tiew had made two astonishing claims. First, “he was victimized after he was criticized for playing a part” in the Perkasa event! I believe he meant that he has been scapegoated. He may not be too happy at being singled out, that's why. Second, “he did not know Ibrahim Ali before the event”! This is a blatant lie because anybody who keeps up with current affairs will have known about this firebrand named Ibrahim Ali. “Anybody”, I am sure, would include MCA members since they are very much politically aware.

MCA has been unflinching when attacking DAP for working with PAS – but here we have MCA abetting the racist Perkasa! Please tell me – who is the worst among these two? DAP or MCA?

Now you know why thinking Chinese rejects the good-for-nothing MCA!!!

Celtic remained on course for a domestic treble after beating a brave Falkirk side 3-1 in the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final on Sunday.

The Lotus Girls

Yesterday afternoon, Derek Ong and I accompanied three SUBS students to L’Oreal Malaysia. These students (Rachel Wong Jing Mun, Madeline Tanamal Tan Ka Yen and Ngan Kah Ling) are members of Team Lotus and one of two teams representing Sunway University at the L’Oreal Brandstorm 2012 – an international marketing competition that is drawing more than 50,000 participating students in over 285 universities in more than 45 countries worldwide.

In Malaysia, there will be altogether 55 teams making 10-minute presentations over two days (i.e. yesterday and today). The Lotus girls went through their preliminary round on Monday. I am confident they did well and I am sure they will progress to the next round!

Check out photos of these girls practicing in NE3-4 at Sunway University before proceeding to a simple lunch at Lameeya in Damansara Utama, and then onward to the L’Oreal office in Uptown 2, Damansara Uptown:

Lame Duck CEO

Avon Products Inc., the global beauty company, is saddled with a lame duck CEO, i.e. Andrea Jung. Her fortune has indeed changed dramatically as compared to her hugely successful early years. She was made chief executive of this door-to-door cosmetics company in 1999 and in her first five-and-a-half years, Avon's stock nearly tripled and she even won praise as the company aggressively expanded overseas. One of America’s most high-profile bosses, she also sits on the boards of Apple and General Electric

Today, Jung – although still in the CEO job – will surely find her current situation untenable. After all, Avon has already begun an active search for CEO candidates outside the company. Once it settles on one, Jung will step aside and serve as full-time executive chairman. [She is currently chairman and CEO]. Even so, this position is temporary – she is executive chairman for a two-year period – to help with the CEO search and then help the new CEO get acclimated. These decisions are intended "to put the company back on a growth track".

Her impending exit is really not unexpected. Since 2005, things had started to unravel. As profits began to sputter, Avon responded with a restructuring that it promised would boost margins by reducing layers of management, simplifying the product lineup and slashing the number of suppliers. Six years later, the company is still stumbling.

For sure, Avon is knee-deep in messy muck. The company's shares have tumbled 45% so far this year. Already, sales have slumped and the company has admitted that it would fail to meet its sales targets.To rub salt into the wound, the company has been conducting an internal investigation for the past two years into allegations that it spent millions bribing officials in China and Latin America. It is now being formally investigated under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FCPA makes it illegal for representatives of US firms to bribe foreign officials and legal experts have said the company could be landed with a potentially huge bill if found guilty. The investigation has already cost Avon more than $150 million in legal bills.

Still, it is unusual for a company to announce it wants a new CEO while the current chief executive is still in the job. So, what am I trying to say here?

Chief executives must earn their keep. Otherwise, they will have to face the axe. There is no room for sentiment. If only CEOs of Malaysian companies, including the GLCs are also subjected to this same game rule: Perform or perish! It’s really about accountability.

But with Avon putting itself in this perplexing predicament, it leaves the company in limbo. And for how long, we don't know. Andrea Jung is doing a grave injustice to Avon by staying put! Her leadership is already compromised. Like it or not, she is overstaying. It is best she leaves, and leaves immediately. As I have said, let us not get sentimental!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Primatial Gestures

“Datuk T”, the trio of UMNO-affiliated cads is back with yet another "sex" disclosure on Anwar. They had made a smilar expose previously but on Friday, they claimed they were in possession of a new sex video on Anwar which was “more shocking” than that screened previously. This video was purportedly recorded on January 12 and 13, 2011 in Thailand.

Prime Minister Najib Razak quickly moved to distance himself from this latest revelation, saying he is in the dark over its existence. It was mentioned in one news report that he laughed it off. I don’t know what is so funny about it but I suppose Anwar’s continued entanglement in anything that is sex-related, can only benefit Najib, or so he thinks!

It looks like Anwar’s detractors will not leave him be. I reckon he will have to live with this “Sex and Anwar” label for as long as he poses a threat to UMNO. It’s really gutter politics but can you blame UMNO? Playing dirty is something they do all the time!

A team of researchers from Scotland’s University of St Andrews studied wild chimpanzees and found out that they use at least 66 distinct gestures to communicate with each other. In an article that I read in BBC Earth News (published May 05, 2011), the scientists were reported to have filmed a group of the animals in order to decipher this "gestural repertoire". The team then studied 120 hours of footage of the chimps interacting, looking for signs that the animals were intentionally signalling to each other – these findings were then published in the journal Animal Cognition.

Previous studies on captive chimps have suggested the animals have about 30 different gestures.

"So this [result] shows quite a large repertoire," lead researcher Dr Catherine Hobaiter told BBC News.

And in another part of the world, British wildlife photographers Anup Shah and Fiona Rogers successfully captured the intriguing portraits below while on assignment in “Borneo” – this refers to both Sarawak and Sabah and Indonesia, i.e. Kalimantan.

What does this tell you? That not much separates humans from our primate cousins – and the photos below only seek to underline that fact.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

White Ang Pows from Perkasa

Photo by Steven Koay

Perkasa today hosted its first-ever CNY open house, which kicked off with an impassioned speech by Ibrahim Ali telling the invited 350-odd crowd of mostly elderly Chinese that his group is not a racist organization. He charged that Perkasa had been grossly misunderstood in the past, and declared today’s gathering as proof that the Chinese community understood the group’s goals.

Ibrahim then boasted that Perkasa gave out a total of RM10,000 in cash via white “ang pow” packets to those who came. He admitted too to using the white envelopes knowing that these are given out during bereavement! OMG, he already knew the cultural significance of the color! And still he did it - this is a sick joke!

A round of applause followed Ibrahim's declarations, if I can believe one report. I don’t know who these Chinese are or who brought them there - I am assuming there is a somebody who shepherded these old folks there - but they shouldn't be there in the first place. This is a super-duper insult to all Chinese! Do MCA and/or Gerakan have anything to do with this, I wonder?

Auspicious Pets

The mythical dragon may not be real but in this Dragon Year, animals “related” to it are enjoying great popularity among pet lovers – they are deemed to be auspicious animals, bringing luck to their owners!

The most common “relations” will be the reptiles such as the Chinese water dragons (Physignathus cocincinus), the bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) and other related species.

Another is the dragon fish or the Asian arowana (genus Scleropages).– already a popular aquarium fish that has seen the “gold”-colored ones being completely sold out in the pet market in China by the time Lunar New Year visited us. A Sunday Star (January 29, 2012, DOTS, p 11) report that I read talked about a silver arowana about 20 cm long being sold for around 100 yuan (RM50), while a golden fish about the same size commanded about 4,000 yuan (RM2,000).

The dragon prawn has also joined the aquarium, as a pet rather than food. The prawns are about 3 cm to 4 cm long, come in red, blue or white, and sell for 15 yuan (RM7.50) each. [This is not to be confused with lobsters, which in Mandarin Chinese is "Long-xia" which translates as “dragon prawn”]. Despite my best efforts, I cannot find out more about these sea animals.

And the chinchilla, a rodent known as the “dragon cat” in Mandarin (“long mao”) is in demand too. A news report I checked, i.e. Jakarta Globe – put their price tag at between 700 and 3,000 Singapore dollars each.

So, don’t be surprised if there are people who do go out and get any one of the above as pets – just so they have luck!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Undercover Christian Evangelists

I'm on cloud nine! Liverpool has snatched a dramatic 2-1 victory over arch rivals Manchester United as the Merseysiders booked their place in the last 16 of the FA Cup and expelling the Red Devils out of the competition.

The Reds struck first when a corner from Steven Gerrard was nodded home by defender Daniel Agger (21). Thereafter, Liverpool went into retreat after scoring, allowing Man U to enjoy a lengthy spell of possession that concluded with Ji-Sung Park's leveller six minutes before the interval. But Reds substitute Dirk Kuyt escaped the attention of Patrice Evra with two minutes left to latch on to Andy Carroll's flick and fire past goalkeeper David de Gea in front of an ecstatic Kop.

Didn't I say, we WILL win?

Hasan Ali (left), the Gombak Setia assemblyman, who had been sacked from PAS on January 08, 2012 told an anti-apostasy rally in Kepala Batas, Penang today that when he was Selangor executive councillor, he received at least 60 reports of apostasy including how Muslims were enticed with money and given gifts of laptop computers, cameras, cars, monthly food provisions and gadgets like solar-powered bibles. He went so far as to claim having received reports of foreign Christian ministers wearing Muslim skullcaps and attending prayers at a certain mosque in Petaling Jaya to establish a communal relationship with Muslims before converting them.

Wow, these Christians are just too much! Why are they constantly stirring shit? Hasan, please quickly lodge a police report so that we can catch these Christians! All they do is to forment trouble for Malaysians with their endless quest to convert the Muslims, whose faith, many fear, seems to be in grave doubt. Why are they targeting Muslims? Actually, come to think of it – why don’t they target me? I am not a Christian but if I get all those stuff that Hasan mentioned, why not? I don’t mind giving it a shot!

But seriously, the way he has been ranting about these Christians, I am not sure if he is for real! Maybe, just maybe he is a covert Christian who came up with this hoax story in order to pin the blame on Christians, but in effect, his intention is to belittle Islam all along. Who, in his right mind, will fall for such trickery unless Hasan knows something that I don’t? That his Muslim brethren (or pretend Muslim brethren) are stupid? Or greedy? Or their faith is so fragile that it can be traded? Or all of the above?

Folks, I am not trying to mock either one of the religions. But with the likes of Hasan Ali spewing venom to incite dissension and provoke distress, he is certainly doing a good job of dismantling 1Malaysia. I doubt he cares about 1Malaysia anyway; in fact, I doubt he even believes in 1Malaysia. He is quick on the trigger to blame Christians and he definitely doesn't paint Islam in a positive light, so I really wonder what is Hasan's agenda? And I am more interested to know who this Hasan Ali really is! Thank goodness, he was expelled from PAS.

Chua Soi Lek Defends Najib

On Thursday, barefaced sycophant Chua Soi Lek came to the defense of Najib Razak (left) when he berated netizens for using the Internet as an avenue to abuse national leaders (read, Najib!).

He was referring to Najib’s Chinese Facebook page – “Ah Jib Gor” (“Brother Najib”), which went online Monday – a move by the prime minister to try reach out to the community and for Malaysians to get to know him as an ordinary member of society. Epic Fail. The only way he can engage with ordinary Malaysians meaningfully is when he can demonstrate sincerity, genuineness and honesty. So far he is just a fake!

Wait a minute! What is Chua trying to tell us? Okay, we know he is sucking up to Najib because he does not qualify as a “winnable” candidate. But he still has to try to persuade Najib because otherwise, he will lose face big-time! Did I hear Najib complaining? I don’t know and I couldn’t care less anyway. As they say, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Besides, Najib is a non-performing Prime Minister – although he is damn good at giving away freebies disguised as 1Malaysia this and 1Malaysia that! Don’t forget, folks, all of that is our money to begin with. He is giving back to us what was originally ours! So, why should Malaysians show appreciation? Grateful days are indeed over!

Actually, if people do scold you – it just shows that there is much anger out there among ordinary Malaysians. We can rightfully conclude that people are upset with Najib! If you don’t believe me – check out the comments on his Facebook page!

This is not to say that Najib is unpopular. Najib’s page drew 3,676 “likes” as at today, 01:00 PM. Didn’t I read somewhere that he is more popular than Anwar Ibrahim? Big deal! I have to admit that Malaysian society is not perfect – we too have our share of ass-kissers, backslappers and stooges.

Actually, it is none of Chua’s business to comment on other people’s business. Lest I be accused of MCA-bashing again, let me make an offer to Chua and his merry band of grovelers. I shall solemnly promise to praise you and your MCA provided you can make me a first class citizen in my own country. Dare you take the challenge, Chua Soi Lek?

By the way, Najib – what is this “brother” label you are giving yourself? You are NOT my brother and never will! Don’t belittle us – even though there are shameless Chinese who will gladly sell their wretched souls to the devil!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Scottish Referendum Question

Image credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/8269845/Alex-Salmond-Back-my-Budget-or-I-resign.html

Now that the Scots will finally have their referendum – the question will be short and succinct: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?"

Unveiling a consultation document on how an independence referendum might be run First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond (above) said the question would give Scots a "straightforward" and "clear" choice. The vote would be the "the most important decision by the people of Scotland in 300 years".

In a rare sign of political unity between London and Edinburgh the consultation document was broadly welcomed by the UK Government.

The referendum will almost certainly be held in late 2014 and will be overseen by the Electoral Commission who will have final say over the wording of the question. However UK Government sources said they had no objections to the Scottish Government's question.

The plebiscite is likely to be open to all voters on the electoral roll in Scotland regardless if they are English or Scottish. I am looking forward to this referendum!

But UK’s The Independent had Whitehall sources confirming on Saturday that Spanish officials have registered concerns with counterparts in the UK over the Scottish government's independence blueprint.

Spain has indicated it could block an independent Scotland's accession to the European Union, sources said. It has already refused to recognise Kosovo's existence as an independent state. Madrid fears such moves will encourage separatist ambitions in Spanish regions, particularly Catalonia and the Basque region.

The Spaniards are worrying over something that has yet to be finalized! It's just talk at the moment.

Whenever Liverpool play Manchester United, the whole football world will be watching. It is testimony to the quality of football that one can expect when the two prodigious giants of English football do battle. The stadium atmosphere will be fierce. The rivalry will be intense. And the game will be thrilling. Of course, I cannot be at Anfield since I am physically 6,637.4 miles away. But for those of us outside of the UK, we will do the next best thing, i.e. stay glued to the television set.

And so the stage is set for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie between these two great teams. I can imagine an explosive game. And like all Liverpool fans, I have this belief, this trust, this conviction that we will triumph.

Three reasons give cause for us to be optimistic. One, Liverpool are in the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in three seasons. Two, Kenny Dalglish's side have not lost at Anfield in any competition this season. And three, Manchester United are the most successful club in FA Cup history: champions 11 times, runners-up seven – and against a first-class team like them, we always seem to move up a gear.

• October 2011: Liverpool 1-1 Man Utd
• March 2011: Liverpool 3-1 Man Utd
• October 2009: Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd
• September 2008: Liverpool 2-1 Man Utd
• December 2007: Liverpool 0-1 Man Utd

For sure, we will beat the Red Devils!

Auditor-General Denies Using the "Mess" Word

Unknown persons have targeted Anwar Ibrahim and Ambiga Sreenevasan and resorted to putting up posters that had their images next to words such as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transex”. Both types of posters also had the Seksualiti Merdeka logo and these were found in a number of locations – one of which was along the road leading to Taman Sri Sentosa, Old Klang Road. Police reports have been lodged on Wednesday.

The story so far. The NFC intruded into the public consciousness when the Auditor-General made a small mention in his 2010 audit report. PKR picked it up from there and since then, it has been regularly furnishing details of financial impropriety at this UMNO-linked family business. Finally, pressure came to bear on the Auditor-General who clarified also on Wednesday that he had never described the NFC project as a “mess” in the first place. How lamentable! How pitiful! How sad! Whether the word "mess" was used or not is unimportant - the fact is, the NFC is really in a big mess.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eye Candy

I chanced upon this strange exhortation by MCA national organizing secretary and Pulau Sebatang assemblyman Tee Siew Kiong in The Star yesterday (p 06). In his speech at his Chinese New Year open house in Pontian, Johor on Tuesday, when he said that there were three practices that people could follow during the Year of the Dragon. He identified them as listening to soothing music, wearing bright clothes and avoiding Opposition-organized talks!

The first two suggestions were rather generic and they are not worth commenting. But the third demonstrated the MCA leader’s serious misgivings about his own party’s ability to convince voters to stick with MCA and BN. I think there’s a voice inside his head that was asking the same question over and over again: Who is still stupid enough to vote for BN? And I am sure that deep down inside him, he knew that MCA had lost all credibility with the Chinese. He could try to reach out and seize the fast disappearing hope that people would be blind and deaf to a changing political landscape, but his hands were heavy and he would not be able to capture it. He could try to hoodwink the people but they could only see the corruption, cronyism and cheating that is occurring almost daily in the government, and he too would despair. Even now, he must surely have seen the demise of MCA and other UMNO-affiliated parties and I know he is filled with a genuine sense of hopelessness.

One thing he forgot – people don’t take kindly to this sort of advice because they already know that when GE13 comes, their vote will be “Anything But UMNO”! That includes MCA and the others as well.

An Olympic sport where the stands are certain to be filled to the brim is a little-played physical activity in Britain. Yet, it is expected to attract a lot of androcentric attention. It’s beach volleyball and it is a great spectator sport.

UK’s The Sun yesterday carried the British Government’s explanation that it was pure ‘coincidence’ that ministers had bought double the number of tickets for beach volleyball as they had for track events. Former Labour sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe asked if it was just an ‘oddity’ that ministers bought 410 tickets, worth £26,000, compared with 246 for athletics.

I LOL when I read this! I do not need to speculate. I shouldn’t even be surprised. I suspect that the said ministers are all male! As I look at the photos below, I am already getting hot under the collar! [Or maybe, it’s because somebody had switched off the air-conditioning?].

Anyway, beach volleyball was one of the fastest events to sell out – a phenomenon partly attributed to the athletes’ skimpy attire. Women players must wear a top ‘closely fitted to the body’ and briefs with ‘a side width no greater than 3in’. Men can wear vests and shorts. Certainly, a nice sport to “cuci mata” (Malay for “eye candy”)!

"Forever" Dragon

Even the US is getting into the act. The US Postal Service issued the "Forever" Dragon stamp on Monday to celebrate the Lunar New Year. And it was not a limited edition – unlike in Malaysia! Yet much like elsewhere, it was very well-received because according to one report (webpage http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-01/24/c_131374615.htm) that I came across, the stamps were snapped up just as quickly. “The dragon stamps go fast," said an employee at a post office in the city of Sugar Land, Texas. “The office opened at 9:00 AM on Monday, and at about 10:00 AM, only two sheets of the dragon stamp were left”, the same employee added.

The dragon is really swoon-worthy!

Liverpool with a slim one-goal advantage had to fight hard to match Manchester City in this Carling Cup semi-final game. The latter took the lead twice to revive their hopes of joining Cardiff City in the final – their goals coming from Nigel De Jong (31) and Edin Dzeko (67).

Liverpool, however, were equally determined not to let the prize slip from their grasp, responding with spirit to earn the aggregate 3-2 victory that their performance on the night deserved. Liverpool’s two goals came from Gerrard’s penalty kick in the 41st minute, followed by Craig Bellamy’s 74th-minute strike.

City’s Micah Richards had blocked Daniel Agger's shot with his foot only for the ball to ricochet up and strike his hand. Referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot and Gerrard, as he had in the first leg, beat City keeper Joe Hart with power and placement. Liverpool’s second came when Dirk Kuyt worked hard to create an opening and slid a pass to Bellamy who knocked it to Glen Johnson, got the return and shot past Hart.

This victory represents a long-overdue return to Wembley for the seven-times League Cup winners! Let's bring back the Carling Cup before I celebrate...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

UK Debt Reaches £1,000,000,000,000

UK debt in December reached the highest level since records began in 1993, according to figures released Tuesday. Britain’s Office for National Statistics said net public debt excluding the effects of any financial interventions now stands at 1 trillion pounds ($1.6 trillion), or about 64.2% of gross domestic product.

So yes, spending cuts are necessary and they illustrate the “scale of the fiscal challenge” facing the country. But in the uncaring hands of hard-boiled politicians, they are damaging public services and hurting the defenseless in British society. What the government has done and/or plan to do sound more like a scorched-earth policy – surely there are less painful methods to consider?

ProPublica.org posted a simple but powerful image of the US Congressional members' position on SOPA/PIPA today vs. yesterday:

Click on the image to ENLARGE.

As you will recall, SOPA and PIPA is collectively a misguided effort to halt online piracy. This legislation was funded after a $94-million series of donations by the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America which then lobbied Congress to push through the two bills. Success was almost assured until the vocal online community banded together to do battle against SOPA and PIPA. The Internet blackout was one such move - read my blog posting dated January 19, 2012.

You may be asking yourself, as I did, “What is wrong with stopping people from stealing movies and music from the hard-working people who produce and make them?” There is no issue with stopping piracy, but these two bills would not have done the job without potentially killing the entire Internet.

The language of SOPA and PIPA sought to shut down the source of alleged piracy at the DNS level and cut it off at the server level. The problem with this, though, is there was no due process in the procedure. The MPAA or RIAA could allege that your personal blog violates their intellectual properties, and have it shut down – just like that. No court, no trial, no lawyers... nothing.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, both bills failed in the House and Senate. As someone wrote “…the fight is far from over. As long as lobbyists are buying their legislation, and Congressmen are willing to front their bills, the fight will never be over. A free and open Internet is the biggest and best invention of the past 25 years.”

I agree. The Internet must be defended. It is important that we uphold free and direct communication on the Internet, so that we can continue to create, discuss, link and share. No one owns the Internet – let’s be clear on this!

Different Spins

Yesterday, The Malaysian Insider reported that negotiations between the government and the opposition in Australia have again failed to revive the refugee swap deal with Malaysia - after the latter insisted asylum-seekers sent to Malaysia are given “the protection of law” rather than just Putrajaya’s assurances.

Although Malaysia has continued to stress the importance of the asylum swap, known as the Malaysia Solution, as a model for combating human trafficking – the country is unable to convince anyone – save for Julia Gillard and her Immigration Minister Chris Bowen who have their own self-serving agendas – that it has genuine compassion for refugees.

According to UNHCR, “Malaysia is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention nor its Protocol and does not have an asylum system regulating the status and rights of refugees. The absence of a legal framework on asylum issues is a source of great unpredictability in the lives of refugees in the country. This challenging protection environment is placed within a context of some 3 million migrants, 1.9 million of whom are considered illegal.

Malaysian law makes no distinction between refugees and undocumented migrants. Refugees are vulnerable to arrest for immigration offences. They may be subject to detention, prosecution, whipping and deportation. National NGOs have little capacity to support asylum-seekers and refugees, while international NGOs are unable to operate in the country” (Source: 2012 UNHCR country operations profile – Malaysia at http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e4884c6.html
, accessed January 25, 2012).

Najib Razak is adamant about pursuing this so-called Malaysia Solution because he hankers after accolades! He desires to promote himself as a do-gooder but he ignores the fact that Malaysia has no legal obligations to protect refugees. And don ‘t forget that Canberra is picking up the RM1 billion tab for the swap! That’s a sweetener that Najib cannot resist either. I am really glad the majority of Australian politicians saw it fit to reject the Malaysia Solution!

Chua Soi Lek (left) again parroted the specter of Islamist rule, even boasting that the Chinese community has begun falling back into BN’s fold as they are now aware that “empowering DAP is paving the road for PAS” (The Malaysian Insider, January 25, 2012). I just don’t understand him – even during this auspicious Lunar New Year, he is so full of shit!

Already, UNMO had derisively claimed that PAS is just a lapdog of DAP, now Chua Soi Lek is saying that DAP will empower PAS. Different spins for different audiences, izzit? Doesn’t he know that Malaysian Chinese cannot be facilely manipulated nor readily deceived by the likes of him? Only MCA members will swallow hook, line and sinker to this bargain-basement disinformation from a discredited porn star! When will MCA members rouse themselves from their self-induced stupor and rekindle their sensibility? By now they should know that, for a long time now, their own leaders have betrayed the Chinese! Wake up, MCA members!

Cobweb Cape

The above cape took more than four years to create and 80 people were involved in the process. This extraordinary garment – which is naturally gold-coloured – was woven entirely from Golden Orb Weaver spider silk, which is known for both its intense color and strength.

UK’s The Sun had reported Monday that Brit Simon Peers and American Nicholas Godley – residing in Madagascar – as the men behind the design. Inspired by 19th century accounts and illustrations they started experimenting with spider silk in 2004 to see if they could revive the lost tradition.

What’s amazing is that these spiders were collected every morning from the Madagascan highlands and harnessed in special "silking" contraptions. Trained handlers would then extract the silk from 24 spiders at a time before being taken it to a weaving workshop. At the end of each day, the spiders were returned to the wild.

Only the females of the species, which isn’t poisonous, produce the silk filaments, 24 of which are twisted by hand into a single strand, then twisted again with three other similar strands to make the silk thread. It took 1.2 million of these spiders to produce this 11x4-foot shawl and is one of only two such silk textiles that exist worldwide.

If you’re in London, the Golden Spider Silk goes on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum on January 25, 2012.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't Despair

There were some dejected faces last week when the SUBS exam results were announced. These students of mine may feel discouraged and disheartened, even distressed. And if you’re drowning under this wicked wave of despondency, just reflect on what Bill Gates has to say:

This brings me to another famous quote - this time from Abraham Lincoln: "My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure".

The 'First Lady of Shopping'

One story that is making its relentless rounds is again about Rosmah! It informs that Najib Razak and his wife were on a private visit to Australia. Fashion blogger frockwriter had written – check out the article “Carl Kapp’s couture capers in KL” dated January 17, 2012 at http://frockwriter.blogspot.com/2012/01/carl-kapps-couture-capers-in-kl.html#more – that on December 30 last year, South African-born, Sydney-based designer, Carl Kapp found himself receiving a VIP who introduced herself as "the First Lady of Malaysia", Rosmah Mansor. Having been smitten by Kapp’s collection that she saw at department store David Jones, Rosmah wanted to see more – hence her visit to Kapp’s store in Paddington, Sydney – and thereafter, he was summoned to the penthouse of The Darling Hotel at Pyrmont the following day. [A night’s stay is said to cost anywhere from AUD$15,000-20,000].

There, surrounded by samples, fabric swatches and sketches, Rosmah wound up ordering 61 silk pieces from Kapp's Spring/Summer 2011/2012 and Autumn/Winter 2012 collections. Not being a standard size in Kapp's range and notably, in need of far more modest attire, all of the garments required to be custom-fitted.

Although, Kapp politely declined to mention the size of the order, frockwriter estimated it could be approaching AUD$100,000 (RM325,000) and he was paid upfront. This princely sum was based on the average prices in his collections – which start at AUD$400 and reach several thousand dollars.

This story was reproduced in the ‘Private Sydney’ section of the Australian daily Sydney Morning Herald, where columnist Andrew Horney described Rosmah as the “first lady of shopping”!

It seems that Malaysiakini had contacted the PM’s office for a response – but as far as I know, there has been no reply todate. Will it be like the case of the West Australian newspaper that reported that Najib’s daughter had embarked on an unrestrained shopping spree in Perth and then later it was compelled to issue a correction (i.e. she was not in the said city at the time)? My posting dated November 07, 2011 refers.

Well, this time, Rosmah herself dismissed claims that she spent extravagantly while holidaying in Sydney (Webpage http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/187354
, published January 23, 2012). I think it is grossly unfair that she is always on the receiving end of tall tales from people who are just plain envious of her! What’s wrong with spending her hard-earned savings on luxury stuff? Okay, even if she hasn’t been squirreling money away all these years – what’s wrong if she spends all her hubby’s salary? I am sure he has some other means of income that she must know of – so it is not as if he is going to be a pauper anytime soon! You have to admit that she does look good in stylish togs and Birkin bags and rings that are worth a king’s ransom. If I were Rosmah, I would sue the pants off these spiteful people who bad-mouth her no end! These green-eyed monsters should consider themselves lucky that she is so sweet-natured and even-tempered – if she is the evil Queen (oops, the First Lady!), hmmn, she might just use C4 explosives to blow them up into a million bits of shredded skin and bone fragments!

Still, if there’s one thing I can say about Rosmah is that she can never stay away from the spotlight – she just loves the attention! Lots of it! I don’t think she cares too much whether the stories about her are positive or negative – after all, she is not a politician, merely a politician’s wife! Besides, she knows she might as well enjoy life while she can because her hubby may not keep his Prime Minister job for long!