Sunday, November 30, 2014

Selangor Budget 2015 Focuses on Development

Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali is doing just fine thus far.

Pic  courtesy of Menteri Besar's Office, November 24, 2014

On November 24, 2014, the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government tabled the largest budget for 2015 since they took over the state in 2008 – a massive RM2.42 billion, of which 46.81% or RM1.13 billion has been earmarked for development.
The state also projected that the 2015 revenue will increase 6.49% to RM1.97 billion from the RM1.85 billion forecast for 2014. This marks the state’s first deficit budget under PR.
But there is no need for alarm. Azmin insists he knows what he is doing.
His government will not use reserves to balance the deficit budget. Besides, the budget was drafted according to the actual expenditure of the state to avoid having to table a Supplementary Supply Bill next year to expand the allocation.
As Azmin said: “I chose to face it (our spending) honestly”.
For those who didn’t know, Selangor under Khalid Ibrahim had actually been having deficit budgets too because Supplementary Supply Bills have been tabled yearly for additional funds since 2008.
Therefore, this is a refreshing departure from past practices. And best of all, the budget is indeed focused on “development”. For Selangor, we can never have enough of development. Proper measured development, that is.
On Friday afternoon, I was part of a 3-person judging team for SUBS colleague Derek Ong’s Marketing Research Poster Exhibition. The DMK2033/MKT2074 Marketing Research students were in ten teams and it is always nice to see students showcasing their research initiatives.



And Emil Anthony’s invitation to GAB for drinks was most welcomed. It was a MAS function and of course, beer was overflowing. And the opportunity to catch up with MAS (and ex-MAS) friends.


Najib Razak Lies Again

Najib Razak did it again. The Malaysian Prime Minister executed a flip-flop. He did an about-turn. He betrayed Malaysians.
In 2012, he had made a promise to rescind the Sedition Act. And on Thursday, at the UMNO’s annual congress, he decided against it. And all because he wanted to play to the gallery. Najib just cannot be trusted. My disgust, disdain and disillusionment for him is complete.
On Friday, I was in KL’s Jalan Metro Pudu 2 to face nearly 500 students who had gathered at HELP College of Arts and Technology.
The Rotary Club of Bandar Sunway had hosted the District Interact Conference 2014 (for schools Interact Clubs in District 3300). 
The 3-day event (November 27-29, 2014) featured a strong line-up of speakers – including Steven Fernando, Stand-up Comedian, Trainer and Motivator (“Spreading Your Wings”); Raja Singham, Co-Founder, Brickfields Asia College (“Follow your Dream – Career Choices”); Deborah Henry, Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 (“Youth Empowerment”) and Victor Ong, Distinguished Toastmaster and Corporate Lecturer (“Public Speaking”).
It was indeed amazing to speak for at least 60 minutes. I promoted Toastmasters and I believe it was a good presentation. I am sure it did benefit Interactors..
Thank you, Dr Nagiah Ramasamy for this opportunity!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

BN's Lesser Leaders Should be Decided by UMNO

On Thursday, Khairul Anwar Rahmat, an UMNO delegate from Johore has come out to openly declare that the leadership of BN component parties that are under UMNO’s command should be directly elected by UMNO members.
Yes, you read it right – party positions (except UMNO) should NOT be decided by members of MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP and the rest.
Finally, it has been made publicly known that UMNO don't care about the other “lesser” leaders. The "lowly" delegate from UMNO didn't show any respect to these leaders. He didn’t even pretend to show respect.
But I think the suggestion merits serious consideration. I happen to believe it is a good idea. If UMNO determine the leadership of the component parties, then you can be sure no “sensitive” issues that touch on Malay and Muslims rights will be raised and questioned and debated by non-Malays and non-Muslims. And the Malay-Muslims will feel good about themselves because they are above criticism since they possess this notion that they can do no wrong.
On the same day too, Sunway University’s Student Services Department organized a Club & Society Appreciation Ceremony 2014. Sunway University Toastmasters Club is one of over 90 clubs and societies at the university.

And as I was the club president for the 2013-2014 term, I too received recognition.


Afterward, I was in the KL office of Novo Nordisk Pharma, located on Level 11, Tower A in Menara UOA, Bangsar. I delivered a CC speech at the Metro Toastmasters meeting and I was evaluated by Andrew Tan.
It has been a long time since I visited the said club and it is always great to see familiar faces and meet old friends. All in all, it was a sheer delight to be there and I would give the meeting a 7 over 10 score.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Exploding Poo



In Zhangjiajie, Hunan province in China, an apartment building was knocked down when a cesspool filled with human excrement exploded. The blast was apparently sparked by a local who decided to burn his thrash too close to the faecal pit. This ignited the methane gas that was discharging from the pit.
The incident occurred on November 22, 2014 and according to the Xinhua news agency, fifteen people were injured but thankfully, nobody died.
It is said that China's urban infrastructure has often been hastily built with little regard for safety. This is the outcome of the gargantuan rural-urban migration that is taking place all over the country.
This story was accompanied by another excrement-related incident where a man and his mother both died trying to retrieve his wife's new mobile phone – worth 2,000 yuan ($320) – from a toilet septic tank, reports said in May.
According to Dahe, a web portal run by the provincial government in central Henan province, the man jumped in to try to locate the phone but was overcome by fumes and passed out.
Don’t ask me how did the mother die? Maybe she jumped in after her son lost consciousness after he had jumped in. Maybe she was so distraught that she decided to end her life when her son drowned in the septic tank. Maybe.
And how did the wife’s phone end up there? Maybe she was making a clandestine call and her phone slipped from her hand and into the tank. Maybe she wanted to test her hubby’s love for her and so she threw her phone into the septic tank to see what he will do. Maybe.
Anyway, these are unusual stories. Only in China…
Bulgarian champion side Ludogorets Razgrad and Liverpool FC drew 2-2 on Sunday. The former are eliminated whilst the latter still have a chance to reach the Champions League last 16 – if they can beat Basel in their last group game next month.
Liverpool’s goals came from Rickie Lambert (8) and Jordan Henderson (37). It was another unconvincing performance but the Reds remain in control of their European destiny after Basel were beaten 1-0 by reigning champions Real Madrid.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Post-PC Environment

I was amused when I read in The Star (November 21, 2014, p 50) of a Malaysian reader griping about our obsession with mobile gadgets. He is in denial because like it or not – the smartphones and tablets are here to stay.
Particularly when mobile devices are getting faster and new capabilities are being added. In fact, he should know that the world is moving towards a post-PC environment. If he has read The Wall Street Journal (November 21-23, 2014, p 19), he would have learned that “early adopters” have started to discard their desktops and even laptops.
One of them is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide CEO Frits van Paasschen who has gone all mobile. This 53-year old executive is among a growing number of professionals to dump the PC and turning to smartphones and tablets as primary work tools. He is relying on his Apple iPhone and iPad for work at home and the office.
Even mobile apps at Starwood have moved beyond standard productivity tools like email and now include core enterprise apps built specially for mobile use.
The hotel operator’s “Room Cataloguing” app, created for global hotel associates who are usually on their feet helping guests, references 12 million data points about hotel rooms around the world, such as whether a room is close to an elevator, or has a full-length mirror. That data gets filed in a Starwood global reservation system. Now, if a guest wants that full-length mirror, Starwoord can quickly match them to the right room.
It’s that agility, van Paasschen says, that will pay dividends to Starwood, whose brands include Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels and St. Regis.
And companies such as Eli Lilly & Co have transitioned their entire sales team away from laptops and deploying 18,000 iPads to help improve the way salespeople interact with busy doctors.
Mike Meadows, Lilly’s vice-president and chief technology officer, said the conversion had boosted productivity since the salespeople no longer had to fumble with bulky computers and poor battery life.
Research firm Gartner Inc projected in July 2014 that the traditional PC market, both desktops and laptops, was on pace to shrink 6.7% this year, and 5.3% in 2015, based on the number of units shipped.
Smartphones and tablets, on the other hand, are expected to continue to grow.
I was in KL’s Jalan Tun Sambanthan 3 in Brickfields last evening. At the MIA Toastmasters meeting, I took up the role of an Evaluator for Jing Yi who gave a speech informing us about “coffee”. Generally, a good meeting and I have no complaints. I am giving it a 6 over 10 score.