Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indonesians in Palmerah Get High

Image credit: https://twitter.com/malesbanget/status/576289117421613056/photo/1

The police in Palmerah, a sub-district of West Jakarta in Indonesia managed to give the entire neighborhood an overwhelmingly feel-good tingle – unintentionally, of course – when they burned 3.3 tons of confiscated marijuana. (It is often called ‘pot’, ‘grass’, or ‘weed’ and in Malaysia, we call it ‘ganja’).
The local residents got ‘high’ when the plume of smoke blew into their streets – and they didn’t even know it. The police had forgotten to mention to these folks that the smoke may affect them. I wish I was there!
Yesterday, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker rejected a motion by PKR lawmaker Sim Tze Tzin to sack the IGP – on grounds that Khalid Abu Bakar's actions were allocated to him under the laws to ensure the nation's security and public order.
A decision that was not unexpected.
On Monday, I was at Mercu UEM in KL Sentral to deliver an Advanced speech from the “Speeches by Management” manual. The speech about “Communicating Change” was described by fellow Toastmasters as interesting. Hmmm… Regrettably, we started seven minutes late. This KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting earned a 4 over 10 score.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rafizi Ramli Plans Prison Break

Arrests under the Sedition Act continued without respite. Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli was one of them.

Rafizi Ramli: Barefoot and hand-cuffed. Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/rafiziramli.keadilan/photos/a.538122722888906.125351.145165568851292/938999789467862/?type=1&theater

But the reason given for his arrest on Friday was bizarre. The IGP himself chose to explain that the former had issued a statement urging his PKR colleagues to mobilise members for Saturday’s #KitaLawan demonstration.
"PKR hopes that all Malaysians who love Malaysia would turn up to speak out for our rights and oppose the federal government's wicked ways”, Rafizi had said.
And that was only half of it. News portal Malaysiakini quoted Khalid Abu Bakar as saying Rafizi's directive could be interpreted as urging supporters to break Anwar Ibrahim out of prison!
This IGP is a joker the unfunny type. But I think Khalid  (left) is just being himself, i.e. very stupid. I have no doubt about it – in fact, I would rate a donkey ahead of him anytime.
Oops, I forgot to report the result of the Scottish Premiership game between Celtic and Dundee United on Saturday, March 21, 2015. The former soundly beat the latter 3-0. In the sixteenth minute, Gary Mackay-Steven scored against his old club and this was followed by John Guidetti (33) and Jason Denayer (45)  and thereby extending Celtic’s lead at the top to 5 points.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Stephen Fernando and I


Pics of Stephen Fernando and Victor Ong on March 14, 2015
I missed out on these two photos when I posted pics of the SMK Subang Utama YLP (March 13-15, 2015) that I had organized just two weeks ago. If you haven’t seen them, do check them out at these two links: http://helpvictor.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-governemnt-admit-1mdb-unsustainable.html and
The Youth Leadership Program is a community-based workshop where we as Toastmasters bring the Toastmasters experience to non-Toastmasters. It enables participants (usually young people between the ages of 14 and 17) to develop communication and leadership skills through practical experience. 
Stephen Fernando was one of the facilitators and mentors. Thanks again to Stephen and the others who came to help! The Toastmasters spirit is alive and well!
So it’s not just me then? 

#KitaLawan On the Streets Again

Image credit: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=484232:free-anwar-protesters-show-their-mettle-‘silence-not-an-option’-despite-arrests-#kitalawan&Itemid=2

The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, March 28, 2015


The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal

Picture by Saw Siow Feng

Another #KitaLawan demonstration was held yesterday evening in the capital city. An estimated one thousand strong crowd converged on the city center, demanding the release of jailed Anwar Ibrahim and chanting "Kita lawan" ("We fight") and "Reformasi".

Some protestors also carried placards that had cut-out drawings depicting 1MDB-linked Low Taek Jho, murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu and Prime Minister Najib Razak's daughter, Nooryana Najwa. This was in spite of the stern warning by IGP Khalid Abu Bakar that those who dared participated in the protest would be summarily arrested.
Also yesterday, I was at Setia Avenue in Seksyen U13, Setia Alam to participate in the Area D2 International Speech contest.

My speech was a lot better than the one I delivered at club-level (i.e. Taman Indrahana). Still I only emerged first runner-up.

Anyway, that was good enough for me to progress to the Division-level Contest on April 11, 2015.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sack IGP

In Parliament on Wednesday, Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin (left) submitted a motion to sack the IGP Khalid Abu Bakar for misusing the Sedition Act against members of Parliament and the public by arbitrarily arresting Malaysians who had gathered peacefully to protest.
This is the second time in two days that a motion was submitted to Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia to censure Khalid.
On Monday, Sim’s Pakatan Rakyat colleagues lodged a complaint with Pandikar to refer Malaysia's top cop to the Rights and Privileges Committee over the "unlawful" arrest of Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar on March 16, 2015.
"The fact that two motions have been filed against the IGP showed the seriousness of this. As MPs, we cannot accept his conduct," Sim said, and expressed hope the motion would receive support from his BN counterparts which, to be honest, is unlikely.
Khalid has been repeatedly criticized by civil society leaders and the opposition for his "Twitter trigger-happy" habits through his Twitter account @KBAB51 to order investigations on individuals and to warn Malaysians against critical speech.
If he is not stopped, we can expect more arrests. And we may just become a police state.
On Thursday evening, I was in KL’s Bandar Baru Sri Petaling to attend the Satu Hati Toastmasters meeting. I delivered a speech from the Speeches by Management manual – this is part of the Advanced Communication Series, where a speaker gives briefings, gives productive feedback, motivates others, communicates change, and delivers bad news. I was voted Best Speaker.
Unfortunately, we started 14 minutes late but we still managed to finish on time. One speaker’s withdrawal helped. In fact, I was given a speaking slot precisely because another speaker withdrew.


Anyway, I would give this meeting a 4 over 10 score.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Faecal Attack

The statue of Cecil John Rhodes was the target of a faecal attack. Image credit: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31945680

Chumani Maxwele emptied a bucket of excrement over the Rhodes’ sculpture on the UCT campus, South Africa. Picture: David Ritchie
On March 09, 2015, a student named Chumani Maxwele staged a political protest on the campus of the University of Cape Town in South Africa. His choice of protest site – the statue of Cecil John Rhodes at the foot of the Jameson stairs – and his medium – human excrement – were meant to cause maximum offense. They were meant to inflame university authorities, confront students, and incite the public.
The sculpture of Rhodes is a monument embodying the colonial dispossession and oppression of Africans. A representation of white supremacy, racism and imperialism. An anachronism from a past era.
Very few South Africans will have any sympathy for Rhodes – a British Victorian mining magnate and ardent advocate of colonialism, who gave his name to Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe) and who was responsible for the beginnings of enforced racial segregation policies in South Africa.
In his 1877 "confession of faith", Rhodes wrote: "I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race".
Still, Rhodes donated his fortune to establish UCT. Aware of this history, protesters called for the statue’s removal with a well-organized #Rhodesmustfall campaign, arguing that the tertiary institution should become “more African”. Some even called for his remains to be exhumed and sent back to the UK.
A student wears a sticker calling for the removal of a statue of Cecil John Rhodes from the campus of the University of Cape Town. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters
Sure, South Africa have a responsibility to redress previous injustices, but must we edit and distort history?
Couldn’t Rhodes serve as a useful reminder that the past belongs to the past? And that he is no longer relevant in today’s world? Like it or not, he is a part of South African history – and removing a symbol of the past is not going to change the present nor the future.
But it is not just about getting rid of Rhodes’ statue.
The poo protest may be staged by one student but his aggrievement was not misplaced. There was a deep-seated dissatisfaction. It suggests the university has not transformed enough. It suggests unhappiness about student admissions, the university curriculum, academic appointments, little or no focus on African philosophies and perspectives and I suspect, many other equally pertinent issues. And I am sure the discontentment is shared by many others.
And because the University of Cape Town is South Africa's – and Africa's – highest-rated university in global rankings, Maxwele’s act of protest and the subsequent calls for change will have implications across the higher education system as a whole. And why limit to only academic institutions?
The same amount of energy that has been used to campaign for #Rhodesmustfall can be put into championing real change and faster transformation. The country would be better off if South Africans demonstrate the courage to confront the critical issues facing the country: poverty, crime, corruption, education.
In this respect, South Africa is not very much different from Malaysia.
Last evening, I was at the Malaysian Insititute of Accountants office in Jalan Tun Sambanthan 3 in KL’s Brickfields to deliver my CC speech #9 at the MIA Toastmasters meeting. My dedicated evaluator, Haji Hashim Adnan was there for me and he gave me good feedback. I was similarly pleased with my speech and no doubt, I shouldn’t be surprised that I was voted Best Speaker.
Having said that, yesterday’s meeting was really excellent – the Table Topics, the speeches and the evaluations were all exceptional. Unfortunately, we started twenty-two minutes late although we did make a supreme effort to make up for lost time. I am giving this meeting a 5.5 over 10 score.