Monday, February 29, 2016

Awesome Ideas for School Lunches

A Singaporean mother-of-two, Lee Li Ming is gaining acclaim for making awesome school lunches – reportedly, every single day.
She started in 2011, when her son, Ivan was missing her at nursery and since then she has prepared over 200 different creations for him and his younger brother Lucas Tey.
Lee’s blog ( is a brilliant how-to for aspiring bento artists. From recipes to picture tutorials and lists of tools and tips, there’s something there for everyone who would like to gain a new skill and become a little more creative.
And she has over 185,000 Instagram followers.

On Saturday, Malaysia’s world number two Nicol David advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 Windy City Open Squash championship in Chicago. David took 31 minutes to beat England’s Sarah-Jane Perry 11-6, 11-9, 11-5.

As for Low Wee Wern, it was another frustrating outing as she crashed out in the first round. The world No. 32 gave Hong Kong’s world No. 26 Joey Chan a close fight but eventually fizzled out to lose 11-7, 10-12, 9-11, 12-14 in Chicago on Friday.
It was the third straight first-round loss for Low. She was also an early casualty in the Tournament of Champions in New York last month and the Cleveland Classic earlier this month.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Facebook Reactions

The "like" button has always been too simplistic of a reaction for Facebook users.
The reality is that human reactions are just too complex and varied. And for deeper reactions, we had to resort to making comments.
From Wednesday, users can now do a whole lot more than "like" a Facebook post.
"Love," "Haha," "Angry,” Wow," and "Sad," are the latest Facebook buttons that people can click when responding to a post. Anyone who uses Facebook can now choose from these "Reactions" on top of liking, commenting or sharing something.
With these latest reactions, we can now better view sentiments and pain points at a glance. As a Facebook user, there is greater interaction. And from a marketing perspective, "reactions" offer more data to be mined for targeting.
Facebook researchers, engineers and product teams spent more than a year preparing “Reactions” for launch. They worked with sociologists, consulted focus groups and conducted surveys to determine which emotions would make the final cut. They looked at the most popular stickers and emojis on the platform for clues too.
Missing from this set of responses is a "dislike" button – an option CEO Mark Zuckerberg first hinted at in September 2015. But launching a dislike button would have risked turning Facebook into a place where people vote posts up or down.
"That doesn't seem like the kind of community that we want to create," Zuckerberg said during a town hall Q&A.
This is yet another attempt at keeping Facebook fresh, and deepening people's attachment to the website and app.
At worst, some users could find the new choices unhelpful. But as long as a few million people "Love" or laugh a few times a day, that's still a lot of new, profit-driving data for Facebook and their advertisers.
In Friday’s Scottish Premiership game between Celtic and Hamilton Academical, both teams shared points when substitute Eamonn Brophy scored 17 minutes from the end to equalize a thirty-fifth minute penalty goal from Leigh Griffiths.
With one point earned, Celtic extended their cushion at the top of the table to seven points.

BTW, Toastmasters from Area P5, do keep this date free!


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Oops, Wrong Church Service!

Imelda Marcos on a wheelchair is pictured after attending a memorial mass in Metro Manila on February 24, 2016. Reuters photo

Imelda Marcos, former Philippine First Lady and now an Ilocos Norte representative attended a morning Mass Wednesday which, unknown to her, was intended to remember the victims of the martial law regime of her late husband, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish – popularly known as Baclaran Church, in Parañaque City in Metro Manila – was followed by a short program for the victims of torture and killings during Marcos’ repressive rule, said Nardy Sabino, secretary general of Promotion of Church People’s Response, an ecumenical group which sponsored it.

Ric Malasa, an aide to Marcos, told AFP a member of her staff had whispered to her they had turned up at the wrong venue. But he added Marcos replied: “It’s fine. We’re all praying to the same God”.

Human rights groups say tens of thousands of people were jailed and tortured during Ferdinand Marcos’ 20-year military-backed rule, which ended in a bloodless popular revolt that chased the family into US exile 30 years ago on Wednesday.

The current authorities now estimate the family plundered $10 billion (RM42.1 billion) from state coffers, which allowed the flamboyant first lady to live a jet setting lifestyle in which she amassed hundreds of pairs of shoes as well as jewelry and pieces of art.

This sounds so familiar, more so if you replace ‘shoes’ with ‘handbags’!

But mass-goers, many of them campaigners for the rights of people who suffered imprisonment and torture during the Marcos regime, showed no sign of disrespect to the widow at the service, according to Carlito Latorre, a lay missionary.

“One of the victims, a man, shared how he lost his sense of hearing from the torture,” Latorre told AFP.

“The priest said martial law must not be repeated and its lessons must not be forgotten,” Latorre said, and then adding that Marcos left abruptly after the homily.

Today, three in every four Filipinos are satisfied with the way democracy works, a Social Weather Stations survey that was conducted from December 05 to 08, 2015 showed. When asked face-to-face, 76 percent of 1,200 adult respondents nationwide expressed satisfaction with the country’s democracy.

The survey also showed that 58 percent prefer democracy than any other form of government.

On Thursday, in the fifth minute, Liverpool’s James Milner scored a penalty – after Dominik Kohr's handball – and thereby, securing a 1-0 second-leg victory over Augsburg at Anfield. The Reds are now in the Europa League last sixteen. What a relief!

And yesterday, I was in Bangsar for the Liquid Gold Advanced Toastmasters meeting. Fourteen of us comprising eight members and six guests were present.

Note: Gerard Peter and guest from BIB, Bin Li are not in this photo as they had to leave early 

I delivered my CC#2 speech titled “Anyhow”. I believe I did alright but as my evaluator, Cyril Jonas rightly put it, the bar must be raised higher for me. After all, this is my thirty-fourth round of the Competent Communication manual. Sigh. The pressure mounts.

Expectedly, it had been a good meeting!

One member sang praises that the food was awesome and that we should make a return visit! Check out what we ordered:

My first beer was a Schwarzer, i.e. a Weissbier with Cola. But of course!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Ventilation Corridors to Blow Smog Away

Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Authorities in Beijing, China are reportedly developing a network of ventilation “corridors” to help tackle the city’s choking air pollution.
Construction in the zones, which will be created by connecting parks, rivers, lakes, highways and low building blocks, will be strictly controlled and obstacles to air flow will be removed over time, said the Xinhua state news agency, citing Wang Fei, deputy head of Beijing’s urban planning committee, as saying.
There will be five large corridors that will be more than 500 meters wide and several smaller ones, the report said, without giving a time frame for the project.
Pollution is a sore topic in China, spurring public protests every year about environmental degradation, particularly from factories. For the city and its surroundings, the government has set a target for 2020 of reducing pollution by 40% from 2013 levels.
Beijing frequently features near the top of the list of China’s most polluted cities as emissions from vehicles and heavy industry combine with weather conditions to raise smog levels. The worst bouts of air pollution tend to coincide with periods of low wind.
The authorities have increased efforts to reduce air pollution after the city’s first “red alerts” in December last year, when hazardous smog smothered the city.
It is good to know that China authorities are being pro-active for a change.
I was in PJ’s Jalan Yong Shook Lin yesterday to deliver a CC speech #2 titled “Take a Break” at the IJM Toastmasters meeting. I was evaluated by Dr Thilla Chelliah, Area T2 Director and a Money Mastery member.
It was a good meeting – not only because I was there (sorry, syiok sendiri only!) but one IJM member pushed himself to do his CC #6 speech extemporaneously. A remarkable effort from this remarkable Toastmaster, S Sugumaran.

One more reason to join Toastmasters: Here, we push ourselves because we don’t know our limits.