Sunday, July 31, 2016

Beer Drinking Job

Attention beer lovers! The National Museum of American History is offering a dream job – traveling the country with all expenses paid and drinking brews.
It is a real job and it pays $64,650 (RM260,300) a year.
The Washington DC-based museum – part of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution – wants to hire a beer specialist for three years to taste beer in breweries across the country. Liquid Gold Toastmasters surely qualify!
Susan Evans, the Smithsonian’s director of Food History Programs explained: “Brewing and beer have been an important part of the American experience since before the nation’s founding, and continue to shape industry and community life into the present day”.
The position is responsible for documenting the history of beer brewing in the US of A. The lucky historian would conduct research, write articles and gather archive material for use in exhibits.
Already hordes of interested applicants have expressed interest so much so the museum’s online job site crashed after news about the position got out. According to Evans, they number in the hundreds of thousands.
She added the position “has made a lot of noise because people are very excited that we are interested in something that concerns them (so) much”.
Candidates have until August 10, 2016 to apply. Warning: Competition is expected to be extremely fierce.
Actually, the museum is seeking candidates with advanced degrees as well as evidence of scholarly research, preferably those who specialize in the beer industry. BTW, the job is funded by the Brewer’s Association.
I am also trying to send in my application!
The inaugural SRAM Women’s Squash Invitational (July 27-31, 2016) in Kuala Lumpur saw Nicol David claiming her first title win of the year – although the tournament does not offer any PSA ranking points.
David, who is gearing up for the start of the 2016-2017 PSA season with the defense of her Hong Kong Open title in August, won 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 against India's Joshna Chinappa in the final.
I am happy for her!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Oil Companies Continue to Take a Beating

Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc this week reported their lowest quarterly profits since 1999 and 2005, respectively. Chevron Corp’s third straight loss marked the longest slump in 27 years, and BP Plc lodged its lowest refining margins in six years.
Welcome to year two of a supply overhang and depressed crude prices – that is threatening to tip into yet another bear market, dashing hopes that a slump that began in mid-2014 would show signs of abating.
Nicol David checked into the finals of the SRAM Women's Invitational in Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur after beating Egypt's Omneya Abdel Kawy 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 on Saturday.
Tomorrow, she will meet India’s Joshna Chinappa for the second time in this tournament – after the latter rallied from two games down to oust New Zealand's Joelle King 8-11, 5-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9.
David had defeated Chinappa in three games in the group stage on Thursday. The top seed, however, had to come from behind in each game to win 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 in 37 minutes and preserve her record of never having dropped a game against Chinappa in twelve meetings.
A day earlier, she needed just 24 minutes to win over England's Jenny Duncalf 11-4, 11-4, 11-4.
On Wednesday, Celtic emerged from a testing visit to Astana in Kazakhstan where they were largely second best with a commendable 1-1 draw.
Looking to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2013 – they fell behind to a Yuri Logvinenko header in the nineteenth minute. But Leigh Griffiths found the equalizer when he rifled the ball past FC Astana’s goalkeeper in the seventy-eighth minute – thanks to Patrick Roberts who won possession near the byline and picked out Griffiths inside the penalty area.
Celtic must aim for a win in Glasgow next week to reach the Champions League play-off stage.

Najib Razak is in Deep Shit

"Rajib" means Almighty ruler; "nazak" means dying
On July 07, 2016, whistleblower website Sarawak Report made the sensational claim that it had in its possession the classified Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB – which is still sealed under the Official Secrets Act.
So far, no one has independently verified the said report. Nor has anyone attempted to reprint the text due to legal restraints. At least not in Malaysia.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak warned that leaking classified information is treason as it undermines national security. Supposedly. [He had made the comment in reference to the Sarawak Report disclosures].
Transparency International-Malaysia had said this is an abuse of the OSA. Didn’t PM Najib Razak himself issued the instruction to the A-G to audit 1MDB in the first place, they had asked?
If there is really nothing to hide – why not declassify the report?
This is the most opportune time to discredit Clare Rewcastle Brown and Sarawak Report and debunk the commonly-held belief that 1MDB is all about corruption, embezzlement and money laundering.
A scam. A racket. A con game.
And if Najib is adamant about his innocence – after all, he has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing – then he should allow the report to be released.
It is, of course, wishful thinking because this will not happen anytime soon. As long as Najib is in power. After all, declassifying the report will sound his death knell.

AFP: Mohd Rasfan
Still, the noose is tightening.
The DOJ lawsuits have added to Najib’s woes. The DOJ allegations directly contradicted repeated assertions by Najib about the origins and purpose of hundreds and millions of dollars that ended up in his personal bank accounts – which he had claimed was a donation from a Saudi benefactor.
Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director wasn't exaggerating when he said: “The Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale”.
US officials had said that any party who wanted to contest the attorney general’s (i.e. Loretta Lynch) claim must file a response in a federal court within 60 days to answer the factual allegations.
I can’t wait to hear Najib's response. He has a name, reputation and position to protect.
Wait a second! What name? What reputation? Position certainly! 
And in case, you are an unbeliever – the UK’s Guardian yesterday put out a narration on the “world’s biggest financial scandal” – detailing the 1MDB exposes made by a jailed former banker (i.e. Xavier Justo) and a lone British journalist (i.e. Clare).

Justo had leaked information about 1MDB’s dealings with PetroSaudi. It is a humongous 90GB of data, including 227,000 emails from his former employer PetroSaudi, an oil services company that had signed the first major deal with 1MDB.

According to the DOJ, this so-called accord was merely a “pretense” for “the fraudulent transfer of more than $1 billion from 1MDB to a Swiss bank account” controlled by Jho Low, the 29-year-old with no official position with 1MDB or PetroSaudi. [In fact, PetroSaudi have always maintained that all 1MDB funds were paid to entities owned by their shareholders].

It is said that without these files from Justo, there would have been no reckoning.

And Sarawak Report's Clare with the help of allies secured Justo’s PetroSaudi-1MDB documents. From February 28, 2015 onwards, she has been posting her 1MDB stories online giving Najib raging spasms of disquieting anguish. [That is why access to the Sarawak Report website has been blocked in Malaysia].

Najib may have successfully sealed a lot of lips in Malaysia but the rest of the world is discovering the truth.

And he is finding himself sinking deeper into the shit hole he has dug for himself. How is he going to extricate himself, I wonder? 

1MDB is also about indulgence, greed and excesses. It is a story about crooks who used a national sovereign fund to enrich themselves. And they amassed massive fortunes. It echoes Balzac’s maxim that behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

Didn’t Mahatma Gandhi declare that “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed”?

Najib, what say you?

Sorry, I don't think he actually gives a damn anymore!

Friday, July 29, 2016

In Peaceful Malaysia, 5 Shootings in 3 Weeks

In a period of just three weeks, there has been another five shootings, resulting in six deaths!
Malaysia may have very strict laws governing gun control – yet, guns seem readily available. Frightening, isn't it?

Image via Mohamad Hazman Mokhtar


Image by Twitter
Image via Shalena
At approximately 3.35 PM on July 27, 2016, a 43-year-old moneylender was shot 16 times in his car while he was at the Jalan Taman Ibu Kota/Jalan Genting Klang junction – near Setapak Central – in Kuala Lumpur.
Just a day earlier, at about 09:00 AM, armed men on two Yamaha 125Z motorcycles and in a white Toyota Camry and a grey Proton Wira Aeroback ambushed a Toyota Fortuner at the Putajaya-bound exit of the Elite Highway. 
Shots were fired but fortunately, the three victims, aged between 51 and 58, were unharmed because the vehicle they were riding in was bulletproof(!). It was reported that they had sent off a friend who was carrying an undisclosed sum of money at KLIA2 in Sepang, Selangor.
On July 13,  2016, a 32-year-old man shot dead four members of a family, including a two-year old boy in a room at a chicken processing factory in Batu Maung, Penang. Eleven bullet casings were found at the crime scene.
On July 11, 2016, a mini-market owner and his female assistant cheated death after being shot a number of times in front of his Taman Seri Fajar house in Batu Pahat, Johor. The victim, known only as Cheng, 40, suffered injuries to his chest and right hand while the woman escaped unhurt.
Two days earlier, a man was found dead with gunshot wounds on his head in Teluk Kulat, Pulau Banding, Perak. The victim was known as Khairul Azizan Zaidi, 29. 
Citizens are getting alarmed!
Maybe we do need to summon Marvel's Punisher after all. He will do a better job than the Malaysian police, I am sure! 
Yesterday, I was at the EduFly Aviation Academy in Wisma Naza at 12, Jalan Sungai Besi, KL.
At the Metro Toastmasters meeting, I started the first of ten CC speeches – my thirty-seventh round actually. The Ice Breaker had a title “Lonesome”.

This week alone, from Monday to Thursday, I made four speeches at four Toastmasters meetings, three of which were Advanced speeches and the other, a CC speech. Now, that's a feat!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

UMNO Youth Claim Conspiracy to Rid Najib

UMNO vice-chief Khairul Azwan Harun lodged a police report on Tuesday alleging a conspiracy to overthrow Najib Razak.
And the trio implicated in this perverse plot to oust our beloved Prime Minister are none other than former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and outgoing Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Abu Kassim Mohamed!
The story is that the threesome had furnished confidential information to foreign parties, including the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Khairul even went to the extent of claiming some of the surrendered documents were falsified and the information doctored to achieve their nefarious agenda.
What was Khairul really thinking of? Making a police report is akin to making a threat. It is a glaring attempt to spook those involved in the 1MDB investigation.
I would like to pose 2 questions: Was Khairul acting on instructions? And if so, whose instructions?
It is plain that UMNO Youth are backing Najib to the hilt and the police report implies that they support corruption.
But it is a big joke because even Najib had issued a statement saying those involved must clear their names.
In the meantime, both Zeti and Abu Kassim have refused to respond and said they would first seek legal counsel on the matter. Abdul Gani dismissed the allegations as a mere political stunt.

The three had held their tongues when they should have spoken out   and now they have to contend with a police report against them! 
Meanwhile, UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s strange silence on the said matter has raised more suspicions.
The conspiracy theory has been there for the longest time. I can understand why it is so convenient to bring it up again and again because everywhere one goes, one hears Malaysians wanting Najib to resign. I am painstakingly polite. I would rather Najib “go and die” than to stay put in Putrajaya and destroy the country.
Najib is “najis" because of 1MDB.
With the US lawsuits, Minister in the PM Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan yesterday claimed that the US attorney-general Loretta Lynch and the DOJ had seized the opportunity to hit the country, government and prime minister (The Sun, July 28, 2016, p 02).
It means that this Najib adulator has started taking potshots at the US government. I will not be surprised if he or any of the Najib Fan Club members believe that there is an evil American conspiracy against the country.
Even so, I don’t expect them to start accusing Najib’s golf buddy Barack Obama of conspiring against him. Najib cannot afford to lose any more of his friends.
I was at the Eulogia Community Center in Jalan SS26/6, Taman Mayang Jaya in PJ last evening. The PJ Toastmasters meeting featured me as one of three speakers. I presented my second assignment speech from the Public Relations manual, titled “Lessons from Toastmasters”. I was an evaluator too.
And I was voted Best Project Speaker. Not to be outdone, my speech evaluator, Chelsea Yin was voted Best Evaluator.
Overall, a good meeting!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Emperor Najib

On April 30, 2015, Zaid Ibrahim had blogged about Najib Razak “no longer acting as a Prime Minister, but as an Emperor”!
This is what he wrote: “Najib thinks he is Louis XIV. That infamous French King proudly declared that he was literally the state of France (“L’etat cest moi”), which meant that whatever he said was the law and no other authority mattered. No one could or had the right to question him. He spent the state’s money as he liked and accounted to no one, not even to the papal authority. His commands were followed and his coterie of loyal servants prospered.
By that same token, Najib is our first Emperor of Malaysia. He certainly behaves like one. He is very rich because, like Louis XIV, he inherited an enormous amount of wealth, so his office has claimed. When his siblings stepped in to say their late father – Malaysia’s second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak – had not been rich, Najib did not then explain where he had, in fact, got his money. He did not even bother to tell people how much he is worth, because like an Emperor, he does not need to explain anything to anyone.
When his bodyguards killed a young woman from Mongolia and bombed her body to smithereens, he did not feel it was necessary to ask why. He was not at all interested to explain these strange circumstances when everyone else wants to know why this killing was carried out. He was only interested to swear in God’s name that he had not known her. Like an Emperor, he does not need to account for or explain his actions, and by extension, those of his bodyguards.
As Finance Minister he is ultimately responsible for 1MDB” – and still, “he does not bother to answer the many questions raised regarding 1MDB because he is an Emperor.
The people of this country did not choose an Emperor during the last election; they thought they were electing a Prime Minister”.
All hail the Emperor! At this point, all loyal citizens are to prostrate themselves on the bare floor before a portrait of Najib. They should kneel four times, and each time touching their heads on the ground four times. 
Last evening, I was at the BAC Petaling Jaya premise in Jalan Utara in PJ to attend the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting.
There, I delivered my last assignment from the Humorously Speaking manual – my speech title “Ong the Ogre”. It took me forty-four days to complete this Advanced manual containing five speeches.

I must have done well because I was voted Best Project Speaker.