Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Merdeka in 2016

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Happy Merdeka Day, fellow Malaysians!
I still harbor hope that this country will indeed turn out for the better. I continue to be optimistic. I choose to believe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It's No Longer Illegal to Wear that Yellow T-shirt

The High Court on February 19 of this year had rejected Bersih 2.0's challenge to the Home Ministry's ban of the Bersih 4 T-shirt – maintaining that the order was within the ministry's jurisdiction.
[Note: On August 27, 2015, the government gazetted the order after Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi instructed to ban all items related to the Bersih 4 mass demonstration, including its promotional materials and any item of clothing bearing the rally’s name as well as its signature yellow]. 
In any case, the electoral reform group filed an appeal.
And yesterday, the Court of Appeal allowed Bersih 2.0's appeal and quashed the ban at the same time. The panel led by Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh said they agreed with lawyer Edmund Bon's submission, adding the Home Minister's order was “unreasonable”.
In fact, it was silly. And it was stupid.
Anyway, it's no longer illegal to wear that yellow T-shirt!
I was at No. 18, Lorong Maarof in Bangsar, KL for the KL Advanced Toastmasters Club contests. I participated in both the Humorous Speech and the Speech Evaluation contests.

I was first runner-up in the Speech Evaluation contest and champion in the Humorous Speech contest.

To be sure, I have already identified my flaws. And I shall diligently work on them so that I am better prepared for the next round of contests at Area-level.


Monday, August 29, 2016

The #TangkapMO1 Rally

Photo: Malay Mail Online 

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Pix by Sairien Nafis

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On Saturday, the long-awaited student-led #TangkapMO1 rally kicked off from two protest landmarks, i.e. the Sogo Shopping Complex and Masjid Negara before demonstrators converged within the vicinity of barricaded Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
The #Tangkap MO1 rally idea was initiated and organized by undergraduates – young faces which have never been in the limelight before. Some have dubbed it as the rally by ordinary students. Maybe so, but they bring forth extraordinary goals.
Organized by a coalition of student groups, the #TangkapMO1 rally is aimed at pressuring authorities to take action against the so-called “Malaysian Official 1”.
In the US Department of Justice’s civil lawsuit filed last month, “Malaysian Official 1” was identified as a high-ranking government official with authority in 1MDB, but the individual was not named.
A similar rally, the TangkapNajib protest, ended prematurely last year when police pre-emptively arrested rally participants.
This time, close to two thousand participants – a big majority of them were university students – had come to the rally to demand the arrest of Malaysian Official #1, despite police warnings that the rally was illegal supposedly in violation of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
Even the posters and banners carried by the students did not mince their messages to the powers that be, and the students also chanted slogans which said what they actually came to do – Tangkap MO1.
I note that the students had stood up to speak as citizens of Malaysia and not as members of any political party.
“Your presence made me believe in the power of the people,” said rally spokesperson Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof atop a Toyota Hilux pickup truck that led the march.
That about sums up the #TangkapMO1 rally. I wish I was there too.
On that day too, Celtic moved to the top of the Scottish Premiership with a comprehensive victory over last season's runners-up, Aberdeen.
The champions' early domination led to Leigh Griffiths' driven opener in the thirteenth minute. The lead was promptly cancelled when Adam Rooney exposed defensive frailty to give the Dons a surprise equalizer in the thirty-second minute.
Still, Celtic pressed on. James Forrest's clever finish (42) and Scott Sinclair's penalty (87) – after the sending off of Mark Reynolds – secured the win before Tom Rogic curled in a fourth (90).

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Cancer of Violence and Evil

I am not the only one who is appalled by the sheer number of crimes being regularly reported in the country.
Well-known Malaysian comedian Harith Iskandar must have felt the same thing – he took to Facebook to highlight the crimes reported in The Star. All in one day only. August 25, 2016.


The Star, Malaysia, August 25, 2016, pages 22, 24 & 31

Harith’s post must have resonated with many Malaysians for it gained more than 3,000 shares in just a day.
Crime is a real issue that we must address. Malaysians no longer feel safe in their own country. And yet, the Police keep dispensing crime stats that tell us crime is plunging – they expect us to believe them because they think we are gullible!
As Harith says “There is a cancer of violence and evil that has overtaken Malaysia and we are numb to it. We hardly even notice news like this anymore”. And that is not funny at all!
Yesterday, reigning world junior champion, eighteen-year-old Nouran Gohar defeated Malaysia’s squash queen Nicol David in the semi-finals of the 2016 Hong Kong Open squash championship – a 57-minute battle which the Egyptian won 3-1: 11-9, 11-7, 11-13 and 11-9.
On the same day too, Liverpool only managed a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in this EPL encounter. Red leftback James Milner's penalty in the forty-third minute – after Erik Lamela fouled Philippe Coutinho – was cancelled by Danny Rose's seventy-second minute strike to give both teams one point each.

It was an enjoyable open game and I watched it 'live' at Restoran Khaleel in Persiaran Gurney, Georgetown, Penang.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Nicol David's Quarter-final Win on 33rd Birthday

In the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open Squash Championship yesterday, Malaysia’s Nicol David celebrated her thirty-third birthday in style as she saw off the threat of World No.6 Camille Serme of France 3-1: 11-8, 13-11, 7-11, 11-2 in forty-nine minutes.
On Thursday, David who is a 10-time winner of the tournament, tamed New Zealand’s Joelle King 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-5 – she took sixty-three minutes in this second-round clash.
A day earlier, the Penangite also needed five sets to beat Wales qualifier Tesni Evans in the first round – a match lasting 68 minutes.
Meanwhile, Low Wee Wern, was quickly knocked out from the tournament when she lost 5-11, 8-11 and 7-11 to England’s Alison Waters in the opening encounter.
And two upcoming events from Liquid Gold Advanced Toastmasters Club:


Friday, August 26, 2016

Forget about Pokemon GO, Go for Pokeburgs

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Creative director Ben Kagan (left) and business partner Archie Saliba pose with their limited-edition Pokeburg hamburgers on August 26, 2016. Reuters pic

Pokémania has been sweeping the world ever since Pokémon GO's release, and countless businesses are finding ways to cash in on the fad.

Now a burger restaurant in Sydney, Australia called the Down N' Out has started selling Pokeburgs. From August 22 through September 03, 2016, these burgers in the form of Pokemon characters are available at $15 apiece, at least while supplies last.
If you live in or are visiting Sydney, I suppose they are worth capturing! Only because they feed your stomach!
Last evening, I was in Wisma Naza in Jalan Sungai Besi in KL to deliver another Advanced speech. It was titled “Fiery Lessons” – assignment #5 The Crisis Management Speech from the Public Relations manual.

I was to assume I was the spokesperson for a company that was experiencing a crisis. I was to present a 4-6 minute speech to the media about the situation, and striving to build and maintain a positive image for the said company. And following the speech, I conducted a 3-5 minute Q&A.
I took up the Timekeeper role too. Additionally, I participated in the impromptu speech session and I was voted Best Table Topics Speaker.



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Interesting Facts about Cockroaches

Did you know that cockroaches drink beer?
The fact of the matter is that roaches do seem to like alcoholic beverages, beer included. But it’s likely because of the sugars found in alcohol, and not because roaches love to party.
Cockroaches are really fascinating! Consider these:
The cockroach (scientific name: Blattaria) is estimated to be at least 200 million years old. And there are roach fossils dating back as far as 350 million years.
There are approximately 4,600 species of cockroaches and they can be found all over the world, in every continent – except Antarctica. And only about one percent are considered pests.
Cockroaches will eat anything. And we mean any organic matter. Apart from eating any human food, cockroaches can eat dead insects, paper, cloth, soap, wood, glue, hair and poop. Yup, just about anything.
A cockroach can live almost a month without food. A cockroach can live about two weeks without water. A cockroach can live for up to one week without its head. This is not because they don’t have brains. They do. But their brains do not control all of their functions. Rather, the organs that control the vital functions can be found in the thorax or the middle part of the cockroach. Therefore, a cockroach can lose its head and still survive. It won’t be able to drink, though, so it eventually dies of thirst.
A cockroach can withstand 10 times more radiation than a human. In fact, cockroaches were found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the Americans dropped atomic bombs, and in Chernobyl, where the worst nuclear accident happened. And not to mention a cockroach was Wall-E’s only companion in post-nuclear Earth.
Some cockroaches can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes, and others can survive up to 30 minutes underwater.
Some female cockroaches only mate once and stay pregnant for life. Cockroaches can run up to 3 miles an hour – which is very fast given their size. Even a baby cockroach, called a nymph, can travel at close to those speeds.
Cockroaches can spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria.
And finally, roaches are edible. Yummy!
Richard Kaae, an entomologist at California State University, USA reckons that cockroaches are the number one insects feared by humans. So, it is not surprising that many people suffer from katsaridaphobia, or cockroach phobia.
Today, I was in Wisma IJM in PJ’s Jalan Yong Shook Lin to attend the IJM Toastmasters meeting.
I was one of two project speakers – and I delivered my Advanced speech from the Public Relations manual – assignment #3 The Persuasive Approach. My speech title was “Seeking Adventures” – a good speech, if I may say so myself.