Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Muslim Exclusion Executive Order

Donald Trump (left) has little love for Muslims too.

On November 19, 2015, Trump announced he would consider requiring Muslim-Americans to register with a government database, or worse, mandating that they carry special identification cards that note their faith.

It reminded me of a time when Nazi Germany implemented the Jewish badge (right) – as The Holocaust Center notes on its website, the Nazi-era edicts that required Jews to publicly identify their faith was "one of many psychological tactics aimed at isolating and dehumanizing the Jews of Europe, directly marking them as being different (i.e., inferior) to everyone else". 

And this served as a prelude to deporting Jews to ghettos and killing centers in German-occupied eastern Europe.

Of course, I am not saying that Trump has ever toyed with the idea of getting Muslim-Americans to sport a symbol (a green crescent?) that would single them out as Muslims. But with Trump, you'll never know, right? He is a wacko  in case you don't know.

And that's not all. He had come out in support of wholesale surveillance of Muslim-Americans and warrantless searches of mosques.

He even praised past NYPD policies that spied on the New York City Muslim community as "great", despite the reality that this controversial program did not yield any leads or even arrests.

And on Friday, President Donald Trump signed yet another executive order.

With a stroke of a pen, about 218 million people from seven Muslim-majority countries (based on 2015 data published by the World Bank) were barred from entering the United States – for a period of 90 days.

These citizens are from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. According to CNN, these countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as "countries of concern".

Trump had talked about these countries as "terror-prone" countries. During the GOP primary campaign, he called for banning all Muslims from the US – a statement he never retracted – before shifting toward calling for banning individuals from countries with terrorist links, though he never identified the countries.

Oddly, the ban does not apply to the nationalities of those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

UK’s The Telegraph had highlighted that the 3 countries are also where the Trump Organization have done business or pursued potential deals. Interesting!

In any case, it is said that this is just a first step toward establishing a broader ban.

It is unclear how many more countries will be added to the list, but a senior White House official said the Trump administration will be "very aggressive" as it weighs how many more countries to add to the list.

The mandate to “keep America safe" has unjustly targeted Muslims, albeit selectively.

If Muslims are to be blamed, then why not enforce a blanket ban on ALL Muslims?
I wonder how PM Najib Razak will respond if Trump decides to do just that.

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country too. And we also have more than our fair share of IS-influenced militants. Methinks, Najib will likely say “Shit” (“Najis”). LOL!

On Sunday, Celtic set a new club record of 27 domestic games unbeaten from the start of the season and a 22-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table when they thumped Hearts 4-0.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Trump Wall

We are all aware that Donald Trump (left) has little love for Mexicans.

And he doesn't care a hoot about rubbing them the wrong way either.
Since day one of his presidential campaign, Trump had demonstrated his racist and xenophobic tendencies.

On June 16, 2015, Trump had labeled immigrants from Mexico "rapists" and criminals.

A couple of weeks later, he told CNN that Mexican immigrants were "killers" too.

In August of that year, he claimed that Mexican officials actually "send the bad ones" to the US of A. For the simple reason that their government didn’t want to pay for them; they didn't want to take care of them.

And now, Trump is going ahead to build a border wall between the US and Mexico – ostensibly to stop the latter's citizens from crossing into the former's territory.

On Wednesday, he signed an executive order authorizing construction of the said wall. 

[Note: Both the countries share a common border of about 2,000-miles (3,200-km)].

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairperson of the House homeland security committee, explained that the wall would be less bricks and mortar and more a “myriad of assets”, including fencing and drones.

He maintained: “It’s not going to be a 2,000-mile Chinese wall”.

The Great Wall of China – its total length is 13,170.69 miles (21,196.18 kilometers) – as announced by China's State Administration of Cultural Relics in 2012. Image credit: https://talleypcb.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/great_wall_of_china.jpg

Actually, there are plenty of walls already along 653 miles, or roughly a third of the total border, to be precise. That is a 444 percent increase from 2005, according to the Washington Office on Latin America. About 1,317 miles have no fencing but the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo to the Mexicans), accounts for much of that.

Even if the whole stretch is indeed, a wall it will only be a puny wall. What's the big deal, eh?

And if the wall is built, I don’t believe the Mexicans are going to take it lying down. Methinks, if the Americans go ‘high’, their neighbors can go ‘underneath’ – with tunnels. LOL!

The issue isn’t just about a wall, but also the potential mass deportation of immigrants and a renegotiation of the 23-year-old NAFTA deal that has transformed Mexico into an open, export-oriented manufacturing powerhouse – have shaken the bilateral relationship to its core.

I expect the Mexicans to be riled up. If they aren't already.

And maybe, LEGO can start selling a LEGO Build Your Own Trump Wall Creative Building Set – so Trump supporters can build their own wall too.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Good Riddance to Barack Obama

The US of A is in for interesting times.  

Barack Obama (left) has vacated the White House. Goodbye and good riddance!
This man became president riding on a massive groundswell of hope – and yet, in the end, he distressingly disappoints.
He is not much of a politician either. He has left his Democratic Party in a sorry state of dispirited disrepair.
The Democrats have lost Congress. They have been decimated in state legislatures. Even their hoped-for liberal majority on the Supreme Court was blocked. And now the presidency is gone, as well.
Democrats face a tough challenge in the days and years ahead. They have to find a leader for their national committee – resolving an ideological battle between left-wing populists and those who obstinately preach continued Obama-style of lethargy politics, even if it centers around moderation and incrementalism.
One BBC News headline says it all: “Obama leaves Democrats flailing in abyss”.
Thank you, Obama – you sure did a fantastic job!

Getty image
Yesterday, Liverpool again succumbed to an inglorious 1-2 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round. Elimination.

I am too stunned to comment.

As Jurgen Klopp said: "I'm angry but that's not enough".

And for the first time under him, the Reds lost three games on the trot.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Huat Like Naib Razak

As Malaysians celebrate the Lunar New Year, Najib Razak too sends his greetings.

I just love my PM! My only wish is that he will stop talking cock!

The tortoises settling into their new home. Image credit: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/01/27/tortoises-at-kek-lok-si-temple-get-new-home/

It is good to know that some five hundred resident tortoises at the 126-year-old Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam, Penang have been moved to a new home – finally – at the Oriental Garden located at the foothill of the temple.
This landscaped area with a cascading waterfall that forms part of the pond, provides not only a bigger but a more natural setting for the reptiles.
Temple abbot Ven Xian Guan said the tortoise pond is open to the public. Since yesterday. It is open from 8:45 AM till 6:00 PM daily.
The temple had previously come under heavy fire for the tortoises’ deplorable living conditions in the pond. Kindly check out the pics below:

Image credit: http://cavinteo.blogspot.my/2016/09/tortoise-liberation-pond-in-deplorable.html

The new site provides a clean and refreshing feel for visitors standing at the gazebos and mini bridges, while the water in the pond is light-jade-green in color.

Let’s hope the temple authorities keep it that way.

On Wednesday, Southampton defeated Liverpool 1-0 to reach the EFL Cup final. The Reds were never in the game. Depressingly disappointing.

Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 Year of the Rooster

Happy Lunar New Year everybody! May you receive abundant, bountiful and copious prosperity in this Year of the Rooster!

Foul Fowl

Image credit: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2533074/russian-artist-sinks-to-new-low-by-making-sculptures-out-of-poo-to-celebrate-the-year-of-the-rooster/

This is a foul fowl! A farmer who fancies himself as an artist has created a jumbo rooster to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Mikhail Bopposov from the village of Uolba in north-eastern Russia’s Sakha Republic used frozen poo. Yes, you read it right! Frosted shit.
He claims that his manure sculpture – measuring 11.5 feet tall and nearly 14 feet long – is sturdy enough to even support the weight of an adult man.
Villagers have been taking selfies of themselves with this new addition to their community.
One person remarked: “I wonder if he is okay working with such material, he must stink a LOT”.
Another added: “After it melts in the spring, farmers will be able to reuse it as fertilizer. Very sustainable, good job!”  

Yesterday, I went to two Toastmasters meetings.

First was the IJM Toastmasters meeting in Jalan Yong Shook Lin in PJ - where I did an invocation speech as well as took up the role of Table Topics Evaluator.

Second was the Metro Toastmasters meeting in Jalan Sungai Besi in KL - where again, I took up two roles, i.e. General Evaluator and as project speaker.

My 523rd assignment speech was a CC #5 titled "Pleasurable Pain".


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Standard Fare for Lunar New Year

Times must be pretty bad.
This year's festive decorations are just standard fare. Simple. Unspectacular. Disappointing really.
One Utama
Suria KLCC
MidValley Megamall
Berjaya Times Square
Sungei Wang Plaza
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Sunway Pyramid
Nu Sentral
Times are also less than peaceful.
I was at Jalan Jurubina U1/18, HICOM Glenmarie Industrial Park in Seksyen U1, Shah Alam on Wednesday.

I went there for the Unipac-Subang joint Toastmaster meeting to deliver my CC #10 speech titled "Froggie".
This is my assignment speech #522 todate. Thanks to Sim Bok San for arranging the speaking slot for me.
Thus, I have completed CC Round 40 in seventy-one days.
Now that I have finally completed the 5 CCs I am ready for my next challenge. I intend to complete 10 CCs, one each of ACB, ACS and ACG as well as 5 CLs to finish by end of 2017.
I can do it if I put my mind to it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

London's Magic Lantern Festival

The Magical Lantern Festival marking the Lunar New Year at Chiswick House in London, January 19, 2017. Reuters pic

From January 19 until February 26, the gardens at Chiswick House in London are hosting the Magical Lantern Festival to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

There are in excess of fifty illuminated lanterns and sculptures spread out over 65 acres.

Many of the beautiful displays are accompanied by music and theatre and some are even interactive.

The festival is open Thursday to Sunday 5 PM to 10 PM, with last entry at 9 PM.

Yesterday, I was at No. 1A, Jalan Aerobik 13/43 in Shah Alam.

This is the location of Kelab Shah Alam Selangor and this is where the Shah Alam Toastmasters meeting is being held every second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

Thanks to club president Veera Manoharan, I presented my CC #3 titled "The Speaking Dead".  This is my 521st project speech.

And not forgetting that I also took up the role of the General Evaluator. 

Certainly, it was an awesome meeting, and members had demonstrated a prodigious appetite for learning. Better still, the members' enthusiasm was boundless and the energy overflowing.

Indeed, a praiseworthy Toastmasters meeting!