Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sorry Ladies, Men Are Funnier

I’m not surprised to read that female comedians are up in arms over a wacky study that had the cheek to make the audacious claim that men are funnier than women! 

It seems that researchers from Aberystwyth University and the University of North Carolina had conducted a meta analysis of 28 studies supposedly involving 5,000 people in order to ascertain how funny they are. 

Many of the studies asked the subjects to write funny captions for an image, which were then rated by judges who did not know the caption author’s gender. 

Just from that, they found that 63 percent of men were supposedly funnier than the average woman. 

And on that basis, they arrived at the conclusion that was so absurd, ridiculous and laughable! Then again, study author Dr Gil Greengross had quickly come out to say that not every single man is funnier than every single woman. 

But then he still maintained that according to science, the results showed men are generally considered funnier. All I can say is, Greengross is a funny guy! 

Anyway, the reasons he suggested for the disparity were societal and evolutionary. 

“It is possible that the view that women are less funny is so pervasive that societal forces discourage girls and women from developing and expressing their humor, making a woman less likely to be perceived as funny”, Grengross tried to explain. 

“On the other hand, the evidence does suggest that humor plays a major role in mating, with a strong evolutionary basis”, he added. 

“Humor is strongly correlated with intelligence, which explains why women value men with a great sense of humor, as intelligence was crucial for survival throughout our evolutionary history when we mostly lived in hunter-gatherer groups. Men, on the other hand, prefer women who laugh at their humor”. 

Of course, there are those who vehemently disagree. 

One objector even said that the study itself was “funny”. 

Another tweeted: “Can we stop debating this, please? Beyond the derivative binary premise, it’s still a totally subjective thing and the testing was even more so”. 

I don't know about you but I find people who consider themselves funny to be really unfunny. It doesn’t matter which gender they belong to. I will even go so far as to add that many stand-up comedians can’t get me to laugh! 

Also, I’m not the type to laugh for the sake of laughing. 

I’m not kidding. I have watched live and/or listen to these highly-rated Malaysian comedians: Kevin Jay, Jason Leong, Douglas Lim, Harith Iskandar, Papi Zak, Rizal Van Geyzel, Kuah Jenhan, Joanne Kam, Juliana Heng, Stephen Fernando, Phoon Chi Ho, Monty and a couple of others – only a few, I’m sorry to say, could, at best, solicit just a wee laugh from me. Honest.

Putting that aside, it’s interesting to note that out of the 12 names I’ve listed – only two are women! Therefore, dare I say that the Greengross study may have had some truth in it after all? Dare I?

BTW, good comedy is not always present! 

And anyway, humor is personal. And biased. Ha-ha! 

I may not be a stand-up comedian but I know a little about being humorous. I have presented many humorous speeches at Toastmasters meetings – that count too, don’t they?

Reds' Penalty Shootout Victory After 10-goal Thriller

Oh me, oh my!!

Wednesday’s EFL game was our turn against Arsenal and it was an edge-of-your-seat 10-goal thriller. It was a straight-out maddening and absolutely nerve-wracking game – there were five goals in each half, including a penalty and an own goal.

It's attacking football and defensive errors. Check out the Liverpool versus Arsenal score changes: 1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4, 4-4, 4-5, 5-5.

So with a 5-5 draw, it was down to penalties! 

And when Caoimhin Kelleher saved Gunner Dani Ceballos' attempt, we sealed a 5-4 shootout win. Of course, the match-winning moment arrived when Curtis Jones coolly thumped the final penalty in off the post to make it five from five in front of the Kop. 

The Reds have reached the quarter-finals on a crazy, crazy, crazy night! 

Last evening, I was summoned to the LEAP Leadership Academy in D’Alpinia Business Park in Puchong, Selangor for the LEAP Toastmasters meeting. 

I had been requested to evaluate an Advanced speech from The Professional Speaker manual – a “Speaking to Entertain” speech from fellow Shah Alam Toastmaster member, Zarina Abu Bakar. 

She always speaks with consummate elegance and yesterday, was no exception. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised at all that she was voted Best Speaker. And I was also voted Best Evaluator.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Proton Uncage The Tiger

Good or bad, Malaysians know Proton! 

And most of us would have owned a Proton at least once in our lifetimes. 

Now, Proton want to reclaim their position as Malaysia’s No.1 car company and among the top three in Southeast Asia by 2027, at least according to their chief executive officer Dr Li Chunrong.

Li (above photo) highlighted that the incumbent No. 3 in Southeast Asia have an annual sales of 370,000 units. And he aims to surpass that figure and sell 400,000 units by 2027. 

A lofty ambition indeed! 

It is noteworthy to mention that Proton sales for the nine-month period of 2019 totaled 70,330 units – nevertheless, this is a much-improved performance as compared to the 2018 sales of 64,744 units (Star Online, October 03, 2019). 

Proton may have a long way to go – but I don’t think we should underestimate Proton this time around.

Besides, I'm betting on China's Geely to turn around Proton. Even more encouraging is the fact that Proton have finally found the right man for the job. 

It is said that Li, a Chinese national who was headhunted for the job has been tirelessly working 12 hours a day, six days a week for the past two years at Proton Holdings Bhd to rescue the persistent loss-making company.

Definitely, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s acquisition of Proton in 2017 has been a lifesaving move because they have seen a dramatic resurgence in both quality and sales. 

For sure, Proton are heading in the right direction. Armed with a new-found purpose and drive, on September 24, 2019, they refreshed their brand – a new logo and tagline “Inspiring Connections” – and which underscores Proton’s triumphant transformation. 

Proton’s logo has morphed from the iconic shield that protects the Malaysian flag’s crescent moon and stars in 1985 and 1993, to the tiger head in 2000. (In case you didn’t know, the Malayan tiger is Malaysia’s national animal).

This year, Proton set the tiger free – there’s no more shield; instead, the logo features an “uncaged” design. And we proudly see “the tiger’s head held high, symbolizing Proton like an arrow-head, moving forward to success”.

On a side note, methinks, the logo bears a resemblance to another famous logo – ThunderCats.

Those familiar with the animated television series that used to be screened on Malaysian television in the 1980s will recognize it too.

I must confess that I'm not a fan but ThunderCats is supposed to define that period’s culture – y’know, “all the characters had that ’80s muscle-clad design that fit with the Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger hero-worship of the time” as well as embracing “the Queen-inspired glam-rock era and its weird intersection with professional wrestling”. 

If this sounds weird and perhaps even absurd – I guess, it is. 

“ThunderCats is something like the product of Schwarzenegger’s Conan having sex with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats with their offspring cosplaying as the band Kiss. But somehow, someway, it fell right in line with other ‘boy’-focused fantasy fare of the era, like Voltron, GI Joe and everyone’s favorite Eternian, He-Man”. 

I read the above somewhere and I am reproducing it here because it does describe the ThunderCats show most aptly and very correctly!

Anyway, good luck, Proton! Exciting times ahead for our national carmaker!

Joker: The Highest-grossing R-rated Movie

As of Monday, Joker’s box office receipts after 25 days stood at a massive $853,800,429. 

This makes Joker the highest-grossing R-rated movie globally – surpassing the $782,612,155 earned by “Deadpool” in 2016 and not to mention, the $734,546,611 grossed by “Deadpool 2” in 2018. Acccording to Box Office Mojo. 

I already knew that Joker was a big deal, but it still surprises me.

Watching the movie and I can’t help but compare Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker (below left) with that of Heath Ledger (below right) in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. 

To be sure, Phoenix does not radiate Ledger’s explosive energy – but there’s a hypnotizing energy nonetheless. The slow-burning type of energy that sears, singes and scorches you languidly, unhurriedly and without qualms. 

And, when his malevolence is finally unleashed, he is just as terrifyingly effective a lord of chaos. 

The Arthur Fleck character (left), the emaciated sad sack (Phoenix reportedly shed 52 pounds for the role), the unhappy unfunny clown holds a mirror to his audience – and what we see in it remains very personal. It did touch me to the core, I can tell you that. 

I admit I'm drawn towards him. Fleck evokes  deeply rooted sympathy – a brooding and introspective figure who is drowning in his own putrid cesspool of cheerless grief. A bewildering puzzle of a man who is imperceptible, impenetratable and when he himself says he feels invisible – it’s clear why: he’s the kind of person people look away from on the street, whether out of laid-back apathy or active discomfort. People see him and yet, they don’t. 

Joker carries strong references to mental health and the struggle with despair, dejection and depression. 

Joker is one movie that cuts you until you bleed. And you will really bleed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Smoker's Song

Namewee 黃明志 (left) has claimed that his latest song Ain’t A Cigarette 哥抽菸 is banned.

In a posting on his Facebook page Saturday, the rapper, actor and filmmaker wrote that Malaysia has prohibited the song from being broadcast on radio while Taiwan banned it on KTV and Singapore has banned it from all platforms. 

It’s a song that he says he dedicates to all smokers:
Namewee says he's not at all sure why authorities have a problem with this particular song.

I don’t see anything wrong with it – and methinks, he should be allowed to express himself. It is not as if he is promoting smoking. Not really. 

A reminder that it is 137 days from World Speech Day 2020:

Afghanistan Safer Than Chicago, Says Donald Trump

On a visit to Chicago in Illinois, USA on Monday – his first time as president – Donald Trump (left) disparaged, denigrated and defamed the "Windy City" as a haven for criminals that is “embarrassing to us as a nation”. 

Trump has long held up the third-largest city as the poster child of urban violence and dysfunctional Democratic politics.

He didn't mince his words! Trump reportedly said: "All over the world they’re talking about Chicago. Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison, it’s true”.

The Chicago police superintendent, Eddie Johnson (left), however, disputed the description, saying Trump had ignored a ‘double-digit’ reduction in violent crime over the past three years. 

Donald Trump is just like Malaysia's prime minister Mahathir Mohamad!

That's right! Both are mulut celupar! Loud-mouths!

Today, the High Court dismissed a group of seven Malaysians – they call themselves the Smokers Right Club – who had sought a review of the Health Ministry’s ban against smoking in eating shops that was enforced on January 01 nationwide. 

Judge Mariana Yahya ruled that the application by the group did not breach Articles 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution, which concerns the rights of person and equality before the law, respectively. 

She said the prohibition, which requires smokers to keep a minimum of three meters from a food outlet’s tables and chairs, does not deny their freedom of choice. 

It’s good to know that Malaysians’ health comes first!

Monday, October 28, 2019

I Love to Eat Balut

Here’s Mikey Bustos (left) – full name Michael John Tumanguil Pestano Bustos – again! 

If you’re not familiar with him, he’s a Filipino Canadian singer and comedian who has appeared on the reality television show Canadian Idol – and now based in Manila, Philippines. 

I had featured him twice in my blog from the posts dated July 02 and 09, 2019, where he attempted parodies of Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury respectively. 

This time, he’s presenting his parody rendition of Nicki Minaj’s song Anaconda which he titled I Love to Eat Balut:

Balut, a Filipino delicacy, is a hard boiled duck egg. More specifically, it is a duck fetus that is developed enough to have a beak, feathers and eyes  and devoured straight from the shell. 

Balut is popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and often regarded as an energy booster. 

Anyway, I am also sharing Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" hit song from August 2014 and if you didn’t know, the Vevo video racked up 19.6 million clicks on its first day of release:

She's absolutely awesome! 

I'm sure you already know that Nicki Minaj's (right) been nominated for 10 Grammys, won five MTV Video Music Awards and broken the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a solo female artist. 

On Sunday, Liverpool deservedly beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Anfield – but they had to come from behind to secure the priceless three points. 

They played well for large spells and they dominated the game even – but they fell to a first-minute goal. And at full-time, they had just two goals to show. 

Jordan Henderson finished well to equalize in the fifty-second minute and Mohamed Salah won it from the penalty spot in the seventy-fifth minute, following a foul on Sadio Mane. 

The victory takes Liverpool back to six points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.