Friday, January 31, 2020

WSD 2020 Reaches 20 Registrations

Registrations for Word Speech Day 2020 is going along at a steady, albeit slow pace but that's kinda normal. Malaysians love to do things last minute and besides, group registrations will take awhile to organize.

Anyway, 20 registrations across 2 locations in 17 days is not too bad:

And we have 43 more days before the Public Speaking Event of the Year makes an appearance on our shores:

#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday

It is a laudable gesture when the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council and Malaysian glove manufacturers came together and arrived at the decision to donate 18 million gloves to Wuhan, China that is facing an outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. 

According to Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok on Friday, the first batch of three million gloves are already on the way there and the rest are to be shipped in batches. 

This is not the first time we extend help to countries facing medical emergencies. In 2014, we sent more than 20 million medical rubber gloves to the African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria and Congo during the Ebola outbreak then. 

Malaysians care!

2019-nCoV: A Global Emergency

The novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV has been pronounced a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China. 

"The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries", said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. 

The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems. 

And there are already eight cases of human-to-human infection – in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and now, the United States. 

The WHO chief (left) on Thursday had praised the "extraordinary measures" Chinese authorities had taken to prevent it from spreading and said there was no reason to limit trade or travel to China, adding: "Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China". 

Again, checking the real-time site, infections now total 9,815 and deaths number 213 in 23 territories and countries.

Finally, A Cockroach Emoji

This year's emojis that have made it to Emoji 13.0 – that is set to be released soon – will have a selection of 117 emoji characters. And finally my favorite insect is included. 

Yup, you’ve got it – the cockroach.

I guess if you don't know Victor Ong, you'll not understand nor appreciate this fact. 

Anyway, I wonder when Unicode Consortium will add nasi lemak, Coke and durian to the list?! 

At the kind invitation of the Vice President Education Syuhaida Safian (right), I was at the Ministry of Education building in Jalan P5/6, Precinct 5 in Putrajaya to attend the PPTD Toastmasters meeting – their first for 2020. 

Sadly, this meeting was her last as she's leaving for NZ to pursue her Masters. I salute her for her dedication.

I did a speech that’s about my Toastmasters experience titled The PI Factor. In case you're wondering what is PI, it is P for Provoke and I for Inspire, two essential elements of a good speech, methinks.

I also took up the role of Speech Evaluator for a Pathways Level 5 speech. And I was voted Best Evaluator:

Photos of the said meeting:

I enjoyed this meeting because this club is dressed with flair. It exudes quiet vibrancy. It is dynamism on a leash. 

Add quality speeches to the flourishing mix and you get a meeting that is sublimely splendid in every sense of the word!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

2019-nCoV: A Snapshot of 99 Cases

I just checked and saw real-time numbers on the coronavirus 2019-nCoV – telling me that infections have risen to 7,942 cases and fatalities shot up to 170 affecting 22 territories and countries. 

Despite its rapid spread, the number of deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus is still much lower, at 170 at present compared with 774 during the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak that lasted eight months.

The Lancet medical journal published a study that gives a snapshot of 99 cases of the 2019-nCoV observed at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital from January 01-20. It reveals:

  • Of the 99, 49 had been exposed to the seafood and animal market believed to be at the centre of the outbreak 
  • The average age was 55.5 years and most (67) were men 
  • Fever and a cough were the most common symptoms 
  • Seventeen patients developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and 11 of them died of multiple organ failure; 
  • Thirty-one of the 99 had been released from hospital by January 25
  • The researchers said the infection appeared to be "more likely to affect older males" with additional medical conditions 
  • Of the 99, 51 suffered from a chronic condition (mostly cardiovascular or cerebrovascular).

2019-nCoV Fatalities Increase

A novel coronavirus patient in China

As of 9:30 AM today, as far as I can ascertain, there are now 6,165 confirmed cases and 133 deaths from 2019-nCoV. 

Outside of mainland China, the novel coronavirus has so far infected nineteen territories and countries: Australia (5), Cambodia (1), Canada (2), Finland (1), France (4), Germany (4), Hong Kong (8), Japan (11), Macau (7), Malaysia (7), Nepal (1), Singapore (10), South Korea (4), Sri Lanka (1), Taiwan (7), Thailand (14), UAE (1), United States (5), and Vietnam (2) – according to my own compilation of news reports. 

Caution: The above numbers don’t tell everything because we really don't know how many mild and undetected cases are out there. 

But we shouldn’t overreact either because every year, an estimated 290,000 to 650,000 people die in the world due to complications from seasonal influenza (flu) viruses. And not because it is super-deadly, but because it is able to infect so many people. 

Germany, Japan and Vietnam have reported the first cases of patients who didn't personally visit China, but contracted the virus from someone else who had visited Wuhan, China. These cases of human to human transmission are the most worrisome, according to the WHO. 

On Wednesday, Celtic earned a comfortable 3-0 win over St Johnstone. 

All three goals were scored inside the opening 26 minutes by Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths – and which helped them maintain a five-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership after 23 matches.

On the same day too, Liverpool moved 19 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a routine 2-0 win over West Ham. 

Mohamed Salah's thirty-fifth minute penalty and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's composed effort in the fifty-second minute maintained the Reds' relentless march towards a first top-flight title since 1990.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

2019-nCoV: A High Chance of Recovery

Most people affected by the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV or Wuhan coronavirus are expected to get well. 

Universiti Malaya Tropical Infectious Diseases Research and Education Centre (TIDREC) director Professor Dr Sazaly Abu Bakar (right) said unlike SARS, the 2019-nCoV had a case fatality ratio (CFR) of only about three percent, thus giving patients a high chance of recovery. 

WHO estimated that SARS’ CFR ranged from zero to 50 percent, depending on the age group affected, with an overall estimate case fatality ratio of 14 to 15 percent, while the MERS-CoV CFR stood at 35 percent. 

Sazaly, a virologist, biosafety and biosecurity expert, said the 2019-nCoV appeared to be less virulent at present, with the exception of the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. 

He said while it could be true that the virus could spread before the symptoms show, making it harder for the disease to be contained, precautionary measures should be in place. This includes thermal screening at entry points and the issuance of travel advisories. 

Surely, the above is encouraging news. 

Yesterday, I was at the Shah Alam Toastmasters meeting – where I was a speech evaluator as well as an assignment speaker. 

I presented a CC#4 speech titled Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. This was for my Competent Communication manual #66. Two more speeches remain before I complete the said workbook.

I was voted Best Speaker:

We had five project speakers and this is a good omen because it means we have members who are enthusiastic about giving speeches. 

And we had “yee sang” too!