Thursday, February 25, 2021

WSD 2021 Johor Bahru Update 2

Registrations for World Speech Day events in Malaysia are moving along nicely – but we know we can do better. More so for WSD 2021 Johor Bahru. 

Today, we’ve reached 50 registrations – and there’s still a long way to go.


And so, I’ve developed another series of posters for the said event – to give it a boost. 

#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday











Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Humble Chamber Pot Transforms









Chinese internet users are abuzz over the humble chamber pot rebranded as an “enamel fruit basket” and sold on US e-commerce platform Amazon. 

According to Global Times, besides being tagged at a price almost 15 times its regular price in China, the ad promoted the item for “other uses”. 

A similar product sold on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao, is priced at a much more modest 28 yuan (RM17.52). 

One Weibo user quoted by the portal expressed hope that no one would buy the chamber pot and send it as a gift to their Chinese friends. 

“Because no Chinese people would feel happy if they see a delicately packed spittoon with fruits in it”, commented the user. 

Another user joked about his childhood potty fetching such a high price of $60 (RM242.55). 

The humble spittoon, commonly seen in Chinese households in the 1980s and 1990s, went viral after an internet user posted a picture on social media with a wide range of uses, including holding vegetables and fruits, as an ice bucket, decorating the kitchen and used as a gift for housewarming and weddings. 

The post was widely circulated among Chinese internet users as they were amazed and shocked to see the spittoon being so well regarded. The hashtag “the other ways a spittoon is used” has since received more than 50 million views of comments on Chinese social platform Sina Weibo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

112 Million Cases and Facebook Capitulate Or So We're Told


We’ve reached 112 million coronavirus cases. 

And Albania becomes country #82 to join the list of countries with more than 100,000 infections todate.






 








Overall, these countries have combined to yield 97.8% and 96.6% of cases and deaths respectively worldwide. 

Facebook are now reversing their Australia news ban or so it seems. According to news reports, they appear to suggest that the former sued for peace because of the global pushback to Facebook’s hostile attack on Australian users, and their news purge had drawn stinging condemnation. 

Who knows what went on behind closed doors. 

For sure, the story has not ended because governments will want to address the monopoly power of the big "tech" companies like Facebook and their bullying behavior.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Push-ups


Here's a confession. The only exercise I do is push-ups. And I’ve not done them for years. I kid you not. 

But since January this year, I’ve started them again on a daily basis – and they have become my regular exercise routine every morning. 

Push-ups are a type of strength building exercise. Though they mainly activate muscles in the arms and shoulders, they also engage muscles in the core and legs. Therefore, push-ups are beneficial for building strength throughout the body.


"Push-ups will improve your health by building muscle, raising your metabolism to burn fat, and providing a cardiovascular benefit", says Robert S Herbst, a personal trainer and former world champion powerlifter. "They enable you to get a full body workout with no equipment". 

I started with twelve push-ups and I’ve steadily increased the number of push-ups over time. Now, I’m doing about 42 push-ups daily and working my way to do even more. 

And if I’m looking for push-up variations – here are two I could consider in the future: The decline push-up and the dumbbell hex press.




Flouting the SOP that Confuses Everybody

On Saturday, I blogged about the SOP that confuses everybody – my post titled “An SOP that is a Muddled Mess”! 

Indeed, Malaysians are getting nabbed for flouting the 10km rule – and which banned interstate and inter-district travel. 

That day itself, one hundred and thirty three people were caught for this particular offence. On February 19, there were one hundred and thirty-five cases. And on February 18, sixty-eight cases.

The New Straits Times reports, of course, did not provide any further details. I reckon it'll be nice to know if the flouting of the said SOP was intentional or unintentional. 

Anyway, I did say yesterday that Malaysians are MCO-weary, didn’t I? 

Ross County moved out of the Scottish Premiership relegation places after their 1-0 win over Celtic on Sunday. 

The latter dominated possession but created little on another dispiriting night for Neil Lennon's reigning champions. The defeat all but ended Celtic’s slim title hopes. 

They are left trailing Rangers by 18 points with eight games left. Sigh!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

MCO-Weary


The Covid-19 numbers for these six days are definitely not encouraging at all. Two words to describe them. Very high.

The national figures are a series of ups and downs. A seesaw situation. But one thing’s certain – it’s still four digits. 

This means that the MCO 2.0, which started on January 13, has failed to bring down the numbers drastically. And the authorities cannot be imposing MCO after MCO after MCO. 

Already, Malaysians are MCO-weary. I mean, those of us in KL and Selangor especially. 

Of course, I’m not surprised by this state of affairs – but another round of MCO, I’ll want to think about killing myself.

Justice in Malaysia moves oh so slowly. And I'm saying this because I was reminded of this Facebook post I saw today:


Like many Malaysians, I can't help but wonder when the two lovebirds will end up as jailbirds. 

BAT are Back with a Vengeance


As smoking falls out of fashion, British-American Tobacco are pinning their hopes on younger users of e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches. 

BAT have aggressively embarked on a £1 billion campaign that harnesses the popular appeal of social media influencers, pop stars and even sporting events. 

According to a wide-ranging report by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, they have also attracted younger adults, non-smokers and even reached the eyes of children. They’re hoping to capture the fast-growing stream of revenue from e-cigarettes and vapes – not to mention the nicotine pouches beloved of TikTok influencers. 

BAT make much of how such products are helping adult smokers switch to less harmful alternatives, under the slogan “A Better Tomorrow”. But this is all a farce. 

Nicotine is nicotine, in whatever form it takes! 

By 2023, the company expects to be targeting 500 million nicotine consumers with £100 billion a year to spend. Products other than cigarettes are driving much of that growth. 

Therefore, the time has come for us to stop tolerating these products. 

Yesterday, Everton produced an outstanding Merseyside derby performance to beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time since 1999. 

And Liverpool have now lost four successive home matches for the first time since 1923. 

What’s there to say? Liverpool hit a new low!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

111 Million Cases and Half a Million American Deaths


The world is now at 111 million cases. 

It does look like the Covid-19 pandemic is in retreat. Numbers are declining – and hopefully they stay that way. 

Still, the No.1 worst-affected country with more than 28 million cases reached a milestone on February 16, having recorded half a million deaths. We can blame this on Donald Trump.

Malaysia is still a concern though. We’ve actually improved on our ranking. Again. 

We’re at #45 – and our caseload remains high. In the four digits. The “kayu” government is only banking on the vaccine rollout to contain the pandemic.


More than 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in at least 107 countries and territories, according to an AFP count based on official sources Saturday.

Some 45 percent of the injections took place in countries belonging to the wealthy G7 club, whose members account for just 10% of the global population. The seven countries – US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan – promised Friday to share doses more fairly with worse-off countries.

Promises, promises, promises! LOL!!!

An SOP that is a Muddled Mess

Malaysia is a country blessed with an abundance of confused inhabitants. 

Here’s another SOP that doesn’t make sense! The government have done away with the 10km radius limit – but Malaysians are still subjected to the ban on inter-district travel. 

As former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye rightly pointed out there are many places where motorists would not know when one district ends and the other begins as there are no clear demarcation of boundaries. 

Jalan Ampang is in Kuala Lumpur but the Ampang township is in Selangor. Old Klang Road is both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, so is Jalan Puchong. 

If that’s not confusing enough, Puchong itself is under the jurisdiction of four local authorities, namely Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Subang Jaya City Council, Sepang Municipal Council and Kuala Langat District Council. And only police would know the exact demarcation of the districts. 

But the problem is not only that. This whole SOP thing is a muddled mess. 

When it is referred to as “district” (“daerah” in Malay) – what exactly do they mean by that? And who are “they”? 

Here’s just one example of an incident that was told to me today: 

“Apparently daerah in PKP mean ikut Daerah IPD polis. Daughter came back from Subang Jaya to Bukit Jelutong kena saman merentasi daerah katanya because of different IPD. As far as I know daerah in Selangor ada 9 je... and Subang Jaya and Shah Alam are under Daerah Petaling. Called IPD Shah Alam to clarify – yes, they said kena saman because different Ibu Pejabat Polis Daerah jurisdiction. 

Called MKN asking where is the SOP definition regarding "daerah"... officer cannot answer but affirms Subang Jaya and Shah Alam under 1 daerah. Confused, asked to refer to Polis... Polis ask to refer to MKN... Polis officer confused, MKN also confused. 

Apparently, Polis issue compound on behalf of Pejabat Kesihatan because under Akta Kesihatan… kompaun have to pay to Pejabat Kesihatan in Kelana Jaya… so ask them kena mintak permit or not to go to Kelana Jaya pay kompoun… because different IPD... no need pulak. (Then) called Pejabat Kesihatan – they also confused why kena saman because same daerah. Lastly kena buat surat rayuan pembatalan kompaun – wasted whole morning making phone calls to get definition of daerah. No definite answer. 

Semua confused. Adoi Malaysia...Land of the Confused Civil Servants and Politicians!"

Pfizer Vaccine 85% Effective After First Shot

An Israeli study on healthcare workers has found that one shot of a two-dose vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech is 85 percent effective, heightening the debate over the possibility of spacing out doses. 

The Lancet medical journal published on Thursday the results of the study based on more than 9,000 health care workers from the Sheba Medical Center, an Israeli research hospital, showing a drop by 85 percent of staff presenting Covid-19 symptoms after a period of 15 to 28 days after the first dose. The overall reduction of infections, including asymptomatic cases detected by testing, was 75 percent. 

The reductions of infections “provide support of delaying the second dose in countries facing vaccine shortages and scarce resources, so as to allow higher population coverage with a single dose”, read the report. 

However, it added that a longer follow-up is required to assess the long-term effect of a single shot to “inform a second dose delay policy”. 

Sheba epidemiologist Gili Regev-Yochay cautioned that the cohort studied at the hospital was “mostly young and healthy”. 

Maybe so but the research still adds up to the body of knowledge on the vaccine treatment for Covid-19. 

The results from the Sheba Medical Center add to another laboratory study in Israel at the Rambam Health Care Campus where 91 percent of 1,800 health workers reportedly developed antibodies 21 days after receiving the first dose and before getting the second one. 

Pfizer said they hope to use Israeli data to look at the potential of the vaccine to protect against Covid-19 arising from emerging variants. Israel has become a real-world test laboratory since it has signed an agreement with Pfizer, promising to share vast troves of medical data with the international drug giant in exchange for the continued flow of their vaccine.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Facebook versus Aussie Government

Facebook faces a lot of flak after it blocked news content in Australia amid a dispute with the government over a planned law that compels “tech” companies to pay for news content on their platforms. 

Under Facebook's new rules, Australian users are prevented from viewing and sharing local and international news, while local publishers are restricted from sharing or posting any links on their pages. 

Since the ban came into effect, it is said that visitors to Australian news sites dropped both at home and abroad, with overseas traffic down by over 20 percent per day, according to data analytics company Chartbeat. 

Interestingly, the data also suggested users were not yet leaving Facebook in response to the ban. 

Facebook is an online social media and social networking service and a flagship service of the namesake company Facebook, Inc. And for some bizarre reason, the California, US-based company consider themselves a tech company – but who are they kidding? 

Just because Facebook utilize technology – that doesn't make them a tech company any more than any other company that uses technology in their businesses. 

Anyway, Facebook is a bully – and it raises concerns over access to information. The Australian government vowed today to press ahead with the content law.

Facebook versus the Australian government. I have no doubt who will win! 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Acrylic Arts Workshop by Sumithra Art


Sumithra Art, one of the WSD 2021 sponsors is organizing an Acrylic Arts Workshop on March 06 via Zoom.

And when you enroll for Sumithra Devi's 3-hour session, you’ll not only find yourself in a painting class – but one that brings with it an abundance of carefree joy, guaranteed! This explains why she calls this workshop "The Joy of Learning".

Check out her collection of paintings and see her deft brushstrokes add a vibrancy of colors to her world:

 

Yesterday, Celtic got the better of Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, winning 1-0. 

David Turnbull's strike in the fourteenth minute took the former to within 15 points of leaders Rangers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

WSD 2021 Kuala Lumpur Registration Update


World Speech Day 2021 Kuala Lumpur is just twenty-four days away – and we have collected 20 registrations. I guess, we have to double up our efforts to double up the numbers and more! 

Here’s a summary of the registrants todate:


#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday

110 Million Cases and MCO 2.0 Continuation


 












The worldwide tally for Covid-19 cases has gone past 110 million. 

And Malaysia sits in position #47 with 269,165 cases and 983 deaths. 

I'm sorry, I have erred. The government have decided that MCO 2.0 shall continue for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, and Penang until March 04, while the more relaxed Conditional Movement Control Order would be imposed on the rest of the country, except for Perlis under the Recovery Movement Control Order. 

I guess they are content with doing the same thing over and over again. 

That’s why it doesn’t make sense at all. If the first lockdown worked, why are we doing it again? If MCO 1.0 didn’t work, then why are we doing the same thing again? Expecting a different outcome from the same process is a clear sign of insanity, according to Albert Einstein.


 
















I suppose this describes our politicians very well. I didn’t properly take into account their stupidity which almost always defies logic. 

I mean, there is stupidity and there is stupidity – but we give it a whole new meaning. 

It has been a dismal spell for the Reds, having lost their last three matches and drifting completely out of the Premier League title race. 

Yesterday, they showed a perfect response when they triumphed against RB Leipzig in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League – comprehensively outplaying the German side sitting second in the Bundesliga, and delivering a great result to boot. 

Mohamed Salah (53) and Sadio Mane (58) struck near the start of the second half in an away leg played in a neutral venue at Budapest's Puskas Arena in Hungary – when Germany imposed a ban on travelers arriving from the UK to prevent the spread of Covid-19 variants. 

The first half was impressive, but the second half was a tad better. In fact, their performance was far more like the dominant side of last season, with their greater experience and quality ultimately telling against error-prone RB Leipzig. 

Having managed the game well after going 2-0 up, Jurgen Klopp's side will defend their advantage at Anfield on March 10, when they will be firm favorites to go one round further than they managed last season.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Meet 'Cat Lawyer' Rod Ponton


When Judge Roy Ferguson opened up virtual proceedings of the 394th Judicial District Court in Presidio in Texas, USA on Zoom on February 09, 2021, he was not expecting to see two lawyers and a kitten. 

The cute blue-eyed "cat" in the bottom right corner was actually county attorney Rod Ponton, covered by a filter. 

"Mr Ponton, I believe you have filter turned on in the video settings", said the judge. 

Ponton said his assistant was trying to fix the settings. 

"I'm here live, I'm not a cat", he said. 

And the judge responded: "I can see that". 

As the video went viral on social media, Judge Ferguson wrote in a tweet: “IMPORTANT ZOOM TIP: If a child used your computer, before you join a virtual hearing check the Zoom Video Options to be sure filters are off". 

The 69-year-old Ponton said he was not sure how the filter had appeared. 

All’s well that ends well because the judge helped remove the filter and the hearing proceeded. Judge Ferguson called it a "fun moment". 

"Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace", he remarked. 

Judge Ferguson also asked that the footage not be used to "mock the lawyers, but instead to exemplify the legal community's dedication to the cause of justice". 

It’s not the first time that unseasoned users of video-call software have fallen foul of filters. There was the Italian priest, Paolo Longo who live-streamed mass in March last year but he accidentally left the Facebook AR filters active during the livestream. And which rendered him as, among other things, a boxer, a wizard and a wolf. 

God willing, it won’t be the last time either.

Melissa Lissete Seeks Support












World Speech Day 2021 Johor Bahru is already 40 registrations – but as we have said, we want more. 

Melissa Lissete made this video to convey her appeal for more Malaysians to show their support by registering for the said event:

 

Well said, Melissa!  

And hey, don’t forget we also have another event too – World Speech Day 2021 Kuala Lumpur on March 14-15!


#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday

Monday, February 15, 2021

Western Hypocrisy

Some high-income countries have snapped up about 70 percent of coronavirus vaccines that would be available in 2021, which, together with other issues such as production capacity, would largely threaten equal and timely global vaccine provisions, according to The Lancet. 

The report, published online on Friday, said that governments in high-income countries, representing 16 percent of the global population, have struck pre-orders covering at least 4.2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which is at least 70 percent of doses available in 2021 from five candidates. 

While COVAX attempts to ensure that no country should vaccinate more than 20 percent of its population until all countries have vaccinated 20 percent of their populations, in accordance with principles of global equality, many high-income countries have bypassed COVAX and instead sought to gain priority access to abundant quantities of Covid-19 vaccines that are enough to vaccinate their populations several times over. 

According to vaccine contracts tracked by Duke University, as of February 08, the EU has ordered enough doses to vaccinate its people more than two times, and Canada has about five times more than it needs if each person needs two doses. The US has snapped up 2.6 billion doses, nearly a quarter of the world's supply so far – to cover 396 percent of its population. 

What else is new?!?! This is Western hypocrisy and it is as plain as day. 

Malaysia’s Covid-19 numbers are remarkably showing an improvement!


And I’ve no doubt that when MCO 2.0 expires this Thursday, we’ll have the CMCO and even more relaxation of the SOPs. 

But just keep in mind what I said today in an earlier post. The numbers given to us are all part of a game PN politicians play.

Don't Be Fooled by Covid-19 Numbers


Another reason Malaysians shouldn’t believe the Covid-19 numbers dished out by the Ministry of Health. 

If we pay attention to the statistics, the number of new cases seemed to have fallen to under 4,000 from the more than 5,000 peak a little over a week ago. 

But wait, health experts are warning Malaysians not to be complacent. That's because the fall in numbers comes in conjunction with much reduced testing. 

Data obtained from CodeBlue shows that from February 03-08, the number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted daily reduced from 67,264 to 32,536. This coincided with daily confirmed cases falling by over 1,000 across the assessed period after hitting 4,571 on February 04. 

According to CEO of the Galen Centre, Azrul Khalib (right), “reported cases may not be an accurate reflection of reduced transmission of Covid-19,” as the positivity rate has remained consistently above the 5% benchmark set by the World Health Organization. 

Positivity rate is the share of tests conducted that return positive results, with a high rate suggesting that many cases are falling through the cracks. 

Azrul told FMT that Malaysia’s high positivity rate, which was as high as 9.5% on February 08, “suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with Covid-19 in the community who haven’t been tested yet”. 

What all this means is that we are not doing enough testing and that we are not getting a good picture of the Covid-19 situation. 

Azrul said the positivity rate is more indicative of the state of the pandemic and should be taken into account by the government when making changes to the country’s Covid-19 response strategy. 

The Malaysian Medical Association said this massive drop in the number of tests may be a reflection of the government’s policy to test only symptomatic close contacts, with others being told to stay at home and isolate. 

Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah should stop the bullshiting!


Odsonne Edouard's two goals in two minutes rescued Celtic who came from behind at St Johnstone yesterday to make it four Scottish Premiership wins in a row. 

Celtic are at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday, which is their game in hand over leaders Rangers.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

109 Million Cases and Ebola Looks Like It's Coming Back


Covid-19 has now infected 109 million people and caused 2.4 million deaths worldwide. Still, looking at the numbers, it would appear that the pandemic is slowing down. 

But in Africa, Ebola is rearing its ugly head again. 

Four people have died of Ebola in Guinea in the first resurgence of the disease in five years, its health minister said on Saturday. 

Remy Lamah (left) told AFP officials were “really concerned” about the deaths, the first since a 2013-2016 epidemic – which began in Guinea – left 11,300 dead across the region. 

Already, DR Congo has faced several outbreaks of the illness, with the WHO on Thursday confirming a resurgence three months after authorities declared the end of the country’s latest outbreak. 

The country had declared that the six-month epidemic over in November. It was the country’s eleventh Ebola outbreak, claiming 55 lives out of 130 cases. 

Meanwhile, yesterday, in the Premier League, Liverpool again went into an epic collapse mode and Leicester rightly thumped the Reds 3-1 in embarrassing fashion.

I don’t want to talk about it, period.

WSD 2021 Johor Bahru Update




Yesterday’s posts refer. 

We’ve been receiving good support – but we want much more! 

Please join us and participate in this public speaking event that embeds a “We Care” project. We need all the support we can get!

Thank you so much! 

#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday

Saturday, February 13, 2021

WSD 2021 Johor Bahru Posters in Malay

This is the Malay language version to the WSD posters featured in my “A ‘We Care’ WSD Project” post today: 







#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday