Sunday, January 31, 2021

PETA Oppose Animal Slurs

Animal campaigning group PETA have sparked a debate on speciesism after they warned using words like “chicken” to describe a “coward” was a slur against animals. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on their Twitter followers to reject “supremacist language” that degrades animals by applying negative human traits to certain species. 

“Words can create a more inclusive world, or perpetuate oppression”, wrote PETA on Twitter. “Calling someone an animal as an insult reinforces the myth that humans are superior to other animals and justified in violating them”. 

The animal rights organization said people should say “snitch” instead of “rat”, “lazy” instead of “sloth” and “repulsive” instead of “pig”.






They added: “Perpetuating the idea that animals are sly, dirty, or heartless desensitizes the public and normalizes violence against other animals. 

Species-ist language isn’t just harmful, but it is also inaccurate. Pigs, for instance, are intelligent, lead complex social lives, and show empathy for other pigs in distress. Snakes are clever, have family relationships, and prefer to associate with their relatives. 

PETA urge everyone who believes in equality and justice to take a look at their personal beliefs and the language they use, and break free of this outdated mindset that denigrates other animals. Always be kind and consider not using insults at all”. 

Of course, I'm sympathetic to PETA sentiments but I disagree with the specific position they are taking. Methinks, it’s taking things too far. 

One critic asked: “So, when you call somebody a vegetable, is that insulting to plants?” 

Anyway, PETA maintain that all the horror inflicted upon animals is rooted in the false idea that they are less than us and not deserving of respect.

103 Million Cases and the MCO Farce







If we think that Covid-19 couldn't get any worse – well, we are wrong and it is getting worse. 

The pandemic has passed yet another milestone with 103 million cases and 2.2 million deaths worldwide. 

In Malaysia, we’ve lost our grip on Covid-19:


All the government could come up with was to bring back the Movement Control Order. But wait! It’s not what you think because it’s not really a lockdown as it is intended to be. 

I mean, life is almost “CMCO-normal” (i.e. pre-January 13) – except for a couple of restrictions. 

After all, shopping malls are open. So are most outlets, whether furniture stores, goldsmiths and jewelers, laundrettes, car showrooms, bicycle shops, pet shops, optical shops and the list goes on. Factories are open too. And construction sites. So are farmers markets and night markets. Even the forestry and timber sectors are operating.

What movement control are we talking about? 

This MCO 2.0 is a farce. Or is it? 

Maybe, I shouldn't prejudge the government. 

Maybe, they actually have a plan – even if I am a cynic. 

Maybe, they want Covid-19 numbers to keep spiraling. 

Maybe, they’re looking at achieving herd immunity by allowing the disease to spread through the population, even if this results in untold cases and unnecessary deaths. 

At least, until the vaccines arrive. 

But until we better understand Covid-19 immunity, we should know that it’s not possible to ascertain how many people can become immune and how long that immunity last for. These challenges should preclude any plans that try to increase immunity within a population by allowing people to get infected. 

I’m tired of this MCO shenanigan. Maybe, it is best we accept Covid-19 and live with it. We’ve come this far anyway.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Grateful Dead's Ripple is As Relevant Now As Ever Before

I love blues and I love rock. Combine the two, and you have the Grateful Dead. 

An American band that was the incarnation of the improvisational psychedelic music that flowered in and around San Francisco, California in the mid-1960s. They were one of the most successful touring bands in rock history despite having had virtually no radio hits. 

Anyway, Grateful Dead’s “Ripple” is one of my favorite numbers and which became a kind of cosmic spiritual after its debut 50 years ago. Since then, the universal appeal of Robert Hunter’s serene prose and the band’s heartfelt performance have made the song a popular choice at everything from weddings to funerals.

 

As relevant now as ever before, the enduring optimism of “Ripple” is a welcome reminder of better days ahead, when songs will, once again, fill the air. 

For sure, especially today, we must learn to see the world through rose-colored glasses.




Phew, what a big relief! Liverpool ended a five-game winless run in the Premier League, which had yielded only three points and one goal to move back into the top four with a 3-1 win at Tottenham on Thursday. 

Sadio Mane was central to the Reds’ first and second goals – scored by Roberto Firmino (45+4) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (47) – and, after Spurs had raised the prospect of a comeback in the 49th minute, Mané got the third himself in the sixty-fifth minute to secure 3 points for Liverpool. 

Finally. At last. At. Last. 

Liverpool travel to West Ham – the team they leapfrogged in the table because of this timely victory – on Sunday.

Local Music Gets Real Break on HITZ

HITZ, Malaysia’s No.1 English radio station has announced a 12% increase in local representation of music on its playlists on air, with local music available every hour of every day. 

In mid-2020, quite rightly, HITZ made a commitment to support more local music and talent. To this end the radio brand collaborated with leaders representing the local music industry to develop the Malaysian Music Panel in an effort to raise the standard for local music and talent. 

This has resulted in vast and phenomenal diversification of the local talent pool featured on air, ranging from even TikTok stars to home DJs – a testament to how Malaysians truly “boleh” (can), even as they are bench-marked against international artistes. 

Priya Prabakaran (left), Network Content Manager, English Radio Brands, Astro Radio, said “We have come across some amazing local talent and music since this began and we remain committed to discovering more local talents and content in 2021”. 

To highlight these local talents even further, HITZ also introduced multiple digital features, interview segments and music specials including the Fresh Hitz Friday which plays new local and international music as soon as they are released, Hitz Sessions providing an acoustic version of the hit local song, Behind The Hit which gives fans an explanation and story behind a local song, and Soundtrack of My Life where local artistes takeover HITZ for an hour, curating and playing their choice of songs that have inspired them. 

Industry leaders serve on the panel on a rotation basis and curate a playlist of local tracks to be played on air. The local tracks are submitted to the panelists without identifying the musician so that panel’s selection remains objective and neutral. 

Prior to this, Malaysian artistes were featured exclusively only over an hour on weekends. 

Industry leaders will take turns to serve on the panel, thus ensuring a fair and diverse selection of local music on HITZ daily main playlist on-air and on the SYOK app. The role of the panel remains also to identify and develop local, promising music talents. 

Certainly, I’m pleased that Malaysians genuinely get the opportunity to showcase their music. I want to see HITZ do more and I know it can. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

102 Million Cases and Malaysia Boasts Highest Single-day Figure Ever By Far


The world has recorded 102 million cases and nope, things are not getting any better. 

Certainly, not in Malaysia. New Covid-19 case numbers today destroy the previous record to reach 5,725, the highest single-day figure ever by far!


In fact, Malaysia’s daily new cases per population top even Indonesia and Philippines: 









Yup, Malaysia reported higher daily new confirmed Covid-19 cases per population on January 20 at 123.83 infections per million people than Indonesia (45.95) and the Philippines (16.93). 

Meanwhile, out other two neighbors are doing a lot, lot better. Singapore reported 6.84 new Covid-19 cases that day per million people, followed by Thailand (2.03). 

The PN government must resign now!

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras Despite Covid









Photos: Getty Images 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of many much-loved events and traditions but the good people of New Orleans, USA were not going to let it ruin their annual Mardi Gras. 

When the mayor of the Louisiana city declared that the raucous, crowd-filled street carnival parades would not be going ahead, residents decided to turn their houses into floats instead. The idea for the house floats came from a carnival regular, Megan Joy Boudreaux, who had suggested it in a post on Twitter after the mayor's announcement in November. 

I read that thousands have been transformed for the two-week long carnival that runs until Ash Wednesday in mid-February. 

Even better, a special project was set up encouraging home-owners to hire the many artists who would normally have months of work preparing for the event. 

An online map of the decorated houses is being made available for people to visit in their own time and, it is hoped, in a socially-distanced way.

Surging Covid Numbers in Malaysia









Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah, Health Director-General point-blank tells Malaysians that he is just a messenger, a bearer of Covid numbers. Meaning, we shouldn't blame him lah.

Cases are still surging skyward and their daily tally is trapped in four digits – yesterday represented the fiftieth continuous day. 

What happens when the "Movement Control Order" expires on February 04? The day of decision draws near as to whether we must endure a "full" lockdown (Hmm, I wonder what we’ll call it? Certainly, we can't refer to it as an MCO since we have turned it into a farce) or keep it “same-same”? 

Either way, the government have seriously failed to keep Covid-19 at bay. A big let-down!

This is my personal view, if you ask me:


And not only has the coronavirus situation slipped badly – but it seems corruption too.

According to Transparency International, Malaysia is placed 57th out of 180 countries last year. In 2019, we were ranked 51st in the international watchdog’s Corruption Perception Index. 

FYI, countries are scored from zero to 100, with zero being perceived as the most corrupted, and 100 marks for those perceived as the cleanest and most transparent. Our score dipped from 53 points in 2019 to 51 last year.

TI-Malaysia said on Thursday that even though a fall in the score appears statistically insignificant, the government must be cognizant that the country tumbled six rungs which meant that compared to other countries, we are not improving as well as other countries in our efforts to fight corruption. 

Both the Pakatan Harapan administration and the subsequent Perikatan Nasional government must take responsibility for the backsliding.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

WSD 2021 Videos on YouTube Update 4

Okay, I know I had said that there would be no more updates on the matter of WSD 2021 promo videos that have been uploaded onto our YouTube channel “WSD with CV Plus” – but I was curious as a cat. 

Exactly thirty days after my last report,  I decided to do one more update. Just to know how the videos are faring. It helps me understand our outreach. 

And yes, these clips continue to get eyeballs online – and that’s wonderful!



 










The Top 20 videos as at today, 08:30 PM are detailed below: 

  • Karyn Yadlyn – 482 views (412) 
  • Abegail LeeAnn – 481 views (407) 
  • Stancylyn Tani Nila – 468 views (426) 
  • Safura Atan – 458 views (329) 
  • Zahra Moharrer – 451 views (395) 
  • Christal Wong – 449 views (393) 
  • Robyn Grace Leo – 444 views (401) 
  • Ken Chan – 434 views (323) 
  • Ang Sher Lyn – 433 views ( – ) 
  • Sumithra Devi – 347 views (321) 
  • Lee Chin Yee – 344 views (310) 
  • Samuel Sham – 340 views (306) 
  • Raihana Mohd Ghaus – 335 views (302) 
  • A Suriakumar – 328 views (282) 
  • Fazlina Fadzil – 313 views (284) 
  • Rohijas Md Sharif – 311 views (278) 
  • Mathew Philippose – 293 views (268) 
  • Buddhika Laknath Ranasingha – 289 views (261) 
  • Alan Chew – 280 views (250) 
  • Mohd Farhan Abd Latib – 276 views (252) 

[Note: The figures in parentheses indicate the number of views from the last report published December 28, 2020].

Again, a reminder: If you've not subscribed to "WSD with CV Plus", please do so! We appreciate it a lot!

New Zealand Says No to Influencer-inspired Poses!

New Zealand's tourism agency has called on people to stop taking influencer-inspired photos at tourist hotspots – and seek out more original ideas. 

A tongue-in-cheek video says the country is clamping down on travelers under the "social influence". The campaign urges people to avoid clichéd poses like the "Hot Tub Back Shot", "Hot Dog Legs" and the "Summit Spreadeagle". 

Officials say they launched the campaign after (yawn!) repeatedly seeing the same pictures and poses. 

"There are so many incredible things to do in New Zealand, beyond the social trends", Bjoern Spreitzer, Tourism NZ domestic manager, told local news site Stuff. 

The campaign video stars comedian Tom Sainsbury as a lone ranger in the "social observation squad", who stops tourists from taking influencer-style photos.

 

The video builds on Tourism New Zealand's Do Something New campaign, which was launched last year after borders closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

101 Million Cases and John Magufuli's Back in the News


Covid-19 is very much on the loose – and the world is bearing the brunt of its pernicious spread. It’s now 101 million cases and yes, still rising. 

Closer to home, Indonesia’s coronavirus caseload has topped one million. Even Malaysia is showcasing infections that persist in the four digits. Already forty-nine days continuously up to yesterday! 

Tanzanian President John Magufuli (left) is back in the news! He's now claiming that vaccinations against Covid-19 are dangerous and instead urged citizens to protect themselves from the deadly disease by using domestic measures including steam inhalation. 

Magufuli has long downplayed the seriousness of Covid-19, which has killed more than 2.1 million people worldwide. He has previously questioned the efficacy of imported Covid tests and urged people to pray to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

He also promoted a herbal tonic Covid-Organics (left) which is touted as a cure for Covid-19 even as the World Health Organization warned there was no proof it works.

An interesting fellow! I can't wait for him to pull his next stunt!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Coke with Coffee, Anyone?

I would almost always want a Coke in the morning. But I love coffee too. 

And so, I’m heartened to know that starting Monday, Coca-Cola with Coffee and its Zero Sugar counterpart are available nationwide in ready-to-drink coffee aisles in US stores. The new drinks, which are infused with Brazilian coffee, were first announced in July. 

And I’m told in forty-nine other markets too – although as Coca-Cola explain, different countries get different versions to "meet local tastes". 

Originally launched in Japan in 2018, the new US version is billed as a beverage that "sips like a Coke and finishes like a coffee" – and just like a trip to Starbucks, Coca-Cola with Coffee is offered in multiple varieties. 

Coca-Cola with Coffee Dark Blend (which is basically the "plain" option) can also be purchased in a Coca-Cola with Coffee Zero Sugar version. A Vanilla variety is available as both regular and Zero Sugar. And then, finally, you can also find a Caramel version – but only with sugar. 

All five varieties contain 69 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can. That's double the caffeine of a regular Coca-Cola, but still about half of the caffeine in a 12-ounce cup of coffee (depending on the brew).

And just in case there are health freaks amongst you, please know that most adults can safely take in 400 mg of caffeine per day. This is the approximate equivalent of either 4 cups of coffee or 10 cans of Coke. 

Of course, you’d expect cynics to ask if people actually want a mix of cola and coffee? The concept is far from new and struggled to catch on in the US. 

In 1996, Pepsi Kona was trialed unsuccessfully, with even Pepsi calling the short-lived coffee-cola hybrid "ahead of its time". Americans weren't ready in 2006 either when Coca-Cola Blak was released and disappeared within just a couple of years. Even last year, Pepsi took another stab at mixing cola with coffee: Pepsi Café. Yes, Pepsi billed the release as a limited run, but the brand has given no indication that it's coming back. 

I just know I gotta try it! In fact, I want it!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Coffee Shops Brew Productivity

I read an interesting Bryan Lufkin piece on productivity “Why you’re more creative in coffee shops” published on January 20, 2021.

It starts off with a bold statement that “some of the most successful people in history have done their best work in coffee shops”. 

Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan, JK Rowling, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre – whether they’re painters, singer-songwriters, writers or philosophers, people across countries and centuries have tapped into their creativity working away at a table in a café. 

I'm informed that research has shown that the stimuli in these places make them effective environments to work; the combination of noise, casual crowds and visual variety can give us just the right amount of distraction to help us be our sharpest and most creative. (So, no, it’s not just that double espresso.) 

In fact, scientists have known for years that background noise can benefit our creative thinking. 

A study “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition” by Ravi Mehta, Rui (Juliet) Zhu and Amar Cheema published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 39, No. 4 (December 2012), pp. 784-799 showed that a low-to-moderate level of ambient noise in a place like a cafeteria can actually boost your creative output. The idea is that if you’re very slightly distracted from the task at hand by ambient stimuli, it boosts your abstract thinking ability, which can lead to more creative idea generation. 

Another 2019 study “Altering brain dynamics with transcranial random noise stimulation” by Onno van der Groen, Jason B Mattingley and Nicole Wenderoth, which had similar findings, zeroes in on what’s called “stochastic resonance”, originally observed in animals – it’s the phenomenon in which just the right amount of noise benefits our senses. And this audio stimuli in the background even help us improve decision making, it is said. 

Anyway, the point is that the jazz muzak, light conversation and barista banging coffee grounds out of the grinder aren’t a nuisance – they could actually help you come up with your next magnum opus. No kidding. 

There’s also the fact that in a coffee shop, we’re surrounded by people who’ve come to do the same thing as us, which acts as a motivator. 

A 2016 study backed up this idea when researchers asked participants sitting next to each other in front of a computer to do a task on the same screen. The study showed that “simply performing a task next to a person who exerts a lot of effort in a task will make you do the same”. 

“Visual stimulation… has an effect on people’s creative thinking process. [It] is called convergent creative thinking”, says Sunkee Lee, assistant professor of organizational theory and strategy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business in Pennsylvania, USA. In his research, he’s found that visual variety helps in “solving a problem that has an optimal solution, but requires you to think outside the box”. 

Lee experimented by adding neon lights to the walls of his home office during the pandemic – but he soon found that the wacky addition quickly became familiar and boring. 

Coffee shops, though, generally have visual stimuli in spades. (And hitting up different coffee shops each time keeps things even more varied). 

“Even if you think that you are working in isolation – in the space of your computer screen and noise-cancelling headphones – there are still things going on around you”, says Korydon Smith, a professor of architecture at the University of Buffalo in New York, USA who co-wrote a 2020 article on the benefits of working in coffee shops, i.e. “Why being stuck at home – and unable to hang out in cafes and bars – drains our creativity”. 

“People come and go. The daylight changes. The aromas of coffee and food vary. While we tend not take conscious notice of these micro-stimuli, and likely don’t overtly choose to work in this location because of them, these activities around us prod our brains to work a bit differently than at home". 

As Lee highlights: “One of the biggest things about coffee shops is the social-facilitation effect: you go there, you see other people working and it puts you in a mood where you just naturally start working as well. Just observing them can motivate you to work harder”. 

And while the stereotypical coffee-shop user might be a lone worker struggling with a creative endeavor, experts say these café settings can also benefit work groups who are brainstorming and building camaraderie. 

“There is an implied formality when gathering on digital meeting platforms. By contrast, there is an air of informality when meeting up at a bar or café”, says Smith. 

All those audio and visual stimuli help groups, too, compared to the dearth on Zoom or in a formal meeting room. 

According to David Burkus, author of “The Myths of Creativity”, people intuitively knows they are “more productive or more creative when working from coffee shops”. 

As research has shown, it’s not the caffeine; it’s the people. Simply being around other people who are working can motivate us to do the same. 

In other words, creativity is social.

100 Million Cases and Malaysia is Ranked #58 in the World






The world has passed 100 million Covid-19 cases! The upsurge is just crazy! 

Bahrain and Kenya have joined the C100K grouping, making it a grand total of 81 countries. Combined together, they constitute 97.9% and 98.2% of global infections and fatalities respectively.






In case, Malaysians are interested to know, the country is now ranked #58 in the world, reflecting our abject failure to contain the rampaging pandemic. 

World Health Organization’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (right) issued a stern warning on Monday: "I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world's poorest countries". 

He was referring to unequal Covid vaccine policies. He had claimed that over 39 million vaccine doses had been given in 49 richer states – but one poor nation had only 25 doses. 

The WHO chief called for a full commitment to the global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax, which is due to start rolling out next month. 

Last month, the People's Vaccine Alliance coalition of campaigning bodies said that rich countries were hoarding doses of Covid vaccines and people living in poor countries were set to miss out. 

They alleged that nearly 70 lower-income countries would only be able to vaccinate one in 10 people. Canada, in particular, came in for criticism, with the coalition saying the North American nation had ordered enough vaccine doses to protect each Canadian five times!

Hogging vaccines endangers the whole world!

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Kneeling Police Officer


Two pictures of police officers had gone viral on Chinese social media platforms. 

One showed a Chinese police officer who got on his knees in a Friday incident in Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan Province – and who requested that he swap places with a 13-year-old middle school student taken captive by the attacker, a 57-year-old man surnamed Wang. The assailant had killed one person and injured seven before taking the student hostage. 

Chinese netizens had thought that the man, who was wearing plain clothes, was the student’s father – until the student’s cousin revealed on China’s Sina Weibo on Sunday that he was actually a local policeman. In his attempt to persuade the suspect, the Kunming police officer, whose name was not revealed, even took off his clothes to show the suspect that he was unarmed, according to the cousin. 

The picture of the Chinese police officer on his knees reminded Chinese netizens of the case of a white American police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, leading to his death on May 25, 2020 and which was shown in the second picture. 

The hashtag “kneeling police” has been viewed more than 800 million times as of Sunday, with many netizens commenting that “they are both policemen, and their actions are both about life, but the difference is one aimed to save a life while the other took a life”.

Anyway, all's well that ends well. The hostage-taker was shot and killed by a police sniper and the hostage was rescued safely.

I Sound Like a Broken Record









This Star newspaper headline in Malaysia today catches my eye. 

Yes, I sound like a broken record but I just have to re-state that the rising number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia are more due to the absence of strategies to contain Covid-19 as well as bad policies in place. 

Again, I'm urging a re-think. 

Refer to my three posts which spell out ideas that should merit serious consideration: “Malaysia Can Learn from China” published January 10, 2021; “An All-time Covid Record During MCO 2.0” published January 16; and “98 Million Cases and MCO Prolongation” published January 22. If only the health authorities will take heed.


Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had said a total of nine new Covid-19 clusters were recorded by the Health Ministry yesterday. Eight of which involved workplaces and one involving a detention centre. The clusters were from Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Putrajaya, Sabah and Selangor. 

Need I say more? 

Manchester United beat Liverpool 3-2 in the FA Cup fourth round tie yesterday. 

The loss to their fierce rivals means Liverpool have now won only one of their past seven games. 

And in another game I was following, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez (right) on his 34th birthday on Sunday scored a brilliant team goal as Atletico Madrid came from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 to move seven points clear at the top of the Spanish La Liga with a game in hand. And a 10-point gap to Barcelona!

Happy birthday, Luis Suarez!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Israel's Pfizer Vaccine Rollout

Israel is leading the way in the Covid-19 fight – it has vaccinated almost 15% of the country’s population of more than 9 million.

As of January 19, 2021, 25.6% of the Israeli population have received their first vaccine dose, and 550,000 people have received both doses. To give some perspective, Israel is vaccinating residents at a rate of 32.4 people per 100, compared with 4.8 people per 100 in the US and 7 per 100 in the UK. 

In fact, the first Pfizer vaccine doses arrived in Israel on December 09, 2020, and vaccinations began ten days after. 

It is said that in exchange for an early, steady vaccine supply, the Israeli government assured Pfizer that the country’s rollout would offer quick, large-scale results, promising to give the company detailed patient information on those receiving the vaccine in Israel. 

Also, Israel’s government allegedly agreed to pay top dollar for vaccines and purchase millions of doses. Although the exact price is unknown, one official said that the price was about $30 per vaccine – double the average price abroad. 

The country began vaccinating healthcare workers, teachers, people with medical conditions, and those over the age of 60 years. Now, the country is racing to vaccinate the entire population over the age of 16 years – equating to about 5.2 million people – by the end of March 

Preliminary data suggests that the vaccine was about 50% effective in preventing infection 14 days after receiving the first of two doses. 

The early data also suggests that people could be contagious for some time after receiving the vaccination, even without testing positive for Covid-19. Already, Israeli officials claim that 17% of new infections are in people who have received the first dose of the vaccine. 

Still, Israel is adamant that the vaccination program will roll out as scheduled. 

As immunity expert Professor Cyrille Cohen (right), a member of the Health Ministry’s advisory committee on vaccines said: “Some countries are saying they will ‘wait and see’ before giving the vaccine. [Israel] took a different approach, and we now look set to provide the real-world and vital results and observations that will hopefully give a good basis for others to stop waiting and embrace the vaccine”. 

In a sense, Israel has become like a colossal clinical trial.

99 Million Cases and Judi Dench







A vast swathe of humanity is under the Covid-19 spell with many infected and many have died and are dying. More than ninety-nine million cases and 2.1 million deaths todate.

Judi Dench (left) is one remarkable actor – in fact, she’s very accomplished and has been bestowed with many deserving accolades. 

Among her major awards, she has won an Academy Award, a Tony, two Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, four television BAFTA Awards, and seven Laurence Olivier Awards. 

On Friday, I came across a piece about Dench written by Xan Brooks and published in UK’s The Guardian. It was about how she’s managing life in lockdown. 

One interesting thing that came out from the phone interview that Brooks had with Dench was the fact that she has been portrayed as a UK “national treasure”. 

I didn’t know that – but I'm promising myself to re-visit some of her movies she has made over the years. These include Philomena (2013), Notes on a Scandal (2006), and Mrs Brown (1997). 

Of course, who can forget Shakespeare in Love (1998) where Dench won her Oscar for this small role as Queen Elizabeth I, the white-faced Gloriana who is a quasi-goddess. 

With telepathic ease, she senses that Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) has had an affair with Joseph Fiennes’s Shakespeare. She crisply says to Colin Firth, playing Viola’s thin-lipped fiance, Wessex: “You’re a lordly fool! She’s been plucked since I saw her last, and not by you. It takes a woman to know it”. 

And as a James Bond fan, Skyfall (2012) is memorable and is one of Dench’s most satisfying, and unexpected, performances. 

Having played Bond’s spy chief M a number of times, this character and her portrayal suddenly flowers in this film. She is now the Bond girl who means most to him, and their relationship has a mother/son intimacy and intensity you wouldn’t expect to see in a Bond movie.  

Anyway, coming back to her interview, she told Brooks she especially detested being described as a national treasure and who can blame her, he wrote. As he said, “it’s reductive and condescending. It puts lead boots on her feet”. 

Dench herself conceded: “For one thing, it’s a terrible label. So dusty, so dreary. For another, it relegates me to being an 86-year-old woman. Whereas in my mind’s eye, I’m 6ft and willowy and about 39”. 

She certainly has this candid yet charming honesty about her that I like! 

She isn’t ready to give up on life and her retort “And fuck being 86 years old” sums up her attitude about her own outlook on life! LOL, I loved it!