Monday, October 18, 2021

A New Collection of WSD 2021 WCD Posters

A new collection of posters for WSD 2021 World Children’s Day. 

#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday #sabahbolehbah

Sunday, October 17, 2021

KL, Putrajaya and Selangor Move into NRP's Phase Four

In case you're wondering, Malaysia's Covid caseload is still high. Four digits.

Nonetheless, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor will join Melaka to move from Phase Three to Four of the NRP from tomorrow. 

And Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak, and Sabah and Kedah will move from Phase Two to Three on the same day as well. 

More easing of restrictions, e.g. Highway rest stops can operate 24 hours a day; e-hailing vehicles can resume carrying passengers without restrictions. 

And the quarantine period for fully vaccinated travellers from abroad is reduced to seven days, and for partially or non-vaccinated travellers, to 10 days. 

Since October 11, crossing state borders is already allowed. 

It is now believed that we will continue to experience outbreaks of Covid-19 here and there – but not on the same calamitous nationwide scale as the one we just experienced the past six months. 

As we transition to an endemic Covid-19 situation, health authorities seem convinced that the worst is behind us.

We will know soon enough. 

Latest Donald Trump Demand

On Wednesday, outrageous Donald Trump (left) made a threat that Republicans will not vote in '22 or '24 if "we don't solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020". 

Of course, the Democrats were overjoyed to hear this. 

Two days later, the desperate gentleman, perhaps realizing his gaffe, pivoted to an idiotic demand instead, ending his blog post with, "Either a new Election should immediately take place or the past Election should be decertified and the Republican candidate declared the winner". 

It is super fascinating to see just how many ways he can say, "I'm so full of shit"! 

In the Scottish Premiership, Celtic move up to fourth spot, four points behind leaders Rangers when they secured a 2-0 victory against Motherwell on Saturday.

Jota's near-post finish in the seventeenth minute and David Turnbull's unstoppable 25-yard strike in the fifty-second minute sealed the points. 

Celtic are in Europa League action this Tuesday as they welcome Ferencvaros at the unusual time of 15:30 BST, due to COP 26 arrangements.

Heinz Tomato Blood Ketchup Makes Halloween Debut

This Halloween, the Kraft Heinz Company are introducing a special edition Heinz Tomato "Blood" Ketchup. 

The gory name aside, it is simply regular Heinz Ketchup – but whereas previously Heinz suggested putting their ketchup on things like burgers and hot dogs, now the brand is happy to encourage customers to slather it all over their neck like a stabbing victim. 

Hey, a bottle of ketchup sold is a bottle sold, no matter where the ketchup ends up. 

They have a new tagline too: "If you have Heinz, you have a costume". 

To hammer the whole costume idea home, Heinz have launched the Tomato Blood Costume Kit – a box that, beyond containing a bottle of the Halloween-themed ketchup, also has a makeup palette, sponge, dropper, makeup brush set, rhinestone sheet, tattoo sheet, vampire teeth, and spooky eyelashes. The kit is available for $19.99 right now over at

And if you're looking to splurge in the online Heinz shop, the brand is also selling costumes: pirate, mummy, mad scientist, and corpse bride outfits for both kids and adults that are clean and white… just waiting to be “bloodied” with tons of ketchup.

Yesterday, Liverpool thrashed Watford 5-0 in an early afternoon Premier League match.

Mohamed Salah set up Sadio Mane to open the scoring after nine minutes. And the second goal came in the thirty-seventh minute when Mane found James Milner with a clever pass and the veteran crossed for Roberto Firmino to tap home on the volley. 

In the next half, a Watford defender sent a back-pass to his goalkeeper who spilled into the path of Firmino – and of course, he finished with a simple tap-in to make it 3-0. 

Salah then produced another moment of best-in-the-world genius to extend the lead further, picking the ball up in the box, dancing through a series of challenges, flooring that same Watford player and curling the ball home with his left foot for an exquisite solo goal in the fifty-fourth minute. 

The scoring was not done there, either, with Firmino tapping in Neco Williams’ cross in injury-time to complete his hat-trick and add gloss to the score line. 

It was a stupendous performance from Jurgen Klopp’s side and their form was highlighted by the fact that they have now scored three or more goals in each of their last seven away games in all competitions. According to Opta, that is a record in English top-flight history.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

China's 6-month Mission to Space

On June 27, 2021, my post highlighted China’s 3-man expedition into space for a period of 3 months. There, they conducted two spacewalks and deployed a 10-metre (33-foot) mechanical arm before returning to Earth in mid-September. 

Today (12:25 AM local time or 04:25 GMT on Friday), China launched a second 3-person crew for a six-month mission on board its space station that is planned at setting a new record for the time spent in space by Chinese astronauts as the country moves towards completing the orbiting structure. 

The new crew includes two veterans of space travel – Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping, the only woman on the mission – and Ye Guangfu, who is making his maiden trip to space. 

The crew’s scheduled activities include up to three spacewalks, testing critical technologies for assembly and construction of the space station (which will receive two more modules in 2022), assessing living conditions in the module and conducting scientific experiments in fields such as space medicine and microgravity physics.

Friday, October 15, 2021

A Wayward Province Cracks Joke of the Year

Malaysia has more than its fair share of clowns and jokers. But that doesn’t mean there are no clowns or jokers elsewhere. 

Methinks, the joke of the year has got to be from Chiu Kuo-cheng, the Taiwanese separatist who seems to think his wayward island province can take on the might of China! The very idea is preposterous! 

It is China that will decide whether reunification will be achieved peacefully or forcefully – and it is not Taiwan’s place to decide. 

The world surely knows that China’s determination to contain Taiwan secession and promote reunification won't ever budge. 

Wake up, Taiwan – the die is cast. 

China will be whole again and that day is coming soon.

PSA on Prudent Spending

A Johor Information Department tweet that featured a cartoon captioned, “Focus on needs. Spend on what you can afford. #KeluargaMalaysia #JabatanPenerangan” and widely shared by other state branches had caused disquiet among Malaysian netizens – so much so it was deleted within four hours. 

But not before screenshots of it had spread on social media. 

In one panel, a husband is depicted complaining about the lockdown while his wife says their savings have nearly been depleted. The same couple is then seen having arrived in Langkawi on a flight, with the wife saying she was looking forward to going shopping. 

While it received brickbats for allegedly deriding Malaysians’ spending habits, or worse, ridiculing the hardship faced by the rakyat, an official from the information department’s headquarters in Putrajaya told FMT that the cartoon was not aimed at scolding its audience. 

The assistant director at the department’s cyber media unit said: “It may have been direct, but we don’t feel the message was harsh or meant to mock anyone. Of course, the cartoon is very subjective, but we are willing to take risks. 

That’s the risk that we took and now we need to handle it. But we stand by the message in the cartoon, that is, to focus on necessities. 

I’m not saying don’t travel. If you have the money and you can afford it, then go. But what we want is for Malaysians to focus on their needs and not their wants”. 

So, if he is adamant that there’s nothing wrong about the said cartoon, why cancel it? They should have stood by it. 

Interestingly, the creative team at the department’s cyber media unit have been coming up with ideas for comics which their in-house artist has been producing once a month since the start of this year – and it’s no surprise the focus has been on the Covid pandemic. 

One example of one of their cartoons depicts a monkey making fun of four men for not following SOPs:

240 Million Cases and Covid Slows Down

Worldwide, Covid-19 is slowing down. At least, it looks like it. Its total caseload todate only just reached 240 million today. 

I guess this is an indication that Covid now appears to be endemic among many of the affected countries. 

And after holding fast to a Covid-zero strategy for the past 18 months, New Zealand too has surrendered! One New Zealander said it feels like capitulation at a time when the country has plenty of vaccinating left to do. 

But one has to recognize that the Kiwis have been “rewarded with some of the world’s best outcomes through the pandemic: extremely low hospitalizations and deaths, little in the way of day-to-day restrictions, low unemployment and robust economic survival”. 

Anyway, whether Covid still remains a threat or not – the world is tired of lockdowns and it is opening up, no matter what. 

China is the exception.

The country is holding steadfast to its Covid elimination strategy. 

The country deserves our applause for showing the rest of the world that Covid can be beaten.

Well done, China!

And for those who still follow Covid numbers, these are the countries that are in the C500K club:


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Malaysia's Finance Minister is an Empty Vessel

You’d better believe that the Malaysian economy is in a shambles. 

Already, economists are advocating new taxes, particularly on the wealthy elite and those businesses that have profited massively during the height of the Covid pandemic. 

It’s not exactly a new idea because it has been floated in Parliament and public platforms of late. 

The suggestion has become the centrepiece of a policy debate around how to fund the RM400 billion of development expenses under the five-year 12th Malaysian Plan, tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last week – and if you must know, many are concerned because they’re asking where is the money coming from?

Of course, it will come from borrowings lah. Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz told Parliament that same week that for the 12MP, government debt would be estimated at over RM1 trillion by the end of the plan’s term in 2025. 

On a related note, former Asian Development Bank economist Jomo Kwame Sundram (right) reminded us that the world tax regime is changing. 

In June, the G7 nations agreed in principle to enforce a minimum corporate tax threshold of 15 percent in a bid seemingly aimed at targeting the world’s richest multinational corporations that have been accused of tax avoidance. 

The agreement, touted as a game changer that could rein in capital flight, may see governments enforce plans to make multinationals pay more tax in countries where they operate, rather than where they are headquartered. 

Jomo said the G7 pact, along with other developments, signalled a global appetite to fix tax avoidance, and that Malaysia should act on it. 

Anyway, we must know that it's not just the economy we should worry about. Even the country's financials are in distress. Stop being in denial!

An Englishman's Epic Pub Crawl

A Britisher believes he has set a new world record for visiting as many as possible in 24 hours. 

Matt Ellis (left), of St Neots, Cambridgeshire in England, is mad about pubs and this week, he propped up 51 bars to be the first to lay claim to the title. 

Under Guinness World Records rules, Ellis had to consume 125 ml of any drink at each stop, visit a minimum of 50 pubs, be monitored by witnesses and get verification from pub staff. 

The pub fan said he visited a total 51 businesses in 8 hours, 52 minutes and 37 seconds.

His epic pub crawl started on Sunday in Cambridge's The Regal and ended at The Weeping Ash in St Neots on Monday and aimed to raise awareness of the sector's plight during the Covid pandemic. 

"It was all about the joy of pubs and the people you meet", he said. 

"Pubs over the last 18 months have had a very difficult time. I am a big fan of pubs – the contribution they make to our society and the camaraderie you can enjoy in them". 

There was no stipulation that the beverage he consumed must contain alcohol, and Ellis told BBC News he stuck to mostly orange juice and Diet Coke.

Evidence from Ellis' drinking adventure has been submitted to Guinness World Records for official certification. They said there was no current holder of most pubs visited by an individual in 24 hours – but that 13 people managed to drink at 250 bars in New York, USA in 24 hours to set the team record in September 2011.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Importance of Intonation and Stress

When we do public speaking, intonation and sentence stress are important. 

Intonation is the sound changes produced by the rise and fall of the voice when speaking, especially when this has an effect on the meaning of what is said.

And stress refers to an increased loudness for a syllable in a word or for a word in a phrase, sentence, or even question. 

Intonation and stress are important because they assist in communicating additional meaning to an utterance. It helps to strengthen a specific meaning, attitude, or emotion in an utterance. 

You should know that English is known as a stress-timed language. In other words, some words in a sentence are emphasised when speaking. This gives English its rhythm while also letting others know which words are important. 

Without sentence stress, you’ll find that your spoken English may sound forced or unnatural. E.g. In a sentence like “I’m learning to play the violin”, a native speaker might emphasize the words learning, play, and violin. Meanwhile, the words I’m, to, and the, are spoken more softly or rushed – referred to as unstressed words – because the listener is likely to understand the content of the sentence without them. 

It is equally important to point out that sentence stress can change. In fact, you can choose where to place the stress. It depends on what you’re trying to highlight. 

Stressing a different word can change the meaning. 

1. I love your mother’s cooking. 

2. I love your mother’s cooking. 

3. I love your mother’s cooking. 

4. I love your mother’s cooking. 

5. I love your mother’s cooking. 

Note: Stressed words in italics. 

Author CS Ratliff shows how the sentence "I never said we should kill him" can take on seven different meanings by emphasizing one word or another.

Suggestion: I propose you say it out LOUD for good effect: 

1. I didn’t say we should kill him = Someone else said we should kill him/Perhaps no one said it. But I certainly didn't, so don't go blaming me. I didn't say we should kill him: People think I gave the order, but I want to emphasize I didn't. Possibly. It's more likely that I did say something, but I didn't say this. 

2. I didn’t say we should kill him = I am denying saying it. 

3. I didn’t say we should kill him = I merely implied it. 

4. I didn’t say we should kill him = I said someone else should kill him/you should kill him, etc. 

5. I didn’t say we should kill him = Perhaps I talked about killing him as a hypothetical thing to do, but I never said we ought to do it/I said we shouldn’t kill him/we must kill him, etc. 

6. I didn’t say we should kill him = Perhaps I said he should only get a beating or something like that. Though I might not have placed any limits on what we did – “We should punish him" or "We should take our revenge", for example. 

7. I didn’t say we should kill him = We should kill someone else. 

Knowing which words to stress depends on the meaning, context and what you and your listener already knows (shared knowledge). 

Once you understand the way stress can change your sentences, you’ll find that you have a bit more control and freedom when you want to express yourself in English.

Prada’s “Pop-up Wet Market”

I don't know about you but I find it absurd that a wet market covering 2000 m² in Shanghai, China could go viral on social media just because they had bagged their produce in Prada packaging. 

Global Times reported that Wuzhong market in Xuhui district saw hordes of influencers visiting to take photos, livestreaming and posing with produce.

Products sold at the market were wrapped in paper printed with the brand name. And every day from 10:00 to 16:00, a limited supply of bags with three different autumn/winter patterns and sporting the Prada logo were provided free of charge to shoppers. If they purchased more than 20 yuan (RM12.93) worth of items, that is. 

Some Chinese netizens joke that, for the first time, Prada is affordable for them, thanks to these paper bags. 

The “Feels Like Prada” campaign which ended on Sunday, was part of the Italian fashion luxury brand’s crossover campaign. 

During the campaign, which began last month, it was not vegetables that customers were actually looking for – it was the packaging and bags with the brand’s logo. 

The campaign had brought brisk business to the market and attracted throngs of visitors. One vegetable seller, however, was not thrilled about it, saying “Sales haven’t grown much. Most people come for pictures but few people actually buy anything”. 

And the complainant added: “They also love to throw the vegetables away”. 

The popularity of the market during the said campaign is understandable, given that Prada is one of the highly sought-after luxury brands in the country. Sales of Prada in China grew an impressive 77 percent this year, according to the financial results of the group ending June 30. 

This campaign was not confined to Shanghai. Prada had unveiled a host of activations in Milan, Florence, Rome, Paris, London, New York, and Tokyo to amplify the message of its fall 2021 campaign.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

90.4% of Adults in Malaysia Fully-vaccinated

Malaysia’s Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) have announced that the number of fully vaccinated adults in the country as of Monday (October 11) stands at 21,154,357 individuals or 90.4% of the adult population. 

I suppose congratulations are in order for MOH.

WSD 201 World Children’s Day is still thirty-eight days away – and so far, we’ve netted 30 registrations. We know more are in the pipeline and we’ll see better numbers soon enough. 

Here's a summary of registrations todate: 

#unexpectedvoices #worldspeechday #sabahbolehbah