How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cheng Boon Ong: Mygration Story: Postcolonial musings from Asia to Europe

United Nations University (UNU-MERIT):

"Our ‘Mygration Story’ series tracks the family histories of staff and fellows at UNU. The aim is to show that many of us owe our lives and careers to the courage of migrant ancestors. People who left their homes to build safer or better lives — for themselves and for their children. With this monthly series we want to show that migration is not an historical aberration, but a surprisingly common element in family histories worldwide."

"It’s difficult to be wholeheartedly critical of colonialism when one’s family history is so closely intertwined with it. My great-grandparents joined the historical wave of Chinese labour emigration of the late 19th and early 20thcentury to what was then British Malaya. My home city of Batu Gajah was a boom town for tin mining, and for decades a colonial district capital with a courthouse, hospital and horse racing track. Both my parents were born before the country’s independence, schooled in the English language, and ultimately met while studying in England in the early 1970s. (And even today, Malaysians make up one of the largest international student communities in the UK.)"

Cheng Boon Ong
"About the Author
Cheng is an affiliated researcher at UNU-MERIT, and holds a PhD in Public Policy and Policy Analysis from Maastricht University. Currently, she is a humanitarian assessment officer for Yemen at REACH, a joint initiative of two international NGOs (ACTED and IMPACT) and the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT)."
More: http://www.merit.unu.edu/mygration-story-postcolonial-musings-from-asia-to-europe/
Link

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

End of the road for some cancer patients seeking treatment in government hospitals?

My last visit to SOPD was devastating when I was referred to Palliative Care Unit. All along, I had the impression PCU is like death row, with patients waiting to die, but given medication to alleviate suffering. Sure enough, I was told I could be given morphine (only available in GH) if the pain becomes unbearable. In the process of registration, the question on my religion adds to the morbidity of reference to the eventuality. When I said I was expecting cure, it seemed out of place in PCU, with other patients and even doctors looking at me, as if with disbelief!

Slowly, but surely, the reality of GH's limitations and constraints sets in. The reason why my previous visit to oncologist in HKL did not result in prescriptions became clear when I learned that budget cuts had resulted in quotas which were quickly filled. Now even government pensioners have to pay for drugs, which I presume, relate to those expensive cancer ones, for starters.

In other words, for those who cannot afford exorbitant charges of private medical centres, it is practically end of the road, unless there are options in alternate cures. There are so many in the market that it can be confusing. Each supplier will swear by his or her products. Each of us has only one life, so the question of testing any one product could be fatal, if proven ineffective, without timely medical attention.

Meanwhile, I will have to remain positive (B+ happens to be my blood type) while I wait to see oncologist with my latest PET Scan report.


Link

Thursday, May 25, 2017

There are many ways to fight a battle

Lately, we have witnessed the sabre-rattling stance between North Korea and USA. The threat of nuclear war is alarming and cannot be discounted.

China has been spreading its economic power in Africa and elsewhere where there is an urgent need, which effectively gain itself friendship as well as immense influence in the process. Its special interest in South China Sea has seen the building of military bases within, with total disregard of international verdict at The Hague. Besides, it is investing heavily in Malaysia which many believe it can gain undue political influence from Malaysian leaders.

But how many of us have ever thought of using education as a weapon of destruction?

A University professor wrote an expressive message to his students at the doctorate, masters and bachelors levels and placed it at the entrance in a university in South Africa. 

And this is the message:

*"Collapsing any nation does not require use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by the students".*

The patient dies in the hands of such doctors

And the buildings collapse in the hands of such engineers

And the money is lost in the hands of such accountants

And humanity dies in the hands of such religious scholars

And justice is lost in the hands of such judges...

*"The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation"*


Malaysia has all along shy away from meritocracy in education, unlike Singapore. The latter gained from the brain drain of Malaysians unappreciated locally, and prospered to become one of the most advanced and richest nation in the world.

Through its own lack of foresight or nationalistic reasons, the level of education dropped drastically since it gained independence in 1957. Will we see the collapse of Malaysia in the long term because of this? Collapse seems too strong a term, but in comparison, the glaring success of Singapore which has nothing but human resources, and that also depended partially on foreign input, would put Malaysia which has natural resources to shame.


Link

Thursday, May 18, 2017

In my search for cancer cure

A fellow cancer survivor chanced upon Dr Alex Tang's Multidisciplinary Oncology Symposium, after having been referred by a specialist in Ipoh.

In my own case, Ipoh GH has its limitations in terms of facilities and staff. Had a major colon surgery and confirmed as Stage 4, I had been through 12 cycles of chemo drug taken orally. I could sense the specialists are under severe constraints as follows, especially in view of the recent budget cuts:

1. Only general surgeries are available in Ipoh and specialist surgeries have to be referred to Selayang, KL or Penang, for instance. Even those hospitals have stopped accepting referrals. So patients of urgent cases have to consider private medical treatments, which as we all know, are very expensive.

2. Late 2016, I had to go private with CEA blood tests. Certain blood tests supposedly in hospital system could not be found. Were those not done? While pointing out some inconveniences, I must admit the general efficiency of the system and staff despite the sheer number of patients, for which I am truly grateful.

3. As I was expecting IV chemotherapy, the fact that it was not offered makes me wonder if it had anything to do with budget cuts. But personally, I felt relieved because of the bad publicity relating to the adverse side effects of chemotherapy.

4. In seeking possible private treatment, I attended a symposium in Ipoh conducted by St Stamford Modern Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou. The presentation was in Mandarin by a Professor while any English translation by a local graduate in Food Science and Nutrition. Looking at my details, she suggested 3 likely treatments in the presence of the professor:

1. Interventional;
2. Cryotherapy; and or
3. Immunology.

While considering the Multidisciplinary Oncology Symposium (MOS) treatments, there is no clear or easy way of choosing one which specifically suits me. Asked surgeon and she replied she is not an oncologist. Asked an overseas oncologist and she replied she is a radiotherapy specialist, not a chemotherapy specialist, and she is non-committal on the treatments mentioned in the MOS, but suggested immunology/targeted chemotherapy, provided there was test on gene mutation. How would I know if such tests were being done in our government hospitals or who or where should I start to ask that question?

Meanwhile, I am seeking alternative options and hope to be able to provide myself as proof if the chosen treatment is successful.

Link to Multidisciplinary Oncology Symposium:

http://infomed.com.my/multidisciplinary-oncology-symposium-malaysia-mosm-2017
Link

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Jane Clarke to me, is closest to an oncology dietitian

As a stage 4 cancer survivor, one of my problems seems to be what foods to eat and what to avoid. Jane Clarke's article in the Daily Mail provides essential answers to my dilemma where food is concerned. Though my wife used to be Chief Dietitian at Seacroft Hospital, Leeds, it was 40 years ago. Where diet is concerned, I had my freedom of choice. Though, a diabetic for many years, her well-controlled diet used to be off whenever she indulged in a cheese cake or durian, at the expense of a normal lunch or dinner.

Just before my appointment  with the oncologist in HKL, I read an article which I had read before, shared by good-intentioned friends or relatives, which debunked chemotherapy. Just imagine for someone who had just completed 12-cycle of chemo drug taken orally, and half expected to be recommended stronger chemo drug intra-veinously, I was in a dilemma. Shall I go against professional advice or go along and expect more of my good cells to be destroyed in the process?

My wife was with me when the oncologist explained in detail my condition and what she thought was best for the next few months: monitoring by CEA blood tests and CT Scan, I was secretly happy for her advice, just as I was happy when she gave me the option of chemo drug to be taken orally instead of IV. 'Sum siong si seng' in Chinese, (or what you wish for comes true) comes to mind. I was glad my wife was with me, otherwise my daughters might think it was my decision instead of the doctor's.

Anyway, here is the excerpt of Jane Clarke:

The truth about diet and cancer: Top dietitian JANE CLARKE reveals what to eat (and what to avoid) to beat the disease


  • Some statistics predict one in two of us will go on to develop cancer
  • Many cancers, from stomach to bowel, are linked to diet and weight gain
  • Jane Clarke shows diet tweaks that could help reduce your risk
"There doesn’t seem to be a day that passes without a new cancer statistic being published — one of the most alarming from recent years is that one in two of us will go on to develop the disease.
It makes so many of us feel vulnerable, and naturally we want to know what — if anything — we can do to protect ourselves. As a dietitian and nutritionist for the past 25 years, I have treated hundreds of people, young and old and often a key question, even if I was seeing them for a different issue entirely, was what we should and shouldn’t eat to reduce the likelihood of developing cancer, and how can food help us fight the disease if we are diagnosed?
The incidence of different cancers varies hugely but, worryingly, the numbers of people affected are on the rise.
Bowel cancer is now the third most common cause of cancer death in women in the UK, according to the charity Bowel Cancer UK. And it is increasingly affecting younger people, with a 45 per cent increase in those under 50 being diagnosed.
Breast cancer, the most common cancer in women in the UK with around 54,000 new cases each year, is also on the rise.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show an 8 per cent rise in the number of people with pancreatic cancer since 2012.
Better detection and our longer lives play a part in rising cancer rates, but our lifestyle and environment must also be part of the picture — what we put into our body has a profound impact, with many cancers, from stomach to bowel, linked to diet and weight gain.
A massive two-thirds of bowel cancer cases could be prevented by eating, drinking and living well according to the NHS.
Weight gain is strongly linked to an increased risk of stomach and oesophageal cancer, according to a new study from the National Cancer Institute in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Mediterranean Diet — a long-time staple of healthy eating lore — has recently been found by the World Cancer Research Fund to reduce the risk of contracting one of the most dangerous forms of breast cancer by 40 per cent.
The same study also found a strong relationship between weight gain around the waist and incidence of womb cancer — even a small increase in waist size can lead to a 21 per cent increase in risk of the disease.
The foods and nutrients we eat — and what we avoid — can have a huge impact on our wellbeing and cancer risk.
And if someone already has a diagnosis of cancer, what they eat is also incredibly important, especially as cancer treatment can make eating difficult, causing nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, mouth ulcers and extreme exhaustion. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about food and cancer.
So here, I’ll separate the wheat from the chaff — I’ll also show you the tweaks to your diet that could help reduce your risk.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DIET AND CANCER
There are all sorts of ‘miracle’ anti-cancer diets out there but I strongly advise anyone against embarking on a dramatic ‘clean eating’ or exclusion eating plan.
Not only do they add to the fear of anyone worried about developing cancer, they can also worsen the outcomes of those living with the disease.
People end up malnourished and there just isn’t the evidence to support such extreme strategies. So let’s look at the biggest myths around food and cancer and see what adds up . . ."
Following are several myths and facts as well as advice on foods (headings only), according to her opinion:
Myth: Meat will give you cancer
Myth: Wine protects you 
Myth: Dairy foods cause cancer
Myth: Sugar ‘feeds’ cancer
Stock up on your tomatoes and turmeric
Fruit and vegetables
Fibre
Turmeric

For those interested to know more, rest of her article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4464402/What-eat-avoid-beat-cancer.html?ito=social-facebook

Link

Thursday, April 27, 2017

David Dodwell: Be afraid: China is on the path to global technology dominance

Excerpt:

"I have often jested that the main difference between the United States and China is not that one is capitalist and the other communist. Rather, it is that one is run by lawyers and the other by engineers.
Nowhere is this truer than in the astonishing “catch-up” occurring on the mainland in the explosion of digital technologies and their application to the daily lives of hundreds of millions of ordinary Chinese consumers.
Ask people in the US or Europe about Chinese technology and most will still cast a dismissive smile and say China remains home of the cheap and cheerful copycat stuff that fills Walmart shelves. The dangerous naivity of this view was brought home forcefully at our APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meetings last year – the first in San Francisco and the second in Shenzhen. The first thing we noticed was that our internet worked noticeably faster in Shenzhen than around San Francisco. The second was that our Chinese colleagues were paying for everything via AliPay on their smartphones.
In awe of the smart technologies on display at PayPal, Google and Dolby sound studios, we were blown away by Huawei, where 40 per cent of its 170,000 staff are working on pure research, and the foundations are being laid for roll-out of 5G across the whole of China by 2020."
"In truth, China’s government was not doing anything unique or even novel. The Made in China 2025 initiative was based on Germany’s Industrie 4.0 blueprint for technology development. What is awesome is the speed and effectiveness with which they have built this technology self-reliance initiative from scratch. A total of 19 data labs have been established in universities across the country. STEM education (science, technology, engineering and maths) is being prioritised countrywide. A “Qianren Jihua” (Thousand Talents) scheme is trawling the world to attract brilliant scientists.
And for a US official who has for decades had first-hand experience of how US government-funded defence industry research has been carefully used to fuel the US’s technology leadership worldwide, complaints about Chinese government support for high-tech research sounds a tad hypocritical."
Rest of article in South China Morning Post: 
Link

Monday, April 24, 2017

Finance Twitter: Top-8 ways to access blocked websites on Windows, MAC, Android and Apple IOS devices

First of all, I must admit, I first read this in Hussein A. Hamid's blogsite, Steadyaku47. I tried to go direct to Finance Twitter but found out that it is copyrighted and its system does even allow an excerpt from the article. But I find it good for reference, so I cut and paste from Steadyaku, just a small part which I find most easy to follow:

Excerpt:

"{ Option-6 } Enable Chrome Data-Saver (Android Only)
If you’re using Android phone (not iPhone iOS), the solution could be as simple as three steps to access blocked websites. Basically Google Chrome browser has this “Data Saver” feature which enables you to surf a website through Google Proxy which is protected by SSL. This is like changing the DNS settings (Option-A above) but in an easy Step-1-2-3.
To enable Data Saver on Android:
  1. Open Chrome and press the “Action Overflow Button”(three vertical dots) in the upper right corner.
  2. Tap “Settings”. Scrow down and touch “Data Saver”.
  3. On top right switch hit it to “ON”
By turning this feature “ON”, your phone essentially talks to Google Public DNS, not your local ISP DNS. Another reason why you should enable the “Data Saver” is it helps compress and encrypt your data, so you save tons of money on data usage. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t like this “Data Saver” feature for obvious reason; hence it won’t work on iPhone.
For those IT-savvy enough, the rest of the article:
Link

Lament of a Malay woman

I am a Malay woman. I only get half share of any inheritance of what my brothers get.

I am a Malay woman. My testimony is only half that of a man.

I am a Malay woman. During prayers, I cannot pray in the same row as my sons but must always be behind them. 

I am a Malay woman. Before I go out of my house, they tell me that I must first get my husbands permission to leave the house.

I am a Malay woman. As a wife, my husband is entitled to marry 3 other woman, but I can only be married to one, at a time.

I am a Malay woman. As a wife, I am ordered to obey the husband.

I am a Malay woman. As a wife I am only entitled to 1/8 of my husbands estate (thats if he only has one wife, otherwise I am only entitled to 1/32 of his estate if he has 4 wives.) But my husband is entitled to half of whatever I own upon my death, if I have no children, and 1/4 if I left children.

I am a Malay woman. While the men can wear anything they want, I am required to cover my whole body save for my face and hands. Falsely conjectured.

I am a Malay woman. I cannot divorce my husband unless he agrees. Unless I redeem myself through Khul'. Unless I fight for my right to freedom in the courts. Which take time.

I am a Malay woman. My ex husband doesnt bother to pay for my childrens maintenance. It is not an offence. But if I fail to obey my husband to have sex with him, I am nusyuz. And the angels will not visit me for I am cursed for the night

I am a Malay woman.
Isn't this caste system?

Link

No prize in guessing... but everyone knows the GE is near when...

When people holding high positions are seen doing ordinary things...

Ken Wun's photo.Ken Wun's photo.Ken Wun's photo.Ken Wun's photo.
Clockwise: Shahidan Kassim, ex-MB of Perlis, now Minister in PM's Department; our unofficial First Lady, Rosmah Mansor, probably comparing with her days when travelling from Seremban to KL in a Foh Hup bus; PM and wife showing that they can still hang around with kampung folks; and last but not least (for now), MB of Perak, Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Link

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When incumbent ruling coalition is afraid of new voters

No automatic alt text available.
YB Elizabeth Wong shared the following in Facebook:
I was at the Selangor Election Commission's office this morning to check out the voter objection hearing process. I was shocked to find out a total of 354 voters from the Subang Parliamentary constituency (of which Kota Damansara, Paya Jaras and Bukit Lanjan are part of) were objected.
About half made it to today's hearing and had their voting right reinstated. Of those present, some took emergency leave, some took unpaid leave, some postponed work and meeting arrangements and some came at the eleventh hour after receiving the EC's PosLaju letter only yesterday.
The atmosphere in the room was tense and some felt confused as to why they were objected randomly. Nevertheless, every single one present were determined to make sure their right to vote will be reinstated in time for GE14.
After checking with some of them, I realised they were not randomly selected.
1. Majority of the objected voters had registered for change of voting address at the Post Office.
2. Almost all were Chinese.
3. They had applied to move to two seats in Subang Parliament ie. DUN Kota Damansara and DUN Paya Jaras - seats which UMNO has high stakes in retaining or wresting.
4. Majority of the Objectors (Pembantah) came from one address: No 10, Jalan Pekaka 8/3, Seksyen 8, Kota Damansara 47810 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. (This is the address of UMNO Bahagian Subang)
The process was thankfully fast. Upon being called into a separate room, they were asked a few questions: How far is the community hall from your house, how far is a certain petrol station from your house etc.
The more time consuming process was the queue due to the numbers that turned up. Some waited for up to four hours for their turn.
On the Objector's side (pembantah) side, only a handful, maybe 4 or 5 at most turned up. According to the EC's rules and regulations on objecting voters, each pembantah is allowed to object up to 20 names. A total of 354 objected voters would mean at least 18 pembantahs should have been present to face the persons they objected. Where were they?
Also seen was a man and a lady with a child in charge of distributing RM100 bills 'compensation' to the objected voters present. Someone must have upfront RM35,400 cash to this person to pay on the spot!
Kudos to those present and who were determined not to leave until their rights to be a voter were reinstated.
Please inform those who may have received a letter from the EC either by registered post or PosLaju. There is nothing to be worried if they are called to the hearing. If you are unsure of your voting status, log onto http://daftarj.spr.gov.my/DAFTARJ and key in your IC number.
We know there is only one party who fears new voters more than anything. Don't let them take away your fundamental rights!
Elizabeth Wong
18 April 2017

Received via email, and I have no reason to doubt that this is authentic.... 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dr. 

Sharing my ex colleague 's experience ... "How I received RM100 for being eligible to Vote"
Now I know why Money wins elections in Malaysia

"Changing my voting station is a challenge."
I decided to update my polling centre to my residential address 10 months ago (to Dusun Tua, PAS incumbent). About 4 weeks ago I received a notice that my application has received a Bantahan which required me to attend a public investigation. If I wish to continue to be eligible to vote, I would need to show up at SPR office, at a specific time, for a hearing**.

** Kegagalan Tuan/Puan untuk hadir semasa Siasatan Awam ini, akan menyebabkan nama Tuan/Puan dikeluarkan dari RDPT bekenaan.


"At the hearing."
I was one of the first to arrived and soon the waiting room was filled with people. My name was in one of several lists of Dibantah. A quick glance around the room and at the lists showed that at least 80% were ethnic Chinese.
At my turn, my Pembantah and myself were shown to another room and took our oath before a judge. The Pembantah was a middle aged man that I have never met before. His name was Abd Halim bin Md Yunus.

His excuse for challenging my application was "He didn't see anyone at home, and my neighbors did not know me". This was of course a lie because I live in a gated and guarded residence, so he wouldn't have been able to enter my Taman without my permission. And I've been living here for 9 years. Thankfully the judge has ruled his challenge as "failed".

"My compensation"
Because I have won this challenge, the Pembantah has to pay me compensation for my hardship. The judge has decided compenation of RM100. So I approached my Pembantah and asked for it.

"The best part - how I got my RM100"
Abd Halim told me he has no money. He said his boss will pay me later. I objected and threatened to sue him. He panicked and repeated that his boss didn't give him money.
So I pressed on and asked for the boss's name. And he told me. It's UMNO!!! According to Abd Halim, his big boss is UMNO branch secretary Noridah binti Mohd Amir. He showed me his SPR filing documentation to confirm it. But he doesn't have her contact number, so he gave me his supervisor's mobile number instead. Her name is Rohani Kassim. I called and spoke to her and she simply said she'll pay up.

At this stage, many others in the SPR Office took notice and made similar appeal.

Suddenly I notice a Malay man in dark sunglasses standing outside the SPR office signaling to all the Pembantahs and they all left at once. Thereafter all the hearings were "walkover wins" (no Pembantah).

Shortly, a young man (Hairul Shahrizal Hamdan) showed up in the SPR Office and just started paying all of us, on the Pembantahs' behalf, without any fuss. I asked him why he was paying for all the Pembantah? But he just kept quiet.

Anyway, that is how I got my RM100.

....

What would happen to the accused if they hadn't shown up?
How would the elderly show up?
How many votes would have been denied this way?


Link

Friday, April 14, 2017

Zaid Ibrahim: Pilgrimage towards peace and justice

Having read this speech, and if he walks his talk, I would gladly support him as PM of Malaysia.

Excerpt:

If this country truly wants to be fair and just to all its people, regardless of their religion, then we must first agree that we need to have a common understanding of what constitutes fairness and justice. If we were to ask any man or woman in the street anywhere in the world, they would probably say that it means treating others the way one would want to be treated. If this simple test were applied in our daily lives, then we could have peace without much difficulty.
Unfortunately, we neither subscribe to nor believe in that ethical proposition any more. The Muslim leaders who run this country, whether they are political or religious, have disregarded this notion of equality of treatment and reciprocity of good behaviour for some time now. Their absolute control of political power enables them to distort the ordinary meaning of “fair and just”. To them, it is no longer an ethical principle that stands on its own. It is only relevant and applicable only if they decide it is. When they disagree with what you say or do, they cry foul and say these acts or statements are against Islam and are therefore prohibited or unlawful.
These leaders play God every day in their speeches and statements. They make hate speeches with impunity and they are untouchable. They seem to know everything there is to know about sin and punishment, and about how God will judge our actions and behavior. They—and only they—know everything that is good, fair and just.
I call this religious bigotry, which unfortunately has become our national ideology. We cannot even suggest that the simple ideas of the Rukun Negara can be used as guiding principles to govern this country, for even these ideas have suddenly become subversive and a threat to Islam.
It’s not enough for them that Muslims make up the majority of the population and are still growing in number. It’s not enough for them that Islam already has a special place in the country. It’s not enough for them that the Malays Rulers are custodians of Islam. It’s not enough for them that billions of ringgit are spent every year on the promotion and propagation of Islam and the welfare of Muslims. It’s not even enough that they pay less income tax to the extent of the amount of zakat they pay.
Like Mick Jagger, they can’t seem to find any satisfaction. Every day they talk about threats to Islam and how the enemies of Islam are everywhere. They think the war against Jews and the Crusades is still not over. What good does it do for Muslims? None, except give them a false sense of superiority which ultimately does nothing to make their lives better.
These leaders completely ignore the positive side of humanity and the values that bring progress to all of us. They only emphasise sin and punishment, as if they are perfect Muslims. They don’t seem to care if Muslims in this country are still poor or are lagging far behind the others in education, the economy and in areas of skill development. They just want to dominate, control and disseminate fear in people’s lives, including Muslims who disagree with them. They represent medieval values of morality that are inimical to human progress.
This is the reality we now live in. Fair-minded Muslims who still subscribe to the old-fashioned values  I alluded to above,  peace-loving Malaysians and the believers  and practitioners of other faiths must today sit up and decide what they want to do about it. If they think—as I do—that religious bigotry and extremism will imperil peace and stability in this country and ultimately destroy it, then they have to act now.
Rest of his Speech at Ecumenical House, Petaling Jaya: http://www.zaid.my/current/pilgrimage-towards-peace-justice/
9 April 2017 Link

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cassandra Hsiao's essay which helps her to win offers from Ivy League universities

In our house, English is not English. Not in the phonetic sense, like short a is for apple, but rather in the pronunciation – in our house, snake is snack. Words do not roll off our tongues correctly – yet I, who was pulled out of class to meet with language specialists, and my mother from Malaysia, who pronounces film as flim, understand each other perfectly.
In our house, there is no difference between cast and cash, which was why at a church retreat, people made fun of me for “cashing out demons.” I did not realize the glaring difference between the two Englishes until my teacher corrected my pronunciations of hammock, ladle, and siphon. Classmates laughed because I pronounce accept as except, success as sussess. I was in the Creative Writing conservatory, and yet words failed me when I needed them most.
Suddenly, understanding flower is flour wasn’t enough. I rejected the English that had never seemed broken before, a language that had raised me and taught me everything I knew. Everybody else’s parents spoke with accents smarting of Ph.D.s and university teaching positions. So why couldn’t mine?
My mother spread her sunbaked hands and said, “This is where I came from,” spinning a tale with the English she had taught herself.
When my mother moved from her village to a town in Malaysia, she had to learn a brand new language in middle school: English. In a time when humiliation was encouraged, my mother was defenseless against the cruel words spewing from the teacher, who criticized her paper in front of the class. When she began to cry, the class president stood up and said, “That’s enough.”
“Be like that class president,” my mother said with tears in her eyes. The class president took her under her wing and patiently mended my mother’s strands of language. “She stood up for the weak and used her words to fight back.”
We were both crying now. My mother asked me to teach her proper English so old white ladies at Target wouldn’t laugh at her pronunciation. It has not been easy. There is a measure of guilt when I sew her letters together. Long vowels, double consonants — I am still learning myself. Sometimes I let the brokenness slide to spare her pride but perhaps I have hurt her more to spare mine.
As my mother’s vocabulary began to grow, I mended my own English. Through performing poetry in front of 3000 at my school’s Season Finale event, interviewing people from all walks of life, and writing stories for the stage, I stand against ignorance and become a voice for the homeless, the refugees, the ignored. With my words I fight against jeers pelted at an old Asian street performer on a New York subway. My mother’s eyes are reflected in underprivileged ESL children who have so many stories to tell but do not know how. I fill them with words as they take needle and thread to make a tapestry.
In our house, there is beauty in the way we speak to each other. In our house, language is not broken but rather bursting with emotion. We have built a house out of words. There are friendly snakes in the cupboard and snacks in the tank. It is a crooked house. It is a little messy. But this is where we have made our home.
Essay taken from tab.com
Pang Ven Xhin has this to say:

Sorry, Malaysia—You Don't Get To Be Proud Of Cassandra Hsiao's Success

"Here are some facts about Cassandra Hsiao, in case you’ve never heard of her.
  • This year, she was accepted into all 8 Ivy League universities in America, a very impressive feat for any student.
  • At the age of 5, she moved to America with her family.
  • She’s a kickass writer, with an impressive set of accomplishments (besides writing the essay that got her all those acceptance letters, she’s a very active student journalist who has interviewed quite a few celebrities, has written stage plays and she produces videos on her own YouTube channel).
Before I continue, let me clarify. I am not diminishing her successes.
Her school can be proud of Cassandra. Her family can be and probably is very proud of Cassandra. Whoever’s had a hand in shaping, mentoring and supporting Cassandra can be proud of Cassandra.
Heck, Cassandra should be proud of Cassandra. She didn’t get where she is now without a lot of hard work and dedication to pursue her interests and hone her skills.
However, I feel Malaysians have no right in making a big deal out of her particularly over the “fact” that she is a Malaysian who has succeeded. We might as well make a big deal out of  Ifeoma White-Thorpe or Martin Altenburg, two other American teens who also swept the Ivy 8.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Snopes dispel reports which claimed chemotherapy doesn't work

I hope cancer survivors, like myself, are not discouraged by various reports which claimed chemotherapy doesn't work. One of which is this, by Dr. Hardin Jones :

"People who refuse chemotherapy treatment live on average 12 and a half years longer than people who undergo chemotherapy, says Dr. Jones.
According to recent statistics, approximately 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetimes. This saddening reality is made worse when it is acknowledged that modern methods of ‘treating’ the disease are often ineffective and only make the symptoms of the disease worse. In fact, according to one Berkeley doctor, chemotherapy doesn’t work 97% of the time.
In the eye-opening video above, Dr. Hardin B. Jones, a former professor of medical physics and physiology at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses how ‘leading edge’ cancer treatment is a sham.
He has personally studied the life expectancy of patients for more than 25 years and has come to the conclusion that chemotherapy does more harm than good. The bone-chilling realization prompted Dr. Jones to speak out against the billion-dollar cancer industry.
“People who refused chemotherapy treatment live on average 12 and a half years longer than people who are undergoing chemotherapy,” said Dr. Jones of his study, which was published in the New York Academy of Science.
“People who accepted chemotherapy die within three years of diagnosis, a large number dies immediately after a few weeks.”
According to the physician, the only reason doctors prescribe chemotherapy is because they make money from it. Such an accusation doesn’t seem unreasonable, as cancer treatment runs, on average, between $300,000 — $1,000,000 per treatment."

According to snopes.com:

Excerpt: Is any of this true? First off, as David Gorski wrote for Science-Based Medicine, such claims about chemotherapy by alternative medicine practitioners and aficionados are quite common and are typically misleadingly based on cherry-picked statistics, misunderstandings (or misrepresentations) of how chemotherapy works, and a focus on chemotherapy’s very visible drawbacks rather than its (less-obvious) successes:

If there’s one medical treatment that proponents of “alternative medicine” love to hate, it’s chemotherapy. Rants against “poisoning” are a regular staple on “alternative health” websites, usually coupled with insinuations or outright accusations that the only reason oncologists administer chemotherapy is because of the “cancer industrial complex” in which big pharma profits massively from selling chemotherapeutic agents and oncologists and hospitals profit massively from administering them. Usually, they boil down to two claims: (1) that chemotherapy doesn’t work against cancer (or, as I’ve called it before, the “2% gambit“) and (2) that the only reason it’s given is because doctors are brainwashed in medical school or because of the profit motive or, of course, because of a combination of the two. Of course, the 2% gambit is based on a fallacious cherry picking of data and confusing primary versus adjuvant chemotherapy, and chemotherapy does actually work rather well for many malignancies, but none of this stops the flow of misinformation.
Chemotherapy, not surprisingly, is easy to demonize. There are few treatments that cause such odious side effects, and when taken to its fullest extreme, such as complete ablation of a cancer patient’s bone marrow in preparation for a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy can be brutal. It’s also true that for advanced solid malignancies, it only tends to produce palliation or a prolongation in survival, not a cure, and people with cancer want a cure. Palliation just isn’t that appealing, for obvious reasons. When people think of chemotherapy, they think of hair falling out, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and death. Since chemotherapy is often given for more advanced malignancies, it’s sometimes hard to tell how many of these symptoms (other than the hair loss) are due to the cancer and how much they are due to side effects of the chemotherapy, and many people incorrectly blame chemotherapy for the deaths of their loved ones with cancer. Also, because, like radiation therapy, chemotherapy is often given in the adjuvant setting (i.e., in addition to curative surgery in order to decrease the risk of recurrence and death), it’s very easy to produce stories in which people with cancer refuse chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy after surgery and attribute their survival not to the conventional therapy (surgery) but to whatever quackery they chose to use. When used in early stage cancer, although its relative efficacy can seem large, for example a 30% decrease in the risk of dying, if the risk of dying of cancer is only 10% to begin with, that’s only a 3% survival benefit on an absolute basis.
In reality, the use of alternative medicine instead of effective treatment for cancer, where it’s been studied, is always associated much poorer survival, even in pancreatic cancer, for which conventional treatments don’t do so well. Still, among the treatments in the “cut, poison, burn” terminology that believers in alternative medicine like to use to describe conventional cancer therapy, it is the “poison” that causes the most fear and is most viciously demonized in the alt-med “literature.”
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Monday, April 03, 2017

My take on EPF contributors' situation while they are members

EPF lost RM203m from FGV stock investments

Read the article in Malaysiakini: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/377857

My comment in Facebook on Feb 20, 2017 over EPF's book loss:

Recent accounts show > Rm8 billions book loss in share investments. Meant for long term investments, recent divestment in FGV shares shows the high risks, especially those based on political decisions rather than guided by strict guidelines as trustees of public funds. As long as EPF is able to maintain decent annual dividends and its total assets exceed total contributions, it can still get away with unwise investments and loans to unreliable entities. To the individual contributor, he or she is concerned with security of contributions. Whether EPF makes tons of money or book losses will not affect him or her, as it will be carried forward annually and indefinitely. The real problem will only arise when it is insolvent and unable to meet demands for withdrawals by all contributors. Meantime, government of the day has leeway to manipulate when necessary.

To the average contributors, whether EPF made lots more money will not affect them, unless and until it decides to liquidate the fund and distribute to all contributors, which is so unlikely. If they are lucky, they get higher dividends over the years as members. Contributors come and go: as first time members until final withdrawals from the balances due to them.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The standard of our Parliamentary debate

Compare and contrast the speeches by YB Rafizi Ramli (Pandan) and YB Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh (Setiu). Rafizi's is clear, concise and relevant, while that of Che Mohamad Zulkifly is mainly personal attack and irrelevant...


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Monday, March 20, 2017

Dr Josh Axe: Vitamin B17 Controversy: Poison or Cancer Treatment?

Excerpt:

"Banned by the FDA in the 1980s but touted by some alternative medicine practitioners as a treatment for cancer, the controversy over the innocently named vitamin B17 rages on. Once labeled and marketed as a vitamin, its appearance practically disappeared without a trace within the mainstream medical community.
Today, however, a simple Web search pulls multiple blogs and articles either generously supporting this nutrient as a miracle cure or vilifying it as a hoax.
Vitamin B17, also called amygdalin or laetrile, is a glycoside nutrient linked with cancerprevention in alternative medicine practices — and there are anecdotal claims that it’s actually cured cancer. Vitamin B17 is derived from natural food sources and most abundant in seeds of plants of the prunasin family, such as apricots and apples.
Vitamin B17 interacts with other antioxidants — including vitamin Avitamin C and vitamin E — along with pancreatic enzymes to break down and eliminate harmful cells from the body. This makes it beneficial for detox support, immunity and potentially even various forms of disease prevention.
Vitamin B17, which has the scientific name mandelonitrile beta-D-gentiobioside, is considered a nitriloside, a natural cyanide-containing substance. Laetrile, the extract form of vitamin B17, is most well-known for potentially helping prevent cancer development through the production of hydrogen cyanide.
This beneficial compound is released into the body’s tissues and targets and destroys mutated cells. Although more formal research is still needed to prove vitamin B17’s effectiveness, many alternative medicine practitioners use vitamin B17 to increase immunity. Cyanide is thought to be the main anti-cancer component of vitamin B17 but is not fully proven in clinical settings as of today.

Vitamin B17’s Potentially Big Benefits

1. May Help Protect Against Cancer

Overall, study results investigating the anti-cancer effects of vitamin B17 are mixed. Some show that vitamin B17 is beneficial in avoiding cancer and keeping the spread of existing cancer cells to a minimum, while others show no effects of vitamin B17 on cancerous cells. While many practitioners believe that vitamin B17 laetrile is a very good cancer treatment, most agree that it shouldn’t be the primary cancer treatment for any patient — instead, they recommend that it be used as an effective add-on supplement.
Vitamin B17, specifically in the form of D-amygdalin, may help with the regression and growth of cancerous cells and tumors because it exhibits selective killing effects on mutated cells, also called apoptosis. Apoptosis is a mechanism of “programmed cell death” and considered an important part of cancer treatment. Vitamin B17 compounds have the important ability to kill cancer cells more readily than killing normal, healthy cells.
In a study by the Department of Physiology at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, when amygdalin extract was combined with cancerous human prostate cells, the extract helped significantly induce apotosis in the prostate cancer cells. The researchers conclude that amygdalin may offer a valuable, natural option for treating prostate cancer. (1)
Other animal studies show that vitamin B17 amygdalin is effective at killing cancerous bladder and brain cells under certain conditions, especially when combined with other antibody-enzyme complexes. (2)
On the other hand, other studies using human lung and breast cancer cells show no effects of vitamin B17 on stunting tumor growth. Therefore, in the medical community, there still isn’t agreement at this time as to whether vitamin B17 should be used as an anti-cancer treatment.

2. Boosts Immunity

Vitamin B17 contains special properties that slow down the spread of illness throughout the body by killing harmful cells, but the exact way that vitamin B17 does this isn’t well-understood.
A study published in the International Journal of Radiation and Biology found that vitamin B17 amygdalin stimulated the immune system by causing a statistically significant increase in the ability of a patient’s white blood cells to attack harmful cells. (3) One theory of vitamin B17’s effects suggests that transformation of normal cells into dangerous cells that can cause disease is normally prevented by beneficial enzymes produced within the pancreas. So vitamin B17 may help increase the production of pancreatic enzymes that destroy harmful properties within the body.
Vitamin B17 is also thought to help the body experience enhanced detox effects by supporting liver function. This boosts immune function by ridding the body of toxins, malignant cells and other potentially harmful substances before they cause illness or serious chronic diseases. Another explanation of vitamin B17 mechanisms is that when vitamin B17 releases cyanide, it increases the acid content of tumors and leads to the destruction of harmful cells within the tumors, arresting their growth.

3. Reduces Pain

In a case series published in 1962, when patients were treated with a wide range of doses of intravenous vitamin B17 laetrile, pain relief was the primary benefit reported. Some of the patients’ responses included decreased adenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) and decreased tumor size.
However, patients weren’t followed long term to determine whether or not the benefits continued after treatment stopped, so it’s hard to tell whether vitamin B17 could act as a natural pain reliever for other conditions, such as arthritis. (4)

4. Lowers High Blood Pressure

Vitamin B17 may cause a low blood pressure reaction due to formation of thiocyanate, a powerful blood pressurelowering agent. However, it’s unknown if this is an effective treatment long-term or if the effects are mostly temporary.
Once metabolized, vitamin B17 causes enzyme beta-glucosidase production that interacts with intestinal bacteria to detox the body and lower blood pressure. This normally isn’t a danger for most people and may be beneficial for some, but it’s important not to use vitamin B17 in this way if you already take blood pressure-lowering medication.
If you have any existing heart issues that could become complicated if you experienced a sudden drop in blood pressure, you should avoid taking vitamin B17."
Also mentioned in the article:

Is Vitamin B17 Safe?

Best Sources of Vitamin B17

Is Vitamin B17 Treatment New?

Recommended Intake of Vitamin B17

Types of Vitamin B17 Supplements

Vitamin B17 Recipes

Vitamin B17 Side Effects and Interactions


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