"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Links - 19th March 2019 (1)

Shane Sim - At this rate my wall will be filled with soldiers that... - "I was deployed to NZ myself, I was from the artillery unit too.
The truth about safety in saf is that we are told and briefed about safety, but intrinsically they instilled fear for failing to meet expectations or positive reinforcement if you meet expectations. Everybody is pressured to break safety procedures for the sake of meeting expectations.
They told us to do things proper, do the safety checks and what not. But on the other hand they expects us to unload a truckload of bombs and deployment equipments within 12 to 15 mins which also includes deployment ground setup. Many of us succumbs to stress and peer pressure and crossed safety boundaries to achieve this.
Detachment that failed their timing gets confined on top of informal derogatory punishments. You or your teammates' weekend anniversary with his mum or girlfriend depends on your actions. It's a sad battle between safety and psychological torture.
The system would probably change for the better, but in the due process, how many more injuries and deaths are we going to witness?"
On the death of Aloysius Pang

Donald Low - Someone sent me this; I think it makes a lot of... - "As for Aloysius Pang, the news articles talking about whether Aloysius was able to move fast enough to get out of the way of the moving gun breech. This is bullshit. Why wasn't the gun locked out so it could not be moved? And if the task requires that the gun be elevated, or depressed surely there must be a safer way to do this as a matter of both machine and process design. Many industrial machines have a service or test mode where actuators are only allowed to run at a reduced speed while sounding a warning that movement is about to begin. This is something that would not cost much to implement. I would not be surprised if the drive system for the gun already comes from the factory with this capability installed but is not in use. As above, the average NSman has very little authority to make the changes that reduce risk for himself."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, What is going to happen in Venezuela? - "‘President Maduro is doing everything wrong. I'd rather have the United States invade to sort out this damn mess. We're tired and people are hungry. And the President is not thinking of the people of Venezuela’...
You can hear people shouting here because one man went by praising the president and a whole crowd of people around the banana store started shouting at him and telling him to leave...
‘What about broader support for Maduro, around the world from individuals? And I'm thinking of the British Labour Party’...
‘They do not understand what is going on in Venezuela unfortunately. They do not understand there are literally people are starving, because of shortages of food. There are people are dying of diseases that were ready kill like malaria, tuberculosis, diphtheria because of shortages of medicine’
‘But what some of them say is that's the fault of the Americans. That's the embargo’
‘That’s not true, because I mean, we've been having this humanitarian crisis since 2014. How do you explain that 3.3 million Venezuelans have fled the country, which is the biggest migration and refugee crisis in the region and the second largest refugee population just behind Syria? I mean it has happened with no water and no natural catastrophe. How would you explain the last year we did not have a free and fair elections that political parties have been illegalized, that main leaders of the opposition are in jail or in exile like my case. The human rights violation where you have more than 400 political prisoners. So this is beyond ideology. I mean Venezuela has become unfortunately a mafia state, a criminal state. It was a country that used to produce more than 3 million oil barrels, now it’s producing not just 1 million barrels. Where you have high officials that are linked to drug trafficking, terrorism, illegal mining. So Venezuelans are completely unprotected and not only the US is regarding the interim President, we're having Brazil, we’re having Columbia, we have our neighbors, the majority of the country of Latin America. Also the majority of the countries of Europe, Morocco, Australia, Israel. So the majority of the international community supports why the interim President? Because they have understood that Maduro’s regime is not only a threat to Venezuela, it’s a threat to the region’"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Brexit may go into 'extra time' - "In the case of Venezuela, this is not an ideological crusade. You know, Juan Guido is a member of the sister party to the Labour Party. I doubt that he agrees with President Trump on very many policies at all and and that is why it is rather extraordinary that Maduro continues to get such strong support from Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonald and I would just simply say that simply because they share Maduro’s anti-Western worldview is not a reason to turn a blind eye to someone who has driven his people into poverty, where 70% of children in some areas are facing malnutrition"

US condemns arrest of journalist Cody Weddle in Venezuela - "The United States has condemned the arrest of an American journalist, Cody Weddle, who was seized by Venezuelan military intelligence in an early morning raid on his Caracas home."
Damn US sanctions!

The Left Keeps Getting Venezuela Wrong – Foreign Policy - "Anti-imperialists prefer a Russian-backed dictator to a public revolt... Venezuela is engulfed in a government-inflicted economic crisis twice the size of the Great Depression, which has provoked the largest movement of refugees in the recent history of Latin America... If you’re familiar with Cuban politics, the so-called Bolivarian Revolution begun by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has been ringing alarm bells for many years now. The idolization of a charismatic leader, the unwillingness of the regime to brook any opposition, the gross economic mismanagement, and blaming every failure on the machinations of the United States—all are familiar tropes for Cuba watchers... Yet much of the Western socialist left has persisted in ignoring the trajectory of Venezuela in order to sustain a fantasy of “21st-century socialism.” It’s reminiscent of the Western apologists for the Soviet Union that Arthur Koestler once compared to peeping Toms “who watch History’s debauches through a hole in the wall” while not having to experience it themselves... what is really frightening are those who, under the guise of anti-imperialism, consistently favor dictators—as long as they mouth anti-American platitudes... much of the anti-imperialist left has had a bad habit of putting itself on the side of the powerful, as long as they conduct their atrocities at home... Take Euromaidan in Ukraine, the struggle against Assad in Syria, and the ongoing protests in Venezuela. In each case, many on the left failed to offer solidarity to the people of these countries as they risked their lives confronting brutal regimes. In fact, the opposite has occurred: In most cases, prominent leftists have rushed to smear the rebels as “fascists,” “head choppers,” and, in Venezuela, “right-wing extremists.” Take Euromaidan in Ukraine, the struggle against Assad in Syria, and the ongoing protests in Venezuela. In each case, many on the left failed to offer solidarity to the people of these countries as they risked their lives confronting brutal regimes. In fact, the opposite has occurred: In most cases, prominent leftists have rushed to smear the rebels as “fascists,” “head choppers,” and, in Venezuela, “right-wing extremists.”... If imperialism is the “highest stage of capitalism,” as Vladimir Lenin once observed, then the perversion of anti-imperialism bandied about by the contemporary Western left is the most sordid incarnation of contemporary socialism... A center-left figure like newly recognized Venezuelan President Juan Guaidó—literally a member of the Socialist International—is smeared as a member of the “far-right opposition” simply because he’s backed by the United States. Trump doesn’t like Maduro; ergo, the latter’s crimes must be excused away or attributed to the actions of the United States."

Lucas Lynch - My Venezuelan friend, who I just found out was... - "My Venezuelan friend, who I just found out was tortured by the Chavez regime, expounding on yet another leftist defending the regime.
"I’m telling you man, having endured physical torture, electrocution, permanent nerve damage, death threats, etc, was in a way more tolerable than having to withstand the denial and manipulation by the hard left. Maybe they should have lobotomized me, then I’d be happily be eating kale salad and posting bullshit all day.""

Lucas Lynch - Had a meeting today with a whole bunch of developers... - "Had a meeting today with a whole bunch of developers and business people in the mix. Met a bunch of young guys, one of them a recently graduated student originally from Venezuela. At one point, a very confident developer in the corner, obviously a white American, started going on about how Venezuela's problems were obviously caused by decades of American intervention in the region.
The Venezuelan piped up - "Actually, not every problem in the region is America's fault..." The original kid kept interrupting him to tell him more about all the terrible things America has done. Another guy started chiming in. He tried again. "Yes, but really, we have problems that are totally our own..."
They kept interrupting him and telling him essentially he was wrong.
Now I don't necessarily hold up 'experience' as the be all and end all. I think anyone with a capacity for empathy and data collection really can walk a mile in someone else's shoes and come to understand where they are coming from. So I wouldn't tell someone to listen to a Venezuelan in such a discussion just because.
But..
Watching these two American shout over a Venezuelan and tell him, despite his protestations, that actually everything is our fault was delicious to behold.""

Blogger, 24, paralysed after stroking stray cat while on holiday in Portugal - "A blogger was left paralysed from the hips down after she contracted a bacterial infection from a stray cat. Gemma Birch, 24, of Southport, Merseyside, grew fond of the stray animal, named Catarina, during an all-inclusive stay at holiday resort in Albufeira back in 2014. Unbeknown to her, the animal was carrying a potentially deadly infection which ultimately left her wheelchair-bound for months."

A Blueprint for Education Reform | Facebook - "all schools need to be financially resourced the same. This means cutting all funding from private sources (in effect ending the aided-schools policy), and furthermore banning all schools from fund-raising or accepting donations... school infrastructure and other physical resources (e.g. sports facilities, science labs, special educational rooms and equipment) should also be identical or very close to identical... staffing and student-to-teacher ratio should be kept very close to identical to all schools. In other words, all schools should have around the same number of students, around the same number of teachers and around the same number of classes... Subject offerings in each school should all be identical also... all schools should take in a similar mix of students with my proposed system. When the mix of students in schools are very similar, and with tighter control over secondary school curriculum (see section 5) the O level results of the schools are expected to be similar as well...
I am also against overseas trips for students at the school level. I am of the view that such trips must be for the whole cohort (not for a select group of elite students), but doing so requires a large financial expenditure and high teacher workload & liability that is not worth the small marginal educational benefits for the child. A short local adventure camp (for the whole cohort) is acceptable I think.
The best way to remove inequality is to make everyone equally bad/poor/miserable (I've been told in the past that no one actually says that but...)

HIV-positive status of 14,200 people leaked online - "The HIV-positive status of 14,200 people – and confidential information such as their identification numbers and contact details – has been leaked online... The records were those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV up to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners, including work and visit pass applicants and holders, diagnosed with HIV up to December 2011.The leaked information included their names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, HIV test results and medical information. The details of another 2,400 of their contacts – identified through contact tracing – up to May 2007 were also leaked... The information is in the possession of an “unauthorised person” – Mikhy K Farrera Brochez, a US citizen in Singapore. Brochez was deported from Singapore in April 2018, after he was convicted of fraud and drug-related offences and sentenced to 28 months’ jail... Brochez was a partner of Ler Teck Siang, a male Singaporean doctor who was also head of MOH’s National Public Health Unit from March 2012 to May 2013. Prior to resigning in January 2014, Ler had access to the HIV Registry as required for his work, the ministry said.Ler is believed to have mishandled the information and did not comply with policies on the handling of confidential information, MOH said."
The HIV registry leak doesn't inspire confidence in Singapore's no opt-out National Electronic Health Record
Conveniently, the government is exempt from the PDPA because, we are told, government regulations are even stricter than the PDPA


Philippines AirAsia, Cebu Pacific among world's least punctual airlines - "Punctuality seems to be an issue for Asian airlines in general, as they make up the majority of those on the 10 least-punctual list"

'Starting to make a turn back? Great!': Trump advocates for 'Bible literacy classes' in US schools - "a growing number of US states are introducing bills that would allow more students in public high schools to study the Bible. There are proposals in at least six states that would make public schools offer optional classes on the Bible’s literary and historical significance"
Given that Richard Dawkins supports something similar, the outrage is hilarious.
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