Tag Archive | "Obama"

M’sian bomoh photobombs presidential selfie, proves critics wrong, impresses CIA

M’sian bomoh photobombs presidential selfie, proves critics wrong, impresses CIA

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He proves his special powers.

obama-bomoh-najib

The Malaysian bomoh, who tried to locate the missing MH370 plane in early March in Kuala Lumpur, but to no avail, has made a surprise visit.

While many in Malaysia and around the world doubted his abilities last month in using his psychic powers to conjure magic, the bomoh pulled a rabbit out of the hat during President Obama’s visit to Malaysia yesterday.

He photobombed a selfie between President Obama and Malaysia Premier Najib Razak, which silenced his critics once and for all and impressed the CIA.

Malay uncle looks like Obama with hair

Malay uncle looks like Obama with hair

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Doppelganger alert.

malay-obama

This picture is stolen from a story in Life! on Nov. 16, 2013, about cat owners staying in Chong Pang.

 

 

 

 

World’s worst baddies (dead and alive)

World’s worst baddies (dead and alive)

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These days, death is a fashionable must-have for dictators/terrorists/megalomaniacs of all sorts.

By Terence Lee

Darth Vader. Doctor Evil. Voldemort. Fiction and Hollywood are filled with great villains, but all of them pale in comparison to the real-life monsters we have in our midst. Together, these individuals are responsible for countless wars, and millions upon millions of innocent lives lost.

While some are captured and killed, others remain scot-free. Here, we take a short trip down memory lane and present you a totally unauthoritative list of the most evil villians ever.

#6 Muammar Gaddafi

If there’s an award for World’s Ugliest Baddie, he deserves it. Frog-faced Gaddafi was the autocratic ruler of Libya for over 40 years. His star power rose after he massacred thousands of civilians when they demanded that he step down from power.

His stubbornness and borderline insanity led to a civil war which lasted for months, and he has shown himself to be ruthless when it comes to putting civilians in harm’s way. He came perilously close to routing the rebels, but NATO’s intervention turned the tide of battle. Most recently, the rebels have reported that Gaddafi was shot and killed while trying to escape in a four-car convoy.

But while he scores points for his peacock-like fashion sense (probably compensating for his ugly face), he’s a noob when it comes to the PhD of villiany. His war with the rebels lasted for only a few months, and he was stupid for not escaping to neighboring countries when he had the chance. US President Obama must be really pleased.

#5 Kim Jong Il

Kim: "Can my cucumber be as big as this?"

Little known fact: Kim’s birth name was actually Yuri Irsenovich Kim. But more popularily known as Kim Jong Il, this shortie is a God amongst men. Revered as the Great Leader, he commands the respect of his brainwashed citizens, many of whom sing patriotic songs praising the Motherland.

This dude is ruthless. He commands the fourth largest standing army in the world, is ranked the 31st most powerful person by Forbes in 2010. He has no qualms about eliminating political rivals that stand in his way.

His propaganda is so potent that some North Koreans supposedly believe that he has a magical ability to change the weather. They even think that Kim is a global fashionista whose attire has set trends around the world. While that is a bit far out, he is somewhat of a cultural phenomena, having inspired a humor site and a YouTube video.

While he is very good at staying in power, he doesn’t have a lot of villainous deeds to be proud. He has a lot of bite but no bark. While he is good at hanging on to power, he did not start a war.

Unlike the next dude.

#4 Osama Bin Laden

The first virgin.

Ten years. That was how long it took to capture and kill him. His most famous act was of course 9/11, where he killed thousands of Americans. He was also the catalyst for two wars, one in Afghanistan and the other in Iraq. As the leader of terrorist network Al-Qaeda, he had a US$25 million bounty on his head —  enough to make 25 people millionaires.

Raised as a devout Muslim, he attended an elite theological school and may have even earned a degree of two. The brainy turbanator also did charity, enjoyed reading and writing poetry. He even plays soccer and was said to be a fan of Arsenal FC. New Nation spoke to a club spokesperson, and they won’t admit anything.

His crowning achievement, of course, was Al-Qaeda. He started the group in 1988, and slowly developed their version of jihad where the killing of innocent lives was permissible. He was responsible or involved in many terrorist operations throughout the 90s, which would become training exercises for the destruction of the Twin Towers.

But that singular act also proved to be his greatest downfall. Since he went for the jugular, Americans were outraged. They struck back, invaded Afghanistan, and sent Osama fleeing into the mountains. As brainy as he was, he failed to see that killing 1,000 people in 10 separate operations was much safer than killing 1,000 at once. And while he was foxy enough to evade capture for a decade, Obama eventually got Osama, found a stash of porn in his house, and discovered that he had a crush on Condoleezza Rice.

#3 Saddam Hussein

In the Facebook age, Saddam has been quickly forgotten. But as the former president of Iraq, he was responsible for the death of over 200,000 Kurdish people and other minorities. The mass killings happened from 1986 to 1989 as a decisive campaign against insurgency. Poison gas was used in cities, causing thousands of deaths. Many men accused of being rebels were sent to concentration camps where they faced the firing squad.

His hold on power, however, ended in 2003 when then US President George W. Bush invaded Iraq. He was eventually captured later the same year, tried in 2004, and executed in 2006 by hanging.

#2 George W. Bush

Seriously, you can’t get any more badass than former American President George W. Bush. This dude is directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of two of his rival villians (Saddam and Osama). And while many credit President Obama for killing Osama, you cannot ignore the painstaking intelligence work that was conducted during Bush’s time.

He invented an excuse to get rid of Saddam, telling the whole world that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, ie the Nuclear Bomb. As if to prove his macho-ness, he invaded Iraq without telling the other world leaders, effectively showing them the middle finger. And guess what? No nuclear devices were found. Zilch. Nada. And the World Leader was left red-faced.

He effectively sent thousands of patriotic American troops to a totally unnecessary war, causing unneeded casualties, widowed women, and fatherless children.

Either he was incredibly stupid, or hungry for oil.

And while he was busy inspecting troops in foreign lands, the US economy was suffering. A classic misstep: He instituted tax cuts while spending trillions of dollars on two war fronts.

But are his exploits enough to place him in the number two spot? Yes, because he got away scot free. He eased off into retirement, writing books and giving speeches. Only in the Land of the Free can that happen.

#1 Adolf Hitler

As evil (and clueless) as George Bush was, even he cannot match most devious character in human history — Adolf Hitler. Not much needs to be said about him, because plenty is  known. He wiped out 6 million Jews off the face of the Planet (and probably 10 Einsteins amongst them). Indirectly, he was responsible for killing over 60 million people, just for starting World War 2.

But if you think that’s the total extent of his impact, you’re wrong. While killing of Jews was horrifying in itself, it resulted in a revolt against Anti-Semitism which eventually led to the creation of the state of Israel.

His legacy is still evident today. On YouTube, he’s the inspiration behind countless parody videos, which altogether accumulated billions of pageviews.

Also, no sane parent would ever name their children ‘Adolf’ or ‘Hitler’.

That is why he is the number one baddie of all time.

Image credits: iluvuflickr, Marion Doss, Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

Reformed U.S. banker turned candlemaker wins “citizen of the year” award

Reformed U.S. banker turned candlemaker wins “citizen of the year” award

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Life as a blue collar worker in industrious America has never been more fulfilling.

This post was inspired by this and this and this.

Mrs Michael Smith, posing for the 2012 Obama campaign

Just 2 years ago Michael Smith, 35, was your typical banker wanker. A top investment banker in the Bank of America, Smith used to make millions a year while paying less tax than most Americans. Smith had it all, because the asshole never gave a cent to charity anyway.

Until he got laid off alongside the 29,999 other BofA personnel.

But thanks to the Banker Retraining Scheme (BRS) offered by the government under the Obama administration, Smith found a way into society finally as a normal, middle-class American worker as a candlestick maker in a suburban factory in Iowa.

The BRS was among the schemes offered in the administration’s push into a labour intensive manufacturing-based economy in a bid to solve a persistent unemployment problem.

“American exports should have been the main driver of our economy”, said government spokesperson who declined to be named. “But good, decent middle class American workers were losing their jobs to China due to currency manipulation.”

The Obama administration accuses China of artificially keeping the yuan undervalued to maintain their export advantage. And cold hard statistics supports its view. According to the CIA fact book, exports made up less than 9% of American GDP in 2010.

“We want to be the factory of the world”, said a representative from the U.S. department of commerce at a speech given during Smith’s prize-giving ceremony. “Anything China can do, we can do it cheaper, better and faster. And with reformed citizens like Mikey, we’ll be sure to reach that success point in no time”.

Smith was accompanied by his wife and 3 children during the ceremony. Eschewing his old wardrobe of silk shirts and ties, he instead chose a white tee paired with overalls. His wife wore a blue jumpsuit and a polka dotted scarf. All their apparel were apparently from JC Penny and proudly stitched in America.

“All those years I’ve forgotten what it meant to be a productive American. I’m working longer hours now at the factory and I have a hernia but boy am I proud to see the candles that emerge at the end of the line everyday. I was earning much more selling financial products in a previous life but I realize I was only fucking up the global economy.”

When asked if he hoped his children would follow in his footsteps, he nods enthusiastically.

“The rich have benefitted too much from the system. I want my children to learn about equality and fairness and what’s truly middle class America. They will grow up learning good old fashioned small town values and earn their keep through hard labour. If I open my small candle making business in a few years time, maybe they’ll help me there too. Fuck banking, blue collar America is the way to go now.”

Obama to propose “Buffett Tax” on millionaires

Obama to propose “Buffett Tax” on millionaires

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This is a 60 second summary of the article here and here.

Courtesy Reuters

No its not a tax on people who don’t finish their leftovers at the buffet table.

In a nod to investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett (rhymes with Muppet and spelt with two “T”s), beleaguered U.S. President Barack Obama will propose a tax on millionaires named after the third richest man in the world. Read the full story

A personal history of 9/11

A personal history of 9/11

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It’s been 10 years since the world was introduced to the term ‘9/11′ but the legacy of the fallen twin towers still lives on. By Fang Shihan

Courtesy: ibtimes.com

You don’t really give a shit about things when you’re 15.

I know I was having a nap during English class when I first heard about the World Trade Centre attack in New York.

In fact I was probably a little confused because when Ms. C our teacher asked us if we knew what the place was, I immediately thought about cable cars and the yearly family trip to Sentosa.

I really didn’t care – not even when a classmate watched an online video of a plane crashing into one of the twin towers, and not even when another classmate related a probably made-up story of her friend making a phone call to her saying that the plane just flew past her office window.

The O Levels then came and went in 2002 with almost no mention about Osama bin Laden or Islamicism. I probably knew the text of Julius Caesar better than the causes of the 9/11 attack or the implications it had on the global economy.

It was only in 2003 that I starting taking note of the legacy it made in the world. And it all started with a television broadcast of the war in Afghanistan.

After a long hike through Tioman island, a bunch of us JC kids (including pre-NS weapons enthusiasts) decided to sit down for dinner at a restaurant which happened to have a TV set tuned in to the evening news.

I didn’t understand a word of Bahasa, but I did understand the footage. In a dusty city somewhere in the Middle East, U.S. troops were driving though town squares in heavily armored vehicles, flashing their machine guns while civilians were being killed every minute. No war is without collateral. At that time my only point of reference was World War II and we all know WWII, in a nutshell, sucked.

Fast forward to university. After going through various texts and theories of war, international relations and exhaustive arguments with culture relativists, I decided to pick up religious studies as a minor because

1) I didn’t understand why people would pick on a religion that when translated, literally meant ‘peace’
2) why terrorists would terrorise for the promise of 72 virgins
3) why some Muslims were so hard up on a bunch of Danish cartoons when the rest of the world lampoons Christian nutters with little resistance
4) why people would wuss out on talking about the problem of obviously conflicting opinions, choosing instead to say “Oh everyone has a right to an opinion.”

Obviously everyone has a right to be nuts, but there had to be a reason why some opinions are considered more nutty than others.

And that was also when I decided that being in the news industry was pretty cool. Different aces report on the very same issues so differently, with so many consequences.

And we have no way of drawing any proverbial line on the black/white, right/wrong, objective/ subjective. Is Al Jazeera wrong for publishing shit about everyone else in the middle east except its pay masters, the Qatar royalty? Is Fox News being unobjective for slamming the liberals and having a Christian undertone when the liberal outlets have their own slant too?

So a decade down the road since 9/11, here i am at New Nation, where we write about stuff that happens everyday. It’s been a long time since the first image of the twin towers collapsing was etched deep into my memory but in truth, 9/11 has really stuck.

So what if Osama’s dead. Obama’s still getting flak for having a Muslim middle name, people are still making money talking about Islamic security threats (real or imagined) in the region, and Muslims are still being detained in Singapre by Internal Security for being terrorist threats.

The truth is, 9/11 just gave the developed world an excuse to pick on something else after the Cold War. And until we find that something else to demonise, there can be no closure to the event that will shaped the histories of Muslims, Americans, Singaporeans and the like, for better or for worse.

A former Young PAP volunteer speaks

A former Young PAP volunteer speaks

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After observing the 2008 presidental elections in the US during a study trip, Bernard Leong quit the Young PAP.

ON 7th May, I will be voting for the first time. People around me murmur that this will be a watershed election, with the opposition making a breakthrough in one or two GRCs and the majority of SMCs.

Yet others say election results will favour the ruling party, with them taking the majority and conquering one of the two opposition forts. As for me, I’m an undecided voter who is following the debate closely.

For a time, I was ignorant about politics. That changed when I went to university. I started learning more about socio-political and economic issues in my General education modules. GE 2006 was around the corner then, and that piqued my interest in current affairs.

After GE 2006, I decided to get my feet wet by connecting myself with people on the ground. So I volunteered with the Young PAP.

Why them? Since the PAP had been a consistent winner, I want to see how they work. Furthermore, the government under the PAP has a relatively high annual defence budget, and this gelled with my pro-military stance. I also liked the fact that many of the military top brass are roped in to join the PAP as Ministers.

Joining Meet the People’s sessions allowed me to understand Singaporeans’ feeling and contribute back to society. I was also asked to be a tertiary students’ feedback coordinator to collate the opinion of young Singaporeans under 25.

In total, I was in the YPAP General Branch from Sept 2006 to August 2007. I must say that I’ve learned a lot from this experience under Tampines Changkat (MP Ms Irene Ng’s ward), which has many seasoned grassroots leaders whom I still respect.

My pro-PAP stance soon changed again. I went over to the States for further studies from 2007 to 2008, and there I witnessed the American Presidential elections where Obama won as the dark horse.

As a foreigner, I was an independent observer in the midst of the crossfire between my American friends of both Democratic and Republican camps. From then on, I’ve learnt to examine both sides of the debate. There is an old native Indian saying which goes something like this, “Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.”

I came back home more discerning about politics. In 2009, I finally decided to become a independent research observer to give a fair and objective appraisal of public affairs in Singapore.

So I decided to leave the YPAP. At first, it was an unnerving decision because I always associated PAP as being synonymous with Singapore.

So I decided to leave the YPAP. At first, it was an unnerving decision because I always associated PAP as being synonymous with Singapore. One incident which enlightened me about the separation of government and politics, was my conversation with a US Army officer around the time of the American Presidential Elections in 2008.

To my surprise, he supported Obama instead of McCain. He said, “The government of the day is my boss but politics is separate. I will only accept constitutionally lawful orders from the President.” So this is the reason why America is the longest running democracy in the world. Despite its flaws, it can self-correct in the long run and it has the size to do so.

So I wrote an email to my friends at YPAP and grassroots leaders of Tampines Changkat to bid farewell, explaining my decision to start my own independent study to examine Singapore and its system. They were rather cool about it.

For this General Election, Singaporeans have to ask themselves: What kind of country do they want? I was struck by former Permanent Secretary Mr Ngiam Tong Dow’s remarks in a Straits Times interview in October 2003.

He asked aloud what kind of legacy does MM Lee wants to leave behind for Singapore, and concluded that our leaders have to accept that Singapore is larger than the PAP. He used the historical cities of Sparta and Athens. Sparta was a militaristic city where the leadership was largely self-selected from the best and the fittest through meritocracy.

Athens was a civic-minded city where there was diversity of views from the various Philosophers. In the end, Athens survived far longer and better than Sparta. Sparta ended up with dictatorship and elitism.

When I go to the polls, I will be asking myself the following questions.

1) What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind for the next generation?

2) Which party’s ideals and manifesto relate to me best?

Whatever our decision, we must be prepared to live with it for at least the next 5 years.

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Message for US this week: Go green or be owned by China

Message for US this week: Go green or be owned by China

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The world is hot, flat, crowded… and innovation flocks over to the East.

By Fang Shihan

Get naughty and go green at the same time: here's a vibrator powered by the sun. LIBIDA.COM

SO YOU think you’re going green. You’re eating tofu, you’re building your little attap house in the park while thumbing your nose at pretentious ‘campers’ using plasticky environmentally-unfriendly tents.

You may even have started using vegan condoms and/or solar vibrators. But according to Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Friedman, who recently spoke at the University Cultural Centre in NUS, that’s far from being part of a Green Revolution.

That’s just a party.

Of course we’ve all heard the same tired story before. How we can be greener and cleaner; how companies like BP and Exxon Mobil pay lip service to environmentalists while they slowly pollute the sea and whine about not having an off-day (check); how governments must ‘care’ more for mother earth instead of focusing on narrow nationalist interests.

Do I hear you yawning? Yeah, curse those green tree-huggers and their moral high ground.

But what if being Green now meant something concrete: quantifiable in jobs, dollars, and cents?

That was the take home message this week, both from Friedman and Obama, the latter in his state-of the union address.

There is economic and political sense in Green. In Friedman’s words:

“The country that masters Green technology first will control the future of energy production.”

Renewable energy too was mentioned nine times in Obama’s speech, more than twice that of the word “China”, which was mentioned 4 times.

“Clean energy technology”, he says, is “an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.”

Yet he cautions that China and India were real competitors for those coveted jobs (the U.S. unemployment rate still stands at a worrying 9%) and China surprisingly, appears to be even Greener than First World USA, scoring vegan brownie points by hosting the world’s largest private solar research facility.

Wait. Really? Those Chinamen? Those sidewalk-spitting, money-grubbing, melamine producing, known-for-being-unethical Chinamen?

Green has ceased to be merely a moral issue. Being the first to own sustainable energy production knowledge, is very concretely monetary and in today’s world, he who hath the dollars, hath the power to shape the world order.

There needn’t be such a disconnect. Gone are the days when the Greens were those who a) wanted to show that they could afford to care about the planet, or b) wanted to show that they had a moral upper hand over capitalist oil-guzzling, meat-eating creeps.

If the drive for renewable energy is powered by business and innovation instead of angst, then there should be no reason why green companies and toxic toy makers shouldn’t exist side by side, in a country that is generally friendly towards businesses. Exactly like China today.

“If only we became China for a day”, laments Friedman, noting that America just needed a kick in the butt, top-down, to start the downward price spiral for green energy.

Commodities like coal and oil can only increase in price as demand increases but technology-based green energy sources like solar and wind power, can only decrease in price as their take-up rate rises.

So how does Singapore fare in the race to create the next Green Google?

Chris Tobias is the managing director of Forward, an enterprise dedicated to sustainability focused projects. He relocated business operations to Singapore, anticipating significant traction in the region in areas like cleantech, food security, and climate change.

In the U.S. you have entrenched industry stalwarts holding up progress, and even in ‘green’ countries like New Zealand there’s a death-by-consensus snailing visionary projects. Singapore is gratefully without many of these obstacles,” he said.

Another innovator, Darrell Zhang, founder of local startup Optiras Pte Ltd, builds energy optimising solutions. His company was funded under a scheme administered by the National Research Foundation (NRF) starting 2010.

“Three out of seven of the NRF-Appointed Incubators offer funding for cleantech-based projects and it definitely bodes well for the potential of this space” he says.

But he also adds that Singapore still lags behind America in terms of innovation, partly because startups here lack mentorship.

Innovation seems to be drifting out from the West to the East. If I could hedge a bet, I’d say Green energy, a sector heavily driven by innovation, would emerge not from the mature startup market in America, but from a country in the grant-rich East with the right ecosystem.

Winning the race to export green energy will determine which powerhouse will win the global economic war. Why? Because Green has ceased to be merely a moral issue. Being the first to own sustainable energy production knowledge, is very concretely monetary and in today’s world, he who hath the dollars, hath the power to shape the world order.

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