Friday, November 13, 2009

Britons among the ugliest people

Britons among the "ugliest people", dating site says

Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:49pm GMT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britons are among the ugliest people in the world, according to a dating website that says it only allows "beautiful people" to join.

Fewer than one in eight British men and just three in 20 women who have applied to have been accepted, an emailed statement from the website showed.

Existing members of the "elite dating site" rate how attractive potential members are over a 48 hour period, after applicants upload a recent photo and personal profile.

Swedish men have proved the most successful, with 65 percent being accepted, while Norwegian women are considered the most beautiful with 76 percent accepted, the website said.

The way that accepts new members is simple. A potential member applies with a photo and a brief profile. Over 48 hours, existing members of the opposite sex vote whether or not to admit them, the site said.

Options are: "Yes definitely," "Hmm yes, O.K," "Hmm no, not really" and "No definitely not."

The site was founded in 2002 in Denmark and went live across the globe last month. Since then, the site has rejected nearly 1.8 million people from 190 countries, admitting just 360,000 new members.

"I would say Britain is stumbling because they don't spend as much time polishing up their appearance and they are letting themselves down on physical fitness," Beautiful People managing director Greg Hodge said. "Next to Brazilian and Scandinavian beauties, British people just aren't as toned or glamorous."

Only the male Russian and Polish applicants fared worse than British men, although Russian women had a 44 percent acceptance rate. Polish women did not appear in the table. Continued...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuel Sleng Genocide Museum

Click on photo to enlarge

A torture using water tank

Khmer Rogue's Ten Commandments (torture manual for prisoners)

Cell for prisoners awaiting torture


Hanging and immersing head in water

Torture implement

Water tank for torture purposes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

American Hypocrisy:Come Hell Or High Water

Roman Polanski's Arrest: Why the French Are Outraged

Although the cultural divide between Europe and the U.S. has narrowed over the years, the legal fate of director Roman Polanski shows there are still major differences. Polanski's arrest in Switzerland on Sept. 26 was greeted with satisfaction in the U.S., where authorities hope he will face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. Europeans, meanwhile, are shocked and dismayed that an internationally acclaimed artist could be jailed for such an old offense.

"To see him thrown to the lions and put in prison because of ancient history - and as he was traveling to an event honoring him - is absolutely horrifying," French Culture Minister FrÉdÉric Mitterrand said after Polanski was arrested upon arrival in Switzerland to attend the Zurich Film Festival, where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award. "There's an America we love and an America that scares us, and it's that latter America that has just shown us its face." In comments that appeared to be directed at Swiss and American authorities to free Polanski, Mitterrand added that both he and French President Nicolas Sarkozy hoped for a "rapid resolution to the situation which would allow Roman Polanski to rejoin his family as quickly as possible." (See the top 25 crimes of the century.)

Polanski, who won an Academy Award in 2003 for directing The Pianist, admitted to having unlawful sexual intercourse with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer as part of a plea bargain in which other charges - including drugging and raping the girl - were dropped. However, fearful that the Los Angeles judge in the case was about to renege on the deal and slap him with a long prison sentence, Polanski fled the U.S. in 1978 and never returned. He has spent the past 30 years in France, where he has raised a family and continued his career unhindered. That is, until Saturday. Swiss police seized Polanski on an international warrant issued by U.S. authorities in 2005 and, under bilateral treaties, will now extradite him to the U.S. unless barred from doing so by Swiss courts. (Read "Redeeming Roman Polanski.")

France never complied with the arrest warrant because its laws prohibit the extradition of its citizens to other countries. At the same time, many people in France have over the years downplayed the gravity of Polanski's crime because of his immense talent and artistry as a director. The 76-year-old, who was born in France, has increasingly been seen as the victim of an obsessive U.S. justice system that is ready to pluck him up and drag him off to prison at any moment. Those feelings were reinforced by the 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, in which filmmaker Marina Zenovich argues that the judge and prosecutor in the case may have engaged in legal misconduct in obtaining Polanski's guilty plea. The film also contains an appeal by Geimer, the victim, for Polanski to be pardoned - leaving his European supporters perplexed as to why U.S. officials wouldn't finally close the book on him. (Read "More Sex, Please, We're French.")

Read more.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My story, by the mistress of Bernard Madoff

Sheryl Weinstein gave her life savings and her love to disgraced financier without realising he was world’s biggest swindl

Cynthia Friedman
Image :4 of 4

For almost three months after Bernie Madoff was arrested, I wandered through life in a mental fog. Day after day, I awoke with a weight on me; this total feeling of dread. Not only do I feel like Bernie stole our money, but he also stole our future dreams, a part of my son’s future, the little money my parents had left me, and the money my 88-year-old mother-in-law had given to us to invest for her.

In those early days, my dark, ironic humour took hold. One night as I sat in my bedroom, unable to comprehend all that had happened, a thought entered my mind: I am probably the only person in the world who has been screwed twice by Bernie Madoff.

Ronnie, my husband, wasn’t aware of my entire story. I decided it was best to tell him before he found out. I had faith that his reaction would be all right. I felt comfortable being truthful with him. I wasn’t proud of what I had done, but we had been married for almost 37 years, and this was the extent of my unfaithfulness.

We sat down after dinner one night. I told him that I had something to share with him. Before he could say anything, I plunged in. “I had an affair 15 years ago.”

He didn’t appear shocked or angry, but he asked: “With whom?”

This was the hard part. “With Bernie,” I said.

“You’re kidding!” He almost laughed. “With Bernie? Him? What about Joey?”

Joey was my college boyfriend, whom I’d stayed in touch with over the years. “I thought if you were going to have an affair with anyone it would be him,” Ronnie said.

“No, it was Bernie.”

In order to move forward, I have decided to tell my story. I truly hope Ronnie will be able to forgive me for sharing these private moments in our lives.

It was 9am on February 25, 1988 when I entered New York’s Lipstick Building, the red-enamelled skyscraper on Third Avenue. As chief financial officer of Hadassah, a Jewish charitable organisation of 350,000-plus women, I’d been asked to a meeting to discuss a $7m donation, the largest we had received from a single benefactor.

The donor, an elderly man named Albert, lived in France. He wanted to remain anonymous, and he stipulated that a New York broker named Bernard Madoff should manage the funds. So here we were — Ruth, the Hadassah president, two other executives and me — at the Lipstick Building to meet Madoff

I didn’t see him when he first entered the room, but I watched as Ruth’s eyes widened, her thin lips parting in a contented grin. Turning to look, I saw that he was wearing a cardigan. His casual attire seemed contrived in its subtlety, as if to say, I’m relaxed and in control; trust me! It was one of the only times I would ever see him so casually dressed.

When his gaze fell on me, he blinked and looked a bit surprised. At 39, I was younger than my colleagues by more than two decades. He gave me a welcoming smile. It wasn’t lewd and lascivious, but slightly seductive and almost happy. I knew instantly that he was attracted to me.

Though I’d felt a surge of connection, I wasn’t particularly attracted to him — he didn’t have the pretty-boy features I preferred. Still, there was something in him that piqued my interest. My female intuition was telling me there was something else going on with this man; there was an intrinsic sensuality about him that was both attractive and alluring. Yet there was also an oily slickness that I found disconcerting. Bernie kept catching my eye in a way that was different from how he looked at the other women in the room. And when he wasn’t looking at me, I found myself admiring his distinctive profile.

Before the end of our first meeting, Bernie and I had exchanged business cards. As the caretaker of Hadassah’s finances, I would have to speak with him occasionally. But I also knew Bernie would be calling me regardless. So I wasn’t surprised when a few days later he phoned my office.

“Would you like to get together and discuss investment strategies?” he asked.

“Of course,” I replied.

He invited me to lunch at his office where, as I waited for him, I thought about how nice it felt to be noticed by a man, especially one as influential and successful as Bernie. I’d been married for 16 years, and still I’d felt alone a long time. Ronnie could be a difficult man. Things have changed since, but back then he had a temper and suffered from significant mood swings.

I jumped when I heard Bernie’s voice behind me.

“Hi, Sheryl,” he said in a low, husky tone.

That same wide, desire-filled smile spread across his face, and an air of excitement saturated the room. This time, he was wearing a navy suit with a light blue shirt that made his grey-blue eyes more alluring than I remembered. He took my hand and leaned in to kiss my cheek. “So glad you could come today.”

We discussed very little business. Bernie talked a lot about his family. He grew up in Queens and met Ruth, his wife, when she was 13 and he was 16. By the time he and I met, the high-school sweethearts had been married for almost 30 years. Bernie was approaching his 50th birthday. He explained that Ruth, his brother, Peter, and his older son, Mark, were in business with him. His younger son, Andrew, would be graduating soon and was expected to join the firm.

I remember laughing a lot with Bernie that day. The one bit of business we discussed was whether he’d be willing to invest some of Hadassah’s money in addition to Albert’s donation. Bernie agreed that it would be a possibility, and I told him I’d run the idea by our volunteers.

He had several stipulations. He would invest Hadassah’s money but would be unavailable to answer questions from anyone on our finance advisory board. When I asked him why, he told me the investment advisory side of his company was small, and he implied that he was doing this as an accommodation and didn’t want to be bothered by people asking him a lot of questions.

We decided to invest a few million dollars and see how it went. We all felt confident. After all, a donor with a good reputation had referred us to Bernie, and Bernie had been in business since 1960.

Bernie and I started making lunch a regular thing. I quickly realised he was a total narcissist, completely self-absorbed. By the time we’d been seeing each other six months, I’d picked up on a few of his eccentricities. In the middle of a conversation, he’d start blinking uncontrollably. He was constantly clearing his throat. I am convinced he suffers from Tourette’s syndrome — a neurological disorder characterised by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalisations called tics — or some other undiagnosed illness such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Bernie’s constant blinking prompted me to give him the nickname “Winky Dink”. He blinked all the time when he was with me, and not so noticeably when others were around.

One of his obsessive tendencies centred on his wardrobe. He had custom-tailored suits from Kilgour of Savile Row, London; 25 blue and 25 grey lined up in his closet on East 64th Street. They were identical and numbered so that he could match the trousers to the jackets. I found that very peculiar.

When Bernie described his sons, they sounded spoilt and obnoxious. It annoyed Bernie that Mark and Andrew insisted on flying every time they wanted to go to the family’s waterfront home at Montauk on Long Island’s East End. It was a 2½-hour drive from Manhattan — three in summer traffic — but the boys didn’t care to spend their precious time in the car.

Summer was nearly over when, as I arrived for lunch with him at the Four Seasons, Bernie looked up and down the length of my body. “Sheryl, do you know how incredibly sexy you are?”

I smiled. How can a woman answer a question like that? Bernie seemed enchanted by my sexuality. After we’d ordered our meal, he suddenly leant in towards me as if he was going to share a secret. “How about the two of us going off together somewhere?”

I was totally taken aback. The thought of taking our friendship beyond flirtation frightened me. I looked at him and started laughing. “I don’t think so. Adultery is not my thing. It’s not what I’m about. I’ve only been with two men in my life, my husband and my college boyfriend. I don’t know what you must be thinking of me, Bernie.”

“Well, that takes the pressure off,” he said, sitting back in his chair. He looked enormously relieved. Obviously, he thought I was expecting a proposition and didn’t want to disappoint me. Now we could relax and be ourselves — which we did for the next several years before our friendship took a much more intimate turn.

Bernie had been earning consistent returns of between 18% and 20% for Hadassah — nice, steady returns. I began to think about personally investing with him. Mom wanted to transfer her money, too. In March 1993, while Bernie and I were having drinks at the St Regis hotel, I bit the bullet and asked him if he’d be willing to handle my personal funds.

“It’s not much,” I said. “We only started saving money when I joined Hadassah. I’m afraid what we have will be well below your minimum.”


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Whale Shark Butchered And Sold At Kota Kinabalu Fish Market

Hantu Laut

Openly displayed on the table at the Central Fish Market at Kota Kinabalu.Killed, either out of ignorance or typical don't care attitude.

I was shocked what befalls my eyes when I went to the fish market this morning.There right in front of me were parts of a baby whale shark for sale.The juvenile was probably just a few years old.When I asked the fish monger where she got the fish from she said she bought it from a fisherman.When I told her it is illegal to kill this type of fish she just gave me a blank look and shrugged her shoulder, meaning she doesn't know or doesn't care.

It's a terrible sight just to see this gentle giant being slaughtered.It has very little commercial value here.This specie is protected in many countries in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific where they are mainly concentrated.They are also protected in Sabah waters but little have been done to educate the fishing community not to kill the specie.

Whale shark is placed in Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).It is also on Appendix II of CMS (Convention on Migratory Species also known as the Bonn Convention).Listing on CITES require member nations to monitor the international trade in whale shark product and to ensure it does not threaten survival of the specie.

Our Fisheries Department has done nothing in term of monitoring and enforcement.The whole fishing industry here is topsy-turvy and mired in all kind of illegal activities.Typical civil servants who sit on their arses and take no pride in their jobs.Fish bombing, using cynide and preserving fish using formalin are rampant practices here, endangering the people's health and the health of the ocean.

Next time you go to the fish market beware of those fresh looking fish where even the flies don't dare to go near, it could be laced with formalin (formaldehyde).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Najib's Popularity Soars

Najib scores a pass with 65pc

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 – When he entered office in early April, he owned one of the lowest approval ratings of any incoming Malaysian Prime Minister.

One hundred days later and after a slew of measures to reform the economy, Malaysians appear to be warming up to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, a latest survey by an independent polling house shows.

The poll by the Merdeka Centre shows that his approval rating is 65 per cent, a spike from the tepid 46 per cent in mid-May and 42 per cent just before he became the country’s sixth leader.

Twenty-two per cent are dissatisfied with his performance while 13 per cent were undecided.

The survey findings will present further evidence to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that the days of it contending with a weak and unsure leader in Putrajaya are over.

Ibrahim Suffian, head of the polling institute, said: “Quite clearly, a growing number of Malaysians like some of the policy initiatives of the PM and his inclusive message.

“Some have begun to trust his leadership and some are giving him the benefit of doubt. This has translated into a higher approval rating.”

Some 1,060 selected registered voters were surveyed between June 19 and July 1.

They were asked a range of questions to gauge the PM’s performance, sentiment on the country and economy and measures to liberalise the economy.

The margin of error is about +/- 3 per cent. The survey was jointly commissioned by Merdeka Centre and a research house.Read more....

Malaysia, Decades Behind Hong Kong

By Simon Templer

I was away to Hong Kong recently. This was not my 1st trip there but this little island of nothing never fail to amaze me. Hong Kong is actually pretty much like Singapore, but Malaysians have this 'thing' against Singapore. So anything said in comparison to Singapore will not be taken seriously.

Hong Kong used to be known as a country of rude people. If you had gone shopping there years ago, browsing and flipping through items have better led to a purchase. Or else you are gonna kena from the auntie manning the store. Waiters and waitresses were infamous for throwing dishes around the table. And talking very loudly too as well. But Hong Kong today has left behind their arrogance and poor manners. The people of Hong Kong have changed to survive.

Many attributed this character change to the 1997 crisis. Hong Kong was hit really badly then. They are a global financial hub and a financial crisis will undoubtedly hit them hard. Property prices came tumbling down. Tourism also took a hard hit. Businesses everywhere were failing and it woke the Hong Kong people up. A very drastic attitude change was required to revive the little island of dim sums. I don't know how the government pulled it off but in a very short time span, Hong Kong took a very sharp turn in the attitude of their people.

Today, walk into any retail outlet and you will be greeted with a big welcome - foon ying kong lam, chui pin thai ha la... That translates to 'Welcome. Please browse around.'. And all said with some spirit and a smile. All their sales people are trained to do that - regardless of if it is a designer boutique or plain street wear store. You may even get greeted a few times in a single store. And the service is excellent. The sales personnel go all out to make sure that you get your size. And they are more than happy to remind you that so and so items are on discount. And if you purchase so and so number of items, you get additional discounts. And when you walk out, you get thanked in abundance. And it doesn't matter if you had bought anything at all. As a consumer from Malaysia, this is indeed a very pleasant experience.

Here in KL, we get uptight sales personnel at designer boutiques who think that they are some god sent angel simply because they have on them an Armani uniform. Or when you walk into a more humanly affordable store, you get poor service, or sometimes no service, because you are a cheapo who should scramble through a pile of clothes to find that medium size t-shirt. Apparently we consumers in Malaysia owe these stores a living. Of course you stumble upon some nice helpful sales personnel but that's because your stars and planets have lined in the correct position on that lucky day.

How often have you waved your hands to attract the attention of the waiters to fill up your glass of water? I had in many occasions walked to the serving counter to serve myself. There is only so long that my right arm can hang in mid air. Not in Hong Kong. You will be surprised at how quick service is offered. There is a simple reason to that - the waiting staffs are attentive. They are on constant look out for what the customers require. And food is of good quality too. In Hong Kong where rental and wages are crazy high, it is not easy to do business. I think the restaurant owners in Hong Kong must have found the right formula to success - serving quality food. In a competitive environment, quality is critical to success. Yes, it is true that the prices of food is expensive but that's because our Malaysian Ringgit has low purchasing power. I have travelled quite a fair bit and I dare say that at parity purchasing power, Hong Kong offers excellent food quality at their prices. In Malaysia, we have to pay through our sorry arse to sample some not notch food at some fancy restaurants. And most often than not, even with your blood drained and after losing a couple of limbs, the food is still below acceptable level. You see, in Malaysia, we owe the business operators a living.Read more......

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Briton wins dream job

Briton wins dream job in £50m PR coup for Australian tourism

• Ex-tour guide, 34, beats 35,000 others worldwide
• Competition hailed as great publicity stunt

It was billed as the world's greatest job, a chance to relax in one of the planet's most beautiful places for six months and be paid £73,000 for the privilege. But as a 34-year-old Briton won a competition to be appointed "caretaker" of a remote Australian island yesterday, the real winner was the Queensland tourism board, which has pulled off a great PR stunt by generating well over £50m of free publicity.

News that Ben Southall, an ostrich riding, bungee jumping charity worker from Petersfield, Hampshire, had beaten almost 35,000 hopefuls to be put in notional charge of Hamilton island on the Great Barrier Reef was gazetted around the world. By lunchtime, almost 1,000 articles on his appointment were accessible via Google News, with media organisations in China, Canada, the US, Germany, Russia and Indonesia running the story.

Southall, a former tour guide, starts "work" on 1 July and will live for free in a three-bedroom oceanfront villa with a pool and sweeping views. He is contracted to work only 12 hours a month and has duties as arduous as snorkelling and feeding the fish. But his main job is as an ambassador, writing blogs and raising awareness of the island.

The job is part of a A$1.7m (£840,000) tourism campaign to publicise northeastern Queensland and officials say it has already generated more than A$110m (£50m) worth of publicity. Yesterday Queensland's premier, Anna Bligh, called the contest "the most successful tourism marketing campaign in history".Read more.......

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Favourite Mufti

Hantu Laut

Asri was mufti for two years before quitting the position to move to Wales last December to research on Islam. — Picture by Jeremiah Mahadevan

If we have more mufti like him than Malaysia would not have so much inter-religious problems.

Mohamad Asri Zainul is the most dogmatic and progressive mufti in the country because I believe he has the true interpretation of Islamic jurisprudence.It is sad that he has to leave his job to further his study in Islamic theology.

I hope one day he would be made the Grand Mufti of Malaysia.

Read his latest comment on the government intervention on raising children with parents of different faiths here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

See It !

Hantu Laut

Caution !

Not for those under 18 years of age.If you are below 18, please do not proceed any further.