People getting laid off, more and more fresh graduates walking into unemployment and a job market grimmer that any we’ve seen in recent time. Let’s face it, times are in fact, hard.
With many young adults who are still in school or barely surviving with low paying jobs, income has largely been affected as the pandemic continues to shake up livelihoods across the globe.
The unemployment rate in Malaysia was at 4.9 percent in June 2020. While more Malaysians file for unemployment, the official statistics also show that there is an increasing number of individuals leaving the labor force for various reasons although the Government has relaxed the Movement Control Order.
Money being as tight as ever, evictions are just around the corner for many as rent is still ever present for may who are renting their own place.
So, what do you do if you’re worrying about not being able to pay rent?
Work out a payment plan.
Don’t wait until the due date to contact your landlord; by giving them as much notice as possible, they’ll be able to meet with you to work something out as you’ll show a clear sign of good faith.
As long as sincerity is present, it’ll be points towards wanting to make something work.
Provide documentations of your financial hardships or even prepare a note from your employer or evidence of your unemployment application.
Apply for relief
Two stimulus economic packages have since been unveiled. The RM20 billion (US$4.6 billion) Economic Stimulus Package 2020 was launched on Feb 27 by then interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The second stimulus package, valued at RM230 billion, which carries the theme “Prihatin Rakyat”, was unleashed by the new Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin a month later on Mar 27. The sheer size of the new stimulus package reflects how rapidly the economic environment has deteriorated within a month.
Make the most of the stimulus by applying for them as a little bit of help could go a long way, especially in these times.
Talk to your landlord
When times are tough, landlords tend to show flexibility. Talk to your landlord and talk about your situation.
Landlords tend to help around with tenants with payment obligations, waiving of late fees and establishing payment plans. You never know about what you don’t ask, so consider utilizing the power of plain communication.
In a letter dated August 27th, Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions, said U.S. states will receive permit applications in the near future from McKesson Corp., which has contracted with the CDC to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals.
U.S President Donald Trump has also forecasted a U.S. vaccine approval by October.
So, who is in the race of developing America’s Covid-19 vaccine? The three leading drug makers backed by the U.S. in late-staging testing now are Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Moderna CEO, Stephane Bancel, said that they should have enough data from its late-stage trial to know whether its vaccine works in November. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company also became the first to publish the blueprints of its study following public pressure for greater transparency. Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine enters the final stage trial this month.
As of September 19th, Moderna had recruited 25,296 volunteers. Among them, 10,025 had received their second dose, 28 days after the first. It’ll take a few more weeks to recruit the full quotient of 30,000 participants and for them to receive their second doses. Only Covid-19 infections recorded two weeks or more after the second dose are counted, to give the vaccine sufficient time to take effect.
Pfizer CEO, Albert Boula said its vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year, citing that the company should have key data from its late-stage trail by the end of October, which is line with what U.S President Donald Trump’s wants. Currently at phase 3 trials, Pfizer also published the blueprints for its research, soon after Moderna’s move.
While Pfizer is a household name in pharmaceuticals, it’s also a collaborating with a lesser known Biopharmaceutical New Technologies. Pfizer and BioNTech are planning to expand the enrollment of their phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial from 30,000 to 44,000 participants.
AstraZeneca co-developed a vaccine with the University of Oxford, but the global trials for it were suspended last week after a study volunteer, a previously healthy 37-year-old woman “experienced confirmed transverse myelitis” after receiving her second dose of the vaccine.
AstraZeneca has since announced that it will pause the the trial worldwide. The trial resumed in the U.K. on Saturday but is yet to resume in the U.S. Communications about the patient’s condition has not been fully transparent too, citing a company spokesperson that they “cannot disclose medical information.”
Trump said a vaccine could be three or four weeks away, despite cautionary warnings by U.S public health officials about that accelerated timeline.
Trump, speaking at a town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, defended his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and said a vaccine could be ready for distribution before the US presidential election on Nov 3.
“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he said.
“If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals. And we’re within weeks of getting it … could be three weeks, four weeks.”
U.S Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden contradicted Trump, warning Americans that they cannot trust the president’s word. The president has since hit back at Biden, accusing him of spreading “anti-vaccine rhetoric”.
Stages of the race
The vaccines are usually tested on animals first to assess the safety and also its effects on the immune system. In order to pacen the process, researchers have tested both and animals and humans together.
Clinical Trials (Phase 1)
Vaccine is given to a group of people (usually between 10-50)
Clinical Trials (Phase 2)
Further tests are then administered on hundreds of people.
Many coronavirus vaccines combine both phase 1 and 2 trials, which means that it is directly tested on hundreds of people instead in its supposing first phase.
Clinical Trials (Phase 3)
Thousands of people across different ages and locations are then given the vaccine; researchers later observe on how many contact the virus then. This shows how good it is at reducing new infections.
The trial results are then reviewed by regulators who then determine whether it should be approved for licensing and large-scale manufacturing
Each step can typically take up to two years or more to complete, but the race has since forced some companies to combine or skip steps to accelerate the process.
Operation Warp Speed
The U.S. government has stood by an “America First” approach to finding a vaccine. The Operation Warp Speed initiative is an effort largely similar in purpose with the mission to get a man on the moon. Launched in May this year, it aims of delivering 300 million “safe, effective’ doses by January 2021; eight of the most promising vaccine candidates has been selected and given a boost by the U.S. government.
$10.8 billion has been dedicated for vaccine development and procurement while $1.5 billion has been pumped in for manufacturing and distribution.
With the Sabah election happening in a week from today, the public has found something particularly fascinating about the recent release of candidates; not Musa Aman being left out, but more towards the list as a whole as Malaysia was once again introduced to the odd world of names in Sabah.
Those who aren’t from Sabah have often been astonished by the unusual name in a multi-ethnic state, but for individuals like retired Sabah Archives director Datuk Datu Tigabelas Datu Zainal Abidin, it has been something that they have grew to get used to.
“It has been difficult carrying this name. In school, I was teased and it was hard for me to make friends but I’ve learned to live with it,” he said in an interview with The Star.
On the other hand, the unusualness of the candidate’s names makes the candidates themselves easy to keep track off as each has their own unique aura.
Among the 400 candidates, one of the memorable names that has caught netizen’s attention so far is Warisan’s candidate for the Bugaya seat, Datin Manis Muka Mohd Darah.
The Semporna Warisan Wanita Chief’s appellation is certainly evocative: “Manis muka” means “sweet face”, and “Darah” means blood in Malay.
Twitter user Hermy Rahim said: “If the opposition pits me against her, I’m definitely not contesting.”
Manis Muka, who is also the incumbent assemblywoman of Bugaya, is set for a six-cornered battle to defend her seat.
Other than that, voters will also be seeing a lot more such as, Undang Tumpong from Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), Jainudin Berahim from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Riduan Sampai from Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) at the polls.
The Sabah election is set for September 26th and sees up to 447 candidates, including 56 independents who will eventually fight for a spot in the 73 state assembly seat.
If there’s one thing that we Malaysians do best, it’s creating our own language’s version any given subject.
On top of showing our own unique ways of conversing in everyday subjects, it’s also a great way to lighten up a conversation by turning it in a humorous direction during those ever classic “lepak” or “yumcha” sessions.
As one sentence could contain not one, but a multitude of slang words and abbreviations, non-locals may might find it hard to interpret us or even understand what language we are actually using.
To put it into perspective, the longest sentence of slang words can be put as “Woi, you want to makan here or tapau back home leh?”; a sentence as such contains three to four slang words and uses up to three different languages.
There are plenty of other slangs used by Malaysians and we’ve compiled a few of them to showcase just how unique language in Malaysia can be.
1) GG/Mampus/Si liao
When facing something bad or when you smell trouble arising, use any of these to express your expectations of bad things in the making.
Example: GG, I haven’t pick up my sister from the airport.
The most uniquely Malaysian slang yet, this can be used at any part of a sentence in literally any way or structure you want to.
Example: Can la, just trust me and be here and 9am tomorrow ah.
Our own term for “No sh*t Sherlock”, it points out to the obvious when someone asks pointless questions.
Example: Are you thirsty? (When you are obviously drinking)
4) Walao eh
Used by Malaysians of all cultures, this term is used to express amazement in both good and bad ways.
Example: Walao, how did you manage to eat 12 nasi lemaks in one go?
That’s how we call our friends instead of using their actual names!
Example: Dei, did you watch the game last night?
Enjoying something? This slang expresses your excitement and love for something that you are experiencing.
Example: Syok wei tonight’s dinner!
This basically means “here you go”; use when passing something to someone.
Example: Nah, you left your bottle in my car yesterday.
The best thing about all these slang words is that it’s like a Subway sandwich where you can mix and match any of it to create your own unique sentence.
Life itself is always something worth celebrating, especially if it’s celebrating the birth of a new one.
However, as wholesome as it is, gender reveal parties are, they play a rather dark role in society and also lately, the environment, as the explosion of colors and release of pounds of confetti in the air has finally taken its toll on our planet.
Over the U.S. Labor Day weekend, two expectant parents didn’t get the party they exactly hoped for as they sparked a wildlife that scorched more than 10,000 acres of land in Southern California.
What was a family event used to navigate gender, identity and life transitions, gender reveal parties has become their own mini-industry over the past few years.
Fueled by a never-ending quest of trying to out-do one another as couples, it also presents a bizarre culture of what is considered an attention seeking culture that we live in.
It can all be traced back to 2008, when blogger Jenna Karvunidis cut into a cake at a party, revealing the pink frosting inside it which symbolizes her having a baby girl. Just like that, the modern gender reveal was born.
In a wild bid to please the world of social media, users may go beyond the extremes such as wrestling alligators or even setting off explosions. So, how did it go from as simple family celebration to these? The reason is an attention economy, which uses the currency of views and likes to make the most out of their time online.
It all aligns with the values of an always-on digital consumer, always scrolling for the next best thing to appear on their feed.
The slightest choice to not having a gender reveal also serves purpose towards social media currency as social media influencer Iskra Lawrence announced on Instagram that she would not have a gender reveal – and included sponsored links to a clothing brand in the post.
Parents sometimes choose to ignore the culture and economics that play to these gender reveal decisions; instead of fuelling and celebrating the mystery behind a baby’s gender, perhaps they should also keep in mind to not fuel a forest fire while at it.
Sabah, one of the two states we have across the waters from Peninsular Malaysia. Malaysians not familiar with the state think they can drive there from East Malaysia and even think that we are required to have passports to get there; it’s undeniable that some of us at the West don’t know as much as we should about “the land below the wind”.
The nation’s second largest state after Sarawak, Sabah is home to over 1.2 million people consisting of Chinese, Kadazandusuns, Bajaus, Bruneis and Muruts. The Sabah Chinese population is half Christian and half Buddhist while Kadazandusuns are a quarter Muslim and three quarters Christian, like the Muruts population.
With the dissolvement of the Sabah State Assembly on July 30th, the position of Chairman/Chief Minister, who has seen 15 changes since 1963, is again up for grabs. The tables for the 2020 Sabah state elections have shown three individuals, Shafie Apdal of Pakatan Harapan/WARISAN while Barisan Nasional/UMNO are still to decide between Musa Aman and Bung Moktar Radin.
To help prepare for the occasion, here’s a history of what we know about the Sabah elections:
Sabah was led to independence by three political parties, the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Organisation (UPKO) led by Tun Muhammad Fuad Donald Stephens, the United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) led by Datu Mustapha and the Sabah Chinese Association led by Tan Sri Peter Lo Su Yin and Tan Sri Khoo Siak Chew.
Muhammad Fuad Stephens, Sabah’s first ever Chief Minister (1963 – 1964)
Stephens was Sabah’s first Chief Minister while Datu Mustapha was the first State Governor. Both however, shared different views on how self-governed Sabah should be; Stephens wanted a stronger degree of autonomy for Sabah while Mustapha opt for a watered-down autonomy. The Federal Government at that time, headed by the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) leaned towards Datu Mustapha but Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra maintain a strong relationship with both the Sabahan leaders.
Peter Lo picking up on turbulent times (1964 – 1967)
Stephens was eventually made a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Sabah and Peter Lo of the SCA took up the post of Sabah’s new Chief Minister. As the first Chinese to take the post, he was in charge during one the most turbulent times in Malaysian history as on top of ensuring harmony in a multi-racial state, he had to juggle conflict between the Federal, British and Sabah governments.
Datu Mustapha gets his turn, UPKO is troubled (1967 – 1975)
A few years after discovering oil in Sabah, Mustapha began to demand greater autonomy for Sabah, in which angered Tun Abdul Razak, the prime minister at that time. Stephens who dissolved UPKO to join USNO shortly before, was appointed as State Governor in 1973 and was unhappy with Mustapha for favoring the Bajaus over the majority Kadazandusuns in the political system of Sabah. Now with an agenda, Stephen left his post in 1975 to revived UPKO, but as a multi-racial party, the Sabah United People’s Party (Berjaya).
His list of notable supporters included:
Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan
Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan
Datuk Dr James Ongkili
Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili
Datuk Ayub Aman
Datuk Seri Musa Aman
Datuk Anifah Aman
Two prominent leaders also helped formed Berjaya:
Datuk Seri Harris Salleh
Datuk Ghapur Salleh
Mustapha steps down, Tun Said Keruak steps into the fire (1975 – 1976)
Keruak was the most known Bajau chieftain of Kota Belud and was USNO’s deputy chief. A year after taking the position, Berjaya routed USNO in the Sabah State election and received full support from Kuala Lumpur. Mustapha and Said later crossed over to the opposition, allowing Stephens a return to the hot seat with Harris and Pairin as his deputies.
However, this was short lived, Stephens, who was just chief minister for a month, and a majority of his State Cabinet perished in an air crash while travelling from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu on June 6th 1976. Survivors included Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Pairin and Harris.
Datuk Seri Harris Salleh outsourcing labor (1976 – 1985)
Dubbed the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of Sabah, Harris single-handedly modernised the economy of Sabah; during his time, Sabah developed profoundly and was the second richest State in Malaysia in 1985. Harris was also influential in bringing in migrants from Phillipines and Indonesia as he saw them as a good and cheap source of labor.
Berjaya eventually joined a BN coalition while USNO did not, both remained component parties at Federal level. USNO failed to unseat Berjaya in the 1981 which resulted in the return of Mustapha as USNO chief when Said resigned and began supporting the Kitingans at Berjaya.
The Kitingans eventually left to form their own Sabah United Party (PBS) with Pairin serving as the president. PBS went on to trounce Berjaya in the 1985 state election.
Pairin Kitingan and the defectors (1985 – 1994)
Harris and Mustapha decided to merge and form the Sabah Chapter of UMNO, the country’s main political party, to unseat Pairin. UMNO Sabah was materialised in 1990.
In 1990, Koding and Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, quit PBS to from the People’s Justice Movement (AKAR) which later also became part of UMNO Sabah. More top leaders from PBS quit the party in 1994 to create their very own parties, which in the end became BN members.
This among other defectors such as Datuk Yong Teck Lee, Tan Sri Bernard Tompok and Tan Sri Joseph Kurup formed Sabah People’s united Party (PBRS) and led to the eventual downfall of PBS. Pairin vacated his post in 1994 after serving the longest term as Sabah Chief Minister
Tun Sakaran Dandai slides into the hot seat, courtesy of familiar faces (1994)
Datu Mustapha’s long time assistant, Sakaran was a Murut-Bajau chieftain from Semporna. It was later revealed that Datu Mustapha, the Keruaks, the Amans, Harris and Sakaran co-engineered the defections and downfall of PBS.
Harries joined UMNO Labuan instead but still remained an important advisor for UMNO Sabah. Sakaran spent a mere few months as Chief Minister before stepping down to pick up the position of state governor, the following chief minister’s past role.
Sakaran spent just a few months in the role of chief minister before his son took over in the same year.
Salleh Keruak, the first of many in a new system (1994)
At this time, BN had introduced a new rotation system for the Chief Minister’s post. An indigenous Muslim [either Kadazandusun, Bajau, Brunei or Murut] would be Chief Minister for two years, followed by a Chinese Sabahan and finally, an indigenous Non- Muslim [either Kadazandusun or Murut].
Salleh became the first of many rotations that was followed by members of PBRS, Yong Dompok, Datuk Seri Osu Sukam, Tan Sri Datuk Chong Kah Kiat and eventually Musa Aman in 2003.
A new beginning with Musa Aman (2004 – 2018)
With Musa at the post, BN decided to scrap the rotation system as they realised it did not give the Chief Minister enough time to carry out his projects. PBS went on to rejoin BN in 2001; Jeffrey quit PBRS in 2004 and went on to be the chief of the Sabah Chapter of the People’s Justice Party (PKR). The Sabah chapter of Gerakan was formed by PBS opposers led by Datuk Kong Hong Ming.
In an age where misinformation is often circled around social media and in real life, it is likely that we come across weird statements on how to avoid the dreaded Covid-19 virus.
As word of mouth travels fast, several outrageous claims have surfaced that will supposing “help” with avoiding it such as drinking hot water or drinking bleach. It is important to understand that none of the following methods in any way makes one immune to the virus.
1) MYTH: Covid-19 only infects older people
MYTH! Both the old and young generation are susceptible to being infected by the coronavirus. However, both old and young people with pre-exsiting medical conditions are more vulnerable to become severely ill with the virus.
2) MYTH: Garlic helps with preventing Covid-19
MYTH! As healthy as it may seem, garlic has antimicrobial properties but is no evidence that it has protected people form the coronavirus. Eating Garlic doesn’t help with preventing coronavirus infections.
3) MYTH: Extremeweather conditions kill the Covid-19 virus
MYTH! There is no reason to believe that extremely cold or hot weather can kill the coronavirus. The virus can spread in both humid climates and cold climates as well, regardless.
4) FACT: Prolonged use of medical masks does not cause oxygen deficiency
FACT! Although uncomfortable, prolonged use of a face masks do not cause a lack of oxygen or CO2 intoxication.
5) FACT: Most people who get Covid-19 recover from it
FACT! Most people who are infect by it have mild or moderate symptoms and can recover. If you have early symptoms, seek medical care early by calling you rlocal health faacility by phone first.
6) FACT: Drinking alcohol does not protect you against Covid-19
FACT! Irrational alcohol intake increases your risk of health problems instead of solving the coronavirus issue.
The act of fist bumping gained a large following around the world ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, as many refrained from physical touch in hopes of “flattening the curve”
As the fist bump continues to be used in sporting scenes and everyday social meetings, Malaysian authorities has reminded the public to avoid this as it is still a form of physical contact, following the country’s three-month high of new coronavirus cases.
Since the disease primarily spreads via respiratory droplets, both handshakes and fist bumps aren’t ideal ways the virus spreads through.
A person with the virus has to sneeze or cough into his or her hands, and touch someone else’s hand to pass the virus on; that second person would then have to come in close contact with their nose, mouth or eyes to get infected by the virus.
So, there really isn’t a firm reason that fist-bumps are any safer than shaking hands, hence, Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham’s stance on encouraging the public to not practicing fist bumps anymore.
The nation’s top health official said that any form of physical contact presents the risk of infection and reminded people to maintain a distance of at least one metre.
“This is why we’re telling people not to fist bump,” he said.
Those who are sick are also reminded to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue to prevent any virus from travelling to another person; while the general public are to wear face masks or face a fine of RM1000.
When the September 11 attacks (usually referred to as 9/11) happened 19 years ago on this day, not only the United States, but the whole world was in shock of what they were witnessing near and far across the globe.
Four coordinated terrorist attacks by the terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States resulted in 2,977 deaths and over 25,000 injuries, not to mention the substantial long-term health consequences that stuck with several other victims as well.
On top of that, with property damage of up to $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage, it is the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history and single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States.
Ever since the attack, September the 9th has been tailored into all of those who witnessed it on that day; many in the U.S. mourn for those that perished while many others still find it hard to believe that such acts of terror is in fact possible.
As the attacks began to be taken personally by countries near and far, it soon became clear that the attacks also shaken even those here in Malaysia who were 14,000 kilometres away.
Here’s how the 9/11 attacks affected Malaysia back then.
Malaysia who has a majority Muslim population, responded by condemning the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, while pledging full support for the US-led effort to combat terrorism.
Both Malaysia and Singapore at that time cooperated with the U.S. through exchange of intelligence information and coordinating security measures against possible terrorist attacks.
Through their powers under the Internal Security Act, scores of Muslims involved in plots to carry out attacks against government and western targets in their regions were arrested; which included 50 people from militant Muslim groups such as the Kumpulan Militant Malaysia which were link to the JI and AQ networks.
The U.S. Administration and Congress appreciated Malaysia’s open support for the war against terrorism, in which help with the strained relations between the two ever since the 1998 sacking, detention, trial and jailing of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Both Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and President George Bush agreed about the need to address the roots causes of terrorism such as the suicide bombers in Palestine. Mahathir even went the extra mile to persuade the Islamic world to condemn suicide bombings, but was unsuccessful to getting an agreement from the Organisation of Islamic Conference on a common definition of terrorism that would include such tactics.
However, Mahathir’s condemnation for the Israeli military occupation and suppression of Palestine remained unchanged.
The arrests of four dozen militant Muslims was largely linked to the Opposition Islamic Party, PAS, which put the party on the defensive end while increasing popularity of UMNO as a party of moderate Muslims.
According to Mushahid Ali a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Western-educated Muslim intellectuals also began debating Islamic issues with ulemas to reform rules in regards to women, governing family, governing society and to resist the introduction of the hudud punishment and restrictive practices for Muslims.
A simple cloth with two stretchy bands at two ends. It serves as the only barrier that us the public has against keeping the Covid-19 virus out of nose and mouth.
How did one simple object cause such controversy that people around the world are fighting for their “rights” to not wear it?
While many of us follow the public health recommendations from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to limit the spread of this deadly virus, others are bringing up issues regarding individual freedom and other reasons to why they shouldn’t wear face masks in public areas.
Many countries are deeming face masks as mandatory now and there are still protests against it, such as in the United States which has seen 6 millions infections so far. Jakarta on the other hand has taken the fight against anti-face masks folks into their own hands.
In a bid to underline the seriousness needing to wear a face masks in these times, those caught without one will be given an option to pay a fine or to lie down inside a coffin or pay a fine and do community service work.
According to Indonesia’s Liputan 6, several violators had to lie inside the open casket for a minute.
East Jakarta public order agency head, Budhy Novial said that violators are given a fee of what it was like to be in a coffin.
“With the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, there is a risk of them being laid inside a real coffin.
“However, the open casket idea is still a new concept as we are still experimenting whether this approach can help change the public perception towards wearing their face masks.”
Other districts in Jakarta have also built mini coffin monuments that feature the death rate data to spark awareness about Covid-19.