Comparing e-wallets in Malaysia

E-wallets are starting to become one of the fastest trending payment methods in Malaysia amid the release of e-wallets such as Boost, GrabPay, Maybank E-wallet (MAE) and Touch ‘n Go eWallet just to name a few. With all these e-wallet platforms to choose from, which one should you use and which is the best? We’ve taken all the e-wallets in Malaysia into comparison so that you don’t have to, here is a verdict of the best e-wallets in Malaysia.

1) Maybank E-wallet (MAE)

– The Maybank payment platform serves both Maybank and non-Maybank customers; once registered on either the MAE or Maybank 2U app, users will have their own virtual Visa debit card along with a Maybank account number. 

– The e-wallet is pretty much usable anywhere that supports QR pay and can be topped up using any bank account. 

– MAE has a maximum wallet size of RM4,999.99 and a transaction limit of RM2,999.99.

– One of the more notable features is being able to split bills; just split it in the app and notify your friends via the app of how much they owe. It’s as simple as that!


2) GrabPay

– GrabPay integrates with GrabRewards to ensure points for every Ringgit spent. 

– Users go through the usual registration and can pay for cashless rides, food or shopping and also transfer GrabPay credits as part of its ecosystem. 

– The Grab app also helps wih topping up mobile phone credits for Celcom, Maxis and U Mobile. 

– GrabPay’s partnership with Maybank also allows cross-plaform use between users. 


3) Touch ‘n Go eWallet

– The first of it’s kind in Malaysia, the Touch n’ Go eWallet can be used to pay tolls at participating highways, thus reduced traffic congestion in the central region by 48.2% in 2019. 

– Other than tolls, users can pay for Apple Store and iTunes purchases, street parking, taxi rides and food delivery services.

– KLIA Express and KLIA Transit Tickets can also be purchased through the platform.

– Users can send up to RM5,000 per month to other Touch ‘n Go wallet holders.


4) Wechat Pay

– Malaysia holds the title of being the first foreign country outside of China to have WeChat enabled in a local currency.

– WeChat Pay allows payment through Quick Pay, QR Code, In-App Web-Based, or Native In-App Payments.

– It deals with the issue of cross-border foreign currencies. Users can pay in Chinese yuan but with the transaction being settled in a foreign currency.

– A fun party trick would be also to be able to send virtual money packets to family and friends during holidays such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya.


5) Boost

– Launched in 2017, it boasts up to 7 million Boosties and is still growing as we speak. – Accepted at over 140,000 physical and online stores, it is recognize as one of the more widely notable competitors as it has partnerships with 17 banks across the country such as CIMB, Hong Leong Bank, RHB Bank and so on. 

– Users can pay for petrol at 800 Shell station countrywide and also pay for parking at Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) parking spots. 

– On top of that users can also pay bills for Astro, Syabas and Telekom.


6) Razer Pay

– Debuted in 2018, Razer Pay can be used at over 1,000 online stores.

– Participating banks include AmBank, Bank Islam, CIMB, Maybank and Public Bank,

– It benefits gamers and app streaming services through services such as being able to purchase zGold, MOLPoints, Steam Wallet, Garena, Sony PlayStation, Spotify, iFlix and more.

– Verified accounts are entitled to a transaction limit of RM3,000, and RM48,000 for annual transactions.


What is the difference between an e-wallet, credits cards and debit cards?

With the future seemingly more and more cashless, we have a vast number of options to pay for our dinner, ride to work and also online purchases. So, with all these payment methods in hand, we decided to break it down in this section.


Credit cards

With credit cards, you pay for a service via a borrow now and pay later method. Once you reach the end of every month, you’ll be required to pay the bank at least a partial of the money spent. It’s also important to know to not over use a credit card as it’ll show up on your credit score, which in turn affects you in the long run when renting a room or requesting a loan of any kind.


Debit cards

The way debit cards work is with the direct opposite of credit cards. Instead of paying with borrowed money, purchases are made with money that is in already present in your bank account.


E-wallets

If you have a mobile device, you’re already halfway through the steps of owning an e-wallet. In other words, a digital wallet requires you to add money in it first whether with an actual debit or credit card. It may seem that they functions intertwine at times, but the way they operate is completely different.

All in all, the e-wallet industry is a growing industry and one wouldn’t want to get left behind do they? With the world emphasizing social distancing at times like this, why not try your hand at e-wallets today!

Job hunting during a pandemic

Job searching in the midst of a pandemic

Universities going fully online, countless Zoom meetings, graduation ceremonies where a robot replaces the actual graduate, and a whole new norm of social distancing guidelines. 

5 months ago, we wouldn’t have ever imagined that we would be where we are today and with what is being in place as our reality today, job hunting has become that much more complicating as we’re forced to being in front of a screen 24/7.

The pandemic has slowed down the economy heavily and more people are eventually going into unemployment as of today. 2020 graduates are walking into a job market that may be grimmer than any we’ve seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

So what does this mean for our university graduates who are beaming with hope of landing that first job? Thankfully, we live in an ever so connected world and information on multiple social platforms that are available right at our fingertips.

Here are a few ways that fresh graduates could master the hunt for a job during this mayhem of a year.

1) Have a plan

Firstly, you should know your goals. This doesn’t at all mean to have a plan in place immediately though; use the time at home to your advantage, set a specific time on your calendar to fully focus on certain aspects of job hunting such as networking or updating your resume.


2) Bulk up on connections and professional networking

Building a career network doesn’t necessarily mean to ask for a job, it can be about seeking information from peers or seniors that could offer advice for you and your current situation. Being able to build rapport and a professional connection is an opportunity that comes with asking for help. By doing so, you’ll realise that there are always people out there that are willing to aid you.


3) Build and maintain a digital image

What would employers see when they look you up online? Do you maintain a professional image on Twitter and Instagram? If it’s up online, there are possibilities that somebody would come across it someday. Maintain what is being published in your name, and be mindful of your content and message.


4) Reflect and recreate

With almost all the time in the world, what else can you do? Now is a time better than any for a moment of reflection. Understand what you’re good at and what you might need to improve on. Take a moment to reflect on your past achievements or even small successes that you feel should be noticeable by an employer. Now that you’ve done all that, create content for your resume or recreate content to fit the current circumstances.


5) Pivot

Pivot means to turn or to swing; in terms of finding a job, it means to go with the punches and venturing into career paths that you never thought you will. The pandemic and economy is beyond our control, we can however control what we choose to do. By pivoting, more career paths can be discovered and you’d never know how something you never thought you’ll be capable of doing be the one thing that keeps you going in the next year or so. The job market is limited and you may have to settle for a position that is not what they’ve trained ideally for. On top of that, income isn’t what you expected; don’t be too picky as things aren’t always going to be stay bad forever.


6) Consider a side-gig

When times are hard, it’s always safe to pick up a means of income on the side just to be safe. The opportunities are endless, do your research of the ones that are available in your area. Have a car? Consider providing a ridesharing service. Speak more than one language? Try your hand at teaching or translating. Have too much time to spare? Consider being a waiter or waitress at that nearby café. Take initiative to get yourself out there as you’ll never know if one thing can lead to another.


7) Patience, patience, patience

Rome wasn’t built in a day, be patient and go at your own pace. What’s important is that you have plan in place and to tick off one checkpoint one at a time.

What other ways do you use to navigate the current job market? Share them in the comment section below!

Should you wash your face mask?

Reusable face mask

With face masks being mandatory from August 1st onwards, one can’t help but to wonder about the already rising number of disposable face masks being used in the country.

Those caught in public places without a face mask will be fined 1000 ringgit as of said date, it is inevitable that many of those who didn’t do so before to start following the guidelines one way or another and those who already do before, continue doing so without hesitation.

Sights of facemasks on the ground have been a usual sight and it’s hard fact to swallow that perhaps more facemasks are being thrown away or dropped when compared to the ones that are actually being used.

In combat to that, the public have shifted to using bandannas, face scarves and masks made of fabric, such as cotton with hopes to reduce the wastage.

According to Hopkins Medicine, you should clean your mask after every wearing. This not only reduces the risk of spreading the coronavirus or other germs but also reduces the waste as we are so succumbed to throwing away facemasks after each use.

Now why should we wash our face masks? The reason is simple.

A face mask whorks by keeping you from breathing out if you happen to be sick and asymptomatic. 

Imagine your saliva being contaminated with coronavirus. That’s where the mask fulfil its roll, the mask keeps your spit contained at the cost of itself becoming full of the virus. 

You wash your hands to prevent the spreading of viruses to surfaces or other people. So, you wash your mask for the same reason.


How should you do it?

  • Bandanas, face scarves and masks made of fabric and cotton can be washed such in a regular laundry machine using hot water.
  • However, it is important to know that disposable blue surgical are to be disposed of immediately after use and not to be washed.
  • After washing your fabric mask, tumble dry them in the dryer on a high setting or hang them out on the clothing line to dry for at least a few hours.
  • Consider using a non-scented laundry detergent if you are sensitive to the smell as you’ll be wearing it for pretty much all day depending on your schedule.
  • You can also hand wash your mask under hot, soapy water for 20 seconds while scrubbing.
  • Remember to store your mask in a clean and dry place when you’re not using them to prevent contamination of other kinds.

Do you know of any other places that make fabric face masks? Feel free to share in the comment section below!

7 Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Small Business During Quarantine

Meeting, Business, Architect, Office, Team, Plan

If you began running your startup pre-pandemic, things might have been looking pretty good for you. However, with the pandemic (and the quarantines that came with it), you most likely felt a wave of panic rush over you.

If you’ve managed to survive thus far, you’re probably well aware that things may never be the same for your business. And you understand the need to think outside the box to strengthen your position in the marketplace and continue your success during these troubling times.

Rest assured there are options to boost your business in any situation. These best practices are more important than ever to poise your business for success and form a loyal customer base in the wake of COVID-19.

1. Get creative with lead generation.

In current times, e-commerce has become the go-to channel for customers. This gives marketers an opportunity to reach a massive customer base through online channels. Brands that don’t get their digital strategies right risk losing out on the lion’s share of customers.

Any smart marketer will tell you it’s not wise to depend on only one source of advertising for lead generation. You may have been able to get away with taking a risk pre-pandemic and may have even been doing very well. But it is certain to be a different story post-pandemic.

For businesses, it’s at least five times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain existing ones. The COVID-19 crisis has created a highly competitive marketplace where every brand is vying for customer attention more than ever, and retaining customers is a clear growth strategy brands should adopt. After all, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%.

As a business owner, you are probably aware of the necessity of a continuous supply of fresh new leads. Diversifying your marketing to different media outlets is a way to protect yourself as we approach this new normal.

2. Rethink your business infrastructure.

Your business model must be streamlined for smooth operation and customer satisfaction. How is your current business model going to function moving forward?

For example, many businesses were strictly opposed to remote working conditions prior to the outbreak of the virus. As the world went into quarantine, businesses were practically forced to give in and experiment with some sort of remote working environment. This environment is likely to remain as quarantines begin to lift.

Ask yourself what has changed in your business due to the pandemic. More importantly, will these changes need to be permanent?

3. Take time to build an audience.

Plenty of businesses and startups are aware of the need to collect leads and follow up on a regular basis. But this is far from what is meant by “build an audience.”

Building an audience is all about engagement, not just following up to make the sale. This strategy was rising in popularity before COVID-19 and has become downright necessary since.

In times of uncertainty, people are more hesitant to spend their money. Building an audience allows you to engage with prospects in a low-pressure environment. You can take time to increase awareness of particular problems in your niche, get vital feedback from prospective clients in real time, and ultimately position yourself and your business as a leader and trusted source.

4. Become a beacon of joyful distraction.

This goes hand in hand with building an audience and generating leads. The nature of quarantine leads to people searching for new ways to be entertained. You can be that source of entertainment.

Obviously, how this looks for your business will depend on your niche. Just remember, the more familiar you are with your customers’ problems and thought processes, the easier it will be to provide them a joyful distraction while increasing your lead generation.

5. Take advantage of low advertising costs.

In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve seen price drops on many things. It’s a normal response for goods and services to come down in price when the average consumer is tightening up their budget.

The good news for startups, especially those looking to up their marketing game, is that paid advertising is one of the services that has seen a decrease in price.  

As far as cost goes, right now really is the best time to advertise. However, you can’t just throw money at an advertising campaign and expect it to work. Increased ad spending does not mean increased results. You still need to be smart about your advertising and carefully plan your message-to-market strategy. Smart marketers are adjusting their messages to better suit the market during this time of quarantine. 

6. Reposition your brand.

Branding is a never-ending process for any business. From the moment you open the doors to decades down the road, your every advertisement, customer interaction and visual image will reflect on your brand.

Branding is essentially a form of marketing in which you seek a uniform message to instill in the minds of the public when they think of your business. It’s up to you to portray that message effectively and consistently.

Take this time of reformation to consider your brand. Most likely, you will require some repositioning, but that could be as simple as redesigning your logo or revisiting your PR and publicity efforts. Just keep in mind as you adjust your marketing and prospect engagement strategies that your branding may also change.

As more small businesses adapt to the digital movement to improve their marketing efforts, giving each customer a personalized experience becomes even more critical. The more people relate to and trust your brand’s digital presence, the better the conversion. Smart startup teams have innovated and even benefited from the situation by offering unique digital experiences to potential buyers. 

Embracing the new social media culture and increasing the variety of digital channels for customer support has enabled companies to maintain their relationships with customers and keep them loyal. Although the current economic crisis may improve eventually, you should still be aware of the changes it has sparked in customer psychology, purchasing preferences and general behavior. With digital adoption on the rise, small businesses must harness the potential of digital channels and increase it with the latest customer engagement strategies.

7. Reorganize business capital.

With all these potential changes to consider for your startup during these times, your finances will play a foundational role in implementation. Whether you are looking to raise capital through crowdsourcing (such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe) or seeking more traditional means, such as venture capital or a small business loan, it will require some serious thought.

You need to make responsible financial decisions in any business climate, of course. But during this time of COVID-19, it’s critical to allocate your funding to the proper resources to ensure the longevity of your company.

BBC host’s attempt at cooking rice backfires

Rice is pretty much a norm in every Asian household as it can be seen on the dining tables of various family meals at any time of the day.

Majority of Asians grew up watching their Mums preparing rice in the ever so timeless rice cooker and it plays an important role in a family meal.

However, a recent reaction video from Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng, better known as Uncle Roger, has made us realize that growing up at different parts of the world does bring differences.

Titled “Hersha’s Easiest Ever Egg Fried Rice”, BBC cooking show host, Hersha Patel was attempting to prepare the staple southeast Asian dish. 

“Don’t be afraid, this is going to be really simple,” Patel said.

Little did Ng know, he was going to be very afraid as Patel started off by demonstrating her rice cooking method by putting water and unwashed rice into a pan then boiling it, this did not sit well with Ng’s persona – Uncle Roger.

With just two minutes into the eight minute YouTube video, Ng mumbled in his comedic accent, “I am not confident that this video is not going to be good.”

At the moment the rice was put through a strainer, “Uncle Roger” wasn’t ready to hold back.

“You killing me, woman!” he exaggerated with his comedic accent when the rice went through the sift and eventually being washed thoroughly with tap water.

“Who cooks rice like this!”, “Uncle Roger sad now,” he continued exclaiming.

In other news, Ng met with Patel a few days ago and a collaboration between the two is seem to be in the plans.


We at Newswav figured to leave a step-by-step guide on how to cook rice amid this mayhem.


What to prepare?

1) A rice-cooker that could be found easily at stores or a large saucepan if you couldn’t find one.

2) A type of long grain or short grain rice (obviously).

3) Optional aromatics such as garlic, coriander, ginger etc.


Steps (Using a rice-cooker)

1) Measure the amount of rice you are about to prepare.

2) Wash the pre-measured rice by swirling it in cold water at least two times.

3) Measure the amount of water, generally a set amount of rice and slightly more water than rice (example: 2 cups raw rice with 2 1/2 cups water).

or 

Pour the rice into the pan you’re going to cook it in. Level it out and place your index finger so that it is touching the surface of the rice. Add enough water so that it comes up to your first knuckle.

4) Drain the rice and place it in the rice cooker.

5) Use the settings on the rice cooker to cook the rice.

6) Once done, stir the rice with a spoon or chopsticks to fluff it up.


Steps (Using a stove-top and large saucepan)

1) Drain the rice well and put it the saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups of water.

2) Reduce the heat to low, put the saucepan on a cooking stove, then let it cook for 20 minutes. Avoid removing the lid during that time. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes with the lid on.

3) Remove the lid and stir the rice with a spoon or chopsticks to fluff it up.


What are your tips for cooking perfect rice? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section!

Why Sugu Pavithra’s YouTube videos are all deleted

Sugu Pavithra’s updated YouTube channel as of July 27th.

The famed husband and wife cooking duo, Sugu Pavithra, who have been viral since the movement control order (MCO) period has had all their YouTube videos deleted.

Referencing personal factors in an interview with Bernama, M.Sugu, 29, the husband of S. Pavithra, 28, said that he was the one who deleted all the videos after the series of events that unfolded in the past few days.

A spokesperson for the couple has since took to social media to release the following statement regarding the deletion of the videos:

Hi, the couple (Sugu and Pavithra) would like to take some time off and focus on their personal life and hence, they would not be proceeding with any brand engagement for few weeks now.”

The silver play button is gifted by YouTube to channels with more than 100,000 subscribers.

The channel boasts a following of 800,000 subscribers and were well on their way to clinching the Gold Play button by, a YouTube creator award given to every channel with 1,000,000 subscribers, but that may not happen anytime soon as the channel has now been emptied out.

Before this, it had featured up to 100 videos of cooking instructions and demonstrations; other than that, it also gave viewers a glimpse into the wholesome lifestyle of the Ipoh couple.

Ever since news of Pavithra having bruises on her lips, left cheek and right arm was widely shared around on social media, netizens had called foul play.

It was later revealed that life behind the camera hasn’t been as wholesome as the front of the camera. The YouTube sensation’s bruises and scars came from being allegedly slap in the face several times until she bled and also hit by a sickle by her husband.

Apparently Sugu resented against Pavithra for not crediting him during her Ipoh City Icon award event.

“The argument continued the next day where the man wanted to go to the hospital to find the wife’s sister. The man who was under the influence of alcohol had called up the wife’s sister to meet her but to no avail. This led the man hitting his wife,” an insider told Hype.my.

Pavithra has been called an inspiration by many Malaysians, she uses a cup as a phone holder to record her videos and also have been widely recognized as having a humble approach. News of her being on the receiving end of physical abuse did not sit well with many of her viewers as many had then urge Pavithra to leave Sugu.

Sugu being taken to court.

Sugu was arrested on the 22nd of July following the allegations.

He was also charged at the Sessions Court with unlawful possession of a sickle at the Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun’s parking compound on July 21 and also with hitting his wife.

Pavithra said that among all the complications, she’d had chosen to forgive her husband and to put this whole episode behind them.

The couple had to undergo a rollercoaster of events under the eyes of national media earlier due to their fame; from receiving praises by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and celebrity chef Redzuawan Ismail, known as Chef Wan, to the unearthing of the presence of Pavithra on the receiving end of abuse.

Although, their famed YouTube success has drastically increased their household income, with earnings up to 8,700 ringgit (US$2,000) a month, life seemed good when compared with Sugu’s previous monthly income of about 1,000 ringgit as a plantation worker.

The couple had plans to open a restaurant next year, those plans are now unsure as their means of income from YouTube has been forfeited. 

“But that is okay, because I have hands, feet, to look for a job. Even before this, I earned money by working,” Sugu said.

On the bright side, the channel would not be staying without content for long as Sugu said that he expects their latest video to be uploaded on YouTube once discussions with various parties are finalised.

After posting bail for him, Pavithra said they wanted to live normally and just want to focus on their YouTube channel.

The Monk Who Set Himself On Fire As Protest

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June 11th, 1963 will for always be remembered as the day that truly changed history forever. This was the day monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death as a protest against the Vietnamese corrupt government which was implying very demanding and unfair laws on monks. Throughout history, many people have self-immolated for various causes, but until that moment no one was known to suicide in such a gruesome and painful way in order to protest against something or for the right of a community such as the sacred monks.

Self-Immolation of Thich Quang Duc by Rollie Hicks - Lord Buddha ...

The story behind this act

Most if not all events that had taken place throughout history were influenced by a previous event, the same case is in this story too. The influential event took place on May 8th, 1963 when the Buddhist community was celebrating a special day in the city of Hue. This special day is called Phat Dan or better described as the birthday of Buddha. The streets were crowded with people from all over Vietnam who came to celebrate this special day among monks. An imperative aspect that I have to mention is that most people were waving Buddhist flags.

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Ngo Dinh Diem

This aspect is very important as at the time, it was illegal in Vietnam to display a religious flag. This law was implemented by President Ngo Dinh Diem which was a Catholic. The law was implemented as he wanted to make Vietnam more prosperous by “westernizing” it. This law was never welcomed by the population of Vietnam as 90% of the nation was in fact Buddhist. As in most countries and nations, religion was a big part of the Vietnamese culture, and trying to change the culture of a nation would not make anyone happy.

On the day of the Buddhist celebration, Diem had sent armed policemen reinforced by the Vietnamese army. This turned the celebration into a full-blown protest and quick enough things got out of hand. Once the Army lost their patience they opened fire into the crowd and even vehicles were driven into the crowd. At the end of the day, over 100 people were injured and 9 had died. From the 9, two of them were children that were run over by police cars and army trucks.

The Buddhist community responding to the massacre

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Malcolm Browne

Since the massacre, things have heated up in Vietnam, with many different protests happening around the country. 2 months after the massacre, the news reached Thich Quang Duc. The news reached very late as Duc was living in a totally isolated temple in the mountains of Vietnam, in fact, he spent the last 3 years of his life at this very temple. Once he got word of the massacre he knew that something had to be done in order to keep the Buddhist community safe.

On the 10th of June, 1963 the Saigon bureau chief for the Associated Press by the name of Malcolm Browne got a piece of anonymous information that something important would happen the very next day (11th of June) outside of the Cambodian Embassy. Due to the high tensions around Vietnam, Browne believed this piece of information.

The very next day, Malcolm Browne reached the Cambodian Embassy where he was welcomed by Thich Quang Duc himself as well as all the other 350 monks and nuns who took part in the protest that was about to happen. By this point, Browne was still unaware of what was about to happen.

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A monk pouring gasoline on Thich Quang Duc on 11th of June 1963

Thich Quang Duc took a cushion which he placed in the middle of the street and sat on it with his legs crossed as if he was just about to go into a deep meditation. Another monk took out of Duc’s car a five-gallon petroleum canister and poured it all over Duc, making sure he was covered by gasoline. What followed was Duc bending his neck and chanting his last prayer to Buddha.

At that point, Browne realized what was just about to happen, so he prepared his camera to make sure that he would capture every moment of it and that everyone around the world will be hearing about this act.

Once Duc finished his prayer, he struck the match and the whole crowd exploded with panic. As the screams of all the monks at the crowd could be heard for miles, a monk was yelling into a microphone:

“A Buddhist priest burns himself to death! A Buddhist priest becomes a martyr!”

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Thich Quang Duc corpse collapsed and burning whilst the rest of the monks praying for him in 1963

In all of this chaos, the only person which was surprisingly calm was Thich Quang Duc himself. Those who witnessed mentioned that whilst Duc was burning, he never flinched nor moved a muscle. For 10 minutes he sat in a meditating posture burning until he collapsed, conforming to the authorities, and most of the people present that he had passed away.

Aftermath

After the fire went out, the monks took Duc’s corpse to the pagoda to cremate his body. Just minutes after the cremation, the pagoda was swarmed with police which wanted to make sure that word of this incident would not make it out of the city, not of the country. However, it was already too late as Browne had already sent the pictures of the event with a letter explaining the event to the United State via what he called a secret carrier pigeon. By the next day, the image of Thich Quang Duc’s burning body had appeared on the front cover of newspapers all over the world.


This had changed the course of history as Thich Quang Duc’s sacrifice made other nations pressure the Vietnamese government into changing the laws in accordance with the Buddhist community. This ultimate type of protest had proven that the world cannot be changed without dire sacrifices.

Even if the picture does still marks many people around the world, it will never compare to the experience faced by those who were present at the event. The same idea was exclaimed by Malcolm Browne.

Deteriorating U.S.-China Relations Doesn’t Bode Well for the Pandemic

U.S.-China Trade War: It's Time For A Change In Strategy

his was not a good week for U.S.-China relations. On Tuesday, the White House ordered China to close its consulate in Houston. By Friday, China had retaliated by ordering the closure of the American consulate in Chengdu. The U.S. Justice Department also recently accused Chinese hackers of trying to steal data on a coronavirus vaccine, the latest in a long line of allegations of Chinese espionage.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in the United States passed a grim milestone: 4 million. A bright spot on the horizon is that four of the 165 vaccines currently in development are in Phase 3 trials, according to New York Times data. Two of them are made by Chinese companies, state-owned Sinopharm and the private company Sinovac Biotech. There’s only one vaccine already approved for limited use, and it’s been developed by China’s CanSino Biologics. The Chinese military approved it on June 25 as a “specially needed drug.”

When President Donald Trump was asked on Tuesday whether his administration would collaborate with China on a vaccine for Americans, he said: “We’re willing to work with anybody that is going to get us a good result.”

But the deteriorating relationship between the two superpowers doesn’t bode well for the potential of the U.S. to do so. And it generally doesn’t look good for vaccine development, or for either country’s response to Covid-19. “People’s health on both sides could become collateral damage,” Yanzhong Huang, PhD, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, tells the Medium Coronavirus Blog. Trump says he will work with China, he notes, “but there’s no plan, or I don’t think there’s any conversation happening with the Chinese.”

Acknowledging that relations between the two superpowers were already straining in recent months, Huang says that “Covid-19 only accelerated that process” on multiple fronts. Including, he notes, “this issue of vaccine development and distribution.” China not only has vaccines in development but plays a critical role in the global pharmaceutical industry.

“It’s not just the way vaccines become available,” he says. “You need to consider the parallel support, including bottles, not to mention those ingredients used to make those vaccines. China traditionally has played an important role in supplying those things.”

Between China and the U.S., he says, “there’s no state-level cooperation, information sharing — there is no talking between the two.”

This isn’t, of course, the first time this relationship has soured. What happened in the past can inform what to expect as the current situation plays out, says Zuoyue Wang, PhD, professor of history at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Historically, he says, “bilateral scientific exchanges would often be negatively affected, especially in terms of the movements of scientists and technological transfers.” This happened, for example, during the Korean War. Chinese scientists working or studying in the U.S. weren’t allowed to return home, and the U.S. led a broad Western technological embargo against China. Exchanges started up again during the Cold War for a number of reasons; the U.S. wanted to counter the Soviet Union and capitalize on the huge Chinese market, for example, and China wanted to catch up to “American-led world standards in science and technology.” Now, as the prioritization and urgency of those motivations has faded away, the U.S. has tightened the scope of bilateral scientific exchange and collaboration: Chinese scientists are being denied visas; Huawei phones won’t run Google apps.

The present-day tension has already shaped public health exchanges during the pandemic. In March and April, the U.S. struggled to get personal protective equipment from China. Wang says this demonstrates how a “usually mundane technology,” like mask-making, “could suddenly become essential in certain circumstances and play a prominent part in geopolitical dynamics.”

Though there doesn’t seem to be much conversation at the state level between President Trump and President Xi at the moment, there’s still hope for cooperation at the industry or individual level, says Huang. He points to the moment, in the 1990s, when the American pharmaceutical company Merck supplied China with the technology for making a hepatitis B vaccine shortly after the Tiananmen crackdown. This, he says, is an example of how public health collaboration between the two countries can “sustain its own dynamic.”

“I think this actually highlights the importance of nonstate level collaboration and cooperation,” he says. This could happen between firms, like U.S. and Chinese pharmaceutical companies or the researchers themselves, or between U.S. NGOs and Chinese individuals. Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma, he notes, sent a million masks to the U.S., and Bill Gates donated millions to the international effort against Covid-19.

None of the vaccines being produced around the world are likely to be a “magic bullet” that single-handedly solves Covid-19, says Wang. That’s why it’s important not to forget that “global problems such as pandemics and climate change require international collaboration.” When political tensions limit that collaboration, “the U.S. along with the rest of the world suffers from the consequences.”

“No one is truly safe until the world community can work together in dealing with these threats,” says Wang.

By Yasmin Tayag

How the American Idiot Made America Unlivable

Protesters in Texas, other states demand end to lockdowns day ...

New Zealand declared victory over Coronavirus yesterday. “Team New Zealand,” as Kiwis refer to themselves, celebrated having a virus free country. America, on the other hand, had close to 70,000 cases. Seventy thousand — and exploding.

What the American Idiot has done to America is to make it an impoverished country. Not just any kind of poverty — what you might call deep poverty. Let me explain.

New Zealand has zero new cases of Corona. In America, they’re spinning out of control. One way to think about it is to say that your chances of dying of this lethal pandemic are now…infinitely higher in America than in New Zealand. Compared to Europe and Canada, they’re about a hundred times higher.

That’s a kind of poverty, too. A poverty of public health. Americans have spent decades being impoverished of public health by the American Idiot — the kind of person who votes against better healthcare for everyone, including themselves, their kids, their parents. What the? What kind of idiot does that? A very, very large number of Americans.

The result of that attitude was a society poor in a gruesome and strange way — poor in public health itself. What I mean by that is that American life expectancy is the lowest in the rich world, and plummeting, that Americans have the highest rates of all kinds of preventable chronic diseases, from diabetes to obesity to heart disease. You can see it on American faces, in fact: a society poor in health is a society of unhealthy people.

We expect much, much poorer societies to be impoverished in public health. It’s a strange concept to have to think about precisely because we don’t expect it of a rich country. Perhaps one of a poor one, that’s never really developed at all. This is a syndrome unique to America — a form of poverty that Europeans and Canadians struggle to understand, because, well, they’ve mostly eliminated it. But in America, health poverty is endemic.

So endemic that you can see America’s gotten shockingly poorer and poorer in health — right down to the resurgence of old, conquered diseases, from measles to mumps. Again, that’s the work of the American Idiot — the kind of person who won’t vaccinate their kids, which is an idea that in the end takes society right back to the medieval days of endemic smallpox and polio.

So what was going to happen when a society impoverished in terms of health met a pandemic? Utter catastrophe. America’s mortality rate and infection rate are so high precisely because America was a time bomb of failing public health waiting to go off.

What then are the results of creating a society impoverished in public health? Well, Americans face a gruesome choice that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the rich world, even in much of the poor one: your money or your life. “Medical bankruptcy” is the result — I put in quotes because it’s a notion that scarcely exists elsewhere.

How did all that happen?

UN Expert Reveals Shocking Facts about Poverty in the U.S. - IDN ...

Americans are culturally impoverished, too. The American Idiot has turned American culture into the one of the world’s regressive, short-sighted, narrow-minded, and, well…idiotic. Literally the tiniest shreds of decency and sanity come under a murderous, withering barrage of denial and false “debate” — from things as simple as wearing masks to ones as large as educating Americans about how the rest of the rich world and even the poor one now has vastly better functioning societies.

Huge chunks of American culture are so hateful, foolish, or bizarre that they’d be either illegal, laughable, or bewildering in much of the rest of the world, from Canada, Europe, or Asia. “Debating” whether the answer to school shootings — which happen nowhere else — is to arm teachers? The idea that billionaires are somehow good for society, or that things like healthcare, retirement, pensions, income, and safety aren’t human rights? That money is all that should matter? Nearly everyone else in the world finds such notions jaw-droppingly foolish by now, which is how the American Idiot made his country a laughingstock the world over.

The point of a Culture of Idiocy, of course, is to create idiots, and American Culture is the cradle and mothers’ milk of the American Idiot. From Tucker Carlson to Bill O’Reilly to Ancient Aliens, an impoverished culture keeps Americans ignorant, pliable, submissive, and frightened.

Tucker will fill your head with misinformation, and the reality TV will make it seem normal to be an idiot. The result of cultural impoverishment, though, is that Americans they stay poor in more visible, visceral ways — like poor in healthcare, in equality, in power, in money.

But also poor in time. That’s my next dimension of poverty. Americans can’t do much to change their society — not nearly enough — because they’re time poor.They work harder than anyone else in the rich world, by a very, very long way. Taking a vacation in America is something that mostly, you’ll get fired for. Commuting three hours a day? That’s your problem. Americans have no time — and they don’t quite understand yet that that’s a deep form of poverty. Because when you’re always running out of time, when do you save, invest, educate, reflect, or just have a decent life? You don’t. You’re always weary, tired, panicked, on a hair trigger, and eventually, you go numb.

That brings me to the next kind of poverty — emotional poverty. Americans live severely impoverished emotional lives. America consistently ranks as a much, much unhappier country than Scandinavia, and falling. It’s among the angriest place and most stressed out place in the world.

Backing all that up, rates of depression have soared way, way past global norms, suicides are skyrocketing, and hopelessness and despair are endemic, too.

Imagine that you live a life of financial poverty, time poverty, and public health poverty, like most Americans do. What kind of life is that, emotionally? A poor one. It’s full of nights where you can’t sleep, wondering how to pay the bills. It’s riddled with anxiety and panic. Uncontrollable thoughts race through the mind. Pretty soon, you’re like, well, most Americans: angry, stressed out, depressed. No matter how hard you work, you never seem to able to make ends meet. You never have enough time to spend with your loved ones — or just relaxing, or learning something new. But those are the greatest sources of happiness of all. Is it any wonder Americans are miserable and furious, mostly, then?

The American Idiot made all that happen, too. Who votes, again and again, for no real mental healthcare? In America, you can get medicated— the lowest cost answer, or you can get “therapy.” But getting proper mental healthcare, the way you can in Europe or Canada — careful, long-term psychotherapy? That doesn’t exist at all in America, outside maybe a handful of major cities.

The American Idiot responded, instead, to life becoming a nightmare of dystopian stress, misery, and anger, with something else. With rage. With hate. With the cruelty and brutality that have made America a laughingstock the world over. Why does the American Idiot deny everyone — including themselves — better incomes, healthcare, retirement, pension, more time to have a decent life? Because they’ve internalized the notion that nobody has any intrinsic worth. And therefore, everybody must be a vicious competitor, fighting everyone else off, for a morsel of basics, whether jobs, healthcare, pensions, and so on.

But these are things that when people cooperate — as they do in Canada and Europe — they can simply give each other.

Never mind. The American Idiot — led off a cliff by greater fools, like Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump — believes that the only way out of an abusive society is to be a bigger, hungrier, more vicious predator.

But all that happens that way is that society implodes into a spectacular orgy of self-destruction, and becomes an unlivable place, because unbelievable cruelty to the rest of the world becomes the norm — like letting kids be shot at school, in indifference to life which culminates, ultimately, in the mass death of a virus.

All that brings me to another kind of poverty: one we don’t yet have a good name for. A poverty of trust, of goodness, of decency. Americans are impoverished in this deep way, which I can put most simply and accurately by saying that they seem to genuinely hate each other. It’s not nice living in a society of people who hate each other. A society of hateful people can’t ever cooperate to accomplish anything, whether beating a deadly pandemic, or creating a better future by investing together in schools, hospitals, ideas, research, accomplishments.

Now, I don’t mean that you hate anyone. I mean it in a more technical way, one that’s almost invisible in America, because like air, it’s just the atmosphere that surrounds everyone. What else, though, can it really be called, when some large number of Americans deny, over and over, everyone else the right to have healthcare? An education? A job with decent standards? Free time? A rising income? A democracy?

You only do those things if you hate people. Yes, really hate them. I would never deny you healthcare, goes the sentiment in Europe and Canada, where even the hard right wing isn’t against basic public goods. American Idiots will deny their own kids and parents decent lives, though.

The only accurate word to describe such a sentiment is hate — because when you deny someone the basics, like medicine or retirement, you are also hurting them badly, and in very real ways. They are going to suffer much, much worse lives — whether measured in longevity, happiness, income, or relationships — as a result of that denial.

The American Idiot is an abuser. He abuses everyone he can, right down to his own loved ones — and think that’s sanity, compassion, goodness. It’s not: it’s only a recipe for self-destruction. Because a society of people — enough of them — hell-bent on abusing everyone else, right down to their loved ones — can only implode into ruin, bitterness, hardship, and suffering.

That brings me to my final form of poverty. If I deny you the basics — healthcare, education, and so on — what am I really doing? I am destroying your human potential. And that is America’s truest and deepest form of poverty.

Americans now live lives of sharply limited and circumscribed possibilities. Go-nowhere, dead-end lives. You can see that, too, in basic statistics, like the death of upwards mobility, the loss of hope in the future, the fact that young people can’t afford to move out and start families, that half of all jobs are now “low-wage service work.”

In America, your life is going to be much, much poorer than in any other rich country. Elsewhere? You can probably get an education — a much better one — and not be crippled by debt for life. There are more better jobs, with better standards. There’s more free time, to have a family, to form bonds, to love. There are better social protections, which mean you spend less time anxious and stressed out. All of that doesn’t just add up to less depression and suicide and more happiness — happiness is facet of an even greater thing, human potential.

There you are, a young person in America. What are your options? Most industries have now imploded, from news to media to education. That’s why half of jobs are now “low-wage service work,” which is polite pundit’s way of saying: being a servant.

You end up driving an Uber, delivering an Instacart. Doing gig work. Pursuing your side hustle when and where you can. What the hell? You’re educated. You have a long collection of degrees and diplomas.

And yet you never become the thing you could have. The one that would have benefited everyone. That scientist, researcher, novelist, journalist, professor, musician. Who can? Nobody can make ends meet. Nobody has time for anything but to be exploited and abused, in the name of trying to make ends meet. So what is there left over in time or money to invest in one’s self?

One dimension of human potential is what you make of yourself professionally — and you realize, one day, terrified, that you will never amount to what you wanted to, but be a glorified neo-servant for much of your life. But another is relational — what you make of yourself socially. And as an American, now, you can’t even afford to start a family, have a home, develop a lifelong relationship.

That’s how badly your human potential has been destroyed. That’s how poor you are in human possibility. You won’t not just be that scientist, researcher, journalist, novelist — you also won’t be that dad, mom, grandparent, husband, wife, loved one.

You will work, for a pittance, and then die. You’ll make billionaires trillionaires — and demagogue dictators — along the way. But you?

You’re expandable, disposable, nobody.

The Fall of America – A Bitter Tale to Tell | Think Magazine

That’s thanks to the American Idiot. He’s a person so breathtakingly foolish to the rest of the world he’s made America a laughingstock. Precisely because he believes nobody’s life has any intrinsic value — beginning with his own, extending to his loved ones…all the way to you, to everyone. If he’s happy to abuse himself — having internalized the lesson he’s been taught all his life, that only brutality matters and cruelty counts — why wouldn’t he abuse everyone else, too?

America’s become unlivable. Sure, you can live there, and you’ll be OK. But you’ll be poor. Poor in ways that are strange and hard to comprehend because they’re both old and new. You’ll be poor financially, of course, like someone living in a collapsing society — but that’s just the beginning.

You’ll be poor in terms of public health, like someone from medieval times. You’ll be poor in terms of time and power, like a peasant from pre-war times. You’ll be poor emotionally, like someone living in a country with no hope. And you’ll be poor socially, politically, and culturally, like in a country turning fascist-authoritarian. All that adds up to the coup de grace — you’ll be poor in terms of human potential. You’ll never become what you’re capable of being — not to the same degree as elsewhere.

Don’t get me wrong. Humanity has lived through a lot. Plagues, wars, collapses, implosions. Life doesn’t come to an end. It goes on. But you know what the point of all those things was? Not to repeat them.

That is the most minimal definition of what progress is. And so far, America has yet to meet even that. Maybe, then, that’s what the truest kind of poverty is, too.

The 7 Dwarfs of Auschwitz

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The story of the seven fiddler dwarfs from the Maramures village of Rozalvea, who survived the Auschwitz camp, continues to fascinate decades after the heinous experiments they were subjected to by the well-known Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. The band “Liliput”, composed of seven brothers, all dwarfs, began to become known in the 1930s. The “Ovicers”, as their neighbors called the members of the Ovitz Jewish family, became famous throughout Europe with their variety shows, even singing for King Charles II.

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The Ovitz family at one of their famous performances in 1938

After the occupation of Transylvania by horticulturists, the members of the “Liliput” band knew what to expect, given their Jewish descent, so they hid all their belongings in a pit which they dug under their car.

Upon reaching Auschwitz

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Perla (right) and Elizabeth Ovitz: as the five sisters and two brothers were all good-looking and musically gifted, the stage seemed the perfect career

The Ovitz brothers, five girls and two boys, were taken to Auschwitz along with several hundred other Hungarian Hungarians. As they entered the camp gate, all elegantly dressed and well-dressed, an officer demanded that Dr. Mengele be awakened urgently.

Dr. Josef Mengele was known for his passion for strange people, from hermaphrodites to giants, so the incorporation of seven dwarfs into the Auschwitz extermination camp could only be a source of joy for him. Hearing of the arrival of the seven members of the “Liliput” band, Mengele jumped out of bed and wanted to see them immediately.

While waiting for the doctor, Perla Ovitz, who was 23 at the time, remembers seeing people, including her relatives, taken to a two-chimney building from which smoke constantly came out. The pearl, naive, thought it was a bakery, but was soon awakened to reality by a prisoner of the camp: “There is no bakery. This is Auschwitz, and you will soon be in those ovens. ”

But Mengele’s passion for strange people saved them from death, but the seven dwarfs from Rozalvea had a perhaps more cruel fate.

Meeting with the diabolical Dr. Mengele

“I have been working for 20 years now!” Exclaimed Mengele when he saw the seven dwarfs. The doctor, who had gassed five hundred women a few months ago to escape a typhus epidemic, was simply charmed by the Ovitz family.

In just three hours since they arrived at the extermination camp, much of the Jews they had brought on the train were already dead. Both the seven members of the “Liliput” band and their relatives were spared. In total, 22 people.

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All members of the Ovitz family which survived Auschwitz

The “ovicers” told the doctor at Auschwitz that their father, also a dwarf, had been twice married to tall women, who gave birth to seven dwarfs and three children of normal size.

Like the other prisoners, members of the Ovitz family were put in a barracks and fed the same strained soup. In the room where they were kept, there was also an aluminum bowl in which they washed every day because Mengele was obsessed with hygiene. However, the dwarves were not shaved and were allowed to keep the clothes they had brought with them.

Unsuccessful experiments

At first, Mengele just wanted to take their blood, but this became a weekly routine, weakening the malnourished “ovaries.”

“He was stabbing us carefully, and the blood was jumping. I was often dizzy and vomiting. We were returning to the barracks, but until we returned, we were called again “, said Perla Ovitz.

Mengele didn’t know exactly what he wanted from them either, although he took their blood weekly and did x-rays. According to the documents, the doctor was doing routine tests for kidney and liver problems, but he did not make any discoveries about dwarfism. Then he began to test them for syphilis and torture them, pouring cold and hot water into their ears. Pearl said that water torture was very painful and led them to the brink of madness. The doctors also extracted their teeth and took their genes for testing.

Strange friendship with Mengele

“We were used to the idea that we would never leave the camp,” Perla Ovitz said in an interview more than 10 years ago. But Mengele saved them once again from a painful death because they were to be gassed. The “Lilliputians” had even heard of two dwarfs who had been killed at Mengele’s behest just to show their skeletons in Berlin.

Although subjected to painful experiments, Perla said there was a strange friendship between the dwarves and the sadistic doctor Mengele. “Dr. Mengele was like a star, he looked better and better. Anyone could have fallen in love with him, “Perla recalled. “When he was nervous, he calmed down as he entered our barracks. When he was in a good mood, people said, “Most likely he visited the dwarves.”

Frieda, one of the sisters, often flirted with Mengele, and he responded to the flirtation, calling her “Meine Liebe” (“my love”). All the Ovitz brothers treated him with respect and addressed him with “Your Excellency.

One day, Mengele announced that they were going on a trip and provided them with makeup kits, asking them to look their best, because he was going to give a show in front of important people. After squabbling, the dwarves took to the stage in front of hundreds of SS officers. Dr. Mengele was waiting for them on stage, who suddenly returned to them and shouted: “Undressing!”.

Trembling and trying to hide their private parts, the dwarves stood naked in front of the whole room. In fact, the Ovitz brothers had been brought on stage to make a strong impact on the speech given by the sadistic doctor Mengele about how the Jewish race degenerates into disabled and dwarfs. At the end, the audience stood up and applauded, and the SS officers went on stage to see the dwarves more closely.

Finally, free

In 1945, the “ovicers” were removed from Auschwitz and, after a few months in Moscow, returned to the country. Once in Rozavlea, the dwarves found, under the car, their jewelry and gold objects.

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The Ovitzs leaving Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945

In 1949, the family emigrated to Israel, where they continued to perform variety shows. Perla Ovitz, the last member of the dwarf family, died on September 9, 2001 of natural causes.