Musa Aman become Chief Minister in March 2003 on the plank of development. At that time the Sabah government inherited empty coffers; and an inertia prevailed in almost every sector of development. The government had its tasks cut out for it- giving Sabah the development path, it was craving desperately, while putting the state’s economy back on the tracks. The state has an irony since its very inception. The irony is that it has been endowed with rich natural wealth yet it miserably failed to leverage upon this wealth due, mainly, to lack of requisite infrastructure and bad governance.

True to its promise with the people the Musa government made successful efforts to set things right in priority sectors including roads, irrigation, electricity, water supply, agriculture, tourism, employment etc while at the same time improving the fiscal health of the state. A special feature of this endeavour has been that in last 13 years with Musa as chief minister development did not suffer slackness at any point of time; and there has been a continuity in development process.

Musa Aman had a job to do, and he did it as well as he could by presenting a RM 3.49 billion budget for 2016.

In his State Budget 2016 proposals Musa Aman has proposed a RM3.49 billion budget which comes with a surplus of RM29.9 million.The budget comes with an estimated revenue collection amounting to RM3.520 billion.

I was full of trepidation because of the huge expectations from the Budget. This was clearly a make or break Budget for the Musa government as it would have lost the benefit of the doubt, which it has enjoyed until now, as last year Sabah tabled a surplus budget of RM3.812 billion with a surplus of RM49.2 million. Moreover, the fear was that with the Malaysia’s ringgit currency slid past 4.0 to the US dollar for the first time in 17 years, pounded by concerns over Malaysia’s economic growth and political uncertainty stemming from 1MDB, heightened by Malaysia’s deteriorating terms of trade, high debt, and a fragile fiscal position highly dependent on oil-related revenue, the Sabah government could get scared and veer away from the path of developments. It is indeed to the credit of the Sabah government that they have proven our fears to be unfounded with another surplus budget for 2016.

Themed “Prudent Budget, The People at Heart”, Musa’s budget proposal emphasised on the need to consolidate existing state resources with a demand for effective and efficient management. It makes sense when Musa said the government formulated the 2016 budget by taking into account the global economic environment. “Even though the rate of economic growth is somewhat slowing down in Asia and globally, the state’s economic fundamentals still remain strong, due to our wealth of natural resources such as crude oil, palm oil and forest products that are still in great demand in the world market. “However, it cannot be denied that as an economy dominated by the production of major commodities such as crude oil and palm oil, the state revenue collection could be affected due to fluctuation in commodity prices and foreign exchange rates, Musa said in the State Assembly.

The Budget is replete with forward looking whose cumulative positive impact will be significant in the coming years. For me the five most important features of the Budget are:

First, its emphasis on infrastructure development by proposing an allocation of RM1.373 billion. Of these RM441 million will be allocated for economic development, RM212.7 million for social development and RM44.56 million for administration. This is buttressed by allocating RM1.5 billion for special expenditure. Infrastructural development is given the attention it deserved.

Second, agriculture sector which is Sabah’s main economic strength will be given top priority with an allocation of RM456.9 million. Out of which RM169.85 million will be allocated to carry out various agricultural development projects including the Permanent Food Production Park project, Agriculture Research Programme, Paddy Planting Development Project, Rubber Replanting Programme and Palm Oil Downstream Industry Development. Even fisheries sector will be allocated RM47.76 million to increase fish production and fishery products to 423,360 metric tons per year.

In addition the Chief Minister announced that the livestock sub-sector was allocated RM122.8 million. Livestock sub-sector recorded a gross production valued RM1.106 billion last year and expected to increase this year hence reducing the State’s food bill from year to year.

Third, the Budget’s focus on improving the business environment especially for the micro, small and medium enterprises is laudable. This includes providing infrastructure amenities and creating a conducive environment to all investors in the existing industrial parks such as Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP), Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu and Sandakan as well as Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (Sogip).

In fact in the industrial and manufacturing sector, the state registered a total investment of RM572 million in manufacturing this year of which RM92 million represents foreign investment involving 28 companies and generating 1129 job opportunity. Since 2011, total investment in manufacturing and industry sector had achieved a total value of RM13.9 billion, generating 11,115 job opportunities.

Fourth, the Chief Minister cum Finance Minister has shown that he is not beholden to any fiscal dogma and has his attention focused sharply on the need to raise investment. He has demonstrated this by opting for a more moderate glide path even though the States’s economy growth is expected to register a moderate growth of around 3.5 to 4.5 per cent.

Fifth, the chief minister has allocated a total sum of RM290.08 million for the implementation of programmes in eradicating poverty and improving the peoples well being. More than 20 villages under Program Kampung Sejahtera (PKS) are being planned to be developed for 2016. This shows the government is always sensitive to the people’s plights and taking steps and measures necessary to ensure the welfare and prosperity of the people are safeguarded.

That the Budget has not disappointed, despite the high expectations, is in itself creditable. More creditable is that it has not succumbed to populism despite ringgit sliding, low oil prices, 1MDB fiasco, Ranau earthquake and the Abu Sayaff kidnapping. The Musa team has done well to make this a growth and investment oriented Budget while at the same time retaining and indeed increasing outlays on social welfare measures.

Malaysian journalists, particularly in Sabah, were urged last night not to give room for news stories based on mere allegations or made up of lopsided information or half-truths.

Sabah Chief Ministeri Musa Aman said journalists reports should be based on solid facts and not speculation which would paint the wrong picture and cause unnecessary concern or even panic.

“At a time when information, albeit true or false, is available at the press of a finger, the media now has more responsibility to ensure their reports are accurate,” he said at the Kinabalu Shell Press Awards here on Friday night.

Musa said journalists have a constructive role to play in society by not only reporting news and providing information to the public, but also to act as an important intermediary between the government and the people.

He said the media influenced people’s way of thinking, besides having the power to change the social and political landscape of a nation.

“This tool should be used wisely and for the betterment of society. Using it in a different direction and in an irresponsible manner could spell disaster,” he added.

The chief minister also presented the six main awards to the winners of the Press Awards.


‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and ‘Thrilla in Manila’ rank among the finest in boxing’s history

Reggie Jackson was a left-handed slug-hitting baseball player whose consistent post-season success earned him the nickname ‘Mr. October’. Jackson hit 563 home runs and his World Series batting average was so much better than his regular season average that he became something of a legend.

But there is another American — arguably the best known sportsman in the planet and one whose influence went way beyond the boxing ring in which his legend grew and grew and grew — to whom October is a very special month. Two of the peerless Muhammad Ali’s greatest victories came in the month of October.

On October 30, 1974, Ali stunned the world of boxing by knocking out the seemingly indestructible George Foreman in Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The author Thomas Hauser best captured the impact of that moment when he said that it “inspired more global joy than any other athletic achievement in history.’’ That may have even been an under-statement, for such were the worldwide celebrations that followed.

A year later, on October 1, 1975 — exactly 40 years ago today — ‘The Greatest’ outlasted his greatest opponent after 14 brutal rounds of gladiatorial severity in what was billed as ‘The Thrilla in Manila’. Ali later said that it was the closest he had come to death.

“You get tired. It takes so much out of you mentally. I was thinking in the end. Why am I doing this?’’ Ali was quoted as saying the morning after the Manila fight in his hotel suite by Mark Kram of Sports Illustrated.

Total respect for Frazier

“What am I doing here against this beast of a man? It’s so painful. I must be crazy. I always bring out the best in the men I fight, but Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I am gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.’’

For all the taunting and teasing, for all the insults that Ali consistently threw at ‘Smokin Joe’ from the beginning of their epic three-fight (Ali won the second and third) rivalry, there was no boxer that Ali had more respect for in his entire career.

After Eddie Futch, Frazier’s trainer, threw in the towel at the end of Round 14, Ali hailed his opponent as the “greatest fighter of all time, next to me.’’

If those two October slug-fests rank among the finest in the sport’s history, then a lot of things contributed to making them very, very special.

The most powerful nation on earth was shamefacedly pulling out of a war in which it was never going to triumph, in Vietnam. And Americans craved for any kind of diversion that would help them forget the folly of a faraway conflict from which some of their most courageous young countrymen were returning, not as heroes, but looking like zombies in need of serious psychiatric care.

Inspirational icon

And Ali, as a celebrated conscientious objector, was at once hero and villain but a demi-god among African-Americans and anti-war protesters in colleges across the country — as well as to millions of youngsters around the globe.

Put off once because Foreman had cut his eye in training, ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ in the brutal dictator Mobutu’s impoverished capital city of Kinshasa saw many critics hit out at Ali — apparently in his own cause — for signing what they thought was a suicidal contract to fight a man whose arms looked like boulders supporting an over-bridge.

Many feared for the 32-year-old Ali’s safety as he trained in the forests of Zaire, holed up in a small village about 80 km from Kinshasa. Going into the ring, he was a 40-1 outsider with the bookmakers; and that’s as bad as it can get in a one-on-one contest of any kind.

But Ali, steeped in intense self-belief, had his own plans. And they became clear as the fight made its way towards rounds four, five and six. Leaning on the ropes, his back bent like a question mark, the great man soaked up everything that Foreman threw at him.

Then, when the moment came, Ali grabbed it. As Foreman began to visibly tire, his feet heavy, and his mind a mess, Ali moved in for the kill and felled his opponent with a single right, without even bothering to follow up with a couple of more punches even as Foreman slumped.

Brutal battle to the finish

A year on, in Manila, Ali and Frazier found new vistas in their own heart and soul; in an extraordinary contest in which boundaries were pushed back to the very limits, the two men went at each other as if they were ready to lay down their lives on that day. It seemed that nothing short of that would stop either of them.

Once again Ali proved what a resilient fighter he was; he stood up to the Frazier barrage time and time again. And finally, in the 13th round, Frazier’s mouthpiece parted company with him and went flying and Ali pummelled him into submission in the 14th round.

“What a great fighter he is,’’ said Frazier of a pugilist whose physical courage and tactical flexibility were unmatched among his peers. Great fighter or the greatest of all time?

This piece was written by Nirmal Shekar of The Hindu

Musa Aman is well known in Malaysia and across the globe as a leader who is totally committed to development and good governance. His record 3 terms as the Chief Minister of his home state of Sabah exemplifies Musa Aman’s commitment to a development Agenda, rising above all other political considerations. He ushered in a paradigm shift towards pro-people and pro-active good governance, bringing in a positive change in the life of many in Sabah. His tireless efforts were guided by the principle of Collective efforts, inclusive growth where each and every person was an important stakeholder in Sabah’s development journey.

When he took over as Chief Minister on 27th March 2003 Musa Aman did not have much time to settle into his new job. The state was reeling under the aftereffects of a severe cash crunch and there was nothing much in the State Treasury. Even Yayasan Sabah (YS) was badly in need of funds and retrenchment and Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) was the order of the day. The entire world had written off Sabah and it was believed that Sabah would take years to develop. Musa Aman proved them all wrong. In a record span of time Sabah was up and running and today it’s reserves in the State Treasury is more than RM3 billion and has become the cynosure of the world’s eyes.

Musa’s success as an administrator lay in his out of the box thinking. That’s why when he recently spoke to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak he emphasised that the Sabah State government needs greater autonomy for rural development projects.

The Sabah government wants autonomy in terms of planing, funding and implementation of rural development projects so that they can be completed and delivered on time. There are too many Federal agencies involved at the Federal level at the implementation stage that contributed to the delay of projects. Development of rural areas has been hampered due to delay in channnelling of funds, bureaucracy and politicking.

Billions of ringgit were channelled by the Federal Government for development projects involving rural roads, rural electricity, rural water supply and household assistance program via Shafie Apdal’s Rural Development Ministry in the past, but, there was so much hiccups and many projects were delayed and some have not even taken off. With greater control of development funds by the State Government, the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects would be more structured, streamlined and aligned with the State’s overall development objective. Hence by giving more autonomy, Sabah can plan and implement projects in a more holistic manner.

Sabah State Government knows the Sabah turf better. Besides, Sabah State Government is more than able to manage funds from the Federal. Sabah State Government under Musa has a good track record in managing its finance which is proven by Sabah having the best record of financial management in Malaysia for two consecutive years and awarded a ‘clean bill’ by the Auditor-General for 14 consecutive years as well as given ‘AAA’ ratings by Rating Services Berhad RAM for six years in a row. All these happened during Musa tenure.

It is Musa’s firm belief also that – “a Government does not have any business doing business”. What a government should do, however is to create a positive climate that will bring investment. Instances of these approaches were seen time and again, last year Sabah received RM2.4 billion from local investors and RM1 billion was injected by foreign investors and gave a boost to employment creation in Sabah. There was quantum jump in both the MoUs inked and the investment coming. Sabah development Corridor (SDC) has RM135 billion worth of cumulative investments, out of which, RM45 billion have been realised.

Musa did not have much time to catch his breath when he took over as CM in 2003 facing grave adversities and in challenging circumstances. But he rose to the occasion, turned every challenge into an opportunity and transformed Sabah into a state that not only Malaysia but also the entire world is today proud of.

This was told to me by Musa a long time ago but its so meaningful even now, “It is said that community who fails to learn lesson from the past lag behind. Our own experience is no different from this saying. We have to build a better Sabah by taking appropriate lesson from our own history. And we have to define the road today itself. The challenge before this ever-changing society and time is to turn change into progress. Like what Nelson Mandela said: “Vision without action is, but a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with the action changes the world”.

This piece came out in Daily Express Sunday Forum today 13th September 2015

Picked this up from Reuters

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, fellow Gulf states raced to shelter thousands of displaced Kuwaitis. Fast forward 25 years, and the homeless from Syria’s nearby war have found scant refuge in the Arab world’s richest states.

The wrenching image of a Syrian Kurdish refugee boy drowned on a Turkish beach has stoked debate in Europe. The official silence of Gulf Arab dynasties makes many Gulf citizens uneasy.

Paintings and cartoons of the young boy’s death crowded Arab social media, one depicting little Aylan Kurdi’s corpse laid out before an open grave with inert figures in traditional Gulf Arab cloaks and robes holding shovels.

Another showed the three-year old’s head slumped toward a tombstone marked “the Arab conscience”.

Sara Hashash of Amnesty International called the Gulf Arab states’ behaviour “utterly shameful” and criticised Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for officially taking in zero refugees.

Turkey hosts almost 2 million, tiny Lebanon over a million and other restive and poor neighbours hundreds of thousands.

The Gulf States’ supporters say the numbers involved in Syria’s crisis are vastly larger than in Kuwait’s case. They point to the funding Gulf States have given to aid efforts in countries neighbouring Syria.

“Qatar is very small and already donating to refugees in Jordan, Turkey and northern Iraq. For logistical reasons Qatar cannot take in large numbers of refugees so instead Qatar chooses to support them financially,” said Abdullah Al-Athbah, editor in chief of Arab Newspaper.

But sympathy for Syria’s refugees is on the rise.

“It gives us a glimmer of hope after these recent drowning episodes to see broad campaigns of sympathy and solidarity with the issue of Syrian refugees by governments and peoples in some European countries,” wrote Zeid al-Zeid in a column for Kuwait’s Al-An newspaper on Sunday.

“But it makes us sorry and makes us wonder about the absence of any official response by Arab states … we’re seeing a silence that’s scandalous.”

Sultan Sooud al Qassemi, a commentator in the United Arab Emirates, said he suspected Gulf States were wary of allowing in large numbers of politically vocal Arabs who might somehow influence a traditionally passive society. But he said Gulf States should open their doors to the refugees.

“The Gulf states often complain that the Arabic language is underused and that our culture is under threat due to the large number of foreign immigrants,” Mr. al Qassemi said.

“Here is an opportunity to host a group of people who can help alleviate such concerns and are in need of refuge, fleeing a brutal war.”

One Kuwaiti analyst, a regular fixture on pan-Arab news shows, raised hackles by saying in a television interview that refugees were better suited to poorer countries, failing to acknowledge the pledges of rich European countries like Germany to take in many thousands.

“Gulf countries clearly can and should do an awful lot more,” said Oxfam’s Syria country director Daniel Gorevan.

He called on Gulf States to “offer up work places, family unification schemes, essentially other legal avenues for them to get into Gulf countries and to be able to earn a living.”

In Arab states beyond the Gulf, there is immense sympathy for Syrians, but mixed views on the feasibility of helping.

“Tunisia is not able to welcome any refugees. We cannot accept Syrian refugees. After the revolution of 2011, Tunisia was the first to pay the price in terms of refugees. We have welcomed 1.2 million Libyans and that has cost us a lot,” Boujemaa Rmili, a spokesman for the Nidaa Tounes party which forms part of the governing coalition said.

Migrants from Syria and Sahel countries into Algeria are estimated at 55,000, a source from Algeria’s red crescent told Reuters. “We have done what we can to offer them the basics including food, medicine, host centres, and we have allowed the Syrian kids to study in our schools,” the source said.


Gulf officials and those defending Gulf policies say the outrage overlooks the billions donated to Syrian refugee camps abroad and the delicate demographics of countries where expatriate workers already nearly outnumber locals.

“Qatar has provided over $2 billion in aid to the Syrian people in addition to the $106 million provided by Qatar’s semi-governmental institutions,” a Qatari diplomat said.

Others felt Gulf states should go further.

“[The Gulf] should accept Syrian refugees. Saudis and Syrians have always been brothers and sisters. Aside from the fact that our religion requires us to do so, helping refugees should be a natural reaction to what we have seen in the media,” 22-year old Saudi student Noor Almulla said.

Another Saudi student, Sara Khalid (23), said Gulf Arab states “as their neighbours and fellow Muslims” had a greater responsibility to Syrian refugees than Europeans.

While none of the Gulf Arab states have signed onto key global agreements defining refugee status and imposing responsibilities on countries to grant asylum, the United Nations Refugee Agency praised the Gulf’s “hospitality.”

“The six GCC governments continue to respect international standards with regards to protecting refugees,” especially in not repatriating them back to their war-torn homes, Nabil Othman, the UNHCR’s representative in the Gulf told Reuters.

While authorities generally apply “humanitarian considerations” to those overstaying their visas, Othman said work or local sponsorship still mostly defined residency status.

Foreign workers outnumber locals five to one in the UAE and Qatar, where well-heeled European families and South Asian workers are omnipresent while long-robed citizens are rare. Refugee camps are, and will likely remain, non-existent.

“The numbers of foreigners are overwhelming. Here we have 90 per cent – do you want to turn local people into minorities in their own countries? They already are, but to do it really?” said UAE Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political scientist.

Over the decades, Saudi Arabia has become home to around half a million Syrians and the UAE to over 150,000, and the welcome extended to these and other expat professionals has helped fuel a boom in Gulf economies.

But since the unrest and wars unleashed by the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings in 2011, those governments have adopted a stricter line on accepting Palestinians, Syrians and Shia Muslims – a sign of just how much the rich and stable Gulf ruled by absolute monarchs is wary of importing political contagions.

Iyad al-Baghdadi, a Palestinian blogger and activist deported from the UAE last year, has criticised the response of the Gulf states and laments the closed borders and repression.

Recalling time spent in a Norwegian refugee camp with Syrian refugee friends, he said on Twitter: “Something about this felt absolutely alien – three grown Arab Muslim men who were made homeless and are seeking refuge in… Scandinavia.”

“The Arab world is 5 million square miles. When my son was born, among the worst thoughts was how it has no space for him.”

Sabah Umno chief Musa Aman has urged party leaders and members in the state to cut the polemics and politicking among themselves, but to instead focus their thoughts and energy on
improving the people’s lot.

Musa, who is also Sabah Chief Minister, said too much polemics and little work done would not bring any benefit to the people, state and country as a whole.

“What is important is to carry out the work entrusted to us by the people. Go down to the ground to meet them and know their problems. I’ve always told Umno leaders and members to talk less and work more.”

Musa said this to reporters after simultaneously opening the Tuaran Umno delegates’ meeting and its Wanita, Youth and Puteri Umno meetings at the Sulaman Community Hall in Tuaran today.

Also present were Tuaran Umno division chief and state Housing and Local Government Minister Hajiji Noor, and the division’s deputy chief, Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who is also federal Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister.

Earlier, in his speech, Musa reminded Umno leaders and members to continue to focus on the party’s struggle and not lose direction, as it was normal that in any struggle, there would be challenges, tribulations and “thorns”, especially in a big political party like Umno.

“That is why I’ve always told (the elected representatives) that they should not regard themselves as just ‘Yang Berhomat’ (Honourable Member) but also as ‘Yang Berkhidmat’ (Serving Member) to the people.

“This is the way and approach to ensure Umno and the other component parties in Barisan Nasional remain stable and strong,” he said.

He also reminded Umno leaders and members the importance of upholding the culture of being loyal to the party leadership and being united in the interest of the party.

– Bernama

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my Muslim friends and all readers to this blog, Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri! May this Raya comes with full of love, peace and prosperity.


The recent Sabah Quake has left a very damaging effect on Sabah and her people in all forms. The physical, psychological, spiritual trauma felt by Sabahans and friends of Sabah is one that cannot be erased so easily. As someone who has called Sabah my home for many years, I believe I speak for many that the Sabah Quake is a reminder of how insignificant we are to a land that had provided so much for so many. Clearly, life as we live it must take into account natures very living presence that is in as much of a position as human beings are in determining both life and death.

However, what I foresee to be the greatest burden befallen those effected by the quake is an economical one.The quake took 18 lives and left almost 20 people wounded and hurt. Over a hundred climbers were left stranded on the mountain, without other viable exit routes. Numerous homes and building in approximately 18 districts suffered structurally and more than 80 aftershocks recorded by the Meteorological Department, many more will soon be reported.

The point that I am making here is simple; There is a great need for funds designated to restoration works in Sabah. The local mountain guides (national heroes in my eyes) and affected local residents need to be taken care of till Mount Kinabalu is once again ready for climbers. In its current state, no climbers would even dare think of weathering Akinabalu and if climbers are no longer coming, an entire community that depends on this industry to make a living will be severely effected.

Recently in a conversation with Sabah Chief Minister, Musa Aman, I was told that he had appealed to several high ranking officers from PETRONAS ( a government endorsed oil and Gas conglomerate) to assist with the Sabah Quake victims. A verbal agreement was made between Aman and PETRONAS in which this special fund would serve as their CSR for Sabah. This has yet to take place, but for this assistance to make truly help, it needs to come in soon. Similarly, other successful companies and conglomerates need to come forward in a similar fashion. Anyone who has benefited from Sabah needs to pump resources back to the state immediately.

We can never blame anyone for the Sabah quake. Nature is unpredictable as it is beautiful and what happens within the realm of the natural is completely out of our hands. But what we can take complete control of are the aftermaths, the rehabilitation and and the recovery. If we fail to assist and support where it is needed, then blame is inevitable. Conglomerates, such as PETRONAS who have had the support of so many, need to take time from their busy schedule to realize that those servicing the Mount Kinabalu, a cherished and honored world heritage site, are in need of help. Help needs to come sooner rather than later, through swift action and not as lip service.

this piece was out today in the Sunday Daily Express forum

“The U.S. could be poised for a third world war with China and one key to avoiding it could be found in currency accommodation, George Soros said in a recent speech to the Bretton Woods Committee in Washington D.C.

As China’s economy transitions, this could trigger a global military conflict as might other issues in the region, Soros observed. “If the transition runs into roadblocks, then there is a chance, or likelihood in fact, the leadership would foster some external conflict to keep the country united and maintain itself in power,” Soros said. “If there is a military conflict between China and an alley of the U.S., like Japan, it is not an exaggeration to say we could be on the threshold of a third world war. It could spread to the Middle East, then Europe and Africa.”

Not engaging China could be a mistake of historic proportion, he said. “It is in the interest of both parties to find accommodation because the alternative is so unpleasant. There has been a breakthrough in climate policy. There needs to be a similar breakthrough in economic policy. If not, China will align itself with Russia, and then a third war will become real.”

The third world war could already be taking shape in Europe, where “you already has an indirect war between Russia and the west, yet no one realizes this.” Russian military spending is now approaching 10 percent of its GDP, and China has made a similar commitment to spending on armaments, he observed.

After the 2008 collapse, the U.S. was being questioned and the nail in the coffin of world supremacy occurred. It was here history for the U.S. took a decided negative turn, Soros says, as U.S. President George W. Bush’s attack on Iraq “on false pretenses, I must add,” was the point at which the U.S. lost the mantle of global world leader. The U.S. had become sole ruler of world leadership after the collapse of the Soviet Union’s communistic system and in just one short decade lost this title. “This was almost exactly same period of time as Hitler’s” reign in power, less than ten years, Soros noted.

Now the world has broken up into rival camps both financially and politically, he noted, wondering how a catastrophic war will be avoided. “The big question is will they be able to keep the rivalry in bounds.””

Listen the full speech here.

Spanish painter Salvador Dali not only created surreal art, he lived a surreal life too.

In 1924, after World War I a new cultural movement called Surrealism was started by French poet Andre Breton. Surrealism extended beyond painting. It had an effect on film, poetry, music and sculpture. The word surrealism means “more than real” from the French word sur which means “above”. Surrealists wanted to rebel against the rational, everyday world.

Many Surrealists tried drawing without thinking so that they could bring out whatever was in their unconscious mind. The art looks disturbing and sometimes just plain weird, but has a lot of interesting details if you take a closer look.

Above the real

Surrealist artists loved to combine objects that are not usually found together such as a lobster on a telephone. The Belgian artist Rene Magritte created a human head and painted it over with a blue sky full of clouds. This makes the head look as if it is dissolving into air!

One of the most famous artists belonging to the Surrealism movement was Spanish artist Salvador Dali. Born on May 11, 1904, Salvador loved art and playing football when he was growing up in Figueres, Spain. He went to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid when he was 17.

At the Academy, the young Dali had a wild set of friends. He grew his hair and wore his sideburns long. He got into trouble with his teachers and was expelled before he could graduate. Dali experimented with various forms of art. He explored Classical art, Impressionism, Cubism and Dadaism. Ultimately, he got interested in Surrealism through the work of artists like Joan Miro and Rene Magritte.

One of Dali’s most famous paintings is The Persistence of Memory. The painting shows a set of melting clock faces in a beautiful dream-like landscape. There is a weird shape with what looks like a face in the middle of the painting, and another melting clock draped over it. Dali wanted to show that time does not stay fixed. Some people think Dali was thinking about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity when he painted the picture. His painting Swans Reflecting Elephants has amazing reflections in it.

Dali created surreal works of art and also lived his life in a surreal manner. He often shocked people with his crazy behaviour and dress. He had a funny, pencil thin moustache that curled up at the ends. Sometimes he and his wife Gala would go to parties dressed in weird costumes that would upset other people.

Salvador Dali died in 1989. He was such a talented artist and he made important contributions to sculpture, film, theatre, fashion, photography and other areas besides painting.

You can go online to look at pictures by Dali, with permission from your parents, on this website: