JUST GRIN AND “BEAR” IT.

The Malaysian police recently revealed that the plump pilferer alias His Awesome Ampleness Jho bin Low was at one point hiding out in Wuhan.

If true, it would make for no small irony as the villainous virus would then have met up with his infectious counterpart with quite possibly interesting results all round. 

Alas, there is no new intelligence on whether the dumpy dacoit has since fled the city at the centre of the global Covid-19 outbreak.

In any case, the cherubic crook’s status has evolved over time. Once thought to be but an ample accomplice in the 1MDB heist, court testimony in the trial of its alleged pink-lipped principal has moved to shift the blame on to Fatso’s well-upholstered shoulders. 

Fearless Leader, who once vowed in Parliament that the smiling shark had nothing to do with 1MDB, now alleges that it was the same beaming brigand that not only took him, but the country, for an epic ride.  

As Fearless’ prosecutors might question: “Et Tu Brute?” Fat-boy agreed it was brutish and wished his erstwhile friend had blamed it on the bossa nova like most sensible people.    

The bandit was no-longer beaming. Instead, he felt sick to his stomach. 

It led to Malaysia’s alert and always intrepid Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador to shrewdly speculate that the villainous varmint might have contracted the virus.

He said that if the massive miscreant had indeed contracted the disease, “he should return to Malaysia where the treatment is the best.”

The civilised conman declined the offer courteously. And he did so in the full knowledge that he could buy a few hospitals if need be: the proceeds from the crime of the century is estimated at between US$4.5-7.9 billion (MYR18.6-33 billion)

China has always denied the Plump One’s presence. The South China Morning Post reported, however, that a spokesperson for the ne’er-do-well has disclosed that the round robber was hiding out in a country that “acts in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights”.

China would heartily agree with that description of itself. 

Late last year Abdul Hamid had bemoaned the scuppering of the manhunt for Low by “dishonest” foreign state authorities who were allegedly protecting the fugitive.

But the strangest spin was given on the story by the Hong Kong-based paper. The IGP was quoted by the SCMP as saying:

“Among the excuses they gave include Jho Low apparently having changed his looks by undergoing facial surgery to look like a bear.”

“Sometimes when he walks, he looks like a [bear]. So, when we look at him from behind, that is how he looks. Do you think this excuse [given by the authorities of the country Jho Low is hiding in] is logical?”

Think about it. This is a man who’s allegedly stolen more money than Croesus’ net worth: who’s able to afford to look like Brad Pitt but, if the Chinese are to be believed, prefers to look like Yogi. 

So, the next time someone says, “Bear in mind”, don’t immediately visualise Paddington.

Think Low Teck Jho.  

Being friends for the world to see

It was like Batman turning on Robin or the Lone Ranger disavowing Tonto. 

There was Low Teck Jho doing what fat fugitives do best, sunning himself surreptitiously in some swank spa at an undisclosed destination that Abdul Hamid Bador had yet to figure out…

… when the bombshell hit. 

His pal, helpmate and all-round best buddy threw him under the proverbial bus. 

Fearless Leader’s defence had been called in the case involving SRC International and Fearless rose to the challenge with his usual manly spirit.

 “Who, me?” screamed FL in shock and promptly professed his innocence by blaming everything and the kitchen sink on his plump protege and four other mysterious Middle Eastern gentlemen, none of whom planned to be around for the duration of the trial.

It was a crafty ploy built around a tried and tested legal philosophy: blame it on the bossa-nova also known as “if you can’t convince them, confuse them.” And it wasn’t surprising either because Fearless lawyer was a learned barrister who long ago had made nonsense of the saying “talk is cheap.”

Mohamad Shafiee Abdullah knew that talk was not cheap and legal work was never charity. That he preferred to leave to U2’s lawyers because they always worked pro-Bono. 

Even so, it was an astonishing admission that beggared belief. According to it, the real captain of the ship that saddled 1MDB with RM42 billion in debt was a beefy brigand whose name did not feature anywhere on its official records and whose whereabouts remained a mystery.

You might say confusion not only reigned, it poured. 

The bulging bandit was appalled by the news and didn’t know whether to be elated or angry. Like Fearless himself, the fat fiend had always professed innocence where 1MDB had been concerned.

He claimed he could not come back to Malaysia because he would not be given a “fair trial.” And when he invariably gave in to the American courts that seized his ill-gotten assets, his well-paid flunkies always added the proviso that the surrenders did not constitute an “admission of guilt.” 

Still, the chubby charlatan has steadfastly chosen to remain silent on the option of returning to the United States where he still faces several money laundering charges. Presumably the penal system there was not quite up to the mark. 

Secretly, however, the rotund rascal was pleased with Mr Shafiee’s description of him being the “leader of the pack” and the “brains behind the scheme.” The measure of that pleasure was almost always conditional to his distance from Malaysia and was inversely proportional to the Inspector General of Police’s ignorance of his whereabouts. 

The lamentable larcenist was getting increasingly philosophical in his old age and felt that the Malaysian authorities were getting too judgmental. For his part, he was all for letting bygones be bygones. 

Refreshed by the thought, the portly pirate dashed off a “Wish You Were Here” postcard to Fearless that generously allowed the detected defendant to heap even more blame on Fatboy. 

Because that was how real friends behaved. 

THE BALLAD OF BO(SS) AND JHO

Despite allegations at him hurled,

The fat fraud’s been circuiting the world,

With a ‘ticket, and a ‘tasket,

A whopping currency basket, 

A heist so big, Dr M’s hair did curl.

It wouldn’t do; a million or three,

It had to be billions going to me. 

Look after Boss was the remit, 

Beyond that, the sky’s the limit.

All one had to do was remain free.

For six glorious years all was fine:

A yacht, a plane, women, fine wine.

Until the cracks began, 

Which the Edge duly fanned

Into the blaze that became May 9. 

With one voice the people had spoken,

Finally, the Bee-N got broken;

Umno-cat was belled;

The mighty were felled;

From slumber, the voters had woken.

Shocked, the Boss could run but could’t flee.

“It’s all someone’s fault, not me” wailed he.

As for Jho,

He laid Low

And deeply dreaded the IGP.

The plump pirate planned to run forever,

So far so good, but never say never.

St Kitts was a bust,

Macau bit the dust,

A haven was what he needed, if ever.

The Boss himself had little or no shame, 

To Sharol, even Jho, he assigned blame.

While playing his fiddle, 

The country got diddled.

In court, he now has his fair share of fame.

Jho thought he’d everyone paid for and bought.

But all his best laid plans had come to naught. 

The moral of this story

Is positively hoary:

A crime isn’t wrong until one gets caught.

The global noose for Jho is tightening,

And in nowhere is it ever  brightening.

Like this plain rhyme,

It will take time.

Alas, poor Jho, it must be frightening!

For Fatso, all roads are leading to jail, 

That’s enough to make even Rosmah quail.

He will only know his fate after he loses some weight,

During the time he’s imprisoned without bail.

When justice is no longer a decision in your favour

Most people thought they knew all about Low Teck Jho.  On matters of style, for example, they knew he had the best taste money could buy.  

It now turns out that the corpulent conman known as Jho Low to pal and prosecutor alike also kept his cards close to his chest. In those days before the wannabe wrongdoer morphed into the fat fugitive he is now, his regular three-nation tours abroad were assumed to be visits to his money. Now it seems it was not just the US, Switzerland and Singapore that held his assets, it was the United Kingdom as well. 

And, if you thought he only owned realty, art and jewellery think again: he owned a lingerie firm in London as well.  

We know all this because of the US authorities. The London office used by the Malaysian miscreant for his luxury lingerie company is to be sold under a forfeiture claim by the United States because, according to US authorities, the property is one of many acquired with money embezzled from IMDB.

And, as per his wont, nothing was too good for him. 

The office as well as a nearby penthouse and apartment was acquired by the tubby thief in 2010 on Stratton Street in the upscale Mayfair neighbourhood. The bad news for the plump pilferer is that he is likely to surrender those monies to the US and Malaysia. 

But he was an optimist. It could be worse, reflected Fatso philosophically, “I could still have been living there.”

You didn’t have to be a philosopher to figure the reasons why he dived into underwear. 

The ample alumnus of Stanford liked to be brief. His speech was clipped and short. His emails were short and generally coded and even his meetings were kept short to discourage questions. 

It explained his foray into lingerie which his associates knew rhymed with “gingerly”. But the bulky brigand put it differently. “Brevity is the soul of lingerie,” he explained and they knew they were in the presence of The Master. 

The dapper delinquent thought he’d masterfully handled his Stratton offices which were used by Myla, the said lingerie company that Low thought could be leveraged into film and profit seeing how he’d bankrolled Red Granite, a film production firm that had, incredibly, produced at least one award-winning film. The firm was headed by a stepson of Fearless Leader who, unlike his chubby consigliore, was facing the music and not safely ensconced in a country that denied it was China. 

In a 2014 email the plump Penangite sent from his Myla account, he introduced a Red Granite Pictures representative to Myla executives to follow up on “any opportunities for Myla in the movie space.

But Hollywood turned up its nose at “Lost Encounters of a Brief Kind” and, instead, happily agreed to “Dumb and Dumber.”

There was no accounting for some people’s tastes, thought the thick thief tranquilly. 

But life was no longer tranquil and the voluminous villain was belatedly realising that the odds of retaining his overseas assets were sinking faster than his associates could mispronounce “Titanic”. The US had brought thirty forfeiture suits against him and, cumulatively, was seeking real estate, investments, art and jewellery valued at US$1.7billion (RM7.14 billion) that Fatty and his accomplices had bought with their ill-gotten gains. 

He could not go to the US to defend those suits because he would be arrested if he did.  But as long as he wasn’t there, he would lose.  

It was ironic, he thought, but it was better than Fearless’ position. 

Crime meant never having to say you were sorry. 

Behind Every Great Fortune Is A Crime

The majority of people in Thailand are Buddhist which explains their philosophical approach to life. It’s like “treat every day as your last and one day you’ll be right.”

That sort of explains the Death Awareness Café.

The establishment is a cafe in Thailand that’s using a macabre gimmick to draw in customers – closing them in coffins after finishing coffee.

The Death Awareness Cafe in Bangkok features mortuary-inspired décor and coffins placed for customers to spend time closed inside after their purchased beverages.

A sample poster on the wall reads “Twelve remain dead in morgue shooting.” Another reads; “You should never grieve at funerals. In fact, if anyone cries at my funeral, I’ll never speak to him again.” 

Veeranut Rojanaprapa, the owner of the extraordinary café said the purpose of the cafe is to inspire customers to reflect on their lives. He said the idea was inspired by Buddhist philosophy and is aimed at encouraging people not to be driven by greed.

And he didn’t see any irony in opening the cafe for profit? Actually, the businessman was an eternal optimist. When he was a child, he persuaded his parents to buy him two goldfish. He called them One and Two so even if one died, he’d have two left.  

Be that as it may, there are as many business models as they are varied. The death motif was original and, to hear Mr Rojanaprapa explain it, it was also quintessentially Buddhist. 

“Our main goal is for the visitor to experience the death awareness,” he said. “When the lid of the coffin closes, their basic instincts will come up and they will realise that eventually they cannot take anything with them.”

The felonious fatso now not hiding out in China would have said that what they’d feel is panic. 

The Royal Malaysian Police felt panicky and wished the ostensibly Buddhist Felonious aka Jho Low would have had such self-realisation before he came up with his grand plan to defraud Malaysia that the Wall Street Journal described as the “world’s greatest heist.” 

But the smiling swindler must have known he would rise to a level of thievery that made even Bernie Madoff look like Winnie the Pooh. He knew that an MBA with a brief case and a fountain pen could steal more than a hundred men with guns. 

“Behind every great fortune is a crime,” wrote the French playwright Honore de Balzac way back in the early 19th century. But the plump pilferer who continued to haunt the dreams of the Inspector General of Police knew something that Balzac didn’t. 

Very early on, perhaps as early as his college years in Wharton, he’d realised that, in Malaysia, crime did not pay as well as politics.

So he combined the two and, if things had stayed the same, he may have gone on to become a latter day Warren Buffett.  

For isn’t it said that history is written by the victors?

He might even have commissioned Tom Wright and Bradley Hope to write his memoirs called – why not? – Billion Dollar Whale.

Alas, poor Felonious! His advice will no longer be sought by governments, he will always be looking over his shoulder  and the next book about him might conceivably be about his arrest and trial, the best-selling Billion Dollar Bail.

It doesn’t get any more Zen than that.

Live Free And Life Is Worth Living

Behind every great fortune is a crime

French philosopher Balzac

The poor and ignorant will continue to lie and steal so long as the rich and educated show them how

American writer Elbert Hubbard

The Felonious Fatso known as Jho Low is officially not hiding out in China and we have this on good authority because the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia said so and he wouldn’t lie, would he? 

The plump pirate from Penang didn’t know and didn’t care because he was too busy not hiding out in China to notice. He had other things on his mind. 

For one thing, the super yacht formerly known as Equanimity was now owned by Genting Malaysia and renamed Tranquillity. Felonious felt sick: there was nothing tranquil about the times. 

The trial of his mentor, friend and all-round good guy, the former Fearless Leader had begun and he’d noticed with foreboding that FL’s lawyers at one point seemed bent on incriminating him.

Felonious was shocked. He knew the law as well as any outlaw and he knew he was innocent because the law was clear: a man was guilty unless proven wealthy. 

And he knew he was wealthy because even the US’ Department of Justice said so. Of course, Felonious himself did not think of himself as wealthy. He liked to think of himself as a poor man with “allegedly” lots of money.  

The fugitive fatty liked the word “alleged.” In fact, he liked it a lot as it seemed to cover a multitude of sins without actually incriminating anyone.

He also thought the Irish were ahead of their time. In Ireland, apparently, there was a judicial category called “not proven” which, in effect, meant: “you’re guilty as sin and don’t ever try it again.” 

At any one time, the émigré not presently ensconced in China stood accused of a great many things. Right now, the beefy brigand was accused of perjury and obstruction of justice. Or, as his public relations’ people would have it, his press releases. 

Indeed, his latest press release “welcomed” the US authorities’ recent deal to recover stolen 1MDB monies: jewellery worth US$1.7 million (RM7 million) had been seized by them. 

And why was Felonious happy about that? 

The surrender of jewellery bought for his mother “did not amount to an admission of wrongdoing.”  

And the fraudulent fatso cheerfully looked forward to a “continued and amicable resolution of all remaining issues.”  

For the record, the DoJ has maintained that all the assets it has seized and is seeking to seize – or “issues” as Felonious would say – were from the dapper delinquent’s various investments using monies “allegedly” stolen from 1MDB. 

So far almost RM700 million has been seized or accepted as settlements by the US government but the cherubic charlatan remained unfazed: it did not amount to any admission of “wrongdoing.”

Add to that the seizure of a $US250 million yacht and a multimillion dollar private jet and only one haunting question remains.  How much did the fat felon stash away in the first place?

He Who Laughs Last Is Usually In Hiding

The Felonious Fatso also known as Jho Low has spent, sorry, sent another missile Putrajaya’s way.

Felonious was outraged over the recent sale of the super yacht, Equanimity by the Malaysian government to Genting Malaysia for US$126 million. The boat, apparently, had cost US$250 million.

Genting, said Felonious who was a stickler for details, had bought the boat for a “steal.”

Lim the Younger agreed that someone had bought the boat with a “steal” – a whopper at that – but he did not think it had been Genting.

Neither did Tommy Thomas and he was very desirous of meeting Felonious, which puzzled the smiling swindler because he’d never known or even met Mr Thomas. Actually, a great many people from Singapore to San Francisco wanted to meet the cherubic charlatan but that, Felonious agreed, was “neither here nor there.”

Indeed, when you got right down to it, Felonious thought he was better off being there than here.

While safely being there rather than in Kuala Lumpur, the pudgy pilferer communicated his ire to the Federal Government by way of his spokesman Benjamin Haslem, the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Messrs Wells, Haslem, Mayhew Strategic Public Affairs.

The firm was an eminent body of public relations’ strategists and one so august that even Felonious, an admittedly well-heeled heel, had to have his cardiologist present when they sent him their monthly bills.

To cut a long story short, Wells, Haslem and Mayhew said that Felonious thought that Putrajaya was both inept and incompetent for selling the boat below market and at a “bargain basement” price.

Of course, the real wonder of it all was the fact that the furtive fatso had so tamely surrendered a billion-ringgit yacht and a multimillion dollar private plane without so much as some kind of fight, even a legal challenge.

“Easy come, easy go,” shrugged the-suddenly philosophical plunderer.

But you had to give the man credit for taste.

The 300-foot Equanimity, the 60th biggest yacht in the world, was truly spectacular. Among other things, it had a spa and a beach club, complete with sauna, steam room and multi-faceted beauty salon.

The spa area led on to a fully equipped gym and Pilates studio. Needless to say, there was a pool and did I forget to mention a helipad?

And it could take 26 guests comfortably with a mammoth master bedroom. It was Hotel California come to life with mirrors on the ceiling and pink champagne on ice.

During Felonious’ heyday, the yacht’s larders groaned with the finest French wines and the choicest Parma hams. There were grapes from Spain, pomegranates from Greece, figs from Iran and cold cuts from Portugal. Beluga caviar was consumed like it was going out of style while Cuban cigars were an after-dinner must-have.

The word “equanimity” means calmness and assurance even in the face of crisis. One had to admit that Felonious exhibited the trait admirably in the way he broke the news to his father at the material time Malaysian agents began swarming all over the ship.


Somewhere in China….

A calm Felonious: “Dad, I have good news and bad news”.

Father: “OK, let’s hear the worst of it. “

“The Malaysian government’s just seized our ship in Bali.”

“What can possibly be good about that?”

“We weren’t on board”.

Surprise post!

To make up for our unfortunate technical difficulty from last week, we hope you enjoy this second post for this week!

Don’t forget to also check out:

Leaving Seems To Be The Hardest Word


Old Crooks Never Die: They Just Steal Away 

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak is popularising the notion that it’s OK to be shameless even if you might be dreadfully guilty.

“Try me if you can” seems to be the former premier’s abiding credo and, to be sure, he has been dodging what could be a judicial bullet for ten months now.

So it appears that until he is finally brought to face the music, the 65-year-old former leader will continue to don black – parka, jeans and sneakers – and ride into the sunset because it wows youthful rebels without a cause into believing that shamelessness for fun and profit is not just fine but dandy and perfectly de rigour.

In such a universe, old axioms get tossed out the window. Perhaps even the one that says crime does not pay.  And you can seriously forget the one that says “the truth will set you free.”

Heaven help us for we are losing it where values – or its lack – are concerned.  It appears that politics trumps everything including patently distasteful posturing.

And yet, the President of the Malaysian Chinese Association Wee Ka Siong recently suggested that his party might learn a thing or two from Najib’s motorcycle-riding antics “to stay relevant.”

Do you remember all those PM apologists who suggested at the time that it was always someone else’s fault – his wife, Fat Boy, etc? Now we know who’s calling the shots: BossKu (Our Boss) on a Moped.

At least some things have changed. Previously MO1 always denied that anything was wrong with 1Malaysia Development Fund. Now he concedes that there was, indeed, wrongdoing but it was a “systemic failure” and everybody should be blamed.

Harry S Truman, the 33rd President of the United States had a plaque on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here,” meaning he was the one who took responsibility for everything that happened during his tenure.

Alas, the buck seems to have stopped at other destinations in this case. 

Low Teck Jho had never heard of Harry Truman but he’d heard of Harry Houdini and he had a healthy respect for the legendary magician who could escape from anything and who made things disappear into thin air.

Houdini may not have known that crime did not pay as well as politics. But far away across the oceans and safe from the madding crowd, the fraudulent fatso known as Jho Low knew it and mouthed a silent benediction to its sentiment as he uncorked yet another bottle of champagne to celebrate not having to ride mopeds in the humid heat of his homeland.

No, he much preferred comfort in well-cut suits. The corpulent conman believed in keeping his wits about him preferably in a land where Everybody Didn’t Know Your Name and where Interpol was both unseen and ignored.

You had to be smart but quiet. It was like underwear, the pudgy purloiner reasoned. It was important that you have it on but not important that you show it off.

The beefy brigand took pride in the fact that he was scrupulously fair. He did not, for example, want to stand trial in Malaysia because he thought he would not get a fair trial there.

But that was not to say that he might consent to being tried in the United States or Singapore where he was also wanted. That would be oh-so-unfair to his beloved Malaysia, his tanah tumpah darahku.

Fat Boy had principles and, by God, he was sticking to them. Who says there’s no honour among thieves?