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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

Delectable cookout tribute

Posted: 21 May 2011 10:23 PM PDT

Writers and contributors play chefs in celebrating their fun stints with Sunday Metro.

STARTING tomorrow, The Star and Sunday Star will have an exciting new look which, we hope, will further enhance our readers' reading experience. The new look entailed a review of the entire paper to streamline content, and some tough decisions.

One of these was the decision to cease publication of Sunday Metro upon the launch of the new look. However, Sunday Metro-style content will continue to be featured in the magazine pull-out, StarTwo on Sunday so "fans" will not really want for anything.

And so today is our last publication. Looking back over the years since its launch, Sunday Metro has resonated with readers mainly for its coverage of food, people and their favourite pastimes, among others.

So, to cap off an enjoyable run, we have got together some of the people who have been closely associated with Sunday Metro to share their favourite recipe(s), don their aprons and cook up a storm.

Related Stories:
A foodie's staple
Cooking to a new career
A sweet treat

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Buddies and foodies

Posted: 21 May 2011 11:44 PM PDT

Best friends Kavin Jayaram and Adrian Jalaludin are foodies who will travel the distance for their favourite satay or chicken rice balls.

COMEDIAN Kavin Jayaram and TV host, model and actor Adrian Jalaludin are the best of friends now but when they first met, insults were involved.

By day, KL-born Kavin is the serious guy doing his work as an engineer. But at night, he is a laugh-a-minute man who performs stand-up comedy on stage.

The 31-year-old funny guy, who jokingly describes himself as an "idiot", can be seen doling out his side-splitting lines at Time Out KL Comedy Thursday at Zouk Club and shows organised by Comedy Club KL.

"I'm also part of a big project involving an Asian comedy tour," he reveals during this interview with Sunday Metro.

Kavin continues to jest, saying that he has an opinion on everything, "and usually it's wrong. So, I decided to share my opinions with everyone in the hope that they will pay me. A loveable idiot whom people come to see if they need cheering up, so their life problems won't seem so bad anymore."

He says he was 17 when he first saw Harith Iskander on stage and thought stand-up comedy was something he could pursue.

"My brother used to say I should perform stand-up comedy but I procrastinated," he recalls. "Unfortunately, he never had a chance to watch me perform as he passed away five years ago."

Quickly brushing aside the melancholy, Kavin describes being a good comic as no laughing matter and that it requires a lot of hard work.

"The first time I attempted to do comedy was in 2006. I got 150 friends to watch me at a pub but my performance then was really bad," he relates, adding that it took him three years to master his act with support from other comedians.

Always game to learn something new, Kavin went to audition for the position of host for Cube, an English youth talk show on NTV7, last September. It was during this audition that he met Adrian.

"I got the gig in the end," quips Adrian, who was present at the interview.

"The producer called me to say they opted for someone who was better looking," says Kavin, who adds jokingly that he called Adrian names after that. "But Adrian took my insults quite well and we've been good friends ever since."

Adrian, 26, co-hosts Football Overload and Bola@Mamak on Astro. He was named by Female magazine as one of the finalists for 50 Gorgeous People, Malaysia in 2006, when he was 21 years old.

Also born in KL, Adrian is of Indonesian-Dutch-German-Chinese-Pakistani parentage. In 2006, he began a career in runway modelling but after eight months, realised it wasn't for him.

"My friends told me to try TV hosting, which I did. My first job was hosting the Champions Youth Cup for Astro in 2007," Adrian says.

The Champions Youth Cup is an annual football tournament endorsed by the G-14 group as a Club World Championship for the Under-19 teams of some of the world's largest clubs.

Adrian also hosts a TV show in Singapore called National School Games, a sports magazine programme. It keeps him busy commuting between the two countries.

Apart from being in the business of entertaining, Kavin and Adrian share another interest – eating out. The guys speak about their food adventures and how far they would go for their favourite food.

> What is your philosophy on food? Do you have any favourite food?

Kavin: I will try anything once. I have travelled to many places all over the world and have eaten some weird stuff. But I will not try those Balut eggs from the Philippines. My favourite food is Italian food.

Adrian: I like trying weird food too, including fried insects and bugs in Thailand. On the normal side, my favourite dishes are French escargots and chicken rice balls from Malacca.

> Is there any food you don't like?

Kavin: I have a dislike for giant beansprouts. It has a certain smell that turns me off.

Adrian: I hate brinjal and papaya.

> Do you binge or have comfort food?

Kavin: Nasi Lemak! There is a stall selling great nasi lemak near my home in Ampang. Cooking is also something I love. I like to make my favourite pasta with coconut cream and bacon.

Adrian: Snickers ice cream. But I can't binge a lot nowadays as my metabolic rate has declined.

> Do you have any peculiar eating habit?

Kavin: I like to use my fingers to eat most of the time, even with spaghetti. I also like eating food on toast, spaghetti sauce and baked beans.

Adrian: I dip everything in Nutella!

> Would you go out of your way for certain food? Would you eat at an empty restaurant?

Kavin: Definitely. My wife and I like to drive to Kajang to eat satay, sometimes to Ipoh for the Char Koay Teow and Johor for Laksa Johor. The beef noodles in Seremban are also good; another favourite place is Port Klang where we go for the seafood. Yes, I will eat at an empty restaurant just to give it a try.

Adrian: I will travel to Malacca for the chicken rice balls and Kampung Baru for Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa. Yes, I will eat at an empty restaurant because I feel bad for them (laughs).

> What do you dislike most about eating out? What turns you off?

Kavin: Having to argue with my wife about where we should go for a meal.

Adrian: Getting all dressed up (laughs). I prefer to order in for food.

> How do you find out about where to eat?

Kavin: Mostly from TimeOut KL.

Adrian: Google!

> Do you watch TV food shows? Which are your favourites?

Kavin: Yes. I like to watch License to Grill and Nigella's show.

Adrian: My favourite is Gordon Ramsay in Kitchen Nightmares.

> If you had to cook a fast meal, what would it be?

Kavin: Lamb and yoghurt curry.

Adrian: Fried rice.

> Is there a street food recommended by friends that you have been hoping to try out?

Kavin: The Thai Fish Cakes in Bangkok! I can never get the perfect recipe to do it on my own.

Adrian: I like to tuck into lok-lok after a night out on weekends.

> What's your favourite shopping mall/pasar malam/flea market?

Kavin: Kepong wet market. You will smell like a fish market for a few days but it is worth it.

Adrian: Taman Tun Dr Ismail market during Ramadan.

> How do you spend your Sundays?

Kavin: Sundays are mostly spent with my wife. We will either be at my parents' house in Puchong or my in-laws' place in Perak.

Adrian: Under the blanket watching DVDs. But I'm usually busy commuting to Singapore to host my show.

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‘Squatty’ good porridge

Posted: 21 May 2011 11:46 PM PDT

It's back-to-basics for those who want to savour a bowl of piping hot porridge in old George Town.

PATRONS of fine dining will be horrified at the idea of squatting to eat but for more adventurous foodies visiting Penang island, it is definitely an experience to boast about to friends.

While this island food paradise may have eateries on every street corner, the Teochew porridge stall along Magazine Road is one that definitely stands out for its unique seating arrangement.

A relic of days gone by when neither grace nor etiquette was a prime concern while dining, squatting to eat has always been the norm at this open-air eatery in inner George Town.

Long benches line the stall, with wooden stools placed on top of them. To eat, one simply mounts the "throne", adjusts the stools accordingly and makes oneself comfortable. It is a delicate balancing act in itself, one that regular customers have seemingly turned into a graceful art.

Popular now with those from the working class, the place in the old days was often frequented by trishawmen. Back then, customers simply wanted to enjoy cheap and good food comfortably (though the uninitiated might beg to differ on the comfort aspect), and the practice has persisted to this day, becoming somewhat of a curiosity.

The back-to-basics simplicity is a winning formula that has seen the family-run establishment thrive for the better part of seven decades. Neither signboard nor advertising is needed here. It has never failed to catch the attention of tourists while most locals of a certain age know about it. Come lunch time, they'll find their way here and pack the place to the brim.

They all come for one thing – a piping hot bowl of plain porridge, which is dished out from one earthenware pot after another. According to Tan Joo Hong, who now helps his elderly father, Jin Hock, run the place, they normally sell in excess of a hundred bowls of the moy (Hokkien for congee) each day.

For accompaniments, there are around two dozen side dishes, ranging from vegetables to fish and meat, all freshly prepared in the simple and basic kitchen mere footsteps away by a team of helpers.

Once these are cooked, they're scooped into trays and placed on the counter. With so many side dishes coming out and so little space, some are stacked on top of the other. Thus, ordering a meal can be akin to a treasure hunt to see what morsels lay beneath.

"We try to prepare as many dishes as possible until there's nowhere to put them," Joo Hong says.

The side dishes come in small servings, allowing one to try a little bit of everything. With the plain porridge providing a neutral base, items like the tau yew bak (braised pork in soya sauce) or stir-fried clams with garlic and chilli can be added for flavour.

Another, the humble fried fish, has a crispy texture that is in stark contrast to the mushy porridge. And then there are the many types of stir-fried vegetable items and eponymous salted duck egg and salted fish, which are also popular with the crowd.

With such an array of accompaniments on offer, the combinations are almost endless. Patrons are literally spoilt for choice, and when they come in, they simply point to their desired item and these are scooped and ready in no time at all.

That, combined with very affordable prices, is what keeps the customers coming back, enabling the business to withstand both the test of time and competition from the many eateries at Komtar, Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue shopping complexes.

A security guard who shares the surname Tan, has been a regular for almost a decade. A resident nearby, he goes to the stall several times a week but never gets tired of it.

"It's delicious, cheap and good. What more can one ask for?" he asks as he clambers off his stool, makes his way to his motorcycle and rides off, back to work.

Delivery man Chen Ah Huat is another who never fails to stop by for a meal whenever he's making rounds in the area. It's a routine that he has followed for as long as he can remember.

"With Penang's hot weather, a soothing bowl of porridge is the best option," he says.

Those interested to try the squat-and-eat porridge should take note that the stall (located opposite Traders Hotel) is only open from Thursday to Sunday, from about 11am until the final morsels of food are sold out between 4pm and 5pm.

When quizzed on why they're not open on the first three days of the week, Joo Hong nonchalantly shrugs his shoulders before replying, "It's always been like this since my grandfather's time."

Another popular Teochew porridge haunt can be found at the heart of George Town's heritage area, Muntri Street, directly opposite Cititel Penang.

Known as Tai Buan Porridge, it is located in a prewar shop lot close to the intersection with Leith Street.

Locals wax lyrical about it, and similar to the above mentioned one on Magazine Road, the porridge comes with a variety of condiments, though not as many. Also, fret not as you don't have to squat here - there are proper chairs and tables.

Within a steaming cauldron, pieces of duck meat, pork innards, pork belly and tofu gently braise away in soy sauce, while others are neatly displayed, a definite eye-catcher for anyone passing by.

Those with adventurous palates might find the duck liver, gizzards, pig's ear and intestines to their liking, but it is an acquired taste. No part of the animals goes to waste, that's for sure. Regardless of which you choose, it seems that the savoury items are tailor-made for the mild porridge.

This place is open from around 1.30pm to 8pm daily except Sunday. For takeaways, be sure to bring your own containers as the owners have long practised a go-green, no plastic bag policy.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Country face-off

Posted: 22 May 2011 01:04 AM PDT

This year's top two American Idol contenders epitomise a season that's more than just a little bit country.

SO, a cowboy or a cowgirl? This year's American Idol finale, which takes place at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California, is going to be a teenage hoedown: 16-year-old country girl Lauren Alaina versus 17-year-old cowboy Scotty McCreery. It's a fitting end to a competition that had, from the start, a heavy country vibe. So, who will America vote for? Let's take a look at the competition, which saw the elimination of 20-year-old bluesy vocalist Haley Reinhart from Wheeling, Illinois, last week:

Scotty McCreery

America sure loves country boy Scotty. That he would be one of the finalists was a no-brainer. The teenager from Garner, North Carolina, has sailed through the competition, escaping not just elimination week after week but also the dreaded stools reserved for the bottom three each week.

Oh, except for freak week, of course.

I dub the quarter-finals freak week because not only were two of the competition's strongest singers in the bottom two, the strongest contender (in my mind) – James Durbin – was sent packing! There is no doubt that James would have given us an awesome show had he been in the finale.

But let's not cry over spilt milk and let's not take away from Scotty what he has achieved. It should have been a Scotty-James finale, for sure. We've lost James but we still have Scotty so let's focus on the present.

So, yeah, Scotty is America's favourite and not without cause. I admit that I wasn't a fan of Scotty for the longest time. I liked his voice but I wasn't blown away by his performances.

Sure, he managed to shine during Motown week when he gave an impressive rendition of Stevie Wonder's For Once In My Life but it wasn't enough to get me off my feet. He was a little boring for me and not that versatile – there was no surprise to what he would sing every week because, well, he sings country every week. Is this Farm Idol, for crying out loud?

But then, during Carole King week Scotty sang You've Got A Friend and I liked it a lot. And the following week he did Montgomery Gentry's Gone and I liked that a lot too.

The tide was changing. I began to actually enjoy watching Scotty. It helped also that he began moving around a lot more on stage (his whole body and not just his eyebrows!) and he's loosened up quite a bit.

And then I thought: so what if he's hardcore country? Different strokes for different folks, right?

My point is that Scotty sings well and he's getting stronger week by week. Unlike many of his contenders (except James, of course), he's managed to consistently choose songs that bring out the best in his voice. Sure, he doesn't really take risks (unlike James) but he delivers solid vocal performances all the time.

Will he win? With Idol, you never know. It's up to the voters and so far they've been pretty inconsistent. They voted for David Cook (yay) but they also let Adam Lambert walk away without the title (boo). They voted for Kelly Clarkson (yay) but they also voted for Taylor Hicks (sigh).

Still, my prediction is that Scotty will win.

Lauren Alaina

The gal from Rossville, Georgia, is a cutie. What Scotty lacks in personality and stage performance, she has – in abundance. Her repartee with Idol host Ryan Seacrest? Love it. Peaches Seacrest – her nickname for him will stick with me for a long time, I think. But Lauren's got much more than Southern charm. She's got great pipes too.

Lauren's been a strong contender in this season's Idol, just like Scotty.

In the early rounds of the competition, when most of the Idol-watching world were raving over Pia Toscano, I thought Lauren was a much better performer. No doubt Pia's got a great voice and she can sing ballads like no one else in the competition. Trouble is, that's all she did. Sing ballads.

Lauren, on the other hand, took chances and most time, those chances paid off . Not many singers can actually pull off Aretha Franklin's (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman but Lauren went ahead and tried, and did a pretty good job of it too. She's got a big, strong voice and she chooses songs that showcase that voice well.

Remember her rendition of Miley Cyrus' Climb? Wow wee kazowee! Music producer Jimmy Iovine's comment that she sang it better than Cyrus was spot-on (if a little obvious). Her performance of The Supremes' You Keep Me Hanging On? Very nice!

But my all-time favourite Lauren performance remains her rendition of Elton John's classic Candle In The Wind. What a performance! She looked beautiful and she sounded even more beautiful. Her vocals were powerful and the changes she made to the song were subtle and tasteful.

Lauren's problem is confidence or rather, the lack of. When she gets good reviews from the judges, you can see her glow. Like a kid in a candy store, she looks. She doesn't get criticised much by the judges but when she does, you can see her almost retract into an invisible shell. And, sometimes, she lets it affect her performance.

Country girl has to toughen up for the final showdown.

Season 10 Idol bits

  • OVER 125,000 auditioned.
  • Last week's "top three" performance drew 95 million votes – the highest ever for a non-finale episode.
  • Lauren Alaina, 16, and Scotty McCreery, 17, are the youngest contestants ever to battle it out in the finale.
  • The finale and concert spectacular will feature special performances, surprise guests and a Top 13 reunion before America's vote is revealed.
Catch the top two performance show of 'American Idol 10' on Star World (Astro Channel 711) on Wednesday, 6pm (live via satellite), with a primetime encore at 8pm. The 'American Idol Grand Finale' (results show) airs live on the channel on Thursday, 8am, with a primetime encore at 6pm and 8pm.

Over on 8TV, the top two performance runs on Thursday, 10pm, while the grand finale/results show is on Friday, 10pm.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Top Jewish Americans ponder support for Obama

Posted: 21 May 2011 09:03 PM PDT

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Some prominent Jewish Americans are rethinking their support for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid after he effectively called on Israel to give back territory it has occupied since 1967 to Palestinians.

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers a speech about United States policy on the Middle East and North Africa at the State Department in Washington, May 19, 2011. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

The backlash after Obama's keynote speech on the Middle East has Democratic Party operatives scrambling to mollify the Jewish community as the president prepares to seek a second term in the White House.

Obama on Thursday called for any new Palestinian state to respect the borders as they were in 1967, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tell him bluntly that his vision of how to achieve Middle East peace was unrealistic.

"He has in effect sought to reduce Israel's negotiation power and I condemn him for that," former New York Mayor Ed Koch told Reuters.

Koch said he might not campaign or vote for Obama if Republicans nominate a pro-Israel candidate who offers an alternative to recent austere budgetary measures backed by Republicans in Congress.

Koch donated $2,300 to Obama's campaign in 2008, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

"I believed that then-Senator Obama would be as good as John McCain based on his statements at the time and based on his support of Israel. It turns out I was wrong," he said.

Despite the stormy reaction to Obama's remarks, some commentators noted talk of the 1967 borders was nothing new.

"This has been the basic idea for at least 12 years. This is what Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were talking about at Camp David, and later, at Taba," Jeffrey Goldberg wrote on The Atlantic website.

"This is what George W. Bush was talking about with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. So what's the huge deal here?"

Exit polls from the 2008 election showed 78 percent of Jewish voters chose Obama over his Republican rival Senator McCain.

"I have spoken to a lot of people in the last couple of days -- former supporters -- who are very upset and feel alienated," billionaire real estate developer and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman said.

"He'll get less political support, fewer activists for his campaign, and I am sure that will extend to financial support as well."

Zuckerman backed Obama during his 2008 presidential run and the newspaper he owns, the New York Daily News, endorsed the president.

Obama's Chicago-based re-election campaign sought to play down reaction to the shift in the U.S. stance toward Israel.

"There's no question that we've reached out to the Jewish donor community, as we have to many other communities that strongly supported the president in 2008," a campaign spokeswoman said on Friday.

"The continued grassroots organizing and fundraising efforts of many prominent leaders in the Jewish community makes it clear this will remain a strong base of support in 2012."

Texas-based real estate developer Kirk Rudy, who is a deputy finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee, said he exchanged phone calls and e-mails with a large network of supporters since the president's speech "trying to take people's pulse" and has not seen a strong backlash.

"I have seen very emphatic and robust support -- and financial support -- from the Jewish community," Rudy said, adding Obama received "significant financial participation from the Jewish community" at two fund-raisers in Austin, before the Middle East speech, that brought in roughly $2 million.

Since the speech, Rudy has received e-mails from angry voters but the overwhelming majority of his network will continue to donate and not cross party lines, he said.

But Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, wrote an open letter to the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, calling on it to cancel a scheduled address by Obama to the lobby group on Sunday.

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Majority of Americans support gay marriage in poll

Posted: 21 May 2011 09:03 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fifty-three percent of Americans support making gay marriage legal, according to a Gallup poll released on Friday, a marked reversal from just a year ago when an equal majority opposed same-sex matrimony.

The findings are in line with two national polls earlier this spring that found support for legally recognized gay marriage has gained a newfound majority among Americans in recent months.

Gallup said Democrats and political independents accounted for the entire shift in its survey compared to last year, when only 44 percent of all respondents favored gay marriage, while 53 percent were opposed. The percentage of Republicans favoring gay marriage held steady at 28 percent.

Same-sex marriage remains a highly contested issue in U.S. politics, but homosexual couples have won the right to legally wed in five states -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa -- and Washington, D.C.

The growing support for gay marriage comes after President Barack Obama signed into law legislation in December to repeal the ban on openly gay people serving in the military under a 17-year-old law known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Gallup noted the policy change, but said it was unclear if that influenced Americans' attitudes about same-sex unions.

"The trend toward marriage equality is undeniable -- and irreversible," Joe Solmonese, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.

Maggie Gallagher, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, said the poll shows her fellow opponents of gay matrimony have been "shamed" into silence.

"Polls are becoming very sensitive to wording, and the wording being used in the media are not predicting accurately what happens at the actual polls when people vote," she said.

In a sign of a generation gap, Gallup found 70 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 support gay marriage, compared to only 39 percent among those 55 and older.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll in March showed 53 percent of Americans said same-sex marriage should be legal, and 51 percent said the same thing in a CNN Poll released in April.

By comparison, a 1996 Gallup found that 68 percent of Americans were opposed to same-sex marriage, a figure that has trended downward ever since.

The Gallup poll was based on phone interviews conducted from May 5 to May 8, with a random sample of 1,018 adults 18 or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. It can be found at,

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman, Greg McCune, and Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Eleven killed as Syrian funeral becomes protest

Posted: 21 May 2011 09:03 PM PDT

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian security forces shot dead 11 mourners in the central city of Homs on Saturday at a mass funeral for people killed in the latest crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad, a rights campaigner said.

Human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouna said she had the names of at least 11 people killed when the funeral at Nasr cemetery for 10 pro-democracy demonstrators killed by security forces in Homs on Friday came under fire.

A witness who was at the funeral and spoke to Reuters by telephone said the mourners shouted "overthrow the regime" and that they came under fire as they were leaving the cemetery eight kilometres (five miles) north of the centre of Homs.

"The shooting was in cold blood. People were streaming peacefully out of the cemetery," he said.

Tens of mourners were wounded in the attack that occurred at around 1200 GMT, he said, adding that he saw five people with gunshot wounds in their legs and arms being taken to hospital.

Syria has barred most international media since the protests broke out two months ago, making it impossible to verify independently accounts from activists and officials.

Another resident of Homs said heavy machinegun fire was heard at night from the Bab Amro area, where tanks deployed earlier this month to crush growing demonstrations against Assad's autocratic rule.

Security forces killed another protester, named Ziad al-Qadi, when they fired live rounds at a demonstration in the Damascus suburb of Saqba, a witness said by telephone from the suburb of 40,000.

"A large demonstration calling for the overthrow of the regime had been going on since the afternoon. It felt like the whole of Saqba took to the streets. Security forces entered in the evening and started firing," said the witness.

The latest violence came as the Syrian National Organisation for Human Rights said security forces had killed at least 44 civilians on Friday in attacks on pro-democracy demonstrations across Syria.

Prominent rights campaigner Ammar Qurabi, who heads of the organisation, said more than half were killed in the northwest province of Idlib, where tanks deployed on Friday to crush large demonstrations against Assad's rule.

The protests broke out in defiance of a military crackdown that another rights group says has killed more than 800 civilians in the past nine weeks.

Assad has largely dismissed the protests as serving a foreign-backed conspiracy to sow sectarian strife.

Syrian authorities blame most of the violence on armed groups, backed by Islamists and outside powers, who they say have killed more than 120 soldiers and police. They have recently suggested they believe the protests have peaked.

Syria said on Saturday armed groups killed 17 people on Friday in the provinces of Idlib and Homs to the south.

The state news agency said the civilians, police and security forces were killed after armed groups exploited the commitment of police forces to instructions by the Interior Ministry "not to shoot, to preserve the lives of civilians".

It said saboteurs burnt public buildings and police stations in Idlib, injuring eight policemen.


The unrest has posed the gravest challenge to Assad's rule. In response, he has lifted a 48-year state of emergency and granted citizenship to stateless Kurds, but also sent tanks to several cities to suppress the protests.

Friday's violence came a day after the United States, which had at first muted its criticism Assad's handling of the unrest, told him to lead reform or step aside.

"The president can still try to redeem himself by doing what a few leaders in Eastern Europe did, which is leading immediate transformation to a democracy and running himself in a fair elections if he wants," opposition figure Walid al-Bunni said.

"With all the blood the regime is spilling the protests have been growing and expanding in geographical scope ... The Syrians have been humiliated and they will no longer shut up," he added.

The main weekly Muslim prayers on Fridays are a rallying point for protesters because they offer the only opportunity for large gatherings, and have seen the worst death tolls.

Activists said protests broke out on Friday in the Damascus suburbs, Banias and Latakia on the Mediterranean, the oil producing region of Deir al-Zor, Qamishli in the east and the southern Hauran Plain.

Rights lawyer Zaitouna said on Friday at least 12 civilians were killed in Maaret al-Numan, in Idlib province, after tanks entered the town to disperse protesters. She said 11 were killed in the central city of Homs, while seven died in Deraa, Latakia, the Damascus suburbs and Hama.

Rights campaigners said Idlib, a relatively prosperous agricultural province, took the brunt of the crackdown on Friday, during which hundreds of Syrians were arrested.

They said those killed included at least five protesters shot by security forces while they were marching from the town of Ariha to join other protests in Idlib.

"They took their dead and went back to Ariha and burnt security and Baath Party headquarters and a Syriatel office," said one rights campaigner in the area.

Syriatel, Syria's largest mobile phone operator, belongs to Assad's cousin Rami Makhlouf, who has expanded his control on various sectors of the economy since Assad succeeded his late father 11 years ago.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business


Posted: 20 May 2011 10:52 PM PDT

Saturday May 21, 2011

WITH reference to StarBiz article "Valuation surprises analysts" on May 20, 2011, MMC Corp Bhd has clarified that its group managing director Datuk Hasni Harun had said: "MMC has few companies which are ready for listing, namely Gas Malaysia, Malakoff and Johor Port. These are three companies which may list."

"This indicates plans for a possible listing by any of these companies in the future, and not an announcement," MMC said.

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Not a time for clowning around

Posted: 20 May 2011 10:37 PM PDT

Should we make it easier for minority shareholders to propose resolutions for general meetings?

CLOWNS can be creepy. Ask Stephen King. In his 1986 novel, It, a murderous demon often shows up in the form of a clown named Pennywise. That character has done quite a bit to help alter the popular perception of clowns, from the universal image of lovable and funny performers into this idea that sometimes, insidious intentions lurk behind the grease paint and the silly costumes and props.

Even in the business world, clowns are finding it hard to hold on to their traditional role of being an acceptable magnet for kids. Recently, amid pressure to re-examine how it markets fast food to children, McDonald's Corp had to defend its use of a yellow-clad clown as a mascot. In a statement issued on Wednesday, with the heading "Ronald McDonald Is Here to Stay", the company says Ronald the clown is "an ambassador for good and delivers important messages to kids on safety, literacy and balanced, active lifestyles".

The statement came a day before the annual shareholders' meeting at the McDonald's headquarters just outside Chicago. Among the proposals that were presented at the meeting was one that required the company to come up with a report "assessing the company's policy responses to public concerns regarding linkages of fast food to childhood obesity, diet-related diseases and other impacts on children's health".

Said the proposal: "Such report should include an assessment of the potential impacts of public concerns and evolving public policy on the company's finances and operations."

Obviously, the proposal didn't originate from the management. It's part of a campaign, led by an organisation called Corporate Accountability International, that targets McDonald's for allegedly marketing junk food to children.

(A related initiative by Corporate Accountability International is to get people, particularly health professionals, to sign an open letter to McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner, which ended with this: "We ask that you heed our concern and retire your marketing promotions for food high in salt, fat, sugar, and calories to children, whatever form they take from Ronald McDonald to toy giveaways. Our children and health care system will benefit from your leadership on this issue.")

The watchdog group teamed up with The Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia, a McDonald's minority shareholder, to offer the proposal at the meeting on Thursday. The resolution only received 6% support. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating example of a phenomenon in the American corporate scene that's rather alien to us in Malaysia.

According to the rules enforced by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shareholders (including those with relatively small amounts of shares) can present a broad range of binding and non-binding proposals for consideration at shareholders' meetings. The companies are obliged to include these proposals alongside management's proposals in the proxy statements given to shareholders ahead of the meetings. According to the SEC, the shareholder proposals can include non-binding proposals regarding matters that are normally within the province of the board and management.

This can be a powerful mechanism for shareholder activism. To be eligible to submit a shareholder proposal, the shareholder's stake must be at least US$2,000 in market value or it must represent at least 1% of the companies securities.

That's a far lower threshold than those in Malaysia's Companies Act 1965. For example, there's Section 151, which stipulates that shareholders can propose members' resolutions at an AGM. But to do that, a shareholder must own at least 5% of the company or the requisition must come from a minimum of 100 shareholders accounting for at least RM50,000 in paid-up capital.

Another route is to requisition for an EGM under Section 145, which says two or more shareholders with not less than 10% of the issued share capital may call for a meeting.

We have seen this happening here, but typically, it's tactic used in shareholder battles to remove directors and to appoint replacements.

Of course, we need to bear in mind that most listed companies in the United States have fragmented shareholding structures, which means it's always very difficult for a single shareholder to impose its will during a shareholders' meeting.

In Malaysia, time and time again we have seen large shareholders (some without majority stakes even) shoving unpopular deals down the throats of the other investors.

So, is it fanciful and futile to wish that minority shareholders in Malaysia have an easier avenue to table resolutions on important matters in general meetings?

That depends on how much we value shareholder activism and corporate responsibility. There's the argument that making it easy for shareholders to introduce members' resolutions at AGMs will lead to fringe groups pushing frivolous, petty and ultimately inconsequential resolutions, thus wasting time and resources.

But is that worse than the minority shareholders and other stakeholders having to jump through a daunting number of hoops before they can use general meetings as platforms for discussions and decisions on major issues affecting a listed company?

The Capital Market Masterplan 2 talks about promoting active shareholder participation, particularly in the nomination and election of board members.

It says: "More active shareholder participation in voting decisions is the primary means for shareholders to communicate their views and to influence the behaviour and conduct of directors. Directors will be more sensitive to shareholder views once they recognise that their election is vulnerable to shareholder pressure. This will place greater awareness on boards of their duties and professional conduct."

That may be so, but must we wait for directors to realise that they're in danger of losing their board seats before we can force them to focus on the things that matter?

Haven't we had enough horror stories already?

Executive editor Errol Oh hasn't been to a circus in years; the corporate sector offers enough thrills and spills already.

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Carlsberg Malaysia MD Soren Ravn answers yours 10 questions

Posted: 20 May 2011 10:12 PM PDT

Carlsberg Malaysia has lost its No. 1 market leadership to Guinness Anchor Bhd (GAB). The recent campaign of changing the design is just pouring new wine into old wineskins. What is your comment? Peter Tan, Cheras

It is true that Carlsberg Malaysia as a company is No. 2 in the Malaysian market when measured on total beer and stout volume but Carlsberg Green Label as a brand remains the No. 1 beer brand in Malaysia. In all the consumer research we did, the Carlsberg brand comes out very significantly as the most preferred beer brand amongst Malaysian beer consumers. In April this year, we successfully rolled out the biggest re-launch campaign in Carlsberg history where Carlsberg, across 140 markets, introduced a new design on both primary and secondary packaging presented in a brand new look with the same great taste.

To regain the spot as the No. 1 beer company in Malaysia, we will need to match or overtake our competitors in the premium segment while continuing the leadership with the Carlsberg brand as our strong power brand. Through acquisition of our subsidiary, Luen Heng, a few years ago, we now have an extensive premium portfolio range in Malaysia. We are the only brewer in Malaysia that has offered seven of the world's top international beer brands, namely Carlsberg, Tuborg, Corona, Budweiser, Stella Artois, Fosters' and Becks'. While the more recent additions include Kronenbourg 1664, the No. 1 premium beer from France; Asahi, the No. 1 beer in Japan and Erdinger, the No. 1 wheat beer from Germany. Our specialty beer such as Hoegaarden is also enjoying very strong growth in the super premium segment.

Over time, we expect the position of Carlsberg as the No. 1 beer complimented by the leading super premium beer portfolio to give us the opportunity to eventually regain the market leadership position.

Brewers often complain about the high taxes in Malaysia but they don't seem to hesitate to raise prices, as in their actions recently. Is that fair as ultimately your consumers will pay one way or the other? Gurmeet Singh, KL

In light of the continuing escalation in the costs of key raw materials, in particular malt and hops as well as packaging materials, we have recently announced a price increase averaging 3%. Most consumer products have also, over the last two years, increased their retail prices. Compared to other consumer products, the price increases on our beer and stout products are relatively lower and in line with general inflation.

I notice a lot more people drinking Hoegaarden which is sold by Carlsberg. Isn't such premium brands cannibalising Carlsberg's main brand? Michelle, Subang

The Hoegaarden brand has successfully achieved its position as the leading imported premium beer in Malaysia with volume growth of more than 150% in 2010 compared to 2009 and is equally popular among both men and women. Hoegaarden is consumed by discerning beer drinkers with a preference for wheat beer over lager beer. Carlsberg beer lovers, on the other hand, stay loyal to the unique taste and aroma of Carlsberg, although they may sample some of the new brands of beer around. We see Hoegaarden complementing the growth of the Carlsberg beer brand as we are now able to supply all the types of beer that a restaurant or bar requires to appeal to its patrons. This also means that we can foster closer ties with the outlets provide them with a full range of beer and cooperate with them on joint campaigns and marketing initiatives. Furthermore, we can supply wine and spirits through our Luen Heng subsidiary and thereby provide a "one stop shopping centre" for our customers. This gives us a big competitive advantage. So, in this case you could say 1 + 1 is 3 as our super premium beer brands complement rather than cannibalise Carlsberg in the big picture.

Carlsberg recorded a revenue of RM1.4bil in 2010. What are your contributions to the society? Khee Chien, KL

Carlsberg Malaysia believes in "Sharing with the Community Unconditionally" and education is the key focus area of our contributions to society. Carlsberg Malaysia's flagship, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has contributed to community projects centred on education Top Ten Charity Campaign (Top Ten) has to date raised more than RM350mil for our school-building fund for the development of 570 Chinese schools and institutions nationwide.

This year, Top Ten is celebrating its 25th anniversary and aims to benefit more schools by setting higher targets for collection, adding to its existing stellar credentials as the "Longest running and highest funds raised Chinese charity show" awarded by the Malaysia Book of Records. We have extended a similar fund-raising platform to schools in Sabah and Sarawak. Through different platforms partnering with different NGOs, we have also contributed 4,000 school bags, water tumblers and other school essentials to poor Indians in rural areas and orang asli in Peninsular Malaysia and students of indigenous communities in East Malaysia with the aim at promoting equal opportunity to basic education. On the sport front, Carlsberg Malaysia has been partnering Olympic Council Malaysia (OCM) for the last 16 years by funding the OCM-Carlsberg Athletes Retirement Scheme that serves to provide life insurance endowment coverage to deserving Malaysian athletes and to motivate them to strive for greater achievements. The scheme has to date provided total insurance coverage of RM3.07mil for 88 Malaysian athletes who have made the country proud by winning medals at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics since 1998.

Carlsberg has been a brewer for a long time in a country that is seen to be Islamic. How is the growing Islamisation of Malaysia affecting your business? Jessica, Kuantan

Carlsberg Malaysia is a public listed company that brews and sells beer, stout and other beverages in Malaysia. We respect the diversity of a multi-racial, multi religious society like Malaysia. We do not see a growing trend of Islamisation in Malaysia affecting our business and have no plans to exit Malaysia. We are a good corporate citizen and contribute significantly to society through tax and duty payments as well as our above mentioned CSR initiatives.

You have headed operations in other countries. Are there any differences in managing the (brewery) business in Malaysia? Awang Hassan, Klang

All markets are different from each other. I learnt a lot when I went to China at the end of 2006 and I believe I have improved my ability to adapt to new cultures and find ways to work efficiently with the local teams and external stakeholders. In the Malaysian society, we have a great mix of people and cultures which I appreciate and respect. It is very important for me to run exciting campaigns for the beer drinkers while respecting the non beer drinkers. In general, I think running a business in Malaysia is a very positive, challenging and exciting experience. In fact, my first year in Malaysia has been the best in my career. I have learnt a lot and am still learning.

Have you conducted any studies into the demographics of the beer drinker in Malaysia? Eugenie Devan, Bangsar

We conducted a lot of studies and read many reports about demographics and opportunities in the market. We have identified some very interesting trends that we pursue with our broad portfolio and several innovation projects. One of the trends we find very exciting is that more females show interest in premium imported beers like our Hoegaarden and Kronenbourg 1664 that we have launched recently. We also put a lot of efforts into understanding the drinkers in their early twenties who are representing the future market. This is an important driver for our global decision to re-launch the Carlsberg brand which we did in April.

What's your favourite beverage (apart from Carlsberg of course)? P.S. Tan, Negri Sembilan

I like Asahi beer. I launched it in Hong Kong when I was the managing director for Carlsberg there from 2008 to 2009. It goes very well with Asian food and hot climate. We are proud that we have started to import Asahi into Malaysia via our Luen Heng subsidiary.

I also like a good glass of red wine.

What's it like being a managing director at such a young age? K.S. Lee, Negri Sembilan

I think it is good to be young in my current job! It is actually very demanding because most of our customers are primarily active during the evenings and night time. That means I do my office work, strategy planning and have meetings during the day and then proceed to the market later in the evening. Maybe have dinner in one place and go for a beer at a few pubs afterwards to meet customers and consumers. Often, there are new outlets to visit or some anniversary to attend to show my support to the owners and management. Normally, these engagements lasts until past midnight and they can come up as frequently as 3 to 4 nights a week.

Nonetheless, I am always up early in the morning for some exercise or to have fun with the children and to be fresh and ready for a new day. I complement my relatively young age with mentorship from experienced seniors in the Company. I meet my Board Chairman for lunch every month. He is like a mentor or coach to me. He guides me in putting things in perspective and sees underlying opportunities. I am also supported by a very experienced Deputy Managing Director whom I meet weekly and discuss almost everything with. I also maintain a good network of key customers who I often discuss, brainstorm ideas and debate alternative angles with.

In fact, I am not young in the beer business. I have been with Carlsberg Group for more than 12 years and in Asia for 5 years now.

How difficult has it been to adjust living in Asia? What are some of the things back home that you miss? Biskuse Tee, PJ

It has been very easy and a pleasure for my family and I to adjust to the Asian lifestyle. We are now in our 5th year of living in this region and the whole family feels very Asian' and have no plans of going back to Europe anytime soon. After more than 3 years in the super busy and hectic Hong Kong, we are now at the end of our first year in Malaysia and are very excited. We have fallen in love with this beautiful country. The people, the weather, the cultural diversity and the variety of food in Asia strongly appeal to me, my wife and the children. What we miss the most are our family, relatives and some of our close friends. Having said so, my parents have visited us more than 10 times in the past 5 years and they are pretty happy about having a good excuse to do so! Most of our friends have been here more than once already and we make it a point to go back to Denmark at least twice a year. I don't miss the Danish weather at all - not sure I am a Viking after all!

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The Star Online: Sports

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Kerr, Stanford advance to Sybase semis

Posted: 21 May 2011 05:17 PM PDT

Published: Sunday May 22, 2011 MYT 8:17:00 AM

GLADSTONE, New Jersey (AP) - Angela Stanford birdied four of the final five holes to beat Paula Creamer 2-up Saturday and set up an all-America semifinal with Cristie Kerr in the Sybase Match Play Championship.

Top-seeded Na Yeon Choi of South Korea will face No. 3 Suzann Pettersen of Norway in the other semifinal Sunday morning at Hamilton Farm Golf Club.

The champion of the $1.5 million tournament will be decided Sunday afternoon.

Kerr, the No. 3 seed who hasn't played more than 16 holes in any match, had a 3-and-2 win over Ai Miyazato of Japan in the opening quarterfinal on a rare sunny day in New Jersey this week.

Choi beat No. 42 Sophie Gustafson of Sweden 2-up, and Pettersen holed an 8-foot birdie putt on her good-luck final hole to edge world No. 1 Yani Tseng of Taiwan.

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Hoey, Elson share Madeira Islands Open lead

Posted: 21 May 2011 05:15 PM PDT

Published: Sunday May 22, 2011 MYT 8:15:00 AM

PORTO SANTO, Madeira Islands (AP) - Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday for a share of the third-round lead with England's Jamie Elson in the Madeira Islands Open.

Elson had a 68 to match Hoey at 9-under 207 at Porto Santo Golf, the Seve Ballesteros-designed course that features 500-foot seaside cliffs.

England's Chris Gane (70), Scotland's Alastair Forsyth (69) and France's Francois Delamontagne (71) were two strokes back in the event sanctioned by the European Tour and the developmental European Challenge Tour.

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Cleverly defends WBO title against Kuziemski

Posted: 21 May 2011 05:13 PM PDT

Published: Sunday May 22, 2011 MYT 8:14:00 AM

LONDON (AP) - Nathan Cleverly easily defended his WBO light heavyweight title on Saturday when his fight against Aleksy Kuziemski was stopped in the fourth round because of a bleeding cut to the Pole's face.

Cleverly had already bloodied Kuziemski's nose when a cut opened up above the challenger's left eye from what seemed to be a right hand. When referee Mark Nelson took a look at it, he immediately waved the fight off without consulting the ringside doctor.

Cleverly had been set to face previous titleholder Juergen Braehmer at the O2 Arena in London but the German pulled out and was stripped of his title, while the Englishman was upgraded to champion and eventually paired with Kuziemski.

Cleverly improved to 21-0, with 10 knockouts.

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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Posted: 20 May 2011 05:17 PM PDT

Chicken Lips, Wheeler-dealer and the Beady-eyed MBA: An entrepreneur's wild adventures on the New Silk Road

Author: Frank Farwell

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

AN inspiring and entertaining story of a tenderfoot start-up company and its neophyte trail boss who manoeuvres his way out of hostile territory into a land of plenty. The sequence of mishaps and recoveries offers lessons on the perils and pitfalls of running a company.

This book serves as both an engaging real-life story, as well as a guide to starting and succeeding as an entrepreneur. It entertains and instructs based on the author's 11 years as founder and president of silk garment company WinterSilks.

6 Secrets to Startup Success

Author: John Bradberry

Publisher: Amacom

AUTHOR John Bradberry explores the benefits, dangers of startup passion, and reveals key principles you need to follow to ensure your big idea is on the right track. The book poses questions like Are you ready? The most fundamental driver of your company's success or failure is you.

This books helps you to take an honest look at yourself, your skills and help you to aim your enthusiasm in a productive way. It also helps you to cultivate a market orientation, develop strategies and execute your moves.

One Simple Idea: Turn your dreams into a licensing goldmine

Author: Stephen Key

Publisher: McGraw Hill

AUTHOR and entrepreneur Stephen Key has licensed more than 20 ideas that have generated revenue. He writes about how one can license one's idea, or what he calls "renting" ideas to a company. These ideas can be in any department, some of which include production, research and development, accounting, distribution, marketing and sales.

He writes about keeping your ideas safe without spending time and money on a patent, being your own boss, seeing your product go to market and making money, without having to quit your day job.

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Education from creativity

Posted: 20 May 2011 05:13 PM PDT

Title: Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative

Author: Ken Robinson

Publisher: Capstone 2nd Edition

"It is often said that education and training are the keys to the future. They are, but a key can be turned in two directions. Turn it one way and you lock resources away, even from those they belong to. Turn it the other way and you release resources and give people back to themselves. To realise our true creative potential – in our organisations, in our schools and in our communities – we need to think differently about ourselves and to act differently towards each other. We must learn to be creative." – Sir Ken Robinson

An internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources; Sir Ken Robinson has worked with governments in Europe, Asia and the United States; with international agencies; with Fortune 500 companies; and with leading cultural organisations.

Organisations are competing in a world that is turbulent and transforming faster than ever. What is distinctive now is the breathtaking rate and scale of change. Robinson opens the latest 2011 incarnation of his book, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (first published in 2001) with many interesting facts: If you have an iPhone, it probably has more computing power than was available on earth in 1940. Many children's toys today have more computing power than 1960s mainframes.

Robinson starts with a highly engaging discourse on the matter by pointing to a perpetuating paradox of our times: As children, most of us think we are highly creative. However, as adults, many of us think we are not. What happens in the "in-between" as we are growing up?

In a sense, we have been "educated out of our own creativity." The author argues that people and organisations are today dealing with problems that in fact originate in schools and universities; as many people leave with no clue of their inherent creative abilities.

Using his inimitable witty, humorous and sometimes caustic writing style, he emphasises that realising our creative potential is really about finding our medium, of being in our element. Education should ideally help us achieve this, but too often it does not and too many people are instead displaced from their true talents.

This is because there is a kind of misplaced "mania" driving present educational policies. In place of much needed strategies, there is instead a tired mantra about raising traditional academic standards originally designed for other times, based on deep-seated assumptions that are no longer true. The dominant global corporations used to be in industry and manufacturing. Our mass systems of public education were developed primarily to meet the needs of the Industrial Revolution and in many ways, continue to mirror the principles of industrial production.

As a result, they continue to emphasise linearity, conformity and standardisation even though these are largely out of sync with real life today that is organic, fluid and diverse. We continue to believe in mass education, despite all the evidence that this system is failing so many people within it.

We often ask how we can raise academic standards but do not critically question whether they deliver what we need to survive in the future. The real issue is not that academic standards are falling but that the very foundations upon which our current systems of education are built are shifting beneath our feet. Many of the key companies today are in communications, information, entertainment, science and technology. Our established ways of thinking and doing things in business, in government and education, are rooted in old ways of thinking and not designed to face the challenges that confront us.

The dogged focus on traditional educational processes build principally on rigid economic and intellectual pillars has led to "academic inflation". The market value of degrees is falling due to the unprecedented numbers going to college as well as the real disconnect between what students are being trained for and what is truly demanded by the marketplace. This has led to a global glut of graduates and frustration all around. We can no longer continue a culture of just "teaching to the test".

To drive home his very valid viewpoints, Robinson dives into historical perspectives relating to educational systems and the measurement of intelligence; and draws on many examples to illustrate their limitations. We are introduced to Dance United, a professional contemporary dance company based in the UK that provides a very successful dance-based education programme called the Academy, as an option for young offenders within the local criminal justice system.

Other powerful examples include the School of One and the Blue School (started by the world-renowned Blue Man Group) in New York City and the progress of Big Picture Learning (supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) with "at-risk" students in the US who do not fit into conventional schools. Chris Wink of The Blue Man Group says, "On a metaphorical level, the traditional model of education is that children are freight cars and the school is a giant silo. It fills each of the kids up and then moves them down the track." In essence, he says we need to create "a launch pad where kids are the rockets and we're just trying to find the fuse." Robinson demonstrates to us the heavy price we have paid due to the scholastic schism of the arts and sciences, the division of intellect and emotion as well as the domination of the rationalist attitude in our existing educational platforms.

Robinson's main point is that we need to rethink creativity as "we will not succeed in navigating the complex environment of the future by peering relentlessly into a rear-view mirror." We have to enlarge our definitions of intelligence; ensuring that these are more inclusive. Otherwise, important abilities are overlooked and marginalised. People with strong academic abilities will fail to discover their other abilities. Those of lower academic ability may have other powerful abilities that lie dormant. Being good at something is also not enough if ultimately you do not really care for it.

It is often thought that creativity relates to special people and activities such as the arts, advertising, design or marketing. Robinson contends that anybody can be creative if the conditions are right. Creativity should not be confined to the arts and "artistic" endeavours. Creativity is possible in all fields, whenever we are using our intelligence. He notes that "if someone tells you they cannot read or write, you do not assume they are not capable of reading or writing; but that they have not been taught how." Creativity can similarly be a learned response.

Out of Our Minds is a recommended read, especially for educational policy and decision makers, as it manages to be authoritative, entertaining and thought-provoking all at once. Robinson believes we "cannot meet the challenges of the 21st century with the educational ideologies of the 19th. We need a new Renaissance that values different modes of intelligence and that cultivates creative relations between disciplines and between education, commerce and the wider community. Transforming education is not easy but the price of failure is more than we can afford, while the benefits of success are more than we can imagine."

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