Sabtu, 30 Julai 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Winfrey to host series recycling her old show

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 10:48 PM PDT

BEVERLY HILLS, California (AP): Oprah Winfrey is repackaging her now-ended daytime talk show to make it a key part of the lineup for OWN, her struggling cable channel.

Winfrey said Friday she will host the new series that will recycle episodes of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" as a "classroom" intended to help viewers improve their lives. The show, titled "Own Your Life," will air weekdays at 8 p.m. EST starting Oct. 10.

It will be paired with "The Rosie Show," the new Rosie O'Donnell talk show that will air daily, right before "Own Your Life." O'Donnell's show also debuts Oct. 10.

Winfrey, speaking to the Television Critics Association, said she is immersed in the Oprah Winfrey Network to ensure it serves her vision and the needs of viewers.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Six killed in China's Xinjiang after explosions - reports

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 08:47 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - Two men wielding knives attacked a truck driver and then a crowd of people following two explosions in China's far west, killing six people before one attacker was killed and the other captured, government-run media reported Sunday.

The blasts and attack occurred late on Saturday in the city of Kashgar in the Xinjiang region near China's border with Tajikistan, according to, a Xinjiang government-run website, and the state-run news agency Xinhua.

One of the blasts was from a minivan while another occurred in a food market, Xinhua said.

Xinjiang is home to many Uighurs, a mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking people native to the region, many of whom resent the growing presence of majority Han Chinese who have moved there and some groups have campaigned for independence.

It was the second incident of serious violence in the region in two weeks.

Eighteen people including 14 "rioters" were killed in an attack on a police station in Xinjiang on July 18, according to the government. The dead included two policemen and two hostages in what Chinese authorities described as a terrorist attack.

That clash was the worst violence in about a year in Xinjiang.

Saturday's attacks began with the two blasts, Xinhua said. Two men jumped into a truck waiting at a stoplight and stabbed to death the driver, Xinhua and said.

The pair then escaped in the truck, striking several people as it drove off, according to Xinhua. gave a somewhat different version, saying the attackers drove the truck into a crowd, left the truck and started attacking people, killing six.

The crowd retaliated, beating one of the attackers to death and capturing the other, according to the account, which did not further identify the attackers.

Twenty-eight people were hospitalised, it said.

There were no other immediate details. The reports did not say if authorities suspect there is any link to a Uighur separatist movement or to the July 18 attack.

Xinjiang is strategically significant because it is adjacent to Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and it has oil, gas and coal deposits.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Saudi, most Gulf states to start Ramadan on Monday

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 08:16 PM PDT

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, will start the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on Monday along with most other Gulf states, regional media said on Saturday.

Reports from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said the new moon had not been sighted after sunset on Saturday, indicating that Sunday would be regarded as the last day of the Muslim lunar month preceding Ramadan.

In nearby Yemen, Ramadan will also start on Monday.

Muslims scan the sky at night in search of the new moon to determine the start of Ramadan, the holiest month for the world's more than one billion Muslims, during which observant believers fast from dawn to dusk.

Businesses and offices reduce opening hours during the day and often re-open in the evenings.

(Reporting by Firouz Sedarat; Additional reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Strong earthquake jolts northeast Japan, no tsunami

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 08:16 PM PDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 jolted northeast Japan on Sunday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The quake, at 3:54 a.m. (1854 GMT Saturday), was also felt in Tokyo.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, and no tsunami warning was issued.

The focus of the quake was off the coast of Fukushima prefecture. There were no abnormalities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said.

A 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami on March 11 knocked out the Fukushima plant's reactor cooling systems, triggering a radiation crisis.

Police in Fukushima and neighbouring Miyagi prefecture said they had received no reports of damage or injuries

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

The March 11 earthquake, the strongest in Japan on record, and a massive tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, since Chernobyl. The disaster left up to 23,000 dead or missing.

(Reporting by Michael Watson; Additional reporting by Yoko Kubota and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Business judgment, corporate decision making

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 07:50 PM PDT

Board meetings are about decision making on a variety of matters. The supervisory and monitoring duties dominate. However a corporation is a wealth creation entity and major business transactions are placed before boards that demand deliberation and judgment.

When a business judgment is mistaken or proven wrong leading to severe losses and damages, how are directors accountable under their burdensome duties of care and skill? In recognition of the risk dimension of a business judgment and the burgeoning duties, legislature has passed safe haven protection for directors.

Judicial acceptance of business judgment

In an Australian decision which captured the pragmatism of common law, Rogers J observed:

"The courts have recognised that directors must be allowed to make business judgments and business decisions untrammeled by the concerns of a conservative investment trustee.

"Any entrepreneur will rely upon a variety of talents in deciding whether to invest in a business venture. These may include legitimate but ephemeral, political insights, a feel for economic trends, trust in the capacity of other human beings. Great risks may be taken in the hope to commensurate rewards. If such ventures fail, how is the undertaking of it to be judged against allegations of negligence by the entrepreneur?" [Daniels v Andersen (1995) NSW Supreme Court.]

The business judgment' defence under Companies Act

The Malaysian Companies (Amendment) Act, 2007 which came into force on 15 Aug 2007 which is now encapsulated in Section 132(1B) provides a "safe harbour" defence for a director who makes a business judgment:

A director who makes a business judgment is deemed to meet the [duty of care, skill and diligence] and the equivalent duties under the common law and in equity if the director

(a) makes the business judgment in good faith for a proper purpose;

(b) does not have a material personal interest in the subject matter of the business judgment;

(c) is informed about the subject matter of the business judgment to the extent the director reasonably believes to be appropriate under the circumstances; and

(d) reasonably believes that the business judgment is in the best interest of the company.

Section 132 (6) sets out to define "business judgment" to mean "any decision on whether or not to take any action in respect of a matter relevant to the business of the company."

Four conditions

All four conditions must be satisfied before this defence is available.

The first is that the rule protects only decisions that have been consciously made, and where positive evidence of a judgment has been taken on the matter. Passive rubber stamping of a decision and negligent omission by way of serious failure of oversight and monitoring on part of a director does not constitute an exercise of judgment.

Secondly, the decision must not be lacking good faith or have improper purpose.

Thirdly, disinterestedness in the decision making is crucial. If there is any evidence of self-dealing or material personal interest the application of this defense will not be available.

The final element is that any belief that a transaction is in the business judgment be grounded on reasonable ground that it is for the best interest of the company.

Informed decision making

The significance of an informed decision is a cardinal element. The American Law Institute (ALI) acknowledges that there may not be a precise way in which to measure what information is appropriate for sound and informed decision making. Much of governance lapses come from what economists characterise as asymmetrical information that leads to misjudgments by Boards.

The ALI lists the following as matters which are appropriate for sound decision making:

(i)importance of the transaction;

(ii)time availability;

(iii)costs for obtaining information;

(iv) director's confidence in exploring the matter;

(v)state of company's business and nature of competing demands for the board's attention.

In one interesting Delaware decision, the court held that the Board of Trans Union Corporation was not adequately informed when they approved the cash out merger for the corporation [Smith v Van Gorkom (Del 1985)].

The main defects which persuaded the court to disentitle the directors of the protection under the rule and have their conduct castigated as grossly negligent were that the directors:

did not adequately inform themselves as to the role of Van Gorkom in forcing the merger and establishing the cash out price;

were uniformed about the intrinsic value of the company; and

approved the merger after only two hours deliberations without prior notice.

Further, it appeared that the Board did not seek any further valuation or justification for the sale price and made no inquiries for Van Gorkom's bare assertions of value.

The availability of the business judgment rule therefore does not preclude the requirement that a director carries out his evaluative decision making in a manner that evidences reasonableness and is wholly disinterested for the interests of the shareholders of the company as a whole.

Not hindsight but assessment of conduct at relevant time

It is important and salutary that courts urged that any judgment on directors' decision making must not be from hindsight. The merit of the transaction ought to be evaluated given the knowledge then available to the board. Judgment on directors' actions must not be in a realm of unreal altruism or high abstraction but forward looking.

In ASC vs Rich & Anor (2009) Austin J of NSW Supreme Court laid down a very cogent analysis of the scope of the defence of Business Judgment under similar Australian provision. The ASC alleged that certain directors of the Board of One.Tel were in breach of statutory duty of care and diligence when they failed to disclose the true financial position of the company. Central to the ASC case was that in terms of cashflow, creditors, debtors and earnings and liquidity was far more precarious than what was represented to the board. Forecasts provided also had no proper basis.

Austin J confirmed the efficacy of business judgment defence in appropriate circumstances. Clearly, management decisions involving acquisition, divestment or corporate restructurings are construable as "business judgments." But what about management organisation and strategic planning?

Austin J observed that there must be a decision to take or to refrain from taking action. Construing the phrase "matter relevant to business" the judge held that these are words of considerable breadth. A key ingredient for seeking shelter under this safe haven is that there is a conscious judgment exercised. Mere neglect or complete passivity or rubber stamping will not qualify as a business judgment.

Austin J also held that decisions taken in planning, budgeting and forecasting are capable to receiving protection. As to whether the actions satisfy rational belief element (note the phrase of Malaysian provision differs by using "reasonably believes,") Austin J held that a director's or officer's belief would be a rational one if it was based on reason or reasoning (whether or not the reasoning was convincing to the judge and therefore "reasonable" in an objective sense), but it would not be rational belief if there was no arguable reasoning process to support it.

It may be that the Malaysian provision, in using the language of "reasonably believes" have opted for a more stringent objective test.

Commercial justification as in the interest of the company'

When a board meets to make a business decision, its collective judgment is called for to ascertain whether in making the decision the transaction will turn out to be of benefit to shareholders. There will be assessment of medium to long term view coupled with present interest of shareholders. Does this mean that profits must be maximised or are directors permitted to take a wider view? In Intraco Ltd v MultiPak Singapore Ltd [1995] the Singapore Court of Appeal gave wider latitude in construing as to what is commercially justifiable.

In this case a decision was made by a Board of Intraco who was creditor to engage in a debt equity swap with City Carton in an attempt to forestall the insolvency of City Carlton. The transaction was effected but did not avert the eventual collapse of City Carlton.

The Receiver challenged the transaction and argued that directors breached their fiduciary duties. The Court affirmed that no duty was breached as notwithstanding that the debt purchased was nearly worthless.

The test applied was that "whether an honest and intelligent man in the position of the directors taking an objective view could reasonably have concluded that the transaction was in best interest of the company."

Evidence was accepted that the debtequity swap will result in control of City Carton providing a strategic business alliance to a government linked corporation. There is also evidence that it will be part of a vertical integration of City Carlton's with the Acquirer's Group interest.

"Governance" has its roots in Latin "gubernatorial" which relates to navigation of a vessel. If the captains of a corporation were to avail themselves of the safe haven of business judgment the elements discussed in this paper would need to be heeded.

Philip TN Koh is a senior partner of Mah-Kamariyah & Philip Koh, Advocates & Solicitors.

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Cream of the crop and succession planning

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 07:49 PM PDT

ONE of the companies leading the way in terms of accelerating' their employees talent and leadership is Malakoff Corp Bhd. Its chief executive officer Zainal Abidin Jalil, spent many years working in numerous countries in multiple roles with Exxon-Mobil, including stints in Angola and the United States, and has personally gained, career wise, from the programme at Exxon-Mobil.

Not surprisingly, he is a strong advocate of the programme for Malakoff, a company he helms. He personally spends time coaching, and plans to also train employees at their accelerated Leadership Development Programme where the "cream of the company" spend 12 months working on live projects which add value to the company, such as visits to great companies like AirAsia, LaFarge and General Electric (GE). Together, they work and strategise for the future of the company's growth.

According to Zainal, Malakoff, which is involved in power generation, water desalination and electricity distribution, has developed numerous accelerated programmes in its partnership with Leaderonomics.

They are just about to kick-off an accelerator for their senior managers. "We have a clear process of identifying top talent early through its robust succession planning processes.

"These talent are then put through an extensive assessment process, including understanding their aspirations and goals. We then developed a specialised individual programme to help them attain their goals and help Malakoff grow to the next level," he says.

Its senior vice-president for corporate services Bani Zainal Azmian says the key reason the company invests deeply in talent development is because of its determination to remain the leading independent power producer in Malaysia.

"We also plan to grow significantly internationally in power and water, and the talent pool requirement for our growth is tremendous. Previously, we invested in generic classroom training but the net effect on the talent was minimal. So, we changed our approach and engage a provider that understood Malakoff to design an accelerator programme that truly could grow our talent systematically and with certainty."

The CEO himself is earmarked to teach in many of the modules in the various "accelerator" programmes.

Another company which employs Leaderonomics talent accelerator programme is Bolton Bhd. In June this year, the company graduated its first class of accelerated' employees at Saujana Kuala Lumpur with its executive chairman Datuk Azman Yahya presenting the graduation scrolls to 18 highly talented staff.

Speaking about his own career, Azman himself was accelerated in numerous ways by being constantly pushed out of his comfort zones taking on big and challenging roles early in his career.

And even though Bolton may have a relatively smaller workforce compared to large MNCs, he still believed that leadership development and "acceleration" was not something only reserved to the big boys.

The first ever acceleration' programme was launched on Aug 18 last year and called talent leadership development programme (TLDP) as part of its people development strategy in its mission of becoming an employer of choice.

Bolton's head of marketing and corporate services Azman Shah Mohd Yusof says this programme was a natural extension of the company's initiatives towards attracting, optimising and retaining top talents in its workforce. The programme's objective is to enhance the leadership capabilities of its staff, thus creating a leadership pipeline for succession planning, he adds.

According to Azman Yahya, the programme is a key component of the company's transformation into a performance-centric organisation. "At Bolton, we want to develop a culture of leaders developing leaders and through TLDP, our talents were exposed and trained to build entrepreneurial mindset, strategic visioning and a desire for excellence, he notes.

BOLTON : [Stock Watch] [News]

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Dijaya Corp thinks big

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 07:48 PM PDT

AFTER keeping a low profile in the past with sales below the RM500mil cap, property developer Dijaya Corp Bhd is changing course and moving into higher gear to become a more active developer with higher sales targets.

It is targeting sales of RM519mil for the current financial year (FY) ending Dec 31, 2011, RM820mil in FY2012, and RM1.24bil in FY2013.

The more ambitious sales targets will be supported by new project launches to the tune of RM839mil this year, RM1.7bil in 2012, and RM1.8bil in 2013. As at June 30, 2011, the company has unbilled sales of RM450mil.

Dijaya has an undeveloped landbank of 249 acres in the Klang Valley and Johor, that have potential gross development value (GDV) of RM12.4bil.

According to the company's 2010 annual report, it has some 11 acres of land left for development in Tropicana Golf and Country Resort, and 20 acres in Tropicana Indah Resort.

It also owns investment properties such as The Tropicana City Mall in PJ.

With two signature developments to leverage on, the 625-acre Tropicana Golf & Country Resort and 409-acre Tropicana Indah Resort Homes, Dijaya managing director Datuk Tong Kien Onn says the company will continue to build up its prowess in product innovation and ensuring superior quality and practicality in its projects.

Tong shares with StarBizWeek that the company is actively looking for opportunities to expand its landbank, and is in talk for three to four parcels of more than 200 acres each in Selangor.

Dijaya's most recent land acquisitions were sealed last month. It purchased an 88.5 acre parcel in Subang for RM385.5mil or at RM100 per sq ft, and 12.9 acres in Kampar for RM5.6mil or RM1 per sq ft.

On June 8, Dijaya's subsidiary, Tropicana Subang Development Sdn Bhd, inked a deal for the four parcels of freehold land on the outskirts of Subang from Chunghwa Picture Tubes (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

The land in Kampar was also from the same vendor.

The 88.5 acres at Pekan Country Heights borders Subang Jaya and Shah Alam.

Tong says the land will be developed into an upper medium range of mixed residential and commercial development with expected GDV of RM3.5bil.

"The residential development will comprise condominiums, linked and semi-detached houses and bungalows, while the commercial development will feature retail outlets, shopping malls and office lots as well as service apartments," Tong explains.

He says the company has engaged GDP Architects to come out with the design plans and the development is expected to kick off early next year for completion in eight to 10 years.

The RM125mil Kampar project is still at the planning stage.

In the next two years there will be six new projects lined up for launch. The new launches will have an estimated GDV of RM2.5bil.

The first to get rolling next month will be Tropicana Cheras comprising terrace and semi-detached houses and bungalows worth RM185mil. The 26-acre project will take three years.

In October, Tropicana Avenue in Tropicana Golf and Country Resort featuring two floors of retail podium with offices and soho units above the podium block will be launched. The RM412mil project is targeted for completion in 2013.

The integrated commercial development of Tropicana Danga Bay will be unveiled in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor in September or October.

The RM3.8bil development will comprise service apartments, hotel, office tower, shopping mall, and retail cum office lots. It will take 10 to 12 years to complete.

Launches in the first quarter next year will comprise Tropicana Subang and Tropicana Bayou, gated and guarded residential projects on 66 acres in Balakong. The project will have GDV of RM400mil.

In June 2012, the Tropicana Gardens commercial centre will be launched on 14 acres opposite Giza Sunway in Kota Damansara. The lake-front project with GDV of RM1.8bil will feature service apartments, soho units, offices, a hotel and lifestyle retail space. It will take seven years to complete.

Tong says Dijaya will be focusing on integrated commercial projects and has a number of such projects lined up for the coming years.

With that strategy, contribution from commercial projects to revenue is expected to rise to 60% in the coming years from close to 50% now.

The company intends to keep some of its commercial space to build up its investment property portfolio and for regular rental income streams.

DIJACOR : [Stock Watch] [News]

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Perry rules Singapore Masters

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 06:40 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: World No. 4 Madeline Perry (pic) of Ireland won the US$53,000 Singapore Masters – her first title of the year – after beating England's Laura Massaro in the final at the Kallang Squash Centre yesterday.

Perry took 61 minutes to carve out an 11-7, 11-8, 5-11, 11-9 win in only her second final appearance of the year following the CIMB KL Open back in March.

It was a major disappointment for Massaro, who had a day earlier played brilliantly to knock out four-time champion Nicol David in the semi-finals.

But it was a well-deserved victory for the 34-year-old Perry, whose last win came 10 months ago when she captured the Canon Kirk Holmes Irish Open crown last September.

Perry and most of the Women's Inter­na­tional Squash Players Association (Wispa) Tour players will now take a 10-day break before heading for the Australian Open from Aug 7-14.

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Malaysia edge Wales in 5th-8th classification match in Boston

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 06:32 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia are assured of at least a sixth-placed finish in the Women's World Junior squash championships when they beat Wales 2-1 in the 5th-8th classification match at the Harvard University, Boston, on Friday.

Wales took the lead when the tricky Tesni Evans outfoxed top national junior Tan Yan Xin 11-4, 3-11, 11-6, 12-10 in 36 minutes.

Malaysia levelled the tie when Vanessa Raj outmuscled Hannah Davies 11-2, 11-7, 11-7 in just 19 minutes.

With Yong Sue Ann out with a shin injury, Celine Yeap took to the court and breezed past Fiona Murphy 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 to seal victory for Malaysia.

Malaysia will now take on England again in the 5th-6th playoff. England defeated New Zealand 2-1. "Our girls will be aiming to prove that their win over England in the group matches was not a fluke. However, the line-up will depend on whether Sue Ann can recover from her injury," said national head coach Allan Soyza in an email.

Meanwhile, hosts the United States and top seeds Egypt set up a dream final featuring the best junior girl players in the world.

The Americans, led by world No. 21 Amanda Sobhy had to battle to get past India 2-1 while Egypt scored a fairly easy 2-0 win over last year's runners-up Hong Kong.

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Razif plays down Koo-Tan’s chances at World Championships

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 06:20 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Former doubles specialist Razif Sidek is not too confident of top doubles shuttlers Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong's chances at the World Champion-ships, which will be held in Wembley from Aug 8-14.

Razif said it would be a tall order for the world No. 4 Kien Keat-Boon Heong to nab the elusive men's doubles title following their uninspiring performances so far this year.

"The results show that they have been rather inconsistent this year. They are one of the top pairs in the world but that is not reflected in their results. I doubt they can win this year," said Razif.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong have reached three finals in major events in the last one year – the World Championships in Paris (August), the Asian Games in Guangzhou (December) and the All-England (March) – but, other than that, they have nothing to shout about.

The duo have not won any major titles since last year's Malaysia Open in Bukit Jalil. They did win the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold title in Alor Setar in April – but it came courtesy of a walkover conceded by Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan of Indonesia due to the former's groin injury.

The Malaysian players may have beaten top players like Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China, Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia and South Korea's Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung in the last year but they have also suffered stunning reversals at the hands of unheralded players.

Razif said that winners needed to possess strong characters.

"One has to have self-confidence, good character and produce consistent results. This will raise their profile prior to major events. I don't think others fear them now. Koo and Tan started well in their careers (in 2006 and 2007) but they have not been that inspiring in recent times," he said.

Razif, who won a silver medal with brother Jalani at the 1987 world meet, however, hopes the duo can prove him wrong.

"I hope coach Rexy (Mainaky) will be able to psyche them up in the next one week," said Razif.

"Whatever outcome at the world meet, I hope Rexy will focus on more specialised training for his men. They need that to move up in their level of play."

Kien Keat-Boon Heong are in the bottom half of the draw with second seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen, China's Chai Biao-Guo Zhengdong, Indonesians Mohd Ahsan-Bona Septano, Japan's Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata and South Koreans Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong.

The Malaysian's sternest test may be against Sung-hyun-Yeon-seong in the quarter-finals. Kien Keat-Boon Heong have lost all four matches against the second pair from South Korea.

Three-time world champion and top seed Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng are in the top half with Markis-Hendra, Yong-dae-Jae-sung, Alven-Hendra, Denmark's Jonas Rasmussen-Mads Conrad-Petersen and two Malaysian pairs – Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Hoon Thien How.

Last year, Kien Keat-Boon Heong reached the final in Paris but lost to Cai Yun-Haifeng.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Appeals court sides with J.Lo in home video fight

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 10:44 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP): An appeals court sided Friday with Jennifer Lopez and ordered that an invasion of privacy lawsuit she filed against her first husband be handled in arbitration rather than through a public court case.

The ruling by California's 2nd District Court of Appeal states that Lopez's attorneys provided a Los Angeles judge with plenty of information supporting her request that she had a binding arbitration agreement with ex-husband Ojani Noa.

Lopez sued Noa for $10 million in November 2009 after he and his agent announced plans to use portions of 11 hours of home videos to produce a movie based on the couple's relationship. The couple was married in 1997, but the union lasted just 11 months.

A settlement agreement between the two prohibits Noa from "disclosing for monetary gain any private or intimate details about Lopez or Noa's relationship with Lopez." It also binds any of his agents to the same terms.

The videos, which both sides agree do not depict the singer and actress in sexual situations, have been blocked for release by a judge. Noa's agent, Ed Meyer, however threatened to release clips from the videos earlier this year, which prompted a judge to order them to be stored in a bank safe deposit box with restricted access in June.

The court ordered Friday that Meyer is also subject to the arbitration provisions. He wrote in an email that he will appeal the ruling to the California Supreme Court. Noa's attorney, Christopher Lauria, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Lopez, 42, won $545,000 in damages and attorney fees in 2007 in another lawsuit that blocked Noa from publishing a ghostwritten tell-all book.

She and her third husband, singer Marc Anthony, announced earlier this month that they were ending their seven-year marriage.

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 29 Jul 2011 05:18 PM PDT

Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter

Authors: Simon Constable and Robert E. Wright

Publisher: Harper Business

This guide by The Wall Street Journal offers investors powerful new tools to help them analyse the markets. The two authors also help readers to pick out what to watch out for, what to do when movement happens and the risk level involved in taking action. An enlightening book that offers essential advice on navigating the global economic climate.

Hostage At The Table: How leaders can overcome conflict, influence others and raise performance

Author: George Kohlrieser

Publisher: JosseyBass

The author explains that only by openly facing conflict that we can truly progress through the most difficult business challenges. A provocative book with psychological insights that can be applied to personal and business relationships. Some key concepts include learning to bond, the importance of communication, establishing trust, mastering your mind and never think you are the victim.

Think Smart, Work Smarter

Author: Tremaine Du Preez

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Business

Our mind produces up to 60,000 thoughts a day. Most of these are responsible for the decisions that we make. These decisions, in turn, determine success or failure, both professionally and personally. However, throughout our lives, we are taught what to think, not how to think. Information overload, short time frames and past failures can make even simple decisions and problems daunting.

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Going back in time for business reasons

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 05:18 PM PDT

Title: Civilization: The West and the Rest
Author: Niall Ferguson
Publisher: Allen Lane

ONE of the world's leading historians of our time, Niall Ferguson does not only write with dashing panache, but also pulsing energy with which history burst right out of the pages like fireworks. For these reasons, I was compelled to toil on this subject I admittedly have limited knowledge on but nevertheless am intrigued by his latest book – Civilization: The West and the Rest.

The principal question addressed in this book is the question I have often I asked myself. Just why and how the West is more sophisticated that the East, if it had been commonly known that the East, China mainly, was once the centre of scientific revolution and spiritual enlightenment? Had there been a western epoch during which the East was completely taken over, and if so, what happened?

This book answers both of my questions completely and more. It takes me as far back as the 1400s when some of the main civilisations – the West, India, China, Byzantine and Islam – interacted. It is this interaction that has given rise to our world today.

Human civilisation, spanned through a series of societies and countless economic trajectories, is the longest story in the world but Ferguson makes this long journey interesting and malleable by breaking 600 years of history into six important aspects – Competition, Science, Property rights, Medicine, Consumer society and Work ethnic. These six key aspects, as keen readers will notice, form the framework of Western society modeled by many countries across the globe.

That said, coupled with the title of the book, reader may think of Ferguson as another of those self-serving writers who likes to delve into the triumph of the West. But Ferguson begs you to hold that premature judgement early in the introduction, lest you abandon this valuable book and walk off.

Throughout the book, which he has written with the help of a host of people of different background and nationality, he shows how the West had come to the conquest and colonisation of so many parts of the world.

According to him, the West's ascendancy was aided by fortuitous weaknesses or decline that were taking place in rivaling civilisations such as the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century and the Ottoman Empire in 17th century. By the 18th century, the West's edge over the Orient and Persia was a matter of brainpower and gunpowder.

Ferguson seems to have been born to tell historic stories for he tells them with zeal and aplomb. Frederick the Great might as well wake to attest to his crisp analysis on the rise of Prussia while Suleiman the Magnificent might salute for his acknowledgement of Muslim's contributions to math and science.

Indeed so and Fergusonis not shy about making definitive claims and he backs them up with many facts and his own take on them.

I am not sufficiently well read to doubt a lot of what he says, but all I can promise you is a joyful reading experience whether or not you agree with Ferguson's accounts and conclusions.

Civilisation rises and falls. Is decline and fall the looming fate facing the West?

Very much so, according to Ferguson, and he has reasons to be prescient. The population of Western nations has long begun to decline, so has power of many Western countries such as Germany, United Kingdom and the United States. What more, loss of confidence, as well as deterioration of infrastructure, competitiveness and education, has made the West increasingly less appealing.

Yet, the attempt to argue on the possibility of the West's decline is futile if it is without identification of the true causes of Western ascendancy.

Hence, whether it is to satisfy our curiosity or to allow business people an accurate estimate on the imminence of Western decline, Ferguson embarked on a journey.

This wonderful book is the result of his voyage back in time.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Ranking: Three Malaysian universities enter Top 500

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 05:28 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Three Malaysian universities have made it to the top 500 out of 12,000 universities ranked in the Webometrics Ranking Web of World Universities released Saturday.

They are Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (419), Universiti Sains Malaysia (428) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (462).

This is the first time that Malaysian varsities have entered into the top 500 since the ranking's inception in 2004.

Meanwhile, American universities dominate the Webometrics ranking, with the top five universities being the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, Cornell University, and the University of California, Berkeley respectively.

The ranking is an initiative by the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group part of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas (CSIC) in Spain.

According to the Webometrics website, the aim of the rankings is to encourage universities to have a better web presence and researchers to publish more scientific content on the internet.

Among the main indicators used to analyse university web presence are the size or number of web pages recovered from search engines; visibility; number of rich files available; and the number of citations found in Google Scholar.

The rankings are published every six months, and survey around 20,000 higher education institutions worldwide.

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Burst pipe disrupts water supply to some areas in Port Dickson

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 03:57 AM PDT

Published: Saturday July 30, 2011 MYT 6:58:00 PM

PORT DICKSON: A 61cm-sized pipe burst near the Sungai Linggi water treatment plant caused water supply disruption in several areas here since Friday.

The areas affected were Batu 4 Jalan Pantai-Port Dickson, Port Dickson town, Lukut, Spring Hill, Chuah, Sua Betong and Bukit Pelandok.

Syarikat Air Negeri Sembilan Sdn Bhd (Sains) customers service and public affairs manager Azlan Abdul Aziz said the disruption was caused by the collapse of the river bank close to the treatment plant, made worse by another burst of a 53cm-pipe nearby.

In a statement here on Saturday, he said repair work to strengthen the river bank was ongoing but hampered by strong currents, with water supply disruptions expected to continue until Aug 1.

Azlan said Sains had placed tanker lorries on standby to deliver water supplies and lessen the burden of consumers at affected areas.

Affected consumers can contact the toll-free line at 1-800-88-6982 for assistance.-Bernama

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Full ministerial post for MIC president (Updated)

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 03:53 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel will be made Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made the announcement during the MIC 65th general assembly on Saturday.

Palanivel is currently Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.

Najib said Palanivel was expected to be sworn in by next week.

He said the appointment was part of Barisan Nasional's commitment towards increasing the voice of the Indian community in the cabinet through MIC.

Speaking to reporters later, Bernama reported that the Prime Minister said he would announce Palanivel's new duties and portfolio after the latter was sworn in as minister.

Najib said the full ministership was a trade off for the two deputy minister posts reserved for the MIC, which were now vacant.

One was the post being vacated by Palanivel and the other, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's post that was held by Datuk T. Murugiah which has yet to be filled.

Asked if the move was part of the Barisan Nasional's strategy in facing the next general election, Najib said having two ministers from the MIC had been practised when his late father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was prime minister. "I want to return to the era of Tun Razak where there were two Indian ministers in the Cabinet," he said.

He said the decision was also proof of the government's commitment to the Indian community.

"In appreciation of the role played by the Indian community, the community can play a more effective role by having two full ministers," he said.

Before Palanivel's appointment, the MIC was represented in the Cabinet by its deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam, who is Human Resource Minister.

Asked if a Cabinet reshuffle was imminent following Palanivel's appointment as minister, Najib said: "I don't know. Today is just one announcement."

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro watch

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 06:41 AM PDT


The upgrading of toll lanes at the Penchala toll plaza will be carried out until Aug 16 (Lane S03 Kepong-Bandar Utama). The affected lane will be closed to facilitate construction work and to open an additional toll booth. Highway users are advised to follow the traffic diversion signs posted.


The Central Market Heritage Walk is on every day until Aug 31, guided by Be Tourist for tourists and locals who wish to know more about the history of Kuala Lumpur and its early establishment. To participate, just be at the meeting point at Central Market information counter by 10.30am. For details, visit


A Left Hander's Day will be held on Aug 13 and 14 from 10am to 10pm at community corner, 1Utama Shopping Centre, first floor, Oval (new wing). Activities include brain teasers, fun dip, survey and lefty items for sale. For details, call 016-628 1847 or e-mail


Pertubuhan Penganut Samye Guan Yin Buddhist Centre Kuala Lumpur is organising a grand puja this weekend at the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Vegetarian food will be provided. Admission is free For details, call 012-268 9528 (Grace)/016-381 8122 (Noreen).


The National Blood Centre and AEON Berhad together with Ansara will be organising a blood donation campaign tomorrow at AEON shopping centres in the Klang Valley from 10am to 6pm. For details, call 03-2965 5557/8 or visit


Operafest Children's Choir is on a mission to rescue animals with a concert recital entitled 'Save a Stray' on Aug 27 and 28 at the PJ Live Arts Centre starting at 8pm. For details, call Meng at 012-3156 487 or Jackie at 012-2070 436.


In conjunction with the coming Mid-Autumn Festival, Wangsa Walk Mall is inviting students to join the Lantern Making Contest using recyclable materials. For registration, call Sean 03-7957 1333.


The Tung Shin Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, will be having an antenatal and postnatal talk on Aug 13 from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. The talk will be conducted in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia. Admission is free. To register, call Cheryl at 03-2037 2388 or 016-9099 665 or e-mail to


The Store Mid-Point located at Pandan Indah is now open for business. This newly-renovated outlet occupies four floors and offers goods such as perishables, dairy and frozen products, groceries, sundry goods, electrical items and home appliances. The business hours for the outlet is from 10am to 10pm.

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KLHC women win inaugural Ladies Hockey League title

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 06:41 AM PDT

AS EXPECTED, overwhelming favourites Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) clinched the inaugural KLHA Ladies Hockey League title after defeating minnows Pahang State Sports Council (MSN Pahang) in an exciting final played at the KLHA Stadium in Pantai last weekend.

However, what was supposed to have been a stroll in the park turned out to be just the opposite for KLHC — represented by an array of national and state players — who were forced to sweat it out for a slim 1-0 win against a revitalised MSN Pahang.

Having beaten MSN Pahang 5-0 in one of the league matches and having finished the league fixtures without dropping a single point, the dominant KLHC side were expected to pile on the goals but were met with some fierce resistance from the Pahang youngsters.

Despite pinning their opponents in their own half for much of the first half, the much anticipated goals from KLHC never materialised — thanks to a gallant display by MSN Pahang keeper, Nur Giyana Mansor, who kept producing some fine saves to frustrate the KLHC forwards.

KLHC managed to break the duck in the 26th minute through a well-taken penalty corner by Nuraini Abdul Rashid.

After the breather, KLHC continued from where they left off but the tight defense coupled with their in-form keeper Nur Giyana, who also won the best player of the final award, managed to keep the KLHC players at bay.

Relying mostly on defensive play and fast counter attacks the Pahang girls came close to scoring but failed to force a draw and the smiles on their faces said it all after the final whistle. They had managed to get to the finals after some high profile teams in the league stages but knew they had a mountain to climb against the KLHC side and they almost managed to pull off the impossible.

The East Coast side players ranging between the ages 13 to 19 may not have won the title but can go back with their heads held high for their gallant display, tenacity and their never-say-die attitude.

The victorious KLHC side, who managed to score a whopping 79 goals and conceding only one throughout their campaign in the league, pocketed RM2,000 while MSN Pahang received RM1,000. Third placed University Technology Mara (UiTM) collected RM500.

MSN Pahang coach Sreedharan Nayar was in high spirits when approached after the game.

"Well what more can I say. The players stuck to the game plan and faced with the daunting task against a well oiled and a much superior side in terms of experience, techniques and fitness level, we had only one option that is to defend and rely on our fast counter attacks and it almost worked," said Sreedharan.

Sreedharan also pointed out that the players learned from their mistakes in their earlier league encounter against the KLHC side.

"My team played a very tight game and did not give much room to our opponents and the keeper did exceptionally well to keep the scoreline to just one. I'm proud of my players and we will return next year a better team. This is a very good experience for my players they are still young and can only get better."

KLHC coach Rizal Razman paid tribute to his opposing team as well as his counterpart from MSN Pahang.

"They were a much transformed team from the ones we defeated in the league fixtures. They definitely learned from the mistakes and gave us a run for our money. I congratulate the team and their coach for a great display.

"Although they were not a threat to us but they did not give us much room to play our normal game. Still my players gave their best and it is one of those days when things do not go the way you expect it to go. Overall, it was a very good outing for us and we will return to defend the title next year," added Rizal.

Meanwhile Dutch Ladies, a social team, who failed to collect a single point and conceded a total of 66 goals and managing to score just a couple of goals in their eight outings were awarded the Fairplay award.

This was in recognition of their clean, fair and playing to their true capabilities despite the odds staked against them.


KLHC bt MSN Pahang 1-0.

Roll of honour:

Fairplay: Dutch Ladies Team

Best Player (of the league): Nuraini Abdul Rashid (KLHC)

Top Scorer: A. Kannagi (15 goals - KLHC)

Best Goalkeeper: Nur Syahirah Izzati (Convent Bt. Nenas)

Best Player in the Final: Nur Giyana Mansor (MSN Pahang, goalkeeper)

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Exhibits of execution devices are back by popular demand

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 09:35 PM PDT

MALACCA: An array of horrific torture and execution devices is back in Malacca and currently being exhibited at the upper pergola of Dataran Pahlawan shopping complex, here.

Dubbed as "Tortura 2", the exhibition will showcase the life methods of torture and punishment employed during the medieval era.

Visitors can get a closer look at devices such as the head crusher, knee splitter, chastity belt and the infamous torture chamber known as "Maiden of Nuremberg" that are on display at the exhibition.

Executive director of WellAd Communication Sabariah Daud said the devices were from an era where people were punished for their opinions, race, religion, language, social status and gender in gruesome ways.

"Tortura is sure to awaken much interest and attract visitors from as far as Singapore and Indonesia.

"It is also a platform to get the attention of domestic tourist as well as foreigners from neighbouring states," she said.

Sabariah expects families, students, special interest groups and history lovers to visit the exhibition

"From the last Tortura exposition in year 2003, the feedback from visitors varied, with some saying it was interesting, scary, historical and very educational.

"We even had schools from all over the state crowding the exhibition." she said.

Sabariah added the exhibition depicted an era of brutality and savagery and since its debut in 2003, the exhibition has raised the interest of millions of visitors not only for its great visual impact, but also for its clear message against the violation of human rights.

The exhibition ends October 31.

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‘Rejuvenated’ chalets

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 09:31 PM PDT

I WAS immediately enveloped with a sense of calm the moment I stepped into a recently "rejuvenated" water chalet at the Avillion Port Dickson.

The spacious room was a sight to behold with a large four poster bed, a comfortable pangkin (daybed) to lounge on and a big bathroom which had a tub as well as an open air shower.

The sliding glass doors of the chalet opened out to a private balcony which affords guests gorgeous and uninterrupted views of the sea.

With its traditional charm and modern conveniences such as a flat screen TV, an iPod dock and rainshower, guests get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

The 9.6ha (24-acre) resort was modelled to evoke the feel of a Malay fishing village and that homeliness coupled with modern facilities is what keeps guests coming back.

The resort recently refurbished all its 259 rooms including the water and garden chalets and incorporated modern touches that would appeal to the younger crowd while still maintaining its traditional decor.

Dubbed "8 Reasons to be Re.Ju.Ve.Na.Ted", the exercise was carried out gradually over an eight-month period to minimise inconvenience to in-house guests.

The new and improved resort was recently unveiled to the media who got to experience the luxury and comfort first-hand.

Assistant general manager Michael Quay said eight reasons were chosen to mark the refurbishment as it was easy to remember.

"We have made many improvements and there are more than eight key things which we added on or improved.

"But we chose eight things to highlight as it easy to remember and also a number favoured by many as in Chinese, it sounds similar to 'fatt' which is the word for prosperity," he said.

He said all rooms were repainted and touched up and the wood which is a common feature in the resort was revarnished for a "fresh" feel.

"As an established resort, we have over 5,000 regular guests and we included these modern additions after receiving feedback from our clientele.

"People like our resort because of its old world charm and although we updated our facilities, it doesn't affect the look or feel of our property," he said.

The "8 Reasons to be Re.Ju.Ve.Na.Ted" are wireless connectivity, flat screen TVs, iPod docking systems, a digital compendium (for information on hotel activities and outlets), luxurious beddings including high thread-count sheets, new duvets and extra large pillows, powerful rainshowers, new custom-made mattresses and a flash key card system for all rooms.

While leading members of the media on a tour around resort grounds, Avillion Port Dickson operations senior director Gared Mario Cubinar pointed out many of the other features that it was known for.

Among them are an author's corner in the garden where you can spend some quiet time and pen your thoughts and a petting zoo to keep children busy.

The resort has a romantic appeal and it is no wonder that it has been the site of many wedding proposals.

One guest liked her stay there so much she jotted down her experience in a poem that can be found in the garden inscribed in stone.

Walking around the resort, it feels like you are weaving your way through a village albeit one with modern trappings.

Room rates range from RM350++ per night for garden chalets (weekdays) to RM1,500++ per night for two bedroom water villas (weekdays).

Its Avi Spa has also won several awards with its contemporary design and 100% custom made essential oil blends.

As part of its promotional activities to highlight its latest additions, Avillion Port Dickson have organised eight lucky draws for guests with prizes including free stays, spa treatments and meal vouchers given away daily until the end of the month.

Avillion Port Dickson is located at 3rd Mile, Jalan Pantai, 71000 Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan. Tel: 06-647 6688.

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Photography lover adapting well in Malaysia but still can’t get used to spicy food

Posted: 29 Jul 2011 09:24 PM PDT

HAVING the opportunity to travel to different states around Malaysia for work also gives expatriate Peter Khemlani a chance to capture the country on his camera.

"I love taking pictures and Malaysia has a lot of nice places for it," said Khemlani, a Filipino working in the country as Guinness Anchor Marketing Sdn Bhd's marketing manager.

He especially found Sarawak to be an interesting place when he was there for the annual Rainforest World Music Festival.

"I got to go there for work and it was a fantastic festival. Whenever I have to travel for work, I will try to find time to take pictures of the place," said Khemlani, who currently lives in Mont Kiara.

He said that there were also nice places for taking photographs around Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

Khemlani has been working in Malaysia for more than two years and this is the second country he is living in as an expatriate.

"Before Malaysia, I was working with our sister company Diageo in South Korea and going there was a massive shock to everything in me and about me," he recalled.

"It was my first role as an expatriate and I did expect changes but I guess I was not ready as I should have been.

"I went there at the end of January and realised I hated winter. When I was in the Phillippines, I didn't have the chance to know that.

"For the first few months I had no social life because I just couldn't handle the cold. All I did was go to work and go home after that," he said.

He said that language was also a problem for him outside the office because not many people spoke English.

"I tried to learn the language but found out that after a certain age, your brain can no longer take it. I just couldn't learn it," he said with a laugh.

He did adapt to living in the country eventually and even discovered the joy of skiing.

He jumped at the chance to work in Malaysia and started his role in March 2009.

"My initial period here was a lot more pleasant than that in South Korea. Language was so much easier because most people speak English. The weather and culture are similar to my home country so it was socially very comfortable for me," he said.

Professionally, he had to work a little harder to adapt to his new role because he switched from marketing spirits to beer.

"When you work with spirits, you do a lot more thinking but with beer, the pace is so much faster," he said.

Whether in South Korea or in Malaysia, one thing that he could not get used to was the spicy foods.

"I can't take spicy food. I have learnt that if people say 'It's not that spicy', then it's probably too spicy for me," he said.

What he misses most about the Philippines is his family and friends.

"The good thing about being in Malaysia is that whenever I miss home, I just need to go to a church on Sunday. I go to the St John's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur and there are many other Filipinos who go there. There is a sense of comfort in listening to your native language all around you.

"There are also many people selling all kinds of foods from back home so I just get something there whenever I miss the food," he said.

If he is not out taking pictures with other photography buffs, Khemlani enjoys having a nice dinner and drinks with friends.

"I know some people from the Philippines and I also got to know some people from my neighbourhood," said Khemlani, who confessed that he is single and looking.

When asked if he could cook, the bachelor laughed and replied: "Yes, I can cook. Whether you can eat what I cook is another matter."

He said that cooking was more an act of survival rather than one of passion.

"I can cook for myself and I can throw together a simple meal if my friends happen to show up but anything more than that I don't think I can handle," he said.

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