Isnin, 12 September 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Family 101

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 06:49 AM PDT

Can TV be helpful to you when it comes to getting along with your family?

I WAS watching Game Of Thrones the other day and thought to myself, that whether you lived a hundred years ago (in real life or in fiction), parents everywhere have the same problems. Ned Stark (played by an ever so grim looking Sean Bean) says at one point in the series, when his two offspring are ready to tear each other's hair out: "War was easier than daughters."

I'm inclined to agree though I've never actually been to war. I often wonder how my mother ever put up with four daughters! Indeed, there appears to be a constant power struggle between children, as well as between parents and children ... a battle as metaphorically treacherous as that for the Iron Throne, if you will.

I especially enjoy the fact that there are so many familial ties to analyse in the 10-part series based on George R.R. Martin's novel of the same name.

The father-daughter relationship between Stark and his youngest daughter Arya (Maisie Williams) is a warm one that many would appreciate, I think. But the more I ponder it, the more it confronts and confounds me.

Arya is a sprightly nine-year-old tomboy who'd much rather be outdoors shooting arrows and wielding a sword than combing her hair and perfecting her needlepoint skills. Unlike her elder sister Sansa, whose sole ambition is to marry a lord someday (it's all she's ever wanted, she pleads with her mum ... and you have to roll your eyes), Arya has no intention of ever becoming a lady and marrying for influence. She believes her destiny is in her own hands and has no qualms about speaking her mind, no matter what the cost. Dad knows what a dangerous thing this is and yet he allows her the room to be different.

I find the conundrum exists for most parents – you give children access to things (be it a sword or information – think television and the Internet), you may even encourage them to learn all they can from it (a master sword-fighter, Syrio Forel, is hired to train Arya in the art of combat) but at the same time, you expect your children, nay, you demand that they follow a destiny that you have chosen for them. How many of us parents walk in Stark's footsteps every day?

Catelyn Tully (Michelle Fairley), his wife, does the same with her little son Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). She tells him off for climbing and even though she's sure he's going to run off and do it again, she allows him the freedom to do just that even if it spells impending doom. You want to grab hold of her and say: "Cat! What are you thinking? Don't you realise he's going to fall off the next wall he climbs?" And yet, as a parent, I find that's exactly what I do as well! This art imitating life is sometimes a little too close for comfort, methinks.

There are numerous brother-sister relationships to consider in the television show. Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen are not the best of friends, but there is an underlying bond that holds them together.

Similarly, the Lannisters – Cersei, Ser Jaime and Tyrion – are uncomfortably closely knit. The most normal sibling relationships are that of the Stark children. But all the families are loyal to their own blood (well, so far anyway, I'm only midway through the series and I haven't read the books). And there's something strangely reassuring about that – blood is thicker than water.

Television has provided a huge amount of family fodder which has been a great mirror to view one's own life, in comparison. I loved watching sitcoms while I was growing up – Growing Pains, Family Ties, The Cosby Show – but always viewed them from the child's point of view, and often wondered why my parents weren't as cool as the ones on TV.

I think after my own kids grew into teenagers, I finally started identifying more with the parents on TV, and indavertently learning a thing or two from them in the process.

Granted, the family ties on shows like Desperate Housewives are a little too contrived, and plights of parents and children far too over the top. Although truth be told, I have found myself agreeing or empathising with Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) once too often. Lynette has four kids, including twins who were really hyperactive when they were younger, earlier on in the series. Lynette once started taking pills that were prescribed for her twin's ADD so that she could keep up with all her chores and responsibilities. Sounded like a good idea to me!

And once, when she was freaking out while driving because they were making such a ruckus in the car, she ordered them out of her SUV and drove off, hoping to scare them into compliance. Just one hitch though, when she drove around the corner and back again to pick them up where she left them off, the twins had disappeared! Err ... there were shades of déjà vu right there for me.

I like the weekly family series Parenthood, because I think there's a dash of realism in the pitfalls and triumphs the Bravermans face. While they are not my favourite characters on the show, I can most identify with Adam and Kristina Braverman (Peter Krause and Monica Potter), who have a teenage daughter, Haddie (Sarah Ramos) and an autistic son, Max (Max Burkholder). Once, the couple removed the door to their daughter's room ... and I can't tell you how close I've come to doing the exact same thing!

Several of the conversations in that household involve everyone talking at the same time ... again, it is strangely comforting to know that this happens to people other than me.

Another show I really like when it comes to analysing relationships within the family is ... (cue: theme music, boy in detention, then on skateboard, dad driving car into garage and everyone congregating on couch in front of TV) The Simpsons.

Now, they may not be the best family to gauge oneself by, but The Simpsons are really a valuable source for learning ... well, in a weird, dysfunctional, zany sort of way. The fights between Bart and Lisa often remind me of my own childhood (ahhh, there's a tear in my eye ... wait a sec while I reach for a tissue), the romance between Homer and Marge, flawed as it may be, is inspirational. And granted, Homer's parenting skills may leave a lot to be desired, but at the end of each episode, you kind of come away with a moral that leaves you a better person.

And it's nice to know, when you turn off your telly each night, that whether you're living in 21st century Subang Jaya, Selangor, or Springfield, in The Simpsons' universe; or heck, even if you're stuck in medieval times in the seven kingdoms of Westeros and winter is well on its way, family life can be challenging, but, boy, does it make for good entertainment.

Indramalar is readying herself for a trip to London; and as such Ann Marie, with glee, hijacked this week's instalment of Sofa Spudniks. The duo will be back in action, wielding their remote controls and fighting over column space, in a fortnight's time.

Mercury rising

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 02:31 AM PDT

DJ Linora serves up all things hot!

WHEN those dreary mid-afternoons hit you, take a break and tune in to Red FM's Eleven 2 Three with Linora (Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm) as she serves you a plate of Today's Best Music, hot gossip and a dose of retail therapy to get you through the day.

Each week on Red FM's Top of the Shops, this sub segment covers a range of lifestyle needs and will feature a place, product or trend. From restaurants, fashion lines, gadgets to spa treatments and much more, the bubbly Linora will bring you the latest on what's at the Top of the Shops. In addition to that, you get the opportunity to try it out for yourself.

Tune in this week as DJ Linora (pic) checks out Celsius Restaurant + Bar located in Farenheit88 shopping centre, Kuala Lumpur. With its mind-meltingly hot and astoundingly uber-cool fusion décor, you can set your desired temperature with a choice to unwind or crank it up after a long day at work. Celsius Restaurant + Bar also serves an extensive selection of food and beverages that will send your taste buds soaring to stratospheric heights. You get to try it out just by listening out for the cue to enter and win a RM200 dining voucher courtesy of, Malaysia's favourite discount website.

In the meantime, temperatures are on the rise with the Red FM's Runaway DJs as participants race to track them down. If you have yet to win anything on Red FM, you still have the chance to win cash, gadgets and even a car with this lucrative contest.

The Red FM DJs will be going around to secret locations on weekdays in a Proton Inspira. Clues to their whereabouts are given out on air and online to help you find them. Join in the hunt and you could drive away in a brand new Proton Inspira of your own!

Log on to for more information on the contest. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page ( and follow us on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates of the contest.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1 FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6 FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4 FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9 FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6 FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9 FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8 FM.


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Jalil speaks in Tripoli, Gaddafi men attack refinery

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 09:03 PM PDT

RAS LANUF/TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's interim leader has made his first public speech in Tripoli, warning against reprisals after loyalists of the ousted Muammar Gaddafi struck out at the revolutionaries pursuing them.

People wheel in the body of a National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter at a hospital after an ambush by pro-Gaddafi forces targeting an oil refinery in Ras Lanuf, 370 km west of Benghazi September 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori)

In an apparent attempt to disrupt a drive by the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) to seize the ousted leader's last bastions and revive the oil-based economy, the pro-Gaddafi fighters killed 15 guards at an oil refinery on Monday.

Despite the attack, NTC chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, felt confident enough to address a crowd of about 10,000 people and used the speech to call for restraint.

"We seek a state of law, prosperity and one where sharia (Islamic law) is the main source for legislation, and this requires many things and conditions," he said, adding that "extremist ideology" would not be tolerated.

A Syrian-based television station said it would soon broadcast another message from the fugitive Gaddafi, who has issued regular battle calls to his followers in the three weeks since Tripoli was overrun.

Witnesses to the refinery attack said the assailants damaged the front gate of the facility, 20 km (13 miles) from the coastal town of Ras Lanuf, but not the plant itself, which is not fully operational.

Refinery worker Ramadan Abdel Qader, who had been shot in the foot, told Reuters that gunmen in 14 or 15 trucks had come from the direction of the Gaddafi-held coastal city of Sirte.

The assault occurred only hours after the NTC announced it had resumed some oil production, which had been all but halted since anti-Gaddafi protests turned into civil war in March.

Graphic on rebel leadership, click

Graphics on Libya/Middle East, click

The interim council is struggling to assert its control over the entire country and capture a handful of stubbornly defended pro-Gaddafi towns.

Human rights group Amnesty International warned on Tuesday that the security vacuum risked sending Libya spiralling into a bloody cycle of attacks and reprisals.

Abdel Jalil used his first public Tripoli speech to warn NTC forces against reprisals.

"We need to open the courts to anyone who harmed the Libyan people in any way. The judicial system will decide," he said, calling on NTC fighters to respect that.


Many senior NTC officials also see scooping up Gaddafi and the members of his family who are still on the run as crucial to finally declaring victory in the seven-month old war.

Gaddafi's son Saadi arrived in neighbouring Niger on Sunday after crossing the remote Sahara desert frontier. On Monday the U.S. State Department said that the government of Niger had confirmed to it that it intended to detain the former soccer player.

But a Nigerien government spokesman told Reuters that Saadi Gaddafi was only being watched for now.

"Nothing has changed in the government's position. There is no international search for him. Like the others he is just under surveillance," the spokesman said, referring to other Gaddadfi loyalists who have recently fled to Niger.

Two other sons and Gaddafi's only biological daughter have fled to Algeria. One son is reported to have died in the war and three others are still on the run.

The NTC has said it will send a delegation to Niger to seek the return of anyone wanted for crimes.

Niger, like Algeria, has cited humanitarian reasons for accepting fugitives of the former government, but has promised to respect its commitments to the International Criminal Court, which wants to try Gaddafi, son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi for war crimes.

NTC forces, which seized Tripoli on Aug. 23, said they were meeting fierce resistance on the fourth day of fighting for the Gaddafi-held desert town of Bani Walid, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of the capital, and were edging towards Sirte.

Libya's economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, and restarting production is crucial to restoring the economy. Interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said on Sunday some oil production had resumed, but would not say where or how much.

Libya holds Africa's largest crude oil reserves and sold about 85 percent of its exports to Europe under Gaddafi. Western oil firms, including Italy's Eni and Austria's OMV, are keen to restore production.


In Bani Walid, fleeing residents reported intense street fighting while NATO warplanes could be heard overhead.

Families trapped there for weeks escaped after Gaddafi forces abandoned some checkpoints on the outskirts. Dozens of cars packed with civilians streamed out of the area.

"We are leaving because of the rockets. They are falling near civilian homes," said one resident, Ali Hussain.

The United Nations says it is worried about the fate of civilians trapped inside besieged pro-Gaddafi towns.

"Our big concern right now is Sirte, where we are receiving reports that there's no water and no electricity," U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos told Reuters in Dubai.

The NTC has sent extra units to Bani Walid, but some fighters said this only worsened tribal tensions between fighters from other areas and those from the town.

"Our fighters are from all over Libya. There was little control over them yesterday. Today we will control them better," said NTC commander Mohamed el-Fassi.

He said five NTC fighters were killed and 14 wounded in Sunday's clashes.

Some NTC combatants said they suspected local fighters of the Warfalla tribe, Libya's largest, of passing tips to Gaddafi forces in Bani Walid. "We believe there are traitors among them," said Mohammed el Gahdi, from the coastal city of Khoms.

NTC military spokesman Ahmed Bani told reporters the plan for Bani Walid for now was to wait.

"When our forces entered Bani Walid they found the brigades of Gaddafi using citizens as shields," he said, adding that missile launchers had been placed on the roofs of homes, making it impossible for NTC forces or NATO warplanes to strike.

(Additional reporting by Maria Golovnina north of Bani Walid, Emma Farge in Benghazi, William Maclean, Hisham el-Dani and Alexander Dziadosz, Mark John and Bate Felix in Niamey, Barry Malone and Sylvia Westall in Tunis, Keith Weir in London, Isabel Coles in Dubai and Andrew Quinn in Washington; writing by Alistair Lyon and Barry Malone; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Impotence may point to heart problems

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 08:32 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Failing erections may be a harbinger of heart disease in some men, according to a review of a number of studies -- but heart-healthy lifestyle changes or cholesterol-lowering drugs could have a positive impact on men's sexual health.

Scientists have long known about the link between impotence, or erectile dysfunction, and heart health. Although there is no proof so far, a common theory is that arteries supplying the penis with blood during erections may clog up earlier than those in the heart, which are larger, thus providing an early warning of possible later coronary artery disease.

A dog stands near an ice sculpture displaying a penis on the frozen Yenisei River, about 55 km south of Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, February 27, 2011. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/Files)

To address the connection between the two, Jia-Yi Dong of Soochow University in Suzhou, China, and colleagues combined twelve earlier studies of impotence and heart disease, covering nearly 37,000 men.

"This meta-analysis ... suggests that erectile dysfunction significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, stroke and all-cause mortality, and the increase is probably independent of conventional cardiovascular risk factors," they wrote in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

They found that men with erectile problems had a 48 percent increase in their risk of developing heart disease, and also had higher death rates than men who didn't have sexual problems.

Traditional risk factors such as smoking, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure didn't explain the link, strengthening the case that impotence, when it isn't due to partnership problems or other psychological issues, is a risk factor for heart disease in its own right.

But another study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that both lifestyle changes and cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins appeared to improve men's erectile problems -- but only a little.

Men who exercises more or were put on a Mediterranean diet rich in whole grain, fruits, vegetables nuts and olive oil, for instance, reported a 2.4 point improvement on a 25-point scale of erectile problems.

Those put on statins saw a similar improvement of 3.1 points, said Bhanu Gupta and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The results were based on six trials with 740 participants.

"The results of our study further strengthen the evidence that lifestyle modification and pharmacotherapy for cardiovascular risk factors are effective in improving sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction," they wrote.

They added that lifestyle changes appeared to work regardless of whether the men were taking Viagra, the most common drug to treat impotence, or not. SOURCE: and

(Reporting by Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Perry is target of attacks in U.S Republican debate

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 08:32 PM PDT

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - Republican front-runner Rick Perry came under heavy fire on Social Security, jobs and his record in Texas in a heated U.S. presidential debate on Monday as rivals tried to halt the governor's momentum.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and Texas Governor Rick Perry participate in the CNN/Tea Party Republican presidential candidates debate in Tampa, Florida September 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Scott Audette)

Perry, who has soared to the top of opinion polls in the Republican race, renewed his fight with main challenger Mitt Romney over Social Security. They accused each other of frightening seniors about the popular retirement program.

Perry's rivals questioned his claims about Texas job creation, his stance on illegal immigrants and an executive order he gave as governor, which he admitted was a mistake, that young girls be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer.

The lively exchanges and repeated focus on Perry reinforced his growing stature as the candidate to beat in the 2012 race for the nomination to challenge President Barack Obama.

Perry played defense numerous times, easing back from his earlier comments on Social Security and the Federal Reserve and deflecting where possible.

He softened his harsh criticism of the Social Security retirement program and said he wanted to start "a legitimate conversation" about its future. Perry launched the Social Security fight last week when he called the program a Ponzi scheme and a "monstrous lie."

"The term Ponzi scheme I think is over the top and unnecessary and frightful to many people," said Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who pressed Perry on whether he still believed the retirement program should be shifted to the states and ended as a federal program.

"We're not going to take that program away," Perry said. "Rather than trying to scare seniors, like you're doing and other people, it's time to have a legitimate conversation about how to fix that program so it's not bankrupt."

The Social Security debate will be watched closely in Florida, which has the country's second-biggest proportion of elderly voters and hosts a crucial nominating contest next year.


"We're frightening the American people, who just want solutions," said Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor, adding that Republicans could not win an election by promising to dismantle Social Security. "We've got the answers, we don't have leaders," he said.

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich said he was not worried about Romney and Perry frightening seniors "when President Obama scares them every day."

Perry, a conservative Tea Party favorite, has zoomed past Romney to lead in opinion polls since entering the race last month. He frequently drew applause from the conservative crowd at the debate, which was co-sponsored by Tea Party groups that have reshaped the U.S. political scene with their focus on limited government and reduced spending.

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann, whose campaign has faded badly in the last month after winning a straw poll in Iowa, targeted Perry over his executive order on the vaccine program in Texas.

She accused Perry of issuing the order because his former chief of staff was a lobbyist for Merck & Co, the company that made the drug.

"Was this about life, or was it about millions for a drug company," asked Bachmann, who has seen Perry rob her of much of her religious and social conservative support.

Perry said Merck gave him a $5,000 donation. "If you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended," he said.

Bachmann shot back: "I'm offended for all the little girls and the parents who didn't have a choice."

Romney said Perry's record on job creation in Texas, which has outpaced most other states in adding new jobs, was the result of Perry's lack of an income tax, natural resources and other factors rather than his policies.

"I think Governor Perry would agree with me that if you're dealt four aces that doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player," Romney said.

Perry tempered earlier comments targeting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, but again said it would be "almost treasonous" to allow the central bank to be used for political purposes.

Those comments were turned back on him later during a discussion of his opposition to a border fence in Texas.

"For Rick to say you can't secure the border is pretty much a treasonous comment," Huntsman said, playing off Perry's Bernanke comments, which caused a stir last month.

Other candidates participating were businessman Herman Cain, U.S. Representative Ron Paul and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

The debate was the fifth of the Republican presidential campaign. It will be followed by another debate next week in Orlando, Florida, as the White House race heats up.

(Editing by Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters


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Stosur tames angry Serena to win her first Grand Slam title

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 06:37 PM PDT

SAMANTHA Stosur out-played three-time champion Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 to win the US Open on Sunday, claiming the first Grand Slam title of her career in a stormy final.

Stosur kept her composure as Williams erupted in anger at the chair umpire in the second set, dominating the 13-time Grand Slam champion who had reached the final without dropping a set.

She became the first Australian woman to take the title in New York since Margaret Court in 1973, and the first to win a Grand Slam since Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon in 1980.

"I had one of my best days and I'm very fortunate that I had it on this stage in New York," Stosur said. "Ever since I started playing it was a dream of mine to be here one day."

Williams arrived in the final after dismantling world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals on Saturday night in a match that dragged toward midnight.

"I was more tired than I expected," Williams said. "But I want to give all credit to Sam today ... She played really, really well.

"That's what you have to do when you play a Grand Slam final."

Stosur, playing her second career Grand Slam final after a runner-up finish in the French Open last year, quickly claimed the opening set, breaking Williams to lead 2-1 and winning the last 12 points of the set as Williams' frustration grew.

Williams, whose powerful serve is a cornerstone of her game, struggled to get her first serves in and Stosur repeatedly made her pay.

"She was cracking 'em today," Williams said of the Australian, who was still rolling in the opening game of the second frame when she gave herself a double break point with a crushing return of serve.

Williams saved one with an ace, and appeared to save another for deuce. But the American's shout of "c'mon" as soon as she unleashed her forehand came before Stosur reached the ball, and umpire Eva Asderaki immediately penalised Williams for "intentional hindrance" and the point and the game went to Stosur.

"Aren't you the one who screwed me over last time?," Williams bellowed at Asderaki. "That is totally not cool."

The scene recalled Williams' similar meltdown in her 2009 semi-final defeat to Kim Clijsters.

In that match, she unleashed a tirade of abuse at a lineswoman who called a foot-fault during the tense match and a penalty point sealed her fate in a 6-4, 7-5 defeat.

This time an angry Williams - backed by a suddenly energised crowd on the 22,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium - immediately stepped up her game, breaking Stosur for 1-1 and holding to edge ahead 2-1. Stosur remained aloof from the dispute, but admitted the crowd response was intimidating.

"It was probably the loudest I ever felt a crowd in my whole entire life," she siad. "You're right in the middle of it.

"It was definitely a quite overwhelming feeling. But once I hit that next ball in the court and started playing again, I felt settled."

Williams continued to berate Asderaki on the changeover, but Stosur stayed calm and saved two break points in the fourth game to level the set at 2-2.

Stosur said she didn't really know just what was happening between Williams and the umpire.

"I was just kind of there," Stosur said. "I do know the rule, but it's not something I've ever had to deal with before."

She gained the edge with a break for 4-3, and broke again to seal the match with yet another blistering return off a Williams second serve on her third match point. — AFP

Golf: Yani hangs on to beat Yang in playoff

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 06:36 PM PDT

FAYETTEVILLE (Arkansas): Top ranked Tseng Yani made the most of her second chances on Sunday, rolling in a four-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff to defend her NW Arkansas Championship title.

Taiwan's Yani holed the winning putt on the par-five 18th hole to edge South Korea's Amy Yang who failed to convert a six-foot birdie try just moments earlier.

"I almost cried today because in the middle of the round, I felt like, 'Oh, I'm going to lose today.' Because I didn't feel any excitement and I wasn't making any birdies," Yani said.

"But I just kept telling myself, 'I need to get excited, need to be more focused, try to stretch, move around, just feel more.' Like the last three holes, I made some birdies, so that was very important for me."

The 22-year-old Yani had her own putting woes on the final hole in regulation after failing to make a five-foot putt that would have given her the victory at the Pinnacle Country Club course.Instead the pair headed to a playoff after they both closed with three-under 68s to finish at 12-under 201.

Yani leads the LPGA Tour with five wins this season, including major titles at the LPGA Championship and Women's British Open.

Yani made bogey on the par-four 13th to drop to 10 under, then rallied with birdies on the par-five 14th and par-four 16th.

"After the second hole I was a hole behind and I keep telling myself, 'It's OK, we still have lots of holes, stay patient and be always positive and keep focused on every shot," Yani said.

Yang parred the final 11 holes of regulation. She forced the playoff by making a four-foot putt on 18 after Yani missed her short one.

Japan's Ai Miyazato shot a 66 to finish third at 11 under.

Cristie Kerr was the lone American to crack the top seven as she fired a final round 68 to end up two strokes back of Yani. — AFP

Farewell to badminton legend

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 06:35 PM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: Some 50 close friends, relatives and church-goers gathered at the Mount Erskine crematorium near here to bid farewell to badminton legend Datuk David Choong.

Tears swelled when the casket was lowered into the incinerator at about 3.30pm.

Family members, relatives and friends had followed the cortege from his home in Tanjung Tokong to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus.

They were joined by 150 others at the church during a 45-minute funeral service.

David, 82, a three-time All-England doubles champion with his younger brother Datuk Eddy, died at his home on Saturday after being in a coma for nine years following a stroke.

Also present were state MCA leaders, including Penang MCA deputy chairman Datuk Dr Loh Hock Hun.

David leaves behind three sons and a daughter.

Besides the men's doubles titles, he also shared the All-England mixed doubles crown with June White Timperly in 1953.

He was inducted into the Inter­national Badminton Hall of Fame in 1998.

The former Penang Free School student, who read law at Trinity College in Cambridge University, returned to Malaysia after Merdeka and joined MCA.

David won a seat in the 1961 Penang City Council elections on an MCA ticket.


The Star Online: Business

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Organising ‘balik kampung’ for displaced orang utans?

Posted: 12 Sep 2011 04:02 PM PDT

DURING a media luncheon in Putrajaya yesterday, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had said in jest that Malaysia was toying with the idea of taking all the orang utans from the zoos of cold-climate Western countries "balik kampung" in the spirit of Hari Raya.

However, he admitted that currently there was still no effective platform for Malaysia to undertake such an initiative.

Balik Kampung in Malay means to return to the place of origin. In this case, Malaysia is considering to release the zoo-captivated orang utans back to its natural habitats in the island of Borneo.

This perhaps is one way to counter the constant attacks from Western NGOs to prove to them that Malaysia is a responsible palm oil producer.

In Sabah, for example, there exists a 47-year old Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary covering 4,300ha of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, which was initially set up to rehabilitate orphaned baby orang utans.

In addition, Malaysia via the support of local palm oil industry and Sabah state is currently pursuing a mega wildlife sanctuary involving 100,000ha of rainforest in an area of 300,000ha of contiguous forest zones in Sabah.

Malaysian Palm Oil Council chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron had said the proposed wildlife sanctuary would have 100,000ha of nucleus with rehabilitation and release function for orang utan and other wildlife.

This (the size of the wildlife sanctuary) is over three times the size of Singapore. "There are 4 million people in Singapore but only 11,000 orang utans in Sabah.

This imply that if all the orang utans were to live in the mega sanctuary, they have potentially more land base than the people of Singapore by a factor of 1,350 times!" he said.

In Perak, there is also the Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation set up by Emkay Group property tycoon Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal. It has been the driving force behind the island's operations and its research centre's main source of funding.

The foundation handles the island's facilities, facilitating sponsorships and donations, organising orang utan infant relocation, displacement support, rehabilitation and education programmes, It also collaborates with universities, government agencies, schools, charitable organisations and NGOs.

While green activists and Western NGOs have been lambasting world major palm oil producers Malaysia and Indonesia for killing the orang utan and destroying wildlife habitats from massive oil palm planting, many either intentionally or unintentionally have failed to recognise the poor conditions of many orang utans kept in the confined spaces under the non-tropical climates in the zoos of Western countries .

Why can't green activitists and Western NGOs be more supportive of Malaysia's noble initiatives to protect the orang utan?

Malaysia in fact fully welcomes all to participate in its move to provide a safer and more conducive environment for the orang utan.

Therefore, for a start, why not give Malaysia a chance to prove itself to be a responsible palm oil producer?

  • For now onwards, deputy news editor Hanim Adnan thinks the image of orang utan will appear in her mind whenever she listens to her favourite raya song "Balik Kampung" sung by the late Datuk Sudirman Arshad.
  • Brent down on economy

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 03:55 PM PDT

    NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) Brent crude fell in volatile trade on Monday, weighed down by concerns the euro zone debt crisis could dent the global economic recovery and a bout of spread trading.

    U.S. crude rose more than 1 percent as traders sold the spread between WTI and Brent crude prices after it widened to a record high last week.

    Brent futures fell 52 cents to settle at $112.25 a barrel, after earlier falling as low as $110.42. U.S. crude rose 95 cents to settle at $88.19.

    "In the Brent market, we are seeing a little more profittaking on the WTIBrent spread and that is why Brent is down a little and WTI is up," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

    The spread between WTI and Brent crude narrowed to below $24 after closing at $25.53 on Friday. The spread hit a record $27.23 on Sept 6.

    U.S. crude has been at a discount to Brent in part due to the glut of supplies trapped in the U.S. Midwest. A lack of pipelines has left growing production stranded at the Cushing storage hub without access to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

    In afternoon trading volumes in New York, Brent trade was twenty percent above the 30day average, with U.S. crude 13 percent below the 30day average.

    Wall Street dipped in volatile trade, on concern about the global economy..

    Worries mounted that Greece may default on its debts, after finance ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized economies pledged a joint response to the slowdown but offered nothing specific to help their economies.


    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut its forecast for global oil demand growth next year because of a worsening economic outlook.

    OPEC said a disappointing U.S. economic performance could further weigh on fuel use.

    OPEC said in a report world oil demand would rise 1.06 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2011, 150,000 bpd less than that expected last month.

    The growth estimate for next year was lowered by 40,000 bpd to 1.27 million bpd.

    Investors were also looking at data that showed China's implied oil demand in August slipped to its lowest rate this year as maintenance and accidents cut into refinery production.

    Fuel consumption in the world's No.2 user has been losing steam since May, with growth easing from the doubledigit pace seen since last year as higher crude costs have squeezed refining margins and Beijing's credit tightening cut into fuel spending.

    Still, on a yearonyear basis, China's oil use expanded 7.8 percent, Reuters calculations based on preliminary government data showed on Saturday.

    Concern eased regarding damage to U.S. Gulf oil infrastructure after Tropical Storm Nate made landfall in central eastern Mexico.

    No other major weather disturbances were expected to affect the hydrocarbonrich region in the short term. Nate weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday as it moved further inland after cutting Mexican oil production by 178,800 barrels a day as of Friday.

    Mexico's Dos Bocas port reopened to shipping on Sunday, but the crudeexporting hub of Cayo Arcas remained closed. Oil markets also eyed production and exports of Libyan crude following the country's power transition.

    Libyan oil firm Arabian Gulf Oil Company said on Monday it restarted production at the eastern oil field of Sarir in an early sign the industry is coming back to life.

    US stocks recover late from euro zone battering

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 03:52 PM PDT

    NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) U.S. stocks rose on Monday, bouncing back in late trading, as hopes that Italy could get financial support from China tempered investors' worst fears over the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.

    Traders started the day braced for a possible downgrade of France's top banks by Moody's Investors Service, but sentiment improved as various European officials succeeded in tamping down fears that political and financial leaders were losing control of the situation. Italy has asked China to make "significant" purchases of Italian debt, the Financial Times reported on its website on Monday.

    "It shows the Chinese are serious about addressing the stresses in the marketplace," said Robbert Van Batenburg, head of equity research at Louis Capital in New York.

    Wall Street's comeback suggested some easing of worry that the global economy was lurching toward another recession.

    Nasdaq led gains, with merger news helping to support tech shares.

    NetLogic Microsystems Inc ended up 50.8 percent at $48.12 percent after wireless chipmaker Broadcom Corp agreed to buy the company for about $3.7 billion.. An index of semiconductors jumped 3 percent while Broadcom shares dipped 1.1 percent to $33.06.

    Besides technology, financials were among the best performers on the S&P 500. The S&P financial index gained 1.2 percent.

    Fears Europe's credit crisis would drag on U.S. banks have been pressuring financial stocks for months, sending shares of some to at least twoyear lows.

    The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 68.99 points, or 0.63 percent, at 11,061.12.

    The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 8.04 points, or 0.70 percent, at 1,162.27.

    The Nasdaq Composite Index ended 27.10 points higher, or 1.10 percent, at 2,495.09.

    The Broadcom merger "is a sign that many stocks are undervalued from a historical perspective," said Joseph Cangemi, managing director at BNY ConvergEx Group in New York.

    The day's gains broke a twoday losing streak, but the S&P 500 is still down 13.6 percent since July 22, roughly when the recent market downtrend began.

    Much of the recent selling has been tied to worries over the euro zone debt crisis.

    In another sign leaders have stepped up action, euro zone officials said U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will attend a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Friday to show unity in the face of market turmoil and risks to growth.

    The late rebound came after European shares finished at twoyear lows. Investors feared the euro zone's rescue plan for the sovereign debt crisis was in danger.

    On Monday Italy was forced to pay sharply higher interest to attract buyers for its debt.

    Mounting fears of a Greek debt default also caused investors to dump stocks. Because of the possible debt default by Greece, sources said they expected Moody's to downgrade French banks, which were seen as vulnerable.

    A backdrop to the market's early losses was a weekend meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, which failed to come up with fresh proposals for boosting global growth.

    Barclays Capital, citing "higher levels of economic uncertainty," cut its fullyear target for the S&P 500 stock index by about 9 percent to 1,325.

    Volume was 8.3 billion shares on the NYSE, Amex and Nasdaq, above last year's average of roughly 7.6 billion. Decliners still beat advancers on the NYSE by about 15 to 14, while advancers outpaced decliners on Nasdaq by about 7 to 6.


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    Singapore arrests three for terrorism activities

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 07:30 AM PDT

    SINGAPORE: Authorities have detained three people under the Internal Security Act (ISA) between January and July for terrorism-related activities.

    In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs said the three were Jumari Kamdi and Samad Subari, both Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) members, and Abdul Majid s/o Kunji Mohammad, a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    The announcement came just a day after the 10th anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks, and as Singapore leaders reiterated the importance of vigilance in tackling the terror threat in the region.

    It said detention orders under the ISA were issued against Jumari in January, Abdul Majid in June and Samad in July.

    Jumari was a member of a JI network in a neighbouring country where he had relocated to in the 1980s.

    He had undergone para-military training organised by the JI, including the handling of weapons and firearms. Jumari was apprehended in November 2010 and subsequently deported to Singapore.

    Abdul Majid, who had been residing in Malaysia since the mid-1990s, was a member of the MILF since 1998.

    He had undergone training in weapons handling and in making improvised explosive devices at the MILF's Camp Abu Bakar in Mindanao.

    Over the years, he aided the MILF in procuring funds and weapon components. Abdul Majid was arrested in Malaysia in May 2011 and subsequently deported to Singapore.

    Samad was one of the pioneer members of the Singapore JI network. He had undergone terrorist training with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001.

    Following the security crackdown against the JI network, Samad fled to Indonesia and remained in hiding until his arrest by the Indonesian police in Sumatra in June 2009.

    He was subsequently charged and imprisoned for immigration offences. Upon the completion of his prison sentence in June 2011, Samad was deported to Singapore.

    The statement also said that the authorities released a JI detainee, Mohamed Khalim bin Jaffar.

    He was released on a suspension direction on Sept 1, 2011. Khalim, a member of the Singapore JI, was first detained under the ISA in January 2002. BERNAMA

    M'sia, Brunei reiterate commitment on oil and gas cooperation

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 07:22 AM PDT

    BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Malaysia and Brunei have reiterated their commitment in further strengthening cooperation in the oil and gas sector and instructed their relevant officials to discuss the financial and operational modalities.

    The discussion will include the efficent development of any straddling fields with a view to formalizing an arrangement as soon as possible.

    In a joint statement here after the 15th Annual Leaders' Consultation between Malaysia and Brunei at Istana Nurul Iman, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei said they were encouraged that the existing cooperation between the national petroleum authorities of the two countries had been proceeding well.

    They also expressed satisfaction with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Petroleum BRUNEI and Petronas on cooperation in the oil and gas sector.

    "In this regard, both national petroleum authorities will work on a joint undertaking in Brunei Darussalam's Block N under the framework of a production sharing contract," said the statement.

    Both leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the existing economic cooperation between Brunei and Malaysia, particularly economic collaboration with the states of Sabah and Sarawak.

    Naked man who attacked lecturer could be a guard, say police

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 06:22 AM PDT

    PETALING JAYA: The naked man who attacked a lecturer and her maid in Taman TAR, Ampang, could be a security guard of a nearby condominium.

    This is likely as the Bukit Belacan hiking spot, where the attack occurred, is generally known only to residents in the area.

    Ampang Jaya police chief ACP Amiruddin Jamaluddin said efforts are ongoing to locate the suspect and urged anyone with information to call 03-4289 7222.

    Prof Dr Catherine Yule, who was attacked by the man, said she has been overwhelmed by calls, e-mails and messages from well-wishers, locally and from back home in Australia.

    On Sunday, Dr Yule, her Indonesian maid Ika, and two dogs had gone up the hill for a hike at 3pm when a naked man assaulted her.

    Her maid tried to fight off the man and a short struggle ensued before the man grabbed the maid's handphone and ran away.

    Both Dr Yule and her maid suffered multiple injuries.


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    'Mad Ghost' - four times the chill

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 01:10 AM PDT

    Mad Ghost delivers the scares with four short stories.

    A GROUP of youth imagines the end of the world while hanging out in a crowded mall. A recently promoted white collar worker is inundated with deadly gifts. A gang of lawbreakers takes refuge in an abandoned healthcare facility. An old man's corpse lies preserved in his family home years after his death. These make up an anthology of four stories with varied themes – drama, action, thriller and comedy.

    Also known simply as 4 or Four, Mad Ghost sees leading Thai screenwriter Eakasit Thairaat write all four stories, and directing the first. The other directors are Kongkiat Khomsiri, Pawat Panangkasiri and Madiew Chookiat Sakweerakul.

    This 125-minute Thai horror omnibus stars Ananda Everingham, Alex Rendell, Charn Ridulsurakarn, Nattapong Arunnet, Pattarapasit Sappasawadichote and Pakorn Chatborirak.

    Writer-director Eakasit Thairaat (13 Beloved, Body #19, WHO R U) kicks off this four-parter with Clean-up Day, a tale about a youth who hangs out in a mall with a group of friends. Their conversation revolves around the end of the world. They discuss issues like global warming and the spreading of a lethal virus. Just as they joke about how devastating it would be if the virus really exists, thick blood starts to ooze out of their noses ...

    Kongkiat Khomsiri (Slice, Long Khong 2, Art Of The Devil 2) picks up the pace with the dark comedy titled Gift Shop For The Ones You Hate, a story about an office worker who had just been promoted to manager in his company. From that day onwards, he continuously receives parcels and gifts with mysterious objects inside. He finds that these presents can slowly mess up the recipient's life.

    Probably the darkest and most serious, Eerie Nights is helmed by noir director Phawat Panangkasiri (Shadow Of The Naga), who worked with actor Ananda Everingham (Shutter, The Coffin) to present a chapter in the life of a criminal who manages to escape arrest. But can he escape from karma?

    As the final scare, Madiew Chookiat Sakweerakul (13 Beloved, Love Of Siam) also tickles audiences with Who Is Ah Gong?, by employing a combination of eccentric characters plus an entertaining storyline.

    A family is slowly being driven mad while trying to keep their promise to fulfil the wishes of their grandfather on his death bed.

    The old man wanted his body to be preserved in the family home forever. Unfortunately, everything changes when his spirit starts to haunt the occupants of the house.

    Mad Ghost will be haunting local cinemas from Thursday.

    Knightley to adopt English accent for Anna Karenina

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 12:35 AM PDT

    TORONTO: Keira Knightley will speak with an English accent when she plays the classic Russian character of Anna Karenina, the actress said on Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival.

    The British actress, who is at Toronto promoting her role in "A Dangerous Method" - in which she also plays a Russian character - told Reuters in an interview on Sunday that for her biggest role yet, in the upcoming "Anna Karenina," director Joe Wright and a cast including Jude Law had decided to speak with English rather than Russian accents.

    "It's going to be an English accent. It's always very tricky when you are doing something that is meant to be in another language. Because you are like, what accent should it be, should you do that? Well, if you've got a Russian accent, why aren't you speaking Russian? It's an English-language film. So we have taken the decision that it's an English accent," she said.

    The film, adapted from Leo Tolstoy's novel, considered one of the greatest of all time, will start shooting in a week's time. The cast already has completed three weeks of rehearsal, Knightley said.

    "I've been reading the book now, for about two months, three months, poring through it, trying to pick pieces out of it, trying to figure it out. And then a couple of history books of that era in Russia, which is fascinating," the 26-year-old actress said.

    Knightley has received some praise for her turn in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" - which premiered at Toronto on Saturday - in which she plays Russian patient Sabina Spielrein, who comes between psychoanalysts Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.

    In that film she does use a Russian accent. But looking ahead, she said her mind was tuned to the late-19th-century Russian high society of "Anna Karenina," as she follows the likes of Greta Garbo in the title role.

    "It's a big boy," she said about the role. "It's very challenging, it's very very exciting ... hopefully it will all come together."

    Clooney charms Toronto playing a family man

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 12:33 AM PDT

    TORONTO: Calling acting just his "day job," George Clooney is winning over movie critics and audiences in Toronto with a nuanced performance as a father forced to rethink his life after his wife suffers a debilitating accident.

    Clooney plays the key role in "The Descendants," a new feature from Alexander Payne, who directed the Oscar-winning "Sideways," and he brings a similar blend of humor and heartbreak to this new movie set against a Hawaiian backdrop.

    The film is one of the big attractions at the Toronto International Film Festival, with Clooney hitting the red carpet on Saturday with typical self-deprecating remarks and charm, joking with a large audience that playing a family man was, of course, a natural fit for the famous bachelor.

    "He did seem like a very good family man, it seemed perfect for me," he told a laughing audience at the premiere, who threw questions at him about how he could possibly be so in tune with his parenting side for the role when, in real life, he's unmarried and has no children.

    In "The Descendants," Clooney plays a successful real estate lawyer coping with tragedy and reconnecting with his two daughters while facing his past, his shortcomings as a father and a different future.

    The film was adapted by Payne and two other screenwriters from Kaui Hart Hemmings' 2007 novel of the same title.

    Coming straight off favorable reviews for his directing and acting in the political drama "The Ides of March," which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and has pleased audiences in Toronto, the actor has drawn praise for his turn in "The Descendants," with critics calling his performance perfectly underplayed, and noting Payne's ability to subtly but quickly change tones.

    The Hollywood Reporter said, "Never has (Payne's) knack for mixing moods and modulating subtle emotions been more evident," while Clooney noted that "there's a sense that he's able to turn things from funny to sad really quickly, and he's just a master of it."

    Clooney told reporters the role was more of a challenge than usual. "This is one that you are in a very uncomfortable zone, with very comfortable people, but it is a tricky place to play.

    Obviously it is a much more difficult part," he said, adding that playing a father wasn't that much of a stretch. "You don't have to shoot heroin to play a heroin addict."

    As Payne did in his hit film "Sideways," for which he won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, he's again exploring the ways flawed ordinary people cope with life. He said he began working on the script several years ago and wanted no one but Clooney to play the central part.

    "George has the right look and the right height, and even though we did not work together on 'Sideways,' he really is one of the few contemporary stars that I really did want to work with. I suspected that we would hit it off," Payne said. "He was completely right for the part."

    Asked about whether he was ready for any award nominations, Clooney said, "I have won an award once" - for his supporting role in "Syriana" - "so when I die, they say Oscar winner. It's a great, nice sort of thing to have on the tombstone, but after that, to me, I really like it when people appreciate the work," he said.

    The 50-year-old actor said that for him, the world of movies was not about competition.

    "I don't really have this dying need to collect things. There is a point in time when you start in this and you do get competitive. You can get caught up in it, trying to compete with people, and you realize, this is silly, we are comparing artists," he said.

    "The Descendants" and "The Ides of March," Clooney's fourth feature as a director, will both be released in theaters this fall, but the actor said he is not concerned about them competing against one another.

    Nor is he unclear about whether he prefers acting or directing. "My day job is acting, and that is how I make my living, and directing is something I really want to do and really enjoy doing."


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    Cook and chill out

    Posted: 12 Sep 2011 12:46 AM PDT

    Executive chef Richmond Lim reveals how you can cook for a multitude without losing your cool.

    FOLLOW the golden rule of 80:20 when preparing a banquet for thousands. That's 80% planning and 20% execution, explains executive chef Richmond Lim Beng Poh of his success in organising meals for thousands during government and corporate events, and even functions hosted by royal families.

    "Cooking one plate is easy but delivering a thousand plates is not," says Lim, the executive chef of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). "Banqueting is challenging (in the early days). Now, in the 21st century, we've technology in place (and the most advanced equipment to expedite the cooking process)."

    The KLCC boasts a full fledged 3,157sqm commercial kitchen, the largest of its kind in the country. Furnished with the most advanced equipment, there is a designated space for food preparation behind every large function room.

    Towards this end, manpower planning is also crucial to ensure successful food preparation. During peak periods, the centre relies on casual labour to assist the catering staff in delivering quality service on all fronts.

    The centre is very proud of its highly innovative culinary infrastructure, in particular cook and chill facilities which contribute to the smooth preparation of food. Cook and chill involves the full cooking of food, followed by rapid chilling and storage at controlled temperatures. This locks in the flavours and provides more flexibility in food service.

    After 12 years in the hotel industry and 16 years in banqueting, Lim, 48, was inspired to come up with a banqueting guidebook. And the result was the 260-page Stainless Steel Kitchen – A Revolutionary Banqueting Guide Book which was launched last month. Published by My Nourishment, it is believed to be the only banqueting guidebook around.

    As early as a decade ago, Lim had wanted to write such a book to share innovative ways to apply the cook and chill process to banqueting challenges faced by chefs around the world.

    "The time is now right as I have a strong team, and strong support and encouragement from my staff and our general manager, Datuk Peter Brokenshire," he says.

    A perfectionist by nature, Lim supervised the making of the book from cover to cover. The banquet guru conceptualised the cover and snapped some of the photos which were featured in the book.

    The Stainless Steel Kitchen has an initial print of 2,500 copies of which 1,000 are reserved for a Milan food show next month.

    During the launch on Aug 18, about 200 guests were feted to a sumptuous cocktail dinner where they sampled dishes featured in the book. Nasi Lemak, Red Majestic Peking Duck Roulade, Caramelised Roast Duck, "Fork Flake" House-Smoked Salmon, Carved Golden Nugget and Scillian Pistachio Lamb were among the scrumptious fare served.

    When we visited the KLCC kitchen for a photo shoot, Lim gave us a peek at what went on behind the scenes.

    The centre has successfully catered for functions as diverse as the 6,048-delegate World Congress of Accountants 2010, the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum attended by 2,000 delegates, the 18th Figo World Congress of Gynaecology and Obstetrics with 8,294 participants from 130 countries, and the 39th Asean Ministerial Meeting that was graced by world leaders.

    "In the F&B industry globally, the biggest challenge is human capital. There are not enough (good) calibre or trained people and many are leaving due to the long hours," laments Lim. "It's the same old problem        everywhere! We've to change the way we work and make the most out of technology. When the market is at its peak, everybody rushes in but when the market is weak, people get retrenched. So industry players have to be more prepared."

    Meet the stars

    In his book, Lim introduces the "five stars" in banqueting: food safety, food quality, food and labour costs, food technology, and food applications.

    "In big banquets, these five basics are important. Food safety needs to meet international HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) standards." (HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed at every stage, from the raw material up to the point when food is served at the table.)

    "When you buy a piece of meat, the choice is important. Preparation is important, too. The cooking temperature must be right and the food should not be overcooked."

    Lim also stresses on food quality. "Good food must have fresh produce. At banquets we serve food that is tasty and safe for consumption. But there is also the bottom line of profits and yield management."

    Food technology is widely used to enhance productivity, efficiency and consistency.

    "In cooking for crowds, it's about delivering, say, 3,000 beef steaks. You need technology (to expedite the cooking process). It also boils down to revolutionary cooking methods and speed in serving the guests."

    Food application is about cooking techniques such as sous-vide cooking (or vacuumed-packed and low pressure cooking) and cook and chill, as well as food science (enhancing flavours) creativity, innovation and R&D.

    Lim's guidebook also discusses the four Ps: product, promotion, place and price.

    Product is about quality assurance (buy something certified). "If the product is good, people (the suppliers) promote it, telling you where it's from and the price. But if it is too expensive, you can't sell. It's about sustainability," explains Lim.

    Banqueting is also about the three Es.

    "Chefs explore, experiment and experience," says Lim with a chuckle. "The executive chef is like the conductor of a symphony orchestra except that he is orchestrating his kitchen brigade. Sometimes it's easier for him to fire the imagination by just sketching the type of food to be served. And his chef knows the amount to order!

    "In cook and chill, the beef is put into a combi oven and the temperature is synchronised with that of the vegetables and the plate, to get the right texture and taste," says Lim.

    "After cooking the beef and while sending it to the guests, all the temperatures (of the vegetables and the plate) will drop except the central core temperature of the meat, which goes up."

    Fine details such as food temperature and the distance of tables are also looked into.

    "When you deliver a plate 30m away (in 25 seconds), the temperature of the core of the meat must be 52°C. In initial test runs, we sent the beef for microbiology tests to find out if it was safe for consumption and free of bacteria. So in a banquet for 3,000 people, we must have STT (speed, time and temperature).

    "Precision planning is crucial to get 3,000 plates to the guests in a ballroom within 18 minutes."

    While The Stainless Steel Kitchen may target professionals, home-makers and cooking enthusiasts will be able to glean gems from it.

    "If you have a (home) party for 30 people, can you eat after all the cooking?

    "No. You're too tired. But the secret to a successful party lies in good planning (and cooking ahead). So even if a guest calls and says he is on his way in a taxi, you can coolly take a shower.

    "When it's time to eat, you simply heat up the dishes. And it's ready. With some dishes, you can do this, but with others, you can't. Certainly not for char kway teow!" chuckles Lim.

    The Stainless Steel Kitchen, priced at RM368, is available at major bookstores.

    Exotic twist from Richmond Lim's kitchen brigade

    Posted: 11 Sep 2011 09:12 PM PDT

    SOME dishes in Stainless Steel Kitchen – A Revolutionary Banqueting Guide Book were created after a brainstorming session with a passionate and dynamic culinary team, says executive chef Richmond Lim Beng Poh of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre of his kitchen brigade. "Guests gave excellent feedback and some of the dishes are very popular."

    Here are three recipes from the Stainless Steel Kitchen.

    Percik Grilled Chicken On Sugarcane

    (Ayam Percik Tebu Salak)
    Serves 6

    Ayam Percik has since days long past been a Malaysian-Indonesian favourite, often served with hot, freshly steamed rice. This recipe uses whole chicken legs which are marinated in a savoury blend of spices. The meat is further enhanced in taste and aroma with an additional helping of sauce, thus ensuring a wealth of flavour in every bite.

    6 chicken legs, bone-in (about 322g per piece)

    6 lengths black sugar cane, each measuring 20cm long


    100g purple shallots, minced

    30g smoked garlic, minced

    30g fresh young ginger, minced

    100g wild lemongrass, minced

    15g fresh young galangal, minced

    10g turmeric powder

    5g cumin powder

    15g fresh young turmeric

    60g brown sugar

    30g kosher salt (coarse, flaky salt made without additives)

    100ml corn oil

    Percik sauce

    100ml corn oil

    50g purple shallots, minced

    30g smoked garlic, minced

    30g fresh young ginger, minced

    50g wild lemongrass, minced

    10g fresh young galangal, minced

    20g de-seed dried chilli, minced

    30g fresh young turmeric

    10g turmeric powder

    15g cumin powder

    5g fresh turmeric leaf

    50ml water

    100ml fresh-pressed coconut milk

    20g kosher salt

    100g brown sugar


    3g fresh turmeric leaves, sliced and fried

    3g red cherry tomatoes, skinned

    Combine all the marinade ingredients and marinate the whole chicken legs. Place the chicken into a vacuum bag; seal and marinate overnight in the chiller. When done, remove the chicken from the bag. Cut two slits lengthwise (taking care not to cut through to the two ends of the sugarcane) in the middle section of each length of sugarcane. Clamp a piece of chicken leg in between the slits of the sugarcane, tying each end securely with butcher string if necessary.

    To cook the chicken the traditional way, place the chicken pieces on a satay grill and grill over burning charcoal, turning the chicken meat as needed until the meat is cooked through and lightly and evenly caramelised. Remove and serve.

    Another option is to set the combi oven at 190°C, with humidity at 30% and core temperature at 74°C. Preheat the oven and place the chicken legs in to bake until the set core temperature is reached. Remove and serve.

    Percik sauce

    Heat the oil in a pot. Add in the shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, galangal, dried chilli, turmeric, turmeric powder, cumin powder and turmeric leaf. Sauté by swirling the ingredients evenly over medium heat until aromatic. Add in water and continue stirring until the mixture is well combined.

    After several minutes, slowly pour in the coconut milk. Season with salt and brown sugar. Bring the heat down to low; stir the sauce and let it simmer until thickened. Use the sauce to glaze the chicken before serving.

    Enhance the flavour of this dish with the garnishes, accompanied by the percik sauce. It can be served with fragrant steamed white rice.

    Carved Golden Nugget

    Serves 10

    Juicy slices of grain-fed Wagyu beef rump are given an exotic twist paired with a wild mushroom fricassee that is intense with the flavours of a variety of fresh mushrooms.

    1.8kg Australian Wagyu beef rump (super premium beef with generous marbling)

    10g black peppercorns, crushed

    10ml virgin olive oil

    2 sprigs fresh rosemary

    2 sprigs fresh thyme

    puree of roasted garlic confit

    pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes, hand-crushed (a brand of pure and flaky sea salt)

    Puree of roasted garlic confit

    100g garlic

    200ml extra virgin olive oil

    2 sprigs fresh rosemary

    2 sprigs fresh thyme

    pinch of freshly milled black pepper

    pinch of kosher salt

    Fricassee of wild mushrooms

    50g black truffles

    50g ceps (porcini)

    50g chanterelles

    50g morels

    40ml herb oil

    1 tbsp purple shallots, chopped

    1 tbsp garlic, chopped

    20g unsalted butter

    black truffle salt

    black peppercorns, crushed


    fresh thyme

    Trim and clean the beef rump. Rub the rump with the crushed peppercorns and place in a vacuum bag. Mix in the olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme together with the roasted garlic confit. Seal the vacuum bag and leave to marinate in the chiller.

    After that, steam on Low Temperature Steam Cycle at 65°C in combi oven until the meat reaches a core temperature of 38°C. Allow to rest.

    Blast-chill until core temperature meets at 4°C or below.

    Remove the beef rump from the vacuum bag and sear in a hot pan until evenly brown.

    Transfer to a wire rack and place in the preheated combi oven to roast at a temperature of 140°C, with humidity at 50% until meat reaches a core temperature of 46°C. Remove the roast from the oven and allow to rest until core temperature gradually reaches 52°C.

    Carve the roast into slices, sprinkle with salt and serve with fricassee of wild mushrooms, topped with appropriate garnishes.

    Puree of roasted garlic confit

    Fry black peppercorns over dry heat until fragrant. Set aside. Next, bake whole garlic in combi oven at 160°C until browned. Leave to cool. When cooled, cut the garlic into half; remove and discard the bitter core from the garlic.

    Pour the olive oil into a gastronorm pan or appropriate container. Add the fresh rosemary, thyme, fragrant black peppercorns, salt and the roasted garlic to the oil. Turn the heat up to a temperature of 80°C. Let the herbs and spices infuse for a few hours until oil is aromatic. Strain and keep the herb oil aside (some may be used for the fricasee of wild mushrooms). Blend the garlic until it becomes a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper. This is the puree of roasted garlic confit.

    Fricassee of wild mushrooms

    Clean and rinse mushrooms with plenty of water. Place each type of mushroom and some herb oil in separate mixing bowls and toss each separately, allowing the mushrooms to absorb the oil flavour.

    Next, heat pan over moderate heat and sauté each variety of the mushrooms separately with a little of the shallot and garlic until the mushrooms turn soft, then add some butter and season with black truffle salt and crushed peppercorns. Set aside.

    Once the above has been completed, combine all four types of mushrooms together and set aside.

    Roasted Black Diamond Cod

    Serves 10

    Cod fillets make a nutritious treat that is high in protein and low in calories.

    Moist and subtle in flavour, these crispy-skinned cod fillets are coated with sevruga caviar and served on celeriac-potato puree with a drizzle of aromatic citrus green tea oil.

    1.8kg Atlantic cod fish fillet

    20ml virgin olive oil

    1 sprig fresh dill

    200g fresh sevruga caviar

    pinch of lime powder seasoning

    pinch of fine sea salt

    white peppercorns, ground

    Citrus Green Tea Oil

    20ml extra virgin olive oil

    30g green tea

    80g kumquat

    3 lemons, zest only

    3 oranges, zest only

    2 sprigs fresh dill

    pinch of white peppercorns, crushed

    Celeriac Potato Puree

    600g celeriac

    200g Idaho potatoes

    40g unsalted butter

    20g white pearl onions

    80ml fresh milk

    40ml cooking cream

    kosher salt

    Portion the Atlantic cod fish fillet. Marinate with lime powder seasoning, salt and ground pepper. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and pan fry the cod fish fillet, skin side down, over moderate heat until the skin turns crispy and golden brown. Lift the pieces of fish and arrange on a roasting grid. Set and preheat the combi oven to 140°C, with humidity at 50% and bake the fillets until a core temperature of 58°C is reached. Top the cod fish fillets with fresh dill and sevruga caviar to give a spark of aroma after baking. Serve immediately.

    Citrus green tea oil

    Dry heat the crushed white peppercorns on a hot pan for a few minutes to draw out the aroma. In a gastronorm tray or appropriate container, mix the olive oil, peppercorns, green tea, kumquats, as well as lemon and orange zests together.

    Place tray in a combi oven preheated to a temperature of 70°C and let it infuse for a few hours. Remove container from the oven when the process is done. Add the fresh dill and set aside to cool. Strain through using a fine strainer before use and keep at room temperature.

    Celeriac potato puree

    Trim and rinse the celeriac and potatoes and dice into large pieces. Heat the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add celeraic, potatoes and onions to the pan and cook together. Pour in the milk to cook till the vegetables are soft; add the cream. Transfer the contents of the pan into a blender and blend to a smooth puree. Season to taste. To give it a fine texture, adjust by adding fresh milk or cream.

    Recipes courtesy of My Nourishment (the publisher) with food photography by Shafiq from Isimplez.


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