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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Upclose and personal with Kimora Lee Simmons

Posted: 13 Nov 2011 12:11 AM PST

With Kimora Lee Simmons, what you see is what you get... and then a dollop of fabulousity to boot.

PEOPLE think that Kimora Lee Simmons is a loud, fast-talking, in-your-face kind of woman who doesn't give a hoot about what others think of her.

Well, they are absolutely right.

She doesn't care what haters have to say and is perfectly happy living her fabulous life in the fast lane.

But what many may not know is that Kimora is also extremely friendly, inspiring and has the uncanny ability to put people around her at ease. For someone who is often billed as talkative and obnoxiously blunt, Kimora seems to be one heck of a nice person.

At a recent press meet in Kuala Lumpur, instead of spending the alotted half hour with the press, the fashion expert took over the stage proclaiming "This is my press conference" and answered questions from journalists who had waited over an hour to meet Kimora in person.

The towering star with a megawatt smile patiently answered all questions from the floor for about one hour and no one complained. (Well, save for her minders who had to keep her on a tight schedule).

"Sometimes I am a few minutes late, but I always stay for like 20 hours, so I feel like it balances out," said the extremely PR-savvy personality.

Decked in a cute short dress (which prohibited her from sitting throughout the press conference!) and a pair of killer red heels from her Just Fab footwear line, Kimora spoke about her life, her family, "fabulousity", fashion and everything else in between.

Mistress of all trades

Born to an African-American father and Asian mother in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, Kimora is well-known for her decades long contribution to the fashion industry through Baby Phat and now her KLS fashion empires. She famously got her start in the fashion business, when she was awarded an exclusive modelling contract with Chanel and went to work under renowned designer Karl Lagerfeld at age 13!

She, however, became a household name, thanks to her reality TV series Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane on Channel E! which chronicles her life as a celebrated model, author, businesswoman and more importantly mother.

The fashionista, who is in her mid-thirties has two children - Ming Lee and Aoki Lee - with her ex-husband Russell Simmons, and is currently married to actor Djimon Honsou with whom she has a two-year-old son, Kenzo Lee.

"I always say that I have two husbands – an ex and the next," she joked.

While many women may think that it is impossible to have a glamorous career and come home to a wonderful family at the end of the day, Kimora professed that it is possible to have one's cake and eat it too.

"You do have to sacrifice a lot for what you want in life. You sacrifice sleep ... I never sleep," she jested.

But on a more serious note, Kimora said that in order to achieve a balance juggling family and career one has to make a few sacrifices in life and prioritise.

"For me, God is first. Then my family and then my businesses."

Kimora also stressed that women should not make the mistake of thinking that they can get everything done and that they have to.

"Do what is in front of you and you have to make smart decisions. You have to know that some of those decisions, particularly for women, will help you to go on to realise your dreams and some of it will haunt you later.

"It's a lot to juggle. You have to sacrifice some things to follow your dreams. For a lot of people, following their dreams might mean having two jobs. The job in the night may be your dream, but the job in the day is the one that's paying the bills."

Fabulousity at its best

Those who have followed Kimora's career and watched her reality TV show would attest that the fashionista indeed does love her diamonds, lavish parties, couture gowns and jetsetting lifestyle.

But that is not how it all started for her.

Growing up, the small town girl had but one role model who taught her to dream big – Barbie.

"A lot of people are hard on Barbie but I looked at her and thought 'Oh, she's a veterinarian, she's a doctor, she has Ken, she is beautiful' and I always strived for something better," said Kimora, who realised at a young age that fashion was her calling and remembers being the eight-year-old girl who read Vogue ("Just like my Aoki now," she said).

That very drive was what catapulted her to great heights in fashion and achieve most, if not all, of her dreams.

"Every dream I ever had was outrageous. I am a woman of colour and they (the haters) always said 'You cannot do this. People like you cannot do fashion'.

"Fashion turned me from an ugly duckling to a beautiful woman, but I am the same person inside," she stressed.

A heavy promoter of "fabulousity" - a term she coined to represent "celebrating beauty inside and out, which is being confident and fearless", Kimora is all about living large.

"Fabulosity is something as cliched as 'loving yourself'. It's pursuing your own happiness. I feel that if I don't teach people to love themselves, someone would just come along and say 'You're s***!' and some young girl is going to believe that and go do some crazy things."

Hence, Kimora has taken it upon herself to educate her kids and people around her on the importance of drowning out the voices of haters.

But she does admit that the concept of loving herself has changed through the years.

"Fabulousity is not the same for me today as it was 10 years ago. It is a concept of beauty and power coming from from inside. That has not changed, but it has evolved for me. Now it has evolved to the extent of my family, goals and career," she said. "I've grown up a little bit."

> For your weekly dose of fabulousity tune in to Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane every Tuesday at 8.40pm on E! Entertainment (Astro Ch 712).

Kimora says

If there is anyone in the world who knows about fashion and looking good, it has to be Kimora Lee Simmons. The fashionista shared a few things about being and looking fabulous.

On fashion victims...

"It's someone loves the trend and wears something that doesn't look good on her because it's hot at the moment."

On stilletos...

"It's just like lipgloss or a cosmetic that gives you a little more pizzazz."

On flat shoes...

"I wear flats occasionaly ... but I try not to."

On fashion being uncomfortable...

"You pluck your eyebrows; that hurts, you get a wax; that hurts, you squeeze into tight jeans; that hurts. Everything about fashion hurts."

On the ultimate beauty...

"The outside is what you put on but it is what's on the inside that matters."

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Festive Roman crowds cheer end of Berlusconi era


ROME (Reuters) - Thousands gathered in Rome to celebrate the political demise of Silvio Berlusconi on Saturday, whistling and shouting insults as the 75-year-old media magnate drove to hand in his resignation as prime minister.

Police stand in front of the Presidential palace in Rome, November 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Remo Casilli)

In an atmosphere reminiscent of a football World Cup victory celebration, squares outside government buildings were packed with cheering crowds, singing and chanting as the curtain came down on Berlusconi's scandal-hit government.

Police held back the crowds behind barriers outside Berlusconi's private residence in central Rome and in front of the Quirinale Palace, the residence of the head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano.

A small orchestra played the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah as the crowd waited for Berlusconi to appear and hand in his resignation.

"We're here by chance, we're tourists, but we saw this collective joy and I think it is a historical change in our country, this is the feeling we had walking around the city," said Daniele Forese, a visitor from southern Italy.

Many carried signs with derisive slogans like "Bye bye Silvio, Ciao, Ciao!" after a vote in parliament cleared the way for Berlusconi to step down, two and a half years after he came to power with one of the largest majorities in Italian history.

Flag-waving revellers buzzed past on scooters, conga-lines formed and chants of "Clown! Clown!", the traditional insult hurled at disgraced Italian politicans, rang out in a spontaneous celebration after weeks of political turmoil.

"We are waiting for the end, we are waiting for the end of the Berlusconi era, we hope it is going to be the end," said Rome resident Angela Lanza. Berlusconi was prime minister for a total of 17 years, making him Italy's longest-serving premier.

A small cluster of Berlusconi supporters gathered outside his residence, but they were shouted down by the vastly larger number of those there to celebrate the premier's downfall.

With Italy sliding deeper into crisis and financial markets hammering government bonds, millions of ordinary people have been fearful for their jobs, pensions and savings.

"You have taken away my pension for your budget," shouted one man, balanced on the shoulders of another demonstrator.

The protest reflected Berlusconi's growing unpopularity after months of relentless scandal and bad economic news, but it also underlined a widespread fury against the entire Italian political class.

(Writing by James Mackenzie; editing by Tim Pearce)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Italy races to form new government after Berlusconi


ROME (Reuters) - Italy's head of state begins talks on Sunday to appoint an emergency government to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and handle a crisis that has brought the euro zone's third largest economy to the brink of financial disaster.

Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves his residence in downtown Rome, November 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Stringer)

President Giorgio Napolitano is expected to ask former European Commissioner Mario Monti to try to form a government of technocrats in time for the opening of markets on Monday.

The appointment of a new government will come after Berlusconi faced a chorus of jeers and insults as he was driven to the Quirinale Palace to hand his resignation to Napolitano.

Crowds built up steadily after parliament passed a new budget law in the late afternoon on Saturday, clearing the way for Berlusconi to fulfill a pledge to resign after he failed to secure a majority in a crucial vote on Tuesday.

Following weeks of political uncertainty and growing calls from international partners for action to control its towering public debt, Italy's borrowing costs soared to unmanageable levels last week, threatening a Europe-wide financial meltdown.

Monti, named as Senator for Life last week, met European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and politicians from various parties on Saturday as preparations for a transition began even before Berlusconi stepped down.

He has not so far been named officially but he has received the backing of the main opposition groups and the conditional acceptance of Berlusconi's centre-right PDL after objections from several factions in the party were overcome.

"In the end, a sense of responsibility prevailed," said Mario Baccini, a PDL lawmaker. He said the PDL would support a Monti government as long as it stuck to reforms agreed by the outgoing government with the European Union.

With the next elections not due until 2013, a government of technocrats could have about 18 months to pass painful economic reforms but will need to secure the backing of a majority in parliament and could fall before then.

Italy came close to a full scale financial emergency this week after yields on 10-year bonds soared over 7.6 percent, levels which forced Ireland, Portugal and Greece to seek an international bailout.

With public debt of more than 120 percent of gross domestic product and more than a decade of anaemic economic growth behind it, Italy is at the heart of the euro zone debt crisis and would be too big for the bloc to bail out.

Financial markets have backed a Monti government and as prospects of Berlusconi going became firmer last week, yields dropped below the critical 7 percent level.


It now falls to Berluconi's successor to try to reassure markets that a new government will be able to control spending and pass the kind of reforms to pensions, public service and labour markets that his government was unable to implement.

A technical government under Monti would avoid the need for a long and divisive election campaign, unsettling markets further, but its future will depend on maintaining the support of parliament.

A tough negotiator with a record of taking on powerful corporate interests as European Competition Commissioner, Monti will have to navigate the treacherous waters of Italian politics to survive.

On the left, likely reforms such as an increase in the pension age or easier hiring and firing rules could prompt strong opposition from unions once the elation of Berlusconi's departure has passed.

But the threat could be at least as great from the centre-right with Berlusconi's old Northern League coalition partners declaring they will oppose a Monti-led government and many in the PDL also harbouring deep reservations.

In a potentially ominous sign of the dangers that may face a Monti government, Italian news agencies reported that Berlusconi had told party colleagues that they would control the future of a new administration.

"We can pull the plug whenever we want," he was quoted as telling party allies.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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NEWSMAKER - Showman Berlusconi leaves amid jeers and boos


ROME (Reuters) - Silvio Berlusconi dominated Italy for 17 years with a unique mix of political talent and brazen behaviour but left office brought low by the power of bond markets with the jeers of the Roman crowd ringing in his ears.

Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves his residence in downtown Rome, November 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Stringer)

A born showman with a self-declared but real talent for making himself liked, the 75-year-old media magnate appeared embittered and isolated as he was driven to the residence of President Giorgio Napolitano to resign formally on Saturday.

In scenes reminiscent of the fate of his shamed predecessor Bettino Craxi as he left a Roman hotel in 1993, Berlusconi departed the political scene with angry crowds hurling insults at his limousine.

After handing in his resignation, Berlusconi left the Quirinale Palace by a side entrance as thousands of demonstrators chanted "Clown! Clown!" the insult traditionally hurled at disgraced Italian politicians.

The departure of Italy's longest serving prime minister put a seal on weeks of turmoil on financial markets that has left Italy dependent on help from the European Central Bank to stem a crisis that threatens the entire euro zone.

It also brought down the curtain on a remarkable political career that stretched from the "Bribesville" corruption affair that destroyed the old political order in the 1990s to a fresh era of scandal.

Bolstered by unrivalled communication skills and a dominance of Italian media, Berlusconi had for years seemed immune to a series of controversies that would have destroyed a politician in most other parts of the world.

They included the lurid "Rubygate" scandal in which he was charged with having sex with an under-age prostitute, and a wave of salacious revelations from police wiretaps about alleged orgies at his luxurious Milan villa.

He also faces two ongoing fraud court cases, the latest in more than 30 prosecutions by magistrates he accuses of being communists bent on perverting democracy.

The perma-tanned media tycoon, once a cruise ship crooner, was always unrepentant about a notoriously off-colour sense of humour and a series of diplomatic gaffes which have led many foreign leaders to try to avoid being photographed near him.


Berlusconi, one of Italy's richest men, had been in political decline for most of this year, his former mastery undermined by glaring misjudgments in local elections and three referendums, as well as the loss of a key alliance.

Often derided abroad for his facelifts, hair transplants, make-up and gaffes, Berlusconi until recently commanded a large following particularly among middle-class women, pensioners and the self-employed, striking a chord with his warnings about the dangers of left-wing extremists.

But with lurid details from assorted sex and corruption scandals filling newspapers for months and bitter government infighting poisoning the atmosphere around him, Berlusconi's touch increasingly deserted him.

He had seemed to have a good chance of hanging on for scheduled elections in 2013, until markets panicked by the Greek crisis turned on Italy, focusing on the inability of Berlusconi's squabbling government to pass meaningful reforms.

Up to the last, Berlusconi appeared to underestimate the gravity of the crisis, declaring this month that "restaurants are full, you have trouble booking seats on planes" as the economic pain mounted for millions of ordinary Italians.

As markets focused on Italy's huge public debt and stagnant economy, Italy's government bonds came under huge pressure and the European Central Bank had to move in August to buy bonds on the market to stop the crisis spreading.

In return it demanded tough economic reforms, effectively dictating government policy and destroying Berlusconi's boasts that he had shielded Italy from the euro zone debt crisis.

With his coalition crumbling around him and borrowing costs soaring out of control, Berlusconi finally agreed to resign after losing a crucial vote in parliament.

But in an sign of how much the collapse of market confidence was focused on him individually, bond yields soared even higher the day after the announcement because of market uncertainty about whether he would really go.

Napolitano had to publicly assure markets the flamboyant billionaire would go and accelerated the political transition.


Berlusconi's final demise was a far cry from 2008 when a landslide victory gave the media tycoon his strongest electoral mandate. He had been prime minister for longer than any postwar leader, painting himself as the only choice for the dominant conservative voting bloc and a bastion against communism.

But he did not have long to savour his third election triumph. In 2009 his estranged wife Veronica denounced his sex life and accused him of consorting with under-age women, finally sowing doubts in the minds of voters who had hitherto been charmed by his image as a self-made macho Latin male.

In addition, Berlusconi has persistently shown himself to be better at promises than action, failing to implement pledges in 2008 to use his business acumen to liberalise a notoriously inflexible and protected economy.

As owner of Italy's main private television channels and top-flight soccer team AC Milan after making a fortune in a Milan construction boom, he typified an Italian dream, with millions won over by his rags-to-riches story and optimism.

Berlusconi created his own party almost overnight in 1994 to fill the void on the right caused by the destruction of the long-dominant Christian Democrats by a corruption scandal.

His media empire Mediaset has a near-duopoly in television with state-run RAI over which, as premier, he had ultimate control. This gave him a much-criticised stranglehold on Italian media while he was accused of lowering cultural values with variety shows dominated by scantily clad starlets.

Critics also say he used his political and media power to fend off many prosecutions.

In the last year the Catholic Church has distanced itself from him, following reports of starlets and prostitutes dancing half-naked for him in return for cash and gifts. He boasted in one phone call of having sex with eight women in one night.

Berlusconi has always maintained the dinners he hosted were jovial affairs that involved little more than food, jokes and song. His only concession has been to say he is "no saint" and loves beautiful women.

(Writing by James Mackenzie and Barry Moody; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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OIC event to be curtain raiser for series of events hosted by Bank Negara

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 05:12 AM PST

BANK Negara will be hosting a series of events in November in conjunction with the Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.

Organised in collaboration with the Statistical, Economic, Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), the OIC series will, among others, comprise the annual Experts' Group Workshop and the Governors' Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities.

The events, from Nov 14-17, will be held at Sasana Kijang, the central bank's newly established centre for excellence in knowledge and learning in central banking and financial services as well as for the promotion of regional and international collaboration.

The OIC Experts' Group Workshop and the Meeting of OIC Central Banks and Monetary Authorities will provide an opportunity for member countries and the heads of their institutions to share and discuss issues of mutual interest.

The meeting this year will focus on the theme Central Banking and Financial Sector Development, covering the framework for central bank and sound financial sector development that will support and catalyse sustainable economic growth in developing economies.

Among the dignitaries attending the OIC Central Banks and Monetary Authorities meeting are Islamic Development Bank president Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani, Islamic Financial Services Board chairman Mohammed Said Shahin, Central Bank of Bahrain governor Rasheed Mohammaed Al Maraj, Central Bank of Republic of Turkey governor Dr Erdem Basci, Central Bank of UAE governor Sultan bin Nasser Al-Suwaidi, State Bank of Pakistan governor Yaseen Anwar, SESRIC director-general Dr Savas Alpay and OIC Secretariat director of economic affairs department Gholam Hossein Darzi.

Highlights of the event include keynote address entitled Accelerating Financial Sector Development for Economic Growth: Distilling Global Lessons for OIC Member Countries by Shaukat Aziz, former prime minister of Pakistan.

Dr Martin Redrado, former governor of Central Bank of Argentina will deliver keynote to discuss on Central Banking in the 21st Century: Implications on Economic and Financial Globalisation.

Bank Negara will also be hosting the fifth annual Islamic Financial Intelligence Summit organised by The Banker Magazine and Financial Times. The summit serves as a platform for members of the private sector to discuss the latest developments and opportunities in the global Islamic finance space. It aims to provide unparalleled information and analysis on the emerging trends of Islamic finance as furnished by the Top 500 Islamic Financial Institutions Report.

As the only ranking of its kind, the report's research offers a unique insight into the strength of Islamic banking and finance and provides a verifiable benchmark for the sector.

It details the geographical distribution of institutions with syariah compliant assets and the Top 500 rankings by both institution and country.

A wealth of data from the report will be presented via speaker addresses and interactive panellist sessions.

These will cover the global and regional growth forecasts of the industry and address current issues such as liquidity management, the untapped potential in new markets, and the development of syariah-compliant products, as well as the future of the Islamic finance industry.

Looking ahead to the event, Brian Caplen, The Banker Magazine's editor said: "Islamic finance is an increasingly important area of international finance which stood up well in the crisis.

"Both our annual conference and our Top 500 Islamic Financial Institutions report have become well established in the industry calendar. For this year we are looking forward to the most comprehensive data set yet in the ranking as well as ground breaking discussions at the event. We hope as many as possible can join us on the day."

The summit will bring together more than 450 invited guests from both the advanced and emerging economies, including senior members of the financial and corporate community and senior central bankers.

At the event, Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz will present her keynote address entitled The New Islamic Finance Landscape. Her speech will highlight issues on fostering a culture of sustainable growth, the globalisation of a previously niche market and growth trends witnessed in Asia.

Zeti said : "This gathering of practitioners from the international financial community is timely in light of the continued growth of Islamic finance in this highly challenging international financial environment. Islamic finance continues to expand facilitating greater economic and financial linkages between Asia, the Middle East and other emerging economies.

"This Summit serves as an important platform to deliberate on developments and opportunities as well as emerging trends that will shape the future landscape of Islamic finance."

The OIC series of events will also see the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) holding the 4th Islamic Financial Stability Forum in conjunction with the 19th Meeting of the Council of the IFSB at its offices at the Sasana Kijang.

The Forum, themed Strengthening Financial Safety Nets in the Islamic Financial Services Industry', will draw on the participation of the IFSB Council members and representatives of the supervisory and regulatory authorities from among the IFSB member countries as well as the OIC heads of central banks and monetary authorities.

The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organisation in the world after the United Nations with 57 member states. The present OIC Charter was adopted in 2008, laying down the objectives and principles and fundamental purposes to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among member states.

The charter, among others, highlights the organisation's aim to safeguard and protect the common interests and support the legitimate causes of the member states and coordinate and unify member states' efforts in view of the challenges faced by the Islamic world in particular and the international community in general.

It also ensures active participation of member states in the global political, economic and social decision-making processes to secure their common interests and strengthen intra-Islamic economic and trade cooperation in order to achieve economic integration leading to the establishment of an Islamic Common Market.

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Bolt and Pearson named Athletes of the Year

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 05:05 PM PST

MONACO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Jamaican Usain Bolt and Australian Sally Pearson were named Athletes of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Saturday.

Bolt, winning the award for the third time, bounced back from disqualification for false starting in the world 100 metres final to retain his 200m title, before anchoring Jamaica to win the 4x100m relay in a world record time.

Pearson enjoyed a phenomenal season, winning 15 of 16 races and taking the world 100m hurdles title in 12.28 seconds, the fastest time in 19 years. Bolt beat compatriot and 100m world champion Yohan Blake, along with Kenyan David Rudisha, to the award, while Pearson pipped Kenyan world 5,000 and 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and world shot put champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand.

Bolt was in less dominant form this year after returning from a back injury that ended his 2010 season, but still clocked the fastest 100m of the season (9.76secs) in Brussels on Sept. 16, the same night that Blake ran the second fastest 200m of all time - second only to the Olympic champion.

Blake's superb run in the Belgian capital earned him male performance of the year.

"This season was a really trying one for me, I really had to work hard and step up my game," Bolt told a news conference before heading to an IAAF gala to receive his award.

"There were some close races. I really had to push myself - there were some ups and downs throughout the season. For me this one (award) means a lot, I'm really proud of myself." Pearson, 25, is the first Australian to win the award since it was introduced in 1988.

Her Daegu run made her the fourth fastest woman of all time over 100m hurdles, but the 2008 Olympic silver medallist said she could improve.

"I'm quite a perfectionist when it comes to my technique, there are quite a few things I can improve on," she said.

"You can never be truly happy with a race until you have won an Olympic gold medal, and that's what I want to do next year."

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Vintage Federer reaches maiden Paris final

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 05:04 PM PST

PARIS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The Roger Federer of old let his class do the talking in a 6-4 6-3 dismissal of Czech Tomas Berdych to reach his maiden Paris Masters final on Saturday.

The Swiss third seed, looking to become only the second player after Andre Agassi to win titles at Roland Garros and Bercy, dropped just 10 points on serve as he set up a meeting with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who saw off American John Isner 3-6 7-6 7-6 in the other semi-final after saving three match points.

Former world number one Federer, who for the first time since 2002 has played a season without claiming a grand slam title, was in another league against fifth-seeded Berdych.

Asked if he was playing the best tennis of his career at Bercy, Federer joked: "Yes, I think.

"Let's say it: Yes, I do. It doesn't make any difference, but I think I'm more consistent now. I'm able to play several matches in a row, which I had a problem with before.

"This is the first time I've played several matches (here) and I was able to prove myself," added the Swiss, who has won only two titles this year - his worst total since 2001.

Federer, who became the first player to reach the final of all nine Masters tournaments, got off to a brilliant start by breaking Berdych's serve to open a 2-0 lead.

Sprinkling the court with winners, the Swiss kept the aggressive Czech at bay and bagged the opening set with another scorching forehand. He broke again in the first game of the second set and never looked back during a brilliant 80-minute display.

Berdych, who was impressive in his quarter-final against Briton Andy Murray on Friday, struggled to cope with Federer's array of shots and failed to earn a break point.

"I'm pretty confident to say that that's the old Roger, like he was playing, you know, the years that he was really winning everything," Berdych, who prevailed in the Paris indoor tournament in 2005, told a press conference.

"We can count (his) unforced errors maybe on the fingers on one hand, which is incredible. He started every set really great and just didn't give me any chance at all."

Both players, as well as Tsonga, will be at the ATP World Tour Finals in London from Nov. 20-27. CLOSER AFFAIR

The Tsonga v Isner match was a closer affair, with only one break of serve throughout.

Isner broke in the sixth game and held serve to clinch the first set, but the sixth-seeded Tsonga, the 2008 Bercy champion, upped his game in the second set, forcing his opponent to serve big to stave off three break points.

Isner lost his cool in the tiebreak, won 7-1 by Tsonga, who enjoyed the backing of the 14,500 crowd.

The local favourite went 40-0 up on Isner's serve at 4-4 in the decider, but it was his time to lose composure, and the semi-final went down to the wire after Tsonga saved three match points in the 12th game.

Tsonga, who made the semi-final after world number one Novak Djokovic withdrew injured, opened a 3-0 lead and won the tiebreaker 7-3 with a forehand winner down the line after two hours, 58 minutes.

"At the beginning I was too tense, but then I just tried to enjoy myself and that's how I play my best tennis," Tsonga told reporters.

Next is Federer, a player he has met five times this year, winning twice. "I'll have to be able to go into the court, go forward against Roger," Tsonga said.

Isner said of his defeat: "In tennis - just in any sport - you come so close to winning, and then it gets taken away from you.

"I had three chances. I was one point away from being in the final. So it wasn't to be. He came up with the goods, and hats off to him."

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Former Somerset captain and writer Roebuck dead at 55

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 05:02 PM PST

SYDNEY, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Peter Roebuck, the former captain of English county Somerset and one of the finest cricket writers of his time, has been found dead at the age of 55 in his hotel in South Africa, the Sydney Morning Herald said on Sunday.

Roebuck, who scored more than 17,000 first class runs, was instrumental in the departure of West Indians Viv Richards and Joel Garner, as well as England captain Ian Botham, from Somerset during his tempestuous reign as captain in the late 1980s.

After retiring from the game in 1991, Roebuck moved to Australia and forged a career as a stylish and strongly opinionated cricket writer for the Herald, Melbourne's the Age and latterly the hugely popular Cricinfo website.

"Peter was a wonderful writer who was the bard of summer for cricket-loving Australians," said Ian Fuge, the Herald's managing editor of sport. "He was also an extraordinary bloke who will be sorely missed."

Roebuck, whose straw hat made him instantly recognisable in the press box, was in Cape Town covering Australia's test series against South Africa.

"It is believed he was spoken to by police earlier in the day," the Herald report of his death said.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

No Zeus, ''Immortals'' isn't supposed to be comedy

Posted: 11 Nov 2011 05:48 PM PST

LOS ANGELES ( Somewhere, the gods are laughing. That would be the Greek gods, Zeus and his crew, who must be enjoying the folly and folderol that is ''Immortals,'' a silly, would-be swords-and-sandals epic set in ancient Greece.

The movie, as directed by Indian-born stylemeister Tarsem Singh (''The Cell''), is full of ravishing images and makes effective use of its 3D - lots of swords, arrows, blood and severed body parts coming right at you - but its characters and story are as dull as modern day particle board.

''Immortals,'' clearly hoping to attract the hordes who embraced ''300,'' is full of shirtless and leather-clad muscular men, military maneuvering and clanging swordplay. This one also embraces the supernatural, in the form of Greek gods, comely oracles, and a sought-after magic bow.

The movie's hero is Theseus (Henry Cavill), a lowly stonemason picked by Zeus to lead his fellow mortals in the fight to defeat King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), a sadistic, power-hungry ruler. Hyperion is the kind of guy who orders someone's tongue cut out just for fun.

Helping Theseus along the way are Phaedra (Freida Pinto), whose oracular powers enable her to recognize his heroic potential; Stavros (Stephen Dorff), a snarky freed slave; and various Greek gods, including Athena (Isabel Lucas).

Those hoping for a solid grounding in the classics will be disappointed by ''Immortals.'' The movie has about as much to do with actual Greek mythology as Mickey Mouse cartoons do with the study of rodents.

Case in point: In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of wisdom. She was a smart cookie, always in on the action and decision-making. In ''Immortals,'' she's eye candy, a simpering twit who would be lucky to crack three digits on her combined SATs.

Cavill, the British actor who will next play Superman in the 2013 reboot, ''Man of Steel,'' shows off a sinewy physique and requisite ability to look determined. Beyond that, there's little he can do to enliven a script that seems to have been assembled simply by cobbling together snatches of screenplays from earlier films such as ''300,'' ''Clash of the Titans,'' ''Troy,'' etc.

Rourke, a long way from ''The Wrestler'' here, hams it up as Hyperion, strutting about and purring with self-satisfied glee as he presides over yet another bloody beating or mutilation.

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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Distorted view of reality

Posted: 13 Nov 2011 12:06 AM PST

YOU guys know about vampires? You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There's this idea that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror. And what I've always thought isn't that monsters don't have reflections in a mirror; it's that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.

"And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn't see myself reflected at all. I was like, 'Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don't exist?' And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it."

These words were spoken by award-winning author Junot Diaz at the Bergen Community College in New Jersey, America. Diaz moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was a child and, on this day, his audience at the college included kids whose parents were immigrants, too. Despite efforts to promote (the writing and reading of) literature that features Americans of colour, including literary awards specifically for black and Hispanic literature, American literature is still a largely white affair.

In Malaysia, because the books we read are usually American or British, we, too, are denied reflections of ourselves in literature. We take what we can get, and the Asian literature that makes its way to Malaysia via the international market tends to be of a certain type. Americans and Europeans seem to prefer their (literary) Asians oppressed or struggling. The oppression and struggle could be socio-political or personal, or, better still, both. Any mention of infanticide, arranged marriages and foot binding would be a big plus.

Asian characters and settings must be milked for cultural colour. If the settings are contemporary and you can't rely on trishaws or samurais for exotic detail, your characters should at least be carrying a whole lot of Asian baggage and be prevailed upon to visit the odd (pardon the pun) temple and/or slurp a few bowls of herbal soup.

It seems that if you're Asian, the sort of mirrors you tend to be shown are those that reflect a "you" that doesn't really exist any more, or at best, reflect a "you" that the gatekeepers (literary agents and publishers) like to think exists. If you're Asian, your story must be issue-laden, culturally-weighty. It's just not possible that you might have non-race problems – death, divorce and taxes? Boys, acne and PE?

I know the way a character deals with life is often informed by their race and culture, but there are other influences to consider as well. And sometimes, especially with young readers, just being able to see a superficial reflection of oneself is enough. Sometimes, just a description, an illustration or a picture is all that you need to make the connection.

Unfortunately, even getting an image across isn't easy. It's believed that a book featuring non-Caucasians on the cover is bad for business and a few American publishers have been criticised for "white-washing" the covers of books (using white models even though the characters are persons of colour). Last week, I came across a book (Possess by Gretchen McNeil) that sidesteps this problem quite neatly, quite (I feel) deviously. The lead character, called Bridget Liu, is half-Chinese, but favours her Irish mother: She has freckles, brown hair, and blue eyes – how convenient! I've not read the book, but one online review says Bridget's ethnicity has nothing to do with the plot. Well, while I'm all for characters just happening to be Asian, black, Hispanic, etc, the Irish colouring seems to me like a cop-out.

On the Diversity in Young Adult Fiction blog (, McNeil says she wanted to reflect a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic community (the book is set in San Francisco). At the same time, she didn't want to address culture and ethnicity – she gives a few reasons, all of them, in my opinion, rather lame. McNeil didn't want Bridget's race to be an issue and she felt that by ignoring this aspect of her (and giving Bridget blue eyes?) she was being truly colour blind. While I agree that there's no need to do a song and dance about Bridget's ethnicity, I find it odd that an author would choose to portray a multicultural society by creating a character whose surname is the only thing that indicates that she's not white.

But back to Diaz's speech about being invisible. Yes, Malaysian kids are most certainly denied reflections of themselves. Do they feel like monsters? I don't think they do. I believe most Malaysian kids don't notice let alone care that there is no fiction in which they appear. I believe most Malaysian kids (the urban, middle-class ones who read Harry Potter and Twilight, anyway) don't identify as Malaysian. They think of themselves as American. They want to be Justin Bieber and Miranda Cosgrove. My six-year-old daughter told me today that she wants to go to an American school because "they have lockers". Bizarre but true.

What's the alternative? Sadly, I think it's Upin & Ipin. The animated telly series is probably the most popular local children's programme ever and there is a monthly magazine containing Upin & Ipin stories in comic-strip form. The series and the comics feature a range of characters that reflect Malaysia's multi-ethnic population – but are absolutely chock-full of cringe-making racial stereotypes. Why are we okay with the series creators' bigoted depictions of race? Is it because it mirrors the way we really view one another?

No reflection may makes us feel like monsters, but such biased portrayals only serve to make beasts of the people around us. I hope I'm not the only one who prefers empty mirrors to those that reflect a distorted view of reality.

> Daphne Lee reads to wonder and wander, be amazed and amused, horrified and heartened and inspired and comforted. She wishes more people will try it, too. Send e-mails to the above address and check out her blog at

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A nose for cannibals

Posted: 13 Nov 2011 12:06 AM PST

A teen with a super sniffing ability — would that be useful against zombies? You'd be surprised.

Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Publisher: Quercus, 464 pages

ALEX Adair is 17, and dying from brain cancer. Tired of experimental treatments that aren't working, she decides to go hiking in one of Michigan's wilderness areas.

A few days into the hike, she runs into an old man and his eight-year-old granddaughter, Ellie. And soon after, something monumentally weird and world-changing happens: what seems to be a very large electromagnetic pulse strikes, killing the old man and, for a brief moment, driving all the birds and animals crazy.

But that is just the beginning.

Alex, who had lost her sense of smell due to the tumour, not only miraculously regains it, but also somehow seems to have developed a whole new supersense with it. She can now "smell" the emotions of other people thanks to The Zap, as she calls the pulse.

Other people, though, are affected in bad ways, like turning into cannibals, for instance, as Alex and the little girl discover when they come across a campsite at which two teens are chomping down on a dead woman.

Managing to escape the cannibals, Alex and Ellie meet up with a young soldier, Tom Eden, who happened to be home on leave and camping in the area when The Zap happened. The three of them team up and try to survive in the newly changed world.

Author Ilsa J. Bick plays on the currently very popular post-apocalyptic cannibal zombie theme, with a side of mysterious cult-like community in the second half of the book.

The story follows Alex as she learns to cope with her new situation and new relationships with the other characters, especially Ellie and Tom. A word of warning here, Ellie can be quite hard to swallow, especially in the beginning, as she acts super-bratty. It's hard to take even though she has reasons to act out that way.

Overall, the writing is fast-paced, and quite absorbing. However, I did find Bick's attempts to end her mostly short chapters in cliffhangers quite irritating after a while. And to give fair warning to readers, the book itself ends in quite a surprising cliffhanger, with two sequels, Shadows and Monsters, already planned to come out next year and in 2013 respectively.

The story's settings delineate the book quite clearly into two halves. The first half takes place mainly in the wilderness and focuses on Alex, Tom and Ellie, while the second half takes place in the town of Rule, with Alex as the main focus. Interwoven into the later part is also the question of safety versus doing what's right, which Alex struggles with.

For those with weak stomachs and vivid imaginations, here's another warning: Bick's descriptions of cannibalism can be quite graphic.

Not surprisingly, there's also a love triangle that Alex gets caught up in, which I found entirely too predictable and quite clichéd.

As for The Zap itself, while there is much speculation about why and how it occurred and how its effects work, it all remains guesswork by the characters. Well, there are two more parts coming as I mentioned, so I do hope Bick will expand upon it later.

All in all, a pretty good young adult post-apocalyptic book.

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Posted: 13 Nov 2011 12:04 AM PST

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The Star Online: Nation

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GSC to explain screening of uncut version of "Aire Libre"

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 04:36 AM PST

Published: Saturday November 12, 2011 MYT 8:34:00 PM
Updated: Saturday November 12, 2011 MYT 8:36:19 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Golden Screen Cinema Sdn Bhd (GSC) and the distributor of Aire Libre have been asked to explain why the film was screened to the public without cuts.

Film Censorship Board (LPF)chairman Datuk Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap said the film was screened at the GSC cinemas in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with the 10th edition Latin American Film Festival between Oct 20 and 23.

"Based on the LPF assessment report on Oct 22, the film has been approved for screening on the condition that cuts be made on 14 scenes and only after it is done, the film can be classified as PG13.

"PG 13 is the category for films which are suitable for public viewing. However, children under 13 years old have to be accompanied by their parents or guardians," he said in a statement.

The film 'Aire Libre', directed by Luis Armando Roche from Vanezuela, has won several awards, like the OCIC Award (Best Film Award) at the Havana Film Festival in 1996 and the Patron's Award (Best Film Award) at the San Diego International Film Festival in 1997.

Raja Azahar said an investigation was conducted by LPF following public complaints over the screening of the film.

"Following the investigation, LPF found that the distributor of the film did not make the cuts as instructed by LPF based on the provision under Section 11 of the Film Censorship Act," he added.

He said the board would call the film distributor to explain, adding that since the request to screen the film was made by the Venezuelan Embassy, an invitation would also be sent to the embassy to send its representatives to the hearing. BERNAMA

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Explosion jolts Kampung Wadihana

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 03:44 AM PST

Published: Saturday November 12, 2011 MYT 6:37:00 PM
Updated: Saturday November 12, 2011 MYT 7:44:01 PM

JOHOR BARU: An explosion caused by air released in a manhole jolted Kampung Wadihana early Saturday.

The 7.15am explosion caused the tarred road to crack at Jalan Mohamad Taib.

Syed Najib Syed Yassin, 46, said his family was about to have breakfast when they heard the explosion and rushed out of the house.

"There was only one explosion and it sounded like a bomb," he added.

He said water supply to the area was cut off due to maintenance work in the area.

Syarikat Air Johor (SAJ) Corporate Communication Department head, Jamaluddin Jamil, said the explosion was caused by the air release valve.

"The air that was released from the valve increased the air pressure in the manhole, causing it to explode," he said.

He said investigation would be conducted by SAJ on the explosion. BERNAMA

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Kelantan Sultan warns of elements out to create disunity

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 03:42 AM PST

Published: Saturday November 12, 2011 MYT 7:03:00 PM
Updated: Saturday November 12, 2011 MYT 7:42:02 PM

KOTA BARU: Sultan of Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V has reminded the people to be on guard against anti-authority elements who were out to create an unhealthy atmosphere in the society.

"These elements will try to stir up issues related to Islam, and challenge the rulers' authority and the Malay language to achieve their personal and group interests.

"I urge these elements to stop playing with fire and their provocative attitude could create turbulence and disrupt peace in the society and country," he said at an investiture ceremony in conjunction with his 42nd birthday at Istana Balai Besar here.

Sultan Muhammad V hoped the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors would be more effective and responsive to technological development, become environmentally friendly and sustainable.

On the state's 2012 budget, he asked that the state government take positive steps to reduce the deficit to a manageable level.

"To reduce the budget deficit, the state government should take prudent expenditure management and spend according to actual needs.

"The state government should give emphasis to increasing revenue and income streams," he added.

Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Mohd Zin, who headed the state honours list, received the Darjah Kebesaran Mahkota Kelantan Yang Amat Mulia (Al-Muhammadi I) (SPMK) award which carries the title "Datuk".

Present were Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. BERNAMA

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Posted: 12 Nov 2011 04:52 AM PST

Mascot parade

Children and families shopping at Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur, should look out for the mall's mascot parade procession. Led by a brass band, the parade will feature 12 mascots, including three from the Berjaya Times Square Theme Park. It will be held every Saturday and during public holidays at 3pm, starting from the theme park's main entrance on the fifth floor to the main entrance on the ground floor. For details, call 1300-88-8988.

Cupcakes for charity

Help raise funds for "Paint It Purple", a campaign by The Pixel Project with partner Women's Aid Organisation, by buying Bisou Bake House's special cupcakes until Nov 16. For each cupcake, RM1 will go towards the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign. Bisou Bake House outlets are located at Bangsar Village I and KLCC. For details, visit

Exchange of ideas

"Dialogue" is an exhibition that brings eight Malaysian and Indonesian artists together in an environment of exchange and discourse. It is presented by G13 Gallery and will be held at its premises at GL13, Ground Floor, Kelana Square, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya, from today till Dec 4. The gallery is open from 11am-5pm daily. For details, call 03-7880 0991 or visit

Community carnival

A Community Care Carnival (CCC) will be held tomorrow from 10am-4pm at Tropicana Medical Centre (TMC) open-air carpark, Jalan Teknologi, Kota Damansara. It aims to raise funds for children residing in the low-cost PPR flats in Section 8. Activities include free basic health screening, health talks, colouring contest, sale of food and handicraft, carnival games and lucky draws. Admission is free and open to public. For details, call 03-6287 1106 or visit

Bonsai show

A bonsai show will be held as part of the Penjing Creation Exhibition and Competition 2011 at Sunway Giza, Kota Damansara, PJ, from now till Tuesday. The event is organised by the Malaysia Penjing Art Creation Society. Open to the public, the show will be held from 10am-10pm. For enquiries, call 019-381 6177 (Kok Chee Ping).

Autism awareness

Suria KLCC will be hosting several activities this weekend as part of its Purple Day campaign. It is an event dedicated to creating awareness about childhood autism, and raising funds for the National Autism Society of Malaysia. For details, call 03-2382 2828 or visit

Christmas bazaar

Ibu Family Resource Group will be having its Christmas bazaar today from 10am to 6pm at 1 Mont Kiara Mall, No. 1 Jalan Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Shoppers can find Christmas gifts for pregnant women, babies and young children under one roof. Entry is free and open to the public. For enquiries, call 03-6211 0666.

Animal carnival

An animal carnival called Celebrate Your Love for Animals will be held tomorrow from 3pm onwards at Desa ParkCity, Kepong, KL. Orga-nised by SPCA Selangor with pet store Petsmore, the event is aimed at encouraging the public to be conscientious in animal welfare. Expect to have a fun day which will see a sample of dog training class, agility show, and a walk around the park to end the event. For details, visit

Art exhibition

Mo-Dian Cultural Centre in Klang is having an exhibition of 80 flower paintings from now until Monday. The centre is located at 18C, Jalan Kapar, Klang. Opening hours are from 11am to 4pm. For details, call 017-358 0121 or visit

Paying homage

Emerging artist Zelin Seah has now come to the end of his time on the HOM Residency, and will be exhibiting the results from this unique programme in an exhibition titled To Whom it May Concern-Being. The title of the exhibition pays homage to a book on artist Francis Bacon's works and the artist chose it to probe audiences to consider what is truly real in our daily lives. The exhibition is held at House of Matahati (HOM), 6A Jalan Cempaka 16, Taman Cempaka, Ampang, from now until Nov 19.

Mall activities

The BASF Kids Lab that will be held at 1Utama Shopping Centre's LG Floor Oval this weekend is an exciting and interactive children's lab that showcases unique and refreshing lab activities to attract children's interest in chemistry. Workshops are opened to children aged six to 12. Meanwhile, music lovers can take the opportunity to purchase tickets for Romanze: In Support of Life After Stroke at the mall's Community Corner, First Floor Oval. It is a classical benefit concert presented by Pianissimo School of Music and National Stroke of Association Malaysia (Nasam) to raise funds and create awareness for Nasam. The concert is scheduled for Nov 29 at KLPac, Sentul Park, KL.

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Eating Places

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 04:46 AM PST

Thai temptations

Throughout November, on every Friday and Saturday night, Cinnamon Coffee House at One World Hotel Petaling Jaya brings to you the authentic flavours from the Land of Smiles — Thailand. Thai cuisine emphasises on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components as well as a balance of the four fundamental tastes which is sour, sweet, salty and spicy. The restaurant will be showcasing a tempting array of sublime delicacies prepared with the freshest of ingredients and presented with a creative flair. From appetisers, soups, main course to desserts, delight in Seafood Tom Yam Soup, Green Curry Seafood, Sweet and Sour Red Snapper Thai Style, Green Mussel in Chilli Coconut Cream, Chicken Paprika Thai Style and traditional Thai desserts like Tak Tim Krab and Banana in Coconut Milk. Apart from the wide variety of Thai dishes, there is also the pasta counter, salad corner, Western, Chinese, Japanese and local fare kitchens offering an abundance of tempting delights. The promotion is from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, priced at RM98++ per adult and RM49++ per child. For reservations, call 03-7681 1157.

Nama Saba Shioyaki

This November, Kampachi at Hotel Equatorial Kuala Lumpur will be featuring Nama Saba Shioyaki or Japanese salt grilled mackerel. Savour this special dish created by executive chef How Yoke Seng and his culinary team in the stylish surrounding of the multi-award-winning restaurant. Air-flown fresh mackerel from the icy waters of Kyushu is served either grilled with sea salt or a dash of Teriyaki sauce to ensure the fish retains its natural sweetness. It is best eaten with grated radish, lemon and Hajikami ginger. Nama Saba Shioyaki is available until Nov 30 and is priced at RM88++ per portion. This promotion will be served for lunch and dinner. Lunch is served from noon to 2.30pm and dinner is from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. For reservations, call 03-2161 7777 ext 8444.

Let's go bananas!

Banana is normally eaten on its own. It is rich in vitamins B and C, and is also a great source of potassium. This November, Melting Pot Café unveils deliciously rich and creamy caramel banana mousse. This layers of delight is set to titillate your tastebuds. Caramel, banana mousse and moist chocolate cake are part of this cake. It is divided into three layers of chocolate moist sponge with spreads of caramel mousse and banana mousse as filling. Caramel banana mousse is a must-have delight. It is priced at RM9.50++ per slice and RM80++ per kg. For orders, call 03-2144 2200 ext 2337.


GAUCHO GRILL, Lot B5, Chulan Square, 92 Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2145 4268) Business hours: Mon-Sat, lunch (11am-3pm), dinner (6pm-11pm); Sundays, 6pm-11.30pm. Pork-free. The Ultimate Argentinean Grill Restaurant in the heart of KL city centre, serving tender, succulent cuts of the choicest fresh beef from herds bred by real gauchos. Able accompaniments to the dishes are the range of Argentinean wines.


GRAND IMPERIAL RESTAURANT, Lot T5, 3rd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, No 285, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, KL. (Tel: 03-2283 1118 - Bangsar, 03-6201 3777 - Hartamas, 03-8024 8777 - USJ). Business hours: Daily - 11.30am-5pm (dim sum till 5pm, lunch ends at 2.30pm), 6pm-10.30pm (dinner). Non-halal. Timeless dishes like Crispy Roasted Pork and Deep Fried Yam Roll are popular here, there is also a variety of delightful dim sum to savour.


SHABU ONE STEAMBOAT BUFFET, T18-22, 3rd Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, 50, Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL. (Tel: 03-2145 9933). Business hours: Daily, 11am-11pm. The steamboat concept at Shabu One is modelled after the original Taiwanese-styled buffet steamboat. Unlike many steamboat restaurants elsewhere which serve items a la carte, customers here are free to have as many helpings as their appetite can take from over 50 dishes at the counter that are replenished from time to time.


THE 'KEG' BIERHAUS, 15G, Jalan Puteri 2/6, Bandar Puteri, Puchong. (Tel 03-8090 0442) Business hours: 5pm-1am. Closed on Sunday. Non-halal. A cosy German restaurant and bar with good ambience that serves authentic pork knuckles, chargrilled pork chop, jaegerschnitzel and widest range of German sausages. Not to miss is its savoury bacon bites.


HYOTAN JAPANESE RESTAURANT, No. 63, Jalan SS15/5A, Subang Jaya. (Tel: 03-5636 0326). Business hours: Daily, noon-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm. Pork-free. The restaurant is one of the few in Subang Jaya that can truly claim to provide diners an authentic Japanese experience — it is run by the Watanabe family and family head Shuzo himself leads the kitchen.

NIJI JAPANESE RESTAURANT, Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, 10 Jalan 1/70D, Off Jalan Bukit Kiara, KL. (Tel: 03-2093 9791). Business hours: Daily, noon-2.30pm and 6pm-10pm. Food here is cooked by Japanese chef Yuji Amimoto and diners will definitely enjoy dishes like Nabeyaki Udon, Unagi Kabayaki, Wagyu Steak Teppanyaki and Sukiyaki among its signature dishes.


RESTORAN RAVI'S, E-33A-01, Dataran 3 Two, No. 2, Jalan 19/1, Petaling Jaya. (Tel: 03-7957 1441). Business hours: 7am-10pm, daily. South Indian restaurant with a difference serving up claypot dishes of fish, chicken, mutton and prawns as well. There are a variety of Indian breads and curries and dishes like Chicken Varuval, Pepper Chicken and Mutton Varuval.


MARCO'S PIZZA, 81-85, Jalan SS25/2, Taman Bukit Emas, PJ (Tel: 03-7803 5000). Business hours: Daily (11.30am-2.30pm; 6pm-10pm). Pork-free. Bright and cheery outlet offering wholesome meals for the family with delicious pizzas, pastas and gourmet food with a local touch. Has play area and kid's menu.


CASTELL RESTAURANT AND BAR, 19 Lorong University C, PJ (Tel: 03-7955 0532). Business hours: Daily, lunch (noon-2.30pm); dinner (6pm-10.30pm). Halal. Dine in a cosy medieval-like setting while enjoying a hearty Western meal comprising meat or fish dishes.

RONNIE Q'S PUB AND RESTAURANT, 32 Jalan Telawi Dua, Bangsar Baru, KL. (Tel: 03-2282 0722). Business hours: Mon-Fri (11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm); Sat, Sun & public hols (6pm-11pm). Non-halal. A popular hangout for expatriates and local pub-goers who are also cricket, football and rugby fans. Has a good selection of British pub specialities.


MOJO @ ASIAN HERITAGE ROW, 42 Jalan Doraisamy, KL. (Tel: 03-2697 7999). Business hours: Mon-Sun (noon-midnight). Pork-free. Mojo offers delectable Western and fusion delights hugely popular with regulars and expatriates such as barbeque ribs, Linguini Duck Aglio OIio, Kajang satay, Salted Egg Fried Rice and a wide selection of wine. For reservations, call Jane at 012-669 9205.

THE SPEAKEASY RESTAURANT, 9 Jalan Ampang, KL. (Tel: 03-2078 8830). Business hours: Mon-Fri (10am-10pm). Pork-free. Order from the a la carte menu or make your own sandwich at the sandwich bar.


PANTAI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, Lot 13575, Jalan Cempaka PJU 6A, Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, PJ (Tel: 03-7725 5099/1099). Business hours: Daily, lunch (11.45am–2.30pm); dinner (6pm–11pm). Non-halal. Where diners may savour seafood like geoduck, Japanese snails, Alaskan king crabs, Scotland clams and Boston lobster in a rustic setting.


FITOU BRASSERIE, Lot GF 2, The Waterfront @ Park City, 5, Persiaran Residen, Desa Park City, KL. (Tel: 03-6280 8978). Business hours: noon-1am daily. It is open for breakfast on Sunday at 9am. (Non-halal) Fitou is a small town nestled between France and Spain hence you will find a selection of tapas and even French favourite like Coq Au Vin — French braised chicken cooked with red wine and dauphinoise potatoes, a much-loved traditional French delicacy.


PENANG VILLAGE, G-8-B Ground Floor, Hartamas Shopping Centre, KL (Tel: 03-6201 9816). Business hours: Daily, 11am-10pm. The Nyonya flavours here lean toward its Penang heritage. Food is rich with influences of the North with predominantly sour accents to its taste merged with a pleasant blend of sweetness and spice.


TAKTAZ RESTAURANT, B-G-3, Block B, Persiaran Serdang Perdana, Taman Serdang Perdana, Seri Kembangan. (Tel: 03-8941 3364). Business hours: Daily, noon-midnight. Halal. A casual joint frequented by Iranians and Arabs. Tuck into rich stews like the Ghorme Sabzi Stew or Chicken Kebab, Lamb Koobide Kebab and Barberry Rice loaded with red berries and pistachio strips topped with yellow saffron.

To submit food listings and food-related queries, please email to or call 03-79671388 ext 1322.

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