Selasa, 27 Disember 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Introducing Chef Dino

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 11:17 PM PST

Filipino student Dino Ferrari emerges as winner of the E&O Search For AFC's Next Celebrity Chef reality TV cooking competition.

IT is the best Christmas present Filipino student Dino Ferrari has ever received. As winner of the Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Search For The Asian Food Channel's (AFC) Next Celebrity Chef reality TV show, Ferrari says the coveted title has been the best gift that money cannot buy.

"It's unbelievable. It is a dream come true. AFC and E&O have given me a once in a lifetime opportunity and I can't express my gratitude. There were moments during the competition when I thought I couldn't make it any further, but I persevered," said Ferrari, 26, with tears welling up in his eyes after AFC's press conference to unveil the winner of the competition in Kuala Lumpur last week.

In August, AFC conducted a region-wide search for Asia's next celebrity chef. Audition rounds were held in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Manila and Jakarta, where over 1,000 applicants turned up to compete.

The series, filmed mainly in Penang, premiered on AFC (Astro Channel 703) last month and involved 35 contestants going through gruelling tests and various culinary challenges under the scrutiny of the judges. After six weeks of elimination rounds, only Filipinos Diane Montecillo and Ferrari remained to compete in the grand finale.

In the finale, Montecillo and Ferrari were required to prepare their signature dishes (Montecillo, Beef Wellington, and Ferrari, Pan Fried Salmon With Wasabe And White Chocolate Sauce) for a team of executive sous chefs from Penang.

Following that, they were tasked to prepare a three-course dinner for 300 people at the E&O Hotel in Penang.

After much deliberation from judges Chef Bruce Lim, Chef Emmanuel Stroobant and E&O Group's director of group hospitality and lifestyle Michael Saxon, Ferrari emerged as the winner.

Lim said Ferrari's winning points included patience, calmness, knowledge of food and good managerial skills.

"Dino (Ferrari) fits the bill. He has the right attitude, personality and confidence. He has a good mix of skill, enthusiasm, passion and is camera-friendly. He is an ideal candidate who will add to the mix of culture and character dimensions in the series," said Lim, who was one of the strictest judges (remember the plate breaking sessions?) on the show.

Besides attaining instant celebrity status, Ferrari has been signed to an exclusive one-year contract, with a year-long employment contract with the E&O Group (beginning next month), taking on the mantle of Creative Chef, E&O Hospitality and Lifestyle Division.

Ferrari said his biggest surprise was being able to beat Montecillo, a culinary instructor.

"I am a student whereas Diane (Montecillo) is an experienced instructor. She is confident and has superb cooking skills. She was highly competitive and that pushed me to work harder. I believe my added advantage was my positive spirit and unbridled enthusiasm to gain knowledge on Asian cuisine. Despite the challenges, the last six weeks have been rewarding," said Ferrari,

Ferrari is no greenhorn in the culinary scene though. At 22, he enrolled in an eight-month cooking programme in a kitchen in France. Following that, he underwent a short culinary course at hotel and restaurant management school L'ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne in Le, Switzerland.

"I thank my parents and two elder sisters for guiding me in this direction. This competition has opened so many doors at a much faster pace. Hopefully, I can build a name for myself and be recognised not only as a good chef, but also one that entertains from the heart, making people laugh," said Ferrari, who is of Swiss and Filipino parentage.

AFC chief executive officer and co-founder Maria Brown said: "Dino (Ferrari) has the character, the on-camera persona and knowledge of how to cook delicious cuisines. Viewers tuned in religiously every week to support their favourite contestants, filling the AFC Facebook and Twitter pages with comments and words of encouragement.

"For AFC's first-ever fully produced and filmed reality television cooking contest, the public's reaction has been overwhelming. It has been a great achievement that we have been able to draw such attention to the culinary talents available in Asia."

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Skirting on thin ice

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 11:18 PM PST

The latest version of Charlie's Angels proves to be far from pretty.

ONCE upon a time, three angels moved to Miami to fight crime. But – as it turned out – they overstayed their welcome after just seven episodes. Actually, it's not fair to blame the bright city. A lovable serial killer (Dexter Morgan of Dexter), a very cunning spy (Michael Westen of Burn Notice) and a forensic expert with a penchant for cliched one-liners (Horatio Crane of CSI: Miami) have made the sunny town their homes, quite sucessfully. What the reboot of Charlie's Angels lacks compared to these three shows is – hmmm, how do I say this nicely? – everything. To be honest, it's an insult to mention the extremely superb Dexter and the very entertaining Burn Notice in the same breath as Charlie's Angels.

Sure, Charlie's Angels boasts three very nice-looking girls wearing all these nice outfits and shoes, strutting to right the wrong against awfully nice backgrounds. Heck, the show even has a main character killed 20 minutes into the series, a very daring move by any show, really. However, somebody forgot to give these female characters personalities. It doesn't help that Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly and Rachael Taylor cannot act to save their lives – although they make every effort to be sexy and dangerous all at the same time, an effort that is so bad that it's not even funny.

Maybe it's not their fault because the script is horrific. One friend commented that he actually felt his grey cells committing suicide every time a character opened her mouth to talk.

Here are some cringe-worthy examples: "Watch your mouth Jerry or you'll have to talk to her instead of me", "Guys, don't tell me. We've uncovered a cartel of evil florists" and "Shoes are like sushi. They don't travel well." Ha-bloody-ha. Angel the brooding vampire is way, way, way, funnier.

Admittedly, the original Charlie's Angels skirted on very thin ice. But what made the 1970s show work (as well as the recent films) was just how much fun factor was incorporated into the storylines. The series and the films just screamed that the audience needn't take the premise seriously, freeing the viewers from any obligation other than to just enjoy the surreal action sequences, airy hairstyles and cheesy lines just for pleasure's sake.

In the newer version, the new Charlie's Angels decided to make things really sombre. Needless to say, it backfired.

Also, the angle in the original series was that the girls were hired because they were going nowhere fast in the police force due to the glass ceiling in the precint. The new angels have more shady backgrounds and want a second chance. Proudly flaunting that they are no saints, the show reveals one of them was once a cat burglar, another a car thief and another, a dirty cop. Seriously? We are supposed to like a dirty cop! The Reagans in Blue Bloods will just smack us senseless if that happens.

Another huge mistake Charlie's Angels made was hiring a young and, not to mention, irritating John Bosley. He is played by Ramon Rodriguez – who first annoyed audiences everywhere in Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. Sure, Bosley is no angel, but Rodriguez just comes off as sleazy with a huge helping of yucks. If the three angels had any brains and self-respect, they'd refuse to work with Rodriguez almost immediately. Which brings us to Charlie? Victor Garber used to play a father to a female spy in the series Alias; a role he practically owned. Here, he should've easily conveyed that "fatherly" figure to the angels, but the only thing that comes across is how mechanical he sounds.

Reboots are great if it's done right. Battlestar Galactica updated the old (cheesy) show to tackle heavy subjects like faith, humanity and morality, making it a series that surpassed the original series on so many levels.

Hawaii-Five-0 doesn't challenge itself enough, but it's a series that has established itself as a winner. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Knight Rider and Bionic Woman – two really awful reincarnations.

Charlie's Angels proves that someone should stop this futile exercise and not molest our memories further.

Charlie's Angels is aired on Fox (Astro Ch710) every Sunday at 9pm.

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Mini Parlimen show host Pak Jamal takes it easy in retirement

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 05:13 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Fans of 80s local television programmes may still remember a Mini Parlimen show, which starred children as "Members of Parliament".

The show, an inspiration of Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali – the wife of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad – was famous with children debating issues in "parliament".

Besides the children, Pak Cik Jamal – or Jamal Muhamad – held the spotlight as "Tuan Yang di-Pertua" and the show host.

Almost as tall as a 12-year-old boy, his character made him the children's idol, with the show receiving tremendous response after it was aired in 1983 in conjunction with the country's 26th Independence Day.

However, many people have since been asking where Pak Cik Jamal is now. After leaving the broadcasting world 16 years ago, Jamal, now 72, is living in Dengkil, Selangor and is suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a condition which causes a curved spine.

"I spend most of my time in bed as my movements are limited. I undergo check-ups at Putrajaya Hospital every fortnight," he was quoted as saying in Utusan Melayu Mingguan.

He said since his retirement as an RTM employee, he preferred to spend time with his wife, Sallamiah Serat, 65, at his home.

On his days as a children's television show host, Jamal said the Taman Kanak-Kanak programme, which aired for 34 years from 1961, was more popular than Mini Parlimen.

He said due to the show's popularity, he was able to follow a course with Australia Broadcasting Corpo­ration's (ABC) Channel 10 in 1977 for a month.

"I felt proud when a producer at the ABC broadcasting company complimented me on the show," said the man, who was born in Kampung Baru.

Hosting the Mini Parlimen show was a big challenge as he had to both write the script as well as train the children, who numbered at 180, the same number of MPs in Parliament at that time.

The ex-RTM Radio deejay also said he was happy to serve as a government official, adding that his career had taken off despite him being a disabled.

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Teen obesity tied to poor mom-child relationship

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 06:50 PM PST

NEW YORK Dec 28 (Reuters) Toddlers who have poor relationships with their mother are more likely to pack on extra weight as they grow up, according to a U.S. study.

Researchers who followed nearly 1,000 children into their teens found that more than 25 percent of those who scored lowest on motherchild relationship tests as toddlers went on to become obese at age 15, findings in Pediatrics said.

By contrast, only 13 percent of the children who had a good relationship with their mother became obese.

While that doesn't prove cause and effect, researchers say other work has shown links between children's emotional and intellectual development and how they interact with their mother at a young age.

It's possible that a stressful childhood could make a lasting impression on children's brains, said Sarah Anderson, who worked on the study.

"There is an overlap in the brain between the areas that govern stress and energy balance," said Anderson, at the Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus.

"This stress response could be related to obesity through appetite regulation."

The study was based on 977 children who were videotaped while playing with their mother at about one, two and three years of age.

Researchers then assessed the toddler's relationship to their mothers based on the mother's ability to recognize her child's emotional state and respond with warmth, as well as the child's tendency to explore its environment freely, a measure of "attachment security."

A quarter of the toddlers had a "poorquality" relationship to their mothers, whereas 22 percent achieved perfect scores at each session.

At 15 years, 26 percent of the children with relationship trouble were obese twice as many as those without such problems.

However, the gap narrowed as more factors were taken into account, including maternal education and household income.

David Gozal, a pediatrician who was not involved in the study, agreed, although he said unhealthy food and a lack of physical activity and sleep are likely to play a bigger role.

Still, stress both via genetic reprogramming and behavioral changes may also have an impact, and a poor motherchild relationship could be part of that, he said.

"What you see in adulthood is obviously the cumulative effect of what has happened earlier in life," said Gozal, physicianinchief at the Corner Children's Hospital in Chicago.

Today, 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But Anderson said that even if poor relationships at home contributed, there is no point in chiding mothers.

"Blaming parents is not likely to solve anything. It's important to recognize that there are many competing demands on parents," she added.

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S.Korea companies pessimistic on Jan outlook

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 06:47 PM PST

SEOUL, Dec 28 (Reuters) Confidence among South Korea's largest companies fell to its lowest in four months in January due to heightened uncertainty at home and the looming euro zone debt crisis, a survey showed Wednesday.

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) said in a statement that its January business survey index fell to a seasonally adjusted 96.2 from 99.3 for December.

An reading below 100 indicates companies expecting their business performance to worsen outnumber those forseeing improvement. The outlook was the lowest since September.

The FKI attributed the pessimism to fears of contagion from the debt issues in the euro zone and the United States, as well as the risk of China's economy losing momentum.

Companies are also expected to shy away from spending next year due to heightened uncertainty after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jongil, the FKI's statement said.

The lobby group for large companies including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor said it surveyed the country's top 600 firms by sales in late December.

A separate quarterly business sentiment survey conducted by South Korea's economy ministry also pointed to a gloomy manufacturing outlook for the first quarter of 2012, with developed economies running out of steam.

The Bank of Korea's monthly manufacturing business outlook also fell on poor private consumption and an uncertain financial environment.

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India to meet 2011/12 govt stakesale target

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 06:46 PM PST

NEW DELHI, Dec 27 (Reuters) The Indian government is confident it will meet its target of raising 400 billion rupees ($7.6 billion) this fiscal year by selling shares in staterun firms, a senior finance ministry official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The government is working on a plan to raise funds by pledging stakes held in tobaccotohotels group ITC, industrial conglomerate Larsen & Toubro and Axis Bank, the senior official said on Tuesday.

These funds would be placed with a new investment vehicle that would buy back the government's stake in staterun firms, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The shares in ITC, Larsen & Toubro and Axis Bank are held through the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India (SUUTI).

"The whole impression that SUUTI (route) will not materialize is wrong. We are still working on the modalities," the official said.

"We are going to meet the disinvestment target."

So far this fiscal year, New Delhi has managed to raise only about $250 million through the sale of a stake in Power Finance Corp in May.

With the stakesale programme failing to take off and tax revenue under pressure from slowing economic growth, worries about India's public finances are growing.

On Monday, the government announced to sell 150 billion rupees of bonds on Dec. 30 in an unscheduled auction to fund an "emerging cash requirement".

The official said the unscheduled auction is part of the borrowing for the second half of the fiscal year that ends in March 2012, which has been advanced.


In September, the government increased its borrowing target for the second half of the fiscal year to 2.2 trillion rupees from the budgeted 1.67 trillion, but said this was unlikely to affect the fiscal deficit target of 4.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The financial markets are not so sure.

A Reuters poll last month showed that the fiscal deficit for the current fiscal year is widely expected to reach 5.5 percent of GDP, which would force the government to borrow an extra 353 billion rupees.

"No doubt, there is pressure on the fiscal deficit front. But we are still to decide about our borrowing requirements," the official said. "Once we work that out, we will notify it."

However, New Delhi could go for higher borrowing as the budgeted fiscal deficit target will be missed, Press Trust of India reported on Tuesday, quoting an anonymous government official.

"Growth slowdown is a big challenge. We may miss the direct tax target ... meeting 4.6 per cent fiscal deficit target is out of the question," PTI quoted the official as saying.

"There has to be extra (market) borrowing to bridge (the revenue) deficit. If deficit increases then the government will have to borrow."

Bond dealers are already fretting that the government could announce additional bond auctions, pushing up bond yields.

The benchmark federal bond yield shot up on Tuesday after Monday's unscheduled debt sale announcement.

The 10year benchmark bond yield ended at 8.48 percent, after rising as much as 8.59 percent on the day. On Monday, it gained 12 basis points to close at 8.49 percent.

The official sought to allay the markets concerns. "Growth in advance tax numbers has slowed down. It is an open secret now," the official said.

"However, there will not be a huge shortfall in revenue receipts."

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Corretja named as Spain's Davis Cup captain

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 04:07 PM PST

MADRID (Reuters) - Alex Corretja will be Spain's new Davis Cup team captain for the next two years, the country's tennis federation (RFET) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The former world number two and twice French Open finalist replaces Albert Costa who stepped up into a director's role at the federation after leading Spain to Davis Cup final victories over Czech Republic in 2009 and Argentina in 2011.

"I am absolutely convinced that today we have reached a great agreement for Spanish tennis," RFET president Jose Luis Escanuela said.

"To unite his technical and human qualities with that of our players is without doubt a step forward for the success of the team."

The 37-year-old Corretja added: "It's a privilege to be able to captain the best team of players in the world." He will be presented to the media on Wednesday.

Corretja, who helped Spain win the first of their five Davis Cups in 2000, starts the defence of their title with a world group first round tie at home to Kazakhstan on Feb. 10-12.

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Lee keeps up hectic schedule to stay tops for London

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 04:09 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: There will be no letup for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei as he works to maintain his top spot for the London Olympics next year with yet another busy schedule – starting with the Korean Open Super Series Premier tournament in Seoul from Jan 3-8.

The 29-year-old had a hectic 2011, in which he competed in 15 tournaments, winning seven of them.

But Chong Wei was clearly exhausted towards the end of the year, resulting in three consecutive semi-final defeats at the hands of China's Lin Dan and Chen Long in the Hong Kong Open, China Open and World Super Series Finals.

But instead of taking a break, he is already back in training and his coach, Tey Seu Bock, believes Chong Wei has no plans to cut down on the number of tournaments before the London Olympics in August.

Besides the Korean Open, Chong Wei is also down to compete in the Malaysian Open in January, and will feature in the Thomas Cup qualifiers in February, the All-England in March and the India Open in April.

Assuming Malaysia qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals, Chong Wei will feature in the tournament in May and the Indonesia Open in June, which will be the final competition before the Olympics.

"Although rest is important, Chong Wei cannot afford to slacken because he has to maintain the top spot in the rankings in order to get the best seeding in the Olympics," said Seu Bock.

"Even when he is tired, Chong Wei is capable of reaching the semi-finals or final without too much effort. I just want him to compete at his own pace.

"It is vital that we don't heap extra pressure on him and, hopefully, he'll stay injury–free till July.

"We are also discussing whether it is a good idea to let him compete in the Swiss Open in March and the Malaysia Open GP Gold in May," added Seu Bock.

Chong Wei, who is the top seed for the Korean Open, will have a relatively easy path to the final.

He faces India's P. Kashyap in the first round and a win should pit him against Korean Shon Wan-ho in the next round.

Awaiting Chong Wei in the quarter-finals should be seventh seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam while veteran Dane Peter Gade Christensen could be a semi-final hurdle.

China's Lin Dan, Chen Long and Chen Jin have been drawn in the bottom half of the draw and one of them should make it to the final.

Besides Chong Wei, the other Malaysian singles shuttlers in the fray are Liew Daren and KLRC's Mohd Hafiz Hashim, but both will have to start from the qualifying rounds.

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Olympic qualifiers squad to be named after China friendlies

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 02:51 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The friendly matches against China next month will offer the final chance for the 25 players in the national hockey squad to secure their place in the the Olympic qualifiers in Dublin in March.

Although Malaysia have lined up friendlies against India and another team in February, there is a good chance that the squad will be trimmed to 20 by the end of January.

National coach Tai Beng Hai admitted that the China fixtures will be the last chance to experiment with the players and also give those who did not feature in the Champions Challenge I last month a chance to prove their worth.

"We are in the final phase of training and are getting closer to our final selection. By the time we travel to India in February, we will be down to 20 or even the final 18 players.

"We are allowed to make changes until just before leaving for the qualifiers but we should have our final team list ready well before that.

"I want to see the players push themselves hard in the coming month and show that they deserve a place in the team," said Beng Hai.

In the past three weeks, the players have been put through physical workouts aimed at increasing their fitness level.

Beng Hai said they will only tone down the emphasis on fitness when the friendly matches start.

"When the friendlies gets underway, we will concentrate on improving combination play and set–piece moves. I am happy with the commitment of the players and feel they are on the same wavelength as the coaches in wanting to do well in Dublin."

Malaysia are allowed to bring along 18 players for the qualifiers. But each team can only register 16 players for the Olympics hockey competition in London.

Beng Hai said Malaysia are still waiting for India to confirm the dates for the friendly matches in New Delhi.

The matches against China, who will arrive on Jan 10, will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Thai govt compensates bomb blast victims

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 06:34 AM PST

SUNGAI GOLOK (South Thailand): The Thai government announced Tuesday that it had paid compensation totalling RM60,000 to the six families of Malaysians killed in the series of bomb blasts, here, in September.

Sungai Golok deputy security officer, Santi Chuduang said RM5,000 was also allocated to five Malaysians who were injured in the incident.

"The compensation was given to them in October and November. This shows the Thai government's concern for the victims and their families," he told Malaysian reporters after a security meeting and demonstration in Kampung Arissra, here.

He said each family of the six Malaysians killed were given RM10,000 while the injured received RM1,000 each.

The six Malaysians killed here on Sept 16 were Wong Kai Sean, 3, his grandfather, Wong Hong Yep, 64, Chan Yau Wing, 52, Foong Too Keh, 45, Chan Yew Soon, 63, and Ng Sai Kai, 63. Injured were Lai Yok Long, Wong Wai Siong, Wee It Cheng, Phoo King Kuang and Cheng Yew Mang.

Chuduang, who is also Sungai Golok district officer, however, said the compensation would be increased if the injuries became serious and caused permanent disability.

Meanwhile, Malaysians have been told not to worry about coming here as the authorities are always taking measures to ensure security in Sungai Golok.

Sungai Golok deputy police chief Lt Col. Toweesak Tongsangsee said a 26-year-old Thai man had been charged over the bombings.

He said police were hunting for at least 10 individuals believed to be involved in the bombings.

"We seek cooperation including from the Malaysian authorities if they know the identity of the people we are looking for," he said. - Bernama

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Traffic diversion near KLIA Dec 29-30

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 06:17 AM PST

SEPANG: There will be a traffic diversion on both sides of the highway leading to the KL International Airport at KM10 and KM11 from Dec 28 to Dec 30, said Malaysia Airports on Tuesday.

The diversion will be done in phases to facilitate construction works of 'launching beam' for the KLIA2 project.

The traffic diversion details are as follows:

Road Closure/Diversion Towards KL: Dec 28-29 Time of Contra Flow : 2300hrs - 0600hrs (11.00pm till 6.00am)

Road Closure/Diversion Towards KLIA terminal: Dec 29-30 Time of Contra Flow : 2300hrs - 0600hrs (11.00pm till 6.00am)

The diversion is minor, nevertheless, Malaysia Airports said, it had planned the time period of the diversion during non-peak hours for flights at KLIA, to minimise the impact of the traffic diversion.

However, due to the recent heavy downpours, vehicles are advised to slow down when approaching the affected areas.

Passengers travelling on these dates were advised to exercise caution and adhere to traffic regulations when approaching the area during the particular time, said Malaysia Airports, which manages and operates KLIA.

Alternative transportation to reach KLIA is available by ERL.

Malaysia Airports would also like to advise all passengers to continue observing proper time management to ensure timely arrival at the airport. - Bernama

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Chua: Name-calling in DAP not entirely wrong

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 05:52 AM PST

Published: Tuesday December 27, 2011 MYT 12:41:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 27, 2011 MYT 9:52:05 PM

PENANG: The MCA has taken a dig at the ongoing spat between veteran DAP leader Karpal Singh and deputy secretary-general Dr P. Ramasamy, saying the name calling by them was not entirely wrong.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said as a veteran leader, Karpal would have many followers who regarded him as a "godfather", but to many others outside the DAP, he was regarded as a "warlord."

He said Dr Ramasamy had been appointed Deputy Chief Minister II following his election as a state assemblyman and Member of Parliament because of the wave of antagonism against the Barisan Nasional in 2008.

"The fact is that Ramasamy is a novice in politics compared to Karpal, who has done his part in building up his party," Dr Chua.

He predicted that Dr Ramasamy, a former Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia lecturer, would not be able to survive if "left on his own."

On Monday, Dr Ramasamy denied making allegations of a grand design to oust him and claimed the allegations attributed to him in The Star were baseless and frivolous.

Related Stories:
Rayer demands Ramasamy apologise and retract remarks
DCM: I never made allegations
What Ramasamy said in the interview with The Star
Ramasamy must go, says Karpal
DAP's Ramasamy changes his tune

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Entertainment overload

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 10:49 PM PST

With so much that we can watch and listen to, even celebrities who make the cut may not last.

IT'S that time of the year when many attempt to redress the entertainment deficit they have accumulated over the months or even years, believing the holiday season to afford them the time to regain their cultural balance.

However, there is something very different in the air this year. I find that, despite spending the most time I have ever done on music, movies and dramas in my life, I have still a serious backlog of them that I don't even need to stock up on anything new this year-end, which I usually do.

Among the box sets I have spent a fortune amassing but have yet to open, let alone watch, are season six of British sci-fi drama Doctor Who, the latest season of a Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, the hit US drama Mad Men Seasons 1-4, True Blood DVD Complete Set Seasons 1-4, and more than 10 movies I had missed at the cinemas and bought when they were released on disc.

And that's just the Hollywood movies and dramas. There's also a bunch of music CDs, not forgetting that the volume is multiplied by three, as I am also a big fan of Chinese and Japanese productions.

It's a good thing I have yet to really throw myself into the Korean juggernaut or the overload would reach epic proportions. Even so, my back-of-envelope calculations show that I would have to stop sleeping from now till after Chinese New Year for a fighting chance to finish watching what I already possess, while listening to my CDs in the background.

One would think that with the recent technological advances such as the smartphone, Internet streaming of movies, dramas and music and the ubiquity of portable and car-installed DVD players on top of the by now standard subscription to cable TV in almost every household, everyone ought to be able to get up to speed on their entertainment fixes.

While the ability to satisfy our entertainment needs on multiple fronts – often without sitting through commercials – means that we can spend more time on them, there are still only 24 hours in a day. Hence, there is only so much we can do, the capacity for multi-tasking notwithstanding.

What has perhaps been more significant is the proliferation of movies, dramas and music in recent years as more entertainment companies come into the picture. Life was so much easier when there was only CBS, NBC and ABC in the Unied States, and competition in Hong Kong was only between the two main stations TVB and ATV.

With the addition of other major broadcasters and hundreds of cable channels, many of which commission their own series, the market for movies and dramas has never been so saturated. In a huge market like China, regional broadcasters are just as active as the national television network CCTV in producing dramas and variety programmes. In Malaysia, a new cable provider to compete with Astro is in the works, offering the prospect of even more programmes for viewing.

Increasingly, any personality worth his salt often sets up his own production house, adding to the churn. Then there are the crossover artistes, like Justin Timberlake, who is not content with only a singing career and has made his foray into movies.

Many of us take our entertainment dosage quite seriously, as apart from the enjoyment, knowledge about entertainers and their work is one way to show that one is with it. Such knowledge is the fodder for small talk, and a way of bonding with friends, colleagues and family.

Did anyone notice that I have left aside the mention of my unread books, some of which were bought digitally and are now waiting to be read in my smartphone or laptop?

With so much competition for our eyes and ears, entertainers beware, because only programmes that are fresh, exciting and are able to rise from the heap, stand a chance of being watched, or at least, watched by enough people to justify the continuation of their series.

Anna Paquin, I liked you from along time ago, when you were a child actress 18 years back in The Piano. You were also brilliant in the X-Men series as Rogue.

But I am afraid that I will not be watching you in True Blood, a series about vampires and werewolves, despite the good reviews. The DVD set of the series I bought, often beckons to me, but the all-too-common theme has so far failed to spur me into action. It will probably go into the KIV drawer that holds the many box-sets I have not had the time to watch.

Jon Hamm faces an uphill task in converting me into a fan, even though there are several points in his favour. Having been a copywriter, I am naturally interested in the world of advertising that Mad Men portrays. The many Golden Globe awards the series has received is also a deal winner.

However, the fact is that competition is fierce. Given a choice between a rip-roaring sci-fi thriller like Doctor Who and the 1960s world of advertising, the sci-fi universe wins it for me every time.

The HBO medieval fantasy series, Game Of Thrones, based on the bestselling fantasy saga of A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R. R. Martin, is one of the easiest dramas to follow, giving actor Sean Bean a new lease of life as a hero in the process.

The reality is that for every Game Of Thrones that grips my attention, there are probably a hundred other series that I would have no time for.

Glee, CSI, Bones, Chuck and even House have all had to take a back seat this year, and I fear, will join the graveyard of the unwatched in the future, even though they are still very entertaining. If enough of us are unable to watch them, the talented actors in them will have to seek new pastures or fall by the wayside.

> In this column, writer Hau Boon Lai ponders the lives, loves and liberties of celebrities.

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Holland Taylor on life, love and Charlie Sheen

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 10:17 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Holland Taylor offers no apologies for never settling down, getting married or having children.

The 68-year-old Emmy-winning actress, currently starring in her one-woman show ''Ann'' at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center, simply never had the time.

''I always did think I would be married and settled down by now but maybe I ain't ready,'' she said, sounding a lot like the over-the-top mother of Jon Cryer she portrays in the CBS comedy ''Two and a Half Men.'' ''Then again, maybe I won't ever be ready.''

Taylor's career blossomed in her mid-30s and the New Yorker with Pennsylvania roots has been on a dizzying pace ever since, starring on the stage, in television and on film.

Having a family just wasn't in the script.

''I'm very, very happy. I just never was the marrying kind,'' she said. ''I am a serial monogamist. I don't have multiple relationships at once. ''I've had a long life and a lot of relationships and not one of them do I wish - well, I take that back - there are a couple I could have done without,'' she added with a chuckle.

Taylor's current love is ''Ann,'' which is based on the life of quick-witted, sharp-tongued former Texas Gov. Ann Richards.

Seconds after a recent performance at the Kennedy Center, the audience was on its feet, cheering wildly for the show and its star.

While the applause was quick that night, overall it was a long time coming for Taylor. The actress conceived the show nearly six years ago and has been researching it and writing it ever since. She admits to being captivated about the dynamic Richards, who died in 2006 of esophageal cancer.

''I had a lot of creative feelings about her,'' Taylor told Reuters. ''If I had been a painter, it would have been a painting. If I had been a composer, it would have been a piece of music. I had to do something with my feelings about this loss.''

Taylor said the idea of taking Richards' story to the stage ''came to me very suddenly.''

''I was literally driving to work at my television show one day and I had to pull off the highway onto the service road,'' she recalled. ''I had the idea it should be a play because of her liveliness and her contact with the audience.

''She herself said, 'I was good as a candidate over the years only because I connect with people one on one.' I decided right then a play is how it should be done.''

NO LOOKING BACK Taylor has perfected Richards' Southern drawl and eerily looks like the the Texas politician whose energizing keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention elevated her to widespread prominence.

The actress insists she brought Richards' story to the stage not because she could play the role but to celebrate the politician's life.

''She was not a person who looked back. Ever,'' Taylor said. ''She did not revisit things. She was rolling along, like a wheel that goes under and then over. Under and over. But always moving forward.

''If she fell, she fell forward. And that is not the way I am. I get very upset. I can get very waylaid. I get blue. I can become chicken little. ''And now when I do, I think, 'What would Ann Richards think of this behavior?'''

During breaks in the show's pre-Broadway tour - it is playing now through Jan. 15 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Taylor will continue her role on ''Two and a Half Men.'' She is glad its former star, Charlie Sheen, survived his firing and public meltdown earlier this year and has moved on.

''It was painful for me to see him in pain and he did something very, very dangerous by first of all, obviously doing drugs to that degree is dangerous, but quitting very violently is very dangerous too,'' she said.

''And he went through really an amazing thing out in public. I just was terrified for him. I think everybody was. But he got through it alive which is all anybody wanted.''

Taylor said she would see his daily rants and described them as ''very scary.''

''There were a few days there where I would open the paper, and I would be so frightened to see that something really terrible happened,'' she said. ''I'm glad he escaped that.''

Holland Taylor is in a good spot these days, healthy, happy and with more job offers than she knows what do do with. Just don't expect her to slow down anytime soon.

With a laugh, she said she would ''commit an ax murder'' before attempting to conceal her age.

''It would seem so silly,'' she said backstage at the Kennedy Center. ''I really, truly genuinely struggled quite hard until I was in my mid-30s. ''I personally was at sea.

''But that's long gone. I'm doing OK. I'm better than OK.''

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Actor Matthew McConaughey proposes to girlfriend

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 05:08 PM PST

LOS ANGELES, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Hollywood leading man Matthew McConaughey has proposed to his longtime girlfriend and the mother of their two children, model Camila Alves, the actor said in a posting on celebrity website

McConaughey, star of such films as "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" and "The Lincoln Lawyer," posted a picture of him and Alves kissing near a Christmas tree on Sunday with the message "just asked camila to marry me, merry Christmas." is a website that hosts many celebrity accounts. A spokesman for the actor confirmed that McConaughey posted the message but gave no further details.

McConaughey, 42, and Alves, 28, have been a couple for several years. They have two children, Levi, 3, and Vida, who turns 2 next month.

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Margaret Stohl finds her voice

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 08:13 PM PST

Fear of failure kept her from attempting to write a novel for almost two decades. When she finally unleashed her inner writer, it changed her life.

THE Caster Chronicles, a series of bestselling young adult (YA) novels, owed its life to a fateful lunch.

Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, a teacher who taught Stohl's daughters, were having lunch when their discussion about their common love, books, morphed into a creative writing session.

Both ended up scribbling on a couple of napkins a story about Ethan, a boy from a rural town called Gatlin in the American South. He falls for Lena, the new girl in town ... only she just happens to come from a family of Casters, people gifted with magical powers ... and is the victim of a frightening family curse.

"I came home from lunch and told my eldest daughter, who is a teenager, that we were going to write a book and she laughed and laughed and thought it was the funniest thing," said Stohl, 44, when I met her in Kuala Lumpur recently.

"And I said: 'No, really, I'm going to write a book!' And she said, 'Mummy, you may think you're going to write a book but in three days you'll be doing something else because you never finish anything. And I said, 'Oh, it's on! I'm writing that book and I'm going to show you!'" Stohl laughs as she recalls the beginning of her career as an author.

Stohl, who lives in Los Angeles with her two daughters and husband, was in Malaysia for the first time earlier this month to appear at the MPH Carnival in KL and also for research – the second novel of her new series, Icon, is set in South-East Asia.

Conquering fear

Stohl had always wanted to write a book but just never dared to.

"I think I was afraid that I'd fail. So I wrote video games for 16 years and wrote animation screenplays before that," she says.

(If you are a gamer, you may recognise some of the games that she had worked on: Slave Zero, Apocalypse, Zork Nemesis, Zork Grand Inquisitor, Spycraft, Command And Conquer: Red Alert Retaliation, and Command And Conquer: Tiberian Sun.)

When she stopped writing video games and finally decided to write that novel, she didn't know what she really wanted to do and ended up "messing around with different things". It was then that she had that fateful lunch with Kami Garcia.

For Stohl, the key that enabled her to break through the fear was her daughters.

"You do things for your kids you won't do for yourself. And I just had to do it without thinking too much about it," she says, adding that her daughters were her toughest critics and greatest motivators when she was writing that first novel with Garcia.

It also helped that Stohl and Garcia weren't writing the book with the idea that it had to be sold. Stohl wrote as if she was writing a bedtime story for her daughters, Garcia's teenage half-sister and their best friends.

"It's actually quite easy to write when you know who you're writing for," Stohl says now.

Stohl and Garcia had a unique writing system: they would trade chunks of their writing, scribble notes on each part, and write over each other's writing.

"In Europe they ask me, 'How do you write with four hands?' That's what it feels like," she says.

Both women drew inspiration from their small town origins and from their teen daughters and nieces experiences. After 12 weeks, the scribbles on the napkins became the draft for the first novel, Beautiful Creatures, a magic-infused tale about two teenagers who want desperately to belong, and control their destinies.

And Stohl won the bet.

"When it was over I was so happy that (my daughter) respected me for winning the bet that I honestly didn't care what happened to the story," she says.

Suddenly, a writer

It took Stohl and Garcia a further nine months of constant revisions to perfect the novel.

And then, an unexpected thing happened. Stohl's friend, a children's books writer, sent the manuscript to his agent without telling her about it. The publisher was delighted with the book – and everything changed.

The two women received multiple offers for the book. And then the movie rights sold. (The movie will start filming in April next year with "well known actors" in the adult roles, Stohl says.)

"And all that happened before the book even came out! So then, my life changed really, really quickly and everything was very strange for a while," she says.

If anything, the change came too fast, as they both barely had time to digest their success, she adds.

When Beautiful Creatures was finally published in 2009, it became's Editors' Picks No.1 Teen Best Book of the Year and No.5 Best Book of the Year overall for 2009, something the online retailer has rarely done except for Harry Potter. Then, Beautiful Creatures was nominated for several awards and was distributed in 20 over countries and translated into several languages.

"I was in Paris when my book hit the New York Times bestseller list and I remember that was one of the greatest nights of my life. Also, the day the publishers sent me the book for the first time and I held it in my hands. That was a really big day for me," she says.

After Beautiful Creatures, came Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos and Dream Dark, an e-book featuring Link, one of the most popular supporting characters in the Caster Chronicles.

With this body of work under her belt, Stohl has stopped being afraid of calling herself a writer.

"Suddenly, I'm a writer. And my friends were all writers. I met the people who were doing what I do. And I sort of found this whole other world. I found my tribe," she says, smiling.

She has become good friends with many YA authors such as Cassandra Clare of the Infernal Devices series.

"It's really strange because you'd think we'd be competitive. But we're not. They all believe that 'the rising tides lift all the boats.' Everyone wants more readers for YA," Stohl says.

Creative genre

Stohl had always read YA fiction and believes that the genre is currently the most creative one to write for.

"I always say I didn't choose (the genre). It chose me. It's where my voice is," she explains.

Stohl believes that supernatural-themed stories are so popular these days with teenagers because they resonate with their struggles.

"I've met with students and readers (around the world) like Canada, the US, and, yes, Malaysia and I am surprised by how similar teenagers are. Their life is controlled by standardised tests. They feel that they don't have any control and that decisions are made for them. The fundamental story for our book is Lena not being able to choose for herself. I think that's a 'teen feeling'," she says.

Fantasy, she feels, is a way of exploring dangerous and powerful emotions and topics. "When you're writing about supernatural powers you're writing about emotional power."

Stohl has just finished the revision for the final book of the Caster series, which will be published in October next year. The book, she says, is so closely connected to the third book that they are almost two halves of one book. And the stakes are very, very high for Lena and Ethan.

"The feeling of writing the last book is like a cross between a funeral, a wedding and a graduation. When I finished writing the draft I cried and when Kami finished writing her part of the draft she cried, and when the editor finished reading it she cried. It's just so emotional to finally have this world closing," she says.

After she closes the chapter on the Caster series, Stohl will be working on the Icon series alone without Garcia, which she admits is a scary endeavour.

"Not so much about the writing but about having to leave a successful franchise. It's scary. What if the readers do not come? What if it doesn't become an NYT bestseller?" she muses.

While Stohl says there's a possibility of revisiting Gatlin once more, especially since there's a movie coming out, she would like to focus on the Icon series now.

"Right now I think it's important for both Kami and me to explore our own voices. We are going to do that, but we'll always be friends and the possibility will always remain. I will never say never," she says with a laugh.

The Beautiful Creatures novels are available at all major bookstores nationwide. The fourth and the last book will be released next year.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro Watch

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 03:31 AM PST


The emergency and motorcycle lanes at both bounds along Shah Alam Expressway between Hicom Interchange and Seafield Interchange will be closed from today until July 26, to facilitate bridge-widening work. All expressway users are advised to be careful and adhere to traffic signages along the construction area. For enquries, call Kesas hotline 03-5633 7188 or visit


As of Dec 31 at 10.30am, DBKL will implement traffic route changes along Jalan Rahim Kajai 13 and Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, from two ways to one way. The traffic along Jalan Rahim Kajai 13 will be changed to one-way and traffic along Lorong Rahim Kajai 14 will be re-routed towards Jalan Rahim Kajai. The same re-routing from two-way to one-way was applied yesterday at 10.30am involving part of Jalan Bintang 2, Taman Sri Bintang, KL.


The Northeasterly winds over 60kmph with waves more than 5.5m off Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, East Johor, Sarawak, FT Labuan, Sabah (interior, west coast and Kudat), Samui, Tioman, Bunguran, Condore, Reef North, Reef South, Layang-Layang and Palawan are expected to continue until Thursday. This condition of strong winds and rough seas is dangerous to all coastal and shipping activities including workers on oil platforms.


There will be a self-realisation programme with music for mind, body and spirit organised by PPVND and Astro Vannavil on Jan 7 from 9am to 12.30pm at the MPPJ Library hall in Jalan Selangor, Seksyen 3, Petaling Jaya. Admission is free. For details, call Ching Hooi at 012-2100481.


There will be a free talk by Prof Datuk Dr Mazlan Othman on "The Unknown Universe" on Jan 4 at the Theatrette, Planetarium Negara in Jalan Perdana, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free. Closing date for registration is Jan 2. To register, contact Hermayanti/Seetha at 03-2694 9898 or email /


The Crescent's biggest book sale is back again with more varieties until Jan 1 at MBPJ Multipurpose Hall, Jalan BU 3/1 Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. Discounts of 80% and prices as low as RM1 are available.


Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) is holding two art exhibitions at Wisma Kebudayaan SGM, from now until Jan 1 from 11am to 6pm. Admission is free.

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Rookie marathoners get valuable tips during clinic

Posted: 27 Dec 2011 03:31 AM PST

THE beginners overcame the challenging start, especially the steady uphill climb stretch, on the 6km trial run recently in preparation for next season's Multi-Purpose Insurans Run starting from the Padang Merbok carpark in Kuala Lumpur.

It was a new experience for the rookies, to gauge their progress in the familiarisation outing going around the actual course for the upcoming proper run scheduled at the same venue on Jan 8, 2012.

Newcomer Jasmine Sek said she was delighted to chalk up tremendous improvement over the past two months as a build-up to tackling the longer 12km distance at the upcoming event.

"It was fun joining the My First Run Clinic training sessions with my mother Jessica Khor and aunt Angie Ng. Besides getting in shape, we have also learned a lot and gained valuable knowledge related to running from the workshops hosted after the runs on every Saturday. It was also interesting to mingle with others exploring the joy of running. After going past the half-way mark today, I am ready to compete in the 12km run," the 25-year-old manager added.

The website co-founders Wan Yew Leong and Jamie Pang have been guiding their eager learners through the paces in the three-month initiative leading up to the main run.

They have adopted certain training methods from the New York Road Runners' programme for beginners tackling the 4.2km course around the Lake Gardens.

Initially, they have divided the 4.2km route into five segments of approximately 800m for each section and encouraged the trainees to combine jog and brisk walk in completing the distance.

"The turnout has been encouraging with a group of 30 regular faces showing up to join the training sessions. Several of them have been running on their own but found it more lively to be part of the group in adding variety to their usual training regime. For the beginners, we are pleased with their gradual progress because they found the right momentum running the full distance of 4.2km all the way without stopping. The 6km trial run served as a boost to their confidence in convincing them that they are on the right track," said the former Pacesetters Athletic Club Malaysia (PACM) president Yew Leong.

The hosts have also invited several key speakers including a chiropractor, a cardiologist and fitness trainer to enlighten the participants on issues related to running after their training on selected weeks.

Among other topics covered were running injuries and prevention, selecting the right fit running shoes and balance diet for sports.

For the 6km route, the two sections are women's and men's above 16 years.

The six categories for the 12km course are women's and men's above 16 years; women's veteran 35 to 45 years; men's veteran 40 to 50 years; women's senior veteran above 45 years; and men's senior veteran above 50 years.

"As we will be using timing chips for the 12km sections, we can only accommodate a maximum field of 2,255 runners and there are only limited places available. However, we can still cater for the last minute entries in both the shorter 6km events," said Yew Leong.

Alliance Bank and New Balance are the two main partners for the run.

For details, visit

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Safety first in schools

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 02:59 PM PST

KUANTAN: A safety audit carried out at 17 secondary schools in the state showed poor-compliance on occupational safety and health.

State occupational safety and health (DOSH) director Abdul Aziz Yahya said the schools lacked in creating a safe working and learning place for staff, teachers,students as well as for visitors and parents.

"The department used the same checklist used to inspect factories because secondary schools have chemical laboratories and workshops where light industrial activities take place such as welding.

"We need to know whether sufficient safety aspects are in place when students are in laboratories and workshops as outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Act,''he told reporters after the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on an occupational safey and health mentor-mentee programme here recently.

The MoU was between Petronas Gas Berhad's Centralised Utility Facilities (CUF), Urban Environmental Industries Sdn Bhd and DOSH.

Abdul Aziz noted that there were several elements missing in the schools such as a safety and health policy and a safety and health committee.

"A working place that has more than 40 people is required to establish a safety and health committee.

"This is among the safety standards listed in the Act which are not found in the schools and as such, we are now working closely with the education department to address the problem," he added.

He said an initiative was currently in progress under the Occupational Safety and Health Masterplan (2011-2015), and was expected to be addressed soon.

"It involves bigger and well-established industries volunteering to share their expertise and resources in guiding schools or smaller companies in drafting a sound policy and creating a safe working place", he added.

Abdul Aziz said a pilot project for schools was now being implemented in SM Muadzam Jaya in Rompin with the mentor being a multi-national company, BASF Petronas Chemicals Sdn Bhd.

"The company will make visits from time to time to guide the school in creating the right safety procedures and having a safe working place.

"DOSH will conduct a safety audit on the school after a year," he said.

He added that an audit had already been made before the project tookoff so the department would be able to make a better comparison.

Abdul Aziz also said the project would identify the weaknesses and recommendations would be submitted to the education department to rectify the situation.

"It is about time that strong emphasis is given on having a safeplace for teachers and students,'' he added.

On the MoU, Abdul Aziz said Petronas Gas would act as a mentor to Urban Enviromental Industries in formulating the latter's own occupational safety and health policy.

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Celebration a hit with duo

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 02:59 PM PST

BATU PAHAT: Norliana Ismail and her 12-year-old daughter Nor Ashura Osman were among hundreds of people who thronged the Taman Banang basketball court last Friday evening for the Winter Solstice celebration.

The 30-year-old housewife said it was their first time experiencing the festivity.

"It is a first time we joined the unique Chinese celebration and we are glad to be invited," she said.

Besides enjoying the performances such as dragon and lion dances as well as singing and dancing, the mother and daughter also tried their hands in making tangyuan (balls of glutinous rice) that was served during the celebration.

"We don't know how it taste like but we enjoyed making them," said Norlina.

Norlina and her daughter turned out to be one of the fastest teams in making tangyuan during the tangyang making competition held at the event organised by the Batu Pahat MCA.

Participants were required to mix the glutinous rice flour and water before rolling the batter into small round shapes in 15 minutes.

Also present at the event was MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who also joined the participants in making tangyuan.

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Objection period for plan extended to give public more time to air grouses

Posted: 26 Dec 2011 02:59 PM PST

KOTA KINABALU: The public objection period for the Draft Kota Kinabalu Local Plan (KKLP) 2020 has been extended by a month to January 26 next year.

Kota Kinabalu City Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said city hall decided to extend the objection period due the high number of public requests.

He hoped that during the extension period more members of the public especially those whose land are directly or indirectly involved in the new proposed land use zoning in the Draft KKLP 2020 take the opportunity to scrutinise the draft and make written objections if necessary.

Abidin said during the three months objection period, which began on Sept 26, more than 300 visitors including property owners, developers, government and non-government bodies, professional bodies and residents of Kota Kinabalu City had visited the exhibition.

The venue for the exhibition of the Draft KKLP 2020 is at Level 1, DBKK Meeting Room, which is open on Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 5pm.

Apart from that, booths were also held during the SHAREDA Propex Exhibition (30th September-2nd October 2011), 1 Borneo (1st-2nd October 2011) and Centre Point's Palm Square (15th-16th October 2011).

In total, the Mayor said, its City Planning Department have received 67 written objections from the affected landowners and about 28 written suggestions.

With the given time extension of another one month, the Mayor hopes that more people would participate in scrutinising the Draft KKLP 2020 and submit their objection if necessary.

Describing the written objections as site-specific in nature, Abidin said they will need to be resolved in a formal, comprehensive and case-by-case manner through public hearings consistent with the Town Planning Ordinance.

He said city hall was also in the process of making arrangements on how and when the public hearings should be held and administered.

In the meantime, he called on all potential and existing objectors not to wait until the last minute to hand in their completed objection forms.

He said the sooner submissions are received, the sooner the public hearings on objections to the Draft KKLP 2020 can be heard.

Abidin therefore encouraged all members of the public to visit the exhibition. while it is still on and to read through the "Frequently Asked Questions" brochure and exhibition posters.

They can give us their constructive input, exercise their individual right and learn more about the role they can play to transform Kota Kinabalu City into a better place to live, work and visit, he added.

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