Selasa, 28 Ogos 2012

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Thailand defers spending US$480mil more to prop up rubber prices

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 06:38 PM PDT

BANGKOK: The Thai cabinet has turned down a plan to spend another 15 billion baht (US$480mil) on buying rubber to prop up prices but will monitor the situation to see if further intervention is necessary, the deputy agriculture minister said.

"We still have two billion baht from the previous 15 billion baht budget left. We will spend what we have left first. Then an ad hoc rubber committee will consider what we should do next as the situation may change," Nattawut Saikuar told reporters.

Nattawut, who had announced the plan to beef up the buying scheme on Aug 21, was speaking after a cabinet meeting.

An intervention scheme launched in January has failed to raise unsmoked rubber sheet (USS3) to anywhere near the targeted price of 120 baht per kg and the government has bought only a fraction of the planned 200,000 tonnes.

USS3 was quoted at 82 baht per kg on Tuesday, while benchmark RSS3 smoked rubber sheet was at US$2.95 per kg. That was way below the record high of US$6.40 per kg hit in February 2011.

Demand for rubber has dropped because of the slowdown in the eurozone and other countries. Worries about defaults by Chinese buyers have added to the gloom.

In addition to its domestic intervention scheme, Thailand agreed with Indonesia and Malaysia on Aug 16, to cut exports by a total 300,000 tonnes to support prices.

The three countries account for 70% of global natural rubber output.

On Monday, the Thai Rubber Association said the export ban in Thailand would take effect from October. The government would cut quotas for companies, leading to a drop in exports each month of around 10% , or 25,000 tonnes.

Traders in Indonesia and Malaysia said they had heard nothing from the authorities there. Reuters

Airbus wins US$7bil PAL order despite US lobby

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 06:33 PM PDT

MANILA: Airbus won a US$7bil order to help more than triple Philippine Airlines Inc's fleet, beating Boeing Co to a deal despite the United States support for Manila in a diplomatic dispute with China.

The flag carrier plans to buy up to 100 new jets in total within the next five to seven years, its biggest ever fleet expansion in its 71-year history, as it restructures operations to become a low-cost carrier and regain dominance of the local market from archrival Cebu Air Inc.

Those purchases would take its fleet to around 140 planes, far ahead of Cebu's 38-strong fleet, which it plans to double.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it was still in talks with both Airbus and Boeing for its next tranche of planes.

For this stage of fleet expansion, the airline has ordered 10 long haul A330-300s and 44 jets from the A321 family, with delivery starting in 2013, Asia's oldest airline said in a statement.

PAL will pay Airbus in cash, with part of the money to come from bank loans, said president Ramon Ang, who also heads Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

The carrier is also ready to issue more shares to fund its jet purchases, it said in a statement.

"The good Boeing planes we are looking at are the 777-300 ER and the upcoming 777X.

"We're also interested in the Boeing 7879 Dreamliner," Ang told reporters on the sidelines of the deal signing event in Manila yesterday.

"We have the option on whichever type of aircraft to go," he pointed out.

Boeing and Airbus are locked in a global contest for market share, in some cases more than halving prices to bolster orders of the newly revamped models of best-selling narrow body jets, industry sources and analysts say.

San Miguel, which bought a 49% stake in PAL and a sister airline in April from Filipino billionaire and brewing rival Lucio Tan in a deal worth about US$500mil, controls the management of the airline.– Reuters

Continued growth in M’sia-China trade

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 06:31 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) is confident that bilateral trade will continue to grow this year as there are increasing opportunities from China's inland cities.

MCCC secretary-general cum youth president and the chairman of the general affair committee Joseph Lim said there was the growth potential in China's second-tier cities.

"The growth rate for first-tier cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou is plateau compared to the up and coming secondary cities.

"Population is growing in the second-tier cities and demand will grow as well," he told reporters after the announcement of the speakers' line-up for Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference (MCEC). MCCC co-organises the event with TNT Express Worldwide (M) Sdn Bhd.

According to Matrade, China's second-tier cities account for 51.3% of the republic's imports. Some of the cities that are growing rapidly include Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi'an, Zhengzhou and Shenyang.

Lim said China was still strong in exports to the South-East Asia region although its internal demands have softened.

Total Malaysia-China trade from January to June 2012 increased 14.6% to RM88.85bil.

Malaysia's main exports to China include electronic goods and natural resources like palm oil, rubber, tin, petroleum and timber, Lim added.

Exports from Malaysia to China increased by 3.5% to RM44.25bil in the first six months ofthis year.

MCEC will be held on Sept 8.

The three speakers are Horizon Research Consultancy Group chairman Dr Yuan Yue, Success through Multiple Intelligent Training Centre founder Professor Zhai Jie and Perfect (China) Co Ltd president Woo Swee Lian. The event has attracted more than 700 participants including 300 from overseas.


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Bolt and Rudisha head stellar Zurich field

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 06:54 PM PDT

ZURICH - Sprinting legend Usain Bolt and 800m world record-holder David Rudisha will headline a stellar track and field line-up at Thursday's Diamond League meeting in Zurich.

Bolt and Rudisha are just two of 15 newly-crowned Olympic champions on show at the sold-out Letzigrund Stadium, where 14 reigning world champions will also feature.

In his only post-Olympic race this year, Rudisha will try to beat the mark of 1min 40.91sec he set in winning the 800m at the London Games, and will have compatriot and regular pacemaker Sammy Tangui on board to ensure a blistering first lap.

Three other Kenyans - Anthony Chemut, Timothy Kitum and Leonard Kosencha - will also run alongside Ethiopian teenager Mohammed Aman, British duo Andrew Osagie and Michael Rimmer, and American Duane Solomon in what promises to be a fascinating race.

Bolt, fresh from his second successive triple gold haul at the Olympics, again races in the 200m, coming off the back of victory in Lausanne earlier this month in 19.58sec, ahead of Dutch runner Churandy Martina and compatriot Nickel Ashmeade.

Martina and Ashmeade will both be in Zurich, along with American Wallace Spearmon and Jamaican duo Warren Weir - the Olympic bronze medallist - and Jason Young, with six of the field having already clocked sub-19.95sec season's bests.

The strong Jamaican influence continues in the 100m, where world champion and Olympic silver medallist Yohan Blake could again steal Bolt's thunder.

Blake lit up Lausanne when he raced to victory in 9.69sec to move into second place on the all-time performers list, which he now shares with American Tyson Gay. Bolt leads the way with the 9.58sec he set when winning at the 2009 Berlin World Championships.

Gay and Jamaica's Nesta Carter, second and third behind Blake in Lausanne, are also on the start list, along with US duo Ryan Bailey and Darvis Patton, another Jamaican in the shape of Michael Frater, and Trinidad's Keston Bledman.

Only France's European champion Christophe Lemaitre and St Kitts and Nevis veteran Kim Collins, who was axed from the Olympics by team officials after an apparent row over visits to see his wife, have failed to break the 10sec barrier this season.

Elsewhere on the track, Russia's Yuliya Zaripova has forsaken pacemakers in her bid to better the world record she holds in the 3000m steeplechase, while Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross of the United States faces no less than six of her opponents in London over the 400m.

The men's 5000m might be missing the presence of Britain's Mo Farah, who claimed a memorable distance double on home turf at the Games.

But his training partner, Galen Rupp, will be running in a high-quality field arguably much tougher than that at the Olympics because countries are not restricted to just three entries.

No less than nine Kenyans and six Ethiopians will compete, making Rupp's team tactics alongside fellow Americans Bernard Lagat and Lomong Lopez crucial over the 12-and-a-half-lap race. - AFP

Djokovic, Serena cruise, Wozniacki crashes out

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 07:22 PM PDT

NEW YORK - Defending champion Novak Djokovic and triple women's winner Serena Williams stormed into the US Open second round on a breezy and humid Tuesday night at Flushing Meadows.

World number two Djokovic needed just 73 minutes to finish off an embarrassingly one-sided 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 mauling of hapless Italian Paolo Lorenzi.

The second-seeded Serb overcame dropping his serve in the opening game to reel off 18 of the next 19 games, firing seven aces as well as 32 winners against 30-year-old Lorenzi, who has never won a Grand Slam match.

"My game was great from start to finish. It was important to be economical with my time on court. I tried to get to the net and stay focussed," said Djokovic, who next faces Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva.

Williams, the champion in 1999, 2002 and 2008, and twice a runner-up, was just as ruthless in the concluding match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, sweeping past US compatriot Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-1.

The Wimbledon and Olympic champion, who has 14 Grand Slam titles to her name, next tackles Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

"The conditions were really crazy, but, hey, it's the US Open so you have to be ready for the worst conditions," said Williams, who has won 37 of her last 39 matches on tour.

"I was ready for today and coming here as Olympic champion, I feel so great."

While Djokovic and Williams were enjoying evening strolls, next door on Louis Armstrong court, former world number one and 2009 runner-up Caroline Wozniacki, without a title this year, was crashing to a painful first-round loss.

The Danish eighth seed, watched by golfing superstar boyfriend Rory McIlroy, was beaten by World No. 96 Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 6-2.

Wozniacki came into the match with her knee heavily strapped, having picked up an injury at New Haven last week, and she needed more treatment on Tuesday before slipping to defeat.

"I tried and didn't succeed in playing well. There were too many errors. It's frustrating but I will have to move on," said Wozniacki, who made the semi-finals in the last two years.

Andy Roddick, America's last men's major champion when he captured the 2003 US Open title, eased past compatriot and qualifier Rhyne Williams, the World No. 289.

His comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win was a gentle way to start his 13th successive US Open appearance, which also comes just two days before his 30th birthday.

Roddick will next face Australia's Bernard Tomic.

Fellow US veteran Venus Williams, the 2000 and 2001 winner, also won an all-American match-up, beating wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-1.

Williams, playing her 14th consecutive US Open, missed nine months of action with the fatigue-causing Sjogren's Syndrome and came into the tournament ranked at 46.

Victory was a welcome relief after slumping to a first-round loss at Wimbledon this year.

The 32-year-old next faces German sixth seed Angelique Kerber, who knocked her out of the Olympics.

Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwnaska and former world number one Ana Ivanovic also breezed into the second round as both women look to bury their woeful Flushing Meadows records.

Polish second seed Radwanska and Ivanovic, the 12th-seeded Serb who was French Open champion in 2008, have never got beyond the fourth round in New York but have been quarter-finalists at the other three majors.

Radwanska began her campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Nina Bratchikova with the Russian's challenge undone by 28 unforced errors.

Next up for Radwanska is Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro. Ivanovic defeated 17-year-old Ukrainian qualifier Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 and goes on to face Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson.

French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a quarter- finalist in 2011, advanced to the second round by defeating Slovakian qualifier Karol Beck 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2).

There were also wins for Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who beat Belgium's David Goffin 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, and Spanish 11th seed Nicolas Almagro, who saw off Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4.

Canadian 15th seed Milos Ranoic survived a gruelling five-setter to beat Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, firing 30 aces in the process.

On a bad day for Argentina, 10th seed Juan Monaco surrendered a two-set lead to lose to Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3).

And former world numer three David Nalbandian pulled out of the tournament, where he was set to face compatriot and 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro on Wednesday, with a rib injury. - AFP

Paralympics: 'Inspirational' Paralympics to open in London

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 06:51 PM PDT

LONDON - The Paralympic torch was on Wednesday heading to London in an overnight relay through the countryside of southern England, to arrive in the British capital for the Games' traditional opening ceremony.

The Paralympic torch was lit at the spiritual home of disabled sport - Stoke Mandeville - on Tuesday evening and sent on a 92-mile (148-kilometre) journey southeast carried by 116 teams of five people.

Once in London, it will pass well-known landmarks such as Lord's cricket ground, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey and Tower Bridge, gradually heading east to the Olympic Stadium for the ceremony at 1930 GMT.

Queen Elizabeth II was due to formally open the Games during a spectacular called "Enlightenment", billed as a "celebration of the inspirational spirit of the Paralympic Games that challenges perceptions of human possibility".

The British Paralympic Association (BPA) said earlier this year that the ceremony would be "groundbreaking in its inclusivity and innovative staging", showcasing deaf and disabled artists.

The ceremony has been created by artistic directors Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings, both of whom have a long history of hosting live shows involving disabled performers.

More than 3,000 adults will be among the cast, as well as over 100 children and 100-plus professional performers, while "Aerobility", a British charity that trains disabled people to become pilots, will perform a fly-past, the BPA said.

The traditional curtain-raiser to 11 days of elite disability sport comes as the Games have been hailed as the biggest and most-high profile Paralympics since the inaugural edition in Rome in 1960.

A record 4,200 athletes, including an unprecedented number of women, are due to take part in 20 sports, with the event a near sell-out for the first time and due to be broadcast to millions worldwide.

Organisers believe much of the interest has come after a successful Olympics for British athletes, which saw the host nation finish third in the overall medal table behind the United States and China.

Britain is also considered the "spiritual home" of the Paralympics, as the first recognised sports events for athletes with disabilities was held in Stoke Mandeville in 1948.

The sporting action begins on Thursday, with shooting set to provide the first gold of the Games in the women's 10m standing air rifle.

Medals are also up for grabs in the velodrome with the finals of the men and women's individual pursuit, in four weight categories in judo at the ExCel Arena and at the Aquatics Centre, where 15 swimming finals are to be held.

The showpiece athletics programme gets under way on Friday, with the highlight Oscar Pistorius, who is seeking to defend his T44 100m, 200m and 400m titles from Beijing four years ago.

Pistorius, dubbed the "Blade Runner" because he runs on carbon fibre blades, made history earlier this month by becoming the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics, when he ran in the 400m heats and 4x400m relay final.

But on Tuesday he played down expectations of repeating his Beijing treble, with Britain's world-record holder Jonnie Peacock and world champion Jerome Singleton of the United States likely to feature in the 100m final.

"It's important to note that I haven't run a 100m personal best in five years. It's not really my event," he told a news conference, adding that he would "be happy" with a medal of any colour in the blue riband sprint. - AFP


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Winners of Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards tap the personal

Posted: 27 Aug 2012 09:20 PM PDT

This year's winners at the Popular-The Star Readers' Choice Awards delve deep into matters of the heart, love and life.

THERE are two sides to every tale, and in the hotel industry, there might even be more than two. Veteran hotelier Hanley Chew, having been in the hotel industry for over two decades, knows this well. His first book, Hotel Tales, transports the reader into this multifaceted world, where unpredictability is the order of the day.

"In this industry, we deal with people from very different backgrounds and expectations. It's service oriented, and service is something subjective. This book is all about human experiences reflecting that behind the scenes," he said at he Popular-The Star Readers' Choice Awards ceremony held on Saturday in conjunction with BookFest@Malaysia 2012 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Chew won the first prize in the fiction category.

Chew, who collaborated on the book with writer Choy Ee Ling, says when he first conceived the idea for the book, he approached fellow hoteliers to contribute stories. "But I came to realise that hoteliers don't write, or don't like to write. So I got them to sit down, put on a recorder, they told their stories, and we did the writing. This is my first book, and it was a tough journey," he says.

But it's a journey that he wants to make again: Two years in the making, this book is going to be the first of many. "Hoteliers get to experience many things that most other people do not. There are many stories to tell," Chew says.

He has another four books in the works, including one based solely on his personal experiences. He plans to launch the second book in the first quarter of next year.

For second prize winner in the fiction category, Kuan Guat Choo, the writer's journey is one she's made four times now and she's been nominated three of those times; her winning effort, 4...5...6, is her fourth book and it turned out to be an easy experience for her. "I was able to write it very quickly, the pen just flew. It took maybe only a month before I was done with the writing. When you are inspired, it just flows," she says.

Interestingly, the idea for the book came to her in a dream. "In my dream, I saw what a girl saw happened to her family. It is a very tragic story, but my writing style is light and the book is easy reading," she says.

Yeoh Gim Suan, who bagged third prize in this category with her collection of short stories, Melody Of Love & Other Stories, is elated with her achievement.

"I cried when they announced my name, I'm so happy. It's the first time I've won an award for writing. I actually prayed for third place, and God answered my prayers. There are so many other good writers, and I'm Chinese-educated, so I didn't quite expect to win. I told myself that third place would be good enough for me," she says in fluent English.

A retired Science teacher, she started writing about five years ago and now has three books to her name.

"I think it is my calling to do this, to write. I always carry a pen and paper with me, so I can scribble down my ideas when they come," she says.

On the nonfiction front, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's autobiography, A Doctor In The House: The Memoirs of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, swept first prize. An obvious crowd favourite, his book, published in March last year, has sold around 110,000 copies to date.

MPH Group Publishing general manager Ivy Tan says that when they were first told by Dr Mahathir's office that he had chosen MPH to publish his memoirs, they were elated and honoured.

"We knew that the book was going to sell well, but the response from the public surpassed our expectations. On the first week of the official release, 25,000 copies flew off the shelves of bookstores nationwide. This is not something that happens every day, especially for a locally published book," she says.

The appointed editorial team from Salt Media (responsible for research, compiling of information, and content outline) worked closely with Dr Mahathir, she says.

"He wrote every page himself, and because he is a perfectionist and a busy man, it took him eight years to complete the memoir. Tun also prefers 'long-hand' writing, so the manuscripts were not typed, but handwritten. The editorial team had to sometimes decipher his handwriting, which could be quite a challenge!" adds Tan.

Publishers from all over the world – including China, the Middle East, South Korea and Vietnam – have requested for the rights to translate the book into their respective languages.

"This just goes to show that Tun is still very much highly regarded and has a strong following not just in Malaysia but from people outside who admire him for his charismatic views and political vision," she says.

In second place in the nonfiction category was Datuk Wong Sulong for Notes To The Prime Minister: The Untold Story Of How Malaysia Beat The Currency Speculators. Containing previously unpublished material from discussions between Dr Mahathir and his then unofficial economic advisor Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop on the 1997-98 financial crisis, Wong says that it is both an economic textbook as well as a historic book.

"Tun's book is about his whole life – my book focuses on one of his greatest triumphs as prime minister. It is about how we rejected the International Monetary Fund approach despite world wide condemnation, how we imposed foreign exchange control, pegged the currency, and the economic recovery that followed," says the former group chief editor of Star The Star.

In third place the nonfiction category is Growing Up With Ghosts by Bernice Chauly. In her memoir spanning a hundred years, stretching from China and India to Malaya and Singapore, she attempts to get to the bottom of the curse that is thought to plague her family.

"My book is about tragedy, grief, history, bloodlines and who I am as a writer. It is also a forbidden love story, a great love story, between my parents who fought against the odds; they fought to love, they fell in love, and then my father died," she says, adding that she decided to work with six different narratives to give voices to her ancestors.

"It was a labour of love, but it was not an easy book to write. It was very painful confronting the past, confronting my father's death again, and transcribing his letters and my mother's journals. I have lived with this story, these ghosts, for 23 years, and the book took, in total, almost three years to write," she says.

Dr Mahathir and Chew each received RM3,000 and a trophy while the second and third-place winners took home RM1,500 and RM1,000 respectively. All were awarded certificates of recognition.

The ceremony was attended by Media Prima Bhd chairman Datuk Johan Jaaffar, Star Publications (M) Bhd managing editor June H.L. Wong, Berita Harian Sdn Bhd group editor Datuk Mior Kamarulbaid Mior Shahid, Popular Holdings Ltd chairman Chou Cheng Ngok, director Vangat Ramayah and Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Lim Lee Ngoh.

Star Publications is a media partner of BookFest@Malaysia 2012.

Celebrating the beauty and wonder of storytelling

Posted: 27 Aug 2012 09:16 PM PDT

Celebrating the beauty and wonder of storytelling.

DO you remember being a child and eavesdropping on adult conversations? Remember the thrill of listening to all those old stories – the shocking family scandals? The tales of love and heartbreak? The accounts of amazing feats of strength, sacrifice and endurance? Whether or not we were read to as children, it's unlikely that we grew up without ever knowing the joy of listening to a tale told well – a tale told with emotion and energy, as if the storyteller had lived it (which they often had), felt it and knew it intimately.

And now ... well, we still eavesdrop, whether or not we like to admit it, and the stories we aren't suppose to know about are the ones we are most likely to repeat several times over, to people who eagerly listen precisely because they are secret and, thus, extra exciting.

So, what's all this about the oral tradition of storytelling needing a boost or it'll all but disappear? In my opinion, it's alive and well, and positively thriving. You just have to think about the way we exchange tales of road bullies, cheating husbands and annoying bosses over teh tarik and nasi lemak to know that this is true. We really are, all of us, storytellers and, most of us are jolly skillful ones too. We know what to edit out, and what to add. We know about poetic license. We know about getting into character and doing different voices.

The thing is, we generally don't know that we know all these things. It's second nature, not a performance and so we don't tend to think of ourselves as storytellers. Thus, while the practice of oral storytelling may not be dead and buried, we could definitely do with more storytellers who are storytelling consciously and purposefully.

Singapore resident Kamini Ramachandran, 43, artistic director of the upcoming Singapore International Storytelling Festival, believes that stories don't just educate and entertain, they are also sources of emotional sustenance, giving strength, comfort and support to listeners.

In 2004, she founded MoonShadow Stories with Singaporean Verena Tay to promote what they felt was the "lost art of the oral narrative tradition", believing that by re-introducing "the beauty and wonder of storytelling to adults" children would benefit too.

"This literally spiralled into storytelling as a profession, and now a full-time one at that," says Ramachandran, who says she is often asked what her "real job" is.

"(Stoyrtelling) is viewed as an unconventional profession and usually dismissed as a hobby," she says in an e-mail interview. However, she feels that professional storytelling is undergoing a renaissance on a global level. "Professional storytellers are in demand in educational institutes, in corporate organisations, for heritage and cultural exposure, to bond communities and families," she says, adding that, "The work is very broad and diverse. It is imperative to know your craft, to have a good repertoire and to never stop training."

Ramachandran, who names her late maternal grandfather as her inspiration, started out telling "cultural, religious and family stories" to her sons (Kabir, 12, and Karan, 11) "to keep them anchored in their roots and to connect them to family that was not in the same country." Ramachandran was born in Malaysia where most of her family still live.

She says that this then led to her telling stories in her children's pre-schools and being asked to train the teachers.

The Singapore International Storytelling Festival, now in its seventh year, is one indication that storytelling is recognised as an art and storytellers as performing artistes. Ramachandran is particularly excited about this year's festival, which "celebrates Asian stories from a global perspective."

"The line-up of storytellers is very different with a big emphasis on traditional Asian storytelling forms like rakugo (Japan), keertan (India) and dialect language telling (Cantonese session)," she says.

Among the Asian storytellers that will be featured at the festival are Made Taro, an Indonesian cultural medallion awardee; Shinoharu Tatekawa, a full-time Rakugo performer based in Tokyo; and Joe Hararwira, a Maori rituals expert from New Zealand.

Ramachandran is also looking forward to performing at the festival. What she loves most about being a storyteller, is breathing "life into dormant and untold tales." She says, "So many oral tales (published and accessible, or otherwise) remain untold, unheard. A story is only a story when it is told and passed on to a listener who in turn re-tells it to someone else. I love that I can give these stories wings and allow them to fly."

The Singapore International Storyelling Festival will be held from Sept 1-5, 2012, at The Arts House, Singapore. For more information and to register go to

Stories and performers from all over the world

Posted: 27 Aug 2012 05:38 PM PDT

HIGHLIGHTS of the Singapore International Storytelling Festival (Sept 1-5):

> Eddin Khoo is a Malaysian poet, writer and translator. Foll-owing his tenure as an arts and cultural journalist for The Star newspaper, he founded Pusaka: Centre for the Study and Documentation of Traditional Performance in Malaysia.

Performance: Khoo will be presenting The Door To The Twelve Eye Spots: Ritual, States Of Wonder, Orality, Healing And The Traditional Storyteller, the keynote address at the Asian Congress of Storytellers on Sept 1 at 9.30am.

> Joe Harawira is an international storyteller and tikanga (protocols) expert from Aotearoa, New Zealand. He is a passionate teacher and performer of kapahaka (traditional Maori performing arts), an exponent of the Maori language, a bearer of ta moko (permanent body markings), and a strong supporter of all Maori art forms.

Harawira's vast repertoire spans creation tales, nature tales, and the anthology of beloved Maui stories.

Performance: Sept 1, 2 & 4 at 7.30pm / International Storytellers Showcase.

> Lee Swee Har has been a keen student of Cantonese opera since young. Her repertoire of traditional Chinese stories includes the timeless tale of the archer Ho Yi and the heavenly maiden Chang-Er, who now lives in the moon.

Performance: Lee will be performing A Tribute to Lee Dai Sor on Sept 4 at 7.30pm.

> Made Taro was born in Bali and has always loved traditional stories, games and children's songs. He has been a storyteller since 1973 and has performed in Indonesia, Darwin (Australia), Pretoria (South Africa) and at the Ubud Writers' and Readers' Festival in Indonesia.

His storytelling sessions also include singing and traditional percussion accompaniment.

Performance: Sept 1, 2 & 4 at 7.30pm / International Storytellers Showcase.

> Peter Chand is one of Europe's most popular and acclaimed performers and workshop leaders. He has a huge repertoire of tales from the subcontinent, many of which he has collected and translated from Punjabi into English.

An experienced, energetic, and versatile storyteller, Chand has told his stories in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Holland, India, Ireland, and Norway.

He is also one of the organisers of Festival at the Edge, an international storytelling festival and the oldest of its kind in Britain.

> Shinoharu Tatekawa is a full-time rakugo performer based in Tokyo.

Rakugo is best described as Japanese sit-down comedy of comic storytelling, and although it is usually only accessible to Japanese-speaking audiences, Shinoharu has painstakingly translated some of these stories into English to make them available to a global audience.

Performance: Sept 1, 2 & 4 at 7.30pm / International Storytellers Showcase.

For a full list of performers, speakers and events, go to


The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Five men charged with tycoon's abduction

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 08:40 AM PDT

MALACCA: Five men were charged in a Magistrate's court here with abducting a businessman last Wednesday.

Mi Chew Kek, 42; Lim Lian Huat, 41; Chow Diong Ching, 51; Chong Moon Chee, 37, and Teo Boon Han, 35, together with a few others still at large were charged with abducting Tan Lung Lai with intent to force him to surrender his property to them.

The offence was allegedly committed at a parking area near a food court at Perkampungan Portugis here at about 9.10pm on Aug 22 this year.

The charge under Section 365 of the Penal Code carries a maximum imprisonment for seven years and fine.

All of them, represented by lawyer Rosal Azimin Ahmad, pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

Magistrate Sajaratudur Abd Rahman allowed all of them bail of RM3,000 each and set Oct 11 for mention.

Prosecuting officer Inspector Muhather Mohd Kudus prosecuted.

Related Story:
Cops foil kidnapping of tycoon, five nabbed

Aseh: Putrajaya contract workers to wear uniform

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 08:29 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) is making all contract workers involved in cleaning and maintenance works at the Federal Government administrative centre to wear uniforms, said PPj president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat.

He said this was among the improvement measures to be carried out quickly to facilitate enforcement teams and the public to identify such workers.

"At the moment, there are 1,050 foreign workers involved in cleaning work. Putting on uniforms will enable us to easily identify the workers. It will also give them a new image apart from appreciating their work. The uniform colour has been identified," he told reporters here Tuesday.

Earlier, Aseh and 40 PPj security and enforcement officers called PPj Walking Team' had taken a walk from the PPj complex to his official residence in Precinct 10, about 6 kilometres away which took one and a half hours.

Aseh said the team would monitor work carried out by contractors appointed by PPj apart from building relations with them.

The walking team, he said would monitor activities every Tuesday and Thursday to ensure Putrajaya was always clean, beautiful and become a role model city in the region.

Najib congratulates Dr Zeti for excellent performance

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 08:10 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has congratulated Bank Negara Malaysia's Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz for scoring an A' in the Central Banker Report Card published by Global Finance.

"Well done Zeti Aziz for getting "A" in a report card on World's Central Bankers," he said in his Twitter message posted Tuesday.

Zeti was one of six heads of central banks scoring an A'. She scored an A' last year and also in 2010.

The other heads of the central banks who maintained the "A" score include Amando Tetangco Jr of the Philippines, Taiwan's Fai-Nan Perng, Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens, and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer.

The Central Banker Report Card feature, published annually by Global Finance since 1994, grades Central Bank Governors of 50 key countries (and the European Central Bank) on an A' to F' scale for success in areas such as inflation control, economic growth goals, currency stability and interest rate management.

A' represents an excellent performance down through F' for outright failure. Subjective criteria also apply. - Bernama


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Police traffic counter for Seri Kembangan residents

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 05:32 AM PDT

THE closure of the police traffic counter at the Seri Kembangan police station has brought about inconvenience to the residents there.

The counter, which was set up in May 2009 was closed down in March this year.

The residents now have to travel to Puchong Jaya police station to settle their summonses.

Serdang parliamentary liaison officer Datuk Yap Pian Hon said travelling all the way to Puchong is a burden to the residents.

"I have written a letter to the Serdang police district headquarters (IPD) and Selangor police contingent headquarters (IPK) and I received a positive response. However, no action has been taken thus far," he told the media at Wisma MCA Seri Kembangan.

Yap has also called on the authorities to build a new police station in Bandar Putra Permai or Equine Park.

"Even though there is a police station in Seri Kembangan and Serdang, there is no police station nearby for the residents of Bandar Putra Permai and Equine Park. They have to travel to the police station in Seri Kembangan or Serdang.

"Though the crime rate around these areas are low, we are not going to take this for granted.

"We have more than 100,000 residents living around Seri Kembangan and there should be an additional police station and more police officers patrolling the areas to ensure safety.

"I urge Selangor IPK and Serdang IPD to view this request seriously," said Yap, adding that the Serdang IPD has been moved to Bandar Kinrara, Puchong.

Metro Watch

Posted: 28 Aug 2012 05:31 AM PDT


Kuala Lumpur City Hall will re-open its payment counters at the following shopping complexes for assessment fees till Aug 31. The locations are Berjaya Times Square lower ground floor (11am-8pm), Jusco Taman Maluri Cheras ground floor (10am-9pm), Mid Valley Megamall second floor south area (10am-9pm), Jusco Metro Prima Kepong ground floor (10am-8pm), Aeon AU2, Setiawangsa first floor (10am-8pm). Bring your assessment bill when making payment. Call 03-2617 9950/9941 for enquiries.


Sopaanam Arts and Show Pro Entertainment is organising Onotsavam, a musical and dance show held in conjunction with the Onam Festival on Aug 29 at 7.30pm at Shantanand Auditorium, Temple of Fine Arts in Kuala Lumpur. There will be another show at Seremban at Dewan Rasah Amman on Aug 39. Among the performers are South Indian playback singer Unnikrishnan and violinist Embar S. Kannan. For details, call 011-2622 1722, 010-506 7251 or 012-695 9343.


Tropicana Medical Centre will be organising a free public forum titled Lung Cancer Awareness on Sept 8 from 10am to 1pm at its Auditorium on 7th floor. It will be held to educate the public on lung cancer symptoms and available treatments. Admission is free and lunch is served. To register, call Mei Yee (03-6287 1206) or Benjamin (016-211 6789) or email


Get a free health screening package at the concourse area of The Weld, 76 Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur on today and tomorrow, from 10am till 3.30pm. Not recommended for those below 18 years old or pregnant women. There is no need for overnight fasting, but do not consume caffeine, tobacco, alcohol or sweet foods two hours prior to the screening. For details, visit


Christine Das an up-and-coming Malaysian artist will be showcasing her art series themed Hot For Nature which will be held at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTic) Art Gallery, Hall 2 on Sept 3 to 28. This will be her first solo exhibition. For detail, call 03-5611 9186.


The Annual Examinations Blessings Puja for students sitting for major examinations, organised by the Buddhist Maha Vihara Brickfields will be held on Friday 31 at 7pm. For details, call 03-2274 1141 or email


Pantai Hospital Ampang in collaboration with National Blood Centre will be organising a blood donation drive on Sept 21 from 9am to 3pm at the auditorium. For detail, call 03-4289 2828.


Canaan Church at 25, Jalan 9/42, Taman Sejahtera (off Jalan Kuching) is organising a Carnival Day as part of its community project this Aug 31, from 10am till 4pm. For details, call 03-6251 8649.


Registration fee for The Live Great Run 2012 is RM45 per person (12km Run) or per pair (3km Run). Register by Aug 31 to enjoy an early bird rate of RM40 per person or per pair. Runners must be 18 years old and above as of Dec 31. Registration will close on Sept 30. For details, visit, email or call 03–7960 2325 (weekday, 10am-5pm).



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Raising funds for school

Posted: 27 Aug 2012 07:55 PM PDT

BENTONG: All 14 MCA divisions in the state will organise activities to raise funds for the construction of a Chinese independent school in Kuantan.

MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said no target had been fixed but they hoped to raise as much as possible.

"Bentong division will kickstart the campaign on Sept 2 with a fund-raising dinner.

"There will be cultural and local artistes performances at the Bentong district council hall," he said.

Also present was Bentong MCA division chief and state executive councillor Datuk Hoh Khai Mun.

Liow, who is also the Pahang MCA chief, said after all the divisions had completed their campaigns, the state would organise a grand finale programme.

He said the total funds collected from all the events would be made known to the public.

"We hope all parties would give their support to the worthy cause.

"MCA would continue to be in the forefront for the betterment Chinese education and welfare," he said.

Last month, the Government gave the green light for the long-awaited Chung Hwa High School to be set up in Kuantan.

The new school would be run based on the model used at the Chung Hwa independent High School in Kuala Lumpur which offers both the Unified Examination Certificate and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examinations.

On a separate matter, he urged all party members to work hard and be prepared for the coming general election.

Liow said it was important to remain united and give full support to all the candidates endorsed by the party and the country's top leadership.

Good response to temple’s scripture writing

Posted: 27 Aug 2012 07:55 PM PDT

KUANTAN: The first grand scripture copy-writing organised by the Pahang Buddhist Association (PBA) at its Wan Fo Tien temple drew a record 300 participants comprising young and old.

PBA president Hor Chin Sim said previously, the annual event was held on a smaller scale with less than 100 people taking part.

"This year, we decided to invite more people to participate and the response was very encouraging.

"Some of the participants came from China, Taiwan, Klang Valley including many locals aged between seven and 70," he said.

Hor said among others, the participants were given an option to re-copy the Heart Sutra scripture using a pen or Chinese brush.

He said the best 108 participants were given a souvenir each and would have their handwork posted back to them in due course.

"We invited a monk from the Kuan Yin World Foundation to officiate the programme.

"The main purpose was to spread the message of peace, love and to live together in harmony," he stressed.

Hor said 50 pieces of his calligraphy were also exhibited to the public until Aug 31 at the temple.

Later, the Trinity Group based in Kuala Lumpur presented PBA's haemodialysis centre with a machine worth RM40,000.

He said their centre now had 26 machines providing treatments to some 80 renal failure patients.

Also present were Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah and PBA vice-president Datuk Franky Chua Goon Eng.

Have faith in leaders

Posted: 27 Aug 2012 07:54 PM PDT

TEMERLOH: All MIC grassroot leaders were told to assure members that the MIC is the only party which can continue fighting for the community, Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said.

Adnan said party members must have confidence and faith in the MIC and its leaders to continue giving their support.

"Otherwise, there is no point remaining in the MIC if the leaders themselves are not confident of the party's struggles.

"The coming general election is very crucial and all component parties must play a role to garner support from the people," he said after launching the party's election machinery in Mentakab near here.

Also present were Pahang MIC chief and Sabai assemblyman Datuk M. Davendran, Mentakab assemblyman Datuk Chuah Boon Seong, state MIC secretaty A. Shivalingam and state MIC Youth chief K. Sivakumar.

Adnan said under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, all segments of the society would be looked after.

He said the welfare of all races and communities would also be safeguarded under the Barisan Nasional coalition.

"In this regard, I urge leaders from all levels especially branches to keep a lookout and identify the poor, needy and sickly so that assistance can be rendered.

"Only by giving them assistance, the people would believe that the party and coalition are genuine to serve and help the rakyat.

"We would regain their confidence and support for the betterment of the society and country as a whole," he stressed.

Adnan said more dialogues and discussions should be held to address pressing problems and issues affecting the people.

He expressed hope that all matters could be resolved amicably in the spirit of Barisan.


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