Isnin, 15 Oktober 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Grooming young stars in 'Yes Chef! Season 2'

Posted: 16 Oct 2012 01:16 AM PDT

South Korean celebrity chef Edward Kwon hopes Yes Chef! Season 2 will see the birth of a new generation of talented chefs.

EDWARD Kwon is a man on a mission and the South Korean celebrity chef is not coy about it.

Sitting down for a casual lunch with Malaysian friends, Kwon looked no different from a college student in his plain coloured T-shirt, jeans and sneakers ensemble with his short-cropped hair ungelled.

Yet, when he related his vision for his fellow kitchen mates, his eyes sparkled with the conviction of a man driven by a dream that was close to realisation.

Kwon is determined to elevate the profile of a chef from a cook slaving in the kitchen to a glamorous celebrity good enough to represent the country. "Chefs can be sex symbols, too. And, they can also have fans screaming their name as well." Coming from a man who enjoys god-like status in his home country, Kwon must know what he is talking about.

The former chef of Dubai's seven-star Burj Al-Arab candidly reveals how he has endeavoured to put his chefs on the covers of magazines.

Laughing, he described how he had his boys pose for pictures, carrying a huge tuna on their backs while their shirts fall open to show off their sculpted abs.

"As you can imagine, the ladies simply went crazy over that, and the response was amazing. They would visit the restaurant just to see the boys.

"That is why in my future restaurants, the chefs will come out of the kitchen to serve their dishes and communicate directly with their diners as that is exactly what the customers want."

The affable chef also did not hide the fact that people would tell him to his face that he became famous due to his good looks and that no one would have paid him any attention if he weren't as handsome. "Well, yes, I agree with them. So, I tell my chefs the same. It's not enough to be able to cook well. You have to look good while doing it.

"And, they have asked me this: 'Are we supposed to be chefs or entertainers?' I tell them very frankly: Both. You have to be both. That's just the way it is."

And yet, even that isn't enough, says Kwon, who feels they should aim to be celebrity chefs and acquire the skills required for the job. "They have to know how to run a restaurant and be able to deal with the media as well as entertain fans. Yes, there is a lot to

be done and they must be prepared to work hard and long hours."

It takes time, effort and money, and Kwon is aware of that. So, to help his chefs maintain their sculpted physiques, Kwon says he is more than happy to pay them to go to the gym. "In Korea, there is a huge amount of pressure to look good; so much so that surgery is an easy option for many," quipped Kwon, who maintains that he is "all natural".

If you take your eyes off his face long enough, you will see that there are numerous visible scars on Kwon's limbs, a result of cuts,

burns and scalds from working in many a busy kitchen. Every single one of them tells a story that Kwon is happy to share. The deepest scar came about when he pulled a container from a shelf and a knife fell from above stabbing him in the arm.

Apart from the recently concluded EdVentures In Asia on Li, Kwon has also featured in other programmes like Edward's Live Kitchen, Challenge Star Chefs and Yes Chef!.

"Yes Chef! was a big hit in South Korea. I hope Malaysians will love the second season, too," he enthused.

As someone who has put in the hours to achieve his success, Kwon is also a staunch believer in tough love, which he dishes out in copious amounts on the show.

"People need to be pushed to achieve their full potential. I remember this fellow who didn't even know how to cook when he first started. After a good talking to, he went back and did his own research and homework.

"He came back later and surprised everyone by winning the challenge. He was that good. All he needed was that extra bit of motivation."

Kwon has been scouting locations for the perfect spot to open a restaurant in Malaysia and hopes to find a like-minded local partner to work with. Apart from that, he has also launched his own line of kitchenware – EK Cookward – here last month, making Malaysia the first country outside of his native South Korea, to sell the products.

Yes Chef! Season 2 airs on Li (Astro Ch 728) at 9pm on Tuesdays.


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

UK to opt out of EU law and order rules - minister

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 08:25 AM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will pull out of a swathe of European Union law and order legislation, the government said on Monday, in a move likely to appease an influential anti-EU wing of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party.

"The government's current thinking is that we will opt out," interior minister Theresa May told parliament.

Britain has until June 2014 to drop more than 130 EU justice measures, including the European arrest warrant, in a deal agreed under the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.

Once formally opted out of the legislation, Britain must then ask the EU to allow it to opt back into any individual measures it wants to adopt.

(Reporting by Matt Falloon and Tim Castle)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Ireland cuts medicine deal to curb health overspend

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 08:24 AM PDT

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's overspending health ministry has secured a deal with pharmaceutical companies to cut its medicine bill by over 100 million euros (81 million pounds) per year, to help the government meet its deficit target.

Swollen health and social protection budgets are the biggest threat to Ireland's efforts to cut its budget gap to below 8.6 percent of GDP this year from 9 percent in 2011, in line with targets imposed under its EU-IMF bailout.

Ireland's troika of lenders, the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission, have expressed concern about overspending in the health department, which was 250 million euros over target at the end of September.

With a further 700 million euros of savings to find next year, Health Minister James Reilly said he had secured a deal with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, which represents the likes of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis and Pfizer Inc

The agreement will generate savings of up to 116 million euros next year and a total of 400 million euros by 2015.

Ireland, which hosts production facilities for some of the world's top pharmaceutical companies, has in recent years paid higher rates for medicine than some of its European neighbours.

New legislation on the purchase of generic medication is set to save an additional 100 million euros per year, Reilly said. The government currently spends more than 2 billion euros per year on drugs.

The medicine agreements follow emergency cuts introduced in August that hit care for the elderly and the disabled, prompting protests outside government buildings, and a deal last month to make senior doctor work more flexible hours.

Talks with the doctors broke down last week, but Reilly told national broadcaster RTE on Monday that he still expected the deal to be implemented.

Asked about estimates that the department's overspend might hit 500 million euros in 2012, Reilly said "I don't think we will get anything like that at all."

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Pakistani schoolgirl shot by Taliban sent to UK for treatment

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 08:12 AM PDT

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The Pakistani schoolgirl shot by Taliban gunmen for advocating education for girls has been sent to the United Kingdom for medical treatment, a military spokesman said on Monday.

The spokesman said in a statement that 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai, whose shooting has drawn widespread condemnation, will require prolonged care to fully recover physically and psychologically.

Students hold pictures of schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban, during a tribute at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi October 15, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Job

Students hold pictures of schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban, during a tribute at the Pakistani Embassy in Abu Dhabi October 15, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Job

An air ambulance transporting Yousufzai, provided by the United Arab Emirates, had departed from Islamabad and was heading for the United Kingdom, said the spokesman.

"The panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted abroad to a UK centre which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury," said the spokesman in a statement.

An attack by about 50 militants on a police outpost near the large north-western city of Peshawar on Sunday night highlighted Pakistan's struggle to contain the Taliban and its allies. At least six policemen were killed.

Yousufzai, a cheerful schoolgirl who had wanted to become a doctor before agreeing to her father's wishes that she strive to be a politician, has become a potent symbol of resistance against the Taliban's efforts to deprive girls of an education.

Pakistanis have held some protests and candlelight vigils but most government officials have refrained from publicly criticising the Taliban by name over the attack, in what critics say is a lack of resolve against extremism.

Opponents of Pakistan's government and military say the shooting is another example of the state's failure to tackle militancy, the biggest threat to the stability of the nuclear-armed South Asian country.

The shooting of Yousufzai was the culmination of years of campaigning that had pitted the young girl against one of Pakistan's most ruthless Taliban commanders, Maulana Fazlullah.

Fazlullah and his faction of the Pakistani Taliban took over Yusufzai's native Swat Valley in 2009 after reaching an agreement with the government which gave them de facto control of the former tourist spot.

Fazlullah imposed the Taliban's austere version of Islam there, blowing up girls' schools and publicly executing those deemed immoral. The army later launched a major offensive in Swat, forcing many Taliban fighters to flee.


Fazlullah's men simply melted away across the porous border to Afghanistan. Earlier this year, they kidnapped and beheaded 17 Pakistani soldiers in one of several cross-border raids that have become a new security headache for Pakistan.

Yousufzai continued speaking out despite the danger. As her fame grew, Fazlullah tried everything he could to silence her. The Taliban published death threats in the newspapers and slipped them under her door. But she ignored them.

The Taliban say that's why they sent assassins, despite a tribal code forbidding the killing of women.

Taliban sources said Fazlullah ordered two men specialising in high-profile assassinations to kill Yousufzai.

Pakistan's Taliban, who are linked to al Qaeda, has been fighting for years to topple the U.S.-backed government and establish the kind of rule they imposed in Swat.

The United States and other Western allies who give Pakistan billions of dollars in aid have been pushing Islamabad to crack down harder on the Taliban, al Qaeda and other groups that have formed a complex web of militancy.

Pakistan says Western criticism of its performance is unjustified, and that it has sacrificed more than any other country that joined the U.S. war on militancy after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed.

The attack on Yousufzai has angered many Pakistanis, raising questions over whether the incident could sharply turn public opinion against the militants and give the military a big edge.

But many experts argue the war on militancy can only be won if the government strengthens the fragile economy and creates jobs to ensure that fewer people join radical groups who exploit disillusionment with the state.

The Taliban struck again on Sunday night, attacking the police outpost near Peshawar with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire. Security officials said at least six policemen were killed, including two who were beheaded.

Seven policemen are still missing and presumed kidnapped. Several police cars and an armoured vehicle were torched.

The Taliban has been blamed for many suicide bombings across Pakistan and have also staged sophisticated, high-profile attacks on the military, one of the biggest in the world.

Pakistan's interior minister said police had despatched guards to protect journalists who had been threatened by Taliban militants angered by coverage of Yousufzai's case.

The Taliban, based mostly in the unruly ethnic Pashtun tribal areas near the Afghan border, have said they would now try to kill her father, a headmaster of a girls' school in Swat.

(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Related Stories:
Pakistani schoolgirl flown to UK war trauma centre

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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Maybank drives KLCI higher in early trade

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 07:07 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips edged up in early trade on Tuesday, lifted by gains in Maybank, in line with the regional markets as sentiment was given by a mild boost from the firmer overnight close on Wall Street.

At 9.31am, the FBM KLCI was up 1.98 points to 1,656.42. Turnover was 137.90 million shares valued at RM74.46mil. There were 145 gainers, 99 losers and 165 counters unchanged.

Bloomberg reported Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for a second-day of gains, as exporters advanced after the US reported better-than-expected retail sales.

Maybank KE Research said in its technical report that while the KLCI climbed 1.08 points to 1,654.44 on Monday, the resistance level of 1,656 and 1,668 may cap market gains, whilst obvious support areas are located at 1,639 and 1,654.

It said the KLCI index established a previous all-time high of 1,655.49 on Sept 3, 2012 and reached a key swing low of 1,595.85 (Sept 24).

"Selling from the current levels to the KLCI's all time high of 1,668.32 may bring about some profit-taking. Volatility and weakness may emerge at the current lofty levels or near the index's upside target of 1,683. Some accumulation near its support areas might be wise, in view the DJIA's overnight rise," it said.

Maybank rose 20 sen to RM9.14 while Petronas GAS gained 16 sen to Rm19.98 and Tradewinfs 13 sen to RM6.53 while MAHB gained six sen to RM5.90.

Tasek was the top gainer, up 78 sen to Rm12.28. BAT 24 sen to RM62.56 and Genting Plantations 10 sen to RM9 while Pharmaniaga edged up eight sen to RM8.38.

Profit taking saw Dutch Lady shedding 20 sen to RM49 while CIMB and Golsta lost five sen each to RM7.61 and RM1.21 and HLFG lower by four sen to RM12.20.

U.S. economists win Nobel for applying match-making

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 06:39 PM PDT

STOCKHOLM: Life-saving kidney exchanges and ways for schools to select students are just two practical applications of the market-matching theories for which U.S. economists Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley won the Nobel prize for economics on Monday.

Pairing up employers with job seekers - for instance doctors and lawyers taking up their first appointments - are other examples of how Roth, 60, and Shapley, 89, have separately applied game theory to daily life.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the 8 million crown ($1.2 million) prize, called their work an outstanding example of economic engineering.

Roth and other economists who study market design are exploring how matching procedures can be improved to produce better results for all concerned.

Speaking to Reuters from California, Roth gave the example of Stanford, his alma mater, to which he recently returned after a long spell at Harvard.

Stanford competes for students with the likes of Harvard and Princeton, and who applies and is admitted does not depend solely on price. Stanford keeps its tuition costs low enough to attract plenty of applicants and selects among them.

"So there is choice going on, on both sides. It's a little like getting married. Taking a job is like this too," Roth said.

"And it turns out that, to some extent, getting an organ for transplantation is a little like it. So there are a lot of things that you get in life that you can't just choose. You also have to be chosen. And that's what we study. We study matching."


Roth, in a series of empirical studies, built on separate work done much earlier by Shapley, an emeritus professor at the University of California Los Angeles, who had used game theory to compare various matching methods and make sure the matches were acceptable to all counterparts.

Roth seized on a 1962 study by Shapely and David Gale, now deceased, that proved the "possibility of making stable matchings between men and women so no one wants to run off with another partner," as Jonathan Levin, dean of the economics department at Stanford, put it on Monday.

Roth, who was sleeping when Stockholm telephoned and missed the first call to inform him of his prize, described his work as studying "courtship" of many kinds.

"You can't just have what you want; you also have to do some courtship and there is courtship on both sides and we study the marketplace processes by which those types of courtship are resolved."

Roth explained later at a news conference in Stanford that algorithms, the formulas used to resolve a problem, help organize and process people's preferences.

"But the things that go into those preferences, we often have very little to say about that, and that's where hunches come in," he said.

The economics prize, officially called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was established by Sweden's central bank in 1968. It was not part of the original group of awards, for sciences and promoting peace, that was set out in the 1895 will of Nobel, who invented dynamite.

"This is very much what economics is about," said Tore Ellingsen, a Nobel committee member and a professor at the Stockholm School of Economics. "How to allocate scarce resources as well as possible, to economise."

Roth has applied market design theory to the public schools admissions process in New York and Boston.

He is also a co-founder of the New England Program for Kidney Exchange,, which draws on his work on matching markets to bring together pairs of compatible kidney donors and recipients.

"Here is an economic theorist who hasn't just made things more efficient. He has actually saved lives. It is unclear whether it is the economics Nobel he deserved or the Nobel prize for medicine," Joshua Gans, a professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto, wrote on - Reuters

New UK market watchdog to spell out approach to industry

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 06:37 PM PDT

LONDON: Britain's new market watchdog will spell out on Tuesday how its sharper teeth to ban products and challenge business models should make the 26,000 firms it will supervise think twice about ripping off consumers again.

Martin Wheatley, the head of the Financial Conduct Authority being launched in early 2013, will tell a Thomson Reuters event at 9:00 a.m. British time how powers to take harmful products off the market would work in practice.

"We will make the intervention first and then we will carry out the consultation and the cost/benefit analysis," Wheatley told an industry event last week.

The new approach aims to draw a line under 20 years of mis-selling in Britain and make sure consumers are offered products that are suited to their needs.

The cost to banks of compensating people mis-sold loan protection insurance alone will top 10 billion pounds.

The FCA will take on the conduct, enforcement and consumer protection operations of the Financial Services Authority when the unitary supervisor is scrapped early next year.

The FSA's broader supervisory powers over banks and insurers will be handed to a new unit at the Bank.

This "twin peaks" set-up seeks to increase the intensity of supervision which was found wanting ahead of the financial crisis.

The dual regulatory approach has already been introduced on a "virtual" basis by splitting up the FSA staff into conduct and prudential units ahead of a formal switchover next year.

Wheatley is expected to say that many of the changes made by the FSA, in particular the "credit deterrence" policy of taking a harder line against insider dealing and market abuses, will continue under the FCA.

The FSA has been collecting record fines from financial firms, in particular Barclays for rigging the Libor interest rate.

The government has just announced that fines in excess of enforcement case costs will in future go to the treasury, a step which may make the watchdog pause before taking on complex cases that require many resource-intensive months to probe.

The financial industry will study the document Wheatley publishes on Tuesday to see how it will pursue three core aims of trustworthy markets, promoting effective competition and requiring firms to put consumers at the heart of their business.

The industry is already alarmed the FCA can tell the public far earlier if it is taking action against a financial firm. - Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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Cricket: New Zealand great Crowe diagnosed with cancer

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 07:00 PM PDT

WELLINGTON: Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe has been diagnosed with cancer, leaving his family "in shock", the batting great's manager has revealed.

Crowe, 50, was still coming to terms with the news he had the cancer lymphoma, his manager Louise Henderson said.

"The family is still in shock and obviously dealing with the understanding that life as they know it for the unforeseeable future is different," she said in a statement late Monday.

Henderson did not provide details of how advanced Crowe's illness was, saying the family had requested privacy.

Crowe, a cousin of Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, played 77 Tests for the Black Caps, averaging 45.36 with the bat. His 17 Test centuries is still a New Zealand record.

He worked as a television commentator after retiring from the Black Caps in 1995, with an attempted comeback to first class cricket in Auckland last year cut short by injury.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said the qualities which made Crowe such an outstanding batsman would help him in his battle with the disease.

"Not only was he probably our greatest ever batsman, he was probably the most courageous and determined batsman ever to play for New Zealand," he told TVNZ. "His determination is never in question.

"Our thoughts and feelings are with him and his family and we wish him all the best for his recovery." - AFP

Chong Wei stays focused despite his office being burgled

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 06:44 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Everybody, it seems, wants a piece of world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei these days.

On Sunday, thieves broke into Chong Wei's office at Bandar Puteri Puchong and carted away several computers, including one which contained pre-wedding pictures of Chong Wei and former national shuttler Wong Mew Choo.

But Chong Wei, who is already in Odense for the Denmark Open, has promised he won't let the burglary affect the task at hand.

"I informed Chong Wei the minute I heard about the incident, but he was probably still suffering from jetlag and was a little groggy given the time difference," said Chong Wei's elder brother, Chong Hoon.

"He was concerned about the theft because it might affect the wedding (scheduled for Nov 10).

"Still, he said that it will not affect his performance in Denmark ... we're all hoping for the best.

"The good thing is that despite losing several computers and the pre-wedding pictures, we have back-ups of those pictures ... so it's not too bad after all.

"We're also fortunate that the thieves did not take the three racquets worth RM74,000 ... we have lodged a police report."

The racquets were sold during an auction initiated by Chong Wei last year for the Japan tsunami victims. The racquets are still in Chong Wei's possession because the winning bidder has yet to claim them.

Meanwhile, Chong Wei, who is slowly returning to form after winning the Japan Open last month, has a clear shot at making the Denmark Open final.

The 30-year-old Penangite will face local talent and former world junior champion Viktor Axelsen in the first round. A win should see him come up against Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana next.

In the absence of arch rival Lin Dan, Chong Wei should cruise into the final where he is tipped to face defending champion and second seed Chen Long of China.

The other Malaysians in the fray are Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng and former national shuttler Tan Chun Seang. Reigning world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli will start from the qualifiers.

Soon Hock finds new lease of life with Teik Chai

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 06:45 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Former national shuttler Ong Soon Hock has definitely found a new lease of life since leaving the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to partner Gan Teik Chai.

The 27-year-old Soon Hock, who left BAM in April, has already won three satellite tournaments – the Mauritius International, Argentina International and Brazil International – with Teik Chai.

On Sunday, the pair came close to capturing their first Open title but fell short at the final hurdle of the Dutch Open, losing 21-18, 13-21, 14-21 to formidable Indonesians Alvent Yulianto-Markis Kido.

Still, it was a solid performance for Soon Hock-Teik Chai, who will now be fired up for the Denmark Open, which starts today in Odense.

It is also an encouraging sign for shuttlers who are still trying to prolong their playing careers despite leaving BAM as those who left in the past have generally faded into oblivion.

But, in recent times, a string of shuttlers outside BAM's banner have achieved credible results on the international stage.

First, there was youngster Zulfadli Zulkifli who did the country proud last year by becoming the first Malaysian to win the Asian and world juniors singles titles.

Although the 19-year-old Zulfadli, who is sponsored by KLRC, has yet to make a successful transition to the senior stage, he is definitely full of potential and one to watch in the future.

Earlier this month, another KLRC pair – Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari – ended a two-year title drought by capturing the Taiwan Open.

Soon Hock-Teik Chai, who are unseeded in Odense, will take on local pair Jorrit De Ruiter-Dave Khodabux in the first round and should face second seeds Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng in the second round.

The other Malaysian pairs in action are third seeds Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and world No. 20 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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'Imperfect' carries an important social message

Posted: 16 Oct 2012 01:27 AM PDT

Imperfect carries an important social message as delinquent boys get caught up with the triads.

Singaporean triad flick Imperfect illustrates the tragic consequences of treading the wrong path.

Inspired by the success of Singaporean drama series On The Fringe, Imperfect is an action-packed thriller about wayward teens turning to the dark side and joining triads for protection.

Produced by Li Nanxing and directed by Steven Cheng, with cinematography by Amandi Wong, the youth-oriented drama features violent gang wars and bloody fights by juvenile delinquents. It stars young actors including Edwin Goh, Ian Fang, Phua Yida, Elizabeth Lee, Kimberly Chia and Joeyan. Meanwhile, the adults in the movie are played by Li, Liu Kai Chi, and Chiang Tsu Ping and Patrick Li Pei Hsu.

Imperfect is actor-turned-filmmaker Li's second movie and took 28 days to shoot. He made his directorial debut last year with the gambling flick, The Ultimate Winner, which he also produced and starred.

In a phone interview from Singapore recently, veteran Singaporean actor Li spoke of how glad he was to have engaged seasoned character actors from Hong Kong and Taiwan to work on the movie.

"They set off different sparks, making the movie unique, so that it is not the same as the series."

In Imperfect, Li plays gangster head Hong Zhihua, whose ex-lover He Huifang (Chiang) implores him to help her troubled young son Jianhao (Goh) stay out of trouble. The boy joins a triad beause of his loyalty to his good friend Zach (Ian Fang). The youngsters end up in deep trouble when they injure the son of rival mobster Wang Guodong (Liu).

"The story is about the youth of today and their difficult relationship with their parents. We must understand why the young go astray and guard against it. Don't wait till it's too late to teach them. Guide them on the right path, while they are still young and impressionable," said Li, 47, about the movie's message to audiences.

Imperfect showcases fight sequences and action scenes that took up some 30% of the plot.

Often described as Singapore's Chow Yun-fat, Li shared: "These fights were mainly done by the kids. And, yes, they were wielding blades and other sharp weapons. However, the most challenging to film were the scenes of them fighting in the rain as it was very slippery and we had to be extra careful to ensure everyone's safety."

Despite the violence, Imperfect was very well-received when it opened in Singapore with an NC16 (age 16 and above only) version on Aug 30 and a PG13 version on Sept 27, to cater for the young cast members' wide teenage fanbase. The movie is rated 18 in Malaysia; the distributor is currently appealing for it to be rated P13 instead.

"I really have to thank our amazing cast. I believe that after you watch how each of them interpret their characters, you will accord them a much-deserved round of applause," gushed Li, who will next play a forensics officer in C.L.I.F II, a police procedural series.

Tune in to the movie's official radio station 988 from 11am to noon today for an exclusive live interview with the stars. 988 is owned and operated by The Star.

Imperfect opens in local cinemas on Thursday.

Isaac admits latest love interest is starlet Neelofa

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 04:10 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Actor-producer Hans Isaac, who has been romantically linked with several artistes in the past, has confirmed that the latest "love" of his life is actress Neelofa.

The dashing 41-year-old, however, refused to dwell on the subject, saying he had endured many heartbreaks for most parts of his adult life.

"Enough ... I don't want to talk about this relationship," he told mStar Online.

Isaac, whose former sweethearts include actresses Erra Fazira, Fasha Sandha, Filipina Bea Alonzo and Miss Malaysia Universe 2003 Elaine Daly, denied the buzz that he had gone on a rendezvous to Koh Sa­­­mui with the 23-year-old starlet recently.

"Let it be. I have experienced this kind of gossips before. The truth is I went to Koh Samui with my cousins and friends.

"Even if I wanted to go on holiday with her, we would have gone in a group ... not alone," said the actor.

It was reported that Neelofa, whose full name is Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor, was unfazed by reports linking her to Isaac, a Catholic of Filipino descent.

"As a Muslim, it is not nice for me to talk about my relationship with him,'' she said, adding that she did go on a holiday, but to Phuket, not Koh Samui as the grapevine has it.

Isaac, who is busy with the post production of two films, including Lemak Kampung Santan, said he was aware of the religious and cultural sensitivities involved.

On his late mother's wish that he should tie the knot, the bachelor said marriage was not something he wanted to rush into.

"Of course, I am saddened by the fact that I could not fulfil her wish,'' he said of his mother Carmina Anciano, who died in August at the age of 74.

Meanwhile, sources told mStar Online that Isaac and Neelofa were seen working out at a gym at The Curve in Damansara yesterday evening.

Family: Bollywood's glittering star couple set to wed

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 05:27 AM PDT

MUMBAI: Two of Bollywood's biggest stars, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, are set to tie the knot on Tuesday in India's celebrity wedding of the year, a relative said.

Actor Khan, 42, will marry actress Kapoor, 32, at the grand Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai in a union that has long been the subject of frenzied media speculation in the movie-mad country.

"The wedding is taking place tomorrow and then we will have a reception in Delhi later on. It is a very joyous moment for our family," the bride's uncle, actor Rishi Kapoor, told AFP.

The Bollywood couple, India's answer to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, have been dating for four years and appeared together in this year's spy flick "Agent Vinod".

They both come from illustrious families with established links to the movie business.

Kapoor, whose hits include "3 Idiots" (2009) and "Jab We Met" (When We Met, 2007), hails from Bollywood's foremost acting dynasty, begun by her great-grandfather Prithviraj.

Her grandfather Raj Kapoor was a cinematic legend while his brothers and a number of relatives have become well-known names in the industry. The bride's mother also appeared in films in the 1960s and 70s.

Khan became the new Nawab (Muslim prince) of the former princely state of Pataudi last year after the death of his famous cricketing father Mansur Ali Khan, better known as "Tiger Pataudi".

His mother Sharmila Tagore is an award-winning actress and his sister Soha is also in the business.

Khan, who starred in 2001's "Dil Chahta Hai" (The Heart Desires) and "Hum Tum" (You and Me, 2004), has two children with his previous wife Amrita Singh. They were divorced in 2004.

Local media reported that a private pre-wedding "sangeet" party was held on Sunday at Kapoor's Mumbai residence.

She wore an ornate traditional orange dress with a golden blouse, while Khan dressed in white. - AFP


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Cops smash gang that robbed luxury homes, arrest 10 suspects

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 07:46 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Seven men and three women, including a couple, who had been robbing luxury homes in the Klang Valley since last year were arrested by police.

Brickfields police chief ACP Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said police also recovered valuables and cash worth more than RM150,000.

They were arrested following the arrest of two men in a hotel in Jalan Kuchai Maju on Wednesday, three days after a house in Taman Desa was robbed.

"The two men are believed to have robbed a senior citizen of his Toyota Camry at about 9am.

"The suspects who operate in a car are believed to have watched the house for some time as they stormed into the house armed with parangs after the grandson left for work," he told a press conference here Monday.

A police party raided a hotel in Jalan Kuchai Lama at about 3am and arrested two suspects and five men and two women, including a Thai citizen aged 20 to 36 years.

Also seized were two transparent plastic sachets containing suspected syabu and ketamine, cash RM894, seven handphones, six credit cards, a laptop, a parang, a short knife, a Toyota Camry and a Honda Civic.

Wan Abdul Bari said investigation led to the arrest of another woman, the wife of a 39-year-old suspect arrested the next day at a house in Taman Melawati.

The gang's modus operandi was to break into luxury homes, threaten the victims with parangs before escaping with valuables.

He said the arrest of the gang helped police solve 10 robberies around Brickfields and the Klang Valley.

The suspects had been remanded until October 17 to aid investigation and the cases investigated under Section 395/397 of the Penal Code for armed robbery. - Bernama

Minor crime offenders to be placed in 5 mini prisons

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 07:08 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Offenders of minor crimes will be placed in five mini prisons in military camps under the Correctional Rehabilitation Programme (PPP) via the National Blue Ocean Strategy, parliament was told on Monday.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said via PPP, the offenders will undergo rehabilitation programmes designed by the Prisons Department with cooperation of the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry, Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Defence Ministry.

"PPP is also aimed at reducing recidivism among prisoners or Supervised Persons (ODS)," he said in reply to a question from Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong).

Shamsul Anuar wanted to know the impact of programmes via the National Blue Ocean Strategy on the Finance Ministry and the people.

Abdul Latiff said the planned programmes for offenders of minor crimes were also in line with the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) to reduce street crimes. - Bernama

A-G's Report: Nearly 40% of Rural Road Projects in Sarawak delayed

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 07:08 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Implementation of nearly 40% of projects under the Rural Road Projects in Sarawak have suffered delays, some as long as 242 days, according to the Auditor-General's 2011 report.

The report, which was tabled in Parliament Monday, pointed out that of 101 projects completed, 38 had been delayed from 15 to 242 days from the original schedule.

The Auditor-General also found that of 74 other ongoing projects, 13 are behind schedule by more than 20%.

Apart from the delays, the report noted that construction and upgrading of roads did not follow contract specifications and that road users were not satisfied with the quality, safety and comfort of the roads.

"Audit findings revealed that, in general, the construction and upgrading of rural road projects in Sarawak were not satisfactory," read the report.

The Rural and Regional Development Ministry, which oversees the projects, said the delays were out of the control of either the ministry or implementing agents.

Among the problems the ministry highlighted in its response to the Auditor-General on June 26 this year include blockades by land owners, lack of building materials and internal problems faced by the hired contractors.

"However, the implementing agency constantly takes the necessary action to overcome such problems or causes of delays so that a project can be completed within the designated time," the ministry said.

According to the report, the ministry had approved a total of RM1.727 bil to implement 175 road projects in Sarawak from 2006 to 2010.

From the total approved funds, some RM1.024 bil had been spent so far as at Dec 31, 2011.

The Sarawak Public Works Department was put in charge of 146 projects worth a total of RM1.104 bil, while the remaining 29 projects costing RM622.84 mil were put under the Sarawak Drainage and Irrigation Department.


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The great catamaran clean-up

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 04:44 AM PDT

LAST month, we had a very exciting month with Edu-Cat, our Lagoon 500 catamaran. Let me explain: boats need lots of TLC (tender loving care) and regular maintenance if you want to keep them in good shape.

One of the most important things to do is the periodic anti-foul. Sounds pretty bad, but it is actually a maintenance process to protect the boat and prevent it from getting damaged below the waterline, where a vessel is constantly exposed to shells, worms, barnacles, dirty water and other rubbish. That's why there is a protective paint coating, which needs to be renewed periodically, usually every 12 to 18 months. In order to renew this protective coating, the boat has to be hauled out of the water and that was our project for September.

Well, our catamaran is pretty big, about 51ft long, 28ft wide and weighs about 30 tonnes. There are not many marinas or shipyards that have the facilities to haul out a boat of this size. One of the best is the Ao Po Grand Marina in Phuket, Thailand, and they offer very fair prices, so that's where we went.

We sailed from Langkawi up to Phuket, a wonderful five-day island- hopping trip via Koh Tarutau, Koh Phetra, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi island and then on to Phuket. At this time of the year, the weather can be quite wild and a few times we had storms with torrential rain and winds of around 35 knots. We were very pleased with our brand new Rocna 40kg anchor which held very well and we were able to ride out the storms safely.

The real adventure began at Ao Po, Phuket, at 8am on the morning of Sept 14 at high tide, when the huge trailer behind a massive tractor towed Edu-Cat out of the water. The challenge was to support the boat sufficiently with rubber bars, huge foam blocks, supporting poles, ropes and lines so as not to damage the hull. When out of the water, the 30-odd tonnes are not floating softly in the water anymore; instead the boat sits on its two keels and they have to carry all the weight.

It took five hours before Edu-Cat was safely parked on the 'hard-stand'. I have to say, that David and I were a bit nervous and very relieved when she was finally in her 'parking lot', where she looked even bigger than in the water.

Then an intensive week of interesting work began. A high water pressure system cleans the 'boat bottom' first. If there is any damage in the fibreglass, it needs to be repaired at this point, but fortunately Edu-Cat was fine. Then the old paint coats need to be sanded off before a new two-part epoxy primer undercoat can be applied followed by at least two coats of 'anti-foul' paint. We were quite fortunate that it did not rain too much that week. Although the anti-foul paint dries very quickly, it can't be applied in the rain.

The sail-drives and the propellers were serviced, the swimming ladders got new steps, the TV satellite system was set up (yes, we now can watch Astro channels on our boat everywhere) and we finally got our water-maker installed. The water-maker desalinates sea water and produces good quality drinking water via a reverse osmosis process. Now, our guests can take showers as long as they want, as there are no more restrictions on water supply. And finally the whole boat got polished and looks like new again.

Wow, what an experience. We were happy to see her safely back in the water at the end of the week. It will be at least another year before we have to do it again.

My second topic this month is the 'Clean Up Malaysia Day' project. You may remember, last year on Oct 15, Edu-Cat-Malaysia together with the Rotary Club of Bandar Bukit Tinggi organised a 'Cleaner Marina Day' in Port Klang with 100 fishing boats and more than 1,200 volunteers to clean up the Klang River under the umbrella of the Australian initiative 'Clean Up The World' (

This year we plan to organise three or four clean-up campaigns simultaneously to make it a nationwide event on the same day, Nov 3, together with our partners the Malaysia Australia Business Council, The Expat Group and the local Rotary Clubs.

The good news is that we will have four events, but unfortunately not on the same day. Never mind, please help us to save our environment, particularly our waterways, rivers, oceans and marine life by creating awareness among the general public to keep one of our most precious resources, water, clean for the next generations.

The clean-up dates and locations are:

Oct 20 — Klang River clean-up

Clean-up area: Esplanade at Jalan Tepi Sungai Klang. This event is organised by the Rotary Club of Bandar Bukit Tinggi. To register, go to

Nov 3 — Gombak

Clean-up area: Sungai Tua in Gombak from 9am to noon.

Collection point: 9am at the second carpark by the river in front of the gazebo.

Participants will be briefed about the do's and don'ts and will be provided with gloves and garbage bags. They are to ee-assemble at the briefing area at noon with all the rubbish collected. This event is organised by the Rotary Club of Bangsar. For details, visit and register under 'Participate'.

Nov 3 — Langkawi

Clean-up area: Pantai Cenang. This event is organised by the Andaman Hotel at Datai Bay and is supported by the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada). For details, visit and register under 'Participate'.

Dec 1 – Port Klang

Collection point: Port Klang Jetty from 7.30am – 12.30am. This event is organised by the Rotary Club of Bandar Bukit Tinggi. To register, go to

Dec 9 or 16 (to be confirmed) – Penang

Clean-up area: Gurney Drive

This event is organised by the Rotary Club of Penang and includes beach clean-up, tree planting, promotion of health, safety and good clean-up practices. For details, visit and register under 'Participate'.

We hope to see many of you at one or more clean-up locations over the next few months.

Check our website regularly for updates and you can also find us on Facebook at

Gudrun's love for Malaysia brought her back from Germany three years ago, after a nine-year absence when she resided in KL holding a senior corporate position. She and her husband are serial entrepreneurs and are passionate about staying fit and healthy, and promoting an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

Stop haphazard parking in PJ

Posted: 15 Oct 2012 04:42 AM PDT

It is obvious that residents of Petaling Jaya have welcomed the one-way loop proposal for four major roads as they are really fed up with the traffic mess they have to face daily.

With the expected national annual increase of 600,000 vehicles on the road, there would have been no respite to their commuting woes.

However, I would like to suggest to the authorities that a good system is only as good as it is maintained.

At present, traffic on this 'loop' can be much improved if the authorities would maintain strict vigilance against haphazard parking at the following areas: Jalan Yong Shook Lin, the stretch from the TNB building to the overhead pedestrian bridge near the former National Registration Department, Jalan Semangat, outside Jaya 33 and Jalan Barat, from KFC to Courts, opposite PJ Hilton.

If these stretches are diligently cleared of illegal parking, which blocks up to half the road stretches sometimes, traffic would be eased.

Can we do that, while we continue to debate on the "proposed loop"?

Tam Yeng Siang
Petaling Jaya


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Life after prostate cancer

Posted: 13 Oct 2012 10:20 PM PDT

A man dedicates his life to good deeds after surviving prostate cancer.

IT all started with a kind gesture in 2001.

A friend came by Dass Santhanam's house to hand him a coupon for an annual blood test. Upon his friend's insistence, Dass decided to get tested at the healthcare centre two weeks later.

At the healthcare centre, another young healthcare professional advised Dass to take the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test, as an add-on to the blood test he was taking.

He agreed, and 10 days later, that single decision changed his life forever.

Dass had a high PSA reading of 77.5 (PSA levels of 4.0 and lower are considered normal), and after several consultations, he was officially diagnosed with T2-3A (Stage 2) prostate cancer. He was 63 years old.

"I still remember telling my son's father-in-law one evening that my PSA reading was 77.5. He was so shocked at the revelation, he dropped the glass he was holding – shattering it to pieces. I lost a nice piece of crystal glass that day," said Dass.

At 63 years, Dass was a healthy, newly-retired civil servant. He was looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren and traveling, and was definitely not expecting a battle with cancer to be his next challenge.

His first hurdle was to decide on the treatment for his disease.

Dass swiftly went into action, going for a biopsy at the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, before being referred to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for a second opinion. The diagnosis confirmed that he had Stage 2 prostate cancer. But the good news was that prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease, and more importantly, is treatable.

After undergoing an MRI and a bone scan, Dass was presented with three different options:

1. A radical prostatectomy, which would require an operation to remove the prostate gland and some of the tissues around it.

2. Watchful waiting, which will not require any treatment, but instead, require both the patient and doctor to observe how the cancer progresses before medical intervention or therapy.

3. Radiation and hormonal treatment, which will require the patient to undergo radiation treatment that specifically targets the tumour, combined with short-term hormonal treatment (usually two to three years) to suppress the growth of the tumour.

Choosing the third option, Dass underwent intensive radiation and hormonal treatment at a private medical centre. He was administered a monthly dose of goserelin acetate (3.6mg). This was followed by hormonal injections once every three months. He experienced some adverse reactions, including hot flushes, sweating, weight gain, and urinary tract obstruction.

But he stuck through it, persevered, and after three years, he managed to beat the cancer into remission.

With the new lease of life came the opportunity for Dass to pay it forward. In 2002, a fateful meeting at the National Cancer Society of Malaysia's (NCSM) library paved the way for him to help found NCSM's first Prostate Cancer Support Group for men.

"I was kindly referred by my doctor to the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, to take a bone scan that was offered at the centre. While waiting for my turn, the people at the National Cancer Society were very kind to me. They gave me the option to wait comfortably in their library, where I could read some books until my name was called. It was in the library that I had the chance to meet someone who worked for NCSM, and who was in charge of their Resource and Wellness Centre," Dass shared.

He, with other like-minded prostate cancer patients at NCSM, pioneered the Prostate Cancer Support Group that provides both emotional and mental support for patients who are diagnosed with the disease. It also functions as a support group for families of cancer patients – advising them on how they can be a strong care team for the patient.

The group, consisting of both prostate cancer patients and survivors, meet once every two months on the third Thursday of the month, sharing their personal experiences battling the cancer, going through treatment, and staying positive despite the challenges.

Dass was also recently involved with the Penang Adventist Hospital's Charity Go Bald and Food Fair. He was one of 363 participants who volunteered to shave their locks and help raise RM600,000 for charity in August. It was his first time going bald!

On top of being a cancer survivor, Dass is also a heart bypass survivor. He suffered a heart attack in 2005, and opted for open heart surgery for three blocked arteries.

He was still undergoing his cancer treatment at the same time. Surviving this harrowing experience only strengthened his resolve to help others, and Dass joined the Rakan IJN programme post-surgery. He is now part of a team of survivors who take time to meet other patients every two weeks to encourage and boost their confidence facing their heart disease challenges.

Here are some tips that Dass has for men who have yet to take the first step to get a health check:

1. If you are 45 years and above, do make the effort to get your health checked at least once a year, and it may be a good idea to include the PSA test.

2. With prostate cancer, the earlier you detect the disease, the higher the chances for survival.

3. Don't ignore key symptoms – get checked if you identify key issues such as difficulty urinating, urinal bleeding or loss of bladder control.

4. For men who have been diagnosed with stage four, don't panic! Take the bull by the horns and seek professional medical help.

Before taking any medication, it is important for all patients to speak to their doctor to determine if the treatment option is suitable for their needs.

Lastly, stay positive! Take all challenges thrown at you one day at a time.

Subconscious weight loss

Posted: 13 Oct 2012 10:19 PM PDT

WITH all the misleading portrayals of hypnosis that we see on TV or at the movies, you can't blame me for being slightly apprehensive about trying the Hypno-Band Weight Loss System, which uses hypnotherapy to convince the mind that one has had a gastric band fitted.

The touted benefits, supposedly similar to gastric band surgery, were no doubt impressive; you would eat smaller portions, feel fuller faster, and ultimately, lose weight, all without any invasive surgical procedures.

Nevertheless, my mind worked overtime imagining various negative (and mostly implausible) side effects: would I wake up in the middle of the night wracked with pain in my stomach, convinced I was bleeding internally? Or would I perhaps have memories of a surgery I never actually had?

Reality, thankfully, was far more prosaic. My hypnotherapist, Joyce Hue, talked me through what would happen during our sessions.

The idea was simple: over the course of five sessions (roughly 40 minutes each, over a six-week period), she would use hypnosis to prepare me for the "surgery", perform the "procedure", and finally, follow up on my progress.

Along the way, she would also plant suggestions for ways in which I could live a healthier lifestyle.

Our first meeting did not involve any hypnosis. Instead, Hue had me identify practices that were contributing to weight gain, such as skipping breakfast or snacking while watching television, and then simple "substitute" habits that would prevent me from doing so.

This process also helped me identify particular social settings or emotions that I associate with eating.

Then, I was sent home with reading material on healthy eating and exercising, and told to start a food diary.

The first actual hypnosis session was mainly to get me used to the process, and to plant suggestions in my subconscious mind that would encourage me to practice a healthier lifestyle.

As a total newbie to hypnosis, the experience was fascinating.

Hue had me lying on an easy chair with my eyes closed, and started with the steps of hypnosis we are most familiar with: telling me to relax, asking me to imagine myself somewhere peaceful, and counting backwards.

While it sounds simplistic, it actually worked, and she soon had me in a hypnotic state.

The feeling is similar to when you may lie down to relax without actually intending to fall asleep. You feel extremely relaxed and tend not to focus on external stimuli, but at the same time, you're still aware of things.

The best way I can explain it is, it feels like those few minutes right before you actually fall asleep are prolonged – a pretty enjoyable feeling, actually.

Once I was in this state, Hue began to give specific suggestions on weight loss. These were both emotion-related (such as, you don't need to view eating as a way to socialise) and activity-related (take the stairs instead of the elevator), based on my specific issues with eating and exercising.

However, because of my state of consciousness, I couldn't remember a lot of what Hue said, which she assured me is normal.

She said my subconscious mind would absorb the suggestions, even if my "waking" mind doesn't remember them.

After the session, I was given a hypnosis CD to listen to at home, which I had to listen to in between each of the sessions.

I noticed several small changes in my daily routine after the session: I started making a conscious effort to eat breakfast, take the stairs, and drink water with my meals instead of other drinks. I also noticed that I felt fuller after eating less than usual.

The second session was similar, with Hue reinforcing the suggestions from the previous week.

She also asked me which aspects of weight loss I struggled with specifically, and tailored her session around those.

I continued with the changes I had started making to my routine, and I did notice that, while I didn't lose any weight, my pants felt slightly looser.

I also found myself thinking consciously about what I was eating, and trying to make healthier choices.

At our third session, Hue "prepped" me for my upcoming Hypno-Band surgery, by putting me under hypnosis and introducing me to what would happen. This involved her talking me through the process of what an actual gastric band surgery would do.

As this involved shrinking my stomach down to size of a golf ball, I was given an actual golf ball to hold in my hand during the session, presumably so that my mind would associate the size with how much I could consume.

Hue further asked me to keep the ball with me throughout the week, as reinforcement for my mind.

Finally, it was time for the actual "surgery". Under hypnosis as usual, I don't remember a lot of what was said, though I do recollect Hue talking about me being in a surgery room, and doctors preparing me for the procedure.

What was notable was that, after I was awoken from hypnosis, I actually felt a slight discomfort in my abdominal area, which Hue assured me happens with quite a few people (she had mentioned in an earlier session that I was quite easily suggestible under hypnosis).

Our next session would be in two weeks, so that I could observe the effects of the "surgery", and decide if I needed the gastric band to be tightened.

I have to say, while I continued the healthy habits I had adopted, my food portions did not decrease dramatically.

I did find that I didn't feel as peckish in between meals, but the change didn't seem significant enough to measure up to the touted effects of the procedure.

It should be pointed out, however, that as this was a very busy period in my life, I didn't have the time to incorporate a proper exercise plan into this process, which may have made a difference.

At my final session, I did ask for the band to tightened, since I wasn't seeing a big change.

I ultimately lost about two inches off my waist, and I am more mindful of habits and emotions that lead to overeating, but I wouldn't say these were things I didn't already know.

Like any other weight-loss method, hypnosis is a tool; you need willpower to make it work.

The kilogrammes will not melt off on their own; you need to start planning meals, working out, and resisting temptations.

Perhaps what hypnosis could do is boost your resolve to do these things. Like every hypnotherapist tells you, hypnosis can't make you do something you don't want to.

Related story:
Where there's a will, there's weight loss

Sex matters

Posted: 13 Oct 2012 07:32 PM PDT

Good sexual health is a very important part of most people's general wellbeing.

IT was reported recently in the Durex Sex Survey that Malaysian women are the third most unfaithful in the world.

A whopping 39% of our women confessed to being unfaithful, behind only Ghanaian (62%) and Thai (59%) women. Even the Russians (33%) and Singaporeans (19%) are more faithful.

The same survey also reported that Singaporean and Hong Kong men are the most promiscuous in Asia, with an average of 16 bed partners in their lifetime.

Malaysian men have sexual relations with an average of only three women, which is way down the list.

Just a decade ago, Hong Kong and Singaporean men were among the least sexually active in the region, but something drastic must have happened since then.

If we are to believe these statistics, we have a situation here where the women are having affairs, and the men are most likely busy watching football.

One major reason why women would be unfaithful is sexual frustration. In general, women are reluctant to vent out their frustration to their doctors, so whatever we hear is actually only the tip of the iceberg.

For every woman who shares her frustration, there are probably another nine suffering silently. Or, for every woman who confronts her husband or partner about it, another nine just find the satisfaction elsewhere!

We know that poor health, especially being diabetic and/or having heart disease, correlates with poor sexual function in men. We also know that Malaysian men are generally unhealthy.

Heart disease is the top killer, and 15% of our adults are diabetic. Over 75% of men over 40 have one or more of these problems – obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and central obesity. Over 50% of our men smoke, while most (men and women) also do not exercise enough.

As a result, a high proportion of our men cannot satisfy their partners. Many have erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve and sustain penile erection for satisfactory sex) because of their poor health.

Fortunately, in the last 15 years or so, these men can rely on drugs to help them achieve erections. Those who can afford it can even go for shock-wave therapy to reverse their impotence. But the drugs do not work all the time, and can be expensive for the poorer guys.

In order to have satisfactory sexual function, men have to be physically fit, and have healthy levels of sex hormones. To be fit is not a necessity for women to have sexual satisfaction (although it is desirable), but she also needs healthy levels of hormones.

Sexual satisfaction and fulfillment go beyond just erections and penetrative sex. There are many other aspects of sex that ought to be mastered by partners if they want a really satisfying sex life. It is beyond the scope of this article to describe in detail what these are, as it may not be appropriate for some readers who are too young. However, I will discuss some, which are more general in nature, that will be helpful to all.

Kegel exercises

For many years, women were taught to do the Kegel exercise (tightening of pelvic floor muscles) to help prevent uterine and vaginal prolapse, prevent urinary incontinence, and improve their sex life.

The benefit of regular tightening of the vaginal muscles in improving the enjoyment of penetrative sex is immense, especially for women who have given birth vaginally, as each delivery is bound to loosen the vagina.

The exercise is simple and can be done anywhere, anytime, whether you're standing, sitting or lying down.

If you do not know what the Kegel exercise is, you can try now – just tighten the muscles around your anus and urethra (urine outlet), and keep it tightened for a count to five. Release for a few seconds and repeat.

Do this at least 10 times per session. You can do as many sessions in a day as you want. As you get used to it, you can also increase the number of repetitions up to 60 per session.

In recent years, there has been more understanding about the benefits of Kegel exercises for men. Studies have shown that after doing Kegel exercises for three to six months, 40% of men with erectile dysfunction reversed their problem, 35% had some improvement, while 25% did not report any improvement.

This is a significant result that men should not ignore – that for good erections, their exercise regime should also include the pelvic floor muscles.

Just as in women, Kegel exercises also improves urinary incontinence in men

They also help men improve on premature ejaculation, reduce symptoms of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland), and help them recover from the problems associated with prostate surgery (for prostate enlargement or cancer).

Prostatectomies (surgical removal of the prostate gland) due to cancer are becoming more common among men as our life expectancy increases. A prostatectomy commonly causes erectile dysfunction, and Kegel exercises after surgery have been shown to be effective in improving, or even reversing it.

If you practise the Kegel exercise at least twice daily, you can expect to feel the results in about four to six weeks. For faster results, there is an electrical machine that can induce the pelvic muscle contractions.

If you are undergoing pelvic, urinary or prostate surgery, it is best to do the exercise diligently before the operation so that you start with stronger muscles. After the surgery, it would be wise to rest for at least four weeks before starting your Kegel exercise.

About orgasms

Many men and women do not achieve orgasm. While all men would have experienced it, at least when they are young and healthy, there are many women who have never experienced it, and therefore, do not know what it is all about.

For men, the sexual encounter usually does not end until he achieves orgasm, which means ejaculation. The problem for most is that it comes too soon because of premature ejaculation, or it fizzles out because of a poor erection or poor health.

And more often than not, he leaves his partner frustrated.

However, it is entirely different for women. They are usually disappointed because the encounter is not long enough for them to be sufficiently aroused. It takes longer, sustained stimulation for women to reach their climax, which is also expressed in a blast of pelvic and body muscle contractions, which last much longer than the few seconds of male orgasm, and may even be repeated in rapid succession, unlike the men who go "dead" for anywhere between five minutes to one week before he can have the next erection and orgasm.

Those who have experienced orgasm, and then are deprived of it because of aborted sex (ie the encounter ends before he or she climaxes, for whatever reason) become frustrated.

Now you can understand why there are so many frustrated men and women walking on our streets.

There are many ways to achieve orgasm, and indeed, the techniques are more important than the size of the penis when it comes to satisfying sex, although size still matters!

Why sex is important

Apart from the many health benefits of the sexual act, the main biological purpose is, of course, procreation and continuation of the species. Indeed, in animals, this is the only purpose, and in many species, sex occurs only during limited periods of "oestrus" in the female (ie when they are fertile).

In several species, the males die or are killed by the mates immediately after copulation.

Humans are the only species that engage in sex perennially, most of the time outside the female's fertile days.

In fact, we have contraceptives to allow sex without having to worry about procreation, and women continue to have sex after the reproductive age (menopause).

Note that men may continue to be fertile even after andropause (male menopause, defined as having very low testosterone), provided they can achieve erection and ejaculate.

While sex is arguably the highest desire of our animal instinct, it is not devoid of its religious and spiritual values. Kings and presidents have sacrificed their positions for women and sex, so you can surmise how important sex is. If playing golf takes precedence over sex, then the human species is at risk of decimation. And with so many of my friends becoming hooked on golf, I am beginning to get worried!

Sex between married partners is not at all "dirty" in religion. That is why, there are many hadiths (records of the teachings) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on sexual etiquette, and even a reminder to men that it is their duty to make sure that their wives are sexually satisfied.

Perhaps the most famous religious treatise on sex is the Kamasutra, which is an extensive manual in the context of a religious/spiritual life imbued with love, family life, virtuous living, and appreciating carnal and worldly pleasures in gratitude and as a form of worship.

A healthy sexual relationship helps keep the marriage happy and stable, and therefore, the family secure.

Workshop on sexual health

To help improve the sexual health of Malaysians, we have to start by educating the doctors, who many patients consider as their advisers and experts. If the doctors themselves are not knowledgeable, then their ability to advise is limited.

My anti-ageing and sexology mentor, Dr Nick Delgado of the US, has agreed to come and conduct an advanced Workshop on Sexual Health in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 2 (Sunday). Dr Delgado is a researcher and expert on anti-ageing, fitness, hormones and sexual health. He has written 10 books on these subjects.

The workshop is only for medical doctors, and will include subjects and techniques that I dare not even mention here. So if you want to benefit, send your doctor to the workshop!

For details, please call 012-5387311 or 03-79873399, or email to

Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. He is a qigong master and founder of SuperQigong. For further information, e-mail The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.


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