Isnin, 11 Februari 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Trump may have trouble collecting on $5 million orangutan bet

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 06:15 PM PST

A comedian, a millionaire and an orangutan. It may sound like the beginning of a screwball joke, but Donald Trump isn't laughing.

The famously outspoken real estate magnate has sued famously outspoken television host Bill Maher, demanding the $5 million Maher offered to give to charity if Trump could prove his father is not an orangutan.

But legal experts say Trump is unlikely to get a dime from Maher, the host of the HBO series Real Time With Bill Maher, because his offer was clearly made in jest.

"It's parody," said Bryan Sullivan, a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer.

"You know Bill Maher is a comedian and a satirist. The offer is so ridiculous." Trump, however, has taken the comic at his word.

"Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump's birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan," Trump's lawyer, Scott Balber, wrote to Maher last month.

When Maher did not respond, Trump filed a breach of contract lawsuit last week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

A Maher spokeswoman referred to his show Friday, in which he ridiculed Trump's lawsuit.

"It's never a joke when someone reneges on a commitment that benefits worthy charities," said Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump, in response.

"The tone of Mr. Maher's diatribe on Friday evening suggests he is far more concerned with the lawsuit than he wants the public to believe."

Last year, during the presidential campaign, Trump offered to give $5 million to charity if President Barack Obama would release his college records.

Trump, who flirted with a possible White House run, previously questioned Obama's citizenship and boasted that he prompted Obama to release his birth certificate.

As a guest on NBC's The Tonight Show last month, Maher offered to give $5 million to charity if Trump could prove he was not the son of an orangutan, since the ape's orange fur matches the color of Trump's trademark gravity-defying coiffure.

"He can donate to a charity of his choice," Maher said. "Hair Club for Men; the Institute for Incorrigible Douchebaggery. Whatever charity."

Under contract law, a verbal offer can create a contractual obligation. But courts make exceptions for obviously satirical offers.

In a New York federal case, Leonard vs. Pepsico, a man sued the soft drink maker after it refused to honor a TV advertisement "offer" of a fighter jet for redeemable Pepsi Points. U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan said an offer made "evidently in jest" is not a contract and noted the commercial featured a teenager using the jet to get to school.

"This fantasy is, of course, extremely unrealistic," Wood wrote. Trump's lawsuit alleges that Maher's show is political commentary, not comedy.

In a Fox News appearance last week, Trump said he was certain Maher's offer was not a joke. "That was venom," Trump said. "That wasn't a joke." -Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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Australia delays equity clearing plan

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 05:25 PM PST

SYDNEY: The Australian government is delaying a decision on opening the country's equities clearing facility to competition for two years, extending the monopoly of stock exchange operator ASX Ltd.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday that the ASX had agreed to develop a code of practice within six months to ensure transparent and non-discriminatory access to its infrastructure in the interim.

So far, only European clearing house LCH.Clearnet has applied for a licence to provide rival equity clearing services in Australia. London-based LCH.Clearnet was not immediately available for comment.

Concerns about relinquishing control of the nation's clearing and settlement systems was a major reason cited by Swan when he vetoed an US$8bil takeover bid from Singapore Exchange for ASX in 2011.

That scuppered ASX's plan to join a wave of mergers in recent years between exchange firms around the world, as traditional operators try to cut costs and boost their offerings to fend off growing competition from alternative trading platforms and so-called "dark pool" operators that link anonymous buyers and sellers.

The ASX deal with Singapore would have bolstered the Australian bourse against the October 2011 launch of the Chi-X platform, owned by Nomura, which ended the ASX's two-decade monopoly.

The Council of Financial Regulators will review the new Code of Practice at the end of the two-year period and consider whether a new entrant should be permitted.

Chi-X signed a five-year deal with ASX Clear at its start-up, but stressed the agreement was non-exclusive and it would welcome the opportunity to use a different clearing house.

In a bid to dissuade defectors to a potential rival, ASX this year began sharing half the extra revenue it makes from its trading, clearing and settlement business with customers in a scheme to last three to five years.

ASX chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper said yesterday that the existing settlement system was "efficient, well-capitalised and well-regulated", adding that the ASX was making investments to strengthen Australia's position in Asia.

That includes the launch of the clearing of over-the-counter (OTC)-traded derivatives this year. Yesterday's decision applies only to the clearing of cash equities and does not extend to clearing and settlement services of either exchange-traded or OTC derivative or debt markets.

There was A$14.8 trillion of trade in OTC derivatives last year, against A$1.1 trillion of turnover in equities, suggesting a lucrative market for both ASX and LCH to pursue.

ASX shares were up 0.45% at A$36.11 in early trade. The stock has risen 18% over the past year, just ahead of a 16% rise in the S&P/ASX 200 index. - Reuters

Employees have career choices as organisations become competitive in placing people at the centre of their business

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 05:23 PM PST

OVER the last decade, the war for talent has become feistier as organisations become extremely competitive in their focus of placing people at the centre of their business.

This in turn has lead organisations towards a quest of finding the best suited talent in the speediest of time. As a result, employees today can take comfort in knowing that they have career choices. Let there be no doubt that even career choices can lead to impactful career consequences, be it positive or negative.

As a human capital specialist, we see many candidates jump into job opportunities without taking the time to evaluate their choices. There is more to a job besides the remuneration and its benefits. Before jumping into something that seems enticing, be sure to evaluate the impact that the potential job or organisation may have on your future career.

Discover your passion first

In order to achieve greater heights in any organisation or a career, it is imperative to firstly determine your passion or as I prefer to call it "a calling". In order to ensure that there is a consistent pattern in the tenure and contribution in any role or organisation, one should align their interest to roles and organisational culture that fit them.

Never underestimate the result of combining personal interest with the right role. Like in any relationship, we are taught to assess common interest and objectives. The employee value proposition is integral to every role or organisation, unless you've decided on what type of career that would force you out of bed in the morning with a grand "hooray" then your career journey may be less exciting and, perhaps, fairly challenging. As Confucius said: "Love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life".

Remember that there will always be someone that fits the role, but the question is if your interests match the role. If you are able to decipher this early enough, you would most likely look back in awe of your achievements than regret.

Be resourceful and proactive

If you really want to bask in the glory of your success, be relentless in your pursuit for a career of your choice. It is no longer enough to research the role or the organisation, be open to understanding the scope of work as well as the key results expected of you should you undertake the role.

Be adamant about networking with different people that may be able to give you insight towards the culture and the beliefs of the organisation.

The last thing you want to do is spend your time in an organisation that clashes with your value system or shock you culturally.

No one else is responsible for a poor job or career choice but yourself, be accountable towards acquiring the information that would form the basis of your decision. Take your time to decide as relentless pursuit of any career opportunity, although may be rewarding in the short run, will only succumb to the laws of diminishing returns.

No one should be subjected to a dormant and stifling professional growth due to the lack of knowing. Don't be in a hurry, but information busy!

Be the best you can

Once you have decided to anchor yourself in an organisation, be able to contribute positively to the role or organisation. In order to be noticed and recognised, you should you be prepared to be vocal with ideas and improvements that would benefit the organisation. Demonstrating your achievements is critical regardless of the time you spend within the organisation. The accomplishments will serve you well in your ability to grow within or out of the organisation.

Bringing the best out of yourself also requires that elusive "balance". As clich as it may sound, it is pertinent in addressing the issue of your survival in the role or organisation. If you are amazingly good at what you do, you needn't actively seek other career opportunities. As a matter of fact the job will find you!

Build your personal brand

You have your entire career to build your personal brand, who and what you are associated to personally and professionally does help or deter the future career opportunities that come your way. After all, organisations today are looking for the best talent with the better reputation. Your credibility is predetermined by your achievements as well as the choices you've made in your encounters professionally. Hence, be selective with the roles you undertake and the organisations you work for.

Your career vision should include clarity on your career path of choice and the roles and organisations that you chose should build your personal brand positively.

Be ready to reinvent yourself as you garner more experiences, innovate your thinking and redefine yourself so that you consistently build on your brand.

Be aware that you should be able to connect your career choices you've made with the personal brand you've built over the years. They should be complimentary to your achievements by choice and not by chance.

Be grateful

Life is too short and the market is getting smaller everyday! Do not be fooled into believing that leaving an organisation in a distasteful manner subject to the situation is an acceptable reason.

Do not be one of the statistics who upon finding the next dream job behave in a manner that is unappreciative to your current or previous organisation. Undervaluing any person or organisation only emphasises the fact that you had failed to do the necessary due diligence.

Gratitude is a meaningful description for every form of experience that you may have gained from a role or organisation. I see many individuals either outgrow themselves or the organisation but fail to give credit to the learning experiences that they have garnered in the very many organisations that they've been with. Be appreciative of the opportunities of your past as it has shaped you and never burn bridges as it may come back to haunt you.

It is a guarantee that the career choices you make today will define your career options. In an environment that is highly competitive, it only means that taking more time to think through your decisions is a pre-requisite.

Do seriously consider the work ethics you embody, the career opportunities you assess and select. No matter what the outcomes are, be sure to continue building on your personal brand.

Lower February vehicle sales expected

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 05:16 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Total vehicle sales for February will be either flat or lower than the 44,013 units registered last year, said analysts, mainly due to the shorter working month and the timing of the Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays.

"We expect February sales to be in the 40,000-unit range, flat to slightly lower than last year," said RHB Research analyst Alexander Chia.

He noted that in 2012, the CNY fell in the month of January, contributing to marginally better sales hence. In January last year, new vehicles registered numbered 40,948 units, according to data by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

"We expect sales in February this year to be down month-on-month (m-o-m), given the shorter working month due to the CNY, in addition to the hangover from the strong December 2012 and (expected) January 2013 sales," he said.

Total vehicle sales in Malaysia grew 4.6% to hit a record high last year, with total industry volume (TIV) at 627,753 units. It was also the third consecutive year that the TIV had surpassed the 600,000-unit level, according to the MAA.

According to reports, total vehicle sales in December 2012 grew 27% year-on-year (y-o-y) and 13% m-o-m to 60,470 units, backed by auto companies' aggressive promotional campaigns in conjunction with festivities such as Christmas and New Year.

Analysts said the strong sales probably continued in January.

"December 2012 sales were strong. We expect January 2013 sales to also be robust y-o-y, given the low base (as last year's CNY was in January), the seasonal effect (of consumers preferring to register vehicles in the new year) and the overflow from the December promotions."

Another analyst from a local bank-backed brokerage pointed out that sales in January 2012 were affected by the disruption in the supply chain of certain Japanese makes due to the Thailand floods.

"Sales were also initially affected in 2012 due to the implementation of Bank Negara's responsible lending guidelines, which came into effect on Jan 1 last year.

"So, as it's a lower base to compare with, sales in January should be better, compared with last year," he said, adding that he also expected vehicle sales to be "flattish" this month.

Under the new lending rules, loans are approved based on net income compared with gross income previously. The new guidelines are intended to help manage the household debt in Malaysia to reasonable levels.

The MAA will release the total vehicle sales figures for January later this month. It has forecast the TIV to grow to 640,000 units this year.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Dick Chua aims to make films with universal themes

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 12:22 AM PST

Dick Chua shares his love of filmmaking.

WHILE not new to the filmmaking world, Dick Chua (also known as Chua Dick Woei) is now making his presence felt in it more than ever. Last December, his 15-minute short film Murdered was announced the grand prize winner of the BMW Shorties 2012.

It was the sixth time BMW organised the annual short film competition, which aims to encourage Malaysians to produce their very own short films. Besides the grand prize, there are awards in supporting categories. For this round though, Chua's short film managed to bring home six of them, including Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Sound Engineering and the Best Actor Award for the lead actor Lee Yee Han's convincing performance.

You must admit that is quite an amazing feat, by anyone's standard.

Chua's winning film revolves around a scriptwriter pressed for time as his deadline is on the next day and he has not figured out what to write. It explores the possibilities that run in the mind of the writer as he paves out his story.

"How we (the production crew) started out with the idea for Murdered was through a brainstorming session," recalled Chua.

"While brainstorming, we were looking for ways to connect different elements of this story with that story. We reached a stage where we saw that we were actually connecting all the possibilities." The film became an exploration of the many possible ways of reaching an ending.

What the team came out with really coincided with the theme of that year – 'Possibilities'. The theme was announced two months before the competition deadline, thus giving all participants the same duration to come out with a compelling film. The whole production process for Murdered – from the birth of the story idea to the filming, right up to the final editing – took the crew a month-and-a half to complete.

Hailing from Kota Baru, Kelantan, Chua studied 3D animation in The One Academy in Kuala Lumpur before going to Canada to learn more about film production at Vancouver Film School. For the past six years since graduating, he has been involved in film production.

Initially, the 30-year-old made the move to study film as he wanted to gain knowledge in directing animations. But while in the film school, he fell in love with filmmaking and decided to delve wholeheartedly into that.

Asked what led him to love one field more than the other, he answered: "In 3D animation, you need to know modelling, rendering and all that stuff. But for film production, even if you are new to it and are alone today, you can still do a documentary or a movie. You can be the cameraman and the soundman. You can go out and record a complete film. I think that's the difference. (Filming) is more achievable."

That is one of the things Chua hopes young people will pick up from watching his films – to realise that filmmaking is not a far-fetched dream.

After setting an unprecedented record in the BMW Shorties history of winning the grand prize and six other award categories, one would think Chua is now faced with intense pressure to stay ahead of his own game. But for this filmmaker, any pressure that exists is a good thing and is viewed no more differently than the pressure of making a good film in any other circumstance. "After every film, you want to make a better one," he said, regardless of whether or not the film is for a competition and receives a lot of limelight.

However, becoming the winner of a prestigious film competition does come with more opportunities. Not long after the awards ceremony, Chua was approached to make a music video for local singer Bell Yu Tian's song Yu Shi Tian De (Rain Is Sweet). After some deliberation, his team proposed instead to make a short film out of it. They went ahead with the shooting and completed the short film last month. The video can be viewed on YouTube.

A look at Chua's works would make one realise one thing. Unlike what seems to be a trend among local filmmakers today who like to emphasise on local themes and culture, Chua aims to make films with universal themes that can speak to international audiences. "I want to be more universal," he said with conviction.

Chua owns a production company by the name of D1, to mean 'the one', or if you say the letter and the digit in Mandarin quickly, it means 'first'. Needless to say, this filmmaker aims to be the finest in the industry.

Max Zhang blessed to be part of The Grandmaster

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 12:18 AM PST

After living in his famous actress wife Ada Choi's shadow, Max Zhang is coming into his own in The Grandmaster.

China actor Max Zhang has a prominent role in Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster that is not reflected in the movie poster or promotional materials and much press coverage.

Though his role as antagonist Ma San means he enjoys more screen time than Taiwanese star Chang Chen, it is Chang who gets billed ahead of him.

But Zhang, 38, tells us in an interview that he is not at all insulted by any of this. He feels "blessed" to be part of the movie.

He has the same attitude towards being called Mr Ada Choi, in reference to the popular 39-year-old Hong Kong actress, who is his wife and is more famous than he is.

"It has never bothered me when people say she is more famous than me or doing better, because firstly, it is the truth," he says cheerily in Mandarin over the telephone from his home in Beijing.

"Also, she is my wife and I want only what's best for her. Let's say if one day, her career goes downhill and I happen to be doing much better. Would I really be happy about that? Of course I wouldn't. I only want my wife to do well and be happy. So when people talk of how well she's doing, whether or not it's better than me, I really am very, very happy for her."

Similarly, he sings the praises of Chang, who has overshadowed him.

"Chang is an excellent actor and I respect him a lot. I really don't feel even the slightest bit of unhappiness over the fact that he is on the posters and I am not. As an actor, you shouldn't think so much about these things. Your job is only to do your role well. Everything else should be left to others to decide."

The Grandmaster, which is showing in cinemas (worldwide except Malaysia), is about martial arts expert Ip Man, who taught Bruce Lee his Wing Chun skills. Starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Ip Man and Zhang Ziyi as another pugilist, the fictitious Gong Er, it also looks at the types of martial arts styles from around China.

Zhang's character Ma San is the man who kills Gong Er's father.

Although he is the only actor among the main cast to have formal martial arts training before the film, he says he has no idea why Hong Kong director Wong picked him to play Ma San.

"Action choreographer Yuen Wo Ping introduced me to him, but of course he still had the final say. I am very thankful that he chose me."

Trained in martial arts as a child, he has also been working with Yuen (Kill Bill Vol. 2, 2004) since 1998. He was a stunt double for several actors on large-scale gongfu films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Zhang Yimou's Hero (2002).

The Grandmaster is his biggest project to date as an actor, following roles in period TV dramas such as The Tearful Sword (2007) and Ming Dynasty (2007).

In all the time before his big break, his biggest fan was his wife. Sounding genuinely grateful, Zhang says: "No matter what, Ada has been really supportive of me through the years. I owe her a lot for that. She already thought I was a good actor long before The Grandmaster."

They married in 2008, had daughter Zoe in 2011 and are expecting their second child.

Choi, whose acting credits include TVB dramas Healing Hands (1998) and The Gem Of Life (2008), was one of the most popular actresses in Hong Kong before she relocated to China for work and family in the mid-2000s.

Zhang emphasises that he has never ridden on her fame to get roles.

"There have always been those few people who would say that I only got roles because I'm married to Ada or that she helped me get those roles, which is not true.

"I guess this is part and parcel of being in show business, but I feel a little wronged by it. But it's okay – all I can and will do is to keep working hard and know that people will eventually recognise me for that."

Following the release of The Grandmaster in China last month, he says he has already received "a lot more script offers".

"While we were filming, director Wong told me that I would be getting a lot more movie roles after the release of this film and it's true.

"The thing is, people have been saying I am a worthy actor now that I've done this movie. But I have worked hard for the past decade and I look at that entire process of learning to be enough of a reward.

"I've also always looked for opportunities where I can exhibit my talent and let people see what I can do. I'm just glad I never gave up all these years." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

Winners in main categories at BAFTA film awards

Posted: 10 Feb 2013 07:24 PM PST

LONDON: Here is a list of winners in the main categories at the BAFTAs, Britain's top film awards, which took place in London on Sunday.



BEST DIRECTOR: Ben Affleck for "Argo"

LEADING ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"

LEADING ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour"

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained"

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway in "Les Miserables"

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained"

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook"





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Psy stops at Korean restaurant in Tanjung Tokong

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 08:18 AM PST

GEORGE TOWN: South Korean K-pop sensation Park Jae Sang - Psy was spotted having a meal at a trendy Korean restaurant in Tanjung Tokong here.

A source here said that soon after his performance at the state Barisan Nasional Chinese New Year open-house in the Han Chiang High School at about 1pm Monday, the star went back to his luxury suite at the Evergreen Laurel Hotel along Gurney Drive to rest.

At about 4.40pm, he made his way through the state's notorious traffic crawl to the Daorae Korean BBQ Restaurant in Jalan Tanjung Tokong.

Word about his proposed visit to the restaurant got out fast and this led to about 50 fans to eagerly wait outside the restaurant.

Many of them were fellow South Koreans.

They brought along Psy memorabilia with the hope of getting him to autograph them.

As soon as Psy got down from his vehicle, he waved at his fans but was immediately whisked to a private room on the first floor of the restaurant.

His bodyguards did not allow him to shake hands nor pose for photographs with anyone.

The source said fellow members from Psy's dance crew and management also joined him for a meal there.

The crowd began to swell outside the restaurant shortly causing Psy's bodyguards to resort to "creative ways" to lead him out of the building without being mobbed.

It was believed that Psy was somehow left "trapped" in the restaurant for several minutes and only managed to slip away around 7.30pm with the crowd lingering outside.

He was said to have been escorted via the backdoor of the restaurant onto a private vehicle that later rushed him to the Penang International Airport.

It was learnt that his flight via a private jet out of Penang, was scheduled at 8pm Monday night

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Najib: BN will solve Penang's housing and traffic woes

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 06:01 AM PST

Photo Gallery

GEORGE TOWN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says he came to celebrate Chinese New Year with Penangites this year as he wanted to listen to their woes and needs.

"I am listening to the people of Penang, who want more affordable housing. I want to commit that we will deliver 20,000 units of affordable houses in the next five years.

"I commit the Government to solving traffic woes here by implementing a monorail system.

"I also commit for us to build a road dispersal system in Penang as well as improve the public transportation system here," he said.

Najib stressed that the people could rely on the Barisan Nasional government because when it made promises, it delivered them.

He said Barisan wanted to give its best for Penang, adding that the best of Penang has yet to come.

"I want you to feel that we are here for you. We want to make Penang, the Pearl of the Orient, as one of the prides of all Malaysians," he said.

Najib was speaking at the Barisan Chinese New Year open house, held at the Han Chiang School field here Monday, where the thousands who turned up were treated to a high-energy performance by South Korean K-pop sensation Psy.

He thanked Penangites for the warm reception accorded to him, his wife and family.

Najib also said it was highly essential for Malaysians to understand each other's culture in greater depth.

"We have to respect the Chinese culture as much as we respect the Malay culture and other cultures. Malaysia is truly a great nation as it is at the forefront of many nations in the world in this aspect," he said.

Najib also wished for the Lunar new year to bring good tidings to Penang as well as all Malaysian Chinese.

He later joined Barisan leaders in tossing the yee sang for good luck and prosperity.

Also present were Tourism Minister-cum-Penang MCA chief Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and his wife Puan Sri Fawziah Begum Abu Bakar, Penang Barisan Nasional chief Teng Chang Yeow, Penang Umno chief Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and PPP president Datuk Seri M. Kayveas.

The event, which began at 9.30am, drew tens of thounsands of people from all over the country, and visitors from Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

Psy leaves Penangites wanting more

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 05:56 AM PST

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GEORGE TOWN: Dressed in white top and black pants, and with trademark sunglasses in place, K-pop sensation Psy thrilled an enthusiastic crowd at the Barisan Nasional Chinese New Year open house here Monday with two renditions of his mega hit song Oppa Gangnam Style.

A chorus of wild screams accompanied Psy and his group of more than 10 dancers, who worked the crowd up to a frenzy at the Han Chiang School field, where the event was held.

After the first rendition, the crowd, not having had enough of the South Korean star, chanted for an encore.

"I flew 20 hours to get here.

"I won't just leave after four minutes, so just for new year and Asia, I will sing it again," Psy said, before launching into his song-and-dance monster hit routine for the second time.

He left the stage at 12.30pm, leaving behind a sweaty but happy crowd of people.

Later, Psy tweeted: "U were hotter than weather hotter than ever!! One Malaysia!!"

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who watched the performance, also posted on his Twitter account: "Psy u were sizzling hot! Malaysians love your gangnam performance."

Student Lau Han Keat, 14, who was among the many performers at the event, was awestruck watching his idol perform live.

"To sing and dance live in the hot sun like this is not easy. I was just so excited," he said.

Tony Tan, 61, who was there with his wife, described the open house as spectacular.

"We live in Batu Ferringhi but decided to brave the traffic.

"It's not every day that you get to see the Prime Minister and a music superstar," he said, adding that the atmosphere was very "lau juak" (happening).

People began streaming into the venue as early as 7am and Barisan Youth chief Oh Tong Keong said 20,000 access stickers to the prime "audience zone" right in front of the stage were distributed.

"We have to limit the crowd in the area to ensure security when Psy performs.

"We are very pleased with the huge early crowd turnout," he said, adding that there were at least 50,000 people present.

By the time Najib arrived, accompanied by his wife Rosmah Mansoor, Cabinet Ministers and other BN leaders, the field was packed to its full capacity.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Grammys shared among many on music's big night

Posted: 10 Feb 2013 09:47 PM PST

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LOS ANGELES: Indie pop band fun. won two big prizes at the Grammys as the music industry's top honors were shared out Sunday, on a night which united veteran artists with the latest generation of hitmakers.

The New York group won Song of the Year for "We Are Young" as well as best new artist at the 55th Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center amid tight security as Los Angeles police hunt a former cop wanted for multiple murders.

British rockers Mumford & Sons took Album of the Year with "Babel," while Australian-Belgian singer Gotye won Record of the Year for "Somebody That I Used to Know," featuring Kimbra.

The night saw several pairings of younger and older generations:

Sting singing with reggae legend Bob Marley's children; Elton John with Ed Sheeran; and Prince handing a prize to Gotye.

Taylor Swift opened the show in white hot pants and a spangly top hat, with a circus-themed performance of her hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

Jennifer Lopez provided the first fashion moment of the telecast, coming out to present the first award with Pitbull dressed with a toned bare leg and shoulder on full display in an asymmetrical black Anthony Vaccarello ensemble.

"As you can see, I read the memo!" she joked when she came on stage, referring to a leaked letter from broadcasters CBS before the show, warning performers not to show too much flesh.

British songstress Adele - who scored a clean sweep with six Grammys last year - won the first prize handed out at the show Sunday, for best solo performance for a live rendition of her hit "Set Fire to the Rain."

"My good luck charm, J-Lo," she said as she accepted the award from Lopez. "This is amazing. I wanted to come and be part of the night. I loved it last year, obviously," she added.

Other highlights of the three-and-a-half hour show included a rousing tribute to Marley, featuring Sting, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Ziggy, Stephen and Damian Marley.

They segued from Hawaiian-born Mars' hit "Locked out of Heaven" into ex-Police frontman Sting's reggae-rhythmed "Walking on the Moon," before breaking into Marley's classic "Could You Be Loved?"

Heartthrob Justin Timberlake also brought the house down with a couple of songs from his new album "The 20/20 Experience," starting with "Suit and Tie" - in which he was suitably attired.

As the telecast went briefly black and white, he was joined by Jay-Z to sing "Pusher Lover Girl."

In a two-hour pre-telecast show, the Black Keys won best rock album, Keys singer Dan Auerbach won best rock song, Drake took best rap album, while Paul McCartney won for best traditional pop vocal album for "Kisses on the Bottom."

Beyonce won best traditional R&B performance for "Love on Top," Beach Boy Brian Wilson was honored for best historical album and late Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar won best world music album for "The Living Room Sessions Part 1."

In the Grammy show's traditional In Memoriam segment, John, Mumford & Sons and others paid tribute to Levon Helm, the late drummer and singer with The Band.

Organizers hope to avoid drama which the Grammys seem to attract - last year with the death of Whitney Houston on the eve of the show; and a few years before with the infamous Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic assault.

There was minor drama on the eve of the Grammys, but nothing like Houston's shock death last year: Brown wrecked his Porsche in Beverly Hills on Saturday, and blamed paparazzi for the crash.

The LA Police Department (LAPD), as well as helping provide security for the Grammys, have been involved in a massive manhunt for an ex-cop accused of killing three people and threatening to kill more officers.

Thankfully there were no incidents to disrupt Sunday evening's show, which went off smoothly. - AFP

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'Babel' by Mumford & Sons wins best album Grammy

Posted: 10 Feb 2013 09:46 PM PST

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LOS ANGELES: "Babel" by British folk rockers Mumford & Sons won the coveted Album of the Year award at the 55th Grammy Awards on Sunday.

They beat "El Camino" by The Black Keys, "Some Nights" by fun., "Channel Orange" by R&B singer Frank Ocean and "Blunderbuss" by Jack White, at the climax of the music industry's biggest awards show.

The top prize largely came as a surprise after Mumford & Sons lost out in other key categories, although they took the Best Long Form Music Video for "Big Easy Express."

Mumford & Sons had been nominated for Grammys the previous two years, including for Record of the Year in 2012, but had not taken home a prize until Sunday. - AFP

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List of winners at the 55th Grammy Awards

Posted: 10 Feb 2013 09:37 PM PST

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LOS ANGELES: Here are the winners of the main categories at the 55th Grammy Awards, the music industry's annual award ceremony: Album of the Year: "Babel" - Mumford & Sons

Record of the Year: "Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye featuring Kimbra

Song of the Year: "We Are Young" - fun.

Best New Artist: fun.

Best Rock Song: "Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys

Best Rock Album: "El Camino" - The Black Keys

Best R&B Song: "Adorn" - Miguel

Best R&B Album: "Black Radio" - Robert Glasper Experiment

Best R&B Performance: "Climax" - Usher

Best Traditional R&B Performance: "Love on Top" - Beyonce

Best Urban Contemporary Album: "Channel Orange" - Frank Ocean

Best Pop Performance, Solo: "Set Fire to the Rain (live)" - Adele

Best Pop Performance, Duo or Group: "Somebody That I Used to Know" - Gotye featuring Kimbra

Best Pop Vocal Album: "Stronger" - Kelly Clarkson Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "Kisses On The Bottom" - Paul


Best Rap Song: "Ni**as In Paris" - Jay-Z & Kanye West

Best Rap Album: "Take Care" - Drake

Best World Music Album: "The Living Room Sessions Part 1" - Ravi Shankar

Best Alternative Music Album: "Making Mirrors" - Gotye

Best Orchestral Performance: "Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride In A Fast Machine" - San Francisco Symphony

Best Opera Recording: "Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen" - The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Metropolitan Opera Chorus

Best Jazz Instrumental Album: "Unity Band" - Pat Metheny Unity Band

Best Country Song: "Blown Away" - Carrie Underwood

Best Country Album: "Uncaged" - Zac Brown Band

Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: "Love Bites (So Do I)" - Halestorm

Best New Age Album: "Echoes of Love" - Omar Akram - AFP

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