Selasa, 12 Februari 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'30 Rock' star Alec Baldwin expecting child with new wife

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 09:07 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Actor Alec Baldwin and his new wife Hilaria Thomas Baldwin are expecting their first child together, a representative for the "30 Rock" star said on Tuesday.

Baldwin, 54, married the yoga teacher, who is 26 years his junior, in a July 2012 wedding in New York.

The child is expected in the summer, the spokesman said, but gave no other details.

The award-winning actor most recently played egotistical television executive Jack Donaghy on the NBC comedy "30 Rock," which broadcast its last episode in January.

Baldwin was married to actress Kim Basinger from 1993-2002. The couple has one daughter, Ireland, who was born in 1995. -Reuters

Child actors who are still in showbiz

Posted: 13 Feb 2013 04:47 AM PST

These child actors are all grown–up now — and continue to impress.

RON Howard was possibly the first child actor who truly had an impact on me. I must have been around 10 when I watched The Andy Griffith Show (in black and white) on RTM in the early 1980s. Back then, my television viewing was limited to cartoons and parent-approved shows – programmes that contained some moral or educational value – and The Andy Griffith Show fit the bill. Strangely, variety show Sha Na Na also passed my mother's strict scrutiny but that's another story for a future Spudniks instalment.

The sitcom revolved around Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith), his son Opie (Howard), bumbling but well-meaning deputy sheriff Barney Fife (Don Knotts) and the sheriff's housekeeper Aunt Bee (Francis Bavier). It followed the day-to-day lives of the main characters as well as the many eccentric residents of a fictional small town called Mayberry in North Carolina. Nothing really major happened in Mayberry – it was an ideal town without any hard criminals in it. Still, the sheriff had his hands full dealing with the misdemeanours of the residents as well as the shenanigans of his son.

The main focus of the show, for me at least, was the father-son relationship. Opie was a curious lad who had a million (it seemed like it) questions for his "paw", who was rather strict with his son. Opie's favourite word was "gosh" and I remember trying to use that word any way possible, most of the time inappropriately. Barney used to say "doggone it" and I always wondered what that meant.

Looking back, it was amazing how the young Howard played Opie so well – he was only six when the series first aired and gosh! (had to sneak that in) was he a natural. Howard went on to play teenager Richie Cunningham in sitcom Happy Days (which ran from 1974 to 1984) and although Henry Wrinkler's character Fonzie was the main draw (he was the cool one in the leather jacket), Richie was the one I secretly rooted for every week. Howard didn't act much after Happy Days and instead turned to directing/producing feature films – what a portfolio he has with movies like Apollo 13, EDtv, Ransom, Cinderella Man and A Beautiful Mind, for which he won an Academy Award.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, my favourite child actor was Fred Savage from The Wonder Years, a coming-of-age show set in the 1960s that centred around lead character Kevin Arnold (Savage) and his growing pains as he navigated his way through adolescence (when the series begins, Kevin is 12 and when it ends, he is 17) – from his relationship with his family (his dad was always disappointed that Kevin wasn't a jock like his brother, who used to always taunt him about it) to his struggles at school, his first crush and so forth. Funnily enough, in an interview published in, Savage said that he was often called "little Opie" on the set of The Wonder Years. I guess he had the same qualities I liked in Opie – an innocent yet wise-beyond-his-years persona and a real natural actor.

Savage was 13 when he starred in The Wonder Years. These days, he is directing more than acting – he has directed episodes of popular shows like Modern Family, 2 Broke Girls, Happy Endings, It's Always Sunny in Philadephia and Friends With Benefits. – SI

* WHEN it comes to child actors who I think have grown up really gracefully and taken on the world while they're at it, I have three favourites. I'll start at No.3 – Neil Patrick Harris. Harris, now 39, played the protagonist on Doogie Howser, M.D. when he was 16 in the late 1980s. The show was about Doogie, some sort of child genius, who becomes a teenage physician but then faces regular problems of being a teen. While I wasn't all that fond of that show, I have become a huge Harris fan now that he's all grown-up. Harris "appears" in my living room every day on How I Met Your Mother, and I've also enjoyed seeing his guest appearances (as himself or a version of himself) on the Harold & Kumar movie series. He's also become somewhat of a cult celeb, appearing on the Academy Awards show, Glee and American Idol. And did you know that Harris has also provided his voice for the Disney California Adventure Park attraction California Screamin'? Remember to listen out for it if you're ever there.

Number two on my list was such a goofy kid, I must say he did turn out quite a spiffy young man. My earliest memory of him as young Louis Stevens is charging the kids of his neighbour to view dust bunnies in his home on the Disney Channel's Even Stevens. The kids television show is often cited as launching Shia LaBeouf's breakout career as an actor. Now 26, LaBeouf has made quite a name for himself as an actor – from supporting roles in Constantine, I, Robot and Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull to headlining movies like Disturbia, Eagle Eye and Transformers. I think LaBeouf is a really well-rounded actor who has both great comic timing, and the brains and brawn to carry off action-thrillers. I think the best still awaits him.

And now, drum roll please, it's time for my No.1 all-time favourite child star who's just been delighting me to no end as a very handsome, amiable, charming young man. Put your hands together, world, for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. At 31, Gordon-Levitt is one fine actor, director, producer and writer today. And who knew he had all that in him in 1996 when he was just an extraterrestrial on the sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun. Gordon-Levitt was still a teen when he played Tommy Solomon on that crazy award-winning show which saw four aliens posing as a regular American family in order to observe human behaviour.

He's had an extraordinary career in the past half decade, with a deluge of very watchable movies. And for me, at least, he always steals the show. Think (500) Days Of Summer, Inception, 50/50, Premium Rush, Looper, The Dark Knight Rises, The Lookout, Manic, Lincoln, Mysterious Skin, Brick, and G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra.

A formidable actor with a smile that is just to die for, Gordon-Levitt is another one of these fellas who seems to have it all – great comic timing, action star abilities, drama ... New York magazine once called him a "major tabula rasa actor" and I just love that description, whether it means he can be a clean slate every time (there's no pigeonholing this guy), or that minimalism is his thing and in doing so little he is able to portray so much. Needless to say, I am a great fan. And what? He can dance amazingly too. Please check out our iSnap content. It's one of my favourite videos. If you aren't already a JGL fan, you will be after watching it. – AMC


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Rugby: English players could pose problems

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 06:34 PM PST

LONDON: British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland admitted to the London Evening Standard on Tuesday that he is wary of picking too many English players for this year's tour of Australia despite their fine form in the Six Nations.

The 49-year-old New Zealander - who guided Wales to the Six Nations Grand Slam last year but has taken a leave of absence to coach the Lions - said the bad behaviour of some of the England players at the 2011 World Cup could be a bad omen.

That is despite a radical overhaul of the players since then by no-nonsense coach Stuart Lancaster, who replaced Martin Johnson after the World Cup debacle, and who has also been strict with players who have strayed since then.

"We all know what happened with England at the World Cup and the circus that was created," said Gatland.

"There are other pressures that come with selecting a lot of English players.

"At the moment England are playing well. They did well in the autumn, particularly the outstanding victory against the All Blacks.

"And, if they do well in the Six Nations, there will be a reasonable contingent of English players.

"But it becomes a much greater media focus from the English papers and potentially a negative focus from the Australian papers. And English players are targeted by other countries.

"They are not always the most popular with other countries because of the history. People like having a pop at them.

Gatland's comments were greeted with disbelief by several former England internationals including former skipper Bill Beaumont.

"I was lucky enough to be captain in 1980, Martin Johnson skippered the team to the famous 1997 series win, as well as leading the side for a historic second time, when going down to Australia," said Beaumont, who was capped 34 times by England from 1975-1982 and earned seven caps for the Lions.

"Wearing the Lions shirt, whether captain or player, is something that all English players take very seriously.

"This will undoubtedly continue for those that get picked this time.

"It is well documented the strong culture and sense of responsibility on and off the pitch that this England team possesses.

"Those fortunate enough to get picked will of course take those attributes Down Under." - AFP

WADA chief Fahey highlights China crisis

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 06:34 PM PST

LONDON: China remains the "major source of supply" for illegal performance-enhancing drugs, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey told AFP in an interview here on Tuesday.

His comments came after WADA director-general David Howman told a news conference at a London hotel on Tuesday that "99 percent of illegal substances come from China".

Howman added the "same bad guys" were involved in both match-fixing and the supply of illegal drugs because of the huge sums of money involved in each case.

Fahey said progress had been made with Chinese authorities but that more needed to be done.

"On numerous occasions we've made representations to CHINADA (the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency)," Fahey told AFP.

"I've had discussions with the (Chinese) sports minister and I'm conscious of certain action being taken," the 68-year-old Australian added.

"We've certainly asked for their co-operation and we are conscious of many suppliers being shut down as a result of our representations in the past.

"That's not to say it still isn't the major source of supply - we know it is," Fahey insisted.

WADA's effectiveness was was called into question Tuesday, by Swiss-based UNI Sport PRO, an umbrella group of national and international sporting associations, who slammed its handling of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

The disgraced American cyclist, who recently admitted to being a serial drugs cheat, was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories following an investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Last week, meanwhile, the Australian Crime Commission report said use of prohibited products was commonplace across multiple sporting codes, sending shockwaves through Australia - a country where sport has a central role in national life.

"Regrettably, the World Anti-Doping Agency and its stakeholders are failing in their mission to protect clean athletes," said a UNI Sport PRO statement.

But Fahey insisted there was more to catching drugs cheats than dope tests and that there was no substitute for government action.

"We (WADA) have made some significant progress since our inception (in 1999). We now have a methodology that's far smarter.

"Once upon a time it was test, test, test and if you do enough tests you'll pick up enough cheats. It's a waste of time just testing anybody. You need to test the likely cheats.

"We've got to use other methods (than testing) to bring them under the (WADA) code. Possession or admissions and so on.

"All of that's happening because we are seeing many countries working with law-enforcement agencies and my own country (Australia) demonstrated that again last week. We can't see enough of that.

"But is the problem still as big as it ever was? There's no doubt it's still a massive problem." Fahey's mandatory maximum six-year term as WADA president ends this year.

However Fahey, a former premier of New South Wales and for the past two years chairman of an inspectorate supervising the rebuilding of flood-damaged roads and bridges in Queensland, said he'd no intention of returning to front-line Australian politics.

"I learnt long ago that you never go backwards," said Fahey, who also played a key role in Sydney's successful bid for the 2000 Olympic Games.

"I gave 18 years to politics and whilst I can say I enjoyed it, it's not something I wish to put my time into in the future, apart from the fact that if I even thought about it my wife would shoot me." - AFP

Young Amir makes his mark

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 04:55 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi (pic) has made quite an impression in the two hockey Test matches against Ireland that he stands a good chance of featuring in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh next month.

National assistant coach S. Arul Selvaraj said that the forward showed maturity in his performances.

"I'm impressed with his game. He has good ball control and didn't lose the ball in the two friendlies," said Arul, who took charge of the team in the second friendly as national coach Paul Revington was down with the flu.

"Amir has shown that he can blend into the national squad ... he has a good chance of earning a spot in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup squad."

The 22-year-old Perak-born Amir featured in the Junior Asia Cup which Malaysia won in Malacca last May.

The Tenaga Nasional player, who has been with the national training squad since last year, failed to earn a place in the Champions Challenge I in Argentina and the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha last November and December respectively.

Malaysia won the first two of the three-Test series 4-2 and 3-0 respectively. The third Test will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today (7pm).

And Arul is expecting another good performance from his men.

"They must be more aware tactically and the defenders must not get caught off guard by the Irish counter attacks," said the former international.

"Our players must also make full use of their chances."

All the 21 players, except for goalkeeper Khairulnizam Ibrahim, have played in the two friendlies.

There are 30 players in the national training squad and the final 18 for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, scheduled for March 9-17, will be named after the two friendlies against New Zealand early next month.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Ronald Cheng keeps fees low for 'Hotel Deluxe'

Posted: 13 Feb 2013 04:48 AM PST

Ronald Cheng did not use his Golden Horse win to increase his fee for his latest movie.

Hong Kong actor Ronald Cheng did not take advantage of his Golden Horse Award win last year to increase his fee for his new movie, Hotel Deluxe.

Friendship and the Chinese New Year spirit mean more to him than money, says the 40-year-old, who was named Best Supporting Actor for his hilarious turn as a gangster chief in the crude sex comedy Vulgaria (2012).

"Of course I won't ask for more money just because of an award. Besides, I wanted to do this movie because I want to help out my friend, director Vincent Kok. He asked me to join the movie, and I did without even thinking twice about it.

"This is a Chinese New Year movie, so I know that it'll be fun and relaxing filming it. Plus, it's about a hotel, and we get to film and stay in a real five-star hotel. I would say that I actually got the winning end of the deal here."

In Hotel Deluxe, which is showing in cinemas nationwide, he plays a petty manager, one among a group of hotel staff who try to impress movie stars staying there. It was shot on location at the Intercontinental in Hangzhou, China, and also features Sandra Ng, Raymond Wong, Fiona Sit and Chapman To.

As much as Cheng enjoys jet-setting to new places to film, he says that these days, he is more inclined to stay put in Hong Kong.

"I want to see my family more often, so I think I'll be taking on more Hong Kong-based projects in the coming years," says Cheng, who is married to former TV news anchor Sammie Yu, 32. They have an 18-month-old daughter, Emma.

The son of a music company mogul in Hong Kong who once headed Polygram and EMI, he launched his show business career as a singer in 1996. His first single, Dilemma, a duet with Cantopop king Jacky Cheung, was an instant hit, and paved the way for him to release more than 15 albums.

In 2000, he tried his hand at acting and started appearing in bit parts in light-hearted films such as Dance Of A Dream (2001) and My Wife Is 18 (2002), before progressing to leading-man status in such works as Hidden Heroes (2004). Last year's critical and commercial hit Vulgaria is a career highlight.

Now that he is a father, he reveals that he will ponder his movie offers more carefully.

"If the movie is too violent, I probably won't want to take it on. I think maybe I should do some cartoons in the future so that my daughter can also watch them."

The expletive-laden Vulgaria was an "exception" as it was rated Category III in Hong Kong, which means it was restricted to viewers 18 and over.

"It's not publicly accessibly to all viewers, so that's still all right," he reasons. "It's not like my daughter would be allowed to watch the movie anytime soon."

If his daughter were to watch Hotel Deluxe in the near future, he would also have some explaining to do. In the movie, he plays a hotel manager with a disregard for morals, a man who goes to crazy extremes to kick out certain guests if he does not like them.

Although Cheng himself has never faced horrendous hotel service before, he says that director Kok has had a number of bad hotel experiences, which then formed the film.

He says: "The director told us a number of his stories where he came across some really weird hotel staff. He has also met some crazy housekeeping staff who were super obsessive about how clean the place should be, even when he was in the room."

Cheng has his own quirks: He admits he himself can be a rather fussy hotel guest at times.

"If I had to go somewhere to film and stay at a hotel there for more than a month, I would definitely bring along my own pillow and my own blankets, even my own cup. It's more homey that way." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network


The Star Online: Nation

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Girl, 11, has been putting away her CNY collection from young

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 03:19 PM PST

AN 11-YEAR-OLD girl has saved RM100,000 in ang pow money given to her since she was small.

Sin Chew Daily and Nanyang Siang Pau reported that Xu Leyi, a Standard Four pupil from Caihe town at Hangzhou City, China, has 200,000 yuan (RM99,800) of ang pow money in her savings.

The girl's father said his daughter would usually start collecting ang pow on the eve of Chinese New Year and by the same night, have a large stack of ang pow under her pillow.

He said the ang pow was usually given by close relatives and friends, adding that the money had been put in the bank for Leyi's education.

"She gets about 20,000 yuan (RM9,900) in ang pow money each year.

"She should have more than 500,000 yuan (RM248,600) in savings when she graduates from university at the age of 23," he said.

Compared with the days when ang pow was worth only two, five or 100 yuan, he said times were different now with the amount starting at 1,000 yuan (RM499).

Leyi said the largest ang pow she had received was 10,000 yuan (RM4,990) from her grandparents last year.

> Sin Chew Daily reported that six children aged between nine and 12 had been picked up by Singapore police for suspected arson.

It said some residents alerted police on Monday that several children were playing with fire at a park near Ghim Moh Road.

Four of the children were later arrested. Police found seven lighters on them. Two others were arrested the next day.

The six were investigated for three arson cases that happened December last year and January.

> Nanyang Siang Pau reported that more than a third of Malaysian workers do not get enough sleep because of personal and work commitments. They either wake up too early or stay up late.

It said only 60% of firms rewarded their management for encouraging flexible work hours, although it could reduce commuting, create more family time and improve productivity and staff retention.

The findings were from interviews by Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces with more than 24,000 business-people from over 90 countries.

Thai pathologist now refusing to do second post-mortem on Sugumar

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 03:18 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand is refusing to perform the second post-mortem on security guard C. Sugumar.

The family's lawyer N. Surendren said Dr Pornthip's decision was made known via e-mail but the Thai pathologist, who also testified in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, did not elaborate.

"Earlier, she informed us that she agreed to do the second autopsy and even gave us a date Feb 20. However, we received an e-mail stating that she is unable to do the autopsy for personal reasons," he said.

It was reported that Sugumar died after allegedly being beaten by police and the public after he ran amok in Taman Sri Nanding, Hulu Langat, on Jan 23.

The initial post-mortem showed that he died of a heart attack.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had requested that the forensic report on Sugumar's death be submitted to the Cabinet.

He directed Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to do this after MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel raised the issue. Police will send their investigation papers on the death of Sugumar, 39, to the Public Prosecutor proposing an open court inquest.

Surendran said Sugumar's family had to look for other alternatives to look into his death.

"We are still discussing with the family on the next step after the e-mail from Dr Pornthip. We might have to find other alternatives."

When asked if there were other pathologists to conduct the second autopsy, Surendren said: "I cannot reveal anything as we are still discussing (with the family)," he said.

Anwar Ibrahim in Huguan Siou blooper

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 03:18 PM PST

KOTA KINABALU: Photographs of Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wearing a headgear and sash with the words "Huguan Siou" have generated a storm among Sabahans.

To them, the move to bestow the title, which means Paramount Leader of the Kadazandusuns, is an affront to the community.

The photographs were originally posted on the Facebook account of Ranau PKR chief Jonathan Yasin.

Yasin said the headgear and sash were presented to Anwar during his visit to Kampung Paginatan over the weekend.

It was merely a symbolic gesture by former native chief Paulus Kimpuang, he said.

"Who am I to stop any Kadazan or Dusun individual from appointing anyone Huguan Siou Malaysia?" Jonathan said in a reply to comments posted on his Facebook page.

Anwar, however, denied that he was bestowed the honour.

"It's not true. I am not aware of it. There was never a public announcement about it," Anwar said when approached in Miri where he attended a talk.

Political leaders and Kadazandusun elders have accused the PKR leader of belittling their community.

"This is nothing less than an insult to us," said Kota Kinabalu district chief William Majimbun said.

He said the Kadazandusun community had selected Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan as their Huguan Siou or revered leader since 1984.

"As far as we are concerned, there is only one Huguan Siou. Anyone else claiming the title insults the Kadazandusuns," Majimbun said.

Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) deputy president Dr Othman Menuddin said the conferring of the title could only be performed by a bobolian (traditional Kadazandusun priest).

"The person who is picked has to possess certain traits such as patience and fearlessness, display exemplary leadership skills and have a belief in divine powers," he said.

He cited the first Huguan Siou, the late Tun Fuad Stephens, who was one of Sabah's founding fathers.

After Fuad's death in 1976, he said the post remained vacant when former Deputy Chief Minister, the late Datuk Dr James Ongkili, declined to accept the title and the Kadazandusun community eventually chose Pairin in 1984.

Dr Othman, a native of Ranau district where Anwar received the sash and headgear, said Huguan Siou referred to someone of royal standing in the community and that it was not just an honorary title.

Upko information chief Datuk Donald Mojuntin said the title was "indigenous" to the community.

"How can there be a Huguan Siou Malaysia? That would mean he is a paramount leader for the country. This is illogical," said Mojuntin.

Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan described the incident as a major faux pas by PKR.

He said the title was "sacred" and the people in the state were careful not to politicise the position.

"Even if Anwar did not know that he was about to be bestowed' the title, what about Ranau PKR? The division chief should have been more sensitive about this title, which you do not simply bestow at a political ceramah," he said.

Sabah Progressive Party deputy president Datuk Eric Majimbun said: "We do not know the intention of the person giving it to him but Anwar should not have accepted the sash."


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Japan's kokeshi dolls tell a thousand tales at exhibition

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 04:10 AM PST

KOKESHI or wooden dolls are distinctive folk toys that originate from northern Japan.

Handmade from Cherry or Mizuki wood, the unique dolls come with a simple trunk and an enlarged head with few thin, painted lines to note the face, while the body is decorated with floral designs in red, black or gold, sometimes even green.

One feature of kokeshi dolls is they are not given arms and legs. The dolls began to be made throughout Japan mainly after the end of World War II, as tokens of love and friendship.

Kokeshi were first created by kiji-shi (wood artisans), but only in the Tohoku region (the northern end of the Honshu Island) are they made according to traditional techniques passed down through ge-nerations.

Traditional kokeshi-making is believed to go back around 200 years in time to the middle of the Edo period (1603-1867), when the dolls were sold to people visiting the hot springs in north-east Japan.

Today, these beautiful, brightly coloured dolls are irresistibly cute and combine a typically simple yet stylish Japanese design with a distinctive, contemporary feel.

Every doll is given its own name by the craftsman who lovingly created it, ensuring that every kokeshi doll radiates its own individual spirit.

The shapes and patterns of "traditional" kokeshi are particular to a certain area and classified into 11 types. They are Tsuchiyu, Togatta, Yajiro, Naruko, Sakunami, Yamagata, Kijiyama, Nanbu, Tsugaru, Zao-takayu, and Hijioro.

The most dominant type is the Naruko variety, originally made in Miyagi Prefecture, which can also be found in Akita, Iwate and Yamagata prefectures.

In fact, the main street of the Naruko Hot Spring resort in Miyagi is known as Kokeshi Street, where shops are run by the kokeshi carvers themselves.

An exhibition on the kokeshi is currently on at the Petaling Jaya Museum in Section 10/7, Taman Jaya, organised by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and The Japan Foundation.

The exhibition displays pieces of art that are profoundly simple yet have a strong representation of the rich and diverse culture of the Japanese.

MBPJ public relations officer Zainun Zakaria said the exhibition was, therefore, aimed at introducing Malaysians to this amazing culture.

"Kokeshi represents not just the craftsmanship of the Japanese, but also their aesthetic psyche and artistic sensitivity," she added.

KLHA to finalise entry fees next month

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 03:45 AM PST

ONE of the longest running hockey leagues in the country, the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) league, will return this year at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in Lembah Pantai, from April to October.

KLHA secretary V. Rajamanickam said the league kicked off in 1983 and since then, many players in the league had been called up for the national squad.

"The six-month league gives a chance to local hockey teams and hockey clubs to participate frequently and the teams can be very competitive.

"Corporate companies also look forward to the league," Rajamanickam said at the KLHA office.

Last year, there were four divisions in the KLHA league.

Rajamanickam added that there would be an additional division called the Premier Division this year.

KLHA is now calling for teams to register for the league.

The entry fees will be finalised by next month.

The champions for Division One will receive RM3,000 followed by RM2,000 and RM1,000 for the runners-up and third-placed winners respectively.

For Division Two, the champions will get RM2,000.

The champions in Division Three and Four will receive RM1,000 and RM750, respectively.

Those who are interested in taking part in the league can call KLHA office at 03-228 27002.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Portuguese Settlement community celebrates annual ‘Intrudo’ festival

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 09:02 PM PST

MALACCA: While the Chinese community were ushering in the Lunar New Year of the Snake, residents, visitors and tourists to the

Portuguese Settlement were drenched to the skin when the community commemorated its annual traditional festival of "Intrudo".

Intrudo which means "introduction" or "coming before" in Cristao, a 16th century Portuguese dialect that is still spoken at the settlement in Ujong Pasir, is a tradition observed faithfully by community members following the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511.

The festival is observed on the Sunday preceding Ash Wednesday and prior to the commencement of the season of Lent, a

Roman Catholic period of fasting, penance and personal reflection, leading to Easter Sunday (March 31), which is considered the pinnacle of the universal Christian calendar.

For George De Mello, 75, a long time resident of the settlement, he emphatically states that the local community elders and leaders deserve pats on their back for keeping the tradition alive and steadfast.

He said: "Our ancestors and presently the settlement's elders and; leaders should be lauded for preserving the annual affair minus a break. It is a unique festival in this country and only celebrated here on a grand scale.

The significance of splashing on one another is to portray the importance of water to the community at large. Since we were a seafaring people, the sea or water played an important role in our lives. The tradition reminds us of fishing, the prime livelihood of our forefathers," he added.

Shortly following the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration at the settlement chapel, adults and children and everyone else in between senior citizens and the elderly, had a whale of a time playing with water in the spirit of the celebration while taking all splashings, dousings and drenchings with a smile and in good spirit.

Even those straying within their home compounds were not spared while visitors and tourists hit by the "water crossfire" took all and sundry in their stride. The uninitiated that were drenched were given a drink of wine by the community elders for taking the unexpected experience bravely and sportingly. Even vehicles entering the settlement were rendered splashes. All "watery proceedings" came to a halt at noon.

As part and parcel of the festivities, women folk laced in colourful attire were seen going around selling home-made delicacies such as pang susees (mini buns with meat filling) and putugal (tapioca muffins) while a football and rounders matches between the settlement's bachelors, teenagers and married folks took to the settlement field in the early evening.

The eventful day wound down with the staging of the traditional branyo where the settlement old timers and seniors enjoyed ronggeng-styled songs and dances at the square's open air stage. This was followed by a concert featuring the settlement's own crop of song and dance talents, that raged on till midnight.

Ex-boyfriend giving pastry seller sleepless nights

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 08:56 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: A single mother claimed that her ex-lover has been harassing her and her three children by trespassing into her house and throwing garbage into her compound on various occasions since she called off the relationship last May.

Pastry seller Boo Ah Moy, 36, alleged that after breaking up and forcing him to move out last year, her ex-boyfriend kept coming back to her house in Jalan Teratai 38, Taman Johor Jaya here to cause trouble.

"When I refuse to let him in, he would climb over my front gates and start shouting and screaming like a mad man just to create a ruckus.

"He would sometimes enter from the back kitchen door as he knew that I often left it open while I prepared cakes and desserts," she told a press conference organised by Permas Selatan MCA division chairman Shium Chan Teck here recently.

Boo added that she and her former flame used to have arguments that led to him punching and kicking her while they were still living together.

She also said that he worked as a contractor and had borrowed about RM10,000 in total from her to "start his own business".

She said that she had enough during the last incident at around 1am on Friday where he dumped rubbish into her front porch.

"I was shocked to wake up and find rubbish strewn everywhere and when I checked the CCTV footage, I saw him climbing over the gates to dump the rubbish into my house," said Boo, adding that her family was traumatised over the harassments.

The mother-of-three said that in the first year (2008) when her ex-boyfriend first moved in with her, he molested her eldest daughter twice.

"I had just won the custody of my children after divorcing my ex-husband then so I did not report the matter to the police for fear of losing my kids," she said, adding that she has lodged nine police reports throughout the year about the harassment.

Meanwhile, Shium said that a police report has been made recently about the latest incident and would assist Boo in following up with the police about the matter.

SPNB introduces new system for contractors building homes

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 03:10 PM PST

MALACCA: Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) has introduced a new hybrid construction system to its class F contractors who are building the 1Malaysia People-Friendly Home (RMR1M).

Its chairman Datuk Wira Idris Haron said the new system allows contractors to use both the conventional method and the Industrialised Building System (IBS) to complete the homes.

"There have been feedbacks where contractors face a shortage in the supply of materials while trying to complete the homes using only the IBS method.

"So we are now introducing the new hybrid system that uses a mixture of both conventional and IBS methods," he told reporters after handing over 210 work indents to 102 Bumiputera contractors for RMR projects in Malacca with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam recently.

He said the decision to introduce the new system was reached after much discussions and feedbacks received from various contractors nationwide.

"It seemed that both home owners and the contractors are more opened and comfortable with the new system."

The use of the IBS technology was reportedly to produce durable, economic and innovative homes with more built-up space in less time.

Under the new system, Idris said the homes' wall panel and finishing would be completed using the IBS method, with the rest such as platform, roofing and flooring completed using the conventional methods.

Unlike the previous practice of IBS suppliers choosing the contractors, Idris noted that SPNB now awards the projects directly to the shortlisted contractors and thus empower them to organise, source for material and complete their projects on time.

Meanwhile, he said more than 200 contractors have been blacklisted by SPNB since the People-Friendly Homes initiative was introduced 10 years ago.

Among the reasons including contractors not following the terms and conditions set by SPNB, delivering low quality works, failed to deliver works and breach of trust.

Those with a household income of up to a RM3,000 (RM1,500 previously) maximum can apply for the 1Malaysia People-Friendly Home (RMR1M), where its construction is based on the concept of three bedrooms and two bathrooms with a built-up area of 1,000 sq ft.


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Nicola Benedetti: The vehement violinist

Posted: 12 Feb 2013 01:00 AM PST

British classical musician Nicola Benedetti is the pretty prodigy with a pedagogical cause.

She stands at 1.78m. As fit as the fiddle she plays, Nicola Benedetti could have walked the runway but today, she stands tall on the classical platform as a masterclass virtuoso.

The 25-year-old lass recently added another string on her bow with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) from the 2013 Queen's New Year Honours for her services to classical music.

"It was a real surprise and I do hope that it can help to draw attention to the importance of classical music and arts," said Benedetti who came to fame when she was 16 by winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year award.

She was speaking over the phone from Singapore recently after a concert there.

Having learned from the legendary Yehudi Menuhin at his school (in Surrey, England), Benedetti today sees to give back the passion she shares towards music education.

As a board member of Sistema Scotland, a charity that helps form a children orchestra; Benedetti still finds time to talk to young people and invite them to her show.

This March, together with Glasgow UNESCO City of Music; the Scottish talent will hold a weekend of workshop and concerts for 40 of the nation's finest young string players called the Benedetti Sessions.

"Anyone playing music can appreciate its formative power, and can recognise the endless list of life-building skills encouraged by the experience of daily dedication to an instrument, and of a community learning to work harmoniously through playing in a group," she added of the upcoming Benedetti Sessions which will have the young participants practice and perform Bartok's Divertimento, one of string orchestra's most challenging pieces.

Benedetti put a lot of emphasis on music education for young people based on her own experience and the lessons she learned when she was younger.

"The discipline came from my mum. She was very strict with me and my sister helping us to practise and to understand that the only way to be good at something it to work at it everyday.

"Music taught me the skills of being patient and disciplined and these are two valuable lessons that young people could learn through playing an instrument."

With her treadmill performances lining up, Benedetti still practises at least three hours a day despite the jetlag she faces from globe-trotting.

"Ideally, I practise five hours a day. There are times when you just have to sacrifice your daily routine because the travel schedule is so intense.

"But it is important to make sure when you arrive that you get an hour of something done. And just keep your fingers moving."

Having being thrown into the circuit of stardom when Benedetti was just a mere 17-year-old, she took an adagio after realised her standards were slipping and focused on working to improve her skills to octaves higher. In her Singapore stop, she collaborated with Estonian conductor, Neeme Jarvi bowing Korngold's concerto from her sixth album, The Silver Violin.

From Baroque-ing on a Baroque bow to fiddling Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Benedetti has impressed traditionalists and is being welcomed by reformers for her wide range of attempts on various repertoires.

In The Silver Violin, she brings in 20th century romatic film music from Shostakovich, Mahler and more evidently, Schindler's List.

As for her next string adventure, Benedetti hints that she will most likely embrace chamber music.

"I will be looking to work closely with people experienced in chamber music, focusing on Russian repertoires."

And similar to other violin maestros, Benedetti plays on a 1717 Stradivarius on loan to her by her modern-Medici patron, banker Jonathan Moulds.

With her next stop in Hong Kong that week, Benedetti said that she enjoyed working with the different conductors and orchestras.

"I feel my path is moving exactly where I want it to and that's the first time I've felt like that."

Nicola Benedetti's The Silver Violin is released by Universal Music Malaysia

Beyonce wants slumber parties, normal childhood for baby Blue Ivy

Posted: 11 Feb 2013 06:19 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Singer Beyonce says she wants to give her baby daughter a normal childhood with "sprinklers and ... slumber parties."

In a Vogue magazine interview released on Monday she also teased her next, as yet untitled, album saying the music is "a lot more sensual ... empowering" thanks to motherhood.

The Grammy-winning singer, 31, who is married to rapper Jay-Z, took a year off her music career to care for her first child, Blue Ivy Carter, who was born in January 2012.

"At some point it's very important to me that my daughter is able to experience life and run through the sprinklers and have slumber parties and trust and live and do all the things that any child should be able to do ... School visits and lemonade stands and all that stuff. It's very important for me," she told Vogue in an interview for its March issue.

The singer, who is making a comeback with a world tour starting in April, talked about bringing her daughter to work, saying, "She's my road dog. She's my homey, my best friend."

The Vogue interview was conducted in late 2012 before Beyonce's controversial lip-synced performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Two weeks later she silenced her critics with a live performance at the Super Bowl halftime show.

On Saturday, her HBO documentary "Life is But A Dream" gets a first airing, giving viewers a glimpse of her life outside the spotlight. An interview with Oprah Winfrey on the OWN cable channel airs the same day.

Beyonce called media gossip last year that she had faked her pregnancy "very odd" and spoke in detail about giving birth for the first time.

"I felt like when I was having contractions. I envisioned my child pushing through a very heavy door. And I imagined this tiny infant doing all the work, so I couldn't think about my own pain...We were talking. I know it sounds crazy, but I felt a communication," she told Vogue. -Reuters


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