Ahad, 3 Mac 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Bonnie Franklin of 'One Day At A Time' dead at 69

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 07:25 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Bonnie Franklin, best known for her starring role as a single, working mother on the hit CBS comedy One Day At A Time, in an era when U.S. television was redefining families in pop culture, died on Friday at age 69.

She died at her Los Angeles home of complications from pancreatic cancer, surrounded by relatives and friends, according to a statement issued by the CBS network on behalf of her family.

Franklin, a petite redhead, had acted on Broadway before being cast as the harried divorcee Ann Romano in One Day At A Time, which debuted in December 1975 and ran for nine seasons on CBS. It co-starred Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips as her two head-strong daughters.

"My heart is breaking," Bertinelli, who played the younger daughter, Barbara, said in a statement. "Bonnie has always been one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me."

"She taught me how to navigate this business and life itself with grace and humor, and to always be true to myself. I will miss her terribly," Bertinelli added.

Franklin's performance on the series garnered her an Emmy nomination in 1982. She previously earned a Theatre World Award and a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut work in the 1970 musical Applause, in which she sang the title song.

During a career spanning six decades, she starred in more than 30 television series and made-for-TV movies while continuing her work in live theater. But she was best remembered for her work on the Norman Lear-produced sitcom One Day At A Time.

The show was an instant ratings success and became a cultural landmark for its portrait of a family that departed from the idealized sitcom households of earlier decades, like those on Leave It To Beaver (1957-1963) and Father Knows Best (1954-1960).

By the time One Day At A Time premiered at the end of 1975, even the happy blended family of The Brady Bunch (1969-1974) had become obsolete.

Her family disclosed last September that Franklin was being treated for pancreatic cancer.

Franklin's first marriage ended in divorce. She married producer Marvin Minoff in 1980, and they remained together until his death in 2009.

Firing up the airwaves

Posted: 04 Mar 2013 03:00 AM PST

Popular deejay Chan Fong returns to the morning slot to brighten up your day.

In the past 17 years, 988 has produced numerous popular deejays and Chan Fong is without doubt one of the biggest names around. Beginning today, he returns to 988's morning show – considered the most competitive time slot on radio – to join Sam (aka Da Bao) and Yi Hui.

To those of you who are not familiar with 988, Chan Fong has been the host of the station's popular show, City Heartbeat ("dai seng sum si" in Cantonese) for many years. In the show, people call in to relate their worries and problems to the affable deejay, who offers guidance and advice to those in need. City Heartbeat airs on Fridays (10pm-1am).

However, from today, Chan Fong will host 988's breakfast show Morning Up with the two bubbly ladies (weekdays, 6am-10am).

According to Chan Fong, who is also the managing director of an advertising firm, his decision to return to the morning slot was an easy one to make and considers it to be a "a win-win situation".

"Knowing current affairs and having trending news at your fingertips is necessary in the advertising industry.

"Now, in order to host an informative and factual breakfast show, more 'homework' needs to be done. In-depth reading and thinking will, in the end, be beneficial to my full-time task in the advertising business," he says.

Meanwhile, Sam, who has partnered with Chan Fong on the radio before, is optimistic about their on-air chemistry and believes they can improve their partnership.

"One of our segments is called Shan Fong Dian Huo (which literally means, "fan the flames" in Mandarin), so Yi Hui and I will be in charge of the 'fanning' while Chan Fong will ignite the fire. We'll set the airwaves on fire!" she says enthusiastically.

For Yi Hui, the youngest of the trio, this is a golden opportunity to learn from the "masters".

"I'm scared of Chan Fong. He doesn't laugh, not even when he's making jokes," she says animatedly.

Apart from the radio, you can also tune in to an hour of live streaming of the show at www.988.com.my today at 8am.

Also on 988 this week:

The Feature: Monday-Tuesday, 9am-10am

Each year on March 8, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated around the world. Thousands of events are held not just on this day but also throughout the month to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. 988 will be speaking to two women who will share their thoughts on why the world needs to celebrate IWD.

Street VIP: Wednesday-Friday, 9am-10am

A "body language trainer" may not be your usual profession. However, understanding body language is the secret to inspiring confidence, conveying authority, and building great relationships, according to the believers of non-verbal communication. Acclaimed Taiwanese body language trainer Ho Jing Yuan will shed light on this profession.

Music VIP: Monday-Friday, 2pm

Taiwanese singer-songwriter Deserts Zhang Xuan never fails to impress when she performs live. With a bottle of beverage by her side, and an acoustic guitar in her hands, the indie artist's charismatic demeanour is enchanting. Hear her explain the conceptual thinking behind her recent album, Games We Play (Shen De You Xi) and what she hopes to express through her music.

For more information, visit www.988.com.my. 988 is ownded and operated by The Star.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Analysis - China's next inner circle

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 04:14 PM PST

HONG KONG (Reuters)-Even as Xi Jinping gets ready to assume the presidency of China this month, jockeying has begun for 2017 when rising stars of the ruling Communist Party move into top leadership posts.

China's President Hu Jintao (2nd row, 2nd L), China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping (2nd row, 3rd L), China's Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd row, 3rd R), China's Vice-Premier Li Keqiang (2nd row, 2nd R) and other top leaders and delegates sing the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China's President Hu Jintao (2nd row, 2nd L), China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping (2nd row, 3rd L), China's Premier Wen Jiabao (2nd row, 3rd R), China's Vice-Premier Li Keqiang (2nd row, 2nd R) and other top leaders and delegates sing the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China's first and second generation Communist Party leaders, such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, ruled as single paramount leaders. But over the past two decades, Chinese leaders have tried to institutionalise governance with an emphasis on collective leadership - except when it comes to choosing leaders.

The process is highly secretive and influenced by faction leaders who jockey to get their allies on the 25-member Politburo and its apex body, the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee.

"In certain areas the rules and the norms of institutionalisation continue, but in certain areas they are subject to manipulation, in particular with regard to the selection of the Politburo," said Cheng Li, director of research at the John L. Thornton China Center in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution.

China's once-in-a-decade leadership transition last November installed a largely caretaker leadership in the Standing Committee. In 2017, five of the seven members will reach retirement age after one term in office. Only China's top two leaders, president-in-waiting Xi Jinping and premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang, will remain on the powerful body in 2017.

Two main factions are competing for power within the Standing Committee. Members of the "Shanghai Gang", headed by former Party chief Jiang Zemin, have connections to China's commercial capital. The other main faction, the "Tuanpai," is led by outgoing President Hu Jintao. Its members, like him, cultivated their careers in the Communist Youth League.

Most of the Politburo members and provincial Party secretaries eligible for promotion in the next term in 2017 have experience in the Communist Youth League, according to data from "Connected China"(http://connectedchina.reuters.com), a Reuters site that tracks the careers and connections of China's top leaders.

Although the Politburo appointed in November shows strong ties to Jiang Zemin, analysts say outgoing President Hu Jintao's Communist Youth League faction will gain the upper hand over the longer term.

A third group has also ascended rapidly - the princelings, or privileged children of revolutionary leaders. Key princelings include Xi and Politburo Standing Committee members Yu Zhengsheng, Wang Qishan and Zhang Dejiang.


Xi is the first Communist Party General Secretary to take power while his two predecessors are both still alive. That puts him in the role of cautious consensus-builder between factions allied to his two predecessors, rather than an agent of reform, political analysts said.

"I don't think can push much because it's still a Jiang (Zemin) Politburo Standing Committee," said David Zweig, a Chinese politics scholar at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Six of the seven members on the Standing Committee have ties to Jiang, who relinquished the top Party position over a decade ago. Premier-in-waiting Li, whose ties with Hu go back to the 1980s, is the only Standing Committee member considered to be a Hu protégé and a member of his Tuanpai faction.

But the 86-year-old Jiang is 16 years Hu's senior. Few of his protégés are expected to stay on when the Standing Committee members are scheduled to retire in 2017.

Factions of this kind rarely survive the death of its leader, said Jiangnan Zhu, a Hong Kong University associate professor specializing in Chinese politics.

"Usually, when a patron dies, his followers can't hold together for very long, and his faction will eventually fall. This was basically the case for Mao, the most powerful patron in CCP history," Zhu said.


The Tuanpai could be the exception. It traces its origins to former Communist Youth League leader Hu Yaobang, who promoted many Tuanpai officials, including Hu Jintao, during his tenure as Party General Secretary in the 1980s. The Tuanpai's influence expanded under Hu when he became General Secretary in 2002.

Under Hu the number of Tuanpai leaders in top provincial top posts increased from five in 2002 to 13 in 2005, and rose to 21 in 2010. Connections to the Communist Youth League are a common denominator for many figures seen as the next generation of leaders, data from Connected China shows.

Of the 14 members in the 25-member Politburo eligible for another term in 2017, nine have worked in the Communist Youth League and are considered to be protégés or allies of Hu. Only five are known to have ties with Jiang.

Communist Youth League experience is even more prevalent among provincial-level Party chiefs.

Provincial Party leadership has become almost a prerequisite for a top leadership post. Among the 29 eligible for Politburo membership next year, 19 have experience in the Communist Youth League, and 11 are considered to be members of the Tuanpai faction, the data from Connected China shows.


The promotion of so many Communist Youth League members is largely credited to Hu protégé, Li Yuanchao. As head of the Party's Organisation Department, he promoted many of his mentor's allies.

Three of the top contenders for seats in the 2017 Politburo Standing Committee are linked to Hu Jintao - Li Yuanchao, former Guangdong provincial Party chief Wang Yang, and the current Guangdong boss, Hu Chunhua. If promoted, those three along with premier-in-waiting Li, would occupy more than half of the Standing Committee seats in 2017.

"Hu Jintao has been very successful in nurturing future leaders amongst the fifth and the sixth generation from the youth league," said Willy Lam, a scholar on Chinese history and politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

But the Tuanpai also has a problem, he said. Except perhaps for Wang Yang and Li Yuanchao who are seen as experienced leaders, few other leaders from the Tuanpai have a strong track record.


Xi's power base is in the military where a number of princelings have made their careers, according to Lam.

The data from Connected China shows Xi has far fewer ties to other contenders in the Party and the government. Of the 14 members of the Politburo eligible for another term in 2017, only two are known to have close ties with Xi - Li Zhanshu and Xu Qiliang. As director of the Central Committee General Office, Li is Xi's chief of staff. Xu is a military official seen as unlikely to be promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee.

"Xi will not have enough time to build up a distinct faction," Lam said. "He will have to spend a lot of time building consensus within the top leadership because he doesn't have a distinct faction of his own. So there will be a lot of give and take.

"Politically, I think things will remain frozen as it's difficult to get a consensus for political reform," Lam said.

Related Stories:
China likely to set up single regulator for food & drugs - report

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Netanyahu says Iran using nuclear talks to "buy time" for bomb

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 03:55 PM PST

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Renewed international efforts to negotiate curbs on Iran's disputed nuclear programme have backfired by giving it more time to work on building a bomb, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Gali Tibbon/Pool

His remarks on the inconclusive February 26-27 meeting between Iran and six world powers signalled impatience by Israel, which has threatened to launch pre-emptive war on its arch-foe, possibly in the coming months, if it deems diplomacy a dead end.

Senior U.S. diplomat Wendy Sherman flew in to brief Israel about the Kazakh-hosted talks, in which Tehran, which denies seeking nuclear arms, was offered modest relief from sanctions in return for halting mid-level uranium enrichment.

There was no breakthrough. The sides will reconvene in Almaty on April 5-6 after holding technical talks in Istanbul.

"My impression from these talks is that the only thing that is gained from them is a buying of time, and through this time-buying Iran intends to continue enriching nuclear material for an atomic bomb and is indeed getting closer to this goal," Netanyahu told his Cabinet in remarks aired by Israeli media.

Extrapolating from U.N. reports on Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent fissile purity, a short technical step from weapons-grade, Netanyahu has set a mid-2013 "red line" for denying the Islamic republic the fuel needed for a first bomb.

Iranian media reported on Sunday the country was building around 3,000 new advanced enrichment centrifuges, a development that could accelerate the nuclear project.

The prospect of unilateral Israeli strikes, and the likely wide-ranging reprisals by Iran and its regional allies, worries Washington, which wants to pursue diplomacy as it winds down costly military commitments abroad.


In an attempt to make their proposals more palatable to Tehran, the United States and five other world powers appeared to have softened previous demands in Almaty - for example regarding their requirement that the Iranians ship out their stockpile of the higher-grade uranium.

A senior Israeli official said that while the Netanyahu government had hoped for a tougher line by the so-called P5+1, it was resigned to awaiting the results of this round of talks.

"At the end of the day, what matters is that the Iranians end their enrichment, whether it's through shutting down their facilities or through more nuanced technical safeguards," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

The official would not comment on how or if the latest diplomacy had affected the readiness of Israel, which is widely assumed to have the region's only nuclear arsenal, to go to war.

Iran may have warded off that threat by turning some of its 20 percent-pure uranium into fuel rods for a research reactor.

The international standoff and shifting timelines are expected to dominate U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Israel later this month. The Israelis urge a tougher posture on Iran from their ally, which has a hefty military presence in the Gulf and says it is poised to use force as a last resort.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, in a speech in Washington to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, echoed Netanyahu in voicing doubt that diplomacy would stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"Therefore, all options must remain on the table," he told the pro-Israel lobby group. "We expect all those who say it to mean it. We mean it."

Israel's dovish president, Shimon Peres, sounded more upbeat after meeting Sherman last Thursday. Peres said he had "total faith in the Obama administration, in its commitment and its actions in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons".

Obama's Israel visit has been overshadowed by local politics too, given the rightist Netanyahu's failure so far to build a new coalition government after he narrowly won a January 22 ballot.

Appealing to potential party allies to rally to him in the name of national security, Netanyahu told his cabinet: "To my regret this is not happening, and in the coming days I will continue my efforts to unify and galvanise forces ahead of the major national and international challenges that we face."

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Opposition leader visits Syria amid Assad offensive

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 03:49 PM PST

AMMAN (Reuters) - Exiled opposition figure Moaz Alkhatib visited Syria on Sunday for the first time since fleeing last year, as rebels said President Bashar al-Assad's forces embarked on counter-offensives in various parts of the country.

People ride a motorcycle in the old city of Homs March 2, 2013. Picture taken March 2, 2013. REUTERS/Yazen Homsy

People ride a motorcycle in the old city of Homs March 2, 2013. Picture taken March 2, 2013. REUTERS/Yazen Homsy

In the central city of Homs, heavy fighting broke out between loyalist forces and opposition brigades dug in in preparation for an onslaught, opposition sources said.

Opposition campaigners said the counter-offensive appeared to be part of a new strategy by Assad focusing on regaining three rebel-held regions that pose a threat to his grip on Damascus and supply lines from coastal regions, where a large proportion of his minority Alawite sect live.

"We are probably seeing the first stage of a major onslaught on Homs," said Mohammad Mroueh, a member of an opposition 'crisis committee'.

Alkhatib, president of the Syrian National Coalition, a group of anti-Assad interests that has sought international recognition, crossed into northern Syria from neighbouring Turkey and toured the towns of Jarablus and Minbij.

Alkhatib, a 52-year-old former preacher at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, was chosen in November to head the SNC and his visit appeared aimed at overcoming scepticism among some of the disparate rebel forces towards his Cairo-based Coalition.

He has said he is ready for talks with representatives of Assad's government to seek a political solution to a conflict which erupted nearly two years ago and has descended into a civil war in which around 70,000 people have been killed.

The SNC says any talks must focus on Assad's departure while rebel leaders insist he depart before talks can start.

Before entering Syria, Alkhatib attended a meeting of 220 rebel commanders and opposition campaigners in the Turkish city of Gaziantep to elect an administration for Aleppo province, home to 6 million people.


Assad, in an interview with British newspaper The Sunday Times, said his government was prepared to talk to fighters who lay down their weapons but insisted he would not leave the country or step aside under foreign pressure.

"We are ready to negotiate with anyone, including militants who surrender their arms," he said according to a transcript released by state media. However there would be no talks with "terrorists who are determined to carry weapons."

But Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, said he was not going anywhere. "No patriotic person will think about living outside his country. I am like any other patriotic Syrian," he told the newspaper.

In Aleppo, home to one of Syria's two oil refineries and on a road linking coastal army supply bases to Damascus, rebels were fighting off an incursion by a pro-Assad militia known as shabbiha, opposition sources said.

They said opposition fighters captured a police academy on the outskirt of Aleppo, after days of fighting in which rebels killed 150 soldiers, while sustaining heavy casualties.

Further east, Iraqi military sources said Iraq shut a border crossing with Syria after rebels seized the Syrian side of the frontier post close to the Syrian town of Yaarabiya.

"Iraqi authorities were ordered to shut off Rabia border crossing until further notice because of the Syrian government's lack of control over the other side of the post," police said.

In Amman, Jordan's national carrier Royal Jordanian said it had stopped flying over Syrian air space for security reasons. The airline stopped its regular flights to Damascus last year along with some other carriers.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Sports

Thompson holds off Ogilvy to capture first PGA title

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 06:54 PM PST

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida: American Michael Thompson birdied the final hole to hold off Australian Geoff Ogilvy and capture his first PGA title, winning the $6 million Honda Classic by two strokes on Sunday.

Thompson, last year's US Open runner-up, played the back nine at level par on his way to firing a one-under par 69 in a windy final round to finish on nine-under par 271 with 2006 US Open winner Ogilvy second after a closing 69.

"Really, I just stuck to my game plan," Thompson said. "All week I'm just trying to find it in the dirt.

"This week, it was magical. I just tried to keep feeling it, keep believing it."

Thompson, who began the day with a share of the lead, eagled the par-5 third hole with a putt from nearly 50 feet away and answered a bogey at the fourth with a birdie at the par-3 fifth to move three strokes clear of the field.

He stumbled at the end of the front nine with bogeys at the par-3 seventh and par-4 ninth around a birdie at the par-4 eighth, but his short game saved him when he blasted an approach off the pine straw at the 10th and barely cleared the water at 11, each time rescuing par.

Thompson made bogey at 16 to open the door to Ogilvy, who has not won since 2010 and whose only prior top-10 tour finish in the past 15 months was a share of ninth at last year's British Open.

Ogilvy opened with 13 pars before a bogey setback but a birdie at the 16th put him in the hunt.

"I played really well," Ogilvy said. "It was frustrating with the putter. I played it great the last two days. Anything under-par out here the last two days is pretty great.

"I thought if I birdied the last two holes, I had a chance."

Both men parred 17, setting up drama at the par-5 18th. Ogilvy gave himself a 66-foot eagle putt and was just short, settling for a birdie that kept the pressure on Thompson.

"I was braver than I really wanted at 18," Ogilvy said.

Thompson found a greenside bunker 28 yards from the cup on his approach but blasted out to four feet and sank his birdie putt for the victory.

American Luke Guthrie was third on 275 with England's Justin Rose and David Lynn joining Americans Keegan Bradley, Lucas Glover and Erik Compton in a share of fourth on 277.

South African Charl Schwartzel, British player Lee Westwood, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Graham DeLaet of Canada shared ninth on 278.

World No. 2 Tiger Woods fired a final-round 74 to finish on 284, sharing 37th, despite a closing eagle. Woods also had two double-bogeys, two birdies and four bogeys in the round after firing par-70s each of the first three days. -AFP

Maiden European Tour win for Van der Walt

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 06:31 PM PST

PRETORIA: Dawie van der Walt won his first European Tour tournament Sunday by finishing two shots ahead of fellow South African Darren Fichardt in the Tshwane Open.

Van der Walt fired a five-under-par final round 67 for a total of 267 over the Ernie Els-designed Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate while Fichardt closed with a 69 on the 7,791-yard (7,124-metre) layout.

A two-metre, 110-kilogram giant, western Cape-born Van der Walt was one shot ahead of four-time European Tour winner Fichardt at the turn and extended it with a birdie at the par-five 15th on a hot, overcast afternoon.

Both title challengers parred the last three holes and Van der Walt collected a 237,750-euro ($310,690) cheque and a three-year exemption from qualifying for European Tour events.

The 30-year-old winner of the inaugural Tshwane Open was a model of consistency over the four days of a tournament hit by delays on Friday and Saturday when thunderstorms rolled over the course south west of here.

He had only one bogey over his 72 holes - at the par-four 10th during the closing round - and a solid tee-to-green game set up an unexpected success in a 156-field that included three former Major title-holders.

"I hit the ball really well this week and probably missed only six or seven greens in regulation," said the slightly nervous champion after receiving his cheque and trophy.

"My tee-to-green game was good, my putting solid, and to bogey only one hole throughout the tournament on such a long and challenging course was really awesome.

"Among the turning points was dropping a birdie putt at 12 - I was desperate for another birdie to get to five-under and once the ball went into the hole I felt I was in control.

"My goal was to shoot 10-under for the wekend and my focus was reaching five under for the round today. I am really happy that I played well and won because you can play well and not win."

Van der Walt said the victory lifted a major concern off his shoulders as he was beginning to wonder if he had the ability to win a tournament at the highest level.

"You start doubting yourself and, at 30, you start to wonder if you are good enough. This victory proves that I am. Golf is a game where you do not get a lot of chances to win and to do it is fantastic."

The often hot putter of Fichardt cooled during the final round and he never looked like overtaking Van der Walt during the closing holes while co-overnight leader Charl Coetzee of South Africa closed with a par 72.

Chilean Mark Tullo, the other member of the quartet topping the leaderboard after the third round, crumbled to a 77 after needing 42 strokes to cover the back nine.

Former British Open champion Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland closed with a 69 and there was a 75 from 2012 Ryder Cup-winning captain and twice US Masters title-holder Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain. -AFP

US duo share the lead but Westwood and Ogilvy are in the frame

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 04:38 PM PST

PALM BEACH GARDENS (Florida): England's Lee Westwood and Australian Geoff Ogilvy charged into contention at the US PGA Honda Classic on Saturday but an unheralded pair of Americans clung to the 54-hole lead.

Rookie Luke Guthrie, in only his ninth PGA event, and Michael Thompson each stood on eight-under 202 after the third round of the US$6mil tournament with Westwood and Ogilvy both two strokes off the pace.

"I'm in a pretty good place, I think," Ogilvy said.

New local resident Westwood, Ogilvy and Thompson each fired a par 70 in the third round, while Guthrie, the 36-hole leader, settled for a 71 in cool and windy conditions.

"It was tricky," Westwood said. "We didn't have wind the last two days, so it came as a bit of a surprise. I acclimatised pretty quickly. I played quite nicely."

World No. 2 Tiger Woods fired a 70 for the third day in a row. The 14-time Major winner birdied two of the first three holes, added another at the eighth, then began the back nine with a bogey and made double bogey at the par-three 17th. Woods was making a charge until finding a bunker at the 10th and missing an eight-foot par putt. At the 190-yard 17th, the player saw his tee shot roll back into the water and he two-putted from 20 feet after a drop to share 32nd.

"I thought realistically 5- or 6-under par would be a good score," Woods said. "I thought if I posted that, I would be within six or seven shots of the lead going into tomorrow at worst."

But he acknowledged that he was "probably just not quite driving it as well."

Westwood, who turns 40 next month, birdied the par-five third but took bogeys at the par-three fifth and two more to close the front nine. He answered with birdies at the 14th and par-three 17th.

Having recently moved to a nearby home has helped Westwood's victory bid this week, the British citizen said.

"It's nice to go home and sleep in your own bed and do some of the normal things you do, like take the kids to school," he said. "I've never had the opportunity before. There was never a tournament so close to my home in England."

Ogilvy, the 2006 US Open champion, has managed only one top-10 tour finish in the past 15 months, a share of ninth at last year's British Open and won the most recent of his seven PGA crowns in the 2010 season opener. — AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Business

Shares of KLCC Property advance on REITS listing, dividend

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 06:14 PM PST

Published: Monday March 4, 2013 MYT 10:15:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of KLCC Property Holdings Bhd rose to a high of RM6.74 on Monday as it was set to complete a restructuring and list in April and ahead of its 4.5 sen dividend going ex on Thursday.

At 9.54am, KLCCP was up 14 sen to RM6.74. There were 128,800 shares done.

The FBM KLCI rose 1.69 points to 1,639.13. Turnover was 156.59 million shares done valued at RM131.27mil. There were 125 gainers, 142 losers and 169 counters unchanged.

The country's biggest real estate investment trust's (REIT) fourth interim dividend will go ex on Thursday.

The trust, three times larger than the next biggest Malaysian REIT, Sunway REIT, will not raise new money. The corporate restructuring was unveiled in November, creating a so-called stapled REIT by bundling existing shares of KLCC Property and units of KLCC REIT, in a bid to lure yield-hungry investors.


Blue chips inch forward, BAT, PetGas, KLCCP up

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 05:35 PM PST

Published: Monday March 4, 2013 MYT 9:36:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips started the new week on Monday on a firmer note, with the FBM KLCI advancing, underpinned by gains in BAT, Petronas Gas and KLCCP.

At 9.18am, the KLCI was up 1.88 points to 1,639.32. Turnover was 55.11 million shares valued at RM40.37mil. There were 90 gainers, 85losers and 109 counters unchanged.

Hwang DBS Vickers Research cautioned that with downside risk still outweighs upside potential, we expect the FBM KLCI to slip below the intermediate support line of 1,635 and pull back towards the support area of 1,600-1,615 going forward.

BAT was the top gainer, rising 50 sen to RM60.50 while Petronas Gas added 16 sen to RM18.48 and KLCCP 10 sen higher to RM6.70.

MISC gained nine sen to RM5.37 with 1.28 million shares done. This was above the takeover price of RM5.30 offered by its major shareholder Petroliam Nasional.

Genting Plantations added 10 sen to RM8.57 with 100 shares done while SOP rose nine sen to RM5.19 but Sime Darby shed three sen to RM9.18.

Patimas was the most active with 13.44 million shares done, edging up 0.5 sen to 5.5 sen.

Decliners included Carlsberg, Public Bank and DRB-Hicom, which fell four sen each to RM12.80, RM16.06 and RM2.53 respectively.


MISC rises after EPF's expectations of higher takeover price

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 05:17 PM PST

Published: Monday March 4, 2013 MYT 9:18:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of MISC Bhd rose on Monday as investors' sentiment perked up after the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said it was looking at a higher price from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).

At 9.03am, MISC was up nine sen to RM5.37. There were 909,000 shares done.

The FBM KLCI rose 0.21 of a point to 1,637,65. Turnover was 23.89 million shares valued at RM17.65mil. There were 50 gainers, 48 losers and 99 counters unchanged.

EPF chief executive officer Tan Sri Azlan Zainol was reported saying on Friday that Petronas should raise its RM8.8bil buyout offer for MISC Bhd, its biggest minority shareholder said.

"We are looking at a higher price for the shares than what Petronas is offering now," he said. The EPF owns 9.6% of the world's second-largest liquefied natural gas shipping company.

"It has not been finalised yet. We will see how it goes," he said in an interview here last Friday.


Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

Three months to register 1M4U number plates

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 03:21 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Successful bidders for the 1M4U number plates must register with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) Wangsa Maju branch within three months.

Those interested in bidding for the 9,999 numbers can submit their bids online at www.platim4u.com from March 10, said Zulaikha Mokhtarrudin, a spokesman for Aqua Two Sdn Bhd, which is handling the bids.

"All the bidding will be done online and the successful bidders will be issued a letter.

"This letter must be submitted to the JPJ branch in Wangsa Maju to register the number plates," she said yesterday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Saturday that vehicle owners can begin bidding for the IM4U vehicle registration numbers next week in conjunction with the 1Malaysia For Youth (IM4U) movement.

There will be 9,999 numbers up for grabs, with Najib getting the IM4U 11 number, as 11 is his favourite number.

He said the sale of the registration numbers would generate funds to support IM4U activities.

CAP: Don’t over-idolise Tamil actors

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 03:17 PM PST

The Consumer Association of Penang has called on Indian movie fans in Malaysia to stop doing the milk abhisegam (pouring of milk) and putting garlands over the posters and cut-outs of Tamil film actors in the theatres, Malaysia Nanban reported.

Its education officer N.V. Subbarow said that this practice is popular in Tamil Nadu but now it seems that this trend has spread to Malaysia.

He was commenting about that the milk abhisegam that was recently done in theatres in Petaling Jaya during the release of Kamal Hassan's Vishwaroopam and uploaded on YouTube.

He said that this act reflects the backwardness of the Indian community and is not suitable for the multi-racial community in this country.

He said that milk abhisegam should only be done in temples and urged the Indian movie fans to form fan clubs to help the poor, organise moral classes for the Indian students and also aid Tamil schools instead of idolising Indian actors.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

School homework is a family affair

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 03:17 PM PST

CHINESE primary school students are so burdened with homework that their mothers, aunts and other family members are helping out, reported China Press.

Malaysian Chinese Language Council president Prof Dr Lim Chooi Kwa said schools ought to review the matter as some of the homework were so technical that even university Chinese Studies lecturers had difficulty answering them.

He added that not only him but several other university lecturers also had a similar experience while guiding their grandchildren with their homework.

"We would make mistakes like the strokes and pronunciation.

"Schools need to look into improving teaching methods as well as reducing the students' homework load."

He noted that most children go for tuition and they do not have time to digest what they learn.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Witching frenzy

Posted: 04 Mar 2013 02:58 AM PST

Witches always steal the show.

HOLLYWOOD has always had a steady flow of movies that feature witches.

This year alone, we've had at least three movies that involve witchcraft. In the campy Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Famke Janssen plays a witch named Muriel; Beautiful Creatures sees Emmy Rossum as Lena Englet who has to decide whether to battle good or bad; and in Oz The Great And Powerful, Michelle Williams plays the good witch while Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz are the bad witches.

In many of these "witch" films, there always seems to be three witches that are featured. There is a possibility that the number "three" links to the three facets of Wiccan goddesses – the maiden (virgin), the mother, and the crone or old woman. It could also just represent the three stages of womanhood.

Here are some familiar witch movies:

Macbeth (1971)

In the opening scene of Roman Polanski's 1971 film Macbeth, three witches – the maiden, mother and crone – predict the rise of a king named Macbeth, who is just a regular soldier. An adaption of one of William Shakespeare's darker works, Polanski's film, produced by Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Enterprises, is rated "X" (above-18 only) due to its violence and nudity.

Witches: Young Witch (Noelle Rimming-ton), Bling Witch (Maisie MacFarquhar) and First Witch (Elsie Taylor).

The Black Cauldron (1985)

The Black Cauldron was the first animated Disney film to be slapped with a PG (parental guidance) rating. This fantasy-adventure film sees a young pig farmer, Taran, out on a mission to destroy the black cauldron before the Horned King uses it to wake the undead. The witches gain possession of the cauldron and trade it for Taran's magic sword, only to reveal that the cauldron cannot be destroyed unless a living being jumps into it. Nice.

Witches: Orddu (voiced by Eda Reiss Merin), Orwen (Adele Malis-Morey) and Orgoch (Billie Hayes).

Witches Of Eastwick (1987)

When three life-long friends meet up for drinks to vent about men, their psychic bond conjures "Mr Right". It's not made clear to the audience the powers these women possess, but their wish did bring the Prince of Darkness, Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson), into their lives for one heck of a ride.

Witches: Alexandra (Cher), Sukie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Jane (Susan Sarandon).

Hocus Pocus (1993)

This light comedy, featuring soul-sucking witches, is one of the most nostalgic movies for children of the 1990s. After 300 years, the Sanderson sisters are resurrected by Max who just wanted to impress his dream girl Allison and spook his little sister Dani. As the witches return to life, Max, Dani and Allison run off with the witches' vital spell book. In order to stay alive and get their immortality back, the sisters have to recite a magic invocation from the stolen spell book before dawn. Otherwise, they will be gone forever.

Witches: Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker).

Stardust (2007)

Stardust is a love story of a charmingly naive boy who finds a "fallen star", who turns out to be a dame. The boy tries to keep her safe from witches who seek the fallen star and consume her heart for eternal youth.

Witches: Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer), Mormo (Joanna Scanlan) and Empusa (Sarah Alexander).

New witches on the block, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz star in Oz The Great And Powerful which opens in cinemas nationwide on Thursday.

Class act

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 12:00 AM PST

To call Stanley Tucci a versatile character actor would be something of an understatement. To say he gives interesting interviews would be one, too.

A JOURNALIST has just asked actor Stanley Tucci about a story theme in The Hunger Games, a film in which he plays TV host Caeser Flickerman.

Tucci – who is in London to talk to the press about Jack The Giant Slayer on a cold February afternoon – turns to her and inquires politely about one of the words in her question.

As she repeats the question, it becomes clear that her pronounication of "hope" is not, well, conventional.

Tucci asks with a glint in his eyes: "Where are you from?"

When she informs him, he says with a knowing smile: "I thought so."

He then turns to everyone and explains: "It is my favourite, to hear an Italian say a word in English that starts with the letter H."

At that point, the 52-year-old recalls how in the first film he ever wrote and directed – Big Night (1996), about two brothers running a failing Italian restaurant – he had written a line specifically for Tony Shalhoub's character (who has an Italian accent in the movie, as does Tucci's character).

"The line I say is 'When will this be ready?' and he has to say 'half an hour'. I knew it would be incredibly hard to say, and really funny, because he has to lose the H on 'half' but add an H on 'hour'. So it'd be 'alf and hhour'. And everytime he said it, I would laugh so hard. 'Alf and hhour'," he repeats, laughing at the memory.

Naturally, the line of questioning turns to the fact that it has been a while since he last directed a film (he has made four, the last one being 2007's Blind Date).

Tucci replies: "Thank you for reminding me."

When the same journalist follows up with, "Well, where are they?"

Tucci retorts: "Don't you have them with you?"

Needless to say, the interview with Tucci is definitely turning out to be a little more interesting than interviews with many other Hollywood actors. He is smartly dressed (dark blue pinstripe three-piece suit and matching socks) for interviews, is a perfect gentleman (he stands up to shake our hands), a very nice guy and extremely funny.

It's almost too easy to just have a chat with him, especially when he starts regaling us with his tales of woe, like the fight scene with Ewan McGregor's knight of the realm ("It was fun because I was doing it with Ewan because I like him and I trust him, but ultimately it was pretty exhausting. Not much fun after a while; it just became tedious.") or hanging on the beanstalk on a not-terribly-clean set and trying to say his lines while getting water thrown at him ("It was hard to climb down. They had to let you down. And this went on for weeks and weeks. It was so not fun.").

Still, there were good times aplenty while making the fantasy adventure, in which he plays the villainous Roderick. "Just being on the set with everybody. Doing a scene with Nic (Nicholas Hoult, who plays Jack) and Ewan. And the incredible hair people, costume people. We'd all go out together with Bryan (Singer). We had a lot of fun."

Touted as one of the best character actors in Hollywood, Tucci has been working in films and TV since 1985. During that period, he has created a string of characters from the most hateful (George Harvey in The Lovely Bones), to the most stylish (Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada), from a man with the most artificial smile (Flickerman in The Hunger Games) to the most sensitive of husbands (Paul Child in Julie & Julia).

Even with the varied roles he has played, Tucci is forever looking at upping the challenge to tell stories in different ways. While he doesn't know if there is a dream role that has escaped him, he says "there are certain movies, you kind of go, 'Oh, I should've played that role.' You know what I mean? But that's the old joke, you know. How many actors does it take to change a lightbulb? Ten. One to actually do it and nine to sit around and go, 'I wouldn't have done it like that'."

Tucci declares that he had always wanted to be an actor. "At one point, before I went to college, I thought I wanted to be an architect, but my math was so bad, that was a terrible idea. All the buildings would fall down. Or I would be an artist. That's not really like a back-up plan. And if that didn't work out, I'd be a chef. So luckily this is working out."

Even though becoming a chef may not be in the cards for him, Tucci is very much in love with cooking. He is currently writing a cookbook of his own, having helped his parents compile The Tucci Cookbook – a collection of family recipes and a New York Times bestseller.

In fact, food played a large part in his courtship with his wife Felicity Blunt (the sister of actress Emily Blunt) and his home kitchen has been described as being as well-equipped as that of any Italian restaurant.

When asked how he balances Hollywood's obsession with being thin and with Italian food, he shares: "You just have to eat sparingly, and exercise as much as possible so you can go back and eat again."

'Today' takes top prize at Africa's largest film festival

Posted: 02 Mar 2013 06:15 PM PST

OUAGADOUGOU: A French-Senegalese director's film about a man who knows he will die at the end of the day took the top prize Saturday at Africa's largest film festival, Fespaco in Burkina Faso.

"Aujourd'hui" (Today) by director Alain Gomis follows Satche, played by American hip hop musician and slam poet Saul Williams, on what he and those close to him somehow know will be the last day of his life.

The film took Fespaco's top prize, the Yennenga Etalon d'Or, at the closing ceremony of the festival's 23rd edition before an audience of some 15,000 people in Burkina capital Ouagadougou's main stadium.

Williams also won the best actor prize for his near-silent role in the film, which was an official selection at the Berlin 2012 film festival.

Second prize went to "Yema" by Algerian director Djamila Sahraoui, the story of a mother whose family is torn apart by an Islamist attack. Sahraoui both directed and starred in the film.

Nearly 170 films from all over the continent were shown during the week-long bi-annual festival, which was launched in 1969.

All the juries this year were presided by women, with the jury for the Etalon d'Or headed by French cinema legend Euzhan Palcy. - AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

An unlikely hero

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 12:48 AM PST

The Conductor
Author: Sarah Quigley
Publisher: Head of Zeus, 300 pages

THERE are some events in history that are so large in scale, so awful in their human cost and so unimaginable in the extent of the suffering they cause, that they pose the novelist with formidable problems just by the enormity of their subject matter. The Siege of Leningrad, or St Petersburg as it may be better known, is such a case.

A city of some three million people, it was subject to one of the most brutal sieges of all time during World War II. The siege had one objective: to break the resistance of the people of Leningrad and to destroy the city forever.

According to an article on the siege in The Observer in 2001, "The Führer (Adolph Hitler) said publicly and in leaflets dropped on the city that in order to avoid obliteration, Leningrad must surrender. Secretly, however, he ordered his commander in the east, Field Marshal Wilhelm von Leeb, to refuse the city's capitulation and obliterate its citizenry, whatever happened. In a directive headed 'The Future of the City of St Petersburg', the Nazi general Walter Warlimont wrote: 'The Führer has decided to raze the city of St Petersburg from the face of the earth. After the defeat of Soviet Russia there will be not the slightest reason for the future existence of this large city.'"

The siege lasted 872 days at the cost of one and a half million lives, with a similar number evacuated, many of whom also died. By the time the siege ended, the remaining population had all but starved to death, surviving on minuscule rations of sawdust-impregnated bread and any birds or rats that remained. Temperatures were as low as -30°C. The failure of the Nazis to take Leningrad was a pivotal event of WWII's European theatre.

Rather than tackle the full enormity of these events, although they are very convincingly ever-present in the background, Sarah Quigley opts for a more domestic and positive story. One of Leningrad's most important inhabitants was the composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), already recognised as a major, if controversial, musical figure of the time. Regarded as far too important to be a casualty of the siege, he was eventually, and initially rather against his will, evacuated to Kuibyshev where he finished the final movements of his seventh symphony, now known as the "Leningrad". It was ready for a public performance. There were, however, very few people left alive in Leningrad to play it.

Quigley's choice of this moment is an inspired one. Her novel is not short of descriptions of the terrible conditions that people lived in or of the heartbreak involved in the breakup of families that evacuation often entailed. But The Conductor is the story of the musical genius of Shostakovich and the persistence, bravery and dogged determination of Karl Eliasberg, conductor of Leningrad's then second-tier (and possibly second-rate) Radio Orchestra. Moments of heroism do not come much odder than Eliasberg and his musicians struggling to perform and broadcast the Leningrad symphony as a gesture of defiance against the besieging army and as a means of raising the spirits of the city's remaining inhabitants.

For much of the novel, Eliasberg is the focus. He is not, initially, a particularly appealing character. "I was born without a heart," he says at the book's opening. It is the fate of a leader, a conductor, to have to stand apart from the people he leads, in this case musicians. But however much they may resent his insistence on punctuality, his criticism of parts played wrongly, his brutal denial of rations on disciplinary grounds, the musicians who make up his raggle-taggle orchestra slowly but surely pull together and rehearse for the public broadcast they have been ordered by the authorities to give.

In all the desolation that Leningrad had become, this shambolic musical event represented a towering symbol of resilience and defiance.

The performance of the Leningrad finally took place on Aug 9, 1942, and it was played, live, through loudspeakers directed at enemy lines. It was a gesture of hope and solidarity that rang through the deserted and destroyed remains of one of Russia's finest cities.

Eliasberg is an unlikely hero but in that hour he becomes much more than the nit-pickingly austere leader of a band of starving and struggling musicians, and gains both new status and our complete respect. He will never match Shostakovich's genius but his grit, determination and decency shine through the appalling times he is forced to endure. Genius is difficult to identify with because it is by its very nature extraordinary; Eliasberg, on the other hand, is an ordinary man who manages to achieve extraordinary things. He is, in his own flawed way, wholly inspiring.

Sarah Quigley's fine achievement is to take one of history's most appalling episodes and through it to fashion a moving and uplifting tale of the indomitability of the human spirit.

Revisiting old friends

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 12:46 AM PST

THERE are times when nothing else matters. And it is precisely at such times, when nothing rouses or pleases, that a few moments with old friends can come to the rescue and remedy the restlessness of the day.

Those lost ties can be reconnected with a simple nod or handshake, and lost moments can most likely be rekindled by someone most prone to say the most hilarious things. In those momentarily silences between uproarious laughter, we ponder, "Is this happiness?" Yes it is – the atom of joy.

Then again, when such moments are needed but not available, I seek out "old friends" among authors from whom I have derived immense pleasure in the past. There is no handshake, nor is there laughter that leads to embraces. But no sooner have I laid my hand on their works do I feel at ease, and the swishing sound of pages turning is good enough to enliven my soul. So on that day when old distant friends were out of reach, I looked for Rohinton Mistry and Naguib Mahfouz – two of my favourite writers.

In my favourite library where fiction steals every iota of limelight, both Mistry and Mahfouz are neighbours two columns of bookshelf apart. The sight of Mahfouz's books gives comfort; it is a sign of respect and all the titles collected there, an obituary. Mahfouz, an Egyptian writer and a Nobel laureate who died in 2006, was a prolific writer who had poured out a colossal body of work made up of novels, short stories, and plays. Though a devout Muslim, Mahfouz embraced existentialism, believing that each individual, not religion or society, is responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately. Through many of his books, all of which are awe-inspiring, Mahfouz advocated his beliefs.

In a book called Children Of The Alley, one of Mahfouz's best known works, the novelist told the story of an Egyptian patriarch who builds a mansion in an oasis surrounded by barren desert. Within the boundary of the mansion is a story of an Egyptian family; beyond it, however, is a hidden narrative that involves the religious history of mankind. This book was what I had come to the library for on this day when nothing was rousing. An allegory of human suffering and striving, it stirred me now like it did a decade ago when I first encountered it. Splendour oozes out of the first two pages, spellbinding with the translator's poetic prose and engaging by being mysterious.

If hell is described as a place void of hope, then Bombay (now known as Mumbai) is the vortex of hell. In a place steeped in mystique are stark hardships that glare at you with their daring eyes, a place where religion reigns even as apathy suffuses. Such is the setting of Rohinton Mistry's highly acclaimed book, Such A Long A Journey, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 1991. As his characters embark on their journeys within a corrupt society where water is scarce and filth aplenty, the melancholy they portray is hard to shake off. It is this lingering melancholy that grants the book a place in my heart.

The main character is Gustad Noble, a simple and honest man who is inconsequential in the larger scheme of things, and one who does not demand much of life other than health and happiness for his family. When his struggle and loyalty do not pay off, a sense of helplessness sets in, followed by increasingly negative turns of events. In the end, after much endurance, he questions what really matters, and we, the reader, concede as if we have travelled along on Gustad's long journey, met the people he did and endured the limits he is stretched to withstand.

I was heartbroken a decade ago while reading it amidst the abundance my society had given me. Now, if I were to read it again in the same society where unrest and uneasiness are unravelling, I would see Gustad's chronic shortage of hope and happiness with more empathetic eyes.

Such writing quells the restlessness of my day, and such melancholy tames my pomposity. When I strode out of the library, I saw the cloudless skies of Down Under where everything seems calm and positively assuring. Someone nearby, as I eavesdropped, complained about the pickles in her burger and another could not wait to return an ill-fitting garment. But the words of Mahfouz and Mistry were way too powerful. They drowned the petty laments, reminding me that far away, in many parts of the world, there is real confusion, deprivation, helplessness, corruption, injustice, anarchy, and discrimination. If these things have not happened to you yet, they have appeared in fiction. Fiction is not strange, as most think it is. It foretells realism.

If there is one book Abby Wong thinks you will love to read, that book is Children Of The Alley. Go for it!

Write to Abby at star2@thestar.com.my.

Practice run for real life

Posted: 03 Mar 2013 12:45 AM PST

HOW do you feel about characters in children's books dying? If you're a parent buying books for your child, you may find yourself steering clear of books in which characters die. If you're an author who writes for children, you may be wondering if your characters are "allowed" to die.

Personally, I feel children take death (fictional or otherwise) in their stride. If there is any fear or extreme emotional pain as a result of encountering death, I find it's because a child is unprepared for it and/or is not offered any support during or after the event. Talking about it makes all the difference.

I notice something interesting, though. Parents might have qualms about their child reading a book in which the main character dies but they don't have problems with the same children watching a superhero movie in which many people might be destroyed in, say, an explosion or as a secondary result of the battle between the hero and the villain.

A storybook character dying is sad because the reader has established some kind of connection with him, whereas in a superhero movie, the casualties are faceless and nameless, and the viewer doesn't give them a second thought. When a main character dies, it's almost inevitably a villain whom you wanted to die anyway. So ... it's not death per se that is the problem. It's the suffering of people (characters) you care about and have invested in.

I've written in the past that the world of a story is a safe place in which children may experience and learn to deal with painful and difficult situations, death, pain and loss included. Call it a practice run before real life happens. Or, if real life has already kicked in, stories may offer comfort and reassurance.

As an adult who's had to deal with a seriously ill child and the death of my parents, I can't think of books that have comforted me more than the children's novels A Monster Calls and Ways To Live Forever. They are extremely sad and every reading makes me cry buckets but the grief is totally cathartic and cleansing.

Now, if you're a writer, you probably realise that when death happens in your stories it's inevitable – a character dies because that is the way the plot unfolds. You don't kill off a character to teach your readers life lessons or to cause a sensation.

A writer can't prevent the death of a character and neither can she will it. Characters are independent creatures, not, as you might think, controlled by the whims and fancies of their so-called creator, the author. They have lives that must be lived, and their lives sometimes end ... in death – not because the writer decides it must be so but because the characters fall ill or into a well or in front of a bus, or gets very old, or is eaten by zombies. This has been my personal experience anyway.

Funny thing is, I started writing this piece because I was thinking about Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat, two hilarious picture books that actually have deaths in them, and not just deaths but characters who die as a result of being eaten. So, yeah, it's not death per se that is sad or terrifying. You could say that death is actually, literally, the end of sad. It's life that may be painful and your kids may read about it and feel like their hearts are breaking, but that's OK. Hearts break but hearts also mend, in stories as well as real life.

Daphne Lee reads to wonder and wander, be amazed and amused, horrified and heartened and inspired and comforted. She wishes more people will try it too. Speak to her at star2@thestar.com.my and check out her blog at daphne.blogs.com/books.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved