Ahad, 12 Mei 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Matthew Perry's 'Go On' gets the chop

Posted: 12 May 2013 09:02 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Matthew Perry's latest TV show was canceled on Friday after one season, marking his third disappointing venture since he won fame on the hit comedy Friends.

Broadcaster NBC also said it would not be bringing back its weekly news magazine show Rock Center for the 2013-14 fall schedule, along with five other low-rated comedies.

The comedy Go On, in which Perry played a sports radio host who joins a grief counseling group after the death of his wife, was one of a slew of low-rated NBC television shows that will not be renewed, the network said.

Perry, 43, has struggled to follow up his success as the hapless Chandler Bing in NBC's Friends, which ended in 2004.

Go On received favorable reviews and attracted an audience of more than 16 million when it made its debut in August 2012. But audiences dropped off and the season finale in April was watched by less than 3 million people.

Go On followed the dark and short-lived 2011 series Mr. Sunshine,"in which Perry starred as well as co-created, and the 2006-07 Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip that was canceled after one season.

Perry's Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston has launched a second career as a romantic comedy movie actress, while Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox have made several movies and TV shows, David Schwimmer has appeared on stage and tried his hand at directing, and Matt LeBlanc won a Golden Globe in 2012 for playing a version of his skirt-chasing Friends bachelor character Joey in the Showtime and BBC comedy Episodes.

NBC, which has struggled to replace 1990s' hits like Friends, Cheers, Frasier, and Will & Grace, has also axed White House-based comedy 1600 Penn, the Jimmy Fallon-created comedy Guys With Kids, Whitney and Up All Night.

Rock Center, hosted by veteran NBC News journalist Brian Williams, made its debut in October 2011 in what the network hoped would be a fast-paced but serious approach to news. But it struggled to find an audience and viewership has fallen in recent weeks to around 4 million after NBC switched the hourlong show to several different time slots.

The fate of NBC's expensive behind-the-scenes musical drama Smash, starring Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston and Katharine McPhee, is still undecided after audiences for its second season slumped to under 2 million people.

988 FM interviews Taiwanese band Power Station

Posted: 13 May 2013 12:54 AM PDT

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

Nowadays, there are many abandoned orphans in our society, while on the otherhand, there are infertile couples that desire nothing more than the company of a child. This week, let's look into the process of adoption and whether it's a feasible choice for families who faced fertility problems.

Morning Up VIP: Wednesday-Friday, 9am-10am

Renowned Taiwan reality show host, Huang Zi Jiao, better known as Jiao-Jiao is our featured VIP this week. Hear his unusual take on his previous romance with fellow star host, Dee Hsu (aka "Xiao S" / Small S). Also, he believes the biggest misconception that the public had on him is that he is short like a dwarf.

Music VIP: Monday-Friday, 2pm

Following our feature on Mayday last week, let's carry on rock 'n' roll with Taiwanese two-piece band, Power Station. The duo promise to perk up the mundane as they walk you through their brand new album.

Music Gets Crazy featuring K-pop Chuego: Monday-Friday, 3pm

If you do not know who CN Blue is, this is your chance to get to know them. The boys are coming to town! As one of Korea's best K-pop exports, CN Blue's first ever concert in Malaysia is scheduled on Aug 24 at Stadium Negara. So, for all CN Blue fans out there, grab your tickets fast. For more details, log in to 988 host, Hau Min's fan page at min.988.my.

For more information, log on to www.988.com.my

Star Radio Group deejays kick off unity campaign today

Posted: 12 May 2013 04:53 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Deejays from four radio stations will take to their mikes with passion, driven by a mission.

The "Kamilah Malaysia" campaign officially begins this morning with Red FM, 98.8 FM, Suria FM and Capital FM deejays urging listeners to celebrate the country's unity and diversity.

Radio history will be made from as early as 6am, with breakfast show announcers criss-crossing the four stations in a show of unity by reading inspirational quotes.

Star Radio Group Programme director Allan Cameron said the deejays would be out to promote the message of unity.

"You will hear Halim (Othman) from Suria on 988, Xandria (Ooi) from Capital on RED and Adibah Noor from Suria on Capital. They will be reading inspirational quotes on air," he said, adding that a highlight would be the airing of the Star Radio Group song Mulanya Disini after 7am.

Cameron said each station would play the campaign's theme song in different languages as sung by announcers from all four stations.

"We will not have any guests on the first day. Later in the week, we will invite guests," he said.

He stressed that the most important aspect was the participation of listeners, who he said were welcome to deliver their "Message to Malaysia" at all the stations.

Cameron said that on Suria FM, the breakfast show would revolve around assimilation of each other's cultures and listeners could tweet their thoughts to #kamilahmalaysia, while on 988, the morning show would be focusing on the uniqueness of being Malaysian.

Capital FM would focus on cultural diversity and the different views of younger and older Malaysians, he added.

The radio campaign is a bid to unite Malaysians following the completion of the hard-fought 13th general election on May 5.

The Star Radio Group deputy chief broadcasting officer Kudsia Kahar said the campaign was just what was needed at a time emotions were running high.

"I hope the campaign will remind Malaysians that all citizens make up the country and that each and every one of us matter. It is also about being together as one and celebrating diversity," she added.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Rightist GERB leads Bulgaria vote on 31.4 percent

Posted: 12 May 2013 08:58 PM PDT

A man casts his vote at a polling station in Sofia May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

A man casts his vote at a polling station in Sofia May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarian centre-right party GERB is set to be the biggest party in parliament with 31.4 percent of the vote, first official results from an election showed on Monday.

The Socialists were second with 27.3 percent, followed by ethnic Turkish party MRF on 9.2 percent and nationalist Attack on 7.6 percent, according to results from a count of 69 percent of ballots cast in Sunday's election.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Nineteen shot in New Orleans Mother's Day parade

Posted: 12 May 2013 08:34 PM PDT

(Reuters) - Nineteen people including two children were shot in New Orleans on Sunday when gunfire erupted at a Mother's Day parade, and city police said they were searching for three suspects.

Ten men, seven woman, a girl and a boy both age 10 were hit when wild gunfire opened up at about 1:45 p.m. as the parade marched along North Villere Street, according to police spokesman Garry Flot.

New Orleans Police Department members are seen at the site of a shooting of at least 12 people during a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 12, 2013, as pictured in this photo provided by Fox 8 News. REUTERS/Fox 8 News/Handout via Reuters

New Orleans Police Department members are seen at the site of a shooting of at least 12 people during a Mother's Day parade in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 12, 2013, as pictured in this photo provided by Fox 8 News. REUTERS/Fox 8 News/Handout via Reuters

Two victims are undergoing surgery, Flot said in a statement. The children were grazed and are in good condition, he said. It was unclear if the victims were marching or bystanders watching the parade.

Police superintendent Ronal Serpas told reporters that officers saw three suspects running away, with one about age 18 to 22. No arrests were made.

"It appears that these two or three people, for reasons unknown to us, started shooting at, towards or in the crowd," Serpas said, adding that the incident was over in "just a couple of seconds."

Serpas said a witness reported hearing two different types of gunshot, which he said indicated two weapons were involved.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the shooting part of "the relentless drum beat of violence" on the streets of New Orleans.

"It's a culture of violence that has enveloped the city for a long, long period of time," Landrieu told a news conference outside University Hospital, where three victims were being treated for serious injuries.

Photographs of the aftermath in the Times-Picayune newspaper showed a man lying on his stomach beside a pool of blood, being helped by two bystanders. Other photos showed a man in shorts sitting on a cobbled street, his calf bleeding and covered with a bandana.

Emergency medical responders took 11 people to Interim LSU Public Hospital in New Orleans, according to hospital spokesman Marvin McGraw

Violent crime in New Orleans ranks above the national average in FBI surveys. A poll of city residents in 2010 found crime to be their greatest concern.

In February, four people were wounded in a shooting outside a nightclub in the city's French Quarter as crowds gathered for Mardi Gras celebrations.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Brendan O'Brien and Tim Gaynor; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Xavier Briand and Philip Barbara)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Taiwan gives Philippines ultimatum after fatal shooting of fisherman

Posted: 12 May 2013 08:14 PM PDT

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan has issued an ultimatum to the Philippines to make an official apology to the family of a Taiwanese fisherman who died in a fatal shooting by the Philippine Coast Guard in the South China Sea or pay a price.

The Philippines and Taiwan, as well as China, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, are embroiled in diplomatic rows over territory in the South China Sea, potentially rich in oil and gas and criss-crossed by crucial shipping lanes. The disputes have sometimes escalated to confrontation between vessels.

An official waves to Taiwan naval Lafayette-class frigate (L) and Taiwan Coast Guard frigate as the vessels sail out of the port of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, in this handout photo from Taiwan Coast Guard May 12, 2013. Taiwan Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters

An official waves to Taiwan naval Lafayette-class frigate (L) and Taiwan Coast Guard frigate as the vessels sail out of the port of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, in this handout photo from Taiwan Coast Guard May 12, 2013. Taiwan Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters

A Philippines fisheries official said one of its vessels, acting under the threat of being rammed, opened fire last Thursday on a Taiwanese fishing boat about 170 nautical miles southeast of Taiwan, killing one person on board.

Philippines presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Sunday the head of the de facto Philippine embassy in Taiwan had apologized and offered his condolences to the family.

Asked if the apology was an acknowledgement that the Philippines authorities made a mistake, Valte said it was more of an "expression of heartfelt sorrow at the unfortunate incident," stressing that investigations are ongoing and it would be better to wait for the results of the probe.

But Taiwan is not satisfied with the Philippines actions.

"If the Philippines presidential office continues to respond to our request in such an attitude... They will have to pay a price," according to a statement from Taiwan's presidential office.

Taiwan will freeze all new applications of Filipinos to work on the island, local media reported. There are currently 80,000 Filipinos working in Taiwan.

(Reporting by Faith Hung in TAIPEI and Manuel Mogato in PHILIPPINES; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

AirAsia X eyes up to US$300m Malaysia IPO - term sheet

Posted: 12 May 2013 07:23 PM PDT

Published: Monday May 13, 2013 MYT 10:24:00 AM

HONG KONG: Long-haul carrier AirAsia X, founded by entrepreneur Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, began meeting investors on Monday to gauge interest for an initial public offering in Malaysia worth up to US$300mil, according to a term sheet of the deal seen by Reuters.

The company and its shareholders are offering 790.1 million shares, with 75% of the offering coming from new shares, according to the terms. The deal is slated to be priced on June 24, with its debut set for July 10.

AirAsia X plans to use 44 percent of the proceeds to repay bank loans, with another 22 percent set for capital expenditures, the terms said.

CIMB, Credit Suisse, Maybank and Morgan Stanley were hired as joint global coordinators on the IPO. - Reuters


Foreigners bought net RM3.1b Malaysian equities

Posted: 12 May 2013 07:09 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign investors gave a strong thumbs-up to the outcome of the 13th General Election, snapping up an unprecedented net RM3.1bil of Malaysian equities in the open market, says MIDF Equities Research.

The research house said the purchase of the equities for the week ended March 10 also marked a record 22 straight weeks of net foreign buying.

"Net foreign buying surged to RM1.4bil on Monday, the highest ever purchase in a single day, as the FBM KLCI leapt by 131 points on opening.

"The strong buying momentum continued on Tuesday and Wednesday, and as expected fizzled in the last two days of the week. Overall, net foreign purchase averaged a whopping RM623mil per day last week," it said.

MIDF Research said so far this year, foreign investors have bought RM17.4bil net of Malaysian equity in the open market compared with RM13.7bil in 2012," it said.

As for local investors, they took the opportunity of heavy foreign buying to offload their positions significantly.

"Local retail investors sold net RM727mil last week on heightened participation rate of RM1.5b. So far this year, local retailers have already sold net, RM5.9bil, surpassing the RM4.2bil recorded for the entire 2012," said the research house.

"Selling by local funds also hit unprecedented level last week. Net sale by local funds hit RM2.39bil, also at an unprecedented participation rate of RM3.57bil," it said.

So far in 2013, local funds have reduced their equity exposure by a massive RM11.5bil net, compared with RM9.5bil for the entire 2012, it said.


Malton sells 20-storey commercial building for RM140m

Posted: 12 May 2013 06:46 PM PDT

Published: Monday May 13, 2013 MYT 9:47:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malton Bhd is selling a 20-storey commercial building in Petaling Jaya to Bukit Damansara Development Sdn Bhd from RM140mil.

Malton said on Monday the office building, which included 964 car park bays, was Block One of V Square @ PJ City Centre along Jalan Utara.

Trading was halted until 10.01am.


Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Silver lining in Fort Lauderdale for Pandelela-Mun Yee

Posted: 12 May 2013 05:57 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian diving duo – Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee – have plunged their way to a silver medal in their pet event at the FINA United States Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale.

The duo chalked up a total of 295.62 points in the 10m platform synchro final and could have grabbed the gold if not for their inconsistency.

This is, in fact, the lowest they've managed this year compared to the scores earned in the other three legs of the Diving World Series.

China's young pair of Lian Jie-Huang Xiaohui (321.54pts) captured the gold comfortably while the bronze went to Sarah Barrow-Tonia Couch of Britain (292.68).

The Malaysians scored 48.60-48.00-67.50-56.64-74.88 in their five attempts but Pandelela-Mun Yee must work harder on their consistency if they harbour hopes of fighting for a medal at the World Championships in Barcelona in July.

"This kind of performance was enough for them to get a medal because countries like China and Canada did not send their top pairs," said diving coach Yang Zhuliang, who warned that Pandelela-Mun Yee could not afford to flop a single dive when it comes to the world meet.

"Still this was a good preparation for the world meet. The competition was held outdoors and the divers had a good feel of the conditions, which will be similar to the conditions in Barcelona in July."

In the men's 3m springboard synchro, the pair of Ahmad Amsyar Azman and Ooi Tze Liang finished a creditable seventh out of 11 competitors with 348.24 points.

China's He Chao-Li Shixin (430.38) took the gold after narrowly edging Oleksiy Prygorov-Iliya Kvasha (428.37) of Ukraine. The bronze medal went to Mexico's Rommel Pacheco-Jahir Ocampo Marroquinn (394.32).

Malaysia will be hoping for more cheers from Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Cheong Jun Hoong in the women's 3m springboard synchro today.

The pair won a bronze in the Edinburgh and Moscow legs of the Diving World Series last month.

Earlier, Jun Hoong and Wendy failed to qualify for the 3m springboard individual final after finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Only the top three finishers from the two semi-final groupings will advance to the final.

Affendi ruled out with nerve injury

Posted: 12 May 2013 03:54 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Mohd Affendi Rosli's Underbone 115cc campaign has hit a speed bump – he will skip the second round of the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship at the Sentul International Circuit in Indonesia on May 17-19.

The 28-year-old Harian Metro Y-TEQ SCK Honda Racing rider was forced to pull out from this weekend's race after doctors detected an injury to his nerve tissue on his left hand, which requires immediate medical attention.

The injury will also rule him out of Round 3 of the Petronas AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship in Terengganu on May 24-25.

"This will be the first time I'm skipping a race ... I'm very disappointed as I began the season with a podium finish," said Affendi, who will be replaced by cub prix team-mate Norizman Ismail in Indonesia.

"The doctors advised me against it because nerve injuries have a long-term effect if not treated immediately and properly.

"It's an old injury (in 2011) and my recent crash in Batu Kawan (cub prix) in March made it worse.

"I can still ride but, after eight or nine laps, my hand will feel numb and painful, making it extremely hard for me to concentrate ... especially on technical tracks."

Affendi, who is sixth overall in the Underbone 115cc standings with 16 points, is glad that the problem was detected early or "it might have affected my whole season".

"It's very important for me to take time off and recuperate so that I can return in tip-top condition and mount a challenge for the title," he said.

Hubbard leads hot Dragons to another easy win

Posted: 12 May 2013 03:55 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Westports Malaysia Dragons may have booked their berth in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) semi-final playoffs but it did not stop them from beating Saigon Heat 93-84 at the MABA Stadium.

American centre Marcus Hubbard was the toast of the team as he scored 27 points, including a thunderous two-handed slam with three minutes left in the game, to spur the Dragons to victory.

Hubbard's compatriot Gavin Edwards and Filipino import Justin Melton recorded a double-double each – 18 points and 10 rebounds and 11 points and 11 assists respectively – for the Dragons, who have now won eight in a row at home.

Another outstanding performer was Dragons' captain Guga Batumalai, who scored 18 points off the bench.

In the semis, the Dragons will host favourites San Miguel Beermen at MABA Stadium on Friday while the Heat will travel to Bangkok to meet Sports Rev Thailand Slammers at Nimibutr Stadium on Wednesday.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

GE13: Crowds fill up roads at PR's post-election rally in Ipoh

Posted: 12 May 2013 08:42 AM PDT

IPOH: Pakatan Rakyat held its third post-general election rally with the crowd filling up roads at Medan Istana here on Sunday.

The rally, held in front of the state PKR headquarters, was held to protest the results of the 13th general election last Sunday.

In his speech, PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called on Malaysians to brush aside their fears of May 13.

"Let May 13 be a new day for a new Malaysian spirit, rejecting all manner of racism," he said.

Among the speakers were Perak PKR chief Dr Muhamad Nur Manutty and Badrul Hashim Shaharin (also known as Chegu Bard).

Also present was Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The crowd turned up as early as 7pm, most of them dressed in black. The rally was over at about 11pm.

Vehicles were parked about 1km along Jalan Istana and Kinta riverbank from the Kinta Riverfront Hotel, leading to Medan Istana.

Policemen were seen directing traffic along the congested Jalan Raja Musa Aziz, Jalan Lim Bo Seng and Jalan Istana.

It was reported that the rally did not receive permission from the police.

Perak police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said the rally organiser met the district police chief on Friday to obtain permission but the application was rejected for not adhering to several conditions under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

Pakatan's first rally was held in Kelana Jaya on Wednesday followed by one in Penang on Saturday.

Pakatan's next rally is in Kuantan on Tuesday and in Johor Baru on Wednesday.

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Najib: Show appreciation to your mom

Posted: 12 May 2013 07:11 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged the people to show appreciation to their mother by spending time with her on Mother's Day.

The prime minister said while planning a new phase in the history of the country, he wanted to take the opportunity to thank the woman who is very important in his life - his mother, Tun Rahah Mohd Noah.

"Since childhood, I had been reminded by my mother to be a useful human being who could contribute to the community.

"My four siblings and I were raised with tender loving care.

"I hope you will take time this weekend to show your appreciation to your mother. Happy Mother's Day," he said in his Facebook post. - Bernama

GE13: Karpal slams ‘political vultures’ hovering around Chua

Posted: 12 May 2013 06:37 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek should be given "every opportunity and space" to prepare for the upcoming party elections, said DAP chairman Karpal Singh (pix).

Karpal said it has not been an easy task for Dr Chua to steer the party from its dismal performance in 2008 and slammed "political vultures" who were now hovering over him "baying for his blood".

"Such vultures should realise the dismal performance of the MCA should not be brought to bear on the shoulders of Dr Chua alone.

"The entire MCA leadership should be man enough to take the blame,'' he said in a statement Sunday.

He added had the MCA performed well in GE13, Dr Chua would have been hailed a hero by these very political vultures.

"Success has many fathers. Failure is a lonely orphan," he added.

He noted that Dr Chua had publicly stated that he would quit as MCA president after he had put the party in order.

"Of course, that is the first priority. He has also stated he will not be seeking re-election as party president.

"Dr Chua had stated too that MCA would not seek any government posts in the event it was rejected by the electorate ... True to his word, he has done just that.

"I wish Dr Chua all the best and hope that he will be able to get up and get on with his life," Karpal added.

Related Stories:
Polls and new direction for MCA at the top of Dr Chua's action list before he steps down as party president
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GE13: Another MCA division calls for Chua's resignation
GE13: MCA will be in chaos if Chua quits now, says Ting
GE13: Former top MCA leaders call for Chua's immediate resignation
Quit now, MCA veterans tell Soi Lek

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

The art of reading

Posted: 12 May 2013 12:50 AM PDT

Art meets literature as artists from all over the world come together over a love of books.

Books can inspire fervent emotions, and every reader will remember at least one specific tome that left a lasting impression on them. Building on this, Singaporean art magazine and gallery Kult has rolled out a project that gives a visual dimension to the act of reading. Bringing together books and art, their latest exhibition Read Carefully features a series of book covers that have been reimagined and redesigned by over 50 different Singaporean and international artists.

Names as varied as Genevieve Gauckler of the Netherlands, Russell Taysom of Britain, Timothy Daws of Australia and Speak Cryptic of Singapore were asked to choose a book that had been influential in shaping who they are today, and conceptualise a cover design for that book in their own style. As a result, titles ranging from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury to Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk to The Kamasutra are interpreted in singularly unique and often surprising ways in this quirky exhibition.

Introduced as part of the Design Society Festival in March, the artworks were initially displayed at various venues in Tiong Bahru, Singapore. Now, the entire collection is on display at the Kult Gallery.

Kult creative director Steve Lawler says the idea for the exhibition came about because they wanted to make books cooler.

"We want to make the young people who are glued to their iPhones and television screens take a step back and read a book," he explains, adding that the exhibition fits in with the magazine's practice of getting artists from around the world to respond visually to a theme.

"The book covers felt like a way to learn about the artist, and hopefully bring forgotten books back into the mainstream," he says.

According to Lawler, Kult selected artists whom they thought were in a position to teach and impart valuable knowledge to be a part of the project. "We selected artists we respect, people who are perhaps more senior. A lot of young designers today are talented, but not willing to learn. We wanted to tap into the old-school thinking of mentors and apprentices," he says.

Seeing the completed artworks for Read Carefully, Lawler shares, was very exciting.

"Every time a new entry came in, we would be waiting anxiously. Of course, some works spoke to different people in different ways. But the sheer range of styles and designs was a giant reward."

For the artists involved, the project was an opportunity to examine their relationship with particular books, and to think about how it had affected their lives.

Soph-O of Singapore, who is currently based in Los Angeles, chose to work on William Golding's Lord Of The Flies because it took on new meaning for her each time she read it.

"I read the book when I was a child, then as a teenager and again as an adult, and it's really fascinating how this classic story evolves and reinterprets itself each time I read it," she says.

Her design for the cover, she explains, was inspired by her childhood conception of the island in the book.

"The island was such a mystical place but I never lost track of where the characters or my imaginary self in the book would be. Hence, I decided to re-draw a map of the island as though I was a kid again, without much conceptualisation, just drawing instinctively."

For Sakiroo, who hails from Seoul, Korea, the book Principle-Centred Leadership by Stephen R. Covey played an important part in determining his life's path. Despite having no formal training in art, he left a nine-year career in the corporate sector to realise his dream of becoming an artist.

"I have recently been interested in various ancient religions. Covey's book showed me what I had to do for the future, almost like a religion. The book also made me realise the importance of humanity, which naturally led me to think about art and philosophy.

"And as the book's title is Principle-Centred Leadership, I portrayed Covey as the centre of the universe between the sun and the moon," he explains.

Meanwhile, Briton Jon Burgerman's choice of book title seems like it was meant to be.

"I was reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov at the time this project came around. At the same time, I'd also started a new project called Drawings Of Girls I've Seen On Tumblr, where I draw images of girls I've seen on Tumblr. There seemed to be a connection between this and some of the themes of the book," says the artist, who is currently based in New York.

The process of creating the artwork then came naturally.

"I start by thinking and then move on to drawing, and then the work seems to take on a life of its own and somehow gets completed almost by itself. It was great fun, especially since the scenes and ideas from the text were still swirling around in my head," he says.

Read Carefully will be showing at Kult Gallery (Emily Hill, Blk C2-5, 11 Upper Wilkie Road, Singapore) till May 25. The gallery opens from 11am to 6pm on weekdays and by appointment on weekends. For more information, go to kult.com.sg.

The rustic pathways

Posted: 12 May 2013 12:52 AM PDT

The late Tew Nai Tong's works resonate with a perpetual yearning for freedom and the free spirit.

THE visage and spirit of Tew Nai Tong are discernible in the oval faces of phoenix-eyed damsels that dominated his oil canvas even as the artist is now gone. Nai Tong died in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday on the eve of GE13 from an aggravated lung infection. He was 77.

Nai Tong, who studied at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore (Nafa, 1957-58), is one of the last "Matinee Heroes" of the Nanyang Style – a romanticised amalgam of regional art of the "Southern Seas" (South of China) by then émigré China artists to Malaya and Singapore who were mostly artist-lecturers. It was taken up by succeeding generations of teachers and students at Nafa, which was set up by Lim Hak Tai (1893-1963) in 1938.

The style was inspired by the beauty and innocence of a then pastoral frontier-land Malaya/Singapore, with the spicy local tropical colours and feeling, and nubile damsels after the Gauguin Tahitian ideal.

Added to the matrix is a School of Paris sophistication, as Nafa graduates would ritually follow up their studies at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It's also influenced by the cult of mannered figurations inspired by shadow-puppets and Euro-Balinese art, especially that by the Belgian Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpres (1880-1958).

Nai Tong adopted the style as seen in his first solo in Kuala Lumpur in 1964 signing his works with the name "Chang Nai Tong". After his Paris studies, he had modified and refined the style for its spirit and nostalgia in a changing and vastly changed place.

His repertoire also included the humpbacked cows and buffaloes of an amazing technicolour dreamcoat; the rustic camaraderie among village people, shown amidst their environment and domesticated animals – a time of traditional pastimes like kite-flying (Kite Series 1992-2001) and bird-rearing symbolising freedom; nudes; Balinese life and dancers (1993-2006; he visited Bali again just two weeks before his death); and the panaromic multi-cultural Festival Series microcosm.

When he did his first nude paintings in 1968 when he studied at the Paris institute from August 1967 to 1968, it was a culture shock. But he re-explored the subject with refreshing vigour and greater experience of delicate contours and sensuality when he revisited Paris in 1999 (February to April) under the Cite Internationale des Arts programme, and again in 2000, 2001 and 2002 (he had confided in me that he planned to go back to Paris next year).

At the Paris institute, he came under the tutelage of William Sham and Tondu. Several other Malaysians were also studying there – Long Thien Shih, Chew Kiat Lim (now based in Toronto, Canada), Wong Moo Choo, Loo Foh Sang, Tan Pek Cheng (later Loo's wife) and Tan Tong, who curated his (Nai Tong's) major Odyssey retrospective at the National Art Gallery in 2007.

They were preceded in Paris by Liu Kang (later a Singaporean, and a pioneer artist), Chia Yu-chian, Lai Foong Mooi and Yeo Hoe Koon (now in Singapore).

At Nafa, then at its No. 49, St Thomas Walk premises, his contemporaries included Ho Khay Beng (1933-86, later trained in Italy), Singaporeans Thomas Yeo (born 1936) and Wee Beng Chong (born 1938).

There were still teachers there with good pedigrees, like Chen Wen-hsi, Khor Chien Tee, Tan See Teik and Chen Chong Swee (only part-time then), although the Golden Age of the Nanyang style, between 1938 to 1965, had lapsed by then. Nai Tong never studied under Cheong Soo-pieng (1917-83), the style's spiritual proponent, as many have mistakenly thought.

In an interview in Bangkok in 2011, Nai Tong also dispelled the narrow interpretation of the Nanyang style as prescribed by Nafa founder Lim Hak Tai: "Nanyang style is not exclusive to those studying at Nafa, and Hak Tai's guiding principles are not the gospel truth to be followed strictly, but are visionary and are more open-ended," he said.

Nai Tong's "squint eye" feature was not a Nanyang concoction but was actually based on the figure stereotypes of the Tang and Sung dynasty arts in China, and the hollowed-out stub of an eye is more reminiscent of the style of Indonesian modern master Jeihan Sukmantoro (born 1938).

Although Nai Tong's art is about the simple pleasures of life, human dignity and the joy of living, there have been nuanced changes over the years in techniques, style and treatment of colours, spacing, perspective, depth, forms and surface painting (brush and palette knife) with radial multiple focal points for a more airy approach. He used a horizontal format, centre-sideways and sometimes a top-down bird's eye view for more dimensionality and light.

His story was about the intimate bond between Man and Nature, with all that it represents, pushing up and compressing the sky region to a narrower space, thus pushing the Figure centre-front. His lines and aura were more towards the Modigliani figure-types than anything by Cheong Soo-pieng.

As a sign of the times in the 1970s, and for decorum's sake, his damsels were no longer half-naked but were modestly clad in saree blouses or bras.

From the drab dark brown and cold blue and purple of his early days, Nai Tong moved onto to free his colours for a mood affinity. His figures were later less angular and Cubist. In 2002, he attempted an ambitious series of huge canvases, in the 150cm x 360cm format, for works on rural economic activities including those on Sarawakian natives apart from the Balinese pageantry.

At the end of 2012, he started experimenting with "negative" space around the corners, for strategic contrast.

He was also daring for his use of the vertical pole, either a tree or a stave, which often cleaves his composition into parts.

Nai Tong began painting mostly in watercolours until he switched to oil in 1990. His career included a stint in copper tooling (1960-70) and metal sculptures (1975-85).

He became a full-time artist in 1992 after teaching for 23 years at three different art institutions – the Malaysian Institute of Art (1969-80), the Central Academy of Art (1982-85) and the Saito Academy of Art (1986-88).

He was also active in promoting watercolours as co-founder of the Malaysian Watercolour Society in 1982-83 and the Malaysian Contemporary Watercolours Association in 1994.

The other ways in which he promoted Malaysian art included organising exhibitions at home and abroad, the last being the Malaysia-China Friendship Arts Exchange, which had its first leg in Kuala Lumpur in March. He was to have joined the second leg in Qingdao in China.

More than a sentimental lark, his paintings are about joie de vivre, of village people celebrating and playing together, with notions of plenty, like a bountiful fruit harvest or flower still-lifes.

Most of all, his works resonate with a perpetual yearning for freedom and the free spirit – Chagall-like figures in dreamscapes, the nudes bereft of inhibitions, the open outdoors for kite-flying, and the larger format paintings.

Quiet, unassuming and taciturn, Nai Tong often wore a perpetually distracted look while indulging in his regular past time of having a drink with buddy Low Kong Wen and watching the world pass by. But the world around him lit up when he broke into a gentle smile. In his casket during the wake, he looked so at peace: he must have learnt the art of ultimate freedom.

Family ties that hurt

Posted: 12 May 2013 12:52 AM PDT

Meet the Middlesteins, a funny, dysfunctional family that will make you laugh and cry.

The Middlesteins
Author: Jami Attenberg
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 273 pages

HOW could she not feed her daughter? Little Edie Herzen, age five: not so little. Her mother had noticed this, how could she miss it? Her arms and legs, once peachy and soft, had blossomed into something that surpassed luscious. They were disarmingly solid. A child should be squeezable. She was a cement block of flesh."

Meet Edie, the matriarch of the Middlestein family, an ordinary Jewish family living in Chicago. Edie is a wife, mother, grandmother, lawyer, retiree, the glue that keeps the family together, and most definitely the novel's central figure.

Into this mix of ordinariness, author Jami Attenberg throws in Edie's problem: she is also an addict. To food.

Unsurprisingly, Edie is morbidly obese, has an advanced case of diabetes with all its attendant complications, and doctors have told her recently that she will die if she doesn't lose weight.

Through a flashback chapter, we see what could be the root cause of Edie's problem. As a young girl, Edie eats compulsively, and her mother is an enabler who encourages her daughter's mindless consumption of calorie-laden foods.

We learn that Edie's father escaped World War II's Holocaust in the Ukraine and lived on potatoes until he reached America, and that Edie's mother is a second generation German-American and thus more frivolous with her money than her husband.

These are clues that Attenberg lays out for us, though he doesn't connect the dots: the only point that Attenberg drives in early on in the novel is that although Edie has a sharp mind, she is the prisoner of a gigantic appetite that can never be satisfied.

In her 20s, Edie becomes a practising lawyer, meets and marries her husband, Richard Middlestein, and has two children, Benny and Robin, with him.

Benny grows up to become a down-to-earth family man who is married to Rachelle and has twins with her while Robin turns into an angry young woman, unmarried and bitter at her lot in life.

When the novel opens, Richard and Edie have been married for more than 40 years. While they keep up the pretence of being happily married for their friends and neighbours, in reality, Richard and Edie have been emotionally and physically apart for a long time.

It seems Richard cannot compete with Edie's other love – she loves food more than she loves him.

Faced with this conundrum, Richard leaves Edie, much to the bitter dismay of Robin, who wants her father to pay for every single wrong thing in her mother's life. Benny, however, prefers to keep the peace between both parents.

To try to save their mother, Robin and Benny device plans to ensure Edie gets some kind of exercise and that she stays away from food of any kind.

The results of the plans are both laugh-out-loud hilarious and poignant. It also raises the question: to what lengths can you go in saving someone who does not want – in any way, shape or form – to be saved?

If you're expecting a light-hearted Jewish comedy of manners, you will be disappointed. The Middlesteins is remorseless in its exploration of all that can go wrong between husbands and wives, parents and children.

While comedy seems ever present in The Middlesteins, it is of the black variety, and underneath the dark humour lies this sad fact: perhaps Edie eats because that is the only way she can feel fulfilled.

To illustrate her point, rather than recording Edie's history through her age, Attenberg injects a sense of humour in a serious matter by chronicling her protagonist's weight in the chapters that focuses solely on Edie (Edie, 65 pounds; Edie, 315 pounds, etc).

Praise is due Attenberg for being brave enough to give her readers a protagonist who is not instantly likeable. While Edie has never shied away from speaking her mind, what she has to say is not necessarily the most comforting or appealing thing.

And yet, despite her faults, I felt drawn towards Attenberg's mammoth-in-size protagonist.

Attenberg also seamlessly jumps into each family member's head to give their point of view on the problems that are Edie, having them deal with her obesity, their individual worries and, in the case of Richard, his loneliness at being separated from Edie.

Attenberg goes so far as to send Richard on dates with women he finds on the Internet.

Again, there is laughter in Richard's quest to quell his loneliness with one-night stands, but underneath it all, there remains a sadness in his desire to not be alone.

The Middlesteins is an easy read, with the novel being made more readable by being broken into easy-to-manage chapters that alternate between Edie, her past history, Richard, Robin, Benny, and Rachelle.

The humour may be dark, and readers may find themselves squirming a little at laughing about the characters' problems, but Attenberg has proven her genius in delivering a set of people so flawed they seem genuinely lost in this world.

Pick up The Middlesteins – you will not regret meeting the tour de force that is Edie and her dysfunctional family.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

How it all began

Posted: 11 May 2013 08:06 PM PDT

Everyone has had an "a-ha" moment in their experience with music. Some just had more.

EVERYONE in pop music has an "a-ha" moment. Every guitarist or singer or drummer had the moment when they witnessed musical greatness and said to themselves, "That's what I wanna do."

It could be the night they sat cross-legged in front of the family TV, watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. It could be the first time they saw Michael Jackson do the moonwalk. It could be when they heard Nirvana, or Johnny Cash, or Jay-Z, or Metallica. It could be when they saw Elvis.

The rest of the story leads back to the beginning: They begged their parents for a guitar. They could barely play at first, but eventually got better. They joined a band that could barely play at first, but eventually got better. They got lucky. They got famous. Then, one day, some kid watches them on TV and says, "That's what I wanna do."

As Joe Ely once sang, "the road goes on forever and the party never ends."

I don't have an "a-ha" moment. And maybe it's because I'm not a musician; I'm a fan. I never wanted to be the guy on stage in front of a packed arena. No, I was happy just to be in the building. So, while I never felt the drive to become part of rock and roll, I often did everything I could to get close to the music.

That meant doing a school project on The Beatles. It meant starting up a school newspaper in junior high, just to be able to write about R.E.M.'s new album. It meant joining the staff of the university newspaper in order to – gasp! – actually talk to musicians, then review their CDs and concerts. It meant becoming an honest-to-goodness journalist who was given the opportunity to interview Alice Cooper, the Beastie Boys, the Flaming Lips, Elvis Costello and many more of my favourite musicians.

And I got paid to do it!

But listening to music and interviewing musicians only told me part of the story. It was one thing to hear about where these stars had come from, where they first played a show, where they recorded their first songs. It was another experience entirely to go see these places – or, at least, what was left of them.

So, then began a series of road trips (and some plane trips) all around the United States, to bear witness to the hometowns of some of the great pop music figures of the 20th century, the venues they played and the studios in which they created music that endures – some more than others.

I went to cities as big as New York City (to check out seminal punk rock club CBGB before it was turned into an art gallery) and to towns as small as Tutwiler, Mississippi (to stand in the spot where the blues was created, or so legend has it). I visited grave sites and museums, theatres and studios, shacks and mansions, all with the purpose of checking it out for myself and to see if maybe, just maybe, I could find any musical magic still hanging around.

Without exception, every trip I took not only increased my knowledge of the musicians in question, it enhanced the experience of hearing their music, too. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, each of these visits was worth a thousand pictures – the kind that set your imagination on fire when you listen to a great song. Trips to New Orleans, Nashville, Detroit, Memphis, St. Louis and elsewhere only made the music more interesting, and increased my desire to hear even more of it.

So, I guess I haven't had one "a-ha" moment – I've had thousands.

That's my roundabout way of introducing this new column, Music Lessons. Every other weekend in these pages, I will discuss popular music in its various incarnations. Some of the instalments will recount a particular music-related journey I took in the United States, while others will highlight a specific genre, music label or band and its importance to the history of pop music. Some subjects might be decades old, while others might still be recording and touring – hey, maybe they're even due for a performance in Malaysia.

The goal of Music Lessons is to bring something extra to your rock and roll experience, in the way that mine has been shaped by being a lifelong music fan. As such, each column will come with a suggested playlist for you to use as a guide to downloading or YouTube-surfing. (Because this first instalment was all-encompassing, I've selected some of the best rock and roll songs that are about, what else, rock and roll.)

Happy listening, and I'll meet you further on up the road.

Music Lessons Playlist:

"Johnny B. Goode," Chuck Berry

"The Punk and the Godfather," The Who

"Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?," The Ramones

"Unless it's Kicks," Okkervil River

"So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star," The Byrds

"Rock & Roll," The Velvet Underground

"Stage Fright," The Band

"Carl Perkins' Cadillac," Drive-By Truckers

"Where the Bands Are," Bruce Springsteen

"It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)," AC/DC

Bryan Wawzenek learned more from a three-minute record than he ever learned in school. Send questions, comments or suggestions to star2@thestar.com.my.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

A lifelong legacy

Posted: 11 May 2013 06:18 PM PDT

Prof Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who won a Nobel prize for her work in first identifying HIV, tells The Star that she believes there will be a cure for the virus that causes AIDS by 2050. She will chair the upcoming 7th International Aids Society (IAS) conference from June 30 to July 3 in Kuala Lumpur.

THE 1980s saw the reign of showy prints, big shoulder pads and baggy parachute pants that look like you could stash your weekly supply of Twinkies.

Beyond its zesty-neon façade, the era harboured a new terror that was quickly seeping into its psyche.

It was the year 1981 when the United States became the first country to recognise that there was a strange new disease that was causing terrible and mysterious symptoms in clusters of gay men and injecting drug users (IDUs).

These symptoms include dementia, extreme diarrhoea, staggering weight loss and weakness, and were afflicting young and apparently healthy adults.

The public reaction to the phenomenon had been largely adverse, with many attributing the condition to an issue of morality. This reaction has undoubtedly contributed to the establishment of the disease, known today as the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), as among the most politicised, feared and most controversial medical conditions of our time.

In 1983, French virologist Prof Françoise Barré-Sinoussi finally put a name to what was causing the symptoms, when she discovered (with her former mentor, Luc Montagnier) that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was the cause of AIDS.

Prof Barré-Sinoussi, now the director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Division (Unité de Régulation des Infections Rétrovirales) at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, recounts making the discovery that would alter the course of modern medical science.

It was nearing springtime, about a year after her research on the virus began, when she finally managed to isolate the HIV virus and made a link between HIV and the AIDS disease that resulted from it.

"I didn't know myself about this emerging disease before. I didn't know that the people who were dying were young, and that they were dying in terrible conditions. It was something really frightening, to tell you the truth," the 65-year-old virologist shares with this writer at an interview held in Kuala Lumpur.

She was here recently to consolidate the list of events that will take place at the upcoming 7th International Aids Society (IAS) conference.

She recalls the fracas that quickly ensued her discovery of the HIV virus, which revealed an urgent need for diagnostic tests to assist in controlling the spread of the disease. "The feeling right after we discovered the virus was: "Let's rush! We knew it was an emergency and when you are in an emergency like that, you don't have time to think," she says.

Their early findings showed that the virus was transmitted by blood and through the sexual route, as well as from mother-to-child. But there was still a lot of work to be done, in terms of characterisation and identifying the biological traits of the virus, as it was new, so nothing was known, she points out.

It wasn't until the advent of 1985 when Prof Barré-Sinoussi and her team began to realise that Africa was already strongly affected by the disease. "It was only then that we started to realise that this was something truly frightening for everyone," she says.

Prof Barré-Sinoussi started her own laboratory at the Pasteur Institute in 1988, an endeavour that would become a lifelong passion for the professor.

Among her more recent research contributions include studies on the various aspects of the adaptive immune response to viral infection, factors involved in mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and characteristics that allow a small percentage of HIV-positive individuals, known as "elite suppressors or controllers", to limit HIV replication without antiretroviral drugs.

The virologist has also co-authored over 240 scientific publications, participated in over 250 international conferences, and has trained many young researchers. At the international level, Prof Barré-Sinoussi has been a consultant to WHO and UNAIDS-HIV. Since the 1980s, she has initiated collaborations with several developing countries.

In 2008, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with her former mentor, Montagnier, for their discovery of HIV.

The following year, she wrote an open letter to Pope Benedit XVI in protest over his statements that condoms are at best ineffective in the AIDS crisis. In July 2012, Barré-Sinoussi became president of the IAS.

The professor continues to work towards establishing permanent links between basic research and clinical research, with the aim of achieving concrete improvements in the areas of prevention, clinical care and treatment.

She will chair the upcoming 7th IAS conference, the world's largest open scientific conference on HIV/AIDS, in Kuala Lumpur. The conference, which will be hosted in Asia for the first time, will take place from June 30 to July 3.

The IAS conference represents a worldwide platform for the examination of the latest developments in HIV-related research and is expected to attract some 5,000 scientists, clinicians, public health experts and community leaders from around the world.

This year's installment will focus on the HIV epidemic in Malaysia, as well as the Asian region, providing local stakeholders the opportunity to discuss all the latest progress in the field, as well as challenges that are specific to Malaysia itself.

According to the United Nations in a Reuters report, "an end of the worldwide epidemic is in sight, mainly due to better access to drugs that can both treat and prevent the incurable HIV virus that causes the disease."

Prof Barré-Sinoussi is optimistic of the possibility. "In principle, we know from scientific evidence that if we are successful in the universal access to treatment that we have today, then we know that we should be able to end the AIDS epidemic by 2050," she says.

However, Prof Barré-Sinoussi is cautious: "The word 'cure' means a total clearance of the virus, or to totally eliminate the virus from the body. This is going to be very, very difficult; almost an impossible mission.

"This is because the virus can be present in different compartments of the body – in the blood, in different tissues, in the brain. As such, it is very difficult for drugs to reach all the cells that can carry this latent virus."

She elaborates: "The problem now is, if you stop treatment, the cells will be activated. When that happens, the virus multiplies again and will spread into other cells.

"Hence, if a patient stops treatment and starts again, they will likely risk the emergence of resistance to treatment, and the patient will be required to change the combination of treatment.

"At present, we have some evidence that says that we should be able to develop what we call a 'functional cure' in the future. This means that you don't eliminate the virus totally, but you have a permanent contour of the virus, even when the patient stops the treatment.

"With a permanent contour, the patient will remain with a low level of the virus, even without treatment and he or she will not transmit to others."

But such treatment may yet be elusive to the masses, she says. "It can only be possible if everyone who is infected by HIV is on treatment. Is that feasible? We have to ask ourselves – how are we going to reach everyone?

"Of course, we are all fighting and will continue fighting for access to antiretroviral treatment for people all over the world. This will get us as close as possible to the goal of endng AIDS."

Prof Barré-Sinoussi has taken to heart the ideals of the institute's founder, French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur, since the beginning of her career. Pasteur himself is remembered for his breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases.

"His idea, really, was that there are no frontiers in science. Science is there for the benefit of humankind and it is exactly what we are doing in the field of HIV/AIDS, and in the field of other human diseases. We should continue pushing boundaries in the spirit of Pasteur.

"My dream is certainly to make sure that everyone is on treatment, whether it is novel treatment or the current treatment that we have today.

"I dream that people living with HIV have sufficient care and treatment and that there will be no more mother-to-child transmissions.

"If I can leave this world and know that there is a cure or vaccine, I will be relieved. But for now, it is the simple goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission that I hope to achieve. Because for me, mother-to-child transmission is just not unacceptable."

Related Stories:
The history of AIDS
Antiretroviral treatment

The history of AIDS

Posted: 11 May 2013 06:20 PM PDT

IN the 30 over years since the scourge was first identified, over 30 million people around the world have died from AIDS-related illnesses, and twice as many have been infected with the HIV virus.

HIV attacks the immune cells and can be transmitted from an infected person to another through blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.

These cells become progressively damaged over time. When that occurs, the body becomes increasingly vulnerable to infections, which it will have difficulty fighting off.

It is at the point of a very advanced HIV infection that a person is said to have AIDS.

If left untreated, it can take up to 10 years before the HIV virus does enough damage to the immune system for AIDS to develop.

In 2011, there were an estimated 3,500 new HIV cases in Malaysia, averaging nine new infections every day.

Statistics from the Diseases Central Unit in the Malaysian Health Ministry from the same year showed that an alarming 45% of all new HIV infections occurred from heterosexual sexual transmission; 10% from homosexual/bisexual sexual transmission; 38% from injecting drug users; 2% from mother to child, and 5% from other causes.

Despite its popular reputation as a "gay disease", the increasing number of heterosexual HIV transmission suggests that the future HIV epidemiological landscape will be one that is driven by heterosexual sexual transmission.

But there is good news on the horizon. In a 2012 report, the United Nations was quoted saying that "Progress over the past decade has slashed the death toll and helped stabilise the number of people infected with HIV".

The number of new HIV cases worldwide is also on a decline, the UN Aids programme revealed in its annual report in November.

"Deaths from AIDS fell to 1.7 million in 2011, down from a peak of 2.3 million in 2005 and from 1.8 million in 2010.

Worldwide, the number of people newly infected with HIV is also falling. In 2011, the number of new infections was at 2.5 million, which is 20% lower than in 2001.

AIDS-related illnesses are also on a decline on the local front. The first HIV case was reported in Malaysia some 25 years ago, and has since claimed the lives of an estimated 15,000 people. As of Dec 2011, about 80,000 Malaysians are reportedly living with HIV

However, the annual number of new HIV cases reported to the Health Ministry has fallen from a peak of 6,978 in 2002 to 3,479 new cases in 2011.

Among the efforts that the Health Ministry has undertaken to help curb and manage the disease include providing free antiretroviral treatment to HIV patients.

Although there is no known cure for AIDS, those living with HIV can take antiretroviral drugs to prevent or delay the onset of AIDS.

Antiretroviral treatment

Posted: 11 May 2013 06:19 PM PDT

ANTIRETROVIRAL treatment is the main type of treatment for HIV or AIDS. It is not a cure, but access to treatment can help stop HIV patients from becoming ill for many years, and can even help them live a "near normal" life.

What antiretroviral treatment does is that it keeps the amount of HIV in the body at a low level. This stops any weakening of the immune system and allows it to recover from any damage that HIV might have already caused.

The treatment consists of drugs that have to be taken every day for the rest of a person's life. Also, the drugs need to be taken at the same time(s) every day. Some people may experience serious side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, rash and diarrhoea, or may not respond to certain drugs.

There are currently over 20 approved antiretroviral drugs.

First and second line therapy

At the beginning of treatment, the combination of drugs that is given to a patient is called first-line therapy. However, if the virus grows resistant to this combination over time, or if the side-effects are particularly bad, then a change to second-line therapy is usually necessary.

Second-line therapy typically includes a minimum of three new drugs, with at least one from a new class, in order to elevate the likelihood of treatment success.

In Malaysia, first-line antiretroviral therapy is fully subsidised, while second-line antiretroviral therapy is partially subsidised. Antiretroviral therapy is also available in prisons.

Combination therapy

Taking two or more antiretroviral drugs simultaneously is called combination therapy. Taking a combination of three or more anti-HIV drugs is often referred to as Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).

If only one drug was administered, the virus would quickly become resistant to it and the drug would stop working. Taking two or more antiretroviral drugs at the same time can significantly reduce the rate at which resistance would develop, making treatment more effective in the long term.

Some antiretroviral drugs have been merged into one pill, which is known as a "fixed dose combination". This reduces the number of pills that a patient has to take every day.

The choice of drugs to be administered depends on a number of factors, including the price and the availability of drugs, the number of pills, and the side effects of the drugs.

In the developing world, most people living with HIV still have very limited access to antiretroviral treatment and only receive treatment for diseases that occur as a result of a weakened immune system.

Such treatment only has short-term benefits because it does not address the underlying immune deficiency.

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