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sTaTe budgeT Pj residenTs have Their say p7

Lawyer: Msia a quasisecular state


The rise of ciTizen journalism


12 & 13


August 19 21, 2011/ issue 38

Thumbs-up for village polls

By Gan Pei Ling

shah alam: Selangors pilot programme to allow residents from three New Villages to elect their own chiefs has been lauded by election watchdogs as a step in the right direction. Observers from the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) and the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) gave the state seven out of 10 for its overall conduct of the village polls. I would give the state a strong C, a pass with distinction as theyve done a fairly [good] job, political scientist and Bersih 2.0 steering committee Dr Wong Chin Huat told Selangor Times. The polls at the Jenjarom, Pulau Ketam and Pandamaran villages were held over three weeks and are seen as precursor to the restorations of local government elections in Selangor. Wong said the village polls prove that local elections, which were suspended across the country in 1965 due to the Confrontation with Indonesia, could be restored as long as there is political will to do so. He also praised the state for organising a debate during the week-long campaign for the villagers to get to know the six candidates on an open platform. This has never been done before, said Wong, who was among the three panellists who questioned the candidates on their manifestos and plans for the Pandamaran village during the debate on Aug 11.

However, he said the state should expand the campaign period to 10 days or two weeks if it planned to hold village polls across the state, as a week was definitely too short. Mafrel chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh lauded Selangors use of henna as a form of indelible

ink to prevent multiple voting in the village polls. I would give the state eight out of 10 for its initiative and [political will to bring back local elections]. But implementation-wise, taking into account the low voter turnout (19.1% in Pandamaran and Turn To page 5

(From left) Serdang Member of parliament Teo nie Ching, Klang Mp Charles Santiago, and the family of Teoh Beng Hock at a candlelight vigil in memory of Teoh's death, in pandamaran, Klang on Tuesday.

STorY on page 10


August 19 21, 2011

Villagers and MPK resolve land dispute

PORT KLANG: Kampung Papan residents in Pandamaran and the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) have reached an amicable out-of-court settlement over an order to demolish their homes. MPK has withdrawn the emergency order it issued (in 2006) to demolish our houses, and weve withdrawn our lawsuit against them, announced Kampung Papan Committee head Ang Mah Chye yesterday. Ang said the matter was officially resolved through a consent judgment in court on June 20, and both parties have agreed to bear their own legal costs. Ang thanked human rights lawyer Roger Chan Weng Keng from the Bar Council, who represented the 117 residents on a pro-bono basis. In 2006, MPK had issued an eviction notice under the Emergency Ordinance 1969 (Clearance of Squatters) to 552 house owners (935 families) living in Kampung Papan. Ang said the land originally belonged to the state, and the Klang District Office had asked the villagers to apply for Temporary Occupation Licences, but the land was later sold to developer Melati Ehsan Sdn Bhd. Many families had moved out while the matter was being disputed in court, but 120 families remain. The forced evacuation is a sore point among many Pandamaran residents who still carry a grievance against the previous state government. Ang said the committee representatives had met with the Menteri Besar on Aug 11 during the Selangor Economic Action Council meeting to find a fair resolution. He said more than 30 families have agreed with the states suggestion to buy the houses to be built by the private developer at RM99,000, but some residents want to purchase the homes at lower prices. The current state administration has been trying to act as a mediator between Melati Ehsan Sdn Bhd and the villagers to resolve the land dispute. We hope our assemblyperson Ronnie (Liu) and the newly appointed village head Low (See Mee) will step in and help us to resolve this long-standing issue with the state and developer, said Ang.

Ban, scandals hit birds nest industry

By Chong Loo Wah and Gan Pei Ling

SHAH ALAM: Selangors multimillion ringgit birds nest industry has been hit hard by Chinas ban and a series of scandals, with a drop in sales and prices since early July. Demand has so far dropped to between 20% and 30%, while prices have fallen by 20%. Selangor Birds Nest Association president Mah Swee Lye told Selangor Times that the selling price of birds nest has dropped from R M4,500 to RM4,800 per kilogramme to RM3,800 to RM4,000 per kilogramme. We need to restore public confidence in Malaysian birds nest, said Mah, who is also owner of Golden-Mah Birds Nest Sdn Bhd. He said there are around 3,000 to 4,000 swiftlet houses in Selangor, and 80% of its production is exported to China with the remaining 20% sold locally. The industry suffered its first blow when China banned Malaysian birds nest in July after it was found to contain nitrite a common food preservative which is carcinogenic if consumed beyond safety levels. Mah said the accepted level of ni-

trite in birds nest in Malaysia is 30 parts per million (ppm) according to the Food Regulations Act 1985, but China has imposed a total ban on nitrite in birds nest. Its almost impossible to have zero nitrite in birds nest, we can only make sure the level doesnt exceed 30ppm, said Mah, adding that the industry is lobbying Malaysia to negotiate with China to reverse the ban. The industry suffered a second blow when it was discovered that some traders have used artificial colouring which contains nitrite to dye white birds nest red and sell it as blood birds nest to fetch higher prices. Chinas English newspaper China Daily reported yesterday that a spot check conducted in Zhejiang province on 30,000 cups of blood birds nest found that some samples contained 350 times the amount of nitrite allowed. The shocking discovery has prompted a nationwide inspection of the industry in China. Mah condemned the unscrupulous traders irresponsible actions that have affected the entire industry in Malaysia. He explained that blood birds nest commands higher price as it is believed to be more nutritious and harder to find. Blood birds nest can only be found

in caves where the nests are built on rocks, and minerals such as iron seep into the nests, turning them red, said Mah. The industry received a third blow after three people, including two claiming to be Malaysian government representatives, held a controversial press conference in Hangchou city on July 26 to assure the Chinese public that the blood birds nests were genuine and safe. The Chinese media later claimed that the government posts held by the two government representatives were non-existent. The third person is reported to be a Malaysian birds nest supplier. However, the supplier told Nanyang Siang Pau he was invited by a friend to attend the press conference, and that he did not know the identities of the other two people. Mah said the Malaysian Federation of Birds Nest Merchant Association is meeting this Saturday to find ways to restore public confidence. He advised traders to observe the ban and refrain from smuggling in birds nest containing nitrite. Agriculture and agro-based industry minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar is planning a trip to China before Hari Raya to thrash out the issue with the Chinese government.

Selangor WeaTHer
Friday Morning Saturday Sunday

Bungalow damaged by landslide

By Basil Foo

The hole that was meant to serve as a car park.



Source: Malaysian meteorological department

phone (603) 5510 4566 fax (603) 5523 1188 email


KL Chan

Neville Spykerman

Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Basil Foo, Alvin Yap, Gho Chee Yuan, Brenda Chng COPY EDITORS Nick Choo, James Ang

Jimmy C. S. Lim, Chin Man Yen Timothy Loh, Ivan Looi


Faekah Husin, Arfaeza Abdul Aziz

KAJANG: A two-and-a-halfstorey bungalow in Taman Bukit Kajang Baru here was damaged by a landslide at 6.30pm on Wednesday. There were no injuries as the house was empty when the landslide occurred. The house on Jalan 18 is home to nine adults and three children, who have been warned to vacate the premises as it is now structurally unsound. Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) president Datuk Hassan Nawawi Abdul Rahman said they found a large hole dug by the house owner. He said the hole, which was meant to be used as a car park, had caved in and caused the collapse of the kitchen, living room and surrounding walls. MPKj public relations officer Kamarul Izlan Sulaiman said the residents were told on Wednesday night to move out of the house. He added that similar orders were sent in written notices to the home owner by both MPKj and the Fire Department on Thursday. The owner claimed a nearby

construction site had caused the landslide. Kajang has seen landslides occurring frequently over the past few months, including one in May which hit the Madrasah Al-Takwa in Hulu Langat and killed 16 people. MPKj has since set up a slope unit comprising engineers to monitor developments along hill slopes.

The bungalow after the landslide.

SELANGOR TIMES August 19 21, 2011 3


First woman village head gets to work

By Gan Pei Ling

August 19 21, 2011

PORT KLANG: Selangors first elected women village chief Low See Mee hit the ground running soon after winning the election in Kampung Baru Pandamaran last Sunday. Low, 55, said her first order of business was to resolve land titles and leases problem in the New Village. Many villagers are still in the dark over the states RM1,000 land-premium relief scheme. I hope to invite a Chinese-literate officer from the district office to explain the scheme to villagers, Low told the press on Monday. The former Klang municipal councillor said she also plans to invite the district office to set up a temporary counter in the village for the residents convenience. Low has also set up a service hotline at 012-2441139 for villagers to contact her and report on community issues. The businessperson beat five other male contenders to become Pandamarans first elected village head last Sunday. Low, from PKR, beat seasoned politician and former DAP member Tee Boon Hock with a 241 majority by receiving 1,076 votes, while Tee garnered 835 votes. The remaining four candidates all lost

their RM500 deposit as they failed to receive one-eighth of the total votes. DAP members Tan Yu Tiam only bagged 217 votes, Tee Kim Huat got 205, incumbent Yap Hock Siew had 172, and independent candidate Yap Kim Huat came last with 127 votes. Klang District Officer Datuk Bakhtiar Hussin said there were 25 spoilt votes, and voter turnout was low at 19.1% due to heavy rain and the Hungry Ghost Festival. Bakhtiar had extended polling for half an hour to 4.30pm as many voters arrived at the last minute to cast their votes after the downpour stopped at around 3pm. A beaming Low told the press she would work hard to repay the peoples trust and faith. The peoples expectations are high. Ill try my best to work with various government agencies to resolve their problems, she said. Low attributed her win to her supporters, who tirelessly went door-to-door with her to canvass for votes during the weeklong campaign period. Her supporters, some of whom are from PKR , were made up of more women and were more multiracial when compared with that of the other five

male candidates, four of whom were from DAP. Former DAP grassroots leader Boon Hock conceded defeat to Low and said he would be taking a break from politics to focus on his business. He thinks he lost because DAP supporters votes have been split among three other DAP candidates Tan, Tee Kim Huat and Hock Siew. Both Boon Hock and Hock Siew were banking on the village polls to make a comeback after being sacked from DAP

in late 2010 due to separate letterhead scandals. Meanwhile, Tan, who heads the welfare unit at Pandamaran assemblyperson Ronnie Lius service centre, said he would continue to service the public despite the defeat. Tee Kim Huat and Yap Kim Huat also said they respect the peoples decision. Low will be formally appointed as Pandamarans village head together with Jenjaroms and Pulau Ketams elected chiefs by the state by this month.

Low (in pink) with her supporters.

Low greeting voters.

Only 19.1% of the 13,896 voters turned up to cast their votes last Sunday.

Long-time voters names missing from roll

PORT KLANG: Many voters, including one of the six candidates, were turned away from the polling centres in Pandamaran last Sunday after being told their names were no longer listed in the electoral roll. My sister and I have always voted here, said candidate Tee Kim Huat. Weve voted in past general election four to five times. I dont understand why our names are now missing from the list, Tee told the press outside the polling centre. He said his nephews whose MyKad addresses feature the same street, Lorong Kempas were able to vote. Apart from Tee and his sister, there was a case where a husband could vote but his wife could not. Yeoh Bee Cho, 60, from Jalan Kayu Arang, was not allowed to vote as her name was not listed in the roll. We both have the same address on our MyKad and weve been voting in the same polling station in the past, said a puzzled Yeoh. Some of the annoyed voters blamed the state for not cleaning up the electoral roll they had obtained from the Election Commission (EC) before holding the village polls. However, Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) deputy chairperson Shaharuddin Othman told Selangor Times that such discrepancies are common during elections. It appened during the Hulu Selangor by-election (in April 2010) and Sarawak elections (April 2011). The EC often transfers voters to other polling stations without informing them, said Shaharuddin. He added that it was difficult for Selangor to resolve the discrepancies as the state does not have its own election body. Political scientist Wong Chin Huat suggested that Selangor release the electoral roll two to three months ahead of the village polls so that potential candidates can help clean it up. This time the electoral roll was only given to the candidates in the middle of the campaign period, which was too late for the candidates to find the flaws, said Wong, who is also a steering committee member of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0). Meanwhile, MCA has hit out at the state for the low voter turnout of 19.1% in the Pandamaran village poll and 34.2% in Pulau Ketam. But Wong said voter turnout tends to be low in local elections in other countries as well, usually hovering around 30%.

Tee with his MyKad showing his street address.

State to improve process following feedback

From page one

August 19 21, 2011


34.2% in Pulau Ketam) and the lack of publicity among locals, I would give them a six out of 10, said Syed Ibrahim in a phone interview. He urged the state to generate more public awareness if it intends to expand the polls to all villages, including traditional Malay kampung, and Indian and Orang Asli villages in Selangor. We acknowledge that its not easy for the state to carry out the elections [without the Election Commissions help], but more needs to be done to ensure the voters are aware of their rights and responsibilities, Syed Ibrahim added. Both election watchdogs Bersih 2.0 and Mafrel were invited by the state to observe the conduct of the three pilot elections. Meanwhile, CGG representative and observer Sarah Devaraj also gave the state seven out of 10 for the overall conduct of the polls. Its a good exercise, and fair and democratic move by the state. Local elections should be carried out throughout Selangor and across the country, said Sarah in a phone interview. She noted that district officers and local council staff, which ran the elections in place

of the federal-controlled Election Commission were very helpful and friendly. However, she pointed out that some candidates in Pandamaran had blatantly violated election rules by allowing their supporters to canvass for votes right in front of the polling centres on voting day. Some of them were shouting at the voters. They shouldnt be doing that. Their candidates should have been disqualified, Sarah noted. Executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah had told the press last Sunday that the state would review the polling process after the conclusion of the three polls. He said glitches are expected in any pilot project, but the state would look for ways to improve the process after receiving feedback from civil society and local authorities that conducted the elections. The Kampung Baru Pandamaran village poll concluded last Sunday with sole woman candidate Low See Mee as the winner in a tight six-corner fight. Incumbent Cha Keng Lee won the straight fight in Pulau Ketam, while in Jenjarom, incumbent Tan Cheng Hin won uncontested. The trio will be formally appointed as village heads once they received the official appointment letter from the state.

MBPJ councillors lodge report over blog article

The blog said the enforcement and security PETALING JAYA: Five coundivision had received a phone cillors here have lodged a police call from Selangor senior exco report against a blogger for allegTeresa Kok, who requested ing that the Petaling Jaya City that the operation to shut Council (MBPJ) was stopped down DUMC be called off. from taking action against a MethIt also claimed that Shah odist church here recently. Alam MP Khalid Samad had The blogger in question has similarly urged MBPJ to acted in a way as to cause tension cancel operations to seal the with religious issues during the Teresa Kok church premises. Ramadan month, said Tiew Tiew said the blog post Way Keng on Tuesday after the had been created to portray report was lodged. the image that all levels of the In their report, they stated Pa katan R a kyat (P R) that the blogger had published leadership were involved in false news claiming that MBPJs creating religious strife in the s e curit y and enforc ement state. department had called for a The blog suggests that meeting to take action against state assemblypersons, exco Damansara Utama Methodist members, and even local Church (DUMC), but was councillors are involved in called off due to political Tiew Way Keng this alleged conspiracy, the intervention. trained lawyer explained. MBPJ has denied speculation that it Tiew lashed out against the author of the would seal DUMC premises on charges that blog posts for publishing forged documents it was not approved as a church. purportedly showing that a meeting had This follows an incident on Aug 3 when taken place but no further action had been the Selangor religious department ( Jais) taken due to state intervention. interrupted a dinner held at the church hall MBPJ enforcement head Fauzi Maarop, following allegations that efforts to who also lodged a police report over the proselytise the Christian faith to Muslims blog , denied that a meeting to discuss were under way. sanctions against the church ever took The blogger said state exco members had place. intervened in the matter and prevented the He said the documents posted on the department from taking action against the blog were not from his department or from church. MBPJ but were forged.
By Alvin Yap


August 19 21, 2011

Hari Raya safety campaign
For those about to balik kampung during the Raya holidays, child safety kits and leave home forms are available at the Hari Raya Balik Kampung Rumah Selamat campaign. Held by the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) Selangor at the main concourse area of Sunway Pyramid, attractions include cultural performances and festive booths for shoppers. Open from 3pm to 5pm on Aug 19, there will also be Rakan Cop registrations and a talk on important safety tips.

Window to register to vote for GE13 closing

By Alvin Yap

Roundtable on diabetes
The Malaysian Association of Certified Coaches (MACC) will hold their seventh roundtable on Saturday (Aug 27) from 9.30am to 12pm. A certified trainer with 15 years experience who has practised in Britain and the Malaysian healthcare industry will talk about Diabetes Wellness Coaching. Participants will be taught how to coach diabetic patients. The talk will be held at MACCs office at 62B, Lorong Rahim, Kacai 14, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur. For more information, call 017-223 8293 (Rachel) or visit

Book sale
Badan Warisan Malaysia is having their third annual exhibition Warisan Kertas 2011 until Aug 30. There will be a sale of old books, maps, prints, and ephemera of mainly Malaya and Borneo and other items. Admission is free and exhibition hours are between 10am and 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday. They are closed on Sundays and public holidays. The exhibition will be held at Badan Warisan Malaysia, 2 Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur. For more enquiries call 03-2144 9273 or email

Heritage tour
There will be a Central Market Heritage Walk tour for tourists and locals carried out everyday from now until Aug 31. This tour is for everyone who wants to know more about the history of Kuala Lumpur and its early establishment. To participate, just show up at the meeting point the Central Market information counter by 10.30am. For more details, visit www.

(PKR) MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah AnKUALA LUMPUR: There will war urged youths to regbe an all-out voter registration ister themselves to make drive this weekend at various locathe Sept 15 deadline. tions in Selangor and Kuala LumShe alleged that perpur ahead of the next general manent residents were election. being fast-tracked to beThose who havent registered come citizens under the yet can come to these places and 6P illegal immigrant amdo so. Claim your right as a Malaynesty programme, which sian to vote for your representawas being abused, as tives, said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Nurul Izzah Anwar claimed by Ampang MP Tony Pua during a press conferZuraida Kamaruddin. ence on Wednesday. Recently, Zuraida Pua said the Electoral Commishad claimed that she sion (EC) has hinted that new possessed evidence that voter registrations after Sept 15 illegal immigrants were might not make the inclusion into being legalised under the voter rolls for the upcoming 13th 6P programme, and were General Election. being asked to pledge This may be your last chance loyalty and vote for to register as a voter in order to be Umno and BN. included in the voter roll for a I urge the youth to probable March 2012 polls, he register and then come said at the DAP headquarters on out vote when the GE Jalan Yew in the city. arrives, Nurul said. He said the most important Petaling Jaya Utara MP The PKR politician duty a citizen can do for their coun- Tony Pua said federal opposition try is to vote during elections, and MPs have brought up the urged those who have reached 21 years of need for an automatic voter registration age to register. system in Dewan Rakyat, but this was reThe allegations that permanent resi- jected as unnecessary. dents were being given citizenship and the Nurul pointed out that the recently proright to vote underscored how crucial it is posed Parliamentary Select Committee on for citizens to exercise their voting rights, electoral reform must address the above ishe said. sues, as well as the lowering of the voting Echoing this, Parti Keadilan Rakyat age from 21 to 18.

Registration is open on Aug 20 and 21 (Saturday and Sunday) at the following venues unless otherwise specified: BANGSAR UOA Carrefour, Bangsar South, 10am-5pm BATANG KALI Pasar Tani Batang Kali, 8am-12pm Econsave Batang Kali, 12pm-7pm CHERAS Aug 20: Pasar Pagi Taman Kenanga, 8am-11am Aug 21: Pasar Pagi Taman Midah, 8am-11am DESA PETALING (SEPUTEH) Aug 20: Giant, Desa Petaling, 10am-5pm KAJANG Metro Kajang Shopping Centre (4th Floor Food Court), 11:30am-9pm KAPAR 44, Jalan Kapar Besar, Kapar (Shoplot next to Popular Bookshop), 9am-3pm KLANG Klang Parade (Ren Ren Bookshop, 1st Floor), 10am-10pm PANDAN Aug 21: Pasar Pagi Taman Muda, 8am-11am PETALING JAYA 1Utama Shopping Centre (1st Floor, Oval), 10am-10pm Tropicana City Mall (LG, near Sweet Florist), 10am-10pm PUCHONG Aug 20: IOI Mall (Ground Floor, Old Wing), 10am-10pm Aug 21: IOI Mall (Ground Floor, Old Wing), 10am-3pm SALAK SOUTH (SEPUTEH) Aug 21: Pasar Pagi Salak South New Village, 9am-12noon SEKINCHAN Aug 21: Sheng Hui Restaurant, 8am-12noon SUBANG JAYA Empire Shopping Gallery (P1, near escalator), 10am10pm For more information, visit

Register to vote

Jumble sale for cancer

The Passionately You 2011 campaign will hold a donation drive in the form of the Buy4Love Jumble Sale at Jaya One on Aug 20. Proceeds from the sales will go to the Assunta Foundation, which helps fund treatment for breast and cervical cancer patients from the low-income group. Other fundraisers include the Dont Duck It Party in Jaya One on Oct 22. At the party, participants may buy Passionately You t-shirts, raffle tickets, and participate in the GoKart Mania and Quacky Kart Race telematch.

Dance festival
MyDance Festival 2011 will be held from Sept 9-25. The three-week festival will integrate various dance genres from contemporary, wushu art, and joget to latin, ballroom, and traditional dances. The festival will be at various venues including the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), Actors Studio (Lot 10), and Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC). This years festival features 11 local and international performances and hopes to educate and create new audiences for dance. Festival tickets are available for sale at KLPac box office (03-40479000), The Actors Studio (03-21422009) and iLasso (0379576088). For more information, log on to www.

The Shah Alam Convention Centre is offering its buffet Ramadan Rasa Nusantara, which includes roasted lamb, delicious desserts and assorted fruits at RM65 (nett) per person for adults and RM30 (nett) for children age six to 10. For more information, contact 03-55118814.

More allocations for firefighters

KAJANG: Residents here have suggested that Selangor allocate funding in next years budget for more volunteers firefighters. The recommendation was made during discussions on the states 2012 budget at the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) yesterday. People have asked for more fire stations as the existing ones in Kajang are too few and too far apart from each other, said MPKj councillor Chan Jeong Hon. An idea was raised was to have one or two voluntary fire brigades with fire trucks at every five to 10km radius to ensure sufficient coverage of the area. This way, residents can take responsibility for the safety of their own areas. As far as I know there is only one voluntary fire brigade, he added. Chan said other issues raised by community leaders and commercial representatives included infrastructure improvements. Participants called for road widening and connecting roadways at traffic congestion hotspots like Semenyih town. They have also suggested that public parks be used as recreational centres for youths to ensure that they stay away from bad activities, he said. Chan said MPKj would be identifying suitable parks for the centres, and would bring the idea up during the state budget. Also at the event was MPKj president Datuk Hassan Nawawi Abdul Rahman and state executive councillor for local government Ronnie Liu.

Transforming cities
Rehda Wilayah Persekutuan (Kuala Lumpur/ Putrajaya) will hold a conference titled 3rd International Conference World Class Sustainable Cities 2011 (WCSC 2011) on Sept 20. It will showcase successful practices and experiences of world-class cities and inform participants about Malaysias transformation. The event will be held at the Sime Darby Convention Centre from 8am to 5pm. For more information, call 03-7877 0637 (Mip) or 03-2693 4182 (Pam).

State budget PJ residents have their say

By Brenda Chng

August 19 21, 2011


PETALING JAYA: More funding to improve transportation was among the suggestions by residents during the state budget dialogue here last Tuesday. Residents want to see an improvement in public transportation for both the disabled and able-bodied, saidMohd Hasry Nor Mohd from the State Economic Planning Unit (EPU). The deputy director for EPUs distribution and development section said public transport improvements will help lessen traffic congestion and be in line with the councils Green Environment initiative. He said residents want to see more train stations and bus stops that are strategically located and accessible by everyone. Among other suggestions voiced were the implementation of online business communities and opening more career opportunities for the disabled. This online business plan may prove effective and convenient for single mothers, or those who want to do business but lack financial capital, said Mohd Hasry. He said by promoting the online world, the council can then use it as a medium to spread news and happenings via Facebook and blogs. Also, the public raised concerns over hawker stalls and businesses that were uprooted, closed or forced to move away. They proposed for these stalls to be relocated in more strategic locations where they can operate without causing any inconvenience. Other issues raised included improving rubbish collection, eradicating illegal loanshark stickers, reducing stray animals on the road, beautifying rivers and lakes, and the addition of more cemeteries and places of worship. The publics involvement is very important here because they are the foundations of the states development and success, said executive councillor Elizabeth Wong. Wong, whose portfolio includes consumer affairs and environment, attended the dialogue together with

MBPJ mayor Datuk Roslan Sakiman. She said the input from residents, businesspersons, academics, non-governmental organisations and financial institutions can help strengthen the states financial capital. Apart from seeking feedback from local councils and residents on the states financial budget, the state will also be approaching Chinese New Villages and Malay traditional villages. Everyone should be involved as this is the peoples money, and they should be the ones weighing in on how the money is being used, said Wong. Dialogues on how to optimise usage of the states 2012 budget are being held at all local authorities to allow the public to have their say. Discussions include infrastructure development, social development and the local economy. The findings will be compiled by the state.

(From left) Roslan and Wong at the dialogue.

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Watchdog lauds election reform

KUALA LUMPUR: Transparency InternationalMalaysia (TI-M) has come out to support Putrajayas move to set up parliamentary select committee on electoral reform. We welcome the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said TI-M president Datuk Paul Low in press statement on Tuesday. Najib had proposed for a bipartisan committee comprising Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers to look into reforms to prevent further accusations of electoral roll manipulation. TI-M said the proposed committee comprising members from the government and opposition is a positive move by the federal government to address long-overdue concerns about the electoral system. It also said the select committee should be given the mandate and power to recommend the necessary steps to ensure that elections are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner. Najibs move comes in the wake of the Bersih 2.0 rally which saw thousands of Malaysians take to the streets to ask for electoral reform from the government. It is important to address administrative and legislative procedures to ensure the impartiality of the Election Commission (EC) in conducting elections, Low said. The EC has been seen of late to be less than impartial, and has been accused of registrating permanent residents as voters ahead of a snap general election. Its deputy, Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, has rejected these allegations. Low said the select committee will also defuse the politicisation of electoral reforms, and ensure indepth and open discussion and resolution of major complaints received aboutelections in Malaysia.

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Lawyer: Malaysia a quasi-secular state

By Gan Pei Ling

AUGUST 19 21, 2011

PUCHONG: Malaysias Islamic status dominated a public forum on freedom of religion here on Tuesday, with two lawyers disputing common political claims that it is an Islamic state. Nizam Bashir pointed out that although Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the country, the Reid Commission (that drafted the constitution in 1957) also added in its report that Article 3 does not imply Malaysia is not a secular state. Bashir considers Ma laysia a quasi-secular state as the constitution allows for a dual system of law and the impleNizam Bashir

mentation of Syariah laws. However, another lawyer, Aston Paiva, argued that Malaysia is a secular state. Everything in the constitution pro motes secularism, our laws [in Parliament] are made based on evidence, not religious texts, Paiva t o l d a crow d o f around 150 people at the forum titled Conversations on the ConAston Paiva stitution: Keeping the Faith Under the Constitution. Paiva added that the term secularism has gained a bad name as some associate it with being anti-God. But it simply means that government is separate from religion, he explained. Paiva noted that the right to freedom of religion is enshrined in Article 11 of the con-

stitution. A r t i c l e 1 1 guarantees everyones right to profess and practise their religion, he The audience at the forum. said. Both lawyers rights laws allow for the propagation of reliacknowledged there are limitations to free- gion to anyone as long as it is done without dom of religion based on our constitution. coercion. Paiva said other religious followers are Nizam said there should be safe spaces for prohibited from propagating their religious people to debate and discuss different schools beliefs to Muslims, according to Article 11(4). of thought and diverse views in religions. Nizam added that even Muslims need a The public forum was organised by the Bar licence to preach to other Muslims, citing the Councils Constitutional Law Committee as arrest of former Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainul part of its MyConstitution campaign to eduAbidin by the Selangor Islamic Religious cate the public about their constitutional Department in November 2009 for giving a rights. religious talk without the departments apThe two-year-old campaign has published proval. nine simple rakyat guides and rakyat service Both disagreed with the restriction on announcements on the constitution, which propagation of religious beliefs to Muslims. are available for free at www.perlembagaanku. Paiva highlighted that international human com.

Captivating artworks by Church donates Singaporean and Malaysian artists wheelchairs

to former police

Teng (in orange) with the organising committee and artists.

By Alicia Mun

KUALA LUMPUR: An exhibition featuring the works of 43 former students of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) was unveiled last Saturday. The exhibition Stepping Forward: Nanyang Today An Exhibition of Works by Singaporean and Malaysian Nafa Alumni is being held at Wisma Kebudayaan SGM. Selangor Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim officiated the exhibition, which includes some 60 exhibits of various media, including oil painting, watercolour, ink and acrylic by Singaporean and Malaysian artists. I observed that for every new art exhibition, there is an increase of visitors, Teng said, adding that this bodes well for the arts in Malaysia. I think this is a result as well as a form of recognition of our efforts for the past few years to improve arts education, Teng said. The exhibition is jointly organised by Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) and Club Nafa, with the support of Nafa and the Nafa Alumni Association Malaysia. It aims to provide a platform for Nafa alumni in both Singapore and Malaysia to exchange their views on the topic of Nanyang Today, as well as further improve their own artistic creations through lively debates and discussions. SGM general director Choo Kong Fei said: Art has the power to bind human hearts; it transcends nations, races, religions, cultures, languages and other differences. He said works of art can reflect the expression of the

human spirit of the era. The theme for this exhibition boldly expresses this revolutionary spirit of seeking changes and new creativity in tandem with the times, Choo added. Established in 1938, Nafa is the first arts institution in Southeast Asia. Over the years, it has produced many outstanding artists in Singapore and Malaysia. Its founding principal, the late Lim Hak Tai, introduced the six principles of arts education, which crystallised into the Nanyang style of painting, showcasing tropical flavours of the region. The Nanyang style of painting has since flourished and scaled new heights through the efforts of the Nafa alumni. The cultural landscape has evolved in keeping with the times. Many art practitioners, inevitably influenced by new cultures and ideas, are attempting to keep abreast with the changes as evident in their creative works and in their constant search for new ideas. Through their observations, analyses, and long years of practice, they have developed various artistic styles that reflect the new developments in the cultural landscape. Some of their artworks bear similarities with the Nanyang style, while others present a unique, contemporary facet of Nanyang. This exhibition is open for public viewing from Aug 13-28 from 11am to 6pm at the ground floor of Wisma Kebudayaan SGM. For enquiries, contact SGM at 0321412003 or visit

Leoh handing over a wheelchair to Rohani.

By Alvin Yap

PETALING JAYA: A church here has come to the aid of former police personnel by donating four lightweight and foldable wheelchairs to the Ex-Policeman Association of Malaysia (PBPM). Through this donation, we hope more organisations and individuals will come forward to support former policemen who have made sacrifices to safeguard the country, said Glad Tidings pastor Rev Dr Vincent Leoh at the presentation recently. He expressed hope that the gesture would spur individuals and organisations into helping those who had lost their ability to work. Leoh said PBPM has 100,000 members and is actively organising activities to raise funds to help members who are disabled. We chose them because they look out for their members who have lost their mobility and ways to support themselves and their dependents due to injuries, he said. He presented the wheelchairs to PBPM honorary secretary Rohani Ahmad Jalis at the PBPM headquarters on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur.

Pahang folks turn to Selangor leaders for help

By William Tan

AUGUST 19 21, 2011


PETALING JAYA: Disgruntled low-cost home owners in Pahang have turned to leaders from Selangor and Perak for assistance after failing to resolve their grievances in their home state.

Representatives of 23 affected families living at the flats in Karak, Pahang met Selangor Senator S Ramakrishnan and Teluk Intan MP Manogaran Marimuthu on Saturday. They made the extraordinary move to come to Petaling Jaya after failing to secure assistance, despite

numerous meetings, from the Pahang government. We are so fed up now, we are even thinking of protesting in front of the Agongs palace so that our case gets the attention it deserves, said the main representative of the families, Krishnan Kassimmarutaya.

He said they will spend their time in Selangor to seek legal aid and ways to gain publicity for their case. The families, who have been unable to move into their homes, said they feel cheated because the flats were not built according to specifications and came with a host

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of problems. Besides leaky pipes and cracks, they described the structure of the flats as looking more like a school. To make matters worse, the residents could not move in as the flats failed to obtain a Certificate of Fitness of Occupation due to shoddy construction and broken regulations. I had to take out a loan to buy that house, and I got nothing but mental stress and financial pain, said Zuraini Zuliaply. The factory worker said her monthly household income was only RM720, but she has been stuck paying RM300 monthly for the past eight years for a loan she had taken on her promised new home. She also pays rent for her current home, as well as her childs school fees and the medical bills of her husband, who is suffering from leukaemia. Crying, she said all she wants is to get back the money she has already invested, or at the very least, her promised home. All 23 home owners, who are estate and factory workers, are in the same predicament. Ramakrishnan offered the group space his office here in Petaling Jaya to use as base to campaign for their rights. Both politicians also promised to raise the issue in Parliament. Manoharan added that more should be done to prevent such cases from recurring. The Perak MP urged the families to appeal to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to take firm action on their behalf. He will also suggest to Putrajaya to set up a rescue fund for families stuck in a similar situations. I believe that a key point is reexamining the current legislation on the matter, because at the moment, developers have far too much power and escape routes, which leaves the common people to suffer, said Manogaran. The families were joined by Pahang-based activist Kamache Doray Rajoo, who has been championing their case for the last few years and will be aiding them in coordinating their activities in Selangor.
12/7/10 6:22 PM

Srixon_Graeme_2011.indd 1


By Basil Foo

Temples saved from demolition

AUGUST 19 21, 2011

PETALING JAYA: Devotees of the Sri Maha Mariamman and Tow Boo Keong temples in Section 19 here can take comfort in the fate of their places of worship. The temples sit on land owned by developer SDB SS2 Development (SDB), which has agreed to provide 930 square metres of land to each temple. The provision of land was a condition in the planning approval for a high-end condominium project, which was accepted by SDB when it was given to them in July 2007. SDB has since said they would be in contact with the respective temple committees to iron out the detailed plans for the temple buildings. With the issue resolved, overjoyed temple devotees thanked PJ Utara MP Tony Pua and local councillors.

Also at a press conference last Saturday were Petaling Jaya councillors Mak Khuin Weng, A Jeyaseelan and Selvarajan Rathinam, as well as Shah Alam councillor V Ganabathirao. The temple devotees had faced uncertainty on the status of their places of worship after receiving a legal notice from SDB in May that their structures were wrongfully erected. They were warned that SDB would institute legal proceedings against the temples, which have been servicing the local community for almost 50 years. In a press conference in June, Pua had called on SDB to resolve the issue amicably with the temple committees. He agreed that while the developer had the right to evict the temples, it was still up to the Petaling Jaya City Council to approve any development on SDBs land.

Pua (seated, in white) speaking to devotees on the status of their temples.

Candlelight vigil held for Teoh Beng Hock

KLANG: Residents here lit candles and observed a minute of silence to remember the late Teoh Beng Hock and others who died in custody of the authorities. We are also here to reject the Royal Commission of Inquirys (RCI) findings on Teohs death, two months ago, said Ng Yap Hwa. The RCI report stated that Teoh was driven to suicide by aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers. The residents, which numbered about 200, then attended a talk in the Pandamaran sports hall, during which Ng was the emcee. At the talk was Charles Santiago, who quoted the RCI report on the Ng cause of Teohs death. I read both English and Malay versions of the report, in case there was a translation problem. This amounts to nothing short of torture, said the Klang MP. He said the report could be used as proof to haul the interrogating officers to court as there were occurrences of human rights violations. Puchong MP Gobind Singh Wong said the issue was that while most authorities do their job well in protecting society, there are some who misbehave and misuse their authority. That is where we as ordinary citizens have to stand up and condemn them, said the practising lawyer. He also highlighted the glaring absence of results of investigations into suspected car thief A Kugans death in
Charles holding the RCI report.

police custody. Lecturer and political activist Wong Chin Huat said it was important for people to come together at events like this and call for justice. If we do not seek justice for Teoh, someone we know may well be the next victim, he cautioned. Also at the talk were Pandamaran assemblyperson Ronnie Liu, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, Klang councillors and members of Teohs family.

Project undertaken without my knowledge, says Lau

PETALING JAYA: Kampung Tunku assemblyperson Lau Weng San refuted claims that he failed to consult Sungai Way residents before a pedestrian path upgrade was undertaken. He said the installation of pedestrian railings on Jalan SS9A/14 here was done without his knowledge, adding that it was a federal government project and not undertaken by Selangor. The railings were installed without my knowledge. It is a federal government project [which] provided allocations to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), he said yesterday at the site. He was responding to news reports that said MBPJ and elected representatives in the area Lau pointing to one of the access had failed to consult ratepayers points in the railings. before putting up the railings. Residents who frequent the morning wet market here have complained that the 600-metre stretch of railings has blocked access to and from the five-foot way and the road. They said MBPJ erected the railings which prevents snatchtheft cases along the path outside the Sungai Way police station without providing enough openings into Jalan SS9A/14. However, Lau said there are enough access points, but also conceded that another one could be built in the middle of the stretch. The problem that there is not enough entry points is very easy to solve. MBPJ will just need to remove one railing, he said. He said residents could file a complaint themselves or report it to their local councillor in the area.

Kidney patients receive Raya donations

KLANG: Kidney patients undergoing dialysis at Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhads (PNSB) dialysis centre got a pleasant surprise when the companys Chief Executive Officer paid a visit to hand over cash and other donations. It was the first visit for Datuk Ahmad Omar since assuming the helm of PNSB last year. Were blessed to be here to get to know you and to hand over donations during this holy month of Ramadan, he said to the 38 patients undergoing treatment at the centre located at Taman Seri Andalas here. He pointed out that the annual event during the fasting month is organised by PNSB as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programmes. He hoped the donations would assist the patients and their families during Ramadan and especially Syawal. Ahmad Omar, who is also the chairperson of the dialysis centre, praised the medical staff for their daily care for the patients and hard work. I want to thank the staff who work hard to care for patients on a daily basis, he said during his opening speech. The PNSB Dialysis Centre began operations in January 2007, headed by a team of nephrologists and registered nurses. It has 10 dialysis machines and currently caters to 38 patients, who get fully sponsored treatments three times a week. Ahmad Omar handed out food supplies and duit Raya donations to the patients, and talked with them about kidney ailments and treatment. He also handed out souvenirs and certificates of appreciation to the staff.

Why everything is political

here is a tendency for people to complain loudly how everything is political these days. Especially so in a country like Malaysia, where decision-making is highly centralised and ultimately concentrated on the few that make up the cabinet within the federal government. Ideally, there ought to be more than one way to bring about change. We envision a situation in which the media, civil society and labour unions have equal power in lobbying for policy reform. But although efforts are being made to strengthen these institutions, the sad reality is, we are far from achieving this in Malaysia. So, while one might be disgusted by underhanded tactics employed by political parties and individuals, one must understand that nothing can change unless it goes through the political route given the current climate. At a Student Leaders Conference I spoke at recently at Universiti Malaya, panellists were asked how they define politics. One fellow speaker said politics is the process of standing up for the rights one deserves. Another said it is the process through which power is obtained, which in turn is used for administering public good. I gave examples of how a gathering of people under any setting would undergo a political process of nominating and electing a leader. There would be the dynamics involved: identifying people who are influencers, taking positions and sides on issues of concern, debating these matters, and so on. This can be observed within the setting of a family, classroom, students union, labour union, and, of course, on the larger scale of a nation. Malaysians are eager to talk about public issues these days. Countless forums, conferences, talks are being organised almost weekly. This is a positive sign that we are wanting to engage instead of sweeping things under the carpet. But ultimately the question remains the same: What can be done? My answer would be, again, that because of the nature of our system, one has to go through the political route. Some examples: Scandals: There are scores of these, flooding our online news feeds as if a Pandoras Box has just been opened. Take the Port Klang Free Zone incident. After theSun exposed correspondences and letters of guarantee that were issued to PKFZ to raise bonds, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) summoned officials to answer questions on the project. A series of events followed, including a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, and finally a series of charges and arrests took place. Although there are individuals who have gone unpunished, without political pressure from the opposition, the PAC would not have sprung into action. Addressing poverty: The federal government a long time ago introduced the New Economic

views 11
August 19 21, 2011

Just selangor
Tricia Yeoh

Policy (NEP), which contained affirmative-action policies that benefited the bumiputera community, but have been severely abused and misused. Pakatan Rakyat in its economic proposals is proposing an alternative economic policy that is needs-based, thereby allowing all those from various races in need to benefit from it. It was only following criticisms of the abuse of the NEP (by academics, think tanks, opposi-

tion, civil society) that the government proposed liberalisation measures in its New Economic Model, largely similar to the oppositions proposals. For national wealth to trickle down effectively to appropriate poor communities, it is those making decisions at political institutions who need to be lobbied. Quality of education: This is probably one of the greatest concerns of parents these days, thereby determining the schools that their children attend. Low salaries make the teaching profession an undesirable career, hence the poor quality of teachers added to this is the poor selection of textbook material,

The federal government a long time ago introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP), which contained affirmative-action policies that benefited the bumiputera community, but have been severely abused and misused.
bias towards Islamic education within national syllabus, and the lack of representation of non-Malays contributing to the countrys history. These are all obviously politically motivated, and again, one must resort to political pressure to influence change within the Education Ministry and teachers training colleges. Other pressing issues include crime and security, corruption, wages, inflation, and economic growth. Precisely because these are everyday issues that will invariably affect our lives, we should stop demonising politics, as it were. There is a tendency for us to follow political news keenly sometimes even leave comments on articles we are interested in but otherwise laugh mockingly at the actual players in the game because all that is quite beneath us. But the truth is,we will continue to heavily depend on the political forces-that-be to institute the change we desperately need, whether this takes place through the official routes of government committees, ministries, political parties, or non-governmental associations (which in turn have close links with political parties, and which is natural as they require lobbying). Until the day we achieve a robust and independent media, civil society, labour union and student body,we should accept that everything is political. And then we can do something about it, either by actually participating in the process, or influencing change with the right parameters in mind.

Pandoras box

ThE Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia welcomes Prime Minister Najib Razaks call to review existing media censorship laws. We congratulate the Prime Minister on his recent realisation that these laws are no longer effective in this day and age. We hope that the government review of ineffective laws would result, first and foremost, in the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA), which, among others, gives the home Minister the power to grant/renew licences to print media, and states that the ministers decision is final and not subject to judicial review. In our view, it is not enough to amend the PPPA. This outdated law must be repealed before other steps can be put in place to encourage the practice of ethical journalism and the growth of media plurality in Malaysia. The governments call to review media censorship laws must also be done in tandem with efforts to regain public trust in media, especially print and state-funded media, to make this a meaningful exercise. We urge the government to relinquish control of state-funded media Bernama and RTM radio and TV and make these publicly funded media accountable to the public and serve public interest, rather than serve the government in power. CIJ also urges the government to cease attempts to set up state-run media councils, and

Repeal PPPA, work to regain public trust in media

instead provide an environment that enables media and civil society organisations to set up independent self-regulatory media councils, which will promote media freedom and hold media accountable to journalistic ethics. If the objective is to make media accountable, self-regulation is better than resorting to defamation suits, which can have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. In an environment like Malaysias, where there are no specific laws guaranteeing media freedom unlike neighbouring Indonesia and the Philippines and where the judiciary often takes a narrow and conservative interpretation of what constitutes freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, resorting to defamation suits can result in another way of controlling media and curbing it from playing its role in matters of public interest. Defamation, the purpose of which is to protect reputation, can be and has been used to prevent open public debate and legitimate criticism of wrongdoing by officials. CIJ would like to point out that international best practices on defamation state that public bodies including the legislative, executive or judicial branches of government, or bodies which otherwise perform public functions should be prohibited from bringing defamation actions. This principle was adopted to ensure open criticism of government and public authorities, recognising the limited and public nature of any reputation these bodies may have, and the vast means and resources available to them to defend themselves from criticism. International best practices also state that public officials, by the very nature of their function as civil servants entrusted to carry out a public trust, are required to be subject to wider limits of acceptable criticism compared to ordinary citizens. Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia

12 August 19 21, 2011

By Basil Foo

Citizen Journalism Publishing Standards

according to
Stick to what you directly observe when reporting a story never invent details or embellish facts. Be stingy with your use of modifiers and adjectives dont exaggerate or heighten the details. Youre not writing a novel; youre reporting an event or situation as it really happened. Interviews conducted by phone or in person will be an essential part of every story after all, youre not writing an essay but reporting on an event. When quoting people, it is essential to be meticulous and preserve their statements exactly as they were expressed. Dont add words, clean them up to hide poor grammar or slang. If you are concerned that a quote may embarrass a speaker, then paraphrase their comments without using direct quotes. It is strictly forbidden to use fictitious quotations, composite people or phantom sources.

Be very careful to avoid hearsay in your reporting, no matter how trustworthy the source may be. If someone tells you that their landlord refuses to turn on the heat, you need to make sure that you dont repeat that information as if it was a fact. You have to emphasise that the interviewee is making that claim either by paraphrasing their comments or through a direct quote. The responsible journalist will attempt to verify such a claim by talking to the other side. In the above case, interview the landlord to get their side of the story. Refrain from repeating or quoting someones negative comments that are not relevant to the story. If someone tells you negative information about another person that implies illegality, dont use their comments unless you can verify them with the appropriate law-enforcement agency. In the heat of the moment, people are prone to make all kinds of allegations.


Again, stick to the facts. Though you may sympathise with the people you are interviewing, do not take a position. An injustice can be remedied by exposing the truth of the situation.


Never plagiarise it is the hallmark of a lazy journalist. Always attribute material when using material from newspapers, Websites, TV, radio, books or other outlets.


Make sure you have checked for spelling and grammatical errors. Be sure to get the spelling of names right.

Just as the writing of a news story demands integrity, the same applies to photos. Never alter or edit a photo so that it could potentially mislead or deceive the reader.


Do not misrepresent yourself when you interact with a source. Before you start quoting them, you should tell them who or what media outlet you are writing for. Always treat your sources respectfully.

Make the greatest possible effort to get your sources to go on the record which means that you can use their quotes. But if they dont want to be quoted, respect their right not to be named. In extreme circumstances where the information is vital and the person has a legitimate fear of being named you can use their quotes and respect their anonymity. But you NEED to verify that arrangement with them: Can I use your quotes without naming you? I wont name you but can I quote you? If I dont quote you, how can I refer to you?


As we emphasised before, make sure to fact-check your sources, many of whom may be prone to exaggeration or have an agenda when talking to a reporter. Always strive to verify any information from sources, either through your own interviews, through trusted news outlets, or through legal documents.

ith the advent of recording technology and easy access to it by almost anyone, the ability for ordinary citizens to record, capture and disseminate information has grown tremendously. Hardly any significant event taking place around us now goes unrecorded with handheld sound, image, and video recording devices readily available on the market. Using the recent Bersih 2.0 rally as an example, many internet users obtained their news from Twitter more quickly than even news websites. The gap between events occurring to the moment they become old news has also been reduced significantly due to such peer-topeer sharing technologies and social websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Due to the influx of information coming from all quarters of society, some have tried to establish guidelines with which to govern the stories being shared. Birthed out of those guidelines, the term citizen journalist has been bandied about with differing opinions on what they are and whether they should be taken seriously. Citizen journalists Citizen journalists are people not necessarily employed by an organization, who write for a larger audience, without any intermediaries, says freelance writer Anil Netto. Writing for his blog and papers like Aliran Monthly and Herald, he comments on issues like politics, economics, and human rights affecting the nation. He explains that citizen journalists usually have different layers of editorial control on the content of their news reporting than the normal mainstream journalist would have. They would be more independent, especially at a local level, as they are more familiar with the community around them, he says. Anil says the proliferation of citizen journalists is probably because of large sections of the mainstream media losing their credibility due to being politically controlled or owned. He compares the independence of a citizen journalist to a typical journalist who enters a community from the outside, just reports on an incident, and leaves. What is seriously lacking is background, context; why what is happening is happening. We need to explain to people the larger trends in society, he says. He says a story will always be more interesting and accurate if more background information is added to it, to give readers context about the issue that is being discussed. He explains that due to their independence, citizen journalists should take up the responsi- Anil Netto: Citizen journalists are not bility to explain to their readers why something necessarily employed by an organisation. is happening. takes it, and submits it for In order to analyse an public viewing. issue from all angles before chief extaking a stand, the why ecutive officer Premesh Chanis important as some peodran describes citizen journalple react to current affairs ists as regular citizens who try brashly. to write in a journalistic fashion There are groups in the and take photos and video. news who make a lot of Many people are writing noise about a lot of things, on the issues they are conbut the important question cerned about and the medium is why they are articulating of the internet is making it this and whos behind the easier for the public to publish group, he says. their views, he says. According to The Star He remains convinced that executive editor Datuk as long as people want to Wong Sai Wan, a citizen report about certain issues, it journalist is anyone who is important for them to learn submits information to a some journalistic skills. news agency, newspaper, or website. Datuk Wong: A citizen journalist is Counterbalance He says citizen journal- anyone who submits information Training for citizen jourists are not professional to a news agency, newspaper, or nalists is optional as what they journalists who report website. are taught can be good or bad, news as a full-time job. In the Malaysian context, citizen journalists can be Anil comments. He believes the most important thing for citidivided into different categories. There are Malaysian citizen journalists who zen journalists to have is some degree of integrity are more professional those who spend most of in reporting an event as they see it. He adds that citizen journalists have to be their time contributing to news organisations, guided by what they feel is right and what is good he says. On the other end of the spectrum are those for society, and must provide a background of who occasionally stumble upon a cute picture, events as a context to their story.

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For example, reporting on the riots in Lonwe can just say looting took place and aroccurred, but I dont think thats enough, xplains. nil says the stories need to provide context why the rioters felt the way they did, and to yse the economic and social trends that may caused this. While he hails citizen journalists as a good nterbalance, he admits there are certain gs they could still pick up from mainstream s reporting. They should make sure their sources are ect, verify what has been heard, attribute r sources correctly, and basically just be onsible, he says. nil adds that reporting responsibly means writing in a way as to provoke people and e trouble, but to write with the intention lving an issue. He says it is also quite tricky to be aware of icity, race and religion in the Malaysian ext, as writing about related issues can be treading a minefield. Whether you are a citizen or mainstream in other countries as it is here. nalist, you should form your own opinion He explains the term as people who are paid not just take politicians words at face value, by certain parties to run their own blogs and says. comment on the blogs of others, for a politically He adds that a citizen journalists strength expedient goal. at they can actually have a feel for what I suspect that many, although not all, soppening around them and called citizen journalists are in erstand the communitys fact cyber-troopers, says Wong. lems better. Their reporting is actuWong advises to err on the ally biased, siding one political of caution by saying if one party. ts to be a citizen journalist, He says these cyber-troopers, should be aware of the counwho are usually easy to spot, legal implications. have come about due to the They should be aware of the journalistic environment in the amation Act, the Official country. ets Act, Internal Security Act, As most news organisations Printing Presses and Publicain Malaysia have been politiAct, because as journalists, cally linked, the cyber-troopers ave been trained to know our themselves reflect the partisan limitations, he says. environment, and therefore He says language is also of engage in interparty squabble. ost importance. It does not So far, Ive not come across ter which lang uage one Premesh: Citizen journalists anything that has surprised me. es in, as long as journalists are regular citizens who The information that amateur try to write in a journalistic he message across. citizen journalists report has fashion. been inadequate rather than urnalists or cyberinaccurate, says Wong. opers? Wong says most of the errors that he has come There are some unreliable ones who have across involve insufficient facts, which is only to own agenda. For example, cyber-troopers, be expected from citizen journalists. political masters to serve, says Anil. For example, he refers to updates that some He remarks on how it is interesting that the have posted up on social networking sites like cyber-troopers remains more of a Malay- Facebook that usually only reflect one-sided concept as it is not something as well used views.

It is not that they get the facts wrong, but most of them just dont have enough facts, Wong says. The future With the dawn of Twitter and Facebook, citizen journalists have been rendered insignificant, Wong predicts. He explains that while the 140-character Twitter update can already convey sufficient information to the public, longer updates can easily be expanded. He has also noticed that in the Twittersphere, most news and opinion tweets are written by professionals, who in turn squeeze the normal citizen journalists out. They become subscribers. Most of them have only tweeted 50 times in their life and follow more people than they have following them, he adds. Premesh believes that the structure of media, and the way news is gathered and publicised, is changing. He says it has now become more difficult for online media to cover all news events, and thus he sees that citizen journalists have a larger role to play. Citizen journalists can report on what is currently happening on the ground with live footage and updates. They can also provide the news from different angles, he says.

Even international wire agencies such as Reuters and CNN news network have incorporated a form of citizen journalism into its schedules. offers training for citizen journalists, who upon graduation can opt to contribute to their sister website, Nowadays, the trend is who is able to be the fastest to report about a certain event. We want to get the scoop, beat the other guy to the story, says Anil. He remarks that the disbursing of information now is almost instantaneous, with handheld devices able to pick up news updates on-the-go. Instead of having to wait a few hours for the news, consumers now only need to wait a few minutes for the event to be widely reported on every news portal. As the television replaced the newspaper, so has the internet replaced the TV. Now we have Facebook and Twitter which are making the news websites out of date, he opines. Anil says the rapidfire Twitter updates of those reporting on certain events have come more speedily than reports on news websites. As such, while he speculates that citizen journalism will definitely thrive in this country, its definition will keep changing due to new technology continuously being rolled out.

AUGUST 19 21, 2011

Cheras Scousers, religion and nose-picking

ord Bobo, the English Premier League has started! Are you as excited as most of us are? What do you think of Liverpools chances of reliving our glory days? Born & Bred Scouser, via email HIS Supreme Eminenceness shares the excitement of his minions in all aspects of their lives, and this includes football. However, Lord Bobo doesnt regularly watch football, English or otherwise. There is something about being all-knowing that takes away from the excitement and drama of watching Manchester United come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with a lastminute winner. Lord Bobo also doesnt quite understand the tribalism and fanaticism that many Malaysian football fans indulge it when it comes to teams which are located across the globe. Recently, when Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool came to Kuala Lumpur to play Malaysia, it was reported that some Malaysian fans didnt even cheer for the national team. Which is kind of strange. We dont think it is too much of a stretch to say that you, Born & Bred Scouser, have in fact never been to Liverpool, and are actually born and bred in Cheras or something. As for Liverpools chances, hey, you should know better than to ask that. Lord Bobo is, as always nonpartisan in all things (though we do like a party, son). derwear over spandex tights, with a big R logo on their chests Religion Man! But anyway, since politicians are known for doing nothing and pretending its something, we must consider the reasonableness of this current past time. So let us first consider religion. What is it? A religion is the rituals and doctrines of a faith claimed to be divinely inspired. In the Abrahamaic tradition, religion emanates from God, as does the entire fabric of creation. Clearly, in this tradition, God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent all knowing, ever present, and invincible. Religion is supposed to allow mankind to appreciate, be guided by, and approach God in a proper way. In doing so, adherents are supposed to live just, generous, and kind lives. That is why the Abrahamaic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam resonate the same fundamental message justice, humility and piety. As much as religion inspires one to a way of life among mankind, it is borne out of each persons personal nexus and conviction with God. It is this latter aspect that makes the question of religion no one elses business except your own. The former aspect of communality, however, does not mean that one human being is entitled to judge over the religiosity of another human being; instead, the relationship faithful adherents should have to one another should be governed by a respectful humility. The humility stems from the fact that God knows more than humans. So for another human being to make a pronouncement on matters reserved for God (such as anothers religiosity) would be to try and assume Gods role. That, as one can readily appreciate, is blasphemy. Since the foundations of religions are rooted in the divine, there is no question of needing to defend a religion. And how is a mere human supposed to protect the product of the most powerful force in existence? So the suggestion of protecting religion actually implies that God is incapable of protecting it on His own. It could also imply that God doesnt care about His own religion enough to bother protecting it. Both these inherently implicit inferences indicate just how lowly politicians think of God when they lay claim to defending His religion. So these politicians actually think little of God and very highly of themselves. In fact these politicians in truth think themselves a god. How else can you psychologically explain a human being that seeks to defend God? So the answer to the question is yes religions need to be defended, but only against politicians, because they
Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok ( where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!

fancy themselves as gods.

ord Bobo, I recall being told in school that giving my nose a good dig during Ramadan means I will batal puasa. No one has been able to give me a conclusive answer on this. Help? Gold Digger, via email WOW. What a question. His Supreme Eminenceness must admit that we were momentarily stumped by this outrageous, though seemingly simple, query. Following consultations with various minions, imam, Syariah lawyers, religious gurus and pasar Ramadan stall operators, we are no closer to knowing the answer. Everyone sort of agrees that it has something to do with intent whether one intentionally stuck ones finger up ones nasal cavity. Which really doesnt help with making it any less of a grey (or brown, depending on the kind of air youve been breathing) area really. During the discussions, various other conundrums also came up what if one is sitting at ones office desk at 11am, and a piece of bread from breakfast dislodges itself from ones teeth? Is one allowed to swallow the said piece of bread? Baffling. In conclusion, who cares? Stop digging your nose anyway its a filthy habit, for goodness sake. Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing, stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!

ear Lord Bobo, does a religion need defending? JT, via email

IN Malaysia these days, defending religions appears to have become one of the hottest fads among politicians, both in the mainstream and the margins. Lord Bobo reckons it could be a by-product of all the comic and superhero movies that have been released non-stop over the past decade. Everyone wants to be a superhero, and what could be more heroic than defending God? If politicians had it their way, they would probably go around with a cape, wear their un-

may 13 recoll: reconcections & 12 & iliation


TI-M he ad disputes Christia state cl n aim

Wesak a time Day: giving for


Where to get your

LRT Stations (Distribution by hand) Morning Ampang Sentul Timur Ampang Cahaya Cempaka Pandan Indah Pandan Jaya Sentul Timur Sentul Kelana Jaya Terminal Putra Kelana Jaya Taman Bahagia Taman Paramount Asia Jaya Taman Jaya Universiti Sri Rampai Wangsa Maju Taman Melati Sri Petaling Sentul Timur Taman Melati Sri Petaling Bukit Jalil Bandar Tasik Selatan Salak Selatan Shopping Malls (From Saturday noon) 1 UTAMA Tropicana Mall Sunway Pyramid The Curve IOI Mall Plaza Damas Ikano Power Centre Empire Subang MetroPoint Centro Mall, Klang Bangsar Shopping Complex Hypermarkets (From Saturday noon) Giant (Puchong, Kajang, Bandar Kinrara, Klang, Pandamaran, Bandar Selayang, Kota Damansara, Taman Setiawangsa, Putra Heights, Taman Connaught, Kelana Jaya, Bukit Antarabangsa, Subang Jaya, Bukit Tinggi, Setia Alam, Kota Kemuning) Sentul Port Klang Port Klang Bukit Badak Shah Alam Subang Jaya Jalan Templer Petaling Rawang Seremban Kuala Kubu Baru Sungai Buloh Kepong Sentral Kepong Morning Wet Markets (Saturday morning) Jalan SS2/62 Taman Medan Jalan 17/27 SS15 Subang Jaya Taman Kuchai Lama Taman OUG Pasar Taman Megah Pasar Jalan Othman Pasar Jalan 17/2 Pasar Sek 14




May 20

22, 2011

/ issue


By Will iam Tan Petal ed low- ing Jaya: cost Dila angor may flats through pidata pilot progget a new lease out Selsuch hom ramme to rehaof life if es The amb is successful. bilitate kind proj itious and first the Peta ect is being carr -of-itsied out by ling Jaya Keeping (MBPJ) City in safe: Faizabandoned tas Design collaboration Council bab demons ah Mohd Tahi ies pan y, and Group, a privwith Veritrati baby hatc ng the use r (left) commun Rum ah Air ate comof the Datin Sofi h as local ity-b Pan as, celebrity a The sing ased charity. a STory Jane looks on. Maju Jaya le block at on pag the houses 59 apartments here Taman e 10 fam , which to und ergo ilies, will be the first which inclu the tran sfor furb ishm des renovatio mation, ns physical ents whi le keep and reaspe ing the "All wor cts intact. sions mad ks are based on social active by the resid the decients," said ist Won Wong, g Hay pointed who mooted Cheong. out dents were that many the idea , of flats whe forced to mov the resie demolishn squatter settleme into the facilities ed, but the buil nts were were hard dings and ly adeq The Gro up, entr y of Veritasuate. RM100 whi ch has con Design ,000 and architect the skill trib uted Wong said change, s], means that s [of their ryin the priv is going said Won to Cor g out the proj ate firm is carg. As man ect as part porate Their relocate y as 50,000 fam Social of its (CS d technolo architects, usin 2000 and to low-cost flats ilies were last R) programme, Resp onsibilit g the gies y teri Besa 2008 under formbetween for two years layin having spent the rem ode l the and techniqu latest arch itect Iska g the grou es, the proj Squatter r Dr Khi r Toy er Menect. ndwork budget, whic buil ding on a will Iskandar ndar Razak. The tight than RM h is estimated LB_24 added that icised for policy which has o's Zer o with company 6391_ 500 to be less difficult to has been creating critbeen obta the fam It is very ,000. high-rise liaising 1 from vario obta in comit was very busi in what they feed ghettos.5/12/11 back on ilies regularly chal need from ness cont 9:56 the proj usparties at mitments to get ever ything need leng ing; alm them deci PM their need acts. their ect, with the De wiring is ost s to be redo s and de on prac funding start of port spite it all, ticalsolu help and the horrible, the roof ne. The ous issue. this is still a seriant proj tions. septic tank The succ is leaking, that a city ect for us as a very imstench, ess of the emit spon should not we believe saidVer itas Des s an awful nent sorships for the project rests on by the wea be ign Gro various com s, such as strata of lthy only, but inhabited up part s, and the the supply of po- juvenati society. In a way, by ever y metal ng the city, compan we are rey hopes If the pilo said to t is successfu Iskandar. l, the com Turn To pag e2

Facelift for old


Carrefour (Bukit Rimau, Subang Jaya, Wangsa Maju, Sri Petaling, Kepong, Puchong, Ampang, Jalan Peel, Jalan Kapar, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, S23 Shah Alam) Jusco (Bukit Tinggi, Tmn Maluri, Wangsa Maju, Bandar Baru Klang, Mahkota Cheras) Commuter Stations (Distribution by hand) Morning

Pasar Seri Setia SS9A/1 Pasar Kg Chempaka Taman Tun Dr Ismail Hospital Forrest Medical Centre Colleges Help Institute College Bandar Utama (KBU) Universiti Kebangsan Malaysia

Tesco (Puchong, Kajang, Mutiara Damansara, Rawang, Bukit Tinggi, Setia Alam, Ampang, Extra Shah Alam, Kepong)

MBPJ campaign to reduce carbon emission

By Alvin Yap

AUGUST 19 21, 2011


PETALING JAYA: In an effort to reduce carbon emission, drivers are not allowed to leave their car engines running while waiting on Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) premises. Drivers who leave their engines running on MBPJ premises that are now designated a No Engine Running While Waiting Zone will be given a first warning. If they fail to heed it, they will be told to drive off the premises. We want to create awareness that leaving the car engine running while waiting for 10 minutes creates 0.208kg of carbon dioxide, said MBPJs Ahmat Mohayen Said on Monday. The Human Resources Department head pointed out that the usage of one litre of petrol churns out 2.5kg of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for the greenhouse effect. He said the move by the city council is to create awareness on pollution and the small steps the public can take to reduce harm to the environment. The No Engine Running While Waiting Zone includes

the Civic Hall parking lot, where motorists usually double park with their engines running while making payment. Ahmat said MBPJ would lead by example, as city council vehicles have also been instructed to switch off their engines while waiting. He said MBPJ was taking the lead on the matter as it has conducted an audit on the amount of carbon dioxide its fleet of vehicles produce while waiting. He pointed out that the yearly fuel bill for the councils 311 vehicles stands at RM1.08 million, or a consumption of 625,948 litres. The civil service officer said if MBPJs vehicles were to wait with their engines running every day for 10 minutes, the city council would incur an extra RM5,000 in fuel costs. Most importantly, he said, it would also produce 13 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is on top of the 1564.8 tonnes currently produced. Councillor Khairul Anuar said the move demonstrated

MBPJs commitment towards a green city in Petaling Jaya. Councillor Richard Yeoh added that the move to warn motorists is, for now, a soft approach, but hinted that the city council is looking at drafting a new by-law that will give MBPJ the power to summon errant motorists. The No Engine Running While Waiting Zone directive on MBPJ premises will extend to other locations, including the PJ Library at Old Town, Menara MBPJ, and other multipurpose halls, by Jan 1, 2012.

Shopping expedition for seniors

Student hostels to remain for now

By Basil Foo

SHAH ALAM: The Yayasan Selangor hostels in Kampung Pandan will not be facing any closure until the relocation of all students has been completed. Any closure must be done only after addressing the problems of those staying there, said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. The Menteri Besar said at a press conference on Wednesday that transportation was one of the main issues facing students living there. He said students faced a travelling time of about five hours from the hostels to their schools in the Klang Valley and back. They have to sit in the bus for a long time. This situation does not help them keep up with their studies compared to other stuSenior citizens boarding the bus to head to Tesco.

dents, he said. Khalid also assured the students and their families that the closure of the hostels would not occur so soon as the relocation process would take about two years. He was responding to media reports alleging that the state government planned to demolish the hostels to make way for development without consideration for the students. Utusan Malaysia, in a report on Aug 8, highlighted the fears faced by the parents should the hostels be relocated. The hostels are Yayasan Selangors Tun Dr Ismail boys hostel and Toh Puan Norashikin girls hostel which have been operating since 1975. The hostels, which sit next to each other in Kampung Pandan, house students studying in the city.

Financial aid for Inpens students

By Brenda Chng

KLANG: Eighty-six senior citizens from the Sri Andalas constituency got a chance to spend their RM100 voucher provided by the state at Tesco last Thursday. They were thrilled with this outing. One man even told me its his first time setting foot in Tesco, said Sri Andalas assemblyperson Dr Xavier Jayakumar. The money is provided under the Jom Shopping scheme, part of the states Skim Mesra Usia Emas (SMUE) welfare programme for the elderly. SMUE is opened to all Selangor residents, or those who have lived in the state for at least 15 years, aged 60 and above. The aim of this programme is to help seniors cope with the escalating high cost of living. The money is allocated from profits of state subsidiaries and sand mining. Senior citizens and volunteers enjoying their Dr Xavier and 40 volunteers day out.

accompanied the seniors while they shopped, carrying their purchases and tending to their needs. Im really grateful for the volunteers who came and willingly gave their time to the seniors. Im thankful for the time and effort the offered, he said. The next outing for seniors in Sri Andalas will be on Aug 27.

Dr Xavier and Noraini Roslan (seated second and third left respectively) with representatives from Inpens International College.

KuALA SELANGor: The state has allocated RM1.5 million for 234 underprivileged students ofInpens International College. The money will benefit 101 Malay, 100 Indian and 33 Chinese students. The students received their college offer letters from executive councillor for poverty Dr Xavier Jayakumar recently.

This will give students a chance of getting a proper vocational education and improve their job prospects, he said. The college offers courses like automotive mechanics, electrical wiring and hairstyling. Kuala Selangor District Council (MDKS) president Noraini Roslan was also present at the event.

AUGUST 19 21, 2011

Trading stories with flea market traders

By Basil Foo

THE thrill of shopping at flea markets has attracted curious browsers and avid shoppers through the years. This was evident during a stroll at Amcorp Mall. Located on multiple floors and stretching from end to end of the Petaling Jaya mall, the Amcorp Mall flea market is host to booths selling myriad items. From the contemporary, like bags and fashion accessories, to curios, like old vinyl records and antique toy figurine collectibles, surprises abounded at every corner. We made a visit to rub shoulders with the crowd one weekend afternoon, and to try and find out first-hand from those behind the booths what makes flea markets tick? Sharifah Edayu has been helping out with her family business of selling headscarves and traditional Malay robes for two years. All of our items are handmade, with headscarves going for anywhere between RM70 and RM260 and robes for RM200 to RM800, said the 26-year-old, who studies at a local university. Initially only running the booth part-time from Fridays to Sundays, she has increased her working hours to seven days a week during the fasting month. Attributing Ramadan and the coming Raya celebrations to the almost twofold increase in sales, Sharifah said the flea market experience is quite a carefree one. It is fun to work here as there is not much pressure from the customers, she said, while attending to a mother and daughter shopping for robes. She added that profits from the sales were substantial enough for her to earn extra pocket money to help with her studies. While some rely on flea markets for an extra line of income, others see it as an avenue to pursue their childhood passions and turn them into economically viable hobbies. I liked to watch a lot of cartoons when I was small. From there, I got into artwork in my free time. I didnt attend art classes, said 35-year-old Meora Azwaja Puteri. The front of her stall is cluttered with sketches and paintings of vintage cars and portraits of celebrities, while the shopkeeper keeps an eye from behind the booth. Despite having experienced an increasing demand for her artworks over the past eight years, she still remains camera-shy. Id rather let the drawings do the talking, said the reclusive artist, as she moved aside for her drawings, instead, to be captured by the camera. Meora, who works as a book distributor during the week, tends to a coterie of regulars who make requests for personalised artworks from her. Her passion for what she does is exemplified when, to fulfill requests, she draws at odd hours of the night, due to having a full-time job in the day. Because of a lack of time, I can only complete about five simple artworks a day. Usually I finish about 15 per week, she shared.

Meoras drawings and craft, including a lamp made out of recycled cans.

Antique bells on display.

Loke showing some of his toy figurines.

A customer tries on headscarves and robes at Sharifahs stall.

Citing making people happy as the reason for her drawing, she credits children for being the most appreciative of her drawings. She can be contacted via her Facebook page Meoral Artworks. The flea market was host to other camera-shy, albeit chatty, stall owners who preferred their wares to take centre stage. One middle-aged man who displayed two tables of antique paraphernalia said he took several years to gather his goods from his travels and from other collectors. I also took the time to arrange the items in the style of an exhibition, so even if you dont buy anything, you can still view it as form of art, he said. His collection includes many bells of different sizes of both known and forgotten origin, old cutlery, and decorative weapons like axes and keris. He added that his artifacts were a hit among those seeking unique birthday gifts, and his business prospered when the recipients of said gifts sought out his shop. Not everyone enjoyed a booming clientele, however. Collectible toys store owner Loke Moon Thoe divulged the reason for a dip in customers in the past year. Although fewer sales are expected due to the fasting month and the ghost festival, this time last year was better. The recession affected [business] a bit, said the 32-year-old. His stall is a weekend extension of his existing toy store in the mall, which sells toys from the 1970s to the 1990s. Loke admits that the Amcorp Mall flea market remains the best spot for weekend shoppers. The other flea markets Ive been to are not as complete. This is the best one. There is a wide variety of antiques, collectables, and other interesting items, he said.

A Lady Justice figurine, model cars, and other brass trinkets on sale.

Customers checking out some of the paintings by Meora at her stall.

AUGUST 19 21, 2011

Verdana breaks new ground for wider appeal

SHAH ALAM: Bandar Raya Developments Berhad (BRDB) has taken its brand of intelligently designed, cosmopolitan living to a new territory and a new market, with the launch of Verdana in North Kiara. Located adjacent to Mont Kiara, with access to Jalan Kuching, Jalan Duta, and the North-South Highway, Verdanas site is ideally located. Surrounded by established neighbourhoods such as Bukit Tunku, Damansara Heights and Bangsar, the new development has been placed to take advantage of current accessibility and upcoming changes to the surrounding transport system. BRDBs chief marketing officer, KC Chong said: We chose the site because it has the advantage of easy access to the amenities of Mont Kiara, Solaris and other nearby suburbs, without the congestion. Currently Verdanas site enjoys access to the major thoroughfares such as Jalan Duta and the North-South Highway, but more importantly is the increased accessibility coming with the widening of Jalan Segambut as well as the MRT line. Pegged at RM580 psf on average with units priced from RM850,000 onwards, Verdana offers real value compared with the prices of BRDBs most recent developments like the Troika and One Menerung. Even though these are competitively priced units, BRDB has stayed true to its aim of holding the premium position in any market segment they enter into. We have taken our experience in the high-end luxury residential market and applied the same principles that allowed us to succeed there to this new development in this new market. We have focused on giving our customers the best value for money by giving them the highest-quality materials and finishings this price can buy, and facilities and landscaping that rival a five-star resort. And most importantly, we have stayed true to the philosophy that BRDB is known for: a development that is livable, functionally designed and conducive to a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Verdana has already experienced a tremendous response. Soft-launched on July 30, Verdana has already sold 85% of its first release of Tower 1. The development will be opened to the public in mid-August, Chong concluded. For more information, visit BRDBs Sales Gallery in Bangsar for an opportunity to view two Verdana Show Apartments, or call 03 20951011 or visit

Facts and Figures Verdana at North Kiara is a five-acre development, of which 70% is dedicated to recreation and open areas. There are 298 units are housed in three towers. Facilities include an Olympic-length swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis court, badminton court, sauna, Jacuzzi, and fully equipped function hall. The development consists of two high-rise tower blocks (Block A1 and A2 with 25 storeys each), and one low-rise block (Block B, six storeys). Catering for both small and larger families, there are five types of villas to choose from. The average efficiency for each apartments floor plate is approximately 82%. Blocks A1 and A2 consist of six storeys of garden villas and 19 storeys of apartment villas, while Block B consists of six storeys of garden villas only. The first six storeys are the more exclusive units, the garden villas. The limited garden villas at the podium-deck levels overlook vast water features. The garden villas also have internal dry gardens or courtyards and a lanai. Balconies for the garden villas cantilever up to three metres long, allowing flexibility of use. The built-up for garden villa type A and B respectively are 3,000 sq ft and 2,600 sq ft.

Colgate cheer for orphans

Perangsang Selangor distributes bubur lambuk

Painting the exterior of RTH in Malacca.

Volunteers and child.

SHAH ALAM: Volunteers from Colgate-Palmolive Marketing Sdn Bhd embraced the charitable spirit of Ramadan last month with two visits to welfare homes in conjunction with the companys annual Mari Beramal Bersama Colgate charity campaign. This is the fourth consecutive year of the campaign, where a portion from the sales of special charity Colgate toothpaste packs will be donated to 15 orphanages under the Social Welfare Department of Malaysia. The homes visited by the companys volunteers were Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak-Anak Yatim Islam Daerah Jasin in Malacca, and Rumah Tunas Harapan (RTH) Payung Seri Sejahtera Seri Menanti in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan. Around 15 children from each home were treated to an afternoon of art and craft activities by the volunteers. For RTH, the volunteers went the extra mile to repaint the exterior of the home as well as provide a buffet lunch spread for the children.

Keeping true to the Ramadan spirit of giving and sharing, the campaign aims to provide the necessary support for the children to have basic care, education, and most importantly, a well-balanced upbringing, said Colgate-Palmolive Marketing Sdn Bhd managing director Issam Bachaalani. We aim to emphasise the Ramadan spirit of giving and charity by setting an example among our own employees, and also by encouraging the public to use our upcoming campaign as a stepping stone to their own charitable deeds during the holy month, he added. Issam participated in the house-painting activity at Rumah Tunas Harapan Payung Seri Sejahtera Seri Menanti. Last years campaign raised a total of RM200,000, which far exceeded the original target of RM120,000. This years campaign, which will run from Aug 1 to Sept 30, aims to achieve RM150,000 in total contributions.

Ismail (second from right) and a Perangsang Selangor executive giving away the bubur lambuk.

SHAH ALAM: Some 1,200 packs of bubur lambuk were distributed by Perangsang Selangor to the public recently. Represented by Mohd Ismail Zam Zam and Perangsang Selangor staff, the popular buka puasa porridge was distributed to the public at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque last Friday. The annual charity event was repeated on Tuesday. In addition to this, Perangsang Selangor subsidiary Quality Hotel Shah Alam also held a breaking-fast function with 48 orphans of Taufiq Islami Institute on Aug 5. The event was graced by Perangsang Selangor chairperson Raja Haji Idris Raja Kamarudin and chief executive officer Suhaimi Kamaralzaman.

technology 18
august 19 21, 2011

Get informed and entertained with Android apps

By Edwin Yapp

n my last column, I introduced various Android apps you can download from the Android Marketplace under the category of productivity. This week, Ill walk you through a number of apps under the following categories: multimedia, widgets, news social media, utilities and games. Most of these apps were tested with Android 3.1, although most Android tablets have the option to go to 3.2 now. As such some of the apps tested here may not work properly with version 3.2.

One of the better video players to download is Vital Player, an ad-supported app. With Vital Player you can virtually play almost all video formats, including the two most popular on the market now, AVI and MP4. Vital Playerhas some nifty features, too. For instance, while watching a video clip, you can slide the right-hand side of your screen to control the brightness and the left-hand side to control the volume, avoiding you from having to stop the video to adjust the two settings. I also found the player quite stable; it does not crash while playing most formats. Another noteworthy player you could consider is MX Video Player, but my bet is still with Vital Player. As for audio players, the two Ive tried are PowerAmp and MixZing. PowerAmp is a paid app and it works pretty well. A major advantage is that PowerAmp has the ability to set pretty nice equaliser features, and to even assign presets for different tracks. MixZing isnt too bad, allowing for similar features. These two apps are nifty because while some native audio players do not play in the background, these two can. This allows you to, say, work on a document while listening to your favourite tunes. As far as streaming players are concerned, TuneIn is my favourite Internet radio player as it has one of the widest choices of music genres on offer. Once youve preset your favourite radio stations, cranking the player and letting it work in the background while doing your work is a real joy. The quality of the player is also pretty good, although the quality this depends on the station youre listening to. If you like to use another browser outside of the native programme, try Dolphin. It has some funky features such as Gestures, strokes you can define to control your forward, backward and refresh, and many more functions, just by drawing them with your finger on the screen. Alternatively, if you are a Firefox fan, you can try the Fire-

Audio and video

Vital Player

fox for Android app, which just debuted on the Marketplace. You can also try Opera and Skyfire. One of the best things about the Android is the use of widgets, programmes that just work on your desktop without taking too much memory. Take, for example, a weather widget, which displays all relevant information conveniently on the desktop without you having to touch it to get updates. There are many widgets for use, but three that I like are Free Power Widget, which lets you have off/on toggles for many common switches such WiFi, Bluetooth, lockscreen; Audio Manager, which lets you control all you volume controls buttons; and Battery Monitor Widget, which lets you glance at how much battery juice you have left in your tablet while being able to have a historical chart plotted for you to track.
News and eBook reader Widgets


Although there are many news apps you can get on the android these days, including all the major news outlets such as BBC and CNN, one that Id like to recommend is Pulse News. Its has a very easy to read thanks to the thumbnails layout format and it syndicates most major news sites, especially if youre interested in tech news. Zinio is another good ebook/emagazine reader but youll have to subscribe to much of its content. There is a trial period for most of the titles

Aldiko Book Reader

on offer, after which, youll have to login and make payments if you want to download more. Two other ebook readers and bookstores you might want to consider are Kobo eBooks and Aldiko Book Reader. Both allow you to view ebooks and purchase material through e-store within the programme. Youll have to try your hand at this as Ive not personally bought any ebooks from these stores as yet. What is a tablet without apps for social media? The usual suspects are all on the Marketplace: Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, and LinkedIn, to name a few. There are alternative apps that can be used your social media channels such as Tweetcaster for Twitter, Friendcaster for Facebook, and Seesmic for both Facebook and Twitter, and finally, Tweetdeck for Android. Next issue, Ill conclude the list of apps that you should have on your Android tablet under a few other categories.
Social media

By Gan Pei Ling

idden on the upper floors of Solaris Dutamas in Kuala Lumpur is a French restaurant and cooking school called Nathalies Gourmet Studio. Opened by self-taught chef Nathalie Arbefeuille in April 2010, the studio has been gaining popularity among the locals and French expatriate community for its authentic yet innovative menu. We decided to check out its offerings on a Saturday afternoon to see if the restaurant deserved the hype it has generated among fine diners and food bloggers in Klang Valley. It took us some time to locate Nathalies Gourmet Studio as unlike most restaurants, it does not face the main street, Jalan Dutamas 1, and there was no signboard to direct us. Eventually, we found it on the first floor of Block A, thanks to its website address. The studios design was simple, neat yet elegant. We liked its ambience. There were already some couples enjoying a drink in the restaurant, but it was not crowded. We took a seat at the cosy sofa outside, and a friendly waiter soon came to greet us and pass us the menu. Unfamiliar with French cuisine, we had to rely on the waiters recommendations. The studio offers five choices each for its starter, main course and dessert menu that changes monthly. Between pan-fried scallops (with fried ginger sauce and melted leeks), Chicken ballottine stuffed with comte and parmesan cheese, marinated with white wine, green asparagus and chicken broth beef carpaccio (with crispy vegeta- emulsion. ble and mustard espuma), and a butter emulsified in egg yolks and Norwegian poached egg (with chive ing meal. The second main course was beef flavored with herbs. The milleemulsion) that the waiter recommended for a starter, we opted for tenderloin with potato mille-feuille, feuille was delectable and reminded greens and revised barnaise source us of mashed potato. the beef carpaccio (RM23). The dish was classily decorated (RM50). The medium-cooked beef with flowers and vegetables, while fillet went well with the barthe raw beef was sliced thinly and naise source, made of went perfectly well with the mustard cream. It was a great starter that whetted our appetites and raised expectations of the main course. The first main course we ordered was chicken ballottine stuffed with comte and parmesan cheese, marinated with white wine, and served with green asparagus and chicken broth emulsion (RM43). Again, the dish was stylishly put together. Though the chicken meat was slightly overcooked, coupled with parmesan cheese and white wine, it was still one mouth-water-

Hidden French delight in KL

August 19 21, 2011

food 19

Complimentary bread and butter.

Chocolate profiteroles. Beef carpaccio with crispy vegetable and mustard espuma.

Beef tenderloin with potato mille-feuille, greens and revised barnaise source.

The finale was the unforgettable dessert chocolate profiteroles (RM22): vanilla ice-cream covered with two pieces of crispy pastry on top and bottom, drizzled with rich warm chocolate and almond slices. It was a dessert worth dying for. Other popular desserts included the nougat glace with red fruits and coulis (RM22), and a selection of sorbets or ice-cream with a macaron skewer (RM16). But the most famous of all was their macarons. A must-try for our next visit. The restaurant also offers meals in smaller portions for children below14 years of age such as mini beef burger, croquet madame (similar to a sandwich) with lettuce or fresh tagliatelle (pasta) with Bolognese. A variety of beverages, including

coffee, tea from marriage frres, fresh fruit juices, mocktails and soft drinks, is also available. Nathalies Gourmet Studio opens from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday. They start serving lunch from noon, but only serve dinner twice a month. The menu is pork-free. Those looking for decent finedining experience should check out the studio. Call 03-6207 9572 or email for reservations. The studio also offers catering services and cooking classes for pastry, macarons, pastas, breads and Thai cuisine.
Nathalies Gourmet Studio Unit A4-1-05 Dutamas Solaris, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur. Website: Facebook: nathaliegourmetstudio


Unforgettable lunch at Bulgogi House

Korean restaurants are becoming a small part of the Klang Valley landscape. LIN ZHENYUAN is greeted with anyeong haseyo and gets a royal treat at Bulgogi House
orean restaurants of late have begun to make inroads into a number of shopping complexes. At Ampang Point, Mont Kiara and now Kota Damansara, there are more than a few of these restaurants whose owners hail from the Land of the Morning Calm. But Korean dishes do not have as many loyal supporters as Thai cuisine. Somehow our neighbours from the north have scored a higher ranking on the gastronomical chart than other nations. However, there are some exemplary Korean dishes from some selected restaurants. At Bulgogi House in The Strand, Kota Damansara, the dishes deserve high praise. The chef is known as Song. Hes a shy guy in his thirties, but his physical appearance, which reflects an office executive, belies his amazing cooking skills. After three visits to Bulgogi House, I can safely testify that among other traditional dishes, it also serves the best kimchi pancake within a 20km radius of PJ. The restaurant has little decorations and craft objects from its native land to remind customers that the owners are proud to be truly Koreans. Even though the restaurant workers are mainly Myanmar nationals, chef Song and manager Kang, who also doubles up as the cashier, hold the reins at this establishment. Bulgogi House has been in operations for about two and a half years. The locality is abuzz with activities on weekdays and is relatively quiet on weekends. During my recent visit, we had squid bulgogi, kimchi stew, kimchi pancake, dolsot bibimbap and beef bulgogi. You dont really need to memorise these names because the restaurant menu has all the pictures to help you out. Dolsot simply means stone pot, and bibimbap is a mixture of steamed rice with vegetables and meat. The origins of bibimbap can be traced back to an ancient cookbook in the 19th century. In Korea, bibimbap is as ubiquitous as our nasi lemak.

AUGUST 19 21, 2011

Dolsot bibimbap comes in a stone bowl to keep the contents warm till the very end.

Dolsot bibimbap is one of my favourite Korean dishes because the stone pot continues to keep the food warm until the last grain of rice is scraped off. Some of my friends are wary of Korean cuisine because they are not aware of the benefits of the extensive range of items. Korean dishes by nature are actually quite healthy. The chefs follow generations-old recipes, which place great emphasis on ingredients that are not only nutritious but also offer health benefits. Korean cuisine is noted for its many side dishes. So if you are a first timer at Bulgogi House or any Korean restaurant, be prepared to receive at least six to nine side dishes. Luckily, these are served in small portions. The tiny plates are a prelude to the bigger dishes or main course. On my previous visit, I had a sampling of fresh oysters from Korea. Each shell that housed the oyster was the size of a human palm. Although I dont have an affinity for fresh seafood, the oyster I had went down smoothly and was par excellence. And I swear on the large crusted shell that came with it. Following closely on the heels of those oysters were grilled scallops done the Korean way. If you havent traipsed merrily in the landscaped garden of culinary heaven, grilled scallops at Bulgogi House will give you a fair idea of that kind of ecstasy. The experience of eating fresh Korean oysters and grilled scallops is something to brag about. Somebody told me that fresh oysters have an age-old reputation of being a powerful aphrodisiac. I can only agree to the extent that it was a moving experience. I really dont know how much the seafood cost because someone else was taking care of the bill. Im afraid the truth might make me feel guilty. When you are in a Korean restaurant, go the distance and

A Korean meal is considered incomplete without kimchi stew.

partake of a meal the way the indigenous people do. That means you should try the hyeonmi cha or tea made from roasted brown rice. It has a mild taste of burnt rice, but thats quite normal. Traditionally, hyeonmi cha is known to be good for blood circulation, and a remedy for shortness of breath and motion sickness. On my most recent visit, I had ginseng tea with honey. Ms Kang told me that the ginseng would not add heat to the physical constitution because it was a different species of

The side dishes that accompany the main course.

The interior of the restaurant is air-conditioned.

Squid bulgogi goes very well with steamed rice.

fiction 21
AUGUST 19 21, 2011

ginseng. After sipping the ginseng honey tea with great relish, I had an unerasable smile on my face. The final dish that graced our table was four slices of watermelon. Watermelon dessert seems to be an integral part of most Korean restaurants. The watermelon slices were not big but were enough to satisfy. The Korean BBQ Bulgogi House at 12A-G, Jalan PJU 5/20B, The Strand, Kota Damansara, is one of the hidden delights at The Strand that few residents of the surrounding areas know about. It opens daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch and 6pm to 10.30pm on weekdays. On Saturday and Sunday, dinnertime is from 5.30pm to 10.30pm. If you love Korean cuisine, this restaurant has more than a few wonderful surprises. After all, I have been there three times with absolutely no complaints. My guests who tagged along on each visit were pretty satisfied, too.

Take 5 minutes to fill this form up and drop it off at the nearest police station to have regular checks at your house while you are away. Ibu pejabat polIs Daerah subang jaya

Fresh oysters imported from Korea.

The Policeman Pulled Out a Colour Chart

Fiction by Tshiung Han See

Tel: 03-5637 3722 Fax: 03-5631 9815

Borang maklumaT Memaklumkan tentang meningalkan rumah kediaman untuk bercuti. Kepada Kawasan pentadbiran balai polis .............................................................................................. BuTiran penduduk: nama: .................................................................................. alamat: ................................................................................. .............................................................................................. .............................................................................................. nombor telefon bimbit/kediaman: ........................................ nombor telefon yang boleh dihubungi: ................................ ..............................................................................................

ITS yellow, he said. I bought the shirt only yesterday, I pleaded. Officer, I havent had time to wash it. I swear the colours are going to fade. He looked at me. What if youve washed it already? I swear I bought it yesterday. I had the receipt in my wallet, but I took it out this morning. But listen. Its mid-day. The suns reflecting off this shirt. The suns yellow. Sunlight is yellow. The yellow tones of this shirt are getting amplified. I doubt you would arrest me if it was late afternoon. He thought about it. If sunlight was yellow, then the yellow of your t-shirt would be neutralised and Id be seeing more of a whitish colour. Right now Im seeing a yellowish tone. That means that your shirt must be super-yellow. I really have to arrest you now. Wait, wait, I said. I can change. I can take off my shirt. And I did. He looked at me. Whats that youre holding? Pointing to the t-shirt. I threw it on the ground. Its nothing! You need to put it in a bin, he said. I picked it up off the ground. Looked around, but there was no bin in sight. If I put it in a bin, will you let me leave? He nodded. I dont see a bin anywhere. Then I have to arrest you. And he did. On what grounds are you arresting me? I said. He didnt reply. He fastened a cable-tie around my wrists. Another policeman walked by. He said, Why is he not wearing a shirt? Oh. They took me to the nearest police station, which was across town. Everyone waiting to be processed was shirtless. What the hell, I thought. The officer in charge was eating a banana. He looked around the room before he peeled it. There was a crate of bananas in the corner of the room. A weeping fat man was sitting beside it. He, too, was shirtless. I stood up and exclaimed, This has gone on far enough! I demand to know why I have been arrested! Dont I have rights? Dont I have some rights? Everyone looked up. Dont I deserve dignity? Dont we all deserve dignity? Why am I shirtless? I dont deserve to be shirtless. Im going to put my shirt back on. I put my shirt back on. And there is no reason for you to arrest me. I know whats happening here. You dont have to tell me. Im going to tell the whole world whats happening here and Im going to get a medal.

Everyone felt sorry for me. The fat man stopped crying and patted me on the shoulder. I feel horrible, I said. Its OK, he said and hugged me. Why are they doing this? I said. Its their way, he said. But I didnt do anything. OK. All right, he said. Why are you here, I asked him. I killed a man, he said. Why are you here? he asked me. I was wearing a yellow T-shirt, I moaned and put my face in my hands. He looked at me. Really? He said. If I had only gone with the blue shirt this morning. Blue is my favorite color. My entire wardrobe was blue for a period of time. Blue was my best friends favourite colour. What is my mother going to say? Your t-shirt is orange, he said. I wiped the tears out of my eyes. What? Orange. But the officer said. Its orange. I was so afraid. ORANGE! I walked over to the officer in charge. Excuse me, sir, I said. He looked up. Yes? I was arrested by an officer because I was wearing a yellow t-shirt. He squinted. And? Take a look, sir. Im not wearing a yellow t-shirt! Everything looks yellow to me, he said. I threw my hands up in the air. Are you serious?! Calm down, he said. Talk properly. I dont like it when people yell. I sank to my knees. The officer helped me into a chair. Listen, he said. I know you have yellow in your heart. Just admit it.

tarikh meninggalkan rumah: ................................................ tarikh dijangka balik ke rumah: ........................................... Kenderaan yang ditinggalkan (jenis model & nombor daftar kenderaan). 1. .......................................................................................... 2. .......................................................................................... 3. .......................................................................................... lain-lain maklumat: ..............................................................................................

............................................... tandatangan

....................................... tarikh

Have you cHecked your electrical switcHes before leaving Home?

Before leaving your home for a holoday, have you checked all your electrical switches and turned off your gas tanks?

Call the SS17 BomBa for advise at

03-5634 9444

Gallery 22
August 19 21, 2011

Mohd Ismail Zam Zam (second from right) and staff of Perangsang Selangor distributing bubur lambuk to the public at the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah mosque last Friday.

Shah Alam Mayor Datuk Mohd Jaafar Mohd Atan greeting the pupils of a oneday motivational seminar at Wisma MBSA on Aug13. The seminar, attended by some 600 Tamil school students, was to help them cope with their upcoming Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) examination.

Children and mothers at a buka puasa event at Kampung Lembah Kinrara. Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok holds such events annually at villages, apartments, surau and mosques in her constituency during Ramadan.

(From left) Petaling Jaya City (MBPJ) Councillor Richard Yeoh, MBPJ Human Resources Department head Ahmat Mohayen Said, and MBPJ councillor Khairul Anuar pointing at a No Engine Running While Waiting Zone sign at the MBPJ Civic Hall parking lot. In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, drivers are no longer allowed to leave their car engines running while waiting at city council premises.

An election officer paints henna on a voters hand before she casts her vote in the Pandamaran village polls on Aug 11.

Culture 23
August 19 21, 2011

Editors Pick
Theatre; 18-27 Aug; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre;, 03-40479000; RM35 / RM25
A black farce of global proportions. Chaos ensues after mischievous urchin Trouble steals the oversized yellow sledgehammer that bratty, Hitler-esque Esther commands her toonizens with. Paranoia, violence and gore follow a zany goose chase, as a band of mismatched cartoon stereotypes find themselves increasingly stuck in an existential rut will there ever be a way out? Played through a series of TV episodes, Cartoon is a response to the rapid coalescence of media, politics and consumer giants an in-your-face satire of a forthcoming totalitarian world, if you like. Written by American playwright Steve Yockey; directed by Kelvin Wong.


Monster Series 1: GilaGila To the Moon
Theatre; 20 & 21 Aug; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre;, 03-40479000; RM25 / RM 15
Academy and Eutopia productions proudly present Monster Series 1: Gilagila to the Moon, a fun, interactive and sometimes spooky adventure for the whole family. Its a tale of a little girl who realises the true meaning of the 3 Rs: reuse, reduce and recycle.

Compiled by Nick Choo Send your events to: nick@selangortimes.

White Trash
Theatre; 24-27 Aug; Black Box @ MAP KL; RM5 (minimum donation for 24 Aug performance) / RM23 / RM18 (students and flat rate for matinee performances)
Mourning the recent passing of her husband, Evelyn pays a visit to the home of her friends, Ollie and Minerva, in search of solace and comfort in the familiar. Little does she know that their home and facade hides an uncomfortable and dark history. As the night wears on, Evelyns visit becomes increasingly surreal and disturbing as she finds herself trapped and drawn ever deeper into Ollies and Minervas world a world of discontent, malice and abuse. Forced to dwell deeper and deeper into the darker reaches of her mind, Evelyn will have to answer questions she never thought needed answering: Was her marriage to her husband that perfect? And regardless of the answer to that question, is life worth living without him? Written by Jody Lancaster; presented by the Electric Minds Project, directed by Alex Chua and featuring Michael Chen, Bella Rahim and Adeline Ong.

By Nick Choo

KELVIN Wong (right), resident director of the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, translates the plot outline of his current production Cartoon, and shares why playwright Steve Yockeys works tickle his fancy. Help! Whats Cartoon really about? I cant decipher the synopsis! Very simply: the anarchist in Toontown demands change. Toontown dictator resists. The rest of the Toonizens who are caught in between are thrown into making a choice on what is right or wrong. Its an apt (and coincidental) reflection and commentary on the ramifications of the political, social, and popcultural mishmash that is our world today. Umm, okay. That helps. Why do you think Malaysian audiences will enjoy the show? Cartoon is essentially an audiovisual feast: its elaborate design, in-your-face intimacy, song and dance, shock value, and most importantly quirky actors playing characters were all too familiar with. Theres always something happening on stage, from the moment the audience walks into the theatre. Weve all liked watching fast-paced, farcical, almost epileptic cartoons at some point or another. This is better its right in front of you. This is the second Steve Yockey play youre directing, the first being Octopus last year. What is it about his writing that draws you to his works?

I like the edge that Yockey brings to his scripts. They all explore themes were familiar with, but its the elements and execution on the page that I find fresh and intriguing. Octopus used the imagery of the sea and its creatures to explore disease and their effect on samesex relationships. Cartoon explores the striving for change in an animated world. The connection that Yockey makes between serious themes and seemingly unrelated events that we may take for granted makes me a big fan. What is the greatest challenge youve faced in directing Cartoon? I guess the greatest challenge for me would be to collaborate with my very talented production team in presenting as realistic a cartoon world with all its quirks and circumstances while constantly reminding ourselves of the humanity, real-world connection behind it. Cartoon is much more than just a costume party; its a reflection of us in the real world, whether its love, companionship, fame, success, and/or power that were after. To balance both wasnt the easiest task. What are/were your favourite cartoons, and why? John R Dilworths Courage the Cowardly Dog, hands down. Subtly infusing dark, ironic, ofttimes horrifying elements into a seemingly harmless animation is surrealistic, ingenious and very hard to do, I think. Theres also the usual platter of Family Guy, Futurama and The Simpsons satires, parodies that I cant get enough of. Somehow I find it an interesting point to note how cartoons can get away with almost everything. And that, I believe, was how the idea for a production like this came about in the first place.

A Darker Shade of Red

Theatre; 24-28 Aug; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre;, 03-40479000; RM23 / RM15
A combination of six short plays wrapped around a central theme, this production is about the secrets we keep from ourselves, the lengths we go to on a maybe, and that strange moment in love when violence seems perfectly reasonable. From a postapocalyptic western to a cramped confessional in a dusty abbey; from the future where the Mars colony is no longer a dream, to the locked confines of a mans past. Directed by Marvin Wong.

Roar: Brutalism Art Exhibition

Exhibition; 1-31 Aug; Core Design Gallery; 012-6674348 (Anni), email:,; free admission
Unlike what its name suggests, Brutalism is far from anything to do with being brutal. The term is derived from Swiss-born French architects Bton brut, French for raw concrete, a form of architecture largely unused today. Roar features the latest raw, anomalous and original artworks as presented by 15 emerging local artists, based on the Brutalism style. Bear witness to their different designs and plans, painstakingly research and be marveled as stiff, un-pliable raw materials: concrete, metal, stone and wood are crafted into curious sculptures and intricate installation artworks.

Exhibition, 8-21 Aug; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; www.klpac. org, 03-40479000; free admission
Ten Shakespearean posters with psychological references, presented by Iranian graphic designer Kouroush Beigpour.

Figure in Paint Contemporary Watercolour

Exhibition; Galeri Petronas Suria KLCC; until Aug 24, Tuesdays to Sundays; 03-20515634 (Rashidah) /; free admission
A showcase of contemporary watercolour works by 30 Malaysian artists. The medium is looked at from different angles through new approaches and ideas, seeking to dispel the misperception that it is only for painting quaint pastoral sceneries and flowers Figure in Paint proves that watercolour can also be effectively applied onto current and contemporary images. A 160-page exhibition catalogue is also available, containing images of all exhibited watercolour works and essays by art writers Kelvin Chuah and Zanita Anuar.

Published by Selangor State Government and printed by Dasar Cetak (M) Sdn Bhd No. 7, Persiaran Selangor, Seksyen 15, 40000, Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan.