Yingluck can turn flood crisis into diplomacy coup

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Newlywed first-time buyers now have better chance of getting BTO flat

By Ksvr


S YINGLUCK Shinawatra will join Asean leade rs in B ali this week for over a dozen summits among themselves and with other dialogue partners. The country's first woman prime minister will find out, despite her government's ineffi-


cient ways to tackle its flood crisis, that she has lots of sympathy and support from her counterparts. Her predecessor did. not have that kind. of luxury. Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had to earn support, while trying to manage political chaos during his 2'/,-year stint. After the landslide election in July, Ms Yiugluck became Prime Minister with a. 49-day political campaign. She did. not expect that her leadership's first major challenge would. be the most devastatingfloods in five decades that have alreadv killed more than 500 people, left nearly one million unemployed and affected several millions of common folic

The economic calamities caused by the flood waters would be even greater, and more Thais would. be in dire straits in months and years to come. In Bali, Ms Yingluck will focus on the flood crisis and its aftermath. No foreign leaders are going to blame her for what has happened in Thailand, even though she is supposed to take charge. Therefore, her key messages must be loud and clear: convincing Asean members and dialogue partners of her government's capability in overcoming obstacles to rehabilitate wrecked economic infrastructure, and re-

activating the major industrial zones, which Were shut down, as soon as possible. With almost half of the Asean members also affected. by floods, the grouping should also contribute more resources to its region-wide disaster-relief operations. Ms Yingluckwill call for a stronger Asean commitment on this front. The government has recently established ThVO special committees to work out long-term strategies for economic. recovery and a future water-management system - the Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development, and the Strategic CONTINUED ON WORLD AS


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hospital after bee attack

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DISCHARGED: Some of the affected students were sent to Alexandra Hospital for treatment. (PHOTOS: LIANHE WANBAO) cy-science student, said that more than 50 students were doing warmup exercises, such as stretching, at the time. They were preparing for their lessons, which involve soccer, netball and volleyball games. But something strange happened: A grOllp of students began screaming and running away. "Some of us initially thought that they were playing, so we ignored them. But, soon after, we saw the bees coming towards us and everyone j ust ran in all directions," she told my paper after receiving treatment at Alexandra Hospital. Ms Lim said that the students wasted no time in darting for cover at neighbouring blocks and toilets nearby. "It was very messy, there were people running (everywhere), trying to shake the bees off." However, the student, who had more than 15 stings all over her body, that the stings Were not very painful. Her schoolmate, Ms Lim Pei Xuan, also 17, said: "People were sweeping the bees off themselves as they ran. Some students even had bees stuck to their shirts." She took cover in the badminton sports hall, and was later VICTIM: Student Lim Pei Xuan was stung on her neck. treated at NUH for a. sting to her neck. Students at the two hospitals told my paper that the person who was most seriously injured. was a volleyball coach, who had to be carried away on a stretcher.

she attended a routine sports-and-wellness lesson yesterday morning, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) student Dorothea Lim did not expect to end up running away f-rom a Swann of angry bees. "It was very scary, because we did not disturb the bees or anything, but they just came out of nowhere and started attacking us,' she said. The 17-year-old was among 38 staff members and students who were stung at the campus' sports field at about 8.30am. The bees are believed to have come from a hive in a,tree nearby. The victims were taken to Alexandra Hospital and. National University Hospital (NUH), where they were treated for stings, which were mostly on their arms and legs. All Were discharged. by 2.30pm yesterday. Ms Lim, a.first-year pharma-

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MY Gery Zeng, 17, a first-year life-sciences student, said: "The teach er stayed there until she was sure the students were all safe. She was stung pretty badly." The coach, whom the students know only as "Ms June", was seen using a clipboard to ward off the bees, so as to proCONTINUED ON HDME A4

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More success for HDB 1st-timers

Ediror FEUX


No. of ballot chances a) First-timer 2 chances 3 chances 4 chances 5 or more chances b) Second-timer % of applicants askefto select a flat 73 % of applicants who selected a flat as a proportion of Ihose who had a chance to do so 62



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THESingapora National Co-operative Federation ~SNCFt has won an honourable-mention award at the 2011 DotCoop GlobalAwe rds for Co-operative Excellence.The biennial awards honour cooperative organisations worldwide with a strong commitmentto the cooperative business model. A Singapore delegation will receive the award In Cancun, Mexico,tomorrow. URA RElEASES SALES


EWLYWEDS trying to ballot for a flat can _ heave a sign of relief. Latest figures revealed yesterday by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan showed that newlywed firsttime buyers had a 73 per cent chance ofheing invited to select and buy a build-to-order (BTO) flat. Second-time flat buyers had an 11 per cent success rate in selecting a BTO flat. This is because only 5 per cent of the units were set aside for them. The results were taken from the July BTO exercise, in which the Housing Board (HDB) received 12,116 applications for 3,556 flats in seven BTO projects. Only 45 per cent of first-time applicants were invited to select a flat during the May BTO exercise, which launched 4,000 units and drew about 14,000 applications. Mr Khaw said on his blog yesterday that HDB has launched 16,000 new flats since he joined the Ministry of National Development (MND). About 14,000 of those units were reserved for newlywed first-timers.


66 75 84

56 57
64 73 54

"With this ramped-up construction programme and priority in treatment, newlyweds now stand a very high chance of succeeding in BTO selection," he said. The selection exercise for the September BTO launch of more than 8,000 flats is still ongoing, but he expects to see "further improvement". Mr Khaw said in Parliament last month that his priorities for the next two years are to provide housing that is affordable to vulnerable families and newlywed first-time home buyers earning less than $10,000 each month. The Government has commit-

to building 50,000 flats in next two years, the equivaof building a new Allg Mo estate. Mr Khaw said yesterday that many who were invited to select a flat chose to pass. Only 62 per cent of the total first-timers invited to select a flat did so in the July BTO exercise, Civil servant Chang Jing Wei, 24, recently bought a fourroom BTO flat in Seng Kang with her fiance in their sixth attempt this year. She said many first-time flat buyers chose to pass probably because they were placed too far back in the queue_ "The leftover flats are usually

ted the lent Kia

on lower levels, and sometimes buyers get wind of the location of the next batch of BTO launches, which they may feel is more suitable," she said. She added that the latest suecesS rate of 73 per cent for firsttimers is "definitely higher" than what she had enjoyed. "The larger supply of flats helps push up the selection success rate, but I think location is still the consideration for all buyers," she said, Mr Khaw also said yesterday that HDB will tweak the balloting rules to "enhance the chances for second-timers" after the needs of first-timers have been taken care of. "This should be towards the end of next year. I seek their patience and understanding," he


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Stiffer measures to deal with youth gangs
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will be mandatory for youth arrested for gang, related offences. They will be subject to curfews and required to report physically to the police. Ifthey complete the six-month programme, the youth may be let offwith a warning in lieu of prosecution.

THEUrban Redevelopment Authority(URA)yesterday released detailed sales conditions for a hotel site at Rangoon Road and Farrer Park Station Road. The land parce I is available for application under the Reserve Listof the Government Land Sales Proqrarnme.

THECriminalInvestigation Department ~CID) nd the a Casino RegulatoryAuthority ~CRAt ave joindyorganised the h two-day 2nd Singapore Symposium an Casino Regulation & Crime. The event, which ends today, will see speakers from wellknown foreign law-enforcement agencies sha ra their knowledge and experience, as well as conduct workshops for participants.

THE youth gang-related fights which occurred last year were "isolated" incidents and "did not in any way reflect a worsening crime situation", Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday. He was referring to two gang-related cases that occurred last November at Downtown East and Bukit Panjang, in which youth were attacked with knives and choppers. A 19year-old teenager died and several were injured. The incidents were serious, but "we should not over-react nor be seized by moral panic and rush into extremes" ~ he said, but added that "we cannot he too soft". "We cannot just explain away these incidents as youth misadventures", otherwise the youth will be lured into groups associated with organised crime, he said. Youth arrests remain stable at about 4,000 a. year and accounting for 2.2 per cent of total arrests, he said. About 40 to 45 per cent of all rioting cases involve youth, The Straits Times reported in February that the number of

¢- THEStreetWise Programme

~ Tougher penalties for people who recruit youth into gangs will be introduced. Anti-gang legislation will define what a "gang" means. ~ Newcomers to the Singapore Boys' Home- which rehabilitates youth offenders - will be segregated based on how much they are at risk of gang affiliation.

¢- More licensing conditions, such as tighter age restrictions and installation of CCTVs,will be imposed on operators of public entertainment places like computer-gaming centres.

¢- Police willform a new Youth Offenders Unitto formulate protocolfor dealing with youth offenders.

youth arrested for rioting rose to 531 last year, from 468 in 2009. Mr Masagos was speaking at the International Clime Prevention Conference, where he unveiled recommendations by an inter-ministry working group formed last year to look into youth -gang issues. He serves as the group's chairman. The recommendations, to be implemented next year, include enhancements to a voluntary community-based initiative called the StreetWise Prngramme. Youtb arrested for gang-rslat-

ed activities must attend the programme, which requires them to report to the police and closely monitors their school or work attendance. They are also subject to curfews and restrictions on the places they can visit. Those who complete the sixmonth programme may be let off with a warning in lieu of prosecution. The first run of the programme will begin in the first half of next year. The goal is to prevent the youth from staying in gangs and hecoming hardened criminals,

and to give them a second chance in life, said Mr Masagos. Gang legislation will also be enhanced by the end of next year. The Ministry of Home Mfairs will work with the Attorney-General's Chambers to crrminalise gang membership and work out a specific definition for "gangs", Mr Masagos said current laws may be inappropriate for the youth. For example, tbe Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act is mainly meant to deal with gang membership in hardcore triads, while the Societies Act is used against those associated with unregistered societies. Youth-gang recruiters will face stiffer penalties, which could mean higher fines or a longer jail sentence. Under the ern-rent Societies Act, those who incite a person to become a member of an unlawful society are liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000, ajail term not exceeding three years, or both. Mr Masagos said parental support is key to ensuring that. youth remain on the right path. "It is through families that sound and good values are transm itted and in stilled in 0 ur youth. Families must continue to be our first line of defence," he said.






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Bee attack? Run as fast as you can
LIN H.EN attacked by a swarm of bees, like what 38 staff members and students at Ngee Ann Polytechnic experienced yesterday, the best thing to do is to run as fast as you can. That is the advice from My Thomas Fernandez, chairman and chief executive of PestBusters, "It depends on how agitated the bees are. They may chase you for 100m, (then) go away after that," he said. He also explained that flailing your arms in the air will irritate the bees further, and cause them to send a signal for the rest of the swarm to join the attack. And if there is a bee in the house at night, Mr Fernandez advised that the lights be switched off. "Do not shine a torch at any hive, because that will make the bees come to you," he said. Dr Malcolm Mahadevan, head and senior consultant of the Emergency Medical Department at National University Hospital, said that bees are also attracted to noise and even certain perfumes.


ONLY FEMALES STING: This is one of the bees that attacked students and staff members at Ngee Ann Polytechnic yesterday. (PHOTO: JAMIE KOH)

While bee stings can be deadly for small animals, they are usually mild for humans. The severity of a bee sting may also depend on one's weight and sensitivity to stings, Only female bees have stingers an d, unlike hornets, a bee can sting only once, leaving its stinger on the victim's skin, Visible stingers should be removed with a pincer within one mi.nute of the victim being stung, followed by an application of ice to alleviate the swelling. Said Mr Fernandez: "Do not press it, because the stinger is like a little bag and it will burst." Victims who get stung multiple times should seek medical help immediately, especially if

they experience dizziness, shortness of breath, or an allergic reaction, advised Dr Mahadevan. Although bees seem predatory, they attack only when provoked. Professor Rudolf Meier from the Department of Biological Sciences at the National University of Singapore explained that there are "only a few" social bees - that form large colonies which may react aggressively when their nest is disturbed. "There are about 60 species of bees in Singapore. Many are solitary and perfectly harmless," said Prof Meier. Two common types here that sting are the Malayan Wild Bee and the Eastern Honey Bee.

Mr Fernandez said: "The tropical climate here also ereates a conducive environment for nesting." He added that bees can create hives anywhere, with many commonly found in attics, trees and the underside of expressways, As for the Ngee A:on Polytechnic incident yesterday, a imlong hive was found in a tree neal' the field where the attack occurred, Two extermination professionals were needed to clear the hive. Clad from top-to-toe in a protective snit, one of th em, M r Panir, told rn.Y papel' that he sprayed an oil-based chemical on the hive to kill the bees inside and break it apart.,sg

Hive destroyed, pest-control company to check campus
tect the students. A:o NP spokesman said that the hive was destroyed after the incident, and the surrounding area has been cordoned off. The spokesman added that a pest-control company has been engaged to do a sweep of the entire campus for any other hives, A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said that the victims were taken to hospital in ambulances and Personnel Decontamination Vehicles (PDVs). PDVs, introduced in 2003, normally handle mass-casualty decontamination situations, but can double as a masscasualty ambulance. It is understood that the affected students were given a day's rest. Most were ferried back to the polytechnic on chartered buses,



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How social media can be a problem for companies
and caught on in other cities. However, Ms Chong also acknowledged that social media HILE social media can be a very useful tool in crisis may be all well and management, as demonstrated good for some people during the BP oil spill in the to get their message across, it Gulf of Mexico. may pose problems for compaThe panel was organised as nies, as seen from the recent Ocpart of the Proj oct Reach procupy Wall Street movement. gramme by final-year students Speaking at a panel discusin Murdoch University's publicsion on how new media can be relations programme at SMa ]nused to communicate effectively stitute of Higher Learning. yesterday, Wilmar InternationOn the backlash organisaal's corporate social responsibilitions and people may receive ty manager, Ms Sharon Chong, from netizens online, panellist likened social media to "an open Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State floodgate". "Once you have that open~ for Trade and Industry, and MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, notyou have a lot of positive and ed that political incumbents, negative things corning in. Are like the ruling People's Action you prepared to face the negaParty (PAP), tend to get more flak tive stuff?" said Ms Chong, who "For example, a message postbelieves social 'media has been ed by (the) opposition gets a lot more a bane than a boon' for her of 'likes' and hero worshipping firm. sometimes. Then the same mesOne example the panel sage can be posted by your felraised on how negative sentilow ruling-party (member), and ments against firms were spread through social-media sites, such you get ...criticism and venting," said Mr Teo, who is a PAP memas Facebook and Twitter, was ber, the Occupy Wall Street moveHe explained that, from time ment, a series of demonstrations which started in New York to time, he would get such comSOPI'lIE HONG

vyaming to sound on Jurong Island
THE Public Warning System will be heard on J mong Island next week during Singapore's largest emergency-preparedness exercise. It will be activated for Exercise Northstar VIII and will create "the realism factor" for 23 companies participating in this year's drill. The signal has not yet been used in real-life emergencies such as military attacks, disasters or incidents involving hazardous material, However, it has been activated islandwide by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Total Defence Day and National Day. SCDF public-affairs director Yazid Abdullah said that sounding the Important Message signal during the exercise will test their response in the event of a chi orin e leal, at the petrochemical hub. After hearing the signal, which comes in the form of a series of pulsating blasts, em-




ments on his Facebook fanpage, Mr Teo said these criticisms could be an outlet for netizens to release their pent-up feelings. He added that the Government is still in the process of learning how to get its messages across on such platforms. "We have to be very wary and sense the ground very sensitively," said Mr Teo. "If we can do that, and we are able to harness the advantages of social media and the mainstream media togeth er, then I think the communication would have less of a risk of spinning into a direction where you least expect it to."!l

SIGNAL SOURCE: The Important Message signal. is a series of pulsating blasts.

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plcyees of participating companies wiII execute In-Place Protection Procedures. This will see them taking cover inside a building and sealing up any openings with duct tape. About 450 working personnel on the island will then be evacuated by air and sea. Exercise Northstar VIII, which began with workshops and preparations last week, will culminate next Friday, when a series of situations such as a "hijacking" of a tanker vessel at sea will be staged. SARAH CHANG

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WORSE WEATHER WOES TO COME, WARNS UN REPORT THEtoll from ever-more intense floods, drought, and heatwaves will crescendo this century unless humanity anticipates the onslaught, according to a United Nations report set to be unveiled tomorrow. The Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says global warming will magnifythe frequency and force of extreme weather events, and defences must be prepared now to avoid worse misery in the future.





Draft decree to pardon Thaksin

HARD-HITTING WORDS FOR PEACE-PRIZE WINNER PUTIN THEChinese committee that awarded this year's Confucius Peace Prize minced no words in honouring the winner, Russia Prime Minister VladimirPutin. "H is iron hand and toughness revealed in this war impressed the Russians a lot. and he was regarded to be capable of bringingsafety and stabilityto Russia," read an Englishversion of the committee's statement.

HAILAND'S Cabinet has reportedly endorsed a controversial royal pardon that could allow the return of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, prompting an angry response from the opposition. Thai media reports said a draft decree for an amnesty was approved at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday which Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra missed. Ms Yingluck, who is Thaksin's younger sister and widely seen as his proxy, has yet to comment, but her deputy who chaired the meeting said it was "secret" as it discussed issues related to the king. The rumours sparked a torrent of speculation on socialmedia web sites and in the Thai press, coming at a politically sensitive time, with Ms Yingluek facing strong criticism for her handling of Thailand's worst flooding in decades. The decree, which would need to be approved by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, would apply to "convicts who are at least


BENEFICIARY: Royal pardon could allow former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to return, 60 yeat·s old and are sentenced to under three years in jail", the Bangkok Post English daily said yesterday. Royal pardons are granted each year on the king's birthday on Dec 5_ Thaksin, who was ousted by the army in a 2006 conp, is 62 years old and lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to avoid a two-year prison term for corruption. Ms Yingluck, 44, a political

novice, led the Puea Thai party to election victory in July on the back of her brother's popularity among Thailand's rural poor. She was absent from Tuesday's Cabinet meeting because she was visiting a flood-stricken province, reports said. The return of Thaksm, a deeply divisive figure in Thailand, would anger his foes among the Bangkok-based elites in the military, palace and bureaucracy and could spark further turmoil after years of violent protests .. Mr Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a Thailand expert at the Institute for South-east Asian Studies in Singapore, said it could also further undermine Ms Yingluck's position. "With the current flood crisis, the opposition is trying to drive Yingluck out of power and they accuse her of working on behalf of Thaksin - the flood crisis is already about Thaksin," he told AFP. "If Thaksin ever comes back, I'm sure it will lead to another round of protests." The reported draft pardon was immediately criticised by

the opposition Democrats, whose own decree last year excluded corruption convictions. "It shows that what they have done is intended to help one person," Democrat deputy party spokesman Sakoltee Phattiyakul told AFP, predicting that the move would make for a "tense" political situation in the kingdom. "Because even though the floods are not yet over, the Cabinet still approved the decree." Democrat lawmaker Sirichok Sopha added that such a pardon "would be a very sad day for Thailand and the rule of law" and "split the country even
more", AFP

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MORE CHILDREN' BORN OUT OF WEOLOCK IN MALAYSIA THEnumber of children in Malaysia born out of wedlock is on the rise, averaging some 50,000 a year from 2008 to last year, according to the Women, Familyand CommunityDevelopment Ministry. As of December last year, the total number of such children stood at 152,182, with Saban, Selangor and Sarawak having the biggest numbars, The New Straits Times reported. 'HIV CURE' PUTS ASIAN UZARD'S SURVIVAL AT RISK CLAIMS that a nocturnal Asian lizard can be used to help treat the H IVvirus have led to a sh arp boom in smuggling of the re ptile, putting it at risk. Demand for the Tokay Gecko has skyrocketed in recent years after online blogs and newspaper articles extolled the consumption of the lizard as a cure lor HIV,said conservation group Traffic South-east Asia, which added that such claims were unfounded.

Meeting with Obama highlight of Bali trip
FROM PAGE A1 Committee for Water Resources Management. The government has already approved a 2.38-trillion-baht (S$lOO-billion) budget for the coming year. Thail and can turn the crisis into opportunity, as the country will welcome foreign investments and businesses with incentives to recoup what the country has lost during the floods. The country is an important hub of regional and global production chains, so its industrial stoppages have caused huge hiccups in computer, car and other high-tech industries. Ms Yingluck's biggest challenge is to ensure that no foreign investors abandon Thailand at this juncture. While she is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with the leaders attending the summit, the highlight of her Bali trip will be a 30-minute meeting with United States President Baraek Obama, She skipped the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu, which immediately drew sympathy from US State Secretary Hillary Clinton. The US has been very enthusiastic in utilising the flood crisis to rejuvenate Thai- US relations, providing 3.'3 million baht' worth of assistance to victims and relief organisations. Truth be told, Mrs Clinton decided to cut short her visit to the Philippines this week just to make a 17-hour stop in Bangkok today, which was not included in the itinerary. Besides meeting Ms Yingluck and giving a press conference, Mrs Clinton will also engage in activities to demonstrate US goodwill related to flood-relief operations. Washington is focusing on the so-called new countries in Asia that used to be outside its radar - half of them are in Asean. The US is also strengthening ties with all its allies in the Asia-Pacific. In Bali, Ms Yingluck has to connect with the leaders of ABean and dialogue partners, if she wants to lead Thailand's economic recovery. She has her work cut out, trying to salvage Thailand and her government in meetings with global movers and shakers, far away from millions of frustrated Thais.

WOMAN BEHIND ESTEE LAUDER'S RISE DIES MS EVELYN Lauder, who with her husband Leonard helped buildthe Estee Lauder Companies into a global cosmetics giant. has died at the age of 75. Ms Lauder, who also helped create the "pink ribbon" symbolisingthe battle against breast cancer, died last Saturday from complications of non-genetic ovarian ca ncer,

World's largest rice cracker
JAPANESE snack enthusiasts in Kioroshi, a town east of Tokyo, claimed yesterday to have set the record for the ioorld's largest rice cracker. With a diameter of uioom, the soya sauceflavoured cracker dwwfs the typical senbei, a crunchy snack made from rice flour that is eaten widely in Japan. The dough was made with 15kg of powdered rice on Tuesday and baked.for about an how' yesterday over an open fire. (PHaro: AFP)

~ This is an abridged version of the commentarf put out by The Nation earlier this week.




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NOVEMBER 17.2011


US to deploy 2,500 Marines to Australia

HE United States will deploy up to 2,500 Marines to northern Australia as the two countries expand their 60-year-old military alliance, the US and Australian leaders announced yesterday. The announcement by President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard came as the allies adapted their military posture to face a new security eta marked by the rise of China. The first deployment of around 250 US Marines will be sent to the city of Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory in the middle of next year, kicking off a rotating six-month presence of as many as 2,500 US troops Down Under. "vr."Te ave agreed onjoint initih
atives to enhance our alliance,


~ This deepening • of OUT alliance sends a clear message of OUT commitment to this region, a commitment that is enduring and unwavering,
UNITED STATES PRESIDENT BARAGK OBAMA Beijing stood for "peaceful development and cooperation". "We also believe that the external policies of countries in the region should develop along these
Iines," Mr Liu told a regular

concepts of friendly cooperation with all countries. Put simply, the path of peaceful development. is to achieve the shared aspirations of the international community. China never engages in military alliances." Mr Obama and Ms Gillard also agreed to enhance cooperation between their air forces that

Western big names hop on Weibo bandwagon

WHAT do the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Louis Vuitton and Unilever have in

60 years old and being kept robust for tomorrow," Ms Gillard told a j oint news conference. "It is a new agreement to expand the existing collaboration between the Australian Defence Force and the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force." The move, however, may be seen by Beijing as further evidence of Washington's attempt to encircle China, with US bases in Japan and South Korea and now troops in Australia. When asked about the proposed deepening of military cooperation,. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said

news briefing. He added that "whether strengthening and expanding a military alliance is in the common interests of the region's countries and the int.ernational community is worthy of discussion", especially amid a gloomy international economic situation and with each country seeking cooperation. Mr Liu sidestepped a question on whether China objected to the US-Australia agreement, saying Beijing, like Australia and the US, valued improved cooperation. "We believe that there should be real actions to further strengthen cooperation with the two sides," he said. "As for using the form of a military alliance, China has its own

will result in increased rotations of US aircraft through north em Australia, which is closer to Asia than it is to Sydney and Melbourne. Mr Obama said the announcement and his trip to the Asia-Pacific sent a clear signal to America's allies in the region. '(We are two Pacific nations and 'With my visit to the region I am making it clear that the United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific. "This deepening of our alliance sends a clear message of


to this region, a

commitment that is enduring and unwaver-ing," he added ahead of the East Asia Summit in Bali tbis week.

They are among a clutch of Western institutions to join Weibo, China's most popular microblogging platform operated by Sina Corp, which has quickly become the place to promote, lobby and win over a large, important andience. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other social-media platforms popular abroad are blocked in China by a government worried that unfettered Internet access could undermine Communist Party rule. But with more than 250 million mostly educated and white-collar users, homegrown Weibo, which is similar to Twitter in that it allows users to post 140-character "tweets" and gather followers, is becoming a major influence in Chinese society.
"Sinn Weibo is becoming;

Western luminary to hop on the Weibo bandwagon. "To my Chinese-speaking friends, here's a translation of my Apec Summit statement," Ms Lagarde wrote to her mure than 120,000 followers on Monday. A sophisticated social-media strategy has become increasingly vital for Western companies, with firms from Ford to Nestle raising the proportion of their ad spend on the Web and Facebook's mining' of online data ahout users' likes and dislikes. Now that trend is spreading to China. MOTethan influence, the ability of multinational corporations to reach the Chinese pu blic directly with their message is one of the reasons why Weibo is growing in popularity, "It's the quickest way to communicate with Chinese audiences," said Mr Rand Han, strategy director at Resonance China, a Shanghai-based social-media digital agency. "When done right, MNCs can quickly locate their target markets, gather information and habits from available data, and begin connecting a.lmost immediately at a significant reduction in costs versus traditional media," For many of these firms and brands, such as LVMH's
Louis Vuitton, Unilever and

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the national watercooler of China," said Mr Sam Fleming, founder of Shanghai-based social-media consultancy, CIC. "It's where people are sharing news, gossip. If you want to see what's happening in China, you open YOUl' Weibo account." Ms Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, became the latest

Coca-Cola, China. with its burgeoning middle class, is a rapidly growing market and gathering insights via Weibo is essential in crafting branding messages. Celebrities have also caught the Weibo fever. One example is Tom Cruise, who opened his account in February and now has almost three milliou fans.

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THOUSANDS of anti-Wall Street protesters marched on the University of California, Berkeley on Tuesday and defied police by trying to revive a camp hours after police shot a suspected gunman. There was no immediate indication that the shooting was related to the pmtests at the elite college, which continued into the evening when demonstrators voted to put up tents at a mass gathering on a campus square. Police looked on as half a dozen tents were erected. in the middle of a crowd of several thousand demonstrators - 5,000 according to organisers - in front of Sproul Hall, on the square where riot police cleared a camp last week. Occupy Wall Street camps have sprouted across the United States over the last two months. with demonstrators protesting against alleged corporate greed and political corruption, which they blame for the 2008 financial crisis. The protest organisers at Berkeley sought to distance themselves from the afternoon shooting at the California institution's Haas School of Business. 'The shooting on campus is completely unrelated to today's protest," the Occupy Cal organisers tweeted.

OCCUpy CAL: Protesters chanting slogans during a rally outside Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley on Tuesday. (PHOTO: AP) The incident, in which the suspect was shot after refusing to drop his weapon, was the latest shooting in or near anti-Wall Street protests, after two people died from gunshot wounds in Oakland and Vermont last week. The alleged gunman was confronted in a third-floor computer lab, where a number of students were working. At a press conference, UC Berkeley police chief Mitchell Celaya said the suspect displayed the gun "in a threatening manner', adding that student" in the room "literally hit the floor". AFP


Clinton underlines backing for Manila in Spratlys row

N Ahighly symbolic ceremony aboard a guided-missile destroyer yesterday, United States Secretary of State Hillarv Clinton underlined America'; military and diplomatic support for the Philippines as the islaud nation engages in an increasingly tense dispute with China over claims in the resource-rich South China Sea. On the USS Fitzgerald in Manila Bay, Mrs Clinton and her Philippine counterpart, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, signed a declaration calling for multilateral talks to resolve maritime disputes, such as those in the South China Sea. Six countries in the region have competing claims, hut China wants them to negotiate one-to-one, and chafes at any US involvement. 'The United States does not take any position on any territnrial claim because any nation ... has a right to assert it But they do not have a right to pursue it through intimidation or coercion," Mrs


Clinton said after meeting President Benigno Aquino III. She said that at this week's East Asian Summit in Bali, Indonesia, the US "will certainly expect and participate in very
open and frank discussions", in-

cluding on the maritime challenges in the region. Beijing has said that it opposes bringing up the issue at the. summit. The us said it is helping its longtime Asian ally reinforce its weak navy as it wrangles with China over the sea's potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands, which straddle one of the world's most vital sea lanes. "We are making sure that our collective defence capabilities and communications infra-

Mutual Defense Treaty. It also calls for "maintaining freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and transit of people across the seas". Mr del Rosario said Washington's support for "a stronger, reliable Philippine defence" was crucial for stability nod the two allies' common goals in the South China Sea. He reiterated that the Philippines planned to seek United Nations arbitration in the territorial dispute. The Spratly Islands are being disputed by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. The disputes have been feared as Asia's next flashpoint for conflic-t.

GROUNDED: Manila has banned Mrs Gloria Arroyo (centre) from leaving the country as it prepares to charge the former president with vote rigging and corruption. (PHOTO: AFP)

Arroyo stopped at airport
THE Philippine government in~ sisted yesterday that former president Gloria Arroyo must stay in the country to face a graft probe, defying the Supreme Court which ruled that she was free to seek medical care abroad. Mrs Arroyo, 64, was stopped from flying to Singapore on Tuesday night after she was escorted into Manila airport in a wheelchair and wearing a neck

brace to support her spine, which she says has been weakened by a rare bone disease. Her dramatic attempt to leave came hours after the Supl'enle Court overturned a trav-

structure are operationally and materially capable of deterring provocations from the full spectrum of state and non-state actors," Mrs Clinton said earlier aboard the Fitzgerald, a US N avy vessel that has operated in the South China Sea. The Manila Declaration signed by Mrs Clinton and Mr del Rosario commemorated the 60th anniversary of the allies"

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el ban that President Benigno Aquino's administration put in place last week as it prepared to charge her with vote rigging and corruption. Mrs Arroyo returned to hospital after a two-hour stand-off at the airport that was broadcast live on television. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Mrs Arroyo's medical c o n dtt to n was not life-threatening. She insisted that the travel ban would remain because the government believed Mrs Arroyo wanted to flee into exile.






i-Cook with gadget protectors

GLOBAL CEU.PHONE-MARKET GROWfH DIVES IN OJ CELLPHONE market growth slumped in the third quarter, wrrh the grim economic climate pram pting consumers to cut back or delay purchases, particularly in western Europe, research firm Gartner said. Global sales of aII rnabile phones grew an an nual 5.6 per cent in the third qua rter to 440.5 million phones, down sharply from 16.5 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

SONY, TOSHIBA AND HITACHI 10 MERGE. LCD BUSINESSES SONY, Toshiba and Hitachi on Tuesday said they had signed a deal to merge their small and medium-sized liquid-crystaldisplay businesses for smartphones and ta blet computers. The move will create a new company, J apan Display, by spring next year. The company will be partly financed by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, a private-public investment fund established in 2009 to support next-generation businesses.

FACEBOOK: NEXT BIWON USERS ON MDBILEDEVlCES FACEBOOK said its next one billion users will be added "mainly" on mobile devices rather than desktop computers. Facebook aims to take advantage of the shift to smartphones and ta blets. A Java version of the social-networking service that runs on feature phones is important for adding users in markets such as India. BLOOMBERG HUAWEI EXPECTS $8B CONSUMER-DEVICE SALES HUAWEI Technologies, the world's No.2 telecommunications-equipment maker, expects salas of its consumer dsvic as to increase by about a third to US$6 billion (S$7.8 billion I to US$7 billion this vear, as it diversifies into the booming rnabile and ta blet rnarkats, its deputy chairman said. "It's our aim to become one 01the top global handset makers within the next two vears, not only in terms of hardware, but also in terms of innovation," said Mr Guo Ping.

OOKING with the help of apps on il'ads and other tablets is on the rise. But, what if a slip of the pan leaves that US$500 (S$650) gadget Wi-Fried? Enter the growing market of wraps, stands and shields designed to make sure that floury hands and splattering pans do not turn into a recipe for techno disaster. One solution is clear, disposable covers, such as Clever Wraps. You slide your device inside and - voila! - gr&1Se,water and other undesirables stay out, Clever Wraps co-founder Karen McElaney says the idea began with a desire to protect ge,l.r for kim, not cooks. She and her business partner had active teenage kids, and they were apt to drop their phones and other handheld devices in snow, surf and so forth. They tried putting the gadgets in clear plastic bags, but that did not work well, as the bags tended to slip and the gadgets would faIl out. "(The idea) just came to us, "Wlu,t if the bag for the device fitted perfectly?" said Ms McElaney, The result was a product called Ringel' Wraps, which has


expected to be in the kitchen. Tablet guards vary widely in price and some food bloggers vote for a plain, sealable plastic bag, which may not be the slickest solution around but is low at CNet, says the plethora of protectors is part of a huge market of products intended to protect your gadgetry Cases, in particular, are big, possibly because some of the new devices can be delicate. In general, it's a good idea to get protection for your device, "especially if you're using it near anything liquid", said Mr Stein. Other gadget protectors available include Chef Sleeve, created after Mr Santiago Merea watched his wife bake with the help of content on her iPad.

cast. Mr Scott Stein, senior editor

NEAT SOLUTION: Clear wraps tbat fit tablets perfectly help keep them clean when used in the kitchen. (PHOTO: INTERNET) since morphed into Clever Wraps and includes a line of clear, plastic wraps that do not interfere with touchscreens or Bluetooth technology. The wraps were designed for single use, But, depending on what happens in the kitchen, they can be wiped down and reused, Among those closely following the rise of tablets in the kitchen are the staff members of, the online redpe site. 'We've been fascinated by the adoption of the devices, the app downloads and the speed with which they have been downloaded," said Ms Beth Ann Eason, senior vice-president and general manager of Conde Nast, which oversees Epicurious, which has the popular EPI recipe app, has been doing research on how custorners are accessing recipes, and it found a significant increase in tablet use in the early evening, when cooks might be

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Amazon tablet has chips from 3 sources

IN HARD-IJRI,VE SHORTAGE DELL said yesterday that the supply of hard drives amid flooding in Thailand will remain constrained, going into the first quarter at next year. Dell said it purchased a significant amount of hard drives last month, but would not disclose inventory levels.

AMAZON.COM'S Kindle Fire tablet computer uses components from Texas Instruments, Sarnsung and Hynix Semiconductor, according to repair firm iFixit, which cracked the device open on Tuesday. Amazon's first tablet computer was shipped on Monday and the largest Internet retailer is expected to sell as many as five million of the devices in the fourth quarter and more next year. "Three to five million units per quarter could be meaningful for certain component makers," said Mr Brad Gastwirth, of independeut research firm ABR Investment Strategy. "For the fourth quarter, three to five million is pretty much baked in but if this grows to significantly more pel' quarter, it will become very significant to many component companies," he added. IFixit opened the Kindle Fire on Tuesday and an early look inside showed that the device includes chips made by Texas Instruments, Samsung and Hynix, said Mr Miroslav Djuric, director of technical communication at iFixit. Samsung supplied the 8GB flash-memory chip, while

targets 10m Wireless City data users

China Mobile

IT'S HOT: Amazon expects to sell as many as five million of the Kindle Fire tablet in the fourth quarter. (PHOTO: AFP) Hynix made a DDR 2 RAM component for the device, Mr Djuric said. The Texas Instrument component appeared to be a "Fully Integrated Power Management with Switch Mode Charger", he added. It was not immediately clear which company made the main application processor for the Kindle Fire. This major component processor appeared to be buried beneath the Hynix RAM, Mr Djuric said.

CHINA Mobile, the world's largest mobile-phone company by subscribers, plans to have 10 million users of its new "Wireless City" data plan this year. Six million users have signed up for the plan, which will be available in 100 cities by the end of this year, offering access to 10,000 applications, chief executive officer Li Yue said yesterday. China Mobile is counting on wireless data services to maintain sales growth amid falling voice rates as the government promotes competition among the nation's three carriers. Revenue growth of? per cent last year was the slowest since Beijing-based China Mobile listed in 199'1, as tariffs for voice calls dropped and su hscriber growth moderated. "Mobile data can change people's lives. so we are introducing this one-stop daily information service platform,"

Mr Li said. The "Wireless City" system uses cloud computing to oiler mobile applications, including medical record-keeping, utility payments and traffic reports, he said. The carrier has been unable to persuade Apple to make a version of the iPhone to run its home-grown, third-generation network standard, chairman Wang Jianzhou has said. China Mobile is pinning its hopes on getting Apple to make a version that can run on the fourth-generation network that may start commercial trials next year, according to Mr Wang. China Mobile got a "positive answer" that Apple will work on making an iPhone for the new TD-LTE network, Mr Wang said. Mr Li sai d carriers shouldn't be tied to a particular handset supplier, "Today we're looking at Apple. maybe tomorrow we will be looking at somebody else," he said. "Carriers don't need to be tied to any particular supplier." China Mobile retains the lead in 3G users over China Unicorn, the only phone company in the country offering iPhones with service contracts. China Unicorn is the nation's second-biggest mobilephone carrier by subscribers and China Telecom Corp is third.

KAIJI2: THE ULTIMATE GAMBLER (PG) Thriller/135 minutes Rating:* ** CATHAY CINELEISURE ORCHARD 10.50am,I.30pm,4.10pm, 6.5Dpm, lOpm THE CATHAY 11am, 1.40pm, 4.20pm, 7pm, 11.45pm HAPPY FEET .2 (G) Animation/loo minutes Rating: * ..,I




The new Superman, as Theseus


IMMORTALS IMIS) Action/no minutes Rating: * ..,I


G.DLDEN VILLAGE GV VIVOCnv GOLD CLASS 11am, 1.3Opm,4pm, 6.30pm, 9.15pm GV PLAZA 1 Digita I) 11A5am, 2.05pm, 4.25pm, 6.45pm, 9.05pm GV PLAZA 13-0) 12pm, 2.20pm, 4.40pm, 7pm, 9.20pm GV MARINA (Digital) 11am, 1.25pm, 350pm, 6.50pm, 9.15pm SHAW LIDO 130) 1.50pm, 6.20pm LIDO (lrnax 3-D) 12.3Opm,5pm NEXI3-D) 10.30am,3pm IIMMORTALS IMIS) Action/I 10 minutes Rating: * *..,1 G.DLDEN VILLAGE GV VlVOCnv GOLD CLASS 12pm, 3pm, 6.10pm, B.45pm GV PLAZA 13-0) 2.15pm, 4.45pm, 7.15pm, 9.45pm GV MARINA (Digital) 1.50pm, 4.25pm, 7pm, 9.35pm SHAW LIDO 13-0) la.3Oam, 1pm, 3.30pm, 6pm, 8.30pm NEX 13-0) 1.30pm, 6.lOpm, 8.30pm BUmS 11.3Oam,2pm, 4.30pm, 7pm, 9,30pm lEGENDARY AMAZONS (PG) Action·d ra ma/l0B minutes Rating: -j

F ZACK Snyder's 300 (2006) is among your favourite flicks, chances are that you harbour a taste for hunky warriors in shorts fighting one another to glorious death in some bygone kingdom. These elements are present in Immortals, the latest film directed by Tarsem Singh (The Cell), though the pacing is markedly different from 300'5. While 300 relies on more action and less talk, Charley and Vias Parlapanides' screenplay for Immortals - currentlv No.1 at North American theatres- uses quite a bit of dialogue to flesh out the characters and story. Sadly, the lines sound uunatural to the ear) so viewers are constantly reminded that they're watching a movie rather than immersing themselves in a digitally created ancient world. Still, there's a lot to like here. Henry Cavill (the new Superman in .2013'5 Man Of Steel) is Theseus, a lowly villager who
vows revenge after witnessing


A HERO WILL RISE: Henry Cavill (left) stars as Theseus, alowly villager who vows revenge after witnessing the sacking of his village and the murder of his mother. (PHOTO: VIP) to flaunt his chiselled pees and abs, Pinto doesn't seem convincing at all in her role. The two also share no chemistry, making their love scene unsettling to watch. Singh's aesthetics in every frame are akin to that of a Baroque painting, But bis penchant for stylised art direction and fancy costumes is over- the-top. After a villainous turn in Iron Man 2 (2010), Rourke again plays the big baddie with gusto. But why does he have to wear metallic headgear that resembles a giant crab claw? Battle scenes are vivid to behold in 3-D, if you like blood splattering in your direction, or dismembered limbs and heads floating before your eyes. And as with past epics that involve Greek mythology, it's fun to watch gods like Zeus (Luke Evans) and Poseidon (KelIan Lutz) observing humans make a mess of everything, before descending from Mount Olympus to join the merry fight. If you get bored by the film's uneven pacing and loose ends, try to spot scenes which can be spoofed in a potential sequel to Meet The Spartans (2008). There are heaps.,sg




.. •..



.. I. * ...
·"1.... . KAlJI2: THE UlTIMATE GAMBLER (PG) Thriller! 135 minutes Rating:




the horrific raid on his village by the powerful army of King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and the murder of his mother. Theseus is enslaved and meets a thief and fellow prisoner called Stavros (Stephen Dorff), Together, they aid the escape of a mysterious veiled woman,

LOVELY SEER: Frieda Pinto plays the oracle Phaedra who helps Theseus get his revenge. Phaedra (Freida Pinto), who turns out to be an oracle with tbe ability to see the future. While Cavill strikes a heroic figure, with lots of opportunities

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LEGENDAR.V AMAZONS IPG) Action-drama! 100 minutes Rating: * -oj IN CHINA'S Song dynasty, the Yang clan has been reduced to a heroic group of female warriors - daughters, sisters, widows - after their men were wiped aut in unending wars. Led by matriarch Tajun ICheng Peipeil and commander Mu Guiying (Cecilia Cheung) who pines for her presumed-dead hubby IRichie Ren), they resist the invading army of Western Xia, But this comeback actioner for Cheung feels like a 1960s zero-control flick full of bad acting, absurd situations and preposterous stunts. TAYYEKKEAK HAPPY FEET 2 (G) Animation! 100 minutes Rating:*


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1O.3Oam,3pm, 7.20pm, 9.3Opm BUmS 5pm,9.211pm CENTURY 11.35am, 3.25pm. 7.15 prn, 9.25 pm ~ Movie times are for today and subject to change. For full listings, please visit the respective cinemas' websites

JAPAN'S national obsession with pachinko machines gets star billing in this sequel to the 2009 film Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler. Debt-ridden Ito Kaiji (Tatsuya Fujiwa ral is once again desperate to scare at the g8 mbling table, this time to free his companions from modern-day slavery. However, the game is far tamer this time. Instead of matching wits in card games with human opponents, Kaiji must autwit a giant pachinko machine, AKSHITA NANDA

IN HAPPY feet ( ncing penguin Mumble IElijah Wood) found his mate, Gloria I popster Pink takes over from the late Brittany Murphy in the sequel). Thev now have a son, Erik, who cannot dance. A bigger problem looms, though, when their colony is trapped by a massive shelf of ice and it is up to the father and son to save the day, with help from their friends. The real stars are the supporting cast, including two krill plaved by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, who deliver lines sue h as "Goodbye krill world!" with relish. BOON CHAN



NOVEMBER 17.2011


Indie bands lepak in the park
By Vrcromx
BARKER day. That's when six home-grown independent rock bands will take to the stage - in a first-of-its- kind community event to promote Singapore talent - for a free outdoor gig. The gig, cheekily named Lepa(r)k!, is on at Tiong Bahru Park, and stems from an opinion piece by Sassoon - a seasoned player in the mdie scene, and who is a legal COWlSel by day. In his July article that ran in my paper, Sassoon lamented the lack of opportunities for home-grown bands to be seen and heard. Soon after, the 36-yeat-old, who fronts instrumental metal baud In Each Hand A Cutlass (IEHAC), found himself discussing the issue with Ms Indranee Rajah, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC. 'We talked about some of the challenges I've encountered as a musician here and some of the things I felt could be done to improve and develop a climate that would not benefit just rnusi-

CATCH THESE EMERGING HOME-GROWN ACTS AT LEPA(R)K: OBEDIENT WIVES CLUB RHYTH M guitarist Keith Tan decided to start his own fuzz-pop, girl-fronted band after being inspi red by bands like Best Coast and Dum 0 urn Girls. Fronted by newcomer Lee Yin fli, the quartet has started garnering overseas attention - their song That Boy was featured recently on KXLU, a Los Angeles university radio station credited with giving bands like Jane's Addiction their big break.


UITARIST Daniel Sassoon is praying har.d that it won't rain on Satur-

BAND INVASION: Six home-grown bands, including Cheating Suns (above) will play at the Saturday gig. (PHOTO: LEPARK) cians but audiences, too," he told my papeT. To get the ball rolling, Ms Indranee offered to help organise a gig at "a grassroots and comrnunitv level", he added. Thus, Lepa(;)k! was born. The name is a pun on the Malay word lepak, which means, colloquially, to relax or hang out. Bands like Cheating Sons, Ingri de, Plainsunset and, of course, IEHAC, will perform. Food-and-beverage stalls will also be set up at the event, which was put together by Tanglin-Cairnhill Citizens' Consultative Committee, Sassoon's Incursive Productions firm - which, along with Kittywu Records, was responsible for instrumental metal band Russian Circles' debut Singapore gig last year and Snakeweed Studios. Ms Indranee - also the chairman of the government parliamentary committee at the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts - acknowledged the fact that mare platforms are needed for Singapore talent, and not just in the music scene. "It goes for art, design," she told 1ny paper. Both Ms Indranee and Mr Sassoon hope that Lepa(t)k! will bring people from all walks of life together.

"Those who are not as plugged in (to the scene) will get to catch it simply because it's been brought to their neighbourhood," she said. Mr Sassoon added that he hopes the gig, while only "a small start", will act as a catalyst to encourage and promote home-grown music. Marketing consultant Michelle Teo - who often attends shows by home-grown bands including 53A and Sixx concurred. "It's about time that our bands invaded the heartland," she said with a laugh. "They might find some new fans in the aunties-next-door!" ~ Lepa(r)kr is on this Satw'day froni spm. at Tiong Bahru. Park. Admission is free.

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RUN NEON TIGER FORMED in 2009, this rock outfitwhich was one of the National Arts Council's NOISE Singapore prize win ners this year - has graced eve nts like Baybeats and the Singapore Street Festival. The quartet are influenced by bands like The Strokes, The Killers and Singapore's own TypeWriter,

Every step counts.


oDAY ®

With Chinese subtitles






Easy meals from masterchefs
OOKING at home isn't always easy, given the time constraints of the busy professional. But four chefs appearing at the popular Asian Masters culinary event are bent 011 chan ging that mindset, The chefs, who will appear in Masterchef Workshops from tomorrow to Sunday at The Centrepoint, mil share their brand of cooking with the public as well as present the recipes they have revealed here to my papeJ' readers. Bookings for other Asian Masters events - such as next Thurs-

SPH inks deal with fund to promote Chinese arts
VERENA LIM HE HAS been an avid fan of classical music since he was a child, and has even composed songs on the piano. But pursuing music abroad was definitely out of the question for Mr Poh ChoonAnn. His father, who ran a small provision shop, died when he was just five. His mother, who was a housewife, had to raise eight children in an attap house in Thomson Road. "It was my dream but we were too poor, and it was a struggle to make ends meet," saidMr Poh, who is now 75. The youngest among the siblings, he went on to become the chairman and chief executive of his family's logistics business, Pob Choon Logistics. The company, which was founded in 1950 by two elder brothers, became public-listed in 1999. It has an estimated annual turnover of $120 million. Since 1969, Mr Poh has been contributing to the arts scene hen by organising charity concerts. He said: "I still want to continue giving and supporting the cultural arts scenehere and never stop." Last Saturday, he announced the $1-million Poh Tiong Choon Arts Fund to benefit 10 local arts organisations here. On Tuesday, Singapore Press Holdings inked a partnership with the fund to launch the Lianhe Zaobao Arts Showcase, to promote the appreciation of Chinese arts and culture in Singapore. The fund will sponsor up to three arts productions from China to perform here each year, with a sum of $50,000 for each production. The first production to benefit from the fund is the upcoming critically acclaimed acrobatic drama from Xinjiang, called Hello Nasirdin Apandim. It w:ill be staged at The Max Pavilion at the Singapore Expo, on Dec 2 and 3.

C, along with your name, NRlC and contact numbers and e-mail address. Include the date and time, and the name of the chef whose workshop you would like to attend. Also use the e-mail subject header: Masterchef Workshops Mypaper Giveaway. Entries must be sent in by 6pm today. Winners will he notified by 8pm tonight. Tickets are subject to availability. jprice@5ph, Workshops from tomorrow to Sunday at The Centrepoint. Tickets at $25 are available at Visit the website for afull calendar of events fo» Asian Masters, on until Nov 30.

ANYONE who's been to The Disgruntled Chef in Dempsey knows that this joint is all about appealing European cuisine, served in small bites to be shared. Chef Daniel Sia ~rightl. 35, who is also the eatery's owner, said: "I ch ose this recipe as ~the dish] is something I love to eat and I wa nt to share it with others." He appears at the Masterchef Worksho p on Saturday at 2pm. Hungarian goulash (serves four) INGREDIENTS Australian beef skirt steak, 700g (cut into bite-size pieces] Butter,20g Olive oil, 1 tbs 2 medium brown onions, sliced 1 crushed garlic clove Sweet paprika, 2 tbs 2 large red capsicums, slic ed Tomato paste, 2.tbs Canned diced tomatoes, 425g 1 cup beef stock Dried bay leaves, 2 Fresh fiat-leaf parslav leaves, chopped, 2 tbs DIRECTIONS Place butter and oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until butter has melted•.Add half of the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, for four to five minutes or until browned. Use a slotted spoon to tra nsfer beef to a heatproof bowl. Repeat with remaining beef. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until tender. Return beef and any juic es to pan. Add garlic and paprika. Stir for about a minute. Add capsicum, tomato paste, tomato, stoc k and bay leaves. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pan. stirring occasionally, for two hours or until beef is tender. Remove bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley, Top the goulash with a dollop at sour cream. Serve in warm bowls.

<> Catch the Masterchef

day's session with Andre Chiang, chef" and owner of the awardwinning Andre, and an. evening sampling of beer brews hosted by Asia Pacific Breweries and The Business Times next Friday - are still open. Asian Masters, organised by Sphere Exhibits, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, is a biannual event in its second edition. Fifteen my paper readers stand to win tickets to the MasterchefWorkshops. To take part, send an e-mail message to

Chefs: Im~iji chu shT Recipes: i!ti\\t sh i pu Bia.nnual: -if.jJ.lj;_j;:B~ yT nlan liang ci de Availability: Rfl;B~OJflU1 hub de de ke neng xing

HEMAN Tan (right~, group executive chef at Square Meal Concepts, atocd-and-beveraqe consultation company, is a master of fusion cuisine. The 43-vear-old came up with a tu rkey recipe, which uses turkey breasts in "an alternative way". Catch him at the Masterehef Workshop on Sunday at Zprn, Cajun turkey breast with pineapple barbecue sauce (serves lour to fivel IN.GRE.D.IENTS Turkey breasts, 3 pie ces Cajun Seasoning Salt, 2 tbs Dried oregano, 1 tbs Dried thyme, 1 tbs Dried rosemary, 1 tbs Paprika. 2 tbs Cayen ne pepper, 1 tbs Ground black pepper. 1 tbs Garlic powder, 1 tbs Onion powder, 1 tbs Chicken powder, 1 tbs Fine sugar, 1 tbs Pineapple BBG Sauce Organic tomato pepper pasta sauce from Natural, l00g Corn oil, 50g Tornata kete hup, 250g Pineapple, 100g Oyster sauce, 50g Tomato paste, 150g Brown sugar, 50g Mixed herbs, 1 tsp Bay leaf

CHEF Norman tim (right), sous chef at The Fullerton Hotel's international buffet restaurant, Town, just loves Japanese food. UI choose to present this simple Japanese-inspired dish as it is fresh, healthy and easy to make at horne," sa id Chef Lim. 46, who will appear atthe Masterchef Workshop tomorrow at 6pm.

English mustard, 30g Apple-cider vinegar, 50g DIRECTIONS This recipe relies on SOliS vide cooking - but don't be intimidated. First, fill a pot with water. The pot should be deep enough for the turkey breasts to be immersed in it Heat the water to 50 deg C. Rub cajun seasoning onto the turkey breasts and piace them in a plastic Ziploc bag and seal. Place the bag containing the turkey breasts in the water bath and cook for around 30 minutes. Mix ingredients for the pineapple BBo. sauce in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Set aside. Remove the turkey breasts from the pouch, pat them dry and coat them with the BBG sauce. Grill the tu rkey breasts for about one minute per side at high heat Serve on to p of a crispy, cold fresh salad

Steamed sea bream with sake and ginseng (serves lWol INGREDIENTS Dashi Stock Water, l00ml Bonito flakes, 20g Seaweed kel p, 20g Sea-Bream Dish Yang Sheng Le American Ginseng cone entrated herbal soup, 1 tbs Sea bream, 140g Soft tofu skin, 40g Shimeji mushroom, 20g Water-lily jelly, 109 Pepper leaves, 3 pes Sake rice wine, 5ml Fresh yuzu skin Pure soya-bean oil Potato flour as needed A pinch of salt DIRECTIONS For the dashi stock, first bring water to a boil in a pot Place

bonito flakes and seaweed kelp into the boiling water and turn off the fire. After a minute, strain the stock and set aside, Start on the sea bream. Scale and fillet the sea bream, then bla nch the fish fillet in hot water for two seconds. Blanch Shimeji mushrooms in hot water for five seconds. Place the fish and mushrooms in a bowl with the sake rice wine, a pinch of salt, pure soya-bea nail. Yang Sheng Le American Ginseng concentrated herbal soup and some dashi stock lenough to cover the fish], Steam for seven minutes and set aside. Heat a pot and pour remaining dashi stock in. Whisk in small amou nts of potato flour until the sauc e thickens to a consistency you're happy with. Pour the sauce over the fish and garnish with grated yuzu skin, water-lily jelly and pepper leaves. Serve in bowls.







Minor sports, yes; mental sports, no
ous stance to hold strictly Olympic sports at the Games. Indeed, I'm starting to think that a few of these arcane and
minor sports can remain in the

SINGAPORE'S national silat team began their medal hunt with two bronze meda Is in Jakarta an Tuesday. Mohamed Saifullah Mohamed Julaimi claimed the bronze in the men's Tanding E category event, after losing in the semifinals to Vietnam's Nguyen Duy Chien. His teammate, Mohamed Shakir Juanda, who competed in the men's Tanding I category, also won a bronze, after lasing to Dang Minh Le of Vietnam in the semi-finals. FIRST VOVINAM GOLD FALLS IN VIETNAM'S LAP THE first vavinam gold went to Vietnam, the sport's country of origin, at the Sunter Sports Hall in Ja karta on Tuesday, reported the official Games bulletin. The Vietnam team of Nguyen Guynh Khae, Phan Ngoc Toi, Nguyen Bing Dinh and Nguyen Van Cuong scored 279 points in less tha n one min uta The martial-art sport involves movements that emphasise hits to the head. GARUDA INDONESIA ADDS MORE PALEMBANG FLIGHTS GARUDA Indonesia Airlines is su p porting the SEA Games by adding more flights to Palembang, reported the Games official bulletin. The livery of its fleet has also been tweaked, with the addition of the Games logo on several aircraft serving both regional and domestic fiights, aspeciallv those along the Jakarta-Palembang route. MORE ATHLETES COME DOWN WITH DIARRHOEA MORE Gases of diarrhoea were re ported at the Palembang SEA Games Athletes' Village. Besides Singapore athletes, more th an 10 swimmers from Thailand succumbed to the ailment, reported Vietna mNet. Ma laysia announced that 10 gymnasts and shooters from the country have diarrhoea. M r Lam Quang Thanh, head of the Vietnam de legation, said that some Vietnamese athletes have also been affected.

By Cms HAN


Games, but only if their athletes continue to chase their muse to sporting excellence.
Some sports, I believe, need


east Asia. Games should organise only Olympic sports events, and do away with its line-up of' unusual, arcane and traditional sports, The latest voice supporting such a stance, ironically, comes from the head of the organising committee behind this Indonesia SEA Games, Ms Rita Subowo. She lamented on Tuesday that the pressure to hold such sports is exerted by individual sports associations and governments keen to secure regional bragging rights with a big medal haul. It seems odd that, as the person with the most power to decide whether a particular sport gets into the Game», she is blaming external influence for adding a slew of minor sports like vovinam, shorinji kempo, contract bridge and sport climbing to the schedule. But, while she may have her regrets, I am beginning to have second thoughts about my previ-



are those who are

adamant that the South~

to go. Contract bridge and chess, for instance. Any "sport" which barely uses an athlete's physical ability should not be allowed in an extravaganza that celebrates sporting vibrancy. Yes, it takes a lot of mental discipline to win games of chess and contract bridge. But, when these players merely sit beside a table and stare intently at a chessboard or poker cards to deduce their next moves, it is hardly a sweat-induci ng experience, Worse still, because these players need utmost mental concentration, no fans are allowed into the competitive arena. Please. What kind of sport is that? It's merely a recreational game that requires some degree of mental duress. Some argue that shooting and billiard sports are hardly physical, too. I beg to differ, having done some training in shooting marksmanship, To hold the gun steady, keep a steady breath and repeat the routine for 50 or

more shots requires physical discipline when fatigue sets in, in order to edge out opponents and win the gold medal. Ditto billiard sports, where some snooker or billiard matches can take about two to three hours. So, yes,. I agl'ee that recreational games like chess and contract bridge have no place in any SEA Games and should be dropped. But traditional martial arts like vovinam and shorinji kempo, or arcane sports like roller sports and sport climbing th es e des erve to make an appearance at a multi -sport event. Yes, they were chosen by the host country as an unsubtle ploy to win more medals. But it just indicates that the host has a rich sporting culture, with top-class sportsmen who happen to play in minor sports. Granted that these sports do not spread well around this region, giving a lopsided competitive advantage to host nations. But let's ignore these whiny, cbildish grumbles about unfair medalling advantages. The intangible benefit is that athletes from diverse sporting disciplines are given a
chance to represent their Coun-

their sport of choice, no matter how minor or arcane it may be, These athletes eany the burden of having to promote their sport constantly to reach out to a wider base, I've met ro!ler-sport athletes who have been in it for almost 10 years. To have endured such a lengthy slog in a sport is testament to a sportsman's perseverance. And that, lost among the bickering about fairness, is the crux of letting the Garnes continue to organise minor sports - so that athletes of any sport have a chance to be at the Games. Evely sportsman can have his place in the sun.
It's a unique creed, some-

thing that sets the Games apart from Olympic sports bound by staid, ultra-regulated rules. I, for one, would ruther see more interesting sport at the Garnes, than just the usual 26 Olympic sports, Just don't give me a sport which I can't even watch at the sidelines, like chess. Ilankeong@s"


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tries on the regional stage. It would seem a gracious validation of their dedication to

Intangible: 5bjl;lH~S9 wu fa chu zhT de Creed: li1ijrp xin yang

One-two wakeboard finish for Singapore
SINGAPORE secured its first wakeboarding gold at the South-east Asia Games yesterday, when top wakeboarder Sasha Christian easily won the women's final at the Jakabaring Sports Complex inPalembang. The 18"year-old scored 60_45 points, as compatriot Kayla Kee made it a one-two finish for Singapore,winning silver with 40.23 points. Sasha's brother, zt-yeur-old Matthew, also won a bronze in the men's wakeboard event. While she made winning look easy, the Republic Polytechnic student admitted she was nervous as she wanted to do well for Singapore. She said: "Maintaining my


-I~ 81


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Vietnam Thailand Singapore Malaysia Philippines Laos Cambodia Myanmar Brunei GOLD! Sasha Christian won Singapore's first wakeboarding gold, scoring 60.'1,5 points. (PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES) cool was one of the most difficult things to do but I managed to do that. This is definitely one of the most precious medals 11.1 ever win." Singapore also managed to add foul' more golds last evening, through swimming and table tennis. Tao Li won her sixth gold of the Games with victory in the 100m backstroke, setting a Games record with 1min 2_11sec. The men's 4x200m freestyle relay team of Jeremy Matthews, Clement Lim, Teo Zhen Ren and Danny Yeo also swept to an easy victory in 7:31.98. In Jakarta, it was a one-two Timor-Leste

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PLAYER IS OLDESf MEDALUSf SINGAPORE'S 76-year-old contra ct-bridge player, Ng Lai Chun, has become the oldest medallist so far at the Southeast Asia Games, after being in the six-member women's team that emerged runners-up to hosts Indonssia at the Javaka rta Hotel in Palembang on Tuesday. She also partnered Tan Sock Ngin, 33, and picked up a silver in the women's butler-pairs event on Monday, reported The Jakarta Globe.

finish for the Republic in both the table tennis men's and women's singles events. Gao Ning beat Yang Zi 11-6, 11-9, 12-10, 11-8 to win the men's singles gold, while Feng Tianwei emerged victorious in the women's singles event after beating Isabelle Li 11-3, 11-4, 11-9, 11-5, CHIA HAN KEONG




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Indonesia rules in racket sports at Games

LYMPIC doubles champions Hendra Setiawan and Markis Kido sealed gold for Indonesia's men's badminton team over archrivals Malaysia in the South-east Asia Games on Tuesday. The pair, playing in the second doubles match, breezed by Malaysia's Mak Hee Chun and Soon Hock Ong 21-10, 21-14 to complete a 3-1 victory, sparking jubilation among the raucous home crowd. Malaysia's badminton side, who were booed throughout the four-hour contest, had pegged the hosts back at 1-1, when first


doubles pair Lim Khim Wah and Goh Wei Shem notched a thrilling 21-18, 15-21, 25-23 win over fancied Indonesia duo Mohammad Ahsan and Bona Septano. But Indonesia's second singles player, Tommy Sugiartn - coached by his father and former world singles champion, Icuk - took the hosts clear with a 21-13, 21-17~~n over Mohamad Arif, before Setiawan and Kido completed victory. In tenn is, the Indon esian men's team ended their eight-year wait for a gold with a 2-1 series win over top seed the Philippines at Jakabaring Tennis Stadium in Palembang,

It was Indonesia's first gold in the event since the 2003 SEA Games in Hanoi. American-born Cecil Mamiit put the Philippines ahead, when he beat Elbert Sie 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the first singles match, Huweve r , Christopher Rungkat kept Indonesia alive, levelling the scorewith an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory over .Jeson Patrombon, He and Sie then paired up in the deciding men's doubles rubber, playing aggressively to win 6-1, 6-4 over Mamiit and Treat Conrad Huey, "This is beyond our expectation, Our target was just to reach the semi-finals," a joyous

Rungkat said, "It was the women's team that Were given a gold ta r get, but they failed." Earlier, the women's team fell 0-2 to Thailand in the final and had to be content with silver. Lavinia. Tananta fell 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 to Nungnadda Wannasu k in the first singles, then Ayu Fani Damayanti lost 6-3, 2-6, 5-7 to the 2009 Wimbledon junior champion Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, In athletics, Indonesia's Agus Prayogo again played his part, taking the 5,OOOm gold to add to his 1O,000mwin on Sunday, Thailand - medal-table winners at the last SEA Games -

are in second place behind the hosts with 41 golds, after a blistering performance in the trackand-field events in which they notched 14 golds, eight silvers and 10 bronzes.



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HOSTS: Poland, Ukraine OUAUAED AS GROUP WINNERS: Spain, Denmark, England, Fra nce, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherla nds, Russia. OUAUAED AS BEST GROUP RUNNERS-UP: Sweden. OUAUAED AfTER TUESDAY'S PLAY-OFFS: Croatia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal.

Double from Ronalda helps Portugal land Euro slot

CRISTIANO Ronalda scored twice as Portugal ran out 6-2 winners over Bosnia- Herzegovina on Tuesday to grab a ticket to the Euro 2012 Finals via the two-legged play-offs. Ireland, Czech Republic and Croatia completed the line-up without the need for a frenzied finale to their comfortable first-leg play-off wins last Friday. Portugal's s';cond leg was the only tie still finely balanced following a goalless draw in the first match, and the hosts finally ran out winners after Bosnia were reduced to 10 men when Senad Lulie was sent off. It was a lot easier for the other three qualifiers, who had established comfortable first-leg cushions, with Ireland beating Estonia 5-1 on aggregate and the Czechs and Croats overcoming Montenegro and Turkey by the same 3-0 aggregate scores. Celebrations were in full swing in Dublin before the Irish had even kicked off, holding a 4-0 lead from the first leg.

HERO: Cristiano Ronalda played a big part in Portugal's 6-2 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Any lingering Estonian thoughts of a comeback were wiped out when Stephen Ward swept in a rebound header in the 31st minute. Estonia got a 57th-minute consolation through Konstantin Vassiljev to make it 1-1 but the night belonged to the Irish, who will appear at their first major finals since the 2002 World Cup Finals. It was a sweet moment tor Ireland, who were devastated two years ago when French striker Thieny Henry handled the ball in setting up a. goal bundled in by Willimn Gallas as France beat them to qualify for the 2010 World Cup Finals.

"It's a great night for all the Irish fans, It's a night we'll never forget," Ireland captain Robbie Keane told Sky Sports television. "Om team spirit has got us through this campaign. This is why we play football, for situations like this." Slaven Bilic's Croatia exacted revenge on Turkey with a. 3-0 aggregate win over the country that knocked them out ofthe Euro 2008 quarter-finals on penalties after equalising with the last kick of extra time. Tuesday's match in Zagreb ended goalless but the damage had already been done in last Friday's first leg and the only unfinished business is whether local media reports suggesting Turkey coach Gnus Hiddink will step down eventually come to fruition, Another team whose first-leg advantage proved to be enough were Czech Republic, who reached their fifth successive Em-a Finals beating Montenegro 1-0 in Podgorica to complete a 3-0 aggregate victory, Midfielder Petr Jiracek struck in the 81st minute to make sure of qualification after Montenegro, who like Estonia Were looking to reach their first major tournament, had pushed the Czechs hard ill the second half of the return leg. Czech Republic had their goalkeeper Petr Cech, wearing a specially designed mask after breaking his nose, to thank for pulling off a. series of saves to keep the hosts at bay,

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ENGlAND BEAT SWEDEN IN FRIENDLY DUE TO OWN GOAL ENGLAND beat Sweden for the first time since 1968, when an own goal from defender Daniel Majstorovic handed national coach Fabio Capello's sid e a 1-0 friendly victory at Wembley. AFP SPAIN'S CASILlAS

SPAIN goalie and captain lker Casillas set a new record for the world and European champions with 127intemational caps, when he started in Tuesday's friendly against Costa Rica in San Jose. The 30-year-old Real Madrid custodian, who made his debut against Sweden in June 2000, beat former keeper Andoni Zubizarreta's mark of 126 set in June 1998.






NADAL AND FEDERER TO MEET IN GROUP STAGE OF ATP TOUR RIVALS Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will meet in the group stage of the ATP World Tau r finals starting in London on Sunday, while Novak Djokovic will clash with Andy Murray. The round-robin com petition, which ends the men's tennis season, is made up of two groups of four players, with the top two from eac h pool going through to the semi-finals.

BAS EBALL and softball could merge into a single international governing body in the hope of returning to the Olympics. Officials of the two sports are meeting Olympics officia Is this week to find out how mue h cooperation is required. The two are com petin 9 with karate, roller sports, sports dim bing, squash, wakeboard and wushu for a spot at the 2020 Olympics.


JUSTIN Verlander of the Detroit Tigers won the American League Cy Young Award as the top pitcher on Tuesday, capping a brilliant season in which he led the league in wins, earned run average IERA) and strikeouts. The 28-year-old, who went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts the past season, helped the Tigers advance to the American League Championship Series.

Americans travel more in today's global golf

NE thing can already be said for this Presidents Cup: Americans have come a long way in their willingness to travel. The Presidents Cup - a team golf competition that started in 1994 and which pits an. International team against the Americans - returns to Royal Melbourne for the first time in 13 years. Back in 1998, it was held late in the season, in the second week of December, some six weeks after the Tour Championship, the finale of the USPGA Tour. Hardly anyone was playing meaningful golf. Even fewer felt like going all the way to Australia. But that was the edition in


which the International team handed the United States their worst loss in any team competition, thrashing them 201(2-11'/2. In 2001, when the Matchplay Championship went to Australia, so many Americans stayed away that the tournament went down to No. 104 in the ranking (Greg Kraft) to fill the 64-man field. That led to Stuart Appleby's famous line about the Americans; "They're like a bag of prawns on a hot Sunday; they don't travel well: Now, however, those passport pages fill up quickly. US captain Fred Couples wanted his two captain's picks to play the week before in the Australian Open, and was pleased that six other players joined them. Some of them started even

earlier. Jim Furyk, Bill Haas, HUIlterMahan, David Toms and Nick Watney were in Shanghai the week before fa r the I-ISBC Champions tournament. Furyk and Mahan were in China even earlier, playing iu the Shanghai Masters. Phil Mickelson was in Singapore last week. After the Presidents Cup, Matt Kuchar is headed to China for the World Cup. "I think it's fantastic the way Americans have embraced the way global golf is played nowadays," Internation al captain Greg Norman said on Tuesday. 'The (months after the) Tour Championship gives them the validity of going to Shanghai or Singapcre, or down here to Melbourne or other places around the world to play. And those opportunities, the guys are taking."

While talking about the history of the Presidents Cup a few weeks ago, South Africa's Ernie Els noted that the only two times the International tea.m did not lose was in Melbourne and South Africa. He took a dig at Cup organisers for holding the 2007 edition in Montreal, Canada, saying; "With all due respect to my great friend (Canadian golfer) Mike Weir, but why go to Canacia'?" That was because of concerns that Americans would have to travel long distances, so the tour made it easy for them by going north of the US border. That is no longer necessary, The next overseas Presidents Cup in 2015 is likely to head to either South America or Asia, with South Korea a prime candi-

date. This yea-r's International team has a record four Asian players. Els laughed when it was pointed out to him that, as a South African, he had no choice but to go far to get anywhere. "These American boys are startingto travel a bit more," he said. "And it's good to see."

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JAPAN'S CENTRAL BANK MAINTAINS KEY RATE THE Bank of Japan IBoJ) yesterday left its key rate unchanged at between zero and 0.1 per cent, and held steady on monetary policy despite rising concerns over a high yen and the global economy. In its assessment, the BoJ warned that Japan's growth was slowing amid uncerta inty abroad and market turmoil caused by the euro-zone crisis,


HK risks runaway credit boom

FIlREIGN INVESTIlRS PUMP $1238 INTO 'CHINA. UP 16% FOREIG N direct investment IFD I) into China climbed nearly 16 per cent ill the first 10 months of this year. from a year earlier, as foreign investors continued to flock to the world's fastest·growing maior economy despite the global economic malaise. Chin a drew US$95 billion IS$123 billion) in the first 10 months, up 15.9 per cent from the same period last year, the Commerce Ministry said.

ASIAN EXPORT GROWTH ASIAN export growth may slow modestly rather than slump as Europe fights its debt crisis, Mo rgan Stanley Asia nonexecutive chairman Stephen Roach said. "Barring a total disintegration of the euro zone, I think the deceleration may be relatively contained and relatively modest," Mr Roach said.

ONG Kong's rapid credit growth has. increased the risk of banks making bad loans as the city faces a potential recession if the European crisis deepens, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said, "Credit has been growing at an extraordinary pace, particularly for loans in foreign currency," the IMF said in a report released yesterday. Such growth may "lead to a. worsening of average credit quality" and create "strains on bank funding", it said, The United States Federal Reserve's pledge to keep borrowing costs at near zero through at least mid-20l3 and credit tightening in China have spurred loan demand from Chinese companies in Hong Kong, where a currency peg means the city's interest rates track those in the US. Chief Executive Donald Tsang warned last week that there is a 50 per cent chance that the global economy will shrink next year and Hong Kong may see "a couple of quarters of bad times"
as Europe's debt crisis roiled mar-


rates on demand for loans, Mr Norman Chan, head of the HKMA, said on Nov 4. The city's de facto central bank asked lenders in April to reassess theirfunding plans amid concerns that "unsustainable" credit growth will curb liquidity and cut loan quality. The rising liquidity strain may hurt bank-asset quality and limit profit growth, China International Capital Corporation said in a report this month. The IMF expects Hong Kong's next year, down from 5,75 per cent this year, 011 weaker export demand. Should the European crisis worsen and bring a "sudden downside shock" that cuts global growth by 3 percentage points, the city will fall into recession and th~ city government should prepare to adopt immediate fiscal stimulus such as tax reductions, the IMF said. Hong Kong skirted a recession in the third quarter, when the economy expanded 0.1 per cent from the previous three months, government data showed last week. "Domestic growth is quite strong. The economy appears to be operating above potential," Mr Nigel Chalk, the IMF's Washington-based China mission chief, said yesterday via a video teleconference. '{From a. macro-economic pereC0110nlY to slow to 4 per cent

specrive, you don't see the need for universal transfers" to households via one-off measures including cash handouts, and such temporary policies could be discontinued in the upcoming budget, he said.

RELIEF: Hong Kong skirted recession partly because ofMr Donald Tsang's relief measures. its in other currencies that result in higher funding costs, the. IMF

The city will address the needs of the middle cl ass in the budget in February, Mr Tsang said last month after announcing relief measures for low- income families. The government doled out HK$6,000 (S$l,OOO) in cash to each permanent resident in a budget U-turn in March. Besides weakness in global trade, Hong Kong is grappling with elevated inflation and the risk of a slumping housing market. Consumer-price growth will ease to a range of 4 pel' cent to 5
per cent next year on slowdown

China needs to raise the convertibility of its capital account to encourage yuan repatriation as the offshore market continues to grow, it added. As Hong Kong-dollar loans rose with contracted deposits, the loan-to-deposit ratio in the local CUrren cy increased to 87 per cent by the end of Septernber.Trorn '78 per cent a year ear-

in the global economy and foodprice gains imported from China, the IMF said.

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lier, Hong Kong Monetary Authoritv (HKMA) (lata released on Oct 31 showed. There is scope for the city's banks to further raise interest



Developer Yanlord surges as Terzetto raises stake
SHARES of Yanlord La.nd Group surged as much as 14.6 per cent yesterday after a company linked to billionaire investor Peter Lim raised its stake in the Singapore-listed Chinese developer. Terzetto Capital bought more than 8:7 million shares in the company, raising its stake to 5.1 pel' cent from 4.65 per cent, Yanlord said in a regulatory filing, Terzetto bonght the shares in the open market at an average price of S$1.0583 per share, Mr Lim has a deemed interest in the shares held by Terzetto, according to Yanlord, Wilrnnr International chairman Kuok Khoon Hong and VOB Kay Hian Holdings chairman Wee Ee Chao also raised their deemed interest in Yanlord to more than 5 per cent, Yanlord said in separate filings. Yanlord shares rose 9.4 per cent to S$1.16 at 1.43pm yester-

NEW Hope Group, China's largest animal-feed produc er, will launch an overseas fund this month with international investors, including Temasek Holdings, president Liu Yonghao said. Confirmed international investors of the agricultural fund, which will be managed by New Hope, inc luded Temasek, New York·listed Archer-DanielsMidland and Japan's Mitsui & Co, Mr Uu said.

day, with 31.7 million shares changing hands. The trade was around 2.7 times the average daily volume in the last 30 days. Traders said Mr Lim's investment suggests that he believes the stock to be oversold amid concerns about the Chinese residential-property market. "Before the surge, the stock was trading at about 60-65 per cent discount to consensus NAV (net asset value)," said Mr Donald Chua, an analyst at CIMB Research, Yanlord is one of the stronger Chinese property developers, enjoying much-higher-thanusual margins for its projects,

which are predominantly located in prime cities such as Shanghai, he added. It is not deal' when Terzetto and the Singapore tycoons first bought shares in Yanlord, as Singapore Exchange rules require disclosure of purchases only when the stake crosses 5 per cent. Yanlord did not respond to queries from Reuters. Yanlord, whose main shareholder is founder and chief executive Zhong Sheng Jinn, posted a 99 per cent drop in quarterly net profit last week to 6.5 million yuan (5$1.3 minion), which it blamed on lower sales of properties during the period,





Rising yen forces firms to produce outside Japan

Citigroup may cut up to 3,000 jobs

CITIGROUP, which shook up senior management earlier this month, may cut as many as 3,000 jobs as chief executive Vikram Pandit squeezes out costs, said a person familiar with the company's plans. The reduction, equal to about I per cent of staff, is an estimate and may change, according to the

source. Among the jobs eliminated may be 900 from. the division that includes the bank's trading and investment-banking operations, the source said. Citigroup, ranked third by assets among lenders in the United States, employed about 267,000 people at the end of the third quarter. "As part of our ongoing efforts to control expenses, we are making targeted head-count reductions in cer-





Citi," Ms Dnnielle

Apsilos, a spokesman for New York-based Citigroup, said in an e-mailed statement. Citigroup posted a 74 pel' cent increase in third-quarter profit, aided by a US$1.9-billion (S$2.5~bil~ lion) accounting gain that softened the impact oflower trading and investment-banking revenue.

HE "Made in Japan" brand is at a crossroads as more firms face a tongh choice of whether or not to move production overseas to escape the impact of a relentlessly rising yen, say analysts. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, some 46 per cent of large manufacturers it surveyed in August said they would move production bases abroad if the unit stays at around 76 yen (S$1.28) against the United States dollar for half a year. Now near 77 yen to the greenback, the currency's strength risks causing the collapse of the Japanese car industry, Toyota executive vice-president Satoshi Ozawa said last week. Toyota's first-half net profit dived 72 per cent partially because of the impact of the strong yen. For the maker of the Prius hybrid, every one yen rise against the US dollar would wipe tens of billions of yen from annual operating profit. For the year ending in March, Toyota made around half of its cars in Japan, more than rival Nissan, The natiou's biggest carmaker, along with other Japanese giants such as Sony, Mazda, Honda and Canon all released recent quarterly reports showing profits eroded by the impact of the strong yen and the March disasters. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has spoken of his fear of industrial "hollowing out" as HElPDESK !ltR!J*1! companies threaten to take jobs overseas. RelenllessIY:1M~::r-(l'j[±i!! Japan's efforts to chi xu bu duan de intervene in markets to weaken the yen have Operalingprofit: '§'ill!.'flJiIl] had little lasting ylng y8 Ii run impact. For semiconductorDeci mated: fi'l l'1fJEgr 11M;!:j> foundry and dataxiang dang chenq storage firm Elpida du de jian shao Memory, the shift of 40 per cent of the Diligent: lJJl'ife~ qin fen de firm's production from its home in Japan to Taiwan had been imperative as a high Japanese unit erodes profits. "Under this currency situation, we had to carry out (the plan) no matter what," president Yukio Sakamota said recently when the chipmaker announced a net loss of 56.7 billion yen in the first half ending in September. Recent supply shocks caused by the March earthquake and tsunami have only helped to accelerate the
process) said analysts.


Mr Takahiro Sekido, chief economist at Credit Agricole Securities Asia in Tokyo, said: "To survive, Japanese makers need to concentrate further on what no one but Japan can do." Au example lies in microprocessor firm Renesas, which has a roughly 40 per cent sb are of the global market for car-engine and brake-system microcontrollers. Production was decimated by the March disasters and a shortage of its processors sent shockwaves through the global car industry. For many, it illustrated that Japan remains a "manufacturing kingdom". Mr Kazuma Sekiya, president of Disco, a Tokyobased firm controlling 80 per cent of the global market for machines that grind and cut microchips, believes that J apan will survive as a manufacturing nation. "In Japan, we have excellent suppliers and diligent workers," he said. "Even if We built factories overseas, we would have to take almost all the parts from Japan."





New rules put ED banks in a quandary
EELING from their exposure to the euro-zone debt crisis and needing to bolster their capital base, European banks are slashing their government-bond holdings but risk making matters worse. Top banks announced recently that they are cutting their portfolios ofbunds issued by weak eure-zone members such as Portu-


gal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain, aiming to minimise the risk to profit and their capital French bank BNP Paribas led the way, announcing yesterday that it had cut its total holdings of' bonds issued by these five countries from 28.9 billion euros (S$50.4 billion) at the end of

June to 16.5 billion euros at the end oflast month. The debt crisis savaged profits too, with profit down 71.6 per cent from a year earlier to 541 million euros in the third quarter. BNP said it had to make a provision or2.25 billion euros to covel' a 60 per cent write-down on its holding of Greek bonds. If that was excluded, profit would have been 1.95 billion eUl'OS,up 2.4 pet cent. Many others such as Barelays and HSBC of Britain, and Germany's Cornmerzbank have adopted the same policy, citing common prudence and the need to increase their capital as tougher
new regulations come into force.

server while their reluctance to hold all but the safest bonds will make it more difficult for weak borrowers to raise fresh finance. Combined, the two developments threaten to undercut efforts to stabilise the Euro zone's

The banks warn that the tighter rules will hit profits since more capital will be tied up in re-

massive debt problems and ensure the banks do their job at the same time - lend money to boost business activity. BNP chief executive Baudouin Prot said his bank had no option but to reduce the value of' its bond holdings under new rules that they should be set against their actual ruarket price, not what they had been bought for. "Bearing that in mind, it is Our responsibility to limit the impact of this volatility' on the bank, Mr Prot said, adding that BNP would raise its core capital

ratio to 9.1 pel' cent of overall assets by the middle of next year, above the 9 per cent required. "As the banks get rid of their government bond holdings, the value of these holdings will fall even further," noted Mr Charles Dallara, head of the banks' lobby group, the Institute of International Finance. Societe Generale head Frederic Oudea said "the lower trend (in bank bond holdings) is inevitable". Analysts note that some banks have been reluctant to cut holdings of' bonds issued by their home governments, citing; Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo or Monte de Paschi di Siena. The cost, however, of such a course can be very high. On Monday, Italy's top bank UniCredit reported a massive third quarter loss of10.64 billion

euros and said it needed to mise 7·5 billion euros in fresh capital while slashing 5,000 jobs by 2015. UniCredit blamed the losses on 10.17 billion eur o s in
write-downs "due to the nega-

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Spanish economy stays stagnant as exports slow

SPAIN'S economic growth stalled in the third quarter, as export growth slowed, undermining the country's efforts to stem a surge in borrowing costs to record highs. Gross domestic product was unchanged from the previous quarter, when it expanded 0.2 per cent, the Madrid-based N ational Statistics Institute said yesterday, confirming an estimate last Friday. The economy expanded 0.8 pel'

cent from a year earlier. Household spending rose 0.4 pel' cent from a year earlier, after contracting in the previous quarter, and exports grew 8.1 per cent from a year earlier, slowing from 8.7 pel' cent in the second quarter, 111e faltering recovery and surge in unemployment to 23 per cent may make it harder for Spain to reach its budget-deficit goals, adding pressure on the government that emerges from the general elec-

ing cuts. The euro-area economy is also struggling, with data on Tuesday showing that it failed to accelerate in the third quarter, The yield on Spain's to-year benchmark bond fell 2 basis points to 6.318 per cent yesterday. The gap over German yields, which widened yesterday to a euro-era high, was 453 basis points. At an auction on Tuesday, Spain paid 5.02 per cent to borrow for one year, more than it was paying on lO-year debt at the start of last month. Spain's economy will grow 0.7 pel' cent this year and next, the
European Commission forecast last

tion on Sunday to accelerate spend-



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IPETROL PRICES BY 32% INDIAN state oil refiners will cut petrol prices by about 3.2 per cent from Wednesday, the first red uction in three years as well as since pricing controls ended 18 months ago, in a move that could help to ease inflation now near double digits. Oil firms will now revise prices and pass on cha nges to customers fortnightly.

HKrisks runaway credit boom A20

Tomasek 'bought China bank shares'
EMASEK Holdings bought shares of China Construction Bank (CCB), a person with knowledge of the matter said, signalling its increased participation in China's financial sector as United States banks retreated. Ternasek bought about a third of the stock that Bank of America is selling at HK$4.93 (S$0.82) apiece, another person with knowledge of the matter said, declining to be identified because the information hasn't been announced. Two Chinese institutions will buy the rest of the 10.4 billion shares Bank of America is selling, the person said. Foreign investors, including Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Royal Bank of Scotland have trimmed more than US$25 billion of holdings in Chinese lenders since the heginning of 2009, according to data, compiled by Bloomberg. Bank of America said it will sell the stock in private transactions for a profit of about US$1.8 billion, leaving it with a 1 per cent stake in the Beijing-based lender.


TIGER G.IVEN OK TO EXPAND AUSTRAUAN OPERATIONS SHARES of Singapore budget carrier Tiger Airways rose as much as 4.5 per cent yesterday after its Australian unit received regulatory approval to operate a maximum of 32 sectors per day, up from the current limit of 22 sectors. The approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia takes immediate effect.

AXIATA TO HOLD ON TO IDEA CELLULAR STAKE MALAYSIA'S Axiata Group, which owns about a fifth of Indian mobile-phone carrier Idea Cellular. does not plan to sell its stake in the Indian company, considering itselt a long-term investor, Axiata said yesterday. Idea, controlled by India's Aditya Birla conglomerate, is the country's fourth-biggest mo bile operator, with more than 100 million subscribers. Axiata bought a stake in Idea in 2008.

'This is an advantage that Temasek has at this time, especially when European and US banks are trying their best to raise cash," said Dr Eugene Tan, an assistant professor of law at the Singapore Management University. "It suggests a quiet optimism. I get a sense that this deep interest in China at a time when companies and investors are generally wmy suggests that Temasek is keen to have a firstmover advantage." Temasek paid about HK$17 billion for the China Construction Bank shares, based on Bloomberg calculations. About 3.76 billion shares were traded on Tuesday in it private transaction at HK$4.93 each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Mr Stephen For shaw, a spokesman for 'I'cmasek, declined to comment on "market speculation". Mr Mark Tsang, a Bank of America spokesman in Hong Kong, had no comment. Charlotte, North Carolinabased Bank of America said, without providing names, that the buyers were a group of investors. This month, Goldman Sachs

raised US$L1 billion (S$1.4 billion) selling shares of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, trimming an investment first made in 2006 after the stock posted its biggest monthly rally in 2'/" years. The three biggest Chinese banks posted their worst quarterly stock performance in the third quarter on concern that local governments may default an loans. The lenders' credit outlook may sour in the absence of a government plan to deal with the issue, Moody's Investors Service said in July, while regulators globally are demanding that banks increase buffers. Temasek, along with Government of Singapore Investment Corp, spent mare than US$25 billion buying stakes in US and European banks in the past four years as the collapse of the subprime mortgage market led to more than US$ 2 trillion in losses and writedowns worldwide. Temasek sold its 3.8 per cent stake in Bank of America in the first quarter of2009 and also divested its 2 per cent stake in London-based Barclays. The company, which managed S$193 billion as of March,

didn't detail the size of its losses from the investments. Huijin, a unit of China's sovereign wealth fund, is also interested in buying China Construction Bank stock from Bank of America, Hong Kong Economic Journal reported, citing people it didn't identify. Huijin may form a group with Temasek and other investors to purchase the shares, the newspaper said, A call to Huijin's Beijing media office wasn't answered immediately, Temasek, Advent International Corp and at least three other investors are also in talks to buy a controlling stake in Servieos & 'I'ecnologia de Pagamentos (STP), a Brazilian electronic-toIl-collection company, two people familiar with the negotiations said. STP, based in Osaseo, hired Banco BTG Paetual to sell an undisclosed stake to fund expansion, said one of the sources. GIC also bonght 55.1 million shares, or 0.6 per cent, in the July initial public offering in Hong Kong of Sun Art Retail Group, China's largest hypermarket operator.

Apple signals change with top appointments

IPLUS EXPRESSWAYS PLANS TO ISSUE $12B OF SUKUK PLUS Expressways, Malaysia's biggest toll-rca d operator, plans a RM30-billion (S$12.3-billion) Islamic-bond programme to fund expansion plans of its new majority shareholders, sources sa id, Marketing of the syariahcompliant bonds, or suku k, may begin either late this year or early next year, said the sources.

CIMB THIRD-QUARTER PROFIT RISES 10% TO S413M CIMB Group, Malaysia's secondbiggest bank. said third-quarter profit rose 10 per cent, boosted by profits from Islamic banking and lowe r provisions. Profit climbed to RM1.Dl billion lS$413.4 millionl. or 13.6 sen per share, in the three months ending an Sept 30, from RM915.7 million, or 12.7 sen per share, a year earlier, the company said.

APPLE on Tuesday named a new board chairman, in another signal that the technology giant would not be run the same way as it was under its co-founder, Mr Steve Jobs. Mr Arthur Levinson, the chairman of Genentech who has been on the Apple board since 2000, would become its nonexecutive chairman, Apple said. The company also elected to its board Mr Robert Iger, the chief executive of Walt Disney. The move comes at a time when Apple is strengthening its connections to the entertainment business. The elevation of Mr Levinson, one of the longest -serving Apple board members, could provide some continuity in the senior leadership of Apple as it seeks to maiutain its success without M r Jobs, who died of cancel' last month. Apple did not have an official chairman after Mr Jobs returned to the company in the late 1990s as CEO. But he was widely viewed as having all the

authority and influence of someone with that title. Mr Jobs took the title of chairman only after resigning as CEO in late August, holding the position for the few weeks before his death. By naming Mr Levinson chairman, and not giving the titIe to Apple's new CEO, MrTimothy Cook, Apple is moving more in line with corporate-governance practices at other companies' experts in the field said, Dividing the duties of chairm an and CEO is believed to provide more independent oversight of a company than if one individual holds both titles. "For an organisation going through the kind of change Apple is going through, it can be particularly helpful," said Mr Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. "You have changes in culture, lines of authority and leadership. You want. many eyes on that process and many talents to be used: Mr Cook praised Mr Levinson's appointment in a. statement.

OLD HANDS: Genentech chairman Arthur Levinson (right) has been named non-executive chairman of Apple, while Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger was appointed to the company's board. "He has been our longest serving co-lead director, and his insight and leadership are incredibly valuable to Apple, our employees and our shareholders," he said. Mr Iger's appointment to the board also harks back to Mr Jobs' era in a sense. Mr Jobs founded Pixar Animation and sold it to Disney in 2006, thereby making him a board member and the largest individual shareholder at Disney. Mr Jobs' involvement with Disney created a perception in Hollywood that the entertainment company was among the more enthusiastic backers of Apple's efforts to bridge technology and entertainment. Deeper ties to Hollywood could help Apple's plans for more ambitious products in areas like television. One corporate-governance expert, Professor Charles Elson, who teaches corporate governance at the University of Delaware, questioned whether Mr 1ger would be able to render impartial judgments on Apple's strategy that could affect Disney. But Apple currently makes most of its money from hardware and not entertainment, so independence concerns are not likely to be much of a factor in Mr Igers service.




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