Archive | August, 2003

Lara Is Back

29 Aug


Lara is back

THIS SEQUEL to the 2001 hit video-game adaptation, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” finds Jan de Bont stepping in for director Simon West, helming his first feature since “The Haunting” (1999).

From a script by first-time scribe Dean Georgaris, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” finds Angelina Jolie once again portraying the titular curvaceous adventurer. But where the first film saw Croft in a race against the Illuminati to acquire an elusive relic that offers control over life and death, this entry in the series follows the heroine as she ventures into an underwater temple in search of the mythological Pandora’s Box.

Unfortunately, once she secures the legendary artefact, it is promptly stolen by the villainous leader of a Chinese crime syndicate.

It is then up to Lara to get the box back before an evil mastermind gets hold of it and uses it to construct a weapon of catastrophic capabilities. Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounsou, and Noah Taylor head up the supporting cast. Produced by Lloyd Levin, the film will hit the city’s cinema halls on September 5.


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Tribunal Set Up To Expedite Disputes Between Homebuyer And Developer

6 Aug

KUALA LUMPUR Aug 5 – The Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims was set up to enable disputes raised by homebuyers against housing developers worth not more than RM25,000 to be easily resolved, the High Court heard Tuesday.

Senior Federal Counsel Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid said this was stated by the Minister of Housing and Local Government when presenting the Bill in respect of the amendment to the Housing Developers (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 in parliament.

She said that matters heard in the tribunal would not entail the engagement of lawyers nor take a long time to resolve and therefore would be a cheaper mode for disputes resolution.

“It can therefore be seen that it was the expressed intention of parliament to provide for immediate relief and remedy to existing aggrieved homebuyers,” Umi Kalthum said.

She said that the Act is also a piece of social legislation with the object to provide a measure of protection to the homebuyers, who are economically in a weaker position, in their relationship with the housing developers, and therefore the purposive approach of interpretation must be adopted to enable the full effect of the Act to be achieved.

Umi Kalthum was submitting before Justice Datuk Mohamed Raus Sharif who heard the application for judicial review brought by a housing developer, Puncakdana Sdn Bhd, against the tribunal and 50 housebuyers.

Puncakdana has applied to the Appellate and Special Powers Division of the High Court stating that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear or determine claims brought before it by the 50 housebuyers.

Meanwhile, counsel T.Vicknaraj who acted as friend of the court or “amicus curae” told the court that the initial objective of the Act was to protect homebuyers and govern recalcitrant developers.

Therefore, he said, to interprete it otherwise would defeat the intention of parliament to protect the housebuyers.

Vicknaraj, from the National Housebuyers Association, also told the court that he was directly involved in drafting the amendment to the Act in March 3, 2000.

Vicknaraj, who appeared with Azharuddin Ahmad Jais and Balvinder Singh as amicus curae in the hearing, said that the task force drafting the amendment included representatives from the Housing and Local Government Ministry, housing developers and various consumer groups.

“The scale of justice in commerce is not fair for the man in the street and the Act is there to balance it,” he said.

In its application, Puncakdana maintained that the Act does not expressly provide for retrospective effect, therefore the tribunal could not hear and determine dispute cases arising from sale and purchase agreements signed before Dec 1 2002 when the tribunal was formed.

The developer is seeking an order to quash the awards given by the tribunal to six of 50 housebuyers who lodged complaints of late delivery of their houses and failure to complete the common facilities.

The company also sought a declaration that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the claims lodged by the 50 housebuyers and a declaration that the awards were invalid, ultra void and of no effect.

Puncakdana is also seeking for an Order of Prohibition to stop the tribunal from proceeding with hearing and determining the claims lodged by the remaining 44 housebuyers, costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.

On June 17, Justice Mohamed Raus directed that the developer’s application for judicial review be heard together with another application of the same nature by Westcourt Corporation Sdn Bhd, as a test case.

Another developer, Fadason Holdings Sdn Bhd has also applied for judicial review against the tribunal and 39 housebuyers and the case is fixed for hearing before the same court.

The decision in the case will have a binding effect on other cases of the same nature in the future.

Hearing continues.

Utusan Malaysia

Success Through Failure

2 Aug


Success through failure

By Helen Kirwan-Taylor


If you want to make it to the very top today, you have to first fall flat on your face.

“She knows there’s no success like failure,” sang Bob Dylan, long before celebrity calamity became all the rage. Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, must have also had an inkling, too, when he wrote: “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” Success, the kind where you work really hard and riches follow, is a concept that seems to have died with internet start-ups and big hair: if you want to make it to the very top today, you have to first fall flat on your face.

Even a prison sentence is hardly a hindrance. Some would say it is a smart career move. Jeffrey Archer was rich already, but two years in prison seem likely to make him even richer (offers for after-dinner speeches are flooding in; his second volume of prison diaries has just been published).

Nothing gets you noticed quite like public humiliation. It is something every Hollywood studio would love to package, if only they knew how. When the actress, Winona Ryder, was caught shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue, in Los Angeles, and was given three years’ probation and a ΰ12,000 fine, many predicted the death of her career. Were they kidding? Marc Jacobs, the American designer whose clothes she was caught stealing, chose her for this summer’s advertising campaign (her face is on every bus in New York). “Of course it will be controversial, but it won’t be in a negative way,” says the company’s president, Robert Duffy. “The shoplifting incident was a very minor thing, but the press made a huge deal out of it,” says Bill Stadiem, a Hollywood scriptwriter. “It was a shrewd career move on her part. Ryder never was a big box office hit — she needed this.”

Michael Barrymore has really tasted failure. The 51-year-old was dumped by ITV last year after the death of party-goer Stuart Lubbock in his swimming pool. But he is back: he will perform in a seven-week run at Wyndham’s Theatre in London starting in September. “I am delighted to be returning to my roots and my first love of live theatre and am very much looking forward to performing to a West End audience,” he says. Barrymore has even been taking advice from former Blue Peter presenter, Richard Bacon, who was sacked from the programme for taking cocaine (before his new-found controversial streak landed him jobs presenting The Big Breakfast and Top of the Pops). The two stars are taking part in a debate at the upcoming Edinburgh Television Festival on whether celebrities’ private lives should affect their on-screen careers.

Perhaps the best example of a celebrity turning failure to her advantage is Sarah Ferguson. Not so long ago, she was the subject of public ridicule, and broke. Now, she is rich, thin, well-versed at failure-speak and a fixture on American cable television. Her best-selling book, What I Know Now: Simple Lessons, Learned the Hard Way includes chapters with titles such as “Forgiving the Past.”

“When celebrities fail, they become real people,” says Skinner. “We feel that we’re getting one up on them because their perfect world has exploded.”

Cary Cooper, a professor of organisational psychology and health at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, calls this celebrity Schadenfreude the “ambulance effect”: “Celebrities make big comebacks after failure due to the fact that we all make mistakes and we want to hear how previously successful people coped with difficult situations in their lives.”

Failure became a buzz word when the dotcom bubble burst in the late 1990s. Many paper millionaires instantly became part of the “90 per cent club” (people who had lost 90 per cent of their wealth, or more). The casualties got together and “dot-commiserated.” Ernst Malmsten, the founder of Boo.com, one of the greatest Internet catastrophes, instantly capitalised on events with his book, Boo Hoo: A dot.com story from concept to catastrophe.

“Our culture admires a risk-taker who fails more than a coward who never succeeds,” says Justin Sewell, the co-founder of Despair.com, a spoof website that champions corporate failure and sells “demotivational paraphernalia,” from “half empty glasses” to under-performance plaques.

Getting the sack used to mean career death: now, it is worn as a badge of courage. “Failure is a kind of macho celebration,” says Rob Goffee, the Deputy Dean of London Business School. “It says you’ve got battle scars. When someone gets sacked, it makes him or her significant. It implies they took risks.” Thousands of City workers have been sacked in the past few years. “There’s no stigma attached any more,” says headhunter Philippa Rose, of the Rose Partnership. “It used to be the bottom 10 per cent who were let go, now it’s the bottom 40 per cent.”

Failure paralyses or it motivates. “If you’re going to benefit from failure, you have to have certain skills,” says Goffee. “The best leaders are good at admitting their failures. Good leadership rests on the acknowledgement of incompetence.”

Once you’ve failed, you join a very exclusive club. You do not exactly have war wounds; but you do not trust anyone who has not tasted battle.


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