Archive | November, 2007

Bengkel Harmoni Bersama Aura Seri

30 Nov
ROSYAM Nor dan Dr. Ibrahim Ahmad (empat dari kiri) sedang beramah mesra dengan peserta Bengkel Harmoni Bersama Aura Seri yang diadakan di Kuala Lumpur, baru-baru ini.

SETELAH menjelajah ke Johor Bahru, Kuantan dan Pulau Pinang, akhirnya Bengkel Harmoni Bersama Aura Seri anjuran majalah Harmoni terbitan Utusan Karya Sdn. Bhd. menemui lokasi terakhirnya iaitu di Hotel Quality, Kuala Lumpur.

Bengkel sehari itu bertujuan memberi peluang kepada orang ramai, khususnya pembaca majalah Harmoni menimba ilmu bersama pakar motivasi, Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Ahmad.

Peserta dihidangkan dengan topik-topik yang menarik seperti Membina Keluarga Harmoni dan Mendidik Anak Ke Arah Kecemerlangan.

Selain itu terdapat tip kecantikan wajah dan memelihara kecantikan dalam daripada pengasas Aura Seri, Norzainah Abdul Ghani atau Ira. Beliau juga mengajar teknik-teknik senaman bagi menghangatkan hubungan suami isteri.

Paling menarik ialah kemunculan artis popular, Rosyam Nor yang menceritakan pengalaman kehidupan berumah tangga dan rahsia kejayaan dalam bidang seni serta perniagaan.

Di samping itu, beliau turut berkongsi rahsia awet muda dan tip untuk mengekalkan keremajaan kulit wajah lelaki dan wanita.

Setiap peserta menerima tiga bulan (enam keluaran) percuma majalah Harmoni dan cenderamata daripada Aura Seri, manakala tujuh peserta bengkel yang bertuah membawa pulang pelbagai hadiah menarik menerusi cabutan bertuah.

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Trip The Light Fantastic

30 Nov


Trip the light fantastic

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

Madhuri Dixit insists it is by chance and not design that her big comeback jive, Aaja Nachle, is a dance film


Dance with me Madhuri Dixit is on familiar ground in Aaja Nachle

In this day and age of reinvention — look at Madonna who went from pop tart and disco queen to earth mother and retro revival goddess — it is a tad surprising that Madhuri Dixit who had the world and then some more dance to her tunes in t
he Eighties and Nineties chose Anil Mehta’s “Aaja Nachle” to announce her return to tinsel town.

“I did not go looking for a dance film you know,” Madhuri says with a hearty laugh.

“It all just came together. The film has a lot of layers and is not only about dancing. ‘Nachle’ is also about the triumph of the human spirit.”

Madhuri says the fact that “Nachle” is produced by the Yash Raj banner was a big plus. “Yashji has worked with married actors before and is mindful of our needs and commitments.”

The “ek do teen” girl’s first thought on being offered the role of Dia was “is the public still interested in seeing me. That was my immediate reaction. No, I did not say ‘yes’ right away. I thought about it, discussed it with my family. I was not sure if it would all pan out you know. I took four to five days to make up my mind.”

Madhuri says it was no walk in the park there after.

“Of course I was nervous! But then when I stood in front of the camera, it was like I had never gone away. Everything miraculously fell in place.”

Talking about her role, the 42-year-old mum of two says: “I play Dia, who leaves her small town, Shamili, to go to New York where she makes a name for herself as a choreographer.

She returns to Shamili when her guru calls her, as his theatre, Ajanta, is under threat from builders who want to tear it down.” One of the things one remembers about Madhuri in the eighties and nineties apart from nimble dance routines are the truly hideous costumes! Who can forget the frizzy hair topped with gaudy ribbons, the garish make up and the huge, tacky accessories?

All that changed in 1997 with Yash Chopra’s “Dil to Pagal Hai”. Haute couturier Manish Malhotra stepped in and turned Madhuri into a sexy swan. The matte look coupled with flowing chiffons and nude make up created a serendipity of style.

No prizes for guessing who is doing Madhuri’s clothes for “Nachle.” “Manish has designed for me. Since the movie is set in a small town, and I am a working woman, my clothes are not very glamorous. They are all about comfort.” Anil Mehta has already spoken of the burden of expectations for what is being touted as Madhuri’s comeback film—it is not like she has been away forever. Sanjay Leela Bansali’s paean to retinal fatigue, “Devdas”, was released just five years ago.

Different strokes

Talking about expectations, the good doctor Nene’s missus says: “Expectations are so varied. Each person would be looking for something else, so the best thing to do is believe in the film and everything else will fall in place.”

In the five years she has been away being wife and mum in the US of A, Madhuri says of the changes in tinsel town: “Corporates and multiplexes have changed the map of the movies. Now we have access to the best of everything — from technical support to writers, music, everything. There is greater discipline and everything is planned to the last little detail. This has made working in the movies very easy for actors.”

Madhuri feels audiences and filmmakers have matured and are more accepting of married actors now. “Kajol did a wonderful job in ‘Fanaa.’ You may say these roles are few and far between but at least it is a start and people are attempting something different.”

And to all of us who moan the mindless monotony of every actor, la Dixit says: “You mean every actor has the same make up and straight hair? Well, that is because some one in Paris decides the look of the season and everyone blindly follows it. But the soul of a film is created by the actor and that will come through irrespective of the styling!” While it is easy for us as audience to pick our preferred Madhuri Dixit film, Ms. Twinkle Toes finds it a tough task to pick her favourite.

“It is hard to say. Every film is special in its own way. I learnt something from each of my films. As of now my favourite film is “Nachle’ as I had so much fun. It was great working with all these talented young actors.”

Mehta has said how working with Madhuri was very easy as she is very down to earth. “That is the way I am. It does not require any particular effort.”

Madhuri does not want to commit about whether she would take up other acting assignments in the future. “I don’t want to compromise on my boys,” the yummy mummy signs off with suitable maternal flourish.


Hindu On Net

Live And Loud Goes Acoustic

30 Nov

Dayang Nurfaizah (left) and James Morrison woo the crowd with soulful renditions.
Dayang Nurfaizah (left) and James Morrison woo the crowd with soulful renditions.

KUALA LUMPUR: The week-long Live and Loud 2007 concert continued to draw the crowd last night with performances from local and international artistes.

Soulful Dayang Nurfaizah opened the Acoustic Night at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here with her hit song, Kasih, and Christina Aguilera’s Hurt.

The night’s performance continued with British singer James Morrison, whose good looks had the women asking for more.

The 23-year-old serenaded an estimated 2,000 fans with songs such as Wonderful World, The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore and You Give Me Something from his debut album Undiscovered.

The night ended with a performance by Australia’s very own King of Ballads, Rick Price.

The 46-year-old crooner delighted fans with evergreen songs such as Heaven Knows and Not A Day Goes By.

Live and Loud 2007 will continue with Jazz night at Zouk, Jalan Ampang, at 7pm today, featuring Indonesian and Malaysian singers Tompi, Noryn Aziz and Maliq And D’ Essentials.

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Thai Candidates Accused Of Vote-Buying With Viagra: Official

30 Nov

BANGKOK: Parliamentary candidates in Thailand’s upcoming election are trying to buy the votes of elderly men by passing out free Viagra, a local government official said on Friday.

Thais head to the polls on December 23 for the first time since the military toppled the elected prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a bloodless coup last year.

Residents in Prathumthani, on the northern outskirts of Bangkok, reported some of the candidates were passing out doses of the anti-impotence drug in exchange for promised votes, said Sayan Nopkham, a local government official.

“The villagers told me they have been given one or two pills of Viagra by candidates. Then they come to me to ask for more pills, or sometimes coffee, in exchange for voting for my brother, who is also running for a seat,” he told AFP.

Thailand has a long history of vote-buying, but laws banning it have recently been toughened.

Anyone found guilty of buying votes could face up to 10 years in prison while voters who accept money face up to five years in jail.

Charungwit Phumma, an investigator with the Election Commission, said he had received no formal complaints about a Viagra-for-votes scheme.

“It’s a funny claim,” he said.

Charungwit said the most common complaints filed with his office were voters being paid to join a political party or being promised cash for going to the ballot box.

– AFP/so

Channel News Asia

Indonesia Faces Prospect Of Explosion In Sexually-Transmitted HIV Cases

30 Nov

JAKARTA: Indonesia faces the prospect of an explosion in HIV infections transmitted through sex.

And, the social and economic costs of AIDS are expected to increase rapidly.

To prevent a possible HIV epidemic, Jakarta will for the first time launch a controversial campaign to promote condom use even between husband and wife.

Nancy Fee, Indonesia’s country coordinator for UNAIDS, said: “Indonesia has such a large population, the population is very mobile, the population is young, and all those are elements that give concern. And we’re still on the upward curve of the epidemic. We aren’t seeing figures levelling off at all.”

At last count, more than 200,000 Indonesians are infected with HIV.

Almost half of these are intravenous drug users.

But experience in other Asian countries shows that this pattern of infection will soon change.

More infections will be via sexual transmission and this will make the general population more vulnerable to the disease.

Nancy Fee said: “We are actually in the process of transition. Over the coming few years, the majority of new infections will come through sexual transmission. This is actually quite a dangerous time for an epidemic in Asia, and follows a general pattern in Asia where injecting drug use is like the engine of the train which starts the epidemic off.”

To put the brakes on the spread of the virus, Jakarta health authorities will actively encourage the use of condoms, starting with a week-long campaign.

This initiative is controversial and is expected to spark protests from conservative Muslim groups in the country.

They are likely to oppose any contraceptive measures on religious grounds and say the campaign to encourage the use of condoms will encourage promiscuity.

The condom campaign is not just targeted at those who buy sex or homosexual men.

Married couples have also been included as trends show that more husbands and wives are infecting each other.

Nafsiah Mboi, Indonesia’s National AIDS Commission secretary, said: “That is why we have decided to promote condom use in the family, even though there’s still a lot of controversy. But our condom promotion does not stand alone. We still say most Indonesians benefit from religious education, from what we called ketahanan keluarga – family resilience – those are two most important things.”

Meanwhile, international organisations are urging the Indonesian government to allocate more funds to fight the disease.

Currently, international donors provide 70% of US$66 million needed to prevent an AIDS epidemic in Indonesia. – CNA/ir

Channel News Asia

Fund Launched In Conjunction With World AIDS Day

29 Nov

SINGAPORE: A new Care for the Families Fund was launched on Thursday in conjunction with World AIDS Day, which falls on December 1st.

The Fund is the first of its kind in Singapore and it has been initiated by Rockeby biomed, the distributor of OraQuick Oral HIV test kits.

It aims to provide social assistance to financially-stricken families with family members affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

To kick-start the Fund, the company has contributed S$5,000. It has also pledged 50 cents to the Fund from the sale of every Oral HIV test kit over the next three years.

Present at the launch was Dr Balaji Sadasivan, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Information, Communications and the Arts. He stressed the importance of testing and early treatment, and expressed hope that the kit can be readily available for the public.

“We’ve to find a way to save lives by having people diagnosed early because if they are diagnosed early, they can go on medication to prevent complications,” said Dr Balaji.

“So there are two ways we have to do this – one, we have to educate our doctors and our hospitals so that they’re aware of HIV and they diagnose patients early; second way is to educate the public, and to encourage them to have more testing.

“With self test kits, it’s possible to know if they’re positive or not within 20 minutes, so this is something we can encourage and I hope eventually, we’ll reach a stage where HIV testing will be very much like pregnancy testing.

“Today, you can buy pregnancy test kits at 7-Eleven and I hope MOH (Ministry of Health) will study this HIV testing and make it available more readily for the public.”

As of end-June this year, there are 3,224 HIV patients in Singapore. It is estimated that 61 per cent of HIV-positive women were infected by their husbands.

Among the infected HIV-positive heterosexuals, it is usually the men who are infected first. They then spread the virus to their spouses subsequently.

Families affected are estimated to spend more than 50 per cent of their household income on HIV treatment for both husband and wife. This adds to the financial hardship and burden of the family.

The Fund, which is run by the Action for AIDS Singapore, hopes to lessen the financial burden of affected families.

According to Dr Tan Sze-Wee, CEO of Rockeby biomed, patients and their families will be screened by medical social workers, who will then put up the application to the Action for AIDS Singapore.

Successful applications will see the families receiving S$200 from the Fund, or up to a maximum of S$400 a year.

– CNA/yb

Channel News Asia

Cinema: Razak Gets Last Laugh

29 Nov

Saiful Apek (left) and Jehan.
Saiful Apek (left) and Jehan.

NANA TANJUNG 2
Directed by Prof Madya A. Razak Mohaideen
Starring Piee, Saiful Apek, Fasha Sandha, Waheeda, Ainul Aishah, Jehan Miskin, Azean Irdawaty, Sheila Mambo, Azad and Isaac

YET another movie based on the anak mami genre, by director Prof Madya A. Razak Mohaideen. His other works include Anak Mami The Movie, Mami Jarum, Mami Jarum 2, Anak Mami Kembali and Nana Tanjung.

Produced by Grand Brilliance Sdn Bhd together with Line Clear Production, this sequel to Nana Tanjung tells of Nana Kassim (Piee) who is troubled by “talk” from neighbours about his laidback attitude towards his daughters Khairulnisa (Fasha Sandha) and Balkis (Waheeda), who are allowed to meet their partners freely.

He finally decides that none of them (including himself) should be allowed to see their partners until they are married. The ruling turns out to be difficult for everyone (Nana Kassim himself is dating Mami Mumtaz, played by Sheila Mambo) and his daughters have to arrange secret meetings with their partners. When Nana Kassim finds out about this, the girls are not allowed out of the house.

However, they talk their father into hiring maids — in reality, their own partners in disguise!

The country’s number one comedian Saiful Apek as Akhbar Khan and Zul’s (Jehan Miskin) initiatives to meet their girlfriends Khairulnisa and Balkis provide the comedic elements.

Of course, it was not unusual for Saiful to don a woman’s attire, but it was wonderful debut for Jehan in such a role.

He looked good as a woman — with full make-up and falsies, and baju kurung complete with headgear.

The very masculine Jehan, brother of former Malaysian gymnast Faiznur Miskin, pulls off his role effortlessly. His mannerisms as a woman were a bit goofy, but entertaining, nevertheless.

As for Piee, his character Nana Kassim is similar to that in the previous movies. He continues to be a firm parent but compromises by allowing them to decide on their choice of life partners.

The act of slapping the children’s heads is seen in this movie, even though it became an issue previously. Not only the children became his victims, but also Akhbar Khan. I was perplexed and after a while, the act got a little tiresome, with the movie somehow having lost its funny element at this point. I suppose Razak had his own reasons for maintaining this aspect of Nana Kassim.

It was not only the main cast who successfully brought to life Nana Tanjung 2, credit should also go to the supporting actors, especially to Isaac who plays Izad in his screen debut.

The former reality show participant (ntv7’s Audition), should go far, as he displays commendable acting skills for a relatively new actor.

Overall, with an easy and simple storyline to comprehend, this light-hearted movie will appeal to the majority of local cinema-goers for a dose of laughter and Saiful Apek’s antics.

Though many people have laughed at Razak’s comedies, labeling them as slapstick, he may be the one laughing all the way to the bank.

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