Archive | August, 2010

TEENAGE TANTRUMS

28 Aug

Once- modest teen sensation Justin Bieber is now labelled teen brat
TEENAGE TANTRUMS
By Tan Kee Yun
August 28, 2010
 
 

IS CANADIAN music sensation Justin Bieber getting too big for his boots?

The 16-year-old artiste, who first caught public attention as an aspiring singer posting videos of himself on YouTube, has legions of devoted fan girls fanning the global wave of Biebermania.

His debut single, My World, released in November, as well as his first studio album, My World 2.0, out since March, have sold more than a million copies worldwide.

But has success gone to the head of the once-amiable, down-to-earth, small-town boy from Stratford, Ontario?

Over the past few months, Justin has been reportedly behaving arrogantly.

US daily Detriot Free Press reported last Monday that after Michigan teen Kevin Kristopik hacked into the star’s Twitter account over the weekend, Justin took revenge by tweeting Kevin’s phone number, asking his 4.5 million followers to either “call or text” him.

Kevin ended up being inundated with thousands of calls and messages from Justin’s rabid fans.

As some of the calls came from abroad, Kevin’s phone bill could be as high as US$10,000 (S$13,600), estimated Detroit Free Press.

Kevin eventually changed his phone number and shut down his Twitter account.

In May, Justin reportedly misbehaved on the set of Australian morning show Sunrise.

Swearing

The TV show’s host, David Koch, told Sydney-based radio station Mix FM that Justin swore at a floor manager.

“Our floor manager wasdirecting him (Justin) to where he was about to perform and he turned around to (floor manager) Nick and said, ‘Don’t ever ”””’ touch me again,’ ” said Koch.

He said he was disappointed with Justin’s behaviour, adding that the teenager needed to be “dragged aside” and “given a bit of a slap”.

That same month, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton described how the star had “stormed out” of an interview at Radio 1’s Big Weekend showin Bangor, Wales.

Justin was apparently upset that the host had quizzed him about his tattoo

OH DEER!

28 Aug

Star Treks
OH DEER!
Radio DJ and Old Cow Vs Tender Grass actress Siau Jiahui takes the Japanese city of Nara by the antlers
By Tan Kee Yun
August 28, 2010
 
 

NOT all deer look as huggable as Bambi in real life, but cosying up to them proved to be a unique experience nonetheless.
PICTURE: COURTESY OF SIAU JIAHUI

For YES933 radio DJ Siau Jiahui, who recently starred in local film Old Cow Vs Tender Grass, the sight of hundreds of deer roaming freely in the sprawling Nara Park was the highlight of her trip to Japan’s ancient city Nara.

“It’s something you’d never get to witness at Singapore’s Mandai Zoo,” said the 29-year-old, who visited Nara as part of a guided tour in May.

Travelling with a gal pal, she also went sightseeing in other areas of Central Japan, including Nagoya, Kyoto and Tokyo.

Nara has about 1,200 deer, designated national treasures by the Japanese.

“All of them (the deer) were just strolling around. There were no barricades or fences that separated them from people,” said Siau.

“It was quite an exciting feeling to be so near them. I spotted a cute boy who appeared to be chasing a deer, but the deer was very friendly and tame…It looked as if they were running together.”

Historically rich

Another must-see in Nara is the famous Todaiji Temple (otherwise known as the Great Eastern Temple), in the northern side of Nara Park.

One of Japan’s historically rich Buddhist shrines, Todaiji Temple not only houses the nation’s largest bronze Buddha statue, it is also the world’s largest wooden building.

“When I was there, there were many Japanese primary and secondary school students on a field trip. So it isn’t simply a tourist destination, but a place of much educational value,” said Siau.

A self-confessed fan of all things Japanese since her teenage years, she also went to an onsen (Japanese hot spring) during her trip.

“It was an indoor bathing facility and the water was extremely hot,” she recalled.

“Like most hot springs, you have to take off all your clothes before entering.

“My girlfriend was very shy. But as I had already tried a similar onsen in Taiwan, I didn’t feel too conscious (of my nudity).”

Fermented soya beans

Equally memorable was her “horrifying” experience with food.

Having heard a lot about natto, the Japanese traditional dish made from fermented soya beans, she tried some at breakfast one day.

“It was so bitter and sticky. I really hated it,” she said with a laugh.

Siau, who understands a smattering of Japanese as she once took a basic conversational course, was impressed by how warm the Japanese were.

For instance, while sightseeing in Kyoto, she spotted three girls in authentic-looking kimonos.

On the spur of the moment, she asked them if they could pose for pictures with her.

“They agreed without hesitation!”

DID YOU KNOW?

ONE of the most convenient ways of travelling in Japan is by the Shinkansen, a network of high-speed trains that connect Japan’s capital Tokyo to other major cities.

Operated by Japan Railways, which owns a large proportion of the country’s inter-city rail and commuter rail services, the trains are able to reach speeds of 300kmh.

The Tokaido Shinkansen

SETBACKS PAR FOR THE COURSE

27 Aug

FIRST START

Get schooled in Singapore’s new generation of film-making
SETBACKS PAR FOR THE COURSE
If anything can go wrong, it will
By Syahirah Anwar
August 27, 2010
 
 

If anything can go wrong, it will.

For Miss Vanessa Heng and Miss Jacqueline Cheah, graduates of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s diploma in film, sound and video that bit of Murphy’s Law certainly proved true in the production of their short comedy film, Hiding Under Covers.

It revolves around two undercover cops who are trying to blow each other’s cover.

Together with fellow coursemates Michael Burchell-Davies and Lyonn Suthesan, both 20, the team ran into various mishaps prior to the film’s screening at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s film festival Kino 2010 last month at VivoCity.

The setbacks just kept coming.

For instance, their film reels were accidentally exposed to sunlight because of a miscommunication between the director of photography and a camera assistant.

Once, they were caught in a downpour – their equipment, too.

Miss Heng, the film’s 21-year-old producer, told FiRST: ‘We were all in a frenzy…We lost the bulk of our footage, about 10 minutes out of the 13 minutes. We had to reshoot the scenes again.’

It cost the team an additional $1,000, bringing the total to $4,000. The production cost was subsidised by the polytechnic and Singapore Film Commission.

The quartet also faced problems with location shoots.

Miss Cheah, 20, the project’s editor, lamented: ‘We were promised by certain places that we could film on their premises, but a week before filming was due to start, we were informed that we could not film at the agreed locations.

‘That became a huge problem for us as we had arranged the set-ups according to the location.’

That last-minute scramble happened not once but thrice. Thankfully, they managed to find a new location – Hard Rock Cafe.

Even then, things were not all peachy. There was the loud music blaring from the pub downstairs when the band came on in the evenings.

So, they stuffed curtains around the edges of the doors to ‘soundproof’ the filming area.

Their patience was also put to the test when the members were trying to film the simplest scene – an overhead shot of an aeroplane flying in mid-air.

Said Miss Cheah: ‘The first time we went to Changi Beach, we had a hard time determining the direction planes were taking off from and had to keep running back and forth each time a plane took off.’

They had also arrived in the late afternoon, so by the time they figured things out, ‘it was too dark’.

So, they returned the next day and settled themselves nicely on the beach. But when it was all systems go, the rain came down.

Said Miss Heng with a laugh: ‘We were trying to protect the equipment and trying to lug the trolley through the wet sand, which was impossible. So we had to run back and forth to load the equipment back into the van.’

But despite the comedy of errors that befell them, the students completed their project – and showed it.

Said Miss Heng: ‘The mishaps that we encountered actually proved to be blessings in disguise. The final result had better lighting and contrast as compared to our initial filming.’

Added Miss Cheah: ‘The laughter that we got from our audience (at the film festival) made all the obstacles we went through worth it. It was certainly a memorable experience for us.’

Syahirah Anwar

 

The NewPaper

WHITEWASH WARS

27 Aug

FIRST FEATURE
WHITEWASH WARS
There are few things in the movie world that make people more furious than changing the race of a character.
August 27, 2010
 
 

There are few things in the movie world that make people more furious than changing the race of a character.

If you don’t believe us, you should check out some of the letters we got in response to our favourable coverage of The Last Airbender.

Anyway, with the release of The King Of Fighters, which opens here today, you can expect a whole new round of fiery debate.

White guy Sean Faris has taken on the role of Kyo Kusanagi, arguably the most popular character in The King Of Fighters video game universe.

JASON JOHNSON, risking further reader fury, pits beloved Asian characters against their less-Asian Hollywood incarnations.

KING OF FIGHTERS (2010)

KYO KUSANAGI CLASSIC VS TEXAS KYO

It’s hard to imagine a more Japanese dude than Kyo Kusanagi. His family history dates back to Japan’s feudal era and is steeped in ancient myth. He fights on behalf of Japan using the Japanese martial art of kenpo. He speaks Japanese and is voiced by Japanese actor Masahiro Nonoka.

In the new movie version of The King Of Fighters, Kyo is played by actor Sean Faris from Houston, Texas. In order to explain Kyo’s whiteness, the film-makers have changed his character from full Japanese to a half-Japanese American. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even look Eurasian.

THE LAST AIRBENDER (2010)

AANG AND THE ASIANS VS AANG AND THE AMERICANS

Though set in a fictional world, the American animated TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender is clearly evocative of East Asia. The story draws heavily from Asian cultures – most notably Chinese and Japanese. Even the philosophical underpinnings of the show are Asian. For goodness sake, the main character Aang is a bald, vegetarian monk in saffron robes!

In M Night Shyamalan’s version of The Last Airbender, the Asian flavour has been watered down considerably. For a start, most of the main characters – Aang (Noah Ringer), Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Jackson Rathbone) – are Caucasian. Also, the villains are all played by Indians, which just makes the whole dang thing even harder to figure out.

DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION (2009)

GOKU ORIGINAL RECIPE VS NEW GOKU

A space alien from the planet Vegeta, the manga/anime character Goku is neither Asian nor Caucasian, but rather a member of the Saiyan race. That said, he is loosely based on the Monkey King character from Journey To The West (who is presumably an Asian monkey). The name ‘Goku’ means ‘sky’ in Japanese.

Hollywood actor Justin Chatwin, who plays Goku in this live action movie adaptation, is from Canada – which means he’s not just white, but downright pasty. Considering there are a number of other Asian characters in the film like Chow Yun Fat and Jamie Chung, they should probably have gone with an Asian lead.

STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI (2009)

CHINA CHUN-LI VS SMALLVILLE CHUN-LI

The ‘First Lady Of Fight Games’, Chun-Li, is a Chinese tigress whose name translates as ‘beautiful spring’. Dressed in a sort of crazy qipao and with two little buns in her hair – ‘ox horns’ – she looks distinctively Asian.

Born to a Dutch father and Indonesian-Chinese mother, Canadian actress Kristin Kreuk is a perfect blend of East and West. Of course, there are still those who lament the fact that she’s not an ‘authentic’ Asian. But when a girl is this gorgeous, who gives a darn? She could play Batman for all I care.

21 (2008)

REAL-LIFE ASIAN KIDS VS BEN AND JILL

Unlike our other examples, 21 wasn’t based on an anime or a video game, but rather on a true story about a bunch of MIT students – mostly Asian men – who found a way to beat the odds in Vegas. The producers of the film preferred to go with mainly white guys. Jeff Ma, one of the real-life gamblers, once said in an interview that the casting ‘wasn’t a big deal’.

It’s hard to think of two whiter people out there than the stars of 21, Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth. Sturgess looks like a Beatle. As for Bosworth, if she were any whiter, she’d be visible from outer space. As it turns out, there were a couple of Asian actors included (Aaron Yoo and Liza Lapira) who had reasonably big parts and came across well.

 

The NewPaper

SALMA MAMA

27 Aug

FIRST INTERVIEW
SALMA MAMA
Salma Hayek, in person, is tinier than she is on the big screen
By Joanne Soh
August 27, 2010
 
 

Salma Hayek, in person, is tinier than she is on the big screen.

Standing at 1.57m tall, this pint-sized Mexican actress was the rose among the thorns at the Grown Ups press conference in Cancun, Mexico, which FiRST attended in June.

The voluptuous 43-year-old exuded natural sexuality and was the centre of attraction.

Being on home ground also helped.

The life of the party, the smoking-hot Latina even got all the Mexican journalists cheering at one point when she declared then that Mexico would thrash Argentina to advance into the the World Cup quarter-finals.

Unfortunately, her star power wasn’t enough. Mexico eventually lost to Argentina three goals to one.

Hayek – who’s married to French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, with whom she has a daughter – has certainly come a long way from not knowing how to speak English to being an Oscar-nominated actress, director and television producer.

Grown Ups, which opens here today, tests her comic timing. She stars alongside veteran comedians Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Chris Rock.

She plays Sandler’s snooty fashion designer wife in this ensemble comedy about ex-schoolmates who reunite after 30 years.

What do you want to do and who do you want to be when you ‘grow up’?

I think when I grow old, I want to be the youthful-looking, fun and energetic old lady. But when I was growing up, I wanted to be taller. (Laughs)

How did it feel making this kind of comedy?

It was amazing to be able to work with these guys. At the beginning, I felt really stupid because you go to the set and you’re working with the best comedians in the US.

They are such good actors and also brilliant at making up their lines on top of the scripted ones. They write them in their heads as they’re working on a scene.

It was very intimidating. When do you speak? They’re not doing what’s in the script. They’re just saying one joke and then another. You have a line too, but you don’t know when they’re going to shut up so you can sneak in your line.

So just in terms of timing, it wasn’t your regular comedy. You really had to be on your toes. And once you got the hang of their improv, you need to have a lot of courage to add your own joke.

But they were really encouraging, and not only would they laugh at my silly jokes, they also gave me jokes that were great.

If you took away all the comedic elements of this movie, there’s a bittersweet story about parents trying to connect with their children. As a parent, what do you think can be done to help the young generation who are lost to video games?

I think that it’s really, really important to teach children to connect with nature and to respect it, especially in this time that we are in.

What are some of the significant changes for you after becoming a mother?

I think that’s what I am now. If you had trouble defining who you were before, once you become a mother, you won’t have any problem – you’re a mother.

That’s your first job, your No. 1 priority. So my life is completely different now because of that, and it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.

What kind of a mother are you? Are you strict or permissive

I think I am permissive until there’s a limit, and then I’m really strict.

Did you bring your daughter with you on set?

Yes, my two-year-old came with me every day. You know, I was really jealous of the guys because I would spend time with their wives and their kids on set.

But then I’d have to go to work and I would take my child back to the trailer, and the wives would be doing all these fun things with their kids. I was so envious of them. Here I am working and having to run to the trailer between takes, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and getting her to take her nap. Then it’s back to work. But it’s the best. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Joanne Soh

 

The NewPaper

THE SOFTER SIDE TO TOUGH GUYS

27 Aug

FIRST FASHION

Stars glam it up on the carpet…or not
THE SOFTER SIDE TO TOUGH GUYS
August 27, 2010
 
 

The mission for the leading men at the recent Los Angeles premiere of The Expendables?

To show off the special ladies in their lives.

The testosterone-fuelled action flick – which revolves around an elite team of mercenaries who head to South America to overthrow a dictator and rescue his damsel-in-distress daughter – might star Hollywood’s toughest hardmen from the 80s.

But judging from their arm candy in real life, we’re getting a rare glimpse of their softer sides.

The Expendables cast members Sylvester Stallone, 64, Mickey Rourke, 57, and Bruce Willis, 55, threw on sharp suits to cover up their muscles.

And for once, they didn’t look like meatheads.

PICTURES: AFP, REUTERS

But who cares when it was the wives, girlfriends and daughters who were stealing the thunder instead?

Here’s a look at who was standing by their men…

1 Looks like Demi Moore isn’t the only one drinking from the fountain of youth.

Her ex-husband Willis temporarily reversed the ageing process by sandwiching himself between his 32-year-old model wife Emma Heming and 21-year-old actress daughter Rumer Willis.

See, instant results.

Heming looked adorable in her flirty dark blue floral print shirtdress and matching suede Christian Louboutin pumps, while Rumer took the more sophisticated route with her form-fitting black lace-sleeved dress by French Connection.

The trio are ranked first by virtue of having the least combined amount of (visible) botox in their faces.

2 A loved-up Rourke cleaned up well for his premiere.

The sunglasses help to distract from his scary mug that’s been ravaged by plastic surgery gone wrong, and he needs to be given a fashion makeover medal for finally throwing out those ratty coloured hair extensions he was so fond of.

Rourke was accompanied by his stunning 24-year-old girlfriend, Russian model Anastassija Makarenko.

Her blue, yellow and green patterned frock perfectly complemented his paisley print shirt.

This couple obviously got dressed together for their big night out. Good effort!

3 Speaking of having work done, close-ups of Stallone still frighten me.

So thankfully, he came with backup – in the form of his well-maintained ex-model wife Jennifer Flavin, 42, and their three princessy daughters Sophia, 13, Sistine, 12, and Scarlet, eight.

It’s so obvious from this family portrait that the one who wears the pants, well, doesn’t.

With such a solid support system, who needs fillers?

Jeanmarie Tan
 

The NewPaper

Playground Showdown

26 Aug

Playground showdown
Heated argument at Orchard Road shopping centre leads to police report
By Kwok Kar Peng
August 26, 2010
 
 

IT WAS supposed to have been a fun day at the playground for the young son of model and television host Linda Black.
NO FUN: Model and TV host Linda Black at the playground where the incident took place. Her domestic helper and son are in the background.
TNP PICTURE: YAP NING

But the day ended with Black’s domestic helper in tears and the 35-year-old American having to give a police statement.

Black, who has lived here for seven years, told The New Paper that she was having lunch with her friend, Mrs Paula Robinson, at Tanglin Mall last Tuesday.

Black’s helper, Ms Margarette Laya, and son Ewan, two, were at the playground at Paragon Shopping Centre.

Black, who is married to Hong Kong-born Briton Oli Pettigrew, 29, also a model and TV host, said: “(During lunch) we got a call from Paula’s helper asking us to go down immediately.

“When we got there, my helper Margie was distraught, red-faced and crying.”

Ms Laya told The New Paper that a woman had shouted at her at the playground.

The 36-year-old Filipina said: “An older boy was swinging from a horizontal bar and his legs were about to hit Ewan,who was behind him.

“I held up my arm to block the boy. Then a woman came up behind me and poked me hard on my shoulder. “She pointed her finger close tomyface and toldme loudly, ‘Don’t touch my child’.”

Ms Laya said she tried to explain twice what had happened but the woman did not listen.

“She told me that I am only a maid. I cried when I heard that,” she said.

Ms Laya insisted she had not raised her voice at the woman.

But she alleged that the woman continued shouting at her.

She added that by then, several parents at the playground had gathered to watch the commotion. Some had to comfort their shocked toddlers, she said.

Ms Laya said the incensed woman then called the police.

When the police turned up, Black, who had also arrived at the scene, said the matter was resolved.

She added: “The police took statements from myself, Margie, the woman and three other witnesses at the playground.”

When The New Paper visited the shops near the playground last week, a sales assistant who works nearby said she had heard loud shouting from the playground.

The 29-year-old, who declined to be identified, said: “A woman was shouting ‘You shut up’ to a maid at the top of her voice.The maid was crying.

“When the police interviewed her later, she was still crying hysterically.”

When contacted, a police spokesman confirmed that a dispute between two parties had broken out at an Orchard Road shopping mall around 3.30pm on Tuesday.

The spokesman added that both parties have been advised on their legal recourse, and they may wish to lodge a magistrate’s complaint if they wish to pursue the matter further.

The sales assistant claimed that last month, the police had to also be called down to the same playground to settle a dispute between two parents.

Black, who is a host for programmes like Heritage Hunter, and for channels like Food Network Asia and HBO Family, called the incident “silliness”.

“Margie is a valued member of our family…I trust her with Ewan. She’s incredible, organised and never raised her voice at Ewan,” she said.

She added that Ms Laya, who has worked in Singapore for nine years, has been under her employment for close to a year.

Black added that her own mother used to work as a maid in Panama.

“She looked after children and did the household chores. I cleaned homes too in the United States when I was 26. You take on any work to pay the bills.

“My parents taught me that any job is noble because you have put in an honest day’s work. Cleaning (for a living) doesn’t make you less a person.”

Black said she has told her husband, who was in Japan for work, about the incident.

He told The New Paper via SMS that he found incident “appalling”.
 

The NewPaper