Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For the love of words

Words are used to express yourself, words are used to communicate... scrabble and expand your vocabulary!

Submitted by pekwan on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

* Lifestyle
* Scrabble Challenge at Starbucks
* Life

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 02:15:00

REAL TALENT: Contestants working hard during the Scrabble Challenge at Starbucks
BIOLOGY teacher Intan Rahayu came up tops in the Scrabble Challenge at Starbucks after beating her opponents by a wide margin recently at Berjaya Times Square.

The 24-year-old teacher at Bukit Bintang Secondary Boys School has been playing Scrabble since her primary school days, mostly with her father at her home in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

“We played regularly as a family. Dad used to encourage this to foster stronger family bonds while improving the use of English. Now that I am married, I don’t play Scrabble very much, but I still practise my strategy with Dad whenever I visit my hometown,” she said.

Intan believes that Scrabble encourages players to learn new words and understand its meaning, leading to an increase in English vocabulary.

She took home a Scrabble Deluxe set and a Scrabble Dictionary by Collins as well as a Starbucks hamper containing vouchers, gifts and merchandise. Second and third prize winners were Tan Waye and Lee Bee Chu respectively, who each won a hardcover Collins Scrabble Dictionary and merchandise from Starbucks.

The Scrabble Challenge at Starbucks is a preamble to the World Scrabble Championship, which will be held at Zon Regency, Johor Baru from Nov 26 to 29. The biannual international Scrabble tournament will see over 100 of the best Scrabble players around the world vie for the title and a total of USD30,500 in prize money.

“The Scrabble Challenge is an avenue to feature Scrabble as a lifestyle game that can be enjoyed by people of all walks of life,” said Mattel brand manager, Kenny Lim.

He added that the game promotes communication and interpersonal skills between players, which is missing
when one plays online or video games.

Scrabble Challenge organiser, Song Kim Lian feels that playing Scrabble encourages friendship and camaraderie between players.

“I think Scrabble is an excellent game, not just to allow its players to develop skills in English but also to have a bit of fun,” she said.

The mother of four first became a Scrabble organiser in 2004 when she was part of her children’s parent-teacher committee. She was asked to organise a Scrabble challenge, which she enjoyed doing tremendously. Since then, she has been organising tournaments and conducting Scrabble workshops for the young and old.

“It doesn’t matter if the player’s vocabulary is strong or weak, what’s important is to choose simple words that are daring with your word choices,” added Song.

Song has another tip for all Scrabble players — remember as many two-letter words as possible. It may just give you a win.

The Scrabble Challenge at Starbucks will continue to take place at selected Starbucks outlets within the Klang Valley and is open to all Starbucks patrons and the public.

Each challenge is limited to 40 players and beginners who are curious to find out more about the game are welcomed to join a short workshop before the challenge begins. Take part in the next Scrabbles Challenge at Starbucks Centrepoint, Bandar Utama at 11am on Nov 1, Bangsar Telawi 3 at 4pm on Nov 15 and Tropicana City Mall at at 4pm on Nov 22. Find out more at any Starbucks outlet.

Write about people and life in the city, bloggers urged

Blog, blog, blog and win, win win! That ain't so difficult, is it?

Wednesday October 28, 2009


THE Federal Territories Ministry is calling on bloggers to write about more than just places and destinations for the ongoing “Blog For FT” competition.

The ministry’s head of corporate communcations Mazurah Ismail said they would like to see more participants blogging about topics such as the heroes of Kuala Lumpur, lives of the ordinary people and the city’s history reported from the blogger’s personal point of view.

“Many have written and submitted the theme for places and destinations as they think it is a tourism-related campaign. But we hope to get people blogging on interesting activities such as volunteers who cook for the poor, life of a taxi driver or even the history of St John or Victoria Institution,” Mazurah said.

The competition was launched on Oct 5 by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.

It’s official: Raja Nong Chik launching the ‘Blog For FT’ competition recently.

So far, the competition has received about 400 articles and 240 have been published. The ministry said the rest had been rejected due to not meeting the requirements.

Mazurah also said submissions for the media category were poor as only five entries have been received.

“In fact, this category is opened upon request from the media. Many participants are first-time bloggers so we want more of our press friends to participate,” she said.

In an earlier StarMetro report, Raja Nong Chik had said the competition was being held in response to the realities of the present time.

He was reported as saying that the idea for the competition came following his meeting with bloggers.

“What better way to foster the spirit of 1Malaysia and promote unity than through this competition, which I hope will provide the platform for those with ideas to be heard,” he had said.

The three-month-long competition will end on Jan 5. Bloggers could write on various themes like history, lifestyle, tourism, music, heritage and culture, humanity, architecture and life in the Federal Territories - based on a storytelling concept to better promote Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan to tourists.

Winners will be determined by public-voting (constituting 30%) while the balance of points will be from a panel of judges comprising bloggers and editors Ahirudin Attan and Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, AirAsia CEO Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes and educationist Tan Sri Dr Lim Kok Wing.

Prizes waiting to be won include a Peugeot 308 VTI, a Kia Optima 2.0, Naza Prisma motorcycles, Dell computers, Blackberry Bold, Sony PSP, Ipod Touch, flight tickets, hotel stays and cash. These prizes are all worth over RM500,000.

Monthly prizes are also up for grabs for the best five blogs for all categories except the international category. For details, log on to

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fabulous Food 1Malaysia aimed at boosting tourism

Food, food, food in KL! Who doesn't love food?

Tuesday October 27, 2009


STARTING this year, the last three months of each year will be Fabulous Food 1Malaysia months to celebrate and promote Malaysia’s unique local cuisine, both at home and abroad.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said this was a new product for the ministry and an annual event to further boost the development of the tourism industry.

“The programme celebrates the unique and diverse fabulous Malaysian culinary fare that so aptly conveys the rich cultural tapestry of Malaysia,” she said at the launch of the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia logo and yearly programme in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

The three-month-long initiative started early this month with the Malaysian International Gourmet Food Festival, which promotes the various fine-dining options at several hotels and restaurants.

Under the programme, Dr Ng said, November would be a month for promoting dishes in the food courts of shopping malls.

“We will launch the Asean Heritage Food Trail with Chef Wan at the end of October,” she said.

The event is organised in collaboration with Chef Wan Sdn Bhd and offers the rich and diverse cuisine from the Asean countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“In November, foreign visitors and Malaysians alike will have the opportunity to savour food from these countries and watch renowned chefs cooking up their signature dishes at Lot 10 and Avenue K shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur,” she said.

December will be the month to promote Malaysian restaurants and street/hawker food.

Dr Ng said the participating local food associations, such as the Hawkers Association, would put up a list of 10 “best” or “must-try” food outlets in each of the 13 states in three categories.

The three categories are Nasi Lemak, Laksa and Bak Kut Teh.

Dr Ng said the categories were to help visitors navigate their way through the country’s local food maze.

“It is hoped that the Fabulous Food 1Malasyia drive will also create a buzz and encourage conversation among local residents,” she added.

She said that in future, visitors would also be able to go on specially planned Fabulous Food 1Malaysia travel packages that would introduce them to the spicy and other food that was truly Malaysian.

Meanwhile, Dr Ng claimed that she had received information that business had increased by about 20% for Singpore’s hawkers after the food conflict started.

“Here in Malaysia, the Hawkers Association said their business had also increased and in Johor, the hawkers’ business had increased by 20% to 30%.

BASE jumping is no longer exclusively a men’s domain, as a handful of women show

White men can't jump? Women can't jump? Says who? The 'glass' ceiling has long been broken...

Tuesday October 27, 2009


JUMPING off cliffs and mountains is no longer something only for the men, as more women have stepped up to such extreme challenges.

During the recent KL Tower International Malaysia Jump 2009, a total of 80 participants signed up to jump off the 380m-tall tower, and among these brave souls were a handful of women.

Like their male counterparts, the women feared nothing; they just wanted to get up there and have fun. What was more interesting was that almost all were first-timers in Malaysia.

Free fall: Sverdlenko raising her arms in her first dive off the tower.

Russian Larisa Sverdlenko said she had heard about the tower jump from friends who had participated in the annual event, and it had prompted her to make her maiden trip to Malaysia to participate in it, too.

“I have never come to Malaysia before, so this is like a holiday and diving trip,” said Sverlenko, who was formerly a skydiver in the Russian national team, The Ladybirds.

The 39-year-old, who now works as an instructor in the wind tunnel, training aspiring skydivers, said she decided to take up BASE (buildings, antennas, spans and earth) jumping as she found it more interesting.

“We get to see more things, such as tall buildings and a general view of the city, being a base jumper,” said Sverdlenko, who has recorded 150 BASE jumps in Russia, Norway, Italy and Switzerland.

She said the KL Tower Jump would be her second tower jump, the first being the Ostankino Tower in her home country.

New fun activity: Mancino is a full-time professional skydiver and is now moving on to BASE jumping with her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, Wioletta Roslan, 34, from Sweden, who was also on her first trip to Malaysia for the event, said the weather here might be a little warmer than it was in other countries but it suited her fine.

“I have no complaint, it is my kind of temperature here.

“It is also easier to jump in this weather,” said Roslan, who took up skydiving when she was just 19 years old.

Roslan, who works as an oil rig inspector, said flying allowed her to be “alive” and made her feel that there were no limits in life.

“Even if the things l enjoy doing may be seen as high and scary, I love it; every level of height gives a different kind of excitement to jumpers.

“If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the wingsuit flying I did in Switzerland — it made me feel like I was flying with wings attached to me!” said Roslan, who has completed some 600 BASE jumps.

Italian skydiver Roberta Mancino said she had only taken up BASE jumping recently after having been a skydiver for the past nine years.

Mancino, a popular sports personality in her home country, had logged an impressive 5,500 skydives before embarking on being a BASE jumper with her boyfriend Jeb Corliss.

“It is something new and fun which I look forward to each time, whether it is from a tower or mountain,” Mancino, 29, said during the trial jump session recently.

Among the countries participating in the Jump this year were Italy, New Zealand, India, Ireland, Denmark, Russia, Holland, Norway, Turkey, Canada, Indonesia, China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Besides the usual day jumps, KL Tower also allowed the professionals to do night jumps, a new addition to the BASE jump circuit this year.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Semangat baru untuk berubah

Semoga titik perubahan positif di PWTC Kuala Lumpur ini membawa kesan positif kepada kemakmuran dan kesejahteraan negara kita yang tercinta, hendaknya...


KUALA LUMPUR 16 Okt — Perhimpunan Agung Umno 2009 yang tamat hari ini berakhir dengan semangat baru ke arah perubahan budaya dan sikap anggotanya untuk memenangi hati dan fikiran rakyat pada pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Meskipun Umno melakukan pindaan perlembagaan, terutama berhubung proses pemilihan parti semasa Perhimpunan Agung Khasnya semalam, pemikiran anggota dan pemimpinnya bukanlah ke arah pemilihan parti pada 2012.

Umno, yang menjadi tunjang parti pemerintah Barisan Nasional (BN), sedang menyiapkan diri untuk menghadapi percaturan politik lebih besar iaitu pilihan raya umum ke-13 yang mesti diadakan sebelum Mac 2013, mengambil iktibar pengalaman pilihan raya umum tahun lepas yang menyaksikan BN kehilangan majoriti dua pertiga di Parlimen, empat negeri dan gagal menawan Kelantan.

Umno dan BN, pada Februari lepas bagaimanapun mengambilalih pentadbiran Perak selepas tiga Anggota Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) pakatan pembangkang mengisytiharkan diri sebagai Adun Bebas dan mengikrarkan sokongan kepada BN. Umno mendengar dan memahami kehendak rakyat: Berubah atau Ditukar.

Justeru, perhimpunan agung selama dua hari itu fokus kepada membetulkan keadaan parti sendiri daripada menyerang parti-parti lawan.