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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kite fest returning to Bintulu

Kite fest returning to Bintulu
More local participants expected to sign up for event in August


INTRODUCED in 2005, the successful Borneo International Kite Festival has put Sarawak on the world map.

Organised by the Bintulu Development Authority (BDA), the event is held annually at the town's old airport.

Hundreds of participants, locals and foreigners alike, have been showing their skills and talent by flying beautiful kites with the Bintulu
skyline as its backdrop.

Apart from the local and international competitions, visitors were also treated to traditional kite making workshops hosted by experts.

Last year, a remarkable feat was achieved by the participants when a total of 1,655 ki~es were flown simul- taneously for 20 minutes.

This spectacular aerial display was an attempt to enter the Malaysia Book Of Records with an initial target set at 1,500 kites.

Held for its fifth consecutive year, the Borneo International Kite Festival will be held from Aug 2-9.

More local participants are expected to sign up this year as the organisers has started laying ground work and kicking off the event's publicity campaign.

Last year, some 105 participants from 13 countries took part.

The BDA is hoping to receive a higher number of part!cipants this year despite the current economic slowdown.

Indonesia had the largest contingent of 35 participants last year. Other international participants were from China, Japan, Singapore, India, Australia, France, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan, Brunei, Philippines and Thailand.

The kite festival also serves as a meeting point for enthusiasts and competitors from all over the world where knowledge on the hobby is shared.

On the local front, the event is also to promote and preserve Malaysia's traditional kite, the wau.

the lush greenery of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM)

Up close with nature
THE Green Fest, The star's annual event to mark world Environment Day, returns to the lush greenery of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) this year.
And like in previous years' events, visitors can get the chance to revel in nature plus learn about ways to conserve the environment.

These are some of the activities lined for the event on June 7 2009.
* Philips Malaysia will offer tips on energy conservation and give you an energy-saving light bulb in exchange for your old one.
* Get to know the conservation work of the Worldwide Fund for Nature and the Malaysian Nature Society. You can support their efforts by signing up as members or giving a donation. WWWF will also be collecting signatures for its turtle conservation campaign.
* Learn about the research work of FRIM scientists on forests as well as wild flora and fauna.
* Kids can sign up for the Kuntum colouring competition, join the T-shirt painting event or have their faces painted.
* Try making music from all kinds of everyday implements, with help from members of the Drum Circle.
* Join the guided walk along one of the many jungle trails found in FRIM, to get a real close look at the many wonders found in the forest.
* For a bird's eye view of the forest, go on the canopy walk. This 20Ore-long suspension bridge brings you up to the tree tops for a superb view of tree canopies and the city skyline.
* Permanis will give away a bottle of Revive to the first 200 people who bring in recyclables.
* Sampling and redemption of Marigold drinks.
* Entertainment will be provided by TV3 and Suria FM.

* The Green gest is sponsored by Bonuslink and Philips Malaysia.

Korea's Break Out troupe wow Kuala Lumpur audiences and leave them in stitches.

Korea's Break Out troupe wow Kuala Lumpur audiences and leave them in stitches.

AFTER WEEKS of anticipation, Break Out finally stormed into Malaysia for a hugely successful debut. The Korean extreme dance comedy theatre staged four shows over the weekend to enormously appreciative audiences at Dewan San Choon, Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur.

Created by Yegam and Sevensense, Break Out is directed by Jeon Jun-Beom and tells of five jail- breakers who yearn for a taste of freedom when an ancient sacred text falls from the sky into their midst. The magical book has mysterious powers that cause everyone in its vicinity to break into dance or launch into inspired beatboxing.

The 75-minute action-adventure, which boasts Korea's leading B-boys from international award-winning crews, impressed with top-notch B-boy skills.

I had the good fortune of watching Break Out in Seoul three weeks ago, courtesy of the Korean Tourism Organisation. And what can I say?
My first taste of the high-energy performance had me completely hooked. After the show ended, I wished I could hit a replay button somewhere so I could watch it all over again.

Although the show in Kuala Lumpur had a slightly modified set of props and a completely different set of performers, l'm glad to report I enjoyed the show just as much.

The Kuala Lumpur stage was barely able to contain the quirky characters as they went about trying to break out of prison. The fun factor was raised further as the action often spilled off-stage and involved some hilarious audience participation.

The set design is truly ingenious for the production has but a single prop, which is innovatively designed to be a life-size pop-up book. With the turn of every gigantic page, the audience is taken through the different stages of the jailbreakers' madcap escapade starting with their rip-roaring break out from prison through cut-away tunnels to a boisterous hospital and then a comical convent.

Highlights of the show include the side-splitting tunnelling episode, where the performers had tiny puppet versions of themselves strapped to their heads as they made their way through the narrow mute.

In hot pursuit of the five jailbreakers - old man Gray, brawny Lump, silly Joker, perverted Tricky, ladies' man Dandy- were prison warden Gundog and special agent SWAT.

The B-boys who performed in Kuala Lumpur were Kim Yong-Nam (Lump), Son Hyuk (Gray), Cho Min- Chul (Dandy), Han Chul-Hee (-Tricky), An Yong-Chan (Joker), Park Jae-Hong (Gundog) and No Seung-Min (SWAT). Three beautiful women played by B-girls Kim Jin-Hee, JangJi-Hee and Son Sun-A, portrayed a trio of wardens, cops, nurses and nuns.

Young children were heard giggling non-stop during the dance troupe's amusing antics, throughout the family-friendly show while B- boy fans were constantly cheering to their every spin, flip, roll, glide, pike, flare, halo and freeze.

Break Out struck a delightful balance between extreme dance and slapstick comedy wowing the audience with superb comic timing as well as lively acrobatics. Add to that some very infectious beat-boxing and a heart-thumping score, and the troupe had the audience completely won over.

Along with Nanta (kitchen percussion comedy) and Jump (extreme martial arts comedy), Break Out (extreme dance comedy) is the latest must watch for fans of Korea's non-verbal performances.

A roar of approval erupted as the 10 performers took their curtain call, but the show was yet to end as the exuberant audience immediately launched into chants for an encore. Lump (Kim) and SWAT (No) emerged with a round of brilliant beat-boxing before the rest of the troupe joined them on stage with another frenzied round of breaking. * Organised by Korea Tourism Organisation, the Break Out charity performances are managed by events management company GF~, presented by Korea Sparkling and sponsored by LG. The show has the support of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture Malaysia, the Venang government, the Malaysian Association of Hotels and the South Korean Embassy. Media partners include Star Publications (M) Bhd, 8TV and One FM. Following the four shows in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, Break Out will stage another two charity perform- ances in Penang at Dewan Sri Vinang tomorrow (May 27) and Thursday (May 28) at 8.30pro. Net proceeds of the Kuala Lumpur shows were donated to the LG Cleft Lip Project and those of the Penang shows will be channelled to D'Home Mental Health Association. Tickets are priced at RM63 and RM93 and available at authorised Axcess outlets or via their hotline (03- 7711 500) as well as G Hotel (Gurney Drive, Penang) and Dewan Sri Pinang (before showtime) or via Asthy Tan (017-606 6788). Four 42" LG television sets were given away to lucky ticket-holders at the Kuala Lumpur shows, with another two sets up for grabs at the remaining charity performances.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

No more fireflies in six months?



loss of sanctuaries and tourist spots By CHRISTINA TAN

SHAH ALAM: The entire firefly population in Kampung Kuantan and Kampung Bukit Belimbing in Kuala Selangor is facing wipe-out in six months.

"All the fireflies there will be gone for good by the end of this year if no measures are taken to protect them," said Selangor Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong.

The Selangor Government had issued a stop-work order for all activities in firefly sanctuaries along Sungai Selangor yesterday, she said.

She said the decline of the firefly colonies in the two popular tourist spots was at a very serious stage, with half of them already disappeared.

"We have identified seven critical areas in the two villages where the firefly colonies in four spots are already gone," she said after the weekly exco meeting here yesterday.

Last month, The Star reported that the days of firefly watching would be over because of land clearing which has damaged the habitat.

Wong said that massive cutting of trees and improper development along the river were the main reasons the fireflies were dying.

Furthermore, some areas along the river bank had been turned into oil palm plantations, she said, adding that there were also factories and restaurants operating too close to the river.

"A total of 38ha of land along the river has also been cleared," she added.

Wong said the fireflies, whose lifespan is only three months, could not survive in such an environment where there was only polluted water.

She also said that there was no river reserve along the river and part of the land had been sold to individuals.

The state government, she said, would gazette the land along the 20km river into a buffer zone.
It had also identified 52 landowners along the river and would take over the land from them as soon as possible, she said.

Wong said that the state government would also start to replant trees such as sagu, berem- bang, nipah and rembau immediately to rebuild the habitat of the fireflies at the critical areas.

The state government was establishing a fund to get the private and public sectors involved in preserving the firefly sanctuaries.

Related Link : Save Our Environment, save the world

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dying Sungai Golok(kolok) wooing Malaysian tourists again

Sungai Golok: The problems in southern Thailand has taken a toll on this border town which has now become a ghost town awaiting an even painful end.

Once known for its vibrant nightlife, the sporadic bombings in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala have made Sungai Kolok the last place Malaysians would want to visit.

However, district police chief Col Tangusat Wangsupa insisted that the town is safe for tourists.

"If you feel unsafe, I can arrange for one of my men to accompany you around the town any time of the day," he said during a goodwill visit by Malaysian journalists and Kelantan tourism representatives.

"I have my men at every corner of the street on a 24-hour basis.

"It is perfectly safe," he said, adding that visitors should not be intimidated by their presence.

Tangusat added that local tourism had almost come to a standstill because of the unrest.

The trip was organised by the Kelantan Tourism Action Council, led by its chairman Datuk Abdul Aziz Derashid.

It aimed at boosting both the Kelantan and Thai tourism sectors.

Sungai Golok was once popular with Malaysians who made up almost 9070 of the visitors.

A mere 45-minute drive from Kota Baru, this cowboy town was also a shopping haven which drew more Malaysians on weekends.

For shoe seller Siti Ratcheni Soma, 28, business has been so bad that she is thinking of doing something else.

"I see fewer and fewer people coming over here.

"The presence of the police and soldiers does not help at all." she added.

Noraini Hassan, a local resident, shared the sentiment. She hoped that Sungai Golok would return to its glory days of being the second Haadyai.

"Nowadays, you only see locals here. They are not big spenders like Malaysians," she said.

"If this goes on, I believe that this town will die before the year ends and all of us will suffer."

Narathiwat deputy governor Nipon Narapitakul said government agencies were making efforts to pull in the tourists to the provinces through a promotional blitz.

"We will woo our friends in Kelantan to come here.

"I assure them that it is safe to come here as the violence has gone down."