Giuliana Ever After

Giuliana Ever After

May 8, 2022   Return

Giuliana Rancic is rarely away from the American small screen. For the last 10 years, she co-hosted E! News and Fashion Police. Of course, she was more than just a host – she starred in a reality TV series with her husband Bill, started her own fashion line, and dabbled in acting and producing TV shows.

In 2011, she made headlines for a more sober reason: she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In her latest autobiography Going Off Script: How I Survived a Crazy Childhood, Cancer, and Clooney’s 32 On-Screen Rejections (published in early 2015), she revealed that prior to her diagnosis, she and her husband Bill were struggling to conceive. She was about to undergo a third round of in-vitro fertilization when, at her doctor’s request, she took a mammogram. The result floored her; fortunately, the cancer was at an early stage.

She underwent surgery to remove the lumps from both breasts, but she eventually opted for a double mastectomy. “For me it was just more important to get the cancer out. With the double mastectomy I now have less than one per cent chance of getting it back, otherwise it was 20%, 30% or 40% chance and for me, it wasn’t worth it,” she explained.

And she went back to work just two weeks after her surgery. “Some people said how brave I was to go back to work so soon, but it wasn’t about being brave,” Rancic told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview. “I wanted to stay busy, so I wasn’t focusing on [my cancer]. When I went back to work, I felt so much better after getting hair and makeup done. I was able to look in the mirror and see the girl I knew before my surgery.”

As a breast cancer survivor, Rancic now pays it forward to her fellow survivors and breast cancer patients in her own special way. Partnering with The Pink Agenda, she founded the Fab-U-Wish foundation, which grants breast cancer patients opportunities to feel good about themselves through free makeovers, beauty treatments and more.

Rancic recalled proudly how they flew in to Los Angeles a Marine stationed in Afghanistan, who had lost all her hair after chemo. “She wanted to feel like a princess, as she felt that she was losing her femininity along with her hair,” Rancic shared, “so we flew her and her sister in for a mani/pedi.” To date, about two dozen breast cancer patients had received special moments to remember from Fab-U-Wish.

At the end of the day, TV host and passionate advocate Rancic is also a content mother and happy wife. One can say that, despite the adversities life has thrown her way, Giuliana Rancic is writing her own script for a happily ever after. 



CBS News. Available at

E! Online. Available at

Los Angeles Times. Available at

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Mission: Accomplished

Mission: Accomplished

May 8, 2022   Return


There are not many celebrities who are recognizable merely by their first names but Hollywood actor Tom Cruise is an exception. Just mention his first name in a conversation and the chances are that your friends will go, “Oh, you mean Tom Cruise? The latest Mission: Impossible film was pretty awesome. You should check it out.”

Cruise, now 53 years old (yes, he is already in his fifties as unbelievable as it may be) has been a household name for nearly 30 years – and his stardom does not seem to waning anytime soon. If anything, it is only growing brighter with every blockbuster he puts out. People need not look any further than at his most recent movie offering for proof.

The fifth installment to the Mission: Impossible franchise, Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation has grossed over 370 million dollars to date, more than double of its 150 million-dollar budget while receiving rave reviews from initially cynical critics. One popular film review website was even quoted as saying: “MI: 5 continues the franchise’s thrilling resurgence – and proves that Tom Cruise remains an action star without equal.” In a time and age where movie stars are getting younger and younger, Cruise is holding his own real well. Not bad for someone in his fifties – and especially not bad for someone who once struggled with something as seemingly simple as reading and writing.


The dyslexic behind the actor

Most of us know Tom Cruise the actor but not many know him as Tom Cruise the
“functional illiterate” – or so he described himself in an interview with People magazine. Having inherited dyslexia (a specific learning difficulty mainly affecting skills involved in the spelling and reading of words) from his mother, Cruise remembers how difficult it was for him during his schooling years.

“I couldn’t remember what I read or wrote. I’d try to focus on what I was reading but when I got the end of the page, I’d have very little memory of anything I’d just read. I’d blank out and feel frustrated, bored, nervous, angry and dumb all at once. It came to the point where I was so stressed that my legs and head would actually hurt whenever I studied,” he recalls. But lagging behind in class was not the only worry his younger self had; hiding his dyslexia from his classmates also became a priority. “I didn’t want the other children to know about my learning disability. I constantly felt like I had a secret.”

Trouble at home

As if struggling with dyslexia was not enough, Cruise had to deal with bullying at school. His father who was an electrical engineer by profession was always on the lookout for jobs – and that meant lots of travelling. As a result of the constant moving around, Cruise’s family never settled down in one place for long. “By the time I was 14 years old, I had been to as many as 15 schools. And I was bullied very often. My heart would be pounding and I’d feel like throwing up whenever the bullies came near.” As anxious as he felt, he tried standing up for himself. “I wasn’t the biggest guy, I never liked hitting people but I knew if I didn’t defend myself, they were going to pick on me all year.”

Tom may have stood up to bullies as best as he could but defending himself against his father was a whole other story. “I was frequently abused by my father. He was this merchant of chaos. If something went wrong, he’d kick me. He was the kind of guy to lull you in, make you feel safe and then, ‘bang!’ He was a bully and a coward,” Cruise divulges. “I learned to be careful around him. I didn’t trust him.” The abuse lasted till he was 12 when his mother decided enough was enough. She filed for divorce and was given custody of Cruise and his three older sisters.

“You’ve got potential”

Being the sole breadwinner now that Cruise’s father was out of the picture, his mother had to work three jobs to make ends meet. However, she still managed to carve out time for her son. “Despite everything on her plate, my mum would help me with my studies. If I had a writing assignment, I’d dictate it to her first. She’d then write it down and I’d copy it extremely carefully.” Cruise still clearly remembers his mother’s advice to him. “She always said ‘You’ve got so much potential. Don’t give up’. She’d encourage me to do the things I was good at.” And one of those things was acting.

“Because of dyslexia, I wasn’t great at school. So, I dabbled in other things like sports and drama. I’d often imitate people to get some laughs. But I started taking acting seriously in 4th grade. Some boys and I put on an improvised play to music at my elementary school drama festival. The drama organizers loved it! That was when I discovered I could be good at something.” With that new-found realization, he began channeling all his efforts into acting. The rest, as we know it is history.

Not impossible, after all

These days, Cruise is doing what he can to help kids who face the same struggle as he once did. A founding member of the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (H.E.L.P.), he hopes that dyslexic children will not have to experience what he went through. “Through this non-profit program, I want kids to be able to write, read, understand what people are saying to them and to solve problems. When I was a kid, I didn’t have the tools to help me. So, I hope to help others like me.”

“Being diagnosed with dyslexia isn’t the end. It’s about how you cope with it,” Cruise stresses. “Every time I start working on a film, I still get nervous. But I remind myself that when faced with problems, I can either sink or swim. I choose to swim.” Now that’s one mission, accomplished.



  1. Being Dyslexic. Available at
  2. Dyslexia Available at
  3. Dyslexia Help. Available at
  4. People. Available at

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Malala Moves the World

Malala Moves the World

May 8, 2022   Return

The entire world was shocked on 9th October 2012, when a Taliban gunman shot a 15-year old girl three times. Her name was Malala Yousafzai.

Malala was born on 12th July 1997, in the Swat Valley of  North-West Pakistan to Ziaudin Yousafzai. Ziaudin was a poet and a passionate advocate for education reforms. Ziaudin always encouraged his daughter’s interests. It was said that he often spent long hours into the night discussing politics with his young daughter.

Unsurprisingly, her father’s passion both for education and reform became the foundation of Malala’s own spirited personality and beliefs. A bright and determined student, she was only 11 when she began writing a blog for the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) under a pen name, Gul Makai.

During that period, the Taliban militants that ruled the region implemented a ban on television, music, education for girls and women leaving their homes. Bodies of beheaded policemen were hung in town squares to deter anyone who dared defy the regime.

Therefore, Malala was putting her life as risk writing for the BBC. Yet, her courage allowed the world to read about and feel for a young girl and her friends who lived in a turbulent time of violence and uncertainty. She and her father became vocal and outspoken critics of the Taliban, taking part in a documentary by the New York Times and criticizing the regime in a press conference.

Her fate was sealed. Her increasing popularity earned her the enmity of the Taliban, who decided that the 15-year old girl had to be killed.

The world rallies for Malala

On 15th October, Malala was moved to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a facility dedicated to treating military personnel injured in war. In the meantime, support poured in from world leaders as well as the public, all of whom considered her a heroine that stood up for what she believed in.

And the world exhaled in relief when Malala came out of a coma on 17th. She had to undergo skull reconstruction and surgery to restore her hearing. Rehabilitation was next, and there was no stopping Malala from that point.  

The attack on Malala galvanized more than two million people to sign the Right to Education campaign, which led to Pakistan’s first right to education bill. Malala herself tirelessly gave talks and advocated reforms, and her inspiring story moved people to understand and support other girls like herself who were denied the right to education due to socioeconomic, legal and political factors. A non-profit charity, the Malala Fund, was set up to help such girls.

For her tireless efforts, 12th July is celebrated as Malala Day – to honour young education advocates worldwide – since 2013 when she gave her first public speech after the attack. Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 – the youngest person to receive such an honour.  

“I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I’m here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists.”

References: 1. BBC News. Available at 2. NBC News. Available at 3. Available at 4. Malala. Available at 

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Nothing Short of Emmazing!

Nothing Short of Emmazing!

May 8, 2022   Return

Although her acting career has seen her take on many commendable roles, it is safe to say that Emma Watson is most renowned for her role in the epic fantasy series, Harry Potter. While she has put away her wand and cape (metaphorically speaking, of course; it has been 4 years since the last instalment of the Harry Potter franchise), who could possibly forget – and not adore – her as the gutsy heroine Hermione Granger?

At first glance, it appears that Emma and her movie character share nothing in common. Be it posing on the red carpet or running errands in her London hometown, Emma is always the image of beauty and grace; nary a hair out of place. In contrast, Hermione is depicted to be average in appearance and always sporting a bushy, untamed mane. Another difference would be the way they carry themselves. Emma is generally soft-spoken whereas Hermione is bit of a know-it-all and can appear bossy at times.

But for all their differences, Emma and her character are actually more similar than you think. If anything, they share one common trait (and an outstanding one at that): the courage to stand up for what they believe in. For instance, fans of the Harry Potter series can attest to how actively Hermione campaigned for the plight of house elves. But while Hermione’s lobbying of the welfare of magical creatures is the stuff of fiction, Emma’s role as a women’s rights activist couldn’t be more real.

Making her voice heard

For many, September 20th 2014 might have been just another day but for Emma, it was the day for much-awaited change. It was the day for not only her voice but also for the voices of millions of women across the globe to be heard.

As the United Nation’s newly appointed Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma took to the podium at the UN headquarters that very day to deliver an impassioned address on gender equality and feminism. Besides detailing the injustices faced by women, her speech called on not just fellow women but more importantly, men to play a more active role in the advocacy of gender equality.

In her speech, Emma is to have said, “I’m reaching out to you because I need your help. We need to end gender inequality – and to achieve that, everybody must be involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN. We aim to galvanize as many boys and men as possible to be advocates for gender equality. Instead of merely talking about it, we strive to ensure that it’s tangible. We are struggling for a uniting word but the great news is we have a uniting movement. It is called “HeForShe”. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the “he” for “she”. And to ask yourself ‘If not me, who? If not now, when’?”

Needless to say, the message’s honesty and urgency coupled with the fervour in her delivery sent social networks abuzzing and even, resulted in a thunderous standing ovation from UN delegates.

Waves of changes

Hilary Clinton and Prince Harry are among the world leaders who have lent their support to the campaign. Celebrities such as Russell Crowe and Harry Styles have also gotten on the bandwagon – making them two of the estimated 300,000-plus men who have joined the campaign so far. Fellow English actor Tom Hiddleston even took to Twitter to commend Emma for her stance, describing her as “impeccable” and “extraordinary”.

And it’s not just the adults who are responding to Emma’s call for change, a Year 9 student at Australia’s prestigious Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School cited Emma as her source of inspiration during her school’s special assembly on leadership. The student, Jocasta Ryman stressed, “Not only is Emma empowering women, she’s aspiring to convey this revolution to everyone, including the opposite gender. Rather than arguing for an increase in women’s rights, she’s conveying the idea to men and women alike; uniting the genders as equals, which is actually the definition of feminism. There have been great feminists but Emma’s bringing an influential change to our society by involving diverse individuals instead of just women.”


Weaving her magic

While it seems impossible to hate on Emma’s mission, naysayers were quick to strike when her speech was made public. She tells The Wrap, “People actually threatened to release naked images of me online.” But she was unfazed. “I knew it was a hoax. Those pictures don’t even exist.”

“You might be thinking what is this Harry Potter girl doing at the UN? Trust me, I’ve been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I’m qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about feminism. And I want to make it better. I feel it’s my duty to say something. If you truly put your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can happen.”

Emma is no witch but that isn’t stopping this petite trailblazer from weaving some magic of her own. To quote UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon: “Emma’s been waving a magic wand. I hope she uses her wand to end violence against women.” And so do we.



Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Available at

The Public Slate. Available at

The Wrap. Available at

UV Women. Available at

Vanity Fair. Available at

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Scoring a “Home” Run in Life

Scoring a “Home” Run in Life

May 8, 2022   Return

Phillip Phillips sure scored a home run with his coronation song Home. Winning Season 11 of American Idol was not easy for him, though as he had to endure multiple surgeries to correct his chronic kidney problems during that time.

“He’s been doing [well], but it’s just gruelling hours and it’s just amazing what he’s done through the journey,” said Phillip Phillips Sr., Phillips’s father, after the finale. “Eight operations since we started American Idol … He’s hitting 50%, but he’s still up there swinging away.” His father was so happy with Phillips’s victory and declared that his son would be capable of performing even better when he fully recovered.

Phillips had to undergo the surgeries to remove multiple kidney stones which were too large. After the American Idol finale, he had to go for yet another surgery to reconstruct his kidneys.

He later revealed that it was a struggle for him to face the surgeries and participate in American Idol at the same time but was thankful he had the support. “It was very tough [getting through the season]. I had great doctors and great people surrounding me [who] really helped out, so it’s just a blessing to be here.”

Diamond in the rough

Phillip LaDon Phillips Jr. was born in Albany, Georgia, on September 20, 1990, to Sheryl and Phillips Sr. He has two sisters, Lacey Neil and LaDonna Urick. Although he grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, he was actually inspired by Damien Rice, Dave Matthews and John Butler to become a musician.

At 14, he started his musical adventure by playing the guitar. His long-time friend and brother-in-law Benjamin Neil became his mentor and encouraged him to delve in music.

Phillips teamed up with Neil and his other brother-in-law Todd Urick to form a band called Phillip Phillips Band and they performed locally. In 2010, Phillips won a local singing competition, Albany Star.


Chasing his dreams

Phillips tried out for American Idol after failing to make it to the finals in America’s Got Talent. It was after the Top 13 performance that Phillips found out he had kidney stones. He even considered dropping out of American Idol due to the pain, but managed to hang on.

Phillips’ struggle has paid off as his music career was launched along with his coronation song, Home which sold more than 4 million copies in the US. His debut album, The World from the Side of the Moon became platinum hit in 2013. The excitement and journey continued as he released his second album, Behind the Light in 2014, featuring songs he has written himself. On Boxing Day 2014, Phillips became engaged to his girlfriend, Hannah Blackwell.

Phillips is determined to bring out the best in his music and performance despite all odds, including the recent lawsuit he filed against his record and management label, 19 Recording Inc. which he feels has dealt him an “oppressive” contract. Meanwhile, he continues to give concerts and should everything go well, he will be performing in Miami in February 2016.

“I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans.” Keep up the good work, Phillip!



1. ABC News. Available at

2. People. Available at

3. The Hollywood Reporter. Available at

4. Wikipedia. Available at

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Magnificent Megan Words

Magnificent Megan Words

May 8, 2022   Return


Megan Tan, the former host of 8TV Quickie is now going places with the new travel show, G Travel which is being aired on the new Astro channel 737 GOASEAN. Watching her speak in such a bubbly manner, one would find it hard to believe that she was a very shy kid when growing up.

In fact, Megan’s parents were quite worried at one point as she was so quiet and would only speak when spoken to. So, how did she come out of her shell? “My dad sent me to an English tuition class which encouraged poetry and drama. And then, I became involved in storytelling and debate. I even hosted the TV2 show Golden Kids Club when I was 10 years old. Slowly, bit by bit my personality sort of came out as I grew up.”

Winning the audition

When Megan won the 8TV Quickie audition for a co-host in 2010, life took a 180° turn for her. She was in her final year of studies doing psychology and communication at SEGi College. “That was their first ever open audition. Coincidentally, my dad contributed a lot to that win, my career and who I am today because he was the one who heard about the audition on the radio and told me to try it out.”

So, she went for the audition, queued up with hundreds of people, waited in line for her turn and did her best. “When I got the call and was told that I was among the top six contestants, I was beyond ecstatic and really happy! After that, we went through a series of assignments and then, I got the job. And I won the competition alongside Naqib [Naqib Nadhir Shamsuri].”

And that pretty much started Megan’s career although in the beginning, she thought of it as a hobby. She was still studying and had plans of taking up Masters of Psychology because she was always interested in child psychology and media as well.


Career options

Megan loves hosting various TV shows. “TV hosting was my first love. I always call it a blessing – I guess I was at the right place at the right time. I never thought I would be doing this.” She also discovered her true self along the way and grew from being a college student into a working adult.

Interestingly, Megan wanted to be a doctor during her high school days. However, watching a documentary on a caesarean surgery changed her mind! So, she explored other options and decided to take up psychology. “I have always been fascinated with people’s behaviour and why they act in a certain way. I have been told I’m quite an understanding person and I have a huge amount of patience with people and I am able to empathize a lot. I have an older sister who comes to me for advice.”

Megan believes she can definitely apply her knowledge of psychology in the future regardless of what her career will be. She also thinks it will be great to help children with disabilities and special needs. Being a positive person, Megan chose to surround herself with people who are more positive.

In 2011, Megan was selected to play the lead role in Sakura, a Malaysian telemovie on TV3. “I was very fortunate to be selected because the director was looking for a non-Malay and she took a chance with me which I am very thankful for. The character was half-Japanese and half-Malaysian so I guess she needed someone who looked the part to play the role.”

Megan learnt a lot from that experience because prior to that she never knew what acting was like. “It was very challenging for me because it was my first ever acting gig.” Her role involved a lot of crying and intense scenes and was emotionally challenging.

However, Megan says it was a good experience. “I’m always up for a challenge so that made me love acting as well. As a TV host, I get to be myself but with acting I get to explore different sides of who I am and just to be someone else for a change.”

Megan also plays a supporting role in another Malay movie called Antara Satu, which features Remy Ishak and Bront Palarae as lead actors. Although showbiz is not something that Megan planned for, she counts the 8TV Quickie audition a blessing and everything has worked out for her since then.

Finding a balance

Megan confesses to be quite the planner when it comes to time management. She used to make her own timetable to divide time for rest, reading a book, homework, playtime, etc. “I think it just came naturally to me, an inborn character perhaps. I never really struggled with time management.”

Hence, she is able to find a balance when working. She handles events back to back during busy periods and when more relaxed, spends time with her family. “You need to prioritize at the end of the day and see what is more worthy of your time and then, do that.”

Megan loves to unwind at the end of the day by watching TV. She also loves the beach and island holidays. In contrast, she also loves to visit cities. “Every year I try to take off for 2 weeks. Last year, I went to Gold Coast and Brisbane in Australia. It’s like a refresh button.”

To stay healthy while on the move, Megan has some basic habits – drinking a lot of water, exercising with the help of YouTube videos and sleeping for at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Although she indulges her sweet tooth with the occasional cake, chocolate and ice cream, she follows a healthy diet on a daily basis starting with cereal or a granola bar to kickstart her day. To stay youthful, she uses the basic beauty regimen – cleanse, tone and moisturize followed by applying sunblock.


Moving forward

Megan takes every new show and new project that she engages in as a new learning curve for her. She still feels like she has more to learn after being in showbiz for more than 5 years now. “I would say that this year, for instance, when I saw my name on the nomination list in the Anugerah Bintang Popular that was a wow moment for me. I’m just going to keep doing what I do and hopefully stay relevant and I’ll be able to do this for the rest of my life.”

Besides hosting TV shows and emceeing, Megan is in the midst of launching her lifestyle site that covers everything that she loves and believes in. “I hope to inspire people through this site by just spreading some positivity and the goodness in life.”

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Success & Motherhood in the City

Success & Motherhood in the City

May 8, 2022   Return

Just last May, Sarah Jessica Parker was nearly in tears as she listened to a third grade student, Kaliyah Parkin, recite a poem thanking her teacher for all her guidance. “Oh my gosh, are you listening to this?” she asked the teacher as Kaliyah recited the poem, titled I Am Important.

It was moments like this that spurred Parker to mentor school children, among her many acts of advocacy and patronage. These days, the actress, humanitarian and entrepreneur has come a long way from the poverty she was born into.

Born on March 25, 1965, she was one of eight children. Her mother married twice, and Parker recalls that the family had to often go without electricity and heat during the winter season. There was no extra money for treats or celebration. Nonetheless, financial woes did not stop her parents from supporting their children’s interests.  

Her mother, Barbara enrolled Parker and her siblings in scholarship-funded ballet, music and theatre classes, and this early education served as the foundation of Parker’s performance skills. Her first break arrived when her stepfather, Stephen Forste took her, still a child then, and her siblings to New York City to audition for a Broadway play, The Innocents. After Parker and her brother, Timothy landed roles in the play, the family moved to New York and she enrolled at the Manhattan’s Professional Children’s School. 

“I developed a really strong work ethic, and I don’t take anything for granted.”

Roles came and went, and with each role, Parker’s star continued to rise, culminating in her role as main protagonist Carrie Bradshaw in the iconic TV series Sex & the City. Darren Starr, the series’ creator wanted her specifically for the role, which was a daring move in itself considering that Parker, while striking in her own right, did not fit the conventional mould of Hollywood beauty. His gamble paid off – the TV series was a hit with viewers and critics alike, earning over 50 Emmy nominations and winning 7, one of which was Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Parker.

When the TV series wrapped up, Parker resumed treading the stage, her first love, while juggling the running of her own production company and fashion house with being a wife and mother. In fact, she found a kindred soul with actor Matthew Broderick, whom she met – naturally – at the theatre. They tied the knot in 1997.


Living her dream, together with a man she loves and a family of her own, Parker is home. 

“I have an inherent need to be all things to all people, to make certain everybody’s taken care of. I know I can’t sustain that level all the time, so I’m finding the proper balance and it’s made me infinitely happier.”



ABC News. Available at

Kare 11. Available at

US Magazine. Available at

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‘Kampung’ in the City

‘Kampung’ in the City

May 8, 2022   Return


“We always strive for our guests to enjoy the best possible Ramadan experience,” Alan Pryor, General Manager of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre had these words to offer when recently asked what the public could expect from the Centre’s upcoming buka puasa fare. And nothing short of the best, it will be judging from the array of gastronomical delights which greeted us as we, along with other members of the media congregated at the Centre Core for last month’s buffet tasting event.

Meticulously crafted by the Centre’s award-winning brigade of 51 chefs, the buffet spread boasted a selection of ‘Kampung Classics’ which words such as ‘scrumptious’ and ‘mouth-watering’ could only come so close to describing it. From gulai kawah to roast lamb to chicken satay, we were lost for choice when it came to deciding on which dish to sample first.


Elaborating on the buffet theme, Chef Richmond Lim who is the Centre’s Executive Chef said, “This year’s Ramadan promotion features the same theme as last year’s ‘Kampung in the City’, but we have included a host of new kampung favourites. For example, we decided to reintroduce gulai kawah and laksa lemak daging telel as they were popular with diners last year. Then, there are new items like nasi lemak spring rolls.” Those of you who fancy nasi lemak and spring rolls, and who might have wondered what they would taste like when combined, will not be disappointed. We were greeted by generous bits of hard-boiled egg, sambal, anchovies and coconut rice when we bit into the spring rolls. Although the rolls could have been less oily, they were indeed crispy while the rice retained its coconut-y aroma.


Guests can also look forward to the ‘Chef Action Stations’, where local favourites including Penang char kuey teow, assam laksa, mee curry Nyonya, wantan mee, prawn mee, murtabak (both chicken and beef), Hainanese chicken rice and mee goring mamak will be available. Salivating already? Wait, there’s more. Those looking for their roti fix will be thrilled to know that the stations will also be serving up roti bom and roti jala with chicken curry, dhall curry and sardine sambal. Additionally, there will be beef and chicken satay, the Centre’s signature bubur lambuk (rice porridge) and the ultimate Hari Raya staple, rendang tok complete with ketupat, nasi impit and lemang. The satay was nothing short of delicious; the meat so tender and succulent that it fell off the stick without so much as a pull of the teeth. Its accompanying peanut sauce had just the right consistency and sweetness, unlike some peanut sauces which can be rather cloying.


If fried food is right up your alley, then you can head over to the Goreng Gorengan station whereby you will have the tough time of deciding between deep-fried snacks including keropok lekor and bread fruit, jackfruit and banana fritters (then again, you could just take them all, like us). The banana fritters were tastier than expected, boasting a certain maple syrup-like sweetness which set them apart from the pisang goreng found at your usual gerai makanan.


And of course, what meal would be complete without desserts. Guests with a sweet tooth can rest assured that the chefs have delectable sweet treats such as local kuih, pastries, cakes, fresh fruits, ais kacang, dates and serawa durian in store for them. What better way to end a night of feasting, right?

The buffet low-down

So, tempted to hit the Centre this Ramadan to satisfy your kampung food cravings? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Muslim guests will be offered a designated prayer room, prayer mats, sandals, on-site ablution facilities and an Imam for prayers.
  • The public buka puasa (Ramadan Al-Mubarak) is priced at RM115 nett per person whereas the exquisite Ramadan Al-Mubarak menu is RM157 nett per person.
  • Available from 22 June to 7 July 2015.
  • The public buka puasa is limited to 250 guests per evening. However, clients have the option of organizing their own private banquets for 100 guests or above. So, do book early to avoid disappointment.  Contact Abby at 603-2333 2866 or June at 603 2333 2877 for reservations.

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Unconventionally Chris

Unconventionally Chris

May 8, 2022   Return


Towering at 6 feet 2 inches with bulging biceps, coiffed hair and a chiseled face, Chris Pratt looks every inch a superhero – or an actor who could portray a superhero, anyway. And he did exactly that in the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG), where he played the leader of the titular superhero rag-tag team on a mission to – you guessed it – save the galaxy.

The movie won the hearts of audiences worldwide with the wit and self-deprecating humour typically unseen in superhero flicks – something for which Chris deserves much credit. Those who have watched the movie will know what I’m talking about. Remember the opening scene in which Chris’s character sashays to the 70s classic Come and Get Your Love, fingers snapping and head bopping to the beat? Or how he would throw in hilarious pop culture references throughout the movie? Talk about an unconventional superhero. And like his character, Chris’ life has been pretty unconventional so far.

From hobo to superhero

Chris may now be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous but 14 years ago, he was homeless with only a Scooby-Doo camper van to his name. He recalls, “I had just quit college and bought a one-way ticket to Maui. At that point, I didn’t know where my life was going. I was practically a beach bum.”

However, the tides began to turn when he secured a waiter’s position at a nearby restaurant. “One day, I found myself waiting on the table of a movie director. I bragged that I was a fantastic actor even though I had done only several school plays. Funnily, she was so charmed that she offered me a role in one of her films.” The then 22-year-old Chris was ecstatic. “When she told me she was taking me to Los Angeles, I was like ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”

Although success didn’t immediately come a’ knocking after his movie debut, Chris soon got his break in the television series Everwood. A number of supporting TV roles later, he made it big when he was cast as lovable goofball Andy Dwyer on NBC’s award-winning Parks and Recreation. With his newfound success, one would think he was a shoo-in for the lead role in GOTG but he wasn’t. “The director couldn’t imagine me in the role. He actually had to be convinced by the casting director to let me audition.” But Chris’ witty persona gave the role a whole new dimension – something other actors failed to do – and the director was sold. The rest, they say is history.

Bye fat, hello fit

Chris’ shirtless scenes in GOTG may have given audiences a good look at his ripped figure but the Minnesota native wasn’t always buff. “I had to exchange 65 pounds of fat for solid muscle to be in the movie. I had piled on the weight for an earlier movie so I really had to work my butt off,” he says in an interview with Healthy Celeb. Apparently, drastic weight loss isn’t something unfamiliar to him, what with his many movie roles requiring him to fluctuate between various physiques – making him the perfect guy to give weight loss advice.

“It can seem like a long time to get that body you want but you need to stay focused. Do a few things daily and remain consistent. Cut rubbish out of your diet, spend an hour daily working up a sweat and time will pass by quickly enough. You’ll soon feel better mentally and physically.” He also suggests getting a personal trainer and dietitian. “It’ll cost some money but it won’t cost as much as the rubbish you put in your body otherwise.”

Elaborating further, he says, “I switched to wholesome foods like veggies, fruits and seeds. I avoided alcoholic beverages. They do nothing but accumulate fats in your body. Additionally, I was on a low-carb, low- fat diet. I stuck to lean protein.” His strict regime also meant he had to resist wife Anna Faris’ delicious cooking. “When I heard I got the part in GOTG, I immediately warned Anna to stop making me desserts,” he shares candidly.


Bonding over bugs

It may come as a surprise to some but Chris and Anna (who is an actress in her own right) bonded over creepy crawlies when they first met on a movie set. “We’re clearly made for each other. We’re both obssesed with natural history. We geek out over fossils, stuffed animals, dead bugs, things like that.” Initially, he had no inkling of her shared interest in taxidermy until he invited her over to his house. “When she saw my bug collection, she started crying. I thought I had done something wrong but it turned out she was so amazed that she had finally found someone who shared her passion.” Now happily married, they have merged their bug collection – something which Chris jokingly equates to a natural history museum.

 A health scare

Although all seems rosy for Chris and Anna, things were rather rough when they welcomed their son Jack into the fold several years ago. “We had been trying and were thrilled when we discovered we were having a baby. But Jack was born premature, about 9 weeks early. He weighed only 3 pounds, 12 ounces. That’s the size of a sea bass. Anna held him for only a moment and he was off to the neonatal intensive care unit. He also had jaundice. I remember seeing all these tubes and wires around him. I would play him country music, sing to him and pray that he would get well.”

Thankfully, Jack made it through much to the Pratts’ relief. “Jack went from a helpless squirt to this strong, happy boy. He likes monster trucks and believe it or not, vegetables. Tomatoes and broccoli are his favourites.”

Big guy, bigger heart

Chris may play an on-screen hero but it seems that he has that noble quality even in real life. The recent Super Bowl saw him and fellow actor Chris Evans egging on their favourite football teams to win the sports event. Amidst the friendly competition, Chris saw the opportunity for charity. “We root for rival teams so, I thought it’d be cool to make a bet with Evans. If my team won, he’d have to visit Seattle Children’s Hospital dressed as Captain America. But if his team won, I’d visit Christopher’s Haven (a non-profit organisation for children with cancer) as Star-Lord. Since we’re betting on the Super Bowl, why not turn it into a superhero wager?”

Although Evans’ team emerged triumphant, both actors decided to make good on their wager. Aside from visiting the two locations, the two real-life heroes raised approximately $27,000 worth of donations.


Unapologetically unconventional

Unconventional and Chris seem to go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s his passion for preserved insects, his ability to be refreshingly endearing while still being a goof or his humble nature amidst such success, Chris clearly stands out from the rest of Hollywood’s bigwigs. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.



Healthy Celeb. Available at

The Daily Beast. Available at

The Mirror. Available at

US Magazine. Available at

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Back in the Court

Back in the Court

May 8, 2022   Return

April 28, 2015 was a great day; a day that would surely be etched in the mind of Malaysia’s badminton champion, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei for the rest of his life. It was also a day for Malaysians to breathe in relief, as Lee finally received the verdict from the Badminton World Federation (BWF) in regards to his failing a dope test back in September last year.

“The panel is convinced this is not a case of doping with intent to cheat,” BWF stated.

The 32-year old two-times Olympics silver medallist was suspended for the last 8 months after failing a dope test, and the subsequent media circus surrounding this matter was trying. Fans took to Twitter and Facebook to express their disbelief, but most rallied behind Lee as he maintained his innocence. He also found support from key figures on the international badminton scene, including Lee’s archnemesis, Lin Dan.

Lin Dan, in fact, told China’s official Xinhua news agency, “I hope that this great player comes back to the court as soon as possible. Not only does Malaysia need him, but the whole badminton world needs him.”

Among Lee’s many triumphs, he was the world’s No.1 singles player for 199 consecutive weeks (21 August 2008 to 14 June 2012), making him the first Malaysian to hold the rank for more than a year. Additionally, he was the most successful Malaysian athlete in the Olympics, having scored silver in the men singles in 2008 and 2012.

When he discovered that he had failed his dope test, he told blogger Satwant Singh Dhaliwal that he was “left speechless and dumbfounded”, as he has always believed in relying on hard work and strict discipline to bring him success in the court. Suspended and facing a possible two-year ban that could very well end his career, Lee marshalled a legal team with the support of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to clear his name. In the meantime, he continued training as badminton was also his way of coping with the stress and frustration.


When the verdict arrived, Lee was vindicated. While he was found guilty of taking the banned substance dexamethasone, the 3-member BWF panel concluded that it was unintentional and backdated his 8-month suspension. Lee could effectively play again after receiving the verdict.

Sure enough, he was promptly appointed the captain of Malaysia’s Sudirman Cup team, and he now has eyes on regaining his No. 1 title. The 28th SEA Games awaits, and the possibilities after that are plenty.

Ladies and gentlemen, Dato’ Lee Chong Wei is back!



New Straits Times. Available at

Satwant Singh Dhaliwal. Available at

The Malay Mail Online. Available at

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