Mutual love and marry, so what?


Forty-year-old Riduan Masmud who allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl,

KOTA KINABALU: He allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl and saw no wrong in it.

Riduan Masmud, the 40-year-old who shocked the nation after being charged with raping the minor and later declared that he had married her in the midst of the case, has opened up for the first time on why he decided to take the girl as his second wife.

The restaurant manager defended his action, saying it was a case of suka sama suka (mutual consent), adding that it was acceptable under Syariah law.

It could not be ascertained whether the girl met Riduan while she was at school or whether she had been working for him. She is from a very poor family.

As his rape case came up for mention at a Sessions Court yesterday, Riduan told reporters that he had known the girl for about six months and felt he had the right (to marry an underage girl).

“There are many cases of men marrying underage girls. I do not see why my case should be any different,“ said the father of four children, aged between two and 17. He declined to say if any of them is a girl.

Riduan was speaking to reporters outside the courtroom after Sessions Court Judge Ummu Khatom Abd Samad set July 1 to 4 to hear the case.

Judge Ummu Khatom gave the Attorney-General’s Chambers until June 6 to make a decision on whether to proceed with the case.

Riduan was charged on Feb 28 with raping the girl inside a car parked by the roadside in Inanam near here at 10am on Feb 18.

On May 7, DPP Ahmad Nazmeen Zulkifli told the court he had no objection for the case to be withdrawn after the girl withdrew the rape report against the man April 18.

It is understood that it was the girl’s aunt who lodged the police report after she found out about the “affair”.

The courtroom was packed yesterday with concerned groups turning up in full force. Many women interest groups and NGOs turned up for the hearing yesterday, including Befrienders Kota Kinabalu president Datuk Seri Siti Rubiah Abdul Samad, the wife of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

All eyes were on the girl who appeared briefly in court. She has a childlike face, wore some make up, and tied up her long hair in a pony tail. Thin and looking under-developed, she was dressed in a T-shirt and jeans.

Riduan said he would let his child-wife finish her studies first and “maybe later take up a cosmetic course with my first wife”, adding that she was a make-up artist.

His wife also told the press that she had accepted the teenager to be her husband’s second wife and promised to guide her through her studies.

However, Riduan stopped talking and moved away from the media when he was signalled by a lawyer not to talk.

The girl’s father, who was also at the court, said he accepted his daughter’s marriage to Riduan as they liked each other.

“It is best for her that they get married. What else can I do?” he added.

As the case came up for mention yesterday, DPP Chaw Siang Kong told the court that he needed time to review the case as it involved public interest.

Lawyers Datuk Mariati Robert and Mary Lee held watching briefs for Sabah Law Association and the Sabah Women Action Resource Group respectively.

Counsel Loretto J. Padua informed the court that the Syariah marriage certificates had been presented to the investigating officer and confirmed that the two were now married.

The court ordered that the man’s RM8,000 bail be extended till June 6.


Love triangle led to murder of teenage girl !

Love Tringle_Lucia-Mejia-Kaur PETALING JAYA: A love triangle is believed to be the reason for the brutal murder of Parhwine Lucia Mejia Kaur (pic), whose body was found in a drain near a football field in Bandar Puchong Jaya on Tuesday.

Serdang OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Razak Elias said investigations revealed that the 18-year-old might have been the victim of a love triangle that went awry.

He added that Parhwine’s boyfriend, who is in his 20s, was detained a few hours after her body was found at 6.50pm. Her motorcycle was found some 50m away.

“He is the prime suspect. However, there is a possibility that there were others involved as well,” he said yesterday.

It is learnt that Parhwine was murdered after a quarrel with her boyfriend over his “indiscretions” with another woman.

The boyfriend was said to have cheated on her with another girl and sources revealed that the boyfriend was the last person seen with the victim before she died.

ACP Abdul Razak said police were also investigating several blogs which picked up the story on the murder.

“Some blogs had highlighted a comment on the victim’s Facebook page, taunting the police saying Parhwine’s murderer will never be caught.

“We are working together with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to find out who had posted the comment. It may also have been a sick joke posted by a hacker,” he said.

ACP Abdul Razak said a post-mortem revealed that Parhwine died due to loss of blood from severe neck injuries. Parhwhine was reported missing on Monday, a day before her body was found.

Friends and family members told the police that the victim knew the suspect for only four months and that they were always arguing.

ACP Abdul Razak urged anyone with information to call the police hotline at 03-2052 9999 or visit the nearest police station.


First lady in the limelight

China‘s Peng Liyuan joins the ranks of the world’s most fashionable first ladies.

Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan arrive in MoscowXi Jinping and Peng Liyuan arrive in Moscow. Photograph: Ivan Sekretarev/AP

He is the most powerful person in China and head of the world’s second largest economy, but when Xi Jinping arrives for the Brics summit in South Africa on Tuesday, chances are that all eyes in his home country will be on the woman at his side.

Peng Liyuan, China’s new first lady, was the talk of Chinese social media at the weekend during a trip to Russia when she emerged as a trendy contrast to her predecessors.

Pictures of Peng stepping off a plane with Xi in Moscow on Friday – the first stop on his first trip abroad since assuming China’s presidency on 14 March – went viral online with praise for her attire: black high heels and stockings, an understated leather bag and a light blue scarf emerging from beneath a dark trenchcoat, collar turned up against the wind.

The 50-year-old People’s Liberation Army singer is often compared to Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Michelle Obama, Raisa Gorbachev and even Kate Middleton: a charismatic performer, trendsetter and dash of colour in an otherwise monochrome regime.

“I kind of knew she would play some role in public life, but not in this way,” said Wang Zhengxu, an associate professor of contemporary Chinese studies at the University of Nottingham. “Somehow she just hijacked the limelight from Xi Jinping on Chinese cyberspace. That’s quite a dramatic development in my view.”

After bloggers identified Peng’s bag, coat and scarf as products from the Guangzhou-based outlet Exception, the company’s website crashed on Friday from an overload of traffic. On Sunday the site was still loading only intermittently.

Exception was founded by a Guangzhou-based couple in 1996 who now run about 100 outlets across the country. “[Its CEO] once said Exception is best suited for this type of woman: a bit artistic, someone who appreciates quality but also stands apart, someone who understands international trends but wants to express her eastern flare,” the LadyMax fashion website reported. “Is this not Peng Liyuan’s style?”

The Beijing-based entrepreneur Wang Lifen said Peng’s life story was a classic inspirational tale.

“Born into poverty, she used her innate singing ability to leave her home town, worked diligently to complete a master’s degree at China Conservatory of Music, and used her gradually growing fame and visionary intelligence to start dating a low-level cadre,” she wrote. “This is why so many people admire her.”

The recently retired president Hu Jintao‘s wife, Liu Yongqing, and Jiang Zemin’s wife, Wang Yeping, were both known to keep low profiles. Looking for their names on Chinese search engines brings up only fragmentary biographical information such as birth dates and alma maters.

When Xi assumed the Communist party’s top post in November, analysts predicted that Peng would remain as low-key as her predecessors: after all, the soprano had chosen to eschew large-scale performances in recent years to avoid drawing attention from her husband’s political career.

Yet Peng’s arrival in Moscow was covered extensively by China Central Television and received a full-page spread in the Beijing News. The couple arrived in Tanzania on Sunday, and on Monday Peng was pictured in a bright red scarf casually draped over a tailored black jacket and white dress.

Some commentators have expressed hopes that she will take a more active role in forthcoming visits to South Africa and the Republic of Congo. Peng was appointed as the World Health Organisation‘s goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and Aids in 2011.

Peng joined the People’s Liberation Army as a civilian at 18 and had already reached the heights of folksinging fame when she first met Xi in the south-eastern province of Fujian in 1986. She is best known for her 24 years as a soloist at the annual spring festival gala, perhaps the most-watched television event in the world, belting folk songs in her brassy, nasal soprano.

In one widely shared video clip, Peng, dressed in military garb, sings about “bravely advancing for victory” amid a chorus line of bayonet-wielding soldiers. The stage show is juxtaposed with stock footage of battle-ready Chinese tanks, jets and warships.

Internet censors have given largely free reign to positive discussion of Peng but have kept a grip on the conversation. Terms such as “Auntie Peng” and “first lady Xi” have been blocked on Sina Weibo. Wang Zhengxu said censors probably wanted to maintain Peng’s image as a symbol of public diplomacy rather than brash commercialism.

By Jonathan Kaiman Guardian News & Media

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Measuring your Heart Rate for fitness

Why do you need to know your heart rate? What heart rate zone will give you the absolute BEST results for fat burning from your cardio?

I was recently inspired to write this article on heart rates in relation to fitness due to the numerous questions I have received lately about it, and the importance of knowing what it is, and why. Even though the heart rate is a huge element to achieving an optimal workout, and its been around forever, many individuals do not know what theirs is, or how to measure it, or even to care about it. So I am going to clarify this simple yet important component to fitness.

Resting, Exercise and Maximum
Heart Rates
There are three HR to consider when training to get fit, or as it relates to cardiovascular fitness, as well as your Target Zone.

The first is the Resting HR. This is your HR when you are not engaging in any physical activity that elevates it, or when you are in a resting state such as sleep. As you become more fit, this number will decrease because your heart and lungs have become stronger. The heart is then able to pump more blood, which is called stroke volume, throughout the body with less effort. The lungs are able to pull in more oxygen, which is called maximum oxygen uptake, with less effort, which means more blood and oxygen to the working muscles makes up the endurance portion of being fit. Having enough oxygen going into the blood keeps the lactic acid out-thus you can sustain a prolonged aerobic workout.

A normal Resting HR can vary as low as 40 BPM to as high as 100 BPM. 70 BPM is usually the average for a man, and 75 BPM is average for a woman. The Resting HR should be used as an index to improve your cardiovascular fitness level, with a focus on decreasing it. The best time to measure your Resting HR is when you first arise from sleep in the morning. The palpation (beats) of the Radial Pulse is accurately measured in your wrist in line with the base of your thumb. Place the tips of your index and middle fingers over the Radial Artery and apply a light pressure to it. DO NOT USE YOUR THUMB. It has a pulse of it’s own. You may count the beats for one full minute to get the HR, or for 30 seconds and multiply by 2 for the number of BPM.

The Second is the Exercise HR. This is the rate at which your body is in motion from a sustained exercise, and the rate increases. Of course you measure it during exercise. The goal here is to stay within your Target HR Range or Zone, which is normally between 75% to 85% of your Maximum HR which is the third. Maximum HR is the rate at which your heart beats at 100% Max. during a sustained aerobic activity. You never want to work at 100% of your Max. HR unless a professional has you on a specific program designed for that, and your fitness level can sustain it. 100% of Max. will cause you to cross over into an Anaerobic Threshold. These numbers can vary depending on your age and fitness level.

The Exercise Pulse is most accurately palpated at the larger Carotid Artery on the side of the neck. It is usually located beside the larynx. Place your index and middle fingers alongside the base of your ear lobe and slide it down to the side of your throat and apply a light pressure. DO NOT apply a heavy pressure to the Carotid Artery when measuring your Exercise HR. These arteries contain Baroreceptors that sense increases in pressure and will respond by slowing down your HR. You will feel this pulse easily during a workout, so heavy pressure is not needed to locate it. The Exercise HR should be taken for 10 seconds, always counting the first beat as “0,” then multiply by 6. This number is your Exercise HR. Which brings me to the point of all of this information.

For Determining Your Max Heart Rate 

To determine your Maximum HR, use the calculators below. The simple formula: Take 220 and minus your age which is accurate to approximately +15 BPM. You then take that number and multiply it by .75 – .85, which will give you your percentages of 75% — 85% of your Max. HR. This is the Target Range or Zone that you want to stay in when doing any type of cardiovascular (aerobic) activity. When in this range your body is getting an optimum workout with maximum benefit, and it stays in a Fat Burning mode.
There are two different ways to calculate your maximum heart rate and your target heart rates. The method I just explained is the simple method.
Simple Target Heart Rate Calculator
Using the 220 – Age formula.

Enter Your Age
Max Heart Rate
75-85% Max Heart Rate
THR 15 sec count


The Karvonnen formula is more advanced since it also takes into account your resting heart rate. This is your heart rate at complete rest. To determine this, take your pulse for 60 seconds just before you get out of bed… or take it for 30 seconds and multiply by 2.
Advanced Target Heart Rate Calculator
Using the Karvonen Formula.

  • For your age, use a whole year. (Between 0 and 100)
  • Put your Resting Heart Rate in the next box. (Between 30 and 100)
  • In the % box, use a number between 50 and 85. Do not include the %.
  • Click on the Calculate button, and it will calculate your target heart rate or that percentage.
Your Age in Years
Resting Heart Rate
% of Maximum Effort
Your Target Heart Rate

When you start to work over these percentages, not unless you are in great shape and can push yourself into a higher range, then you have gone into an Anaerobic Threshold. Which means that you are pushing yourself way too hard, and no healthy benefits are being obtained. You are defeating your purpose. If you push yourself into an Anaerobic Threshold your body can no longer meet its demand for oxygen. You will start to feel exhausted, your HR increases above the Max. (which is 100%), you will stop the fat burning process, and you will start to hyperventilate due to the excessive amounts of lactic acid in your body. In other words, you are not pulling in enough clean oxygen through the lungs to clean it out of the blood. Your heart can no longer pump enough blood to your working muscles to sustain your activity, and you are overloading yourself. You prevent this from happening by staying in your Target HR Range. As you become more fit, you can push yourself into a higher range without going over into the Anaerobic Threshold. The purpose of this article is to give you insight to perceive that, and always know where you are in your range or zone when working out.

AN FYI Remember that Aerobic means “with oxygen,” and Anaerobic means “without oxygen.” Aerobic exercise is training at a certain level of intensity for a sustained period of time, usually 20 minutes to 1 hour as on a stair-climber, treadmill, or in an aerobics class. You need oxygen rich blood to maintain this.

Anaerobic exercise is training at a level of intensity that does not require a sustained period of time, usually 30 seconds to 1 minute. Such as weight training, strength circuit, circuit and interval training sessions when sets/reps are involved. Because the time period is shorter and faster in cases of intervals and circuits, you use all of the oxygen rich blood more quickly to complete your sets/reps before lactic acid causes you to stop the exercise. That’s what “The Burn” means. Then you take a break so the blood can be cleaned of lactic acid and you catch your breath before your next set.

One more element to consider is the Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale. This scale provides a standard means for evaluating your perception of your exercise intensity. You can use this scale on a 1 – 10 basis with 1 being “very very easy,” and 10 being “very very hard.” If you’re like me, I don’t like to stop during my aerobic exercise sessions to measure my HR, so I use this scale to measure where I am in my Target Range. I know how I feel at 75% — 95% of my Maximum HR, so I can either increase or decrease my intensity before I cross over into an Anaerobic Threshold, and maintain my work out and Fat Burning process. If you are going to use this scale, make sure that you too know how you feel at 75% — 85% of your Max. HR so that your perception is accurate on this scale.

Working out in the Target Zone helps me get lean!
(Editor’s Note: This pic gets MY heart going.)

Knowing this simple information will help you greatly in evaluating your progress when training to get fit, or when training to compete. You can develop your training sessions and know what you need to change or add in your program by being in tune to your Heart Rate. Always be aware that you are in THE ZONE!

Train for Success!!!



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Rightways for Heart Health

Rightways for Heart Health

Work to stretch and strengthen your body for 30 minutes, and you will pump up your heart

Run For Heart Health!

Unless you live on another planet or under a rock, you probably know by now how important exercise is to overall fitness and heart health.

It is a message that is hard to escape these days. There is plenty of research to suggest that exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

It can also help lower high blood pressure and lift your mood. And it has been shown to improve self-esteem and help with weight loss.

Yet despite the many studies backing the role exercise plays in heart health, a lot of adults aren’t listening. Two-thirds of them are considered overweight and one-third fall into the obese category with a body mass index over 30.

For many, getting fit and healthy might seem like an unachievable goal, but experts say you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to see the benefits of exercise.

A minimum of 30 minutes of cardio exercise can do the trick.

“It doesn’t matter what type, as long as you do it,” said Dr. Daniel Clearfield, Cowtown Medical director and a sports medicine and primary-care physician.

“Ideally, you should do it five days a week but even two is beneficial.”

Casual exercising is not going to do the trick, said Dr. Benjamin Levine, director of the Institute of Exercise and Environmental Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources.

It has to be something that you are committed to doing on a regular basis.

“Exercise should be part of hygiene, just like brushing your teeth,” said Levine, who is also a professor of medicine and cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Running and swimming are excellent. But cycling, walking on a treadmill or working out on an elliptical can also be beneficial.

Even yoga or tai chi can make a difference if the workout is strenuous enough to elevate your heart rate.

Any combination of endurance exercises that get the large muscle groups moving is going to get results.

Whatever exercise you chose, you should be moving enough to produce a sweat. Runners should be moving at a clip that is fast enough to make talking possible but not easy. A Zumba class can get you the same results, if you are moving fast enough.

“Anything that gets your heart rate up, makes you sweat a little and makes you short of breath,” Levine said.

To improve your overall health and keep your ticker pumping effectively, add strength and stretching exercises to a cardio routine one or two days a week. Yoga is great for stretching, and you can build strength with or without the use of weights.

Commit to exercising regularly and your body will respond.

The heart is a muscle, so you want to strengthen it, but you also want to tone the arteries around the heart, just like you would tone your arms, Clearfield said.

“When you work your biceps, you’ll find it easier to lift things,” he said. “It’s the same thing with your heart.”
With regular exercise, the heart starts pumping more efficiently and your stamina improves. That can pay off in big ways.

If someone is sedentary and one day has to run hard to catch a bus, he may end up having a heart attack, Levine says, as an example. “But for someone who is fit, that’s barely a blip,” he said.

Although the younger you start exercising, the better, you are never too old to get into shape. Someone who is really committed to fitness when they are young could have a heart that is as youthful as a 30-year-old later in life.

If you start at 70, you won’t be able to protect against arteriosclerosis but you can protect your heart against sudden death and see the health benefits of regular exercise, such as lower blood pressure, Levine said.

It takes about six weeks to start seeing an improvement in physical fitness, but the payoff continues over a lifetime, Clearfield said.

“Exercise is great at combating obesity and keeping the heart healthy,” he said. “In the long run that can mean more years of life.”

Expert tips on starting a healthy, heart-wise excercise rountine

We asked three fitness pros from the Amon G. Carter Downtown YMCA to demonstrate three ways to kick off a healthy routine that includes cardio, strength and stretching.


Yoga is one of the best ways to stretch the body, but a lot of people steer clear of this type of exercise because they are afraid it is just too hard to get into those pretzellike poses.

But you don’t have to be limber like a rubber band to benefit from yoga. Poses can be modified, and most teachers are more than willing to do what it takes to make yoga accessible.

Yoga is all about focusing on your mat and not worrying about how flexible your neighbor is. The best way to enjoy the many heart-healthy benefits of yoga, including stress reduction and lower blood pressure, is to just do it.

“Yoga is how you get flexible,” said Lisa Rodriguez, a trainer and instructor at the Downtown YMCA. “You don’t have to start off flexible to do it.”

Two to try at least twice a week:

1. Downward-facing dog – (Watch your dog stretch for hints on how to do this)

What it does: Strengthens shoulders and back. Stretches hamstrings and calves.

What to remember: Breathe through your nose. Keep your core muscles tight, your spine long and your shoulders down.

Kneel on all fours with your hands providing support and your fingers spread like starfish. Lift your hips so your tailbone is pointed toward the ceiling. Your body should be in an upside-down V shape. Shoulders should be down. Your hands and feet should be your foundation. If your hamstrings are less flexible, you can bend your knees to lift your hips up and back. Listen to your body and only stretch as far as you are comfortable.

2. Side gate

What it does: Increases strength, balance and flexibility. Opens hips.

What to remember: Maintain your alignment so you don’t injure your rotator cuff.

From all fours, turn toward one side, bend one leg and use it for support. Raise the other leg, pushing the heel forward and keeping it flexed. Raise your arm to the ceiling, keeping your hand and shoulder aligned, fingers spread. Hold the position for a few seconds.


3. Lunge

What it does: Strengthens glutes, thighs and calves

What to remember: Keep your knee behind your toes when bending.

Standing tall, step forward with one leg, bending at the knee. Drop the other leg toward the floor, then slowly return to starting position. Repeat on the other side, working up to 12 reps. If this too easy, try holding light weights in each hand.

4. Pushup

What it does: Strengthens chest, triceps and shoulders.

What to remember: Keep core muscles tight

Start on all fours with your spine in a neutral position and hands spread wide apart. Drop toward the floor, keeping your spine straight. Repeat.


5. Running

What it does: Improves endurance, stamina and heart health

What to remember: Start off slowly and gradually build up. You need to walk fast or run about 30 minutes five times a week for heart health.

For fitness, you need to move fast enough to sweat for 30 minutes.

For interval training, alternate between 1 to 2 minutes of running at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate and 2 to 3 minutes at 65 percent of your maximum heart rate. Repeat for up to 30 minutes.

By Jan Jarvis
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Ad strategy wins sweethearts


Proposa l placement: Xteven and Rachel looking through The Star.

IPOH: A 29-year-old company manager proposed to his sweetheart by declaring his love through a newspaper advertisement.

Xteven Teoh Hoe Seong (sic), from Gunung Rapat here, said he got the idea after finding out that one could place an advertisement in the Celebrations page in The Star.

Teoh, who works in Shah Alam, Selangor, said he believed the advertisement was more romantic than going down on bended knee to propose to the love of his life, Rachel Choo Lai Ying.

Teoh and Choo, 27, who have been courting for nine years, will marry on Sept 15. They first met when they were cadets with St John Ambulance in their respective schools.

“About three years ago, we broke up for about six months due to some misunderstanding, but deep down we knew we were made for each other and got back together.

“At that time she was studying in Australia, and during the mooncake festival I sent her four pieces, ” he said here yesterday.

On Feb 10, the Sunday Star published Teoh’s advertisement with the couple’s photograph and his proposal to Choo: “Will you marry me? Let me take care of you for the rest of our life.”

Teoh also made a short video-clip on his Facebook page declaring his love for her.

The clip starts with Teoh coming up with the words “Most of the Chinese newspaper companies are shut, and the only newspaper I can find in 7-11 is The Star, so go to page 47 and Rachel Choo you will find this” (referring to the ad).

Choo, a sales executive working in Puchong, Selangor, said she was shocked to see the advertisement in The Star.

“I was a bit suspicious when a few friends persuaded me to look out for an advertisement. After flipping page after page, I saw the ad. I was so touched by the proposal that I immediately said Yes’,” said Choo who is from First Garden, near here.


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Vowing to be different with the nuptials

Younger generation seeks to enjoy a modern style of marriage ceremony

Groom_Vowing difference
A groom helping his bride to finish her makeup before their wedding ceremony in Zhengzhou, the capital of Central China’s Henan province.[Photo/China Daily]

BEIJING: Wang Xiaoqiang, a 26-year-old white collar worker in Shanghai, doesn’t really care that the Year of the Snake 2013 is not regarded as a propitious year for weddings.

“I was told Lunar 2013 is not a good year to get married but that is something believed by elderly people,” said Wang.

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, there will be no li chun (the beginning of spring, one of 21 four-solar terms) during Lunar 2013. Some Chinese media have quoted Chinese experts as saying that it is “feudal superstition” to say Lunar 2013 will be “a widow year”, which means women who get married this year will suffer bad luck.

The reality is the young generation do not take the traditional belief seriously. Experts say there will be no significant effect on wedding-related commerce in 2013.

Wang is busy with matters such as booking pre-wedding photos and a video and looking for a place to hold his wedding banquet for his nuptials in October.

“Many people rushed to tie the knot on Jan 4, 2013, because they believe they will love each other forever if they get married on that day. But news reports said four couples who got married on that day have already divorced. How do you explain that? That day is not in the Year of the Snake,” Wang said with a big smile.

The pronunciation of 1314 (Jan 4, 2013) is similar to yi sheng yi shi (love you for a lifetime), making it one of the most romantic days on which to wed. There were 7,300 weddings in Shanghai that day.

Wang’s view is shared by He Lina, secretary-general of the Shanghai Wedding Celebration Association.

“Many people have asked my opinion about the so-called “widow year” and the possible effects on the wedding industry. What I want to say is it is superstition without any scientific support and there will be no significant impact on the wedding industry,” she said.

Looking around China, it seems the wedding-related business is not being affected by the “widow year”. Chinese media have already reported that in Shenyang, the capital of Northeast China’s Liaoning province, and Hefei, capital of East China’s Anhui province, wedding banquets to be held during this year’s May Day Holiday and the National Day Holiday in October are almost fully booked.

She admitted that there will be fewer people getting married in 2013. However, she said it was not caused by the “widow year”. According to He, there will be 100,000 people holding wedding ceremonies in Shanghai in 2013, compared with 120,000 in 2012.

“Many people born during the baby boom of the 1980s have already got married so there will be fewer people getting married in 2013,” she added.

He said the Shanghai Wedding Celebration Association forecast there would be lower demand in the wedding-related markets. Businesses in the wedding industry have been advised to up their game by improving service quality and presenting more cultural elements in the planning process.

Compared with the older generation who like to check the almanac to see which year or which day is suitable for a wedding, the young generation are more concerned with how to make the ceremony more memorable.

“We want to do something different and try to make it more impressive,” said Wang.

Having attended several wedding ceremonies over the years, Wang said wedding ceremonies are becoming predictable and too similar.

“You can figure out what will be presented even before the wedding banquet takes place,” said Wang. “The processes and content are so similar”.

To ensure guests do not get bored, Wang said he plans to play a short film before his wedding ceremony to introduce him and his bride. It will last three to five minutes.

“We will tell guests who we are and how we got to know each other. We will also want to share the happiness we have enjoyed during our love affair,” said Wang. “We believe every couple has a different story to tell, which can make the process lots of fun”.

Short films have become one of the most popular wedding services demanded by young couples in recent years. To ensure the best outcome, some couples will invite short film producers to shoot films overseas, paying all the bills themselves. The cost can be as high as tens of thousands of yuan.

“Many people watch idol dramas from Taiwan or South Korea so they have some ideas they want to present at their wedding ceremony. We help them to make their dreams come true,” said Ba Si, chief wedding planner with Summer-Vision Wedding Planning Studio in Shanghai.

Summer-Vision has generated high ratings for its services and product quality on, a website for people to review and comment on the service quality they have received in China.

“Normally, young couples will provide outlines and ideas and we will help them to make it into a full story with certain scenes,” said Ba Si. “We believe the film will present the life of the young couple in a true and alive manner.”

The average price for an ordinary short film ranges from 6,000 yuan (RM3,000) to 8,000 yuan (RM4,000). The more requests, the higher the price is charged. The length of shooting time also affects the price. Ba Si says his company receives about eight orders a month for short films.

The demand from young people for personalised products is not limited to bringing new concepts and services to their wedding ceremony. Changes can also be seen in traditional products, for instance, wedding candy and its packaging.

In the 1990s, White Rabbit-branded candy produced in Shanghai was popular as a gift for wedding guests in China. In the earlier 2000s, imported Dove and Ferrero chocolate gained in popularity.

These days, industry experts say people still like Ferrero and Dove but are also looking for something unique.

“Other imported candy such as Italian-made Baci chocolate have been well received by the Chinese in recent years because young people want their guests to try something with a different taste,” said Wu Chaohui, the founder of Zhenpinxuan in Shanghai. Zhenpinxuan is a retailing company specializing in wedding candy and liquor.

To make sure wedding candy can catch guests’ attention straightaway, Wu formed an innovation team to design its packaging. The five-member team travels overseas every year to see what is new in the market and bring new ideas to the Chinese market.

“The cost of wedding candy packaging is a little high but the design is unique and you cannot find it elsewhere in the market,” said a buyer surnamed Yang, who declined to reveal his full name. Yang ordered 500 packages in the shape of fish in 2012. “The feedback I received from guests was that it was unique,” he said.

The increasing demand for personalized products might also help boost demand on e-commerce platforms. Many customers in smaller cities outside Beijing and Shanghai might visit online platforms to find new designs.

“The online platform can offer a much wider range of choice for us at better prices,” said Li Dong, a resident of Ma’anshan in Anhui province.

Xie Yu and He Wei contributed to this

By TANG ZHIHAO Asia News Network

Related: 2013 Festival Gala

Video: 2013 Festival Gala: A visual feast CCTV News – CNTV English.

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Leaving a financial and parenting legacy

BEINGParenting finance a parent is a challenging job. It’s a job that requires lifelong commitment, and you cannot resign from it even if you feel you can’t cope. And what’s more, parenting requires skills that are not obtainable from school, college or university. Parenting and managing money are the two most important skills that we learn from our parents or adults with whom we grew up, be they our grandparents, nannies or guardians.

As you go through the process of considering how to communicate with your parents and siblings about managing family wealth, you will realise the need to teach your children about money so that you are able to leave your own legacy behind for your children to communicate and manage money harmoniously as a family.

There is really not one proven or standard method of parenting and teaching children about money because of different personalities, behaviours and attitudes. We teach children about money based on how we were taught about money by our own parents or guardians, and from the environment in which we were brought up. Recall your childhood days, and how your parents taught you about money. Were you taught to save your pocket money or to spend it wisely?

Think about the environment you grew up in. Were there times when your parents had money problems and you often heard them argue about it? Or did your parents hide the fact that money was hard to come by in the family? Or were you pampered by your parents with toys, clothes and going out for fun activities and holidays?

Some parents have told me that because of the poverty they experienced during their own childhood, they now try their best to give their children a better life by lavishing them with the material goods and experiences that they themselves never had. By indulging their children, they are not allowing their children to experience financial responsibility.

Different parenting styles

While most parents learn parenting skills from their own parents or by observing others, they will accept some practices and discard others. Effective parenting requires interpersonal skills that can create some emotional demands. Experts in early childhood development say an important dimension of parenting is the style parents adopt when they interact with their children. According to Maccoby and Martin’s parenting style typologies, there are four different parenting styles. Depending on the child’s character, different parenting styles lead to different results:

1) Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive style in which parents exhort the child to follow their directions. The authoritative parent places firm limits and controls on the child, and allows little verbal exchange. These parents tend to be very strict and may control the children by limiting their wants and desired wants. In this case, the children may either grow up to rebel’ by spending beyond their financial means to fulfil their childhood desires, or they may become very good at managing their money.

2) Nurturing parenting is a style that encourages the child to be independent but still places limits and controls on the child’s actions. Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturing towards children. These parents often communicate and teach their children to spend their money wisely by explaining to them the importance of money.

3) Neglectful parenting is a style in which parents are uninvolved in the child’s life. Children whose parents are neglectful often develop a sense that other aspects of their parents’ lives are more important than they are. Children who grow up in this environment are often deprived of parental love and a sense of belonging in the family. As a result, they may grow up spending lots of money to fulfil their need for love from friends, and from their life partner. Or they may spend money to boost their self-esteem because of the lack of parental love.

4) Indulgent parenting is a style in which parents place few demands or controls on the children. These indulgent parents will let their children do what they want. Children with indulgent parents may often be spoilt by a variety of material things or an impressive lifestyle. The spending behaviour of indulgent parents may condition the children to spend more than they need or more than they can afford when they grow up.

Imagine a situation where the father is indulgent towards a child and provides gifts, toys, fun and pleasure, while the mother, on the other hand, is a disciplinarian with strict rules about gifts, toys, fun and pleasure. Who will the child prefer to be with, and who will the child learn more from? You and your spouse should decide on a best way to handle your children’s money expectations. It is important to be consistent and fair to lessen potential family strife.


According to experts of child psychology, even from a tender age of 2 or 3 years old, a child learns by observation, and from conversations and experiences they have with adults. Hence, effective parenting warrants a tremendous amount of proper learning methods and communication skills. Understandably, today’s parents are faced with more issues compared with their parents; the fact that today’s younger generation is growing up in an era of media influence, technology advancement and the Internet makes parenting an even more challenging job.

It can be painful for parents to discipline and teach children about saving money, particularly when their children are easily influenced by their friends even as pre-schoolers. This is further compounded by the barrage of advertisements on television and online media that tempts your children with attractive toys, pretty clothes and accessories.

It does not really matter how much money you have or how much joy you derive from showering your children with material things. As parents, you have got to show some restraint and boundary. You don’t have to feel guilty about scaling back on spending for your children. Your children may already have more than they need more clothes and shoes than they can wear, toys and games than they have time to play with.

Be mindful that while you are conscious of good money habits for your children, you need to ensure that your children’s grandparents, godparents, aunties, uncles, or other adults around them do not indulge them too much with gifts. This may send your children the message that if they cannot get what they want from you, they can get it from them.

Family values 

In some situations, a couple may bring different views and values about money and parenting to the marriage. Because of personality, character, family and life experience differences, couples do face conflicting personal and family issues where money is concerned. Therefore, teaching a child about money really begins with teaching your child about the importance and meaning of life values as a family.

Honesty, integrity, teamwork, helpfulness, trust, love, family support, accountability, unity, filial piety, commitment, communication, sharing, spending time with parents and siblings are some of the most important family values that your children ought to know, even if they may be younger than six years old.

Constant messages to your children about how good family values are important in life, and that money cannot buy such values, are more important than parental love expressed in the form of material things for your children.

Teaching them important life values and let them know that money is a means to an end, and not for self-gratification.

Other than sending them to school to gain knowledge and social skills, the money skills that you teach your children from an early age are the most important life education you can provide them with and it actually starts at home. It is as simple as how you and your spouse manage money and communicate about money at home. Your good money skills will rub off on your children.

May this be your new resolutions for teaching your children good money sense!


Carol Yip, founder of Abacus For Money, believes that if people understand their money mindset, behaviours and money psychology, they can be financially happy and successful. She actively promotes financial literacy and intelligence within families and for women, youths and retirees.

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American man looking for wife gets marriage offers instead

PETALING JAYA: After his wife went missing from the airport, American Henry Chuen went to the media hoping to find her. He did not. Instead, he is finding many women interested in taking his wife’s place.

The 63-year-old man said many women had e-mailed him with “proposals”, telling him to forget about his wife, and be with them instead.

“More than five women have called me and told me to forget about my wife Lisa.

“They wanted me to take them away to the US and some even promised me that they would make me happy,” he told The Star yesterday.

But Chuen is not about to be tempted. He is more determined than ever to find his wife.

“I am touched that many women had reached out to me but my main goal is to find my wife.

howife“We made a vow of marriage…to me, that is one of the most sacred things in the world,” he said.

Chuen had previously sought the public’s help to locate his wife Lisa Cheong Lai Har, 45, who had gone missing from KLIA just as they were to return to the United States in November last year.

Chuen met Cheong, an administrative assistant in a private college, through an online matchmaking website in early 2008.

They finally met in Kuala Lumpur after six months of online correspondence. On May 31, 2009, they married in Las Vegas and settled in San Francisco.

The couple last returned to Malaysia in September to visit Cheong’s dying father in Ipoh.

Chuen is offering a reward for any information on Lisa. He can be contacted at 017-395 9491.


MERITOCRACY is about more than just academic grades

MERITOCRACY in Singapore is about more than just academic grades, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as he stressed that everyone here has a shot at success.

“When we say ‘merit’, we are not just talking about grades or scores, but also character, leadership and a broad range of talents,” said Lee said in a speech to more than 1,500 students and their parents at a bursary and Edusave award ceremony in his Teck Ghee ward.

He said: “We make sure that whatever your family background, whatever your circumstances, you may be poor, you may be from a single-parent family, you may be having some learning disabilities, but if you work hard, you can succeed.

“It does not matter what your background is. We make sure we identify you, we give you the opportunities and also the resources and the support so that if you succeed, you can do well for Singapore.”

Yesterday was the second time in just over a month that PM Lee stressed that meritocracy cannot be narrowly defined as being just about grades. He also spoke on the topic at a PAP conference on Dec 2 last year.

In that speech, the Prime Minister said he was worried when Singaporeans reject meritocracy and asked what could replace merit as the basis for decisions on jobs or school places.

The principle has come under considerable scrutiny in recent months, especially in the field of education.

While the Prime Minister repeated the same call on broadening the definition of meritocracy, yesterday he focused on what roles parents and students can play in it.

He urged parents to set an example: “Guide your children, set good examples and instil good moral values in them.”

Turning to students, Lee urged them not to neglect their studies even though there would be more focus on character, leadership and service.

“Results and grades are not the only measure of success or the only things that matter in life,” Lee said, adding: “It is important that you learn and study to give you a good foundation for what you can do in life.”

He pledged that the Governm­ent will continue to help all students achieve their potential. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network


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