Singapore’s B.A.B 2001 nude calendar has been grabbing headlines not just because it featured pictures of naked women, but for another reason entirely: Because it celebrates curves.

Featuring 11 plus-sized women completely nude, the classy back and white photos were taken over two weekends by famed photographer Sit Weng San.

Big N Beautiful

One thing in common with all the women? They were all a UK size 14 and above. Cellulite, folds of flesh and thick arms and thighs are shown off proudly.

Aileen

Clara

Regine

The calendar is the brainchild of Miss Erica Sim, 30, owner of the BignBeautiful (B.A.B) online shop that sells accessories and clothes ranging from size XL to 6XL.

Erica, a UK-sized 20, also posed for the calendar and insists that stripping naked was not a marketing gimmick, and was aimed at empowering plus sized women, encouraging them to embrace their curves.

The women in the calendar are customers-turned-friends. Many of them shared how being plus-sized has made them feel stigmatised even when they go out in public.

Lisa Teoh, an administrative assistant shared her reason for posing in the calendar, ‘I hope that people just won’t outcast us. We are who we are. We are just like anyone else. Inner…is extremely good. It’s just the outer is fleshier, cuter, no difference. Just more to hug!’

Michelle

Joyce

Erica

In an exclusive interview with The New Paper on Sunday, Miss Sim said the calendar is not trying to send the message that it’s all right to be obese.

“It’s not a question of whether it’s okay or not to be plus-sized. We know that the obese are at risk for health problems,” she said.

“But if you are obese even after taking care of your diet, cutting down on junk food and sweet drinks, and also exercise, we want to show that it’s not the end of the world.”

All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go to the Children’s Cancer Foundation. So take out your wallet and go do your your part for charity by going here.


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When the verdict on his daughter’s death was read out yesterday at a Coroner’s Inquiry at the Subordinate Courts, Mr Li Kui You, 58, could only lay his head on the table.

The soya-bean farmer, who arrived in Singapore with two relatives on Christmas night, was too despondent to raise his head when State Coroner Victor Yeo ruled that there was no foul play and that Ms Li Hong Yan’s death was an accident. Evidence from police investigations showed that Ms Li, 24, whose naked body was found face-down in a Sentosa Cove bungalow pool in March, did not take her own life.

Wearing a dark blue Mao jacket, Mr Li looked tired and sombre. He broke down when answering journalists’ questions about his daughter.

Li Hong Yan's parents, Madam Sun Jing Fang (left), 49, and Mr Li Kui You, 58.

Prior to Ms Li’s death, her family and relatives had been under the impression that she had come to Singapore to be a hairdresser, for which she received training in China.

“She was such a sweet girl who never lost her temper. She got along with everyone,” said Madam Fang Shu Hui, 57, who accompanied Mr Li to court yesterday. Madam Fang is the mother-in-law of Ms Li’s elder sister.

Mr Yeo concluded that the freelance KTV hostess drowned accidentally as she swam in the pre-dawn hours of March 24 this year.

The body of Li Hong Yan, 24, a Chinese national, was found in the pool of a bungalow at Sentosa Cove.

Ms Li had spent the night at the house with its owner, Mr Adrian Chua Boon Chye. Mr Chua’s maid Aye Aye Tun, 26, a Myanmar national, was tidying up the study, which was overlooking the pool, when she saw the naked body floating face-down.

Ms Li arrived from Heilongjiang province in China last year and was employed as an assistant supervisor at an Indian eatery in Jalan Besar. Meanwhile, she moonlighted as a KTV hostess at a nightclub in Outram Road. She quit her supervisor job in early March to become a full-time hostess.

Chinese national Li Hong Yan (left), 24, whose naked body was found in the lap pool of a bungalow, has been said to resemble Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi (right).

It was at the nightclub that she hooked up with Mr Adrian Chua, 39, chief executive realty-investment firm Roundhill Capital. He affectionately called her “Wawa”, or “doll” in Mandarin and had taken her to his multi-million-dollar home in Sentosa Cove at least twice previously, each time paying her $800 for an evening’s companionship.

Adrian Chua Boon Chye

On March 24, they had sex and at about 7am, Mr Chua’s 26-year-old maid, Myanmar national Aye Aye Tun, found Ms Li floating face down in his pool.

Mr Chua said he had sex with Ms Li, after which he fell asleep at around 4am.

Li Hong Yan

A toxicology test showed Li’s blood contained 125mg/100ml of ethanol. The legal limit for drink-driving is 70mg.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed images of Ms Li unlocking the sliding doors leading to the pool at 3.48am. She was alone and fully clothed.

Mr Yeo said: “I am of the view that, at the pool-deck area, she removed her clothes so as not to get them wet.” There was no CCTV camera installed in the outdoor area.

Mr Yeo surmised that Ms Li, who could not swim, had difficulty keeping her head above water after stepping into the pool. The coroner said that it was also possible she could have slipped while walking down the steps of the pool and sustained the 2cm by 1cm bruise on her left knee. But he ruled out foul play as there were no evidence or injuries that indicated she was attacked. Her colleagues and flat-mates also said that she was cheerful and did not appear to have any problems.

Ms Li is 1.54m tall and the pool’s maximum depth is 1.5m. The lights inside and around the pool were not switched on. As Mr Chua had previously taken her to the pool deck to chat and smoke, Mr Yeo said Ms Li probably went there again to smoke, adding that Ms Aye Aye Tun found Mr Chua’s cigarettes and lighter with Ms Li’s clothes.

Mr Chua said he was woken up by two Sentosa Cove security personnel at 8am. “I was shocked to hear that a naked woman was found drowned in my pool,” he said.

Mr Chua, 39, is the founder and chief executive officer of Roundhill Capital, a real estate investment advisory firm, registered in Singapore under his residential address. He is unmarried and is said to have lived at the three-storey house along Ocean Drive for over a year.

The bungalow at Sentosa Cove

He has since sold the Sentosa property. He appeared calm yesterday as he took the stand, looking steadily at Mr Li and his relatives when Mr Yeo asked them if they had any questions for him. Mr Li could only shake his head and bury his face in his folded arms, saying in Mandarin that he was confused.

He was similarly dazed when two members of the public handed him about $500 in cash.

His eyes moist with tears, Mr Li could only utter: “Thank you.”

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What do Liu Wen, Aki Hoshino, Eunice Olsen, Aishwarya Rai, Shin Min Ah, Nadine Ann Thomas, Sonia Sui, Jessica Cambensy, Dominique Agisca Diyose, Aung San Suu Kyi and Cherman Ploy Boonyasak have in common?

They are all listed in Esquire magazine’s “atlas” of sexiest women alive 2010.

US actress Minka Kelly is at the top of the heap as the Sexiest Woman Alive, and was made Esquire’s cover girl for its November 2010 issue.

Minka Kelly on the cover of Esquire Magazine November 2010

A total of 195 women were singled out by editors of Esquire’s 17 international editions. They were picked for representing “something different, something beautiful, something that reveals a little bit more about who we are.”

Read the rest of this entry…

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“Voyage de la Vie” or the “Journey of Life” is the first ever theatrical circus spectacular originating from Singapore in the league of world-class theatre productions. The 90-minute show made its World Premiere on 2 July 2010 at the purpose-built 1600-seat Festive Grand showroom at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). 30 months in the making, the multi-million dollar Voyage de la Vie is a bold move into originating a major permanent production for Resorts World Sentosa.

Voyage de la Vie

A scene from Voyage de la Vie

Combining the energy, physicality and athleticism of circus arts and gymnastics, the show is a contemporary cutting edge rock circus theatre spectacular told through pulsating music, extravagant costumes, awe-inspiring sets, high-flying acrobatic acts and death-defying stunts which fully engages the senses and will keep you at the edge of your seat. With a  international cast of world-class circus stars and crew brought together from 16 countries, Voyage de la Vie will be an entertainment experience like no other.

Some of the cast members of Voyage de la Vie

The show, a collaboration between RWS and The Generating Company UK, also brings together some of the most illustrious names in show design, most notably Marc Fisher at the helm as show conceiver and creative producer, with co-conceivers Philip Wm. McKinley (direction) and Ray Winkler (set design). Best known as the internationally renowned and acclaimed designer behind the stunning sets for the Beijing Olympics and Cirque du Soleil’s Ka in Las Vegas, Fisher is also the long-admired celebrated set designer for Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, U2, Tina Turner and Robbie Williams’ world tours.

Amazing set of Voyage de la Vie

Viktor Kee  is one of the most recognised figures in the international circus scene today. This Ukrainian juggling master first discovered his passion for the art of juggling at the tender age of four, and has come to be known for his unique incorporation of theatre, contortion, acrobatics and dance into his act. Since then, he has toured around the world with top circus arts companies, including Cirque de Soleil’s Dralion as a principle performer. In Voyage de la Vie, he plays the role of the Lantern Keeper.

Voyage de la Vie is a story of a boy’s metaphoric journey, or a rite of passage before he becomes an adult. It tells the tale of a young man Boy, tired of the ceaseless tedium of the corporate rat race, searches for a life with more fulfilment and meaning. One day, while playing a computer game, he gets sucked into a land of fantasy where he uncovers the hidden depths of his imagination to find meaning and fulfillment.  He meets the Lantern Keeper, the charming Crystal Cat, the mesmerizing Diva, the Game Master and an assortment of curious characters symbolising Temptation, Love, Conflict and Resolution, and finally Life and Death. Gradually he comes to terms with his inner struggles and realises that it’s not the destination that counts, but the journey.

The Boy and the Lantern Keeper

Each “lesson” and stage in Boy’s journey is magnified by the thrilling contortionistic feats and death-defying acrobatic stunts performed by the impressive international cast and crew to a beautiful “live” soundtrack. Jonathan Leong (runner-up in Singapore Idol 2006) plays the lead role of “The Boy”.

From stunning cloud-swing trapeze acts by Finnish rope aerialist Liina Aunola (Life) to harrowing flying daggers and flaming arrows timed and executed to perfection by her crossbow partner Martti Peltonen (Death), and amazing bodily contortions by Russian contortionist prodigy Alexey Goloborodko (The Game Master) to beautiful trapeze acrobatics by Aurelia Cats (France) as The Crystal Cat, Voyage de la Vie succeeds in blending together a mind-boggling variety of acts in a single production with surprising finesse.

Viktor Kee plays the Lantern Keeper

Finnish cloud-swing aeralist Liina Aunola as Life

Martti Peltonen plays Death

Aurelia Cats plays Crystal Cat

Melanie Chy plays The Diva

Performers of particular note include 15-year-old contortionist Goloborodko, the youngest member in the cast. Audiences tend to drop their jaws in awe at the ease with which the puckish figure twists his limbs in improbable positions.

Alexey Goloborodko plays the Game Master

Rounding out the impressive lineup of captivating performers include Vegas magician and maestro duo Jarrett & Raja (US), who have wowed audiences around the world with their own show of illusions, including working with celebrated choreographer-director Kenny Ortega (best known for his work on High School Musical and Michael Jackson’s last tour, This is It).

Voyage de la Vie is an amazing theatrical experience. Don’t miss it if you happen to visit Singapore!

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Malaysians celebrate Malaysia Day or Hari Malaysia today. On this day in 1963, the formation of Malaysia which consisted of the Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore was formally promulgated.

Malaysian flag...Jalur Gemilang (Malay for "Stripes of Glory")

47 years after its formation, Malaysia is officially celebrating its creation for the first time by declaring the day a public holiday. What took the government so long to recognise the country’s very formation? It was on October 19, 2009 that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak officially declared that September 16 would be a public holiday commencing from 2010.

Malaysia Day would be celebrated with events that would foster closer unity, understanding between the different races and community success and achievement through sports, social culture and arts, to spur the 1Malaysia spirit.

This is the real “birthday” of Malaysia, but  it has been a long time coming.

To all my fellow Malaysians, Happy Malaysia Day!

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Today is Hari Kebangsaan or Hari Merdeka (Independence Day). It is the national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule. In a wider context, it is to celebrate the formation of Malaysia.

Hari Merdekaan 2010

The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, who led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in negotiations with the British in London for Merdeka, or independence along with the first president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V.T. Sambanthan. Once it became increasingly clear that the Communist threat posed during the Malayan Emergency was petering out, agreement was reached on February 8, 1956, for Malaya to gain independence from the British Empire. However, for a number of logistical and administrative reasons, it was decided that the official proclamation of independence would only be made the next year, on August 31, 1957, at Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), in Kuala Lumpur.

This YouTube video is the proclamation of independence by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first prime minister of Malaysia.

The Federation of Malaysia, comprising the States of Malaya, North Borneo (later renamed Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore was to be officially declared on the date August 31, 1963, on the 6th anniversary of Malayan independence. However, it was postponed to September 16, 1963, mainly due to Indonesian and the Philippines’ opposition to the formation of Malaysia. Nevertheless, North Borneo and Singapore declared sovereignty on August 31, 1963. Indonesian opposition later escalated to a military conflict. Indonesia considered Malaysia as a new form of colonization on the provinces of Sarawak and Sabah in the island of Borneo (bordering Kalimantan, Indonesia), which they laid claim on. To assure Indonesia that Malaysia was not a form of neo-colonialism, a referendum, organized by the United Nations, and the Cobbold Commission, led by Lord Cobbold, were formed to determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak wished to join Malaysia. Their eventual findings which indicated substantial support for Malaysia among the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, cleared the way for the final proclamation of Malaysia.

The formation of the Federation of Malaysia was then announced on September 16, 1963 as Malaysia Day. The nationwide Independence Day celebration is still held on August 31, the original independence date of Malaya, while Malaysia Day is a public holiday only in East Malaysia. However, this has caused some minor discontent among East Malaysians in particular since it has been argued that celebrating the national day on August 31 is too Malaya-centric. It is decided that starting this year, Malaysia Day will be a nationwide public holiday in addition to Hari Merdeka on August 31.

The above is from Wikipedia.

To all Malaysians, I wish you a very happy Hari Kebangsaan. May  Malaysia be blessed with peace, racial harmony, religious tolerance, prosperity and unity! God bless Malaysia!

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International Man of Mystery Low Taek Jho, who parties with Hollywood celebrities and is now Malaysia’s most famous socialite, has aroused so much worldwide curiosity that there has been a lot of online searches about him.  He recently granted an exclusive interview to The Star, the leading English daily in Malaysia, to shed some light into his background, his life, his career and a whole range of other points.

The Star...The People's Paper

Jho Low, aged 28, was born in Penang where he lived till he was 16. At 16, his parents sent him to Harrow School in England. He is the third and youngest child in the family of Datuk Larry Low, the founder of the engineering company MWE. He can speak English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Hokkien, Teo Chew and Basic Arabic.

Low attributed his success to being in the right place at the right time and going to the right schools – Harrow School in England (A-Levels) and The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in the United States (Bachelor of Science in Economics majoring in Finance). Harrow had lots of children of prominent European, Asian and Middle Eastern families, enabling him to build the core foundation of contacts for the future. At Wharton, he expanded his network , further cementing his relationships with Arab royalty and well-connected Middle East friends especially those from Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.

Harrow School

Wharton School of Business

Jho Low made his first million – in US dollars – when he was barely 20 years old when he took a semester off from The Wharton School of Business to set up an investment fund called The Wynton Group with US$25mil from family and nine South-East Asian and Middle Eastern friends. The company started out by dealing mainly in portfolio investments around the world. It later moved from just buying and selling public shares to private equity. The company, in which he owns a stake, now has offices in Malaysia, Singapore and headquarters in British Virgin Island and is now worth in excess of US$1bil.

Wynton is planning to launch a new US$1 billion real estate and hospitality fund sometime in October, mainly for investing in real estate, hotels and hospitality projects around the world.

A US$250 million entertainment fund is also in the pipeline because Wynton believes there is some synergy between real estate and entertainment. This fund covers the whole spectrum from fashion to movies and so forth. Shooting Hollywood movies in Malaysia is a vital part of Jho Low’s plans to help attract investments to the country. He has been trying to convince his Hollywood friends like Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and Leonardo di Caprio to use Malaysia as a location for movies.

The third fund will be a US$250 million general fund.

All these fund sizes are the initial first phase equity commitment that the company is securing which means that actual fund sizes and purchasing power could be much larger. An equity of US$1 billion could have a potential purchasing power in excess of US$2 billion or more after leverage. The new headquarters will be a 20,000sq ft office in Sowwah Island in Abu Dhabi.

An impression of Sowwah Island

An impression of Sowwah Island

Jho Low was appointed to the board of UBG Bhd as group adviser and non-independent & non-executive director in 2008. He is also group adviser to several international corporations involved in global private equity, M&A and buyouts.

He lives a globe-trotting life covering Los Angeles, New York, London, St Tropez, Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur. He parties with Paris Hilton, Megan Fox, Jamie Foxx, Lindsay Lohan and Usher but claims that news reports about the parties are exaggerated. His Arab childhood friends and investors are actually the spenders, not him. He is the person who calls to make the reservations on behalf of his Arab friends and investors.  His name is thus all over the place, putting him under the global spotlight.

On that particular occasion when the New York Post ran the article about him and his lavish spending, it was in reference to a party that was thrown for a friend’s engagement. He was just helping to coordinate the party arrangements as usual. Even his lavish 28th birthday party in Las Vegas was a surprise party thrown by a group of his close friends.

He is not going out with Paris Hilton but they have been to several parties together because he is a friend of her parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton. Things had been blown out of proportions by the media according to Jho Low.

Low vehemently dismissed talk that he was “wasting a lot of money partying”.

“For me, we all work very hard. Of course, we have a disadvantage where at our age, people may perceive it differently. At the end of the day, I handle the investors’ money prudently. I generate returns for them.

“I am not an excessive person. Excessiveness with alcohol is just not me.”

On the home front, Jho Low dispelled talk that he is involved in the controversial redevelopment of the TUDM Sungai Besi airbase. He denied the allegations that he had received a RM500 million contract for the project. He stressed that he has no involvement whatsoever.

Jho Low thinks Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had great vision when he was Prime Minister with big spending in Malaysian infrastructure which resulted in Malaysian-based construction companies becoming leaders in the global construction arena. Many Malaysian companies are now doing sophisticated construction work in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and all over the Middle East.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

He talked about his superstar friend – Usher – who wants to help him start a charity programme for children here to learn the business part of the entertainment industry. He has known Usher for a long time. He met Usher in New York when he was working with Usher on Usher’s New Look Foundation, a charity assisting children who want careers in the business side of the entertainment industry. He mentored these kids, advising them on writing business plans.

Usher

Usher

Usher's New Look Foundation

Usher's New Look Foundation

With this interview by The Star, we get a glimpse into the life of this international man of mystery and Jho Low achieved his objective of de-mystifying himself. No more “Jho Who?”. He is Low, Jho Low….licensed to kill invest your money.  May the force be with Jho!

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