Category Archives: Lifestyle

Maarimaia Is Made For The Modern, Intrepid Woman

Hand-stitched 3D embellishments, dramatic oversized sleeves and geometrical detailing paired with structured silhouttes. Maarimaia certainly stands out for its one-of-a-kind designs.

The Malaysian label’s collections (which can be viewed on centre around the narration of an independent woman, while paying homage to the heritage and craftsmanship of different textiles used.

According to founder May Tan, her inspiration is from life itself. She says that the designs are able to take her from work to events, to weekends and to summer holidays.

“I try to come up with pieces that are well-thought-out, practical and without artifice. Maarimaia is about a new genre of independent femininity, with a focus on using elegant materials, a passion for detail and timeless modernity.”

Tan launched Maarimaia in 2016. After completing her studies at Istituto Marangoni in London, she travelled and worked in Europe for a period of time before coming back to Malaysia and eventually starting her own label.

She describes the experience of having studied abroad as “eye opening”. She also points out that she has never said no to exploring new directions as a designer, and thinks it is always important to remain open minded.

“Being in a city like London really broadens your creative boundaries and forces you to explore and research areas of fashion that I never even knew existed, and some parts of that still shape me till today,” she states.

As it is, Maarimaia is 100% designed and produced in Malaysia by a team of seamstresses. The pieces are said to go through a rigorous sampling and fit test, to ensure that they are comfortable.

The current collection, Bloc & Flo, is a dual series collection. While Bloc is structured and plays with colour and space, Flo has a more relaxed aesthetic of oversized forms.

“Above all, I appreciate pieces that are stylish yet easy to wear, and also functional for everyday life. My next collection will explore opacity and textures, it will be more of a reflection of my personal style,” Maya says.

Maarimaia recently opened a space at The Studio in The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur, where customers can purchase her ready to wear pieces off the rack as well as by appointment for custom designed pieces.

Rajinikanth And Kamal Haasan Arrive In A Helicopter

January 6 was a day to remember for many Kollywood fans who had come for the one-day Natchathira Vizha 2018 Festival at Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur especially when superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan arrived together at the National Stadium in a helicopter at 5pm.

These two actors have ruled South Indian movie scene since the 1970s, and continue to do so. It is only befitting that they need not battle Saturday traffic to get to the stadium.

Kamal Haasan, wearing all white, said to the crowd: “This is a joyous occasion, to see the unity of our families (of entertainers) at one place. We are here because of your (the fans) support throughout the years. Thank you.”

Rajinikanth, in a completely black ensemble, also stated: “I was here two years ago filming Kabali and it was a wonderful experience. It’s great to be back again now for this event. Malaysia has become like my second home.”

The 67-year-old Rajinikanth has a new film out this year titled 2.0, while 63-year-old Kamal Haasan stars, directs and co-wrote his new film called Vishwaroop 2.

Some 250 South Indian actors including Satyaraj, Saroja Devi, Naser, Vishal Krishna, Vijay Sethupathi, Suriya, Karthi, Kushboo, Sarath Babu, Kajal Aggarwal, Lakshmi Rai and Vijaykumar – not to mention playback singers, directors, comedians as well as dancers from India – also participated in the festival.

“The welcome we get in Malaysia is always fantastic. The crowd here is fantastic,” multiple award-winning actor Suriya addressed the 35,000 fans in the stadium. “We always feel like we’re home in Malaysia.”

The event saw the stars and 120 Malaysian-Indian talents take part in singing, comedy skits, dance numbers, cricket and football matches throughout the day. Trailers to upcoming Tamil films, including Suriya’s Thaana Serndha Koottam, were also showcased.

Actress Lakshmi Rai (centre) performing on stage at the Natchathira Vizha 2018 festival at National Stadiunm Bukit Jalil on Jan 6. Photo: The Star/Shaari Chemat

This was a joint-effort between South India and Malaysia to raise funds for charities and performing arts bodies in both countries. In Malaysia, RM100,000 were given to Tamil schools, old folks home and orphanage.

Veteran actors K. Bhagyaraj and Saroja Devi celebrated their birthdays by cutting a birthday cake, serenaded by their peers and the fans.

“It’s so exciting to see so many stars at one place,” said Karthi, a fan from KL. “I hope to catch glimpses of Vijay Sethupathi, Adharvaa and Vikram.”

Fans had been steadily making their way to the venue, as early as 11am on Saturday to see their favourite actors.

Navin Kumar, 14, who made the trip from Klang with his family was excited for a chance to see Remo’s leading man Sivakarthikeyan.

“I just want a picture with actress Samantha (Akkineni),” said Gopinath, 16. Unfortunately for this fan, Samantha couldn’t make it for the event. Dhanush, who was feeling under the weather, was also a no-show.

Actress Kajal Aggarwal enjoying herself at the festival. Photo: The Star/Shaari Chemat

In the morning, arrival of stars were welcomed by rows of fans who quickly captured the goings-on with their cameras and smartphones. There was also a performance of lion dance at the entrance to welcome the first batch of performers.

Ferocious beating of drums and performances marked the start of the festival at 12.30pm.

At this point, all the tickets were sold out except for VIP tickets and the cheapest ones, RM10.

“I bought my tickets online as early as last week,” said a fan who came with her mother.

All tickets were one-time entrance only, which meant audiences who came in the morning had to stay till the closing ceremony, at midnight.

Luckily they had come prepared – family with babies and youngsters had change of clothes, and all came in groups for the outing. After all, this was a chance of a lifetime.


The crowd at Bukit Jalil goes wild at the arrival of Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan. Photo: Malik Streams

Running Man’s Kim Jong-kook Is Looking For Love

With his hunky physique, boyish features and megawatt smile, it is no wonder fans go crazy when South Korean star Kim Jong-kook takes the stage. They burst into a screaming frenzy and dash towards the stage with banners and cameras in hand. The 41-year-old singer and goggle box personality was in Singapore earlier this month to attend the Asian Television Awards. At the event, he performed two Korean songs – Today More Than Yesterday and One Man – to some of the loudest cheers of the night.

But the heartthrob, best known as one of the hosts of the popular South Korean variety show Running Man, has his feet firmly on the ground. “I will keep on running. Keep supporting me. Thank you, guys,” he said to the 3,500-strong audience. For him, success was no overnight sprint, but a long marathon.

A former vocalist in a high school band, Jong-kook rose to prominence as a member of the K-pop group Turbo, together with former DJ Kim Jung-nam, in the 1990s. Despite its catchy music, its popularity was short-lived when Jung-nam left the group in 1997, reportedly due to conflict with its management.

Singer Cho Myung-ik then joined the group, but it disbanded in 2001 after Jong-kook’s contract expired. Jong-kook then became a solo singer, focusing mainly on ballads. Even so, success did not come instantly. It was only after he joined the cast of Running Man in the early 2010s that he gained fame across Asia.

On the ongoing show, he is known for his strength and chiselled body, which have earned him the nickname “Sparta-Kook”. Fansites say the bachelor has an older brother and his father works in the military. Jong-kook is also the uncle of South Korean singer Soya. Last year, he released his debut Chinese single Hate That Happiness Came, which was produced by Singaporean singer JJ Lin. Earlier this year, he joined the South Korean reality show Dragon Club – Childish Bromance, which features a group of celebrity friends taking a trip together.

The show’s name refers to the fact that five of the show’s stars – actors Jang Hyuk, Cha Tae-hyun and Hong Kyung-in, and singers Hong Kyung-min and Jong-kook – were born in 1976, the Year of the Dragon.

Among your dragon club members, who has the weirdest travel habits?

Those kids are all very generous and kind. But some of them snore very loudly. Cha Tae-hyun – he is the loudest one. But there is no weird guy. They are all very kind, generous and very good guys.

They say they cannot stand the fact that you talk a lot. How do you feel about that?

After I did a lot of TV shows and hosting – especially Running Man – I learnt a lot of things about speaking. Some of my friends say I have a “TV show disease”. I don’t know what that is. I speak a lot, so people think I am nagging? I don’t know. I just try to get other people to have fun.

Kim Jong-kook (second from right) with the members of Running Man at a concert at Stadium Negara in 2014. Photo: Filepic

They are all married. Are you envious of them?

Yes, I always envy them. I want my own family, I really want kids. I am kind of old, but I don’t want to be in a rush because I need to find the right woman first.

What is your ideal type?

A woman who can be a good mum for my kids. It is fine if she does not like doing exercise, but she has to be OK with me working out at any time.

If you had drama opportunities, who would you like to work with?

I get a lot of offers for dramas and movies, but that is not my real job.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a very friendly person. I just want to be a good man. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Oprah Winfrey To Run For President? That Is Quite Likely


Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech has revived notions that she is considering a 2020 presidential bid, a prospect that she has previously dismissed.

CNN reported on Jan 8 that two close friends of hers say that she is “actively considering” a bid, while her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, added fuel to the speculation when he told the Los Angeles Times after the ceremony that she “absolutely” would do it.

Winfrey was asked last year about the possibility of a presidential bid and, while indicating that the idea is not so far fetched, seemed to dismiss it. But her speech at the Globes, in which she evoked themes of unity, hope, and inclusion, could be a counterweight to the politics of Washington and, even though she did not invoke him by name, President Donald Trump.

Winfrey campaigned for Barack Obama in Iowa and other states in 2007 and 2008, and her endorsement was thought to have greatly improved his chances to break through and overcome the opposition of Hillary Clinton.

In this file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama his wife Michelle and talk show host Oprah Winfrey wave to the crowd at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on Dec 9, 2007. Photo: Reuters

At the time, Winfrey was still hosting her daily influential syndicated talk show, and had not yet endorsed a candidate before. Her appearances drew Obama’s largest crowds up to that point. She also campaigned for Obama again in 2012, but largely stayed out of the 2016 contest.

While Winfrey has stepped into the political fray, she rarely goes on the attack, something that could be a challenge in a rough-and-tumble Democratic primary and general election.

Her background would come under scrutiny like never before, and that was apparent shortly after she gave her Globes speech and detractors shared a photo of her kissing Harvey Weinstein on the cheek.

If she were to run, though, she could emerge as a frontrunner by her name recognition alone. That, too, could be a liability, as it would set expectations high from the start.

Her speech – while written for her acceptance of a Golden Globe special award – was also the type of rhetoric meant to inspire large crowds on the campaign trail or a political convention.“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights,” she said.

Winfrey has in the past dismissed the idea of running for office. In October, she told CBS News that, “There will be no running for office of any kind for me.” Despite reports that she may be reconsidering it, she herself hasn’t said that she is weighing a bid. – Reuters

Bafta Film Awards 2018 Nominations Announced


The Shape Of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour, lead the race for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ movie awards, regarded as a bellwether for the Oscars.

The Shape Of Water is making its presence felt this award season. Richard Jenkins (from left) Guillermo del Toro, Sally Hawkins, and Octavia Spencer pose with the vanguard award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Photo: AP

Actor Gary Oldman with his Golden Globe award for Best Actor In A Motion Pciture, Drama. He receives a nomination in the same category for BAFTA. Photo: AFP

The Shape Of Water received 12 nominations, the most of any film, including the coveted best film award. Guillermo del Toro is nominated for both director and original screenplay, Sally Hawkins for leading actress and Octavia Spencer for supporting actress.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour landed nine nominations apiece. The former is up for best film and Frances McDormand for leading actress. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson both received nominations for supporting actor. Martin McDonagh is nominated for both director and original screenplay.

As expected, veteran British actor Gary Oldman, widely considered the front-runner for the Oscar, is one of the leading-actor nominees for his performance in Darkest Hour.

Oldman won a Golden Globe award on Jan 7 for his acclaimed portrayal of wartime leader Winston Churchill. Darkest Hour also received nominations for best film and for Kristin Scott Thomas in the supporting-actress category.

The leading-actress nominees are Annette Bening for Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Margot Robbie for I, Tonya, Sally Hawkins for The Shape Of Water, and Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird. All except Bening had received Golden Globe nominations as well.

The leading actor category also reflected the awards buzz already out there. Besides Oldman, the nominees are Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread, Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out, Jamie Bell for Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, and Timothee Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name.

Although the BAFTAs, like the Academy Awards, consider all English-language films, not just those made in Britain, British films often figure more prominently in BAFTA’s nominations than at the Globes or the Oscars. Darkest Hour and Dunkirk were richly recognised with nine and eight nominations, respectively. Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool and Paddington 2, neither of which made much impression at the Globes, both received three nominations.

The nominations were unveiled on Jan 9 at BAFTA’s Piccadilly headquarters in London by Natalie Dormer (Game Of Thrones) and Letitia Wright (Black Panther) and were live-streamed on Facebook.

British actor Joanna Lumley, best known for Absolutely Fabulous, was named as the new host of the awards, replacing longtime emcee Stephen Fry, who has stepped down after doing the honours a dozen times. Lumley said she accepted the invitation to host “indecently quickly.”

The EE British Academy Film Awards ceremony takes place on Feb 18 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. – Reuters

‘Mandatori’: Riveting Show About The Dark Side Of Humanity

Change is coming for the (fictional) city of Banda Raya. Two men are up against the current mayor for his cushy position. Of course these people do what politicians do best: They put on an entertaining show where they bicker about whose vision is better for the city and its people. Things take a sinister turn when one of them ends up dead.

Welcome to Mandatori where nothing is as it seems.

At the centre of this intriguing crime show is Inspector Norman (portrayed brilliantly by Aeril Zafrel). All Norman needs to solve a murder case is some time alone with the victim. It is fascinating to see how he works – Norman hovers his hands on top of the dead body and imagines the victim looking back at him with questions such as “Who killed me? Why?”.

Then after a series of acute observations, Norman is able to see the truth and get the culprit arrested. Justice is served.

This Elvis has definitely left the building.

Life should be that simple right? Seek out the truth and justice will prevail. Problem arises when Norman starts suffering from a severe mental block that causes him to pass out during his investigations. He think it’s time for him to quit the force but his investigating partner Kelvin (Alvin Wong as the wise-cracking, combat-efficient colleague everyone needs in life) won’t let him go.

Especially not when a politician is brutally murdered during campaign season and the killer is on the prowl for other victims. The killer calls himself/herself “Inspector Carlos” and leaves a note saying “Case Closed” for the police at the crime scene. Obviously, the killer is mocking them for their lack of insight on the case.

Director Razaisyam Rashid has laid all his best cards on the table to make Mandatori a truly riveting watch. First of all, you’ll be drawn to its film noir feel.

There’s that long tracking shot in the beginning that helps you empathise with Norman’s perspective right away.

Razaisyam complements these visual elements with an engaging multi-layered story. The show is filled with interesting characters (one of them is Chew Kin Wah who steals the show as Norman’s no-nonsense, sarcastic superior), clever yet devastating lines about the so-called pursuit of justice and some humour – a much-needed respite from all the darkness.

Though I’m not sure how anyone would find joy after hearing a revered former judge on the show say justice is for anyone who can afford to pay for it.


Now tell the kid you loved the Minions movie or Ill shoot …

No one is safe in Mandatori as the show boldly goes where no other local TV show has gone before. We’re talking about the portrayal of despicable human beings masquerading as people you’d expect to walk the noble path.

Take your pick from scumbag rich tycoon Johan (Iedil Putra as one of the murder suspects) to well … you’d have to watch to find out who else.

The way this show reveals the sinister side of some of the characters will leave you shocked and disgusted at the same time.

As Norman and Kelvin go on their mission to nab Inspector Carlos, they learn the search for truth doesn’t necessarily guarantee justice. In an ideal scenario, when justice is served, a perpetrator will face the consequences for his action. But as Mandatori highlights, the justice system can be exploited by those in power.

It seems, the good folks of Banda Raya will have to wait a little longer for a better tomorrow. While all this is depressing, the show does give us a reminder to hold dear to our loved ones before it’s too late.

All six episodes of Mandatori are available on Astro First Eksklusif (Ch 480) or

Samsung Galaxy S9 release date to be announced when phone launches in February

The Samsung Galaxy S9 will come out next month, the company has confirmed.

The handset will make its first official appearance at an event that will take place during a tradeshow in February, before going on sale soon after.

That tradeshow is almost certainly Mobile World Congress (MWC), which takes place in Barcelona and kicks off on 26 February.

The president of Samsung’s mobile division, DJ Koh, told ZDNet that the phone’s release date will also be revealed at the event. It will likely go on sale in March.

Last year, the S8 launched at an event in March and was released a month later, in April.

The South Korean firm had been rumoured to be planning to unveil the device at CES 2018, which is currently taking in Las Vegas.

However, that always seemed unlikely, since CES tends to revolve mainly around televisions, smart home devices and broader technology trends.

The S9 will launch alongside the S9+, and the phones are expected to look very similar to their predecessors, the S8 and S8+, which are still some of the most attractive on the market.

Reports suggest the most noticeable cosmetic change will be a redesign of the fingerprint scanner, which was small and awkwardly positioned on the S8.

Samsung is believed to be shifting it to a more central position on the smartphone’s rear, which should make it easier to access and use.

It’s also expected to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack, which means you’ll be able to use it with both wired and wireless headphones.

Mothers discussing unspoken truths about childbirth win online following

A hilarious video of a couple of mothers telling the truth about what happens after childbirth has gone viral.

Best friends Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer, otherwise known as Cat & Nat, run a digital platform called Social Common. They aim to help fellow mothers with a healthy combination of humour and honesty.

The Toronto mums recently shared a video on their Facebook page titled “What they DON’T tell you about childbirth”, and boy do they reveal a lot of home truths about the aftermath of giving birth.

First and foremost, they warn any future mothers out there that nothing can prepare them for what’s to come.

“Literally everything that you thought would be is not, and it’s actually more like the opposite,” they say.

“You know what this is called? ‘What to expect for reals’. Reals. For reals.”

Unlike other portrayals of motherhood in the media that show new mothers absolutely glowing with perfection, Cat and Nat aren’t here to sugarcoat the truth.

While bringing a baby into the world is a loving experience, it also involves investing in enormous underwear, bucketfuls of sanitary pads and an ice pack.

“They recommend comfortable underwear. Bring out the big guns,” they advise.

“Comfortable for me used to be a thing. I’m not going to lie, I’ve got a hungry bum and what’s comfortable is a thong.

Cat & Nat (Facebook)

“So maybe we need to clarify. When they say comfortable, they mean coverage.”

The video goes on to cover the importance of the ice pack, how to cure haemorrhoids and facing the prospect of stitches after childbirth.

So far, their video has amassed 114,000 reactions on Facebook, has been shared 217,000 times and has been viewed 18 million times.

Clearly, a lot of women out there could relate to Cat and Nat’s stellar advice.

One woman wrote: “Yesssss! Preach! I was so disillusioned that no one had prepared me for the after.

“None of the books, none of the ‘classes’ they sent me to, none of the other mothers in my life… no. one.”

Another woman thanked the dynamic duo for their guidance, commenting: “I’m getting ready to have my first baby, so I loved your videos because this is the stuff no one tells you.”

How to create your own cryptocurrency: A beginner’s guide to starting a bitcoin alternative

Bitcoin’s spectacular rise in value over the past year has spurred huge amounts of interest in digital currencies, and brand new altcoins are constantly being created.

There are hundreds of digital currencies in existence now, more than 80 of which were listed in the past month, according to CoinMarketCap.

New bitcoin alternatives are likely to keep launching, as it isn’t as difficult as you might expect to create your own digital currency.

That’s because there are dedicated cryptocurrency creation services out there, from the likes of CryptoLife, Wallet Builders and Coin Creator.

They promise to carry out the technical work for you but, as Coin Creator notes, you need to have a precise idea for a project in mind, and display a level of interest and commitment that is “beyond idle curiosity”.

Otherwise, you’re highly likely to fail.

The real difficulties, however, lie in maintaining your cryptocurrency, convincing people that it’s actually worthwhile and has a future, and getting them to use it.

While you don’t necessarily need to have coding skills to set you own digital currency up, they’re vital when it comes to keeping it going.

That requires serious effort. Dogecoin, an altcoin that was originally created as a joke, has its own development team that is constantly working to keep the digital currency stable and secure, to protect users from hackers.

Cryptocurrencies are a popular target for cyber criminals, and poorly protected systems will be more attractive to them than secure systems.

Though digital currencies have helped lots of people make money in a short amount of time, experts believe the bubble will burst in the near future.

The creator of dogecoin recently said it is “worrying” that most conversations around digital currencies focus on the investment potential rather than the underlying technology.

However, the investment potential is without doubt the biggest factor that’s fuelling the creation of so many new digital currencies.

“I think it’s relatively safe to label the current market as a ‘bubble’, although it’s hard to predict how much it’ll inflate and for how long before it inevitably bursts,” he added.

“My one hope is that when that does happen and people lose large sums of money, the negativity in the market doesn’t stifle technological innovation or interest in digital currency from the mainstream.”

Serena Williams reveals motherhood difficulties as she graces Vogue’s February cover alongside baby Alexis

As the cover star of Vogue’s newest cover, alongside her newborn baby Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., Serena Williams has opened up about motherhood, and how difficult it can be.

The tennis pro and her newborn, who happens to be Vogue’s youngest cover star ever, grace the cover of the magazine’s February issue – and the picture is beautiful.

Williams, who has openly discussed the struggles of new motherhood, along with the immense joy she feels over being Alexis’s mother, tweeted out the photo alongside the caption, “This is a moment I will never forget.”

And on Instagram, Williams wrote, “When I first saw this @voguemagazine cover it brought tears to my eyes.”

“All Vogue covers are special but to share this one with my beautiful daughter @olympiaohanian also the youngest Vogue cover star makes it a moment I will never forget.”

The cover, shot by Mario Testino, features a smiling Williams wearing a red curve-hugging dress and her engagement ring and cradling newborn Alexis, who is dressed in a white onesie.

However, as Williams describes in the accompanying article, motherhood is rarely smooth sailing.

For Serena, health challenges arose as soon as she delivered baby Alexis – she was delivered by emergency Caesarean section after her heart rate became extremely low during contractions. But once the new mum recovered after a terrifying six days, motherhood did not get easier.

In the article, she opens up about the doubts she feels, “Sometimes I get really down and feel like, Man, I can’t do this,” before continuing “No one talks about the low moments – the pressure you feel, the incredible letdown every time you hear the baby cry.”

Williams also shares, “I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby? The emotions are insane.”

But as the greatest tennis star in the world, Williams is unquestionably hard on herself – in the article she also admits, “It’s that same negative attitude I have on the court sometimes. I guess that’s just who I am.”

The magazine hits newsstands January 16.