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Saturday, 27 February 2010

YUNA CHAMP

THIS is my second posting about the Winter Olympics. The first was on Tugba Karademir (she finished 21st out of 30 competitors) And now this, Yuna, the winner of the Vancouver figure skating event. I once wrote somewhere in this blog, figure skating is perhaps closest to flying. I never did both but that's what imagination could do. Then my mind remembers another phrase. I have a dream. Yuna's victory. And Tugba's determination. Examples.

KIM YUNA WINS
VANCOUVER — It was nearly midnight Thursday here, the day of triumph running into the day after, and both Yuna Kim and Brian Orser already were looking at the days ahead.

The skater and her coach were in a car, going from post-competition doping control to a news conference that would be aired live in South Korea, where the half the country's 48 million people had watched TV broadcasts of their national hero becoming their first Olympic figure skating champion.

During the 20-minute ride, Kim and Orser simply could have sat back and looked at the gold medal she won three hours earlier with a performance of record-breaking, mind-boggling quality. Instead, as Orser sat in a front seat and Kim in the back, they leaned together to study details on the scoresheet, talking about places to improve in her next competition, the World Championships in March.

That discussion speaks to the particular greatness Kim displayed in these Olympics.If, at 19, she already has joined the sport's legends, it will owe not only to Kim's lighter-than-air grace in her movements on the ice and her huge jumps, but also to Team Kim's grounding in the demands of figure skating's scoring system.

Never have athlete and artist been more perfectly balanced than they are with Kim. Never has a skater with both those qualities displayed them so flawlessly in the sport's most important competition.

"I always wanted to be Olympic champion and do clean programs," Kim said. "This was the first time I have done both programs clean, and I am very joyful it was at the Olympics."

That achievement alone sets her apart from many of the sport's greats, especially because they had to do far fewer defined elements in a 4-minute program that used to embody its title: free skate.

"It's not free any more," 1976 Olympic champion Dorothy Hamill said.

It is impossible to judge Kim against the past, as 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi noted Thursday by saying, "How do you compare that to Sonja Henie?"

Henie, with her three Olympic titles and 10 world titles, can legitimately be called the greatest of all time, but 8-year-olds today could handle the technical difficulty of her programs.

"Sonja Henie was an innovator, setting herself apart by doing stuff that made you think, ‘Where did that come from?'" said 1984 Olympic champion Scott Hamilton. "Under this new way of evaluating skating and expecting so much from skaters, Yuna distanced herself from the field by the overall, endless quality of her excellence.''

That allowed Kim to rout the competition, despite a history-making performance by Japan's Mao Asada. In two programs, Asada landed three triple axels, a jump Kim does not attempt, and she still finished nearly five points behind the South Korean in the short program and more than 18 behind in the free skate.

Without the errors she made on lesser jumps, Asada still would not have challenged Kim, whose grades of execution added nearly 10 points to her advantage.

"She is a remarkable skater," Orser said of Asada, "but they need to work with the system better."

Even the new system's most vocal proponents would admit it fails to give skaters the time to be innovators, to do what Hamill calls the "Ah-hah!" moments by holding an innovative position or a classic skating posture long enough to make them trademark moves.

Kim did two such moves in her long program, an Ina Bauer and spread eagle, but she used the positions as brief transitions into jump combinations. The impression they left is not of breathtaking artistry but of the athletic command needed to handle the extra difficulty the moves add to the ensuing jumps.

"I think she will be remembered as a great artist, but it is a different kind of artistry," Hamill said.

Should Kim not continue beyond this season, one could argue whether an Olympic gold and perhaps two world titles are enough to give her mythic dimensions. Orser admits longevity "would be nice" and adds, "I wouldn't be surprised if she comes back."

Hamill already thinks Kim belongs in the sport's pantheon.

"She has jaw-dropping magnificence," Hamill said. "The height of her jumps, the power, the fluid beauty of her skating are like magic, and there is also a modernness about her."

So she is a champion for her times.

And one for all time, as well. THIS STORY IS FROM HERE

phersh@tribune.com

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

BULLISH ECONOMY

HEY, this is something we can all shout happily about, is not it? To know that the economy is recovering is good news. Have a prosperous Year of the Tiger

NAJIB BULLISH ABOUT ECONOMY
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- The 4.5 per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) achieved in the fourth quarter of last year is unexpected, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The growth stemmed from strengthened domestic and external demand," said Najib, who is also Finance Minister, when announcing the economic performance for the quarter Wednesday.

Last year, the country's economic growth contracted to minus 1.7 per cent, lower than the projected three per cent, he said.

The economy recorded a contraction in three quarters -- 6.2 per cent in the first quarter, 3.9 per cent in second quarter and 1.2 per cent in third quarter, he said.

Asked for this year's forecast, Najib said: "We are quite bullish about this."

On whether the worst was over for the country's economy, he said that it was over provided that nothing seriously unexpected with respect to the global economy.

"For example, any major sovereign collapse barring unforeseen circumstances of that nature, we could safely say that we have recovered from the crisis and we should be looking forward to a strong growth for 2010."

As to whether the country could achieve 5.0 per cent growth this year, he said: "Can".

"Earlier forecast is about 4.0 per cent for this year. I'm hoping I can achieve one or two per cent more than that.

"(We are) Going all out to make sure we are able to generate confidence, speedy implementation of projects and encourage the private sector to invest with higher consumer confidence.

"We should make good this year in terms of economic performance." he said.

Najib said the accelerated implementation of the government's two stimulus packages has been a key factor in contributing to the economic recovery.

To date, over 113,000 projects under the two stimulus packages have and are being implemented, involving a total value of RM17 billion.

Of the total, the government has made a payment OF RM13.9 billion, on average the government has pumped approximately RM1 billion a month into the market from January 2009.

"One of the main reasons why our ability to spend about a billion a month in 2009 is because we have this special monitoring unit attached to the Ministry of Finance.

"It did not exist before but this unit was working flat out and engaging with implementing ministries and central agencies to make sure all the programmes carried out under the two packages are implemented speedily.

"This is one of the main reasons why we have managed to achieve more than expected in terms of economic growth," he said.

Sustained growth in private consumption expenditure and increased public sector spending contributed to higher domestic demand, which recorded a three per cent growth in the fourth quarter as compared with 0.4 per cent in the third quarter, said Najib.

He said private consumption growth was supported by better conditions in the labour market, low inflation rate and higher spending for the year-end school holiday period and festive season.

The prime minister said the public sector continued its key role of providing impetus to growth during the quarter.

Public sector consumption expenditure expanded further by 1.3 per cent while public sector capital spending increased substantially as the implementation of projects under the fiscal stimulus packages gained further momentum during the quarter.

During the quarter, the development expenditure of the Federal Government amounted to RM17.6 billion, an increase of 9.5 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2008.

Najib said there were emerging signs of stabilisation in private sector capital spending in the fourth quarter last year, as business sentiments continued to improve.

This, together with the higher public sector capital spending, contributed to the turnaround in total gross fixed capital formation, which registered a positive growth of 8.2 per cent during the quarteras compared with a negative 7.9 per cent growth in the previous quarter.

On the external sector, Najib said Malaysia's exports performance recovered to record a positive growth of 5.1 per cent, supported by improvements in external demand, particularly from regional economies and from stronger commodity prices.

Malaysia also continued to receive foreign direct investments, he said, adding that in the fourth quarter of 2009, gross inflows of FDI increased to RM7.2 billion as compared with RM6.7 billion in the third quarter, with investments mainly in the manufacturing and services sectors.

On the supply side, Najib said all economic sectors recorded improved performance during the fourth quarter.

-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

WORKING FROM HOME

THIS is not really new. But, with internet facilities such as Facebooks and the likes, am of the opinion that such a move is long overdue. Well, actually, we all have been working on "remote control" in our own ways. Here's wishing we could all have more quality times with our loved ones.

WORKING FROM HOME
By Natalie Heng
KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 10, 2010):
The Works Ministry uses popular internet messenger technology to supervise its employees as they work from home in its newly introduced pilot programme.

Thirty five draughtsmen, three quantity surveyors and an assistant technician, mostly from the Public Engineering Branch of Structures and Bridges, communicate with their superiors through live chat.

Head programme coordinator Muhamad Azman Jamrais explained how supervision is carried out.

“All staff are registered with Novell email accounts and log into the Novell messenger system as soon as they start their shifts in the morning, so when we open the messenger system we can see everybody, whether they are logged in or out, and whether they are active in the system,” he said.

“The participants have their own personal supervisor who will be watching out for them when they clock in on any one of three shifts.”

Supervisor Sri Maryazie, 33, has two draughtsmen under her wing. “All staff have the option of working from 7.30am-4.30pm, 8am-5pm or 8.30am-5.30pm,” she said.

“They have to log in to the JKR (Public Works Department) portal when they start their shift; a pop-up box will ask them if they want to start their shift. This is how they ‘punch-in’.”

As civil servants, work-from-home employees are subject to certain rules.

“They have to prove they are working by making sure they are immediately active and responsive on the messenger system once they have ‘punched in’,” Azman said.

The pilot programme which began earlier this week indicates it will exceed expectations, with productivity levels higher than usual.

“The targets we set for the work-from-home participants are higher than those set for office workers to reflect downtime saved in avoiding traffic jams,” Azman said.

“Based on the productivity rates I’ve been observing, we may produce more than the target of 13 drawings a month.”

One participant, Rozana Aris, 29, said: “When you look at plans all day, your vision can get blurred and you lose concentration, becoming less productive.”

Rozana used to get home only after seven, but now finds she doesn’t have to work round the clock just to make it out of the office in time to spend time with her daughter.

“Now I can take breaks to rest my eyes and regain concentration,” she said.

This flexibility of deciding when to take breaks is another advantage of the work-from-home programme.

“If someone has a small errand to run, for example, taking their child to the doctor, all they have to do is check in with the supervisor through messenger and punch out,” Azman said.

“When they come back, they punch back in and make up for the lost time, that’s why we call the shifts flexi-time.”

The ICT aspect also makes applying for holidays a simple and formless procedure.

Azman said staff submit their applications electronically on the Public Works Department portal. “As soon as the supervisor logs in, he can approve it, so it is fast and requires less administration.”

The three-month pilot programme was initiated by Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor.

“The government is looking at how it can transform its services to better utilise broadband services and other technologies,” Azman said. “This programme is one such initiative.” theSun

Saturday, 20 February 2010

MEA CULPA

THE hardest word to say is I am sorry. Last night, this golf great did just that. I blog this for many reasons, just as I post Obama's apology. Great men are not perfect. Well, actually, am following this story too because, hey, I started golfing. Hahahahaha. I went to the driving range a few times, went to get a membership from the Ranau Golf Club, and played my first five holes about two weeks ago. And am loving it. Still a long way to go, but am determined to improve. Much, or a little bit, like Woods hehehehe......

TIGER WOODS SAYS SORRY

A transcript of Tiger Woods' statement Friday, courtesy of ASAP Sports.

Good morning, and thank you for joining me. Many of you in this room are my friends. Many of you in this room know me. Many of you have cheered for me or you've worked with me or you've supported me.

Now every one of you has good reason to be critical of me. I want to say to each of you, simply and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.

I know people want to find out how I could be so selfish and so foolish. People want to know how I could have done these things to my wife Elin and to my children. And while I have always tried to be a private person, there are some things I want to say.
Elin and I have started the process of discussing the damage caused by my behavior. As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words; it will come from my behavior over time. We have a lot to discuss; however, what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.

I am also aware of the pain my behavior has caused to those of you in this room. I have let you down, and I have let down my fans. For many of you, especially my friends, my behavior has been a personal disappointment. To those of you who work for me, I have let you down personally and professionally. My behavior has caused considerable worry to my business partners.

To everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors, and most importantly, the young students we reach, our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow. From the Learning Center students in Southern California to the Earl Woods scholars in Washington, D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.

But still, I know I have bitterly disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position.

For all that I have done, I am so sorry.

I have a lot to atone for, but there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. Elin never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage, ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame.

The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.

I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them.

I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.

I've had a lot of time to think about what I've done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It's now up to me to make amends, and that starts by never repeating the mistakes I've made. It's up to me to start living a life of integrity.

I once heard, and I believe it's true, it's not what you achieve in life that matters; it's what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count.

Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.

It's hard to admit that I need help, but I do. For 45 days from the end of December to early February, I was in inpatient therapy receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction.

As I proceed, I understand people have questions. I understand the press wants to ask me for the details and the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will remain together. Please know that as far as I'm concerned, every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife.

Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance-enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false. Some have written things about my family. Despite the damage I have done, I still believe it is right to shield my family from the public spotlight. They did not do these things; I did.

I have always tried to maintain a private space for my wife and children. They have been kept separate from my sponsors, my commercial endorsements. When my children were born, we only released photographs so that the paparazzi could not chase them. However, my behavior doesn't make it right for the media to follow my 2½-year-old daughter to school and report the school's location. They staked out my wife and they pursued my mom. Whatever my wrongdoings, for the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone.

I recognize I have brought this on myself, and I know above all I am the one who needs to change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That's where my focus will be.

I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.

As I move forward, I will continue to receive help because I've learned that's how people really do change. Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy. I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week for understanding why I'm making these remarks today.

In therapy I've learned the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered so I can save the things that are most important to me, my marriage and my children.

That also means relying on others for help. I've learned to seek support from my peers in therapy, and I hope someday to return that support to others who are seeking help. I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that day will be.

I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game. In recent weeks I have received many thousands of e-mails, letters and phone calls from people expressing good wishes. To everyone who has reached out to me and my family, thank you. Your encouragement means the world to Elin and me.

I want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner [Tim] Finchem, and the players for their patience and understanding while I work on my private life. I look forward to seeing my fellow players on the course.

Finally, there are many people in this room, and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again.

Thank you.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

THURSDAYS WITH...

EEBOT: The weather is very unpredictable lately. Hot. Cold. Warm. Humid.
BUDDY: That's why it is called the weather, my friend.
MINNIE: And we cannot do anything about it? We should encourage public transport, less open burning, plant more trees, preserve our jungle, ban reclamation, stick to renewable energy, coal is not cool....
BUDDY: My oh my, suddenly you become a Green Peace activist dear Minnie. May be we should also ban drinking coffee. Just drink water.
EEBOT: Am going out tomorrow. Should I bring my umbrella? Will it rain?
MINNIE: Let us look at the weather forecast.
BUDDY: I think it will rain.
EEBOT: May be we can put in place what the weather will be.....

Saturday, 13 February 2010

SIGN OF TIMES

QONG XI FAT CHAI, one and all. Happy Chinese New Year of the Tiger. It is going to be a prosperous year. And am sure, these few days, when I go visit my Chinese friends, and even those who join in the festivity (like me, using this CNY as a reason to have a get together with friends all of whom are Kadazandusuns... hey, we are 1Malaysia eeehhhhh), inevitably political talks will be in the abundance. This BBC piece could very well be but one of the insights of our policitical situation in this great country of ours. For you to decide. Happy CNY....

ALLAH ROW SIGNALS MALAY RACE FEAR?
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Malay, Chinese and Indian Malaysians, thrown together by a colourful past, have often managed a mutual accommodation of each other’s different faiths and cultures.

But the recent argument over the use of the word “Allah” has provoked strident — and divergent — views both within the Muslim community and outside it.

So too has the labelling of Indian and Chinese Malaysians as “pendatang”, or immigrants, by a senior ruling party member, Datuk Nasir Safar.

He lost his job as adviser to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak 12 hours later.

Meanwhile, the cancellation of a concert by US singer Beyonce, the arrest of young unmarried couples for “close proximity” and the caning sentence given to a mother for drinking beer have all attracted international attention.

Such rows call into question whether Malaysia is a state in which different races and faiths live in equality and comfort with each other, or whether the country is becoming more conservatively Muslim at the expense of others.

Change of direction

The results of Election 2008 ramped up the tension.

The ruling coalition still won, but with a much reduced majority in the worst result in 50 years.

Norani Othman, a professor at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (Ikmas) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, says that after independence, there was a national emphasis on consensus-building and equality.

That was adapted, after race riots in 1969, to more overtly pro-Malay policies.

As Muslim nations around the world struggled to modernise, yet not lose touch with their traditional roots, the influence of Islamist parties expanded.

In Malaysia, that pitted the ruling United National Malays Organisation (Umno) against the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) with the result that the 1980s saw a deliberate process of Islamisation.

What were once affirmative action policies geared to help Malays “catch up” with other Malaysians became policies enshrining Malay primacy or ascendancy, and being Malay meant being Muslim.

Institutions deemed to conform with Islamic principles and values were created — Islamic banks, Islamic insurance, Islamic university — there was even talk of “Islamising knowledge”.

The list of matters judged to be under the jurisdiction of Islamic laws has expanded over the decades.

Just as the so-called race riots of 1969 were in fact a sign of systemic breakdown, as Australian academic Clive Kessler argues, so do the current tensions pose a direct challenge to Malaysia’s founding aspirations of a diverse and democratic nation, argues Noraini.

Malay-ness

The trend, she says, is clear: “It is one of a steady increase in religious authoritarianism and intolerance, emanating from many key sectors and influential levels of Malaysian Muslim society.”

National citizenship training has sparked recent controversy, with some critics saying it was contributing to an apparently unstoppable rise of race and faith-based exclusivity.

Participants report they are told that the only thing left for the Malay community is power, because they are a majority, and that any loss of power could mean they become something like an American Indian in their own country, one source said.

Shoring up that power involves “the projecting of the Other, the non-Malay, as always conspiring or wanting to take over”, she said.

That siege mentality is expressed in the claim that non-Muslims using the word Allah might convert Muslims — even when figures suggest that Islam is the fastest growing faith in the country.

A new group called Perkasa — meaning strengthen — is avowedly pro-Malay. Critics call it chauvinistic.

Its founder, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, says: “If the Malays are not happy, then it will become a problem.”

Rising stars such as Datuk Idris Haron, MP for Melaka and a member of Umno’s Supreme Council, has supported party colleagues who describe non-Malays as “immigrants”.

“Yes the fundamental structure of the country is race-based,” says Idris.

“It is the Malaysian way of life that a Malay must be a Muslim,” he says — and that Malays are rightfully “the top priority when it comes to political development”.

Idris argues that the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia live far better than they would in other countries, thanks to Malay tolerance and generosity.

1 Malaysia?

But the determination of one’s rights according to one’s race and religion profoundly worries not only Malaysia’s many more liberal minds — it bothers the strategists behind the ruling coalition too.

They know that loyal non-Malays no longer see them as representative of a pluralist centre of Malaysian life.

“We don’t have an effective channel of communication between the communities,” says Chandra Muzaffar, chairman of the independent 1 Malaysia Foundation..

The elections in March 2008 also showed many Malays deserted Umno, their traditional source of protection and wealth. Hence Najib’s creation of the 1 Malaysia idea.

“1 Malaysia, very simply put, is to promote unity in diversity — with the emphasis not just on tolerance but mutual respect”, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, told the BBC.

“We recognise the polarity and we are engaging it,” he said.

Many Malaysians want clear progress from a determined leadership, says Chandra.

They say a new multi-faith, multi-racial body is needed not just to talk about but implement solutions to sources of division.

“We need very concrete solutions, about handling the deceased (of different faiths within one family), the conversion of minors, custody of children, the use of Allah, circulation of literature for Christians in Bahasa Malaysia. I personally think the obstacles placed in the way are bureaucratic obstacles.

“We have to resolve it. At the moment we don’t have an effective channel of communication between the communities,” he said.

A clue to the problem is visible at the seat of federal government, the created city of Putrajaya.

It has two huge mosques.

Ten years after the city was built, permission has been granted to one Christian and one Buddhist group to build their own houses of worship. — BBC

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

DARE TO DREAM

SO TODAY, the Federal Court made a decision on the Perak Menteri Besar. When I passed by there earlier, there were about nine red-coloured police trucks and vehicles. Thus security under control. But rather than commenting on that piece of news (note that I did not put 'good' or 'bad' adjective in front of 'news'), I thought it is better to post this 'dare to dream' article. Not the least because perhaps ice-skating is almost like flying, so they said. Coz me, I cannot even skate, much less doing it on ice. Dare to dream one and all.... dare to dream.

TURKISH CHILDHOOD OLYMPIC DREAM COMES TRUE
VANCOUVER, Feb 9 – Tugba Karademir (pic) scrambled on top of the coffee table aged three to announce to her mother she wanted to be just like twice Olympic champion Katarina Witt.

No matter that there was only one ice rink in Turkey in the 1980s and her homeland had never had an Olympic figure skater.

After a kindergarten trip to the Ankara rink sealed her love for skating, she left for Canada with her parents a few years later to pursue her dream and in 2006 Turkey had its first Olympian in the sport.

Four years later, she is at her second Games on surrogate home ice in Vancouver.

“It’s very tough. I’m very proud of being Turkish, I love Turkey and I wish I didn’t have to move but hopefully I’ll bring some attention to Turkish figure skating in Turkey,” the 24-year-old told Reuters in an interview.

“I always watched figure skating on the TV because it’s so popular in Turkey to watch but they don’t ever think that we have rinks to go to and participate so hopefully I’m bringing it to the forefront a little bit more.

“I love skating in Canada because the crowds are very knowledgeable about skating and they are very encouraging. When I go skating in Canada I usually skate very well so I’m looking forward to the Olympics.”

Karademir said her mother had told her she had been a big admirer of German Witt, who won Olympic gold in 1984 and 1988 and four world titles between 1984 and 1988.

“My mum said ‘you were watching her at the Olympics and you said I’m going to do that one day’. She said I got on the coffee table and told her that’s what I was going to do,” she said.

NEW SKATES

Karademir, Turkey’s flag-bearer at the Turin Games opening ceremony, was 21st in her event in 2006 and is hoping for an improvement this time after enlisting Canadian four-times former world champion Kurt Browning as one of her choreographers.

“He just knows everything about this sport, it’s just great to hear his perspective on it,” she said of Browning, who choreographed her short program.

“He’ll work with you for hours. I had new skates the first day I started working with him which was a bad idea, and I was bleeding by the end of seven hours because you don’t normally skate in new skates for that long.”

Karademir, who coaches in Canada to help fund her skating, hopes to return eventually to Turkey and help develop the sport.

“We have a lot better infrastructure for those coming up later and hopefully I can help them with my experiences when I start coaching in Turkey,” she said, adding there were now three Olympic-size rinks in the country.

“I would love to go back and help out and maybe become part of the federation, become part of the ISU (International Skating Union) so that I can help guide Turkey to better skating.

“There is a lot of talent out there at a young age but unfortunately it’s wasted as they don’t know how to develop it.” – Reuters

p.s: I hope she will do well in the up-coming event. But does it matter? To be in the Olympics is already an astounding achievement. Its like the Malaysian football team that qualified for the Moscow Olympics some years ago. But we boycotted that games so there goes the highest moment for Malaysian football...

Friday, 5 February 2010

THURSDAYS WITH

MINNIE: If only I could fly...
BUDDY: Are you talking about Avatar? Why is everybody talking about Avatar?
MINNIE: Yes, Avatar. And the movie Jumper. And many more. But really, if only I could fly, I would be so free, so being myself.
EEBOT: It is good to dream. But let us not over do it. Live the present moment, my friend once said. And yes, it is best to appreciate sincerely the present, as is where is, right now.
MINNIE: I agree, we should not go over board. But, Eebot, would it not be wonderful to be able to fly? I could imagine it being so wonderful.
BUDDY: I used to be a motorcyclist. I mean this was the time when helmet was not compulsory. And I would ride a fast as I can. I had long hairs, those days. Yeah, may be it is akin to being able to fly.
MINNIE: In the Avatar, and especially if you saw the 3-D, it kinds of embraces you and brings you along those flying moments.
EEBOT: Frankly, I have not seen the Avatar fully, only here and there. But my point is, there are many roads to Rome.
BUDDY: Hey, bro, what has Rome to do with flying? Ha ha ha... you drank too much coffee, you did not sleep well eh?
MINNIE: Buddy, I think Eebot has a point.
BUDDY: What did I miss here? Hey, c'mon, you two are strange today.
EEBOT: My point precisely. We are buddies. Very close with each other, over a common denominator, coffee. And yet we are so different. And we should be thankful for what we are, now, this moment, as we are.
MINNIE: Hanna Montana said, it's a climb.
BUDDY: Avatar. Flying. Climbing. Rome. I give up. I better go to the gents.... :-)