• Current Affairs,  Malaysia

    [Updated] Kidnapped child Nayati Moodliar has Come Home (May 3)

    Update 6 (5/5, 5.52pm): Nayati says he’s OK! in a video.

    Update 5 (3/5, 4.13pm): Sham Moodliar expresses gratitude towards the Police for their efforts.

    Update 4 (3/5, 3.13pm): After his checkup, Nayati takes to the streets and walks back home with friends.

    Update 3 (3/5, 2.o7pm): Father Sham Moodliar updates Twitter that Nayati is being checked by the doctor and posts another picture for his homecoming tribute. 

    Update 2 (3/5, 10.29am): More info released.

    Nayati was released safe and unharmed in a R&R stop along the North South Expressway near Rawang at 7.30am this morning.

    The family was contacted by the kidnappers shortly after he was kidnapped last Friday and demanded a ransom for his safe release. After several attempts at negotiations, the kidnappers finally agreed on a substantial ransom amount which was paid this morning.

    Police are still investigating and urged the public with information on the case to call 03-2115 9999.

    Update 1 (3/5, 10.12am): Press release issued on Facebook page. Press conference will be on Friday (4/5)

    Original Report (3/5, 10.00am):

    A joyous Thursday morning! We have heard good news that Nayati Moodliar, the 12-year old boy that was kidnapped last Friday in front of his school, has returned safely to his home!

    His father tweeted Nayati’s safe return, along with a photo and updated the Facebook page set up to look for him.

    No further information has been released, but we at VenusBuzz.com cannot express how relieved we are that he is no longer in danger!

    We will continue to update as and when more information is available but for now we just hope that Nayati and family gets enough rest. This is truly a great day!

    To read on the previous report, click here.

  • Current Affairs,  International

    Trolling : When the Internet Turns Ugly

    If you’re reading this, then you are probably guilty of spending at least a few minutes on the Internet every other day.

    With social networks connecting us from all over the world, it’s hard to stay away from sites like Facebook, Twitter and content aggregators such as 9gag and Reddit that are perfect time wasters and stress relievers.

    But exactly how far should we push the limits of entertainment? Should it ever come at the expense of someone else’s life?

    An Internet joke went too far when a photo of a baby with down syndrome was taken from a support group website years ago and was turned into a controversial Internet meme. Heidi Crowter is now 16 years old, and just recently discovered what the entire Internet has been saying about her photo.

    We all know the power of the Internet and how fast news can spread in a matter of minutes from all corners of the globe, and therefore tracking the source of the image can be difficult as most people tend to upload offensive material anonymously.

    Heidi’s photo has been used in “I Can Count to Potato” meme, a controversial catchphrase that is meant to indicate a lack of intelligence and usually paired with photographs of people who appear to have been diagnosed with learning disabilities. The phrase is sometimes used in image boards and forums in reacting to comments that are deemed unintelligent. Due to the insensitive nature of the meme, it has been criticized for perpetuating ableism, a type of discrimination against people with disabilities.

    The issue has spiraled from a distasteful meme to the Internet’s distasteful reaction, to a family asking for sympathy. There are millions of people who don’t understand how web culture works, or how memes travel — there are also plenty of people who just don’t care.

    Liz Crowter first found the photo of her daughter in September 2011 on a Facebook page insulting people with learning disabilities.

    Friends and family of Heidi’s have attempted to fight the meme by creating a Facebook page to raise awareness and asking people to take the image down. The page was then unfortunately hacked, and nothing is being done by Facebook.

    “It’s almost like Faceless rather than Facebook, we have been repeatedly trying to take these distressing sites down and I have not once had a direct response,” she said.

    “These trolls are cowardly, nasty people who should be punished for the damage they are doing to people with their comments. Heidi has told me she is very upset by the sites and she turns her head away when we have them on the computer screen,” she added.

    Those who are bullied by trolls online often have to just “deal with it” as the social community often feel that they have the right to disseminate content, however distasteful and hurtful it is to other parties. To them, it’s a matter of free speech and their right to do whatever they please.

    Ben Lashes, a meme manager who represents viral characters and their creators (ie. Nyan Cat, Scumbag Steve, Keyboard Cat) suggests that the family should fight fire with fire and use the publicity to rally around a cause.

    “This girl has an opportunity to be someone who can speak out about how it feels to be bullied, and maybe use it to get the message out there so that other kids know there’s someone who knows what they’re going through,” says Lashes.

    This story is reminiscent to the Star Wars kid, in which the victim ”had to endure, and still endures today, harassment and derision from his high-school mates and the public at large” and “will be under psychiatric care for an indefinite amount of time.”

    The families who leaked that video were sued, but that didn’t take the viral video away. Fortunately, the kid in question went on to become a law student, and eventually a president of a non-profit. However, this case did raise serious concerns of privacy invasion for the first time in a new age of the Internet.

    At VenusBuzz.com, we can only say be careful of the content you post on the Internet. If it’s something that could potentially be damaging to your reputation, it’s best not to make it public content.  Also, think before reposting content you see from the above-mentioned sites if you think it could be damaging to any innocent parties.

    While the Internet is a brilliant tool and we couldn’t think of surviving without it, we strongly urge everyone to be responsible users. Let’s not abuse the freedom we have.

    What do you think, should there be freedom to post any sort of content (regardless of how distasteful it is) on the Internet, or should sites monitor and take control?

  • Current Affairs,  Malaysia

    Lost Furkid, Anyone?

    On April 19, 2012 at about 5pm, a lady found a frightened and shivering silky terrier hiding below a vehicle along Jalan Riang in Happy Garden KL. The female silky terrier was badly matted and looked lost and out of place. It took a lot of coaxing before she came out from under the car.

    The lady has since given it a good bath and haircut and will be sending it to the vet today. While giving her a bath, she noticed that the silky terrier was wheezing and there was a lump under one of her nipples. We certainly hope this poor silky terrier lost her way and wasn’t abandoned.

    If this is your dog, please claim her from the contact above and be a responsible dog owner. We also call on residents staying around Happy Garden who can identify this dog and the possible owner so we can help send her home. Here are more pictures to help trace this furkid.

  • Current Affairs,  Malaysia

    Malaysians Love Luxury Goods, Despite Economic Crisis

    Survey: Malaysians and other Asians spend on luxury items despite belt-tightening plans.

    Turn to the news channel and you shall hear about Asia and the strangling economic crisis, as felt by the rest of the world. Turn the TV off and stroll to the nearest shopping mall – branded bags and diamond watches will surround you, amidst sea of shopping bags.

    A recent survey recently confirms the high lifestyle Malaysians lead in the current economic downturn. 72 per cent of respondents said they were paying the same or more for a luxury car, while 62 per cent were paying the same or more for luxury watches and jewellery. The survey involved 5,952 respondents from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India, China, and Hong Kong.

    The icing of the cake: almost 20% of respondents plan to upgrade their hotel class on their upcoming holiday.

    Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen once stated that Malaysia is buffing up to be a luxury shopping destination. Since Jan 1st 2011, Malaysia has been a duty-free haven for most luxurious goods including watches and jewelleries.

    “Our target is to have 36 million tourists and RM168bil in tourism receipt by 2020, and we are expecting 35% to be from shopping receipts,” the minister said.

    Today, both local and international tourists enjoy a wide variety of luxury goods in the ever-growing list of flagship stores. A 6-km connecting bridge between KLCC and Pavilion was built to ensure even more shopping convenience.

    You get some, you lose some. While the country is enjoying a huge revenue from luxury shopping and tourism, the citizens might suffer from the effect in the long run. The social pressure to live luxuriously, for instance. In June 2011, a Malaysian girl was found prostituting herself in order to gain luxury shopping fund. She collected a whooping RM30,000 throughout her school holiday by charging RM250 – RM800 for every client. The schoolgirl was reportedly not the only one who admitted selling sex in the name of luxury goods.

    It is about time Malaysia slows down on building a shopping haven – which the detrimental effects might not be significant right now but will be a hard punch in the country’s face later on.

  • Current Affairs,  Entertainment,  Happenings,  Malaysia

    Maher Zain Coming to Malaysia

    Maher Zain of Lebanese descent is a Swedish Muslim singer who gained prominence when his debut album, Thank You Allah was released in 2009. It became the best-selling album of the decade in Malaysia and he was turned into an international sensation. His music is a reflection of his religious beliefs and his main intention is to spread the message of peace, brotherhood, respect, love and humanity. One of the reasons for his huge success is his fresh take on music and Islam.

    In conjunction with the release of his second album, Forgive Me, which was launched yesterday, the R&B singer will be in town for promotional activities and to meet fans. The new album features 14 songs including two tracks in Bahasa Indonesia. Maher gained a huge following in Indonesia following the success of his first album with 20 platinum awards. He is currently there for promotional works.

    For details on his promo tour and new album, visit his FB page.

  • Current Affairs,  Malaysia

    Breaking News: Fire in KLCC!

    The twitter world is abuzz with news of a fire breaking out in KLCC. Many were asked to leave the premises in safety measure. There are reports of panic as mall goers leave in droves as the shops closed down and lifts suspended with the distinct smell of smoke.

    Source of the fire has not been determined yet.

  • Current Affairs,  Health,  Malaysia,  Wellness

    Free Hugs from Amma

    Hugging is known to lift a person’s spirit.

    According to Virginia Satir, a family therapist, we, humans need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth. That may seem like a small amount to begin with but with our fast-paced lives these days, we tend to forget what this little-pick-me-up can do for our souls.

    The modern day saint, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi or known simply as Amma, embarked on a mission 30 years ago to hug her way round the world. And, next month, she will be making a pitstop in Malaysia. Her message is simple – love! It is estimated that this “hugging saint” has touched over 30 million lives so far. Followers have said that a sense of inner healing was felt after being hugged and a serene prayer whispered into their ears by Amma.

    Among the celebrities who have gotten their free hugs from Amma included Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone and Russell Brand. Her hugs described as motherly and full-bodied, is sure to bring tears. “It’s just a powerful experience. She whispers in your ears and something really resonates,” says Zahra Sherzad, who met the hugging saint in 2011.

    Come April 7th, you too can meet Amma at Penang International Sports Arena where she is expected to draw a crowd of 20,000 people. In a quest to spread her motherly love and blessings, she will also be making her way to Putrajaya International Convention Centre on April 9th.

    Visit www.ammachi.org.my for more information.

  • Current Affairs,  International

    Sexist Superheroes

    There has been talk about how female superheroes are portrayed in an extremely sexist manner – body-hugging outfits, skimpy costumes and very well-defined curves. It’s something that has been lived with, and wasn’t too bad to deal with. However, if you’ve followed the recent developments of DC Comics, you will know that things have taken a turn for the worse.

    Disregard the promiscuity, absence of morality and the bikini that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination if you must, but think of the underlying message that is being conveyed to readers young and old, male and female. What Starfire is telling us here is that women are just tools for sexual pleasure, devoid of passion and emotion. What’s even more saddening is the fact that in her younger days, Starfire from Teen Titans was an innocent, bumbly alien. Those were the days when the world had more colour that was not lust.

    Catwoman, on the roof with Batman. You’ve probably seen more than just illustrations on the television.Was this scene even necessary? Only to solidify the idea that women are to be sex objects and nothing else. And this is her book. Oh, and by the way, a few scenes earlier she was pictured in her bright red lingerie, dressing up for the day – lots of shots of her assets.

    What if men were portrayed in the same way?

    I mean, fighting crime is a fashionable thing, right?

  • Current Affairs,  Malaysia

    Erykah Badu; Quesas Quesas Quesas

    Whether the concert is on or off (it is off by the way, as of this afternoon’s press conference), the whole issue is more complex and definitely more painful and permanent than a henna tattoo. We thank Venusbuzz.com readers for giving us their votes and comments about the Erykah Badu controversy.

    Cultural sensitivity plays a big part in this case, more so than religion perhaps. In a he said-she said situation, he being Dr Rais Yatim, Information Minister and so representing the government and she being Erykah Badu, who is to blame for the cancellation? Could it also perhaps be the media who inadvertently let the image through or the editors that approved the piece?

    He said : The concert was banned for the reason that it broke rules on religious sensitivity and our local cultural values. In his Tweets, Dr Rais Yatim goes on to say that should the concert be allowed, it would create bigger and more lasting issues and those tattoos and the act of displaying such religious tattoos cannot be accepted by Muslims that do not like such a practice.

    She said : Erykah Badu in her Tweets and during the press conference clarified that the religious symbols in that particular image of her were done during a photo shoot and were styled after a character in a movie called The Holy Mountain (shot in the 70s). One of the characters was a painted lady who wore the symbols and names of God on her body. To Erykah (who happens to be Muslim, but refuses to answer the question of her religion during the press conference), this idea embodies oneness and was really a creative form of expression for her.

    The tattoo was a temporary henna tattoo and when Venusbuzz.com asked Erykah to show us if she still carries the tattoo, she politely reveals her shoulders sans tattoos of any form.

    A set of promotional photos were chosen and spread to the media prior to Erykah’s Malaysia concert. The concert promotor stated that Erykah’s tattoo picture was edited to blur the ‘Allah’ sign before it was given to any media outlets. This self-censorship action was taken for they have anticipated the potential cultural conflicts in Malaysia if the raw image spreads.

    When one of the local dailies picked up the image to showcase in their piece, they selected the image directly from an overseas source, which was the uncensored version. That is when the controversy started.

    We salute Erykah Badu for her handling of the situation. She showed calmness and patience throughout the ordeal both on Twitter and during the press conference. She also did call on Dr Rais Yatim on Twitter to meet up to explain her situation. We understand it went unanswered. Erykah Badu does however respect the Malaysia government for taking a stand on this matter and said that if given a chance, she would like to come back to Malaysia.

    Dr Rais Yatim also acted in good faith and judgment as our Information Minister. Malaysia is a country rich in our diverse culture, and citizens of various race and religion. While our government may be labeled narrow minded, it does have its reasons for taking such actions. Perhaps Dr Rais Yatim should have given Erykah face time or a response as a show of graciousness on our end. After all, those tattoos are not permanent nor was it to be part of her performance tonight. As a person and artist, she had technically not broken any rules by her own doing.

    Neither have we as a country and our Minister’s actions were purely to protect the interest of some parties in our country, we are after all one as well in our diversity.

    So who is to blame for the cancelled concerts and the disappointed fans? Perhaps no one, or at least none of the two in mention. Perhaps it was everyone else who was trying to promote Erykah. Admission of guilt or not, both The Star and Erykah made contact, and perhaps peace.

    Erykah will soon be leaving Kuala Lumpur and will be on her way to the Java Jazz concert in Jakarta, Indonesia where the world’s most populous Muslim community resides.

    Disclaimer :

    The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author’s only and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of the public nor the media.

  • Current Affairs,  Malaysia

    Erykah Badu ‘Allah’ Tattoo Costs The Star a Public Apology

    Malaysian daily ‘The Star’ had to apologize for publishing Erykah Badu’s image with ‘Allah’ tattoo

    UPDATES: We are sorry to announce that Erykah Badu’s KL concert has been cancelled because of ‘failure to meet cultural values’ (updated at 3:43PM). To read the official reason of the cancellation, read: Erykah Badu KL Concert: Cancelled!

    Erykah Badu has a pair of tattoo meaning ‘Allah’ in Arabic and now everyone is talking about it. The Star, Malaysia’s best-selling English newspaper, published an image of Erykah Badu showing the tattoos on her upper arms.

    Erykah Badu is scheduled to perform a solo concert in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow (28/02). It is still unclear whether this issue will affect her show.

    Home Ministry summoned The Star to make a public apology and they did:

    “A photograph of American singer Erykah Badu with tattoos of various symbols, including the Arabic word for Allah, was inadvertently published in Star2 today. We sincerely apologise to Muslim readers for this oversight.” – as quoted from The Star Online.

    The tattoo issue is also being discussed on Twitter, with most users against the tattoo.

    “Sape pegi Erykah Badu punya event tu mmg bodoh. Terang2 kat kiri kanan ada tattoo Allah, lagi korang nak support org mcm tu.”

    “kuang ajaq punya Erykah Badu.ada tattoo ’Allah’ kt bahu.ko trn KL,aku baling batu!”

    Do you find Erykah Badu’s ‘Allah’ tattoo offensive?

    Credits: New Straits Times, The Malaysian Insider