Malaysia bans ‘Despacito’ on national radio and TV for offensive lyrics

A parody of Despacito that has gone viral with over 370,000 views.
Screengrab/ SGAG
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia has banned the catchy summer dance song "Despacito" from state radio and television broadcasts after critics in the Muslim-majority country complained the lyrics were obscene. The ban was announced on the government's Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) on Wednesday (July 19) by Salleh Said Keruak, the communications and multimedia minister, but the song can still be played on private stations and online platforms. "As such, RTM will not be airing the song on any of its television or radio stations with immediate effect," the minister said in a statement to Reuters, adding that the decision followed complaints from the public. "This decision applies only to RTM," he added. "All other TV and radio stations are guided by their own evaluation processes against the Communications and Multimedia Content Code." The women's wing of a Malaysian Islamist party, Amanah, had called for a ban over the song's "obscene lyrics". "I see this as a serious matter as the song is being sung by young people without knowing the real meaning of the words," Amanah official Atriza Umar said in a statement. The song, first released in January in Spanish by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee and then in a remixed version featuring Justin Bieber, has topped charts in 35 countries around the world and dominated radio. Its 4.6 billion streams on leading platforms make it the most successful Spanish-language pop song of all time. Malaysia has previously blocked the release of Hollywood movies deemed offensive to religious values. The release of Walt Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" was postponed this year after censors cut a "gay moment" in the film. Here are some quirky renditions of the hit song that popped up on social media news feeds recently. A Singapore production by social media site SGAG, "Breakfasito" was released during the Ramadan period and has since been viewed over 370,000 times. Another parody was done by some talented Malaysians who rewrote the lyrics into a song about a heartbroken man who was cheated on by his lover. The entire song is in Malay and has been viewed around 3,500 times. Posted by Malaysian TV artiste Danny Koo on his personal Facebook page, his cover of Despacito in a mix of Mandarin and Malay garnered him almost 760,000 views. A four-year project in the making, the wife of Raúl Amador Márquez recorded his snoring and remixed it with the help of her nephew to the tune of Despacito. The video went viral after Peruvian actress Daniela Camaiora shared it on Facebook according to The Daily Mail. Last but not least, who can forget this rendition by Philippino-Canadian singer and funnyman which has garnered more than 2.8 million video views on YouTube. Word of caution: What has been seen cannot be unseen.

These 5 specialist bars in KL are perfect for every type of drinking occasion

There is no shortage of good watering holes in Kuala Lumpur, but what if all you want is a glass of great Japanese whiskey and nothing else? The beauty of going to specialist bars is not only in the range of choices you can get for a particular drink, but also the guaranteed quality of expertise you can expect to receive on a particular drink type. Whatever your poison of choice, these five bars are definitely worth a visit the next time you need a reason to raise a toast. JungleBird [caption id="attachment_354407" align="alignnone" width="960"] JungleBird's Facebook page[/caption] Specialty: Rum Where: 15, Plaza Damansara, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur If the tropical flavours of rum are your thing, this bar at Bukit Damansara is a good bet. Although big palm trees and Hawaiian shirts make up the design of this place, its decor and presentation remains classy and unique. With a fun-but-not-too-crazy vibe, JungleBird is the kind of place you go to let your hair down and enjoy a couple of drinks with friends and colleagues. Claret Wine Bar [caption id="attachment_354409" align="alignnone" width="640"] Claret Wine Bar at Troika Sky Dining's Facebook page[/caption] Specialty: Wine Where: Level 23a, Tower B, The Troika, 19 Persiaran KLCC, 50450 Kuala Lumpur Perched on the 23rd floor of The Troika, Claret Wine Bar is the type of place you bring business associates you want to impress. The jazz music, luxe interior and breathtaking views make Claret undeniably one of the most elegant bars in KL today. Relaxing yet sophisticated, Claret offers an extensive selection of curated wines and other drinks that will leave you spoilt for choice. PS150 [caption id="attachment_354410" align="alignnone" width="960"] PS150's Facebook page[/caption] Specialty: Cocktails Where: 150 Ground Floor, Jalan Petaling, City Center, 50000 Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Probably one of KL’s hottest bars, PS150 is well known for its creative twists on familiar drinks. You can trust the bartenders here with your drinks for sure - co-founder and head bartender Angel Ng is one of KL’s most well known mixologists, taking the crown at last year’s Kuala Lumpur Gin Jubilee with her Cantabria Imperial, a gin & tonic made with hibiscus gin and flowers. The establishment itself has an alluring history - the pre-war shophouse it calls home is located in Chinatown and was once a brothel. Its entrance is hard to find and its opium den-inspired interiors give it an air of secrecy and mystery. If you’re looking to wow and surprise, this would be the place to bring your guest. Torii [caption id="attachment_354411" align="alignnone" width="960"] Torii's Facebook page[/caption] Specialty: Japanese whisky Where: 8, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur Simple and modern, this Jalan Datuk Sulaiman restaurant is all about two things - yakitori and whisky. The bar area is dedicated to Malaysia’s largest selection of Japanese whisky but also includes various types of Scotch from Speyside to Islay. This is the kind of place you go to when you feel like forgoing the pretense, and simply want to have a really great drink with friends and business associates. Plus, they don’t just serve meat skewers. The wagyu steaks (A3 to A5) are beautifully cooked and the perfect accompaniment to the premium whisky served here. Taps Beer Bar [caption id="attachment_354415" align="alignnone" width="780"] Taps Beer Bar Facebook page[/caption] Specialty: Beer Where: Jalan Nagasari, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, It’s the weekend and the weather is hot and humid. The perfect cure, without a doubt, is a pint of ice cold beer and random banter with friends and family. Equipped with 15 beers on tap at the 1 Mont Kiara Mall branch, and 14 at Jalan Nagasari, Taps is a craft beer heaven for those who can appreciate a good ol' mug of frothy golden goodness. The decor is warm, friendly and perfect for just chilling out on a lazy Saturday night. And it doesn’t hurt to know that the food is pretty raved about too.

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The world reacts to Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington’s death – and Twitter is exploding with tributes

[caption id="attachment_354259" align="alignnone" width="3500"] FILE PHOTO: Lead vocalist of Linkin Park Chester Bennington performs with guitarist Slash at 9th annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit concert in Los Angeles, California May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo[/caption]
Chester Bennington struggled with drugs and alcohol for years.
Source: Reuters
Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington's apparent suicide shocked the music world in light of the band's plans to continue touring later this month in support of 2017's One More Light. The singer struggled with drugs and alcohol for years and had said in the past that he had considered committing suicide because he had been abused as a child by an older male. While fans worldwide are struggling to come to terms with the 41-year-old's death by hanging at his Palos Verdes residence on Thursday, notable personalities took to Twitter to express their anguish. Here is what some of them had to say:

Trump’s lawyers are exploring his pardoning powers to hedge against the Russia investigation

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Saudi king overhauls security services following royal shakeup

[caption id="attachment_354286" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud[/caption]
Saudi King Salman on Thursday decreed the consolidation of counter-terrorism and domestic intelligence under a new body, in a major overhaul of the security apparatus weeks after the interior minister was ousted from the royal succession. The string of late night royal decrees also ordered a shakeup of senior personnel, replacing the head of the elite royal guard and elevating the head of the newly created Presidency of State Security, Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howairini, and his deputy to the rank of ministers. The moves inside the world's biggest oil exporting nation centralises authority in security matters to the king and his young son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has made a rapid rise to the pinnacle of power at the expense of his cousin, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. The decrees published by the state news agency said the changes were made in order "to face all security challenges with a high degree of flexibility and readiness and the ability to move quickly to face any emergency". The move removes important authorities from the Interior Ministry, which was run by Mohammed bin Nayef, also known as MbN, until last month when he was stripped of his positions and removed as crown prince. MbN has long been considered a steady partner for security cooperation with the West as the kingdom sought to quell Islamist militant groups al Qaeda and Islamic State both domestically and abroad. Thursday's orders also raised the head of Mohammed bin Salman's personal office to the rank of minister. A Saudi analyst described the move as a long-overdue reform that would benefit the state but said it "clips the wings of the Interior Ministry and bolsters the powers of the king". The elevation of 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MbS, ended two years of speculation about a behind-the-scenes rivalry with MbN over who will eventually take over from King Salman, 81. Reuters reported on Wednesday that the king had asked MbN to step down citing an addiction to painkilling drugs that were clouding the latter's judgment. A senior Saudi official denied the account, calling it "a complete fantasy worthy of Hollywood". The high-stakes power grab has placed sweeping powers in the hands of MbS and appears designed to speed his accession to the throne, though he still has to win over powerful relatives, clerics and tribesmen. HOMELAND SECURITY A Saudi official compared the new agency to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and said the move was aimed at streamlining security services and making counter-terrorism efforts directly accountable to the king. "The Ministry of Interior is such a massive bureaucracy," he said. "The purpose is that you want to create new efficiencies for both entities and elevate the work especially in counter-terrorism." Saudi Arabia crushed a campaign of al Qaeda attacks in 2003-06 but has been hit by Islamic State bombings in the past two years. Saudi security police closely monitor Saudis with suspected connections to militants and have detained more than 15,000 suspects in the years since al Qaeda's campaign. The official said Howairini was a "known quantity" who had worked in the Interior Ministry for 30 years including on the U.S.-Saudi counter-terrorism partnership. MbN's removal had unnerved some officials in Washington who saw him as a steady hand that had put down the al Qaeda bombing campaign and kept close ties to the U.S. intelligence community where he had a reputation as safe and reliable. As part of Thursday's decrees, the king also appointed Mohammed el Kuwaiz head of the Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Authority (CMA), which regulates investments in the kingdom.  

Your approach to yoga may have been wrong all along – here’s why

The point of stillness in your own posture is the goal, not what the posture looks like in the mirror. Source: Maria Lourdes Chan
The popularity of yoga is experiencing a boom, just 40 years or so since it was introduced commercially to the Western world. But modern-day yoga and how it’s run is slightly off-track. Today’s yoga model is a business. Yoga is, by and large, sold as a fitness regime, with studios running on a gym or club model – that is, on a “membership” scheme. You buy class packages, and are encouraged to look at facilities as part of your decision-making process on where you practice. The truth of yoga is that it is an education that doesn’t just make better bodies, it makes the practitioner better at dealing with life. But because the “gym model” is so prevalent in yoga, students are approaching the practice in a skewed way and it’s time for the dynamic to change. Here are 5 tips on how to create a mind-shift that will affect the way you view yoga, and how you practice. Don’t let your GuavaPass determine where you practice. Choose your studio based on who’s teaching, not on how much a class costs. Look first and foremost at the quality of the teachers and programme, just like you would a university. The questions to ask are: Who are the teachers? Who did they study with, and what lineage does the yoga they teach come from? If you’re new, just finding a style you enjoy is the goal, and that’s where cheap classes, trial sessions and GuavaPasses come in handy. But as someone moving into more regular practice, ask who, ultimately, you would be learning from. Yes, how much you can afford will be a consideration, and that’s fine. But the idea here is, don’t chase the price tag – make quality the priority. Don’t relate to your yoga teachers like they’re a gym trainer. Many students – whether they know it or not – relate to their teacher as they would their gym trainer. It’s not their fault, it’s again because yoga is perceived as “fitness”. Yoga, traditionally, is not “gym training” or simply “exercise”. Yoga, beyond the physical, is a meditation technique. Meditation is defined as “concentration”. Each posture or pose allows you to focus very deeply on the part of the body you’re working. You also are given the opportunity to look at how you are approaching the pose, and how you relate to your body. Over time, the effect is that you know your own mind. So, relate to your teacher as a sinsei, one who can Show You The Way. Your teacher is not just a physical trainer. They are someone who is helping you open the door to deeper self-realisation. Select one yoga to practice. There’s a “buffet” approach to yoga, thanks to yoga centres “diversifying”.  In order to appeal to the masses, many commercial centres will offer everything from Hatha to Yin. The result is confusion. One moment, you’re doing Vinyasa. The next, you’re checked into a Bikram class. The following week, you’re signing yourself up for an Ashtanga session. This approach leads to a focus on what “entertains” you, and distracts you from actually learning. So, pick one discipline to follow. If you love Ashtanga, find out who the foremost authority is in your area, and learn from the teachers there. If you’re into Iyengar, go to the centre in your country. Be a seeker. Get as close to the original source of the yoga as you can, and absorb. The point is not the posture. Often, questions arise when a posture is taught in class. Questions like “how do I do Crow?” and “how do I improve my hand stand?” show a curious mind that is interested in progress. But the definition of yoga “asana”, which means “posture”, is actually: “Posture holding still, breathing always normal”. When one holds posture in perfect stillness with ease of breath, is where yoga actually happens. Yoga champions have a say that it’s not about getting into the posture, it’s about what you do there. The point of stillness in your own posture – whatever it may be at this moment – is the goal, not what the posture looks like in the mirror.  Understand that yoga is actually therapy. In the system of Ayurveda, which yoga comes from, postures were used to help with diseases and chronic health issues, from heart issues and hypertension to diabetes. Traditionally, specific postures were “prescribed” by Ayurvedic doctors to individuals, based on the health needs of each person. How does this relate to you? Save this information for when you need it. If you’re young and in reasonable health, know that yoga is an option for you when you’re old and infirm. Yoga, when you’re 80 and can no longer run, will be waiting patiently for you to discover it, and for your journey to begin. Jill Alphonso is a writer and has been a yoga practitioner of 15 years. She has taught Bikram yoga since 2013, and has participated in the International Yoga Asana Championships.

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Cheong wins gold at Fina World Championships, becomes Malaysia’s first diving world champ

National diver Cheong Jun Hoong won Malaysia's first-ever gold medal at the International Federation (Fina) World Championships in Budapest on Wednesday, beating 12 other top participants. Her win (397.50 points) upset the Chinese team in the women's 10m platform diving event, beating defending Olympic gold medalist Ren Qian (391.95) who took the bronze. Chinese Si Yajie (396.0 points) won the silver medal. Cheong, 27, who is from Perak, was ranked fourth after the first two dives but moved to the top spot in an unexpected comeback. She was ranked seventh in the final based on results from the semi-final stage. Cheong had already won a bronze medal at the event with team mate Pandelela Rinong in the synchronised platform event. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak joined Malaysians on Thursday (July 20) in celebrating her gold. He wrote in a Twitter post: "Congratulations @cheongjunhoong! First world champion #Negaraku in the women's platform event at #FINABudapest2017."