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CUSTOm madE LOOSE FUrniTUrE • Sofas • Armchairs • Tables WindOW TrEaTmEnT • Curtains • Blinds WaLL TrEaTmEnT • Wallpaper • Fabric Padding CUSTOm madE BUiLT-in FUrniTUrE • Wardrobes • Walk-in Closets • Kitchen Cabinets • Display & Storage Cabinets • TV Cabinets SerViCeS • interior Design • Space Planning • Floral Design • re-upholstery Works S130, 2nd Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre (Old Wing), 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Tel: +603 7729 3735 | Fax: +603 7729 3725 | Email: |

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SHArING limited edition 2014

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05 patron’s message


rhApsoDy & Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Pook, Najwa Mahiaddin & Huang Bin

heAlth is weAlth Investing in your health & wellbeing

07 bringing A world-class concert to malaysia 12 the shanghai symphony orchestra 22 classical music 101 24 Know the orchestra 26 enjoy A live concert



29 clued in on Kl 36 timeless melaka 42 pearl of the orient 51 borneo beckons 56 shanghai past & present 62 personalities: eugene pook,

Forget me not Konsert Amal DiRaja

the FAces oF AD National Caregivers’ Support Network

Cover The real work of our brain goes on in individual cells. An adult brain contains about 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, with branches that connect at more than 100 trillion points. Signals traveling through the neuron forest form the basis of memories, thoughts, and feelings. Neurons are the chief type of cell destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease.

najwa mahiaddin & huang bin

70 common memory problems solved 72 boost your memory 77 best Foods For brain health 80 Get-healthy meals 91 workouts For the middle Age 93 the zumba class that took my breath Away

About Alzheimer’s

96 is it Alzheimer’s? 102 the illness that robs your memories 108 Alzheimer’s Affects caregivers too 118 the personal & emotional stress of caregiving

123 you need the care too

About ADFm

125 Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation malaysia

the editorial Advisory board Advisor Puan Sri Wendy Ong editorial Dato Jeffrey C H Ng Datuk Dr. Yim Khai Kee Toh Puan Dato’ Seri Hjh Dr. Aishah Ong Tan Cheng Teik Tan Lip Kee Ong Eng Joo editorial team General manager Jacqueline W M Wong contributing editor Pete Wong editor Chua Siew Ching editorial Assistant Kimberly M Y Low Features Assistant Jenny Ho studio Director Lau Weng Leong creative & Art Director Michele Tee imaging colourist June Lim publication coordinator Janet Low

print production Pencetakan Osacar Sdn Bhd Lot 37659, No. 11, Jalan 4/37A, Taman Bukit Maluri Industrial Area, Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur T: +603- 6276 1474 F: +603-6274 1899 E: imagery & prepress DI Expressions Sdn. Bhd. 27, 1st Floor, Jalan PJU 1/3D, SunwayMas Commercial Centre 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia T: +603 7805 3325 F: +603 7805 3361 E: publisher Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation malaysia (ADFm) 6, Lorong 11/8E, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia T: +603-7956 2008/7958 3008 F: +603-7960 8482 E:

SHARING is published by Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM). All rights reserved. While every reasonable care is taken by the Publisher, the contents of this magazine are entirely the personal views of the author(s) and/ or contributor(s) and do not in any way reflect the views or opinions of the Publisher. The Publisher disclaims all and any liability to any person arising from the printing or use of the materials in this magazine. The Editorial team reserves the right to edit and/or rewrite all materials according to the needs of the publication. SHARING is complimentary. If you would like a copy, please contact ADFM. Alternatively, log on for e-SHARING.

Message Patron’s

SHARING is a special inaugural magazine published by the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM) to commemorate Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not, a Royal Charity Concert organised to raise funds for a new dementia daycare and training centre. We are most grateful to DYMM Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj, Sultan of Selangor, for his gracious patronage of Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not. His endorsement validates the event and supports our efforts to expand all aspects of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia care. The establishment of a new dementia daycare and training centre will enable ADFM to promote and extend its services and help to cater to the growing demands from people stricken with this debilitating disease and their carers.

The PhoToz

ADFM, which was founded in 1997, is a non-profit organisation with tax-exemption status. The main objectives of ADFM are to raise awareness of the disease; set up caregivers support groups, daycare and homecare centres nationwide, provide respite to caregivers; organise training for caregivers of people with dementia; and disseminate information. With a better understanding of the disease, the social stigma often associated with this disease would be reduced and hopefully on a national level, more support and facilities will be provided in future. The contents of SHARING provide readers with the various initiatives ADFM undertakes. They can also read the heartwarming and heart-rending stories told by caregivers as well as information about the signs, symptoms and treatment of the disease. On behalf of ADFM, I thank and congratulate all members of the SHARING Editorial Team for the tremendous efforts they have made to produce this 136-page publication in just three weeks. SHARING would not have been possible without their dedication and commitment to the cause we serve. We hope you enjoy SHARING. Sincerely, Puan Sri Wendy ong Patron Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia



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a world-class to


Behind-the-scene story on Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not. Pete Wong

on 5 December 2014, Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not will perform to a 3,000-strong audience at the plenary hall, Kuala lumpur convention centre. the event is held to celebrate the 69th birthday of Dymm sultan sharafuddin idris shah Al-haj, the sultan of selangor. proceeds for the event will go to the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation malaysia (ADFm), the event organiser. performing on stage will be 72 members of the renowned shanghai symphony orchestra (sso) under the baton of malaysian conductor eugene pook; singer-songwriter najwa mahiaddin will be the featured singer while award-winning violin virtuoso huang bin will play Butterfly Lovers.


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aSSembling The Team

In May 2014, a meeting was called at the ADFM Daycare Centre in Petaling Jaya and the idea to organise a concert to raise funds to build a new centre was mooted. Planning for a concert sounds like a fun and rewarding experience but it also involves lot of hard work and coordination put in by a large team of people, mostly volunteers.

ConTraCTing an inTernaTional CaST

Eugene Pook, the concert’s conductor and artistic director, proposed The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) for the concert. SSO has a 135-year history and is considered among one of the best in the region. Najwa Mahiaddin, a popular singer-songwriter based in New York, was contracted to perform with the orchestra. World-class performer and award-winning violinist Huang Bin also agreed to participate. Huang won her first international competition at the age of 14 followed by the Paganini International Violin Competition at 23.

SeCuring SPonSorShiPS

A Sponsorship Sub-Committee headed by Puan Sri Wendy Ong (Patron), Dato’ Jeffrey Ng (Organising Chairman and President Board of Trustees), Toh Puan Aishah Ong (Charter Trustee) and Datuk Dr. Yim Khai Kee (EXCO Chairman) was tasked with donorship appeals. The ADFM committee also held meetings with sponsors: Alan Mark Pryor (General Manager of Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre) and his team to secure the venue for the concert. Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur was the top choice as hotel venue for the performing artistes. Azran Osman Rani (CEO, Air Asia X) and his team readily agreed to sponsor the return trips for the SSO.


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KiCKing off The PubliCiTy maChine

For help with publicity, we met with Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai (Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Star Media Group) and his team who agreed to be the event’s official media. In October, the Organising Committee decided to publish SHARING magazine to commemorate the royal charity concert and for concert guests to take home a good read. SHARING would be ADFM’s vehicle to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease accompanied by features on lifestyle, health & wellbeing and nutrition. DI Expressions, a publishing firm agreed to assist ADFM with the magazine while Innovate Solutions, a design firm, agreed to chip in with the design and print of posters, flyers and banners. A facebook was set up for concert ticket sales. House+Co, JTW Interiors and Muar Street Cafe offered their premises for ticket sales and collection. A+E Networks sponsored TVCs and FOX International Channels supported with website banners and facebook. Astro radio, too, pitched in to highlight the concert via Malaysia’s favourite radio stations with 13 million listeners on Lite FM, MY FM and MY Melody.

all worTh iT!

Donations and proceeds from the Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not will go towards the establishment of a new dementia daycare and training centre to cater to the increasing number of Alzheimer’s patients.


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Shanghai SyMPhony


Upholding the traditions of classical music in Asia for 135 years. ColUmBiA Artists mAnAgement inC, shAnghAi symPhony

orChestrA, tAng i shyAn, KirAn PAKir, Pete Wong. images shAnghAi symPhony orChestrA

Shanghai Symphony Orchestra’s music director Yu Long.



Shanghai SymPhony orCheSTra in malaySia

on 5 December 2014, over 70 members of the Shanghai Symphony orchestra flew in to Kuala Lumpur for the Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not, a one-night-only performance under the baton of Malaysian conductor eugene Pook. The event held in conjunction with DyMM Sultan Sharafuddin idris Shah al-haj, Sultan of Selangor’s birthday at the Plenary hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, will also feature singer-songwriter najwa Mahiaddin and award-winning violinist huang Bin.

The production team responsible for the event in Kuala Lumpur includes: eugene Pook (Musical Director); Danny Liew (orchestra Personnel Manager); edwin Wong (Production Manager); Wilson tan (Stage Manager); atiqah abu Bakar & teow yi Ling (Stage Coordinators); Leong Mun yee, Chua Phaik tzi & Lean Soong en (Production Coordinators); affendy tan (Sound engineer) and Kok Kee Boon (Licensing officer).

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The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is the earliest and best-known ensemble of its kind in Asia. It is a keeper of Western orchestral traditions in China and a passionate champion of Chinese new music. Since the 1970s, SSO has been touring extensively abroad. In 1990, the orchestra made its debut at Carnegie Hall in New York; in 2003, it performed in 11 cities in the US; in 2004, it toured Europe to celebrate the Sino-French Cultural Year. In 2005, SSO became the first Chinese orchestra to play in the Berlin Philharmonic; this historical performance marked the ensemble’s 125th anniversary and enjoyed great success with the audience and the critics. In 2009, SSO came back to North America to open Carnegie Hall’s Ancient Paths, Modern Voices festival of Chinese culture, which was followed by the highly successful coast-to-coast tour of the US. In 2010, the orchestra became a cultural ambassador of the World Expo 2010 Shanghai and delivered a riveting performance to 100,000 New Yorkers on the Great Lawn of Central Park. Originally known as the Shanghai Public Band, it developed into an orchestra in 1907, and was renamed the Shanghai Municipal Council Symphony Orchestra in 1922. Notably under the baton of the Italian conductor Mario Paci, the orchestra promoted Western music and trained Chinese young talents very early on in China, and introduced the first Chinese orchestral work to the audience. It is hence reputed as “the best in the Far East.” The history of SSO may be referred to as the history of China’s symphonic music development. Spanning three centuries, SSO has now embraced a new era; it has held over 10,000 concerts, including premiere performances of several thousand musical works, and has collaborated with many guest artists (conductors, soloists and vocalists) of world renown. It has become increasingly influential both at home and abroad, after most recently completing the audio and video recordings of such excellent music as Zhu Jian’er’s Symphonies, Tan Dun’s multimedia concerto The Map, and music for the prize-winning film (Oscar and Grammy Awards) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.


1919 ConDuCtor Mario PaCi in 1919, italian pianist Mario Paci was appointed conductor by the Shanghai Municipal Council. he reconstructed the band in accordance with the high standard of urban european orchestras. he went to europe for recruitment of italian musicians, including arrigo Foa, a graduate of Milan Conservatory, who later on became vice conductor. This continued the trend toward increasingly higher proportions of european musicians. Paci led the orchestra for a splended 23 years, building it into the “the best in the Far east”.


huang yiJun, the FirSt ConDuCtor oF PrC

in 1949, the People’s republic of China was founded. Chen yi, then mayor of Shanghai, decided to reserve the orchestra and huang yijun was the first conductor of PrC to conduct Chinese symphonic music. he inherited the fine tradition and playing experience of the orchestra and worked as a connection between the two periods distinct from one another. he made visiting concerts and went to West Berlin to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra at the invitation of Karajan, which gained him the title of the first Chinese conductor invited by the orchestra in its history.

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hiSTory & mileSToneS SSo was founded in 1879 as the Shanghai Public Band. Later it was renamed the Municipal Council Symphony orchestra and in 1919, when the renowned italian pianist Mario Paci took podium. The orchestra started its performing history in association with well-known musicians from europe and other countries. in 1956, the orchestra took the current name and gradually developed into a “cultural calling card” of Shanghai. ----------------------------------------------yu Long, famous as the first Chinese conductor to have been invited to conduct the Philadelphia orchestra, one of the “Big Five” american symphony orchestras, is the current Music Director at SSo. ----------------------------------------------ever since its foundation, the SSo has established working relations with world-famous musicians, among them conductors riccardo Muti, Kurt Masur, Jean Perrison, Michel Plasson, Charles Dutoit, John neal axelrod, Jonathan nott, Philippe Bender, ronald Zollman, Paulo olmi, Muhai tang, Kek-tjiang Lim, Christian arming, terje Mikkelsen, John nelson, Jacek Kaspszyk, Vladimir ashkenazy, Maxim Vengerov, Lan Shui; violinists Pinchas Zukerman, gil Shaham, Midori, Chantal Juillet, Joseph Silverstein, Vadim repin, Lina yu, Cho-Liang Lin, Wei Xue, Lu Siqing, Mengla huang; cellists yo-yo Ma, Jian Wang, Liwei Qin, David geringas, gautier Capuçon, haiye ni; and pianists Fou ts’ong, Chengzong yin, Lang Lang, yuja Wang, Shikun Liu, Dang Thai Son, yundi Li, Kun-Woo Paik, Katia and Marielle Labèque, among many more. SSo has also held successful concerts with internationally renowned vocalists like José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, renée Fleming, Jose Cura, haojiang tian, Jianyi Zhang, ying huang, Changyong Liao, andrea Bocelli, and many others. ----------------------------------------------The SSo has also created a showcase for Chinese composers to actively present to the world their compositions, which include those by the “new-generation” composers like tan Dun, Qigang Chen, Bright Sheng, Zhou Long, Chen yi, an-Lun huang, Xu Shuya, guo Wenjing, Qu Xiaosong, ye Xiaogang and

the orCheStra PLayeD the yeLLoW riVer in Shanghai CuLture SQuare in 1976 in 1961, Cao Peng joined SSo as conductor after finishing his study in uSSr. he led the orchestra to go abroad and play in australia, new Zealand and hong Kong. This was the first time it played abroad. in addition, Cao Peng contributed greatly in the popularisation of music. he took an active part in the spread of music and founded Shanghai young Philharmonic orchestra and Shanghai City Symphony orchestra, both filling the void of non-professional orchestras in China and became highly acknowledged worldwide.


1984 ConDuCtor Chen Xieyang

at the end of 1984, Chen Xieyang succeeded huang yijun as conductor. under the leadership of Chen Xieyang, the orchestra embarked on large-scale reform. he established the SSo concert season, set up the institution of musical director, introduced a system of employment contracts, and founded China Symphony Developement Foundation and Shanghai Symphony Lovers Society. he also initiated a global tour, bringing the orchestra to the global stage.


1990 ConCert in Carnegie haLL in 1990, in honour of the centennial of Carnegie hall, the uS invited the orchestra to play. a hundred years ago, the first concert in Carnegie hall was conducted by guest conductor tchaikovsky and was unprecedentedly splendid. a hundred years later, a symphony orchestra comprised exclusively of Chinese musicians stepped on the stage for the first time and won acclaim from the 2,300 audience members present. The next day SSo was deemed “a world-class orchestra” by the New York Daily New .

20 03 ConCert in BerLin PhiLhaMoniC haLL in 2003, Chen Xieyang took the orchestra on tour to 11 uS cities and acquired a series of great successes. The following year the orchestra entered the Berlin Philharmonic hall and became the first Chinese symphony orchestra to visit it.

tang Jianping. The orchestra achieved international success by working with tan Dun on the original soundtracks of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Banquet, as well as The Map (a multimedia symphonic work). ----------------------------------------------in its international tours, the SSo unfailingly sought to integrate Chinese elements into Western music tradition, which received rave acclaim from the audience and media coverage from New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Toronto Star. ----------------------------------------------apart from artistic pursuits, the orchestra is also committed to the introduction of Western music to local people. Since early 2009, the SSo has engaged in a series of Shanghai new year concerts. With the aim of “introducing the maestros to Shanghai, and the city residents to maestros” and the working principle of “high standard, high discipline and high sustainability”, the SSo invited maestros riccardo Muti and Kurt Masur to conduct new year Concerts in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Both concerts were broadcast live to the entire country via CCtV, otV and Phoenix tV, offering an opportunity to the whole nation to enjoy the splendour of maestros and showcasing Shanghai’s cultural image. ----------------------------------------------as one of SSo’s missions to offer artistic education to local residents, the SSo Chamber Concert series was launched in 1984 and regularised in 1991. in collaboration with the Shanghai Municipal education Commission and the Shanghai education Centre for art and technology, SSo launched the MaP (Music advancing Programme) in 2010, giving interactive performances in a number of middle schools and universities. ----------------------------------------------SSo’s administration staffs comprise: Chen guangxian (President); Zhou Ping (Vice President); Wang Xiaoting (Director of artistic Planning); Chen yi (Chief Secretary of SSo Foundation); hu Jia (assistant Secretary of SSo Foundation); Song guoqiang (orchestra Manager); Kuang Weiping (Vice orchestra Manager); Chai Jie and Miao Di (Librarians); and Li Xuan Da (tour Manager).

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the ShiFt FroM Chen Xieyang to yu Long

in 2009, yu Long became the first musical director employed through global recruitment. in april, SSo unveiled its plans for musician recruitment and testing, which was the biggest of such campaigns in its history. among 600 candidates from Berlin, new york, Shanghai and so on, 103 prominent musicians were picked out to comprise the brand-new SSo.


ConCert in the neW yorK CentraL ParK

in 2010, SSo went to new york as the only Chinese symphony orchestra invited to give a concert in Central Park. The concert was in honour of Shanghai’s World expo and the opening of a yearly series of symphonic concerts in Central Park. it signaled another intimate touch of Shanghai and the world.


the FounDation oF Shanghai orCheStra aCaDeMy in 2013, the Shanghai orchestra academy was founded. it was set up under the concerted efforts of the new york Philharmonic orchestra, SSo and Shanghai Conservatory of Music in order to train top-class musical talents to meet the needs of the orchestras. it is the only orchestra academy set up by cross-continental cooperation and will transport professional talents to China, asia and the whole world.



home aT laST:

The new Shanghai SymPhony orCheSTra hall

From the Musikverein to the Mariinsky Theatre Concert hall (homes to the renowned Vienna Philharmonic and Mariinsky Theatre Symphony orchestras respectively), the leading orchestras from around the world have been synonymous with their revered venues. By design, these buildings facilitate the acoustic alchemy with which generations of musicians and rapt audiences emote as one. over time, they have become integral symbols of their residents’ excellence. The SSo has joined this pantheon with its recent move to its new home at Fuxing Main road in the former French Concession area. The culmination of a century-old dream, the Shanghai Symphony orchestra hall is a significant addition to the city’s musical landscape. The brand-new 1,200-seat symphony hall, designed by isozaki arata and yasushisa toyota, kicked off with an inauguration concert on 6 September 2014. as a venue, the Shanghai Symphony orchestra hall intends to provide a richness of musical experience that is

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unrivalled. as part of SSo’s intention to cultivate audience development and outreach, visitors strolling through the main lobby will find a symphony museum showcasing artifacts from an illustrious past and delight at impromptu live performances around the foyer. The Concert hall is an elegant 1,200-seat auditorium, a clever combination of traditional ‘shoe-box’ and modern ‘vineyard’ (or ‘terrace’) designs, with the audience spread out in pockets around the stage at different elevations. Six large reflectors serve to accentuate the characteristics of symphonic music and provide the best listening experience possible. These reflectors also double-up as screens that can be used for visual projections, allowing for the production of a ‘multimedia symphonic performance’. a smaller 400-seater Chamber hall houses cutting-edge recording facilities and features a 12-piece moving stage. The transformative ability this stage brings to the performance space allows for much greater flexibility in audience configuration and visual variety in performances. over the last 29 years, the SSo has consistently put up its “Weekend Chamber Series”, and the Chamber hall will facilitate

the continual development of this important programme (including the facilitation of ‘cross-over’ projects with other fields in the performing arts). With chamber performances targetted for every Friday in the Chamber hall and a ‘Season Concert’ held every Saturday in the Concert hall, it is SSo’s intention to continue the exposition of classical music to an ever-increasing following. The Chamber hall will also allow the Shanghai Symphony orchestra hall to play an important role within the larger music landscape as a top-ofthe-line recording studio. For decades, since the dismantling of the recording studio of China record Shanghai Corporation, Shanghai has not had a venue big enough to hold large recordings. The Chamber hall will far exceed this need, having the capacity for all but the biggest ensembles. it also utilises an advanced 3D-holographic recording technology that records and reproduces sound in three dimensions with unmatched precision, promising a wholly immersive experience. This technology has been used in hollywood, the Sydney opera house, and a handful of other leading institutions, and its deployment at Shanghai Symphony orchestra hall signals a fantastic opportunity for the advancement of sound engineering and recording technology in China. More than just a structure of cold stone conjured from dream to reality, the Shanghai Symphony orchestra hall will become the beacon from which its talented orchestra will breathe life upon the classical music landscape. it is certain that Fuxing road’s newest resident will become synonymous with classical music par excellence.


Sharing | AdvertoriAl Malaysia’s premier and most technologically-advanced facility, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) offers 22,659 sqm of flexible function space on a 7.3 acre site strategically located in the iconic, 100-acre Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC). Opened in June 2005, the Centre can attribute its success to-date to a world-class facility, strong industry relationships, a highly knowledgeable and professional team and a belief in creating a point of difference between itself and the competition. “We are committed to offering innovative, flexible and value-added solutions to our local, regional and international clients,” says General Manager Alan Pryor. “And we do this by staying abreast of market trends, listening to what clients want and continually enhancing, or adapting, our offerings to accommodate different needs and requirements.” An example is the Centre’s long-standing signature experiences. Launched in 2012, they encompass Day Conference Packages (DCPs) with a Difference, TenOnCall PLUS, 5-Star Banqueting and Conventions Value-Add Programme and Exhibitions Loyalty Programme. Elaborating, Pryor explained that DCPs with a Difference gives more valueadds than any (packages) currently on the local market with ‘Snack on Arrival’, unrivalled IT and audio-visual support, free WiFi and a 10% discount for standing lunches, while TenOnCall PLUS extends the popular TenOnCall* (TOC) service to three more function areas, each with its personal free-flow lifestyle cuisine and beverage service, natural lighting, and dedicated private meeting room and smoking area.


CoNveNTIoN CeNTre stands out with signature experiences! For all the latest updates on the Centre, visit

* TenonCall comprises 10 spacious meeting rooms on Level

4 where a client can literally walk in, select their pre-set room configuration and execute a same-day meeting, for15 up to 150 persons. TOC packages include complimentary free-flow lifestyle cuisine and signature beverages throughout the booking duration.

DCPs with a Difference and TOC have since been further enhanced in order to continue providing clients the best possible experience while at the Centre. For the former, besides the previous mainstay benefits, conference organisers can now opt to give their half or full-day meetings a cultural feel with a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Western, Muhibbah (multi-ethnic) or international theme. This is then carried through in the venue décor, service staff apparel and Food & Beverage menu. The upgraded package also comes with freeflow coffee and tea for the duration of the event and chilled juices during coffee breaks. For TOC, new ‘Sundown Hour Packages’ give clients the option of taking their meeting programme to a relaxing conclusion with a two-hour cocktail hour of free-flow beverages including sweet and refreshing Asian-influenced mocktails and cocktails, basic PA system and sound technician on standby for a minimum of 50 guests and above. Pryor shared that with 5-Star Banqueting, guests get to enjoy a unique and exclusive banqueting experience with value-adds that include customised menus, foyer decoration and ice-cravings, butler service for VIP tables and silver service. And under the RM100,000 Conventions Value-Add Programme, the complimentary Cultural Showcase remains a firm favourite of event planners of international association meetings. The showcase of eight Malaysian arts and crafts - batik painting, basket weaving, wood carving, songket weaving, pewter smithing, henna painting, Chinese calligraphy and the gamelan (traditional Malay orchestra) – will give international delegates a snapshot of the country’s rich and diverse cultural heritage without having to leave the facility. According to Pryor, this interactive, participative experience of Malaysian arts and crafts is a great convenience factor for delegates with limited time to visit attractions or undertake pre- and post-tours. Last but certainly not the least is the tiered (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) Exhibitions Loyalty Programme. Worth RM30,000 and above, exhibition organisers receive loyalty reward points based on venue hire for subsequent shows, free usage of press room, VIP lounge, organiser’s office, venue for a pre-function event, complimentary coffee or tea on arrival, an exhibitor briefing hosted by the Centre and more.

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A beginner’s guide on a musical treasure that spans over 700 years. AAron green

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. – Plato 22

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PerioDS of ClaSSiCal muSiC the term classical music originates from the latin term classicus, meaning taxpayer of the highest class. slowly after making its way through the French, German and english languages, one of the earliest definitions of the word meant “classical, formall, orderlie, in due or fit ranke; also, approved, authenticall, chiefe, principall.” today, one of the ways merriam-webster defines classical is: “of, relating to, or being music in the educated european tradition that includes such forms as art song, chamber music, opera, and symphony as distinguished from folk or popular music or jazz.” many styles of music exist within classical music; the most recognisable being the symphony, opera, choral works, chamber music, Gregorian chant, the madrigal, and the mass.

WHere To BeGIN?

For starters, begin with what you already know. you are probably more familiar with classical music than you think. you may hear it while dining in a restaurant, shopping, watching tV, or hear it in the movies. with what’s available on the internet, it can be very easy to find a song you’ve heard in almost any movie or tV show.

Music historiographers classified the six periods of music by stylistic differences. before 1400 Medieval – characterised by gregorian chant, mostly religious 1400-1600 renaissance – increase of secular music, madrigals, and art song 1600-1750 Baroque – known for its intricate ornamentation 1750-1820 Classical – balance and structure 1820-1900 romantic – emotional, large, programmatic beyond 1900 20th Century – limitless

Listen to and research popular composers like beethoven, mozart, haydn, brahms and bach. research the top 10 classical music albums or drop by the top ten symphonies you should own page. Don’t hesitate to read the reviews and find out what others are saying. Attend a classical music performance in your area. Know more by listening several times. mozart’s biographer says in his book that: “the masterpieces of the romans and Greeks please more and more through repeated reading, and as one’s taste is refined – the same is true for both expert and amateur with respect to the hearing of mozart’s music [or classical music].” the bottom line: the more you know a piece, the better it becomes.


the sheer breadth of classical music can be quite daunting, but as soon as you find something you like, stick with it. let that piece of music be your starting point. listen to other pieces by the same composer, then branch off into similar types of music by different composers, and so on and so forth. pretty soon, you will see that classical music isn’t so scary after all.

aaron green is a writer and avid classical music lover with over 10 years of classical performance experience. aaron has solo and ensemble performance experience in both choral and symphonic settings. he has performed in the chorus of many great masterworks including Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the new york Philharmonic conducted by Lorin Maazel at avery Fisher hall, Berlioz’s Sara la Baigneuse conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, handel’s Messiah with the new york Philharmonic, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Dresden Philharmonic conducted by rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, and Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine at the national Cathedral. in addition to singing, aaron has studied piano and violin.


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Know the

if you like classical music and want to know more about it, start by learning the instruments of the orchestra and discover a few important pieces of classical music. DAviD PogUe & sCott sPeCK it’s the big night and you take your seat in the concert hall ready to hear some classical music. you look up and see almost 100 musicians in the orchestra holding pieces of instruments. what do they represent? the instruments of the orchestra are organised into four families: strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. why are they called families? because the instruments share characteristics, like: • How they make their sounds • How they are constructed or put together • The materials that are used to make them even through they are similar in some ways, the instruments in a family can be very different in size, shape and pitch. here’s a breakdown of the instruments and their families:




violin the instrument is made of wood; the bow is made of horsehair; the four strings are made of metal; the sound is sweet, singing, and divine. they’re divided into two sections, First and second Violins, each with different music to play.

Flute blown across, just like a bottle; produces a sweet, silvery sound.

viola slightly larger than a violin, playing slightly lower notes, with a breathier or throatier sound than a violin.

oboe played by blowing into a reed, a whittled-down flat piece of sugar cane. produces one of the most beautiful sounds on earth: clear, vibrant, sweet, plaintive, and full.

Cello played sitting down, with the instrument between the legs. makes a beautiful, rich, singing sound.

Clarinet A dark, tubular woodwind instrument that creates a full, round sound, very pure, without the edge of the oboe’s sound.

Bass (or Double bass) enormous, bigger around than the average human being. plays the lowest notes of all the strings, providing the foundation for the orchestra’s sound. played sitting on a tall stool or standing up.

Bassoon looks like a plumbing pipe; sounds like a dream. high notes sound throaty, even otherworldly. middle notes sound luscious, full, mellow; low notes can be very powerful.

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Shanghai SymPhony orCheSTra

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. – Lao Tzu

DaviD Pogue studied music at yale and has been a conductor on Broadway. he is a bestselling author and New York Times columnist. SCoTT SPeCK an award-winning music director and conductor, has led symphony orchestras from coast to coast and around the world.



French Horn (or horn) the most noble-sounding brass instrument; has a full, round, dark tone, great for majestic hunting calls.

Percussion the player is expected to be a master of a vast range of different instruments: timpani (the great big kettledrums), bass drum, snare drum (for marches), cymbals (for crashing together), xylophone (played with mallets), and other oddities. percussion instruments in the orchestra also include triangle, tambourine, maracas, gongs, chimes, celesta, and tubular bells.

Trumpet the most powerful orchestral instrument and the highest-pitched brass instrument. executes impressive runs and leaps in a single bound. Trombone A powerful low brass instrument with a slide to change notes. essential for parades, as well as symphonies. Tuba lowest of the brass instruments. can produce a wall of low, blasting sound.


there are a number of other instruments, which can join the orchestra, each being attached to a different section. saxophones are occasionally included as part of the woodwind section. pianos and organs can also be featured, generally being seen as part of the percussion section. if a harp is used, it joins the string section.

ClaSSiCal muSiC for DummieS

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enjoy a


Classical music concerts can seem intimidating. it seems like you have to know a lot. What if you don’t understand the music? What if you don’t know how to listen correctly? What if you don’t “get it”? John steinmetz the good news is this: there is no right way to listen, there is no correct experience to have, there is no one thing to “get.” understanding is not required. your job is not to be an expert on the music. your job is not to be a perfect listener. your job as a listener is very simple: be affected by the music. that’s it. that’s all there is. because you are unique, and because your collection of experiences is unique, the music will affect you differently than it will anybody else. it may affect your emotions, your thoughts, your spirit, your body – any part of you. the same music may affect you differently at different times.


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We love applause. If somebody gets carried away and claps in the “wrong” place, most musicians don’t mind. But here is why we like the audience to wait until the very end of a piece: we want everyone to hear the complete piece as a total experience. Long pieces may involve several mood changes, and it’s lovely not to disrupt these with applause. music is meant to trigger reactions, invite reflection, awaken feelings, activate memories, and touch the heart. so just let yourself be affected. of course your knowledge of music, and your experience with it, influence how you are affected. if learning something about the music makes its effect more powerful, then by all means learn more. if repeated listening helps you to be more and more affected by a piece, then by all means listen to the music a few times before coming to the concert. whatever helps you be affected is good to pursue. if it doesn’t help you, or if it gets in the way of your enjoyment, then don’t do it. A wonderful and mysterious thing about live concerts is that everybody comes to be affected together. everybody onstage and everybody in the audience share in the same experience, each of us in our own unique way.


A common concern of listeners at classical concerts, and one of the chief obstacles to enjoying the music, is the dreaded “fear of clapping in the wrong time”. it’s no wonder the audience is afraid: classical musicians don’t usually make clear what they expect of the audience. in other kinds of music, the audience claps whenever there’s an ending – if the music stops, people applaud. but in classical music, one piece may have several parts, each with its own ending. you are supposed to wait to the very end of the very last ending before you clap.

this can be tough. sometimes you can’t tell if the piece is over. sometimes you get so carried away by the music that you really want to clap. sometimes you’re so enthusiastic after a section ends that you’ve just got to clap for the musicians. Don’t do it. wait for the very end of the whole piece. how do you tell when a piece of music is really over? Quite often a classical piece has several sections, each with its own ending, and it can be hard to tell which ending is the final ending, the one you’re supposed to clap for. how do you know when it’s really the end of the whole thing? when in doubt, simply wait until lots of other people are clapping. you don’t have to be tense or uptight through the concert. you don’t have to hold your breath! but do help to create a silence in which the music can thrive, and a stillness that helps everyone to focus on that music.


concerts are not for everyone. babies and little children, for instance, can’t be expected to follow the rules at a grown-ups’ concert. leave them at home until they are old enough to understand how to behave. even some adults can’t meet these standards of behaviour. some people can’t be quiet. some people can’t stay in a chair. some people snore. use good judgment and consideration about whom you bring.

guiDe To gooD ConCerT mannerS

When music is playing: • Be quiet • Stay put • Don’t clap until the whole piece is over

SounDS ThaT geT in The way

• M obile phones, pagers, and beeper watches (turn them off!) • Talking (You’d be surprised how many people get so excited that they forget they’re not watching tV) • Whispering (You’d be surprised how many people think whispering is silent) • Unwrapping anything • Coughing (If you have a cough, then bring cough drops—unwrap them beforehand, please! – or take cough medicine) • Squeaking a chair • Opening a purse • Jingling coins • Rustling the programme • Saying “shhh”

aCTiviTieS ThaT geT in The way

• • • • •

Texting Fidgeting Passing notes Adding or subtracting clothes Messing around with belongings • Eating • Entering or leaving • Walking around

John STeinmeTz is a freelance musician in Los angeles. Much of the music he plays is classical (he is the principal bassoonist for Los angeles opera), but he has also played movie soundtracks, jazz tunes, folk songs, various kinds of rock and pop, joke music, and even traditional West african drumming. John also composes music, teach music, and write about it.


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Clued in

on KL

new experiences and places to liven up your next trip. Kim loW/mUhiBAh By royAl BrUnei Airlines

Are you always on the look out for new experiences and things to do every time you take a holiday in Kl? would you like to experience a change of pace in between shopping sprees? though Kuala lumpur is known as a shopping and food mecca, that’s not all there is to this lively city. try something different on your next visit and discover these hidden gems.


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Ave AN eLePHANTASTIC TIMe Just 90 minutes form

Kuala Lumpur, a trip to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary is worth your while. You get the unique experience of spending the day with these magnificent pachyderms – often orphaned or rescued wild elephants. Entry is free, but donations are encouraged and will go directly to the upkeep of its jumbo residents. The sanctuary’s activities start at 2pm, but arrive early to get limited tickets that would allow you to ride and bathe with the elephants in the nearby river. Remember to bring a change of clothing, as these elephants like to have a splashing good time!


N UNForGeTTABLe CULINAry reTreAT When you think of Malaysia,

the first thing that comes to mind is its mouthwatering dishes. And we don’t blame you! A melting pot of cultures, there is a diversity of tastes to be found. Learn to cook local dishes at Bayan Indah, a culinary retreat less than half an hour away from KL’s city centre. Led by the charming Rohani Jelani, the classes are fun and lighthearted. You are free to pick and select classes or recipes that pique your interest. For some classes, Rohani will even take you to the nearby markets to guide you on how you can pick the freshest ingredients. Even if you are new to the culinary world, fret not, there are classes specially tailored for beginners, too.


oLe-PLAy yoUr WAy To SUCCeSS

For families with children, KidZania is the place to be. The newest and hottest hangout for kids, this edutainment theme park makes learning a fun experience. KidZania sets itself up as a replica city that echoes the real world, complete with its own functioning economy. By allowing your children to role-play the vocation of their choice, they will be able to see and learn about the world through the eyes of an adult. With over 90 different professions available, the activities help develop creative thinking skills among the young ones.


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take a jaunt down the heart of Kl with the savvy guides at be tourist. this free service begins at the entrance of central market 10.30am daily and takes you though a historical trail of the city. Discover little known facets in this 2-hour walk as volunteers point out significant buildings and streets found around the city centre. be sure to book ahead, as places are limited.


LL IN oNe With the Old Wing’s recent

facelift, 1 Utama is back and better than before. Tangs and Isetan have joined the list of anchor tenants; the latter even having its own food corner offering the best in Japanese fare. There are more F&B outlets with a dedicated food street in the basement, including Chicago’s best export, Garrett’s Popcorn. The fashion-conscious will be happy to note that popular Japanese casual wear retailer, Uniqlo, has a 2-floor outlet. Elsewhere, the mall’s new wing reprises its role as an entertainment outlet, with cinemas, a bowling centre, futsal courts, batting cages, and Asia’s largest indoor rock climbing facility.


ITy CyCLe Ever felt like you’ve missed out on a lot of beautiful sights when you travel about in a car? Then Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia Bike Ride packages are just the thing for you. Take a bike tour around Putrajaya, where you can find some of the most spectacular architectures in the whole of Malaysia. From the picturesque Putra Mosque that is located by the side of the lake to the Perdana Putra – the Prime Minister’s office complex, it is a view best taken from the back of a bike.


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He CITy oF DIGITAL LIGHTS If you have time (and energy!) to make a trip in the evening, visit the new i-City. Located in Shah Alam, the park is lit-up with neon trees, animal statues and hosts fun rides like a ferris wheel and train rides. There’s also the SnoWalk where you can experience the wintry Arctic environment with the temperature kept at -5ºC. It’s a chance to experience the crunch of snow beneath your feet while admiring the beautiful carved ice sculptures made by the famous Harbin ice sculptors.


rTy & eDGy Publika is not just your

ordinary mall. It’s a mall dotted with art pieces, from robots crafted out of recyclable materials to zany graphics on its walls to its tongue-incheek quotes etched on the ground. Even the shops are mostly independent stores that provide a new kind of shopping. One of its main features is the pop-up stores, so shoppers will always find something fresh and new. The place has many great cafés to unwind while the public square hosts various events on the weekends, from an outdoor barbeque to football screenings and fashion shows.


eWTer PoWer Find yourself interested in seeing how pewter is crafted? Visit the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre for a thorough tour. You’ll not only discover the origins of the company through its museum, but you’ll also be taken to its factory area to view the production processes. You can also try your hand at pewtersmithing at the School of Hard Knocks, where for a small fee, you will be guided on how to craft your own personalised pewter dish.



looking to bring back unique souvenirs for your friends and loved ones? Then you’d want to head to Karyaneka at Jalan Conlay. Just a short walk from KL’s Golden Triangle, Karyaneka carries a wide selection of traditional handicrafts that reflects the country’s ethnic and cultural heritage. Best of all, you can wander about the compound and visit individual craft huts to watch artists hard at work. Each hut also provides classes where you can dabble in batik painting and pottery making, to name a few.


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Despite it being small, the historical town of melaka has plenty to offer. Pete Wong

MeLaKa When asked about her thoughts on Melaka, a tourist from China remarked, “It’s nice but I didn’t realise the place is so small.” Indeed, if you are talking about St Paul’s Hill, the Stadthuys, Christ Church and Jonker Walk, all these attractions can be covered in less than a day. To really get a sense of what Melaka is all about and its historical significance, one has to look deeper and possibly spend a few days exploring its nooks and crannies. A Unesco World Heritage site since 2008, Melaka holds a rich tapestry of history interwoven with colourful folklore with the lines between fact and fiction often blurred.

Melaka was just a fishing village when Parameswara (also known as Sultan Iskandar Shah) arrived on its shores to set up his empire around 600 years ago. He named the town after the tree he was taking shelter under, the Melaka tree. The port-city soon grew in importance because of its strategic location along the sea route. Not long after, Admiral Zheng He arrived with his fleet of ships from China during the Ming Dynasty. In fact, Zheng made several trips to Melaka and it was on


one of those trips that he brought along Hang Li Po, the “daughter of the emperor” to be married off to the Melaka Sultan. Pleased with the gift of a bride, the Sultan ceded a piece of land called Bukit Cina (Chinese hill) to the Chinese community in Melaka. This could be folklore as there are no historical records of an emperor’s daughter by the name of Hang Li Po. Born into a Muslim family, Zheng He played a significant role in enhancing relationship between China and Islamic countries around the region. If you have time, Bukit Cina is worth a visit. There is a temple there called San Poh Teng and nearby is a well built specially for Hang Li Po. After Zheng He’s visit, the Portuguese came and conquered Melaka in 1511. They were soon displaced by the Dutch who ruled the city from 1641 to 1798. It was the Dutch who built the famous red buildings called the Stadthuys we see today. Melaka was ceded to the British in 1824 and remained a colony until Malaysia’s independence in 1957.

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Jonker Walk (also known as Jonker Street or Jalan Hang Jebat) is the main road that cuts across Melaka’s old quarter, which includes Chinatown. Today, the old shophouses lining the streets cater mostly to tourists but there are some old shops worth exploring like Jonker 88 (www.jonker88. com) which is an old-style cafe famous for their Nyonya laksa and cendol. Within the same area, you can also try the famous Melaka chicken rice ball at

ToP 5 aTTraCTionS

St Paul’s Hill, built in 1521, tops the list of attractions in Melaka. Atop the hill lies the ruins of St Paul’s Church. Sadly what remains now are just four walls with some old stone tablets inside the building. The church was used by St Francis Xavier and his Jesuit priests in 1548 as a base for their missionary work. The statue of St Francis outside the church was built in 1952 and his right hand is missing, thanks to a Casuarina tree that fell on it. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll to the top in less than 15 minutes. If you come early at 7am, you can see locals practising taichi and other morning exercises at the carpark below the hill. In the early hours of the morning, you can have the place all to yourself as tourists only start to arrive at around 9am. Remember to check out the old Dutch cemetery behind the church ruins and as you descend to the foot of the hills near the Melaka Sultanate Palace, you can see the famous A’ Famosa, the only remaining part of the ancient Portuguese fortress built in 1511. As you drive into Melaka’s old district, you can’t miss the distinctive red buildings built by the Dutch in 1650 called The Stadthuys, which means “city hall”. Included in the Stadthuys is the iconic Christ Church (built in 1753) and the Museum of History and ethnography, possibly the oldest building in the area. Best time to visit the area is in the late afternoon when the setting sun casts a warm glow enhancing the beauty of the historical buildings.

Chung Wah (18 Jalan Hang Jebat) but be prepared to jostle with a long queue of tourists and the food is usually sold out by 2pm. For something a little more modern and less stressful, you can visit Hard rock Cafe (28 Lorong Hang Jebat) where you can have your upmarket coffee beside the Melaka river. On Friday and Saturday evenings, from 6pm, Jonker Street and the surrounding area will be closed off to traffic for the popular open-air night market. Constructed in 1673, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Jalan Tokong) is possibly the oldest temple in the country. Dedicated to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, the temple opens at 7am and the crowd starts to build up by 10am so it’s best to visit early. There aren’t many choices for evening entertainment in Melaka besides the restaurants, cafes and shopping malls. However, if you have kids in tow, you could take them to Menara Taming Sari ( for a ride on the revolving gyro tower. Reaching a height of 80 metres, the RM15 ride offers a panoramic view of the city. A better idea for adults would be a visit to Alto Sky Lounge ( on Level 22 of Hatten Hotel. Go just before sunset to enjoy a spectacular view of the city and the Straits of Melaka.


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ToP 5 eaTS

No visit to Melaka will be complete without a Peranakan meal! If you happen to be in the Jonker Street area, head to Nancy’s Kitchen (7 Jalan Hang Lekir). You can’t go wrong with any of the dishes on the menu but what stands out is the chicken candlenut, assam pedas fish (spicy fish in curry assam sauce), popiah (spring roll), pie tee (also known as top hats), Nyonya cakes like onde onde and cendol (sweet dessert made with coconut juice). The restaurant opens for lunch only and is mostly packed. Another Peranakan restaurant worthy of mention is Amy Heritage Nyonya restaurant (75 Jalan Melaka Raya 24) located downtown. Customers who arrive at the restaurant late are often disappointed as most of the dishes will be sold out by 8:30pm, even though closing time is 10pm.


Locals have their own secret hangout for teh tarik and cheap food under the stars and one such establishment is Pak Putra Tandoori & Naan restaurant (Jalan Laksamana 4). Located along a stretch of shophouses just a few minutes’ drive outside town, the place serves delicious Indian-style tandoori chicken, naan and roti canai, among others. Pak Putra opens from 6pm till 2am. Geographer Cafe is recommended not so much for its food but more for its ambience. Set in a pre-war shophouse at the corner of Jalan Hang Jebat and Jalan Hang Lekir, the cafe is the best place in the area to relive the pre-war coffeeshop experience while people-watching. Geographer is also a great choice for an after-dinner beer or coffee. Nadeje is a French-style cafe that has grown to three outlets in Melaka (Plaza Mahkota, Mahkota Parade and Jaya 99), thanks to its growing number of followers among the younger set. Their main attraction is the mille crêpe, a cake made of many crêpe layers and offered in over 20 varieties and flavours. Besides cakes, the menu now includes Japanese-style chicken chops, pastas and other Asian selections. (

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WHeN To Go Melaka is recommended all-year round but if you hate crowds, avoid public and school holidays. If food is part of your itinerary, avoid Mondays when most restaurants are closed. Tourist attractions are best visited early in the morning, from sunrise to 9:30am, after which busloads of tourists will be jostling for space to take snapshots. WHere To STAy Hatten Hotel ( is a popular choice among tourists for its central downtown location and surrounding shopping malls. Although it has 700 rooms, the newly-built hotel is mostly booked out, especially during school holidays. Their rooms (called “junior suites”) are tastefullydecorated and their room rates are giving neighbouring hotels a run for the money.

whaT you neeD To Know GeTTING THere Melaka is located between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It is a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and two-and-a-half hours from Singapore, making it a popular weekend destination. There are also buses from both cities to Melaka. If you are driving, remember to use parking coupons, which can be bought at most sundry shops and 7-11.

Casa del rio ( is an impressivelooking five-star hotel located alongside the Melaka river and just minutes’ walk from Jonker’s Street, including most of the famous historical sites. If you are the type who loves to luxuriate in old-world charm with impeccable five-star service, check into the Majestic Melaka ( The hotel incorporates a heritage house together with a newer building and their Peranakan-inspired spa treatments are possibly the best in town. For the unique experience of staying in log cabins away from the city bustle, you may want to try Philea resort (www.phileahotel. com). The resort area is spacious and surrounded by nature with a pseudo waterfall. At the resort, you wake up to fresh morning air but the drive back to downtown Melaka is around 30 minutes.


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PearLorient of the

With its quaint art and good eats, Penang is fast becoming one of malaysia’s top visited spots. Pete Wong

Penang is a lush tropical island with beaches (Batu Ferringhi) and quaint fishing villages (Teluk Bahang) on the north, and hilly terrains on the south-central area (Balik Pulau). The downtown district and commercial hub is located in George Town on the east side of the island – also where most of the heritage buildings and historical sites are located. First-time visitors to Penang are often amazed by the vast cultural diversity and rich history found on the island. In Georgetown, the island’s historical district, one can find a mosque, a church and a Buddhist temple within a block of each other. This melting pot of cultures co-existing in peace is what makes the island unique. With just over 1.5 million people – mostly Malays, Chinese, Indians, Thais, Burmese, Eurasians and a growing number of expatriates – the pace


in Penang is far more leisurely compared with Singapore or Hong Kong. The Peranakan culture – a result of inter-marriage and blending of Malay and Chinese customs – is also strong here. Founded by Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786, Penang was the first British outpost in the region. In 1826, Penang, along with Melaka and Singapore, became part of the Straits Settlements under British administration. When Malaysia came into being in 1957, Penang became one of 13 states in the country. In 2008, the inner city of Georgetown was recognised as a Unesco World Heritage site. Today, Penang is famous not only as a tourist destination but also a food haven for epicureans. In 2011, Yahoo! Travel named Penang as “the top 10 islands to explore before you die.”

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ToP 5 ThingS To Do

Go on a heritage walking tour of Georgetown and you will not only come across old architectures like the iconic Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (Leith Street) built in 1840, but also disappearing trades like hand-beaded Nyonya shoes (4 Lebuh Armenian), Chinese signboard engraving (41 Lebuh Queen) and an old-school coffeshop selling roti bengali (Maliia Bakery, 114 Transfer Road). Start early in the morning to escape the heat or do it later in the afternoon. Places like Little India spring to life in the evening with loud Bollywood music and smells of spices. Of course, you can cheat a little by renting a bicycle at one of the shops along Lebuh Armenian, which is a good starting point for your tour. The Penang Heritage Trust ( also conducts guided walking tours for a small fee. Visit the Tropical Spice Garden (www.tropicalspicegarden. com), a haven for nature lovers and a place for visitors to learn about local flora and fauna, including over 500 species of herbs and spices. Located in what was once an abandoned rubber plantation along Penang’s north-western shores at Teluk Bahang, the garden is also popular among local photographers and wedding couples because of the beautiful streams and waterfalls. Walk the rickety planks of the Weld Quay Clan Jetties located off Pengkalan Weld and see the houses of the locals who used to make a living off the sea. The wooden houses have been around for more than a century and are built on pillars that extend out to the sea. There are five main Chinese clans here – Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee and Yeoh. Chew Jetty is the most easily accessible among the clan jetties and there is even a homestay runned by an enterprising Ms Chew (, which has attracted celebrities like Anthony Bourdain. Pay homage at Kek Lok Si temple located at Air Itam in Penang. At seven storeys high, it is the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia – designed with a Chinese octagonal base, a Thai-accented middle tier, and a Burmesestyle peak. The construction of the temple began in 1893 and with the support of the consular representative of China in Penang, the project received the sanction of the Manchu Emperor Guangxu, who bestowed a tablet and gift of 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of the Buddhist Sutras. During festive seasons like Wesak Day or Lunar New Year, the temple would be decked out with lights and decorations, making it the most beautiful temple in the region. Hop aboard the Funicular railway up Penang Hill ( to enjoy cool fresh air and a panoramic view of the island. The train ride is 30 minutes to the peak at 820 metres above sea level. Penang Hill is one of the oldest colonial hill stations established by the British during the colonial days. There is a museum, cafe, restaurant and even a colonial-style hotel atop the hill. (


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ToP 5 eaTS

Time magazine has acknowledged what food connoisseurs already know – that Penang is the undisputed food capital of Asia. It would be a grave injustice to leave the island without treating yourself to the unique fusion of foods and flavours. Fortunately, street foods come in a dazzling variety at unbelievably low prices and they can be found across the island. New Lane Hawker Street (along Lorong Baru) should be your first stop to get acquainted with local street fares. The char kway teow (deep fried noodles in dark sauce) from the corner coffee shop is fried with charcoal and highly recommended. So is the pork satay, curry noodles and just about everything else. They are open for lunch and dinner and you sit anywhere you can find a table. For those who prefer to dine in proper restaurants and not sit along the street, Lorong Abu Siti would be a good alternative. Hot Bowl Nyonya Delights (16A Lorong Abu Siti) dishes out the famous Penang white curry noodles and chicken hor fun (flat noodles). Mama’s Nyonya Cuisine (31D Lorong Abu Siti) is highly recommended for Peranakan fare. Want to get away from the city for a seafood feast in a quaint Malay fishing village? Drive 30 minutes south of the island to D’Seafood Paradise (formerly known as Sri Idaman) at Teluk Tempoyak and you will be rewarded with cheap seafood and a bonus – a picturesque view of the fishing village. The restaurant is famed for their ikan bakar (grilled fish) and a whole assortment of seafoods.

Assam laksa (noodles in fish-based soup) is the signature dish of Penang and it was ranked seventh in CNN World’s Top 10 Yummiest Food. To hunt for the best on the island, start with Famous Penang road Laksa at Joo Hooi (475 Jalan Penang, corner of Lebuh Keng Kwee). While you are there, try the Penang Road iced cendol as well, a well-known local dessert. About 20 minutes’ drive outside the city is the Pasar Ayer Itam laksa (Jalan Pasar, Pekan Ayer Itam), located just opposite the wet market. Another out-of-town famous laksa stall is Nan Guang (junction of Jalan Tun Sardon and Jalan Balik Pulau, Pekan Balik Pulau). If you want your assam laksa in a swanky air-conditioned setting, try Living room (Macalister Mansion, 228 Macalister Road) – but be prepared to pay RM18 for a bowl compared with RM3 to RM4 for the ones out of town. Gurney Drive Hawker Centre may sound cliché and touristy but it is convenient for those who don’t want to travel too far to satisfy their palates. The hawker stalls there offer a good introduction to local street food like assam laksa, Hokkien mee (prawn noodles) and char kway teow. Also along the Gurney Drive stretch, you can find the famous Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant that offers a great variety of fresh seafood.


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CH 553 . HD CH 573

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whaT you neeD To Know GeTTING THere AND AroUND There are daily flights connecting both Kuala Lumpur and Singapore with Penang by airlines like Air Asia, Tiger Air, Malaysia Airlines and Silk Air. If you are driving, you can choose either the older Penang bridge or the newly opened Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge. At 24 kilometres, the new bridge is the longest in Southeast Asia. For a touch of nostalgia, you can also drive your car onto the ferry, which will take you to the island in 20 minutes. The ferry service, which began operation in 1920, is the oldest in the country. There are also bus services running a few times a day between Kuala Lumpur and Penang and the most popular one is Aeroline ( On the island, taxis do not use the metre so do agree on the price before you hop on. WHeN To Go Penang is recommended all year round but it tends to get crowded around public and school holidays. There are also lots of festivals and cultural activities across the island so do check their official website ( for the latest updates.

WHere To STAy If you are looking for your Lost Horizon in Penang, your search ends with Shangri-La’s rasa Sayang resort & Spa (, easily one of the most luxurious hotels on the island located along the Batu Feringgi strip. Another resort at Batu Feringgi worth checking out is the Hard rock Hotel ( Baby boomer or not, you will have a rocking good time the minute you step into the hotel as they play rock music in public areas around the resort but their main attraction must surely be their pool that meanders like a river across the resort – for rooms on the ground floor, guests can practically slide off the balcony right into the pool. If you prefer somewhere nearer to town, G Hotel ( is a popular choice due to its convenient location near Gurney Plaza shopping centre and the famous Gurney Drive hawker centre – both within walking distance. The other pull factors are the hotel’s award-winning contemporary design and possibly the best buffet spread in town. For history buffs, a stay at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion ( or yeng Keng Hotel (www.yengkenghotel. would take you back in time to the colonial days.



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Known as the gateway to the mystical island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, or KK as it is fondly called, is fast growing as a major tourist destination. Pete Wong once known as Jesselton during the british colonial era, KK is now a state capital with a population of around 500,000 comprising a mix of chinese, Kadazandusun, bajau, brunei malays, as well as significant migrant population from indonesia and philippines. the locals are so used to intermingling among one another that they consider it pointless to ask about each other’s ethnic origins.


From KK, it is easy to access some of borneo’s famed attractions like its tropical islands, lush rainforests and mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in borneo and malaysia. Visitors are often enthralled by the enchanting beauty of the rainforest and the diversity of wildlife. unique species like the orangutan, the proboscis monkey and the rafflesia, the world’s largest flower, can only be found in borneo.


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orangutans enjoy celebrity status in borneo. An endangered species, these intelligent primates are indigenous to borneo and parts of sumatra. From KK, the nearest place where you can get up close to these endearing primates is at Kawi Wildlife Park, about 30 minutes outside the city. the other place is shangri-la’s rasa ria resort where they organise daily viewings. however, if you have time, you should visit the famous Sepilok orangutan rehabilitation Centre. For an island-hopping adventure, visit the Tunku Abdul rahman Marine Park. speedboats depart every hour from Jesselton point Ferry terminal to the five islands within the marine park, namely Gaya, manukan, sapi, sulug and mamutik. you can get more information from the tour boat operators at the terminal and decide which islands you want to visit. Activities around the

islands include snorkelling, diving and kayaking. Pulau Tiga is also worth a visit if you have more time. the first season of the tV reality show Survivor was shot on this island and it became world-famous after that. hop aboard the North Borneo railway train if you have not been on a steam locomotive before. touted as the oldest running steam train in borneo, the ride will take you back in time with continental breakfast and tiffin-lunch thrown in. the experience may set you back by rm290 but tourists love the adventure. ( Kinabalu Park is malaysia’s first unesco world heritage site and national park located about 90 kilometres from KK. with more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna, including 300 birds and around 100 mammal species, the park attracts nature lovers from around the world.

the main feature of the park is Mount Kinabalu, malaysia’s highest peak. Accommodation in the form of chalets are available in the park and reservations for mountain climbing guides are processed through sutera sanctuary lodges (also known as sutera harbour), a private company. other attractions in the park include poring hot spring, the Kipungit waterfall about 15 minutes’ walk from poring, and a bat cave. ( if your idea of a holiday is kicking back over a beer, dining al fresco and watching the sun set, KK Waterfront could be what you are looking for. located just five minutes from downtown, there are several restaurants, clubs and cafés along the river front esplanade. Another alternative for a laid-back evening is Tanjung Aru beach, about six kilometres from downtown, where you can stroll along the beach and enjoy local food outdoors.

ToP five aTTraCTionS


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ToP 5 eaTS

For the best barbeque chicken wings in town, head towards Ang’s Hotel restaurant (also known as Fatt Kee, Jalan Pantai, opposite Wisma Merdeka), but be prepared to join the queue if you visit during peak hours. They open for lunch and dinner. there are other poultry dishes like oyster and sesame sauce chicken, and herbal chicken feet soup on the menu. King Hu restaurant (Jalan Pinang, Tanjung Aru) is an old-school Chinese restaurant well-known among locals for its roast duck (a local version of Peking duck), dumplings and pork legs. Prices are reasonable but it’s mostly crowded during meal times so be prepared to wait.


If you like Indian food, try K Sanba’s Curry Specials (Block F, Lorong Plaza Utama 1, Alamesra Lebuh Raya Sulaman). Besides their famous curry dishes and nasi briyani, locals say their curry puffs are the best in town. Alu Alu Cafe (Lot 6, Tanjung Lipat, Jalan Gaya, Jesselton Point) is a clean and spacious restaurant famous for their organic vegetables and fish served in many styles, from double-boiled and wok-fried to braised and steamed. Prices start from RM10 for their grouper fish while their coral trout and humphead wrasses are more expensive. If you ask the locals where they go to unwind and catch up with friends, most will point you to Jesselton Point Hawker Centre (Jesselton Point jetty), possibly the only place in KK where you can get a wide selection of food – from Western to Indonesian, Thai and local dishes at affordable prices. Visit during the evening and you will get the sea breeze and stunning sunset for free.

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whaT you neeD To Know GeTTING THere Both Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia offer daily flights to KK from Kuala Lumpur. From Singapore, you can connect directly via SilkAir. The journey takes two and a half hours from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. WHeN To Go KK is generally hot and humid all year round. Rain is expected from October to December. Public and school holidays are busy periods. During the Chinese New Year week and the first week of October, you can expect more tourists from mainland China.

Gaya Island resort caters to those who prefer to spend time on a secluded island. To get there, you need to hop onto a private speed boat at Sutera Harbour Marina for a short 15-minute ride. Gaya island is the largest among the cluster of five islands within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Their spa is touted as one of the few in the world situated amid a mangrove swamp setting. (

gaya iSlanD reSorT

gaya iSlanD reSorT

gaya iSlanD reSorT

WHere To STAy For those who desire privacy and love to be surrounded by nature, Shangri-La’s rasa ria resort is possibly the best choice among the five-star resorts in KK. Located about 35 minutes from the city, the resort is perched on the edge of a forest reserve and fronting an unspoiled beach. Added attractions within the resort are daily orangutan viewings in their natural habitat, Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club and the awardwinning spa (

If you prefer to be nearer to the city, ShangriLa’s Tanjung Aru resort & Spa will not disappoint. You may not be surrounded by nature like in their sister resort but you will still get to enjoy the same high standard of service typical of Shangri-La resorts. Their main draw is their spa located on a man-made island. (www.


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Shanghai Past & Present

shanghai is fast becoming China’s metropolis complete with the latest, the newest and the most luxurious life can offer. visit it and be inspired by the Paris of the east. Pete Wong 56

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Dubbed “Paris of the East”, Shanghai is both old-world and modern, depending on which side of the Huangpu river you are standing on. Puxi on the west showcases one of the world’s richest collection of art deco and colonial buildings along the romantic Bund promenade, while Pudong on the east proudly shows off one of the world’s most futuristic skylines, underscoring China’s economic awakening. Foreigners who fled Shanghai when the Red Army marched into the city on 27 May 1949 have mostly returned with a vengeance. Any foreign company wanting a bite out of China’s market – now the world’s second largest – would desire an address in Shanghai. The city with a population of over 20 million people is now the fastest growing in Asia, with more skyscrapers here than the entire west coast of North America. Name a luxury brand or hotel chain and chances are, you would find them represented here. Shanghai is easily the most cosmopolitan among all of China’s cities, outshining even the capital Beijing. While it was preparing for Expo 2010, the city underwent a makeover that included additional train lines and links across the Huangpu river, restoration work on most of the historical buildings, and an expanded promenade along the Bund, among other big projects. Now that the dust has settled and the pace of development back to normal, it is a good time to visit the city without having to rub elbows with hordes of tourists.


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However, you can still find ivy-covered colonial bungalows and wide tree-lined streets with a distinctive European flavour. Your first stop should be Zhou enlai’s former residence (73 Sinan Road), a threestorey bungalow with a beautiful garden that has been turned into a museum. Zhou was the first premier of the People’s Republic of China and also China’s most revered leader. The house looks beautiful on the outside but the interior, reflecting public diplomacy at its best, shows Zhou’s austere living conditions during his time. From Sinan Road, it’s a 10-minute walk to Fuxing Park, a French-designed garden where locals go for their daily walks and taichi routines especially in the mornings. On weekends, it’s a popular meeting place for card games and social dancing.

ToP 5 muST-Dos

Shanghai Bund (or waitan in Chinese) has been the inspiration for music, movies and Shanghai pop culture since the 1930s. Once you have visited, you might come away inspired too. Start your day with a heritage walk beginning from The Peninsula Shanghai. From the east entrance of the hotel, take a left turn and head northwest along South Suzhou Road. The first heritage building you see is the former British Consulate (33 Bund) built in 1849. The building is now the private premises for the Financiers’ Club but the garden is open to the public. Further along the road, you will see the former Shanghai rowing Club (76 South Suzhou Road) designed in 1905 in a transitional style that reflects both Victorian and Edwardian baroque styles. The Club was almost completely demolished if not for protests from conservationists. Also in the same area, you can see other heritage buildings like the former Union Church (107 South Suzhou Road) built in 1886, the former Church Apartments (79 South Suzhou Road), and the former office of the royal Asiatic Society (20 Huqiu Road). Completed in 1932, the art deco RAS building is now the premises for the rockbund Art Museum. End your day at the Bund area with an evening stroll along the recently expanded promenade along the banks of the Huangpu river, flanked by the row of grand colonial buildings on one side and view of the futuristic Pudong skyline across the river on the other side.


Known today as Xuhui and Luwan districts, the former French Concession area was created in 1849 and lasted until 1946. The last few decades saw rapid development that resulted in many landmarks and heritage buildings in the area being demolished, especially those with a questionable colonial past. One of the casualties was the Canidrome, built in 1928 for dog racing and as a club for socialites. When the Communists took over, it served briefly as a centre for public rallies and mass execution of counter-revolutionaries. The building was renamed the Shanghai Cultural Plaza and went on to become a theatre, exhibition centre and flower market before being torn down in 2005.

Shanghai is known for its longtangs, which are narrow alleyways crammed with houses built since the 1850s. The entrance to a longtang is usually marked by an ornately decorated entrance called a shikumen (stone gate). Longtangs are an essential part of Shanghai’s unique culture and identity but they are becoming a rarity as many are disappearing to make way for modern buildings. For a general idea of the how a longtang looks like, follow the tourist crowd to Tianzifang at Taikang Road where you will find a cluster of old houses that has been restored into cafes, art galleries, crafts shops and boutiques. Another place similar in concept is Xintiandi at Huaihai Middle Road. Between the two, Tianzifang seems more authentic but is also more crowded

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whaT you neeD To Know

with narrower alleyways while Xiantiandi is becoming an upmarket meeting place for wining and dining. Both places will give you an idea of Shanghai’s unique longtangs and shikumens. Shanghai’s Nanjing Lu is a famous shopping strip stretching over six kilometres with more than 600 shops and restaurants. Even if shopping is not your thing, the street - open to pedestrians only - is a great place for people-watching as it is visited by over a million people daily. But do watch out for scammers and pimps who have the uncanny ability to pick out the tourists from the locals.

GeTTING THere AND AroUND Both Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines fly direct to Shanghai. From Pudong International Airport, you can take the Maglev train to Longyang Road station, a distance of 30 kilometres in seven minutes, at times reaching speeds of over 350 kilometres an hour. The city is well-connected by an effective network of underground trains called the Shanghai Metro. You can buy a stored-value card (jiaotong ka) for RMB120 for use on trains and buses. Buses are only RMB2 and it doesn’t matter how far you travel. For a novel way to see the city, you can hop on one of the open-top buses operated by Big Bus Tours (www.; RMB300). Taxis are easy to find in Shanghai and are inexpensive. WHeN To Go Spring (March to June) is the best time to visit Shanghai when the weather is nice and cool. There is a week in late-March to early-April when you might be able to catch the plum blossoms (meihua) at the parks around the city. At the peak of summer, it can get unbearably hot (July to August) with temperatures going up to 35ºC. The coldest months in winter are December and January but freezing temperatures are rare. Avoid public holidays like the Lunar New Year or National Day (October 1).

For upmarket shopping, head towards Lujiazui in Pudong where the swanky ifc and Super Brand Malls are located. All the luxury brand names you can think of, from Gucci and Giorgio Armani to Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu, can be found there.

WHere To eAT If you fancy traditional Shanghainese homestyle cooking by a local husband-and-wife team, A Shan restaurant (2378 Hongqiao Road, near Hongjing Road; tel: +86 21 6268 658) is legendary. Bund 18 ( along the Bund is another old heritage building turned into an award-winning lifestyle centre with retail space, fine dining restaurants and bars.

You should not leave Shanghai without catching a view of the city skyline. After an evening stroll along the Bund, head towards Three on the Bund (www.threeonthebund. com), which houses a collection of several fine dining restaurants, spa and boutiques in the heritage Union Building. The Cuppola on the seventh floor offers the most discrete dining space with an enchanting view of the Huangpu river.

WHere To STAy Most of the newer five-star hotels with a panoramic view of the Bund are located in Lujiazui, Pudong’s financial district. One of them is The ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong (, located on the top floors at one of the Cesar Pelli-designed Shanghai ifc towers. The hotel is both stylish and luxurious with a tinge of glamour. Rooms are luxuriously decorated with gold trimmings and ceiling-to-floor mirrors.

For after-dinner drinks, you could head across the river to Pudong and go up to Cloud 9 (Jiu chongtian) at Grand Hyatt Shanghai (87th floor, Jin Mao Tower). Other options are Flair at Ritz-Carlton Pudong (58th floor, IFC Tower) and vue Bar at Hyatt on the Bund (33rd floor).

Just across the road is Pudong Shangri-La, one of the pioneer luxury hotels in the Pudong area. Famous for its Asian hospitality, you will enjoy their warm and friendly service that is consistent with all Shangri-Las around the world. Their Horizon Club ( rooms offer breathtaking views and even a pair of binoculars to identify the heritage buildings along the Bund. At Lujiazui, shopping is convenient with ifc and Super Brand Malls right at your doorsteps. The iconic Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhuta) and the Lujiazui metro station are just a few minutes’ walk away.




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AirAsia X Berhad AirAsia X is the low-cost, long-haul affiliate carrier of the AirAsia Group that currently flies to destinations in China, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Middle East. The airline currently serves 21 destinations across Asia (Narita, Nagoya, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Beijing, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xian, Chongqing, Colombo and Kathmandu), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Gold Coast) and the Middle East (Jeddah). AirAsia X currently operates on Airbus A330300s with a seat configuration of 12 Business Class Flatbeds and 365 Economy seats. The airline has carried over 12 million guests since inception from Malaysia. Despite being a long-haul LCC, its creativity and innovation has pioneered in a range of services and options that add to the passengers’ convenience and comfort such as Business Class Flatbeds. AirAsia X is the first long-haul, low fare carrier to introduce Business Class Flatbed seats, which have standard business class specifications of 20” width, 60” pitch and stretches out to 77” in full recline position. The business class seat features a universal power socket, adjustable headrest and built-in personal utilities such as tray table, drink holder, reading light and privacy screen. Guests flying on business class can also enjoy premium complimentary products and services including Pick A Seat, Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, Priority Baggage, 40kg Baggage Allowance, Complimentary Meal & Drinks and Pillow & Duvet. AirAsia X was awarded the World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Cabin and Best Low Cost Airline Premium Seat titles for two consecutive years at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

AirAsia X also introduced the Quiet Zone. Quiet Zone is an exclusive seating area in the cabin between rows 7 – 14. It is exclusively for guests who are above age 10. The Quiet Zone cabin features a zen ambience with soft lighting, offering a more relaxing cabin atmosphere, which will ensure a pleasant journey for guests. Apart from that, AirAsia X also offers hot meals which comprises of Asian, International and Vegetarian selections. Guests may prebook their meals online to enjoy up to 20% off discount. Even with its nascent aircraft fleet, AirAsia X operates with the world’s lowest airline unit cost and the world’s highest aircraft utilisation, while maintaining industry leading engineering reliability and on-time performance. AirAsia X’s association with the AirAsia Group enables it to leverage on the globally recognised brand and large customer base as well as its extensive network. Based on its pioneering business model, AirAsia X has received tremendous international publicity, and has been recognised as the 2008 Best New Airline and jointly awarded the 2009 Airline of the Year award with AirAsia Berhad. AirAsia X’s vision is to further solidify their position as the global leader in low-cost, longhaul aviation and create the first global multihub long-haul low-cost carrier network along with other carriers of the AirAsia Group.

The PhoToz



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getting to know...

learn more about the enigmatic conductor for the shanghai symphony orchestra and artistic director for Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not. roUWen lin/the stAr Aside from leading the 72-piece Shanghai Symphony orchestra as conductor, what other roles do you take on in Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not? I’m also the artistic director where I’m responsible for recruitment of musicians, artists and production team (stage manager, music arrangers, instruments transportation, etc). The artistic director is also responsible for the selection of songs and their duration, planning of rehearsal schedules... basically overseeing the entire concert production. What do personally you consider the most interesting aspect of this concert? Being able to bring the worldrenowned orchestra to the Malaysian audience and to provide welfare to ADFM. To have two wonderful artists (singer Najwa and soloist Huang Bin) and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is something really special. Also, being able to feature instrumental music to vocal music, from the East to West, from light classical to pop – this is unique too. What was the first instrument you learned? How many instruments do you play now? Do you have a favourite? My first instrument is the clarinet, which I learnt when I was in Form 1. This is an instrument I still play today. I also play the piano. My favourite instrument is still the clarinet because it sounds close to the human voice; its range is also very dynamic! Best of all, it’s very handy and easy to carry around! I used to play it professionally before I became a conductor. I still play it now but not as much as I used to.

How did you come to find your passion in music and in conducting? I think my passion started a little late, during Form Three. At that time, my only friend, a fine pianist, wanted to join the school band. I, on the other hand, wanted to join the boy scouts. I was the type who wanted to do crazy things. If you asked me to sit still and play music, it was definitely not my cup of tea. So my friend tricked me into signing a form and joining the school band! In my school at the time, the regulation was you can only quit a curricular activity after one year. So, after a year, I approached my band instructor with the intention to quit. He refused. He said that he saw my potential and insisted I carry on. Slowly, I started seeing the fun and enjoyment in music. Because when you are a band member, you find yourself taking part in a lot of activities like band competitions, band camp, and even during class time, we had to go to play at funerals. These activities got me interested. Here you are playing an instrument with other people and you don’t even know them but somehow things start to make sense. All the harmony falls into place. What are the challenges that you’ve faced throughout your career? In the late 80s in Malaysia, music teachers were tough to find. The teacher that I found belonged to the Penang Symphony Orchestra. Every weekend, I would travel to and from Penang by bus and ferry, and at that time there were no highways, so it would take a long time. Sometimes


I would fall asleep in the bus on the way back, and miss my stop at Ipoh (where Pook was born and bred), and sometimes I would sleep overnight in bus stops to catch a bus heading back. Another challenge was the time I supported myself in Canada. I had a scholarship to study music in the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada. But, as I didn’t come from a wealthy background, I had to work a few part-time jobs to support my living. Sometimes, between classes, intensive practices, and several part-time jobs, I wouldn’t have time to sleep. But it paid off in the end. Now when I look back, I don’t know how I did it. Also, in this line, I faced a lot of pressure to be as good as others. The other students started at a young age, and were far ahead of me. One of my college teachers, a renowned musician, even told me that I was not cut out for this. He told me to try and fall back on something like plumbing, as it could make me a decent living, rather than something I was not going to succeed at. That was a big slap in the face for me. But my two choices were to give up or push through. I believed that if others were doing better than me, I would just have to practise five times harder. And I did. And sure enough, I reached the par that everyone else was on. What other projects do you have in the pipeline? Get information about my upcoming concerts from my website –


raymonD ooi/The STar



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getting to know...


We get up close and personal with the beautiful and soulful songstress.


nADine zAnDrA FernAnDez/the stAr

Working with a symphony orchestra is an exciting yet daunting prospect. Has this project been an eye-opener for you in terms of music arrangement? During my years at Berklee College of Music, I had already been exposed to writing for the orchestra. One of my final projects was to compose music for a chamber orchestra. We even had to conduct the orchestra during the recording of my piece. It was such a great experience and I’m so thrilled to be given the chance to work with one of the best symphony orchestras in Asia for this project. I’m really excited to listen to the orchestral version of my songs. Do you have any classical music favourites? your favourite composers? I don’t have a favourite composer, but one of my favourite pieces is Symphony No. 5: Adagietto by Gustav Mahler. It is such a beautiful piece and a definite tear-jerker. How many songs will you be singing in the second part of the concert? All originals? I will be singing around seven songs. It will be a mixture of originals as well as classic favourites like P. Ramlee. What is the greatest challenge for you working with a symphony orchestra? I guess it’s different from working with a band as it involves more people. With the band, I am able to improvise more during live shows and it’s easier for them to follow. Working with an orchestra, you have to be really sure of the form and arrangement as there is no room to mess up. Paying attention to the conductor is also very important.

Have you any favourite parts? If yes, which part and why? I love listening to the orchestra! It just makes me feel a certain way. Being able to sing along to it is even better! How did this partnership come about? What made you decide yes? Is this your first time? Yes, this is my first time. I was contacted by ADFM while I was still in New York. I’m always happy to get involved with charity projects like this, as one of my goals is to be able to help people in need through my music. Getting the opportunity to work with Shanghai Symphony Orchestra was a bonus for me. What is your general sense style? Who are your style icons? Minimalist and edgy. I’m always wearing neutral colours. Black, especially! I really admire my brother, Farhan Yassin’s (also known as Moslem Priest) style. He wears the songkok with everything and it has become his signature style. Whose wardrobe would you raid if you have the chance and why? I haven’t thought much about that but if it,s someone who wears a lot of Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann and Helmut Lang, that’s probably a wardrobe I would raid. Who did you get your sense of style from? My brother has definitely influenced my current style. We share the same taste in fashion and music. Where can we expect to see you professionally in the next five years? Hopefully spreading my music across the world. I would love to do a world tour; that’s something I’m working towards right now.


image CourTeSy of huang bin



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getting to know...

huang Bin

We came face-to-face with violin virtuoso, huang Bing, to learn more about her love for the instrument. Pete Wong Where were you from originally? I am currently based in Shanghai but I was born in Changsha, Hunan province. At what age did you start playing the violin and when did you turn professional? I started playing the violin at the age of four and I entered the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing at the age of nine. After graduating from the high school division of the Central Conservatory, I went to the United States to study at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where I earned the Bachelor of Music degree and Artist Diploma. I also received my Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at the Eastman School of Music. I embarked on a professional career at 23 after winning the Paganini International Violin Competition. Was there an incident or a turning point in your life that made you decide to become a professional violinist? After I was admitted to the primary school of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing at the age of nine, I have never considered any other profession. What are your favourite pieces and why? I always find this question difficult to answer. I enjoy playing a wide variety of music. It is hard to narrow down my favourites to just a few. I do practise Bach and Paganini every day. Bach demands great precision and purity on intonation and sound.

The polyphony is very challenging yet satisfying to play, and the spirituality of the music ensures that my playing is pure. Paganini, on the other hand, keeps my faculties in shape like what workouts do for an athlete. you have obviously won a lot of awards and prizes. Which award means the most to you and why? Paganini. I started my career after winning the Paganini International Violin Competition. Because of my frequent return for concerts in Genoa, where the competition is held, I got to know my husband and we got married there. What will you be playing during your performance in Kuala Lumpur on December 5? The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto by He Zhan Hao and Chen Gang. How did you meet the Malaysian conductor, eugene Pook? We met at the Eastman School of Music while we were pursuing our doctoral degree. Have you been to Malaysia or performed here before? I played the Butterfly Lovers Concerto with the Xiamen Philharmonic in Penang last year. What are your hobbies outside of music and what do you normally do for leisure? I enjoy reading and going for walks. When I am in Shanghai, I usually stay at home but I also enjoy going to the restaurants and cafes around the school where I teach. I enjoy going for concerts too.

Which is your favourite country and why? Italy because my husband lives there. What are you currently pursuing in your career? I just finished recording 16 Mozart sonatas with pianist Yin Zheng in Salzburg. We are doing the editing now and working on a series of concerts in the US and China that will promote the CD. I will also have a big tour with my husband performing on the piano next year in China. These concerts will be my first concerts with him as a pianist. His main profession is conducting and he has conducted many of my concerts and recorded some CDs for me. We are also working on a Baroque concert series where my husband and I will be playing on period instruments. At the same time, I am still teaching. What advice do you have for young and aspiring violinists? Build a solid foundation, practise scales, and pay special attention to sound quality and intonation. Love music and work hard. Are there secrets to a successful career in the music industry? There are so many factors that have to come together for a successful career, like talent, hard work, good personality, opportunities, being creative and so on. It is not easy but if you persevere you will succeed. I guess perseverance would be top on my list.


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Developer: Pinaremas Sdn Bhd (101569-M) Suite 1-3A, Main Tower, Sunsuria Avenue Persiaran Mahogani, Kota Damansara, PJU5 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia • Suria Residence • Developers License No: 13645-1/08-2016/0808(L) • Validity: 14/08/2014 - 13/08/2016 • Advertising & Sales Permit No: 13645-1/08-2016/0808(P) • Validity: 14/08/2014 - 13/08/2016 • Building Plan Approval No: MBSA/BGN/BB/600-1(PS)/SEK.U8/00332014 • Approving Authority: Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam • Tenure: Freehold • Expected Date of Completion: 36 months from SPA (August 2017) • Land Encumbrances: Nil • Property Type: Serviced Apartments • Total Units: 545 units • Selling Price: RM428,000 (Min.) - RM966,000 (Max.) • Bumiputera Discount: 7%. The information contained herein is subject to change without notification as may be required by relevant authorities or the developer’s consultants and cannot form part of an offer or contract. Actual built up of units may vary slightly from measurements given. Whilst every care is taken in providing this information, the owner, developer and managers cannot be held liable for variations. All illustrations and pictures are artist impressions only. The items are subject to variations, modifications and substitutions as may be recommended by the Company’s consultants and / or relevant Approving Authorities.


Common Memory

ProblemS SolveD

From “mommy brain” to forgetting people’s names (again... and again), your most common memory woes – solved. hAllie levine sKlAr/heAlth


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So you keep misplacing your keys and walking into the living room without remembering why. That doesn’t mean you’ve got early Alzheimer’s: “Normal memory problems – like being a little forgetful – start as early as age 27,” says Majid Fotuhi, MD, chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness in Baltimore and author of The Memory Cure. Luckily, your memory is like a muscle, Dr. Fotuhi says – you can exercise it and improve it at any age. Here are some smart moves to help you do just that. ProBLeM #1: STreSS

The lowdown: “In our fastpaced, wired world, many of us live our lives in chronic stress,” says Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Longevity Center and author of The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program. That means we’re perpetually bathing our brains in stress hormones like cortisol. The result? Studies done in mice show that chronically elevated stress hormone levels shrink the hippocampus, so you’re less likely to form new memories. You get a similar result if you’re struggling with depression. “Some studies suggest that depressed individuals have fewer hippocampal neurons,” says Gary Kennedy, MD, director of the division of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. Other research has found that depressed people have lower levels of brain-derived neutrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that promotes the health of brain neurons, and thus boosts memory function. The rx: Unfortunately, there’s no way to get rid of stress entirely. But you can at least try to keep your anxiety levels at a minimum. Dr. Small’s numberone tactic? Meditation. One recent Harvard study found that participants who meditated for about 30 minutes a day over eight weeks increased their hippocampus size. “Meditation also fires up the frontal areas of the brain that are associated with attention,” Dr. Small says. That means you’ll be less likely

to focus on feeling stressed or down, and more able to concentrate on the tasks at hand, so you can actually remember what’s going on. Here’s a super-easy way to start: Get comfortable and begin breathing slowly and deeply. Expand your rib cage as you inhale; feel your abdomen rise with each intake of breath. Stay relaxed and focus on each breath in and out. Start with three minutes and work up to 30.

ProBLeM #2: eSTroGeN IN FLUX

The lowdown: In addition to its many other bodily functions, estrogen may help keep women’s brains sharp, Dr. Small says. The hormone increases the concentration of an enzyme needed to synthesize the memory-boosting brain chemical acetylcholine and enhances communication between neurons in your hippocampus. So it’s no surprise that we often experience brain fog during a time of life when estrogen levels wax and wane: A study published in the journal Neurology found that 60 per cent of women going through perimenopause, when estrogen levels are sputtering out, reported decreased memory. And a study from the UK found that expectant mums – who experience wild surges of estrogen – performed worse on certain types of memory tests, and that those changes were still present three months after the women gave birth.

The rx: If you’re going through menopause, talk to your doctor about going on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for a year or two, Dr. Small suggests. The Neurology study found that women who start HRT in perimenopause (before menopause, when periods stop completely) have better memory and cognitive function than those who go on it postmenopause. Even if you opt against HRT, there’s good news: Your cognitive function should rebound after menopause, once your body has had a chance to adjust to its newly stabilised hormone levels.


The lowdown: A 2010 study found that for every one-point increase in a woman’s BMI (body mass index), her memory score dropped by one point. If you’re thin and a couch potato, you’re still at risk. “There’s a link between physical fitness, which improves blood flow, and brain volume,” Dr. Fotuhi says. “Exercise can actually increase the size of the hippocampus.” Lack of sleep impairs your memory, too. “When you’re sleep deprived, your stresshormone levels increase, which is toxic to your neurons,” Dr. Fotuhi explains. The rx: A 2011 Kent State University study found that people who underwent bariatric surgery improved their memory loss 12 weeks post-procedure. And especially if you’re feeling less than sharp, make a good night’s sleep a priority.


william Tan


Boost your MeMory


simple lifestyle changes will you stay sharp as the years go by. lAUrie PAWliK-Kienlen/heAlth

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need a



booST? try our helpful hints to jumpstart your brain. heAlth


2 3

older adults who do regular aerobic exercise (at least three hours a week) show increased blood flow to the brain, which could prevent a decline in brain function, according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the radiological Society of north america.

go to bed earlier

researchers from the university of Chicago found that getting a good nights sleep (it really doesn’t matter how long) after learning something new helps you remember exactly how to do that task.

eat more cauliflower

a new study indicates that citicoline supplements can help boost energy and efficiency in your frontal lobe – the region responsible for decision-making, reasoning, and working memory. you can also get citicoline indirectly by eating certain foods. Cauliflower, soybeans, egg yolks, fish and peanuts are all sources of the vitamin-B-like nutrient choline, which is absorbed through the intestines and converted to citicoline in the brain.


Multitask at the gym Just as working out can keep your body in good shape as you age, stretching your brain can keep it in top form too. And doing them together is double the fun: Do a crossword puzzle while riding a stationary bike or listen to language lessons on your iPod while running. Scientists say that working the body and mind at the same time revitalises brain cells. Go fish DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in salmon, trout and some fortified foods such as yoghurt, is a super-saver for your memory. “DHA decreases arterial inflammation and improves repair of the protective sheath around nerves,” Dr. Roizen says. “The result is less age-related memory loss, less Alzheimer’s Disease, less depression and a quicker mind.”


Steal your kids’ toys As you play, you’re working on your memory, strategy and spatial skills – all required for improving brain health – at the same time. Just do it Elevating your heart rate three times a week for 20 minutes – even just by walking – bathes your brain in oxygen and helps it grow new cells. “Aerobic exercise is two to three times as effective as any known braintraining activity,” says Sam Wang, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience at Princeton University and co-author of Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.


Use chopsticks “Studies show that engaging the concentrated areas of nerve cells in your fingertips directly stimulates your brain,” says Maoshing Ni, Ph.D., author of Second Spring: Hundreds of Natural Secrets for Women to Revitalize and Regenerate at Any Age. Truth is, any fingertip activity – using chopsticks, knitting, or even rolling a pen or pencil between your fingers – also helps your brain by boosting your circulation. And good circulation helps eliminate waste products that can prevent nutrients from reaching your brain. Be careful with meds Research in Clinical Interventions in Aging reveals that nonprescription sleep aids may cause some “cognitive impairment” – like confusion – in older adults. How much is unknown, but you’re probably familiar with the next-day grogginess. And the medicine known as diphenhydramine (found in many allergy medications and nighttime pain pills) has an “anticholinergic” effect; it blocks communication between nerve cells.


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eye your Parking Spot


Do a web Search During lunch


Change the font on your morning memo


go to gym before work


eat Toast for breakfast

When you stop at the grocery store to pick up your dinner, try this exercise: get out of your car, notice where you’re parked, then move your eyes side-to-side every 1/2 second for 30 seconds while standing in place. Practising this simple eye movement may increase your long-term memory by up to 10 per cent, say researchers at Manchester Metropolitan university in england. “That little extra boost might be just what’s needed to help you recall an important piece of information,” says andrew Parker, PhD, the study’s lead author.

Spending an hour a day looking online for something you’re interested in (like researching spots for your next vacation) may stimulate the part of your frontal lobe that controls short-term memory, according to a recent study from the university of California, Los angeles. “The neural circuits involved in decisionmaking, visual-spatial, and verbal skills become very active when you do an internet search,” explains gary Small, MD, lead author of the study. Don’t just mindlessly surf, though: if it’s too easy, Dr. Small says, it won’t be effective – Facebook won’t do the trick!

is times new roman your go-to? try using a different, slightly difficult-to-decipher font – it’s been shown to improve your long-term retention, according to research published in the journal Cognition. Focusing on a new font may make your brain’s processing centre work a little harder, upping your recall.

exercise increases the blood flow to your noggin, bringing much-needed oxygen and glucose for fuel, explains Sandra aamodt, PhD, co-author of Welcome to Your Brain. in fact, you can learn vocabulary words 20 per cent faster if you try to memorise them after doing an intense workout rather than a low-impact activity, suggests a study in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

a tufts university study found that folks who eliminated carbohydrates from their diets performed worse on memory-based tasks than those who included them. Why? your brain cells need carbs, which are converted in your body to glucose, to stay in peak form, says study co-author robin Kanarek, PhD, professor of psychology at tufts. Pick whole grains and other complex carbs – they’re digested more slowly, so they deliver a steadier stream of glucose.


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Drink a little with Dinner


floss before bed

tips to

imProve your

memory DAnielle BrAFF/heAlth

But even if you’re years away from worrying about senior moments, research shows that memory loss can actually begin as early as your 20s, and it continues as you age. Thankfully, taking a few easy steps throughout your day can help you stay sharp.

in an analysis published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, participants who downed seven or fewer alcoholic drinks total per week had the lowest risk for cognitive impairment, compared with women who didn’t drink at all and those who imbibed more. researchers believe alcohol’s anti-inflammatory properties may be the reason. or it could be that people who drink moderately also tend to lead a healthier lifestyle.

When you don’t floss, your gums become inflamed, making it easier for bad bacteria to enter your bloodstream, explains Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, an associate professor at new york university and author of Smile! once in the bloodstream, the bacteria can cause inflammation throughout your body, including in the brain, which can lead to cognitive dysfunction.








you are what you eat, which is important when it comes to better health in regards to your brain. heAlth



We’ve planted trees, saved tigers and helped little children. What’s next? It’s inspiring to see how an increasing number of companies are taking their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities seriously. Clearly, CSR has progressed beyond traditional notions of being social work, philanthropy or charity and is now a mainstream agenda in thousands of global corporations. It adds value to business and creates a favourable impression in a way that no amount of advertising can do. In fact, it’s even considered a core component in business strategies for the future. On news reports, we can see a rising number of corporate initiatives and sustained efforts taken to preserve the environment, reduce carbon footprints, care for the underprivileged and the welfare of children, and protect endangered animals. These are efforts that certainly won’t go unnoticed. However, one common problem has yet to be properly addressed. And it just happens to be a problem that affects each and every one of us critically, every single day. What have we really done for road safety? Everyday, more than 3500 people become victims of road crashes around the world. In a year, more than a million lives are lost. Over 50 million more suffer injuries and disabilities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic accidents kill more people worldwide than the dreaded Malaria. It’s also the leading cause of death for young people aged 5 to 29. Just last year, Malaysia recorded over 400,000 road accidents with nearly 30,000 injuries and close to 7,000 deaths. The numbers have been steadily rising over the years. Sadly, the ‘victims’ are often people we know – members of our family, friends, relatives, neighbours and even employees. Road crashes are preventable. Most of us have read or know of institutes, groups and associations around the world devoted to ensure

safety of all road users. Even Malaysia has dedicated departments and agencies to ensure road safety. But they need our support to make a difference. Road safety has yet to be fully explored as a CSR initiative in Malaysia, so here’s a real opportunity to save lives. Some of the most respected organisations and people around the world today have answered the call for safer roads, understanding the impact such an initiative can make on the economy, on businesses and communities. It’s interesting to note that not all of these companies and individuals are in road-related businesses; some are simply inspired to help. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg initiated a global call to action on road safety and made a contribution of USD125 million to facilitate various global road safety efforts, particularly in low and middleincome countries. Dato’ Michelle Yeoh, was chosen to be the global ambassador for Make Roads Safe and has made Malaysians proud by being actively involved in many successful road safety initiatives around the world. Clearly, global leaders and members of the international community understand the magnitude of this problem and the need for immediate action. Road safety has been made a key agenda at the United Nations General Assembly and efforts have been stepped up with the formation of the Decade of Action for Road Safety. This inspiring

movement highlights the need for all of us to focus on sustained efforts and on the actual application of plans, ideas and strategies – for the sake of saving lives.

The United Nations General Assembly aims to stabilise and reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at the national, regional and global levels. CSR can make a positive impact on businesses. By ensuring the safety of our most important assets – our employees – we can create a work environment that’s safe, responsible and productive. Considering the fact that all employees are road users and travel for work-related matters, we are simply spending on ourselves. We stand to benefit directly from our CSR investments. Successful organisations also understand the importance of making the right impression. By addressing a pressing social need and responding to a critical problem, and by showing respect for human life – we can create a lasting, favourable impression. As a corporate citizen and an active supporter of road safety for over a decade, Innovate Solutions is inspired to act and make a difference. We have taken a step forward by being the first Malaysian organisation to contribute to the Road Safety Fund for the Decade of Action (read more at and and look forward to help like-minded corporate citizens. Together, and for the sake of each other, we must strive for safer roads. Take your CSR initiatives further and make a difference that would serve your company, your employees and all Malaysians. For more information, please contact

INNOVATE SOLUTIONS SYSTEMS SDN. BHD. (596922-P) Suite 6-1, Level 6, Wisma UOA Damansara II, No.6 Changkat Semantan, Damansara Heights, 50490 Kuala Lumpur. T +603 - 2011 7722 | F +603 - 2011 7733 | W

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Healthy eating lowers your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, but it’s not yet clear if that’s true for Alzheimer’s disease as well. “I can’t write a prescription for broccoli and say this will help – yet,” says Sam Gandy MD, PhD, the associate director of the Mount Sinai Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in New York City. The National Institutes of Health has said there is insufficient evidence that food, diet, or lifestyle will prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not a lost cause though. Here are nine foods that researchers think will keep your whole body – including your brain – healthy. oIL-BASeD SALAD DreSSINGS

“The data support eating foods that are high in vitamin E and this includes healthy vegetable oil-based salad dressings, seeds and nuts, peanut butter, and whole grains,” says Martha Clare Morris, ScD, director of the section on nutrition and nutritional epidemiology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush University, in Chicago. A potent antioxidant, vitamin E may help protect neurons or nerve cells. In Alzheimer’s disease, neurons in certain parts of the brain start to die, which jump-starts the cascade of events leading to cognitive deterioration.


Kale, collard greens, spinach and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E and folate, Morris says. Exactly how folate may protect the brain is unclear, but it may be by lowering levels of an amino acid known as homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine may trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain, but folic acid helps break down homocysteine levels.


Research by Morris and her colleague suggests that foods rich in vitamin E – including avocado, which is also high in the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin C – are associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.


Fibre-rich whole grains are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, which is also loaded with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, olive oil and wine. Research out of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City shows that this diet may be linked to lower risk of the mild cognitive impairment that can progress to Alzheimer’s disease. This type of diet may reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and other vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure – all of which may have a role in increasing risk for brain and heart diseases.


Seeds, including sunflower seeds, are also good sources of vitamin E. Sprinkle them on top of your salad to give your brain a boost.

reD WINe

Studies have shown that people who consume moderate amounts of red wine and other types of alcohol may be at reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease, but it may be that there is something else that tipplers do or don’t do that affects their risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Carrillo says. “People who drink alcohol or eat healthy may be healthier in other aspects of their life, so it is difficult to disentangle whether it’s the healthy diet that protects them versus other healthy behaviour.”


The latest research presented at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston found that blueberries, strawberries and acai berries may help put the brakes on age-related cognitive decline by preserving the brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism, which wanes with age. This mechanism helps get rid of toxic proteins associated with age-related memory loss.


Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). “In the brain, DHA seems to be very important for the normal functioning of neurons,” Morris says. Another plus: Eating more fish often means eating less red meat and other forms of protein that are high in artery-clogging saturated fats.


Although both are high in fat, peanuts and peanut butter tend to be a source of healthy fats. And they are also packed with vitamin E. Both foods may help keep the heart and brain healthy and functioning properly. Other good choices are almonds and hazelnuts.

you STaying young

MPh members get 10% discount. alternatively, enjoy free delivery nationwide when you purchase on:




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MeaLS These recipes are not only delicious and good for you, they are also super-easy to make! heAlth

This is only 30 calories per tartlet, low in fat, and tastes great. Leeks are full of antioxidants that mop up damaging free radicals, a byproduct of metabolism. Ingredients 1 tbsp butter 1 leek, white and light green parts, finely chopped (½ cup) ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped (½ cup) 1 large egg, lightly beaten ½ cup light cream 1 ⁄8 tsp nutmeg ¼ tsp kosher salt 1 ⁄8 tsp freshly ground pepper ¼ cup finely chopped blanched broccoli, squeezed dry 30 prebaked miniature phyllo shells Preparation Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large skillet, melt butter over mediumlow heat. Add the leeks and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (8 to 10 minutes). Remove from heat and set the mixture aside to cool slightly (about 10 minutes). Whisk together egg, cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Once the onion mixture is cool, add to egg mixture. Divide broccoli among shells. Fill each shell about ¾ full with custard mixture. Bake until the custard sets (10 to 15 minutes). Serve warm or at room temperature.


Low-cholesterol french fries? You got ‘em. Baking these peppery sweet potatoes at a high heat ensures a soft interior and slightly crisp and caramelised exterior without all the added fat of frying. Plus, one serving supplies all your daily vitamin A and one-third of your daily vitamin C. Ingredients 6 medium sweet potatoes Cooking spray 2 tsp sugar ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp ground red pepper 1 ⁄8 tsp black pepper Preparation Preheat oven to 500°. Peel potatoes; cut each lengthwise into quarters. Place potatoes in a large bowl; coat with cooking spray. Combine sugar, salt, and peppers, and sprinkle over potatoes, tossing well to coat. Arrange potatoes, cut sides down, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 500° for 10 minutes; turn wedges over. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown.




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Ingredients 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger ¼ cup rice vinegar 2 tsp ground coriander 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground cardamom 2 tsp chili paste with garlic ¼ tsp ground cinnamon 1 ⁄8 tsp ground cloves 6 garlic cloves, minced 1 tbsp canola oil 1 cup diced onion 1 diced red bell pepper 1 diced yellow bell pepper ½ cup chicken broth ¾ tsp salt 1 tbsp cornstarch 2 tbsp water ¼ cup chopped cilantro 4 cups cooked brown rice

3 tbsp ketchup 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce 1 tbsp minced garlic 500g boneless chicken

Preparation Combine the first 10 ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Marinate in refrigerator at least four hours, turning occasionally. Heat oil in a large skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add onion and sauté for four minutes. Add chicken mixture and bell peppers. Sauté for five minutes or until chicken is thoroughly browned on all sides. Add broth and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir well. Add cornstarch mixture to chicken mixture. Simmer for another two minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in cilantro. Serve over rice.


The meat and cheese in traditional ravioli can send calorie counts (and Chicken is lean and tasty. It mixes saturated fat) through savoury and sweet ingredients for the perfect seasoning. As an added the roof. However, using bonus, this dish contains 5 grams of pumpkin keeps this dish iron (nearly one-third of a woman’s at less than 200 calories per serving. And pumpkin recommended daily amount). is rich in fibre, which also helps in maintaining a Ingredients healthy heart. 1 ⁄3 cup hoisin

FOR THE OYSTER SAUCE ¾ cup less-sodium chicken broth 3 tbsp oyster sauce 2 tsp cornstarch 1½ tsp sugar 1 tsp dark sesame oil FOR THE STIR-FRY 1½ tbsp vegetable oil ¼ cup minced green onions 2 tbsp minced garlic 1½ tbsp minced fresh ginger 4 cups small broccoli florets Preparation Combine hoisin through garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal and marinate in refrigerator one hour, turning bag occasionally. Remove chicken from bag, reserving ¼ cup marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Cut chicken into ¼-inch-thick slices; To prepare sauce, combine chicken broth through sesame oil in a bowl. Set aside. To prepare stir-fry, heat vegetable oil in a wok. Add onions, garlic, and ginger; stir-fry 10 seconds. Add reserved marinade, oyster sauce, and broccoli; bring to a boil over high heat; cook 1½ minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken; cook one minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

Ingredients 1 cup canned pumpkin 1 ⁄3 cup grated Parmesan ¼ tsp salt 1 ⁄8 tsp black pepper 24 wonton wrappers 1 tsp salt ½ cup chicken broth 1½ tbsp unsalted butter Chopped parsley Preparation Combine 1 cup pumpkin, 1 ⁄3 cup Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper. Spoon about two teaspoons pumpkin mixture into centre of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water and bring two opposite sides together to form a triangle, pinching edges to seal.


Full of ginger, cumin and coriander, this traditional Indian dish is ideal for spice lovers. It’s prepared with antioxidantrich bell peppers and chicken, which is lower in saturated fat than red meat. Serve it over brown rice rather than the low-fibre white variety. The recipe calls for the meat to marinate for four hours, but feel free to leave it longer to let the spices sink in.

Place ravioli into a large saucepan of boiling water with one teaspoon salt. Cook for seven minutes and drain in a colander. Place ½ cup broth and 1½ tablespoons butter in pan, and bring to a boil. Add ravioli, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.


The BRAHIM’S brand stands for food quality and halal integrity. Brahim’s Holdings Berhad operates the world’s largest halal in-flight kitchen and is the only significant flying F&B Group listed on Bursa Malaysia. Brahim’s Holdings Berhad comprises of a diverse representation of people with integrity and varied capabilities in a culture that embraces multiple points of view and fosters the exchange of innovative ideas. And through our Groupwide commitment to people, performance and excellence, we continue to reward high performers and increase the talent pool in our leadership team. Put simply, we’re making our Group an outstanding place to work so that our customers can benefit from our expertise.

We Deliver Halal Cuisine of the World 7-05, 7th Floor, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P. Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. | Telephone: 03-2072 0730 | Facsimile: 03-2072 0732 |


Laksa is definiely one of Malaysia’s iconic dishes. There are many forms; this recipe is for the coconut milk (or substitute with yoghurt for healthy version) and prawns Nyonya-style version. Want more heat? Just add more sambal once it’s done. Ingredients FOR THE SAMBAL 10 fresh red chillies (100g) 10 stalks dried chilli (20g), soaked 2 tsp belacan 1 tsp salt ½ tsp sugar 6 tbsp cooking oil FOR THE SPICE PASTE 10 shallots, peeled and sliced 3 inch segment old turmeric (30g), skinned 2 inch segment galangal (60g) 8 stalks lemongrass (100g), sliced 20 stalks dried chillies, soaked until softened 10 candlenuts (60g) 4 tsp belacan, more or less to taste FOR THE LAKSA BROTH ½ cup cooking oil 1 quart prawn or chicken stock 2 cups coconut milk (substitute with yoghurt) 20 pieces tofu puffs, scalded in hot water briefly to remove oil 2 tsp salt, or to taste

TO ASSEMBLE Cooked egg noodles Cooked vermicelli 200g beansprouts, blanched 1 cucumber, julienned 500g prawns, boiled and peeled 2 to 3 large fishcakes, boiled and sliced 20 quail eggs, hard-boiled 1 bunch daun kesum, finely sliced Preparation THE SAMBAL: Using an electric blender, finely grind fresh red chillies, dried chillies and belacan. Heat oil. Sauté chilli spice paste until fragrant, stirring continuously. Add salt and sugar to taste. Set aside to serve with finished laksa. THE SPICE PASTE: Using an electric blender, pulse shallots, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, dried chillies, candlenuts and belacan until they form a smooth paste, adding a bit of water if necessary. THE LAKSA BROTH: In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat ½ cup cooking oil. Sauté spice paste until fragrant. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk, tofu puffs and salt. Bring to a quick boil, stirring continuously. Turn off heat once broth comes to a boil. TO ASSEMBLE: Blanch noodles in boiling water and drain. Place some noodles into a bowl, garnish with bean sprouts and cucumber. Ladle hot laksa broth over with some tofu puffs. Top with prawns, fish cake slices, quail eggs, and daun kesum if using. Serve with sambal.


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You can use a variety of ingredients for this – tofu, bean curd, ladies fingers, brinjals, bittergourd, mushroom and red chillies. Some yong tau foo recipes calls for fish and pork meat paste but you can also use readymade fish paste. Ingredients Ready-made fish paste 3 ladies fingers 8 fried tofu puffs A sheet of dried Chinese beancurd sheet 3 bean curds cut half diagonally 1 to 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely 2 to three tbsp oil FOR THE SAUCE 2 cups water 1 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 3 to 4 tbsp taucheo (fermented yellow bean sauce) Preparation Clean the ladies fingers and slit the middle, remove the seeds and pat dry for stuffing later. For the fried tofu puffs, rinse with water and poke an opening at the top surface with either your finger or knife for stuffing later. For the bean curd sheet, soak it in water for a few minutes to wash off the salty layer of the sheet. For the bean curd squares, slit gently in the middle for stuffing later. Stuff the fish paste into the ladies fingers, fried tofu puffs and bean curds. Put some fish paste into the bean curd sheet and wrap it. The thickness or layers depend on you. Place the stuffed ingredients onto a plate and steam for about five minutes. Fry the garlic next until fragrant. Pan fried the steamed yong tau foo for a few minutes. Add the ingredients for the sauce and stir in. Cook over low heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.


This hearty dish may seem complicated but it is actually really easy to make. All you need is fresh fish and the right spices. Ingredients 4 cups oil for deep frying 300g fish head, cut into 4 pieces (or substitute with fish fillet) Salt and pepper to rub into fish head 6 slices ginger 60g mustard pickle-sliced 3 chinese cabbage leaves, cut 1.5 litres fish stock 1 pkt of vermicelli 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges 2 stalks spring onions, cut into 1 inch length 1 cube anchovy seasoning 1 tsp sesame oil 2 tbsp evaporated milk Preparation Deep fry the fish head/fillet to golden in high heat. Drain. Heat little oil and fry the ginger. Add in stock and pickles. Let it boil for 15 mins. Meantime, soak vermicelli in hot water till soft. Add the remain ingredients to the soup. Let it boil for another minute. Season with extra pepper if desired. Lastly add vermicelli and fish head/fillet. Serve hot.

HOUSE+Co At House & Co, the inspiration for their menu is simple. Pauline tells us that, “We compiled recipes from our grandmothers, mothers and friends, cooked and tested them, hence the dishes on our menu. From local favourites of the Nasi Lemak to The Harlot, based on the original Italian puttanesca.The most important fact is that the food has no MSG and only fresh and quality produce employed in every dish.” oPeN DAILy for breakfast + lunch + dinner F138, 1st Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285, Jln Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur Reservations: 03-2094 3139

aSian MainS




get 5 minutes of vigorous exercise

a 2013 study by university of alabama at Birmingham researchers concluded that exercising just one day a week was sufficient to boost endurance and strength in a group of female subjects over the age of 60. after 16 weeks, the women doing resistance and aerobic exercise only once per week improved as much as those doing three times as much. The takeaway message? Small, consistent actions bear results.

habits for


heaLthy shAron BAsArABA/ABoUt heAlth

Contact a friend

Staying connected with friends and family is a major component of better longevity. in fact, the health risks of being isolated were compared to the risks of obesity and smoking by authors of a 2010 review of 148 different studies published in PLoS Medicine. having regular contact with supportive people helps you manage stress, which can keep the stress hormone cortisol from threatening your longevity.

measure your weight & your belly once a week Carrying too much weight on your frame can hurt your longevity, and contribute to serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, and fatty liver disease. While there’s some debate over the pros and cons of daily weigh-ins, checking your weight at least once a week offers an early warning sign that you’ve overindulged, and will help you readjust your daily eating plan before you gain any more.

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have a green Smoothie every Day

numerous studies, including one published in 2011 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have identified the so-called Mediterranean diet as one of the shortest ways to achieve a nutritious eating plan. But getting the five or more servings of fruits and vegetables that this plant-based diet recommends can be a challenge. a green smoothie – a blended mix of leafy greens and fruit – can pack that many servings into one big glass, with no cooking and little effort. if you toss in a source of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber like hemp hearts or chia seeds, you’re well on your way to warding off heart disease, cancer and diabetes. a green smoothie can help you lose weight, too, since boosting the water content within your food keeps you satisfied longer than drinking the same amount of fluid alongside a meal.

meditate for a few minutes

it may seem counter to the spirit of meditation to try to do it quickly, but practising mindfulness, meditation for even brief periods can start to induce the same brain changes and long-term health benefits associated with much lengthier sessions. oxford university psychology professor Mark Williams and his team have developed a mini-meditation that can help provide calm in an otherwise frantic day. Set a reminder on your smartphone, or fill a typically unproductive few minutes in a bank or grocery store lineup by focusing on your breathing, and taking stock of the mood that threatens to overtake you.

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worKouTS for the

MiDDLe age

Flex those muscles: Weight-bearing exercises build strength whether you’re a young adult or a senior citizen. WinA stUrgeon/the stAr You may not be able to keep your looks as you get older, but you can keep your strength and balance. It’s hard to accept middle age. For many folks, it always seems to be about 10 years away. But if you think of living until you’re 90, then it clearly follows that middle age starts around 45. Here’s the hard part: when you’re that age – or older – you need to work out for function, rather than looks. You may be immediately concerned about the cosmetics of underarm jiggle or love handles, but building strength in the muscles under that flab (triceps and obliques) is far more important. The toughest fact to face is that at mid-life, the human body rarely has the same potential to be as tight and toned as it did 20 years earlier. But as your body goes through these changes, your interests change as well. You become less concerned about how you look in swim wear, because it’s more important to be able to take a full flight of stairs quickly, or carry a 18kg child or a heavy bag of pet food. You might not be able to keep your looks as you get older, but you can keep your strength and balance. Increasing your strength and balance will help prevent falls. Falls are the biggest cause of disability in those 65 and older, with broken hips and

traumatic brain injuries topping the list, so it makes good sense to work out for real-life fitness, rather than some imagined cosmetic ideal. There are also other important considerations: Hundreds of studies show that those who train to be functional will usually heal faster after a fall, and will also have less chance of serious injury if they do fall. You don’t have to join a gym or hire a personal trainer to condition your body to be more functional. Make it a part of your everyday life. For example, don’t sit down to put on your socks or pants. Do it while standing up. This, of course, means you’ll have to balance while standing on one foot, then the other. At first, most people won’t be capable of the balance required to perform this action. They will be wobbly or will have to “dab” with the other foot to stay upright. That’s OK. Learning to balance on each foot while the rest of the body is actively moving to put on clothing is extremely functional.

The toughest fact to face is that at mid-life, the human body rarely has the same potential to be as tight and toned as it did 20 years earlier.

You’ll instinctively learn how to handle the mass of your body weight in numerous positions. It’s physical knowledge that can help you prevent a fall if you do get off balance. Weight-bearing exercises build strength whether you’re a young adult or a senior citizen. These movements can be as simple as lying down on the floor and doing pushups, or holding dumbbells on your shoulders and doing squats. In fact, if you search the topic of exercises for older adults, you’ll find hundreds of links to various kinds of fitness routines. Choose a programme that eliminates your weaknesses. If your muscles are stiff and inflexible, as they often become when you don’t move around a lot, look for a routine that explains how to warm up and stretch. Keep your muscles flexible and pliable. Purchase several pairs of dumbbells of different weight, and search for “dumbbell exercises” online. Put together a routine that works major muscle groups such as the front and back of arms and thighs. The best possible plan for every mid-ager is to do some exercise every day. That way, you will live to grow old without actually seeming old, which is a pretty good deal. Mcclatchy tribune inforMation ServiceS




Zumba The

CLaSS that took

My Breath aWay

The latest fitness craze is a bucket load of fun – and sweat. mAry sChneiDer/the stAr

I recently met an 82-year-old woman who goes for weekly Zumba classes. Now, I’d heard about Zumba before I met her, but other than knowing that it is a form of dance exercise, I was a bit fuzzy on the details. As I listened to her raving about the benefits of her latest class, I assumed that it entailed some sort of low-impact activity suitable for people with hip replacements, dodgy knees, high blood pressure and the like. So when she suggested that I give it a try, I smiled and said I would think about it.


Well, I did think about it – for all of two seconds. When it comes to exercise, I’m not the fittest person around, but I was sure that a class that included octogenarians wouldn’t be challenging enough for me. Of course, when I graduate onto a Zimmer frame and squeaky orthopaedic shoes, I might reconsider this option. Life is full of coincidences, and less than a week later I received a flyer in my mailbox advertising Zumba classes not far from my house. The photograph on the front of the flyer showed attractive women in

colourful attire participating in their workout routine. “Come join the Latin-inspired dance fitness craze!” the flyer stated. Since the first class was being promoted as free of charge, I decided to call up the instructor and get more information. A woman with a distinctive South American accent took my call. She assured me that a complete beginner, such as myself, would have no problem taking her class. “Just bring your energy and enthusiasm and you’ll be great,” she said.


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After talking to her, I watched a video clip of a Zumba class on the Internet. When I saw the glamorous women executing exotic dance steps to high-energy Latin music, without so much as breaking a sweat, my enthusiasm wavered ever so slightly. I wondered how a woman in her eighties could participate in such a routine without running the risk of cardiac arrest. And with so many different moves involved, how did she remember what steps went with which piece of music? Heck, as a fifty-something-yearold, my memory is so bad these days that I can’t remember what I had for breakfast the previous day, never mind what comes after, twirl, dip, shuffle, twirl. If it continues to deteriorate at the current rate, I will soon have the memory of a goldfish and will surely forget any new dance steps as soon as I’ve learnt them. I mean to say, if I can’t tell the difference between the tango and the cha cha, I’ll be basically screwed. Undeterred, I showed up at the dance studio for my first lesson the following evening. The class comprised 20 women of various ages and the Colombian instructor, who didn’t have a superfluous ounce of fat on her well-toned body. “Just go at your own pace,” she said, as I filled in the registration form. “It’s not a competition.” She lied to me. Some of those ladies were so competitive that they were eyeing each other up and down, and that was just to check out the workout gear before the class got underway. I stood in a vacant spot in the back row, where no one would be subjected to the sight of my saggy derrière doing a jig. Then just before the class got underway, a woman who looked as if she were in her late seventies arrived and proceeded to stand to the right of me.

“Please don’t stand next to me – I’m not very good at CPR,” I wanted to say but didn’t. To the left of me stood a teenager. “This is only my second class,” she said, after introducing herself. “I’m spatially challenged, so please forgive me if I accidentally hit you with a flailing body part.” That’s all I needed. The Walking Half-Dead on one side, and The Human Windmill on the other. When the pulsating music began, the instructor immediately started executing her steps, while urging everyone to try and keep up. “Let’s start with a gentle warm-up for 10 minutes,” she said, while moving every body part at her disposal.

At the end of 10 minutes, I had crashed into The Human Windmill twice (my fault entirely), while The Walking Half-Dead had kept up with everyone else without so much as a hair out of place. For the next 50 minutes, I flung my body this way and that in what can only be described as a breathless effort that was anything but graceful. When the music finally stopped, I dropped onto the floor, completely spent. Some of the women approached me and offered words of encouragement, basically telling me that I sucked so much that I can only get better.


Gentle? Let me tell you, there was nothing gentle about that warmup. My Columbian instructor had obviously lost something in translation.

how does

I am determined to go back, if only to prove to myself that I’m capable of turning the breathless into the breathtaking. Hopefully, before my memory gets even worse.


menTal healTh? researchers at Duke university demonstrated several years ago that exercise has antidepressant properties. other research has shown that exercise can improve the brain functioning of the elderly and may even protect against dementia. how does exercise improve mental health?

Some studies have found that exercise boosts activity in the brain’s frontal lobes and the hippocampus. animal studies have found that exercise increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

These neurotransmitters have been associated with elevated mood, and it is thought that antidepressant medications also work by boosting these chemicals. exercise has also been found to increase levels of “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” (BDnF). This substance is thought to improve mood. BDnF’s primary role seems to be to help brain cells survive longer, so this may also explain some of the beneficial effects of exercise on dementia. Mentalhealthabout.coM



is it


how can you tell if someone has Alzheimer’s disease? here are 25 signs and symptoms. Kristin KoCh/heAlth

First prize winner of the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) Amateur photography competition by KATHerINe LeoNG PeCK FUN, Malaysia in the 25th Conference of ADI in Thessaloniki, Greece, March 2010.


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MeMory LoSS

Serious memory loss and confusion are not a normal part of ageing. But forgetfulness caused by stress, anxiety or depression can be mistaken for dementia, especially in someone who is older. “We all forget the exact details of a conversation or what someone told us to do, but a person with Alzheimer’s will forget what just happened, what someone just said, or what he or she just said and therefore repeat things over and over again,” says Lisa P. Gwyther, co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: A Family Guide. Memory loss isn’t consistent, and people with Alzheimer’s may forget the dog’s name one day and remember it the next. “Nothing is certain or predictable with most dementias except they do progress,” says Gwyther.


It’s common for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s to seem anxious or agitated. They may constantly move around and pace, get upset in certain places, or become fixated on specific details. Agitation usually results from fear, confusion, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed from trying to make sense of a world that no longer makes sense, explains Gwyther. Certain circumstances can also make the individual more anxious, such as relocating to a nursing home. In addition to agitation, rapid and seemingly unprovoked mood swings are another sign of dementia – going from calm to tearful to angry for no apparent reason.


A person with Alzheimer’s will begin to make decisions that seem silly, irresponsible or even inappropriate. and are a marked departure from past behaviour such as dressing improperly for the weather or no longer being able to assess for themselves what is safe. “The earliest changes in judgment usually involve money. So people who were normally

very cautious with their finances will start spending in unusual ways, like giving money to unworthy strangers like telemarketers, or withholding money they should pay, because they incorrectly believe their utility company is suddenly untrustworthy,” says Gwyther.

MoNey TroUBLe

Alzheimer’s sufferers have difficulty with abstract thinking as the disease progresses, making numbers and money particularly troublesome. While missing an occasional monthly payment isn’t something to worry about (at least in terms of the brain’s health), if your loved one suddenly has difficulty handling money, paying bills, managing a budget or even understanding what numbers represent, it could be a sign of dementia.


A person suffering from dementia often takes longer to complete, and may have trouble finishing, everyday tasks that he or she has done hundreds of times before. For instance, a former whiz in the kitchen may have a problem making his or her signature dish or even remembering how to boil water.


As dementia progresses, your loved ones may have trouble concentrating and find that fairly basic activities take them longer to do than before. In particular, they may struggle to develop and follow a plan, like creating and using a grocery list, following a recipe, or keeping track of monthly bills.


Finding car keys in the freezer, the remote in a sock drawer, or routinely discovering other “missing” items in strange spots is usually a strong indicator that your family member may be suffering from dementia.

Although we tend to associate forgetfulness with the natural ageing process, people with Alzheimer’s don’t just occasionally forget where they left their car keys or reading glasses; they leave them in unusual places and are later unable to retrace their steps to find them. They’ll also become suspicious and accuse someone else of hiding or stealing their belongings.


Disorientation as to time and place, such as forgetting where you live, getting easily lost, and losing track of dates, seasons and the passage of time is a common experience for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Explains Gwyther: “Five minutes can seem like five hours for someone with Alzheimer’s, so a husband may think his wife has been gone for hours or even weeks, even if it’s just been a few minutes, or he might tell his grandchild that he hasn’t seen him in five years, even though he just saw them yesterday.”


As dementia progresses, a person’s language and communication skills diminish. He or she may stop midconversation and not know how to continue. Vocabulary can be especially troublesome. A person may struggle to find the right word; call things by the wrong names (e.g., a car a TV); substitute unusual or incorrect words for familiar words and names (e.g., calling one’s husband “him” or “that guy”); invent new words; or use familiar words over and over again.


Unfortunately, about 60 per cent of people with dementia have a tendency to walk off, wander aimlessly, and become lost, often repeatedly. Restlessness, fear, confusion related to time, the inability to recognise familiar people, places, and objects, as well as stress can all cause wandering.


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The frequent repetition of words, statements, questions or activities is a hallmark of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Sometimes this repetitive behaviour is triggered by anxiety, boredom, or fear of the environment or to achieve comfort, security or familiarity.


People with Alzheimer’s tend to have difficulty reading, judging distances, and determining colour or contrast as time goes on. In terms of perception, they may look in a mirror and think someone else is in the room instead of realising they are looking at a reflection. Dementia can also cause changes in visual and spatial abilities. They can find it tough to distinguish food from the plate it’s on, for instance.


If your relative begins to routinely engage in seemingly pointless endeavours, like opening and closing a drawer, packing and unpacking clothing, pacing, or repeating demands or questions, it may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. Experts say they usually fulfil a need for the person, such as the need to feel productive or busy.


People with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports they previously loved, perhaps because they forget how to perform their favourite pastime, like knitting or playing the piano. It’s also likely that because of all the changes they have experienced, they may feel embarrassed or ashamed and therefore avoid social situations and friends entirely.





About 40 per cent of people with Alzheimer’s also have depression. Unfortunately, identifying depression can be difficult, and the cognitive impairment makes it difficult for the person to articulate his or her feelings.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one may not always recognise you or other family members and friends, which can be heart-breaking. Says Gwyther, “In general, people forget what they just learned or whom they just met, then friends, and family last. But sometimes it’s hard to explain why someone remembers one child’s name and not another. Wellpractised memories and stories last longer than newer ones, but in the very late stages, people may only remember their parents.”


Dementia affects fine motor skills, interfering with one’s ability to button or unbutton clothes or use utensils, like forks and knives. But motor problems, like weakness or trembling hands, or sensory symptoms, like numbness or loss of sensation, may also be a sign of a different type of disease such as Parkinson’s, so it’s important to discuss your parent’s or relative’s specific symptoms with a doctor.


Dressing is difficult for dementia patients, who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the choices or may not remember even how to dress, tie a shoe lace, or buckle a belt. They may wear the same thing over and over again, forgetting that they wore the same outfit the day before.

As the illness progresses, individuals with Alzheimer’s often forget to brush their teeth, bathe regularly, change their clothes and even use the toilet. They may not remember why they even need to bathe or brush their teeth.

People with dementia can literally forget to eat and drink, especially because many Alzheimer’s patients experience decreased appetite and interest in food. On the other hand, others forget that they’ve already eaten and, as a result, eat lunch or dinner multiple times a day. Oddly enough, it’s not unusual for a person with Alzheimer’s to develop new favourite foods and suddenly dislike foods he or she previously loved. Additionally, the person may lose the ability to tell if a food or beverage is too hot to eat or drink, forget to chew slowly and swallow, or not remember how to use eating utensils and revert to eating with their fingers.


In the mid and especially late stages of Alzheimer’s, a person may begin to lose control of his or her impulses and act out in inappropriate or uncharacteristic ways. Additionally, people with Alzheimer’s may forget that they are married and begin to flirt and make inappropriate sexual advances, or they might start taking their clothes off at inappropriate times or in unusual settings.


Some people may go from seemingly irrational suspicions (say that someone else stole their glasses) to firmly held false beliefs or delusions (say that someone is trying to hurt or kill them). Additionally, they may begin experiencing hallucinations or seeing, hearing, smelling, or tasting things that aren’t there. A person may see the face of a former


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friend in a door or hear voices, for instance. According to experts, memory loss and the ensuing confusion associated with Alzheimer’s may cause the person to perceive things in new, unusual ways or become suspicious or misinterpret what he or she actually sees and hears.


Verbal outbursts, including cursing, arguing, name calling, shouting, and threatening, are common, and some patients will even get physical, hitting and pushing caregivers, for example. These aggressive acts often seem to come out of nowhere, but there’s usually a reason behind the behaviour that may not be readily apparent to family members or caregivers, such as physical discomfort, inability to communicate properly, or frustration at a situation.


Certain symptoms, like restlessness, anxiety, agitation, disorientation and confusion, tend to get worse as the day goes on and even continue through the night, often resulting in difficulty sleeping and wandering. Experts call this phenomenon “sundowning,” and it can be due to exhaustion, changes in the person’s biological clock, the inability to separate dreams from reality and a decreased need for sleep that can occur with age. As much as 20 per cent of Alzheimer’s patients experience sundowning at some point, and it’s a common reason that family members decide to put their loved one in a nursing home.


Experts refer to the tendency for Alzheimer’s sufferers to become completely dependent on a certain individual and constantly follow them around as “shadowing.” Shadowing tends to occur at the end of the day or in the evening when the person may begin to feel particularly worn down, confused, and fearful. “It’s often a result of getting scared in a world that is confusing to them, so the patient constantly needs the person they most trust in view,” explains Gwyther. “If that person is out of sight, they may not know how long they’ve been gone or where to find them, so they will follow them around the house and even into the bathroom.”


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are you at



alzheimer’S • More than 65 years of age • If a first-degree relative, example your parent or sibling, has the disease • Female • If you have memory problems or other symptoms of cognitive decline • If you’ve had a severe head trauma or repeated head traumas • Lifestyle and chronic factors like lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, poorly controlled diabetes, a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables, lack of social engagement

iLLneSS that roBS your


Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that causes gradual depletion of brain cells and resultant loss of mental capability. Dr. rizAh mAzzUin rAzAli & Dr. AlAn PoK Wen Kin/the stAr




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Aloysius Alzheimer, a German neuro-pathologist, first described this illness in 1907 in Auguste Deter, a 51-year-old lady who had been experiencing memory, language, as well as psychological problems like hallucination and disorientation. After she passed away, the postmortem of her brain showed presence of abnormal protein deposits that have now become synonymous with Alzheimer’s disease. These abnormal proteins result in loss of connection between nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain, and eventually, lead to the death of these cells. Anatomically, the hippocampus is one of many areas in the brain that play a big role in encoding new memories, and it is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage in Alzheimer’s. Generally, there are three types of Alzheimer’s disease: Young-onset that occurs at age 60 years or younger, which is fortunately rare; late-onset, which is the most common type occurring at age 60 and above; and familial Alzheimer’s disease, entirely inherited and occurs at a much younger age, often in the 40s. The estimated number of people with dementia worldwide in 2013 is 44 million, and there are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year. The forecasted rate of increase is estimated to be more than 300 per cent in India, China, South Asia and the Western Pacific, including Malaysia, where the prevalence of the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease is likely to exponentially increase with the increasing ageing of the population, resulting in substantial financial and social impact on our society. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain, which causes gradual depletion of brain cells and resultant loss of mental capability. The most prominent feature of this disease is

short-term memory loss. Events from long ago are remembered well, but those that have occurred recently are recalled with difficulty. Those with Alzheimer’s may constantly repeat themselves, and forget things that transpired just moments ago. They may also frequently misplace belongings such as their glasses, keys and money. Other symptoms include problems with language, which may present as difficulty in finding the right word for everyday objects, being unable to recognise familiar faces or items, losing the ability to use familiar tools and objects, and having trouble performing complex tasks such as driving and banking. These features may begin very subtly at first, but become more obvious as the disease progresses. As people with Alzheimer’s deteriorate, they will find it more and more challenging to manage their day-to-day lives. They will first lose skills that have been acquired over their lifetime, such as managing finances, cooking meals or using a phone. At more advanced stages, relatively simple activities such as bathing, dressing and toileting, will be impaired. The rate of progression of Alzheimer’s disease varies from person to person. However, there is a persistent and inexorable decline from minimal deficit to complete dependence, at which time the person will lose the ability to walk, speak and control their bladder and bowels. Death occurs at the end, usually from infections such as pneumonia. The time a person with Alzheimer’s has from symptom onset to death, is between five and 15 years (average eight to 10 years). A person with Alzheimer’s may also present with behavioural changes and psychiatric manifestations. The person’s mood may be affected, with the person experiencing depression,

10 SignS alzheimer’S early warning of

1. memory loss for recent or new information – repeats the information frequently 2. Difficulty doing familiar, but difficult tasks, e.g. managing money, medications, driving 3. Problems with word finding, misnaming, or misunderstanding 4. Confused about time or place, e.g. getting lost while driving, missing several appointments 5. worsening judgment – not thinking things through like before 6. Struggle with problem-solving or reasoning 7. misplacing things and putting them in “odd places” 8. erratic in mood or behaviour 9. Changes in personality 10. loss of initiation – withdraws from normal patterns of activities and interests

A timely diagnosis allows a person with Alzheimer’s disease and the caregiver to have the best quality of life possible. 103

14Caring Commandments for person with


1. Don’t ask, “Don’t you remember?” 2. if a person demonstrates a new difficult behaviour, check physical status (dehydration, infection, hearing loss, etc.). if the person’s physical status is normal, check his comfort level (hot, dirty, hungry, etc.). 3. Provide a safe, simple, calm and consistent environment. 4. Break a task/communication down into steps. 5. Provide structured routine, especially activities the person enjoyed in the past. include exercise in the daily routine. 6. Don’t argue with the person; his reality will never be your reality. 7. understand that you may need to accept behaviour and be flexible. Keep in mind that you will not be able to modify all behaviours therefore choose carefully which ones you decide to work on. 8. Distract a person with other activities: have a cup of tea, go for a walk. 9. reassure and praise the person; this will reinforce the behaviour and make it more likely to happen again. 10. employ good communication techniques; allow enough time, make eye contact, repeat statements and questions exactly, use touch, be aware of your non-verbal expressions. give a choice of, “Do you want coffee or do you want tea?” 11. approach from the front; do not surprise the person from behind. 12. Don’t take the behaviour personally, the person is not in control of his behaviour and is likely to forget the incident altogether. 13. note what happens just before the behaviour that may trigger it e.g., an open door causes the person with dementia to want to go outside. Modify the trigger, close the door or camouflage it so the person forgets it is there and will not be stimulated to go outside. also note what happens just after the behaviour and the effect on the person. Was the person upset or reassured? What effect does this have on the person? 14. take care of yourself; you cannot give good care to the person with dementia unless you take care of yourself first!

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anxiety or apathy, or he may develop psychosis, with hallucinations and delusional thoughts. Some people become disinhibited or aggressive, and others may exhibit purposeless repetitive behaviour, such as constantly fidgeting or wandering aimlessly at night. Generally, disturbing conduct becomes more common in moderately severe disease. The enormous physical, psychological and financial impact on the caregivers; however, are not often understood by friends and relatives. Caregivers may not know how to get help or are sometimes embarrassed by these bizarre behaviours of their loved ones. Too often, they try to handle such difficult situations on their own, and this usually results in more frustration and guilt. Often, caregivers have to quit their jobs to give fulltime care to this highly demanding person with Alzheimer’s, and as a result, suffer significant loss of income. The situation may disrupt their future plans and create much conflict within themselves. Alzheimer’s disease is not curable, but there are ways to help caregivers cope and manage a person with this illness. Caregivers need to have a sound understanding of this disease to enhance optimal care, and with pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods, the outcome of care is more likely to be successful. There are a few drugs that can be used to improve cognition, function and behaviour, but these drugs do not change the course of the illness and may not be effective for everyone. Non-pharmacological treatment should be considered in all patients with Alzheimer’s, and it has to be tailored to the individual to achieve a balance, as excessive stimulation or over-activity may be counterproductive. Examples of non-pharmacological therapy include making changes to the environment by moderating noise and other levels of stimulation, using signage, easier access to toilets, well-lit surroundings, improving time orientation by using a prominent calendar/clock, and recreational activities that may enhance quality of life such as exercise, gardening, music, art, pet therapy, etc.


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DiagnoSiS how To PrePare for the visit to the doctor’s

• W rite down what types of problems your family member is having and how often they are occurring. • Bring a copy of his or her health history. • Bring a list of prescriptions, non-prescription drugs, vitamins and herbal remedies that they are taking.

whaT To exPeCT

• A complete physical and neurological exam. • Questions about your family member’s medical and lifestyle history. • Blood and urine tests to rule out other conditions that can mimic dementia like thyroid disease. • A hearing test because hearing loss looks like memory loss when your family member can’t remember something because he never heard you say it. • A test of your family member’s mental abilities looking at memory, problem solving, counting and language. The doctor may also recommend a Ct scan of the brain and an evaluation by a psychiatrist.

The DifferenCe

between alzheimer’s and normal age-related memory changes Someone with normal age-related memory changes

Someone with alzheimer’s disease symptoms

Forgets part of an experience

Forgets entire experiences

often remembers later

rarely remembers later

is usually able to follow written/spoken directions

is gradually unable to follow written/spoken directions

is usually able to use notes as reminders

is gradually unable to use notes as reminders

is usually able to care for own self

is gradually unable to care for own self

Alzheimer’s disease is not curable, but there are ways to help caregivers cope and manage a person with this illness. Avoiding confrontations and using distraction techniques are useful in preventing anger outbursts that usually end with more agitation and irritabilities. Using simple words rather than multi-layered sentences help the patient understand instructions, and thus, help them perform their tasks more efficiently. Knowing the diagnosis earlier means supporting people earlier, and timely and useful information, advice or assistance from either a healthcare professional or support group such as Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM) can help both the person and caregiver cope better as the disease advances. Prompt diagnosis allows for future planning. Early strategising gives time to work through complex legal, financial and personal matters such as making a will, sorting out property issues and making changes to living arrangements. Being diagnosed early also enables people with Alzheimer’s to be actively involved in discussions about their future while they still retain their mental capacity, particularly regarding treatment choices and end-of-life care. This eliminates guesswork and potentially avoids future conflict among caregivers. Therefore, a timely diagnosis allows a person with Alzheimer’s disease and the caregiver to have the best quality of life possible. The goal is for the person to live a good life and stay independent for as long as possible despite having Alzheimer’s disease, as life does not stop with the diagnosis.

alzhiemer’S for DummieS

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alzheimer’s affects


lily fu

The issue of care in Alzheimer’s disease should not focus solely on the patient as caregivers need support too. Jenny ho/ADFm


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LILy’S STory

LILIAN’S STory “Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. Months before that, we had already noticed changes, such as her becoming confused easily, being disorientated about time, feeling agitated over the smallest matters, and worst of all, not being able to carry out the simplest day-to-day tasks, such as going to the toilet. I will never forget the day I woke up to a bad smell coming from mum’s room. I was confronted by an indescribable scene: Mum was lying in bed covered with faeces, completely unaware of the state she was in. When I asked her, she innocently denied making the mess. In tears, I told her, “Mum, just be a good girl, and it will be alright,” and I quietly cleaned everything up. It is both physically and emotionally challenging being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. It has been particularly difficult watching mum’s condition progress so quickly, and having to continuously adapt and learn new skills to cope with her deteriorating mental and physical abilities. Support from other family members is important. It is vital to let them know and understand what you are going through, caring for

someone with Alzheimer’s. Getting them to be more involved in care will help you get a break and reduce your stress. My husband Kwan has been integral in giving me the strength and support throughout this journey. I am very thankful to him for being by my side every step of the way. The first thing a caregiver has to learn is never to argue with someone with Alzheimer’s disease, and to stop trying to correct them. Just go along with what they say, as long as they are comfortable and you are able to give appropriate care. Visits from the family definitely make Mum’s day. It does not matter that she cannot recognise any of us; I believe that she is aware she is loved just by seeing us around her. Today, Mum is already in the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease. She does not complain of hunger or thirst or discomfort. I have to interpret this from the expressions on her face. To me, a simple smile on Mum’s face is worth a thousand words. It is like she is saying, “Thank you” for taking care of her. This helps me deal better with the difficult aspects of caring and gives me the strength to carry on. I would like to say this to Mum: You were there for us throughout the good times and the bad, and now be assured that we will always be there for you. I want you to know that I have always loved you, and will continue to love you forever.”

Who among us would not want to live a long and happy life? We all want to enjoy our golden years in good health, and that means being able to take care of ourselves and remaining physically active and mentally sound. But life does not always give us what we want. What happens when old age brings with it a host of health problems? What do we do if our elderly parents are in this situation and we are unable to look after them for one reason or another? Or for that matter, where do we go when we ourselves reach old age, and we too need to be looked after? In the past when families were large and everyone lived under the same roof, there was always someone around to look after the children and the elderly in the family. However, socio-economic changes have resulted in smaller family size. While in the past there was always someone at home to look after the elderly parents, today they are often left alone at home to fend for themselves when their adult children are at work. What if they fall and hurt themselves? What if they suffer a stroke or a heart

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filial piety? No. Not if they need professional nursing care and we are unable to provide that at home. Not if they have dementia and must be supervised 24/7. Not if it is no longer safe for them to live alone. There are so many things to worry about when an elderly parent with dementia is left alone at home. Did mum remember to take her medication? What if she took more than prescribed and overdosed? What if she fell and lost consciousness? What if she forgot to turn off the gas stove, or lock the front door? What if she wandered off and couldn’t remember her way back? It is our responsibility to make sure that we choose the right home where our parents get the best possible care. I am happy to say ADFM’s Dementia Homecare is the home sweet home for my mum. She is happy there and no longer remembers where her own home is.

attack? Who is there to send them to the hospital or call for an ambulance? That was exactly what happened one Sunday evening in March 2011. I came home to find my mother sprawled on the floor unable to move. I had left her alone to attend a workshop in another state. What if I had returned a day later? At the hospital, X-rays confirmed that my mum had sustained a hip fracture and would require surgery. During her 10-day post-surgery recovery in the hospital, the doctor informed me that my mum was showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. He advised me to get her examined by a geriatrician at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC). All along I had assumed that her memory lapses and occasional odd behaviour were due to old age. My mum was 85 at the time. The six months of post-surgery rehabilitation was a most trying period for both of us. It was my first experience of being the sole caregiver and it left me physically exhausted and emotionally drained. My mum’s failing memory plus her limited mobility meant that she needed constant supervision which I was unable to provide for the long term. I was fortunate to discover the ADFM daycare centre in Section 11, Petaling Jaya. I had read an

announcement in the papers of a talk to be held at the centre. I visited the centre and liked what I saw. The facility was clean and elder-friendly. There were daily activities to engage the clients physically and mentally. The staff were trained and qualified. My mum would be in the company of people her age group, and she wouldn’t have only me for company. My mum was at the PJ daycare centre for three months. When the Dementia Homecare Centre at Telok Panglima Garang started accepting admissions in September 2011, my mum moved in there. She has since settled in comfortably and enjoys the peace and quiet. It has been three years now and my mum regards the centre as her home. She is well taken care of by the staff. I visit her regularly to make sure she has everything she needs. We enjoy chatting and sharing stories. I am also aware that one day she may no longer recognise me. As her condition advances, she will require more nursing care. I am confident ADFM will be able to provide the care and attention she needs. I know I can’t. The traditional family unit has changed with the times. These changes necessitate a change in our mindset too. Does placing an elderly parent in a home reflect a lack of

DAUD’S STory “My father was a retired military officer. Proud to have served the country, he remained a disciplined man. He was a good father and had lived through tough moments in his life. He has survived a major heart surgery, diabetes and benign prostate enlargement. Three years ago, I began to notice that he was increasingly forgetful; he could not remember whether he had taken his medications, meals or his bath. I tried to be patient when he repeatedly asked the same questions throughout the day. A year and a half later, his behaviour began to change; from a mild-mannered person, he became easily irritable and agitated, even for the most trivial matters. It broke my heart to see him scolding my elderly mother. There were times when he would say that he had visits from a deceased family member. At times, I wondered whether he had a serious mental illness. His conversations were always confusing as he seemed to be talking about his past, and after much observation, I realised that he was reliving his days in the army. Then, I began to understand the reason why he got up at four o’clock every


morning and demanded for the main door to be opened – he was getting ready for his early military routines, and of course, telling him that he no longer served the army resulted in anger and frustration. Since late last year, he started to have episodes of urinary incontinence. He would also frequently forget his walking stick, and as a result, he had recurrent episodes of falls. I attributed all these to dementia. Early this year, however, he was admitted to the hospital as there was marked deterioration in his cognition. He was getting more disorientated, increasingly incontinent, and he was unable to control his bowels too. Several tests were performed; a CT brain did not show abnormalities that could have arisen from the falls. A colonoscopy found cancer in his colon. My father passed away a couple of months ago. Caring for him was not an easy feat; it was a very trying period for us, and the emotional turmoil was very real. Although I have guilty moments when I recall the times when I acted harshly towards him as a result of my lack of understanding of this illness, I know that I had tried my best. Love, patience and compassion are needed during such trying times, but taking care of the caregivers themselves is something which should not be overlooked. Without the caregiver, there would be no loved one.”

WILLIAM & JeNNIFer’S STory William: Our mother has always been a cheerful, healthy and loving mum to her 10 children. She became a widow 39 years ago. To us, she was very brave to go through the ups and downs of life during the years after our beloved father passed away. In 2011, my siblings and I started to notice some changes in my mother. She seemed to be having issues with her memory – namely finding words to complete her sentences, and having trouble recalling the names of her children and grandchildren – which she previously had no problems with. Not being able to recall things within her memory also caused her to

william Tan

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become rather frustrated at times. We decided it was time to seek medical advice for our mother’s condition, and the doctor later confirmed that she was in the early stages of dementia. This news was very worrying for our family. We wanted to do all we could to help our mother to get better. The doctor suggested that we find a group of friends who are able to spend more time with her. I started to do some research on the internet regarding dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and this was how I came to discover the ADFM blog and the ADFM Dementia Care Centre in Petaling Jaya. I really thank God for being able to find out about the NGO, ADFM Dementia Care Centre. Our mother was accepted to the PJ daycare centre after the assessment by the Nurse Manager. The daycare was truly a blessing for our mother, and she has attended the ADFM daycare centre for about three years now. As I began to understand my mother’s condition better, I made efforts to spend more time with my mother. I often sit beside her while she is watching her dramas, even though she is struggling to stay awake and not really concerned about what the show is about. I also massage her shoulders

and her hands, making conversations and joking with her. I believe she feels a sense of love through my interactions with her. She has become more responsive to me since attending the daycare centre, and now I understand the methods I can use to get my mother to respond better. The most difficult task for the carer who is taking care of her was whenever she needs to change our mother’s clothes, gives her showers or helps her to the toilet. We really need a person with patience and calm like my mother’s helper, and we greatly appreciate her too. The ADFM daycare centre has provided our mother with another social life outside the house with the help from the nurse manager, assistant nurse manager, nurses and other staff members. There are even activities and exercises added into her routine. As our mother is slowly losing her memory, struggling to complete sentences and not being able to feel when she needs to use the toilet, I understand it is an extremely tough job for the caregivers. For me, as a primary caregiver for my mother, I would like to say thanks to my family and my siblings for their support in making arrangements to take turns to care for our mother,


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Jennifer: Having to look after my mum for a short period was an experience of joy, love, peace as well as guilt, frustration and stressful for me. My British husband says that when mum stays with us there is a calming atmosphere in the house despite her sometimes shouting and screaming at the helper, especially when she needs to go to the toilet for changing. I find that my mum likes to do simple repetitive activities like rolling up measuring tapes, folding up papers and something so simple and mindless – this calms her and makes her more focused. She also loves to read Chinese story books for kids with pictures. Sometimes she cannot read some words but looks at the pictures and I sense that she is making up her own narrative. I find that very sweet. My mum has 10 children and more than 40 grand/great grandchildren. Although mum does not smile or talk much anymore when she has her family around her, her spirit lights up. Our mum is the most gentle, sweet and giving person. She loved cooking for us and it is really sad now to know that she won’t be able to cook anymore. However, I am grateful for the time I can spend with her. Mum can be somewhat disoriented and shouts in the morning, which can be difficult to deal with and to live with her long term. I believe that looking after old people with dementia, the carers need to realise that any shouting by them to us is not personal and is more about themselves. They can be frustrated and feel helpless so it is important to realise this. They are people who need to be loved and cared for and very much part of the family. We give our mum hugs, cuddles and body contact – though she does not say it, she appreciates this particularly from her own children. My husband used to greet her by kissing her hand in the



sacrificing their time and financials for our mother’s needs. Lastly, I would like to extend my greatest thanks and appreciation to those who serve in ADFM and the Exco Committee for being supportive, patience and providing the best care facilities to the persons living with dementia at the daycare centre.

morning and after a while when she sees my husband walking towards her she automatically raises up her hand so it can be kissed! We joke that she has become “Queen Siew Poh”! It is a privilege to have a parent who lives to an old age – and this we must be grateful for. None of us knows how long we will be around and I know that we will look back with fond memory the times we spend with the one who brought us into this world. Though challenging at times, my mum’s long life is a real blessing to her family – a family she still heads to this day.

AGNeS’ STory With heavy heart I am sharing how I helplessly watched my sister Sally changed from a bubbly independent lady into a frail woman who is unable to look after herself even in her early 50s. She had to take early retirement when she realised she couldn’t handle her normal office work. At her late 40s, she complained of frequent forgetfulness. As her sibling, I didn’t pay serious attention to her complaints and thought it was due to work pressure and the stress having to take care of her child who

has one type of neurological disorder disease. Soon from a mild-mannered lady, she gets easily agitated and very temperamental. Her child became her victim. Her spouse frequently stayed late at work. Her cry for help became often, complained of being tired and lost her interest in cooking. She had two car accidents while rushing to work. Her anxiousness and complaints of constant fear were interpreted by me due to stress or pressure. How wrong I was. Soon she was exhibiting symptoms of early dementia similar to that of another sister. I was alarmed. She stopped work and refused to have a proper diagnosis by psychiatrist. Probably both husband and wife were in denial stage. Meanwhile I tried to help her with breathing exercise, arm stretching and walking. She refused to move her left arm and complained pain in this arm. Her left arm was constantly jerking and she did almost everything with her right arm only. Later, she lost her sense of direction too. The referral letter from her husband’s company GP for her to be referred to Makmal Memori was turned down. To the GP at the public hospital, she was too young to be referred to memory lab. Finally, with a referral from another doctor, Sally managed to see

Sm noor

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a geriatric consultant at the memory lab. I recalled that I was reprimanded by the geriatrician for bringing a young lady and not an older adult to see him. However, with the complete medical check-up and a CT brain scan, Sally was diagnosed with having dementia. Unfortunately, Sally did not continue further follow-up at the memory lab. I tried giving her some multivitamins but her condition deteriorated very fast. She was unable to bathe herself or wear her clothes with her use of one arm for nearly two years. In and out of delirium and disorientated, she could not recognise her own daughter occasionally. Mirrors had to be covered or removed. By the age of 54, her MRI showed shrinkage of her brain. Her husband had to stop work to take care of her full-time as she was now completely dependent on him for her daily activities. Watching her condition worsen, her husband was showing sign of depression and became more withdrawn. It was heartbreaking to see her deteriorating at such an alarming stage. Doctors at HKL diagnosed her as having dementia/AD with Parkinsonism. To rule out Huntington’s disease, I requested a further test on genetic analysis and also due to my family history with another sister who

is at terminal stage of Alzheimer’s and another brother is showing the earlier symptoms similar to that of Sally. Dr. Ch’ng of HKL told me my three siblings’ blood samples indicated the presence of a mutated gene, which probably causes the early onset of Alzheimer’s. Even though the Alzheimer’s is due to hereditary here, but with early medical treatment and good care management its rate of deterioration can be slowed down. --------------------------------------------The mutated gene was found at 14q24.3 with AAA instead of GAA. This mutated gene was not the normal variants that appeared in the Alzheimer’s and FTD mutation database. I was informed that such mutation was the first case scientifically proven in a family in Malaysia. It was supposedly the second family in the world with such mutated gene, the first proven case was a family in Columbia.


SM Noor’S STory Of the many diseases and problems that can come with old age, dementia and Alzheimer’s feel like the most ironic, for the demented, at least during the initial stages, show no signs of physical infirmity that might elicit sympathy or empathy. Individuals with Alzheimer’s are clearly unwell, and their families and

close ones know this, but so long as their physical movements remain unimpeded, people outside of the close inner circle may not immediately suspect that there is anything wrong. And this is where our healthcare system could really do better. That we are all the beneficiaries of good healthcare services is not in doubt; most of us need only show up at a hospital clinic to qualify for a health check and subsequent follow-ups, and for pensioners, the prescription can filled at the hospital pharmacy without incurring major costs. This is good, ensuring that when the elderly need access to healthcare, they are freely able to get it. What is a problem is when hospitals are not prepared to accommodate the elderly patient who is of able body but not of sound mind. It is a straightforward matter to treat visible symptoms and cure an ache or a pain. But patients with dementia may not even be able to share correct medical history. It is understandably difficult for doctors and nurses to deal with such patients, especially if they are not yet diagnosed as having dementia, but there should be procedures in place for healthcare workers to recognise possible signs of dementia and the ways with which to respond without exhibiting impatience. Our hospitals need to implement systems that are more senior-friendly, and offer more direct assistance to families and caregivers. A patient with dementia cannot be alone during a visit to the doctor’s, which means that allowances must be made to have a caregiver accompanying the patient at all times. There needs to be better planning of clinic locations within hospital compounds; reduction in waiting time to see the doctor, services to assist senior patients in getting themselves to the hospital to obtain their prescriptions, and monitors who might assist the older dementia patient who lives alone, or unaided at home. And as there is the inevitable tendency of Alzheimer’s patients to wander, there has to be better utilisation of technology to aid in tracking them down. There has to be support from the police as well, in making them aware that there must be an immediate response to search for a dementia patient who has wandered and is now lost.


About Alzheimer’s | Sharing No one thinks that they will one day grow old and become reliant on others. No one wishes to be that old person who walks out of the house one morning and fails to find their way home. But it happens, and we need to implement better procedures and be prepared as a society to do more to assist when the old need help.



One of the most challenging times in caregiving for my mother, an Alzheimer’s patient, was when she lost her language skills. Communication was difficult and she could not verbalise her needs as she could not find the words. The toughest times were when mum could not tell what ailed her. I would touch her forehead to check for fever, then her stomach, and ask her if it ached. I would be frantic whenever she refused food. Most times, at the clinic or hospital, I would be the one answering questions the doctor asked her. Somehow, the doctors and I managed to get the proper treatment for mum. The hospital stays became more frequent in the advanced stage of her illness after she stayed full-time at a nursing home. But the beauty of the hospitalisation was that the nurses and doctors would come away impressed by mum. I believe they felt a sense of achievement in having cared for and treated an Alzheimer’s patient. But the bulk of my caregiving journey with mum was not the hospital or clinic visits, but the

memorable travels abroad with her. I would opt for the “free and easy” flexi-packages; it would be too rushed if it was with a tour group. Mum and I had many fun adventures together. We toured Sydney and Melbourne in 1998, the year mum was diagnosed with the illness. The symptoms started in 1994 when Dad passed away but I didn’t know the signs then as awareness of the disease was low. After the diagnosis, I quit my job to care for mum full-time. In 2000, I went back to work while mum went to daycare, first at my cousin’s then at a daycare centre. I took mum on a London and Paris tour in 2002 on two years of hard-earned savings. The strolls in the parks were heavenly and we gorged on succulent fish ‘n’ chips at Brighton Pier, south of London. Two years later, I won an award for one of my articles. The prize was a one-week holiday for two, allexpenses paid, to the French Alps. We stayed at Montreaux, Switzerland, and saw a fair mix of old-charm Swiss towns and modern cities. We touched base with France at Chamonix-Mont Blanc and took the cable car up to Mount Brevant. We savoured the walks along the Montreaux lakeside promenade, and feasted on ice creams and fresh fruits. In 2006, we toured Perth, Australia. Mum and I were part of the Malaysian group of delegates to the 4th Global Conference on Buddhism. I don’t think mum was the oldest delegate there but I believe she might have been the only one with Alzheimer’s. Because of mum and her bubbly nature, I also got to enjoy the

VIP treatment showered on her. That was the last overseas travel with mum. In July 2007, we flew to Penang to visit a caregiver support group friends there. She was on a wheelchair by then, and still accorded the VIP treatment of “first in, last out”. I will miss all this VIP treatment. When mum was diagnosed with the illness, we were living in our single-storey terrace house of 30 years in Klang. We moved to a five-storey walk-up apartment in 2000 so that my cousin could care for mum when I went back to work. But the one flight of stairs to our first-floor unit in Puchong gradually proved difficult for mum’s weakening knees. So in 2002, we rented a double-storey linked house in Serdang to be even closer to my cousin. Mum occupied the ground floor while my haven was on the second. After six years, we moved to a similar house just five doors from my cousin. Mum was still queen of the first floor, and she never encroached upon my upstairs sanctuary. We were both possessive of our territories. Mum passed away on July 5 following complications from a tube-feeding insertion procedure. We would have celebrated her 82nd birthday on November 4. It has been an amazing 20-year journey with mum, complete with ups and downs, and tears of joy and grief. The caregivers’ group of the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation of Malaysia has been a stalwart of support since it started in 1998. Now, I have moved on to a new journey with my little goddaughter. We have a generation gap of 50 years but we have embarked on the same hug-hug, kiss-kiss routine that I had with mum. She insists that I dress in pink to match her style. Since the little one started nursery school early this year, she has been asking me all kinds of questions, over and over again, every day when I walk her home after school. “Why today so hot?” “Why no umbrella?” “Why didn’t drive car?” “What happened?” I believe the curious child is testing my communication skills in the most challenging ways but I do manage to get the last word in, most times. Thank you mum, for the insightful lessons in getting the message across.





PerSonaL eMotionaL

StreSS Caregiving




About Alzheimer’s | Sharing

10 SymPTomS

of Caregiver STreSS

Alzheimer’s not only affects the person with the disease; it affects the entire family. The greatest burden is placed on you, the caregiver. The personal and emotional stress of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s are enormous and you need to plan ways of coping with the disease for the future. Understanding your emotions will help you successfully cope with the person’s problems as well as your own. Some of the emotions that you experience may be grief, guilt, anger, embarrassment, loneliness and possibly others.


This is a natural response for someone who has experienced a loss. Because of Alzheimer’s, you may feel that you have lost a companion, friend or parent, and often grieve for the way the person used to be. Just when you think you have adjusted, the person changes again. It may be devastating when the person no longer recognises you. Many caregivers have found that joining Alzheimer support groups are the best way to get help to keep going.


It is common to feel guilty, for being embarrassed as the person’s behaviour, for anger at the person, or for feeling that you can not carry on and are thinking about nursing home placement. You may find it helpful to talk to other caregivers and friends about the feelings.


Your anger may be mixed. It may be directed at the person, yourself, the doctor or the situation – all depending on the circumstances. It is important to distinguish between your anger at the person’s behaviour – which is the result of

the disease – and your anger with the person. It may help to seek advice from friends, family and a support group. Sometimes, people feel so angry that they are in danger of hurting the person they care for. If you feel like this, you must seek professional help. You may find yourself taking on the person’s responsibilities, such as paying the bills, housekeeping, cooking. This increase of responsibilities can be very stressful. It may be helpful to talk over your feelings with other family members or a professional.


You may feel embarrassed when the person displays inappropriate behaviour in public. The embarrassment may fade if you share these feelings with other caregivers who are experiencing similar occurrences. It also helps to give explanations about the illness to friends and neighbours, so that they will better understand the person’s behaviour.


Many carers withdraw from society and are confined in and around their homes with the person with AD. Being a caregiver can be lonely, you may have lost companionship with the person and lost other social contacts due to the demands of being a caregiver. Loneliness makes it hard to cope with the problems of caregiving. It is helpful to make it a priority to maintain friendships and keep social contacts. Sharing iSSue 6 SepteMber 1999

1. Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who’s been diagnosed. I know Mum is going to get better. 2. anger at the person with alzheimer’s or others, anger that no cure exists or that people don’t understand what’s happening. If he asks me that one more time I’ll scream! 3. Social withdrawal from friends and activities that once brought pleasure. I don’t care about getting together with the neighbours anymore. 4. anxiety about facing another day and about the future. What happens when he needs more care than I can provide? 5. Depression that begins to break your spirit and affects your ability to cope. I don’t care anymore. 6. exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. I’m too tired for this. 7. Sleeplessness caused by a neverending list of concerns. What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself? 8. irritability that leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and actions. Leave me alone! 9. lack of concentration that makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks. I was so busy, I forgot we had an appointment. 10. health problems that begin to take a mental and physical toll. I can’t remember the last time I felt good. if you experience any of these signs of stress on a regular basis, make time to talk to your doctor.


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Alzheimer’s Caregiver About Alzheimer’s | Sharing


people with Alzheimer’s disease often find it difficult to express themselves and understand others. they may: • Have difficulty finding the right words • Use familiar words repeatedly • Invent new words to describe familiar objects • Frequently lose their train of thought • Experience difficulty organizing words logically • Revert to speaking in a native language • Curse or use offensive words • Speak less often • Rely on nonverbal gestures


• S how that you are listening and trying to understand what is being said • Maintain eye contact • Encourage the person to continue to express thoughts even if he or she is having difficulty • Be careful not to interrupt • Avoid criticising, correcting, and arguing • Be calm and supportive • Use a gentle, relaxed tone of voice • Use positive, friendly facial expressions • Always approach the person from the front, identify yourself, and address him or her by name • Speak slowly and clearly • Use short, simple, and familiar words • Break tasks and instructions into clear, simple steps • Ask one question at a time • Allow enough time for a response • Avoid using pronouns and identify people by their names • Avoid using negative statements and quizzing (e.g., “you know who that is, don’t you?”) • Use nonverbal communication such as pointing and touching • Offer assistance as needed • Don’t talk about the person as if he or she wasn’t there • Have patience, flexibility and understanding


as a

Caring for someone with dementia often requires a great deal of time and patience, and it can cause great stress to the caregiver, particularly as memory loss progresses. If you can get help relieving your care-giving burden, you may be able to provide more quality care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, and which may lead to less troubling behaviours typical of someone with dementia. Helping your loved one improve his or her self-care may in turn help ease some of your physical and emotional stress.

enTer Their worlD. instead of trying to correct a person with alzheimer’s disease, ask them simple questions about their statements, even if they seem strange or are about a person who is no longer living, etc. This will make you and your relative less frustrated. STriKe a balanCe. encourage as much independence as possible. help the person by prompting or cueing them to do things for themselves, when possible, but realise that you will need to step in if your relative’s safety or wellbeing will be compromised in any way. geT SuPPorT. enlist the help of family and friends to spend some time with your relative, if possible, to give you respite. Join a local support group for people who care for those with dementia/alzheimer’s disease to share their stories and to know that you are not alone. TaP inTo reSourCeS. Find professionals in your area to assist with practical, yet emotional tasks, such as making senior care decisions, elder law issues/Power of attorney, asset management or creating a will. DeCiDe on aSSiSTanCe. Family caregivers often find they are spending quantity time versus quality time – doing the shopping, taking the relative to appointments, cleaning versus spending time with their relative. enlist the help of a professional caregiver for the everyday tasks so that you can spend time with your loved one and appreciate them. environmenTal DiSTraCTionS, such as street noise, a loud television or radio, can lead to agitation or anxiety. it is important to provide a positive and comfortable environment. uSe effeCTive CommuniCaTion when speaking to someone with alzheimer’s disease or dementia. address the person by name and ask one question at a time. Be aware of your rate of speech, your pitch and tone – speak slowly using short, simple words. avoid arguments. uSe PoSiTive boDy language such as touching foreheads. greet the individual with relaxed facial expressions and shoulders. if you are tense, the person with dementia or alzheimer’s disease may pick up on it.



The STar

you neeD the Care too

Caring for someone with dementia requires a great deal of time and patience. take precautionary steps to safeguard yourself from burning out. Jenny ho/ADFm CArING For yoUrSeLF

For some carers the family is the greatest source of help; for other caregivers the family is the biggest source of distress. It is important to accept help from other members of the family if they are available and not to carry the whole burden of caring on your own. If you are feeling distressed because your family members are not helping, and may even be critical because they lack understanding about Alzheimer’s, if may be helpful to call a family meeting to discuss the care of the person.

SHAre yoUr ProBLeMS

You need to share your feelings about your caregiving experiences with others. If you keep them to yourself, it may be more difficult for you to look after the person with Alzheimer’s. If you can realise that what you are experiencing is a natural

response to your situation, it will be easier for you to cope. Try to accept support when it is offered by others, even if you feel you are troubling them. Try to think ahead and have someone to turn to in an emergency.

what is causing the breakdown and discuss it with them. Remember that relationships with others can be a valuable source of support for you. This can prove to be an asset for both you and the person with Alzheimer’s.


It will help you to seek advice concerning your changing role and the changes that occur in the person with Alzheimer’s.


MAKe TIMe For yoUrSeLF

How much can you take before it becomes too much? Most people will come to realise how much they can take before they reach the point where the caring becomes too demanding. If your situation is too much to bear, take action by calling for help to prevent and avoid a crisis.

It is essential that you make time for yourself. This will allow you to spend time with others, enjoy your favourite hobbies, and most importantly – enjoy yourself. If you need a longer amount of time away, try to find someone to take over the caring for you so that you can have a rest.


reMeMBer yoU Are IMPorTANT Too

Do not blame yourself or the person with Alzheimer’s for the problems you encounter. Remember, the disease is the cause. If you feel your relationships with friends and family are dwindling away, don’t blame them or yourself. Try to find

You are important to yourself, and your are an important person in the life of the person with Alzheimer’s. Without you the person would be lost. This is another reason why it is so essential to take care of yourself.


FCW Holdings BerHad FCW Holdings Berhad was incorporated on 28 November 1957. On 17 August 1972, the Company was listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad. The principal activities of the Company are that of investment holding and provision of management services. The Company’s subsidiaries are involved in the business of property rental, contract manufacturing and wholesaler of cosmetics, toiletries and household products; while its associate company’s core activities are that of manufacturing and marketing of power, telecommunications cables and wires.

Business Office: No.2, Jalan Murai Dua, Batu Complex 51100 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA Tel: (603)-6259 3905 Fax: (603)-6259 3925 Email:

alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (aDFM) Find out more how ADFm helps those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease as well as the support available for loved ones.

ADFM is a non-profit organisation (NGO) with taxexempt provisions for donations that was founded in 1997 prompted by the growing concern to meet the needs of people with Alzheimer’s Disease and the needs of their families. It is structured to ensure the accountability and proper governance of funds being raised for ADFM. Our Patron is Puan Sri Wendy Ong. The Board of Trustees is an independent body that oversees the utilisation of funds raised for ADFM. The Executive Committee – comprising people from various fields including corporate figures, social workers and medical specialists – represents the main management and operational team is responsible in the planning and implementation of ADFM programmes and activities.

oUr oBJeCTIveS

• Creating publicity and awareness of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia through public education • Giving support and guidance to families and caregivers of persons living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia • Providing guidance and training to volunteers and people who are involved in the care of persons living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia • To facilitate the setting up of Caregiver Support Groups nationwide for caregivers of persons living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia • To provide support facilities and respite care through the setting up of daycare and homecare centres nationwide • To promote and disseminate research findings on Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia • To generate and raise funds to promote the above objectives

Alzheimer’s by the Numbers

ABOUT ADFM | Sharing

4sec every

someone in the world develops dementia.

44mil there are now

people worldwide living with the disease, 62 per cent of which live in low and middle-income countries.


this number is expected to reach over

by 2030.

by 2050, this number will triple to


As a result, dementia will be the most serious health crisis of the 21st century.

in malaysia, based on un data of the projected population of over


people, the number of people with dementia is estimated at 123,000 in year 2015 to over 261,000 in year 2030 and 590,000 by the year 2050.


About ADFM | Sharing

ADFM ACTIvITIeS THe ADFM SeCreTArIAT The ADFM Secretariat at ADFM headquarters (Rumah Alzheimer’s) at No. 6, Lorong 11/8E, 46200 Petaling Jaya oversees the administrative, activities and support functions of its daycare centre located on the ground floor of Rumah Alzheimer’s and the homecare centre in Telok Panglima Garang. Currently, it is the information centre on Alzheimer’s and Dementia in Malaysia. Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is a central activity of ADFM due to low awareness among Malaysians. The support services implemented through our outreach programmes are: • To conduct nationwide public education on awareness of brain health and early detection through media, public seminars, forums, talks, exhibitions and national events. • To conduct training courses on Dementia Care for family caregivers and domestic helpers. • Information dissemination via its Resource Library, ADFM National Caregivers’ Support Network and official Website. • To conduct monthly educational talks and caregiver sharing session held at HQ Dementia Centre. Similar activities are also being planned by its Local State Support Groups in Penang, Ipoh, Johor and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. • To conduct professional training workshops for professional healthcare workers under their continuing education training. • To conduct in-house training to ADFM Team of Nurses to manage its daycare centre and dementia homecare centre. • HELPLINE Support under the ADFM National Caregivers’ Support Network • Counselling services for caregivers • To provide attachment for practical training to nursing and medical students/ researchers, and social workers on dementia care.

MULTIMeDIA LIBrAry & reSoUrCe CeNTre ADFM Library in Rumah Alzheimer’s with its collection of books, videos, newsletters, training materials, journals, etc, provides resource information on Alzheimer’s disease and dementias to caregivers, research students, healthcare professionals, paramedics and volunteers. As knowledge is crucial in the handling and management in dementia care, we also intend to expand our Resource Library. It is our objective to make it the Centre of Excellence on Dementia and allow excess to this platform to all stake holders including people with Dementia, their caregivers, professionals, volunteers and students. ADFM AND STATe SUPPorT GroUPS IN MALAySIA We are instrumental to help in the setting of support groups throughout the country. Presently, we have support groups in various states including Penang, Johor, Melaka, Perak and Sabah. We continue to explore the possibility of support groups to be set up, especially in the East Coast States. Caregiver Support Groups are essential to caregivers’ well-being, emotionally and physically. Joining a Caregiver Support Group is one of the most important steps you can take if you are a caregiver to a person living with dementia. ADFM considers the establishment of Support Groups as a key objective for the following reasons: • Support groups provide a safe, secure, and welcoming environment that can help release tension and stress for the caregivers. • Through interaction with each other, caregivers can get practical tips and coping strategies. • Forums and lectures conducted by Specialists for the caregivers impart valuable information about Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. • Because of their mutual situations, caregivers may bond and develop new and beneficial friendships.


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ADFM TrAINING ProGrAMMeS The symptoms and behaviour resulting from Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia can be bewildering, extremely stressful and extremely traumatic to caregivers who lack understanding and knowledge of what their afflicted loved ones are experiencing. Therefore, the provision of training and guidance in the care and treatment of persons living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia to caregivers, professionals and volunteers is one of ADFM’s most important objectives. These are some of the training Programmes for various categories of caregivers that were conducted under the auspices of ADFM: > Forget-Me-Not Project on “Dementia Care Training” This project was funded by CIMB Foundation under their community link programme. This enabled the engagement of Lynda McNab, a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Older Adult Mental Health with extensive practical experience in dementia care at Maudsley Hospital, South London UK. She played an active role in Dementia Care Training, public/seminars during her two months’ attachment to ADFM: • Conducted dementia care training workshops for ADFM Nurses from the Daycare Centre and the Dementia Homecare Centre. • Public talks/seminars on dementia care to further promote awareness and dementia care in Malaysia.

> Public Seminar on “Person Centered Care & Dementia Care” A one-day video aided public seminar with emphasis on person centered care was conducted by Dr. Ng Li-Ling, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, and Dr. Philip Yap Lin Kiat, Senior Consultant Geriatrician from Singapore, which was attended by nearly 200 participants to a packed hall. > A 3-Day Professional Training Workshop on “Care of People with Cognitive Impairment” This training workshop was conducted by Dr. Gemma Law from Hong Kong, which was attended by 55 healthcare participants from the government and public sectors. On the second day, Dr. Ravindran Ramesh, Scientific Liaison Officer from Novartis Malaysia facilitated a threehour video aided session on Pharmacological Treatment Options for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, and The Management of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD). On the third day, participants were divided into 10 groups for case discussions. Each group demonstrated their learning and understanding through applications in the case study session.


aDFM neeDS you! you too can lend a helping hand to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. support ADFm in its activities and fundraising events.

The success of ADFM not only rests on its members but also with the support of the community it serves. With a commitment to improve people’s understanding of the disease and its effects not just on patients but also caregivers, ADFM works closely with volunteers and other organisations to achieve this goal. Because, together, we can create a Malaysian society that is well informed of the disease as well as what it takes to help those afflicted with it. There are various ways for you to be part of ADFM: volunteer. Support. Donate.


If you would like to be directly involved with ADFM, why not sign up as a volunteer? Drop us a line at office. and a representative will be in touch with you to share how you can be part of ADFM as a volunteer.


Your contribution to ADFM means a lot, especially for patients and their caregivers. Should you be able to help ADFM out in whatever way possible, please let us know. Every little bit counts. Or why not help us spread the word on our activities? The more people involved, the greater the awareness!


At ADFM, we are constantly looking for ways to enrich the lives of our patients, their caregivers as well as our volunteers through training, workshops and community projects. Donations from the general public make this possible for ADFM. If you would like to make a contribution, contact us at 03-7956 2008.


let us make a difference! Thank you and our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to all our donors over the years.

Donations by Cash or Cheque can be made direct to: Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation CIMB Bank account no. 800 2293277 By post, cheque should be crossed and forward to: Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia, No. 6, Lorong 11/8E, Seksyen 11, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

About ADFM | Sharing

> Training Workshop on “Living with Dementia” A one-day in-house training workshop on Living with Dementia was conducted by Sharon Soon for ADFM Nurses from the Daycare and Dementia Homecare Centres. > First Aid Training Workshop This one-and-a-half day in-house practical workshop was conducted by Sharon Soon for ADFM Nurses from the Daycare and Dementia Homecare Centres, and the volunteers. The participants were divided into groups during the hands-on case demonstration sessions. The regular training programmes to be conducted are: > Training on “Dementia Care” A four-module hands-on training workshop for family caregivers and professional caregivers will be conducted in end November/ early December. This on-going training programme aims to meet the growing needs to equip the caregivers about information on dementia, care-giving skills and coping strategies for caring people with dementia. > Training on “essential of Dementia Care” Another training workshop is the Essential of Dementia Care for domestic helpers who are the main helpers to equip them the essential knowledge and the skills in caring for a person with dementia at home environment. This training workshop is rescheduled to commence in early 2015 in English and BM. > elective Modules on Caring for a Person with Dementia This training workshop comprising of several elective modules aimed at equipping the domestic helpers with the essential basic practical knowledge and skills in dementia care. At the initial stage, three Elective Modules will be conducted as indicted: • EVERYDAY CARE The training covers topics in managing daily hygiene and grooming, e.g., bathing, skin care, bladder care and bowel care. Nutrition and managing meals will also be covered. • MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES The training includes how to engage dementia persons in meaningful activities • FALL PREVENTION The training will prepare participants on creating comfortable and safe environments, transferring of patient/changing position, prevention and management. The domestic helpers may choose to attend all the above three, or any one of the elective modules.

NATIoNAL ALZHeIMer’S CAreGIverS’ SUPPorT NeTWorK Due to its geographical divide, it is expensive and not practical to start a support group in every state. Because of this we initiated the National Alzheimer’s Caregivers’Support Network – a virtual borderless, timeless and limitless platform, which is available to anyone in the country. Today, we have a membership of more than 1,000 and we intend to promote this network with the assistance of other Non-Governmental Organizations especially in the states where there is no support group. Any caregivers can then have access to other caregivers in the country to share ideas and have discussions with them. The platform is a powerful platform that has the capability to increase our reach to people in need of our assistance. While keeping our cost low, we can now be able to reach out to as many people as possible in the country just with a click of a computer button. It is our intention to eventually link this to our Alzheimer’s Information Centre – our Multimedia Library and Resource Centre. The ADFM Dementia Helpline at 03-7931 5850 also provides support, information and referral services. TrAINING CeNTre At the new centre we will also house a specially designed training centre to cater for training of nurses, volunteers and caregivers. Knowledge is crucial in quality dementia care and we continually organise in-house training course to equip our staff with good care practices. To meet the growing needs to equip the caregivers about information on dementia, caregiving skills and coping strategies, we are planning to conduct a four-module hands-on training programme titled Dementia Care to help caregivers to manage their love ones at home. We are also planning to conduct another hands-on training programme for foreign and domestic maids caring for people with dementia in English and BM. Other training programmes being planned are specially structured elective modules to meet the everyday care of people with dementia.


Sharing | About ADFM


The daycare service is to keep our dementia clients mentally, physically and socially engaged them by using different non-pharmacological therapies to delay the AD client’s deterioration and maintain their well-being through various activities. It is also to release the caregivers’ burden by giving them some respite. The daycare centre caters for about 20 to 25 clients daily. At present, we have more than 50 registered clients. To enable as many Alzheimer’s people benefit from our services, we restrict the number of days they can attend our daycare services in our admission of new Alzheimer’s clients. The daycare services provide a venue for our clients to have social interactions with one another under the supervision of our trained nurses. The daily mental and physical stimulation therapy programmes are specially planned by occupational therapists on dementia care. The centre is oversees by a qualified nurse manager with the help of qualified nurses. Due to the care and attention required by the AD clients, we try to maintain a staff to client ratio of 1 to 4. It is our hope that with the building of our new dementia daycare and training centre, we are to increase the quality and quantity of care for people with dementia. The daily activities at the Daycare Centre: Brain Gym Exercise Peddling Exercise Bingo Art and Crafts Mahjong Brain Gym Karaoke Bowling Pebble Walk LoCATIoN The operating days and hours are: Days: Mondays to Fridays (closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public gazetted holidays) Time: 8am to 5:30pm Tel: 03-7956 2008, 7958 3008, 7931 5850


About ADFM | Sharing

DeMeNTIA HoMeCAre CeNTre • Provides 24-hour nursing care, full board and lodging • Daily mind and body stimulating activities

We also help started a Dementia Home in Telok Penglima, which is run by a team of qualified staff under the supervision of the nurse manager. Besides helping conduct similar activities at the home we to make sure of a staff to client ratio of about 1 to 2 because of the greater demand for care at the home. LoCATIoN PT 715, Jalan Pandan 26 42500 Telok Panglima Garang Selangor, Malaysia Tel: 03-3122 6908 Enquiries: 03-7956 2008, 7958 3008

ProPoSeD 3-STorey DeMeNTIA DAyCAre & TrAINING CeNTre

The most urgent needs are for a larger centre that can meet the demands for ADFM’s respite care service, and the need for added space for training, conferences and workshops. ADFM therefore plans a new centre in PJ Old Town. Funds for this new centre are in the process of being raised. One of the fundraising events is the Konsert Amal DiRaja: Forget Me Not held on 5 December 2014 at the KLCC Plenary Hall, featuring the world renowned Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and graced by DYMM Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj, the Sultan of Selangor. Funds are also required for other initiatives that ADFM hopes to implement in the near future: • Reconstruction of ADFM Website, National Caregivers’ Support Network, and launching of the social-network, Facebook. • Long-term on-going training courses/ workshops for family caregivers, professional caregivers and domestic helpers. • Upgrading of the Resource Library to a Multimedia Library and Resource Centre. All donations are welcome and are taxexempted.


Sharing | About ADFM


ADFM fulfils its objective of disseminating information and increasing public awareness and understanding of AD and Dementia through outreach events and programmes that are open to the general public. Highlights of ADFM’s past and present Outreach Initiatives: • In October 2010, ADFM hosted the 13th Asia-Pacific regional Conference with joint support of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and Ministry of Health (MOH). This successful conference brought together some 300 local and international participants including leading eminent Dementia Specialists, members of the Alzheimer’s Associations, persons with dementia, caregivers and their families. • In October 2012, ADFM held its 3rd National Caregivers Conference entitled Sharing The Caring Today, Hope For The Future at the Genting Highlands International Convention Centre. The conference was attended by more than 260 participants from Malaysia and Singapore. Participants included representatives from healthcare professionals, paramedic workers, educational institutions, persons with dementia and their caregivers and families. Support and funding for the above conference were made available by drug companies, public and corporate sectors, and individual caring Malaysians.


About ADFM | Sharing

• Over the past three years, ADFM has organised Memory Walks to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day, which falls on 21 September each year. These highly successful events generated much public awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia in a light-hearted setting. ADFM takes this opportunity to distribute informative leaflets/brochures, and the media coverage spreads awareness of this crippling disease to a wide range of people. This year Memory Walks were held simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh and Johor. • Other public education and awareness raising is participated in the exhibition to showcase ADFM Support Services held at the International Conference on Healthy Aging 2014 – Bridging Science and Healthcare on the 20 and 21 October 2014, which was organised by the International Medical University Malaysia (IMU) at Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. ADFM Vice Chairman Mr. Ong Eng Joo gave a presentation on “Alzheimer’s Disease and the Role of Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation”. ADFM Advisory Panel of Medical Specialist Dr. Lee Fatt Soon from Hospital Kuala Lumpur delivered a talk on Dementias – Telling the real from the Fake. • Community service attachment is another educational activity of ADFM to provide practicum training for students from the nursing, medical and other discipline fields on attachments at the PJ Daycare Centre. Recent visits/attachments were UKM Speech Sciences Programme in their second year collaboration with ADFM, ongoing awareness visits from UTAR Psychology students, IMU group of fifthyear medical students for their documentary video filming project on AD in Malaysia. • Social activities for AD clients are part of ADFM programmes besides the daily activities. Clients were also treated with other entertainments – celebrations of their birthdays, yee sang during Chinese New Year, yearly visit by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), year-end potluck celebration and visits from the corporate community.


SHARING December 2014  

Inaugural magazine of Alzheimer's Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM)

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