Saturday, June 02, 2007

MORE PICS & Video – Suspected Arson Ipoh Fire -Thurs 31st May 2007 5; A Kancil car was spotted just before Explosions that Gutted two Cars

Saturday June 2, 2007; Police probe arson claims; By CHAN LI LEEN; STAR

IPOH: Police are investigating the deaths of the five family members in a fire at Taman Song Choon here as murder. Ipoh OCPD Asst Comm Jalaludin Ibrahim said police had reason to believe the fire was caused by arson. Post-mortems, said ACP Jalaludin, revealed that all the five died due of suffocation. “We have taken a statement from the sole survivor, at the hospital,” he said, adding that police were also investigating the motive behind the arson. “Some say it was because of an affair, others say it was ah long but we are still investigating the motive,” he added.

The early morning fire on Thursday took the lives of 91-year-old Chai Kim and four other family members. Chai Kim's charred remains were found in the living room where he was sleeping with his 33-year-old grandson Chai Chee Keong, the sole survivor in the 3.30am fire that destroyed two terrace houses. Chee Keong was rescued through the back door by a security guard and neighbours. He was warded for burns on his arm and was discharged from the Ipoh Hospital yesterday morning. His father Chai Kar It, 67, was found dead in a bathroom upstairs while the bodies of his sister Chai Moi Fong and her husband Tan Wei Lim, both 32, were in a room upstairs.

The charred remains of a relative, Lim Kian Hwa, 29, were found in a corner in another bathroom upstairs. It is learnt that the family had a reunion the night before the fire after Chai Kim, Kar It and Chee Keong, who owns a fruit orchard in Cameron Highlands, arrived for Chai Kim’s heart check-up here.

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May 31, 2007
11:26 AM

Five Family Members Die, One Injured In Fire In Ipoh

IPOH, May 31 (Bernama) -- Five family members were killed and another was injured in a pre-dawn fire on two double-storey terrace houses in Taman Soon Chun, Gunung Rapat, here Thursday. The dead were Chai Kim, 91, his son Chai Kar It, 67, daughter Chai Moi Fong, 32, her husband Tan Wei Lim, 32, and a relative, Lim Kien Hua, 29. Another family member was injured while fleeing the blazing house and had been admitted to the Ipoh Hospital, Ipoh OCPD ACP Jalaludin Ibrahim (BELOW) said.

Apart from the family's home and an adjacent house, the fire, which broke out about 3.30am, also damaged two cars and two motorcycles parked in front of the building. A couple staying in the second house managed to escape with their six-month-old baby before their home too was engulfed in flame. Jalaludin said four of the bodies were found on the upper floor of the house, while the fifth was found on the ground floor. Two of the victims, including the one found on the ground floor, were believed to have died due to smoke inhalation as there were only 30 per cent burns on their bodies. All the bodies had been taken to the Ipoh Hospital. Jalaludin said police had classified the case as sudden death but they and the Fire and Rescue Department were investigating the cause of the fire.

He said the tracker dog unit from Bukit Aman would be used to assist in the investigation. Meanwhile, a grandson of Chai Kit's, who wanted to be known only as Kiet, said his grandfather, who was staying with him at Ringlet in the Cameron Highlands, came to Kar It's house yesterday to go to a clinic here for treatment. "I was supposed to take my grandfather to the clinic today and then take him back to Cameron Highlands," Kiet said, adding that he rushed here upon being informed of the fire at about 6am. He said his uncle and family ran a business in the Cameron Highlands and commuted daily from Ipoh. An occupant of the other house affected by the fire, who declined to be named, said he had just returned home at about 3am and was preparing for bed when he heard an explosion.

"I rushed out of the house and saw the neighbour's house ablaze and there were shouts for help from inside the house," he said, adding that he rushed back into his house to waken his wife and left the building with their baby. Another neighbour also said that she was awakened by a loud explosion. "When my husband and I went out to check, we saw the two houses engulfed in flame. We heard shouts for help from inside the house but the neighbours could not help because the fire spread very fast," she added.

A spokesman of the Fire and Rescue Department said two fire engines with 16 firemen went to the scene after receiving a distress call at 3.35am and took about an hour to douse the fire

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Friday, June 01, 2007

What’s in a Name – Lina Joy or Azlina Jailaini? Are names important? Your existence is nameless. What you are NO Letter or Alphabet can Contain it.

'What is your name, each of you?' My name is also nameless. I have no name.
You give yourselves names, because you believe they are important. Understand, your existence is nameless. It is NOT voiceless, but it is nameless. The names you take are structures upon which you hang your images . . . What you are cannot be uttered, and NO letter or alphabet can contain it. Yet, now you need words and letters, and names and objects. You want magic that will tell you what you are. I have had TOO many identities to cling to ONE name.

Also understand the entity is the basic self, immortal, nonphysical and the individual is the portion of the whole self that you manage to express physically. There is one self, but within that self are many. You exist in other realities and other dimensions, and the self that you call yourself is but a small portion of your entire IDENTITY. Within the self that you know is the prime identity, the WHOLE SELF. This whole self has lived many lives and adopted many personalities. Personality may be somewhat molded by the circumstances that are created for it by the whole self but the prime identity uses the resulting experience.

Our social institutions are set up to fence in the individual, rather than to allow the natural development of the individual. How can we unentangled our minds with mass of knowledge or habits that we call "I and to look beyond it to see at the real thing? To be enlightened and observe and understand things so easily. The majority of people of religious faiths with their expressed beliefs will hold on to their beliefs as truths - unbending and unyielding. The only way to change is to change the beliefs.

At the Heart of All Religions is the Same Truth
That's why many of us cannot understand that one religion is no different than the next, it’s because of the mind. Perhaps, we are not that enlightened to go beyond the mind. Then we see differently, and truly understand that there’s no difference, ever. It's such a simple thing we shake our heads and can’t believe that we couldn’t understand it before.

It's alright if each of us can pursue what he or she wants to study and believe, whether false or true. But the problem comes when we start to ARGUE and FIGHT among each other because of philosophical differences. Then we truly disgrace ourselves and our ascended Teachers because they always preached peace, integrity and love.

Thus, it doesn't matter now whether we believe that Christianity is the greatest religion, Islam is the right path or that Buddhism is the highest belief system in the world; we don’t need to argue. Instead we should seek to know our true religion, the true religious essence, which Buddha left behind, which the Teacher of the Tao left behind, which Christ left behind and what is stated in the Koran. And then we’ll know that the only, the best and the quickest way are through enlightenment

= == = == the following, an unpublished work of Sonia Randhawa
from H E R E

This is an article I wrote for The Sun, but which was never published. Given the demise of the Constitution earlier today, it no longer seems relevant, though it may be of some interest. Just so we know what we've lost.

Wha’s in a Name; By Sonia Randhawa

I've always been grateful for my first name. Sonia doesn't rhyme with anything. My brother, in contrast, endured years of primary school suffering. My name has a meaning, and I learnt what it's formal meaning was long after I had learnt that 'Sonia' meant me. But names aren't always as carefully constructed to their owner as Sonia now seems sculpted to me. Some names are, merely, labels. The nicknames that various friends called me in school, none of which have stuck. The nastier names thrown by enemies. These names are only as important as the truth they contain, vicious or virtuous.

Some names, however, can shape the named. If you call a child worthless, it internalises the label and begins to incorporate this into its identity. It shapes the child's behaviour, his or her outlook on life. But it isn't just people that can be shaped by labels. It's hard to see how a table would change, even if you persuaded successive generations to call it 'Kate'. Call a State something, though, and it can have exceedingly worrying consequences. Which is why I was worried when I was engaged in a conversation about whether Malaysia as an 'Islamic state' is merely a label, or if it is indicative of something deeper.

And was before we couldn't protect our Constitutional rights through peaceful forums, closed due to the threat of mob violence. Before one of the leading organisations in the 'Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA' declared that it was okay to imprison people without trial, if it was for religious transgression. Before the clampdown on 107 religious 'deviants', with barely a whimper from civil society. The Islamic state label is more than just on name, regardless of what Mohd Nazri may have maintained earlier this year. It is an issue at the heart of many recent debates, from Anthony Rayappan and M. Moorthy, to Lina Joy, Shamala Sathiyaseelan, even the closure of radio shows on Ai FM. Because what is at stake is who or what is the supreme legal power in this country. 'Islamic state' is more than just a description. It is prescriptive as well.

It prescribes how our courts, our Parliament and our Executive should behave. It prescribes a theocratic state, one in which God, as interpreted by one religion and its proponents, is in charge of the day to day running of the State. Not the Constitution, not the law, not Parliament, not the Government. This might work, if God deigned to come down in, as it were, person, to rule in the stead of our Prime Minister. Or if our Prime Minsiter (as Bush has claimed to be) is directly inspired, a Prophet. Both solutions, of course, are blasphemous in Islam.

So we can't rely on God to govern directly. Which means that people will be governing. And my experience has been that most people are fallible. Except, possibly, Tun Dr Mahathir. What we have is a State where, in name, God is the supreme power, but in practice, a person rules in his stead. A fallible person. What happens when the fallible person makes a mistake? Well, that's the problem with a theocracy. With God as the head of state, they can't make mistakes. Because then it's saying that God is making mistakes, and that is undoubtedly blasphemous. It was for these reasons, along with a host of others, that democracies in Europe replaced monarchies. Not because the societies were mature, just or wise. But because they were fed up with dealing with the mistakes of monarchs who believed they were infallible. In the UK, as here, they rather liked their monarchs, so rather than beheading them, they just ensured that their powers were limited. True, it took civil war to get to the point, but they did get there.

Unfortunately, even in a democracy, there is no guarantee that the ruler will not attempt to usurp God-like powers from those who first put him or her in power (that's us). That's where Constitutions come in. It's our first line protection, saying, sorry, but no, you don't have the power to do that. You, no matter who you are, can't tell me what religion I should follow. You can't curb my freedom of speech.

You can't send me into exile, deny me the right to life, the right to assemble. I am equal with anyone else, before the law, regardless of race, religion, gender or class. (That one I love so much, it's painted on the side of my house). If we are a theocratic state, then these rights are taken away from the Constitution and put in the hands of a man-made interpretation of what God wants. If we're an Islamic state, it's put into an interpretation of God that neither myself nor anyone in my multi-religious family adhere to. It's just a name. Call us an Islamic state. What difference will it make, to Lina Joy, or any of us. Sticks and stones may break my bones, sure, but names will never hurt me? I hope not.
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May 31, 2007
21:57 PM
Accept Decision In Lina Joy Case With Open Mind, Says Abdullah

ABOVE: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at a press conference after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today asked the people to accept with an open mind without being influenced by emotion the Federal Court's decision in the case of Azlina Jailani or Lina Joy. "If we allow ourselves to be overcome by emotion, we will begin to have all kinds of thoughts; we will have suspicions about this and that," he said. The government did not bring any influence to bear on the decision of the court, he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council, here.

"That is the decision of the court; I don't question them," he said. The Federal Court yesterday dismissed by a 2-1 majority decision an appeal by Lina, 42, who claimed to have renounced Islam to embrace Christianity 17 years ago, to have the word "Islam" removed from her identity card. The court insisted that Azalina, who had taken the name Lina Joy, had to obtain a certificate of apostasy from the Syariah Court before the National Registration Department could drop the word "Islam" from her identity card. Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Federal Court Judge Datuk Alauddin Mohd Sherif dismissed her appeal while Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Richard Malanjum dissented. Asked if the Federal Court decision would cause a religious divide in the country, Abdullah said: "I don't think there is a divide although the discussion on religion becomes more widespread." At the press conference, Abdullah also dismissed a suggestion from a foreign journalist that Islamic law was now above the Federal Constitution in the country. "There is no such thing (of Islamic law being above the Federal Constitution). The Federal Constitution is the Federal Constitution. There is a set of laws we have to follow. It is something that we have to follow, that's all," he said.
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May 31, 2007 18:19 PM

Zainuddin Regrets That Western Media Used Lina Joy Case To Run Down Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (Bernama) -- Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin today expressed regret that the western media have taken advantage of the court decision in the Lina Joy case to run down Malaysia as an Islamic country that practises injustice. He said the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had used the screaming headline "Malaysia Rejects Christian Appeal" in its news portal while The Times had said that the court decision is a slap in the face for religious freedom in Malaysia. "This is clear proof that the western media will use any opportunity for 'Islamic bashing' without regard for any country as long as it practises Islamic law," he told reporters after receiving a visit from Iranian ambassador to Malaysia Mahdi Khandagh. The Federal Court yesterday dismissed the appeal of Lina Joy, born Azlina Jailani, to drop the word Islam from her identity card.

Zainuddin said that the separation of the civil and syariah laws had been in place all this while since the time of the British in the country as a mark of respect to the Muslim Malay community as the original people in the country. Zainuddin said that in Lina Joy's case, it was clear that the western media could not see the aspect of justice practised in the country but only saw justice from the aspect of the freedom and egotism of the western democracy. It must be remembered that Malaysia's position as a model Islamic country with a multiracial society was recognised not only by the leaders of Islamic nations but also other countries in the world that admired Malaysia, he said. "To me, this view of the western media is only their own view and will not affect the position of Malaysia which is well-known as a model Islamic country that practises and is committed to safeguarding the rights of its people of various races and religions," he said.
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Two bad decisions
By Philip Bowring Thursday, May 31, 2007; from IHT India
BANGKOK: Two decisions on the same day on Wednesday have delivered huge to
blows to liberal, plural democracy in Thailand and Malaysia, two relatively prospering and open Southeast Asian societies. Both decisions have been given the appearance of being judicial, but both are highly political and represent efforts by entrenched interests to maintain political control. The dissolution of Thai Rak Thai, the party of Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed as prime minister of
Thailand by a coup last September, has caught more headlines.
But given the volatility of Thai politics, this may prove less enduring than a decision in
Malaysia to deny a woman the right to convert from Islam to another religion. The highest court in Malaysia ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the Muslim Shariah courts, even though the Malaysian Constitution, which the civil courts are supposed to uphold, guarantees freedom of religion. The Shariah courts have been adamant that "apostasy" cannot be allowed; Muslims cannot become non-Muslims. The ruling will be seen in most of the rest of the world as an example of Muslim arrogance,intolerance and obscurantism, which are particularly out of place in a country where more than 40 percent of the population is not Muslim (and non-Muslims are a majority in some states). But the ruling is as much about the politics of race as it is about religion. The Malay elite is less noted for piety than for its determination to cling on to the economic and political privileges it has awarded itself through the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the party that has dominated the political process since independence 50 years ago.
All Malays are deemed to be Muslims; thus religion has become a means of reinforcing the racial basis of politics. The elite will not disavow it, partly to protect the privileges and partly to avoid being outflanked among Malay voters at election time by the more fundamentalist Parti Islam. In Wednesday's ruling, the chief justice argued that one could not leave a religion "at whim," suggesting that it was a function of birth more than belief. By implication, he raised this question: Are Malays in
Malaysia (unlike Indonesia) incapable of making their own decisions on religion? The court (with the one non-Muslim judge dissenting) appeared to forget that non-Muslims who wish to marry Malays must convert to Islam. In short, the court has in effect undermined Malaysian pluralism for the sake of UMNO's political expediency.

For both Malaysia and Thailand, the rulings on Wednesday represent major setbacks in their efforts to become fully developed societies in which pluralism is enshrined in the conduct of institutions.

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Bar Council: Federal Constitution must remain supreme; June 1, 2007

PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council supports theminority judgment of Chief Judge
Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum that no court or authority should be easily allowed to have implied powers to curtail rights that are constitutionally granted

Its president S. Ambiga (ABOVE) said the Federal Constitution "is and must remain in law, supreme." "In an event of any inconsistency or conflict between the provisions of State Enactments and of the Federal Constitution, the latter must prevail," she said in a statement yesterday. On Wednesday, the Federal Court rejected Lina Joy's appeal to compel the National Registration Department (NRD) to remove the word "Islam from her identity card. Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Federal Court Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff voted against her appeal and said conversion issues should be dealt with by the Syariah Court. In his dissenting judgement, Justice Malanjum described the NRD's insistence that Lina Joy obtain a certificate of apostasy from the Federal Territory Syariah Court or any Islamic authority as illegal and unreasonable. Ambiga said: "We are mindful that issues relating to religion will inevitably draw emotive responses in a multireligious society. "Malaysians must be prepared to confront these issues maturely and dispassionately within the framework of our Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land." Council of Churches of Malaysia general-secretary Rev Dr Herman Shastri said it viewed the Federal Court's decision with regret and concern. "We believe that the constitutional provision in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion in our country has been severely violated," he said. He said the majority judgement had denied the individual the right to freedom of conscience and choice of religion. "It is, therefore, vital that the necessary legislation be enacted to ensure that no citizen would be penalised when he or she exercises the individual right to choose a faith and to practice it in freedom," he said

= = == =& for More Pics & Vide
o of Ms Universe 2007 Go H E RE ON

MORE PICS & Video – Miss UNIVERSE 2007RIYO MORI Japan; Ms Brazil, Natalia Guimaraes; Ms Venezuela, Ly Jonaitis; Ms Korea, Honey Lee; & Ms USA Nobody had Money on Japan, 22 to 1 Odds; Ms Brazil & Ms Venezuela 4 to 1 favorite to win.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MORE PICS & Video – Miss UNIVERSE 2007 – RIYO MORI Japan; Ms Brazil, Natalia Guimaraes;: Ms Venezuela, Ly Jonaitis; Ms Korea, Honey Lee; & Ms USA

Attn: Mamak fans---Raid at Jalan Ampang Holiday Karaoke
ABOVE & BELOW: More details now posted H E RE

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UPDATE: June 04 2007

MORE NEW PICS & VideoMiss Universe 2007 –Riyo Mori Japan - Message to the Next generationBe Happy, Patient & Positive; More SE Asian Beauties (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand & Indonesia) in Swimsuits, Evening Gowns & Native National Costumes

ABOVE: Ms Japan at the Intro Filming & BELOW: Rehearsal time

= = == == = == = = = New Miss Japan pics
ABOVE in Evening Dress at contest
ABOVE in her National Costume
ABOVE: In her swim suit at the contest
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ABOVE & BELOW: some recent photos of Riyo Mori
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ABOVE: the excitement & the moment just before crowning by Zueleka, the Miss Universe 2006 from Puerto Rico and BELOW: the satisfaction and the achievement with the US25K Pearl & Diamonds studded Crown on the head

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ABOVE: Posing with the Crown & BELOW: the obligatory shot with the Exec Producer of Miss Universe 2007 -Donald TrumpBELOW: After winning the Miss Universe title, the interview with World Press

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ABOVE: Our local Rep Miss Malaysia-Universe 2007 (Adelaine Chin) ; BELOW: in her evening dress

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ABOVE and BELOW: the Ah Moi in Malaysia traditional native dress; A sarong Kebaya would make her look better

and BELOW: Ms Malaysia revealing her vital statistics in a swim suit

= == == = = =and from down under Singapore, we have Jessica Yap

ABOVE: During rehearsal and BELOW at Intro

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ABOVE: Ms Singapore in her Evening gown & BELOW in her National Costume

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ABOVE: Jessica in swim suit
ABOVE: another rehearsal with Ms Indonesia, Ms India & Ms Israel and BELOW: In Singapore traditional native costume

= = == == = =and from INDONESIA
ABOVE & BELOW: Miss Indonesia, Agnipratistha Kuswardono

ABOVE: Ms Indonesia in evening gown and BELOW in her National Costume
= = == == = == = == =and from Thailand
ABOVE Ms Thailand, Farung Yuthithum and BELOW in her evening dress
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ABOVE: the Hot Ms Thailand and BELOW: in her National Costume

= = == = == = == = == = = = and miscellaneous pics

ABOVE: Miss Zeuleka (Puerto Rico) Winner for Ms Universe 2006 last year, standing in front
ABOVE: Ms Brazil showing off her asset

ABOVE: Ms Indonesia iher traditional costume
ABOVE: Ms Korea at rehearsal

ABOVE: The contestants behind a screen at the start and BELOW: how they are viewed
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= = == = == =New Video Clip (2 min 1s) (Miss Universe 2007 - Interviews Before and After Win) - See below video Clip - the Contest Win (1 m 55s)

= == = == = == = = == =
= = == = == = == = == = == = == = == = the INTERVIEWS

Mexico City, May 30 (AP): Japan's Riyo Mori has said she will be true to herself in her yearlong reign fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS as Miss Universe
In an interview with The Associated Press hours after she was crowned, the 20-year-old dancer yesterday said she would not change in her new role. "I don't want to be acting," said Mori, wearing a shimmering silver dress. "I just want to be myself, always be natural." Under pageant rules, women crowned Miss Universe become advocates for AIDS/HIV research and education. Mori showed some natural poise on Monday in her first moments as Miss Universe, catching the diamond-and-pearl-studded crown that slipped off her head when Miss Universe 2006 Zuleyka Rivera crowned her. Mori immediately placed the headpiece -- valued at USD 25,000 - back on her head.

The new Miss Universe also criticised crash dieting. "I had a friend with an eating disorder, but she always looked unhappy. She was never confident with her body, even though she was so thin," she said. "For me, it's so easy and so simple. Just eat right." The only other time Japan had won the pageant was in 1959, when Akiko Kojima became the first Miss Universe from Asia. Since then, several women from the region have worn the crown. "She is an amazing champion an amazing woman, and I hear that they go totally insane in Japan, so that's good," said Donald Trump, who co-owns the pageant with NBC.
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What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?Definitely dancing! I have been dancing since I was 4 years old I still have my first pair of ballet shoes which I keep as a memory of my many years and passion for dancing. I am a very curious person and I love traveling the world, especially seeing musicals and visiting museums. Discovering different cultures and encountering new people are a constant source of inspiration for me and something I try to apply to my own dancing and teaching back in Japan.
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life Why?

My amazing national director, Inés Ligron because she has taught me so much and heightened my interest in so many issues I wasn't aware of before. I come from a small town and Inés has transformed my confidence and showed me how to achieve my dreams faster.

What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than representing your country in this pageant)?
Studying abroad and successfully graduating from both high school and ballet school in Canada. My three years abroad taught me how to adapt myself to different environments, the importance of learning foreign languages, and the great need in our world today for intercultural understanding.

What is your career ambition?
To open my own dance school in Tokyo! My mother runs a successful dance school outside of Tokyo and we plan to expand my family's love for the performing arts by opening an international dance school in Tokyo, the capital of Japan and a crossroads for many cultures. My plan is to hire teachers who speak a number of languages so that I can host students from around the world. Opening my own school will allow me to live and teach my passion for dancing while being an independent business woman.

Where is the most interesting place you have been?
The south of France. I went to Montpellier for 10 days of intensive training with my fabulous director, Inés Ligron. Instead of going to tourist areas, we visited remote villages which gave me a glimpse of how French people truly live. I was surrounded by nature and beautiful old buildings. It felt so refreshing to jog through wine vineyards and gorgeous castles. It reminded me of Drew Barrymore's 1998 movie Ever After, a Cinderella story.

What makes you unique and different from the other contestants?
We live in a competitive world that demands high-skills, determination, intelligence, and a global outlook. When I was 16 years old, I decided to leave my comfort zone and challenge myself in a completely different environment abroad where I would have to survive socially, academically and culturally on my own. I think globally but I also know where I come from. I liken myself to a modern-day samurai for women. The traditional samurai spirit in Japan prizes composure, patience, a sense of justice, and fearlessly facing challenges with a strong-will. At the same time, the word samurai literally means "to serve," a reflection of my heritage and commitment to self and to others. I think my diverse life-experiences and cultural heritage will be an invaluable tool in a competition as challenging as Miss Universe.

What is your philosophy of /in life?
Be yourself!

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
In 10 years I will be celebrating my 30th birthday in my own dance school surrounded by lots of my students, and blowing out my candles together with my little daughter in a tutu!

Is there anything you would like to tell us about yourself? Something unique that has happened to you? Some interesting thing about you?
After high school, I moved to
New York where I got accepted to a dance school on Broadway Around the same time, I passed the audition for the Miss Universe Japan title. I had to make a quick question between dance school or possibly being Miss Universe and moved back to Japan to pursue the latter. I am a very determined person and can take actions very quickly when I trust that they are the right ones. I am also extremely patient and focused.
= = == official Interview from Ms Universe 2007

What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
Definitely dancing! I have been dancing since I was 4 years old. I still have my first pair of ballet shoes that I keep as a memory of my many years and passion for dancing. I am a very curious person and I love traveling the world, especially seeing musicals and visiting museums. Discovering different cultures and encountering new people are a constant source of inspiration for me and something I try to apply to my own dancing and teaching back in Japan.

What is your career ambition?
To open my own dance school in Tokyo! My mother runs a successful dance school outside of Tokyo and we plan to expand my family's love for the performing arts by opening an international dance school in Tokyo, the capital of Japan and a crossroads for many cultures. My plan is to hire teachers who speak a number of languages so that I can host students from around the world. Opening my own school will allow me to live and teach my passion for dancing while being an independent businesswoman.

Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
I was born and raised with my younger brother in a small town called Shizuoka at the base of Mt. Fuji. Shizuoka enjoys a very mild climate and is also near the sea. As nuclear families have become the norm in Japanese society, I feel very fortunate to have been raised by both my parents and grandparents under the same roof. I grew up in a very supportive and loving family, always surrounded by many energetic people since part of my house served as my mother's dance school. Interestingly enough, my mother entered a local beauty pageant when she was in her twenties and, although I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, my maternal grandmother told me when I was a child that she wanted me to become Miss Japan before I turn 20.

What do you want the judges to know about you?
What you see is what you get. Nothing is rehearsed about me. From the very beginning, I entered this competition with high-hopes and an unswerving determination to make this dream a reality.= = == = == == = == = == = == == =

UPDATE: May 31 2007
Miss Universe 2007
Japan Win One of Biggest Upsets for Online Gambling
With Miss Japan taking home the crown in the Miss Universe 2007 pageant late Monday night, the Japanese weren't the only one's cheering this unlikely beauty's achievement.

The folks behind - one of the largest online gambling websites - were also cheering 20-year old Riyo Mori when favored Miss Brazil was announced as second runner up. "Nobody had money on Miss Japan," said one online gambling analyst. And because was one of the few North American facing online gambling establishments taking bets on the hugely popular beauty pageants, it is widely believed the company had one of its best weekends in months, profit wise.

"The amount of money being placed on each of these girls is nominal," explains Payton O'Brien, Senior Editor of "But the sheer volume and fact that bets were being placed from all over the world most certainly made a tremendous impact on's bottom line." And for those betting on events such as the Miss Universe competition and this past weekend's UFC 71 bouts upsets can translate into huge payouts. A $100 bet on Miss Japan to win Miss Universe 2007 would have resulted in a $2200 win. A $200 bet would have paid out $4400 and so on.

"Miss Japan (ABOVE) was not on anybody's radar," insists's Jenny Woo, who covered the event throughout the night Monday. At 22 to 1 odds, she was practically a 'field' choice." Heading into Monday evening, Miss Brazil had tied Miss Venezuela as the 4 to 1 favorite to win. This year's Miss Universe competition was anything but boring. Miss Greece, who was widely viewed as a top 5 contender for the crown did not make it out of the first round. Miss Philippines, one of the most sought after delegates on the website, won an honorary award for "Most Photogenic" but also failed to get into the swimsuit competition despite having favorable odds. Big underdogs - Miss Japan, Miss Ukraine, Miss Denmark and a busty beauty Miss Angola - made it deep into the swimsuit round. Miss Japan and Miss Angola moved onto the evening gown competition where things got really interesting.

Miss USA Rachel Smith (ABOVE) fell on stage (ABOVE) then managed to carry out her routine while maintaining her composure. It was widely believed at that point she was toast. But a funny thing happened on the way to the final round. Miss USA was selected among the final five, much to the displeasure of the Mexican audience who booed and chanted throughout. Eventually, Miss USA received applause from the Mexican people after the teary-eyed delegate answered her secret question and explained the type of good she wanted to do in the world. "It was an awkward situation," says Woo. "Smith was there competing with everyone else and she probably should not have been chosen among the finalists but I think the Mexican people realized in the end they should not be taking out their anger on Miss USA." Rachel Smith was already the target of hostility earlier in the week as a result of a heated US policy involving illegal immigrants that mostly targeted Mexicans.

Riyo Mori's big win for Japan really capped things off.

Mori is the first Japanese in history to pass the audition for The Rockette Summer Intensive. She has studied at Quinte Ballet School of Canada and also is a graduate of Centennial Secondary School in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. She usually works as a ballet dancer. Mori became Miss Universe beating out Miss Brazil, Venezuela, Korea, and USA. She's the second Japanese Miss Universe in 48 years. The first Miss Universe winner from Japan was Akiko Kojima in 1959. Her win ranks among the biggest upsets in online gambling this year. ---

Christopher Costigan,

Originally published May 29, 2007 12:28 am ET

= = == = ==



Mexico City, Mexico May 28, 2007 - This evening, during one of the year's most exciting live international television events, a star-studded panel of judges chose Miss Japan, Riyo Mori, as MISS UNIVERSE® 2007.

Ms. Mori is 20 years-old and has been dancing since she was 4. She loves traveling the world and enjoys visiting museums and watching musicals.

ABOVE: The initial Shock BELOW: in her bikini swimsuit

and BELOW: In her Evening "kimono"gown

The judging panel for the 2007 Miss Universe Pageant included NBC's "Heroes" James Kyson Lee, NBC's "Deal or No Deal" briefcase model Lindsay Clubine, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, rocker Dave Navarro, World and Olympic figure skating champion Michelle Kwan, fashion designer Marc Bouwer, Novela Star Mauricio Islas, "Project Runway" judge and Elle magazine fashion director Nina Garcia, and former Miss Universes Dayanara Torres (1993) and Christiane Martel (1953).

Final Results:

First Runner Up: Miss Brazil (ABOVE), Natalia Guimaraes will assume the duties of MISS UNIVERSE 2007 if the titleholder for some reason cannot fulfill her responsibilities.

Second Runner Up: Miss Venezuela (ABOVE) , Ly Jonaitis

Rest of Top Five: Miss Korea, Honey Lee; and Miss USA, Rachel Smith.

ABOVE Miss Korea -No 4; and BELOW; Miss USA - No 5

Rest of Top Ten: Miss India, Puja Gupta; Miss Angola, Micaela Reis; Miss Tanzania, Flaviana Matata; Miss Nicaragua, Xiomara Blandino; and Miss Mexico, Rosa Maria Ojeda Cuen.

Rest of Top Fifteen: Miss Thailand, Farung Yuthithum; Miss Denmark, Zak lina; Sojic; Miss Slovenia, Tjasa Kokalj; Miss Ukraine, Lyudmyla Bikmullina; and Miss Czech Republic, Lucie Hadasova.
Miss Photogenic Award: Miss Philippines, Anna Theresa Licaros. The general public voted on for the delegate who exemplifies beauty through the lens of a camera. She received a $1,000 cash prize and a trophy from Rogaska Crystal.

Congeniality Award: Miss China, Ningning Zhang. This award reflects the respect and admiration of the delegate's peers, who voted for her as the most congenial, charismatic and inspirational participant. She also received a $1,000 cash prize and a trophy from Rogaska Crystal.

= = == == = =Watch the Final Moments, Video Clip (1 m 55 s)

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= = == and our local Miss MAlAYSIA-UNIVERSE 2007, (Adelaine Chin Ai Nee, a degree holder) eliminated 1st Round. She would be a good model for some toothpaste (using her white teeth!)

= == = = =for the faces of he 77 participants Go H E R E and roll your mouse over the following faces

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