Friday, January 29, 2010

JD Salinger - A Literary Giant Of Our Times

JD Salinger, who died at 91 on January 27, 2010 was a literary giant of our times.

Read all about him here.

Thanks Wikipedia.

Jerome David Salinger (1919 – 2010) was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher In The Rye, as well as his reclusive nature.

His last original published work was in 1965. He gave his last interview in 1980.

Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II.

In 1948 he published the critically acclaimed story A Perfect Day For Bananafish in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his subsequent work.

In 1951 Salinger released his novel The Catcher In The Rye, an immediate popular success.

His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers.

The novel remains widely read and controversial, selling around 250,000 copies a year.

The success of The Catcher In The Rye led to public attention and scrutiny: Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently.

He followed Catcher with a short story collection, Nine Stories (1953), a short story Franny And Zooey (1961), and a collection of two novellas, Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters And Seymour: An Introduction (1963).

His last published work, a novella titled Hapworth 16, 1924, appeared in The New Yorker on June 19, 1965.

Born to a Scottish American mother and a Jewish father from Poland, Salinger attended public schools on the West Side of Manhattan.

He also acted in plays but his father was opposed to him becoming an actor.

Salinger then joined the Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. There he wrote stories under the covers with the aid of a flashlight.

After leaving the academy, he worked in a company in Vienna, Austria.

In 1939, Salinger attended a Columbia University evening writing class taught by Whit Burnett, the longtime editor of Story magazine.

Burnett told Salinger that his stories were skillful and accomplished, and accepted The Young Folks, a vignette about several aimless youths, for publication.

Burnett became Salinger's mentor, and they corresponded for several years.

In 1941, Salinger started dating Oona O'Neill, daughter of the playwright Eugene O'Neill.

However, she left him for Sir Charles Chaplin.

In 1941, The New Yorker accepted his short story Slight Rebellion Off Madison, about a disaffected teenager named Holden Caulfield with "pre-war jitters".

When Japan carried out the attack on Pearl Harbour that year, the story was rendered "unpublishable".

It did not appear in the magazine until 1946.

In 1942, several months after the United States entered World War II, Salinger was drafted into the Army, where he saw combat with the 4th Infantry Division.

During the campaign from Normandy (France) into Germany, Salinger met Ernest Hemingway, a writer who had influenced him and a war correspondent in Paris.

Salinger was impressed with Hemingway's friendliness and modesty.

Hemingway was impressed by Salinger's writing.

Salinger was assigned to a counter-intelligence division, where he used his proficiency in French and German to interrogate prisoners of war.

He was among the first soldiers to enter a liberated concentration camp.

Salinger continued to write while in the army, and published several stories in Collier's and the Saturday Evening Post. He also continued to submit stories to The New Yorker.

In 1946, Whit Burnett agreed to help Salinger publish a collection of his short stories.

Titled The Young Folks, the collection was to consist of twenty stories.

By the late 1940s, Salinger had become an avid follower of Zen Buddhism.

In 1948, he submitted a short story titled A Perfect Day For Bananafish to The New Yorker.

The magazine was so impressed with "the singular quality of the story" that its editors accepted it for publication immediately.

Salinger told Whit Burnett that he was eager to sell the film rights to some of his stories in order to achieve financial security.

However, Salinger was disappointed with Hollywood’s interpretations of his books The Varioni Brothers and Uncle Wiggly In Connecticut.

The Catcher In The Rye was published on July 16, 1951.

The novel's plot is simple, detailing seventeen-year-old Holden's experiences in New York City following his expulsion and departure from an elite prep school.

The book is more notable for the iconic persona and testimonial voice of its first-person narrator, Holden.

He serves as an insightful but unreliable narrator who expounds on the importance of loyalty, the "phoniness" of adulthood, and his own duplicity.

In a 1953 interview with a high-school newspaper, Salinger admitted that the novel was "sort of" autobiographical.

The Catcher In The Rye has been reprinted eight times. It spent thirty weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list.

The Catcher In The Rye had the dubious distinction of being at once the most frequently censored book across the nation and the second-most frequently taught novel in public high schools (after John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men).

The book remains widely read. As of 2004, the novel was selling about 250,000 copies per year, with worldwide sales over 65 million.

Salinger cited as his greatest influences the authors Fitzgerald, Kafka, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, O'Casey, Keats, Rimbaud, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Henry James and Blake among others.

In 1952, Salinger became a Hindu. His love of Hinduism was reflected by the novel Teddy.

As the notoriety of The Catcher In The Rye grew, Salinger gradually withdrew from public view. In 1953, he moved from New York to Cornish, New Hampshire.

In 1955, Salinger married Claire Douglas, a student. They had two children, Margaret (born December 10, 1955) and Matthew (born. February 13, 1960).

In 1972, at the age of 53, Salinger had a year-long relationship with 18-year-old Joyce Maynard, already an experienced writer for Seventeen magazine.

The New York Times had asked Maynard to write an article for them which, when published as An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back On Life on April 23, 1972, made her a celebrity.

Salinger wrote a letter to her warning about living with fame.

After exchanging 25 letters, Maynard moved in with Salinger after her freshman year at Yale University.

The relationship ended because Maynard wanted children, and he felt he was too old.

Salinger was romantically involved with television actress Elaine Joyce for several years in the 1980s.

The relationship ended when he met Colleen O'Neill, a nurse whom he married around 1988.

Salinger identified closely with his characters and used techniques such as interior monologue, letters and extended telephone calls to display his gift for dialogue.

Recurring themes in Salinger's stories connect to the ideas of innocence and adolescence, including the "corrupting influence of Hollywood and the world at large".

A film released in 2000, Finding Forrester, was loosely based on Salinger.

In the film, Sean Connery played a reclusive author whose only published novel was considered to be a literary masterpiece.

After publishing the novel, Connery's character had become reclusive and remained so for nearly 30 years.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

About Sarah Geronimo And Mark Bautista

Philippine pop stars and actors Sarah Geronimo and Mark Bautista visited Kuala Lumpur on January 24, 2010.

They performed in the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

I interviewed them shortly afterwards.

Read all about them here. Thanks, Wikipedia.

Sarah Geronimo.

Sarah Geronimo (born July 25, 1988), is a Filipino singer and actress.

She signed a recording contract with VIVA Records after winning a singing contest in 2003.

A year later, she entered ABS-CBN and became part of a variety show ASAP.

She also acted in shows like Bituing Walang Ningning and Pangarap Na Bituin.

She starred in the movie A Very Special Love in 2008 and You Changed My Life in 2009.

To date Geronimo has sold over 450,000 records in the Philippines.

Sarah was born to Delfin Geronimo, a national telephone company employee and Divina Geronimo who runs a beauty salon in Santa Cruz, Manila.

Sarah is the third of four children.

Adolfo Geronimo, a TV host and producer is Sarah's uncle.

At six, she joined a singing contest and won first prize.

She performed in the TV variety shows Pen-Pen De Sarapen from 1992 to 1994, Ang TV from 1995 to 1996 and NEXT from 1996 to 1997.

In 2002, Geronimo entered a nationwide singing contest with a million-peso prize, Star For A Night hosted by Regine Velasquez.

Geronimo won the grand prize singing To Love You More and To Mother With Love.

In 2003, Geronimo released her debut album Popstar: A Dream Come True with the hit singles Forever's Not Enough, To Love You More and Sa Iyo.

In 2004, Geronimo signed a contract with ABS-CBN, where she had her first acting project in a drama series Sarah, The Teen Princess.

She also starred in musical variety show ASAP.

In 2005, Geronimo sang the theme of Star Cinema movie Can This Be Love.

She also joined the fourth season of the weekly teen variety show SCQ Reload, Kilig Ako.

She also starred in the fantasy movie Lastikman, produced by VIVA Films.

In 2004, Geronimo released her second album Sweet Sixteen with How Could You Say You Love Me as the first single.

Along with reality talent stars Rachelle Ann Go and Erik Santos, Geronimo performed in the Night Of The Champions concert at the Araneta Coliseum, followed by a tour of the United States.

In 2005, Geronimo staged her first major concert at the Araneta Coliseum titled The Other Side.

In 2006, she was cast in ABS-CBN's prime time soap opera Bituing Walang Ningning, a remake of the 1985 hit movie.

She starred as an aspiring singer Dorina Pineda, and the role was originally played by Sharon Cuneta in 1985.

She also released a soundtrack of the series.

Her third studio album Becoming was released in 2006.

The album yielded three singles I Still Believe In Loving You, Carry My Love and Iingatan Ko Ang Pagibig Mo.

Geronimo also held concerts in Taiwan, Canada, the United States and Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

In the United States she visited San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC and Honolulu.

In 2006, she was chosen by Manny Pacquiao to sing the Philippine national anthem prior to his match against Mexico's Erik Morales at the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas, the United States.

She held her second major solo concert in 2007 at the Araneta Coliseum. It was titled Sarah Geronimo In Motion.

In the same year she released her fourth studio album Taking Flight with the hit singles I'll Be Alright and Ikaw.

She took the lead role in ABS-CBN's prime time drama Pangarap Na Bituin in 2007.

In 2008, Geronimo reunited with Erik Santos, Rachelle Ann Go and Christian Bautista in a Valentine's Day concert at the Araneta Coliseum themed OL4LUV (All For Love).

Geronimo released the In Motion DVD filmed at the Araneta Coliseum that year.

She also released I’ll Be There as part of her fourth album. It was a collaboration with Backstreet Boys member Howie Dorough and was produced by Christian De Walden.

In 2008, Geronimo starred with Filipino actor John Lloyd Cruz in A Very Special Love.

Geronimo recorded her own version of the song A Very Special Love which was included in Taking Flight.

She also staged her third major solo concert in Araneta Coliseum, titled The Next One.

In 2009, Geronimo appeared in the follow-up movie with John Lloyd Cruz, You Changed My Life (A Very Special Love Sequel).

The film is ranked as the Highest Top-Grossing Filipino Film Of All Time.

She also recorded the theme song of Sunsilk, Record Breaker.

She also sang Virna Lisa's Magkaisa at the funeral of former President Corazon Aquino.

Geronimo released her first solo Christmas album, Your Christmas Girl in 2009, followed by her sixth studio album Music And Me.

Mark Bautista.

Mark Bautista (born August 10, 1981) is a Filipino singer, actor and commercial model.

Born in Cagayan De Oro City, Philippines, Bautista received his career break when he finished second in Philippine reality talent search Star For A Night behind Sarah Geronimo.

Bautista is the son of Darni and Sue Bautista. He is the third of four siblings.

Participating in singing competitions since childhood, he eventually joined a band called Voizemale and performed cover versions of songs by Earth, Wind & Fire and Backstreet Boys.

After finishing second in Star For A Night, he became an artiste of ABS-CBN and performed in ASAP.

He also hosted Search For The Star In A Million (first two seasons), a singing competition.

In 2005, he released his first album Dream On which had the hit single I Need You.

In 2006, he had his first major solo concert at the Aliw Theatre, themed Pop Heartthrob.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Robert Lam – Veteran Newscaster And English Language Specialist

Robert Lam Ban Hoong, who died of cancer today at 64, will always be remembered as an icon of Malaysia’s first private TV station TV3.

He trained many news casters of the station and was a dear friend of Malaysia’s top emcee and his frequent news reading partner Datuk Mahadzir Lokman.

Lam, from Ipoh, was formerly a Royal Malaysian Air Force pilot officer from 1964 to 1967.

He also pursued a career in insurance management and public speaking.

Lam read news on Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), TV3 and Metrovision (now 8TV) for 23 years before moving on to emceeing and setting up the Robert Lam English Language Centre in Subang Jaya with branches nationwide.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Chef Wan Ismail's Actress Daughter Ties The Knot

The world's most popular celebrity chef set to be the first Malaysian to appear on Oprah Winfrey's show later this year Chef Redzuawan (Wan) Ismail is now a father-in-law.

The Raub-born chef's daughter Serina, 26, tied the knot with producer and Football Focus executive director Gavin O'Luanaigh, 33 on New Year's Day 2010.

Congrats Serina and Gavin.

Malaysian Astronaut Is Engaged

Seremban-born Malaysian astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha has just been engaged to his longtime sweetheart anaesthetist Dr Halina Yunos.

They will be married on Oct 10 this year, the third anniversary of his maiden voyage into space.