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Portraits of Malaysian King, Former Rulers Adorn Airplane-Turned Restaurant



KUALA LUMPUR, March 23  — From a distance, two young men were  seen diligently sketching something on an aircraft body under the scorching sun while occasionally wiping sweat away from their forehead.

If you think that these two lads were doing vandalism, hold your thoughts. They are actually mural painters responsible to draw the faces of the Malaysian current and former rulers on the aircraft body which will soon be turned into a restaurant.

Although the aircraft body is sometimes too hot to the touch, Rushdi Ahmad, 32, and  Muhammad Syaq Kholid, 26, remain committed to sketching their artworks on a Boeing 737 that was ‘parked’ near the Palace of the Golden Horses Hotel in Seri Kembangan.

For Rushdi, it was not an easy task. In fact, it was a new and different experience for him since he ventured into the field some 10 years ago.

Besides the unpredictable weather, the artist who hailed from Kuala Rompin, Pahang admitted that the curved surface of the aircraft body often made the job more challenging as he needed to maximise his skills, focus and patience to turn a design into a painting.

“Transferring an image onto a curved surface is more difficult than a at surface. Sometimes, the artwork seems fine when we look at it from a straight angle, but when we take a look from a lower angle, the image was distorted.

“So, we need to work in pairs. One artist will paint the artwork and another one will be observing from below and will immediately notify his friend if  there is a need to rectify an image,” he told Bernama recently.

Among the images drawn on the aircraft body are the portraits of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj and Tengku Permaisuri of Selangor, Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin.

There are also portraits of the 15 former Yang di-Pertuan Agong as well as Queen Elizabeth II, who was among the VVIP guests at the hotel during the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

The identity of the hotel such as horses, a dragon and a Phoenix bird is also displayed on the aircraft body and its wings, besides the logos of international events that used to be held at the hotel such as the World Golf Championship and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, as well as fitness activities such as running and cycling.

Rushdi and Muhammad Syafiq who worked together under their own company Tongkang Art Empire began painting the mural in mid-December last year and were assisted by seven other painters.

In sharing their experience, the holder of a bachelor’s degree in art and design from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) said when he was approached to take on the job, he thought that it would only involve a small aeroplane statue.

“However, during the first site visit in December, I was shocked to see that it is actually a real aircraft! So, this is my chance to turn my dream of  producing a large-scale artwork into a reality,” he said.

Fellow artist  Muhammad Syafiq said the cost of producing the mural was more expensive than that of normal murals as it required additional equipment such as iron scaffolding, sky lift rental and wage payments for other artists.

“This is not merely about profit but what is more important is the satisfaction from producing the artwork,” he said, adding that almost 30 barrels of five-litre paint were used to complete the mural on a 5,000 sq. ft. aircraft body.

Country Heights founder and  executive chairman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew said the 45-tonne Boeing 737 was previously used as a restaurant in Bukit Bintang before being purchased and taken to the Mines Wellness City.

“It will be a new attraction to rejuvenate the domestic and international tourism in the area,” said Lee who expected that the restaurant would be opened soon with various interesting offers.

Meanwhile, a fine arts lecturer in UiTM Machang, Kelantan, Suhaidi Razi said mural painting has become a trend with commercial value and often chosen by various quarters especially corporate companies as their new attractions.

“If previously mural painters were often called to beautify ordinary buildings such as schools and kindergartens with a moderate payment, but now the demand is increasing and it creates a healthy competition in the industry.

“Paintings, if displayed at strategic locations, will make a difference and attract people’s attention,” he said, adding that murals that were produced using oil paint could last up to seven years.



Canada Bans Flights From India And Pakistan For 30 Days



OTTAWA, April 23 – Canada announced a 30-day ban on all flights from India and Pakistan effective Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue surging in the two countries, reported Xinhua news agency.

“Given the higher number of cases of COVID-19 detected in air passengers arriving in Canada from India and Pakistan, Transport Canada is issuing a notice to airmen, or NOTAM, to halt direct passenger air traffic from those countries,” said Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra at a joint press conference with other Canadian ministers on Thursday.

The minister said the ban is implemented as more passengers arrive in Canada with positive test results from those two South Asian countries.

If travellers departing from those two countries take an indirect route home, they will be required to show a negative PCR test at their last point of departure. Once they arrive in Canada, they will  follow the standard protocols, unless exempt, including taking another test and booking a stay at a designated government hotel while they await their results.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the ban will allow Canada’s public health experts to collect more data about the epidemiology in those regions.

“I want to say that our hearts are with the citizens of India, Pakistan, indeed the whole region during these incredibly difficult times. In the meantime, we’ll continue to apply stringent testing and quarantine measures for all passengers arriving in Canada,” she said.

In a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier on Thursday, Both Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault called on the Trudeau government to cut the number of international flights arriving in Canada and impose greater restrictions at the Canada-U.S. land border.

Also on Thursday, the House of Commons passed a motion to have the government immediately suspend non-essential passenger flights from countries with high rates of COVID-19 variants infections.


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Weak Earthquake Detected In Ranau, Sabah



KOTA KINABALU, April 23 — A weak earthquake, the third one detected this month, measuring 2.5 on the Richter scale, occurred in Ranau district at 12.02 am on Friday.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia), in a statement, said that the epicentre of the quake occurred 8 kilometres northeast of Ranau, at a depth of 10 km, may have caused tremors to be felt around the district.

The first weak earthquake in Ranau this month occurred at 11.10 pm on April 18, measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale and followed by the second one, measuring 2.7 on the Richter scale at 1.05 am the next day (April 19).

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Sabah Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) when contacted said they had not received any emergency report on the incident.

Sources: BERNAMA

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Separated Since Babies, This Identical Twins Finally Reunite After 36 Years



Identical twins Molly Sinert and Emily Bushnell were separated at birth in South Korea and adopted by different families. Molly went on living in Florida while Emily in Pennsylvania. The siblings spent most of their lives totally unaware of each other’s existence and little information about their birth family.

But everything changes after Emily’s 11-year-old daughter, Isabel wanted to make a DNA test to explore her heritage.

Isabel said, “I wanted to do the DNA test because she was adopted. I wanted to find out if I had more family on her side.”

Meanwhile in Florida, Molly also decided she wanted to take a DNA test to find out more about her mother’s history. The database confirmed her relations with Emily.

“(The results said:) ‘You share 49.96% DNA with this person. We predict that she’s your daughter’. This is obviously not right because I’ve never gone into labor, I don’t have children.”

Shortly after, she figured out that she must be her sister. They contacted each other but decided not to have a video call until they met in person.

Even though Emily didn’t feel comfortable taking the test, but finding out about her twin makes everything so clear.

“Although I have family who loves me and has been wonderful, there was always a feeling of disconnection. Finding out that I had an identical twin sister just made everything so clear. It all makes sense.”

As the twins got to know each other, they discovered more and more similarities between themselves.

Emily added: “Our senior prom picture…we were both wearing a beaded dress with a strapless style and our hair was exactly the same.

Emily concluded by describing the reunion as ‘the happiest moment of her life’.

Source: Daily Star

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