With fans earlier today releasing a coruscating indictment of their club's current mishandling, Arsenal furtively attempt to make an impact in this summer's transfer market, hoping to appease any criticisms of them both on and off the pitch. [...]
The tatami-floored dining room at Daigo looks out to private garden – Pictures by CK Lim
TOKYO, July 14 – This isn’t meat.Certainly what is served before me is savoury enough – one could argue almost meaty – but nothing can disguise the fact it’s a platter of mushrooms, marinated in miso for (non-dairy) cheesy notes, and given some extra bite thanks to the accompaniment of water chestnuts and wheat gluten.From old-school, gluten-centric mock meats (the zai ngor or vegetarian goose was a guilty favourite of my childhood) to technology-driven, plant-based meat substitutes such as Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat – faux meat is here to stay.While these aim to replicate the real thing, the dish in front of me is unabashedly meatless and proudly proclaims: Enjoy me as I am.No, this is clearly not meat.There’s something to be said for meatless cuisine (whether vegetarian or vegan depends on how strict one’s diet is; the former may include dairy and eggs) that revels in drawing out the natural flavours of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds without having to mimic the very thing it leaves out.Few cultures have mastered the art of meatless cuisine the way the Japanese have. The pinnacle of Japanese vegetarian dining is known as shojin ryori (translated as “devotion cuisine”), which was started by Buddhist monks.Rather than enduring days-long treks to distant mountains to reach a Zen sanctuary, however, we are fortunate enough to snag a reservation at Daigo, a shojin ryori restaurant founded in 1950 by Nomura Yoshikawa.Situated near the foot of Mount Atago (home to the Seisho-ji temple) in Tokyo’s Shimbashi neighbourhood, the restaurant has a stately veneer.
Elegant and minimalist: Japanese calligraphy and an 'ikebana' flower arrangement
We are greeted at the door by a staff member and brought to a tatami-floored room. The space is elegant and minimalist: here a requisite scroll of Japanese calligraphy hanging on one of the walls, there an ikebana flower arrangement branching out like a brush stroke.We take in the view of the private garden outside: a thoughtfully curated scene of green shrubs and bamboo, large stones atop a bed of gravel.The warm glow of the yellow lamps completes the ambience. Everything is meant to prepare us for the simple and season-based meal that is to come.Of course, simplicity here is part of the shojin ryori philosophy – why mess with Nature’s best? But what we experience is complex in flavours, textures and moods.It begins, perhaps to counter any worries that the cuisine will be too austere, with an aperitif of very strong umeshu plum wine chilled with ice. What a way to kick any expectations out the window!Our first two courses appear basic but the basics are beguiling if you do it right. The zensai starter of miso-grilled eggplant, sweet potato and sticky nameko mushrooms with okra refresh our jaded palates.
Smooth and silky – a clear soup of 'yuba' (tofu skin) topped with sweet 'kaki' (persimmon)
Then the osuimono course arrives, a clear soup of yuba (tofu skin) topped with sweet kaki (persimmon). We’re instructed to first drink only the soup, then mix it all together, allowing the yuba to dissolve into the hot liquid manna.Smooth, silky, subtle – a million miles away from overly seasoned dishes we’ve become accustomed to. This is soul food.Texture plays a big part in shojin ryori. Daigo, which was awarded two Michelin stars in 2009, displays an impeccable command of this element with a dish of soba, crowned with grated naga-imo (mountain yams) for a contrast of slurp-worthy and sticky.We detect hints of Japanese mustard and seaweed, mild and minor notes to broaden the symphony.
'Hassun' course (left to right): 'kuri' chestnut; miso-marinated mushrooms with water chestnuts and wheat gluten; “mountain peach” ('yamamomo') inside a Japanese lantern ('hozuki'); and stewed spinach with grated candied ginger
The aforementioned miso mushroom is part of the hassun course, a celebration of different textures and flavours.The savoury nugget is accompanied by a trio of bites to complete the hassun assortment: kuri paste covered with deep-fried potato noodle sticks to mimic the raw chestnut; a crimson orb of “mountain peach” (also known as Chinese bayberry or yamamomo) caged in the fragile, skeletal leaves of a Japanese lantern (hozuki); and the simple pleasures of stewed spinach garnished with grated candied ginger.Together they make for a delicate dance of shapes and colours, seasons and seasoning. Simultaneously contrasting and complementary, the hassun course at Daigo is proof no meat is required to create culinary marvels.There is a brief lull between the succession of courses, as though to allow us time and space to ponder upon what we have experienced thus far. Then our servers return with a trio of courses , one after the other, like a crescendo.
Tempura selection of lightly battered mushrooms, tofu and Chinese spinach
First, the simmered nimono is goma tofu (sesame beancurd) with mashed seaweed. Next comes the agemono course: a tempura selection of lightly battered mushrooms, tofu and Chinese spinach.
Flavours of the forest: 'maitake' (hen-of-the-woods mushroom) and 'matsutake' (pine mushroom)
To enjoy with sake, the shiizakana course: maitake (hen-of-the-woods mushroom) to dip in salt, and matsutake (pine mushroom) with a squeeze of citrus.Every tastebud is firing, albeit in a most gentle fashion. Shojin ryori, originally brought to Japan by the Zen Buddhist monk Dogen from China, may abstain from using meat but still manages to exhibit the five key flavours of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami.This is achieved by embracing the rule of five colours – white, green, yellow, black and red – in selecting ingredients to use in every meal.It’s all about balance. At Daigo, we reckon this balance becomes a da [...]
Lil Wayne performing during the 2018 Austin City Limits Music Festival. — AFP pic
LOS ANGELES, July 15 — Rapper Lil Wayne is turning to fashion design for American Eagle.The Grammy Award-winning hip-hop star has been snapped up by the apparel label to create a 25-piece back-to-school collection launching on August 10, reports WWD. The collection, dubbed “AE x Young Money”, will span t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, socks, underwear, hats and jeans, incorporating colourful tie-dye motifs throughout, and skate decks to boot.“We designed the AE x Young Money collection with purpose and pride,” the rapper, who released his ‘Tha Carter V’ album last September, told WWD. “Whether it’s my music or my style, I have always used both as an outlet for creativity and to live my truth — without apologies. American Eagle gets it. The brand celebrates individuality and to me that’s something I want to be a part of.”American Eagle has been tapping into the music scene lately — last summer, the brand unveiled a “Make Moves Video” campaign that showcased its customers going about daily life in their AE Ne(X)t Level jeans, as well as a digital series featuring some of Universal Music Group’s hottest emerging music artists in their favourite AE denims, with rising stars Bea Miller, Bibi Bourelly and Jade Bird all featuring.Lil Wayne is the latest in a string of recording artists landing major fashion contracts. In May, the rapper and singer Lil Nas X teamed up with Wrangler on a limited-edition collection featuring imagery from his hit song Old Town Road, while the rapper Quavo joined forces with BoohooMAN to create a ready-to-wear collection that went on sale in April.The full AE x Young Money collection will be unveiled on July 30, before rolling out online and in stores in August. — AFP-Relaxnews [...]
Kratom is a plant that many people use for depression. It is unregulated and may carry some risks. Learn more about the potential use of kratom for depression here. [...]
PAUL POGBA staying at Manchester United could end up damaging Arsenal and Tottenham’s transfer plans this summer. [...]
TRANSFER NEWS LIVE - All the latest rumours and gossip coming out of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid. [...]
If there’s one constant in the world of Android phones, it’s that the top phones all use Qualcomm’s best Snapdragon processor. This year, that’s the Snapdragon 855, a powerful system-on-chip that we’ve already seen in the Galaxy S10, One Plus 7 Pro, LG G8 ThinQ, and a few others.Naturally, we assumed that the premium handsets coming in the second half of the year, namely the Galaxy Note 10 and Pixel 4, would use the same processor. But that might not be the case. Qualcomm has announced a mid-year refresh to the Snapdragon 855 that it’s calling the 855 Plus. Because, you know, everything that’s better has a plus in its name these days.To read this article in full, please click here [...]
The California Rep. wants to know how deepfakes will be addressed by social media ahead of the upcoming election. [...]
LUXEMBOURG/LONDON (July 15): GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Vodafone Group Plc and BT Group Plc are among more than a dozen companies that have challenged a European Union... [...]
Former Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) vice-president Datuk Hamidah Osman at a press conference held at her Batu Gajah home August 20, 2018. — Picture by Farhan Najib
KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Former PPBM vice-president Datuk Hamidah Osman today claimed that she had witnessed DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang pitching the idea of setting up Bersatu to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2016.Hamidah in a press conference in Ipoh today also revealed that she is the person who told Datuk Seri Najib Razak what had transpired during the meeting between Lim and Dr Mahathir.Her revelation comes just a day after Lim challenged Najib to prove his claim that he had a role in Bersatu’s formation.“I was present, and Kit Siang was there. In our discussions, right in front of me, Kit Siang proposed to Dr Mahathir to set up a Malay party like Umno to garner 10 per cent of Umno’s votes. He (Lim) then said if successful, Pakatan Harapan would form the government.“Since there is a question on who had told Najib, I hereby confess that I was the one present when the matter was discussed between Mahathir and Kit Siang,” Utusan Malaysia quoted her as saying.Hamidah, who is currently the Parti Putra Perkasa Negara vice-president, said the meeting took place at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, on March 4 in 2016, during which several other leaders were also present.On July 12, Najib claimed that Bersatu was Lim’s idea.The Barisan Nasional (BN) advisory council chairman claimed Lim made the suggestion to Dr Mahathir ahead of GE14 as instigation to pit the Malays against each other and cause their own downfall.In response, Lim had challenged Najib to prove his claim by revealing his informant’s identity.The Iskandar Puteri MP said Najib would not be able to provide evidence of the claims and called him an unscrupulous, unprincipled and incorrigible liar.Earlier today Dr Mahathir ridiculed those who claimed Lim was the mastermind behind the formation of PPBM, suggesting the accusers were mad and should be admitted to the psychiatric hospital.“Yes he gathered and met all Malay leaders and warlords and told them we should all form PPBM so we just unanimously said yes, yes, yes,” the PPBM de facto leader told reporters during a press conference.He then belittled detractors who suggested Lim had aimed to divide the Malays by forming yet another Malay-based party as having “inferiority complex”. [...]
Graduates attend the International Islamic University Malaysia’s 34th convocation ceremony in Gombak November 10, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
KOTA KINABALU, July 15 — The Auditor-General’s Report has recommended a restructuring of the 1Malaysia Training Scheme (SL1M) after a host of discrepancies was found with its management including 56 acquisitions that were made not according to government procedures.The report said that 45 per cent of the acquisitions totaling RM5.5 million were made without asking for a quotation while 21.4 per cent of acquisitions totaling RM11.31 million were not done according to open tender.It also said that RM17 million of its funds were invested by TalentCorp, without its knowledge.“Overall, it can be summarised that the SL1M programme is not implemented efficiently given its lack of information following their graduates, and also the weakness in their financial, acquisition, registration and monitoring management aspects.”The report listed 13 areas of concern in its audit of the programme including incomprehensive date from its secretariat, the lack of knowledge of the RM9 million in 2017 and RM 8 million in 2018 by Talentcorp, no contract or MoU between them and TalentCorp and no balancing statement from TalentCorp, which caused a discrepancy of RM5.69 million in their year-end statements.It also said that accounts showed overspending in their RM718,760 payment to an artist to act as its spokesperson, even before services were rendered.“SL1M also spent RM10,4 million on advertising in print and electronic media without approval from the necessary authority,” said the report.The programme was tasked with training some 60,000 graduates for three years between 2016 and 2018.The actual number of graduates who underwent its programme cannot be ascertained due to incomplete information and also because some of the government-linked companies and private companies involved did not provide the information to the SL1M secretariat because they were not required to.The report noted that the SL1M Secretariat has received an allocation of RM65.8 million from the Prime Minister’s Department and Finance Ministry for 2016 to 2018, in which RM54.3 million had been spent.In its recommendations, the AG report said that the Entrepreneur Development Ministry needs to review the structure or SL1M, now known as PROTEGE, with reinforcement control and monitoring.It said the ministry has to look into the registration, approval, and vetting of participants and companies, and also manage its accounts and acquisitions according to government standards and prerequisites.“There needs to be a mechanism to measure the outcome and justify the funds spent on the programme,” it said. [...]
MELAKA: A comedian fondly known as the “Malaysian Simran” has died after slipping in the toilet at her brother's house here. [...]
LONDON (Reuters) - The ATP is deep in talks with a host of experts from within and outside the sport as it seeks a new leadership team to help heal rifts in elite men’s tennis and lead it into a new era of growth and opportunity, a director of the sport’s governing body told Reuters at Wimbledon. [...]
SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co. has managed to secure an emergency supply of key materials to sustain its chip-making operations for the time being, averting short-term disruption from a Japanese ban of critical semiconductor and display components. [...]
Seeing that both his daughters have earned their wings, a veteran pilot left a 40-year-long career at Malaysia Airlines to become their colleague.
One of them, Safia Anisa, had just graduated from flying school and snagged a job with AirAsia.
Despite his experience, the 58-year-old dad "started fresh as a junior just so he could fly with two of his annoying daughters," Anisa wrote in a tweet on July 12.
Touched by his gesture, "I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this," she said.
Her post was accompanied by photos of father and daughter strapped into pilot seats and grinning at the camera.
Aww thank you for the well wishes everyone!! ♥️ Just for clarification, my dad started flying right after spm, he was a cadet for MAS. After 40 years there, me and my sister both got a job at airasia. He then decided to come to airasia so he could fly w us before he retires! pic.twitter.com/bx6tOPqkMR [...]
‘One Two Jaga’ producer and actor Bront Palarae taking to stage to receive the Best Film Award. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — Efforts by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) to promote film-making in Malaysia have only been partially successful, as Film in Malaysia Incentive programme (Fimi) attracted more foreign filmmakers than local ones.This was revealed in the Auditor-General 2018 Report Series 1, which stated that the target of 50 per cent of Fimi’s allocated incentive funds did not reach its intended target of local productions.For foreign filmmakers, Fimi managed to achieve its objective in encouraging them to use Malaysia for their film settings, by providing more opportunities for local production companies as well as jobs for local crews.However based on the responses from Fimi applicants in a study carried out by the National Audit Department, one of the factors as to why there have been less local productions applying is the difficulty in achieving the minimum Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure’s (QMPE) value and difficulty in meeting Fimi’s conditions.Under the programme, up to 30 per cent in rebates can be issued out to all production costs within Malaysia for both local and foreign productions, as long as they meet the QMPE and fulfill the costs per its guidelines. QMPE covers production and post-production, but not pre-production.Another factor cited is the application form for the programme’s Provisional Certificate (PC) and Final Certificate (FC), which the applicants informed the department that it is not user-friendly.Under Fimi, the PC is issued out to applicants who meet its qualifying conditions, based on the information and estimated budget filled in the form. However the PC does not guarantee the issuance of the FC, as applicants must apply for it within 60 days after production has wrapped up, to claim the rebate of the production costs within Malaysia.Another factor mentioned by Fimi’s local applicants is the apparent lack of promotion for the programme. Many of them said they only came to know of it via Finas directly, and not through other channels including the Internet, exhibitions, and seminars.According to the report overall only five local film projects worth RM12.42 million were approved under Fimi among all the applicants, from 2016 until the report’s auditing date of August 2018.The RM12.42 million approved is approximately 10 percent of Fimi’s total allocated funding under the 11th Malaysian Plan of RM124.52 million, which is far lower than the targeted 50 per cent meant to benefit local productions.The report further stated that the programme’s management has been deemed as ineffective due to weaknesses in certain aspects, including approval for payment of incentives, the process of granting approval for PCs, the verification of the applicant project’s QMPE, financial management, and monitoring. [...]