Izwan warns against complacency against JDT II

Izwan demands focus as Fandi's men want to make up for Selangor rout

Fresh off a 4-0 spanking by Selangor in the Malaysian Super League (MSL) last Saturday, the LionsXII are hurting.

Tonight, they have the chance to bounce back, when they take on second-tier Johor Darul Ta’zim II (JDT II) at the Pasir Gudang Stadium in the second leg of their Malaysian FA Cup quarter-final.

Carrying a 2-0 lead from the first leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium two weeks ago, Fandi Ahmad’s men are 90 minutes away from a place in the semi-finals, where they will play Terengganu.

Many in the Singapore team will be hungry to banish thoughts of the hiding the LionsXII received last week and will assume JDT II are vulnerable, but goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud is calling for cool heads.

The 24-year-old is wary that his teammates could pay the price if they allow their emotions to get the better of them.

Read the full report in our print edition on April 22.

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Another blow to U-23 footballers' SEA Games plans

He joins LionsXII, but FAS says Aide will have Under-23 squad intact for next month's centralised training

He was the captain of Aide Iskandar’s squad charged to go for gold at this year’s South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil.  

But defender Shakir Hamzah, one of the most experienced players in the Singapore Under-23 squad, recently lost the armband.

In a startling move, especially with the clock ticking down to the start of the SEA Games football tournament — the Games will officially be held here from June 5 to 16, but football starts on May 29, with the final on June 15 — Shakir is now in Johor for the LionsXII’s Malaysian FA Cup quarter-final, second leg clash against Johor Darul Ta’zim II.

The 22-year-old has moved to the LionsXII and is no longer a member of the Courts Young Lions team that play in the S.League - the side that are made up of most of the U-23 players for Singapore’s SEA Games team.

Read the full report in our print edition on April 22.

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Paddler Clarence can count on family support at SEA Games

Table tennis-loving family will be cheering on Clarence in his quest 
for gold at the Indoor Stadium

A FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER: Clarence Chew (in red) playing table tennis 
with his mum 
(in pink), youngest sister Cassandra 
and dad.
A FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER: Clarence Chew (in red) playing table tennis 
with his mum , youngest sister Cassandra 
(in black) 
and dad .
A FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER: Clarence Chew (in red) playing table tennis 
with his mum , youngest sister Cassandra 
and dad 
(in yellow).
A FAMILY THAT EATS TOGETHER: (From left) Dad Chew Soo Sheng, a former national player, enjoying a meal with daughter Cassandra, 
a national youth player, and son Clarence.

There is a shelf in Clarence Chew’s room at the family’s Upper Bukit Timah home which is filled with table tennis books.

Sheepishly, the 19-year-old Singapore national paddler says he is not the table tennis bookworm, but his dad Chew Soo Sheng is.

Nearly the whole family loves table tennis.

Dad is a former national player and was once chief executive officer of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA).

Mum is Chen Shuping, who was drafted into the Chinese national team in 1979 at just 16.

While second child Carissa, 17, is more interested in the arts, the youngest, 11-year-old Cassandra, is in the STTA’s youth development squad.

They all will be at the Singapore Indoor Stadium rousing the national paddlers and Clarence in their bid for gold at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games in June.

Read the full report in our print edition on April 22.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Table Tennis

  •  When: June 1-4, 6-8
  • Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium (ticketed)
  • On offer: 7 gold medals
  • Past SEA Games medal haul: 
64 golds, 19 silvers, 55 bronzes
  • Milestones: 1967 - Peck Noi Hwoy won Singapore's first-ever women's singles gold at the South-east Asian Peninsular Games in Bangkok, 1999 - Duan Yongjun won Singapore's first-ever men's singles gold, in Brunei.
  • Did you know?
 Singapore have won the women's singles gold at every SEA Games since 1995. Current women's national coach Jing Junhong started the ball rolling that year. Also, current technical director Loy Soo Han won a mixed doubles bronze with Koh Li Ping when Singapore hosted the Games in 1993.
  • The New Paper's 
medal prediction:
 The sport claimed all four gold medals at the 2013 Games in Myanmar, and all five titles at the 2011 Games in Indonesia. Expect Singapore to field a strong line-up of paddlers on home ground, as they stake their claim for 
all seven golds here in June.

Clarence's left is right

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Embodying the 'unbreakable' spirit

National fencer Lim didn't let his troubled childhood hinder his sporting ambitions

RESPECT: Lim Wei Wen (right) has younger fencers like Aloysius Low (left) looking up to him.

Irrepressible, inspirational and infallible.

Those who know national fencer Lim Wei Wen would recognise these qualities in the 30-year-old.

But the Asian Games 2014 individual epee bronze medallist wasn't always an unbreakable person.

His parents divorced when he was young, and he was brought up by his grandparents and aunts.

He quit school at the age of 15 to be a professional gamer, before taking his O levels as a private candidate and enrolling in ITE Balestier at 21.

On the sidelines of his training at the OCBC Arena yesterday, Lim said: "When I was young, I felt weak and I felt lonely. My family wasn't perfect and I hated my life.

"I was really tired of that life and wanted to get out of it.

"But it's a journey where I became stronger, day by day, month by month - it built me up to be unbreakable."

Read the full report in our print edition on April 22.

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Get going with war blossom

"Looks very well placed with Pike (above) on board." - AAP on War Blossom (Race 1)
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Butler stars for Bulls

Jimmy Butler
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Tags: basketball

BOXING

Fight of the century, 'LIVE'

RECORD FIGHT: Floyd Mayweather (above, left) and Manny Pacquiao at a news conference in Los Angeles last month ahead of their upcoming bout in Las Vegas.
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Big girls don't cry

Kelly Clarkson's fat-shaming saga and Meghan Trainor's body-confidence anthem show why full-figured women of pop deserve their place in the spotlight

BIT HIT: US singer Meghan Trainor at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles last month.
CONFIDENT: Meghan Trainor (centre) performing at the 2015 Echo Music Awards in Berlin last month.
CONFIDENT: Kelly Clarkson has been ridiculed for her weight.

In February, Kelly Clarkson released her seventh studio album, Piece By Piece, which debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart.

You would think this would be cause to celebrate.

But media attention turned from the 32-year-old US singer's talent to her weight.

Clarkson, who gave birth to daughter River Rose last June, has become curvier since her American Idol days in 2002 when she was crowned the inaugural season's winner.

British journalist Katie Hopkins, who watched Clarkson on The Graham Norton Show, posted on Twitter last month: "What happened to Kelly Clarkson? Did she eat all of her backing singers? Happily I have wide-screen."

Instead of apologising for the mean tweet, Hopkins appeared on Access Hollywood to stand by her comments.

When the show's hosts suggested she was a bully, Hopkins insisted otherwise.

"There is no such thing as fat-shaming. There is only skinny-blaming," the 40-year-old said.

"Ultimately, Kelly Clarkson is a chunky monkey."

Fox News presenter Chris Wallace also mocked her size this month.

He said of Clarkson in an interview: "She could stay off the deep-dish pizza for a while."

Wallace later apologised for his comment, saying: "I admire her remarkable talent and that should have been the focus of my discussion about her."

Hopkins has expressed the view that celebrities need to be open to criticism since it is part and parcel of being in the public eye.

But where do we draw the line?

Happily, it seems that Clarkson is not letting the cruel jibes get to her, judging by her response to a question about whether she was hurt by Hopkins' comments.

AWESOME

"That's because she doesn't know me. I'm awesome! It doesn't bother me," the Grammy winner told Heat magazine.

"I've just never cared what people think. It's more if I'm happy and I'm confident and feeling good, that's always been my thing. And more so now, since having a family. I don't seek out any other acceptance."

Her gracious response to such snarky criticism is just a reminder of why she is one of the nicest women in pop: She's comfortable in her own skin and does not feel the need to engage in verbal sparring with other public figures.

Clarkson seems to be living by the words of her most successful hit Stronger: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

She told Redbook magazine: "I wish I had a better metabolism. But someone else probably wishes they could walk into a room and make friends with everyone like I can. You always want what someone else has.

"I don't obsess about my weight, which is probably one of the reasons why other people have such a problem with it."

Once, heavyweight divas like Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald were a common sight.

Now, amid the lithe, skinny bodies we see writhing around in music videos, bigger-boned female singers are fast becoming an endangered species.

Just ask Meghan Trainor, the rising Nantucket-born US singer who oozes self-esteem and celebrates her curves in her catchy bubblegum pop smash hit All About That Bass.

"Yeah, it's pretty clear I ain't no size 2/But I can shake it, shake it like I'm supposed to," sasses the 21-year-old, who will perform her first gig in Singapore tomorrow .

All About That Bass, with its empowering message of body confidence, became last year's viral hit, topping the Billboard and UK charts and going platinum six times in Canada.

Not bad for a girl who once worried that she would never make it as a pop star because she didn't "look like Rihanna".

"Just recently, I was thinking: 'I'm confident now and I look good, and that's because I've started saying those words out loud more,'" she told Seventeen magazine.

Her fans have also inspired her to get rid of her insecurities.

"I'm glad a lot of the comments I've got are about eating disorders and how my song saved them ­ which is crazy, but amazing," Trainor told Entertainment Tonight.

She joins a new generation of pop singers who are increasingly rejecting the "skinny girl" mould, like Adele and Lily Allen.

One of my favourite songs of last year was Allen's own anti-fat-shaming anthem Hard Out Here, detailing how difficult it is for women in the music industry.

Its scathingly sarcastic lyrics include lines like, "You should probably lose some weight 'cause we can't see your bones/You should probably fix your face or you'll end up on your own."

Whether it is Clarkson's good-natured confidence, Trainor's bubbly demeanour or Allen's biting wit, it turns out that there are many ways to deal with the bullies who think it's cool to pick on people larger than them.


FYI

WHAT: MEGHAN TRAINOR - THAT BASS TOUR

WHERE: The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa

WHEN: Tomorrow, 7.30pm

TICKETS: $128 and $188 from Sistic (sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555)

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