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Sufi Rashid's KL restaurant catches fire, shuts down

S'pore singer's KL restaurant catches fire a month after opening

BAD LUCK: Sufi in front of De'Tulang Merah during its grand opening last month.
"I’m just thankful that there was no one around when the accident happened." - Sufi Rashid

Just last month, local singer Sufi Rashid proudly celebrated the opening of his first restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.

But on Saturday, the 25-year-old issued a notice to his patrons and fans on Instagram, informing them that the eatery will be "closed till further notice" for renovation works.

Little did they know that the kitchen of De'Tulang Merah had caught fire that morning.

Sufi soared to fame across the Causeway after becoming the first Singaporean to win popular Malaysian reality TV singing competition Akademi Fantasia last year.

He told The New Paper over the phone from Kuala Lumpur yesterday: "I received a call from the owner of a neighbouring bar at about 5am. He told me he smelled something burning coming from my shop.

"When I arrived, I was shocked to see everything reduced to black soot in the kitchen. There was nothing left in the kitchen."

Sufi said closed-circuit television footage showed a bright spark coming out from one of the chillers, possibly caused by an electrical fault.

By about 5.30am, firefighters were at the scene to extinguish the fire. Investigations are still ongoing but Sufi has ruled out foul play, saying he does not have enemies.

BAD LUCK: The damage caused to the restaurant's kitchen after the fire.

He had pumped in RM100,000 (S$34,000) into the business, which he co-owns with three other Singaporean and Malaysian partners.

Renovation works have set them back by RM25,000 and he estimates the loss in business has cost him a five-figure sum.

If all goes smoothly, De'Tulang Merah will be up and running by early next month.

"I'm just thankful that there was no one around when the accident happened," said Sufi, who will be in Singapore this Saturday to perform at rock concert Rentak Singapura 'Anda Mau Rock?'. He will also perform at charity concert Projek Kasih on April 8.


This stroke of bad luck has not stopped Sufi from exploring expansion plans for his restaurant.

"Thankfully, business has been brisk since we started and I hope we'll have that continued support when we re-open.

"I also hope to open a second (outlet) in Johor in the near future," said Sufi.

And it hasn't all been bad news either.

Yesterday, he learnt that he has earned his first nomination in Malaysia's prestigious Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (ABPBH) awards.

He is the only Singaporean among four other Malaysian nominees in the Most Popular New Male Artist category.

"It would be a miracle if I win. This, by far, is the biggest honour I've ever received after Akademi Fantasia," said Sufi.

The surprise nomination took him back to last year when he made it to the Akademi Fantasia finals after a tough fight.

"I didn't expect to win then. To be a finalist was already unexpected. Now to be among the top five (in ABPBH) is already a big privilege to me. It's so surreal," he said.

Pavan goes fast

Teenager's goal is to carve out a career in motorsports

FAST AND FURIOUS: (Above) Pavan Ravishankar after winning the first round (senior category) of the X30 Challenge Singapore 2016. Pavan in action.

FAST AND FURIOUS: Pavan Ravishankar after winning the first round (senior category) of the X30 Challenge Singapore 2016.(Above) Pavan in action.

He grew up idolising Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton, religiously following the fortunes of the Englishman, first at British outfit McLaren and now with the German marque Mercedes.

When Pavan Ravishankar turned 12, a friend from school invited him to try go-karting at the Kartright Speedway circuit in Joo Koon, and he has not looked back since.

Soon, the St Joseph's Institution (International) student started racing go-karts in competitions held both locally and abroad.

Two weeks ago, Pavan beat 11 other drivers in the senior category to claim the first round of the X30 Challenge Singapore 2016, the first internationally-sanctioned go-kart race held locally at the KF1 Karting Circuit in Kranji.

The champion after five rounds walks away with a deLaCour watch worth nearly $30,000.

In last year's inaugural series, the fourth round attracted more than 90 drivers from around the globe.

While the win is Pavan's first big step as he strives to make it big in motor racing, the teenager is not getting carried away.

"Formula 1 is the dream, but my ultimate aim is definitely to be doing any sort of motorsport as a career," the 16-year-old told The New Paper yesterday.

"This year, my dad has already paid for my racing expenses. But if I want to make a step forward next year, I definitely need a sponsor because the budget is going to get bigger."

Pavan's mother, Indra, has reached out for help to fund his endeavour, but has heard nothing positive so far.

"We've spoken to people we know who we feel have the means," the 50-year-old homemaker told TNP.

"In fact, Pavan has taken a lot of initiative himself - he started drawing up his own proposals on PowerPoint and we've been giving it to people to see how best they can help.

"For motor racing, it's not counting dollars and cents; it's actually quite a bit."

Go-kart drivers usually fork out around $30,000 a year to compete in a full race. The figure includes the car and engine, racing gear and track fees. Practice fees are additional.

With such heavy costs, Pavan admitted that he needs to put himself out there to woo potential sponsors.

He has joined the Asian Formula Renault Series, a 12-round single-seater car race held in China, South Korea and Thailand, with the overall champion receiving a full scholarship to compete in the European version of the series.

"That's what I'm really trying to focus on - to be the top Asian driver in the championship this year," said Pavan, who will be going up against top-class drivers from Europe.

More than 30,000 spectators watched the first two rounds that were held in Zhuhai last weekend, and he added: "This is definitely the next step. Depending on my results, it will open more doors for me next year."


Crucial step to stop trains from entering area not carried out

Singapore Civil Defence Force officers at the track where the accident took place.

Maintenance workers are authorised to get onto train tracks to investigate incidents even when trains are running as per normal.

Such deployment of personnel onto tracks happens two to three times a day on average, SMRT said in a press release on Wednesday (March 23).

So it was not unusual to have workers at the tracks near Pasir Ris MRT Station while the trains were in operation on Tuesday (March 22) morning.

But the team of 15 engineers and officers was supposed to have coordinated with another team at the station to stop trains from entering the affected area before they got onto the tracks.

This step was not carried out, SMRT said.

Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were hit by an incoming train at around 11.10am.

The bodies of the two men were found motionless and they were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

SMRT said in its press release: "SMRT has established a team to immediately evaluate all workplace safety procedures and has also instituted mandatory work-team level safety reviews.

"We take responsibility and apologise for the tragic accident. We express our deepest condolences to the families of Nasrulhudin and Muhammad Asyraf in their time of grief."

Sequence of events:

1) At 8.08am, a monitoring device at the tracks registers a warning.

2) At 10.54am, a team of 15 get down from the station platform, cross the track and access the walkway.

3) Led by an assistant engineer, they walk in a single file on the walkway towards the device.

4) Before they step back on the track, the team is supposed to coordinate with another team at the station to prevent trains from entering the area. But this is not carried out.

5) At 11.08am, two men immediately behind the lead assistant engineer are hit by a train.



Who was in this group of 15?

The team comprised one engineer, five assistant engineers, five technical officers and four trainees.


Were they or were they not authorised to access the tracks?

SMRT said the team was authorised "to move down from the station platform, cross the track, and access the maintenance walkway in order to proceed to the location of the device".

"Before the team is allowed to step back on to the trackway", they must "coordinate with the Signal unit at the station for oncoming trains to be brought to a stop and to ensure that no trains enter the affected sector".

"Our records do not show that this procedure took place."


Why didn't the train stop in time?

SMRT said the train, which was routed to Platform 2, was "moving in automatic mode".

"When the train captain saw staff on the track, he immediately applied emergency brakes but was unable to prevent the accident."


Why are maintenance workers allowed on the tracks when trains are in operation?

"Whenever there is a warning registered along the network during train service, maintenance staff are given track access to investigate the cause. An average of two to three such authorisations are given each day.

"At no time do we compromise the safety of staff and commuters in our efforts to keep up the required service standards."


Why was the power not turned off?

"Power to the Third Rail (which supplies power to the train) is turned off only when staff need to come into contact with the Third Rail, or carry out work on the Third Rail. In this case, this was not necessary."

The most bizarre lawsuits in football

A Napoli fan wants to sue Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli (above) for his performance during the Turin derby.
A Napoli fan wants to sue Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli (above) for his performance during the Turin derby.

Football fans are often prone to over-reaction and exaggeration, but it looks as if one Napoli fan has topped it all.

While Juventus ran out as comfortable 4-1 winners over Torino in the Turin derby on Sunday (March 20), the Serie A league leaders were aided by some controversial refereeing by Nicola Rizzoli.

The Italian official, who is one of the country's best, incorrectly disallowed a Maxi Lopez goal for offside. If the goal had stood, it would have levelled the score at 2-2.

Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci also appeared to be lucky to remain on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes after he appeared to headbutt Rizzoli early in the second half while protesting a penalty decision.

The result allowed the Bianconeri to keep their title rivals Napoli at bay with a three-point lead at the top of the Serie A.

Rizzoli's performance irked Napoli fan Luigi Giordano so much that the lawyer says he is suing the referee.

On his Facebook page, Giordano posted: "I have done my duty as a lawyer and a Napoli fan. I now place my trust in Turin's magistrates."



Io ho fatto il mio dovere da avvocato e da tifoso azzurro ora fiducia nei magistrati torinesi

Posted by Luigi Giordano on Monday, 21 March 2016


While Giordano's supposed legal action seems like overkill, he isn't the only fan or institution that has turned to litigation over footballing matters.

Here are some of the lawsuits that have been bandied about in the world of football:



Blackpool might be fondly remembered by English football fans for their swashbuckling approach during their first English Premier League campaign in 2010/11.

However, ever since that heady campaign which featured the likes of Charlie Adam ended in relegation back to the Championship, the Tangerines, who are now in League One, have fallen on hard times.

With weeks to go before the start of the 2014/15 Championship season, the club was forced to scramble for players after being left with just eight outfield players on their book without a goalkeeper.

To make things worse for the club's suffering and increasingly unhappy fan base, club owner Owen Oyston and his son Karl, who is the club's chairman, have been suing fans left, right and centre over perceived defamatory comments.

One fan, businessman Jeremy Smith, was sued in June last year for attending a match carrying a sign showing a newspaper cover featuring the elder Oyston with an altered headline which read: "WE ARE THIEVES".

According to details from the legal papers published by the Blackpool Gazette, Smith's actions caused or were likely to cause serious harm to the personal and professional reputations to the Oystons.



Ever wondered what happens when a footballer fires a wild shot into Row Z?

In Sunderland's case, it triggered a lawsuit after a supporter was concussed during a training session.

In 2011, Niall Quinn, who was chairman of the Black Cats at the time, revealed to the BBC that the fan in question was in the midst of claiming damages from the Wearside club.

The ex-Manchester City striker said: "We had a supporter who got a bad injury.

"I'm making fun of it now, but it knocked a supporter out. It was quite serious. That supporter is in the process of suing us right now."

And the footballer at the heart of the lawsuit? The former Lord of the Manor of Frodsham and ex-Liverpool striker, Djibril Cisse.



In this day and age, footballers come and go so easily that one-club players have virtually gone the way of the dodo.

However, Brazilian lawyer Luciano Pereira Caparroz seemed to be unfamiliar with that truism of modern football when he decided to sue Barcelona forward Neymar back in 2014.

Caparroz, a lifelong Santos fan, was infuriated to learn that the Brazil superstar and his representatives had a pre-contract agreement in place for a move to the Nou Camp when the two sides met at the Club World Cup in 2011.

Back then, Caparroz had shelled out a considerable amount of money for a trip to Japan to catch his beloved club in action, only to see Santos crumble to a 0-4 defeat at the hands of the Spanish giants.

Brazilian media quoted Caparroz, who was seeking

£6,600 (S$12,783) in compensation to cover his expenditure and "morale damages", as saying: ""I'm a Santista, I go to all the games and I decided to travel to Japan to watch the Club World Cup.

"I was left frustrated with the result and on top of that, later on, we learned that Neymar was already sold. I feel cheated."



These days, it might be hard to imagine anyone getting worked up over the sale of Craig Bellamy.

However, the former Liverpool and Newcastle striker was a big deal when he made his breakthrough in England's second tier with Norwich in the late 1990s.

So when the Welsh striker was sold to Coventry City in 2000 for a club record £6.5 million fee, one fan took umbrage after he had shelled out £12,000 for an executive box at Carrow Road.

Businessman Keith Larke took the Canaries to court in a bid to get his money back because Norwich majority shareholder and TV chef Delia Smith had pledged to keep the fiery forward.

When asked if the cash-strapped club would sell Bellamy for financial reasons, Smith said: "Absolutely not. Not to balance the books. No."

Sources: Facebook via 101 Great Goals, The Sun, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Blackpool Gazette, Sky Sports

Former TRS editor jailed 10 months

Ai Takagi an Australian citizen and owner and chief Real Singapore website, was sentenced to 10 months' jail for four charges of sedition

Former The Real Singapore (TRS) editor Ai Takagi, who is eight weeks pregnant, was jailed 10 months on Wednesday (March 23) for sedition.

Takagi, 23, an Australian national of Japanese descent, had pleaded guilty on March 8 to four counts of sedition, with four other charges taken into consideration.

Court papers listed her as the chief editor as well as an owner of the now-defunct socio-political website.

She doctored, fabricated and published articles to promote ill will among different classes of people in Singapore - just to attract Internet users to her website.

Among the four offending articles was one where she falsely said a Filipino family caused a commotion between the police and participants at a Thaipusam procession.

Between December 2013 and April 2015, TRS raked in almost $500,000 in advertising revenue.

Authorities shut it down in May 2015, having earlier arrested Takagi and her then-boyfriend, Yang Kaiheng, now her husband.

Yang, 27, who is facing eight similar charges, claimed trial and is expected to be back in court next Monday (March 28).


Get the full story in our print edition (March 24).

Subscribe to The New Paper in print and digital at

MTV VJ Alan Wong has super appetite

Celebrity chow with VJ Alan Wong

EAGER: MTV VJ Alan Wong at the DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe at Marina Bay Sands.

Superman’s Free Range Chicken Burger
Superman’s Pasta Crevettes Carbonara
Batman’s Truffle Pasta
Batman’s Wagyu Beef Burger

When superheroes fight, the earth thunders and shakes.

And when the Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice Food Fight menu items from the DC Comics Super Heroes Cafe at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands arrived at our table, one could almost hear the growl of Chinese-American MTV VJ Alan Wong's stomach.

"This looks amazing," Wong, 30, declared.

"It's going to be hard to choose between the Batman and Superman meals. I may be a bit biased towards Batman because he's my favourite.

"I fell in love with the Batman movies and used to read my older brother's comics. I can relate to Batman because he's so cool but human at the same time. His powers come from his gadgets and specialised training. I'd like to think I could be Batman if I had his money and skills."

Wong co-hosts weekly lifestyle and music show The MTV Show, which airs on MTV Asia (StarHub TV Ch 533 and Singtel TV Ch 350) on Saturdays at 2pm.

M took Wong to sample the cafe's special Batman V Superman menu, which is available from tomorrow until April 24.

Wong had to pick his favourites from Batman's Wagyu Beef Burger and Superman's Free Range Chicken Burger, and Superman's Pasta Crevettes Carbonara and Batman's Truffle Pasta.

After deliberation, he declared Superman the winner in the burger category, and Batman for pasta.

"I don't usually like chicken burgers but this one is amazing and unique. The chicken patty is juicy, and the flavours of the salsa, guacamole and that unexpected touch of peanut butter bring it together really well.

"And I like the Batman pasta because that squid ink linguini with truffle sauce has a strong, robust flavour and goes beautifully with the shrimp."

What food do you miss from home?

I spent most of my life in California. What I miss most is authentic Mexican food - the food trucks where you can get great tacos for just a dollar each.

I also miss classic American diners like The Original Mels Diner, where you can get massive stacks of pancakes and a burger the size of your face. And the pizookie (a cookie baked in a personal pizza pan) at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse is just delightful.

What are your favourite eating spots in Singapore?

I've been here for three years now, and I always like introducing visiting friends to the local food.

When I first arrived, I ate black carrot cake almost every day. I also like the popiah from Rojak, Popiah & Cockle at Maxwell Food Centre, and chilli crab at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant.

I took my parents there when they came to visit. When I want Mexican food, I like to hit Muchachos on Keong Saik Road.

How is your cooking?

I don't cook very well, but I do try. It's a little difficult to do it here because my kitchen isn't air conditioned, which makes it really hot and uncomfortable to cook in.

In college, I studied in Italy for six months and I helped the mother of my host family prepare simple Italian dishes like basil pesto and arrabbiata (spicy tomato) sauce.

So technically, I can do that.

What is the worst food experience you've ever had?

Oh man, my The MTV Show co-host Hanli (Hoefer) once had me try durian cream puffs for the first time on the show. But she didn't realise they had gone bad because they were unrefrigerated for hours.

When I took a bite, the taste was so awful I gagged and spit it out into a plastic bag.

Hanli and the crew were laughing at me, but when they tried the puffs they realised they were spoiled. She apologised profusely.

My reaction was caught on camera, so at least it was entertaining for the viewers.

Redpan is perfect for playful palates

Redpan - located in the new wing at Marina Square - must be a godsend to those working in the area. It offers tasty and inexpensive dishes in a gorgeous setting.

The nice decor is a given as the restaurant is a partnership between Grub and DP Architects. The result: the perfect backdrop for your Instagram posts.

The menu - from the people behind Grub and Fix - is a collection of playful dishes. The fussy foodie will appreciate the effort to maintain a Singaporean touch, while the uninitiated will get a chance to taste what we have, albeit in a different form.

Ultimately, it's the taste buds that matter. Here, they should be satisfied, with dishes that will encourage repeat visits.


I love chinchalok (fermented krill), so the Steak & Chinchalok ($21) is appealing to me. The dish is fine but I wish the chinchalok had more prominence.



The Prawn & 'Hae Bi Hiam' Pasta ($15) is outstanding. The shrimp paste - more umami than hiam (spicy) - is something Redpan should bottle and sell. It'll go with everything.


The heavenly Pork Pops ($7) were the right balance between fatty and lean meat. The pork pieces are fried and accompanied by a tangy mango sauce. You'll lose count of how many pieces you've popped into your mouth.


I didn't like the Hainanese Pork Cutlet ($13). It's a hefty slice, but the pork is too dry and the tomato brown gravy doesn't seem to help.


The dessert menu is small but very good. The Gooey Banana Donuts 'Milo Dinosaur' ($7) is a must-try. If you're up to it, order the delicious Sticky Red Date Cake ($8) too.

WHAT Redpan

WHERE #02-03, Marina Square

WHEN Weekdays, 9am to 10pm Weekends and public holidays, 11am to 10pm

CALL 6255-5850