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Korntastic and Nerdilicious

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WITH six stages and over 30 bands and artistes, Sunburst KL International Music Festival 2009 was definitely a hit that did not miss.
The festival, once showered with many criticisms from local music fans for its “boring” line-up, has definitely proven to many non-believers that it would not fall short.
Organised by Pineapple Concerts, the highly anticipated music festival was held on March 21, at the Polo Pavillion, Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort, Kuala Lumpur.
The 12-hours of non-stop, back-to-back live performances by local, regional and international artistes include Korn, No one Ever Really Dies (N.E.R.D.), Estrella, Reza Salleh and Twilight Action Girl.
As expected, the boys from N.E.R.D. and Korn stole the show.
Before hitting the stage with their killer rhymes and beats, N.E.R.D.’s frontman, Pharrell Williams made it clear to the crowd that they had six things that fans should know: “One; it’s the first time we ever step foot on this soil. Two; it’s great to be performing at a festival together with the great Korn. Three; crowd surfing is a mandatory thing to do. Four; we want to see a mosh pit in the crowd. Five; for girls, if you’re standing beside a guy, you should get on the guy’s shoulders. Six, if that’s considered breaking the rules, screw it, that’s what you paid your tickets for!,” he said which made the fans roar instantly.
Williams told the crowd that N.E.R.D. was all about having fun with the fans.
“When you come to a N.E.R.D. show, the outfit is all about entertaining people and having fun as a family,” he said.
One photographer was verbally slammed by Pharrell for pushing fans away from the stage and immediately demanded to stop the show.
“Stop pushing all the people to the side, dawg! You’re a photographer, just take the pictures! By pushing these people, you’re not letting them have a good time, that’s what they paid their tickets for!” he said.
Williams also threatened to stop the show if the security guards were trying to stop the fans from coming near to the stage.
As soon as N.E.R.D. was done, it didn’t take long for the next band to get ready. Geared up with his seven-stringed guitar, Munky, real name James Shaffer, and the rest of Korn, Jonathan Davis, Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu stormed the stage with their drums sessionist, Ray Luzier, with a tight performance, playing songs from the latest album, Untitled which was released in 2007.
Fans went wilder when songs from their much previous albums such as Korn, Life is Peachy, Follow the Leader, Issues, Untouchables, which include Falling Away From Me, Somebody Someone, Clown, Freak on a Leash, Faget, Got the Life and many more, hit their eardrums.
The crowd was seen crowd surfing and singing along to every song, disregarding the aggressive security personnel who were slammed by Pharrell earlier.
In between songs, Korn’s vocalist, Davis expressed his regret and revealed: “We would like to apologise for not coming to Malaysia since 15 years ago.”
Davis was seen wearing a Scottish kilt, his signature style.
Before ending the spectacular set, Davis promised the band’s music-thirsty fans by saying: “We promise that it won’t be another 15 years before we come back!”
All in all, Sunburst Music Festival has made fans happy, and definitely was Korn-tastic and N.E.R.D.-ilicious nonetheless.

Ex-army vet: Extremism is not the answer

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PUTRAJAYA: When Abdul Manaf Kasmuri pledged his allegiance to al-Qaeda, it was about helping fellow Muslims being oppressed in conflict zones around the world.

However, the escalating and senseless violence perpetrated by the terror group over the years has forced the former armed forces colonel to withdraw his support.

“Back then, jihad (struggle) was very ‘clean and beautiful’, jihad was only about helping fellow Muslims without resorting to violence.

“Initially, they had my support. But their ideology changed and became twisted,” he said when met after a press conference to highlight the dangers of Islamist extremism yesterday.

It was also attended by several religious scholars, including Pahang mufti Datuk Seri Dr Abdul Rahman Osman and former Kuala Lumpur mufti Datuk Wan Zahidi Wan Teh.

Abdul Manaf, who was arrested under the Internal Security Act for militant activities, said he was raised with religious education based on Sunni teachings.

This has helped him withdraw his support for al-Qaeda when it and other Islamist militant groups grew too extreme and radicalised.

“Their supporters started believing that it’s all right and justifiable to ‘export’ violence from the battleground to other places, regardless of the consequences.

“They also started believing that if they can’t execute you for having a differing view, killing your friend or family would do.

“There is no line that they won’t cross. Whoever opposes them, it is halal (permissible) for them to kill,” he said.

This extreme ideology is similar to that of the Islamic State (IS) terror group today.

Abdul Manaf said his belief in jihad to help others began when he was sent to Bosnia for a peacekeeping mission in the early 1990s.

“The plight of the Muslims there opened my eyes and made me want to help in any way I could.

“I wouldn’t discount that there are some who joined because they genuinely wanted to help their oppressed Muslim brothers and sisters. But there are also those who think that picking up a weapon is the only way to fight back,” he said.

Abdul Manaf was arrested in February 2003 for his links with al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), another militant group.

The battle against terrorism, especially against IS, was “in many layers”, he said. “The authorities have to find a way to combat the twisted version of Islam espoused by these people and the violence that comes with it.

“They also have to tackle how their supporters in Malaysia feel about these misguided struggles.”

On Malaysia’s battle against IS, Abdul Manaf said the authorities could still fight despite “being constrained by several aspects, including human rights”.

“The authorities have a delicate balancing act to perform, ensuring human rights are maintained while hunting down IS militants.

“I speak only for myself but I see that there’s a problem because actions by the enforcement agencies are quite restricted,” he said.

Abdul Manaf was a decorated army veteran who was forced to retire in 1995 after it was found out that he had secretly supported Bosnian mujahideen fighters.

It was claimed that he was a high-ranking official with an Islamic youth organisation in Kuala Lum­pur and a director of a company believed to be a front for al-Qaeda and JI at the time of his arrest.

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