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Te:RaSeh! Episode 2 Recap…

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After the euphoria of the previous week, when the Minahs claimed the first scalp in the very first episode of Te:RaSeh! 2.0, it was the Mats‘ turn this time to turn the tables, equalise so elegantly and bring the score to one win apiece. In truth, the win was never in doubt, no disrespect to the ladies, but I felt that with Suzairhe Sumari and Shahrin Azhar in the Mats‘ corner, a win for the guys seemed like a formality. This is not to belittle the ladies (Aura Shai, Mariam Mas’od and Nurul Nabila), but I did say in my previous recap that there is a certain distinct advantage for the men when the even weeks beckon, with regards to the final face-off (Dikir Barat). Based on last year’s edition, I remember Suzairhe coming up trumps, hence why I felt that this time, it would be no different.

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The theme for the second episode was “Filem-Filem Klasik” (Classical Films), which seemed to suggest why we had Singapore‘s P. Ramlee impersonator, Shafii Hamzah, as the guest jury of the night. Amongst the many characters potrayed that night, I agree with the judges that Suzairhe deserved to be crowned Man-of-the-Match for his successful impersonation of Kassim Selamat, one of the late Allahyarham P. Ramlee‘s endearing characters from the movie “Ibu Mertuaku“. Even though the guys won by a landslide, the ladies did not put up a feeble attempt and tried to go toe to toe with their counterparts. But I believe the segment that brought them down and somewhat demoralised them was the charades segment. Even the guys claimed afterwards that that segment was rather tricky and that they were a little unsure. They just guessed wildly the dialogues from popular films (which were supposed to be the answers), whatever came to mind.

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Post-show, I had the honour of joining Suzairhe and Nurul Nabila at Warna 94.2FM‘s conty studio for their post-show interview. I believe this will be a weekly routine for the next eight weeks of the competition, whereby the Man-of-the-Match, as well as his or her counterpart (one representative from each team), would go live on Malam 2 Mat with the wacky duo Dyn Norahim and Hafeez Glamour. Last week, Fauzie Laily and Nurul Aini were the ones who were up for the live interview session. We had loads of fun during the hour-long interview session, listening to Suzairhe reminiscing his time as a part-time radio presenter with RIA 89.7FM back in the 90s and Nurul Nabila describing her experience working with Sharnaaz Ahmad in last year’s Hari Raya telemovie “Cinta Ramadan“, amongst other things shared live on air.

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This coming Tuesday (22 April 2014), the Mats will be represented by DJ KC, Taufiq Salleh and Izzat Yusoff, whereas the Minahs will be represented by Nona Kirana, Sarah Aqilah and Suriani Kassim. The theme for the week will be “Malay Icons“. Expect characters like Badang, Hang Tuah, Munshi Abdullah and Mahsuri to be possibly amongst those that will be portrayed. As for the guest celebrity DJ who will join Nity Baizura and Fiza O at RIA 89.7FM‘s conty studio, Tak2ut‘s Ashmi Roslan will be doing the honours of assisting both teams during the quiz segment. I’m expecting a closer challenge this time round since Boria will make its return and with the artistes seemingly on equal footing, as they are not quite accustomed to it. Till then…

PujanggaMalam.com – Ten Years On…

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I actually typed this entry way back in 2010 and left it in the Drafts section because I wanted to make a victory speech of sorts as a means to hit out at my haters and detractors who were undermining me for my entries, commentaries and analysis. This was initially meant to be an entry to silence and show them, “Hey, if the mainstream media has finally recognised my work for them to invite me to cover their events, then I must have been doing something right all along!!!” Also I did not realise I have reached this milestone till the recent Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza concert, which dawned on me that I have been blogging for the past ten years since February 2004. It has been a long journey, filled with ups and downs, joy, bliss, rejections, and for the first time at Dato Siti‘s concert, embarrassment and humiliation in the presence of my fellow media counterparts (more on that in my upcoming review of the concert).

Sinar Lebaran 2013 2013-07-05 1270The Mediacorp Suria staff (whom I share a good working relationship with) with the Ratu Suria contestants post-Sinar Lebaran 2013

I used to and still feel small whenever I am invited to cover any entertainment events, for the fact that I am mostly a one-man team. There is nothing spectacular about my blog either, as I do not have the expertise to create a more vibrant design, nor add adverts or frilly scripts to make it more pleasing to the eye, being the tech idiot that I am. I also do not have the luxury of a fellow writer, photographer or videographer tagging along with me. My wife helps me out from time to time with recording video snippets but even then, I find it tedious and time consuming having to edit and upload them afterwards. Already editing photographs take up a lot of my personal time. Through entertainment blogging, I find joy in attending live shows, getting to know people in the industry as well as learn and understand why certain things are what they are, especially when the general public demands to know why certain things cannot be done or impossible to execute, for instance.

Another set of people I enjoy working with, the radio fraternity…

Through such learning experiences over the years, I developed a more empathic approach towards producing a balanced entry. I now try to be more understanding why certain things transpire and even when things go wrong, I am able to forgive and give benefit of doubt. I am very sure those who have followed this blog for the longest time would note how much I have mellowed down since when I first started out with all guns blazing whenever I see something to my chagrin. Bombing away and forming seething (and sometimes wild) observations, used to be the hallmark of my entries, but I still maintained decorum and without the need to use vulgarities to get my points across. I believe this was partly why I was finally received by Mediacorp Suria to cover their events beginning with Anugerah 2009. I am also honoured to be the first Malay blogger back then to have broken barriers and opened the doors for more to join in covering entertainment events.

Covering one of my close friends’ wedding (DJ KC & Fiza O) was one of the highlights of the past ten years…

This blog has indeed come a long, long way since I first started out using Blogspot as my host. Not to sound calculative with what I had done to increase the stature and reputation of this blog, but this domain of mine has witnessed evolution from its humble beginnings. From grainy photographs taken from my Nokia handphone, to buying a high-end DSLR camera, complete with extended zoom lens as well as a video camera, these were my commitment to the cause of providing quality pictures and video snippets of events and shows I attended. Oh and how can I forget how my domain’s logo and watermark changing over the years to give it a more professional outlook??? Previously it was just a simple word on photographs before I realised they were ugly and spoiling them. That’s when I made trials and errors on the watermark logo before finalising what you see today.

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I did not get to blog on bro Hafeez Glamour‘s “Demi Adriana” book launch due to my busy schedule back then, but I did share photos I took that day in my Facebook account…

You can regard whatever evolution or small changes I’ve done to improve or increase the reputation and quality of my blog, or even whatever promos or reviews I’ve done all these years, as my community service to provide useful information on our local Malay entertainment scene, introducing new acts, reacquaint others with established ones, providing differing views from mainstream media and providing a useful resource in general. From time to time I have people working in the scene thanking me for what I have done, assisting them with valuable information in the process, and it fills me with pride that I have gone in someway to help others, even though I felt like I have done nothing much. It has been a joy so far covering events, helping out with promos and fundings, sharing joyous moments of celebrity weddings, attending concerts and awards shows, book / product / album / single / music video launches, behind-the-scenes filming etc., even if they sometimes come with pain and heartache which most are unaware.

Sri Warisan, very forthcoming and easy to work with when I helped to promo their Bendahara: The Musical event…

Like all those who dare to tread on whatever paths they deem as right or answering the call of passion / challenge, I have faced numerous obstacles and heartbreaks, some of which have affected my relationship with friends I once regarded as siblings. Like anyone who has dared to venture in this line or in this industry, I too have had my fair share of doubters, haters, brickbats and detractors over the years, from comments left in my entries to smses on radio segments, in blog posts right down to Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and the now defunct Multiply site. People questioned my credibility and qualifications in pouring forth my thoughts across, not to mention those that have bitched about my flawed interest in the entertainment scene and how I was just trying to fit in and make a name for myself. Cos truth be told, I’m not cut out to be a singer / actor / host / radio presenter - possible career paths which at some point of time in my life I had tried to be involved or had some interest in, but did not work out. But what did not kill me only made me stronger.

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Covering the whole edition of Ratu Suria was an unforgettable experience for the fact that I had to defend the contestants alot in the face of online criticisms, bombarding them from their looks down to their level of intellect…

Call me arrogant or conceited for dedicating an entry reminiscing my past ten years in entertainment blogging, but I believe I have come a long way to proving that what I have been doing for the past decade have always been genuine, sincere, honest, patient, responsible, having self-belief and having loads of passion for the media / entertainment line - seven important traits you need to possess to survive in this harsh industry. The good people who have kindly invited me to cover their events, other than the Malay Broadcast Division of Mediacorp (Suria, Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM), might have taken notice of those values and principles I so dearly hold on to, and for that I’m extremely thankful to them for acknowledging the work I had painstakingly put up all these while. Even though I am unable to attend all of these invites to launches or shows due to work and family commitments, I still appreciate the invitations and feel honoured that people do recognise my efforts.

I was honoured to have covered Rita Zahara‘s heritage cookbook launch back in January 2012

Unlike other famous entertainment bloggers across the Causeway, I’m not paid to do what I enjoy doing and even though I’m only doing it as a hobby during my recreational time, I try to give off my best, every single damn time. Most of the concerts I had reviewed so far in my domain, I paid with my hard-earned money and received no sponsorship whatsoever nor official accreditation from the respective organisers. Even when I try to get accreditation, most of the time, my requests were turned down or comes with certain limitations. Which is why till today I am a bit peeved with certain concert / show / event organisers, why they can invite foreign entertainment bloggers and even pay them to cover their events when a small fry like myself who is trying to help and promote new acts for free featured in their concerts, did not even receive any invite to cover and still had to pay to enter the concert venue.

And Fiza O‘s beauty product launch a month after, possibly the first Malay personality to lend her name to a beauty product…

There is something seriously wrong with the local Malay entertainment industry when foreign journalists / bloggers are being paid to cover events and shows, yet the local ones are not being considered or thought of. Also I find it perplexing till this day when I got to know some of our local acts had to sell tickets to one of their concerts to earn their rightful commissions, whereas the foreign acts featured together did not have to go through that form of treatment. While I appreciate the organisers wanting to instil a sense of business-minded tact in our local acts, it creates a form of quiet discontent, that there is a form of double standards being practised, especially when the foreign artistes were being paid and provided lodging without having to sell the concert tickets. And I do not blame them for feeling low and down as a result. Over the years, I’ve been like an Agony Aunt to some of the problems faced by our local acts, and from time to time, will highlight their plights in my entries.

Another momentous moment in 2012 was covering Siti Zahidah‘s album launch and showcase…

Another gripe I have with some local event organisers is their lack of gratitude. Back in 2012, I had planned to cover an event which showcased solely on upcoming local acts. It was a free concert held outside a community club. Out of respect, I just messaged the organisers to say I would like to cover their event and record video snippets of the performers. The plan was to introduce some of these acts on my domain, so people would be made aware of their talents. The reply I received was the event was not theirs per se, but the community club’s so they were unsure if they could allow me to record any video snippets. I was extremely fine with that till I came and saw so many in the audience recording away via their smartphones and iPads. In addition, I did not see any staff from the community club overseeing the whole event or anyone stopping these people from recording.

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Another event I covered but did not manage to blog about was the Te:RaSeh! Road Tour last May

Here I am trying to do a kind service for our local acts, yet my intentions got knocked back just because of a trivial reason and lack of responsibility. Suffice to say, I have refrained from attending any events or shows organised by this event organiser till today. I just cannot understand people turning down free promos online, when they have to fork out hundreds for a space on mainstream media. For the longest time, I have refrained from charging a fee to do promos and write-ups. Because I know our local industry does not pay as well as that across the Causeway with production houses and other organisations limited with fundings. I have been asked by people close to me, why have I not charged or earned anything out of what I enjoy doing??? There is simply no market for it over here, sad to say, or companies would be loathed to part their money for a simple promo.

Den Sabari and Huda Ali‘s wedding back in July 2010 was the first celebrity wedding I covered in this domain…

Speaking of promos, I’ve had over the years event /expo organisers taking my photographs on the Net without asking for my permission, even if my watermark is there for all to see. I will not go as far as saying they “stole” my photographs, even though the promotional photos used have clearly wiped them out, or just a cutout image of the artistes featured. I cannot blame the organisers fully, as from one classic example recently, I found out that the ones doing their promotional poster design was from an external department, a case of communication breakdown somewhere during their planning stages. Something they could have avoided doing when they agreed on what photos that could be used. But me being the ever-forgiving one, will always give others the benefit of doubt and accept people sometimes overlook these sort of things.

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Another one of those events I covered, but only shared in my Facebook account, Fiesta Suria 2013

If I want to be extremely anal about this, I could even bang on their doors and ask for a cut of their earnings, cos seriously expo events are a business windfall to some of these organisers and helping them promote via your photographs, you definitely feel that you deserve at least a little token of appreciation. For concerts and shows, it’s 50-50. One can earn a lot if your show is a sell-out, but what if only a handful turn out??? Even I won’t be so mean and damning as to want a certain cut from their earnings, cos I’ve heard some companies closing down after organising a big-scale sell-out concert in Singapore. Strange fact but true. Maybe I’m too nice or feel the legal route can be messy. But we are a small nation with an even smaller community. I don’t wish to kill or create ill feelings out of such matters, but sometimes people don’t realise that being the big fish, they forget simple ethics and courtesy. Sometimes I wonder, is it so difficult to seek permission or reward in kind???

A significant landmark for me was attending Hyrul Anuar‘s “Mata” music video launch back in September 2011, possibly the first of its kind in our local Malay entertainment scene…

I have to admit that I cannot be a journalist as I’m never able to meet datelines or type in a brief and concise manner. My entries are testament to how long-winded I can be. This entry is no different than the rest. I cringe and feel extremely uncomfortable when the term “celebrity blogger” is used on me, nor like to be called and considered one, cos to be one, you need to get thousands of hits daily and doing it on a full-time basis. My domain’s visitorship is not even 400 on most days. Being a celebrity blogger also means you have to share your private life or what you do on an almost daily basis. I am not prepared to be scrutinised, have my privacy exposed and subject my loved ones to be ridiculed or ogled at, especially since I have two young daughters. Some quarters have also labeled me as a “photographer”, but I am just comfortable being known as an “entertainment blogger”, thank you very much!!!

Thanks to Mini Monsters, I was able to cover the launch of their “Lagu-Lagu Kita CD”, aimed to preserve the heritage of songs we grew up with and to continue its legacy for the coming generations…

When this blog first started out in 2004, I did talk about my life just like any decent blogger out there. I think I also shared some of my photographs taken with famous personalities. I was also more vocal and critical when it came to reviewing and assessing shows / concerts I attended. But as my blog statistics rise over the years, I began to shy away from talking about my private life or putting up photos of myself, or with personalities, preferring instead to highlight the real stars themselves on this blog. With more eyes glued on this domain, building networks with people in the industry, gaining some form of respect through my brutal honesty, as well as being aware of the implications I might run into because of my often-harsh comments, I believe over the years, I have matured as a blogger and being more responsible and tactful with what I say or put across. I believe that nowadays I blog more with my head than my heart.

(Photograph courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

I will forever be thankful to Mediacorp Suria for inviting me to keep goal for them in the tournament that honoured my late uncle, the legendary Dollah Kassim from 2010-2012

Which might explain why some people have wondered of late, how come I’ve gone soft and less scathing for the past three or four years. Perhaps fatherhood has changed me to be more understanding, to be more forgiving, to be more tolerant and of course to be more accepting of what is presented in front of me. I know I began as a gun-toting, trailblazing, devil-may-care writer (or typist), but it is only effective to a certain extent. People respect views when it comes from the heart, but at the same time, the head needs to balance the emotions so that one does not become too critical or damning. Anyway, my network has grown over the years. Any criticisms that I dish out henceforth, needs to be laced with a certain degree of empathy or at the very least, giving others that benefit of doubt. I don’t just look at things from my point of view but also from the points of those I am commenting on. This holistic approach might soften my style, but I am sure you know I will not mince my words when I experience the red mist.

Am glad to say I was physically there when Fiza O celebrated her 30th birthday and simultaneously announced she was getting married to her colleague, DJ KC

Being popular and mentioned in the same breath as artistes is not what I had intentionally set out to do. Unable to realise my dreams as a singer / actor / host / radio DJ were also not the main reasons why I became a blogger whose entries are focused on our local Malay entertainment scene, mostly on the musical side of it. I believe there is only so much we can rely on our print media as they have their own limitations and space constraints in terms of monthly / daily publication release, what they can talk about and how much they can feature. Personally, I would like to see more people doing what I’m doing, cos it would be nice to hear differing views and opinions on our local entertainment industry. It would also add more colour and vibrancy since our industry is slowly growing and expanding. I became a blogger who types on local Malay entertainment stuff because there was a dearth and general scarcity in people doing it. I hope more would be inspired to follow my path, given that blogging at one point of time, was quite in and spread across the generations.

Attending events like Sinaran Hati makes one appreciative of the efforts of the artistes who set aside time to give back to the community…

Hand on heart, I would rather remain in the background than be what my haters claimed me to be, and to quote one comment I stumbled upon years ago, that I am “feeling-feeling artis gitu“, probably due to the fact that I dressed to the nines on a number of occasions that I attended previous music award shows. I was merely respecting the occasion and since my weight was ballooning, I couldn’t fit into my old shirts and had to rely on my kind outfitters. If people have a big problem with that, then so be it. I might have uploaded some of my personal photographs in my Facebook account, which I apologise is only limited to those I know personally, but to share them in my blog is a bit too much to ask for. I do not understand where these people get the idea that I’m using the blogging medium as a means to prostitute myself and be famous. If people appreciate what I do as a yeoman service, then it gives me as much pleasure to provide them with news, promotions and reviews of events, concerts and shows which some of them did not manage to attend, or for those who did, to relive them all over again. What I wear to these events are very much secondary.

One of the events I enjoyed covering – the outdoor Festival Melayu Ada gigs, organised by Cokelat Events and Zaibaktian

This entry was typed not only to celebrate and reminisce this blog’s journey over the past ten years, but was typed both as a means of defiance to the brickbats as well as to give hope to aspiring writers / bloggers out there that if your intentions are genuine, sincere in your approach, passionate in what you do, honest in how you think, responsible in what you say, having faith in yourself and being patient in the face of adversity, one day your efforts will eventually be recognised, people will begin to respect your views, readers will learn to accept and trust you, knowing full well that you’re not merely running your mouth off for the sake of it. People will be able to discern whether you command respect or lack thereof. It took me five years to finally receive official credibility from a very distinguished national media, a long time frame that perhaps could break one’s resolve if your intentions are flawed or you are chasing after personal agendas, fame or glory.

If not for celebrity blogger, Diah Mastura, who could not make it to this event, I would not have been able to feature this exclusive showcase of Anuar Zain in my blog back in 2011

Even if I’m not invited again to cover future events after this entry is published and people think I’ve suddenly grown too big for my own shoes by harping about my personal achievements, I think I would be happy and assured to know that future Malay entertainment bloggers, if there are any others in the first place, could always hang on to the hope that anything is possible so long as they stick to the seven traits I stressed upon in the earlier paragraphs. I would love to have added an eighth trait which is humility. But I’m afraid some of you out there would gleefully point out that I am being hypocritical by talking about what I have achieved so far in this entry, which of course would undermine everything I’ve mentioned. However, I believe people who meet and get to know me personally would be better and wise judges of that. Cos words typed on screen have an eerie tendency of having double meanings or tones, which in turn can sometimes mislead into swaying one’s judgements of a person, since you do not know if he is being serious or joking.

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My very first album launch event I covered back in December 2006, Imran Ajmain‘s debut album “Dengan Secara Kebetulan“…

I’m more or less a grounded person, and I don’t believe in holding extravagant parties just to celebrate the anniversary of this blog or my existence in the scene. Heck I even forgot that I have reached this milestone till I was on the verge of covering Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza‘s concert last weekend. That’s how much I feel that such celebrations are unnecessary. Even if I can afford to do that, I will still not do it. I think the money is better off spent somewhere or donate to charity / welfare organisations. Anyway, am just considered a “Kucing Kurap” in the scene, which is why sometimes when I cover events, I get restricted privileges or am limited with the things I can share or feature in this blog. I don’t expect nor want anyone to do any celebrations for me either, cos every entry for me is a celebration to those that I feature, the real stars themselves.

The very first media conference I attended – Suria Elektra – in February 2010

I know too well that over the years, I have ruffled a lot of feathers with my honest-to-goodness comments, be it in my blog entries or even comments made on radio segments. I am naturally a very opinionated person and a non-conformist. I can be tactless sometimes and too brutal, to the point I do not mince my words when I am really pissed off. Which is why, it is best that sometimes I cool down before typing my coming entry with a clear head and with a better choice of vocabulary I can use to describe what I feel. To those who have been at the brunt or wrong end of my lambasting words, insinuations, points of reference, examples and felt small, angered or even disappointed, I am taking this opportunity to apologise for words that might have hurt you. I am only human, and I try all the time to improve on how I address things as they come. I cherish every friendship and acquaintanceship I make along the way.

Covering Anugerah Planet Muzik, an event very much close to my heart, is something I look forward to annually…

To all who believed and have placed your trust in me for the past ten years, and continue to be loyal and silent readers of this domain, words cannot describe how thankful and appreciative I am to you. I will continue striving to provide good reviews and better quality photographs of events, concerts and shows, launches, celebrity weddings etc. I attend in time to come, and I will always be thankful to those I had worked with and continue to be sharing a good working relationship like the Malay Broadcast Division of Mediacorp (Suria, Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM), Manggiz, Sri Warisan, Cokelat Events, Gridmedia Productions, ATeR | ReTA, Mini Monsters, WorkHeart, Gumbira, amongst many others I am unable to mention thanks to my ageing memory. Also, to all the lovely celebrity couples who have allowed me the privilege to cover your respective wedding events and shared the joyous moments with my readers. This blog is nothing without your kind support… :)

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Episode 1 Recap…

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TeRaSeh! made its long-awaited return on our television screens this past Tuesday night (8 April 2014). The highly-rated show, which pitted radio and television personalities against one another in various game and challenge segments last year, comes with a difference this time. The battle between the two media platforms have been replaced with a battle of the sexes this time round, aptly called “Mat vs. Minah“. Thirty-six radio and television personalities come together and six will do battle in the qualifying rounds for the first six weeks, whereas the semi-final rounds will see the Top 18 duking it out with one another for three weeks, before the Grand Finale on 10 June 2014. The Grand Finale, like last year, will see the Top 10 make one final battle in a two-hour face off. And yes, it is not just about fun and games, but proceeds from the winnings they earn will go to a charity organisation of their choice.

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Dalina was head and shoulders with her more established counterparts, adding grace to brawn. Expect more in the coming weeks…

When I last reported on the TeRaSeh! 2.0 Prelude event held a few weeks ago at Singapore Expo, I had mentioned that A B Shaik and Khairudin Samsudin were the resident hosts and Dalina Jaapar was initially meant to be one of the participants for the Minahs. However I note that there was a change in the line-up in recent weeks, and Dalina has now been drafted as one of the resident hosts. I think that this is a good move. Some will think that three’s a crowd, but when you have a gender-based competition like this, there needs to be a balance and not make it a bit lop-sided with male testosterone dominating proceedings. Rilla Melati and RIA 89.7FM‘s Assistant Vice-President, Mr. Hassan Salleh, reprise their roles as resident jury for this weekly competition series. For the first episode of TeRaSeh! 2.0 this past week, former resident judge of the Anugerah competition, Ann Hussein, was the guest jury.

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Ann Hussein joins the judging panel, consisting of Rilla Melati and Mr. Hassan Salleh

The first episode saw Fauzie Laily, TG and Hafeez Glamour battling against Nurul Aini, Zaza Majid and Izyan Mellyna, with “Retro” being the theme of the week. It was comical to see them mimicking the late Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Ross – just some of the few icons associated with the era. After an intense battle which ended off with a Boria face-off, the ladies emerged clear winners of the first episode. I know some of you must be wondering what in the world is Boria. Originating from Penang, it is almost similar to Dikir Barat, just that accompanying members dance along to synchronised moves as opposed to just sitting down and singing the chorus like the latter. I know the artistes were extremely uncomfortable with this form of face-off, as Boria is not as popular here compared to Dikir Barat, and with them having to dance and sing along to spontaneous lyrics. I can empathise with their predicament but on a positive note, it puts them on equal footing as I foresee the guys would excel on the even weeks when Dikir Barat returns during the final face-off.

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Games like these are a weekly hallmark of TeRaSeh!

Continuing from last year’s edition, there is a live segment from RIA 89.7FM‘s conty with Nity Baizura and Fiza O, being the new addition, replacing Dzar Ismail. Last year’s series featured students who became guest deejays of the week, but this year the glamour factor has been increased with local acts challenging one another weekly to get that coveted spot to guest host with the two aforementioned female radio personalities. The first episode saw Jamiel Said guest presenting live from the conty and though there were initial jitters, I thought he did quite well. My only complaint about the first episode is that there is no segment for local acts to perform like last year where upcoming acts, whose talents were spotted in Hafeez Glamour‘s “Go Go Glam” segment, were featured. It would be nice if the guest presenters at the conty were to perform their latest singles as well. I for one would have loved to hear Jamiel Said perform his latest offering, “Ballerina“.

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Boria face-offs like this, will be a common sight on odd weeks for this year’s edition of TeRaSeh! 2.0

I doubt I will be doing lengthy recaps henceforth as this weekly entertainment series is a light-hearted affair and for charity as well. Subsequent entries on TeRaSeh! 2.0 will most probably be photo recaps of the weekly proceedings. Like I said before, sometimes less is more and people would prefer to view photographs, rather than read long-winded analysis. Tonight’s episode will see Shahrin Azhar, Suzairhe Sumari and Wan Haddad facing off against Aura Shai, Nurul Nabila and Mariam Mas’od. Initially the Paparazzi Pagi deejays, Adi Rahman and Azlin Ali were supposed to be in the line-up, but I guess there was a slight change over the past week, and we now see Wan Haddad coming in and Aura Shai who was initially slated for Week 4 to go head on two weeks earlier than planned. One thing’s for sure, we’re gonna have a good time watching them go against one another and taking the mickey…

Viva Elektra 2014

Viva Elektra

(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

It’s been awhile since I did a review on an event that I attended at the Mediacorp TV Theatre. Simply because when I accepted the invites from Mediacorp Suria to attend these shows or events, more often than not, I did not see the need to review as they are either a light-hearted affair or for charity. I was there to just snap photos of the event and during the reception afterwards without seeing the need to comment much. Sometimes I don’t need to voice my thoughts as others have done it for me on social media. Anyway there are so many keyboard warriors out there too quick to jump on the bandwagon of criticising without giving substantial suggestions. I guess it’s a favourite pastime now to use one’s handphone keypads to comment every single thing they see on the google box, be it good or bad. I’m guilty of it sometimes when I watch football and passions are running high.

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I note from several people I’ve met of late that this blog has somewhat stagnated and that the writer (or should I say, typist???) behind the words on this domain has lost his zest and panache to hit where it hurts, or to put it kindly, give a wake up call when it mattered. Over the years as I mellow down and become less confrontational and got to know more people, I find that it is a challenge to be as hard-hitting as before. I had to tweak and fine-tune my style so as not to be too cynical or cause frictions with others in the long run. Maybe fatherhood has made me more forgiving, understanding and giving others the benefit of doubt but I like to think I type better when I’m having that red mist and I don’t quite experience that as often as before. Wish I could post more entries but like I said from time to time, I am not paid to blog and this is something I do as a community service as and when I am free from my work, family and personal commitments.

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The front row audience consisting of bigwigs in the local media industry as well as guest of honour Dr. Mohd Faishal Ibrahim

Anyway, I was honoured to be invited again to attend the recent Viva Elektra event at Mediacorp TV Theatre. The two-hour variety special was the fourth instalment by Suria and was previously known as Suria Elektra (2010), Rock Elektra (2011) and Bandstand Elektra (2012). The show belatedly celebrated the formation of MediaCorp’s Malay Broadcast Division, the merger between television channel Suria and radio stations Warna 94.2FM and RIA 89.7FM, hence there was an eclectic mix of performers from radio presenters to television personalities and established recording artistes that night. Viva Elektra in a way, symbolised the division’s hopes to establish a commitment to continually bring high quality programmes to their audience, be it on radio and television. Expect to see more of such shows in the near future involving the radio and television personalities. We are already anticipating cross-platform programmes like TeRaSeh 2.0, R&D and the sixth season of infotainment show JUS! this month. Viva Elektra was just the start!!!

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The men who made the night ticked – Dyn Norahim and Khairudin Samsudin

Looking at how the radio and television personalities collaborated on stage, I had a feel-good feeling that we can expect more entertaining shows on television and radio as well. Yes, I will not deny that I’ve heard rumours going round that certain gigs and jobs are affected due to the merger, but I would like to call upon all the artistes who might feel a little slighted that their places and roles in television programmes might be taken up by their radio counterparts, to treat this as a healthy competition. Granted we might not be like our next door neighbour where there are so many channels one can tune to and for radio and television personalities to still do well when they cross platforms, but there are possible avenues that can be explored. Radio could possibly have seasonal guest hosts like what Fauzie Laily did co-hosting Skoolz with Nity Baizura a few years ago. Or if they were to have a shake-up of personnel, who knows, they might just rope in some of these television personalities into their stables??? Let’s not see it as a form of hindrance to one’s rice bowl, but to work as a unit to lift the standards of our local Malay entertainment scene.

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The cast of Tak2ut (from left): Ashmi Roslan, DJ KC, Fadhlur Rahman and Wan Haddad

Maybe a little criticism I would have of Viva Elektra was that feeling of imbalance in some of their segments. While the skit involving the Tak2ut cast (Ashmi Roslan, Wan Haddad and Fadhlur Rahman) and DJ KC seemed a bit short, the Bangsawan and Pentas Radio segments felt a wee bit too long for my liking. I just feel that the song performed by Eiss, “Arjuna (Mencari Cinta)“, was redundant and only served to prolong the segment, even though the audience and myself were tickled by the humour presented by all the performers involved. It is nice to see new faces on television like Wan Haddad and Nurfarhana M Noor given their big break on a big scale event as this. Also Junaidi Sali who often plays a supporting cast to be given the limelight he deserves after all these years.

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Fauzie Laily (left) seldom gets comedic roles but when he gets them, he excels…

Nurfarhana it has to be said, is a name and face to watch this year. Her stock is rising and it is not easy to score a lead role in one’s debut drama series (Rima Hatiku) and subsequent ones like Follow Fasha, unless one has the potential and package to succeed. She is currently seen in the new season of Di Luar Garisan and will be one of the participants for TeRaSeh 2.0. I won’t be surprised if she scores a hosting gig in the near future cos she has that bubbly personality to do it. You heard it first on this domain. Another one to impress me was RIA 89.7FM‘s Dzar Ismail. I’m a big fan of his daily Singa Maksima programme and from one karaoke session we had some months ago, I could see his hidden talent and passion in rapping, which was displayed that night when he performed “Cerita Kedai Kopi” with Tukangkata and Sezairi Sezali. I know some people do not quite like his sometimes excessive energy levels, but I think he is a breath of fresh air on radio. And yes I still claim credit unashamedly for saying he belongs in radio when I assessed his performances when he entered Anugerah Skrin back in 2010.

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The one to watch this year – Nurfarhana M Noor. A flower blossoming at a continued pace…

Another criticism I would add on will be the choice of performing artistes and some of the songs they performed. Before the show, I saw on social media how people lamented that it’s basically the same faces over and over again. To some extent, I would agree with them as I too felt the same way when I saw the list of performing artistes slated to perform. No I am not attacking or blaming the singers who performed cos they are all excellent in their own respect. My complaint would be a lack of more variety than what we’re used to. Take for instance we have so many bands producing good quality music in Singapore. The likes of Diorama, Tujuh, Klutz are some of the bands that are under-rated here. And if you speak of individual acts, there’s Reyza Hamizan, Sufie Rashid, Chomel, Aidil Akmal, Nurdiana Saad, upcoming acts who deserved to be given their dues and be introduced to the masses.

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The hosts replicating Ellen Degeneres at the recent Oscars and taking a selfie photograph with the audience…

I appreciate that we would want to entice people to watch as their favourites would be performing but it does not send a message that the artistes feel appreciated, even though radio plays their music on a daily basis. There is no point having your songs known on radio when people still dunno who you are. Just ask Audionauts when they won at APM2013. There were still people asking on social media and on newspaper reports wondering who they were. “Rentak Laguku“, the song performed by Aliff Aziz, Eiss and Sezairi Sezali, was another one that I felt was a bit redundant as it was only as recent as last October that we witnessed Amy Search and Bunkface performed the song at APM2013. And even though I love Taufik Batisah‘s “Sesuatu Janji” amongst all his songs to date, I think that was the fourth or fifth time he performed the song at a Suria event, in addition to APM2008.

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Group photo with all the performers that night once the cameras stopped rolling…

Overall, Viva Elektra was an enjoyable show, even if it did overrun by about eleven minutes. The choice of having Khairudin Samsudin and Warna 94.2FM‘s Dyn Norahim was a good one, with both trading barbs at one another and the latter being the brunt of many of the former’s jokes. At certain points, Dyn looked jittery but it should be forgiven as this was afterall his first live television hosting gig. Speaking to him afterwards, he said that it was nerve-wrecking and a very different experience compared to his daily live show on radio. Like many others before him, I am sure he will grow into the role and be better. Am certainly looking forward to seeing him host the new season of JUS! alongside the gorgeous Ainon Talib and Nurul Akhmar come the end of April. For now I can’t wait for TeRaSeh 2.0. It’s gonna be an absolute riot!!!

Te:RaSeh! 2.0 Prelude @ SG Expo

1897016_10152106043672893_579599265_n(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

2014 seems like a boring year in this domain of mine. I know cos this is only the third entry I am doing so far. I could have done more entries like covering celebrity weddings that happened last month, but I was overseas due to work commitments, which meant I had to miss the weddings of Didicazli & Eliyana as well as “Step Puteri‘s” Ateeqah Mazlan & Effendie (DJ Effen). Congratulations to all of them including bro Hady Mirza & Nur Jannah, SG‘s Siti Nurhaliza lookalike winner Mahirah Yasin & Herdeno as well as Anugerah Skrin 2010 alumnus Mariah Mahfar & Isbahi who have all tied the knot within the last month or so. 2014 is indeed a year filled with celebrity weddings in our local Malay entertainment scene. And it’s still only March. More to follow in the months ahead…

TeRaSeh 2014 @ SG Expo 2014-03-22 004The guys (from left): Warna 94.2FM‘s Tahar Ghalib (TG), Suzairhe Sumari, Hyrul Anuar, Danial Ashriq, Fadhlur Rahman, Hasif Nasir, Taufik Salleh, Khairudin Samsudin and Fauzie Laily. RIA 89.7FM‘s Dzar Ismail was getting ready when this shot was taken…

This past Saturday 22 March 2014, in conjunction with the Halal Food, Weddings & Lifestyle Exhibition organised by Mega Express Pte. Ltd., a segment that was a crowd puller happened to be the prelude event to the upcoming TeRaSeh programme which will make its return come 8 April 2014 on Mediacorp Suria. For those who had been watching or following the first edition last year, you will know that it is a highly entertaining programme with all the crazy and spontaneous antics by all the participants and the hosts. The programme is also an educational one as viewers would also learn general knowledge, culture and and history of the local entertainment scene as well as our country through the questions asked. I did not cover a single episode last year as I was tied down with reservist and family commitments, but I do hope I can cover on a weekly basis this time round, which will be known as TeRaSeh 2.0.

TeRaSeh 2014 @ SG Expo 2014-03-22 005The damsels (from left): Dalina Jaapar, Syirah Jusni, Izyan Mellyna, Nurfarhana M Noor, Mastura Ahmad, Nurul Aini, Nurul Nabila and Siti Hajar Gani

Which was why I attended the event last Saturday to get a feel of what this year’s list of participants from the radio and television fraternity have in store for us. For one, they gave a glimpse of what might transpire in the upcoming episodes with a Boria performance for the audience at the start and end of the show. Last year, there was a spontaneous Dikir Barat performance at the end of every episode of TeRaSeh. Perhaps this year, they will inject the Boria element just to spice things up further. For one, the participants had to undergo an intensive training prior to the show just to learn the coordinated dance steps and lyrics to the song they were performing. Kudos to all the artistes involved last Saturday for learning within a few hours before having to perform them live for the watching audience.

TeRaSeh 2014 @ SG Expo 2014-03-22 003The fantastic Sri Warisan performers who accompanied and trained the artistes for the Boria segment…

Playing games with the audience, maybe we’ll get to see more of the same this year. We’ll just have to wait for the first episode to air, but one thing’s for sure, this will not be a Radio vs. Television affair like last year. The rules have been changed and it will be the radio and television fraternity combining and duking it out between the two genders. Based on what happened last Saturday, you are guaranteed to have a rolling good time and definitely will get sore facial muscles due to too much laughing at the antics of all the participants and hosts. It is also good that the show will see several new faces who will add on to the entertainment and eye candy factors. For the record, TeRaSeh 2.0 will be hosted by Khairudin Samsudin and AB Shaik

Farisha Ishak’s “Aligned” Album Launch Media Conference…

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It’s been almost half a year since her coronation as “The Final 1” on Mediacorp Channel 5‘s reality singing competition held last year. Over the past five months or so since her win, she has been working hard behind the scenes, recording her debut album which finally made its way in local music stores (CD RAMA) on 28 January 2014. However the media conference held in conjunction with the album launch was held slightly later, about a week after the CDs have been made available, on 6 February 2014. The event was held at The Star Loft, situated on the eleventh floor of The Star Performing Arts Centre in Buona Vista. In a way, it was a full circle for Farisha as she was conferred the title of “The Final 1” at the same building on 21 August 2013.

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Farisha being interviewed by Elliot Danker

Those who had followed “The Final 1” competition since the start would note that Farisha was a model of consistency week in and out. I remember being very impressed by her showing since the very first episode. Besides Farisha, I had other favourites as well but when one by one got eliminated in the competition in the early stages, I felt that the competition was hers to be won at a canter, no disrespect to the other participants. And she did!!! I was mesmerised by her rendition of “Tonight” during the Grand Finals cos I never thought she could pull off a song with an upbeat tempo as well as when she sings ballads and slow numbers. She was a worthy winner that night and the final result was never in doubt.

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Farisha performed three songs during the event…

Back to her album launch. Titled “Aligned“, the album consists of nine original compositions, six in English and the remaining three in Malay. Of note, three of the songs found in her album, “Life Is Beautiful“, “Hidup Ini Indah” and “Stranded“, were penned by this talented 19-year old. During the media conference event, I was intrigued by how calm, confident and eloquent Farisha was when posed with questions from host Elliot Danker. Some new artistes need a bit of coaxing to describe themselves or even their songs / albums, but Farisha displayed the kind of confidence seen in seasoned professionals.  Of course I will not describe in detail what went on during the event as you can view highlights of them in the short clip I have managed to put up and included at the end of this entry.

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Farisha being interviewed by RIA 89.7FM‘s Aura Shai

All I can say after observing Farisha, how she tackles the media and most importantly, how she enjoys herself onstage is that generally, I am excited to see how far she can progress in this small music industry of ours and whether she can push on and make waves abroad. With her willingness and determination to improve on her shortcomings, her confidence in being bilingual (even though she admits she could improve on her mother tongue), I feel that over time, the regional audience would warm up to her and she could be our best female export. Though her looks remind me of Malaysia‘s Nurul Wahab, her talent if nurtured well and she reaches diva status, a comparison with Dato’ Sheila Majid cannot be too far away.

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Get Farisha‘s “Aligned” album at all CD RAMA outlets now!!!

To Farisha, congratulations Adik on your album launch. I really, really hope that your career will take off from here, that the masses will receive your songs and album in kind, and of course, lend you their utmost support, even more than the one they gave during “The Final 1” competition. Keep your feet on the ground, remain humble as you already are and continue to improve on all aspects so that you can be an all-rounded performer. Wish you nothing but success in your music career and maybe someday, you will be willing to spread your wings and soar to even greater heights. As your mentor Taufik Batisah would say, “The sky’s the limit…”

P.S. Thank you to Hype Records and Artiste Networks for the kind invitation to this memorable event… :)

Snapshots of Farisha’s Album Launch Media Conference Event…

Hafeez Glamour – End of an Era with RIA 89.7FM…

Demi Adriana Book Launch 2012-03-25 193Thank you for entertaining RIA 89.7FM listeners, bro Hafeez!!!

The start of the new Gregorian calendar year normally brings with it fresh hope and optimism for what is to come in the next 365 days. But somehow I am starting the new year in this domain of mine a little solemn as I try to come to terms with the fact that one of my favourite radio deejays and one-time mentor during my radio internship back in 1998, none other than Hafeez Glamour, ends his time with the only station that he has been with since its formation on 1st December 1990. This past fortnight, rumours had been swirling that there will be major shake-ups between the two local Malay radio stations for the coming year ahead and this is normal amongst all the Mediacorp-owned radio stations as they inject and infuse new ideas to attract the listeners into tuning in to their daily programmes.

Today 3rd January 2014 marks his final day on RIA 89.7FM, ending a twenty-three year long association, for which he has been the mainstay throughout, whereas those who had joined the station when it first formed, had all gone over to sister station Warna 94.2FM or left for pastures anew. So the question is, where is Hafeez Harun a.k.a. Hafeez Glamour heading to come 6th January 2014??? Of late he had posted several teasing photos of him on his personal social media platforms, some depicting him possibly going the way of our Asian Idol, Hady Mirza. The truth is, Hafeez will still be heard on radio, but will be moving to Warna 94.2FM, where he will team up with wacky deejay Dyn Norahim for the 10pm-2am slot. I did not get the chance to talk about his “Demi Adriana” book launch back in 2012 due to my busy schedule, but here I am dedicating this entry to thank him for his past twenty-three years with RIA 89.7FM.

Fiza O Ritabella Collection Launch 2012-02-25 007 - CopyHafeez Glamour – A brand name that needs no further introduction nor elaboration…

He had been the last one standing amongst his fellow peers who had transferred over to Warna 94.2FM, but he has been standing proud and tall with RIA 89.7FM all these years, winning the “Most Popular Deejay (Malay)” award for eight years over the past decade, beating his younger colleagues. His success can be attributed to his drive, positive outlook to life, honesty and above all, sincerity in delivering his daily responsibilities to entertain the masses tuning in to him. Mention the name “Hafeez Glamour” and people already know who he is and his infectious personality. It is a brand name in our local Malay community that needs no further introduction nor elaboration. An icon that also shares the same birthday as the station he is leaving.

Me and bro Hafeez go back a long, long way since 1996. Our acquaintanceship began when I took part in one of his daily phone-in karaoke segments back then and won myself a couple of CDs for winning that particular week’s contest. The following year, me and my two buddies entered “kRIAtif 97“, in which bro Hafeez was the producer, and we won the Impersonation Category, mimicking our favourite group KRU. But it was in 1998 that our acquaintanceship grew into a friendship, when I did my polytechnic internship with both Malay radio stations. Bro Hafeez was a good mentor like all the other deejays back then, teaching me the ropes of radio broadcasting and even bringing me out to observe some of their outdoor activities like his Kafe-Teh-RIA segment, whereby there were days when he and co-partner Morniyati Tukimin would be visiting listeners at their work places.

D (7)Bro Hafeez seen here entertaining the guests during my wedding dinner back in 2005…

During the period when sending sms to the radio station to air our views or dedications was the in-thing (circa 2003-2006), my nick was a constant mention in his daily radio programme with bro Syah Ibrahim (RIA Jamm). I have to admit back then, I was given plenty of opportunities to get my messages and opinions across, contributing to the success of his daily show, even when I ran the risk of upsetting the other listeners with my no-nonsense and honest-to-goodness comments. Even though my comments bothered on being provocative towards the mentality and mindset of our community, bro Hafeez was always there to see the positive aspect and reiterated my views, to the point others felt he was guilty of favouritism and bias towards yours truly. I can say, thanks to his daily radio programme back then, that is where I learned to be more vocal and more confident in expressing my views, which in turn led to the birth of this blog of mine.

What I admire most about bro Hafeez is his level of patience in entertaining listeners, always having that sense of empathy towards those who might be a little slow in putting their points across or those who might be a little difficult for us to understand, especially the Indonesian domestic workers, who count as his biggest fans. Which is why till today, he is no doubt someone they look up to and the go-to guy when it comes to hosting events involving these foreign workers. Another unforgettable memory I have of bro Hafeez was how, at such short notice before my wedding in 2005, he agreed to host my wedding dinner along with bro A B Shaik. I was surprised to secure his services but I knew, even before asking, that he would never disappoint me on my big day. Till today, me and the wife are so thankful to him and bro Shaik for entertaining the guests who had waited for our arrival almost an hour later than scheduled.

Demi Adriana Book Launch 2012-03-25 240Writing and producing his second book “Demi Adriana” in 2012 was another highlight of his career…

During his time with RIA 89.7FM, bro Hafeez had always encouraged listeners to increase our knowledge through inculcating the culture of reading into our lives. A prolific writer himself having done stints with Manja magazine and other external writing projects, the highlight of his twenty-three year career as a radio presenter has to be when he produced two books, “Diari DJ” and “Demi Adriana“. Again, I am thankful to bro Hafeez for dedicating one of the characters potrayed in his book “Diari DJ“, to me, a form of recognition to several listeners who have added colour to his daily radio programme and segments. When most listeners were always up in arms over my direct and often-brash comments on air, he stated in his book that he found my comments “meant for the good of the community”. High praise indeed!!!

During his time with RIA 89.7FM, bro Hafeez could be attributed to giving the opportunity to up-and-coming acts to display their potential and talents via his segments like “Karaoke 897” and “Opening Act Go Glam“. The likes of Hetty Sarlene, Malaysian singers Fazli Zainal and Izzla, and of late, Aisyah Aziz, Sufie Rashid and Kamsani Jumahat are just a few names I can think off-the-cuff, who have benefited from being spotted through his daily radio programmes and have reaped the rewards of currently being known or have established themselves in the scene, either locally or across the Causeway. Hopefully RIA 89.7FM will continue this legacy to introduce and help push through new talents through segments like “Singa Maksima” and “SG“.

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News of his impending transfer to Warna 94.2FM might shock many, especially since he has a very strong fanbase of followers, but I think there could be positives in the long run. Of course, new changes need time to bed in, but overtime I guess he will be a valuable asset to the sister station. Again I thank bro Hafeez for taking the trouble to call me up last weekend to confirm his transfer, even though I had heard the rumours and made my own deductions through several veiled status updates on Facebook both by bro Hafeez himself and his soon-to-be new sparring partner, Dyn Norahim. To bro Hafeez, thank you for everything you’ve done both on a personal level as well as entertaining us all daily for twenty-three years on RIA 89.7FM. May your new posting give you more joy and satisfaction to what you have achieved all these years and I wish you nothing but more success in your upcoming endeavours!!!

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