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Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode One Recap

anugerahskrin2016promoposter(Promotional graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

Anugerah Skrin, the reality television competition in search of the new faces to grace Mediacorp Suria channel in acting and hosting, has begun in earnest last Tuesday (26 January 2016). It seemed like yesterday that we had just witnessed the coronation of Erwin Shah Dawson and Syirah Jusni and here we are once again. Now into its third edition, this season’s competition promises to be better and more competitive. Judging by the first episode which I was fortunate to catch live from the Mediacorp TV Theatre, there is potential that it might upstage the 2010 cohort. This year, the show is hosted by the first Anugerah Skrin champion, Huda Ali, along with her 2006 alumnus, Shah Iskandar. Khairudin Samsudin once again returns as one of the resident judges and joining him as a weekly regular will be three-time Pesta Perdana Best Actress winner, Sharon Ismail.

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After a gruelling two-month search, sifting through hundreds of applicants and a few rounds of auditions, the Top 20 (which has since dwindled down to 18 from the first episode) consisting of ten male and female contestants will battle it out for ten weeks before a new set of winners will be crowned. The contestants have been split into two groups, five male and five female contestants in each group. From the first right up till the sixth episode, each group will alternate every week, with every week seeing one female and one male contestant being eliminated. The seventh episode, which will signal the semi-final round, will see both groups combining for the first time.

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Hosts of Anugerah SkrinHuda Ali and Shah Iskandar

To kick off the first episode, it was a special 90-minute show with the first half hour dedicated to showing the goings-on of the audition rounds held at SCAPE @ Orchard as well as at Caldecott Broadcast Centre. They also featured snippets of how some of the contestants were selected via special express passes at selected places in Singapore along with several Skrin alumni members like Nurul Akhmar, Syirah Jusni, Junaidi Sali and Imam Shah tasked to look out for potential candidates. The subsequent hour had Group A duking it out for a place in the next round and they consisted of Aidi Isham, Zaidi Zailee, Danish Ashraf, Kamarul Arifin, Yamin Yusof, Nabihah Zainodin, Nurul Nadia, Syafiqah Shahlan, Amalina Roslee and Shida Lestaluhu.

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Jury panel for Week OneSharon Ismail, Khairudin Samsudin and Mastura Ahmad

Mastura Ahmad, a name that does not need any further introduction, joined the judging panel as the first guest judge of the competition and this year, the Group A contestants will be mentored in the basic technical aspects of acting and hosting by Muhammad Najib Soiman, a very well-respected figure in the local theatre circle, and Rilla Melati, whose wealth of experience in the local entertainment industry will be very useful indeed in mentoring the contestants. Rilla, along with Huda Ali, are the mainstays of this competition since it began in 2006. The debut competition saw Rilla as host, the second one in 2010 as a resident judge and now her status has elevated her as a mentor. Huda as we know by now, was a contestant and eventual winner of the first edition, and hosted the second edition along with Suzairhe Sumari, with Shahril Wahid, the other winner in 2006, taking the role of roving host.

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Group A mentors – Muhammad Najib Soiman and Rilla Melati

Unlike the 2010 edition where I assessed every single individual performance right from the off, I will be changing tack a little this time around. It is only the first week of competition and I felt that I needed to warm up and view the contestants before assessing their respective performances henceforth. Time is also sadly not on my side this time as I am forever busy with my own personal commitments so perhaps for this and the next entry, I might keep things short or just summarise things as I see it. Anyway, I do not want to pressure the contestants unnecessarily like the last edition, even though I was probably the only local Malay entertainment blogger around.

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Group B contestants observing keenly the performances of their Group A counterparts…

As years pass and as I mature along with my thoughts, I want to take up the role of a big brother dispensing advice rather than criticising every single mistake or flaw that I see. I remember starting out as a very blunt reviewer, I did not mince my words and in turn I rubbed others the wrong way. I found out certain contestants felt afraid and pressured by some of my reviews even though I felt it was needed because the local media itself is always too kind towards its own talents, unlike those you see across our shores. I started to change my style during the Ratu competition back in late 2012, amidst loads of negative feedback from the masses on social media towards the contestants.

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Zaidi Zailee and Amalina Roslee

Of course I will not sugar coat my words, but a certain amount of compassion and benefit of doubt will be part of my weekly assessments. There are enough unqualified critics already out there on various social media platforms craving for attention and possible infamy, and though I have no formal background in acting and hosting, my 12-year experience in blogging about our local Malay entertainment scene I believe, puts me in good stead. What matters right now for all the contestants of Anugerah Skrin are the comments made by the judges and whatever tips they can gain from their respective mentors as well as milk the experiences of the hosts whom they will meet on a weekly basis. Never be too shy to ask around and do their respective homework.

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Nabihah Zainodin and Aidi Isham

For the record, the first episode saw the elimination of Aidi Isham and Amalina Roslee. As I was watching the show live and looking at their performances, I couldn’t help but feel that this current competition will be very competitive, with only minor details separating the ones advancing to the next round and those being eliminated. I for one feel that eliminating them in their very first episode is a bit harsh as it meant we only saw their talents within the space of just five minutes (two minutes of hosting and three minutes of acting). But this is the name of the game. I can only hope there will be a Wildcard Round where those eliminated but showed certain qualities to deserve a second chance, be invited again to show their mettle proper. There are ten weeks afterall and surprises might happen along the way. Reality competitions are never rigid in format anyway.

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Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin

As for those who impressed me to a certain degree that night, I noted the potential of Shida Lestaluhu and Kamarul Arifin, not on television just yet, but more to radio. I totally enjoyed their hosting segment and as I closed my eyes and listened to them, I felt radio could have a new batch of presenters there waiting to be groomed. They have the crisp and pleasant tones one would associate with the voices of radio presenters out there. Another one that just went out and enjoyed themselves were Danish Ashraf and Syafiqah Shahlan. Based on the judges’ comments, I believe these two impressed them the most that night, with one being told that they did not need the competition to assert themselves into the local entertainment scene and the other having a lot of potential waiting to be released. Their energy and chemistry were the best that night for both hosting and acting, and it will be interesting to see how they fare when they switch pairings in Week Three.

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Danish Ashraf and Syafiqah Shahlan

I believe when the judges said one did not need the competition to assert themselves into the local entertainment scene, it was directed towards the direction of Danish Ashraf. From the start when they interviewed him during the aftermath of announcing the Top 20 who made it to the main television rounds, one could see that he is someone with a lot of self-confidence. It also helps that he has an added advantage after being involved in another recent reality television series in search of the new generation of comedians in Singapore, Kolej Komedi. Whatever experiences he gained during his stint then is being put to good use in this competition. He needs to be mindful not to come across as cocky though as some people might misinterpret his body language as such.

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Yamin Yusof and Nurul Nadia

My only hope is that Danish will challenge himself in more serious roles than the ones he is comfortable with and those that suit his bubbly personality. Because right now I see another Junaidi Sali in him, someone who is equally at ease playing comedic as well as antagonistic roles. Oh and he needs to stop talking about his lack of height cos he was not only talking about it during his interview but also during the short introduction leading up to his acting segment. A bit of it is nice for starters. Repeating it again and again makes him sound like a broken record and might turn others off because this is not meant to get him sympathetic votes. Where he lacks in physical stature, he can more than make it up with his big bag of potential. He just needs to remain consistently good and more.

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Aidi Isham and Amalina Roslee could still afford to smile upon knowing their elimination…

As for the eliminated contestants, like all reality competitions, this is never the end of the road. We’ve seen many reality contestants in this region as well as around the world, get eliminated early but gone on to create a name for themselves. It’s all about passion and hard work. No shortcuts and no two ways about it. I understand Aidi Isham has already appeared as a bit-part actor in several local productions and appeared in both Channel 5 and Suria. He can definitely build on from there, improve and perhaps get meatier roles in future. As for Amalina Roslee, she still has a lot of rough edges which need polishing, especially when delivering her lines and emotions. She might want to consider enrolling herself in acting classes to improve if she still has dreams of being in the scene.

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The ones who live to fight another day…

I would like to speak more on the other contestants I have not mentioned, but I guess I will leave it as it is and wait till the third episode to see more of them. Till then, here’s wishing Group B consisting of Yaya Hamid, Yasmin Arissa, Wirda Elliesa, Ain Zainal, Suharti Amy, Iskandar Shah, Syaiful Ariffin, Muhd Mursyid, Farid Azhar and Fadli Kamsani all the best for tonight’s upcoming episode. They were keen observers during the first episode sitting at the front row and would have picked up several useful tips. Their task will be to up the ante and quality of the performances already seen so far in this new season’s competition. Not that they need any further reminders from me… :)

Snapshots of Anugerah Skrin 2016 Episode One


LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition Promo

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LalooLalangNY2016(Official promotional poster courtesy of LalooLalang By Huda Ali Facebook page)

LalooLalang Bazaar is back again this coming weekend!!! For the uninitiated, LalooLalang.com is the brainchild of local celebrity actress / host Huda Ali and ably assisted by her team, of which hubby, actor Den Sabari, is also a part of it. Apart from being an online ‘one stop shopping hub’, their main focus and objective have always been to gather online entrepreneurs, blogshops and small medium enterprises an opportunity and platform to work together. With the success of the very first LalooLalang Bazaar event held during Ramadhan back in July 2015 at The Ballroom @ East Coast by AB Shaik, the organisers have since come up with a New Year‘s edition which will be held this weekend at Aliwal Performing Arts Centre from 8-10 January 2016. Full details are on the promotional poster featured above.

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Member of Parliament, Mr. Zaqy Mohamad, launched the opening of the first Laloolalang bazaar on 4 July 2015

I was fortunate to have been invited to the opening launch of the very first LalooLalang Bazaar on 4th July 2015. I was also impressed by the huge turnout that day as well as the following day when I came again with my family to do our own spot of Hari Raya shopping. There was a variety of stuff being sold not only catering to the fairer gender but the men as well. A lot of the things being sold were also cheap and affordable and best of all, the vendors and stall proprietors, who were made up of mostly personalities from our local Malay entertainment scene, were patient and always armed with smiles, making the customers feel at home and at the same time apologetic when we were not able to purchase anything from them.

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Dyn Norahim, Sufie Rashid, Sheiryn Aisiqa and Nity Baizura joined by staff from Mediacorp Suria and Manja Magazine in promoting the Hari Raya edition of the local Malay entertainment magazine, where local celebrities shared their cooking and baking recipes for the Hari Raya festivities…

Based on the official LalooLalang Facebook page, which has been updating the list of vendors who will be involved this time round, there will be at least thirty vendors, a two-fold increase in the number of proprietors from the very first event. Where Beijing 101 Pte Ltd, Air Asia and Pokka Pte Ltd were the main sponsors of the last event, this time, Elegance Concept and Nippon Paint have joined forces with Pokka Pte Ltd to make this next edition a reality. Not only was the first LalooLalang Bazaar event a time for vendors to earn that little bit extra in light of the festive period, they also did their part in donating some of the earnings and proceeds to Muslim Kidney Action Association (MKAC), LalooLalang‘s beneficiary organisation.

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 The bazaar was given a touch of glamour with the presence of Malaysian-based actor Aaron Aziz, who was there to lend his support to wife Diyana Halik, who shared a collaborative effort with celebrity make-up artiste Fatimah Mohsin…

This New Year‘s edition promises something a little different with an Indie / Hipster-ish concept. And of course most of the vendors from the first event like ATP by Ariati, Rosita by Rosita Hussin, By NurFudge will be back. They will be joined this time by the likes of Studio Cafe, ChulopSG by The Syarifs, Kidz Runway and many more adding on to the list of personalities working in tandem with the bazaar event. I see this bazaar event as a means for vendors to complement one another with what they have to offer. Also, it is nice to see some of the local personalities coming together under one roof to make it successful and supporting one another. I wish for nothing but success for everyone involved, and may their respective business ventures flourish. For more information on the upcoming LalooLalang Bazaar Version 2.0 – New Year Edition event, do head on to their official Facebook page. For now, enjoy the photographs I took from the first event back in July 2015


RIA 89.7FM’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations…

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It has definitely been a long while since I last posted something in this domain of mine. I know I had promised before this that my next entry would be a review of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015. I have been quite tied up with my own commitments and still have to go through 3000-odd photographs from the 5000-odd that I had snapped that eventful night. I hope to post it up soon when I start to clear my annual leave. For now, I’ll share the event I attended about three weeks ago. At least this domain will not be dormant for too long.

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Kaw Kaw SG was the official event venue of the birthday bash…

RIA 89.7FM celebrated its twenty-five years of existence this past 1st December 2015 with a birthday bash held at Kaw Kaw SG, a chic restaurant situated at Aliwal Arts Centre. What was special about the birthday bash was, twenty-five lucky listeners got a chance to join in the fun through a week-long quiz during the week leading up to the event. I was supposed to attend their mini bash when they celebrated their 24th year anniversary last year held at Penang Street Buffet at Causeway Point but family commitments meant I had to give it a miss, but not this time.

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A shot of the cafe’s interior before the birthday bash…

I was fortunate to have been invited to cover the event and soaked in the festivities, not to mention, walked down memory lane reminiscing all the good memories of all the roadshows I attended, competitions I had participated and won, and also involved in some of the productions when I was an intern with both local Malay radio stations. Long-time listeners would remember me as part of the trio who impersonated KRU and won the Impersonation Category when the station organised the talent competition kRIAtif 897 back in 1997. That was the start of my love affair with the local Malay entertainment scene.

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The birthday bash was hosted by DJ KC and Dzar Ismail

Anyway back to the birthday bash. Not only were twenty-five lucky listeners able to join in, some of our local acts in the Malay music scene, were also invited to grace the event. And a birthday bash of this magnitude for the radio station would not be complete without the very pioneers who had paved the way and charted the road to where they stand today as a progressive and trendy station, that supports local acts and strives to give off optimal entertainment to the loyal listeners tuning in.

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The ones who have made RIA 89.7FM what it is today (from left): Hassan Salleh, Abdul Razak Rahim (RZ), Suriani Kassim (SK), Isadhora Mohamed, Raja Razie, Mohd Tahar Ghalib (TG), Morniyati Tukimin and Mariam Mas’od

It was nice to see the likes of Morniyati Tukimin, who was the first voice heard when RIA 89.7FM went live at 5pm on 1st December 1990, Suriani Kassim (SK), Abdul Razak Rahim (RZ), Mohd Tahar Ghalib (TG), Mariam Mas’od, Hassan Salleh and Isadhora Mohamed be a part of the occasion. Though I felt it would have been grander still had the likes of Hafeez Glamour, A B Shaik, Azmi Sempoi, Azmi Oh Yeah, Zarina Safuan, Chairul Fahmy, Zan Sofiyan and a host of other part-timers attended as well, but I guess all of them had their respective commitments to attend to.

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Art Fazil with an impromptu performance of “Relek Brader” with the two hosts…

We had special performances by the two current hotties in the local Malay entertainment scene, Sufie Rashid and Ryan Sufiyan, Farhan Shah who came all the way back from Perth, an impromptu performance by Art Fazil, Didicazli who introduced his new single “Izinkan Cinta“, as well as his protege, Hazirah Musfirah, a 14 year-old rising talent, and last but not least, former member of SleeQ, Syarif, who came with his expecting missus, Malaque Mahdaly. Initially, Dato’ Fazley Yaakob was slated and promoted to perform, but he was unable to make it due to last minute commitments. Nonetheless, those who had performed, more than made up for the non-appearance and everyone still felt contented and left the event feeling enjoyed.

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The attendees and guests of the birthday bash cramming together for a group photograph…

Another special aspect of the birthday bash was, it was broadcasted live on air between 3-5pm, so those who were unable to make it or joined in the fun, were fortunate enough to tune in and imagine the goings-on at Kaw Kaw SG. To complete a celebratory occasion, RIA 89.7FM was also awarded the longest tuned station in Singapore in a recent survey by AC Neilsen. For the record, Kaw Kaw SG was the official event venue sponsor of the birthday bash. Other sponsors for the bash were One Drop Perfumes, Karva SG, Perfect Frames, Nongsa Resorts, Grey By Ortenhill, Heiraz Bakery & Academy, Lovera Singapore, Hello Adiva, Suka Sucre Bistro, Inglot Singapore, Alive Museum SG and “Sambal Belimbing” by Roslan Shah


APM2015 Snapshots…

APM 2015 - Media Release(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Suria)

I return once again with another APM2015 entry, my second instalment of this year’s edition. This time, I’ll be sharing miscellaneous shots I took during the “Red Carpet” event, the “Walk of the Stars” segment as well as a few shots I took post-event. Unfortunately there was no post-event reception this year and the “Walk of the Stars” segment had to be cut short due to time constraints before the event proper began, so there were not many photographs that I took and certainly less of a variety as compared to previous years.

Also since I am basically a one-man team, I had to leave the “Red Carpet” event at the hall’s entrance to take shots of the events transpiring on stage. In years past, I would have broken my entries into several postings, but this year, I’ll just post my miscellaneous snapshots under one entry, with my review coming much later, as I still have five thousand-odd photographs I need to sieve through and pick the best ones to be featured. Hope this filler entry before my review would help to satiate your thirst to view the photographs of the event. I will not put a timeframe to the publication of my review entry but I hope I will not take another month to post it up… :P


Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015 Roll of Honour

APM 2015 - Media Release

(Graphics poster courtesy of Mediacorp Malay Broadcast Division)

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2015 was, for the third year running, held at Suntec City Convention Centre this past Friday 9 October 2015. The annual music awards show that celebrates the best in the local Malay and regional Nusantara music industry saw 19 awards up for grabs. As usual, I will kickoff my series of APM entries in bits and pieces, beginning with this entry which honours the winners of this year’s edition, the fourteenth since its inception in 2001. So if you would want to view photographs of the event and some of the snapshots I took which might not have been covered by the other media sources, mine will complement theirs. Without further ado, my heartiest congratulations to all the winners of APM2015

Taufik Batisah

Ikon Media Sosial / (Social Media Icon)

Artis Singapura Paling Popular / (Most Popular Singapore Artiste)

Lagu Singapura Paling Popular / (Most Popular Singapore Song) – #Awakkatmane

Lagu Paling Popular APM / (APM Most Popular Song) – #Awakkatmane

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Assalammualaikum – Faizal Tahir

Lagu Terbaik (Malaysia) / (Best Malaysian Song)

Lagu Terbaik APM / (Best APM Song)

(Composers & Lyricists: Omar K, Ezra Kong, Audi Mok, Mike Chan & Faizal Tahir)

faizaltahir(Photo courtesy of budiey.com)

Iman’s League

Band Terbaik / (Best Band)

Lagu Terbaik (Singapura) / (Best Song – Singapore) – Lisa Feat. The Lion Story

(Composers: Haramain Osman, Judah Lyne, Ishyam Lal, Khairul Anhar & Iman; Lyricist: Haramain Osman)

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Kunto Aji – Terlalu Lama Sendiri

Artis Baru Terbaik (Lelaki) / (Best Male Artiste)

Lagu Terbaik (Indonesia) / (Best Indonesian Song) – Terlalu Lama Sendiri

(Composer & Lyricist: Kunto Aji)

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Judika – Apakah Ini Cinta

Artis Terbaik (Lelaki) / (Best Male Artiste)

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Raisa – Jatuh Hati

Artis Wanita Terbaik / (Best Female Artiste)

raisa-1(Photo courtesy of kingkangkung.com)

 

Elizabeth Tan – Knock Knock

Artis Baru Terbaik (Wanita) / (Best New Female Artiste)

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Afgan & Dato’ Rossa – Kamu Yang Ku Tunggu

Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group)

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Fatin Shidqia Lubis

Artis Paling Popular APM / (APM Most Popular Artiste)

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Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza & Cakra Khan – Seluruh Cinta

Kolaborasi Terbaik (Artis) / (Best Artiste Collaboration)

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Jangan Coba Berlari – Sezairi, Composer & Lyricist: Tulus

Kolaborasi Terbaik (Lagu) / (Best Song Collaboration)

SezairiTulus

Anggun Cipta Sasmi

Anugerah Rentas Planet / International Breakthrough Artiste

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A. Ramlie & The Rhythm Boys

Anugerah Khas Planet Muzik / (Special Music Planet Award)

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Pesta Raya 2015 Promo…

PestaRaya2015

(all images featured in this entry courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay)

I have not been blogging for more than two months now. Life has been busy with many things happening on a personal front and I really have no time to blog. But I am back for this particular entry because I had given my word that I would type a promo entry for the annual Pesta Raya event happening at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Yes I know the various showcases, events and happenings begin today and this entry is kinda belated but I guess better late than never. Would just like to apologise to the kind peeps over at Esplanade for taking such a long time to post this. Without further ado, let’s get acquainted with this year’s offerings.

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Altimet will be performing on Friday 14 August 2015 at 8:00pm at Esplanade Recital Studio. Guest artiste is our very own Trisno Ishak

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s annual cultural festival, Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts which coincides with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities, is taking place this year from 13 to 16 August 2015. In celebration of the nation’s Golden Jubilee, the 14th edition of Pesta Raya pays tribute and honours Singapore’s Malay cultural icons and treasures including its first President Yusof Ishak, popular female Malay songstress of the golden era Nona Asiah, and Pop Yeh-Yeh singer Salim I.  Younger audiences can also look forward to music performances by pop rock band NOAH, hip-hop artiste Altimet, experimental progressive rock group Pitahati and popular Singapore reggae band Bushmen.

PitahatiPitahati

P – Programmes Showcasing the Best from the Nusantara (Malay Archipelago)

For four days, the centre comes alive with some of the best traditional and contemporary Malay music, theatre and dance performances from Southeast Asia. Said Hanie Nadia Hamzah, Programmer, The Esplanade Co Ltd, “The month-long celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri is where tradition and culture are upheld  at the highest level and passed on to the younger generation. Similarly Pesta Raya’s celebration of culture through various art forms instills a strong sense of pride within the Malay community, especially the young as many of the programmes are planned with them in mind. In experiencing these performances, we hope they can also enjoy the varied performances taking place during the festival and rediscover their heritage. This year, we also invite our audiences to treasure and celebrate the gems that are at the heart of the Malay community as we learn more about their contributions to Singapore.

NOAHNOAH performs on 15 August 2015 at 8:00pm at the Esplanade Concert Hall…

“E – Engaging the Young

Pesta Raya features exciting programmes that younger audiences can look forward to. At the Esplanade Concert Hall for one night only, Bandung-based alternative pop rock outfit NOAH (previously known as Peterpan) performs songs off their album Second Chance and earlier album as well. At the Esplanade Recital Studio, contemporary music fans can look forward to the debut solo concerts by two sets of Malaysian artistes –  award-winning hip-hop artiste Altimet, who will perform with his 10-piece band, and five-piece experimental progressive rock group Pitahati, who will engage listeners with their poetic lyrics inspired by the Nusantara. Younger audiences can look forward to children’s roving theatre performances at the Concourse and Forecourt as well as “Aku Ada Cerita” – the festival’s popular story telling platform helmed by Djohan bin Abdul Rahman, who is affectionately known as “Bobo” for his stint in hit children’s programmes such as Aksi Mat Yoyo and Bengkel Kanak-Kanak in the 1980s.

S – Supporting the Creation of New Content

YusofThe cast of YUSOF (from left): Erwin Shah Ismail, Najib Soiman, Sani Hussin, Dalifah Shahril, Farah Ong and Siti Khalijah Zainal…

As part of Esplanade’s commitment to support Singapore practitioners in the creation of new works, this year’s Festival Commission is written and directed by Zizi Azah. Produced by Esplanade and titled “YUSOF“, this play delves into the life and times of Singapore’s first president, Yusof Ishak, offering a rare glimpse into this extraordinary leader who dedicated his life in service of Singapore. Based on research and interviews by Zizi, this production stars award-winning actor Sani Hussin as Yusof Ishak, as well as familiar faces Dalifah Shahril, Erwin Shah Ismail, Farah Ong, Najib Soiman and National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award winner – Siti Khalijah Zainal. Based on ticket sales, this production is almost sold out with the show on Friday 14 August 2015 at 8:00pm, the only one with limited tickets available. The other shows are all sold out!!!

T – Treasuring and Celebrating our Malay Icons

Nona Asiah. Undated.Nona Asiah

This year, the festival pays tribute and honours musical icon of Singapore’s golden age of Malay film – Nona Asiah – with the concert “Si Cempaka Biru: Celebrating the life of Nona Asiah“. As one of the pioneering playback singers and music educators who have made an impact on the Singapore arts and  entertainment scene, many will remember her tunes including Chinta (1948) her duet with P. Ramlee. Directed by Najip Ali and led by music directors Indra Shahril who is also her son, and Amri Amin. This concert also features Orkestra Melayu Singapura and singers Aisyah Aziz, Amni Musfirah, Rudy Djoharnean, Imran Ajmain and many more. An exhibition featuring a selection of old photos, newspaper cuttings and also clothes designed by Nona Asiah will be on display at the Festival Corner. In celebration of Malay songs through the years, the festival also pays tribute to Singaporean Pop Yeh-Yeh singer – Salim I, with a performance by his son Rudi, who will perform familiar tunes which will take audiences back to the good old days.

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A – Angklung Community Workshops

Esplanade’s community engagement programme, which leverages on the centre’s accessible and wide-ranging annual calendar, aims to bring the joy of  the arts to community groups and beneficiaries of Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs). In conjunction with Pesta Raya, the centre will organize a series of introductory Angklung workshops for nine VWOs. From 4 June to 24 July 2015, over 250 participants learned about the history of this traditional art form and had the opportunity to learn and perform Malay folk songs, experiencing the joy of playing music together, reminiscing the nostalgic years of gotong-royong (kampung spirit), while enhancing  their motor skills and learning the importance of teamwork.

Non-ticketed programmes

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In addition to these programmes, everyone is invited to enjoy the free performances presented at Esplanade which provide a window to the cultures of  the Malays in the region. Throughout the four-day festival, patrons can enjoy a variety of music and dance performances such as The Great Malay Songbook by Cheryl Tan and Aaron Khaled at the Concourse, and song and iconic dance routines of prominent films such as Pesta Muda Mudi, Nujum Pak Belalang, Semerah Padi and more. Members of the public can also attend free talks at library@esplanade on Malay culture, films and architecture helmed by educator Asnida Daud, director M. Raihan Halim and Assistant Professor Dr. Imran Tajudeen respectively.

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Back by popular demand, the marketplace Pasar Pesta returns at the Upper Concourse with a wide range of traditional handicraft as well as specially curated food vendors selling Malay-flavoured artisanal cupcakes with flavours such as Beef Rendang and Nasi Lemak. Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts 2015 is made possible with the generous support of Singapore Press Holdings & SPH Gift of Music series, and free programme supporters: Bowen Enterprises Pte Ltd and City Gas Pte Ltd (as Trustee). The programme supporter of “YUSOF” is Second Chance Properties Ltd. Tickets for Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts 2015 are available from Esplanade’s Box Office at Mezzanine level (Tel: +65 68288377), the SISTIC Hotline (Tel: +65 63485555) and all SISTIC outlets. More information on the festival may also be found at www.pestaraya.com.

Collect limited edition SG50 magnets during the festival!

Promoting active ageing through the arts under SG50 Seniors package, seniors can enjoy up to 50% savings for four Esplanade Presents festivals – Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts, Moonfest – A Mid-Autumn Celebration, A Date with Friends, and Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts.

Esplanade & Me Cardholders’ Special Ticket Prices for Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts 2015

Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s Esplanade & Me cardholders will get to enjoy special ticket prices for various performances at Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts 2015. Launched on 1st July 2015, Esplanade & Me is a platform for Esplanade to build stronger community ties with its fans and supporters. Beyond the savings that cardholders can enjoy across Esplanade’s festivals and programmes all year round, Esplanade & Me is also an opportunity for arts lovers to get closer to the arts and be more involved through various behind-the-scenes activities. Sign up for Esplanade & Me now! For more information, please log on to Esplanade’s brand new website at www.esplanade.com.

Mini Monsters Books & Product Launch @ AFCC2015

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This entry sort of deviates slightly away from my usual entries in that it is not directly about Singapore‘s Malay entertainment scene per se. However, I still find it extremely relevant and important to share this with my readers as it involves an individual who has been a mainstay in our local Malay entertainment scene since she graced our television screens in the old days of Bengkel Kanak-Kanak TV SBC, and now as a highly-respected talkshow host that delves on social issues in our community. Rilla Melati Bahri, a name that needs no further introduction, has just launched her latest educational products via her company Mini Monsters Ltd. this past Sunday, 31st May 2015 at the National Library, in conjunction with the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2015 event currently happening at the Plaza section of the building, from 30th May -6th June 2015.

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I was honoured to have been invited to cover this event, a momentous one I should add. Rilla, from the time I knew her years ago, has always been a strong advocate of good education and learning. She has always championed for our younger generation to be nurtured and cultivated in good learning techniques in the field of language and being comfortable in our mother tongue. In fact, these newly-launched products were conceived from her own experience more than a decade ago, as a young mother looking desperately for educational materials in Malay to aid her in teaching the language to her son, Nadim, in a fun way. Back then, there were hardly anything in Malay in the bookstores and toystores. Through this experience, she took it upon herself to do this project for other mothers with toddlers.

MiniMonstersBookLaunch2015 (3)A very decent turn-out at the launch event. Former national footballer Zulkarnaen Zainal (second row, left) was also in attendance…

Hence, the birth of Siri Bacaan Cekap Kanak-Kanak & CD Bacalah Bersama!”(Confident Reader Series & Audio Read-Along CD) and the collaboration with Masfe Sendirian Berhad for “Set Gantungan Pembelajaran” (Educational Wall Hanging Set) in Malay for toddlers aged two to six years. Mini Monsters are also proud to have been appointed the exclusive sole distributor of the first ever customised Malay educational wall-hanging resources and this exclusive collaboration between them and Masfe Sdn Bhd represents a like-minded approach between both companies in taking the learning of the Malay language to greater heights for children during their formative years.

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Rilla Melati addressing the audience and relating how the books and wall-hanging products came about…

This set comprises of mini detachable 2D “softies” which children can pull and paste to corresponding outlines on a standard thematic storyboard that comes with the Malay word to describe the individual softie. The educational objectives of this wall hanging resources are to cultivate early interest in reading through fun, interaction and play methodology, to develop children’s fine motor skills and encourage word-object recognition through touch-and-feel and to plant the seeds of love for the Malay language to children as young as 2 years old through visual stimulation. Although these sets are already in existent and used throughout Malaysia, this is the first time that the set is piloting in the Malay language exclusively for the Singapore market to be distributed by Mini Monsters Ltd. as a licensee.

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Role-play performance by participants of Mini Monsters‘ “LaguRIA” weekend workshops…
This educational wall-hanging paraphernalia will add on to Mini Monsters Ltd’s current staple of Malay educational resources and will help to spur its efforts in taking the teaching of the language to the younger age group of children i.e. toddlers and nursery-going kids. For a start, three thematic storyboards will be made available for the Singapore market. They are the Garden Insects Set, Jungle Animals Set & Transportation Set. These wall-hanging resources are made of colorful, non-toxic materials that are safe and have been tested and approved by the relevant authorities for use with children. Another interesting feature of these sets – they are handcrafted by communities in need in Malaysia. An effort Mini Monsters Ltd. is proud to support.
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As for the Siri Bacaan Cekap Kanak-Kanak & CD Bacalah Bersama!”(Confident Reader Series & Audio Read-Along CD), this set comprises of eight storybooks featuring characters inspired by the alphabets from the very popular Malay phonics reading system “Fonik Ria – Cepat Membaca” that was launched by Rilla and her Malay linguist father Drs Bahri Rajib at the same festival in 2013 and a read-along CD comprising of all the eight titles narrated by the author in Malay. For the uninitiated, “Fonik Ria – Cepat Membaca” was created to develop literacy skills for children learning to read Malay. Back then, Mini Monsters Ltd. had launched “Siri Bacaan Awal Kanak-Kanak” (Children’s Beginner Reader Series) in 2013 for pre-schoolers aged 4-6 as a complementing set.
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The newly-launched educational products by Mini Monsters Ltd
Today, expounding on the success of the previous series and the positive response Mini Monsters Ltd. have obtained from many parents, teachers and children alike, another eight titles have been added to this continuous effort of growing and complementing their reading system with its own customised set of reader series. This new set – “Siri Bacaan Cekap Kanak-Kanak” (Children’s Confident Reader Series) aims to create and develop fluency in children who can already read, and guide children to continue to read independently. The accompanying Audio Read-Along CD meanwhile, aims to assist in building upon a child’s imagination and listening skills, expose the child to the Malay language through reading and listening at the same time and encourage parent-child bonding.
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The staff of Mini Monsters are ever ready to welcome you to their booth till this Saturday 6th June 2015
Parents can choose to listen to the story with the child, anywhere, anytime. Together, this set hopes to create a wholesome reading experience for the child and plant the seeds of love for the Malay language in the hearts of budding readers!!! This new set also completes the “Fonik Ria Cepat Membaca” reading system, making it one of, if not the only, locally developed and produced Malay phonics reading system for children that is comprehensive, unique and attractive as an educational teaching tool for the development of Malay language in Singapore. You can get these educational resources from the Mini Monsters Ltd. booth at the Plaza @ NLB building between 30th May to 6th June 2015, as well as their other Malay language educational resource materials, publications and Malay language course details that they conduct for schools and the public. Or you can purchase them online via the Mini Monsters Ltd webpage.  Congratulations to Mini Monsters Ltd. for this successful launch and thank you once again for inviting me and the family to grace this lovely event… :)

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