APM2006: Review…

MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT!!! These two words best summed up what I felt and still feel as I type. I felt kinda shortchanged by the event as a whole. Since it first began in 2001, when I was still serving my National Service, right up till 2006, the show seemed to have evolved for the better but at the same time experiencing drops in standards here and there. This was my sixth straight year that I’ve been to the event which I am proud of – locally produced, yet honouring the works of those in the region. However I have to say that this was, in my own personal opinion, the most disappointing Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) I’ve been to. Why??? Read on…

Venue – At first glance, the event venue looked to be just across the road from the MRT station and carpark. However, I was appalled to have spent almost 15 minutes walking towards my seat. As I walked towards the entrance, I heard grumblings from the people around me, wondering why was the entrance so far away from the carpark and MRT station. Had we walked along an air-conditioned mall like the one at the Singapore Expo main building, perhaps it would not have mattered, but a lot of people were seen dressed for the occasion and you can imagine the number of perspiring people when they got to their seats and also when they departed for home.


The view from where I sat, 8 rows from the front…

Red Carpet Event – In any award shows around the world, the prelude to the main event is always the Red Carpet Event, whereby fans get to throng the sidelines to cheer and take photographs of the artistes in their full regalia, walking to the auditorium. Unlike previous years save for the inaugural event in 2001, there was none this time around, which definitely robbed the essence of glamour etched to it.

Attendance – Though the $68 seats were sold out, the same could not be said of the $48 & $28 seats. When I entered the auditorium, I was surprised to see a lot of empty seats over at the $48 block and during the breaks, when I turned around to look at the back and saw the upper tiers empty. I wondered if the event has lost its appeal amongst the audience or if the seating arrangement was a turn-off, cos really, even if I was them, I’d rather watch at home than sit at the back and pay $28 or $48 and having to rely on the giant screen to see who’s performing or on stage.


AhliFiqir performing “Inilah Barisan Kita“…

Lax in Security During the breaks, fans were seen rushing forward to snap photographs with the artistes sitting in front. They could have caused a stampede by rushing forward and the artistes would have felt uncomfortable not being able to move around in peace or enjoying a quiet conversation with their fellow artistes. I can’t totally blame the fans cos no matter how dumb they can be at times without thinking of safety nor the artistes’ privacy, the euphoria and excitement of meeting their idols were not something they could miss. That’s where security or the ushers come in. There should have been some common sense in their heads to control the surging crowd. Sadly, they didn’t do their job and it was left to the Floor Manager who already had his hands full with what he was doing.

Sound System – Half the show, the audience was treated to loud music and the artistes’ vocals were inaudible. Too bassy , too booming and too blaring, the show was such a stop-start affair. I received feedback from those watching at home, some also experienced the same thing. You can have so many sound checks done prior to the event but if things did not work out during the event proper, you tend to question the quality of sound equipment used.


Vince, Adam, Nikki & Eka Mairina belting out “Caraku“…

Hosts – I found the incessant insinuations about Siti Nurhaliza‘s apparent relationship with “Datuk K” a little bit out of order as the show went on. Give the gal a break for Heaven’s sake!!! Adi Rahman‘s profession of his feelings towards her is also getting stale year in year out till even Aznil complained about it. There’s also a difference between being genuinely exaggerating or trying too hard to please. Granted this was her virgin role as host of such a prestigious event, but I felt that Fiza Osman‘s antics were over the top at times and her jokes fell flat. I wasn’t the only one who felt the same way. Try going to the AnakMelayu website and see the comments made by the people there about her. Not forgetting the deathly silence or groans from the audience that greeted her whenever they felt she went overboard. I think Hazz (Hazlina Abdul Halim / DJ Fairlady) would have done some justice to the show. Ok I know I’m being biased since I love her hosting talent. But to be fair, it was Fiza‘s first assignment so she would do well to learn from her experience, which was definitely memorable and valuable to her.

Award Presenters – I was generally pleased with the line-up of presenters. Just that one instance irked me. The part where RIA 89.7FM‘s Burhan (Brader Bo), Radio ERA‘s Linda Onn and Warna 94.2FM‘s Riz Sunawan presented the award for Best Male Vocal in an Album which went to Marcell. When the three deejays were having their banter, Riz was seen being touchy-feely towards Linda. He just couldn’t keep his hands off her. What was that all about man??? There was also a time when Linda felt kinda uncomfortable and adjusted her shoulders. Oh and speaking of Linda Onn, I dunno why whenever she hosts or presents an award in Singapore, she’ll speak in an exaggerating way, eg “Singaaa-purrraaa“. I wonder if she’s mocking the Bahasa Baku system which I think has already been taken away from the schools’ syllabus (correct me if I’m wrong, any of you teachers out there). Cos certainly as far as I’m concerned, Singaporean Malays don’t speak like that. Linda should know better since she grew up here in Singapore.


The great man himself, M. Nasir, crooning his current single “Juita Citra Terindah“…

Songs Performed – The first hour or first half of the show for that matter, was kinda lacklustre and the show only picked up as the minutes progressed, even though V.E. and Ahli Fiqir did a credible job as the opening act. Even though a majority of the songs were popular songs we’ve heard on radio, sadly the incessant performances of ballad and feel-good songs kinda killed the mood and lacked the punch which APM has come to be known. Perhaps the lack of quality in the sound system played a part as well.

An Artiste Manager’s Role – The job of an artiste manager is to manage your artiste and remain behind the spotlight. Thanking certain individuals and groups for their undying support was extremely alright, but to steal the thunder away from the group when they were giving their acceptance speech by promoting your own upcoming album was something which was just not right and reeks of selfishness. The moment belonged to the group and their brilliant album which was given recognition, not to promote your album. Stealing a group’s thunder to me smacks of rudeness, moreso since it was done at such a prestigious event, watched by millions in the region.


Mawi bagging Most Popular Song for “Aduh Saliha“…

Transmission Glitch – For the first time in the history of APM, viewers experienced a glitch in transmission when their television screens went blank during Dayang Nurfaizah‘s segment. A pity they missed a large chunk of Dayang‘s excellent performance.Not only that, viewers were made to guess who were the singers performing and what were the title of the songs sung as there were no promptings on the screen. And I thought we the audience had to suffer the same thing when we focus our attention to the giant screens.

Anti-Climax Finale – The show ended so abruptly without any closing performances. Normally we’ll have closing acts topped with pyrotechnics and other paraphernalias associated with grand finales but this time, the show ended on a whimper when the hosts announced that we’ve come to the end of the show. Really spoilt my mood, not to mention having to think of the long walk back to the carpark.

Post-Party – When the hosts announced non-stop throughout the night on who the caterers were, I thought, “Not bad, everyone’s eating Nasi Briyani tonight“. But then I read in one of the articles in last Sunday’s Malay Mail, those who attended the post-party event were only served bread and chicken curry. I did not attend the post-party as I am neither a celebrity nor was I invited, to acknowledge the proof. However, if the newspaper was bold enough to publish it, then there could be some element of truths attached to it, though I’m not gonna agree totally with it. From a host’s perspective it was a major blow and bad advertisement to our foreign guests, with regards to budgeting and quality of food served, had it really happened. In truth, I had doubts when I first heard the name of the caterers since two good friends of mine had bad experiences with them when one of them got married, and the other, his brother. Personally I would not have complained about it. Maybe cos I love chicken curry. But then again, I doubt the organisers would be so tightfisted as to just serve the post-party guests with just bread and chicken curry. I’m sure they have more class than that!!!


The majority’s favourite item… Not mine though…

However, not all was doom and gloom about the event. There were a few face-saving performances and instances that soothed me a bit.

Hosts Aznil proved once again when it comes to hosting and being crazy, no one can match his nonchalance. The decision to introduce Nirina Zubir was also a correct one. I think the audience really warmed to her as she was so natural on the mic and her antics came off naturally even if she wanted to exaggerate the things she wanted to say or did.

Performances – I was particularly pleased with the performances from the local artistes. They showed they were on par with their Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts. Eka Mairina‘s vocals and Syed Azmir‘s in particular had the audience whooping and cheering when they went for the high notes. Other performances that caught my eye were Dayang Nurfaizah‘s medley during the tribute to Loloq‘s career achievements, the combined efforts of Anuar Zain, Siti Nurhaliza, Marcell & Rossa when they sang “Kangen“, Nikki & Adam performing “Caraku“, Gigi, Ratu and the segment where Jaclyn Victor, Ferhad & Syed Azmir sang the songs nominated in the Best Song category. I could be wrong since listening live, what with the loud music and fans cheering around you, can sound different from what you hear on television…


Upsetting the odds, so much for Mawi‘s loyal fans…

Award Winners – Even though I had predicted that Mawi was going to win the Most Popular Male Artiste, I was elated that Taufik Batisah won instead. Cos seriously I feel Mawi‘s over-rated and it’s only because of his fans that he’s so popular across the Causeway. Hah!!! What happened to his so-called fans when he needed them the most??? Kudos to those who had voted for Taufik though I myself am not exactly his fan…

Audience Ethics – Unlike last year, the audience was generally well-behaved. Who can forget last year when a certain section of the audience could not stop shouting even when the artistes were presenting the awards or giving their acceptance speech??? This year, the audience deserved a full thumbs up for cheering when the time was appropriate to do so and kept their peace as a sign of respect whenever the artistes went up on stage to give their acceptance speech.

Now that’s four good things about the event as opposed to the twelve pointers / grievances I pointed out, ok sorry it should be eleven. I don’t count the Post-Party event as one of my grievances but just commenting from what I read. It is not fair to include it in as I did not see it with my own eyes, first hand. For all you know, the Malaysian media were just adding fuel to fire on what they were already unhappy about the whole event. With eleven strong points to rant about, maybe you can understand why in my own personal capacity, I dubbed this year’s edition of the event as the most disappointing that I’ve been to. I was also surprised to read in last Sunday’s Berita Minggu that the event was “relatively enjoyable”. I’m next gonna analyse my initial predictions I made in my last entry and see how I’ve fared against the eventual winners. Here goes…


No prizes for guessing the Most Popular Female Artiste…

BEST NEW ARTISTE (MALE) / ARTIS LELAKI BARU TERBAIK

ADAM (Malaysia)
ADY (Indonesia)
ELLO (Indonesia)
MIKE (Indonesia)
SHANON (Indonesia)

Initial Predictions: Ello / Mike
Eventual Winner: Ello
My thoughts: Not bad… Kinda expected it since Ello seems to get a lot of airplay lately on radio a month or so before the event…

BEST NEW ARTISTE (FEMALE) / ARTIS WANITA BARU TERBAIK

ADIBAH NOOR (Malaysia)
EKA MAIRINA (Singapore)
HELENA (Indonesia)
NIKKI (Malaysia)
SHARIFAH ZARINA (Malaysia)

Initial Predictions: Adibah Noor / Eka Mairina / Nikki
Eventual Winner: Nikki
My thoughts: I was not surprised either cos I did mention in my last entry that her songs and vocals reminds me of an Indonesian singer. Nikki was the dark horse in this category and she stamped her authority with a magnificent performance that night.

BEST NEW DUO / GROUP DUO / KUMPULAN BARU TERBAIK

AHLIFIQIR (Singapore)
J-ROCKS (Indonesia)
MALIQ & D’ESSENTIALS (Indonesia)
SAYKOJI (Indonesia)
TANGGA (Indonesia)

Initial Predictions: AhliFiqir
Eventual Winner: Maliq & D’Essentials
My thoughts: I underestimated this group even after hearing a few of their songs. Cos I was not sure if their jazz and R&B fusion would sway the jury into picking them over the hot favourites in this category.


The husband and wife team of Ajai & Nurul singing “Serasi“…

BEST MALE ARTISTE / ARTIS LELAKI TERBAIK

AWIE (Malaysia)
JAI (Singapore)
MARCELL (Indonesia)
VINCE (Malaysia)

Initial Predictions: Marcell
Eventual Winner: Marcell
My thoughts: No disrespect to the rest who were nominated in the category but I felt that they were there just to make up the numbers. How else do you explain only four nominees??? If Mawi had been nominated, it would have proved my findings even more blatantly spot-on. Ok, ok I’m being mean, but really there were quite a few male artistes who released albums last year, how come only four made the grade??? Were the rest of the albums not good enough or lacked the necessary quality to be included??? The wise judges have the answers…

BEST FEMALE ARTISTE / ARTIS WANITA TERBAIK

AUDY (Indonesia)
JACLYN VICTOR (Malaysia)
KRIS DAYANTI (Indonesia)
ROSSA (Indonesia)
TITI DJ (Indonesia)

Initial Predictions: Jaclyn Victor
Eventual Winner: Jaclyn Victor
My thoughts: Spot on again!!! I knew she would win it and she proved it with her flawless performance that night… There shouldn’t be any disputes whatsoever. Imagine if Siti was nominated, it would have been an interesting competition, not to mention the headache I’ll be experiencing in choosing between heart and head…

BEST DUO / GROUP DUO / KUMPULAN TERBAIK

DEWA
PROJECT POP
PADI
PETERPAN
RADJA

Initial Predictions: Dewa
Eventual Winner: PeterPan
My thoughts: No disputes. They proved over the past year or so that their songs are of a credible quality. Not just their popularity.


Hot Mamas of Ratu

BEST SONG / LAGU TERBAIK

CINTA – MELLY FEAT. KRIS DAYANTI
DEALOVA – ONCE DEWA
GEMILANG – JACLYN VICTOR
MENANTI SEBUAH JAWABAN – PADI
YANG TERBAIK BAGIMU – ADA BAND FEAT. GITA GUTAWA

Initial Predictions: Dealova – Once Dewa
Eventual Winner: Dealova – Once Dewa
My thoughts: I could not have loved a better song than this. Simple, yet the message of true love from the song almost brings tears to my eyes each time I listen to it.

BEST ALBUM / ALBUM TERBAIK

DAYANG SAYANG KAMU – DAYANG NURFAIZAH
1ST – MALIQ & D’ESSENTIALS
GEMILANG – JACLYN VICTOR
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ALEXANDRIA – PETERPAN
SENYAWA CHRISYE – CHRISYE

Initial Predictions: Gemilang – Jaclyn Victor
Eventual Winner: Senyawa Chrisye – Chrisye
My thoughts: The old warrior still has fire in his belly and it shows in his current fight against cancer. A win no one can deny knowing what a genius he is in the regional entertainment circle.

BEST LOCAL ACT (SOLO/DUO/GROUP) / ARTIS SINGAPURA TERBAIK

AHLIFIQIR
EKA MAIRINA
HETTY SARLENE
JAI
SALMA

Initial Predictions: AhliFiqir
Eventual Winner: Ahlifiqir
My thoughts: They deserved it!!! Full stop!!!


Powerful performance from Siti, Rossa, Marcell & Anuar Zain singing Dewa‘s hit “Kangen“…

BEST LOCAL SONG / LAGU TERBAIK SINGAPURA

ANGGUK-ANGGUK GELENG-GELENG – AHLIFIQIR FEAT. MIA
CINTA ABADI – EKA MAIRINA FEAT. ISKANDAR
IRAMA RINDU – SALMA
LADIDADIDA – EKA MAIRINA
TERBONGKAR RAHSIA – AZYZA

Initial Predictions: Angguk-Angguk Geleng-Geleng – AhliFiqir Feat. Mia
Eventual Winner: Cinta Abadi – Eka Mairina Feat. Iskandar
My thoughts: I think the song won because of the beautiful execution by Eka and Iskandar, both who are known exponents of lung-busting vocals. The theme of Love is still the order of the day.

BEST LOCAL ALBUM / ALBUM TERBAIK SINGAPURA

ATAS DASAR CINTA – JAI WAHAB
HARI INI DALAM SEJARAH – AHLIFIQIR
IRAMA RINDU – SALMA
UNTUKMU SELAMANYA – EKA MAIRINA
ZOUL – ZOUL

Initial Predictions: Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah – AhliFiqir
Eventual Winner: Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah – AhliFiqir
My thoughts: No contest, by a long mile…

POPULAR CATEGORIES / KATEGORI POPULAR

Initial Predictions:
MALE: MAWI
FEMALE: SITI NURHALIZA
GROUP: PETERPAN

I knew I missed out on predicting the Most Popular Song when I did the last entry but I had initially thought PeterPan would win it since “Mungkin Nanti” & “Ada Apa Dengan Mu?” had a headstart against Mawi‘s “Aduh Saliha“.

Eventual Winners:

Male: Taufik Batisah
Female: Siti Nurhaliza
Group: PeterPan
Song: Aduh Saliha – Mawi

My thoughts: Getting two out of four correct is not bad. Based on the sudden sweeping phenomenon across the Causeway, Mawi was the unanimous favourite to grab that Most Popular Male Artiste award. But the local fans would have none of it and thanks to the large amount of support from the Fiknatics (fans of Taufik Batisah), Mawi was swept away. I found it ridiculous that some of the Malaysian media allegedly reported that the voting system was flawed, that Taufik was slated to win right from the start. That is a serious allegation made, a slap to the organisers and also Suhaimi Salleh & Associates, the official auditors who have done an extremely good job at auditing awards shows in Singapore and have an excellent track record. I think they just could not accept the fact that Mawi is over-rated.


A pity viewers at home all over the region missed out on Dayang‘s excellent performance…

Ok enough of ranting, time to give the organisers a little reprieve. A very reliable source informed me of the goings-on behind the scenes on why certain things were done and executed. The choice to do the event at Singapore Expo was made after what happened at last year’s event which was held at Suntec City Convention Centre. We can’t deny that artistes just love shopping especially when they roll into town. They would want to shop at the slightest opportunity. But I guess last year, a few of them went a bit too far by going AWOL during the rehearsals. So to play it safe, Singapore Expo was chosen since it is away from town and the major retail outlets. This was a decision which I totally supported as in any rehearsals, time check is very important to simulate the actual event and for the soundmen to check on the quality of sound. By delaying and disrupting, you’re not only wasting other people’s time but testing their patience as well. Work is work, there’s always a time for play. If time is not on your side, then please come earlier or spend the time here a bit longer. You’re paid to do a job so please be professional when it’s time to do your job.


Tam Spider mesmerising the audience with his performance…

Now for the venue itself. The Max Pavilion was chosen as it was newly built for big-scale events. With a bigger space for more people to enjoy the event and boasting a supposedly “better quality” sound system, it was perhaps a win-win situation for everyone. But as those who had gone would have noted, it wasn’t a sell-out like last year, and the poor sound system spoilt the stellar performances and drowned even the excellent vocals of the best singers. Security was also supposedly provided by the Singapore Expo authorities but they were nowhere to be found when the fans swarmed the front, each time there was an interval.

Food-wise (the one allegedly served during the post-party event), I can only defend this much for the organisers with my own brand of theory, if what was reported by Malay Mail was really true. Singapore is well known as a food paradise and since we have many food outlets and joints that open well into the night, I’m sure the artistes would want to hit these places and sample our food fare, which for some of them, they can’t get in their own countries. So it could be that the food served during the post-party event was meant as a filler of sorts before they go out and have a good feast elsewhere. I hope my angle is spot-on rather than just blatantly blame the organisers for serving “budget” food cos I’m sure the organisers would not want to shoot themselves on the foot that way.

For such a prestigious event, with all its pomp and pageantry, I felt very disappointed that things turned out in such a negative way. Knowing how cynical the media across the Causeway can be, they’ll be having a field day lashing out at what happened. Already the voting system has been questioned. More followed suit in the weekend papers regarding the sound system, technical glitches, how “cheap” the show has turned into and so on and so forth. Even our artistes were not spared either with regards to their performances. I hope whichever Mediacorp staff reading this would not take my comments as a way of hitting out at them. I love APM and I am proud that it is produced locally for people in the region. I only want to see it grow in stature and having standards higher than the likes of Malaysia‘s Anugerah Industri Muzik, Anugerah ERA, Anugerah Juara Lagu, Anugerah Bintang Popular, Anugerah Sri Angkasa or Indonesia‘s Anugerah Muzik Indonesia, Anugerah MTV Indonesia and the similar likes of it.


Ferhad, Jaclyn Victor & Syed Azmir singing “Cinta“…

I know even without me pointing out, the management and organising committee would have noted the shortcomings of the event and strive to improve on the following year’s edition. I still rate the event higher than any other shows in the region and will continue to support it in years to come. Maybe this year was a blip which I’m sure the organisers did not want to experience either. They will do well to learn and make it a better one next year. That I am very confident of. So here’s looking forward to APM2007, but first stop is next month’s Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) at Putra World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, the 13th edition of the series and my 5th time attending it (God willing, if our General Elections does not fall on that particular weekend)…

P.S. Please do visit the following blogs and read these bloggers’ commentaries on APM2006. Be forewarned!!! Read with an open mind!!! Sultan Muzaffar & Mulut Jahat

Dull Week…

For starters, I would like to thank “Anonymous” whose comments in the last entry I’ve deleted cos of its unscrupulously rude and downright unclassy nature. I know no one else have seen it cos it will just start another blog war. I had enough of reading other people’s wars. This numbskull whom I’ve traced to the beautiful city of Dubai claims to pity my placid wife for having a hubby who yaks like a woman and pour forth women issues in my entries. Well, I dunno about you guys but I just feel that for a guy to discuss feminine issues would after all increase his knowledge and understanding of the fairer gender. Well definitely you don’t call a gynaecologist a sissy, do you??? I dunno what he / she was getting at. Yeah so females dominate the blogging world, but that doesn’t mean guys can’t blog and rant either. My wife will be the first to admit I’m not the kind of person who nags like what he / she claims I do in my entries. Dubai‘s population is approximately 1.4 million. Finding the culprit is like finding a needle in a haystack. It could be anyone I know, or don’t. I just hope it’s not who I think it is. Ahhh what the heck!!! I’ll just delete the comments if it gets too nasty. Had enough of blog wars already. Don’t need one in mine…

I really have no clue on what to type about this week. It’s been rather mundane of late. Nothing newsworthy to report but I’m certainly looking forward to Anugerah Planet Muzik 2006 this Friday. So since it’s just a few days away, why not I do a bit of crystal-ball gazing and predict the winners of this prestigious event, just to add some spice to my entry??? Here goes…

BEST NEW ARTISTE (MALE) / ARTIS LELAKI BARU TERBAIK

ADAM (Malaysia)
ADY (Indonesia)
ELLO (Indonesia)
MIKE (Indonesia)
SHANON (Indonesia)

The problem with this category is that a majority of Singaporean listeners have yet to listen to songs by Ady and Shanon. As for the rest in the group, most of us have only listened to one single each – Adam (Tak Tahu), Ello (Pergi Untuk Kembali) and Mike (Semua Untuk Cinta). So this is a tough one to predict but I have a feeling the winner is a toss up between Ello and Mike. Either way, the Indonesian guys will win this one. Adam is a tad weak compared to the vocal prowess of his Indonesian rivals, no disrespect to him.

BEST NEW ARTISTE (FEMALE) / ARTIS WANITA BARU TERBAIK

ADIBAH NOOR (Malaysia)
EKA MAIRINA
(Singapore)
HELENA (Indonesia)
NIKKI (Malaysia)
SHARIFAH ZARINA
(Malaysia)

I’ve listened to most of the songs in Eka‘s and Adibah‘s albums and just one single each from Nikki (Caramu) & Sharifah Zarina (Langit Ke-7). Helena is definitely unheard of over here. To me, it’s a 3-way fight between Eka, Adibah and Nikki. Why I’m bold enough to include Nikki is because her songs and vocals are of the quality of Indonesian artistes and we all know when it comes to the Indonesians, they are superior in many aspects in the regional music industry. For sentimental reasons, I’d like Adibah Noor to win. Here’s a talent whose octave level is a 7 and held back for a decade just because music producers think she can’t make it because of her weight. Times have changed and people are more receptive to talents than just looks. And I’ve watched her live a couple of times and am extremely impressed with her performances. For that Adibah gets my vote for Best New Female Artiste.

BEST NEW DUO / GROUP DUO / KUMPULAN BARU TERBAIK

AHLIFIQIR (Singapore)
J-ROCKS (Indonesia)
MALIQ & D’ESSENTIALS (Indonesia)
SAYKOJI (Indonesia)
TANGGA (Indonesia)

In an Indonesian dominated category, I would have cried foul had AhliFiqir not been included in this category. They’ve swept the music industry in Singapore and Malaysia by storm with their brand of rap that infuses ethnic influences and the usage of Malay idioms and poetry. Though the others in the group are equally strong in their own rights, for the sake of my local artiste, I’m plumping for them to win this one, to follow up another local band’s win in this category last year (BhumiBand).

BEST MALE ARTISTE / ARTIS LELAKI TERBAIK

AWIE (Malaysia)
JAI (Singapore)
MARCELL (Indonesia)
VINCE (Malaysia)

Funny how come this category only had 4 nominees. The standard must have dropped or male artistes did not produce enough quality albums to be included. To me, Marcell has the edge on this though if the rest were to win, I wouldn’t be the least bothered. That says it all how much interest I have on this category.

BEST FEMALE ARTISTE / ARTIS WANITA TERBAIK

AUDY (Indonesia)
JACLYN VICTOR (Malaysia)
KRIS DAYANTI (Indonesia)
ROSSA (Indonesia)
TITI DJ (Indonesia)

Another Indonesian dominated category. There’s a slew of repackaged albums coming from the Indonesians this year with Marcell, Audy & Kris Dayanti contributing to the cause, which do not impress me much. Not that I have anything against the Indonesians, but I feel that Jaclyn Victor is an amazing talent that needs regional exposure to show her worth cos I’ve watched her too many times on Malaysian TV, and she’s proved she has the vocal gymnastics to give her Indonesian counterparts a run for their money. So I’ll go with Jac, even if Kris Dayanti is a safer bet.

BEST DUO / GROUP DUO / KUMPULAN TERBAIK

DEWA
PROJECT POP
PADI
PETERPAN
RADJA

We seem to have a lot of Indonesian artistes hogging the categories this year. This only proves to one and all that their quality in producing music is way up there compared to Malaysia and Singapore. This group is too open to predict as each nominee is a giant in their own rights. But if I were to choose, based on sentimental reasons and because I respect their longevity, I’ll plump for Dewa. They are the original music geniuses.

BEST SONG / LAGU TERBAIK

CINTA – MELLY FEAT. KRIS DAYANTI
DEALOVA – ONCE DEWA
GEMILANG – JACLYN VICTOR
MENANTI SEBUAH JAWABAN – PADI
YANG TERBAIK BAGIMU – ADA BAND FEAT. GITA GUTAWA

All the songs slated in this category are beautifully-crafted songs, simple yet with a message on its own and conveying deep feelings that range from love to filial piety. Again, this category is too open but if you were to ask me, based on personal favourite, I’d like “Dealova” to win…

BEST ALBUM / ALBUM TERBAIK

DAYANG SAYANG KAMU – DAYANG NURFAIZAH
1ST – MALIQ & D’ESSENTIALS
GEMILANG – JACLYN VICTOR
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK ALEXANDRIA – PETERPAN
SENYAWA CHRISYE – CHRISYE

I feel this is a toss-up between Gemilang and the Original Sountrack of Alexandria. Gemilang has the edge in terms of the number of quality composers who contributed their works and producers who produced this album. That does not mean PeterPan is not good, they are, but I just have this gut feeling that Gemilang will take off with this one.

BEST LOCAL ACT (SOLO/DUO/GROUP) / ARTIS SINGAPURA TERBAIK

AHLIFIQIR
EKA MAIRINA
HETTY SARLENE
JAI
SALMA

The jury picking the winners would definitely look at just two – AhliFiqir and Eka. And since AhliFiqir‘s influence has reached across the shores, I have no doubt they’ll edge this.

BEST LOCAL SONG / LAGU TERBAIK SINGAPURA

ANGGUK-ANGGUK GELENG-GELENG – AHLIFIQIR FEAT. MIA
CINTA ABADI – EKA MAIRINA FEAT. ISKANDAR
IRAMA RINDU – SALMA
LADIDADIDA – EKA MAIRINA
TERBONGKAR RAHSIA – AZYZA

Tell me which has been the most infectious local song in 2005 when you scan through the list and chances are only the first one sticks in your memory. A subtle dig at the Malay community with its catchy tunes and lyrics makes Angguk-Angguk Geleng-Geleng a sure bet. And I’m not plumping for it based on popularity cos this is not a popularity category.

BEST LOCAL ALBUM / ALBUM TERBAIK SINGAPURA

ATAS DASAR CINTA – JAI WAHAB
HARI INI DALAM SEJARAH – AHLIFIQIR
IRAMA RINDU – SALMA
UNTUKMU SELAMANYA – EKA MAIRINA
ZOUL – ZOUL

This is a three-way fight between Jai, Eka & AhliFiqir but again when it comes to influence, the latter has made the most impact across both sides of the Causeway. And based on past experiences, the jury tend to pick someone who has the most impact in at least Malaysia, if not Indonesia as well. Remember what happened to Hazrul Nizam in 2004??? He was nominated in 7 categories but ended up with zilch cos he wasn’t known outside Singapore back then.

POPULAR CATEGORIES / KATEGORI POPULAR

MALE: MAWI
FEMALE: SITI NURHALIZA
GROUP: PETERPAN


Mawi‘s choice is obvious. People just love him though till now I feel he can only sing nasyid songs or recite the Holy Qur’an from what we’ve seen of him during last Ramadhan on Malaysian TV. He is the “King of SMS“. He’s starting to be the male Siti Nurhaliza, in that he will always win, no matter who his rivals are. But in terms of quality, sorry, he pales in comparison in many aspects…

Siti??? What can I say??? Into the 6th year, she’s still going strong and a 6th consecutive title since the event’s inception, will do just nice for her in the one category she’s nominated in this time around, since she did not release any albums last year.

Even though Radja made a late surge into the popularity stakes in the latter half of 2005, I still think Peterpan has enough fans from the Nusantara, to vote for them. They are afterall the first group to have sold 2 million album copies in Indonesia. That says a lot about their popularity. Coupled with that from fans in Malaysia and Singapore, I can’t see anyone else beating them though deep down the patriotism in me would like to see AhliFiqir win this.

So there you have it, I might be right, I might be wrong. But I did it all for fun. At least to keep myself occupied before the big day comes. Till my next entry which I will report on the event, cheerios…

Sad State of Community…

I’m sure most of us are still reeling from the death of the little toddler, Nonoi, which has received nothing but extensive coverage by the media and daily prints. Though we do not know her, I guess we all feel the pain, moreso if you have a child, younger sister / brother or having nephews and nieces around that age. I don’t understand how a child that age, still in their cute and cuddly element, could be treated so badly. Even an animal knows how to treat its young properly with tender loving care. Nonoi is of the same age as Aida’s niece, Nurin Diyanah, and she happens to be the apple of my eye. All week I have been thinking, if the same thing were to happen to her, I think I’ll be going ballistics…

I dunno whether to be sad or angry at the whole thing. A Berita Harian reader pointed out today in the Forum page that the incident only highlighted the effects of marrying at a young age, whether they are qualified to be parents or not. But when I think again, so did our parents, some were even married when they were 16-17 years old, yet they still brought us up well. To me, the case not only highlighted the effects brought up by the reader, but also highlighted the dysfunctionalities of the parties involved. I don’t have to spell every detail and flaw cos I believe you guys would have read it all and seen the pictures to know what I meant by “dysfunctionalities”. So what could be the root of the problem???

For those who have attended the marriage preparatory courses, I’m sure you would have been reminded that once you have the basic necessary religious knowledge, it would serve you well in building a family. To me, that is just part of it. You need to be mentally prepared, even if you take away religion, you should at least be humane and sensible enough to treat your partners and kids properly, with love and respect. The person I have pity on the most, is definitely Nonoi’s biological father. Cos not only did he lose a wife through a 3rd party but that 3rd party ended up killing his daughter. Yet he is still so forgiving though I can only imagine how he feels deep down inside. This man deserves my utmost respect and sympathy for weathering this storm in his life with quiet nonchalance.

The incident has thrown up many questions on myself. Could I be a good father to my kids??? Would I ill-treat them when they go out of line??? Cos nowadays the rod is no longer useful, not like when we were young. How should punishment be meted out to discipline our kids??? We cannot be too harsh on them, neither should we be too lenient. One thing I’ve learnt from observations is that kids expect to be treated the same, be it in punishment or in rewards. Not to mention love. The fact that you can have pious parents and wayward kids is a scary thought that is bothering me and wish I would never fall in that trap. It’s true what people say, making babies is easy, but the responsibility that comes with it is gargantuan. I hope that each and everyone of us have learnt something from this fiasco as I feel extremely embarrassed at the state of a minority in our community.

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I’m left dumbfounded by the constant questions about my wife’s current status, that is, whether we’re expecting a bundle of joy anytime soon. It’s like a standard question everywhere we go which I’m sure most of you went through or are currently experiencing right now, like when we were in courtship, people were asking when were we tying the knot or when were we getting engaged. Now that we’re married, people expect my wife’s tummy to have someone in it. At times it bemused me and sometimes it riled me up when they caught me in a bad mood, though I dunno where I found the patience and courtesy to just smile and say wait until our honeymoon is over. It’s kinda funny to me, that people expect something to happen 2-3 months after one gets married. I know everyone meant well when they asked me the same thing and I appreciate the concern, just that I’m beginning to sound like a broken record or a replayed tape.

Yes people, we have still not gone for our honeymoon yet due to work commitments on both sides. Hell, we don’t even have time to go for our customary visiting of relatives right after the wedding. To tell you honestly, we still dunno when we are going for the honeymoon. And we’re planning it to happen after we’ve gone, so it would be meaningful and blessed. I hope my explaination would be enough to end the constant queries. If it happens, it happens. As we all know, God knows best when it comes to bringing a new life into this world so we just let nature takes it course…

Hi-Tea With Hazami…

I know I’m way overdue with this one and most of you would have read from some of the other bloggers’ entries about this event that I’ll be talking about, “Santai Bersama Hazami“. Well for those not into Malay music, Hazami has just been awarded Best Vocal Performance at last month’s annual Anugerah Juara Lagu held at Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur. He first shot to prominence with “Sonata Musim Salju“, the infectious cover version of Korea‘s hit song “Winter Sonata“, which happens to be the soundtrack from the drama serial of the same title. He is now widely known for hits like “Kata” and “Mungkir Bahagia“. In fact his songs are all excellent listening cos his voice is just so melodious and able to lull one into a state of contented slumber.

The event was organised by “heARTwork” – the Ismail sisters team of Norismilda, Norafida and Nur Raudha. I knew a lot of hard work, pardon the pun, and headaches were experienced just to organise the event, but thankfully for them, they had a good amount of support and promotion from the Malay radio stations, Suria, MTV Asia and Berita Harian. Thanks to the good people of Fig & Olive and kind sponsorships from the lovely ladies of GoldChocs, the event was indeed a success.

The event kicked off at about 2:15pm, with Raudha acting as the emcee for the day. Opening the event was local newcomer Imran Ajmain. He might not be known to most of us locals but I’ll bet my last dollar that this guy will one day upstage the likes of Hazrul Nizam and probably Taufik Batisah in terms of vocal gymnastics. I first saw him in action at Sungguh Hot 2004, organised by Screenbox, the company that brought us shows like “Hanyut” and “Santai Bersama Sujimy & Haslinda“, held at Suntec City in July 2004. Back then I was already impressed by his voice, soulful and not whiny like what you come to expect from most R&B singers. Being the head honcho of Beats Society, the organisation that looks after the hip hop groups in Singapore, there were times in between then that I should have been able to catch him in action but I had prior commitments hence it was only last Saturday that I managed to catch his performance again.

He reminds me a lot of Edry from KRU. They can pass off as brothers…

Singing a catchy tune “Yang Sudah Tu Sudah” and “Seribu Tahun“, Imran mesmerised the audience with his voice which prompted even Hazami to address later on that even without his presence, Imran could have held the show on his own. Me??? I was dead certain he will be the next big thing and if I can bet my life on it, I would. I was fortunate to have been able to sit next to Imran and we made small talk as the show progressed. His album will be out sometime this year, half of the songs in it composed by him and another half from his good friend, none other than Singapore‘s first Idol, Taufik Batisah. What I am most impressed was the fact that Anuar Zain had chosen one of Imran‘s compositions to be included in his soon-to-be-released 3rd album. It surely is going to be a great 2006 for Imran and I won’t be surprised if he were to be among the front runners at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2007 with his upcoming album entitled, “Dengan Secara Kebetulan“, which is also the same title as his blog and URL. His songs are basically R&B and his music sounds like something that came out from the music geniuses in Indonesia. So definitely I am waiting rather impatiently for his album release…


Singing “Yang Sudah Tu Sudah” with gusto. I was bobbing my head to the song…


Seribu Tahun” being sung with feel. I’m sure the gals in the audience melted… That lady in the picture is the owner of the cafe by the way.

Hazami was on stage right after Imran stepped down. Serenading the crowd with hits like “Tekad“, “Sonata Musim Salju“, “Mungkir Bahagia” and a medley of 80s hits, he even invited Imran to come up on stage to perform “Kata” with him. A pity that the audience were not that engaging, probably too mesmerised by his wonderful voice. It’s been known that Hazami has an octave level of 6, a level not many male singers could reach. There were also surprises in store for both Hazami and the crowd. When he sang “Sonata Musim Salju“, a tray filled with MamaFai‘s beautiful cupcakes, made its appearance on stage, wishing Hazami a Happy 35th Birthday. Hazami‘s old college mate, Nazrah also surprised him with the birthday song and serenaded him with a few songs of her own. The lady can definitely sing!!! It is also no wonder that she is also a songwriter herself, having penned songs for the likes of Dayang Nurfaizah (“Kembalilah Sayang“), Anuar Zain (“Keabadian Cinta” & “Permata“), Innuendo (“Gemawan“) and many more using a beautiful nick (Azalea) as her passport. All I can say is, she’s a closet genius!!! If I were to cut myself an album, maybe I’ll engage her to be my songwriter, not forgetting Imran as well…


Serenading us with “Mungkir Bahagia“…


Performing “Kata“…


Hazami singing a medley of 80s hits…


Food… Glorious food…. That’s Imran‘s arm by the way… Hahaha…


Aren’t they lovely???


Before it was devoured by me…


Friendly banter between Hazami and the two sweet ladies, Raudha & Nazrah

The event was also a meeting of sorts for fellow bloggers alike. It was definitely an honour to have finally met the wonderful lady who baked the lovely cupcakes for my wedding gift and awaiting the birth of her child, sis MamaFai, who came along with the ever beautiful Trina. My ex-schoolmate Sweethuneyz was also there with her mother and younger sister. Add Imran, Raudha and sis Nazrah into the mix and we have quite a few blogmates at one event. I think there were other bloggers too at the event, just that I could not figure out who was who. I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Atmosphere and ambience was cosy, good food, good company, excellent performances, what more can I ask for??? Aida and I sat at the VIP table so naturally we had questions like how did we manage to get seats there??? Well let’s just say it helps to be sincere in whatever we do in life, without expecting favours and returns. It wasn’t exactly the best seat but we were just thankful to even attend the event. That’s what mattered the most…

To the team of “heARTwork“, you guys deserved the accolades for putting up a great show. Problems like delay and technical glitches are common especially when it comes to punctuality of attendees. Though I would suggest getting a better sound system for future events. I am looking forward to supporting and attending more of such events in future. How about Dayang Nurfaizah or Anuar Zain next??? Heck, let’s aim for Imran‘s album release next. I’ll surely attend and lend my support…

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I was amazed when I went for Friday prayers today. The congregation were stumped when the Khatib went up the Mimbar to deliver the sermon. Here was a young chap, young enough to be your younger brother or son addressing the congregation with gusto and punch. You guys won’t believe me if I said he’s only 15 years old. It was reported in the papers a few days ago of his existence in our midst. And when he recited verses from the Holy Qur’an, it was music to the ears. Granted his pronunciation of certain characters could be improved on, but generally I was impressed by his dedication and the way he recited them. A rare gem in the making…

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I know that some of you won tickets to watch the World Cup trophy at Suntec City today. I hope for those who went, will not be offended with what I’m gonna say. Being a football purist, you guys would have expected me to join in the fun. But nooooo…..!!! I find it kinda weird, nonsensical even, just to ogle at something which you can’t touch, It’s like I rather see it on TV than go all the way just to look at the real McCoy…

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Lastly, just wanna apologise to any parties who felt offended by my previous posting when I talked about a certain ex-footballer and linking his job to educational qualifications. I wasn’t making an example out of him. Neither was I degrading him and his current job. I was just thinking about the plight of being a footballer, or a sportsman for that matter, living in this country, since the lifespan of such a career is shortlived, what with age and injuries coming into the picture and if there’s other feasible alternatives to fall back on when the time comes to hang up your boots. My mistake that I should not have named him and just made him remained anonymous.

That’s it for now. Have a great weekend guys…