Kak Nana, the shop’s assistant who had liaised with us during our wedding didn’t dare to quote me a price but she said it’s in the region above $150. She told me to call Fatimah directly for the correct pricing. She also suggested going to the various costume shops in the Arab Street vicinity in case I could find something cheaper. I went to the big costume shop at Aliwal Street which I couldn’t quite remember the name but I recalled seeing a Batmobile car outside the shop. However when I was there, upon seeing the clothes, I thought it was too extravagant for my liking. I would have taken them if I was a Suria artiste but since I’m just a normal paying guest, it would be extremely over if I were to wear them. Furthermore I bumped into Fatimah herself along with two other Suria artistes whose identities I will not disclose but they were nominated in the Best Actress category. So I thought a simple shirt on the inside and jacket will do in due respect towards the event I was attending.
You can imagine the headache I was in when I went to the various boutique shops like G2000, Marks & Spencer, Armani Exchange, Zara etc and found out that I could not even fit into XL. I felt extremely disgusted at my apparent ballooning and told myself, “That’s it!!! I really need to lose weight…” In the end, I ended up buying zilch and settled on something I wore at last year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik. It’s recycled I know, but that’s the only thing I had at such short notice.
I went to the event with Aida and my distant cousins Faizal, Shahran and his wife Rafidah. Some of you might wonder how come one can be quite close to distant cousins. Well Faizal and Shahran started off as one of my neighbourhood football friends. When Shahran got engaged to Rafidah in 2002, I found out that we had a common cousin in Zaid Syah, the lead actor of the 6-part drama series Geylang Si Paku Geylang. Zaid‘s mother and their mother are sisters while his father and my mother are cousins. So that’s the link for you.
Upon reaching Caldecott Broadcast Centre, we saw a long line already queueing from the walkway going up to the reception area. We thought that we could get good seats by jumping the queue and waiting at the reception area. But then we found out the crowd had already gone in via the gate along the walkway. The place has changed so much since my internship back in 1998. Security is indeed tight. Had I known the crowd would enter by the basement 3 carpark, I would have parked there instead of Basement 2. Compared to my experience watching Sinaran Hati, this was a different scenario. Then, we entered through the reception area and down the lift towards the Mediacorp TV Theatre.
Pak Wahid receiving the Perdana Emas award. He certainly is a worthy winner. I can feel the pride felt by his family members seated in front of me who were whooping and beaming.
By the time we reached Basement 3, the line had already taken up the full length of the carpark. I met a few familiar faces amongst the queueing crowd, most of them being my fellow RIA listeners. When we entered the doors leading towards the auditorium, we were asked whether we were Taufik Batisah / Aaron Aziz fans or whether we were just normal paying audience. I had a hunch that the normal paying audience would be shooed up the upper levels. So I decided to make a white lie or what we might refer to as “Bohong Sunat“, and said we were fans of Taufik. And so we were let into the lower levels of the auditorium but we did not sit with the Taufik fans. There was no way I was going upstairs and not enjoying a good view. We sat behind Pak Wahid Satay‘s family seated to the right of Taufik‘s fans. Actually we wanted to sit in the middle but that was reserved for those with invitation cards.
Taufik performing “Sombong“…
I then noticed 2 of my friends Shaiful and Azlyna walking in and sitting at the invited area. I called Shaiful and asked if I could borrow his invitation card cos Aida and me would like to observe our responsibilities at the prayer room on level 3. To go to level 3 from the auditorium, we had to exit the entrance where Shaiful came in, which was different from us. And since we had to return to the lower level of the auditorium, we needed the invitation cards. However we were extremely disappointed when we reached level 3 cos to access the prayer room, one needed to have access to the password / security pass. So we ended up not being able to carry out our responsibilities.
The good people at Suria should set aside a place to observe prayers in events like these. Imagine the few hundred odd people who came did not observe their responsibilities. And God knows since what time they have been queueing up. They should take a leaf from Warna and RIA who always set aside a place to observe Maghrib during Anugerah Planet Muzik. We returned to our seats just in time to see the security checking those who were seated at the invited area if they had their invitation cards with them. I handed Shaiful back his cards just as the security was about to question him. Luckily they did not see me handing over his cards.
The whole event was so-so. I dunno how to describe it but it lacked punch compared to the previous one in 2005. The singing performances were credible. I actually liked the segment where Mahirah, Nadirah, Elfaeza, Haizad, Ashmee and that plump guy whose name I didn’t register. However, I was disappointed that most of the singing segments were mimed. It did not give justice to the vocal prowesses of the likes of Hyrul, Eka Mairina and Ismail Haron. Speaking of the latter, I really pitied him for that technical glitch. He was in such a state of shock that he could not even answer properly when Suhaimi asked him a few questions to cover up the technical fault. At such a prestigious event, this was so unexpected, especially when you are miming. I feel for the guy cos I was in his shoes before when my group REALISASI had our first show after being crowned winners of the Impersonation Category at Kriatif in 1997, RIA‘s talent show. Back then we were halfway through singing Belaian Jiwa which we recorded and mimed but when the disc backfired, so was our vocals. But we made up for it by doing it acapella but somehow it wasn’t what I expected it to be. My cousin Ezaad can vouch for me in that respect.
Suhaimi as usual was in his element. I really love his hosting skills. Even when we were going through the commercial breaks, he took the time to make fun of the audience, the dancers getting ready for their next segment, the stagehands as well as the floor manager. But Najip Ali certainly did not see the humour behind Suhaimi‘s acceptance speech when he subtly digged that winning an award does not make you greater and more visionary than others in response to Suhaimi. Most of the winners were kinda expected though I did not see the Best Actress and Most Popular Female Artiste going to Era Farida. And funnily I did not expect Daud Yusof to win even though he had 3 nominations in one category. A hunch told me Othman Bohari would win it and he did. I’ve known Othman when I was doing my internship with Warna and RIA in 1998 and the award was deserving for a nice and hardworking person like him.
Us taking a group photograph with the best TV presenter and host of Pesta Perdana 9, Mr Suhaimi Yusof…
After the show, the artistes and invited guests were invited to attend the post-event reception. I was fortunate that Shaiful handed over his invitation cards when he passed through the security barrier. Initially only Faizal and me got through and the rest were not keen to attend the reception as they were afraid of the tight security but after meeting Zaid, he helped us to bring in the others into the reception as well. I’ve been to countless post-event receptions, Anugerah Industri Muzik, Anugerah Juara Lagu, Anugerah Planet Muzik & Anugerah ERA in 2003, and God-knows how many more but this was my virgin reception for Pesta Perdana. Compared to the other receptions, this was much better as I felt at home and having a few friends in the industry.
This is the guy that links me and Shahran (left) and Faizal (right), Mr Zaid Syah. He’s quite a hunk isn’t he??? I call him “Hero Bollywood“. We do have some resemblance after all, especially the nose and cheeks, but of course we don’t look like Bollywood hunks…
I wasn’t actually interested in the food but more towards congratulating the winners and saying tough luck to the non-winners. I even finally got to take photographs with two of my favourite local artistes Huda Ali and Fizah Nizam, which I did not get to do after Sinaran Hati earlier in the month. Actually I wanted to take more photographs but my Nokia N93 went dead on me as I was going round filming the reception and Faizal who was holding the camera was missing in action. I managed to say “Hi” to Nurul and Rima and they each enquired respectively if I had brought my daughter and wife along. At that time, I was still waiting for Zaid to bring the others down so I told Rima that my wife was on the way down. By the time they got down, half the artistes had left to change back to normal clothes or left the building. But we still managed to grab a few mementos especially Faizal who is head over heels over Mahirah, Pak Wahid‘s grand-daughter who resembles Siti Nurhaliza. And I’ve never seen how easy it was to take a photo with Taufik cos he’s almost always elusive.
I did not eat anything at the reception, as I did not feel hungry. Just drank the fruit punch as I was more thirsty. But my last meal on that day was at 10 plus in the morning. So you can imagine the empty stomach led to me suffering my stomach flu on Sunday night even when I had a very late dinner at 2am on Sunday morning. We just packed food from Jalan Kayu and headed home.
On a watching audience’s perspective, I expected the show to have more pomp than the props on stage. While Huda Ali did a credible job as an exaggerated diva, her partner-in-crime, Nity Baizura, was a bundle of nerves as she had trouble knowing when to hold the microphone and speak and when not to cos there were times when she spoke without holding the microphone towards her mouth. And there was certainly a lack of chemistry and banter between the two. To be fair, this was Nity‘s first foray into television hosting and she should use this experience to better herself when the next opportunity arises. She’s still new in the business so to hit out at her with a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am would be unfair. Just that I felt, to tap her talents on such a prestigious event was a bit of a big risk. She was good when she was alone interviewing Era Farida and Rafaat Hamzah. That I have to credit her where it’s due.
Like last year’s APM, the event ended on a whimper with no grand finale. It was such an anti-climax after we had a good introduction to the show. Not even pyrotechnics were used. Speaking of APM, I was definitely surprised it won Most Popular Programme but it just goes to show how much the locals value our own local product and have come to love the show just like me. Once again, I appeal to the good people at Warna and RIA to keep it in our shores in years to come.