Being Sure…

Apologies for the lack of updates for almost two weeks. Not that I have nothing interesting to talk about but life’s been quite busy and especially now that the little one is becoming more and more active, a lot of leisure time is spent on entertaining her. She’s learning to stand and walk at the same time, not to mention starting to teeth. And she’s being quite chatty of late. Dunno where she got that chatty trait from cos both me and the wife are not that vocal to start with (I’m chatty only when I type but not when I speak). I guess it’s just a phase babies go through as they grow up. Definitely a fulfilling phase as parents…

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I dunno if you guys managed to catch the second season of “2 x 5 Dol” on Suria quite recently. One of the minor characters in the series, Shamsul, who always come up with the same line “Aku pun tak sure!!!” every week, got hitched recently to his beau, Nurul Huda, on 4th August 2007. The actor in question, Hazriq, is an old friend of mine back in my polytechnic days. In fact, we both were considered close friends back then, since we started off from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and then we both changed courses and ended up at Temasek Polytechnic. And ironically, we’re just staying across the road from each other.

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Raydza, Zul, Hazriq and Shahril sharing a banter before the solemnisation ceremony…

His wedding was a simple affair, the marriage solemnisation ceremony being conducted at the Al-Istiqamah Mosque at Serangoon North, which is also just across the road from our homes. The reception was held at The Serangoon Community Club, the place where my own wedding was held and just next to the mosque, separated only by a multi-storey carpark. A sense of deja vu crept into myself and Aida as we returned to the place where we held our event. That was the first time we set foot at the community club since our wedding. We also have another wedding to attend there some time at the end of the year (Zul, ex-member of Bhumiband), God willing.

Being a theatre activist, it was no surprise to see those in the theatre fraternity coming in droves and gracing the event. Hazriq‘s close buddies, which included Raydza (Semut Biru of Aksi Mat Yoyo fame) and Anugerah Skrin winner Shahril, were also there to lend him moral and physical support. Raydza if I’m not wrong, was the best man, since he was the one doing a lot of the yeoman service. It was also a great pleasure to have been invited to the wedding as I met up with old friends from my polytechnic days, those who served National Service with me and those who are doing their reservist with me.

Hazriq Nikah 

As I was also at the marriage solemnisation ceremony, I cracked a few jokes with the groom to ease his tension before it began in earnest. Amongst the jokes was regarding his trademark line on “2×5 Dol“. Even his father joined in the banter just before the Kadi, Ustaz Azmi Abdul Samad, arrived. I still remember his father telling him to most importantly, “be sure” about what he was going to recite during the solemnisation. Well, he recited it at one go and from the video that I took, I noticed Raydza who was sitting behind the groom, looked more excited than the groom himself. Afterwards I told Raydza that I hope the marriage bug would bite him soon and I know he must be tired of people asking him when he’s gonna walk the aisle. He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve known, humble and a joker to boot.

The simplicity of the wedding was something that I had initially hoped and planned for with regards to my own. With the solemnisation ceremony being done at the mosque and the reception done without any wedding dais and intricate decorations, I could not help but thought my wedding should have been done that way too. But since my parents wanted a “proper” wedding back then due to status and me being the first in the family to get hitched, I gave them as proper as they wanted it to be, plus a wedding dinner thrown into the mix. As we Malays like to say it, “Amik kau!!!

On Bended Knee

But really, if I had my way, my kids will get married the same way as how my good friend Hazriq and his wife Nurul did. Simple yet elegant in its own element. And yes, he is definitely sure now as opposed to his onscreen character…

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Strictly For Manchester United Fans Only 

Of late, I’ve joined the Manchester United Singapore Supporters Group after reading of their existence in the local papers. The group is still relatively new but aims to reunite all those members who used to be a part of Manchester United South-East Asia which disappeared when the Manchester United store at Cuscaden Walk closed down. We are working towards the goal of being recognised by Old Trafford as the Official Supporters Group in Singapore. For those of you who are United fans and want to join in the fun of getting to know your fellow fans, just click on the link above and away we go!!!

MUFCSG Training

Can you spot me in this photograph???

And yes, we have formed a football team of our own. Our first match will be tomorrow 19th August 2007 3:00pm at Yio Chu Kang Secondary School against the supporters’ group of Newcastle United. I had my first training session last Saturday (11th August 2007) and did not expect to make it to the team to play tomorrow since I was new and extremely rusty playing on the field as a striker. But a hat-trick changed all that and now I’m in the team, albeit as a reserve. I don’t mind not being in the first eleven really, cos being in the team is already an honour on its own. Gives me a sense of pride and make belief that I am representing my favourite club. Guess the photograph I posted in the last entry proved to be a bit prophetic in its own right…

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Last Sunday night (12th August 2007), Aida and I brought the little one to Singapore Expo. There was some Asia Festival exhibition going on. I wasn’t interested in the exhibits but was there to watch Sofaz and local talent Mahirah performed. Mahirah, the Siti Nurhaliza look-alike winner in 2003 and grand-daughter of Pak Wahid Satay, sang Dewi Sandra‘s “Ku Akui” and a duet with Sofaz (Acha Septriasa‘s “Berdua Lebih Baik“). I gotta admit, this girl sang “Ku Akui” much better than a certain Kuriyati Abu Bakar during the recent Anugerah 2007 competition. I know she has been training her vocals and the numerous exposures she’s been getting performing across the Causeway have reaped dividends. Now, I’m just waiting for her album to be released. Would be interesting to see if she can break the monopoly being held by the boys…

Mahirah

As for Sofaz, I lost track of how many songs they performed that night. Must have been around ten as they belted hits after hits from their albums and also a few cover versions like Linkin Park‘s “What I’ve Done“. They ended the concert with the massive hit and my personal favourite “Janjiku“. I was afraid my daughter would kick up a fuss with the loud music but she seemed to take it all in her stride. It was also the first time she met my good friend whom I regard like my own elder sister, Kak Sab and Mahirah. Even Maiya Rahman (Anugerah 2007 runner-up) who was there to lend her support to Mahirah, stopped and played with Syahindah when our paths crossed on my way out. Though that was the first time I met her in person, she really has no airs about her. A very friendly girl I must say.

MahirahSyahindah

Another one of my good friends, Melatie, came with her parents and daughter in tow but they did not stay long, leaving halfway through the show. It was really nice to meet up with close friends whom you have not met for months. At times you tend to wonder if they are alright and how are they getting on in life or if God-forbid, they have forgotten about you, but I am sure all of us are busy with our own commitments, and not that we have forgotten one another. To tell you the truth, I really miss those times we used to hang out after watching concerts and awards shows or even have regular meet-ups to celebrate one another’s birthdays. Hope that someday we can do this all over again, even if times and priorities have changed with families in tow…

Sofia

Melatie‘s daughter, Sofia… How much she has grown. She turns one next month…

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Did any of you manage to catch the recent episode of Juang Anak Watan??? Well for those who don’t, the programme showcases our own Muslim community’s successes in various fields while venturing overseas. This year’s Berita Harian‘s Anugerah Jauhari Winner, Ashley Isham, was one who was featured a couple of week’s ago. This recent episode showcased four people who made it in New York, of which one of them was mentioned in then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong‘s National Day Rally Speech in 2001. The person mentioned by Mr Goh was Fazeela Abdul Rashid.

Fazeela

Source taken from Suriachannel.comFazeela Abdul Rashid is somewhat of a poster-girl for Singapore’s dreams of making it on the global stage. Cited in 2001 by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in his National Day Rally speech as an exemplary local talent wooed and sought after in the U.S. – by esteemed financial firms Credit Suisse First Boston and Merrill Lynch – she is now a Principal at Solera Capital, a private equity investment firm in New York. She joined the firm last year after completing a Master in Business Administration degree at Harvard Business School. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Concentration in Economics from Cornell University where she graduated magna cum laude for her academic achievements.

Fazeela2 

Fazeela and I go back a long way. She was my classmate in Primary 1, 2 and 4 at Rosyth School. We were also active in performing dance items during our annual Speech Day, even though she was not my direct partner. Even though I have not met her since Primary 6 as I’ve lost all contacts with her (cannot even locate her on Friendster, MySpace etc), I still remember what a friendly and down-to-earth girl she is, even if she comes from a very rich family (her dad’s a lawyer). She has been very successful in life, going to high-profile institutions (Raffles Girls Secondary and Raffles Junior College amongst those mentioned in the earlier paragraph).

It’s nice to see old friends doing well in life, sometimes you wished you could turn back time and maybe do a wee bit better in school so that your career paths and salary scale would be even higher than what you are earning now. Perhaps that is one of my regrets in life in that I could have done better academically…

Eventful Saturday…

After a flurry of activity on this domain over the past month, I seemed to have fallen stagnant with my updates. Hahaha, just feeling a bit lazy to update, but not for long cos here I am again. I dunno if it’s because of Anugerah 2007 or my ever-controversial comments on air or perhaps a bit of everything, but the average number of visitorship have since risen from 195 the last time I reported on it, to 245. Still a small number and nothing to be proud about really. To those new ones who have just gotten to know of this blog, welcome aboard and to the seniors, hope I’ve been a good entertainer and host to all of you all these while…

Last Saturday (28 July 2007), my cousins Ezaad, Julie & Jid held a 30th Wedding Anniversary Celebrations for their parents (the legendary great Dollah Kassim and Faridah Anwar) at one of the function rooms of Hotel Grand Plaza Parkroyal along Beach Road. It was, I have to admit, a grand brainchild of Julie‘s. I mean, most of us would only go as far as to celebrate with just a feasting session at some posh restaurant to celebrate with our loved ones, but this was celebrated along with 40-odd family members. And to do it at the hotel took a lot of sacrifices in terms of time, effort and money. Not to mention lying to their parents that they were meeting friends or going shopping, when in fact they were at either my place or Ezaad‘s, practising the skits and dance steps performed at the event. Cos not only was it done with just a hi-tea as the main attraction, but we the cousins had to put up performances for the guests as well.

WelcomeScreen

We spent the week leading up to the event by practising over at my place. Initially I was supposed to host the event along with my younger sister, Nurul. But since I wasn’t keen on hosting and my kind elder sister, Farah said that we both would end up bickering, the job of hosting was solely given to Nurul. Good practice for her too since she’s just started her N.I.E. stint. But I wasn’t let off that easily. I was told to sing a song. Well, the initial pick was KRU‘s “Apa Saja“, but I can’t sing that song due to pitching and key differences found in the minus one, since the original song has three different voices singing the different parts. So I settled for Teacher’s Pet‘s “Cinta Kita“. It’s a dead song if you ask me, dead as in no life and kills the mood with its melancholy. I think I bored the guests to death with this number.

Shocked

And to think I used to brag that “I was born to perform“. This time, I was so nervous, in fact more nervous than my own marriage solemnisation ceremony or performing at my wedding dinner in front of a 300-odd guests. Why??? Cos firstly I did not prepare myself (memorising the lyrics) and secondly, I’m not used to performing in front of people I’m not close to, even if they are extended family members from my cousins’ side. You could ask, what’s the difference between performing for 40-odd guests as compared to 300-odd ones??? Well all I can say is I’m more comfortable in the presence of the latter, who I consider close friends and family members than the former, having sung in front of them at various stages in life, plus I thrive on performing for a larger audience. LOL!!! Thick-skinned… Excuses, excuses… I was a bunch of nerves as my turn loomed near and my hands went icy cold. This was what happened when the last performance was on my wedding day. If you think I would upload the video of me singing, nah, I won’t subject myself to further embarrassment. Let’s just say, I made Kassreeal Alfi sounded better… :p

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The cousins and star couple…

Anyway, back to the event. I was very impressed that the function room had a small screen outside indicating what event was being held inside. The “bride and groom” for the day were naturally shocked and surprised when the doors were opened and they were greeted by applause, whoops, cheers and the kompang beats in the background. My aunt was so overwhelmed, she wept tears of joy and playfully scolded her close buddies for keeping it a secret from her. After the couple had gone round thanking everyone for coming, we started the feasting session. Yours truly in his nervousness, did not join in as he was more worried about the singing. Luckily the wait did not last long and I got it out of my system. Immediately after that, we had the skit which we had practised all week long. I was supposed to play a younger and fatter version of Dollah, complete with a blue Afro wig. Well to summarise, the skit was about how the couple met with a twist of our own. It was only after the skit had ended, did I get to enjoy the sumptuous spread. Everyone’s favourite seemed to be the Cream of Mushroom Soup which was best eaten with buns.

SyahindahWig

When everything ended at 6pm, we still hanged around the function room eating as much as we could. As for me, I was more interested entertaining my daughter and my nephew Eshaan, who inadvertantly became the stars of the day. Practically everyone came over and took photographs of them sitting on their respective Bumbo seats on the stage. Me being the prankster, put on the blue wig on my daughter’s and nephew’s heads. Everyone remarked how cute both of them looked. But soon after my daughter became cranky and I carried her and put her to sleep…

MyFamily

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Later that evening, Aida and I popped over to the Indoor Stadium to watch the World Wrestling Entertainment‘s (WWESmackdown / ECW Summerslam Tour 2007 show. My daughter had by then, gone home with my in-laws after the hotel event had ended. Well for the uninitiated, Smackdown and ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) are two wrestling shows produced by WWE, the third and premier one being RAW. To tell you the truth, I’ve kinda lost a bit of interest in wrestling, ever since The Rock left and the likes of Shawn Michaels and Triple H being out with long-term injuries. And the stars that I like from RAW were not in town. But still, nothing beats seeing these beefcakes in the flesh. I bought seats near where the wrestlers entered and exited the stage down to the ring. It was a great view as they were quite close but the best seats were still right smack in front of the ring, which cost a hefty $345.

ReyMysterio

Rey Mysterio acknowledging the fans’ adulation…

When we entered the arena, the first match between Chris Masters and the legendary Ric Flair was already underway. Flair of course won with his trademark “Figure-4 leglock” move. Ok I won’t describe every match in detail and bore you with what happened. All I can say is, as compared to watching them on television, when you see their matches live, you can easily see how they sometimes do not connect with their punches and kicks, and the ones being hit would feign injury. Anyway, this was a promotional tour so the wrestlers did not go all out in beating the hell out of each other. Still, the crowd lapped everything up and it was fun hearing the different chants we have grown accustomed to on television, being re-enacted. The only sore point was the lack of pyrotechnics. I was so hoping to see Kane and Batista come in to their trademark pyrotechnics cos they had them the last time they came in 2003. When the main event came along, Aida and I were already stationed at the top, waiting to exit the arena, as we wanted to stand in front of the barricades facing the backstage entrance and coaches where the wrestlers would board.

MichelleMcCool

Michelle McCool smiling for me…

Once the final bell rang signalling the end of the three-hour slamfest, we made our way down to the barricades. However, we were disappointed to see the place being blocked and the security personnel telling me to go over the other side. So I made a quick dash to the other side and stood along the barricades facing the coaches. Ezaad, who went on his own, soon joined me, while Aida waited somewhere at the back. Soon, more fans joined us and it was quite a spectacle seeing them chanting the wrestlers’ names and beckoning them to come down from the coaches to sign autographs and take photographs with them. Well, only four of them obliged: Brian Mercy, Cherry, Michelle McCool and lastly Rey Mysterio, who finally appeared from the arena after an hour of waiting. I managed to grab Kane‘s attention as he was going up the coach. When everyone was chanting his name, I broke away from the norm and called out his actual name – Glenn Jacobs. He immediately stopped and turned around before moving on. Rey has always been a crowd favourite, always obliging the fans whenever possible and his down-to-earth manner is what makes him a very-much loved wrestler as compared to the rest, who I felt were a bit arrogant. The least they could do was come down and say thank you and break away from their characters…

ReyUnmasked

Rey Mysterio unmasked…