Reunion of Old Friends…
Venue: Crab Shack Cafe @ Bestway Building
Date & Time: 20 January 2008 12:40am
Event: Reading vs. Manchester United
It was my first time sitting at this venue where Singapore‘s Manchester United fans converge and watch live games on the big screen. I’m not a fan of frequenting these kind of places unless it’s a one-off thingy or if it’s an emergency, like if I’m overseas and the television in the hotel room doesn’t telecast the match. So why was I here??? The story goes like this…
At 10:20pm on Saturday 19th January 2008, and while I was tucked in bed watching “Alya” on Suria and waiting for the game to start at 11pm, a good friend of mine sms-ed to say she saw another good friend of mine from Kuala Lumpur (KL) at Vivocity with his family. Thinking that she saw this KL friend of mine earlier in the day, I assumed that he was already back at his hotel room after a long day of shopping. And so I sms-ed him asking how he is and how he’s enjoying his stay. He said he was still having dinner at Vivocity and invited me and the family to have lunch with him the next day, which I politely turned down as I had made plans to meet my interior designer in the afternoon. He didn’t tell me that he was here as he was afraid I’ve had other plans, since it was the weekend afterall. He wasn’t aware there was a match going on on television (he is a full blooded Manchester United fan like me) till I told him. So he said he’s gonna rush the family back to the hotel and catch the game. But…..
It dawned on me that ESPN is no longer broadcasting live English Premier League games on television, so he would definitely miss out on watching it. So I told him why not we meet up for a short rendezvous and catch the game at Crab Shack. At the very least I told him, we’d miss the first half, which was not too bad. He was definitely game for it so I made plans to pick him up from his hotel at 11:30pm. I met his mother and mother-in-law at the lobby and made small, polite chats with them before we took our leave.
At the Crab Shack, I introduced him to my fellow United fans from the Manchester United Singapore football team as “my friend from Malaysia“, without elaborating who he is, in respect of his privacy. We both sat all the way at the back, chit-chatting about our lives, football, the entertainment industry etc. We had lots to talk about since we last met last March when he was here for the “Cicakman” promotion. By now, I’m sure you guys would know who I’m referring to when I said “Cicakman” and since only one of the three brothers is married and has a family.
Yes peeps, it’s none other than Edry of KRU…
The match itself was frustrating to watch with United missing chances after chances. It was a big relief when United scored in the 77th minute through Wayne Rooney and then Cristiano Ronaldo wrapped it up in the 90th minute. We both jumped up and down like excited kids and high-fived one another. It was our way of venting our pent-up emotions cos we both admitted having to stifle our excitement when we watch it at home with everybody else already retiring for the night. Aware that he had had a long day, I sent him back to the hotel with the promise of meeting him again later in the day, probably for lunch if my meeting with my interior designer ended early or later on when I see them off at the airport.
Two very happy United fans celebrating another win by the Red Devils…
We almost did not meet as Edry‘s handphone went flat and I was only armed with the knowledge that they had to be at the airport by 3pm. Our meeting with the interior designer ended almost at 2pm so we made a calculated gamble to be at the airport before 3pm. We did not have to wait long as Edry and his family members arrived about half an hour after we reached Terminal 2. Whilst checking-in at the counter, Aida and I took the time to get to know Edry‘s mother and mother-in-law better. They definitely are two very nice ladies and were quite curious on some places here, having not visited Singapore for a long time. We were only too willing to oblige and tell them this and that.
During our conversation the previous night, Edry had mentioned how being an artiste can result in people staring at you when you are outside shopping or dining. It’s either people are too shy to come up and say “Hi” or they wonder if they had gotten the right person. I’ve heard this so many times from my other celebrity friends. They are always unsure whether smiling back would result in others thinking they wanna be noticed (or to put it simply – “Perasan“) or if they don’t smile, people will think they are aloof and think they own the world. I got to experience the staring thingy when we were chatting with his mother and mother-in-law and when he joined us after checking-in. A Malay family walked past us and kept staring. They even turned back and did a double take just to confirm it was a celebrity they saw. I could only shake my head and wished they wouldn’t be so blatant on the double take. At least come over and say “Hi” or something rather than stare closely and walk away. It’s like what we over here refer to as being a “Jakun“. Soon after, as Edry‘s family wanted to shop at the departure area, they split up and he and us went over to chill out at Coffee Bean since his flight was still about two hours away.
We continued our conversation from where we left off the previous night. Honestly speaking, I am never bored talking to this guy and I believe those who have been in contact with him would agree with me that he is one intelligent dude (along with his brothers) with a sharp eye for the odd punchline. It’s no wonder that he is constantly churning out hits after hits for his proteges, not to mention the fact that he is a millionaire already. But behind the status, he is still humble, down-to-earth and definitely does not show that he is one. Even his dress sense blends with the people around him. That’s the biggest respect I can accord to him.
Chatting with him throughout the previous night and during the chilling session at Coffee Bean, I got to know better how the Malaysian entertainment industry works nowadays what with all the incessant reality shows going on and likewise I shared with him what I know of our own industry which is somehow or rather hogged by the two Idols. Other than that, we talked about everything under the sun, from family, to parenting, to football, a bit of politics, video-gaming (he was trying hard to tell me to go buy an X-Box 360 when he knew I am going for PS3) and a bit of everything else. Man, you can never get bored hanging out with this guy and I always cherish the times I spend exchanging views with him. Time always feels short even if we were to sit for hours.
Maybe some of you must be wondering how I got to know him on a personal basis. Well, I am a big fan of KRU since 1992 (I have all the albums right down to the singles!!!), when everybody else was worshipping 4U2C. Never missed any of their shows here in Singapore and was basically a rare groupie – rare because I think I was probably the only guy and the rest were screaming females. I was fortunate that Edry dropped by my online guestbook at Alamak Chat and left a note. At first I was sceptical, but once he confirmed that it was him when we met at a dinner showcase at the Marriott Hotel in which they performed sometime in 1998, the rest was history. I also feel I am fortunate to get to know him as being a guy and almost of the same age, we are able to click well. I have to admit, knowing Edry all these years made me lose my starstruck feeling whenever I meet an artiste. He is as real as they can get and he doesn’t have any diva or high-and-mighty feel about him, considering his status and popularity.
The funny thing was Syahindah, who is very much afraid of strangers, and will cry whenever someone approaches to reach out to her, was mesmerised and quickly warmed to Edry as the photograph below can testify. She did not even cry or bawl when Edry carried her all the way from Coffee Bean to the Departure Gate. She even wanted to follow him and shook her head when I reached out to carry her. Edry said that it’s a normal thing when kids see him, Norman and Yusry in that they will immediately warm to him quickly as compared to his brothers. Either that or I just hope she doesn’t follow my past footsteps on being a groupie and quickly warm up to celebrities, even at this young age!!! Before he walked through the gates, we shook hands and hugged and promised to meet up again whenever anyone of us were to visit KL or Singapore…
On 11th January 2008, my close poly mates had a small reunion to welcome home one of our buddies, Mervyn, albeit for a short holiday. Mervyn is now residing in Brisbane, Australia after completing his studies. His family is there too and they have taken up permanent residency as well. It’s been more than 3 years since I last met the guy. Back in poly, he was one of my closest mates and one of my confidantes. Back then, we were all more like brothers and sisters, rather than friends. We practically hung out after classes and even skipped them in unison. Yeah those were the days where you wished you could relive all over again.
Deep in conversation…
Not only have I not met Mervyn for more than 3 years, the last I met the rest (Jumari, Ain & Ivan) was on my wedding night. Being away from them for ages, I don’t even know that people like Ivan has gotten married (though not officially) and Jumari & Ain had hooked up, even though they seemed coy and don’t publicly admit it. Speaking of “hooking up“, I did tell Mervyn about that ex-neighbour of mine who was so pissed off when I said we “hooked up because we were neighbours” on Facebook. So he explained that over in Australia, the term has a derogatory meaning, like you and that person involved had had a one night stand or something. No wonder this ex-neighbour of mine was bloody pissed off about it, but then again I just felt all those years living there have changed her a hell lot. Oh well, it’s over anyway…
The two couples (one official, one unofficial and still coy about it) sharing a laugh…
We had a great time over dinner at Novena Square‘s Magic Wok restaurant followed by another chilling session at The Coffee Connossieur (TCC), just reminiscing the past and doing a lot of catching up on our respective lives. Jumari had a field day calling me a “Celebrity Blogger” (Celebrity ke aku ni??? Tak rasa pun macam tu!!!). He said one of his colleagues is also a “Celebrity Blogger“, famous for making cupcakes as a sideline. Ok I won’t mention who cos I understand this fellow blogger friend of mine prefers to remain low-profile. Three hours of hanging out with them was filled with lots of giggles and laughter. Times spent with old friends like these makes one wish one can turn back the clock and go back to where we were ten years ago.
The “Bapak Budak” wanting to exchange places with his daughter. That’s Merv on the right…
I just received my goodie bag from RIA 89.7FM last week with regards to winning the “Karaoke Kelam-Kabut” segment during the New Year Programme with KC and Zan Sofiyan. For those who did not listen to that programme which aired on New Year’s Day from 12am-6am to commemorate RIA‘s extension from being a 20-hour station to a 24-hour one, the segment which I took part in was somewhere between 2-3am. As I had just got home from watching fireworks at the Esplanade, I thought why not I call in and join in the fun. To win the goodie bag, one has to sing a line from any song by a particular singer or group, whose name will be given at random by the deejays, and one has to get 6 correct within a time limit of one minute.
I was left frustrated when those who called in couldn’t answer the call to win the goodie bag. I tried to call but it was bloody difficult to get through, so I did the next best thing. I smsed the deejays through the public sms system a few times to say I can do better than the rest and they ended up calling me when no one was able to stand up to the challenge. By then they had given a discount by lessening the songs to five from six previously. I did not disappoint so to speak even though the first name “Kris Dayanti” drew a blank in my head as to which song should I sing. I remembered singing correctly songs by Sofaz (“Janjiku“), Samsons (“Kisah Tak Sempurna“) and Fazli Zainal (“Sejuta Nafas Cinta“). Couldn’t recall what were the other two I got correct…
I was stumped by what was in the goodie bag as I really did not expect so many things inside. There is a mini transistor radio, a pen, a notebook, 2 station car decals, a USB portable mouse, a jacket and also a lanyard. The lanyard, jacket and car decals were very much welcomed as I had longed for them for ages, especially the car decals. Now I can add them on along with my Class 95 decal. Thank you RIA, you’re most kind!!!
I got wind of late that this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM2008) is gonna be held in Kuala Lumpur sometime in April. Just the “right” timing I must say. Right smack after I’ve shifted to my new place and when my financial resources are low. Somehow I don’t understand this plan to bring the event offshores when our neighbours don’t give two hoots about our artistes at all at their own awards ceremonies. And even after the organisers had received negative reviews by mostly the Malaysian press for past events, I wonder if the move to do it on Malaysian soil would reap any rewards.
Maybe this time they’ve gotten better resources to support the show, maybe this time they’ve gotten better sponsors. I just hope whatever decisions they make, it will benefit all involved, from the production team right down to our artistes. Right now, the ones making inroads over there are Aliff Aziz and Imran Ajmain. Even the two Idols are finding it tough, especially our newly crowned Asian Idol who already has a negative reputation to his name by the Malaysian press, ever since he avoided answering them on his alleged relationship with Fazura at the last Anugerah Planet Muzik. That is why I don’t understand all these hype on our local radio stations that the two Idols are getting a lot of positive attention over there. The music charts on the top two radio stations, ERA & Hot FM, don’t lie!!!
I’m kinda sore about this whole APM thingy going abroad this year cos I’m sure I will be missing watching it live for the first time in its 8-year history. For their sake, I hope they could get a full-house attendance as compared to 2003, when the event was last held there and the Bukit Jalil arena was only half-full. Unless someone from their side will be kind enough to let me continue my attendance streak and provide me with complimentary tickets, transportation or accomodation. Hahahah dream on dude!!! It will never happen… I’m being extremely thick-skinned I know… Either way, I know I’m gonna miss watching APM and most probably Anugerah Industri Muzik as well, which always falls on the last weekend of April annually. Here’s hoping they will make last minute changes and do it where it belongs – In SINGAPORE!!!
A few congratulations are in order to the following people:
– To Brader Bo and wife Shikin, congrats on the birth of their second son Aydrean Kasyief on 16 January 2008. Hopefully you guys can get a musical group going on soon…!!!
– To Kak Lynne & hubby all the way in Copenhagen on the birth of their first child, a boy, on 22 January 2008. Name has yet to be disclosed at the time of typing this.
– A good friend of mine, Ian, on celebrating her ** birthday on 22 January 2008. As I had said in my birthday wish on air when Fiza O called to “sabo” her, may Allah continue to bless her with good health and blessings and hopefully may HE bestow another gift to her in the form of another child, so that little Qalysha could have a play mate and sibling to dote on.
– Another good friend of mine, someone I regard like a brother, my old neighbour Rozhan. You’re the first in our brotherhood to turn 30 today bro. May Allah bestow more than 30 years for you and may HE also gift you with the gift of a child to add on to the bliss in your marriage.
Ok that’s it for now… I’m knackered from all the typing….