Online Theft…

It was just last week that I noted in my blog how people stole photographs of Nurul Aini‘s wedding from some of my blogger mates, edited them and made it look as if it was their own. Well guess what??? I’ve just been a victim of such uncalled for online rudeness by a certain 19-year old blogger, but this one involved my last entry on the nominees of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008.

Inquisitive to know if other online journalists had talked about them, I searched using the search engines and found a few sites which vaguely talked about the event. Online portals across the Causeway like Cari Forum and Faizal Tahir‘s fan site, have since picked up my entry and have credited me for providing the information. That is fine, even though they did not ask for my permission first hand. But this boy takes the cake for copying and pasting blindly. How did I know??? It doesn’t take an idiot to go through my list and see that some categories were not correctly updated. He, on the other hand, copied wholesale and pasted it as though it was already the confirmed list.

Some of you might say I’m kinda anal about this and that there are no copyrights to what one types in one’s blog. That’s true, but at least do not steal and make it your own, especially when the original sender clearly said the list was by no means the confirmed one. You are only misleading your own group of readers by providing the wrong information or without putting any first hand disclaimers. Plus you do not have any respect for the person who gave you the information first hand.

To this boy, I hope he grows up and learn some proper online etiquettes. If you think asking for the owner’s permission is too big for your ego, then at least give some proper credits where it’s due. I took the trouble to provide the yeoman service to my readers by giving them the necessary information and you were extremely kind to rip it off and make it look as if it was your own, without telling your readers the list is not a complete one. Very professional indeed!!!

Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008: The Nominees…

No, I did not attend the press conference at Hard Rock Cafe, Singapore nor the simultaneous event at Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur to provide information nor photographs of the goings-on. Armed with the radio by my side, I typed this entry as news from both events filtered through the airwaves thanks to the roving reports by RZ who was at Hard Rock Cafe and Adi Rahman, who is now in Kuala Lumpur.

As we all know by now, this event is into its 8th year and this will be the second time that the event is going offshores, after the one that was held at Stadium Tertutup Bukit Jalil in 2003. This time around, the event will be held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Exhibition Halls 1 & 2 on Sunday 20th April 2008. This will also mark the first time that the event will be held on a Sunday night as previously it was either done on a Friday or Saturday night, with the exception of 2004 when it was held in midweek due to the initial clash with Ma’al Hijrah. Amazing I can remember all these facts huh??? Well it’s definitely one event I look forward to religiously (I hope I don’t sound blasphemous by using this word) every year.

The following list below is by no means the final one since I typed it out as they were being announced on air. Definitely I must have missed out on a few and I will update the necessary in due time when I get my hands on the actual list and when I start to make my annual predictions on the winners. So without further ado, here are the nominees of the various categories of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008:

Artis Lelaki Baru Terbaik (Best New Male Artiste):

  • Aliff Aziz
  • Didie
  • Faizal Tahir
  • Ekhsan
  • Syed Azmir

Artis Wanita Baru Terbaik (Best New Female Artiste):

  • Farah Asyikin
  • Gita Gutawa
  • Mila
  • Rini Wulandari
  • Ussy Sulistiawati

Duo / Kumpulan Baru Terbaik (Best New Duo / Group):

  • D’Cinnamons
  • Matta
  • Meet Uncle Hussein
  • Ran
  • She
  • The Titans

Lagu Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Song):

  • Ayu – Cradle
  • Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  • 2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
  • Ku Sendiri – Aliff Aziz
  • Lagu Tidurku – Syed Azmir

Album Terbaik Singapura (Best Singapore Album):

  • Aliff – Aliff Aziz
  • Ceritera Awan – Cradle
  • Prosa X – Syed Azmir
  • Rap Utk Rakyat – AhliFiqir
  • Teman Istimewa – Taufik Batisah

Artis Singapura Terbaik (Best Singapore Artiste):

  • Syed Azmir
  • Aliff Aziz
  • Taufik Batisah
  • AhliFiqir
  • Cradle

Artis Lelaki Terbaik (Best Male Artiste):

  • Anuar Zain
  • Faizal Tahir
  • Glenn Fredly
  • Iwan Fals
  • Taufik Batisah

Artis Wanita Terbaik (Best Female Artiste):

  • Bunga Citra Lestari
  • Dayang Nurfaizah
  • Elyana
  • Kris Dayanti
  • Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza

Artis Duo / Kumpulan Terbaik (Best Duo / Group):

  • Gigi
  • Kerispatih
  • Padi
  • Samsons
  • Spider
  • Ungu

Lagu Terbaik (Best Song):

  • Dewi – Dewa19
  • Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
  • Menanti Pasti – Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza
  • Mengenangmu – Kerispatih
  • Nakal – Gigi
  • 11 Januari – Gigi

Album Terbaik (Best Album):

  • Aku, Muzik, Kamu – Faizal Tahir
  • Anuar Zain – Anuar Zain
  • Kenyataan Perasaan – Kerispatih
  • Peace, Love, Respect – Gigi
  • Tak Hanya Diam – Padi

Artis Lelaki Paling Popular (Most Popular Male Artiste):

  1. Adam
  2. Aliff Aziz
  3. Anuar Zain
  4. Ari Lasso
  5. Faizal Tahir
  6. Hady Mirza
  7. Imran Ajmain
  8. Irwansyah
  9. Kaer
  10. Mawi
  11. Once (Dewa 19)
  12. Taufik Batisah

Artis Wanita Paling Popular (Most Popular Female Artiste):

  1. Acha Septriasa
  2. Agnes Monica
  3. Bunga Citra Lestari
  4. Ella
  5. Elyana
  6. Jaclyn Victor
  7. Kris Dayanti
  8. Melly Goeslaw
  9. Mila
  10. Mulan Jameela
  11. Rossa
  12. Datin Sri Hajjah Siti Nurhaliza

Duo / Kumpulan Paling Popular (Most Popular Duo / Group):

  1. Ahli Fiqir
  2. Cradle
  3. Dewa 19
  4. Estranged
  5. Jinbara
  6. Matta
  7. Nidji
  8. PeterPan
  9. Sofaz
  10. The Lima
  11. Ungu
  12. Vagetoz

Lagu Paling Popular (Most Popular Song):

  1. Atas Nama Cinta – Rossa
  2. Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  3. 2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
  4. Itu Kamu – Estranged
  5. Izinku Pergi – Kaer
  6. Kekasih Gelapku – Ungu
  7. Ketahuan – Matta
  8. Lelaki Ini – Anuar Zain
  9. Menghapus Jejakmu – PeterPan
  10. Nakal – Gigi
  11. Perlu Kamu – Ajai & Kris Dayanti
  12. Sembunyi – Misha & Andy (Flop Poppy)

Artis Singapura Paling Popular (Most Popular Singapore Artiste):

  1. AhliFiqir
  2. Aliff Aziz
  3. Azyza
  4. B8
  5. Bhumiband
  6. Cradle
  7. Didicazli
  8. Elfee R. Ismail
  9. Hady Mirza
  10. Imran Ajmain
  11. Lady E
  12. Maiya Rahman
  13. Malex
  14. Merah
  15. Rauzan
  16. Roslan Mohd
  17. Sleeq
  18. Spellbound
  19. Syed Azmir
  20. Taufik Batisah

Lagu Singapura Popular (Most Popular Singapore Song):

  1. Ayu – Cradle
  2. Berserah – Taufik Batisah
  3. Bidadari Hatiku – B8
  4. 2 X 5 – AhliFiqir
  5. Kasih Mengapa – Rauzan Feat. Rozie & Urban Sensation
  6. Karakatau – Spellbound
  7. Masanya – Sleeq
  8. Padamkan Cerita Cinta Kita – Syed Azmir
  9. Sampai Di Sini – Merah Feat. Herliana
  10. Sayang-Sayang – Aliff Aziz
  11. Seribu Kenangan – Didicazli
  12. Seribu Tahun – Imran Ajmain

For those who are able to help me out with some of the categories that I might have missed out, by all means, please leave your comments in my comment box.

Privately I am unhappy that it has chosen to go across the Causeway, bearing in mind how the media over there have slated the event for the past 2 years. And for the fact that the Singapore awards were given out during the commercial breaks when it was last held there in 2003. That’s not forgetting the supposed pre-show we had last year. I don’t have to explain more as it was widely reported. I just hope this year will be much better and our artistes would be given their chance to strut their stuff over there without being edited away. And please, no repeat / recycled performances like last year…

It’s looking more and more ominous that I might not be able to attend APM2008 this time around due to the various happenings in my life, a long-standing record which would most probably be broken this year. Though it has to be said that deep down, I am still hanging on to some minute hope that I might be able to make it this year cos I tell you, it’s no fun watching it on television after experiencing the last seven APMs live in the flesh. Any kind souls out there willing to be my Messiah???

Two Jolting News This Morning…

I’m still feeling the after-effects of my flu which has taken me almost a week to recover. The medication I took last night resulted in making me sleep earlier than I normally do. Rightly so as I only slept a few hours the previous night from watching the European Champions League tie between Olympique Lyonnaise and Manchester United.

Woke up for Subuh feeling groggy and after saying my prayers, I went back to sleep next to my daughter. I was awakened about an hour later when the little one leaned against me and tapped on my chest so I would wake up. When I did not budge, she did a very innovative thing and that was putting her fingers into my mouth. Of course, tickled by the sensation, I opened my eyes to see her looking at me and grinning away. Times like these make fatherhood such a joy and a blessing.

But I was still sleepy and I drifted in and out of sleep until I heard on radio that the Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008‘s announcement on the nominees of the various categories would be held this Monday at 3pm. Or I might have heard wrongly since the volume of the radio was low and for the fact that the radio deejays are away in Bangkok for a weekend retreat. But then again, they might just air a pre-recorded announcement seeing that this year’s event would be done off-shores. All the more I need to hear the details come 3pm on Monday. Correct me please if any of you might have heard it and if I had heard wrongly due to my groggy state. The news certainly jolted me out of bed.

The effects of the medication is still strong as I’m typing this. Felt sleepy throughout driving to work today. Thought I would take a short nap in the car after reaching the office but again I was jolted by another piece of news. Aida sms-ed to inform me that Siti Nurhaliza is to perform at the Esplanade come 21st March 2008. An ex-colleague of hers informed her that it was announced on Warna 94.2FM earlier today. You all should know by now that these are two events I always look forward to attending, especially since Siti last did her concert on 20 July 2005, when both of us were still single but unavailable and she was still plain old Siti with no extra titles as a prefix. Hahaha… I’m still holding on to a slim hope that I can make it to Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 though…

Dunno how true is the news on the concert as I could not see any details or information pertaining to it on the Esplanade‘s website. Am now relying on some credible sources to fill me in on it. And I hope to list out all the nominees at this year’s Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 as soon as I hear the announcement. Watch this space!!!

Possibly 2008’s Wedding of the Year…

I logged on to my domain, had a look at the statistics and found that the number of visitorship had shot up the roof over the past four days, simply because I believe people expected me to update my blog on Nurul Aini‘s wedding which I attended last Sunday. Or at least give an account of what happened. I wished I could but unfortunately I was down with fever and flu (and am still recovering so there…) during the wedding itself, so I did not have the mood to go round taking photographs or jotting down notes in my memory bank to give a full account of it. Even Syahindah was left at home as she had fever that day. I’m sure some of my fellow blogmates out there have given good accounts of the event, along with well-taken photographs to boot, so perhaps you guys could just enjoy the photographs from there. Sorry to disappoint you. 

Anyway I got wind that some people stole photographs of the event from some of my blogmates and edited it and made it looked as if it was your own… Tsk… Tsk… Please give credit where it’s due even if you did not ask the owner for permission to steal them. I’m sure within the next few days or weeks, my inbox will be filled with forwarded photographs of the wedding and stolen from some of my blogmates, just like how people forwarded photographs of Ning Baizura‘s wedding from Mr Manager‘s blog. Stealing from someone is already bad enough, please at least give that person, his or her due credits for taking those quality photographs.

Nurul & Sofian

I caught the bride whispering to the groom’s ears saying, “Pujangga Malam!!! Pujangga Malam!!!” as I was taking this photograph… Hahahaha…

Back to the wedding. All I can say is I was in awe of the decor of the event on both sides (even though we didn’t spend a long time at the bride’s side as she had left for the groom’s when we arrived, we still managed to go in for awhile just to savour the atmosphere), not to mention the good food (hey, we had Fazana Catering as our wedding caterers over at Aida‘s side) and the number of guests invited. A little part of me wished I could get married all over again (with new songs to sing at my wedding dinner, no less!!! But who would want to attend my mini concert anyway??? Hahahaha…). I believe it was well-planned and well-executed judging by the exhausted-but-yet-radiant looks amongst the family members cos a lot of effort had been put in to make it a success and yes I truly believe it was an excellent job well done for everyone. It’s only February but who is to say this is not the Wedding of the Year already???

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We also attended Ed‘s (Khaled & Shazwani) wedding in Bishan on Saturday night, due to our packed schedule on Sunday, which did not allow us to attend. Amazing how I know most of his cousins through the course of life. Heck, his brother almost became my brother-in-law if Fate had been kinder!!! Actually my paternal family and his maternal family go a long way back, being neighbours at Toa Payoh Lorong 7. When we were much younger, we even had mini fights with each other when we visited our respective grandmas. Aida on the other hand, was Ed‘s schoolmate from the same batch at Hong Dao Primary School. This is indeed a small world…

Ed’s Wedding Dais

We didn’t get to take a photograph of the bride and groom but at least this huge tentage of wedding dais made up for it… Kata orang, “Rotan takde, akar pun jadilah…”

The Saturday thingy was more of a relaxed affair as his family members were at the void deck chatting away and Ed himself was entertaining guests. Aida and I were especially in awe of the wedding dais as it was huge. We wondered how much he spent on it and we didn’t dare ask him about it. It really looked very majestic fit for a good-looking couple. Here’s wishing all the newly-weds bliss and happiness as they embark on a new chapter in life. Patience is a virtue and they would do well to remember that this is the most important aspect in a marriage. Trust me, we all get on each other’s nerves at times / most of the time and it’s up to us to maintain that level of sanity by being tolerant and patient with one another…

If Only Teleportation Was Possible…

I dunno whether to have pity, or to be angry or to laugh at how people try to locate this blog from the search engines. I’m sure the majority of my readers are Malay. And I thought the word “Pujangga” was easy to understand, remember or people at least have an inkling of how it is spelt. I see things like “Pujanga Malam“, “Punjangga Malam“, “Pujaga Malam“, “Penjaga Malam” and “Punjaga Malam” being typed, which made me realised that I’ve kinda put quite a few people in a spot by picking this nick as a moniker. I’ve yet to see “Bai Jaga Malam” though 😛 … It’s been like that ever since I started blogging. Even some of the radio listeners couldn’t pronounce it properly on air. I wonder if it’s such a difficult word to comprehend audibly and translate it to typing with the fingers???

I just hope when they finally stumble upon this blog and see the spelling, they would finally know how it is spelt, cos I believe this nick is an easy word to understand. I really do pity the fact that we the younger generation are slowly losing our touch with our mother tongue. Yes, I might be conversing to you in English but that does not make me forget my roots as my nick would testify, cos I could have chosen an English nick anytime. I know some people are irked for the fact that I’m speaking in English and not in Malay. Typing in proper Malay sentences to me sounds a bit fakish when we all don’t speak like that daily, unless we’re in a Malay class and reading from a book. Or when we read Berita Harian for that matter. Which is why I admire the radio DJs for being able to converse in good Malay and yet do not sound as though they’re in a classroom or coming across as fake. Honestly I would love to converse in Malay, but really it wouldn’t make much difference. When a hot debate comes up, the majority will start to jump as if hot coal was placed on your bums… 😛

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I just came back from watching “Jumper” at Jubilee Cinema just awhile ago. Watching “Heroes” on a weekly basis on Channel 5, and then this movie, made me wonder if such a thing really exists and whether it can be done by normal human beings. I’ve heard of amazing tales of “Wali” (those closest to Allah Almighty) being able to do that but definitely not people like us. I remember this tale I heard when I was doing a report for the now-defunct Singapore’s First Online Ghost Stories (SFOGS.com) website. We did a report on Habib Noh’s Mausoleum at Palmer Road. One of his gifts was being able to be at different places within moments. He was seen at Masjidil Haram in Makkah and also back here in Singapore. God knows how the news about him being over there could travel at that point in time, where travelling could take months and communication was still by messengers on foot.

It made me ponder for awhile and left me imagining what I would do if I was bestowed this gift. I would most definitely try to pray at the two Holy Mosques (Masjidil Haram & An-Nabawi) on a daily basis and I could even spend my weekend nights seated at Old Trafford or some other English grounds watching Manchester United play. Or when my kids grow older, we can all visit Disneyland in the United States, Hong Kong, Japan or France. Or we can visit Movie World in Brisbane, Australia. Forget about saving the world or stealing money from the bank from what you’ve watched in “Heroes” and “Jumper“. What would you do if you’re bestowed upon this gift???

Enriching Debate…

Amazing!!!

That’s my initial reactions when I last saw the number of comments (110) in my Multiply comment box with regards to the previous entry on “What’s The Obsession With V-Day???“. Now that the euphoria and excitement has somewhat subsided, I think I will remember this day not for the love that is supposedly filled in the air, but for the fact that I might have finally hit the jackpot in getting people to respond to my questions, whims and nuances cos previously I find it so difficult to coax people into giving a reaction or posting feedbacks on questions posed. 

It was a plain one paragraph and ended off with a one-liner that provoked the minds of those in my contact list and beyond. People who normally come in and go, heck even total strangers, bothered giving their two cents worth and I also see supposed friends hitting out at yours truly either subtly or directly in the name of “Progression of the Malay Mindset“. Far from getting burnt, I believe I have lived up to my promise to propose more thought-provoking questions to everyone.

It’s amazing how the minds work, how easily worked up people can get just because I posed a question that I myself am trying to find the right answer to it as well. If I knew the answer damn bloody well, I wouldn’t have posed it to everyone. Some answered through objectivity, others through emotions (ladies, please stand up and curtsey!!!), some agreed to an extent, while majority disagreed with me. This has always been my objective all along, to start a healthy discussion so we can all learn from one another, be it good or bad.

I have to admit, my reputation on radio precedes me. I tend to come across as this person who is hell-bent on winning, having the last say and getting my way. But there is also a side of me that concedes and accepts if the theory and explainations are logical enough to warrant a step back. Funny how come people get all worked up for nothing, unless they themselves felt the heat due to eating too much chilli. Reading through some of these emotional comments brought a wry smile to my face and gave me a sense of deja vu over what transpired on national radio the previous day. Another hook, line and sinker moment when I myself did not stress much on the religious stance towards celebrating the day in my entry, preferring to concentrate more on the general aesthetics and ending off with a question that needed some logical answers.

Nonetheless I thank everyone who has participated in the debate or still intend to in the next few days / weeks. Even though most do not agree with my notion and instead gave alternative views and personal experiences as examples, it is through these that we all can learn to take in the good and the bad.

Let me share something with all of you…

When I was still in secondary school, I was like any teeny bopper out there learning the meaning of life and also tried to fit in wherever possible to be accepted in cliques. I celebrated Valentine’s Day by giving my crushes cards and gifts. It was only till much later, through maturity and realisation of what the day meant, through logic and religion, did I realise the folly of my ways. Partly also, I hated this day as it was a grim reminder of the rejections I used to get from my crushes. But it’s all part of growing up. This day also brought back funny memories of my cousin (who is a Bollywood fanatic) who went around giving his crushes leaves with love notes written on them, just like those found in “Mohabbatein” (my all-time fave Hindi movie). I’m sure some of them found it sweet of him to have done that, though at that time I questioned the originality of it all, even though he had the audacity to re-enact what transpired in the movie.

Truth is, Valentine’s Day, religion aside, is every day. I end off this entry by quoting what one of my forum mates had said and I quote selectively from all his comments:

“I don’t understand V-Day either. If you love someone, everyday is supposed to be V-Day. It’s just an excuse for florists to jack up the prices of roses that will die the next couple of days and for restaurants to commit daylight robbery by charging so much for dinner. I’ll be at home this V-Day, thank you very much. The idea of jostling for tables at dinner and with the teenybopper crowds thronging the streets with their flowers and balloons isn’t very romantic. V-Day is just another day to me… takde makna dalam hidup… And I think it’s sad if you need a “special” day to remind yourselves to love. You should always be reminded of that the moment you wake up and be able to live another day…” and he ended off by saying, “Thanks.. and do you notice that it’s mostly the ladies that’s defending this V-Day idea? :P”

Thanks Wan, you really hit the nail in the head!!! LOL!!!

What’s The Obsession With V-Day???

I logged onto the Net today to find people wishing each other “Happy Valentine’s Day!!!“, be it in Facebook, Multiply and what-have-you. Apparently love is in the air, but I for one think it’s dumb when everyday should be filled with love. This goes for Fathers’ Day and Mothers’ Day and whatever days you have. Religion-stance aside regarding this day today, everyday is a blessing and love and friendship should be cherished. Still I can’t help but wonder why the people in my community are still obsessed with this day, when they know fully well of the history behind it.

Yes, you can say it’s just a wish but by wishing, isn’t it the same as agreeing to celebrate it???

Controversial Day @ Bistro RIA…

It’s been a long time since I last lamented on the brickbats I get on air. The atmosphere today during Bistro RIA (10am – 2pm) was one full of emotions and anger by the listeners, quite different than most days. And when you have yours truly being the instigator of a thousand different views and perspectives to kick things off, you know tensions are gonna run high and emotions will be vented with much enthusiasm as well as fury. So what made them furious you might ask, for those who did not listen???

It all started with this debate on which gender was more intelligent and who thinks rationally. I didn’t expect two harmless, yet logical sms-es to ignite the anger of the majority. In those sms-es I questioned, “If women are more intelligent and if they think rationally, why was the power to grant “Talak” given to men???” and “If women are more intelligent, why did history dictate that men were “khalifahs” (caliphs) and that men became “Nabi” (Messengers of God)???

You can imagine the amount of vile and venom that ensued. There was a listener who called in and poured forth her fury, condemning my comments as nothing more than stupid and crappy. She also said she was disappointed that Pujangga Malam‘s mentality had deteriorated after he got married and he does not think as well as he did in the past. When “Pied Piper” started to blow her flute, naturally the minions and brickbats followed suit, assassinating my character and applauding her for coming out in the open to attack me. Some even said not to mix religion with what was being debated. Was I angry??? Nope, because these people fell right into my trap hook, line and sinker and proved my questions right once and for all.

First and foremost, marriage and fatherhood hasn’t changed my way of thinking one bit. In fact, I believe it has evolved to an extent whereby the initial big picture has gotten even bigger through time, and as usual, the general masses find it difficult to comprehend just like before (Some things never change, do they???). It’s easy to say the more intelligent species are the more renowned billionaires, inventors, scientists, chefs etc. But that is too subjective when you also have influential females bridging the gap these days as Hillary Clinton and Ho Ching amongst others have showed. Just because I used words like “Talak“, “Khalifah” and “Nabi” doesn’t mean I’m using religion as a means of reasoning. I used those examples as proof of the stature of men since days of yore and when it comes to reasoning, men are looked upon as those who think rationally than jumping the gun and acting on impulse. It is mere logic being put forth for people to mull over the big picture.

As I always complain, with 160 characters in the sms, you can only comment so much and hope others would think the way you would or at least ponder over what you said without being too quick to retaliate. I was only more than happy that when that caller called and called me names, along with her emotions and hell-hath-no-fury tone, she proved me right in what I was trying to put across in the debate. If they think that I have ceased being the thinker I once was, I think they themselves have not moved forwards in their way of thinking. What I’m just displeased about is the way they complained and criticised bothered on personal issues when they all know I’ve always been objective. Saying my way of thinking has deteriorated after marriage and parenthood, is as good as blaming my queen and my princess of things that they are not guilty of, and that is bloody personal!!! I’m kinda appalled the person who said that my chromosomes were lacking from all the waking up at night to feed my daughter, works in an architecture firm and has a family of his own. Smart??? I wonder which part of him is. I don’t find it humourous coming from a fellow parent.

So do I regret after all these??? As usual, I would say not one bit!!! And I definitely would put forth thought-provoking comments like these in time to come just to test the way my community thinks. Yes, radio is entertainment, but radio is also an institution where the mind works to make the community be an even better one. The DJ also played a part in this and I can’t thank Hafeez enough for kicking up the storm and testing the listeners’ resolve and mindset. Only in Bistro with Hafeez around can these kind of free-for-all comments be aired. Good thing too, cos if the other segments were to follow suit, my monthly handphone bills will be up five-fold. A few years ago we had Syah Ibrahim kicking things off in the morning with Hafeez following suit for another four hours. Right now, I can only contend myself with four hours.

The episode with me was not the only one that riled the listeners. Towards the end, one caller called in and complained about the Indonesian maids who called in, blaming them for not doing their work and having too much free time calling the radio station. To some extent I agree with her but she also has to remember that this is their only medium to entertain themselves when most of the time they are bogged down with housework, on top of the fact that they are away from family and don’t meet their friends till weekends come by. Not all maids are bad and not all normal people like us are good. In any case, there will always be a small minority that would affect the mindset of the majority. We shouldn’t be too quick to stereotype them and put them down. I agree that some of these maids are irritating when they call, cos they like to ask stupid questions and get carried away, but we learn to be more tolerant and respectful and accept that without them, our lives would be even more unmanageable (for those who have maids).

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I bring you more pics of Syahindah Adawiyah at the recent breakfast event with Imran Ajmain. Thanks to Vintage07 for allowing me to “borrow” the pics and putting them up in this blog. As you guys can see from some of the photographs, she’s very inquisitive with Imran‘s laptop and wanting to touch it even when he closed and put it on the floor. The actual sizes of the photographs can be seen at the link above. Enjoy!!!

  

  

Singapore River Hong Bao Fireworks Festival & Breakfast With Imran Ajmain…

Four and a half days of solid, free holiday. I’m sure none of us wanted it to end. In times like these, you just can’t seem to get enough of it, but it is most definitely welcomed by all, even if the major retail outlets were closed. Traditionally, the annual Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays are spent camped out at the beach with my paternal family, as some of you older readers of this blog can recall. This year, none of us were keen on it due to a recent bereavement in the family, as recently as last Tuesday (5th February 2008). My aunt who has been suffering from liver cancer for the past year, finally succumbed to her illness. I looked at it as a blessing in disguise as I for one, have never been keen on this camping out affair due to the tiredness from preparing and packing up. It kinda defeats the purpose of leisure, resting and relaxing, even if the aim was to bring together family members and extended family together. So how did I spend my CNY???

The half day on Wednesday was spent visiting one of my aunts at the hospital. As the hospital is situated next to my work place, it would be disrespectful of me not to visit her, and I did so after I went for my workout at the gym. Initially I had planned to watch the fireworks display at Esplanade Drive at midnight, but somehow I was too tired from the workout earlier in the day and decided to stay home and put up my legs. Syahindah Adawiyah too was showing signs of illness, so it made perfect sense for all of us to stay home and recharged our batteries for the coming two days’ affair. Thursday and Friday were spent at our new home, cleaning up here and there physically and spiritually. 80% of the renovation works have been completed and it won’t be another week till the workers resume after their CNY break. So far, things look pretty good, save for a few shortcomings, which is to be expected of renovations, but nothing too major as compared to what happened when my parents were renovating the current home two and a half years ago.

Singapore River Hong Bao Fireworks Festival

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Hardly called a crowd aye???

Us being the suckers for fireworks, would never / try not to miss whenever there was an event, the last being the New Year Countdown at Esplanade Drive. And so, after putting off going to the Singapore River Hong Bao event for the past three nights, Aida and I sans Syahindah, along with my sister-in-law and her family finally went on Friday night after we completed cleaning up the new house. As usual, we parked the car at Maxwell Road and took a bus down to Fullerton Hotel. When we alighted, I was amazed at the crowd, or lack of it for that matter. The roads were practically empty and I for one regretted not parking at One Fullerton. Had I known the size of the crowd would be as such, I wouldn’t have wasted time parking at the usual place. Oh well, it’s some lesson learnt for future events.

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A splendid view of the Merlion at night with the Esplanade and Swissotel @ Westin in the background…

When we were at One Fullerton, we continued to be amazed at the number of people there. It was like a normal weekend where people just walk along the mall by the river. We managed to pick a spot facing the construction of the integrated resort (IR) currently being built. A middle-aged man who was standing next to us said that we picked the right spot cos he said the fireworks was going to shoot up from where we were facing and it would be different from the previous night where the firework shells shot up from the direction of Esplanade Drive itself. For regulars of these kind of events, you would know that the firework shells will normally be shot near where the IR is situated.

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The people over at the other side were asked to cordon the area before the event started.

Sensing something was not right, I told the rest to stay where they were while I walked towards the statue of the Merlion to see if there was any suitable spot for us to stand or sit. True enough there was!!! So I called them to come over and we sat a few metres away from the Merlion. We were so close that when the wind blew, we felt the water droplets raining down on us. Fifteen minutes before the scheduled event started (9.15pm), the police cordoned the viewing area facing the Esplanade on one end and the Merlion on the other. Which brought me to realise that the fireworks were gonna be shot at from the direction of the Esplanade or thereabouts after all. Had we remained where we were initially, we would have been duped by that middle-aged man.

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Another stunning shot of the Merlion

True enough at 9:32pm when the first blast was set off, the shells were seen being shot at from Esplanade Drive itself. No wonder the bridge was closed to both the traffic and pedestrians. As with every fireworks festival, Aida and I took the time to spot any new designs, based on the sounds and shapes. There were more flares and pyrotechnics as compared to fireworks, which reminded me of watching wrestling on TV where some of the wrestlers have pyrotechnics accompanying their respective entrances to the ring. Even the fireworks were low-level, which explained why the viewing area was cordoned off as they were too close to where the shells were being fired. Having the Merlion as backdrop only brought out the serenity of it all. By the end of it, my eyes were stung by the smoke emitted and all of us were hit with the burning smell but it was all worth it, especially to my nephew and niece, who were enjoying a rare event for the eyes.

Nothing eventful happened on Saturday besides the fact that we did some window shopping for a new computer table for the new house at Funan Centre and then had a Tahlil ceremony for my late aunt in the evening at Tampines. We were left kinda disappointed as most of the shops were still closed for the CNY holidays. But we still managed to grab some ideas on what kind of table we were going to buy. Oh not forgetting, we brought Syahindah to the doctor in the morning, as her nose was blocked with phlegm and mucus, and she was coughing badly. The doctor had to use an electronic suction pump to suck out the phlegm from her nasal passageway. You can imagine her bawling in the clinic, puking her milk on my jersey afterwards and everyone’s eyes focusing on us. It was kinda embarrassing as I was a complete mess with her vomit but I took it as part and parcel of parenting.

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I managed to get a picturesque shot of the OUB building en route to Raffles Place MRT Station after the event had ended…

Breakfast With Imran Ajmain

We woke up nice and early for this abovementioned event yesterday, held at the Costa Sands Pasir Ris Resort. This time we brought Syahindah Adawiyah along, even if the original rules for this event stated clearly that kids below 12 were not allowed. I can’t thank the good people behind the event enough for giving us special dispensation, as weekends have always been a Family Day for us where both sets of our parents are told to rest from looking after the little one. Luckily Syahindah had recovered well enough to tag along.

With kids in tow, you are normally delayed from moving off at your intended time and this was no different. We reached there a good twenty-five minutes late and most of the attendees had started eating. As always, Imran always have a beam in his eyes whenever we meet and it was no different yesterday, even though I sensed a little tiredness in him. He was moving around chatting with the other members of Imtiaz (his fan club members) and so I did not chat with him till slightly later when I saw him standing alone grabbing a bite.

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We made small talk and discussed the article about him in Berita Minggu yesterday. I’m sure many of you would want to know how I feel about it, seeing that I am a staunch supporter of Imran and also a long-time fan of the radio station. To tell you the truth, I read the article before going to the breakfast event with mixed feelings. I am on both sides of the fence and I feel very much for him as well as try to understand the radio station’s approach. I feared for him by coming out like that, cos it would mean a career suicide over here and we all know the power of the media when things go awry. Already it is a daunting task to win over the local listeners like what Ahli Fiqir had lamented recently.

At the same time, there could probably be some truths to what was being highlighted from my own personal observations over the past year (which explains partly my angst towards the two Idols). Personally I wondered why new tracks from Imran‘s latest repackaged album which was released late last year have not been introduced as possible new hits whereas songs from the recently released Anugerah Cinta album by the Anugerah 2007 finalists have been introduced almost every other week. I dunno about the rest as only the people in the know, know what is going on.  I dunno about the rest of whatever politics that is going on behind the scenes, as only the people in the know, know what exactly transpired, or happened for that matter.

For the sake of our local industry, I hope there is some reconciliation. I’m quite neutral on this and I do wish that whatever grievances between both parties could be settled somewhat. At the end of the day, we the consumers and listeners, just want to see our local music industry thrive with equal support for all. The artistes need the radio stations to promote them and the stations need the listeners to tune in to them. It is a cycle and relationship that works hand in hand.

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Guess who enjoyed herself at the event???

Back to the breakfast event, Imran called everyone into the chalet at about 11am for some briefing regarding his upcoming concert on 27th February at The Chamber – The Arts House @ Old Parliament Building and also took the trouble to introduce to us some songs from his upcoming album which will be due in mid 2008. It felt like being in a classroom with the lecturer sitting with laptop on his lap and delivering his lesson to the students. The concept of the new album is kinda retro-ish from what I listened, but it definitely is a different concept from most mainstream albums released. I will not devulge more on what I already know of the album and I’ll let the man release the album to talk more about it.

Besides the man himself, there was also another star of the event, vying for attention from everyone. No prizes for guessing who. When we came, she was all shy and even wanted to cry when people came over to her. But after awhile and her engine’s all warmed up, she acted like a backup host, walking all around and waving to everyone. Of course, it made the other attendees gushing over how cute she is and they took the opportunity to snap photographs of her whenever she went over to them. During the briefing session, she even disturbed Imran and was extremely inquisitive over the laptop. Wished I had taken a video recording of that.

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All in all, it was a very good laidback session, no pandemonium, no hysteria and everyone else was immaculately behaved. It is to be expected of Imran‘s fans who I believe are a mature lot in thinking and not overly excited when they meet their idol. The planning and execution of the event was also commendable, though the weather could have been kinder if it was not so hot and there was more breeze. Kudos to the good people at Work Heart, Play Pause and Beats Society for coming up with this event with a personal touch for the fans. I’m sure there will be more events like these from them in time to come…

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I took a recent photograph of my daughter and can’t help but be reminded that I once looked like her when I was about 3-4 years old. Maybe with this photograph, the debate will end as to who she resembles…

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Is The Tide Turning???

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Look at this photo taken off Radio ERA‘s latest music charts last weekend. Look who is the current champion and who was the previous winner for about 4 weeks, even if the song title is a typo error (Please correct me if I’m wrong on the number of weeks Imran was champion). As a fan of local talents, it gives me unbridled joy to see my fellow countrymen doing well across the Causeway (without having to give up their citizenship), where the music industry has proven to be the best platform for them to spread their wings and fly. One wonders if the tide has finally turned for our artistes or is it just a mere flash in the pan.

In the past we’ve had very good, very talented singers, songwriters, composers, actors, hosts etc moving across the Causeway just to widen their horizons and to be more accepted where their own people have not given them much support. It brings a sense of perspective when I read Hanim Mohd Salleh‘s article in today’s Berita Harian when she said we’ve been losing quite a few talented people to the music industry over there and I cannot agree more. A look at the who’s who of the entertainment industry over there, you will see that Singaporeans (or former ones) are the ones running the show or responsible for being behind the movers and the shakers.

Which brings us back to the question, why is it so difficult for our artistes to be accepted here (minus the Idols) and why are they only accepted when they have made it big over there??? Who is to blame??? The media??? The consumers??? The production companies??? The tight-fisted budget sponsors??? Lately we’ve been seeing a lot of new artistes being born out of reality shows. Sadly they seem to lack substance and staying power unless they add another weapon to their armoury. Either that, or they need a massive stroke of luck to hit it big or risk being one-hit wonders. Which is why a career in the entertainment industry is seldom a full-time job for most of them, which is a definite pity given how much abundance in talent they possess.

Singapore is never devoid of talent. Our spate of reality television shows have proved Singaporeans are a talented bunch, no matter what race you are. But to reach the heady levels of decades gone by seems to be just a dream, for now. Hopefully Imran‘s and Aliff‘s ventures across the Causeway will open more opportunity for our artistes to show their mettle and win over the sceptics over here that our own artistes are worth listening to. Cos really, the younger generation ever since I was still in school, would rather listen to western artistes and the English radio stations than their own.

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Some of you might be anticipating some kind of report from me with regards to Anugerah Juara Lagu 22 (AJL 22). And some might have even thought that I’m one of the few thousands who had jam-packed the Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil last Sunday night. I wished I was, but nope I was stuck at home, enjoying the first hour or so of X-Men 2 on Channel 5 and even missed the first half hour of AJL 22 as I had guests. Coupled with the fact that Manchester United was playing Tottenham Hotspurs at 10pm (I’d rather watch Man Utd playing),  to expect some kind of report or thoughts on the event as a whole, I don’t think it would be fair.

From what I watched between 9-10pm, I was actually impressed by the whole set-up, the free-flowing of the programme, the stellar line-up and the chemistry shown between the four presenters (Ally Iskandar, Fara Fauzana, Cheryl Samad & Faizal Ismail). The performances were great too, even if Sofaz was a bit disappointing. Seeing Datin Sri performing gave me mixed reactions. Though it was nice to see her perform and giving her usual standard of high performance, it was still quite inappropriate to be seeing her dancing in her current garb and added title which she just received after doing her Hajj. But who am I to judge anyway???

Results-wise, I wasn’t expecting much and I certainly did not expect Estranged to win. But such was the open competition that anyone could have walked away with it. It was just a pity that Faizal Tahir wasn’t there to sing his two songs cos of his ban. He would have given much needed boost to the feel in his songs sung by Bob (Kasih Tercipta) and Fiq (Maha Karya Cinta). I did guessed correctly though when it came to Best Performance (MawiAntara Angan & Sedar) and Best Vocals (Jaclyn Victor & Lah – Ceritera Cinta) . I believe the former is a no-brainer given his reputation as an “SMS King“…

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Nurul’s Wedding Cards 

I received two invitations to the same wedding in my mailbox within a day of each other. While the first was expected, I certainly did not anticipate the other. But it was still a nice surprise and I felt extremely honoured to be invited all the same, given the popularity of this particular actress-host. I think you would know by now who I am referring to. Yes, it’s none other than Nurul Aini. I am impressed by the artwork on the cards, very elegant and very striking and they even fit like a jigsaw. And yes, I am pleased to attend both venues of the event. Well, it’s not often one gets invited to a celebrity’s wedding anyway and the last one I attended was Abg Keatar HM‘s (TV Producer) wedding back in 2006. So you can be sure it’s gonna be filled with a lot of pomp and colours. And it would also be a nice reunion with Kak Fatimah Mohsin, who is also the designated “Mak Andam” for the event. Thank you Nurul & Diah for inviting us. Insya-Allah we’ll make it to both places…