Questionnaires…

I am bored, plus I have no new materials to fill my blog in. And since I was blog hopping, I chanced upon this entry by Imran and thought I would do one just to pass the time and act as a filler before my next entry. So here goes…

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:20am…

2. Diamonds or pearls? These are for ladies, not real men…

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Can’t recall already… I think it was that recent Korean comedy in our cinemas… I won’t name it here for obvious reasons…

4. What is your favorite TV show? Currently none, but the last one was Heroes. And any football matches involving Manchester United can be considered a favourite TV show…

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Depends, but it has to involve wheat / flour…

6. What is your middle name? Bin… 😛

7. What food do you dislike? Anything involving liver and of coz durians… The smell of it makes me have a headache…

8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Flo Rida‘s “Mail On Sunday“…

9. What kind of car do you drive? Nissan Latio (Best selling car in 2007, but I bought it in 2006)…

10. Favorite sandwich? Anything involving eggs…

11. What characteristic do you despise? Proudly Stupid (what we Malays call “Bodoh Sombong“)…

12. Favorite item of clothing? My Adidas apparel… All of them…

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Manchester, England.

14. What color is your bathroom? Cream and White.

15. Favorite brand of clothing? Said it before, saying it again… ADIDAS!!!

16. Where would you retire to? Given a choice, I would love to retire in Madinah Al-Munawwarah

17. What was your most recent memorable birthday? I got married on my 27th birthday to the woman I love and I staged a mini concert during the wedding dinner as well… Hahahaha…

18. Favorite sport to watch? FOOTBALL!!! And it’s not soccer for heaven’s sake!!! Only Americans use that term…

19. Furthest place you are sending this? My past statistics showed that I have visitors as far as UK and Canada so yeah, I hope they’re still around to read it…

20. Who do you least expect to send this back to you? None…

21. Person you expect to send it back first? Up to you…

22. Favorite word? It’s unprintable for a family-friendly blog like mine, even if the words have been distorted so as not too sound too vulgar…

23. When is your birthday? 31st December 1978.

24. Are you a morning person or a night person? I believe I work best in the morning…

25. What is your shoe size? 10.5

26. Pets? Does peeves count??? 😛

27. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share with us? I’m not a celebrity or famous personality to have interesting projects coming up. Whatever new things happening in my life are more or less experienced by most of you out there…

28. What did you want to become when you were little? An entertainer or a footballer or a radio deejay.

29. How are you today? Fit as a fiddle but bored to death at work…

30. What is your favorite candy? I dunno how to eat candies, sweets, chocolates etc. Sad but true…

31. What is your favorite flower? Am not a flower person to appreciate them… Roses??? Ok that’s quite cliched…

32. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? 12th December 2008… End of year bonus baby!!!

33. What is your full name? For those who know, knows… For those who don’t, it doesn’t matter… I actually despise the idea of people calling me by my name online for the world to see. If you are messaging privately to me, then it’s absolutely fine…

34. What was the last thing you ate? Rice, with eggplants, chicken, fried egg and Bergedil

35. Do you wish on stars? Nope, but I love pointing them out to my daughter (Syahindah Adawiyah) and singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars” to her…

36. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Red…

37. How is the weather right now? The rain just subsided but the weather is still gloomy…

38. Last person you spoke to on the phone? David Lim, one of the sports journalists from The New Paper… Wanted me to come down to SPH today for some photoshoot but I turned down cos I don’t want to be famous… Hahahahah…

39. Do you like the person who sent this to you? I respect him as an entertainer, I like him as a friend, I love him as a fellow Muslim

40. Favorite soft drink? Bandung & A&W Root Beer (can’t decide which is better)…

41. Favorite restaurant? Spize @ Simpang Bedok / River Valley

42. Hair color? Dark brown…

43. Sibling? Two sisters – one older, one younger…

44. Favorite day of the year? My birthday…

45. What was your favorite toy as a child? M.A.S.K. – And I am still collecting them…

46. Summer or winter? Tasted both before in Madinah, even though there wasn’t any snow, I think winter is nice…

47. Hugs or kisses? The latter obviously…

48. Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla…

49. Do you want your friends to email you back? Don’t have to if you don’t want to…

50. When was the last time you cried? At Mount Alvernia Hospital when Syahindah was hospitalised for acute pneumonia and seeing the nurses administering the suction pump on her…

51. What is under your bed? Dust mites… Time for my weekly vacuuming…

52. Who is the friend you have had the longest? My wife, my soulmate… She’s been there for me forever when friends come and go…

53. What did you do last night? Put Syadiyah Asyura to sleep and then hit my Playstation 2

54. Favorite smell? Anything that is not smelly and pungent…

55. What are you afraid of? When I was young, rejection… When I’m older, heights and Death…

56. Plain, buttered, or salted Popcorn? Buttered is nice, but I seldom fancy eating popcorn…

57. How many keys on your key ring? 3

58. How many years at your current job? 4 years.

59. Favorite day of the week? Wednesday… U noe the weekend is beckoning already…

60. How many towns have you lived in? 4 throughout my lifetime…

61. Do you make friends easily? Yes, but maintaining them can be a challenge…

62. How many people will you be sending this to? That depends on the number of hits I generate per day. If I get 512 hits for example, then I believe this has been sent to 512 people and they have read this…

HAPPY WEEKEND PEEPS!!!

Anugerah Band Episode 4 Review…

Before I move on, I would just like to apologise for the typo errors I made on two of the groups’ names that performed last week, Keigo Sphinx and Silksutra, as I had named them as Geiko Sphinx and SilkSutera. The show began with the elimination of Keigo Sphinx from last week’s performances. Somehow the way the elimination was done was quite an anti-climax with four groups still remaining on stage. What they could have done was just split them all into three parts, with the first four advancing and then the remaining two having to bite their nails over the result. But that one aside, I felt the result was justifiable as Keigo Sphinx‘s performance last week was relatively weak overall. Their possible lifeline could be the wildcard round, which I had a difficult time trying to digest how it works, with my daughter and niece running around the house. Anyone of you out there who can share with me how the wildcard round works would be very much appreciated. Many thanks in advance.

First performance: X-Tech (Isi & Kulit)

They impressed me the previous round, they absolutely bewildered me with today’s edition. I dare say, we are looking at a potential finalist or even a champion-elect. Only the lack of fans’ smses and wisdom for that matter, can stop them from going further. Everything about this group’s performance tonight screamed of “ANUGERAH BAND WINNER!!!” and you know I am right if you had watched them. A brilliant start to the show and certainly increased expectations on the other groups to up their ante.

Second performance: Edmushyta (Di Alam Fana Cinta)

Like the previous round, this group relied more on their vocalist’s capabilities than their own as a unit. Vocal-wise, this guy is top-notch. But somehow there is a distinct lack of balance in their music which distorted their overall play. Not even that gimmick that they did could save them, even though it should be applauded for creativity and effort.

Third performance: Fatskunks (Punchcard)

I thought they did much, much better than the previous round. The musical arrangement done was also done tastefully, with a bit of tango and salsa thrown into the mix. Listening to the way they played, reminded me of Carlos Santana‘s music. You just feel like getting up and shake your body to the music. The only downside was the vocalist’s voice, which was drowned by the accompanying music. Still I thought they were good today and achieved some redemption.

Fourth Performance: Cucu Datok Merah (Cinta Tak Keruan)

Gone were the unsavoury slangs and the apparent lack of practice sessions, and in place, we had a better performance by Cucu Datok Merah this week. I somehow liked the harmony done at the beginning of the song, you can actually hear three different tones from the three singers. But somehow I just felt that they lack that wee bit of punch in terms of energy and the introduction of the group members in between the song was a bit unnecessary as this was not a concert.

Fifth Performance: Helven (Romantika Di Amor)

Dare I say that they will be the ones who will get kicked out next week??? The losing mentality was written all over their faces during the interview session with Shah Iskandar. Yes they had their keyboardist backing off and one of their guitarists could not make it as well. Compassion-wise, I would say the rest in the group were affected psychologically but to be honest, they should have just got on with what they had left in their ranks. The intro even though it was good, sounded a lot like Craig David‘s “Spanish“. And from then on, it just went downhill, with the vocalist being very much their “weakest link”, in the words of Eddy Ali. For a group whose image resembles that of J-rock groups, their music was nothing more than a whimper. I will most definitely be surprised if they still remain on board next week.

Summary – I just thought that for the great start that X-Tech did to the show, the rest would follow suit and increase the energy level of the watching audience and those at home, but it was not to be. Somehow I felt that they should have been the last act, to at least have the saving grace. Judges were definitely right with their comments even though Zoul and Jatt had a minor disagreement on Edmushyta‘s performance. Zoul surprised me with his honest and brutal comments. He comes across as that suave, cool guy, but boy does his words carry a sting to them!!! His presence on the jury table is most definitely welcomed and I would love to hear more from him in weeks to come. Overall, I thought this particular group of bands is not as strong as the ones that performed last week. But then again next week could also spell a different tune. We’ll just have to wait and see…

P.S. For those who would like to vote, you may start to do so as at 9:00pm just now and it will end at 6:00pm next Tuesday 3rd June 2008. Smses cost 60 cents and pre-paid card holders are ineligible to vote. For the uninitiated, this is how you should vote: Band <space> Group Code and send it to 73388. It’s that simple really. The following are the codes to vote for this week: X-Tech (1), Edmushyta (2), Fatskunks (3), Cucu Datok Merah (4) and Helven (5).

Chance Meeting…

It’s not often that you get to bump into celebrities, be it local or foreign, as you go about doing your daily stuff, moreso when you’re outside doing shopping or having a meal. I had my fair opportunity two weeks ago when I bumped into Awie and Hans Isaac whilst having our Mothers’ Day lunch at Marina Square‘s Tambuah Mas Restaurant. Today was also another day that I had that wee bit rub of the green when I chanced upon the winners of the previous season’s Gangstarz competition. Yes, it’s those guys who sing about part-time lovers (“Separuh Masa“), The Lima.

I was walking along the Arab Street mall with two of my colleagues, Ariff (yes, coincidentally we both share the same name) & Hani during lunchtime looking for a place to eat. Every day, we seem to crack our heads on where to find a good place to buy back lunch, rather than go to the same places all the time. The Kopitiam canteen at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Nasi Padang River Valley Restaurant are weekly stopovers but we always seem to be at a loss on where else to go on the other three working days of the week. Today was no different. 

As we were walking past the back of Sultan Mosque, I noticed a familiar figure who looks a bit like Chef Khalid of Chef Selebriti fame coming out from the compounds of the mosque. I realised I’ve met this guy before at APM2008, just that I wasn’t sure if it was him with “Separuh Masa” playing in my head. At the same time I was chatting with my colleagues and half listening to the radio, since I’m always plugged into my handphone earplugs between 10am-2pm daily. Yeah, so many things in my head and doing a few things at the same time.

As I turned the corner into the main mall itself, I walked past Mona J’s Boutique and saw Jihan and Janna inside. I did a courtesy call on them and Janna said that The Lima is in town and that they were at the mosque performing their responsibilities. So I was right after all. And that guy whom I saw, came as I was chatting with the two sisters along with another member of the group. Jihan took the time to introduce me to them. Happens that he also shared the same name as us. So there were three Ariffs being introduced to one another. And there was Taura as well. Bony was still at the mosque, perhaps taking a bit more time to communicate with The Almighty. I’m still embarrassed whenever someone introduce me to another person as a “popular blogger“, when I’m not and have always maintained that way.

I was kinda in a blur, bearing in mind I still had one half of my earplugs stuck in my ear, and thinking about where to buy lunch. Even when Jihan suggested that I take a photograph with the two guys, I was dumb enough to say I had no camera with me, when in fact my handphone has camera features on it. My mind was simply in a haywire then. But that did not deter me from taking one using Jihan‘s camera.

Taura, “P. Ramlee” & Ariff… 😛

From my short meeting with The Lima, I can see that they are humble folks. What actually impressed me was the fact that they took the time to observe their responsibilities, even when they were tired from all the travelling to Singapore. I came to know later on that Bony was also fasting today. Amazing!!! Artistes have always been given the impression that they are interested in worldly stuff or that they are being looked down upon as of a different class, as depicted by the late P. Ramlee in his movie Ibu Mertuaku. But I believe the small minority of artistes who are wayward, are responsible in giving such a stereotypical mentality to the masses, if they still hold on these olden beliefs. The boys from The Lima certainly dispel the notions and are fine examples that you can have the best of both worlds. For that, they deserve my respect…

 

Hail The European Champions!!!

My goodness!!! What a match!!! End to end, heartstopping, edge-of-the-seat stuff and one that had the heart pumping all the way down to that final penalty save by Edwin Van Der Sar on Nicolas Anelka‘s spot kick. Yes, I was not that confident coming into the game especially with the team playing so defensively of late and fielding five midfielders over the past month. But when the team sheet was announced, I grew quietly confident that the night could indeed be something special for Manchester United, even if the only grouse I had was not seeing Park Ji-Sung being afforded even a place on the substitutes’ bench.

Manchester United being Manchester United certainly know how to put their fans in anxiety as after a brilliant first 40 minutes where they held the bulk of the possession, suddenly became timid and cagey when Chelsea equalised just before the stroke of half-time. Chelsea attacked relentlessly but United held firm and when that dumb Ivory Coast captain got himself sent off in the last five minutes of the second period of extra time, the momentum swung back again in United‘s favour. But it wasn’t plain sailing as God had other ideas.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who had a brilliant first half making Michael Essien look like an idiot and capping it with his 42nd goal of a remarkable season, contrived to miss his penalty kick during the mandatory shootout. It was Chelsea‘s title to be lost and they duly did when their brave captain John Terry missed the very last spot kick which could have won it for them. United, buoyed by that miss, scored subsequently through Anderson and Giggs, the current appearance record holder in Manchester United‘s history (759), while Chelsea replied through Salomon Kalou before Anelka missed his opportunity to level the score and in turn destroyed his team’s pursuit of the title.

It has been a memorable season, capped by this Holy Grail that has eluded United time and time again. This team is still young and could possibly improve and go on to achieve even more glory. Ok some of you sour grapes out there will say we were lucky to win via shootout, but the same could also be said when Liverpool last won it in 2005. But let us not forget the resolve shown by Chelsea who have shown that they had the stomach to chase and challenge United all the way right down to the final whistle. Yes, they might have some unlikeable characters in the team, but I believe rival fans too hate some of our players. This win and the Premiership title which we won last week are only as good as till the start of next season. Let’s enjoy the win for now and not go overboard as we all know pride always comes before a spectacular fall.

HAIL THE CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND!!!

HAIL THE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!!!

 

Anugerah Band Episode 3 Review…

Ok this entry is gonna be a quick one as basically I was watching the show without giving full concentration since I had a guest at home. Show kicked off with the results from last week’s group being announced and to see who was eliminated. I had mixed reactions when it was announced that Virus Cinta was the unlucky one being kicked out. Personally I felt it was a complete injustice as they were one of the better performers last week whereas Cucu Datuk Merah and Fatskunks were signing their own death warrants with their inept displays, notably the former. But this is what you get when you subject yourselves at the mercy of the voters’ fingertips. As a result, a group which I had predicted to be a dark horse in the competition went out with a whimper. I hope Virus Cinta would not give up and continue to play good music in their quest for glory.

First Performance – Knightwings (Seksa)

As expected, the lead vocalist’s voice was out of this world and they were a worthy opening act to the show. However, I just feel that there is a distinct lack of punch and verve associated to this song. I also feel that the lead vocalist’s image is too nice for such a song with attitude, even if his voice was the saving grace. He looks too decent to be a rocker in my opinion. Plus he moved and pranced on the stage a bit too much, which in turn made him sound as though he was panting. But these are all minor factors which can be improved on. They were still one of the better performers of the night.

Second Performance – Rancour (Lagu Untukmu)

Somehow this group did not learn the lesson faced by Cucu Datuk Merah last week, which is to cut down on eating cheese before the show. Other than that I thought they played to the crowd (their fans) and were quite compact as a unit. A minor flaw which needs to be highlighted could be the transition between the first vocalist and the second one as their keys were inconsistent. Other than that, another energetic performance.

Third Performance – Geiko Sphinx (Panggung Sandiwara)

Somehow when your energy levels have been pumped up by the first two performances, the last thing you need is for the third one to bring the momentum down. And this was what Geiko Sphinx managed to do tonight. While I cannot fault the vocals of their female vocalist, there is a distinct lack of wow factor from this group which makes the whole performance fall flat. Everything about this group reminds me of watching a wedding band perform, which of course you are not supposed to do on a grand stage like this.

Fourth Performance – Trabo (Pintu Syurga)

My goodness, what is this about RIA Band Remix champions setting the standards on a weekly basis??? Like X-Tech last week, Trabo had a flawless performance mixed with raw energy, compact, full of attitude with only their 80s style rock image being a bit outdated. Easily the best performance of the night.

Fifth Performance – Putra (Goda)

I thought they did ok but somehow there was a little apprehension in bits and parts. They need to learn to let go and just enjoy themselves on stage. Other than that, I’d rank their performance on par with Rancour tonight.

Sixth Performance – SilkSutera (Mimpi Laila)

This group gave me very good vibes when they began their performance with that solo performance by the flutist. But somehow, it went downhill as the vocalist spoilt the song with his off-pitch vocals and I also believe the new arrangement to the song kinda confused them altogether. Along with Geiko Sphinx, SilkSutera better pray hard that they have enough supporters to pull them through to the next round.

Random Thoughts – Overall I believe the standard in performances tonight was much better than last week’s. Judges were good, comments were better than last week and Addy Cradle seems to have grown in confidence with his personal takes. A pity Suzairhe and Nurul tripped on their words a couple of times. I don’t blame them really cos if one was to read Suzairhe‘s blog, you would understand the preparations, or lack thereof, with the scripts only being given out on the day itself. They should be applauded for their professionalism to carry on and lift the programme to its expected heights week in and out.

For those who are interested in voting, you may start to vote as at 9:00pm just now and it will end at 6:00pm next Tuesday 27th May 2008. Smses cost 60 cents and pre-paid card holders are ineligible to vote. For the uninitiated, this is how you should vote: Band <space> Group Code and send it to 73388. It’s that simple really. The following are the codes to vote for this week: Knightwings (1), Rancour (2), Geiko Sphinx (3), Trabo (4), Putra (5) and SilkSutera (6).

P. Ramlee The Musical Revisited…

As you can see from the title of this entry, this is not one of those regular lengthy reviews that I’m notoriously known for. Truth be told, I am not a theatre person, neither do I have any expert knowledge on the technical aspects of it. As it is, this entry is more like a reminiscing episode of the highly-acclaimed, multiple award-winning play that I attended last Saturday 17th May 2008 at the Esplanade Theatre. I had mentioned about this play during the Siti Nurhaliza Diari Hati Concert review. And when the tickets went on sale a few days after the concert, I believe I was one of the first to call in and grab my tickets. Nope I did not get front row seats again this time, but my seats were about 5 rows from the front, which were still near enough.

What can I say about this play / musical / performance or whatever you might call it??? All I can say is that it left such an indelible mark on me, to the point that I toyed at the idea of watching it again, just to relive the olden days of yore. It was easily an eye-catching show, complete with props that you think you would never be able to see again and topped off by equally excellent performances by the whole cast, main and supporting. Oh and not forgetting the soundtrack and songs performed. They were oh-so-beautiful to the ears. I was blown away by Musly Ramlee‘s impersonation of the great man himself, his facial expressions, voice, moves, nuances. He really revived the soul of P. Ramlee once again. Maybe the only flaw he has is that his voice is not deep enough, but what the heck, I think the production team pulled off a masterstroke by casting him in place of Sean Ghazi. Ok it is unfair to compare them both, especially since I did not watch the first season of the play, but I strongly believe Musly wins hands down when it comes to reviving that soul and everything the great man had.

Aida with Melissa Saila who played Noorizan. We did not get to take a photograph with Liza herself as the queue was long and we had to rush along. We only managed to say our His and Byes and Liza afforded her congratulations to us on the birth of Syadiyah. She has been keeping tabs on us through this blog. Kinda embarrassing to know that but at least we are still keeping tabs on each other’s lives. That’s her fingers by the way holding the marker to the right. If only we had the time to hang out like in the past…

As for the other casts, of course my old friend Liza Hanim did a stellar job as Saloma, not to forget the others as well. Didn’t expect Melissa Saila and Emelda to sing so well. Judging by the reactions of the audience and their roar of approval during the finale, Liza did a convincing job. Even my mum who went to watch the show on Sunday night said she was highly impressed by Liza‘s performance with the only possible flaw being that she did not shake her body and hand gestures a little bit more than the grand dame herself. The props deserved a mention as well, especially the train. When it first rolled onto the stage, gasps could be heard from the audience. Yes, it was a masterpiece having it on stage and the best of all the props they had, complete with smoke and all. The production team’s eye on detail for history was not lost on me. God knows how impressed I was when I saw how they managed to recreate the old P. Ramlee movie posters of yesteryears and how exact the fonts of the word “LIDO” were during the cinema scene.

For someone who only appreciates the man through his movies, I was not aware of what happened in the history of his life, his rise, his luck (or lack thereof) in love and his spectacular fall from grace. From what was being portrayed, I believe he died a lonely and sad person, seeing how his works had failed him in the end, such is the short span of the life of an artiste. It was a great lesson in history for me, especially since I was born a few years after he left this world. One interesting fact that my mum told me is that where P. Ramlee and Saloma got married, at a secret location in Katong, actually belonged to my father’s late uncle’s home in Tembeling Road. His late uncle was the famous 50s / 60s playback singer Kamsani and his late wife was Musalmah, an actress in the Jalan Ampas era. It made sense now when I recall my father telling me in the past how he spent a lot of time watching the great man filming his films, sometimes at the home of his late uncle, and how we bumped into Aziz Sattar when we did our Hari Raya visits in the late 80s.

Me and Musly Ramlee – I swear I was looking at the real McCoy…

The show I believe had a few flaws which was not enough to spoil it overall, most notably how he met Noorizan and how their love blossomed. Cos during the play, she just appeared out of nowhere before we went for intermission and when the play resumed, they were already married. It was also interesting to note the hugging parts P. Ramlee shared with Azizah as I really can’t imagine Sean Ghazi and Siti Nurhaliza doing that in the first season of the play, knowing the latter’s personality. But all in all, I dare give it a 5-star performance for taking the audience back in time and feeling very much nostalgic. I know it hit some raw nerves that night as I heard a few sniffs around me. I think I would have teared as well if I was my father’s age and had lived through the great man’s time. They said that it was a big challenge to convince the Singapore audience since the play is afterall based mostly on what happened during the Jalan Ampas era. I say that not only have they convinced us all, but they have captured our imagination with their solid, all-round take. Now if only they would release it on DVD or at least have the soundtrack sold in stores. No wonder they won 6 awards at the recent Boh Cameronian Awards the weekend before last. Cos this show really deserves all the accolades and hype that came along with it.

Mother’s Day 2008

I know this entry is kinda stale already albeit the event happening four days ago. It should have been posted before the Anugerah Band Episode 2 review but I did not want to blog every day, preferring instead to space things out so I won’t run out of ideas on what to type every other day. I really take my hats off to whoever that manages to blog on a daily basis, better still if they can post multiple entries in a day.

I’m sure most of us celebrated Mothers’ Day last Sunday in our own special way, with the special ladies in our respective lives. Likewise, my family too celebrated in our own way, an exquisite time for all of us to meet and catch up with each others’ lives. Three families (my mum and her two sisters) came together and all of us had a hearty lunch at Marina Square‘s Tambuah Mas Restaurant. Gatherings like these are always welcomed by us, moreso now since the additions of the little ones (Syahindah, Syadiyah and Eshaan) to our brood.  However with the HFMD virus still lingering in the air, we opted not to bring Syadiyah along. Me on the other hand, was well enough to see the world after a week of being confined at home.

 

It felt funny having a hearty lunch after eating nothing but porridge for the most part of the previous week. Felt bloated but someone had to finish up the Bergedil & Tahu Telur. Since yours truly treat both like Sambal Belacan, everyone seemed to hand over their left overs to me. There goes the 2kg I lost over the past week. Hahahah. Anyway, apologies for the non-photographs of what we ate. Was simply too engrossed eating to take photographs of our menu.

Eshaan was a little moody at first but he became very chatty when the food was served…

Syahindah looks like my elder sis when she was younger. See the similarities in smile and shape of their noses???

When the little ones felt restless, the young parents took them out from the restaurant and went over to the 3rd floor where there were kiddy rides just outside Kiddy Palace. The fun part was that the rides were so huge that even the daddies could sit together with the kids. And so me and cousin Ezaad had a good 5-minutes on the elephant and cow that we rode. The kids also enjoyed themselves thoroughly judging by their smiley faces. But before we took our rides and whilst waiting for our turns, we bumped into popular Malaysian actors Hans Isaac and Awie, fresh from their Malaysian Film Festival promotion at nearby GV Marina. They were there to promote their latest offering “Cuci“. For some reason, Hans declined to be photographed and he was walking with a limp all the way. Julie was of course excited at the prospect of meeting Awie and immediately informed her colleague who is head over heels over the guy. Turned out that they too had lunch at Tambuah Mas when we returned afterwards but we did not disturb their privacy from then on.

Obviously Syahindah wasn’t interested… Hahahaha…

The daddies rekindling lost childhood with their kids…

After lunch, all of us went to another cousin’s place at Strathsmore Avenue to see his newborn child. If the name of the road sounds a little unfamiliar to you, I do not blame you cos it was the first time I’ve been there myself. It’s actually in the Queenstown area just opposite the tallest condominium in Singapore. The houses here, even though it’s under HDB, are bloody expensive. Imagine a five-room flat costing close to half a million dollars??? But you can’t beat the view which faces the city skyline, and of course its close proximity to town. I think that’s the main reason why the prices of the flats there are expensive. I remembered widening my eyes and baulking at the price when my aunt suggested buying a flat in that area. She was fortunate that she bought it for just over $230K three years ago. I’m happy where I am, fine thank you, with the MRT, Bus Interchange, Polyclinic and Compass Point just a 5 minutes walk away from home.

Welcome to the world Eva!!! And congrats to Wira & Nani, the proud parents…

Anugerah Band Episode 2 Review…

Apologies if I did not make any reviews on the very first episode as I felt it wasn’t worth doing one, especially since the results to trim the Top 20 down to 12 had already been tabulated by the judges and the watching audience had no say whatsoever. Last week’s episode was more of an introduction to all the groups with short clips on their qualifying performances. From those few seconds worth of viewing, I must say that the quality is of some standard and that we should be proud that some of the bands are as good as those that most of us worship from across the Causeway or Indonesia. These groups just need that exposure to spread their wings and kudos should be given to Mediacorp Suria TV12 for organising this competition. At least there is a difference in that reality shows like Anugerah Skrin and Anugerah are not repeated every year cos more often than not, we get the same old faces entering, such is the saturation of our small market. I know cos I have a friend who enters every single competition there is but have yet to see him break the qualifying barrier.

I dunno if this is a gripe worth mentioning, but the official website of Anugerah Band doesn’t seemed to be updated with info on the Top 20, not even the Top 12 when it has already been a week since the results were announced. When you say you are the official website, please do the honours to update your website as and when there is that requirement to do so. And please give interesting trivia on the groups so those who dunno them would get some idea on what they are all about and what they stand for. Berita Harian, being the official media besides Manja magazine, has also not written much about the competition and the groups still in contention. Maybe I’m being too harsh and a little too expectant since it’s only a week into the competition. I’ll reserve more flak or praise as the weeks pass by. Right, so now on to my review proper.

This week, the first six groups battle it out to win the hearts of the judges and voting audience. For those who are interested in voting, you may start to vote as at 9:00pm just now and it will end at 6:00pm next Tuesday 20th May 2008. Smses cost 60 cents and pre-paid card holders are ineligible to vote. For the uninitiated, this is how you should vote: Band <space> Group Code and send it to 73388. It’s that simple really. The following are the codes to vote for this week: Fatskunks (1), Cucu Datuk Merah (2), Virus Cinta (3), Helven (4), Edmushyta (5) and X-Tech (6).

First Performance – Fatskunks (Kau / Buka Api)

This group is different than most of the groups on display in that they have a raggae / R&B / jazzy feel to them. I dunno what it was they were trying to put across but it did not give me good vibes other than the fact that the lead vocalist’s voice was their saving grace. Not convincing enough but I believe they have a lot of supporters out there who could save them from being eliminated.

Second Performance – Cucu Datuk Merah (Terharu)

This group is touted as one of the favourites by the others in the competition and it is easy to see why when you see them perform minus the vocals. I didn’t quite understand why there were too many cooks trying to spoil the broth when one vocalist or at the most, two could have been enough. Worse still, those who sang seemed to have eaten cheese before they performed and it was evident when you hear the unnecessary slang. To top it off, they forgot the lyrics on a number of occasions. Truly a performance not worth remembering.

Third Performance – Virus Cinta (Kau Atau Aku)

I thought the show only properly kicked off when this group came on stage. From the short clips I saw of this group from the audition stages, I thought they would be one of the dark horses of the competition. And I was not made to feel disappointed when I watched their performance tonight. Turning a pop song like “Kau Atau Aku” into a ska-flavoured one certainly did not spoil the essence and I feel this group still have more up their sleeves if given the opportunity to progress.

Fourth Performance – Helven (Marabahaya)

This song requires one to add zest and punch in the delivery and I only felt it at the start during the rap part. Watching them perform this song is like charting a graph where the performance level went up at the start, goes down with the non-singing part in between and then up again with the rap and ended off on a slight whimper, though it has to be said that their showmanship was quite a sight to behold. Harmonising is not their greatest forte and they would do well to avoid singing songs that require them to do so. Funnily enough, this song by Pop Shuvit has yet to be played on our local airwaves / did not catch on with the listeners.

Fifth Performance – Edmushyta (Farhana – Putri Bumi Kenyalang)

I can’t fault the vocalist’s delivery of this song other than the fact he tripped on his lyrics once, which is a minor factor that most people might have missed out. There might also have been a slight pitching problem but overall I thought he made a difficult song to sing quite easy in the end. Maybe the only grouse I could say is that wearing what he wore (a vest) and singing the song he sang did not quite match up. Reminds me of a wedding singer actually. One of the better performances but still lacking that oomph factor.

Sixth Performance – X-Tech (Pangeran Cinta)

Best performance of the night by a mile. This is to be expected since this group is afterall the champion of Band Remix in 2006 organised by RIA 89.7FM. Everything from the execution to the delivery to the showmanship, I felt that none of the other contestants could touch them tonight. I think they have just set the standards to achieve what is needed to win this competition and the rest would do well to learn from them. I’m salivating for more from them in the coming weeks ahead.

Random Thoughts – I thought the judges were ok tonight, surprisingly, since regular readers of this blog would know I’m not Eddy Ali‘s biggest fan. The only thing I would like to point out is that Addy Cradle is too nice to be a judge. He would do well to express his own opinions without trying to repeat what Jatt and Eddy had already said before him. To be fair to him, he did improve as the show went on but commenting on three or four of the performances was not enough to know what goes on in his mind. He should also show enough gumption and say which performances were bad rather than say they were good to mask whatever failures there were. Still, Addy‘s comments on the technical aspects were refreshing in my point of view. Likewise Jatt‘s who is a veteran in the scene.

Six down this week and another six to go the following week. I can’t wait to see what Knightwings have in store. Ever since I saw the lead vocalist performed at last year’s Band Remix competition performing for Opurzit Youth who were eliminated from the Top 20, I have a feeling he’s destined for a career in the music industry. Cos it’s difficult to sing a rock number and in a high pitch voice without going off key or off pitch. And everyone knows that I always have a soft spot for singers who manage to make my hair stand when they open their mouths to sing. This guy is no different. Hopefully he would repeat the same performance he did last week.

Hail The Champions!!!

Nine months of hard work, nine months of graft, nine months of industry. All culminated into a day of glory, a day to be savoured by those who swear allegiance to the Red Devils. Yes, at times it has been nerve-wrecking, at times it has been frustrating and at times you feel the self-doubts creeping in. But the winning feeling can never be substituted, moreso when you feel that you have been worthy winners of a season-long campaign.

We might not win the Champions League Final in 9 days time. But this Barclays Premiership title is one that we will savour and remember in years to come as the one that sealed the third coming of a new generation. Hail the Champions!!! Reds of Merseyside, we’re gunning after your record…!!!

(Photo courtesy of Alex Livesley / Getty Images)

Bored & Peeved…

5 days into my MC and exactly a week after I got hit with the HFMD virus, the spots are slowly disappearing and the affected skin is peeling off nicely. Feels as though I’m a snake… I’m feeling extremely bored, which explains why I’m blogging so soon after I posted my last entry… What have I done of late???

  1. Blogging (Obviously!!!)
  2. Read the newspapers
  3. Read “Inside United” magazine (that’s Manchester Uniteds official magazine for the uninitiated)
  4. Surfed the Net for news and views in the football world and Nusantara music scene
  5. Blog-hopped
  6. Play my “Winning Eleven” game on Playstation 2
  7. Watched “Bachelor Party 2
  8. Watched “American Pie: Beta House
  9. Watched “B-13
  10. Watched “Superhero Movie
  11. Watched “Harold & Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay
  12. Watched “El Classico” (that’s Real Madrid vs Barcelona for the uninitiated)
  13. Playing around with a new toy I bought prior to my illness
  14. Going to the beach for some skin therapy (no one was around thankfully…)
  15. Update my Ipod with latest hits on the airwaves

What can I expect to do in the next 5 days???

  1. Resume cleaning the house after a week’s break
  2. Go shopping with the wife to buy gifts for a birthday boy and girl, newborns and our mums
  3. Watch more DVDs
  4. Read the newspapers
  5. Read the latest issue of First Magazine
  6. Watch Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United (hopefully we’ll lift the Premiership this Sunday)
  7. Catch up on lost quality time with my angels

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Don’t you just hate it when your contacts give others your phone number without first seeking your permission in the name of business referrals??? I’m hopping mad at whoever that gave my wife’s contact number to this makeover company called “Anne’s Image Consultants” or whatever it is called. This person who called us from this company could not even give a specific name as to who was the bloody culprit. Not only that, she was quite adamant on us taking up whatever dumb offers they had in store.

Even if you are pressed into having to give numbers away, just give them hoax numbers or tell these business people off that you need to seek permission first. Me and the wife did just that with our insurance agent when she pressed us for referrals there and then. Sometimes you have to be firm and protect the trust that your contacts have on you with their numbers. I am fiercely protective of the numbers in my contact list and I am appalled whenever I hear people giving away numbers freely. Yes, and that includes those dumb student intern reporters who pass around the numbers of artistes that they just interviewed. Professional my ass!!!

Please have the decency, the courtesy and the respect of the people whose number you want to give away and inform them that you would like to put their names and contact numbers down for referral. A person’s contact number is his / her own privacy. If you want to give it to someone else, seek the permission of the owner first. This is called “Amanah“, a simple responsibility that you will have to answer in the Hereafter. I know some people take for granted and give away numbers as freely as giving away secrets. Please change your goddamn bloody attitude and start being responsible for once!!!