anugeraHitz.sg Media Conference…

The first two months of 2010 have been quite active and hectic months for me in terms of attending shows, concerts and events, besides juggling work, family, social and sporting commitments (no, I’m not an athlete but am working hard to lose weight by either going to the gym or playing football / futsal or swimming almost daily as part of my 2010 resolutions. Heh…). Which meant that this domain of mine have been updated at least once a week by virtue of each event that I attended so far, plus those that I have yet to feature but I try to space them out and publish the ones that take more important precedence first. What has made 2010 even more special for me is the fact that I’ve been invited to attend media conferences like the Suria Elektra event earlier this month and as recently as this past Wednesday 24th February 2010, anugerahHitz.sg at Caldecott Broadcast Centre.

I cannot thank the kind people of Mediacorp Suria enough for recognising me as a credible blogger who blogs on our local Malay entertainment scene. Granted my humble domain is not as flashy as how I would like it to be, given the fact that I’m quite the design and technology idiot, but nonetheless I am forever grateful and thankful that where I lack in creative web / graphics design, I make up for it with factual information and honest thoughts that I could share with my dear readers. It took me about five years to gain credibility, for people to know and trust my product, in this case, my words, and see  that I’m not just running my mouth for the sake of it. I’m not bitter I took this long because anyone can do this themselves, but I believe if one is patient, honest, sincere, genuine and responsible in words, deeds and actions, then the sky’s the limit.

I did mention how small I felt in the midst of all the established media representatives during the Suria Elektra Media Conference earlier this month as I was the only blogger around. This time round, I was joined by two others that I have every single ounce of respect for – Izarr from Izone.sg and Iskandar Saad, otherwise known as Singapore Idol Season Three‘s Official Blogger. Granted Izarr was also at the Suria Elektra Media Conference, but he was there on a different capacity. Unlike mainstream media that chase after ratings, viewers, readers and sponsors, personally I don’t subscribe to that kind of approach when it comes to bloggers like us and am happy just the way I am right now. Maybe it is because I do not earn anything from blogging and most likely will not do so. But there are factors that go way beyond earning something out of what we do for a side hobby.

Each blogger, a local entertainment blogger to be more precise, has his or her own specialty and way of pouring forth their thoughts, whether by design, words put across or the variety of ways in which they colour their blogs. I’m just happy that of late, there seem to be more of us, because we can always learn from one another through what we say and opine. Diversified opinions will give us different perspectives and spectrums, thus resulting in various perceptions and understanding. It is most heartening to see alternative media like us local bloggers being accorded the honour of being invited to cover events as prestigious as these, besides giving our individual takes and opinions on our local Malay entertainment scene. It shows the trust that Suria has on us to help make it even more vibrant than ever.

And what can be more vibrant than anugeraHitz.sg??? It has been a long time coming, too long for our liking. Every year, we had to rely on the “kindness” of the organisers of Anugerah Planet Muzik (APM) i.e. Beyond Events and Mediacorp Radio (RIA 89.7FM & Warna 94.2FM) to set aside local awards presentations during the show. Regular readers of this blog would note that I’ve always been critical of the fact that whenever these awards were presented, the regional audience would not be able to see it and thus would not know more about our talented local acts. My grouse back then was, APM is afterall the brainchild of our people, a Singaporean product for the region and thus we have the means and power to dictate what and how we want it to be, especially when we could include more local acts into the mix.

However, over the years, I’ve come to accept how the system of APM works and it is why the proliferation of a local awards show is much welcomed when we have seen over the past five years, a healthy increase in local acts releasing singles and albums of mostly decent quality and ones we could be proud of as made in Singapore. The advent of reality shows like Anugerah Band and the positive, but constant upgrading of already established ones like Anugerah (the prizes get better every time!!!) have given some of these unpolished diamonds the opportunity and experience to smoothen their rough edges. Even if they did not win the competitions they entered, they came back better and wiser, well-equipped to enter the fray once again or to stamp their mark on the scene.

One shining example I can point out to you off-the-cuff is Fauzie Laily. He entered Anugerah in 2003 but was rather raw and forgettable back then. Two years later, he entered the competition again after gaining experiences on his own accord and he came in third in the 2005 edition. Fast forward to the current times, his stock has slowly risen and we now know him as a talented and versatile singer, actor and host, an almost constant feature on Mediacorp Suria. Success that has gone his way hasn’t changed him one bit. He is still the same humble and down-to-earth person I knew pre-Anugerah 2003. Speaking of which, he has been given the honour to host the inaugural anugeraHitz.sg event along with his Anugerah 2009 hosting partner and RIA 89.7FM presenter, Fiza O. Both of them were also the hosts at the anugeraHitz.sg Media Conference this past Wednesday.

Fauzie Laily and Fiza O, the hosts of anugeraHitz.sg…

anugeraHitz.sg is the first collaborative effort involving MediaCorp Suria, MediaCorp Radio stations Warna 94.2FM & Ria 89.7FM and Composers & Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) to honour the best in the local Malay music industry. It will be telecast live from MediaCorp TV Theatre on Saturday, 3rd April 2010 at 8.30pm on Suria. It will also be aired live on RIA 89.7FM. The show will witness the presentation of a total of ten award categories. Like most music award shows out there, a special “Lifetime Music Achievement” award will be presented to a deserving recording artiste / composer / lyricist / album producer who have excelled in the music field. Nominations were opened to singles, EPs or albums that were released in Singapore from 1st January 2009 to 31st December 2009.

Suria viewers have the chance to decide and vote for their favourite artistes through the “Most Popular Artiste” category, while the radio listeners had the opportunity to dictate the outcome of the “Most Popular Song” category via RIA‘s weekly RIA Chartz programme between 1st January 200931st December 2009. How the latter works is through the various songs requested in song request segments like “Laguku” and “Mania Hitz” amongst others. For the “Most Popular Song” category, the nominees will not be revealed and the winners will straightaway be announced during the night of anugeraHitz.sg itself. The local music fans can vote to determine the three “Most Popular Artistes” via SMS to 73388. Alternatively, they can vote through mobile phone and / or landline telephone by Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS). The process of voting to determine the  three “Most Popular Artistes” began on Wednesday 24th February 2010 and will conclude during the anugeraHitz.sg awards show on Saturday 3rd April 2010 at 10:00pm sharp. Each vote costs $0.60. Below is the list of artistes nominated in the “Most Popular Category” also known as “Category 10“, which I’ve taken off the official anugeraHitz.sg site. Credits to them:

The award nominees were selected out of a total of 152 applications, a commendable number seeing how small our local music industry is. They were judged by a host of credible judges which included representatives from Mediacorp Suria, Warna 94.2FM, RIA 89.7FM, COMPASS, as well as Mr Azmeer, an acclaimed Singapore-born singer and composer who made it big in Malaysia and was last seen as the guest judge in the Anugerah 2009 Grand Finals show, Mr Indra Shahrir, a prolific Music Director who had a helping hand at the recent Singapore Idol Season Three competition, and Ms Hartinah Ahmad a well-known writer and lyricist. I’m sure most of you reading this would have seen the nominations list by now. But if you have not, well without further ado, here it is:

LIST OF NOMINEES


CATEGORY 1: ARTIS BARU TERBAIK (BEST NEW ARTISTE)

 

 
No. Artiste Album
 

1

Hyrul Anuar Popular (Single)
 

2

Maiya Rahman Pengganti
 

3

Sarah Aqilah Biar Hati Mencintai (Single)
 

4

Shahril Bahri Yang Teratas
 

5

Zaibaktian Ejen Cinta

 

 

CATEGORY 2: DUO/KUMPULAN BARU TERBAIK (BEST NEW DUO/GROUP)

 
No. Artiste Album
 

1

Diorama From The E-Motion Picture Soundtrack
 

2

Rancour Rancour
 

3

Revalina Pertandingan Cinta
 

4

The Sallys An Unlikely Story
 

5

Verbalize Flo Yok Goyang Yok (Single)

 

CATEGORY 3: ARTIS TERBAIK (BEST ARTISTE)

 
No. Artiste Album
 

1

Didicazli Diari Cinta
 

2

Hady Mirza Sang Penyanyi
 

3

Syed Azmir Aku Bukan Sempurna (Single)
 

4

Taufik Batisah Suria Hatiku
 

5

Imran Ajmain Punca dan Tindakan

 

CATEGORY 4: DUO/KUMPULAN TERBAIK (BEST DUO/GROUP)

 
No. Artiste Album
 

1

Diorama From The E-Motion Picture Soundtrack
 

2

Rancour Rancour
 

3

Revalina Pertandingan Cinta
 

4

Sleeq Classiq
 

5

Sound Salvation Rock & Roll Milik Sama

 

CATEGORY 5: PENULIS LIRIK TERBAIK (BEST LYRICIST)

 
No. Artiste Album Song Composer Lyricist
 

1

Aqmal N. Warkah Cinta Dunia Warkah Cinta Dunia Aqmal N. Aqmal N.
 

2

Diorama From The E-Motion Picture Soundtrack Anti-Romantis Erza Erza
 

3

Hady Mirza Sang Penyanyi Angkasa Hady Mirza Hady Mirza
 

4

 

Shahridzuan Selamat @
Shah Revalina

 

Setia Menanti

 

Setia Menanti

 

Shahridzuan
Selamat

 

Shahridzuan Selamat

 

5

 

Taufik Batisah

 

Suria Hatiku

 

Nafasku

 

Taufik Batisah

 

Taufik Batisah

 

CATEGORY 6: KOMPOSER TERBAIK (BEST COMPOSER)

 

 
No. Artiste Album Song Composer Lyricist
 

1

Aqmal N. Warkah Cinta Dunia Warkah Cinta Aqmal N. Aqmal N.
 

2

Diorama From the E-Motion Picture Soundtrack Sanubariku Erza Erza
 

3

 

Shahridzuan Selamat @
Shah
Revalina

 

Setia Menanti

 

Setia Menanti

 

Shahridzuan
Selamat

 

Shahridzuan
Selamat

 

4

Didicazli ft Sleeq Classiq Impianku Alyph Sleeq Didicazli
 

5

Taufik Batisah Suria Hatiku Nafasku Taufik Batisah Taufik Batisah

 

CATEGORY 7: LAGU TERBAIK (BEST SONG)

 

No. Artiste Album Song Composer Lyricist
 

1

 

Diorama

 

From The E-Motion Picture Soundtrack

 

Sanubariku

 

 Erza

 

Erza

 

2

 

Hady Mirza

 

Sang Penyanyi

 

Angkasa

 

Hady Mirza

 

Hady Mirza

 

3

 

Shahridzuan Selamat @ Shah Revalina

 

Setia Menanti

 

Setia Menanti

 

Shahridzuan Selamat

 

Shahridzuan Selamat

 

4

 

Syed Azmir

 

Aku Bukan Sempurna (Single)

 

Aku Bukan Sempurna

 

Alyph Sleeq

 

Alyph Sleeq

 

5

 

Taufik Batisah

 

Suria Hatiku

 

Nafasku

 

Taufik Batisah

 

Taufik Batisah

 

CATEGORY 8: ALBUM TERBAIK (BEST ALBUM)


No. Artiste Album Producer
 

1

Didicazli Diari Cinta M. Nasir & Didicazli
 

2

Hady Mirza Sang Penyanyi Hady Mirza
 

3

Sleeq Classiq Magic Potions Pte Ltd
 

4

Taufik Batisah Suria Hatiku Taufik Batisah, Ken Lim, M. Nasir
 

5

Imran Ajmain Punca dan Tindakan Imran Ajmain

Besides representatives from the mainstream and alternative media attending the media conference, the event held at the Mediacorp‘s Multi-Purpose Hall this past Wednesday, was attended by about one hundred artistes, artiste managers, musicians, composers, lyricists and producers, a figure no doubt encouraging for an event that is making its long-awaited debut. Perhaps the downside of it was the conspicuous absence of our two earlier Singapore Idols or their representatives. I dunno the reason why they were not around as they are amongst the major nominees and would not like to speculate on their absence. But I hope no one would hold it against them for not attending the event. Perhaps they had prior engagements that held them back. I believe they would be proud of their nominations and would attend the actual event come 3rd April 2010 either as guests or performers.

Before the nominations were announced, we were briefed on how the awards show was conceived and the quality in standard of the applications received by firstly Dr Edmund Lam, Chief Executive Officer and Director of COMPASS, followed by Mr Ezra Farabi, Assistant Vice-President of Mediacorp Suria and Ms. Zakiah HalimMediacorp Radio‘s Vice President of Malay, Indian & Expatriate Programming. The latter said that there was a distinctive gap in standard between the good and the not-so-good ones in terms of technical aspects like mastering and mixing amongst others, which could be improved on. But overall, the artistes could give themselves pats on their backs for the foundation they have laid to base on and strive even harder to produce better quality singles / albums for future anugeraHitz.sg events.

Leading up to anugeraHitz.sg, there will be a 3-episode programme called “Hitz.sg” on the nominees. “Hitz.sg” will be aired on Saturdays, 13th, 20th and 27th March 2010 at 8.30pm on Suria. The recording of the three-part series will be held this Sunday 28th February 2010 and Monday 1st March 2010. The following are the line-up of the scheduled shows:

Hitz.sg: Episode 1
Sunday, 28 February 2010
8.30pm (To be seated by 8pm)
Studio 1
TX Details: Saturday, 13 March 2010, 8.30pm on Suria
Artistes: Maiya Rahman, Shahril Bahri, The Sallys, Zaibaktian, Hyrul Anuar, Verbalize Flo & Sarah Aqilah

Hitz.sg: Episode 2
Monday, 1 March 2010
8pm (To be seated by 7.30pm)
Studio 1
TX Details: Saturday, 20 March 2010, 8.30pm on Suria
Artistes: Sleeq, Rancour, Revalina, Diorama, Sound Salvation

Hitz.sg: Episode 3
Monday, 1 March 2010
9.30pm (To be seated by 9pm)
Studio 1
TX Details: Saturday, 27 March 2010, 8.30pm on Suria
Artistes: Syed Azmir, Aqmal N, Shahridzuan Selamat @ Shah Revalina, Didicazli, Hady Mirza, Imran Ajmain & Taufik Batisah

Congratulations to all the nominees of the inaugural anugeraHitz.sg, a milestone & landmark event for Singapore‘s local Malay entertainment industry!!!

 

Glenn Fredly Lovevolution Concert Reminisced…

I know I’ve been holding this entry back for quite some time because I wanted to space out my entries. It didn’t help that the last entry I did was of more importance for the sake of public awareness. At least I know you’ll be coming back for more. Another reason why I procrastinated on this entry was because I dunno what to talk about in the first place, other than the fact that Glenn Fredly is a charismatic singer, whose voice and stage presence alone are enough reasons for someone to part his hard-earned money to watch him perform up-close and live.

However, the ironical thing is that, no matter how great and inspiring Glenn Fredly is as a crooner and soul balladeer, personally I’ve never held him in high esteem nor mention his name in the same breath as one of my favourite artistes like vocal male powerhouses Anuar Zain or Imran Ajmain for instance. Even his popularity in these parts is more or less subjected to a few hit singles like “Januari“, “Sedih Tak Berujung“, “Happy Sunday“, “Cuma Kamu” and “Dengarkanlah“, the duet he did with Malaysian songbird Amy Mastura. Quite a mystery to me as he has a voice which could melt a woman’s heart and transport them to dreamland just by opening his mouth to sing.

However, I do appreciate the God-given talents this Ambon native possesses and boy does he have it in abundance??? I almost forgot that I actually own two of his earlier albums in my CD collection entitled “Kembali” which was released in 2000 and “Selamat Pagi, Dunia!” released in 2003. I bought the former because I fell in love with his song “Kasih Putih” the first time I heard it on radio. The latter album, with his greatest hit “Januari” and “Terpesona“, a duet he did with Audy, was considered his best-selling album to date, spawning a repackaged version in 2004, which contained two other hit singles “Akhir Cerita Cinta” and “Sedih Tak Berujung“.

And so you might wonder, why did I spend my hard-earned money to watch someone I do not list as one of my favourite artistes nor hold him in high regards??? Well the answer goes way back to 2007 when Glenn Fredly held court to his first concert here in Singapore at the Rock Auditorium, Suntec City Mall. That concert coincided with his “Happy Sunday Tour” and for those who went, would remember seeing Taufik Batisah, our first Singapore Idol, in the audience. Back then, the concert was a sell-out event and he literally tore the roof down and had the audience rushing forward and dancing to his songs. It certainly helped that such a venue did not result in the kind of hefty ticket pricing that Esplanade usually commands, which meant that a lot of Indonesians working as domestic workers here were able to enjoy the concert.

In case you’re wondering if I’m looking down on these workers for their lack of spending acumen, the answer is no, cos I did stumble upon a blog site belonging to an Indonesian who said that her fellow countrymen who came to watch Glenn Fredly‘s Lovevolution concert were mostly from the richer class. Upon reflection I thought it was quite a fair comment, seeing the tickets that the Esplanade had set, are about a third to half of what these domestic workers earn monthly and I don’t think many of them would want to part with their hard-earned money just like that. Still on the subject of the “Happy Sunday Tour” concert, well what a show it was, as one could really see the Indonesian audience letting their hair down, as compared to their Singaporean counterparts, who are normally dead-pan when watching concerts, the Malay ones that is.

Another factor which swayed me to watch the Lovevolution concert was the fact that it was promoted as being his last concert tour before he retires. Well the word “retires” certainly did come out from his mouth when he held a press conference to announce the concert tour and the launch of the Lovevolution album on the same day as the concert. Though rumours have been rife about his health condition, the actual reason he gave was to return to his hometown to open a production house and social foundation that would guide the potential youngsters to achieve their dreams of seeing their musical talents recognised. Even then, the health rumours still have not gone away and continue to linger even after the man has explained himself. With those factors in mind, I got myself front-row tickets, which to me came as quite a bit of a surprise as I had expected people to snap the tickets up the moment they got wind of Glenn‘s retirement plans.

When I entered the Esplanade Theatre, I was extremely surprised to see only the first level stall and circle seats were filled up and there was no one on the second, third and fourth level. This was something new to me as past events and concerts held at the Esplanade Theatre that I attended were relatively sold-out events. As I made my way to my seat, I spotted a few familiar faces, notably Didicazli, Wawan (Anugerah 2009 finalist) who were seated at the fourth row and Mr. Hassan Salleh, Senior Programme Director of RIA 89.7FM and his wife, who were seated just behind me and my missus. I also noticed Fauzie Laily and friends seated at the other end of the second row. Familiar faces, all with one intention – To enjoy watching a class performer strut his stuff one last time on our shores.

My old football buddy, Fauzie Laily, truly enjoyed himself there… By the way, tomorrow 22 February 2010, his official website, www.fauzielaily.com will be launched at 2:22pm… Do look out for it!!!

And we were not disappointed throughout a concert which was supposed to last 105 minutes. In fact it went on for slightly more than two hours. Even though most of the songs were lost on us due to their unfamiliarity and lack of airplay here, that did not stop the audience from tapping our feet and clapping along to the beats of the songs sung by Glenn that night, who continuously quipped that he felt blessed to realise his dreams of performing at a world class venue like the Esplanade, a legacy which would live long in his memory. True to his soft spoken nature, he addressed the audience with such sincerity and warmth, the ladies just couldn’t help themselves by displaying their love for him with constant shouts-out of “I love you Glenn!

Backed by a tight unit of six sessionists and one musical programmer, Glenn oozed a certain kind of sexiness and charisma on stage which not many are able to exude. Shifting from playing the guitar and the piano intermittently, Glenn was in his element, whipping up the audience into standing up and dancing along to his songs, just like the last concert he did here in 2007. Though the man is known for his sappy ballads and tear-jerking songs, some of his catchy R&B-infused songs performed that night were given elegant touches of jazz, a dash of funk, a sprinkle of pop, a dose of salsa, and even a pinch of disco at different points, leaving memorable impressions on the minds of those who were there to witness it first-hand.

His lead guitarist and saxaphonist in particular, were the side attractions, coming forward to play their instruments alongside Glenn and dancing along with him. Like most musicians who credit the late Michael Jackson as a massive form of inspiration to their respective works of art, he even paid tribute to the “King of Pop”  in one segment by singing “Human Nature” and “The Lady In My Life“. When he broke into his more familiar tunes on these shores, the audience could be heard singing along. Especially when he sang “Januari”, it was melodious to hear the whole arena acting as his back-up vocals and singing with gusto. It is afterall his monster hit here that still receives constant airplay, even though the song is already more than six years old.

Lovevolution marks Glenn Fredly‘s latest chapter in his music career. The songs in the album represent his experiences throughout his journey, the hits, the misses, the love, the heartbreaks all culminating into one masterpiece of an album. And he took great pains to say that it is because of love that he is still standing as a musician and love itself that brought him to the Esplanade to realise his dreams of performing there. Though he reflected wistfully on his two failed marriages, he said it actually made him an even stronger person and believe that love when it comes in future, would give it the perfection that his previous experiences had almost given him. Always positive, truly optimistic this fella.

Fauzie with Ibrahim Hashim (theatre activist), DJ KC (RIA 89.7FM), Rafil Kamaruddin (Organisational Excellence Executive with MUIS), Fiza O (RIA 89.7FM) and Janna Jauhar (Labels of Love)

It has to be said also that this concert had its fair share of sacrifices made on his part. For one, Glenn had to miss his younger sibling’s wedding on the same day of the concert, a landmark event that he regretted not being able to attend, but still found time to give props and dedicated a song to the newly-weds. The build up to the concert day also made him stay away from seafood or food that have elements of them in it, for fear that his health would prevent him from giving the audience a good performance. It has afterall been well-documented that late last year, he suffered a setback due to problems to his digestive systems. Due diligence and care towards his health were of paramount importance in only giving his absolute best for the audience to remember him by in this concert.

Mr. Hassan Salleh, Ms. Zakiah Halim (Vice President, Malay, Indian & Expatriate Programming, MediaCorp Radio), Fiza O & KC enjoyed the concert as their smiles were testament to it…

What was initially meant to be a “retirement” actually turned out to be a form of hibernation and rest from the entertainment scene in Indonesia. For how long he would be out of the scene that he has given so much dedication to for the past fifteen years, only time will tell and only he will decide when is the right time to return. But what was important was the legacy he left, the indelible impressions he had worked so hard to leave behind, the sweet memories he would want his fans and those who appreciate his music to remember him by. The Lovevolution concert, with him performing at least twenty-one songs that night, was one and a testimony that Glenn Fredly is indeed an entertaining performer, a genuine and professional class act, who deserves every title that is bestowed upon him especially the one that I subscribe to the most that is, “The King of Indonesian R&B“…

P.S. In what is now slowly becoming a regular feature of this blog and I’ll try to feature more artistes to do a promo of their works, albums, upcoming shows, dramas they’re acting in in future entries, God willing, I leave you with a message from Fiza O:

Of Basic Ethics & Sincere Intentions…

Some of you reading this who follow me on Twitter or if you’re in my list of contacts in Facebook would have noticed my rants this past Tuesday. In my rants, I voiced out my unhappiness towards an initiation and public announcement on Berita Harian on the days leading up to the recent Kawin-Kawin Makan-Makan exhibition at Singapore Expo Hall 6B, over the past Chinese New Year weekend, that a Dollah Kassim Soccer Academy was to be launched on Tuesday, 16th February 2010 at 6:00pm. Just to give you a sample of how the advertisement looked like in case you might have missed out on it as well, I’ve taken the liberty to scan it for you:

If it wasn’t for the wife’s sharp eye for details, I think my family members and I would not have seen the advertisement ourselves or be made aware of it. So you must be wondering why am I feeling absolutely pissed off about it, rather than feel honoured that my uncle would leave a legacy to remember him by, by having a  football academy to his name??? The answer is too elementary and even an idiot could tell us the straight answer.

In anything we do in life, if it involves using someone else’s name, or if we were to borrow something that belongs to him or her, what must we do first and foremost??? I’m sure anyone out there would know that the answer is a no-brainer and that the most basic thing to do is to seek the permission of the person or his next-of-kin. Even in intellectual property rights, due approval is needed before someone can make use of its contents or risked being faced with legal action. If I had not informed my cousins and aunt about it, and I only informed them on Sunday night when I went over to visit Uncle Dollah at his home, they too would not have known about this.

The person who initiated this idea, simply forgot the most basic of rules and that was to seek the permission of Uncle Dollah‘s family to use his name or introduce the idea of having a football academy to his name. We’re not uncivilised and uncultured people. Which was why, to give this person the benefit of doubt, we all waited for him to personally contact Uncle Dollah‘s family up till this past Tuesday itself, but he never called. It was only when my cousin Ezaad was on his way to the Expo, did he receive a call from ex-international Malek Awab, asking him to come down and witness the so-called “launch”.

Look, if you are freaking sincere about doing something noble and a service to Uncle Dollah‘s family as well as the community, why aren’t you brave enough to call my cousin yourself??? Why do you need to have a third party doing the dirty work for you, and that too at the very last minute??? How would anyone of you out there feel if someone uses your father’s name for their own benefits without having the courtesy to inform you of their intentions??? Does it sound genuinely sincere at all that you only contacted my cousin through a third party, that too, when he himself already made the decision to go down and see it for himself??? I am sure that anyone reading this would understand the anger seething within my family’s ranks that someone in his haste to come up with a noble idea, could mess it up big time. But it didn’t end there.

When Ezaad talked to him backstage prior to the so-called “launch”, he was given the idea that it was all a misunderstanding and that no mention of the launch of the football academy was to be made since the family had not sat down to discuss its possibility. What was supposed to happen on stage was to collect funds for Uncle Dollah via auctions made on football stuff donated by Malek Awab himself, as this person was highly inspired by what Perkamus did the previous month at the last Mega Wedding & Lifestyle exhibition. Ezaad also told me that Malek Awab himself  had his reservations about this project simply because it is on a voluntary basis and wondered how long it can sustain. And so Ezaad and I waited for the event to unfold. What was promoted to start at 6:00pm, ended up starting at 7:30pm. Typical huh??? *snigger*

You can imagine the shock on our faces when the emcee on stage, Syah Ibrahim, announced that the “launch” of the football academy was on. Malek Awab, this smart aleck of a guy and another person whose identity was lost on me, were invited up on stage to launch the football academy. After the initial introductions were made, Ezaad himself was asked to come on stage to receive a token, which was actually a flimsy piece of paper folded in three and stapled at the sides. What was inside it, I didn’t want to know cos just by the look of it, reflected how much sincerity went into it.

By then I was already fuming mad and had half the mind to go up on stage and say that this launch was a no go. Ezaad himself was initially reluctant to go up on stage as he too was royally pissed, but he had the presence of mind and compassion to not spoil the event. To his credit, he thanked everyone for all their help, donation and prayers towards Uncle Dollah all these while, without mentioning anything about the launch or the football academy. I am extremely proud of my cousin that even in his state of anger and embarrassment, he still kept his cool and dignity. I doubt I could maintain that stance, given my short-tempered nature.

The smart aleck then went on to promote that whoever is interested to participate in the football academy and if they’re 16 years old and below, could come down to Compassvale Primary every Sunday at 8:30am for training. That particular line literally had my blood at its boiling point and I was really bursting at the seams. What happened to the so-called non-mention of the football academy launch made earlier??? And there wasn’t even any auctions made as well.

To rub salt to my family’s wounds, they immediately held interviews backstage with a Channel News Asia staff to announce the launch of the football academy. Thankfully Ezaad was on hand to inform the producer not to release the news as the family had not made a firm decision on this. The way we see it, this smart aleck seems to want to use Uncle Dollah‘s name to attract more aspiring young footballers to train under him, seeing that he already is doing some coaching on the said day and time. For all the names of the ex-internationals mentioned in the advertisement, only Malek Awab turned up to “support” the event, but I believe he too is very much sceptical about it and we do not hold it against him for going through the motions.

My whole family is up in arms over this matter and we all regard this as a very serious and grave issue. Cynics out there would question the fact that we’re being ungrateful to people who have voluntarily come forward to offer their goodwill services to help in Uncle Dollah‘s cause. While we appreciate the kind gesture, we are extremely upset and vexed that Uncle Dollah‘s name is bandied about without getting his immediate family’s approval, nor discussing with them personally of plans to have this academy going. Not only that, they were also not told how the football academy is going to be run, what constitutes its administration, who are the people behind it, who is responsible for its licensing, funding and logistics cos even if it’s done voluntarily, the issue of money is never ever too far away.

It is also not so easy to launch a football academy without first getting its proper accreditation from the Singapore Sports Council, Football Association of Singapore and Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports. I wondered if all these factors had been taken into consideration or not prior to announcing to the whole wide world on the existence of this football academy??? If things were to go wrong, who is supposed to be accountable for the mess, Uncle Dollah or his family members, or the people who volunteered to run it??? Whatever it is, if things were to turn sour, the first thing the public will clamour for blood is Uncle Dollah‘s, simply because his name is used. I’m sure nobody would want to witness the day a legendary national sportsman’s name being dragged down the mud and losing his honour through irresponsible means and characters.

I hope whoever was at Singapore Expo that day when this so-called football academy was launched, would not be taken in easily and that no kids out there would have high hopes of joining it cos it surely is not going to happen and I believe my aunt and cousins are hell-bent and adamant against it. As a family, we did have initial plans to set up a football academy under Uncle Dollah‘s name and these plans were discussed prior to his unfortunate deterioration of health. If this project is ever going to materialise, then the legend himself would have the final say and would be overlooking the proceedings, not any strangers out there,  not anyone from the local football fraternity, most definitely not even ex-youth players who claim to be ex-international players.

Initially I did not want to publish this entry, because we were supposed to hold an emergency meeting with this person before this week is out. But he put it off to next week and I cannot have kids or parents who were at the Expo that fateful Tuesday believing that this football academy is genuine and approved by the relevant authorities as well as Uncle Dollah‘s family, and perhaps turning up this Sunday thinking they are really training under the umbrella of Dollah Kassim Soccer Academy. Nobody in our family died and appointed this person our decision maker. Whatever innovative ideas you have, you jolly well get the necessary approval and do your bloody homework. Don’t assume and jump into wild conclusions that what you are doing would be a service. You’re only making things worse for the family!!!

THE WHOLE FAMILY DEMANDS A PUBLIC APOLOGY FOR USING UNCLE DOLLAH’S NAME WITHOUT OUR APPROVAL!!!

Anak Wayang Promo…

I had given my word to a good friend of mine that I would be putting this promo up by the past weekend but as I had other commitments to look into, I could only upload this today. Apologies dear friend, hope you don’t hold it against me for not keeping my word. Anyway, I hope for those of you who have the time and would like to immerse yourself in a theatre production, then I suggest you keep the dates and times mentioned below free. Attached with this promotional poster is the synopsis of the production, which I have edited to give it an edgier outlook:

ANAK WAYANG

Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts Ltd will be producing “Ának Wayang a dance theatre, as a tribute to all performing arts activists also known as “Anak Seni“, who have contributed in abundance, in the effort of promoting “Performing Arts” in Singapore, through dance, theatre and music.

Sri Warisan has invited Sri Mahligai, Sri Anggerik Bangsawan and Sriwana, names that are synonymous in the local traditional Malay dance and music fraternity, to collaborate in this grand production.

Initiated and conceptualised by Mr Adel Dzulkarnaen Ahmad and Marina Yusoff as the Script Writer and Director, the ultimate goal of Ának Wayang” is the assembly of the new-generation teams of the respective four traditional performing groups in one production, thus providing a platform and avenue to gain artistic experience and cohesiveness amongst them. They are our future and our hope; they are Singapore’s “Anak Wayang“.

Anak Wayang” portrays how the journey of an “Anak Wayang” begins and experiences, way back in the 1920’s. Beginning with scenes from the kampung / village to the Bangsawan era, the journey would then shift to the booming film industry back in the days of Jalan Ampas, highlighting the sacrifices made by “Anak Wayang” to be a full time performer in the 1950’s. For those of you who miss the days of yore, flashbacks depicting the Dondang Sayang club in the 1980’s would be a walk down memory lane to savour. Also in a surprising twist in scenes of the future, “Anak Wayang” will make inroads by going global & international, progressing and achieving success in the modern, technology era.

This production will also feature Shahril Wahid, a renowned theatre activist, dancer, presenter & Mediacorp Suria’s freelance artiste. Shahril came to the fore in the local Malay entertainment industry when he was crowned the inaugural Anugerah Skrin winner (Male Category) back in 2006. Since then he has played a variety of roles on television, of which the recent one as a handicapped and paralysed character in the drama series “Gerimis Di Hati“, has been touted as his best performance to date.

Suria Elektra Post-Event: What You Did Not Get To See…

As promised, I’m back with this entry which I’ve promised to upload before Monday. For those of you who are linked to me in Facebook, this post is perhaps very much redundant as you would have seen the photographs I uploaded on Suria Elektra and its post-event reception about a week ago. But of course I have not forgotten those who are not in my contact list. That is why this entry is published specially for you even if I don’t upload all the photographs I took that night.

If you had watched the live telecast show from the comfort of your home, then you would have missed seeing the cutting of Suria‘s 10th Anniversary cake when the rolled credits had ended and Suria was showing “Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang“. Our distinguised guests-of-honour were invited up to the stage by the pre / post-event emcee, A B Shaik, to cut the 10kg cake sponsored by Prima Deli. Just before the cake was cut, everyone in the auditorium was asked to join in the singing of the birthday song. Even stars like Dato’ Siti NurhalizaRamli SaripTaufik Batisah and Hady Mirza amongst others, were not spared from being asked to sing when the microphone was passed to them.

The artistes waving and thanking the audience and fans who had come to watch…

Nurul Aini was seen blowing kisses to the crowd. She really enjoyed herself as a host that night…

The look on Fadly Awaludin‘s face was classic…

 

The cake is then wheeled out from the backstage…

“Happy birthday to you!!!… Happy birthday to you!!!”

Blowing away the flames on the candles…

And cutting the cake…

And then it was time for the food to be served at the post-event reception…

Suhaimi Yusof, food connoisseur, tucking in…

Hady & Taufik were still game for photographs even though they wore tired looks on their faces…

A mixture of old and new, from left: Taufik Salleh, Roslan Kemat, Noor Atika Kamaludin & Joe Lazarie

Imran Ajmain looked dashing, while Nurul Aini was stunning…

The ladies who sat together in a row and held their own party that night. Any performer would love to have them as part of their audience. From left: Rosita Hussin, Ariati Tyeb, Rahimah Yusof, Rita Zahara, Mastura Ahmad, Seri Wahyuni Jaes, Elfaeza Ul-Haq & Dalina Jaapar.

Here’s Pianka and their manager Jihan Jauhar

Three beautiful ladies whose talents have been discovered by Suria over the past decade, from left: Azzah Fariha, Kunjung and Huda Ali

Ashmie, Elfaeza and Shahril Wahid demonstrating how to be toothpaste commercial models, while Suhaillah Salam, Dalina & Taufik kept it cool…

The guys looked slick while the ladies were demure. You gotta hand it to Imran Ajmain, Syarif Sleeq, Fauzie Laily, Norfasarie, Rosita Hussin, Nurul Aini, Elfaeza, Dalina & Najip Ali

Suhaillah with the ever loving couple, Rafaat Hamzah and his wife Ziz Za

Catty (Anugerah 2009 semi-finalist) and Alyph Sleeq  flanking the cast of the new series Cinta Ixora – Syarif Sleeq, Nurul Nabilah, Setia Vegawati, Nadiah Mohd and Shenthy Feliziana. Cinta Ixora will debut on Suria on 27 February 2010 at 09:30pm

I’m sure fans of Syah Ibrahim (second from right) would love this photograph. Here he is with, from right: M. Saffri A. Manaf, Roslan Kemat, A B Shaik & Jorah Ahmad‘s chaperone…

Sani Hussin (second from left) was initially hesitant to take this photograph alongside the younger generation of Suria artistes like Ashmie, Taufik, Haizad Imran, Fadhlur Rahman, Sufiyan, Azzah Fariha & Elfaeza as he felt out of place, but he joined in after much coaxing. I’m sure the younger cohort look up to him as a mentor and inspiration…

Rita Zahara, ex-newscaster of both English & Malay news got my vote as the best-dressed that night. She was simply gorgeous in her dress, which was designed by Lulu Alhadad, an up and coming fashion designer…

And before I end this entry, I would just like to thank Imran Ajmain for taking the time to record this for my readers on that night itself. Please do give him your utmost support and visit his official website www.imranajmain.com for the latest news on his upcoming shows and single / album promotions. Also, for more news on our local entertainment scene, promotions on upcoming shows, concerts and events, you can get your bites at Gumbira.com, a company set up by none other than the man himself…

 

 

Suria Elektra Review…

Just as I had begun my previous entry, Mediacorp Suria reached a milestone on 30 January 2010 when it turned a decade old. And to commemorate its ten years of existence, the premier Malay television channel in Singapore held two big bashes within the space of a week – Fiesta Suria held at East Coast Park on 30 January 2010 itself and Suria Elektra on Friday 5th February 2010. While I will update this domain on photographs of the beach event on a slightly later date, I’m sure the one that people have vested interest in, is the Suria Elektra event.

Suria Elektra featured a stellar gathering of around 100 artistes and these included the unsung performers like the dancers, under the direction of veteran choreographer Eddy, the back-up singers under the tutelage of vocal coach Ann Hussein and the musicians led by Amri Amin, a well-respected music arranger and director. The two-hour live musical extravaganza was not only an evening of musical splendour but it also celebrated the unveiling of Suria’s new logo:

The new Suria logo reflects the channel’s growth. The strong bold letter “S” symbolises the channel’s strength in its aspiration to strife for new creative ideas. The bright orange signifies freshness and vibrancy while the “smiley” shape below the letter “S” characterises the channel as a “feel-good” channel that continues to shine with the viewers. The logo was officially unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was the guest-of-honour, during the show itself.

Suria‘s prime-time viewership has grown by 33% from 2008 to 2009 with the channel’s local contents constantly been its top-rated programmes. In a press release statement, Mr Suhaimi Jais, Senior Vice President of Suria Programming & Promotions and Mediacorp Eaglevision said that the challenge for them is to continuously improve their contents and keeping them fresh. The change in logo also portrays Suria‘s aspirations to be more innovative and providing up-to-date content.

It was a throwback to the year 2000 when the Prime Minister who was then-Deputy Prime Minister, had also launched the first official Malay channel on our shores. The days when our Malay programmes had to share a common channel with the arts, Tamil as well as children’s programmes now seem like a distant memory. Over the years we have also seen the launching of dedicated channels to cater to our Indian community (Vasantham) as well as for the children / arts / documentaries / lifestyle (Okto).

Before the show kicked off in earnest, there was a red-carpet and pre-show cocktail event. Hosted by roving hosts, Huda Ali & Rilla Melati, clips of the event were shown in brief and it looked grand seeing the invited artistes dressed in their very best. I did not attend the event as my invitation card did not include being invited to it. Even if I was invited, I doubt I would be able to make it as I was still stuck at work right up till 7.30pm, when the card clearly stated that we were to be there at 7:00pm!!! Good thing when I reached Caldecott Broadcast Centre, I was still considered early and had time to make my way into the auditorium. The only downside was having to negotiate my way in and being resorted to strict security checks. But that was understandable as the event was graced by the who’s who in our Malay community circle, distinguished dignitaries and of course, our Prime Minister.

The show kicked off with aplomb, Sarah Aqilah, the winner of Anugerah 2009, came onstage to sing Mulan Jameela‘s “Makhluk Tuhan Paling Seksi“. It came as a big surprise to me that this song was able to be performed on national television and in front of very, very important people who made up part of the audience. You might wonder and question, “What is wrong with that???” Here’s the ironical part. This song was not approved to be aired by our local radio stations due to its apparently suggestive nature, and yet here we are seeing it being performed on a grand scale. I wonder if the so-called “ban” would now be lifted as a result.

I thought the choice of having Najip Ali & Nurul Aini as hosts was spot-on. For someone who has not done live hosting for a few years, I thought Nurul did extremely well, even to the point of improvising her script at certain points to give it an edgier punch. Their chemistry throughout the show, grew as the minutes wore on. Obviously Nurul didn’t look out of place even though she did admit, she was very nervous prior to the show. One could understand her fears, especially since this was afterall a grand event watched by thousands at home and very, very important people in the auditorium.

Sleeq & Maiya Rahman performing a song specially composed in tribute to popular programmes televised on Suria over the past ten years…

It was apt that Eka Mairina & Kunjung Whitaker performed together onstage as they’re our two famous Indonesian imports whose raw potentials were polished in the Anugerah competition. I had envisaged that someday they would perform together but I did not expect it to be this soon. For the record, Eka became champion in 2003 while Kunjung was the runner-up in last year’s competition. That night, they sang the classic hit “Jelingan Manja” and was accompanied by renowned saxaphonist Jari.

Anang Hermansyah performing his current hit “Separuh Jiwaku Pergi“. The whole auditorium felt his emotions flowing in the song and he was given a rousing ovation by a whole row of female personalities that included the likes of Seri Wahyuni Jaes, Mastura Ahmad, Ariati Tyeb and Rita Zahara

This particular segment whereby Anang and Sarah sang the former’s composition “Belajarlah Untuk Cinta” was both cute and cynical at the same time – Cute because Anang was being cheeky and romantic by holding onto Sarah‘s hands throughout the song and grinning from ear to ear, and cynical because the words to the song was an obvious dig to his ex-wife. They obviously were a joy to listen to, showing good vocal harmony together and having the chemistry that lent credence to the performance. Sarah who was initially coy, showed the audience why she deserved to be crowned Anugerah 2009 champion by hitting the high notes with nonchalant ease. Not that regular viewers needed any reminders.

Vadi, Kym Ng and Suhaimi Yusof cracking up the audience with their short skit…

The girls of Pianka definitely did not disappoint when they sang their first single “Mau Yang Besar“. Though the song is more than a year old, having been included in the Cicakman 2 official soundtrack album, I’ve yet to hear it on this shores. I just hope the slightly suggestive title doesn’t go the same way as Mulan Jameela‘s “Makhluk Tuhan Paling Seksi“, because compared to the latter which I agree has some undesirable tones, the former actually portrays how some ladies’ preferences for material stuff, are conditions warranted in order to win over their hearts. This song has been playing at the back of my head ever since I met them at the Suria Elektra Media Session. Kudos to Edry KRU on another masterpiece composition. He’s not a millionaire for nothing or just by introducing mere pretty faces in the music industry across the Causeway.

As winners of the inaugural Anugerah Band competition, I expected Rancour to at least have more minutes to their segment, cos Sarah Aqilah appeared in no less than three items that night. Surely being winners themselves, they deserved slightly more, yes???

Eiss & “Papa Rock“, Ramli Sarip, singing the latter’s old hit “Teratai“. The hairs stood in awe of their performance…

Ramli Sarip then took centrestage singing “Keliru“…

He was ably accompanied by Zoul (left) and Alif Putra (right). For the uninitiated, Zoul is the younger brother of M. Nasir and Alif was the winner of Best Musician at the inaugural Anugerah Band competition in 2008, where he turned out with the group Putra.

This segment featuring the new faces of Suria over the past decade left me and the audience scratching our heads as to whether it was necessary to have in the first place or merely a filler of sorts because it felt more like a fashion showcase where models do the catwalk along the runway. Even though I have no qualms about their selections and felt all ten of them deserved to be there, I just can’t help thinking that besides the good-lookers, maybe perhaps they could have included the breakthrough artistes or artistes who are plus-sized but still became household names like Fadhilah Samsudin (Erlin Montel), Zamberi Abdul Patah (Cik Leh in “Jeritan Sepi 2“) and Haryani Othman (Cikgu Bedah in “Tahu Nahu“). Granted, you need to look good to be on television, but a more realistic perspective could probably have given these people a fairer opportunity to receive some form of recognition for their good performances and making viewers remember them by.

Unlike his haunting hit “Angkasa” which has now topped the local radio charts for a ninth straight week, I found Hady Mirza‘s next single “Hentikan“, taken off his “Sang Penyanyi” album, which he sang that night, needing a lot of getting used to as compared to the former. “Angkasa” is easier on the ears as it is a typical ballad and sappy song. What made it even more special was the fact that it was Hady‘s first Malay single since “Jangan Memandu Di Pinggir Jalan“. However, the message the song “Hentikan” brings with it with regards to world peace, ending strifes and wars I believe, is more important and that’s what make this next single of his a song of pristine substance. I also do not dare to bet against this song following the footsteps of “Angkasa” and topping the local charts in time to come.

When Suria Channel was first launched on 30 January 2000, Siti Nurhaliza was slowly making waves as the hottest singing sensation this part of South-East Asia was witnessing. Back then when she donned a striking kimono and singing “Kurniaan Dalam Samaran“, I doubt that anyone of us, me included, would have envisaged seeing her being conferred the status of a “Dato‘” within a ten-year period. But such has been her colourful journey and without waxing too much lyrical on her achievements that need no further reminding, she has definitely gone on to become a brand name that the whole Nusantara has come to love and in the case of certain quarters, dislike. The title bestowed on her was a matter of when, not if. She would have gotten it even if she had not married a “Dato‘” as well.

That night Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza sang three songs to the delight of the watching audience. The first, “Batas Asaku” was taken off the official soundtrack of the movie “Perempuan Berkalung Sorban“, which was based on a novel by Abidah el Khalieqy, and was first published by the Yayasan Kesejahteraan Fatayat in Jogjakarta in 2001. After addressing the audience, she followed up her segment with a medley of Bukan Cinta Biasa and Destinasi Cinta, two songs that needed no further introductions. I guess in any appearance she makes, be it for a showcase, a concert or even a brief cameo, the audience would never get enough of her and that night was no different.

I certainly did not expect Taufik Batisah to sing “Sesuatu Janji” taken off his “All Because Of You” album, simply for the sole reason that he already has a more recent album entitled “Suria Hatiku“, one that has produced hits after hits with every single being introduced on the airwaves. But was I complaining??? Not one bit, cos amongst all his songs, this is my personal favourite and little wonder too, since I got him to sing this song when he recorded a greeting for this blog which I posted in the entry before last. I half-expected him to do his somersault, which he executed when he sang the same song at Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008, but I guess the space constraints didn’t allow him to. Or perhaps that special moment in 2008 was reserved for the regional audience. Still, I enjoyed it all the same.

The show came to a rousing end when the Anugerah alumnus, which consisted of Fauzie Laily, Maiya Rahman, Hyrul Anuar and Eka Mairina came on stage to sing Adam & Stacy‘s “Menggegar Dunia“. This was followed by Sarah Aqilah appearing for the third time that night, along with Eiss and Kunjung singing Faizal Tahir‘s “Gemuruh“. I just felt the first song, which is punchier as compared to the second one, would have been a better choice to open or end the show. The performance which reeked of zest and energy, as demonstrated by Fauzie, Maiya, Hyrul and Eka, would have been a fairer reflection of what Suria is all about – Vibrancy.

If there were any complaints or misgivings I had, then perhaps it would have been the fact that certain people were apparently overlooked for this event. The show was meant to be a celebration of the past ten years and it was fair to have those performing or those who made an appearance that night being given the opportunity to do so. Yes it was commendable to have the Anugerah alumnus between the years 20032009 performing, but what about those before that, most notably Aqmal Noor (winner in 2004), Indra Hamzah (winner in 2001) and Rudy Djoharnaen (winner in 2002)??? While Aqmal is slowly making inroads as seen by his win at last year’s Rentak Singapura event for his composition entitled “Warkah Dunia“, the other two have been relatively quiet and not heard of since.

Suria also had non-singing competitions like Juara (2002) and Anugerah Skrin (2006) in search of the next big thing in acting and hosting. Though the potentials of Nurul Aini as the night’s co-host and Huda Ali as roving host during the pre-event cocktail reception, were discovered and eventually polished to be who they are now, I hope no one has forgotten the likes of Firdaus Abdul Rahman (who appeared as “Captain Zero” in the comedy sitcom “Ahakz” and lately as the teacher in “Dikir Putri“) and Shahril Wahid (who played the handicapped character in “Gerimis Di Hati“), winners of Juara and Anugerah Skrin (Male Category) respectively. Both are accomplished theatre actors and they have definitely brought their experiences to the screens. One can only recall how Shahril‘s character in “Gerimis Di Hati” was excellently portrayed and I wouldn’t bet against him winning something at next year’s Pesta Perdana event just for that role itself.

If the segments that night were already too packed for a two-hour programme, then perhaps they could have just made cameo appearances, just like the catwalk segment that featured the new faces of the past decade. I think a small gesture like that could have gone a long way in refreshing the minds of viewers, that these guys also had had their moments of joy when they created history with the channel. I hope in future, winners like them would be remembered, even if they’re mentioned in brief or shown short clips of their performances. They are all unique in their own rights, skilled in their respective crafts, and should not be reduced to mere footnotes or forgotten altogether. I could be wrong in my analysis though, as perhaps they could have been invited to perform or make an appearance, but could not make it due to personal commitments. Shahril for the record, was invited as a guest that night.

The finale…

I just found it extremely unfortunate that on a week our premier Malay channel celebrated its milestone, unsavoury news in the print and alternative media with regards to a home-made video of a former actress / host, as well as news of the arrests of a famous comedian and a rock singer came to light. Everyone seems to have an opinion one way or another about these incidents as they’re being talked about almost everywhere on the Net. Even my blog statistics jumped because people were searching for the name of that former actress / host and their search results led to this domain. I will not delve too much on it, but I hope the public’s opinions on artistes in general will still be as positive as ever and not look down on them nor stereotype this career path as was famously portrayed in Allahyarham Tan Sri P. Ramlee‘s classic “Ibu Mertuaku“.

Like any offender, I believe the people who have made the news of late, should not be made outcasts or pariahs throughout their lives. We all make mistakes, whether they’re minor or severe, and the only way for them to lead normal lives again after this, is for us to offer them support & encouragement to be better people and accept them as part of society. Do not ostracise them just because as artistes, they are expected to be role models discerning youngsters look up to for inspiration. I’m actually heartened by the fact that fellow artistes have voiced their support in one way or another via their Tweets and Facebook statuses. This spirit of togetherness and protecting one another is what I admire and applaud, even though we’ve all heard before about the industry being harsh and bitchy due to a lot of backbiting.

Which reminds me of this entry I typed last July entitled “Be True To Yourselves“. When all these incidents happened, became the talking points and ended up being tabloid fodder (ok granted we only have one tabloid paper in our midst), I was eeriely reminded of what I outlined through several pointers in that particular posting. I certainly did not expect some of what I mentioned to be uncannily prophetic. Though I will not quote everything on what I typed back then, I will just end this entry with three paragraphs from that post I made, which relate to what has been happening around us of late and I hope we would all learn something from these recent episodes:

“Which is why I hope that up-and-coming artistes like our new batch of Anugerah contestants as well as those that are already established, would succeed without having any skeletons in the closet or deceive the fans through cunning ability spinning yarns after yarns of crap. One can put up a false front in front of the public, pull the wool over the eyes of the legions of fans, but shit catches up with the bull eventually since the latter needs to defecate afterall. In other words, one can only go so far with bullshit but life has a way of revealing dirty little secrets through time and when one leasts expects it.

Be thankful that there will always be an ever caring and protective arm around your shoulder, shielding you away from any possible backlash from your own fans or the community, when the paparazzis come a-calling, catching you in the act with your pants down. Cos too many of our local acts think they can get away with misdemeanours done mostly with the opposite sex or through various forms of intoxications. We are afterall, living in a society that is still conservative and sensitive. Being in the public eye, one should know better than to do things that could jeopardise their growing reputation as an established brand in the industry.

This entry, even though it looks as though I’m dissing someone or some people, it has to be said that it is also a reminder I want to share with all local artistes out there because I want to see our small industry succeed, without having to go through nasty episodes, which would eventually lead to a lot of unhappiness and ostracising. Everything that is to be done should be from the heart, laced with integrity and filled with unbridled honesty. That’s how one achieves blessed sustenance in any work or endeavour that we put our will into. I am very sure that most of our local acts are true to themselves and honest in their approach to their craft. For that, I will always continue to support our industry, no matter how much we seem to lack in several areas of professionalism.”

P.S. You must be wondering where are the post-event reception photographs. This entry was already too long for my liking that I’ve decided to split it into two. I’ll try to upload the photographs before Monday. Till then, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this review and thank you Suria for inviting me to the event as well as providing useful information which I have included in this entry…

Suria Elektra Media Session…

Mediacorp Suria reached a milestone on 30 January 2010 when it turned a decade old. Time sure flew by over the past ten years in a twinkling of an eye. I remembered when the channel was first launched on 30 January 2000, I just turned 21, was still serving my National Service, a swinging single, about 20kg lighter than what I am now and with more hair on my head. I was there at the auditorium that particular Sunday night, simply because the launch had two of my favourite artistes – KRU & Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza – performing.

Fast forward to the current times, how the local Malay entertainment industry has grown. Talent competitions like Chef Selebriti, JuaraAnugerah, Anugerah Band and Anugerah Skrin have produced stars like Hyrul Anuar, Fauzie Laily, Sarah Aqilah, Nurul Aini, Rancour, Huda Ali, Chef Khalid & Shah Iskandar just to name a few. Theatre activists like Zamberi Abdul Patah, Rafaat Hamzah and Sani Hussin have stamped their authority as class actors on the screens. Virtual unknowns like Fadly Awaludin, Fadhlur RahmanAzzah Fariha and Fizah Nizam have come from nowhere to grace our screens in various acting and hosting stints. Radio personalities like Fiza O, Azmi Sempoi, Hafeez Glamour, Nity Baizura, Aura Shai and A B Shaik have also branched out and added colour to some of the shows they have hosted or acted in. Not forgetting, former child prodigies like Khairudin Samsudin & Shahrin Azhar known more for their acting & hosting capabilities have directed and produced award-winning shows on television. And the list goes on and on.

We might have our personal gripes and complaints that Suria is very fond of repeating shows almost every day. But the repeated shows somehow serve a reminder that locally produced shows are of some quality and standard with our regional counterparts, other than the fact that we could watch them again just for laughs or for memories’ sake or if we had missed watching when they were first televised. So much so that Suria programmes have received several regional and international recognitions at the New York Festival, International Promax & World Gold and the Asian Television Awards. Some of these programmes have also been acquired and televised by regional broadcasters such as Astro, NTV 9, Asian Food Channel, Radio Televisyen Malaysia‘s TV1 & TV2 as well as channels on Radio Television Brunei.

It was an honour and my utmost pleasure to have been invited to this media session with some of the main stars of the recently-concluded Suria Elektra event, which was televised live on Suria last Friday night, 5th February 2010 at 8.30pm. The media session was held at the Balmoral Hall of Royal Plaza On Scotts last Thursday 4th February 2010 2-4pm. The session was hosted by Suhaimi Yusof and the event was graced by Mr. Suhaimi Jais – head honcho of Suria, Najip Ali – the host of Suria Elektra, Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza, Taufik Batisah, Sarah Aqilah, Anang Hermansyah & Pianka from Indonesia. Media representatives from Suria, Sensasi, Berita Harian, The New Paper, Gumbira.com and Screenbox (Sungguh.com) were in attendance. Being the only local entertainment blogger around, I felt small as I wasn’t used to this. Neither was I prepared to interview nor ask questions as my approach has always been to review or feature rather than interviewing the artistes.

For those of you who frequent or have been to The Royal Plaza On Scotts, either to say your prayers at the musollah in the building or dine at The Carousel but do not know where the Balmoral Hall is at, the plush venue overlooks the hotel’s swimming pool on the 5th floor lending it a touch of class and elegance. The room itself with its lush interior decor was already the perfect place to hold an event like this. I was genuinely impressed the moment I walked into the room and thought that they could not have held it at a better place than that. On the opposite side of the windows facing the pool, the glass panels faced the greenery outside, soothing the eyes and lending some wanted shade into the room on a day the sun was scorching hot and the sweltering heat outside was quite unbearable. As I walked into the room, Anang Hermansyah & Pianka were already there.

I did not waste time in requesting Pianka to do a short greeting for my blog, something similar to the one that Taufik Batisah did in the last entry. I know many of you dunno who these three girls who make up Pianka are, unless you’ve followed their progress in the inaugural season of Gangstarz, the popular reality show across the Causeway in search of the next big group to hit the entertainment industry there. Pianka is made up of Nita Lesmana, Sherine Farani & Puspita Wardhani. They are currently based in Jakarta having left KRU Records to pursue their music careers in their own motherland. The group derived its name from the term “Pianica” and are no slouches at playing musical instruments or giving vocal coachings. Nita and Sherine are qualified vocal instructors and the latter has a penchant for playing the violin. My hairs stood as I was simply bowled over by their vocal prowess, hearing them sing when I recorded their greeting.

I wanted to go over and chat with Anang, maybe ask him to record a greeting for me but he was quite pre-occupied, either chatting with the other media representatives or having a quiet time on his own and enjoying the light refreshments that were served. He looked quite tired judging by the look on his face and I found out later on from a very credible source close to him that he was indeed exhausted and hungry. Past experiences taught me to respect the privacies of artistes or know when they wished to be left alone. Some people might be quick to condemn that these people can be unapproachable or aloof just by looking at their faces. Anang was there for me to “attack” when he was all alone, but I thought the guy needed some rest since afterall, he just arrived from Indonesia. So I left him to be on his own especially since throughout the two-hour session, he wore a look which alternated from boredom to exhaustion.

Mr. Suhaimi Jais kicked off the session by thanking everyone who came and describing how the station has progressed over the years. He also outlined his hopes on how the next ten years would be like, with more quality shows in the pipeline, of course with help from the various production houses in Singapore. The artistes in attendance then took turns to introduce themselves and thanking Suria for giving them the opportunity to grace this star-studded event. People like Sarah Aqilah, Taufik Batisah, Najip Ali and Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza also described how their careers have shaped and how Suria have played a part in their progression and involvement with the station over the past ten years. Indeed, listening to them was like going back in time to shows like “Bersama Siti” and “KOTT“, two shows that have left indelible marks in the minds of viewers.

Once the session was over and it was time for the artistes to have private sessions with the media representatives, I took time to alternate between taking photographs of what was transpiring before me, i.e. the various interviews being made and chatting with some of the guests in attendance. Taufik surprised me by coming up to me and saying he read my Tweet prior to coming. I had left him a message beforehand saying I would be seeing him at the event in reply to his Tweet that stated he was going for a haircut and then to the event. We were not formally introduced before this even though we did take a photograph together at the post-event reception of Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008. Though we chatted briefly about Twitter‘s impact, he immediately struck me as someone with no airs whatsoever and exuding loads of charm. No wonder the ladies go gaga over him and I don’t blame them, as I experienced it first hand myself.

Always the most sought after person at media sessions and press conferences, it was no wonder that Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza was one of the last to leave. I did not get to chat with her as she had to rush off for rehearsals at Mediacorp TV Theatre but at least she was kind enough to stop for awhile to record this greeting for you and I hope you would continue to visit this site for more updates, especially as I still have yet to update on Fiesta Suria, Suria Elektra, Fiesta Famili and Glenn Fredly‘s Lovevolution concert. I will try to update twice a week so I can space out my entries before RIA‘s Big Bash event on 21st February 2010. Thank you once again to the good people at Mediacorp Suria for inviting me to the Suria Elektra Media Session last Thursday. It was indeed a memorable event to savour, especially since Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza and Anang did not attend the Suria Elektra post-event reception.

The Event Pictures In Summary

Where it was held at…

Calm before the storm…

Event host Suhaimi YusofSarah Aqilah looking a bit tensed… That was understandable since she was sitting beside Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza…I think any newbie out there would have felt the same thing as well…

Mr. Suhaimi Jais, head honcho of Suria

Najip Ali, host of Suria Elektra

I am sure she needs no further introduction…

Likewise this suave and charming gentleman…

Anang is very soft spoken and a man of few words…

Sarah Aqilah hopes to share her experiences in ten years’ time…

Pianka felt honoured to be invited as guest artistes…

A group photo before the session ended…

Anang being interviewed for Persada Seni…

Likewise Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza

And Taufik Batisah as well…

Whilst waiting for their turn to be interviewed, Pianka gamely posed for the cameras. From left – Sherine Farani, Puspita Wardhani & Nita Lesmana

Sarah Aqilah had to rush off for rehearsals but still had time for one last shot…

Just before she left, Dato’ Siti was still in the mood for a few last shots…

Taufik Batisah wishes Suria a Happy 10th Anniversary

A Teaser For You…

My blog stats jumped today and it is not surprising what was the common name or search term that was used to stumble upon my domain. No prizes for guessing what or who it is. Seems to me, there are a lot of curious people out there. I hope nobody passes baseless judgements based on what they viewed or read in the papers today. It is already traumatising for the person involved and I don’t think she would be so stupid as to upload it herself. It is a screwjob, full stop. We all make mistakes in life. Please do not victimise her further nor ostracise her from society. No matter what cynics would say, we should all protect her from being made an example of what home-made videos of that nature could do to one’s career, life and well-being in the long run.

On to more positive news. I attended the Suria Elektra Media Session just now at Royal Plaza On Scotts. Before I upload my entry on it, I would just like to give you a bit of teaser, and I know all you ladies out there will be drooling over it… Click on it, and enjoy!!!

P.S. Thank you once again Mr. Taufik Batisah for singing my favourite song and recording your greetings for my blog. All the best for tomorrow night’s performance!!!

Fiesta Famili @ Hougang Central Court…

I’ve been very busy these past few days at work and at home with my little tykes. As such, I simply have no time to update this blog on the events I attended of late like the birth of my nephew Mohammed Emraan, Fiesta Suria @ East Coast Park and the first Misteri Jam 12 outing of 2010. Plus this weekend promises to be a packed affair with the Suria Elektra Media session tomorrow afternoon at Royal Plaza On Scotts, the Suria Elektra event on Friday night at Mediacorp TV Theatre (unconfirmed going as yet as I’m still without a ticket), Fiesta Famili @ Hougang Central Court on Saturday afternoon and Glenn Fredly‘s Lovevolution Concert in the evening at the Esplanade Theatre.

I’m gonna update all these events I attended and would be attending at my own sweet time, so I hope you guys will be patient and bear with me. I’m afterall doing all these on a leisurely basis. Work, family, football and social time are still my priorities in that order. But of course I will try to update at least twice a week. Note the keyword “TRY”. Hahahah… In the meantime, here’s the promotional poster for this Saturday afternoon’s event at Hougang Central Court. A good thing that it’s just two MRT station stops away from home. At least I will not be rushing like a mad man…